Boston has been my home the past four days - and, it will continue to be home for 7 more. After finishing in second place yesterday in our Women's Team event, we now have one more session to play - and we're in 7th place. Winning is not impossible. So, we will think positively, try our hardest and hope for a bit of racing luck.
Speaking of which, my partner is an amazing competitor. More than anything, we hope for racing luck for Laurie in life. Here is her story - which, yours truly wrote in her "spare time" (LOL!).
(Oops; sorry. The Bridge League is not keeping the stories up. As I send new info, the old is replaced. Hope you enjoy photos of my bridge friends - for the moment!)
Media bias was more intense in the 2008 election than in any other national campaign in recent history, Time magazine’s Mark Halperin said Friday at the Politico/USC conference on the 2008 election.
“It’s the most disgusting failure of people in our business since the Iraq war,” Halperin said at a panel of media analysts. “It was extreme bias, extreme pro-Obama coverage.”
Halperin, who maintains Time’s political site “The Page,” cited two New York Times articles as examples of the divergent coverage of the two candidates.
“The example that I use, at the end of the campaign, was the two profiles that The New York Times ran of the potential first ladies,” Halperin said. “The story about Cindy McCain was vicious. It looked for every negative thing they could find about her and it [cast] her in an extraordinarily negative light. It didn’t talk about her work, for instance, as a mother for her children, and they cherry-picked every negative thing that’s ever been written about her.”
The story about Michelle Obama, by contrast, was “like a front-page endorsement of what a great person Michelle Obama is,” according to Halperin.
As the saying goes, better late than never. Yet, we surely need some major soul-searching for the Fourth Estate. The stakes were enormous, and their performance spectactularly abysmal.
The logical and analytical type. They are especialy attuned to difficult creative and intellectual challenges and always look for something more complex to dig into. They are great at finding subtle connections between things and imagine far-reaching implications.
They enjoy working with complex things using a lot of concepts and imaginative models of reality. Since they are not very good at seeing and understanding the needs of other people, they might come across as arrogant, impatient and insensitive to people that need some time to understand what they are talking about.
Perhaps this is not such a shock-a-roo, given my lifetime fascination with philosophy, language, logic and tournament bridge. But "arrogant, impatient and insensitive?" Ugh. Hope that this is solely the "persona of my blog" and not me!
Early tomorrow evening, I leave for the American Contract Bridge League's Fall National Tournament. (Actually, "national" is a bit of a misnomer. Roughly 65 countries from all over the world will have players attending.) Play lasts ten days; most, if not all of those days, I'll be battling away from about 1PM until 11PM - or later.
In my "free time," I'll be writing columns and taking photographs for the League, checking on current real estate markets news and conditions for my clients, trying to remain a tad up to date on the news, getting a modicum of exercise - and - following up on an offer to purchase that a client wishes to draft in the hours before my flight departs. I will tuck that task in between a few loads of laundry, packing, and gathering up my photographic equipment.
Did I mention in the midst of it all, my laptop is having hiccups?
I hope I will not become abysmal about updating what if? But - as the title says - something does have to give. Responsibilities to clients and partners come first, as well as my virgin tournament roving reporter duties.
So, please bear with me. If I can give here, I shall. If not? Know that between six no-trump and "do you want the washer and dryer to be included?" I will be thinking about you!
A number of years ago, one of my close childhood friends told me a story I found most curious. She said that at her son's school, no one "won" or "lost" anymore in sports events. "Losing hurts," she explained to me. "So, they declare everyone a winner at the end of the game."
What?!? I was shocked then, and am still shocked at the remembrance of that conversation.
No one has to tell me losing hurts. My work is competitive; many a time I've lost a listing or a sale or a client to someone else. My avocation, tournament bridge, involves losing far often than winning. The losing is lousy, and it is painful. But, if the challenges aren't taken and the lumps not experienced, then you never achieve anything. Winning is fabulous. Without losing, however, winning has no real content.
We all remember the advice about failure we received from our parents and teachers. "If at first you don't succeed, try, try again." "Learn from your mistakes." "Failure breeds success."
The common theme was that some sort of failure in life is inevitable. It is a wake-up call for reflection -- and should prompt needed change. Our character is not just built from success, but during setbacks as well.
It may be the "old wisdom". If we wish to avoid mediocrity, failing markets, lack of creativity, lack of innovation, stagnation and worse, then we'd better make acceptance of failure the "new wisdom."
From the ashes of failure rise the flames of success. From the pain of losing erupts the exultation of winning.
Fail to learn this valuable lesson at the peril of us all.
Though it has been many years since I've seen Merrick, he is a person one does not forget. Not only was Merrick exceptional when it came to intelligence and achievement, but he was also a quite nice person. Some refer to him as a "Democratic John Roberts." They may well be correct.
Garland has been part of hundreds of arguments since taking the bench. At oral argument, Garland rarely sits back. He engages the lawyers in a soft-spoken, polite style. He often asks a lot of questions, showing his preparation. Lawyers who know Garland, who declined to comment for this article, say he routinely works on weekends.
A former Garland colleague, Robert Weiner, a partner at Arnold & Porter, calls Garland a "moderate" and an "intellectual force" on the court. In this year's edition of the Almanac of the Federal Judiciary, lawyers who evaluated Garland anonymously praise his "unusually broad background." One remark: "He is a liberal — but he doesn't wear it on his sleeve."
This description all fits with the Merrick I remember. I know that many conservatives are fearful of the judges President-elect Obama might put on the Court. If memory serves accurately, we could do far, far worse than Merrick Garland.
