Tuesday, January 31, 2012

American Jobs in a "Made In The World" Era

I watched a good NBC Rock Center segment last night about returning jobs to America. A furniture company in Lincolnton, NC, started in the 1930s and closed in the 1980s, has reopened. The owner, the son of the founder, is beginning to be able to competitively manufacture furniture in America again. His decision is based on competitive labor costs with China, no shipping costs, higher productivity of American workers, and the high quality furniture he can manufacture. Seems the increasing cost of doing business in China, from labor to shipping, may be making it worthwhile to consider returning to America.

This is great news. But Thomas Friedman reminds us in today's piece that we live in a "world market" and that we are "citizens of the world." He says, "CEOs rarely talk about "outsourcing these days. Their world is so integrated that there is no "out" and no "in" anymore. They see more of their products today as "Made In the World" not "Made In America". Many of "our" companies see themselves as "citizens of the world".

The whole concept of "import " and "export" no longer applies. "Source everywhere, manufacture everywhere, sell everywhere." This is the reality. Friedman says, "Politicians see the world as blocks of voters living in specific geographies - and they see their job as maximizing the economic benefits for the voters in their geography. Many CEOs though, increasingly see the world as a place where their products can be made anywhere and sold everywhere. "

The job of a CEO is to maximize shareholder value. The job of an America leader or politician is to meet to needs of their constituency's. This leads to tension, frustration, and confusion. This is the world in which we live. Maybe to furniture CEO in Lincolnton is the tip of another change about to come in a very fluid world.

Sunday, January 29, 2012

1957 NCAA Basketball National (Undefeated) Champs

Here are a couple of cool mid-winter photos as I count the days to a March trip to baseball Spring Training. In 1957, the early years of television, the UNC basketball team made the trip to Kansas City, Missouri to play the University of Kansas for the NCAA National Basketball Championship.

The game was televised and nearly everyone in North Carolina, who could find a TV, watched. The all-white UNC team (well before team sports integration in the South) went up against a Kansas team led by a 7' 2" African American player. His name was Wilt Chamberlain. The game went into triple overtime. Carolina won 54-53 and remained undefeated with a 32-0 record. I sat on the floor right in front of our black and white TV and enjoyed every minute of a thriller.

Walt Chamberlain was named the tournament's Most Valuable Player, went on to once score 100 points in an NBA game, and became a 20th century American sports icon. He is pictured above on the move.

The UNC team was led by the legendary Frank McGuire. The team is pictured above with Coach McGuire: Lennie Rosenbluth - Captain (upper right), 6' 8" Joe Quigg (next to Rosenbluth; he had dubious task of matching up against Chamberlain at center), Pete Brennan, Tommy Kearns, and Bobby Cummingham.

Picture of the Day

This is a great middle of the winter picture. These guys played at UNC when I was in college (late '60s). On left is Dick Grubar. Dick came to UNC from upstate New York and upon graduation came to work in Greensboro for Weaver Corp. and has remained here. He has been very active in the community, having served on the City Council. I see him at the gym regularly.

In the middle is legendary Charlie Scott. Charlie was the first black basketball player at UNC. Like all trailblazers, I am certain he had to withstand many injustices. He was a great player and person. On the right is Rusty Clark, 6'10" center from Fayetteville. Good memories.

This picture was taken after they won a Final Four game in Los Angeles in 1968.

Saturday, January 28, 2012

Fox News and a Devastating Strategy for the GOP

Here is such an insightful piece about how Fox News is having a very devastating effect on the Republican Party.

Media Matters points out, "Fox News isn't simple offering a different take on today's events, innocently providing a Republican-leaning view on today's news. It is leading an exhausting, day-in and day-out attack campaign on President Obama, Democrats, and their liberal allies. (Real or imagined). It's relentless, paranoid campaign falls well outside the mainstream of American politics, which is why the Republican campaign season, so proudly sponsored by the Fox News, is shaping up to be such an embarressment."

My theory as to why Fox News and Roger Ailes are so heavily vested in this hateful slant is that they are attempting to retain the far right-wing audience they have captured. They know they are not going to attract middle-of-the-road, mainstream news consumers. If they deviate from the right-wing attack mode, they risk losing some their current right-wing marketshare. So they continue using the right-wing of the Republican Party for the economic gain of their shareholders. Simple..........and terribly, grossly unpatriotic.

