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The Failing Psychology of Politics

To read about the daily struggles of politicians is to remind us that God is testing all of us every day just as he tested Abraham with his son Isaac’s life and tested Job with the loss of his property and children. Every day we too are faced with moral choices which accumulate and ultimately cast us as either good or evil.  Unlike Job, we may succumb to external pressures and compromise our ideals in order to accomplish our goals. In the process we end up losing track of who we wanted to become by setting these goals in the first place. And so, in this primary moral sense, the ends never does justify the means. The twisted psyche and psychiatric instability of our politicians and our times is evoked in the new novel The Means, by Douglas Brunt. It is a natural evolution of his first novel, Ghosts of Manhattan, where the protagonist, 35 year old bond trader Nick Farmer, manages to escape the decadent immorality of Wall Street just in time to salvage both his mental health and presumably his marriage.  But in The Means, which examines the corrupted world of politics and the news media appendage which reports on it, it is even more difficult to find any sort of moral compass. The closest to a discerning value-driven character is Samantha Davis, a successful childhood actress turned successful attorney turned successful reporter who is so driven by “the story” that she is drawn in by sociopath Connor Marks, who plants her dead center into t...  

Commodities Alone Can't Determine Economic Success In Emerging Markets

Kimberly White/Getty ImagesAn oil refinery in Paraguana, Venezuela.Fixed-income investors often divide emerging markets into commodity exporters and commodity importers. We think this overlooks an important reality: commodity wealth is not the sole — or even the most important — driver of EM performance. It’s certainly true that a decade of increases in energy, metal and agriculture prices have swelled national incomes in commodity-rich countries in Latin America, Europe, Africa and Central Asia. Display 1 shows what some of those countries’ real gross domestic incomes would have been without the terms-of-trade shock caused by the commodity boom (the dark green bar) and what it was when accounting for it (the light green bar). The AllianceBernstein Blog As expected, commodity-rich countries such as Venezuela and Russia saw a boost in their terms of trade — the relative difference between import and export prices — and, consequently, their real income. Turkey, South Korea and other commodity-dependent countries, on the other hand, took a hit. Yet our research shows that being a commodity producer didn’t guarantee improved credit fundamentals or stronger growth during that time. In fact, some of the commodity “winners” are actually worse off today. Many commodity importers, on the other hand, weathered the storm and saw their economies strengthen. Why didn’t the last decade’s u...  

Israeli rising star quits politics

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The downing of Malaysia Airlines flight MH17 over...

U.N. Security Council to discuss Dutch report on MH17 downing. UNITED NATIONS (Reuters) - The downing of Malaysia Airlines flight MH17 over war-torn eastern Ukraine will be discussed by the U.N. Security Council on Friday after Russia requested a meeting on a Dutch finding that a large number of fragments hit the plane and tore it apart. Several foreign ministers are expected to attend the United Nations meeting on Friday morning, diplomats said, since they were already scheduled to attend a Security Council debate on Iraq on Friday afternoon, chaired by U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry.The jetliner crashed in Ukraine in pro-Russian rebel-held territory on July 17, killing 298 people, two-thirds of them from the Netherlands. Ukraine and Western countries accuse the rebels of shooting it down with an advanced, Russian-made missile.Russia has rejected accusations that it supplied the rebels with SA-11 Buk anti-aircraft missile systems.A preliminary Dutch Safety Board report released last week said MH17 crashed due to a "large number of high-energy objects" penetrating the fuselage, a conclusion supporting a theory that it had been shot down by a ground-based missile.U.N. political chief Jeffrey Feltman is due to the brief the 15-member Security council on the report, diplomats said. "We're a little bit puzzled about why Russia has called for this briefing," said a senior council diplomat, speaking on condition of anonymity. "We'll find out on Friday." Dutch U.N. Amb...  

The iOS 8 Health app: What can you do with it today?

Note: At the time of this post Apple has acknowledged issues with HealthKit have delayed numerous third-party health apps. One of the big announcements out of WWDC 2014 was the iOS 8 Health app and the entire HealthKit framework. The framework is designed to allow third-party app and hardware vendors feed activity and health data into the Health app, which can then -- at some undetermined future time -- be used to communicate that information to your health care providers. Well, iOS 8 is available and the Health app is too, but there's not a lot you can actually do with it right now. Let's take a quick look at the app and how you can use it today. Health has four buttons at the bottom of the screen that demarcate the functionality of the app. First is Dashboard, which will be the repository for information on weight, activity, standing time, stairs climbed, and whatever else can be tracked by your fitness monitor or Apple Watch. The Dashboard is going to be awfully lonely until third parties actually get to add data to the Health Data repository, the second button on the app. One look at Health Data shows you all of the areas that are currently under consideration for storage on your iPhone -- body measurements (fat percentage, BMI, height, lean body mass, weight), fitness (active calories, cycling distance, flights climbed, NikeFuel, resting calories, steps, walking + running distance), "me" (birthdate, biological sex, and blood type), nutrition (biotin, caffeine, calcium, ...  

