Friday, September 28, 2007

It's All My Fault, Willie

As you know if you follow baseball (and maybe even if you don't), my New York Mets are on the verge of an historic pennant-race collapse. They held a huge seven-game lead in the National league East two weeks ago, with 17 games left to play. After last night's loss (and the surging Phillies' latest victory), the lead is now completely gone. The Mets and Phils are now tied for first place with three games to go--and the way the Mets have been playing lately, it feels as if they are three games behind already.

I'm ashamed to say that it is all my fault. Two weeks ago, I commented to my son Matt that I had tickets for the Mets-Marlins game on Saturday, September 29. I added, "Who knows? That could be the game when they clinch the division." (I was at Shea on September 17, 1986, when they clinched that division title.)

Matt was quick to disagree. "Nah, they're gonna clinch long before then. They'd have to have a total collapse to not clinch before the 29th."

I thought about it for a moment, then agreed with him. "Yeah, you're right." And then I added--fatally--"No way that's gonna happen."

And now, having suffered the total collapse I agreed was impossible, the Mets have only the slimmest of chances of clinching on the 29th. (To make that happen, the Mets have to win and the Phillies lose twice in a row, which seems about as likely as my being the first blogger to win the Nobel Prize for Literature.)

We fans are a superstititous bunch, but in this case I don't think I am being superstitious. I am convinced it's literally true that my careless words have done in my team. No wonder the Mets aren't going to make it to the World Series this year--it's because I personally don't deserve it!

Labels: , ,

AddThis Social Bookmark Button

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Also Up For Grabs: Amendments I, IV, V, VI, and VIII

I suppose it doesn't matter that the copy of Magna Carta on display at the National Archives is going on the auction block, since we don't seem to be applying it much any more. Perhaps unbeknownst to us the expiration date has passed.

But it is disturbing to learn that we wouldn't have had a copy in the first place if not for Ross Perot. Maybe we should have voted for him after all . . .

Labels: , ,

AddThis Social Bookmark Button

Monday, September 24, 2007

One Silly Speech Has the Defenders of the Free World Quaking

With Ahmadinejad's appearance at Columbia University having supplanted the MoveOn "General Betray-Us" ad as the right wing's latest favorite distraction from the real-world catastrophes they have created, we can look at Anne Applebaum's column in Slate for the strongest (i.e. least mouth-frothing) explanation of why the Iranian dictator's speech in New York was a terrible mistake:
Ahmadinejad's agenda is different . . . from that of the traditional autocrat. His goal is not merely to hold power in Iran through sheer force, or even through a standard 20th-century personality cult. His goal is to undermine the American and Western democracy rhetoric that poses an ideological threat to the Iranian regime. Last winter, when he invited a host of dubious Holocaust-deniers to discuss the Holocaust in Tehran, he claimed it was in order to provide shelter for the West's "dissidents"--that is, for Western thinkers "who cannot express their views freely in Europe about the Holocaust." This week, he declared that his visit to New York will help the American people, who have "suffered in diverse ways and have been deprived of access to accurate information." Thus, the speech at Columbia: Here he is, the allegedly undemocratic Ahmadinejad, taking questions from students! At an American university! Look who's the real democrat now!

This sort of game is both irritating and dangerous, particularly when it is being played by a man whose regime locks up academics for the "crime" of organizing academic conferences and regularly arrests the Iranian equivalent of the students who listened to him speak Monday.
Applebaum's analysis of Ahmadinejad's motives rings true to me, and indeed it is "irritating" to see a theocratic tyrant pose as an avatar of reason and democracy. But why is it "dangerous"? What harm did Ahmadeinejad's speeech do?

Absolutely none that I can see. In fact, inviting this silly man to address an audience of highly intelligent New Yorkers--and letting him experience having his inane remarks greeted by boos and laughter--strikes me as quite a salutary experience for all concerned.

What has happened to this country--the most powerful country on Earth, as we constantly like to boast--that we should be so terrified of mere words from the lips of a tinhorn dictator?

Labels: , , ,

AddThis Social Bookmark Button

Saturday, September 15, 2007

The Hillary Clinton Rorschach Test

So let's say you are Michelle Cottle, a political writer for The New Republic. Let's say you have come up with a new angle on the Hillary Clinton presidential campaign--a story about Patti Solis Doyle, a longtime Clinton friend who now serves as her campaign manager. Doyle is interesting--relatively little known, and also the first Latina ever to run a major national campaign. Great! says your editor. Go for it!

So you do your reporting for the piece. You interview Doyle, a bunch of people who know her, and several people connected with the campaign. Unfortunately, you come up with very little. It turns out that Doyle, like any good campaign manager, wants to keep the spotlight on the candidate rather than herself. So while she is friendly enough, she doesn't give you the kind of juicy inside gossip that more accommodating (read: self-serving) managers might provide. She even asks others connected with the campaign to follow the same strategy. So you get a couple of cute stories and some general descriptions of Doyle's personality and her role in the Clinton entourage, but not much more.

You keep digging. It would be nice if you could at least get hints of some kind of dissension within the campaign. For example, suppose Hillary were some kind of control freak who won't tolerate varying views--and Doyle's job were to ruthlessly stifle any hints of disagreement! That would be a good story. But no. Turns out the campaign actually permits and even encourages open argument about policies. Of course, Hillary makes the final choices, but only after everyone has debated their positions vociferously. Ho-hum. Nothing exciting there.

Still, this is the campaign of Hillary Clinton, who everyone knows is the most divisive, disliked, widely-feared politician in America! There's got to be some way to turn this story into a source of controversy, or (better still) a feeding frenzy among the Hillary-haters on the Sunday talk shows.

