Summaries of podcasts, lectures, and interviews.

September 10, 2015



Quote of the Day

“It is the sin of omission, the second kind of sin, that lays eggs under your skin – the way you really get painfully bitten.”

-poet, Ogden Nash


In April, Congress was given a legal role for approval of the Iran deal. A vote is to follow the 60 day review process. That’s coming up soon – mid-September. If Congress takes no action, the accord remains in effect. The deal will go into effect with or without Republican support, as the administration has enough votes to block a Republican disapproval resolution. But even if the resolution passed, President Obama would simply veto it, and the opposition wouldn’t have enough support to override his veto. Two Republican congressmen – Peter Roskam of Illinois and Mike Pompeo of Kansas – allege that there were secret negotiations between Iran and the International Atomic Energy Agency that haven’t been disclosed to Congress. They now say the review period was started prematurely and that the vote shouldn’t happen next week. The IAEA isn’t included in the deal between Iran and the 6 Powers. Read Mas


Since the early 2000s (perhaps sooner), Iran has been attempting to acquire nuclear power. At times, they claim it is just for peaceful purposes; at others they seem hell-bent on getting a nuclear weapon. The leadership in Iran is a group of Ayatollahs, or the Shiite Muslim religious leaders, who are very conservative and belligerent – often threatening to “wipe Israel off the face of the earth.” However, Iran is also home to a very young, Western-loving population. In fact, in 2009 many of the young people in Tehran, the capital of Iran, started a movement called the Green Wave to try to undo the religious rule.

Bonus Knowledge

The word “Ayatollah” means “sign or token of God.” If you wish to feel more like an expert on Iran, make sure you know about the 2009 Green Movement, as well as the 1979 Revolution. That’s great for starters.


The Chinese Government is Squirming

China’s government is getting pretty heavy-handed (or more so than usual) with their response to the stock market. For weeks now the value of Chinese stocks has been plunging. In a significant intervention, the Communist Party bought $235 billion worth of stock, trying to keep the prices high. The government is also tightly restricting sales of stock. The government arrested executives at China’s bank on suspicion of illegal trading, and have been monitoring firms’ transactions. They detained a business journalist and forced him to apologize publicly for an article that was “damaging” to the market. Read Mas


Ongoing atrocities in Darfur

A Sudanese counterinsurgency force has gone on two sprees of killing and mass rape since early 2014, according to a new report from Human Rights Watch. The UN humanitarian mission, stationed in Darfur under a chapter 6 intervention, is inhibited by international law and regulations and Omar al-Bashir’s incooperation, and can do very little to stop this.  In the 2000s, Sudanese government forces and janjaweed militias committed genocide and other crimes against humanity in Darfur, a region of western Sudan. 300,000 people have been killed, and 2.5 million have been displaced. Read Mas


Cool Sh*t: New Apple Products! 

Apple announced some new products today – check it out.


This Month’s Book Summary