“When future historians look back at this passage in our nation’s history, I suspect they’ll conclude that this Obama-isn’t-American nuttiness refracted the insecurities and, in some cases, the hatred that a portion of conservative white America felt about having a black president and about the transformation of what many thought of as their white nation into a genuinely multiracial republic.”—Harold Meyerson (OpEd Columnist in in WaPo) in Filibuster Nation (8/5/09)
Washington Post has a good article this morning on the US’s official international development agency, USAID.
Tensions between USAID, the Department of State, the White House and the international development community are brewing. There seem to be two main points points of departure for the tensions. The first, that USAID is still missing a leader. The Clinton Department of State came up against barriers in the vetting process for USAID leadership,and some say that likely candidates are nervous about the future of the agency. Paul Farmer, well know in the development community, is said to be high in the runnings for the job.
The second departure point for tensions revolves around a central question of whether USAID will continue to be absorbed by the Department of State. Some within USAID say that is a bad idea while some at State believe a deeper mixing of aid and diplomacy would be beneficial. There’s probably truth in both worries.
“If the EU is constantly, sometimes irritatingly, seeking out new ways of making itself relevant it is because it has so successfully completed its original mission: to keep the peace after more than a century of war.”—Mark Mardell, EU blog correspondent for the BBC
The European Council of Ministers just adopted CAP reform with the intent to “increase the competitiveness of the EU’s wine producers, strengthen the reputation of EU quality wine as the best in the world, recover old markets and win [new] ones in the EU and worldwide”. (see Commission website)
The photo to the left is me and some graduate school friends enjoying a bit of EU quality wine after a grand opening of our palazzo. I post this to make a comment on the EU’s newest stab at CAP reform. While I wholeheartedly applaud CAP reform I’m not so sure that the intentions of this move would have not been accomplished on their own. Seriously. This picture (taken before this reform took full effect) indicates:
Increased Competitiveness - EU quality wine pictured in its cheapest form
Strengthened Reputation - doesn’t it look like we’re having a good time?
Recovering Old Markets - wine pictured came from a party in the cloister of a 500 plus year old church
Winning New Markets - The picture is the result of Frecobaldi being marketed to Americans (the wine here was a gift from il Marchese Frescobaldi himself)
My point: none really. I wanted to share this joyous photo.
Mario Monti, once head of the European Commission’s Competition arm and now president of the prestigious Bocconi in Milano, appears in today’s (July 29, 2009) opinions section in the Financial Times.
Mr Monti is probably best known for his 2001 showdown with Jack Welch, then GE’s top dog. Monti and his band of Berlaymont wizards shutdown a massive merger between Welch’s GE and Honeywell.
Today’s opinion in the FT “Watchdogs of the World Unite” offers thoughts on moving forward with antitrust and anti state aid (Eurospeak for subsidies) regulation the world round. I hope you will read it.
“Wireless e-mail-enabled devices have become a common fixture in corporate boardrooms (and meetings of all kinds). Everyone has grown familiar with the routine: there is a quiet buzz, hands reach for holsters, heads and shoulders slump semi-prostrate into a “BlackBerry prayer”; and two or three minutes later the supposed guardians of shareholder interests and vigilant governance return their gaze – and their attention – to the meeting and business at hand.”—David Beatty and J Mark Weber (Business Life) Financial Times
Protectionism is rarely a good sign. A recent joint statement coming from several Chinese government ministries and agencies communicates to the world that China is not fully opposed to protectionist measures.
“I’ve been struck by a disquieting thought: Suppose our collective lack of response to Hurricane Katrina wasn’t exceptional but, rather, the new normal in America. Suppose we can no longer address the major challenges confronting the nation. Suppose America is now the world’s leading can’t-do country.”— Harold Meyerson (OpEd Columnist in WaPo) on centrist Dems & health care
Condividiamo means “Let’s Share” in Italian. This got me thinking that some verbs best exist in the first person plural tense. Sharing is at least a bilateral endeavour and at best multilateral. Let’s make this word meaningful.