Sometimes the truth is stranger than fiction, and 2012 was definitely a strange year…
Crap, I only had 11 out of 20…
The Vatican officially unveiled the new personal Twitter account of Pope Benedict XVI this morning, and he hasn’t even had to tweet anything to blow past your puny follower count. Less than an hour after turning on the account, @pontifex had amassed more than 15,000 followers and will only draw in more as the Western Hemisphere slowly wakes up. And he’s not even planning his first tweet for another nine days.
Don’t take his posts as infallible, he’s not tweeting iCathedra.
New Case Law in Sovereign Debt Restructuring…in Lego Form
Called the “Trial of the Century” in Sovereign Debt restructuring, it pits Elliott Partners and their CEO Paul Singer versus the Republic of Argentina as well as other Sovereign Debt investors who accepted the terms of the earlier debt restructurings. If the judges current decision withstands appeal it will dramatically change the mechanisms used to forcibly cram down owners of distressed sovereign debt.
NB: As part of the case Elliott seized a tall ship owned by the Argentine Navy.
Forks were in use in ancient Egypt, as well as Greece and Rome. However, they weren’t used for eating, but were, rather, lengthy cooking tools used for carving or lifting meats from a cauldron or the fire. Most diners ate with their fingers and a knife, which they brought with them to the table. Forks for dining only started to appear in the noble courts of the Middle East and the Byzantine Empire in about the 7th century and became common among wealthy families of the regions by the 10th century. Elsewhere, including Europe, where the favored implements were the knife and the hand, the fork was conspicuously absent.
Imagine the astonishment then when in 1004 Maria Argyropoulina, Greek niece of Byzantine Emperor Basil II, showed up in Venice for her marriage to Giovanni, son of the Pietro Orseolo II, the Doge of Venice, with a case of golden forks—and then proceeded to use them at the wedding feast. They weren’t exactly a hit. She was roundly condemned by the local clergy for her decadence, with one going so far as to say, “God in his wisdom has provided man with natural forks—his fingers. Therefore it is an insult to him to substitute artificial metal forks for them when eating.”
When Argyropoulina died of the plague two years later, Saint Peter Damian, with ill-concealed satisfaction, suggested that it was God’s punishment for her lavish ways. “Nor did she deign to touch her food with her fingers, but would command her eunuchs to cut it up into small pieces, which she would impale on a certain golden instrument with two prongs and thus carry to her mouth. . . . this woman’s vanity was hateful to Almighty God; and so, unmistakably, did He take his revenge. For He raised over her the sword of His divine justice, so that her whole body did putrefy and all her limbs began to wither.”
Doomed by God for using a fork. Life was harsh in the 11th century.
Apache helicopters, army guys, Russion T-90 battle tanks, and Obi-wan-kenobi….
The reality should be seeping in to viewers of the Sunday shows that the Republicans don’t have a game plan. They don’t have a single, specific proposal to avoid the fiscal cliff. And even if they had one, they don’t have a roadmap to get there. They keep expecting Obama to come back with something more to their liking, which they’d also reject. Many Republicans literally don’t understand what is happening. Sen. Charles Grassley tweeted over the weekend that he was frustrated that President Obama hadn’t embraced the recommendation of the Bowles-Simpson Commission. Apparently, he is one of the many people in Washington who doesn’t understand that Bowles-Simpson recommended letting the Bush tax rates on the wealthy expire, while also proposing to cap or eliminate deductions primarily enjoyed by the wealthy.
Above all, the Republicans have yet to grasp that the field is tilted against them. Republicans have every reason to expect, based on their scouting of past Obama performances, that he will start moving toward them and then, essentially, bargain with himself. But now he doesn’t have to. Right now, the policy choice isn’t between an Obama proposal the Republicans abhor and a preferred Republican proposal. No, the choice is between an Obama proposal the Republicans abhor and the fiscal cliff, which Republicans would like even less and the Democrats could live with for a while.
The Republicans are losing, and time is running out. But instead of putting the quarterback on the field and rolling out an aggressive two-minute drill, they seem to be preparing to punt.