I hope you will read the interesting piece from Media Matters (the link is embedded in the first sentence above). It's important.

Friday, January 27, 2012

Picture of the Day

"Ask not............". He was the very definition of charisma........ Camelot...... the 35th President. He was the youngest to be elected to the office, age 43, the first person to be elected President who was born in the 20th century. He is one of those eternal American icons for whom a name will never be needed to identify. He ushered in such renewal, and such hope, for a new, more just America.

He was tragically, and unbelievably, assassinated on November 22, 1963 in Dallas, Texas, under circumstances which remain a subject of great mystery, controversy, suspicion, contemplation, and study.

Thursday, January 26, 2012

Robert F. Kennedy

"I thought they would get one of us, but Jack, after all he's been through, never worried about it. I thought it would be me."

"Let us dedicate ourselves to what the Greeks wrote so long ago: to tame the savageness of man and make gentle the life of this world."

"Few of us have the greatness to bend history itself; but each of us can work to change a small portion of events; and all in the total; and all of those acts will be written the history of this generation."

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Obama Favorability Soars While Republicans Stumble

A new ABC News/Washington Post poll indicates that President Obama has gained a net 11 points in favorability in the past month while Gingrich and Romney has lost 9 and 23 points respectively.

This poll was conducted prior to Tuesday night's State of the Union address. A CBS News poll indicates that 9 0f 10 American who viewed the address approved of the proposals presented in the speech. Of those who viewed, 91% approved of the speech and 9% disapproved. Last year 83% approved.

It is obviously early. The improving economy and the President's focus on jobs, the middle class, and fairness in tax policy seems to be meeting with approval. The Republicans do not seem to be helping their image with the very negative, mean-spirited campaign they have begun.

Stay tuned for a long campaign season. This election could not be more important, and the two visions for America offered by the two parties could not be more clear, distinct, and different. Early on, Barack Obama seems to be positioning himself well for a second term.

The 2012 Presidential Campaign - Game On

I suppose the 2012 Presidential campaign is under way. Here is a pretty cool site I ran across.

There will be alot to process between now and November. This site is a clever little reminder of some Obama initiatives.

Sunday, January 22, 2012

Picture of the Day

Such an extraordinary colorized photograph of such an extraordinary President Lincoln.

An Old Soldier Reflects

July, 1913, an old soldier reflects at the Battle of Gettysburg 50-Year Reunion.

Some Great Vintage Photos Colorized

Friday, January 20, 2012

Thought for the Day

Pretty cool Twain thought. That second day can be very difficult to discern, but very cool and important thought.

Who Will It Be For The GOP

Here is another cartoon for the morning. As indicated by the old car, the GOP seems to be taking the nation backwards, and, considering their chances against a broad-based Democratic incumbent nominee in Barack Obama, it probably doesn't not matter who drives the car, the President appears to be the odds on favorite for re-election.

As those who follow my blog can fairly easily discern, I am supportive of the President. I am also becoming very concerned with the tone of Newt Gingrich's campaign and his increasing support among Republicans. He is a very harsh, bitter, mean-spirited candidate. He does not reflect the goodness and the values of the American people. He would not at all well represent our values on the world stage. We are not electing a harsh, condescending debater-in-chief .

Mitt Romney appears to be a solid, steady, bright, very Presidential candidate. Although I have policy differences with him, I could certainly be supportive of him if he were elected President. Very conservative Republicans, due to their very narrow, rigid view of the world, are having problems supporting a more moderate Republican. His appeal to independents, an important segment of the electorate, makes him an attractive option for mainstream Republicans who clearly understand the process.

On Saturday, I will be in Columbia for the South Carolina primary and for a Romney election night party. My son is on Governor Haley's senior staff and he his very involved in the process. I will be there primarily to spend the day and night with Rob, but the visit will afford me the opportunity to see the process up close and be apart of the excitement associated with a very important phase of our democratic process. All of the candidate's will be in town, as well as press from literally around the world.

Saturday's result will go a long way to determining who will take the wheel of the old car in the cartoon above for the 2012 GOP. For the sake of our system, it is my hope the the GOP takes a turn in the old car that better reflects the more positive, good attributes of the American people.....as referenced in Lincoln's first inaugural address, "the better angels of our nature."

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Picture of the Day

A cute cartoon from today's paper about Governor Romney and his disclosure that he pays around 15% in federal tax on the basis that most of his income is capital gains. And, of course, his widely talked about $15,000 bet challenge to Rick Perry in one of the debates.