Survey finds most Obama voters remembered negative coverage of McCain/Palin statements but struggled to correctly answer questions about coverage associated with Obama/Biden
Just 2% of voters who supported Barack Obama on Election Day obtained perfect or near-perfect scores on a post election test which gauged their knowledge of statements and scandals associated with the presidential tickets during the campaign, a new Zogby International telephone poll shows.
Only 54% of Obama voters were able to answer at least half or more of the questions correctly.
The 12-question, multiple-choice survey found questions regarding statements linked to Republican presidential candidate John McCain and his vice-presidential running-mate Sarah Palin were far more likely to be answered correctly by Obama voters than questions about statements associated with Obama and Vice-President–Elect Joe Biden. The telephone survey of 512 Obama voters nationwide was conducted Nov. 13-15, 2008, and carries a margin of error of +/- 4.4 percentage points.
How much evidence do skeptics need before they cry "uncle"?
There is always a level of excitement when a new president is coming to town -- new aides to profile, new policies to dissect, new family members to follow. But can anyone imagine this kind of media frenzy if John McCain had managed to win?
Obama's days of walking on water won't last indefinitely. His chroniclers will need a new story line. And sometime after Jan. 20, they will wade back into reality.
Hate never goes away. All we can do is try to minimize it, educate - and then control our own reactions to it. But don't put your life on hold until it is gone. Unfortunately, hate is always with us, somewhere.
It is not that cars cannot be produced profitably with American workers: the American plants of Toyota and other Japanese companies, and of German auto manufacturers, have been profitable for many years. The foreign companies have achieved this mainly by setting up their factories in Southern and border states where they could avoid the UAW, and thereby introduce efficient methods of production. Their workers have been paid well but not excessively, and these companies have kept their pension and health obligations under control while still maintaining good morale among their employees. In recent years GM and the other American manufacturers have chipped away at their generous fringe benefits, but their health and retirement benefits still considerably exceed those received by American auto workers employed by foreign companies. As a result of lower costs, better management, and less hindrance from work rules imposed by the UAW, about 1/3 of all cars produced in the US now come from foreign owned plants.
Bankruptcy would help GM and Ford become more competitive by abrogating significant parts of their labor contracts with the UAW. One of the greatest needs would be sizable reduction in their health costs through sharp increases in the deductibility and co-payments, and a reduced coverage of medical procedures. Bankruptcy should also help bring the wage rates of GM and Ford in line with those of foreign producers in the US. Some of their pension liabilities may be shifted onto the Pension Benefit Guarantee Corp, but even that would be preferable to an overall bailout.
I have long maintained that much of the Republican message is perfectly fine. Why then, is the party struggling so?
Part of the problem is that they have talked the talk, yet not walked the walk. Fiscal irresponsibility and growing government to even greater heights has not won supporters. Yet a far larger difficulty is selling their message. The Republicans are woefully inadequate in explaining why their programs and plans are superior for the nation.
Steele hits the nail on the head with his warning about communications. The Republicans need to have someone who relentlessly offers positive alternatives along with rational opposition to the Democratic agenda. It’s not about being nice, but about positioning the GOP as the grown-ups while the Democratic Congress and Obama administration write one check after another.
Republicans need someone with national name recognition who can do all of that as well as reorganize the RNC, modernize its communications, and find effective candidates for Congress. The chair has to be ubiquitous, appearing everywhere and every day, making himself heard on every single issue. Only a few people already have that kind of personality, and Steele is already busily proving that he qualifies.
Republicans should seriously consider selecting the leader with steel in his backbone and clarity in his brain.
The 60 Minutes interview with the Obamas ended a few minutes ago. While I did not see all of the interviews, in what I saw, I thought that Barack Obama did a good job. I was heartened to hear him say that "labels of conservative and liberal" aren't important; the ideas are. I was happy to hear him say that he didn't care whether ideas that are helpful to our nation originated with a Republican or a Democrat, but that he only cared whether the ideas and plans would work. Michele Obama joined her husband for part of the interview. She mentioned how "in awe" she was of the White House and its history. She commented on how warm and welcoming Laura Bush was during her visit. All in all, sounds promising - and if Obama lives up to at least some of his words, I will be happy.
Nevertheless, I was saddened by the interview in one way. Steve Kroft conducted the interview. His face throughout the interview was smiling and friendly. As the interview progressed, you definitely felt as if Kroft was "on their side" and not antagonistic in the least. I'm not being critical of Kroft, either. I don't see any reason why Kroft should have not taken this tone with the Obamas.
All the new talk shows this Sunday morning are discussing the Detroit automakers bailout. Those in favor argue for "saving millions of jobs" and the large impact failures of these corporations would have. To those who are in favor of bailouts, however, we must look at the rest of our financial landscape.
Loads of other sectors are struggling. Should we "bail out" retailers? Mortgage lenders? Realtors? We didn't bail out the airline industry. Those companies negotiated with unions, altered how they did business, looked for new sources of income - and some survived.
If you bail out one industry, then you have begun Pandora's Box of Bailouts. You also will have guaranteed that all the inefficiency, bloated union agreements, poor design and quality will be enshrined forever. How long do Americans want to go supporting corporations that produce less than stellar quality products and services?
There is nothing inherently wrong with lobbying. There is plenty wrong with hypocrisy, especially on the grand scale committed by Barack Obama during this campaign. He regularly indulged in the populist demonization of lobbyists and claimed to lead a new movement to purify Washington of their eeeeevil influences. Now that he has the power, Obama has no problem working with lobbyists for fraudulently run mortgage giants and drug makers, smear artists, and asbestos-lawsuit defenders.
That’s change that 63 million suckers believed in.
Some of us can say "I told you so" - even though this someone wishes I were not in a position to do so.