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The Difference Between Leaders and Politicians

September 18, 2013

Leaders lead.  And then there’s President Obama.

In his reaction to Syria’s use of chemical weapons, President Obama has demonstrated what the oxymoron “leading from behind” truly means.  It means not leading at all.

When France shows greater resolve and a tougher response than the United States in standing up to the world’s bullies, you know we’re in trouble.

President Obama is not a leader.  He is a politician.  There’s a big difference between the two …

Rolling Stone’s Dilemma: Who’s Next?

August 12, 2013

“We got all the friends that money can buy
So we never have to be alone
And we keep gettin' richer but we can't get our picture
On the cover of the Rollin' Stone.”

                                 Shel Silverstein

It was never about taste.

To survive, Rolling Stone needs to sell magazines.  And by featuring pretty boy terrorist Dzhokhar Tsarnaev on its cover, Rolling Stone sold magazines.  In fact, news stand sales were double what they usually are.

Trying to boost sales seems like such a capitalist thing – counter-countercultural – but Rolling Stone lost its countercultural cred many years ago.

True, running a flattering photo of a terrorist on the cover was in poor taste.  But this is a publication that has run Boy George on its cover.  It’s not about taste.

Follow My Lead (or Lede)

August 7, 2013

Use your three seconds wisely.

That’s about as much time as you have to capture a reader’s attention, so don’t waste it with meaningless fluff, clichés or meandering prose.  Make every word count.

The lead paragraph (or lede, as the old-school journalists would call it) of whatever you’re writing needs to convince readers immediately that it is worth their time to press on and continue reading.  A boring beginning will result in a quick end.

Baseball Needs More Performance Enhancement

July 24, 2013

What’s wrong with major league baseball?  It seems that practically every day there’s a new PED scandal.  PEDs are “performance-enhancing drugs,” for those who haven’t been paying attention.

But what’s the big deal?  Baseball is the most boring professional sport in existence (unless you consider golf a professional sport).  With 162 games a year and each game lasting about nine hours or so, baseball could use some entertainment enhancing drugs (EEDs).

The First Black President? Not Really.

July 23, 2013

Imagine if President Obama announced when he first ran for President that he was white.  An absurd thought, right?  But is it any different for him to call himself black?

President Obama is not black, of course.  He is multiracial and was raised by his white mother.

You would think he would be as accepting of his white heritage as he is of his black heritage.  Touting his multiracial background, he could have been a racial uniter, for the good of his country.  Instead, he is a racial divider who uses race for his own good.

When You Take Your Own Photos, Think Before You Shoot

July 10, 2013

Digital cameras are giving people a false sense of security.

They create the illusion that all you have to do to produce photos for your Web site, your newsletter and other communications is to point and click.

Point and click and you’ll produce a photo, but it’s unlikely to be very good.  Fortunately, there’s plenty you can do to improve the quality of your photos.

The Genius of Obamanomics

June 27, 2013

I admit it.  I misunderstood President Obama.

As President, I thought it was his job to improve the economy.  Yet his every move seems designed to put companies out of business and their employees out of work.

But it all makes sense to me now.  I finally get it.  Because the worst the economy performs, the better the stock market performs.

It finally hit me yesterday, when the Bureau of Economic Analysis announced that the economy had grown by just 1.8% in the first quarter, down from an original estimate of 2.4%.  Because of the announcement, investors concluded that quantitative easing would continue -- and the Dow Jones Industrial Average jumped 149.83 points.

Superhighway to Serfdom, Part 2

June 26, 2013

“The younger generation of today has grown up in a world in which, in school and press, the spirit of commercial enterprise has been represented as disreputable and the making of profit as immoral.”

                                                                                         F.A. Hayek, The Road to Serfdom

Hayek’s quote above comes from a book written in 1945, but it certainly fits today’s world.

Few “in school and press” understand how capitalism works, never mind coming to its defense.  It’s a revelation, though, that the anti-capitalist drift in school and press began so long ago.

My personal experience being preached to about the evils of capitalism dates back to my college days in the 1970s.

As a student at the University of Massachusetts, some of my professors were avowed Marxists and worked their beliefs into courses in American history and literature.

They were earnest and enthusiastic about their beliefs and had an influence on my young mind.  My English professor encouraged me to forego my career in journalism and, instead, work in a factory, where I could become a union rabble-rouser.  Having had my share of factory work for several summers during college, I fortunately decided to do what I wanted to do, instead of what my professor wanted me to do.

But like most others today, I graduated from college without having a clue about how capitalism works and with little knowledge of what it is.  I had a vague notion that it was practiced by greedy people who wanted to keep everyone’s money for themselves, because that was what my professors taught me.

That belief changed little as I pursued a career in journalism.  In the late 1970s and early 1980s, when anything to do with the environment or homelessness were big news.

Gradually, though, switching to a business beat, earning an MBA and, finally, starting my own business, I learned how capitalism works.  I wish our President, members of Congress and others whose decisions affect our lives were as fortunate.

SNAP Challenge? Congress Should Try the Taxpayer Challenge Instead

June 18, 2013

Last week my Congressman, Rep. Jim McGovern (D-Cuba) was one of two dozen Democrats to take “the SNAP Challenge” and live off of a $31.50 food allowance for a week in response to proposed cuts in the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP).

Funding for SNAP has soared from $18 billion in 2000 to $74 billion in 2011.  It’s now used by 45 million Americans.  Yet Congressman McGovern believes that the program should not be cut. 

If, as he claims, 50 million Americans are going hungry in spite of this growth in the SNAP program, SNAP is not working.

The Privacy Double Standard

June 17, 2013

Liberal logic (pardon the oxymoron) can be confusing.

Liberals strongly endorse government control of healthcare, government control of the economy, government control of the energy we produce, government control of the food we eat, government control of the water we drink and government control of the air that we breathe.

And yet they balk at every attempt by the government to control terrorism.  Keeping us safe may be the government’s most important job – and it’s a job that the federal government has historically done well.