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You're not hearing me

the economistMar, 20/05/2014 - 18:47

APPELLATE courts are charged with correcting errors of legal interpretation in lower-court rulings; they are not supposed to meddle with the facts. Yet America’s final court of appeal, the Supreme Court, finds itself sorting through facts quite regularly, particularly in religion cases where "fact-sensitive" analyses are the norm. The justices do not always acquit themselves very well.

Over the past few decades, in sussing out violations of the constitution's ban on religious establishments, the court has found meaningful distinctions between a menorah and a nativity scene in a public holiday display (both are okay) and a stand-alone creche (verboten); it has said that the Ten Commandments violate the constitution when placed in a courthouse but are perfectly fine when installed outside a state capitol. In the ruling Continue reading

A fitting tribute

the economistVie, 16/05/2014 - 22:06

  • The National September 11 Memorial Museum opens on May 21st. Two tridents, steel supports from the original World Trade Centre, can be seen inside the museum Source: Jeff Goldblum
  • One World Trade Centre, formerly the Freedom Tower, rises above and behind the new museum and the memorial pools Source: Jeff Goldblum
  • Continue reading

Gowdy-amus igitur

the economistMié, 14/05/2014 - 20:52

CHRISTOPHER STEVENS had been ambassador to Libya for three months when he was killed on September 11th 2012 in Benghazi. His death, on the anniversary of the worst terrorist attack on America, was a reminder that the government cannot keep all of its people safe all of the time. 

For an ambassador to be killed while serving is rare, but attacks on embassies and consulates are not, and they have often resulted in deaths. Mr Stevens’s murder also coincided with the closing stages of a presidential campaign in which Barack Obama claimed to have al-Qaeda “on the run”. In the following days, White House officials said that Ambassador Stevens’s death was the result of a spontaneous protest, which is what the initial intelligence reports suggested, rather than a planned terrorist attack. They stuck to this line for longer than they should have. Security at the consulate was not as robust as it might have been.

Such are the facts of the case that is known in American politics simply as Benghazi. There have already been several investigations, as well as a bipartisan report issued by the Senate intelligence committee, which...Continue reading

Street Fight 2.0

the economistMié, 14/05/2014 - 19:37

ASKED last month to name his role model, Ras Baraka mentioned Marion Barry, a former mayor of Washington, DC best known for smoking crack and running a City Hall of staggering incompetence and corruption. Washingtonians remember Mr Barry as a terrible manager, but he sure gave a rousing speech. That is perhaps why Mr Baraka admires him. It is also why, on May 13th, Newark elected Mr Baraka as its new mayor with 54% of the vote.  

A charismatic speaker, he can quiet and excite a crowd like no one else in the city. “When I become mayor,” he often told voters, “we all become mayor.” How that would work in practice is unclear, but after his victory speech hundreds of his supporters marched down Broad Street to take City Hall. One exclaimed: “It’s ours again!”  

Mr Baraka (pictured), a school principal, is as close to African-American royalty as one can get in Newark. His late father was a poet who gave voice to the Black Power movement. In 2004, he helped broker peace between the Crips and the Bloods, two rival gangs. Spike Lee, a film-maker, and Lauryn Hill, a singer, supported him. So did Sharpe James, an...Continue reading

Playing favourites

the economistMar, 13/05/2014 - 18:25

JEROME FRANK, a mid-20th-century legal thinker, is said to have claimed that justice is a function of what the judge had for breakfast. Don’t let their black robes, serious miens and pledges of fealty to the law fool you, Mr Frank warned: judicial decisions are not cool applications of objective legal principles. Rather, they are manifestations of personal predilections and biases.

Mr Frank’s observation seems to apply all too well to today's Supreme Court. When ruling on big, controversial cases, the justices split fairly reliably along party lines dictated by their appointing presidents. It wasn’t always this way. Until 1937, as Adam Liptak of the New York Times reported last week, party simply wasn’t a factor in high-court decisions. Only in recent decades have party politics infiltrated the marble halls of the Supreme Court, and only in...Continue reading

Inc.’s Top 50

Tom PetersMar, 13/05/2014 - 16:43

On 12 May 2014, Inc.com posted a list of Top 50 Leadership and Management Experts. The purpose behind the listing was “to find out which people are globally the most popular management and leadership writers in the English language.” Tom makes it into the ranks at #12. Our thanks go to Inc.com for the commendation!

The post Inc.’s Top 50 appeared first on Tom Peters.

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