The delegation selected by President Barack Obama to represent the U.S. at next year's Winter Olympics in Sochi, Russia, has been hailed as a "genius" stand for diversity over diplomacy and sends a clear message that America stands for equality -- but has yet to achieve it.
The decision to go with Billie Jean King and Caitlin Cahow -- two prominent, openly gay athletes -- is cause for optimism among gay-rights advocates who have long called for Obama to do more than voice concern over Russia's anti-gay laws. LGBT groups were understandably frustrated with the president's foot-dragging on gay rights during his first term, but it appears that Obama is inching closer to fully embracing his chance to be America's first gay president (because we all know Bill Clinton was our first black president).
What's the value of $10 billion of monthly bond purchases? Four carefully chosen words.
The Federal Reserve took the first tapering step today, announcing a reduction in its $85 billion of monthly asset purchases by $10 billion, evenly divided between Treasury and mortgage bonds, starting next month. At the same time, policy makers modified their forward guidance. Not only will the funds rate be exceptionally low "as long as" the unemployment rate remains above 6.5 percent, but it will stay there "well past that time," too. How long is "well past"? I don't know. They don't know, either. That's forward guidance for you.Read more »
The Federal Communications Commission has voted unanimously in favor of a proposal to end blackout restrictions on professional sporting events. The final decision will come later after a public comment period.
The proposal, introduced by then-acting FCC chairwoman Mignon Clyburn in November, seeks to end the 40-year rule that prevents networks from broadcasting games that fail to sell out in-person. According to Clyburn, the prohibitive cost of tickets in a struggling economy makes it difficult for fans to attend games and raises "questions about whether these rules are still in the public interest."Read more »
Torrey Smith needs to take a page from teammate Justin Tucker. The Baltimore Ravens wide receiver lashed out on Twitter at fantasy football owners unhappy with his relatively quiet performance in Monday night's 18-16 win over the Detroit Lions.
Smith was reacting to the harsh comments now commonplace on Twitter after disappointing fantasy performances. He caught four passes for 69 yards and no touchdowns in Week 15, a crucial game for the defending Super Bowl champions, who have a tenuous hold on the AFC's final wild-card slot, as well as for fantasy owners competing in their leagues' semifinals.Read more »
The idea of making companies switch audit firms every so often is a good one, except when it isn't. And here is one of those times.
The European Union unveiled a new draft agreement with its member states that would force financial institutions and publicly traded companies to occasionally rotate their outside auditors. The objective is to keep auditors and their clients from getting too cozy with each other. The problem is it still gives them a very long time to remain cozy with each other, sometimes as long as a generation.Read more »
Earlier today Bloomberg View columnists Margaret Carlson and Ramesh Ponnuru met online to chat about the NSA, Senator John McCain and Canadian dancing. Below is a lightly edited transcript.
Ramesh: President Barack Obama's surveillance policies -- which are also the previous president's -- are getting some pushback this week. Obama met with leaders of technology companies that are objecting to those policies, which among other things are bad for their reputations, especially overseas, and thus for their bottom lines. And a federal judge said that those policies violate the Fourth Amendment. I'm not a great fan of the policies, but if it's true -- as several accounts have suggested -- that the judge just ignored Supreme Court precedents because he disagreed with them, he's going to get slapped down and probably should. Which I hope doesn't end the debate.Read more »
If there is a way out of America’s crisis of long-term unemployment, it's possible nobody has a better chance of finding it than a new team of five researchers based at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.
Their project, the Institute for Career Transitions, will take a data-driven approach to figuring out the best way to help the long-term unemployed land jobs. The research is the first of its kind; with 4.1 million Americans who have unable to find work for more than six months, it couldn’t be more important.Read more »
There are likely to be "dangerous days" immediately ahead in Ukraine as the hardline pro-Russian government resists demands from hundreds of thousands of protesters, said Senator Chris Murphy, who just returned from a weekend visit to Kiev.
Massive pro-European protests continue. Murphy, a Connecticut Democrat who visited the country with Senator John McCain, an Arizona Republican, said he worried that government crackdowns could become violent.Read more »
The Tea Party is coming to the rescue! Seriously. Last month, when the Atlanta Braves announced their intention to abandon Turner Field for a new, publicly subsidized stadium in Cobb County, we were all wondering what America’s favorite “populist movement” would have to say. A local government committing hundreds of millions of taxpayer dollars to a project without a referendum? This was tailor-made for them to go absolutely bananas. And, of course, Cobb County is Tea Party country -- the birthplace of Newt Gingrich’s presidential bid and home base of two of its most stalwart members, Republican Representatives Tom Price and Phil Gingrey.
On the other hand, when the County Commission passed the plan for the $672 million stadium on a 4-1 vote, the holdout was a lone Democratic commissioner. (Business as usual: When isn’t a highly profitable professional sports team bamboozling a local government into spending millions in tax dollars on a new stadium?)Read more »