Football season is almost finished. Super Bowl 46 is a couple months away but the playoffs are just around the corner. It’s that time where we separate the losers from the winners. For me, it’s that time I have to look at different possible ways of having the Jets make the
Archive for December 13th, 2011
There is no question that the world becomes more corporate as each year passes. This corporatization and its seemingly unrelenting momentum, has been the cause of much of the unrest in this country and in the world. There seems to be a disconnect between corporations and people at times, and many gather now to protest in great numbers with disparate messages but the theme seems to be a united stand against greed, corruption and the lack of real representation in government.
We all know the advantages of big business or at least we know the marketing of it ad naseum, but we also know of the fundamental difference there is between a small local business and a national or international one. We bemoan the lack of personal connection that we get when we call to complain about a bill or service and are put into a “menu” of choices all involving using your touch-tone pad, and less an involvement with a real
“And the Christmas carols sound like blues
but the choir is not to blame”
My late father was a professional gambler. Toward the end of his life, he was an active volunteer at a soup kitchen in Cincinnati, which was run by the Sisters of Charity.
One day, as dad was dishing out food to homeless people, he was approached by the nun who ran the program.
“Joe,” she said, “What do you do for a living?”
“I’m a gambler,” replied my father.
“Joe,” she said, “This is the first time we ever had a gambler on THIS side of the table.”
Problem gambling has pushed a lot of people into poverty.
The key to my father’s success in gambling was that he was always on the house side of the table.
He started in bookmaking, in the glory days of Covington and Newport, and moved into organizing junkets for Las Vegas casinos, when wide-open gambling faded from the Northern Kentucky scene.
He understood that if the house has the odds in its favor long enough, the house will eventually and always win out.
As he often noted, “You never see them tearing down a casino because people beat them out of money.”
First with lotteries, and now through slot machines and casinos, governments realized that a easy way to gain revenues is by allowing and sponsoring gambling.
The games that have been legalized bring in a great deal of income from those on “the wrong side of the table.”
Some European countries limit access to the casinos to those who prove they have sufficient
Many believe the following standard line about deal making: “It’s not personal; it’s business.” While I understand the sentiment, in 25 years of doing – and now covering – sports negotiations from both sides of the table, I have learned that it’s always personal.
The Chris Paul saga, with the NBA and Commissioner David Stern having nixed proposed trades to the Lakers and the Clippers is, at its core, a power struggle. The jockeying for control is a microcosm of what the NFL and the NBA have been fighting for in arduous collective bargaining over the past year.
After the summer of LeBron and the winter of Carmelo, Stern seems intent — while as caretaker of the New Orleans Hornets — to reign in the leverage of the superstars, something the newly-signed CBA evidently does not do.
Even with Stern’s power play, Paul still has the leverage, despite this momentary hitch in his plans. No matter what happens now, Paul is not going to remain with the Hornets long-term.
The NFL structure is more resistant to power plays, for several reasons.
More Revenue, More Revenue Sharing
The NFL – through mutual agreement of its forefathers – has the most equitable revenue sharing system of the major sports leagues. Billions of television dollars are shared equally, meaning that the Packers (city population: 100,000) receive the same amount as the Giants and Jets (city population: 8
My friend Eric recently told me about the stream of women–average age 55–who have been sharing his bed since his divorce. “I’ve never had so many one-night stands in my life,” he said wonderingly.
For someone who came of age in the seventies, that’s a big statement. I’ve been thinking about why (other than his irresistable mojo) so many people are jumping in the sack with
In a recent post, I introduced you to my “Law of Human Inertia”: the tendency of people, having once established a life trajectory, to continue on that course unless acted on by a greater force. In this post, I want to explore the forces that drive our life inertia. Many of us wonder what propels us down the paths of our lives, why we go in the directions that we go. I believe there are four major forces — needs, self-esteem, ownership and emotions — that govern the direction of our lives.
The good news is that if we are aware of the four forces and understand them, we can take
control of those forces and, in turn, our
I trust you know what “they” say about opinions: everybody has one. Just like everybody has a… well, you know what they say.
But when it comes to policies with the potential to impact the health of the population, we should generally aim to do better than opinion. Invariably, I have mine — but I don’t consider it a better basis for policy than anybody
Advent is a season in the Christian year, a time when people prepare for a deeper celebration of Christmas. Occupy Wall Street is a protest movement, an occasion for people to camp out in public parks in order to draw attention to economic injustice. People celebrate Advent by lighting candles, singing special hymns, and praying. People in OWS hold up placards, give unamplified speeches, and, increasingly, get arrested.
