Money

Debating IQ

For readers who missed part 1 of this series of posts, I am summarizing a fictional novel written almost forty years ago. As Dr. Michael Solomon knocked cautiously on the door of Grace’s apartment, he was well aware that Grace was furious with him. Sure enough, when Grace’s face showed in the door window, she …

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Drinking Scotch and Talking Democracy

For readers who missed part 1 of this series of posts, I am summarizing a fictional novel written almost forty years ago. One evening at the faculty club, with Grace Atkinson and Michael Solomon deep into The Macallan, the conversation turned to Grace’s evolving views of the American Constitution. As noted earlier, Grace believed that, …

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Solomon’s Story

For readers who missed part 1 of this series of posts, I am summarizing a fictional novel written almost forty years ago. While the leaders of the Georgetown Convention are consolidating their hold on the U.S. government, we need to introduce Dr. Michael Solomon, an eminent professor of psychology and long-time friend and colleague of …

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Seizing LBJ

For readers who missed part 1 of this series of posts, I am summarizing a fictional novel written almost forty years ago. Gen. Green was startled. “Hold it, folks” he said. “I’m a desk jockey now, I haven’t commanded troops in the field since my last tour in Vietnam, back in ’64.” “But, Willy,” George …

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The Russkies, Vietnam and a Possible Coup

For readers who missed part 1 of this series of posts, I am summarizing a fictional novel written almost forty years ago. In the novel, written so many years ago, many chapters were devoted to the back-channel negotiations that went on between the Johnson Administration (in the person of Walter Rostow) and the Soviet Union …

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The Power of the Press?

For readers who missed part 1 of this series of posts, I am summarizing a fictional novel written almost forty years ago. With Plans A and B dead, the Approvals Panel began to discuss a fallback plan. One way to expose the Black Hole plot would be for George—or someone—to simply make it public. Call …

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Positioning Client Portfolios: Wentling Tarquinio Loughney, Greycourt & Co, Henry Armstrong Associates

Each year in the summer issue, we ask a group of Pittsburgh’s leading investment experts to answer a question for our readers in 250 words or less. This year’s question: “The coronavirus has led to the first bear market in more than a decade with widespread uncertainty remaining. How are you positioning your client portfolios …

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The Ways of LBJ

For readers who missed part 1 of this series of posts, I am summarizing a fictional account written almost 40 years ago. As the ambulance pulled up to the farmhouse on the eastern shore of Maryland, George Leader was watching out the living room window. What he saw shocked him. An elderly, gray-haired woman was …

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Positioning Client Portfolios: Fairview Capital, Shorebridge, PWA, WesBanco

Each year in the summer issue, we ask a group of Pittsburgh’s leading investment experts to answer a question for our readers in 250 words or less. This year’s question: “The coronavirus has led to the first bear market in more than a decade with widespread uncertainty remaining. How are you positioning your client portfolios …

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A Great Mind Ponders Grim Alternatives

For readers who missed part 1 of this series of posts, I am summarizing a fictional novel written almost forty years ago. When George suggested that Grace Atkinson be summoned to the deliberations on the Eastern Shore, not everyone was enthusiastic. For one thing, Grace was recovering from a stroke. Moreover, as one Panel member …

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Positioning Client Portfolios: PNC, Confluence Financial Partners, J.P. Morgan, Huntington

Each year in the summer issue, we ask a group of Pittsburgh’s leading investment experts to answer a question for our readers in 250 words or less. This year’s question: “The coronavirus has led to the first bear market in more than a decade with widespread uncertainty remaining. How are you positioning your client portfolios …

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Working in the Coronavirus Era

Q. How do you expect the aftermath of the coronavirus to change the working conditions for the American workforce? A. It’s definitely going to change working conditions. It’s also going to change the way we arrange work. Social distancing is going to change the workplace. The recovery is going to be gradual. I think you’re …

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The Plan That Would Have Changed the World

For readers who missed part 1 of this series of posts, I am summarizing a fictional novel written almost 40 years ago. Gen. Willy Green sat staring at the file on his desk, still not quite believing what it contained. The second document in the file—the one right after the red-outlined official form that told …

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Positioning Client Portfolios: Federated Hermes, Northwestern Mutual, Bill Few Associates, Schenley Capital

Each year in the summer issue, we ask a group of Pittsburgh’s leading investment experts to answer a question for our readers in 250 words or less. This year’s question: “The coronavirus has led to the first bear market in more than a decade with widespread uncertainty remaining. How are you positioning your client portfolios …

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The Top Secret File

For readers who missed part 1 of this series of posts, I am summarizing a fictional novel written almost forty years ago. When we left George and Jenny Leader’s soiree last week, the 13 people at the dinner table were locked in intense discussions about what sort of government could have elected (that is, reelected) …

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America 2.0: An Old Novel Idea

When I was serving in the U.S. Army in the early 1970s, I spent a lot of time patrolling in my Military Police Jeep and boring myself silly. Being a cop is a bit like being an airline pilot: hours of boredom punctuated by moments of stark terror. To relieve the boredom, I wrote a …

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Race, Global Warming and the Experts

Last week we considered the possibility that, precisely to the extent that human equality is the most important issue facing the world, to that extent liberal democracy can claim little legitimacy. It is certainly true that liberal democracies have produced greater equality and have more successfully combated racism, sexism and other forms of bigotry than …

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The Rawls Dilemma

John Rawls, the most important political philosopher of the twentieth century, was born into a prosperous middle class family in Baltimore in 1921. He attended a private school in Connecticut and went on to Princeton. Rawls’ internal life replicated the moral trajectory of many thoughtful people in the Western world, beginning with a deep interest …

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The Stumbling March of Reason

“When the theological content of the idea [of human rights] was abandoned, nothing was put in its place.” —James Griffin, “On Human Rights” Earlier in this series of posts we revisited the Age of Enlightenment, examining the back story of the ideas that led to the creation of liberal democracy. That’s also a good place …

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Coronavirus Investing

Editor’s note: We’ve asked a group of the region’s leading wealth managers to respond to this question: “The coronavirus has led to the first bear market in more than a decade with widespread uncertainty remaining. How are you positioning client portfolios in this fraught environment?” In today’s online feature, a group of advisors give a …

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How Equality Came to Challenge Freedom

“[Liberal democracy] celebrates certain values: reasonableness, conversation, compassion, tolerance, intellectual humility and optimism.” —David Brooks “Nice guys finish last.” —Leo Durocher As I noted last week, the American governmental system in particular, and most modern liberal democracies in general, were well-designed to manage the tension between the two most fundamental rights we have as citizens: …

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The Trouble With Rousseau

“Man is born free, and everywhere he is in chains.” —The first line of Rousseau’s “The Social Contract” Even by the loose standards of his era, Jean-Jacques Rousseau lived a bizarre life. Rousseau’s mother died giving birth to him and he was mostly raised until his teen years by an uncle. At that point, his …

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