See Vintage Vegas in Color, Celebrate Nevada's Existence

Iconic black-and-white photos get the color treatment in “Re-visualizing Las Vegas.”  Thursday, Sept. 18 Want to know what’s going on with our university? You can hear UNLV acting President Donald Snyder’s State of the University Address at 2:30 p.m. at UNLV’s Judy Bayley Theatre. UNLV.edu. Friday, Sept. 19 Attention, muscle heads: The 50th annual Mr. Olympia contest starts today and runs through Sunday. This is the big one; it spawned Arnold Schwarzenegger’s career, after all. If you dig oily guys in tiny swimsuits with monster pecs, be at the Orleans Arena at 7 p.m. today and tomorrow, and 11 a.m. Sunday. Tickets: $63-$160; OrleansArena.com. Saturday, Sept. 20 Downtown, grass, beer, music, food … the third annual Downtown Brew Festival has it all. The Clark County Amphitheater hosts (hence the grass) 50 brewers bringing more than 150 beers for you to sample while noshing on beer-infused eats and digging some local tunes. 6-10 p.m.; tickets: $40-$85; DowntownBrewFestival.com. Sunday, Sept. 21 Perhaps you are already familiar with Mozart’s enchanting opera The Magic Flute. But we’ll hazard a guess that you’ve never seen it “Las Vegasized,” as you will at 6 p.m., for free, on Fremont Street. Sung in English by some of the top operatic talent the Valley has to offer, The Magic Flute on Fremont is a great way to introduce the kids, or anyone, to this am...  

4 Positive, Funny, Happy Sports Related Stories

September 17, 2014 1:02 PM Sports Fan Insider Keep up with your favorite teams and athletes with daily updates. Sign Up By: Morgan Ragan  With all the domestic violence, child beating and vulgar language being thrown around by college athletes I wanted to enlighten sports fans with some positive stories and funny videos that are all sports related! Just because we turn to sports to escape from the real world and now sports are seemingly becoming more like the real world doesn’t mean we can’t smile and laugh at the optimistic, fun stories involving sports. 1. Bryan Cranston Performs One-Man MLB on TBS Postseason Show Looking for a new challenge in his career, actor Bryan Cranston of Breaking Bad puts on a one-man recreation of the MLB Postseason in this new commercial for MLB on TBS. 2. Blake Griffin – Slam Dunk Poetry  Whether you like him or not, shut up and appreciate the humor Griffin provides while talking about tearaway pants. 3. Sean Payton Purchases 100 Devon Still Jerseys to Support Cancer Research Cincinnati Bengals Devon Still’s four-year-old daughter, Leah, was diagnosed with Stage 4 cancer. New Orleans Saints head coach, Payton purchased 100 Still jerseys, the proceeds of which go to pediatric cancer research. STORY: http://ble.ac/1qgPxcU 4. Adam Jones pies Orioles’ fans  The Orioles won the American League East on Tuesday. In th...  

Duff captures students' attention with photography

Liana Swarengin – Daily PressJennifer Duff, second row center, poses for a photo amidst students in her fourth-period photography class. Students included in the photo are Rea Barrera, Brianna Bolden, Daija Carrasco, Katie Chapman, Paige Chesser, Peyton Crome, Kyrstyn Graham, Chelsey Hazelton, Robert Kie, Jasmin Luevano, Kayleigh Mays, Alma Mijares, Monique Miranda, Jacinda Pando, Emily Perez, Santiago Salsberry, Sunny Stephenson and Hannah Wesson. Not pictured are Breanna Simshauser and Seth Williams....  

IMF Warns Of Risks From 'excessive' Financial Market Bets

Thomson ReutersThe International Monetary Fund (IMF) logo is seen at the IMF headquarters building during the 2013 Spring Meeting of the International Monetary Fund and World Bank in WashingtonWASHINGTON (Reuters) - The global economy faces a growing risk from big financial market bets that could quickly unravel if investors get spooked by geopolitical tensions or a shift in U.S. interest rate policy, the International Monetary Fund said on Wednesday.The IMF, an institution based in Washington that is the world's premier watchdog for financial and economic stability, said in a report it still expects economic growth will pick up in the second half of 2014 after a rough start to the year.But it also warned that financial market indicators suggested investor bets funded with borrowed money looked "excessive" and that markets could quickly deflate if there were surprises in U.S. monetary policy or the conflicts in Ukraine and the Middle East.As the IMF put it in its technical language, "New downside risks associated with geopolitical tensions and increasing risk taking are arising."The IMF prepared its report for the Group of 20 meeting of finance ministers and central bankers in Australia this weekend, and just before the U.S. Federal Reserve's regular meeting on Wednesday.The U.S. central bank renewed its pledge to keep interest rates near zero for a "considerable time" and repeated concerns over slack in the labor market. But some Fed officials have stated publicly that ...  

San Jose author's timely fictional page-turner takes on Chinese business practices

Print   Email   Font ResizeSo should you plunk down the big bucks for a bundle of stock in the IPO of Jack Ma's Alibaba (BABA), hoping that it will provide the open sesame to a lifetime of riches?Ann Bridges would urge you to slow down and check out the environs. The San Jose author has just published an e-book called "Private Offerings" that casts a critical eye on Chinese business practices.I won't give away the whole plot, but suffice it to say that the book deals with an American company assembling an IPO in the face of Chinese adversaries who want to seize its key technology.The central character is Lynn Baker, the sexy 34-year-old who crafts a PR and marketing strategy to counter the bad guys and help the handsome CEO of the beleaguered company."Private Offerings" is not a great novel. It relies too much on tired devices like the overheard conversation, the lover who doesn't recognize an ex, or the hidden treasure (in the form of stock). And its choice of phrases can irritate, like the moment one character says "Yahoo!' " to himself. But Bridges, the pen name for Evergreen resident Miriam Nuney, has two important things going for her. First, she can tell a story. You read "Private Offerings" because you want to know what happens.Second, she has a marketer's gift of timing. Her book is coming out online just as the investing world is thinking about what the Chinese Internet foray is worth.Long-term viewOne of her points is that American invest...  


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