As I cruise through life there seem to be snags, drawbacks and snares along the path as I attempt to succeed in life. I have decided to sit down and list several of these “push-me pull-you’s so I can be of assistance to you in identifying those anti-bodies that seem to trip us up along life’s way. I hope you will not only be blessed by these clever concepts but will feel free to write to me and share some of your own. Here is a partial list of the natural enemies in life:
Geert Wilders, the Dutch Parliamentarian being prosecuted in his own country because of reaction to his film “Fitna,” and his remarks challenging the contention that Islam is a religion of peace, spoke yesterday morning at the National Press Club in Washington D.C. and in the evening at the Conservative Political Action Conference (C-PAC).
At some recent charity event, actress and “singer” Cher told reporters that Barack Obama’s great intelligence and spirit would allow him to do more than anyone else could do, and that she couldn’t understand why anyone would want to be a Republican.
President Obama’s first 30 some-odd days have not been something to write home about. Of course, he did inherit a financial crisis, but he’s clearly made it worse with his Jimmy Carteresque doom-and-gloom talk.
President Obama has a unique talent: He is able to inspire people all over the world to deliberate and dialogue about burning issues. At the top of the agenda for such a global give and take is what makes for a good life. At first, it may seem preposterous for a nation deep in an economic crisis and mired in wars to pay mind to what at first blush seems like a philosophical subject. Actually, there is a profound connection between our multiple crises — add that of the climate to the mix — and the characterization of what makes a life good.
Last week, Attorney General Eric Holder told an audience celebrating Black History Month at the Justice Department that the country is still “voluntarily socially segregated,” adding that ”in things racial we have always been and continue to be, in too many ways, essentially a nation of cowards.”
I had my first Facebook stalker last month. He wasn’t really a threat, just a really overanxious person desperate to talk to me. Although I didn’t know him personally, I accepted him as a “friend” on Facebook some time ago. Later, he apparently tried to contact me through the instant message feature, but I didn’t respond. (Heck – I’m just figuring this thing out.) So frustrated, he called my office demanding to get through to me. He told my staff that he was a friend of mine and that I would want to talk to him. He also mentioned that he was a “genius.” Fortunately, my team has had plenty of experience with self-proclaimed geniuses, so they didn’t let him through. That unleashed a few rather ugly tirades to me through the Facebook instant messaging. (Why do some people think ripping someone makes them want to be your friend?). So the bottom line is that I finally “un-friended” him.
After Professor Samuel Huntington passed away on December 24, I held off commenting on his work during the first 30 days of mourning out of respect for the norms that govern such a period. I believe we are now ready for a balanced review of his work.
In the new Congressional $787 billion economic stimulus package, there is an earmark for $1.1 billion to compare different medical treatments for specific illnesses. This “comparative effectiveness research” will attempt to answer questions such as whether drugs or surgery work better in various medical conditions such as low back pain. According to the Washington Post, the bill would create a council of up to 15 experts to coordinate the research and advise the Government on how to apportion money.
Our main political concern at Urgent Agenda is always with foreign and defense policy. As the saying goes, you can survive four years of a bad domestic policy, but four years of a bad foreign policy can be fatal. President Bush, with all his failings, kept us safe, and he put the United States first.
Libertarians are opposed to government or private surveillance even for purposes of national security or protection of minors from internet porn. They so value individual liberty that they have consistently challenged any potential benefit that might offset the harm to that core value. Knowing this, I was astonished to watch last Friday’s segment of 20/20, a magazine show co-hosted by John Stossel, one of New York’s high profile libertarians, and usually a maverick when it comes to conventional wisdom in public issues. The segment dealt with Bernard Madoff, the easiest pincushion in America right now, and therefore, the one who most tests our principles of fair play. Just as free speech is not a real issue until it comes to extreme and unpopular positions - such as tolerating controversial cartoons or Nazi rallies through Jewish neighborhoods - so too, the issue of privacy for self-confessed but unconvicted criminals deserves consideration, particularly when it comes to scoundrels.
Gaspipe, formally known as Anthony Casso, is a mobster serving a sentence tallying hundreds of years in prison for multiple murders and related mischief. He is newsworthy at the moment because he claims to know how the French Connection drugs were lifted from police custody back in 1972 and presumably, who did the heavy lifting. He interests me because at the age of 66, he is being treated for prostate cancer and heart disease at the Federal Medical Center in Butner, N.C. and you and I are paying for his care. Several years ago, a prisoner on death row got a heart transplant ahead of thousands of law abiding citizens on the national list. Prisoners have gotten breast reduction surgery and even hormone treatments for anticipated sex change surgery. They are automatically entitled to free medical and dental care regardless of whether they can afford to pay for health insurance as law abiders would be forced to do.
Five years ago when I left the wirehouse world to open Triune Capital Advisors, I warned that the financial services industry was a cesspool and that over time, the truth would come out about some of the things that I saw that made me uncomfortable. I was vilified for it when I said it in a radio commentary. Indeed, one CEO of a very large bank called to tell me that, “he had lost all respect for me.” Well, vindication is no comfort. I hate being right about this. The industry, while smaller, is still a cesspool and the daily headlines serve to paint everybody in our industry with the same evil brush. The individuals in the industry, with notable exceptions, are not to blame. This is a systemic problem. The latest headlines featuring Alan Stanford, Bernie Madoff, and UBS Swiss bank account holders are indicative of what has transpired in the quest for greed’s gain.
I remember the first bulletin I heard growing up…”We bring you a special report from CBS News…”President Kennedy has been shot in Dallas, Texas.” As a news story cutting into local programming it was a beaut. Appropriate. Sensational. History-changing. It truly defined the word, “bulletin” which means, “an official statement on a matter of public interest issued for immediate broadcast.” Over the years, we have had several breaking stories that lived up to their substantial impact on all of us…
Mimicking the tactics of the military, students of the Take Back NYU Campaign have bravely stormed the ramparts of academe and occupied the cafeteria in the super deluxe Kimmel Center — built for the students by a Jewish philanthropist.
For each day that implementation of the stimulus package is delayed, and the longer the deep recession lasts—the greater the human and social cost. Much has been made of the devastating economic costs we are facing. Decade of research show that other costs are equally high.