Our Moment in Cuba?

Last month I had the privilege of joining a study tour to Cuba with former members of Congress — sponsored by the U.S. Association of Former Members of Congress (FMC). We met with government and Communist Party officials, members of the National Assembly and Foreign Ministry, artists, scholars, academics, economists, entrepreneurs, even cigar workers. Cubans feel genuine optimism that the recent normalization of relations with the United States may usher in a new era of cooperation. Continue reading

FCC Chief Tom Wheeler is five-sixths of a superhero

11934229614_66a3256877_oThe last best hope to stop Big Money’s rout of American democracy is a former trade group lobbyist who’s reluctant to stretch his spandex superhero suit too thin.

Plutocrats have been on a roll for a while in the U.S., and campaign finance reform is in full retreat. Though Americans hate money’s “obscene” role in politics, according to a new New York Times/CBS poll, they feel hopeless about changing it. Thanks to the Supreme Court’s Buckley and Citizens United decisions, money is speech and corporations are people, so forget about limiting what billionaires and Super PACs can contribute to campaigns. Continue reading

Small Enough to Succeed

IMG_9382May 28, one of these candidates will succeed Donald Kaberuka as African Development Bank president.  Kaberuka’s ten-year run got the African Development Bank (AfDB) up to $3.16 billion in loans and grants per annum to infrastructure projects on the Continent, pretty modest compared to the World Bank’s $15 billion. China puts in about the same $15 billion per annum in investments, which some would consider “real money.”

With Africa’s visible problems, it nevertheless churns on at six per cent growth as a whole, positioning it to move up the world scale in the near future as China’s growth slows. Continue reading

This Happened March 20, and It Could Happen to You

stealing-294489_640Land line rings at 3:00 p.m.  Usually I’m out at that hour, but I happen to be on a brief pass-through at my house, and I take the call on the fourth ring.

“The Internal Revenue Service is filing a lawsuit against you for non-payment of $6000 in taxes.  You must call the following number…” Continue reading

Hollywood’s necessary not-niceness

db_amy-pascal_010915_584_539_360_c1The billion people who will watch the 2015 Academy Awards got a great gift last week from Amy Pascal, the recently fired co-chair of Sony Pictures, who said this to Tina Brown at a Women in the World conference in San Francisco:

“We all live in this weird thing called Hollywood. If we all actually were nice, it wouldn’t work.”

Photo: Amy Pascal. Image via Sony Pictures Studios Continue reading