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Bloomberg News


  • Originally published 08/23/2013

    Stephen Mihm: The Secret Bromance of Nixon and Brezhnev

    On Aug. 21, the Nixon Presidential Library released the final installment of the 37th president's secret tape recordings in the Oval Office. There’s much of interest in the approximately 3,000 hours of recordings, and the accompanying 140,000 pages of documents, but perhaps the most fascinating find is a conversation that took place between Richard Nixon and Leonid Brezhnev on June 18, 1973.

  • Originally published 08/23/2013

    Stephen Mihm: How Computers Took Over Trading

    The malfunctions that froze trading on the Nasdaq Stock Market for three hours this afternoon -- just two days after options markets were roiled by mistaken trades sent by Goldman Sachs Group Inc. -- are the latest in a series of high-profile mishaps most likely triggered by errant computer programs.

  • Originally published 08/14/2013

    Stephen Mihm: New York Had a Hyperloop First, Elon Musk

    Stephen Mihm, an associate professor of history at the University of Georgia, is a contributor to the Ticker. Follow him on TwitterAh, the “hyperloop.” Elon Musk, whose track record as a technological visionary is unimpeachable, has released details of his plan for a futuristic system of transport. The basic idea is to use air pressure to shoot people-carrying pods through tubes at speeds of up to 760 miles per hour.With all due respect to Mr. Musk, the idea isn’t new. This has been pointed out by some commentators, who have noted that in 1972 Rand Corporation researcher R. M. Salter released a proposal to ferry passengers from New York to Los Angles in a mere 21 minutes, or 14 minutes less than the hyperloop would take to send them from Los Angeles to San Francisco. But at its heart, Musk’s project is even more old school: It owes most of its inspiration to ideas that have been around for two hundred years.

  • Originally published 08/02/2013

    Stephen Mihm: The Woman Who Broke Into the Fed

    Stephen Mihm, an associate professor of history at the University of Georgia, is a contributor to the TickerThe jockeying to succeed Ben Bernanke as the chairman of the Federal Reserve Board appears to pit Fed Vice Chairman Janet Yellen against a field that includes former Treasury Secretary Larry Summers and former Vice Chairman Donald Kohn. If Yellen becomes the first woman to hold the post -- despite a few sexist swipes from Summers' supporters -- she’ll owe a special debt to Nancy Teeters, who broke the glass ceiling at the Fed when she became the first female member of the board in 1978.

  • Originally published 07/11/2013

    Melissa S. Fisher: How Women Rose and Took the Fall on Wall Street

    Melissa S. Fisher, a visiting assistant professor in the Department of Social and Cultural Analysis at New York University, is the author of “Wall Street Women.”When Ina Drew resigned as JPMorgan Chase & Co. (JPM)’s chief investment officer last year after reports the bank lost more than $6 billion, the New York Times referred to her as “the woman who took the fall.”It is up for debate whether financial companies have scapegoated women such as Drew in the aftermath of the financial crisis. What is certain is that just half a century ago it was unimaginable that women might make it high enough in the ranks of Wall Street to take the fall for anything.

  • Originally published 07/08/2013

    Lincoln mastered wisdom of unsent letter after Gettysburg

    Abraham Lincoln, remembered 150 years after a “decisive” battle of the U.S. Civil War, could have excelled in modern-day Washington politics, one of the pre-eminent scholars on the American president says.“He would be tech savvy, he would lose the beard, he would have some cosmetic surgery, he would make an asset of his height,” historian Harold Holzer said in an interview for Bloomberg Television’s “Political Capital with Al Hunt” airing this weekend. “He was so smart about working with the press, getting the press to work in his behalf, giving out exclusives, and he would have mastered any medium.”As one measure of Lincoln’s political prowess, Holzer recited an often-told tale of Lincoln thinking twice before dispatching a letter upbraiding his general who defeated the enemy at the Battle of Gettysburg, a turning point for the Northern victory in the Civil War. It was a precursor to the dilemma of hitting the send button on a regrettable e-mail....

  • Originally published 06/19/2013

    Russian textbooks to present "balanced" view of Stalin

    ...[New Russian history] guidelines [proposed by Vladimir Putin] ... attempt to paint a “balanced” picture of Stalin’s rule. They describe Stalin as a modernizer who brought about Russia’s ultra-fast industrialization, laid the foundation for the Soviet Union’s scientific achievements and its victory in World War II, but also orchestrated mass purges “to liquidate a potential fifth column” and used forced labor to achieve an economic breakthrough.The soft-lens picture of Stalin is consistent with some of Putin’s utterances on the tyrant. “I very much doubt that had Stalin had the atomic bomb in the spring of 1945, he would have used it on Germany,” Putin said during a recent visit to the state-owned Russia Today TV station.