So what, you might wonder, do Advent and Occupy Wall Street have in common? They share a conviction that something is profoundly wrong with our
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If there is something I pride myself on it is my work ethic. The importance of hard work is something that was instilled in me by my parents who sometimes worked multiple jobs each to feed our family of six.
In college, I, too, worked three jobs to make ends meet. I wrote articles for two weekly newspapers, answered phones at my school and worked as a
I have not visited Argentina, my country of origin, for a few years. When I immigrated to NY, I used to visit more frequently. But then the routine and the business responsibilities made it almost impossible. This time two and a half years went
Goodbye, My Friend…
At first, I wanted to write an obituary for my friend Dobie Gray who passed away last week after losing his battle with cancer, that news breaking on December 6. Instead, I decided to share a few mainly professional memories of the man who introduced two amazing hits into pop culture–”The ‘In’ Crowd,” and, of course, one of the most memorable recordings of the seventies, “Drift Away.” Additionally, he was in the 1970 production of Hair, was managed briefly by The Beverly Hillbillies’ “Jethro” (Max Baer, Jr.) while in the psychedelic rock group Pollution, was one of the first African-Americans to sing at the Grand Ol’ Opry, and his original compositions were recorded by the likes of Ray Charles, John Denver, Johnny Mathis, Charley Pride, Don Williams, Etta James, Julio Iglesias, and George Jones. And though a couple of generations only may remember “Drift Away” as a hit by Uncle Kracker, Dobie’s vocals on that track are its highlights, elevating the recording to soulful pop.
My association with the artist began when I worked at the up-and-coming New York label Razor & Tie. Laurence Darrow Brown–dubbed “Dobie” Gray by Sonny Bono, a rip from the TV sitcom The Many Loves Of Dobie Gillis–contacted one of the company’s owners, Cliff Chenfeld, to license his re-recorded hits collection, something the label wasn’t keen on since we were all such music geeks happily fixated on original
With the Iowa Caucuses little more than two weeks away the two Republican frontrunners are now in a slugfest. Former House Speaker Newt Gingrich has surged into the lead in several state polls, including Iowa, Florida and South Carolina, leaving Former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney rattled.
Now Romney is sounding more desperate and flustered. In Saturday night’s Republican debate Romney inexplicably offered to bet Texas Governor Rick Perry $10,000 that he was misrepresenting Romney’s position on individual mandates, which are part of Romneycare. While that is a substantial amount of money for most Iowans, it is not for multimillionaire Mitt
There’s hope, and then there’s desperation. Often I am not sure which one is pushing me more: the feeling that with each year my 9-year-old daughter Emma grows older, the farther she is from her neuro-typical peers, or the knowledge that others have progressed and come so far, therefore so shall she with various interventions.
At what point does hope turn into desperation? At what point do you say, “Okay, this is crazy, let’s stick with what we know works and stop pursuing the next treatment option.” How do you quell that irritating voice that is always urging you on? Or am I being presumptuous? Perhaps that voice is my voice and not shared. I always look to the couple of parents I know whose children with autism have made massive leaps in
The BeetTV Special The Root to CES a Live Webcast w Adobe Akamai Boxee Digitas CNET LG NPD and Verizon
Please join Beet.TV on Wednesday, December 14 at 2:00 p.m. ET for a 90-minute Webcast about digital media, devices and a preview of things to come at CES.
read full news from www.huffingtonpost.com
THE CHALLENGE: We invite retention problems, loss of market share, and loss of good will when we consistently ignore big problems that gall our consumers… and assume that they must be wrong when they complain.
Although this challenge affects all marketers in all industries, I want to illustrate how important it is by looking at an industry that everyone is familiar with, as a consumer: The airline industry.
A “BIG” PROBLEM IN THE SKIES
Most U.S. air carriers, though, simply don’t care. Most airlines start from the assumption that customers who complain about this are probably
Once upon a time, Research in Motion was the world’s leading smartphone company. Armies of executives were loyal to their “crackberries.” It had a stock price that wouldn’t quit.
Fast-forward a few years and its failed tablet has caused RIM to miss its third-quarter revenue target. It’s been weighed down by lengthy network outages. Legions of people are ditching BBMs for iMessages and abandoning BlackBerry keyboards for Android
The 17th Conference of the Parties (COP-17) of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) adjourned on Sunday, a day and a half after its scheduled close, and in the process once again pulled a rabbit out of the hat by saving the talks from complete collapse (which appeared possible just a few days earlier). But was this a success?
