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Inside Ukraine's presidential pad and 'Ask Warren'


Talking Squawk, the official "Squawk Box" blog, provides tidbits, insights and some sarcastic reflections on the WEEK THAT WAS and the WEEK TO COME from the notepad of the show's senior executive producer.

Anti-government protesters gather at Kiev's Independence Square.
Getty Images

The world is flat

There are the normal people who make up about 99.9 percent of us. And then there are the Big Thinkers.

Thomas Friedman of The New York Times definitely falls into that category. He thinks of things that, no matter how hard I strain every synapse in my brain, there is no way I could ever return serve. (If you want to think "bigger" too, follow him on Twitter at @tomfriedman.)

Friedman stopped by "Squawk Box" Thursday to share his thoughts on Russia's role in Ukraine's revolution—warning that Russian President Vladimir Putin will be unlikely to give up without a fight.

He also talked about the economic and political toll of helping a country like Ukraine.

Inside the palace of ousted Ukrainian president

Inside the palace

This is why we love CNBC's Chief International Correspondent Michelle Caruso Cabrera! A day after the president of Ukraine was ousted and made a run for it, the globetrotting @MCaruso_Cabrera (and her superstar producer, @KatieSlaman) had cameras inside the presidential palace checking out the clothes that were still hanging in his bedroom closets! Now that's the definition of chief international superstar correspondent. (I keep adding the well-deserved "superstar" parts!)

Hold your breath

Speaking of international superstars. CNBC's Eunice Yoon is our resident Chinese expert, and she has shown us things from inside China that make our heads spin.

Here's her tweet from earlier this week:

Pot like 'alcohol after Prohibition'

Investor Kevin O'Leary of "Shark Tank" spent Wednesday morning on the set as a guest host and weighed in on the legalization of marijuana.

Getty Images

He also told us why he's torn between trying to capitalize on the upside of Colorado's recreational pot sales and possibly running afoul of the federal government.

Betting on Baron

He's a self-made billionaire and one of the savviest investors on Wall Street.

If you'd listened to Ron Baron years ago, you now would probably be sitting on a beach sipping on a drink with an umbrella in it, enjoying your early retirement.

So with that in mind, here are two stocks that Baron says he's buying.

Betting on Black

Barron's Roundtable member Scott Black also has a track record that makes you want to scream, "Why didn't I listen to him?!"

Black also came by this week with two stocks of his own, which he thinks are pretty good bets for the years to come.

Ask Warren

Once a year, Warren Buffett says to "Squawk Box viewers exclusively, "I'm yours, ask away!"

It's your chance to ask the Oracle of Omaha a question. And if your query is chosen, he'll answer it live on the air on Monday, March 3. He's with us all three hours, from 6 a.m. ET to 9 a.m. ET.

Send your questions now! Tweet them to @SquawkCNBC with the hashtag #AskWarren. You can also email them to askwarren@cnbc.com. Then set your alarm, get up early to see if your question makes it through.

Chairman Paul Ryan

Rep. Paul Ryan, R-Wis., has been a longtime, loyal friend of the show. And since he's been the big-time chairman of the House Budget Committee, he has stayed with us!

Ryan was on again Wednesday, talking about everything from overhauling the tax code to the minimum wage debate.

Cramer clip

@JimCramer warned Tesla investors Thursday that they're "playing with fire," as the automaker's stock trades like the company has already disrupted the country's electrical grid. He called Tesla a "press release" company.

Mohamed El-Erian and Bill Gross
Pete Marovich (L) | Andrew Harrer (R) | Getty Images

Tweets of note

This week The Wall Street Journal wrote a front-page exposé on Pimco and what happened between founder Bill Gross (aka The Bond King) and his former partner and co-CEO, Mohamed El-Erian. (Gross responded to CNBC saying it was overblown.)

This sparked an epic, 12-tweet response from famed tech investor and entrepreneur Marc Andreessen (on Twitter at @pmarca) that got us and all of Wall Street buzzing this week.

(In fact, Andreessen's partner, Ben Horowitz, will be on Wednesday's show for a one-hour Disruptors special starting at 8 a.m. ET.)

I'll list all 12 tweets in order below (in a lame attempt to get him to notice me or praise the show)!

  • I'm torn over this story: "Inside the Showdown Atop Pimco, the World's Biggest Bond Firm"
  • On the one hand, it's clearly excellent reporting, from top-notch reporters and a world-class newspaper.
  • On the other hand, story implication seems to be Bill Gross is out of control egomaniac who is going to ruin his firm if left unchecked.
  • I should start by saying I don't know Mr. Gross, I've never met him, I never deal with him in business, he's in a totally different domain.
  • But the behavior described is completely typical of any highly successful, high-functioning organization in any field I've ever seen.
  • High-functioning business organizations aren't Disneyland. There's always stress, conflict, argument, dissent. Emotion. Drama.
  • This exact same behavior/pattern is often found in both the best-performing companies in any space AND in the worst-performing.
  • I often see young people entering business think it's all going to be patty-cake happyland, and if not, something must be badly wrong.
  • So I read this story and I literally think to myself, boy, that sounds like Apple, Oracle, Intel, Cisco, Google, Amazon, and Microsoft.
  • Moral? Business is stressful. There's constant conflict, emotion, even anger. Building a company is an intense experience, period.
  • Harnessed properly, this is the crucible out of which high performance and great results emerge. Satisfaction of overcoming challenges.
  • To quote Jim Barksdale, "This isn't a family and I ain't your daddy." But together we can build great things & make our grandkids proud.

Word Jumble

Becky Quick and Joe Kernen played catch up on Thursday—playing four days worth of Word Jumbles all at once. It was a bloodbath for Becky, who won just once. Here's a practice word for each: Joe's word is ITUNSD; Becky's is OVOYRG. Find the answers at the end of the blog.

Mark your calendar (or set your DVR)

  • Monday: It's time to ASK WARREN! Three hours, live on CNBC's "Squawk Box" from 6 a.m. ET to 9 a.m ET with Warren Buffett answering your questions!
  • Tuesday: Disruptors Summit with Ben Horowitz and many friends
  • Wednesday: "Squawk Live in New York City" Honeywell CEO David Cote and activist investor Carl Icahn
  • Thursday: Media mogul Barry Diller
  • Friday: It's all about jobs with former Fed Chairman Alan Greenspan

Next week's economic calendar

  • Monday: Personal Income & Spending (8:30 a.m. ET)
  • Tuesday: ICSC-Goldman Store Sales (7:45 a.m. ET)
  • Wednesday: ADP Employment Report (8:15 a.m. ET)
  • Thursday: Weekly Jobless Claims (8:30 a.m. ET) and Chain Store Sales numbers throughout the day
  • Friday: Employment Report and Trade Gap Data (both at 8:30 a.m. ET)

The "Corny-Sappy Motivational Business-Based Inspirational Quote"

"There is only one boss. The customer. And he can fire everybody in the company from the chairman on down, simply by spending his money somewhere else."
Sam Walton

—By CNBC's Matthew Quayle. Follow him on Twitter @matthew_quayle.

  • Joe's Jumble Bonus Word Answer: ITUNSD = NUDIST
  • Becky's Jumble Bonus Word Answer: OVOYRG = GROOVY