Point of View Columns

Weekend Edition – February 8, 2013

If you are anywhere in the Northeastern part of the United States you can see snow just by looking out your window. The blizzardpocalypse that suddenly showed up is one more opportunity for the climate change deniers to visit that famous river in Egypt – DeNile. Meanwhile, as you went through your weekly routine the Royal Bank of Scotland paid $610 million in fines to American and British authorities as a penalty for rigging LIBOR. Can you say slap on the wrist? And finally, the Super Bowl seeming had something for everyone including a blackout and an exciting game – but did Beyoncé really need to be the pole dancer du jour?

The Egyptian River

The weather is in the news more and more. Supersized hurricanes are preceded by apocalyptic firestorms – and the tsunami in the South Pacific this past week barely got a mention in the papers. Now a mega-blizzard, not seen in over a century, is lashing the United States from Maine to New York.

The incredible extremes of weather events are impossible to ignore. And there are boatloads of reputable scientists who connect the dots of these weather events to climate change caused by global warming.

Nevertheless, the climate change deniers, many of whom also believe that Adam and Eve walked with the dinosaurs when God created the Earth 6000 years ago somehow have a voice in this very serious discussion about how to save the planet. Of course it is very difficult to keep a ship from sinking when some of the passengers and crew don’t believe that the ship is even sinking in the first place.

Meanwhile, let it snow, let it snow!

Highland Heist

While you were basking in the afterglow of the Super Bowl and were still trying to decide which commercial you liked best, it was quietly announced that the Royal Bank of Scotland is paying $610 million in fines to American and British authorities for rigging LIBOR over a period of years. By any standard $610 million seems like a pretty hefty penalty. But….

…..the London Interbank Offered Rate or LIBOR is the rate by which almost every financing on the planet is established. That would include your home mortgage, your credit card interest rate and the financing charges on your cellphone bill. Just imagine how much undeserved and illegal profit a major financial institution could amass if it was part of the rigging of LIBOR. That would be the Royal Bank of Scotland, among other banking firms.
When you think about it $610 million is a mere slap on the wrist, the cost of doing business. I have to believe that RBS made a whole lot more than $610 by rigging LIBOR over the years. But slaps on the wrist are what pass for enforcement on the planet of the rich. Jail terms are clearly for those who actually use ski masks.

By the way, RBS announced that all of its employees who were involved in this scandal have been fired or reprimanded. Not a word about returning any money.

What could I be thinking?

Super Bowl Shuffle

The latest Super Bowl was a lot of fun. Great game, entertaining commercials and a cavalcade of African American women that was stunning and impressive. Jennifer Hudson was memorable, Alicia Keys was elegant and Beyoncé…..well, I am wondering if I am the only person who thought that her pole dance/lap dance.

I am wondering what kind of image she sought to convey to the millions of African American girls who literally idolize her. In a costume and dance routine that literally left nothing to the imagination I have to believe that somehow, someway Beyoncé could have done something different and better when presented an opportunity to convey a message of dignity.

Have a great weekend!