The Durban Outcome in a Nutshell
The outcome of COP-17 includes three major elements: some potentially important elaborations on various components of the Cancun Agreements; a second five-year commitment period for the Kyoto Protocol; and (read this carefully) a non-binding agreement to reach an agreement by 2015 that will bring all countries under the same legal regime by 2020.
Is This a Success?
If by “success” in Durban, one means solving the climate problem, the answer is obviously “not close.”
Indeed, if by “success” one meant just putting the world on a path to solve the climate problem, the answer would still have to be “no.”
But, I’ve argued previously — including in my pre-Durban essay last month — that such definitions of success are fundamentally inappropriate for judging the international negotiations on the exceptionally challenging, long-term problem of global climate change.
The key question, at this point, is whether the Durban outcome has put the world in a place and on a trajectory whereby it is more likely than it was previously to establish a sound foundation for meaningful long-term action.
I don’t think the answer to that question is at all obvious, but having read carefully the agreements that were reached in Durban, and having reflected on their collective implications for meaningful long-term action, I am inclined to focus on “the half-full glass of water.” My conclusion is that the talks — as a result of last-minute negotiations — advanced international discussions in a positive direction and have increased the likelihood of meaningful long-term action. Why do I say this?
The Significance of Durban
Let’s look at the three major elements of the Durban outcome.
1. Putting More Flesh on the Bones of the Cancun Agreements
First, the delegates agreed to a set of potentially important details on various components of the Cancun
In a sleepy corner of Costa Rica there’s a very peculiar sanctuary. The only one in the world devoted to saving orphaned and injured sloths.
For the past year I’ve been making a documentary about this curious place and it’s somnolent residents. It premiers this Saturday December 17th at 8pm EST on Animal
“What’s happened to the American deal that says, you know, we are focused on building a strong middle class? That is not a left or right position. That is an American position.”
That was Barack Obama on this week’s 60 Minutes. He went on to add:
I couldn’t agree more. In fact, that’s practically been the theme song of this site for the last few
Recent reports reveal that: GOP Presidential candidate Newt Gingrich received nearly $2 million for activities (not technically within the definition for lobbying) resembling lobbying, and former GOP Congressman Tauzin — the country’s highest paid lobbyist — received $11.6 million.
With rare bi-partisan consensus, all members of Congress assure their constituents that money spent lobbying them and campaign contributions to their campaigns does not influence their judgment. Yet, despite these assurances, 75% of all Americans believe money influences Congress.
Several recent academic studies support the public’s concern:
Tax Benefits: Recent research shows that, in expectation for every $1 a firm spends to lobby for targeted tax benefits, the benefit is between 6x and 21x. (See 1;2 below.)
Improved Cash Flows: On average, and controlling for other factors, firms that engaged in lobbying received more generous depreciation treatment. (2)
Increased Market Value: Another study demonstrates that firms which lobby ‘significantly outperform non-lobbying firms with respect to increased market value of
“What makes a test feel like an interesting challenge rather than an anxiety-provoking assault?”
This was the question posed by Elisabeth Rosenthal, in “Testing, The Chinese Way,” an article that appeared about a year ago in the New York Times’ Week in Review. In it, she described the experiences of her young children as students at the International School of Beijing. Beginning as early as kindergarten, children in China (Rosenthal’s included) take frequent quizzes and exams, and she noted that by and large her children did not find this constant testing anxiety-provoking, even when they performed poorly.
Americans, on the other hand, have traditionally been philosophically opposed to too much testing, particularly of very young children, on the grounds that it adds unnecessary pressure to the educational environment. Many fear that testing can create debilitating failure experiences that permanently shape a young child’s view of
It’s fitting that my most recent column was about hate mail, because I have been warned by colleagues and friends that I will most likely be inundated with it for publishing today’s column, but since I am a glutton for punishment, here goes.
Though a few have done it, I don’t have a single female friend who thinks that drinking to the point of blacking out, passing out or being close to doing both, is necessarily a healthy or safe thing to do — for a variety of reasons. We could stumble into the street and get hit by a car, or trip and fall and be severely injured, or pass out in the cold and freeze to death. (All of the aforementioned incidents have happened to various members of both genders in states of extreme intoxication, including a member of a famous political family.)
Yet if I type the sentence “And we could also find ourselves at a greater risk for sexual assault,” it’s been made pretty clear to me that I may just have my official feminist card revoked from the powers that