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Member since: Tue Feb 10, 2004, 12:08 PM
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Environmental Scientist

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Gun control’s failure is great news for the firm trying to sell America’s largest gun company

By Zachary M. Seward

Today, the groundswell of American support for stricter gun control that followed the elementary school shooting in Newtown, Connecticut, died with a whimper in the US Senate. Legislators blocked a vote on a bill, already watered down, that would have subjected more would-be gun buyers to background checks. That follows last month’s failure to vote on banning the kind of semiautomatic assault rifle that was used in Newtown.

It’s bad news for proponents of gun control, who felt this was their moment to enact stricter measures. But it’s great news for the private equity fund that’s trying to sell America’s largest gun company.

Cerberus Capital Management—named after the three-headed dog that, in Greek and Roman mythology, guards the entrance to hell—said in the wake of the Newtown shootings that it would unload its portfolio of firearm and ammunition manufacturers, which it calls Freedom Group. But the sale has been delayed by reluctance among banks to run the auction, uncertainty about the likelihood of new regulation, and a paucity of buyers willing to scoop up the company that made the gun used in Newtown.

In the last few months, however, investment bank Lazard has agreed to handle the sale, and now gun control is dead. The only remaining question was whether a buyer would emerge, but that was resolved yesterday by Cerberus co-founder and CEO Stephen Feinberg, who is said to be exploring a bid along with others to buy Freedom Group from his own firm. It’s kind of an insurance policy against a low bid from elsewhere, since Cerberus has made it clear it needs to sell the company.


Pakistan’s former president Pervez Musharraf is now a fugitive from justice

By Leo Mirani

Earlier today General Pervez Musharraf, who led Pakistan for nearly a decade following a military coup in 1999, fled a court in Islamabad after judges cancelled his bail and ordered his arrest. The man who crowned himself president in 2001 is now a fugitive from justice.

Musharraf and Pakistan’s courts share a troubled history. In 2007, he suspended the chief justice, Iftikhar Chaudhry, leading to nationwide protests by lawyers. Courts reinstated Chaudhry and removed the president’s powers to suspend judges. Later that year the general imposed a state of emergency and fired Chaudhry again, this time getting the army to arrest him as well as several other judges. Musharraf’s current travails stem from that period: Pakistan’s judges have never forgiven him for treading on their autonomy. They are now looking into whether his actions amounted to treason

This is a staggering fall from grace for the one-time dictator. After being forced out in 2008, Musharraf spent almost five years in self-imposed exile in Dubai and London. He returned to Pakistan last month hoping to run for a seat in parliament in general elections on May 11. It is the first time in the troubled nation’s history that a democratically elected government has been allowed to finish a full term and hold fresh elections without the army getting involved. The general probably hoped for a glorious homecoming. Instead, he was disqualified from running while courts want to try him for everything from the 2007 emergency to Benazir Bhutto’s assassination, in which he is accused of not ensuring her safety.

Musharraf, who was granted preemptive bail before he arrived in Pakistan, went to court this morning to seek an extension on his bail. Instead, he found himself fleeing into his SUV and out of the court complex despite the presence of a phalanx of security personnel and irate lawyers.

His people told the BBC that he is “a little upset” at the way things turned out, promising to launch an appeal at the Supreme Court later today. Musharraf says he will surrender to authorities if he loses the appeal. But don’t be surprised if the next you hear of the once mighty ruler of Pakistan is from a safe house in Dubai.


Here are all the companies and institutions that have never had a woman in charge

By Roberto A. Ferdman
Would it surprise you to hear that every dean of Harvard Business School, Wharton Business School, Stanford Graduate School of Business, MIT Sloan School of Management, and University of Chicago Booth School of Business has been male?

Or that the same were true of every Secretary General of the United Nations? And everyone who has led the World Trade Organization. And International Olympic Committee. And everyone serving on the European Central Bank Governing Council.

I’d tell you that every CEO of every airline in the Star Alliance and every CEO of every airline in oneworld is male, too, but that’s probably a yawner at this point.

Boys club tumblr 100percentmen set out to “shine a light” on the “corners of the world where women have yet to tread.” We’ve listed only a few noteworthy examples from their tumblr but the site lists many more.

And it’s not just a list of places where a man has the top job. The blog records many company boards, management committees, award juries and other bodies where every single member is a man.

Sheryl Sandberg has been pushing for women to Lean In, while some female executives have shattered the glass ceiling, but this list is a reminder of just how far there is yet to go.

The best career advice you’ll never hear in a graduation speech

By William MacAskill

“Follow your passion” is the stupidest career advice I’ve ever heard. Why? Because my passion in life is for singing bad karaoke. My friend Dodgy Dave’s passion is for dealing crack cocaine. Some of my friends have many passions. Most of my friends have none.

“Do what you’re good at” is better, but still stupid. It gets things the wrong way around. For almost all activities, being “good at” something is the result of thousands of hours of practice and learning (pdf). In choosing a career, you’re almost always making the decision about what to become good at, not the other way around.

How, then, should you find a job you’ll love?

Here’s my slogan: ”Do something valuable.”

Let the problems in the world dictate what you do, rather than forcing a preconceived checklist labeled “success,” to be your motivation. Do something that genuinely helps others and makes the world a better place in a major way. That’s the way to have a happy, fulfilled life.

When I tell people this, half think it’s crazy and half think it’s trivial. I think it’s neither. So here’s a three-part explanation.

First, here’s the intuition. Think about yourself at 85, sitting on your rocking chair, looking back on your life. You, Version 1, think: “I made a ton of cash, own three beach houses and a yacht. But what was the point of it all?” Compare with You, Version 2: “I made a lot of money. I also dewormed the entire childhood population of Burundi. But what was the point of it all?” We find it pretty easy to imagine You, Version 1; but the thought of You, Version 2 being dissatisfied is jarring. If you want lasting job satisfaction, you should do something you find meaningful. And the best way to do something you find meaningful is to do something that actually is meaningful.


Thursday TOON Roundup 3- The Rest








N. Korea

Thursday TOON Roundup 2-Media stooges and Boston



Thursday TOON Roundup 1 - Gun Vote

Toon- NRA's Trophy

Danziger Nails Congress on Gun Control Failure

For the Love of God, Just Call It a Filibuster


I am in Internet range for only a few minutes, so let me just type this right out:

Today a provision that would increase background checks for gun purchases was blocked in the Senate, even though consideration of the bill was supported by 54 senators representing states that make up (at quick estimate) at least 60 percent of the American population.

The bill did not fail to "pass" the Senate, which according to Constitutional provisions and accepted practice for more than two centuries requires a simple majority, 51 votes. Even 50 votes should do it, since the vice president is constitutionally empowered to cast the tie-breaking and deciding vote, and Joe Biden would have voted yes.

It failed because a 54-vote majority was not enough to break the threat of a filibuster, which (with some twists of labeling) was the real story of what happened with this bill. Breaking the filibuster would have required 60 votes.

Since the Democrats regained majority control of the Senate six years ago, the Republicans under Mitch McConnell have applied filibuster threats (under a variety of names) at a frequency not seen before in American history. Filibusters used to be exceptional. Now they are used as blocking tacticals for nearly any significant legislation or nomination. The goal of this strategy, which maximizes minority blocking power in a way not foreseen in the Constitution, has been to make the 60-vote requirement seem routine.

As part of the "making it routine" strategy, the minority relying on this strategy keeps repeating that it takes 60 votes to "pass" a bill -- and this Orwellian language-strategy comes one step closer to fulfillment each time press reports present 60 votes as the norm for passing a law.

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