The Great Debate

Putin’s anti-American rhetoric now persuades his harshest critics

By Nina Khrushcheva
July 29, 2014

People I know in Russia, members of the intelligentsia and professionals who have long been critical of President Vladimir Putin’s anti-Western stance, have suddenly turned into America-bashers. Many have been swept away by Putin’s arguments that the United States, not the Kremlin, is destabilizing Ukraine.

What do John Oliver, Dave Chappelle and Chris Rock have in common? Hard truths.

By Chloe Angyal
July 29, 2014

 Comedian John Oliver poses for photographers backstage during the 41st International Emmy Awards in New York

Until a few weeks ago, I’d met very few Americans who could name the prime minister of my homeland, Australia. But that was before John Oliver’s show Last Week Tonight, on HBO, ran a short segment about him. Suddenly, Americans I met were joking about Tony Abbott, the social conservative best known for being photographed in Speedos and telling people to vote for him because his daughters are so good-looking. Oliver’s recurring segment, “Other Countries’ Presidents of the United States,” profiles various world leaders — France’s François Hollande has also received the Oliver treatment — and handles them with the same comic contempt with which the show treats American politicians.

from Stories I’d like to see:

The Russian sanctions information gap

By Steven Brill
July 29, 2014

Emergencies Ministry member walks at the site of a Malaysia Airlines Boeing 777 plane crash near the settlement of Grabovo in the Donetsk region

There are so many gaps in the reporting about the effort to use economic sanctions against Russia to get President Vladimir Putin to pull back support for the Ukraine separatists that it makes sense to devote my whole column this week to listing them.

CDC mishaps show live flu viruses are nothing to play with

By Carlos Moreno
July 28, 2014

ISRAELI MEDICAL PERSONNEL PREPARE SMALLPOX VACCINE IN JERUSALEM.

Over the past two months, a series of mishaps at the CDC and NIH — involving mishandled anthrax, mislabeled influenza and misplaced smallpox — has alarmed the scientific community. The common theme surrounding all of them is human error.

The government is punishing some struggling parents, and it will backfire

By Amana Fontanella-Khan
July 28, 2014

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All parents worry about whether they’re doing a good job, but few would want Uncle Sam’s opinion on the matter.

from Breakingviews:

Memo to Wall Street: more Ace Greenberg please

July 25, 2014

By Antony Currie

The author is a Reuters Breakingviews columnist. The opinions expressed are his own.

from Anatole Kaletsky:

Markets: Exuberance is not always ‘irrational’

By Anatole Kaletsky
July 25, 2014

A pedestrian holding his mobile phone walks past an electronic board showing the stock market indices of various countries outside a brokerage in Tokyo

With the stock market continuing to hit new highs almost daily despite the appalling geopolitical disasters and human tragedies unfolding in Ukraine, Gaza, Syria and Iraq, there has been much head-scratching about the baffling indifference among investors. Many economists and analysts see this apparent complacency as a symptom of a deeper malaise: an “irrational exuberance” that has pushed stock prices to absurdly overvalued levels.

from Equals:

The problem with being a female football fan

July 25, 2014

Baltimore Ravens Rice reacts after scoring a touchdown during the second quarter in their NFL football game in Denver

It’s a weird time to be an avid NFL fan – particularly when you’re also a woman.

‘When Harry Met Sally’ got it wrong 25 years ago

By Chloe Angyal
July 25, 2014

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This week marks the 25th anniversary of the release of the beloved romantic comedy When Harry Met Sally… Directed by Rob Reiner and written by the late, great Nora Ephron, the movie that gave us one of the most famous one-liners in Hollywood history — “I’ll have what she’s having” — has become a modern classic with good reason. It asks a question that is as relevant in 2014 as it was in 1989: Can men and women be “just” friends without, as Billy Crystal’s Harry put it, “the sex thing getting in the way”?

Israel’s Iron Dome is more like an iron sieve

By David Axe
July 25, 2014

An Iron Dome launcher fires an interceptor rocket in Ashdod

Israel’s vaunted Iron Dome defense system is more like an iron sieve. It fails to destroy all but a few of the rockets that Hamas and other Palestinian militant groups fire at Israeli communities. But Israel’s early-warning civil-defense systems have proved highly effective.RELATED COLUMNS Uzi Rubin: Iron Dome is an ironclad success