Romney, actually a good candidate in a year when the GOP field is quite weak, is coming under increasing attack as we approach Saturday's important South Carolina primary. We are hearing about his off-shore bank accounts, his failure to release his tax returns, his millions of dollars in contributions to the Mormon church, his 15% effective tax rate, on and on.

Look to hear much more about Bain Capital and leveraged buy-outs during the general election, much more than you would ever want to know about either of them.

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Picture of the Day

1942 -- Director Michael Curtiz, Humphrey Bogart, and Ingrid Bergman filming "Casablanca"........at the top of most 'greatest all-time movie' lists.

Happy Birthday Champ

Happy 70th Birthday to "The Champ." Ali was "The Greatest." He and Cosell were quite a pair. They helped make each other. They played off one another so well. Ali, among much, was the first media savvy, entertainer/athlete, although Ruth wasn't bad at it.

Ali was controversial. I think that is why I liked him so much. To watch him box in his youth was to watch art, dance, ballet, overwheming power and speed, physical grace. He was a master......"The Greatest."

Regarding Ali and Cosell, Jim Scott, the great local sports historian and announcer, said it so well, "a white guy, a black guy; a Jewish guy, a Muslim; Midtown, Midwest; Cornell, cornfields; somehow they combined to create something even greater than their parts."

Thought for the Day

I like this thought.

Sunday, January 15, 2012

Remembering Dr. King on His 83rd Birthday

Hear a short clip from Dr. King's last speech in Memphis the night before his assassination. I am reminded tonight of the epic struggles of this heroic American, of the fruit of his struggles from which we all benefit, and of one the most profound reminders of all that he lived and helped awaken America...............an African American occupant of the White House. RIP Dr. Martin Luther King.

"Let justice roll down like waters, and righteousness like a mighty stream." ~Amos 5: 24

Saturday, January 14, 2012

Picture of the Day

Great pictures taken at the 2011 Army / Navy game of a gifted, inspiring, uplifting Commander-in-Chief, along with his Vice-President and Dr. Jill Biden.

(Compliments of facebook friend David Winslow).

Quote of the Day

"Before you can win, you have to believe you are worthy." ~ Legendary Chicago Bears Head Coach Mike Ditka.

My guess is you play hard for that face.

Thursday, January 12, 2012

Tim Tebow

The Tim Tebow phenomenon has been interesting to observe and follow in the NFL this year. First of all, he is such a talented, clutch performer. It will be great to follow his career, and that of Cam Newton as well, comparing and contrasting the two of them. It will make for great coffee shop and bar sport's debates.

Secondly, his stats in the first Pittsburgh playoff overtime game were crazy: 316 yards passing, he averaged 31.6 yards per pass, 31.6 million fans watched, and the winning pass to Thomas was a 31.6 yard toss.......wow, now that is eerie. (If you're unfamiliar with John 3:16, his favorite verse, you better read it).

The most interesting dimension to observe about Tebow is, for me, his religious faith and his expression of it (there are alot of good quarterbacks in the NFL). Seldom have we seen a player more committed and expressive in his faith. For me, there are a few questions which come to mind about the whole Tebow phenomenon. They are prompted by some intriguing commentaries I have read, and by my general reflection on the Tebow effect and his religious zeal.

First is the question of the very overt, outward expression of his faith. Jesus, among much, was a quiet Carpenter. While the 'Great Commission' directs us to go out into the world and "tell" or spread the Good News, we can do this by the way in which we conduct our lives, through the actions we take. It does not have to be through symbol, word, or outward expression. I like the Quaker tradition which observes that a person can say all the right words, maintain all the proper traditions, and still lack spiritual depth. Jesus and Paul made similar observations.

Second is the question of whether we should be praying to God to win football games or to complete passes. Fran Tarkenton points out, "I have never understood why God would care who won a game between my team and another. It seemed there were many far more important things going on in the world. There are religious guys on both teams. If God gets credit for the win, does he also take blame for defeat?" For me, it is like praying to make a putt. Please. When I was an athlete in my youth, we always prayed before games. It was a prayer for safety, good sportsmanship on both sides, for strength and courage to be the best we could be, and for the ability, with God's help, to hold our heads high, whatever the outcome of the game.

