A lot has happened in the nearly two months since Lujan mingled before the match. For one, House Democrats, of which Luján is the fourth-highest ranking member, have begun an impeachment inquiry into President Donald Trump. But more relevant to Luján’s Senate bid, his primary rival, Secretary of State Maggie Toulouse Oliver, dropped out of the race. (read more)
Determining how a staff helps a governor make decisions is a little like asking a college football coach what’s in next week’s game plan. The answers are usually hard to glean.
But the picture that emerges from interviews with top advisers, other directors in the administration and legislators is that of an operation that doesn’t rely on a structured, predetermined way of approaching policy or problems. (read more)
It’s been a long time coming. Nearly 14 years have passed, in fact, since Sir Richard Branson and former Gov. Bill Richardson announced plans to build the world’s first commercial spacecraft launch and landing facility in New Mexico. (read more)
Just a couple anecdotes...The playlist being pumped from the loud speakers before the speech gave attendees a heavy dose of Rolling Stones, Guns N’ Roses and Michael Jackson, with the occasional aria from Luciano Pavarotti. During the speech, the crowd interjected loud boos whenever Trump mentioned the “fake” news media and often chanted the phrase “Four more years.” More here.
How do public officials close down a coal plant? It's a question that's grown more and important as more states aim to convert to renewable energy. Here's one way that's becoming more popular: securitization. (read more)
It's a little known job, but an important one. Accomplished and efficient and sometimes unnoticed, they are rarely written about in news stories — well known only to those few who understand just how tax money flows. They’re known as “the revenue estimators.” (read more)
Since taking office in January, she has presented herself as fearless — armed, perhaps by a 14 percentage point mandate in last year’s election that allowed her to push an agenda bristling with hot-button issues. Politics and perception have blended in her first six months; she exhibits a daredevil image that extends past the capitol and has found a place on YouTube. (read more)
Warnings of a possible strong El Niño weather pattern starting this summer have fueled concerns that droughts and floods could decimate crops and send food prices higher. But Credit Suisse says there’s no reason to worry. In a recent report, analyst Michael Wan found no strong correlation between El Niño patterns and food inflation over the past two decades. Food prices barely budged during the 1998 El Niño, the strongest in recent history. And while costs jumped during two of the four most recent seasons, those increases were likely linked to other factors. During the 2007 El Niño, for example, the Indian and Vietnamese governments banned rice exports, causing shortages. And in 2010, higher oil prices were likely the culprit for food inflation. This time, there may be negative effects in certain regions such as India, which could see a smaller rice harvest. But unlike in 2007, global stockpiles are currently at healthy levels, and should help keep prices anchored.
First published in The Financialist in 2014.
What’s the hottest exhibition being staged in Russia’s capital at the moment, you ask? The answer: Indian bling. More than 300 pieces of extravagant handmade jewelry, including royal, ceremonial and personal jewels that were worn by India’s maharajas, are on display at the Moscow Kremlin Museums. And it’s a literal show of the ages: While the show includes contemporary works by Indian jewelers Munnu Kasliwal and Bhagat, the real highlights are, shall we say, of earlier vintages. Highlights include pieces dating back to the early days of the Mughal Empire in the 16th century; a 400-year-old pendant decorated with gold, nephrite, rubies and emeralds; and a 19th century turban crown encrusted with gold, silver, diamonds, emeralds, rubies and pearls as well. More than 30 museums, institutions and private collectors around the world have lent the items, many of which have never been exhibited before. If that’s not enough for you, European jewelry houses Cartier, Chaumet and Van Cleef & Arpels have contributed their own Indian-inspired pieces. The show, titled “Jewels that Enchanted the World,” runs until July 27.
Competition among airlines for premium customers has reached dizzying heights in recent years. From Michelin-starred chefs and chauffeur services to in-flight showers and cocktail bars, airlines are doing – and spending – whatever it takes to attract travelers for whom price is no obstacle.
Etihad Airways is raising the stakes significantly with what it claims to be the first three-room suite onboard a commercial aircraft. The 125-square-foot cabin, dubbed “The Residence”, will reportedly cost a staggering $43,000 for two passengers – or about $6,000 per hour of the flight between Abu Dhabi and London.
For that outlay, travelers get a living room, a double bed, a shower, a personal butler and a concierge team to deal with travel nuisances such as arranging ground transport on arrival. The suite will be in the Abu Dhabi airline’s new A380 superjumbos, which start flying between Abu Dhabi and London in December.
First published in 2014 in The Financialist.
JENS ERIK GOULD
Jens Erik Gould is a political, business and entertainment writer and editor who has reported from a dozen countries for media outlets including The New York Times, National Public Radio and Bloomberg News.