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Jan 18, 2014

Bloomberg Share The View January 18, 2014.: Spies and Goodbyes

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SHARE THE VIEW
A quick look at Bloomberg News's opinion section
January 18, 2014For more, visit www.bloomberg.com/view»
TOM COBURN:

Oklahoma Senator Tom Coburn, who has been battling cancer, "announced yesterday that he will leave at the end of this congressional session to spend the time he has left with his three children and seven grandchildren," writes Margaret Carlson. "It may be one of the only times when a politician says he wants to spend more time with his family and we know it is utterly the truth."Read more 

Tom Coburn "is a great example of how individual senators can matter. He is, for the most part, a rare breed -- an honest budget-cutter." Jonathan Bernstein: "Unlike those who use small-government rationales to attack programs they oppose while abandoning such principles for programs they support, he genuinely wants a radically smaller government." Read more 

MINIMUM WAGE: "The restaurant industry, which employs one in 10 Americans, many of them earning low wages, says it can't afford an increase in the federal minimum wage," Christopher Flavellewrites. "On closer inspection, that argument isn't as strong as it might seem." Read more 

Nobody likes bonds! Ritholtz Chart 

SPYING:

President Barack Obama's speech Friday "marks a historic step in the continuing discussion of national security, privacy and government surveillance," writes Cass R. Sunstein. "Seven points in the speech deserve particular attention." Read more 

The Editors: The president placed the National Security Agency controversy "over the agency's expansive post-Sept. 11 powers in a historical context. ... What his history lesson missed, however, is that in the perpetual ebb and flow of the intelligence community's power, outrage alone has never been enough to restrain its influence -- that requires aggressive self-criticism by the government." Read more 

"Bothered that the government has the metadata from all your calls, so that it can map out the details of your life at the click of a button?" Noah Feldman: "If you really are, little in President Barack Obama's much-hyped speech on intelligence gathering should allay your concerns." Read more 
UNIONS: Workers at an Amazon.com warehouse in Delaware voted this week to reject unionization. "This is not the last time that the labor movement will try to unionize Amazon," writes Megan McArdle. "It's an obvious target. Amazon's workers are more productive than, say, Wal-Mart Stores Inc., and compared with a major retail company, it has only a handful of locations -- and employees -- where unions can focus their organizing efforts." Read more
PRIVACY: Privacy-friendly search sites promise to hide "those embarrassing search queries, ask no questions, and shield your searches from subpoena," writes Kirsten Salyer. "While these 'private' alternatives are far from knocking Google off its throne as King of Search (Google says it processes more than 1 trillion queries a year), they are growing in popularity." Read more 

TURKEY: "It is possible that Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan will be undone not by the corruption probe he is suppressing, but by his fixation on low interest rates." Marc Champion: "For several years Erdogan has been pushing the idea that higher interest rates are inherently bad, and indeed -- contrary to conventional economic theory -- cause inflation." Read more 

BASEBALL: "Clayton Kershaw's seven-year, $215 million contract extension with the Los Angeles Dodgers is a watershed moment for Major League Baseball pitchers," Kavitha A. Davidson writes. "Let's hope it's also enough to finally get anti-tax advocates to stop using athletes to push their cause." Read more 

GAMING: Japanese gaming company Nintendo is bleeding money "because nobody wants to buy its latest console, the Wii-U," writesMatthew C. Klein. "I have a suggestion: Get out of the console business and focus exclusively on developing great games that can be played on any system." Read more 

ISRAEL: Parliament has given its initial approval "to a bill that would criminalize the use of Nazi terms or symbols, with exceptions only for educational or historic purposes," Lisa Beyer writes. "Natural as such a restriction might seem for a Jewish state, it's not at all like Israel." Read more 

IRAN SANCTIONS: Mark A.R. Kleiman posted this week about the new Iran sanctions bill making its way through the Senate. Jeffrey Goldberg: "Kleiman's post is evidence of great anxiety on the part of Jews about the manner in which this bill has become a Jewish issue."
 Read more 
 

GRAD SCHOOL: Megan McArdle: Thinking about grad school? Read this spreadsheet first, which offers "a valuable caution to people who are applying to graduate school: It's not enough to have funding." Read more 
 

STUDENT-ATHLETES: "What is acceptable in the NCAA's Pyongyang-inspired marketplace, where happy workers labor for the glory of the state?" Jonathan Mahler writes. "Student-athletes are permitted to sign merchandise, without pay, for the school to sell and profit from. If the NCAA can't prevent student-athletes from sharing in profits from merchandise -- such as video games -- they'd prefer to see the product destroyed." Read more 

UKRAINE: "Freedom is fragile," which Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovich demonstrated when he signed "a raft of laws severely limiting the freedoms of speech, assembly and protest," Leonid Bershidsky writes. Read more 

CHINA: "Bloomberg News reports that the Industrial and Commercial Bank of China may not protect investors from losses on `Credit Equals Gold No. 1,' a `trust product' it sold them that ended up financing an insolvent coal mining company," Matthew C. Kleinwrites. "This would be the first default on this type of high-yield asset. How would the Chinese financial system handle the experience?" Read more