from The Great Debate:

In 2015, Vladimir Putin may witness his empire’s death knell

By Strobe Talbott
December 16, 2014

Russia's President Putin chairs a meeting at the Bocharov Ruchei state residence in Sochi

The year ahead could see the outbreak of the third Chechen war, which, in turn, could be the death knell of the Russian Federation in its current borders. 

from Mark Jones:

Sony’s big bluff can’t beat First Amendment http://t.co/04rRM8t6q0

December 15, 2014

Sony’s big bluff can’t beat First Amendment http://t.co/04rRM8t6q0

from Alison Frankel:

Sony’s big bluff can’t beat First Amendment

By Alison Frankel
December 15, 2014

Word broke this weekend that Sony Pictures Entertainment has hired celebrated lawyer David Boies of Boies Schiller & Flexner to warn news organizations away from publishing stories based on information hacked from the studio's servers. Boies' letter, sent to top in-house counsel at the New York Times, Bloomberg, Variety and the Hollywood Reporter, said the hacked documents contain trade secrets, Sony intellectual property and privileged legal advice. If news organizations use the stolen material, the letter said, Sony "will have no choice but to hold you responsible."

from Mark Jones:

Is the Rev. Al Sharpton still president of black America? Was he ever? http://t.co/v2QC4pxJIE

December 15, 2014

Is the Rev. Al Sharpton still president of black America? Was he ever? http://t.co/v2QC4pxJIE

from Reuters FYI:

A round of applause

December 15, 2014

A sign is pictured in Donetsk National Ukrainian Music and Drama Theatre, eastern Ukraine, November 29, 2014. REUTERS/Antonio Bronic

A sign is pictured in Donetsk National Ukrainian Music and Drama Theatre, eastern Ukraine, November 29, 2014. REUTERS/Antonio Bronic

from FaithWorld:

Chancellor Merkel in dilemma as German anti-Islam marches gain support

December 15, 2014

(Participants hold up their mobile phones during a demonstration called by anti-immigration group PEGIDA, a German abbreviation for "Patriotic Europeans against the Islamization of the West", in Dresden December 8, 2014. Opponents of Germany's policy towards asylum seekers and Islam took part in the protest in the eastern German town on Monday. REUTERS/Hannibal Hanschke)

(Participants hold up their mobile phones during a demonstration called by anti-immigration group PEGIDA, a German abbreviation for "Patriotic Europeans against the Islamization of the West", in Dresden December 8, 2014. REUTERS/Hannibal Hanschke)

from Data Dive:

The world’s rising tides have something for everyone to worry about

December 15, 2014

It has  always struck me as an odd contortion of logic that the same voices that condemn the crippling effect that America's mounting debt will have on future generations should also turn such a willfully blind eye to issues concerning the physical world in which those same generations will live.

from Mark Jones:

The world’s rising tides have something for everyone to worry about http://t.co/xfgQAR5qrs

December 15, 2014

The world’s rising tides have something for everyone to worry about http://t.co/xfgQAR5qrs

from Unstructured Finance:

Jeffrey Gundlach, on his year as new ‘King of Bonds’

By Jennifer Ablan
December 15, 2014

Gundlach, star bond investor and head of DoubleLine Capital LP,  is photographed during an interview in New YorkWhen Bill Gross shocked the investment world on Sept. 26 by storming out of Pimco, the most prominent bond investor in the world didn’t stop leaving people stunned.
It was later revealed by Reuters that Gross had paid an unlikely visit to his fiercest rival: Jeffrey Gundlach.
For two decades, the two had no relationship or interaction at all, even though their personas were intertwined, compared and contrasted often in the financial media and by other bond market players. (Morningstar named Gross "Fixed Income Manager of the Decade" in 2010, an award for which Gundlach was a finalist. Then in 2011, Barron's magazine anointed Gundlach as the new King of Bonds.)
Gross not only unexpectedly departed his firm for under-the-radar Janus Capital but also considered joining Gundlach’s DoubleLine Capital. Gundlach said the so-called “Dream Team” didn’t work out but “you never know what will happen in the future.”
Overall, the gesture by Gross officially affirmed the investment world’s long-held view that Gundlach had been anointed the new Bond King.
What follows are excerpts of my hour-long interview – unfortunately, not on the north loggia of Gundlach's Los Angeles home -- about Gundlach’s investment calls (old and news ones), his competitors, the future of fixed income and his firm’s fifth year anniversary which was celebrated on Sunday.

from Morning Bid with David Gaffen:

These prices are insaaaaane!

December 15, 2014

It’s time to pause and take stock of the effect of the oil slump and dollar rise on markets, rather from just marveling at it. Market-watchers tend to look at one asset and attempt to use it as a guide for what will happen in another.