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Silver Lining For Obama

Posted by iBlog on May 13, 2008

Amid the jumble of numbers surrounding the Democratic presidential race, one stands out here at Sen. Barack Obama’s headquarters: Six.

Six months remain before the general election. That’s six long months if your campaign knows it’s likely to lose big in Tuesday’s West Virginia primary, knows the primary battle is likely to continue for several more weeks, yet assumes it will win the nomination and needs to focus on a Republican foe who has a two-month head start in preparing.

[Barack Obama]

In the midst of this awkward situation, the good news for the Obama team is that a lot of the work it has been forced to perform to survive this bruising primary season has had the unintended side effect of laying the groundwork for a general-election campaign. Voter-registration lists, ground operations and the Obama money network — all are bigger and better developed than they would have been had the race quietly wound down in mid-February.

This is the silver lining in the dark cloud of divisiveness and rancor that most Democrats see overhead as the Barack Obama-Hillary Clinton fight continues. Sen. Clinton hasn’t gone away, and shows no intention of going away, until she plays out the full calendar of primaries in early June.

Her simple calculation, even as she trails in delegates, votes and states won, is simply to stick it out because, as her campaign chairman, Terry McAuliffe, put it on NBC-TV’s “Meet the Press” Sunday, this is politics, and in politics anything can happen.

Meantime, the task for the Obama team, which figures the nomination is eventually coming its way, is to make general-election virtues of what have been primary-season necessities.

This is particularly important because Sen. John McCain, the presumptive Republican nominee, has benefited mightily from the luxury of being able to watch the Democrats fight. His aides figure they have made good use of the past two months to build a campaign organization that wasn’t really fully formed even as the nomination came tumbling his way. They have structured a unique, decentralized system of regional campaign managers in hopes of being nimble on the ground.

Sen. McCain also has had time to assemble a badly needed fund-raising plan, and to build support among doubters in his party’s conservative base.

But if the McCain benefits have come from being able to stand down a bit, the Obama benefits have come from having to step up to the stiffest challenge in recent primary-season history.

The first asset Sen. Obama now holds is voter-registration rolls. In state after state, the Obama campaign has found its principal advantage lay in bringing new, young and independent-minded voters into the system, and signing them up to vote. That has swelled the rolls in a broad swath of states with Obama supporters.

Beyond that, Obama aides point out the research behind these registration efforts has left them with keen insight about which voters have yet to be reached. In Georgia, for example, the campaign estimates there are a half-million unregistered black voters — the large majority of them likely Obama supporters, if exit-poll data on black voting patterns are any sign.

Enroll and get enough of them to the polls, and the Obama campaign could create a game-changing dynamic. With precisely that in mind, the campaign launched a new 50-state voter-registration drive over the weekend.

The second advantage the Obama forces have picked up is organization. In a series of states it has had to contest forcefully, the Obama team has at least some organizational structure in place, meaning it doesn’t have to be created from scratch for the general election.

That’s true even in states Sen. Obama lost, such as Pennsylvania, but is equally true in less-publicized places west of the Mississippi, where Sen. Obama did surprisingly well. He was a solid performer in winning caucus states, where organization and turning out supporters to vote are most of the battle.

The hope now is that work done to roll up victories in heartland and Western states has left Sen. Obama better-positioned in an unusual cross section of states: Washington, Colorado, New Mexico, Nevada, Montana, North Dakota and North Carolina.

The final advantage of the primary fight has been the need to construct a new fund-raising base. The Obama team says its online donor base now numbers 1.5 million people, most of whom haven’t made the maximum legal donation yet.

So while fighting for the Democratic nomination has cost a lot of money, the effort has brought in even more money. Sen. Obama had $51 million on hand at the end of March, which is one reason it is so hard for the Clinton forces to pull off an 11th-hour upset.

Financial success, as it happens, leads to what could be Sen. Obama’s toughest decision, if he wraps up the nomination. Would he accept public financing of the general-election campaign, as all candidates have done before, and as Democrats traditionally have advocated, or drop out of the system to let his fund-raising machine pay for the general election without any limits? It’s a closely held decision, and one aides say Sen. Obama has yet to make

Posted in Current News, News Blogs, Politics, World News, World Politics | Leave a Comment »

U.S China End Safety Talks

Posted by iBlog on September 14, 2007

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – China will work with the United States to ensure the safety of exported toys and other goods, a top Chinese official said, but Beijing still insists it is not solely to blame in recent safety scandals.

Wei Chuanzhong, vice minister of China’s General Administration for Quality Supervision, Inspection and Quarantine (AQSIQ), said the lengthy talks with U.S. agencies in Washington this week were productive.