Lastly, there is the whole question of, what if Tebow were of a religion other than Christianity? What if Tebow were a American Muslim, for instance? There are some in the NFL. How would our society react if during every interview, Tebow said "Insha Allah" rather than thank his Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ? Or instead of falling to one knee and praying, Tebow pulled out a pray rug and faced Mecca? I am pretty sure, and survey's confirm, it would not be very well received.

In 1964, a young boxer named Cassius Clay announced his membership in the Nation of Islam and changed his name to Muhammad Ali. Ali became an outspoken proponent of his American Muslim faith and an activist. In America, the land of diversity and supposed religious freedom, he was vilified for his religious beliefs.......his Islamic belief. Maybe it would be different now, some 45 years later. Let's hope so, but I have my doubts. The confounding question becomes, in America, do we accept freedom of religion or do we accept freedom of Christianity?

I love and revere my Christian faith. I believe in John 3:16. I also hold dear the dignity, freedom, and liberty of all of God's children to express their faith......especially in America. I wish for Tim Tebow a fabulous career. I am happy his faith is prompting thoughtful discussion about faith...... and about America.

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Picture of the Day

I collect old political items. This is a great Williams Jennings Bryan item which I recently purchased. It is from his 1896 campaign for President when he opposed William McKinley. The ribbon is a "Veteran Soldiers Club" item, meaning, of course, it was worn by veterans of the Civil War. The piece shows some wear, but it is a gem.

Bryan was a three-time Democratic candidate for President, 1896, 1900, and 1908. He lost each time. He served as Secretary of State under President Wilson. He may be best known as a great orator. He famously argued in opposition to the Theory of Evolution against Clarence Darrow in the 1925 Scopes "Monkey" Trial in Tennessee.

Monday, January 9, 2012

The Amazing "National Congressional Club"

There had been no organization like it before. Founded and controlled by Jesse Helms and Tom Ellis (they had worked together on the racist Senate campaign of Willis Smith in 1950), it was not a traditional courthouse political machine. It was described as a "state of the art, vast and sophisticated enterprise." One of it's creator's would later boast, "it was the most powerful political machine the South had seen since Louisiana Governor Huey Long's - maybe even greater than the Kingfish's empire."

The National Congressional Club was a high-tech machine, bankrolled by tens of millions of dollars from around the country. Like much of the conservative Republican movement begun in the South in the last quarter of the 20th century, it's ideological basis and foundation was built around a fear of socialism, a fear communism, and a fear of the advancement people of color. In addition, at the heart of the mission and the foundation of the club was the Republican Party "Southern Strategy", which sought to capture the old conservative, George Wallace, Dixiecrat voting block which had traditionally been Democratic in the South dating back to Reconstruction.

Whatever one's view is of the club, it's work, it's objectives, it's basis for existence (I happen to oppose everything it stood for), one must be intrigued and amazed at the imprint it left on North Carolina politics and on America's political landscape during the last quarter of the 20th century.

Here is what the great political reporter, Rob Christensen, said about The National Congressional Club. "The Club not only engineered Helms' reelection in 1978, 1984, and 1990, but it elected John East to the Senate in 1980 and Lauch Faircloth to the Senate in 1992. In the process, it defeated Democrat after Democrat. The Congressional Club handed four-term governor Jim Hunt his only defeat in 1984. It unseated Senator Robert Morgan, a moderate Democrat, and Senator Terry Sanford, a liberal. It scorched the hopes of a white populist, John Ingram, and Harvey Gant, a black candidate.

Christensen continued, "The club became a training ground for a generation of young conservatives - people such as Charles Black, Alex Castallanos, Carter Wrenn, Arthur Finklestein, Richard Viguerie and Ralph Reed - who later ran the campaigns of U. S. presidents as well as those of prime ministers of other countries.

Alex Castallanos said, "Raleigh was the center of 'The Cause.' At the end of the day 'The Cause' helped balance the budget, knock down the Berlin Wall, elect Ronald Reagan President, and make conservatism mainstream. That is where the movement started in America - in Raleigh with Jesse Helms." There is, of course, opposing thought to Castallanos' claims, but he certainly has basis for the claims. To say the The Club was powerful is quite an understatement.

The era of the political machine, the traditional courthouse machine, and the powerful PAC, are waning. That is a good thing. The age of technology, in my view, has better informed and empowered a new generation. May we use this empowerment and knowledge to better ends than alot of our predecessors.

