Earlier today Bloomberg View columnists Margaret Carlson and Ramesh Ponnuru met online to chat about Nelson Mandela's funeral, Pope Francis and Republican messaging. Below is a lightly edited transcript.
Margaret: We're going to need a bigger boat. I'm using a movie metaphor to describe what the South African government faces by having either a fake sign language interpreter flapping his arms around or one that was hallucinating steps away from many world leaders, including our own. It is kind of sweet the way everyone in the government has their own response. The junior minister for disabilities admitted the interpreter was not a true professional and apologized. The minister said, yes, mistakes were made, "but I don't think he was picked up from the street." Then the interpreter got into it, doing a little public relations for himself, admitting he has schizophrenia as if that would make the situation better.Read more »
With the news out that JPMorgan Chase & Co. is close to reaching a deferred-prosecution agreement over its dealings with Ponzi scheme maestro Bernard Madoff, the usual (and justified) carping over JPMorgan's status as a too-big-to-jail bank is in full force.
So now is as good a time as any to ask: What would it take for the government to ever require that a U.S. bank plead guilty to a criminal charge? There aren't many precedents, but here's a start: It would help if the bank already had a buyer in waiting.Read more »
The Chinese workers who assemble Apple Inc. (AAPL)'s ubiquitous iPhones aren’t committing suicide as often as they used to. Still, according to a report by the Fair Labor Association, they work in what would be considered sweatshop conditions by developed-world standards.
Last year, Apple became the first technology company to be admitted to the FLA -- part of the iPhone maker's response to the public-relations disaster known as the Foxconn suicides. From January to November 2010, 18 employees of Apple supplier Hon Hai Precision Industry Co. Ltd., also known as Foxconn, attempted to take their lives, and 14 succeeded. Reports of inhumane working conditions proliferated, and though the company's suicide rate was lower than China's national average, Apple had to respond.Read more »
The foes of genetically modified food have this one huge issue that won't go away: the science keeps going against them.
The latest example took place late last month, when a prominent journal withdrew the one study that seemed to show a definitive link between health problems and food whose genetic mix has been altered to make it more resistant to pests or grow under less-than-ideal conditions.Read more »
On Wednesday India’s Supreme Court turned the clock of history backwards when, in defiance of all expectations, it set aside a landmark 2009 High Court judgement that had ruled homosexuality could not be construed as a criminal offense “against the order of nature,” as held for more than a 150 years by Article 377 of the colonial-era Indian Penal Code.
In doing so, the Supreme Court effectively re-criminalized gay sex, making second-class and stigmatized citizens of those it revealingly called “a minuscule fraction of the country’s population,” and returning them to what the novelist Vikram Seth, one of the gay-rights movement’s most lucid voices, called “lives of quiet desperation.” To look at it another way, the Supreme Court decided that the High Court had overreached in exercising its powers of judicial review, and placed the onus for a change in the law on Parliament instead.Read more »
Back in 1999, after the notorious con man Martin Frankel went missing, federal agents found a partially burned to-do list at his mansion in Greenwich, Connecticut. Item No. 1 on the list: "Launder money."
Royal Bank of Scotland Group Plc might not have topped that one, but it came close enough to win this year's "Dumbest Bank of the Year" award. OK, that's not a real award, but it should be.Read more »