Read the full article in Reuters

Posted in Asia Business, China Global, World News | Leave a Comment »

Europe Number 1 In Sustainable Energy

Posted by iBlog on September 12, 2007

Saving the planet may not seem like the quickest path to riches. Yet plenty of investors are betting that sustainable energy will make them lots of money. Already the sector is fast becoming a multibillion-dollar industry, giving companies the chance to boost their profit margins and help fight climate change at the same time. Taking advantage of this investment revolution, a wave of European firms has pioneered alternative energy technology to help make Europe the world leader in reducing carbon emissions.

Read the full article in BusinessWeek.com

Posted in Europe, World News | 1 Comment »

International Intelligence

Posted by iBlog on August 23, 2007

American companies seeking to expand internationally ought to do a better job of placing non-Americans on their boards to help guide them, says J. Frank Brown, newly appointed dean of INSEAD, the international business school, with campuses in France and Singapore.

Directorship’s editor in chief, William J. Holstein, recently spoke with Brown about the need for international perspectives and why there are so few Chinese and Indian directors on American corporate boards.

Read the full article in Forbes.com

Posted in International Business, World News | 1 Comment »

No Stopping Chinese Stocks

Posted by iBlog on August 23, 2007

Seems like nothing can cool Chinese investors’ ardor for local stocks. Despite market meltdowns in the rest of the world and moves by Beijing to dampen demand for equities, China’s stock markets are at a record high. On Aug. 22, China’s benchmark CSI 300 stock index blasted through the all-important 5000 level, shrugging off an interest-rate hike by the central government announced the previous day, to close up 78.98 points, to 5051.69. The index, which tracks the 300 most important companies listed in Shanghai and Shenzhen, has jumped 147% this year.

Read the full article in BusinessWeek.com

Posted in Asia Business, China Global, Current News, Finance, Going Global, Investing, World News | Leave a Comment »

The Globalization of Giving

Posted by iBlog on August 22, 2007

It’s a big world, and as Chicago’s largest businesses go global, their charitable giving is following them. Tapping new markets like China, India and Eastern Europe, many firms are expanding their community involvement to include all the places where they do business. Simply put, giving makes for good business.

Read the full article in Crains

Posted in Going Global, World News | Leave a Comment »

Chine May Not Be Shielded

Posted by iBlog on August 20, 2007

Beijing believes the impact of the U.S. subprime crisis on China will be limited. Morgan Stanley says it could be hit by what it is labeling a “fourth-generation” emerging markets financial crisis.

Read the full article in Forbes.com

Posted in Asia Business, China Global, World News | Leave a Comment »

India’s Parties Debate Terms

Posted by iBlog on August 20, 2007

India’s ruling coalition has agreed to set up an expert group to pore over the details of its nuclear accord with the United States, amid strident opposition from communist allies that could derail the government’s deal.

Read the full article in Forbes.com

Posted in Asia Business, India Global, World News | Leave a Comment »

China’s Noveaux Riches Live It Up

Posted by iBlog on August 20, 2007

How do China’s nouveaux riches live their newly affluent lives?

They spend up to $10,000 on leisure and recreational activities. They are particularly fond of overseas travel, enjoy foreign films, work relatively short hours, value bonding with family, are unstintingly generous toward charitable causes, and increasingly have acquired a taste for art and antiques.

Read the full article in Forbes.com

Posted in Asia Business, China Global, World News | Leave a Comment »

HSBC Talks With Lone Star

Posted by iBlog on August 20, 2007

HSBC confirmed Monday that it is in talks with U.S. private-equity firm Lone Star to buy a majority stake in Korea Exchange Bank, and in a message likely aimed at the South Korean government, it pledged to maintain the status quo at the country’s sixth-largest bank.

Read the full article in Forbes.com

Posted in World News | Leave a Comment »

Asian Markets Rebound

Posted by iBlog on August 20, 2007

Asian markets rebounded Monday, taking their cue from Wall Street’s recovery late last week after the Federal Reserve cut a key interest rate. The Tokyo benchmark index jumped 3.7 percent in morning trading after ending last week with its biggest point drop in more than seven years.

Read the full article in FastCompany.com

Posted in Asia Business, China Global, World News | Leave a Comment »

Wallstreet Hopes For A Smoother Ride

Posted by iBlog on August 20, 2007

The start of a new week on Wall Street has investors wondering if the stock market is indeed recovering after rallying in response to the Federal Reserve’s intervention on Friday, or whether that advance was a one-day reprieve from weeks of losses

Read the full article in Yahoo.com

Posted in Going Global, World News | Leave a Comment »

Mexico Tries To Reform Street Economics

Posted by iBlog on August 20, 2007

Tens of thousands of vendors sell everything from school supplies to pirated pornography videos on the teeming streets radiating from Mexico City’s main plaza, the Zocalo.

Mexico City’s leftist mayor, working from a building all but engulfed by the makeshift market, is now seeking to move the vendors from the capital’s historic downtown by Oct. 12 and free up streets lined with colonial treasures ranging from cathedrals to museums.