Sunday, January 8, 2012

Separation of Church and State

Worship and living out my faith is an important part of my life. Absolute separation of church and state is a very important concept and principle to me as well, as referred to in the establishment clause of the 1st amendment to the constitution and as confirmed by the U. S. Supreme Court.

American Baptists were among the first to express concern over the issue of separation of church and state. On October 7, 1801, the Danbury Baptist Association of Danbury, Connecticut sent a letter to President Jefferson expressing a concern over the lack, in their state constitution, of explicit protection of religious liberty and against a government establishment of religion. It remains a very important principle to informed, moderate Baptists today.

Above, we see a conservative Republican President confirming his support for separation.

Saturday, January 7, 2012

Picture of the Day

Wonderful image. Humanizes a great President of the United States, Barack Obama. To his left in the Duke cap is his bodyman, Reggie Love, captain of the 2001 Duke NCAA National Championship basketball team.

Friday, January 6, 2012

A North Carolina 20th Century Treasure - Sam J. Ervin

One of the interesting, fascinating contradictions about North Carolina politics revealed in Rob Christensen wonderful book, "The Paradox of North Carolina Politics", is the example of Sam Ervin's life. Born in 1895, Sam was a grand, folksy, charming, intellectual, Harvard educated, constitutional, country lawyer from Morganton, NC.

The following are informative and descriptive quotes which give a flavor and insight into who Sam was and the role he played in North Carolina history and in the history of the United States Senate. I am archiving these quotes, and I hope you find them as intriguing as I do as we attempt to keep this great, legendary, complex, American historical figure's memory alive.

"Ervin's opposition to civil rights protected his political base, enabling him to lead the fight against McCarthyism, to become the Senate's leading civil libertarian, and to investigate the abuses of Watergate. It enabled him to play a significant role in bringing down two major 20th century abusers of political power, Joe McCarthy and Richard Nixon." ~Rob Christensen

"If Senator McCarthy did not believe those things when he said them about the Senate Committee, then there is pretty solid ground to say that he ought to be expelled from the Senate for mental incapacity. On the contrary, if he put those things in there honestly believing them to be true, then he evidently suffered gigantic mental delusions, and it may be argued with much force that he should be expelled from the Senate due to mental difficulty." ~Sam J. Ervin, on 'Meet The Press', going after McCarthy for trying to intimidate the Senate committee investigating him.

"Sam is the only man we could have picked on either side of the aisle who would have the respect of the Senate as a whole." ~Senate Majority Leader Mike Mansfield, on Sam's appointment as Chairman of Senate Watergate Committee.

"In pursuing its task, it is clear that the committee will be dealing with the workings of a Democratic process under which we operate in a nation that still is the last, best hope of mankind in his eternal struggle to govern himself decently and effectively." ~Sam J. Ervin, speaking of the task of the Watergate Committee.

"He brought the stern values of another age into the latter half of the twentieth century at a time when unprincipled men had been permitted to flourish by chicanery and the arrogant abuse of power. He found that those older values were more valued than ever during the Watergate era and that people like himself, who were schooled in them, were in great demand. Many in the nation reached out for his guidance and in doing so reached out for the guidance of the Founding Fathers." ~Paul R. Clancy, Sam's biographer.

The evidence thus far introduced before this committee tends to show that men upon whom fortune had smiled benevolently and who possessed great financial power, and great governmental power; undertook to nullify the laws of man and the laws of God for the purpose of gaining what history will call a very temporary political advantage." ~Sam J. Ervin, referring to Watergate.

(Pictured above is an image from the "Watergate Hearings". North Carolina's Rufus Edminston is in back left, Sen. Howard Barker is front left, and Committee Counsel Sam Dash is on the right).

Thursday, January 5, 2012

"Dr. Frank"

I would never suppose to discuss or write very much about the legendary life the great Dr. Frank Porter Graham. I certainly did not know him. You can google him, read his great biography by Warren Ashby, or read what others have written about him, like William Friday.

But I have never known of a North Carolina public figure who was talked about in such endearing, almost reverent ways. I suppose Dr. Billy Graham (no kin, of course) would rival him in that regard, but you would expect to hear such of Billy.

