Scott Adams on Bloomberg's Profile of Him

March 24, 2017 at 1:23 pm

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One of the neat things about the internet is that it can level the playing field between the press and those they write about. An excellent example is Dilbert cartoonist Scott Adams' post dissecting the profile of him in Bloomberg Businessweek. I much prefer reading the two together than I would just the Businessweek piece without the response from Adams.

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Scott Gottlieb at FDA

March 22, 2017 at 3:23 pm

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One of the services we attempt to provide here at FutureOfCapitalism.com is to serve as something of a leading indicator, a preview of what is coming over the horizon. We don't always succeed at that, but when we do, it brings a certain small amount of satisfaction. So it was with the news that President Trump will appoint Scott Gottlieb as commissioner of the Food and Drug Administration.

An interview with Dr. Gottlieb appeared at this site back in October, 2009. You can read it here.

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The Harvard Week

March 22, 2017 at 10:45 am

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From Harvard Magazine's report on a proposal to rearrange the scheduling of undergraduate classes:

A question from the floor during the generally friendly discussion of the proposal at the March 7 faculty meeting clarified one important point: that with the disappearance of the flex day and adoption of five equivalent teaching days per week, the plan to recapture Fridays as a period for faculty-led instruction is essentially abandoned. There may well be discussion sections for classes that meet three times weekly, but those will be led by teaching assistants; faculty members themselves will largely be free to retain Fridays for research, service, or outside commitments, rather than stationing themselves in the classroom.

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Preet Bharara to NYU Law

March 21, 2017 at 4:38 pm

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In my column from last week on "What Will Preet Bharara Do Next," I wrote, "The Harvard Law School deanship is available, or some other suitable academic perch could be found." Sure enough, today NYU Law School announced that Mr. Bharara will start as a "distinguished scholar in residence" starting April 1. The NYU Law press release carries, strangely enough, a quote from Mr. Bharara but none from anyone from NYU, whose law school, whatever its other merits, is able to move fast enough that it can grant someone an academic position in 10 days. That speed is unusual in academic hiring (or, for that matter, in anything else involving academia.)

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Trump's Budget

March 21, 2017 at 3:42 pm

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Will Trump's "budget cuts" really lead to reduced spending or is it all just an elaborate show? That's the question I tackle in my column this week. Please check it out at the New York Sun (here), Reason (here), and Newsmax (here).

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Preet's Recusal

March 20, 2017 at 3:31 pm

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One of Preet Bharara's final acts as U.S. attorney for the Southern District of New York was telling a federal judge that his office had recused itself from a criminal investigation involving unauthorized leaks by the government to the press about insider trading investigations.

In a letter dated Saturday, March 11, 2017 — the day Mr. Bharara was fired — lawyers for the government responded to an order by Judge P. Kevin Castel. Judge Castel had required a written status update on the status of "all investigations and proceedings" against an FBI supervisory special agent, David Chaves, "or any other person making or concealing unauthorized disclosures related to insider trading investigations."

"On February 9, 2017, the United States attorney's office for the Southern District of New York (the "Office") was formally recused from the investigation of Special Agent Chaves, under Department of Justice procedures," the March 11 filing, submitted over Mr. Bharara's name, said. The letter did not specify what "procedures" required the recusal, or who had requested the recusal.

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Daniel Patrick Moynihan's Foresight

March 19, 2017 at 12:58 pm

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Daniel Patrick Moynihan's book Maximum Feasible Misunderstanding is the topic of my column this week for the Sunday Las Vegas Review-Journal. Please check out the full column, about Moynihan's amazing language from 50 years ago that sounds like it is talking about today, by clicking here.

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What Will Preet Bharara Do Next?

March 14, 2017 at 12:03 pm

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Fired federal prosecutor Preet Bharara's next job is the topic of my column this week. Please check it out at the New Boston Post (here), New York Sun (here), Reason (here), and Newsmax (here).

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Federalism, Roe v. Wade, and Anthony Beilenson

March 14, 2017 at 11:41 am

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In the middle of a Sam Roberts New York Times obituary of Anthony Beilenson, a Democrat who represented parts of Southern California in Congress, comes this profoundly insightful passage:

His biggest accomplishment in the State Legislature was the first liberalization of California's abortion law in a century, passed in 1967.

"At the time it became law, no one anticipated that the Supreme Court would discover a constitutional right to abortion, as it did in Roe v. Wade in 1973," Lou Cannon, his friend, a Reagan biographer and a former reporter for The Washington Post, wrote recently on RealClearPolitics.com.

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Preet Bharara and Robert Jackson

March 13, 2017 at 4:32 pm

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As President Trump searches for a replacement for the U.S. attorney for the Southern District of New York, it's worth pausing for a moment to reflect on the failures of the man who, until he was fired on Saturday, occupied that office, Preet Bharara.

Understanding what Mr. Bharara got wrong — why he so richly deserved firing — may help his successor avoid repeating the same mistakes. It can also shine a light on one of the lesser known but nonetheless serious flaws in our criminal justice system, the plague of prosecutorial misconduct.

Problematic prosecutors don't get the attention that, say, racist cops do. But the dangers have been clear to perceptive observers all the way back since at least 1940, when Robert H. Jackson, then the attorney general of the United States, gave a classic speech titled "The Federal Prosecutor." (The speech is so classic that a copy is posted on the Justice Department web site.)

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The Bezos Rule

March 13, 2017 at 12:52 pm

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The Republican approach to care reform was the topic of my column for Sunday's Las Vegas Review-Journal. The article includes an idea for what I call the "Bezos Rule." Please check out the full column by clicking here.

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Summers and Sandberg

March 10, 2017 at 8:07 am

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A James Stewart column in the New York Times about the possibility that some other business executive — Bob Iger? Howard Schultz? Marc Benioff? Sheryl Sandberg? — might be inspired by Donald Trump to run for president includes this line about Ms. Sandberg:

She has worked in politics before, as an assistant to the former Treasury secretary Lawrence H. Summers...

It made me smile to see the Times description of what Professor Summers was doing at Treasury not as government, economics, or international finance, but "politics."

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Defending de Blasio

March 7, 2017 at 10:49 am

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The federal criminal corruption investigation conducted by Preet Bharara and faced by the mayor of New York, Bill de Blasio, is the subject of my column this week. Please check the full column out at the New Boston Post (here), New York Sun (here), Reason (here), and Newsmax (here).

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Democrats Failing To Offer Trump Alternative

March 5, 2017 at 10:39 pm

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Will anyone offer an intellectually and ideologically consistent alternative to Trumpism? If early signs are any reliable indication, it won't be the Democrats, I write in my column this week for the Las Vegas Review-Journal. Please check the full column out by clicking here.

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Judge Orders Regular Updates on Investigation into FBI Grand Jury Leaks to Press

March 2, 2017 at 12:30 am

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A federal judge in Manhattan, P. Kevin Castel, has given the U.S. attorney for the Southern District of New York, Preet Bharara, a two-week deadline to provide a written update on "the status of all investigations and proceedings against" a supervisory special agent of the FBI, David Chaves, "or any other person making or concealing unauthorized disclosures related to insider trading investigations."

The judge ordered additional reports to continue after the end of each calendar quarter.

Judge Castel's order, dated March 1, stopped short of the dismissal or evidentiary hearing that lawyers for the defendant in the case, William Walters, had requested.

Yet in some ways, it went even further, suggesting that leaks to the press in other insider trading investigations "and the role of Chaves and possibly other special agents in leaks ought to be the subject of the pending criminal investigation."

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