Read the full article in BusinessWeek.com

Posted in Going Global, World News | Leave a Comment »

Rethinking Latin America

Posted by iBlog on August 9, 2007

Even though the Cold War ended two decades ago, its outdated strategies continue to shape US foreign policy. Nowhere is this more evident than in the foreign relations of the United States with Latin American countries. Because US interests in the region have changed, the United States must apply new strategies to achieve its new goals. Instead of militaristic intervention and paternalism, the United States should adopt an increasingly hands-off approach as Latin American countries assert themselves more strongly in the world arena. The exception to this strategy is trade, since increasing trade in the Americas is the best way to alleviate poverty and many other problems that plague the region. Not only are paternalistic policies expensive and ineffective, but they also strengthen anti-US sentiments within the region, creating more problems than solutions. The United States should not worry that its influence is declining but instead adjust to the reality that Latin American countries deserve respect in managing their internal affairs as the United States helps them further integrate into the world community and the global economy.

Read the full article in Harvard International Review

Posted in Going Global, Latin America, World News | Leave a Comment »

The Practice of Economic Management

Posted by iBlog on August 9, 2007

In this compelling selection of 22 essays, Dr. Courtney Blackman, the founding governor of the Central Bank of Barbados, lays out a clear and concise description of economic issues affecting the Caribbean within a broader political context. The essays are sharply critical and insightful as they analyze economic policies set within the context of small developing Caribbean economies and their unique colonial histories and cultures. The lessons drawn, however, are not limited to the Caribbean region; all have larger global significance of their own.

Interestingly, although he is a trained economist, Blackman approaches his essays from a more holistic and managerial point of view. The book encompasses other disciplines such as sociology and history, rather than focusing on world prices, exchange rate regimes, and more traditional economic fare. Blackman stresses the importance of mitigating the impact of economic policies on people, and in doing so, sometimes appears to be at odds with the more traditional prescriptive approaches to economic policymaking. In taking on economic issues within the Caribbean region, Blackman argues rather forcefully that the underperformance of these economies largely reflects weak economic management. To address these issues, he advances a selection of essays that are heavily prescriptive and laden with a host of suggestive policies and strategies.

Read the full article in Harvard International Review

Posted in Going Global, Latin America, World News | Leave a Comment »

Thailand’s Economic Prospects

Posted by iBlog on August 9, 2007

O bservers around the world looked on with alarm on September 19, 2006, when Thailand’s Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra was deposed by the military in a bloodless coup led by General Sonthi Boonyaratglin, the commander-in-chief of the armed forces. Since taking office in 2001, Thaksin had guided Thailand through five years of impressive economic growth. But despite initial fears concerning Thailand’s post-coup economic prospects, the military government has the potential to improve the Thai economy by continuing Thaksin’s successful policies while resolving problems that Thaksin had failed to address.

Read the full article in Harvard International Review

Posted in Asia Business, Going Global, World News | Leave a Comment »

Addressing Global Health

Posted by iBlog on August 9, 2007

The World Health Organization’s (WHO) 3­-by-5 initiative aims to treat 3 million people living with AIDS by the end of 2005. How does the initiative represent a change from past WHO efforts?

The AIDS pandemic is one of the most difficult social, political, economic, and medical problems the world currently faces. AIDS represents the worst disease threat and the most serious social problem humankind has faced for many centuries. The 3-by-5 initiative is part of the global response, which includes prevention, treatment, and care. At the Barcelona AIDS Conference in 2002, the international community set the specific target of delivering treatment to 3 million people by the end of 2005. WHO, the Joint United Nations Programme on HIV/AIDS (UNAIDS), and other partners have put our weight behind this target, which is a key step on the way to universal access to treatment—the goal of our work.

Read the full article in Harvard International Review

Posted in Healthcare, World News | Leave a Comment »

Achieving International Justice

Posted by iBlog on August 9, 2007

Do universal human rights exist, and if so is it necessary to justify them philosophically?

There are, without a doubt, universal human rights. The 1948 Universal Declaration of Human Rights represents a broad consensus on this. In fact, one of the projects I have recently undertaken is to consider and analyze widely held principles of international human rights law.

Read the full article in Harvard International Review

Posted in Law & Taxation, Politics, World News | 1 Comment »

Taxing Mobile Phones In The Developing World

Posted by iBlog on August 9, 2007

It has been hailed as the development tool of the century. It has revolutionized business in Africa and Asia and has allowed the poor to cross countless institutional hurdles. And despite a paucity of electricity, infrastructure, and support services, the people of the developing world have embraced it with open arms. It is the cell phone, and it is changing the reality of economic opportunity. With cell phone technology it is possible for health-care workers in rural Africa to summon ambulances to remote clinics. It is possible for one woman on the Congo River, completely illiterate and lacking electricity, to operate a successful food distribution business that connects with restaurants in distant cities and towns. It is possible for migrant workers without a reliable postal service to send messages in a matter of minutes.

Read the full article in Harvard International Review

Posted in Technology, World News | Leave a Comment »