I will share this one descriptive passage I ran across recently by William Snider, former Executive Editor of the Greensboro News and Record, and a student of Dr. Graham. This concise statement says so much about Dr. Graham, in the way you hear so many others express similar affection and admiration:

"Charm of personality was inadequate to describe it. Built into Graham was a certain ironclad goodness, not puritanical nor sanctimonious, which stirred men and women to strive to be better than they were. He was a rumpled suited little man with crinkly, smiling eyes, and a bottomless faith in God's love and in man's potential."

I hope we have some Dr. Frank Porter Graham's walking among us today. I believe we do. Goodness such as Dr. Graham possessed certainly was contagious. It has withstood time and flourishes among those influenced by his admirers and followers.

Dr. Graham is pictured above with a great admirer and student at UNC during Dr. Graham's tenure as University President, the late, legendary CBS New journalist, Charles Kuralt.

Reflective Time

The New Year is a reflective time. Good sound from the boys from Liverpool.

Elizabeth Cotton - "Freight Train"


Legendary American blues and folk musician, and songwriter, Elizabeth Cotton, performs her signature piece, "Freight Train." She wrote the song when she was 11.

Ms. Cotton grew up in Chapel Hill, NC, and she died in 1987, at the age of 102. Her song "Freight Train" was picked up and performed by Peter, Paul, and Mary, Jerry Gracia, Bob Dylan, Joan Baez, Pete Seeger, and others.

The piece was posted on facebook by my musician friend and Greensboro native, Bruce Piephoff. It's always the simplest of things which touch and awaken the spirit.

Picture of the Day

Five Points in Atlanta in 1925.

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

GOP Politics Are Heating Up......"Call Me Crazy"

As we watch the GOP primary process play out mostly on the fringes and the extremes, with the possible exception of Mitt Romney, call me crazy, but I continue to be a mainstream American looking for reasonable, moderate solutions to problems, solutions which serve the interests of a wide range of Americans. This GOP primary campaign is unprecedented in so many ways, and is in no way related to serving the interests of a wide range of Americans.

Rick Santorum has surfaced as an alternative for those conservative Republicans having problems galvanizing behind a more moderate Mitt Romney. But politics is full of contradictions. South Carolina Governor Nikki Haley, a Tea Party-made conservative Southern Governor, has endorsed Romney and will be campaigning with him in New Hampshire this weekend. In addition, John McCain is in New Hampshire to endorse Romney today.

Newt Gingrich is still the wild card. He appears intent, if nothing else, on trying to keep the nomination from Romney at this point. Ron Paul is just an odd, radical phenomenon who has struck a libertarian chord with young voters and those who pay little attention to public affairs. Paul supporters seem to have little understanding of the importance of America's proper positioning on both domestic economic issues and for foreign challenges.

The thing to watch, at this point, will be the South Carolina primary. This will be the last chance for the conservatives to disrupt Romney's accent to the GOP nomination. Three wins in a row would "lock it" for Romney. Look for a tremendous expenditure of money in South Carolina, money coming in from conservative interests all over the country, on very negative ads against Romney. Do not be surprised to hear outrageous allegations being made, push-polling being conducted, and scare tactics being employed regarding his Mormon faith.

Also, look for Democrats to begin negative ad attacks against Romney as well. It will be an onslaught. South Carolina is the perfect place for the conservative wing of the GOP to wage a one last effort to derail Romney. South Carolina is the modern day birthplace of negative campaigning, via the late Lee Atwater, the father of the Willie Horton ad. It will likely be ugly, in the beautiful Palmetto State, over next 15 days.

As a mainstream, moderate bystander......(call me crazy)..... I will be closely observing events with great interest.....events which have major historical consequences.

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Mitt Signs Massachusetts Universal Health Care Bill - 2006

Well, during the general election, without question, as Ricky Ricardo would say, Mitt is going to have some "splainin" to do.

Tonight with the Iowa caucuses, the 2012 presidential nomination process is unofficially kicked off. I really enjoy following the process and it is critically important in my view. My son is involved in the process at the very highest levels. That makes it even more interesting for me to stay close to.

On the national health insurance reform discussion, I continue to think Mitt had it right in Massachusetts. Universal coverage is critical, and the individual mandate is critical to achieving the universal coverage. I have been in the health insurance / managed care business for over 3o years. The health care delivery system in America is clearly broken and the President's Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act of 2010 (known as 'Obamacare' to opponents of it) is a very good start in my view.

We will see how the election season goes. My guess is you'll see the photo above quite a few times during the general election.

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