Martin O’Malley on Wall Street reforms

“Should not be underestimated”

Democratic presidential candidate Martin O’Malley spoke yesterday in Washington about his proposed reforms for Wall Street.

The former Maryland governor had three talking points: advocating a 21st century Glass Steagall Act, additional regulatory reforms, and an increase in prosecution of leaders at “mega big banks” he called “too big to fail, too big to jail.”

Continue reading “Martin O’Malley on Wall Street reforms”

Angell and Mahan: Lessons for Today

med qtly cover 26-2Norman Angell and Alfred Thayer Mahan argued more than a century ago that globalization and new technologies were challenging economic and security interests.  Mahan’s warnings seemed to be born out by WWI, WWII, and the Cold War. Angell’s optimism was reflected by the emergence of the ECSC/EC/EU, and the surge of democracies and trade by the 1990s.  In this century, though, Mahan seems resurgent, in Russia and China’s naval expansions and in cyberspace.


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Muhammad Depictions on D.C. Metro?

FPB logonewsweek logoThe current debate over political advertising in the Washington, D.C.-area transit system moves the issue from “free speech” to “public safety,” and probably toward the Supreme Court.

In Schenck v. United States (1919). Justice Oliver Wendell Holmes, Jr. wrote in the unanimous opinion, “The most stringent protection of free speech would not protect a man in falsely shouting fire in a theatre….”   Does posting insulting (or any) depictions of the Prophet Muhammad on city buses and trains create a “clear and present danger”?

Read more…


Could another ISIS surge hasten a Kurdish exit from Iraq?

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After a perilous roller coaster ride in 2014, the question of independence for the Kurdistan Region moves back to the front burner.

With the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria’s (ISIS) latest victory in Ramadi, contentions its rapid advances had stalled must be revisited. In the wake of the visit to Washington by Kurdistan Regional Government’s (KRG) president, Masoud Barzani, the question of KRG priorities and strategies might once again be changing.

From left front: Falah Mustafa Bakir, Qubad Talabani, and President Masoud Barzani meet with President Barack Obama and Vice President Joe Biden (third and fourth from right front) in the White House, May 5, 2015.  Photo:,

“Right now,” said Barzani, “the priority for all of us is fighting ISIS, to continue to push them out and away from our areas. But the process for the referendum to take place for the people of Kurdistan to determine their future and for the people of Kurdistan to exercise the right to self-determination is a process that has happened.  It will not stop and we will not step back on that process.”

A resurgence of the Islamic State, though, might force the KRG to reprioritize its “defeat Daesh, then vote on independence” strategy. Erbil may rely on good relations with the current Iraqi prime minister, but can it rely on the next one? Will Baghdad be able to coordinate support from Shiite militias, Sunni tribes, the Iraqi Army, and Western air strikes? Will Baghdad devote more resources to protecting Karbala and Najaf, at the expense of Sunni or Kurdish areas?  If Baghdad cannot protect major cities like Mosul and Ramadi from ISIS – will the Kurds decide they are better off alone?

Read more at the Foreign Policy Association’s

Islam, Serbia, and the EU

FPB logoThe second in a series of observations about a recent visit to Serbia.


“Serbia’s history is evident everywhere – and shaping its transition to a future in the EU. …If the story from Belgrade is any indication, normalization will be difficult but possible.”

Read more at Foreign Policy Association blogs 



Morning in Belgrade

FPB logoThanks to the U.S. Embassy in Serbia, I had the privilege of meeting a number of groups in Novi Sad, Belgrade, and Niš last week, to discuss American politics and, separately, online learning.  The first in a series of observations appears at Foreign Policy Association’s ForeignPolicyBlogs.

An excerpt:

“The former ministry of defense buildings still show the considerable damage from U.S.-led NATO bombing in 1999.  Unlike several of its Balkan neighbors, Serbia remains outside of the EU.  Unemployment remains high, especially among the young. And the government is under attack for a recent public relations stunt gone wrong, which ended with a helicopter crash that killed several soldiers, medical personnel, and an infant.

“Meanwhile, ordinary people go about their lives. On the Easter Monday holiday, Kalamegdan Park is filled with people enjoying the warm spring weather…  At night, lively crowds laugh and eat and drink as they stroll along Kneza Mihaila, with a big slice of Caribic’s €1 capricciosa pizza.

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More at

How does the Mobile Student study?

In an update to my 2012 survey, at the University of Novi Sad last week I offered the results of an informal follow-up.  In short, university students are studying – reading and writing – on their tablets and phones than ever before.  And in addition to a greater number of students doing their written work on their phones and tablets, they are doing so more frequently.

More on this in upcoming posts.


Learning in College?

If you’re not learning the skills you need to while you’re
in college (problem-solving, communication, collaboration), then pay $3,000 for a three-week camp to learn them. 

“It’s not that these skills are not learned in college, they are not taught,” said Josh Jarrett, a former official at the Gates Foundation, and a co-founder of Koru.

How long until people decide to just skip the first $200,000 and move right to the boot camp?

The Last Easter in Iraq?

cnn_c_left_logoNew York’s Cardinal Timothy Dolan and two Hollywood producers share a look at the crises in the Middle East with a challenging perspective:  we risk the end of Christianity in one of its earliest homes.

From their Good Friday op-ed on CNN:  With the rapid advance of ISIS through northern Iraq last summer,  “Iraq’s Nineveh Plain has been emptied of its ancient Christianity community, which existed there for more than 1,500 years.”

Catholic, Eastern,, Orthodox, and Evangelical Christians joined to echo the call from Cardinal Dolan, Northern Ireland’s Touched by an Angel actor Roma Downey, and  Mark Burnett (Survivor, The Apprentice, more).  Downey and Burnett have been active in humanitarian aid for all victims of the wars in Syria and northern Iraq.

The Armenians Remember

April 14, 1915, marks the 100th anniversary of the arrest, exile, and slaughter of hundreds of the Armenian intelligentsia.  Over the next few years, more than a million Armenians were killed. …

Meanwhile, the UN just released a report on ISIL/ISIS/IS with some echoes of 1915:

“It is reasonable to conclude that some of these incidents, considering the overall information, may constitute genocide. Other incidents may amount to crimes against humanity and war crimes.” UN Report, sec. II.A.1.16.

Commemorations of the 100th anniversary will take place in Washington on May 7-9, 2015.  Read more at the Foreign Policy Association,