  • Originally published 06/18/2013

    Bloomberg: Niall Ferguson is "grumpy" former sex symbol, thinks world is going to hell

    Niall Ferguson has written an old man’s book.Not too many years ago, in “Colossus” (2004), Ferguson was advocating that the U.S. face up to its Imperial destiny. And in “Civilization: The West and the Rest” (2011) he described how “six killer apps” made the West great.No more Churchill’s sunny uplands for us, apparently, as “The Great Degeneration: How Institutions Decay and Economies Die,” makes clear. Ferguson writes, “My over-arching question is: What exactly has gone wrong in the Western world in our time?”Surely, “everything’s going to hell” is the old man’s lament. Ferguson, who once personified the Oxford history don as sex symbol, turned 49 this year, so “Degeneration” feels a bit rushed, premature. On the other hand, looking at the last five years would depress anyone.

  • Originally published 04/23/2013

    Pankaj Mishra: To Erase Militarist Past, Japan Must Re-Learn It

    Pankaj Mishra is the author of “From the Ruins of Empire: The Revolt Against the West and the Remaking of Asia” and a Bloomberg View columnist, based in London and Mashobra, India. The opinions expressed are his own.It was raining heavily last week when I visited Tokyo’s controversial Yasukuni Shrine, which commemorates Japanese who died in the “imperial cause.” But the tour buses still discharged scores of elderly Japanese visitors, and I received approving looks and even a faint smile from two Japanese women as we stood in the rain before the memorial to an Indian jurist called Radha Binod Pal.Pal was the only Indian judge at the so-called Tokyo Trials, Japan’s protracted version of Nuremberg. In his 1,235- page dissent, he voted to acquit the 25 Japanese accused by Allied powers of the “unprecedented” crime of “conspiring against peace.”

  • Originally published 03/22/2013

    Angus Burgin: As Republicans Hail Hayek, Their Plans Advance Friedman

    Angus Burgin is an assistant professor of history at Johns Hopkins University and the author of “The Great Persuasion: Reinventing Free Markets since the Depression.” The opinions expressed are his own.Friedrich Hayek’s book “The Road to Serfdom” has served as a beacon for American conservatives since its publication in 1944. Today’s Republicans often cite the book in their fight to limit federal power and regulation. Hayek’s views, however, were more complicated than they often assume.As a shy and scholarly scion of an aristocratic Austrian family, Hayek hadn’t expected to find much of an audience for his wartime tract on political economy. He was shocked when opponents of the New Deal propelled it up the U.S. best-seller lists shortly after its release, and would have been equally astonished at its rise up the Amazon.com sales rankings following an endorsement from the former Fox News host Glenn Beck in 2010.

  • Originally published 03/01/2013

    UN: Erdogan "wrong" to link Zionism with fascism

    U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry and United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon criticized Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan for comments linking Zionism with fascism.“The secretary-general heard the prime minister’s speech through an interpreter,” Ban Ki-moon’s office said in an e- mailed statement today. “If the comment about Zionism was interpreted correctly, then it was not only wrong but contradicts the very principles on which the Alliance of Civilizations is based.”Kerry, who’s visiting Ankara, said he raised the comments directly in his meeting with Turkish counterpart Ahmet Davutoglu. Such remarks are unhelpful to the search for peace in the Middle East, Kerry told reporters in the Turkish capital. Kerry was headed for a meeting with Erdogan after the press conference.Turkey’s ties with Israel, once a close military ally, have been strained since Erdogan called Israel’s military operation in Gaza that began in December 2008 “a crime against humanity.” Ties reached a low when nine Turks were killed in an Israeli commando raid on a Gaza-bound aid ship in 2010....

  • Originally published 02/04/2013

    Nazi Goebbels’ step-grandchildren are hidden billionaires

    In the spring of 1945, Harald Quandt, a 23-year-old officer in the German Luftwaffe, was being held as a prisoner of war by Allied forces in the Libyan port city of Benghazi when he received a farewell letter from his mother, Magda Goebbels -- the wife of Nazi propaganda minister Joseph Goebbels....Quandt was released from captivity in 1947. Seven years later, he and his half-brother Herbert -- Harald was the only remaining child from Magda Goebbels’ first marriage -- would inherit the industrial empire built by their father, Guenther Quandt, which had produced Mauser firearms and anti-aircraft missiles for the Third Reich’s war machine. Among their most valuable assets at the time was a stake in car manufacturer Daimler AG. (DAI) They bought a part of Bayerische Motoren Werke AG (BMW) a few years later....