Friday AM Roundup

What’s great about Friday morning?  Having the Economist placed at your feet.  And even though this is a blog, sometimes it takes having the paper placed in your hands to do a good scan.

Tying together all the threads

Premesso’s not-quite week in review, drawn from the weekly of record:

1. On February 15, La Padania interviewed Pier Luigi Bersani, PD secretary.  (Shown elsewhere on this blog with his sleeves rolled up.)

Salient quote: Va anche bene che il governo rimanga nell’ambito del centrodestra. “It’s also all right if the government stays center-right.”

Is el Senatur sharpening the knife?

English language coverage.

2. As the holes in the immigration walls get harder to plug, shifting from Ceuta and Melilla to Lampedusa to the Greece-Turkey land border, Greece talks of suspending the Dublin Convention for asylum seekers.  The Economist’s Charlemagne comes out with the following sound idea: “A painful compromise might be tried: if Greece wants to suspend Dublin II, it should accept a temporary suspension of Schengen and the return of border controls.”  Me likey.

3. The Oscars: “this year’s awards are less relevant than ever.”  More need not be said, except that Hollywood need to keep looking to that export market.

4.  In Lexington, Obama’s handling of Egypt gets a look.  Much howling and gnashing of teeth from John Bolton, Niall Ferguson and Michael Scheuer, among others.  But maybe No-Drama Obama was the Decider?

Obama is said to have been more certain in private that Mr Mubarak’s jig was up than America’s public pronouncements (especially those of Hillary Clinton, his sometimes behind-message secretary of state) let on. He flatly rejected the Israelis’ analysis that the Egyptian president could hang on and that America should do everything to help him. Mr Obama’s conversation with Mr Mubarak on the evening of February 1st is said to have been the toughest between an American president and an ally since Ronald Reagan’s scolding of Menachem Begin during Israel’s bombing of Beirut in August 1982.

5. In Schumpter, the uneasy art-business axis is examined.  Damien Hirst is one shrewd businessman.

Damien Hirst was even more audacious. He not only realised that nouveau-riche collectors would pay extraordinary sums for dead cows and jewel-encrusted skulls. He upturned the art world by selling his work directly through Sotheby’s, an auction house. Whatever they think of his work, businesspeople cannot help admiring a man who parted art-lovers from £70.5m ($126.5m) on the day that Lehman Brothers collapsed.

And following in his footsteps in Venice, perhaps the Zero Group?  Stay tuned.

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