Professional that you are, you bend to the task. Racking your brain, you remember an offhand exchange between Doyle and another member of the campaign staff about the last episode of The Sopranos. (They chatted about it just like sixty percent of the population of the United States.) Hmm--maybe something could be made out of that. You free-associate for a while: Tony Soprano . . . the Mafia . . . the Family . . . enforcers and hit men . . . That's it! Fired with inspiration, you sit down at your computer, and you begin to write:
There's something priceless about talking mob hits and snitches (even fictional ones) with Solis Doyle, who has served as Hillary's right-hand woman for the past 16 years. If the infamously close-knit, tight-lipped Clinton campaign is the Washington political equivalent of La Cosa Nostra, Patti, as she's known throughout Hillaryland, is the family's consigliere, its chief enforcer, and its most devoted member. She is also one of its least known. Like her boss, Patti places a high priority on privacy, discretion, and loyalty. Press-averse to the point of hostility, she scorns the Fourth Estate as an irritating distraction and shares her boss's distaste for aides and advisers who chat up reporters in the service of their own reputations. "I hate doing media," she asserts. "I just want to get my work done." . . .

Among Solis Doyle's trickier duties is refereeing the squabbles that staffers say erupt over everything from when to roll out a policy to how strong the language in a speech should be. ("Brothers and sisters fight and fight hard," she shrugs, bowing to the family analogy.) Within the core group on the seven-thirty strategy call each morning--Solis Doyle, Tanden, Ickes, Grunwald, Wolfson, Penn, and Henry--the talents are large, the egos larger, and the debates voluble. (While everyone on this campaign is brilliant, say insiders, not everyone is easy to love.) . . . And it is Solis Doyle's job, say staff, to keep all this self-expression from getting out of hand. For instance? Don't ask. While Team Hillary will discuss campaign business in generalities, requests for detail prompt wandering gazes, backpedaling, professions of bad memory, or flat refusals. Quizzed about Solis Doyle's oft-cited leadership savvy, senior adviser Capricia Marshall, a Hillary loyalist and Patti pal since the 1992 race, laughs. "I can think of a lot of good examples," she admits. "But I don't want to repeat any of them."
Now we're getting somewhere! You toss in a quote from Harold Ickes about how "Patti knows how to read Hillary's moods. She knows how to assess them--when to push certain issues, when to hold back"--which admittedly sounds like something every smart aide-de-camp does for a busy, over-stressed boss, but at least it's something. You add a couple more gratuitous references to the Mafia, slap on a title ("The Enforcer: Hillary Clinton's Consigliere Speaks"), and voila! You've made something out of nothing!

What's amazing is not so much the willingness of The New Republic to print Cottle's concoction as some of the online responses from readers of the piece. People predisposed to consider Hillary sinister, threatening, and evil apparently find confirmation of their views everywhere--even in a virtually fact-free melange of innuendo like Cottle's profile. A few samples:
No HRC-basher here but man, these people are repulsive. Gives you the CREEPs.

Hillary's penchant for secrecy bears an eerie and disquieting resemblance to that of our current incumbent. I've never quite gotten over the remarkable coincidence of the subpoened Rose law firm records magically appearing in the White House days after the Statute of Limitations expired on the alleged acts of misfeasance.

Great, another administration of self-obsessed, egotistical Machiavellians.

The kind of worldview that produces a mindset like the one on display in this Solis woman is not, shall we say, the best one for making wise policy judgments. If the #1 concern behind every single move is neutralizing one's (real or imagined) domestic political enemies, it's hard to see how these people will get out of their little hall of mirrors and see a complex world with clear eyes when it comes time to fix a strategy for Putin, Hu, Ahmadinejad, Pakistan, India, etc.

Good lord, it sounds like it must be a nightmare to work over there. It wasn't just the campaign manager but just how byzantine it sounds . . . look at this statement by Ickes, "Patti knows how to read Hillary's moods. She knows how to assess them--when to push certain issues, when to hold back. Some of the rest of us," Ickes notes wryly, "don't necessarily understand such nuances." This makes Hillary sound like Leona Helmsley. And we want this nightmare why?

("Brothers and sisters fight and fight hard," she shrugs, bowing to the family analogy.) Not when they become adults. I haven't fought with my brothers or sister for decades. Is the Hillary campaign full of arrested adolescents? (By the way, I am not talking about her fundraisers who are just arrested adults.)
I find this absolutely bizarre. A reporter desperate for an angle takes a collection of not-very-remarkable campaign anecdotes and tarts them up with totally irrelevant and unsupported allusions to the Mafia. In response, an array of readers not only seconds the analogy but adds further absurd twists of their own: The fact that Hillary has "moods" (unlike everyone else in the world, apparently) makes her the equivalent of Leona Helmsley. The fact that the policy wonks on Hillary's team argue among themselves makes them "arrested adolescents."

Where does this stuff come from?

It's becoming increasingly clear that, for the mainstream media, Hillary Clinton scarcely exists in her own right. She is solely an inkblot onto which reporters feel free to project whatever fantasies lurk in the most sordid corners of their unconscious. The results are then served up to the nation with the label of "political reporting." And a significant slice of the public is apparently ready to assume that any slurs, however fact-free, that fit the image they've absorbed after fifteen years of partisan Hillary-bashing must be accurate.

Imagine--fourteen more months of this to look forward to.

Labels: , , , ,

AddThis Social Bookmark Button

Forty Years Later, the Times Is Still a Bit Befuddled by the 1960s

Sunday's New York Times (Arts & Leisure section) contains a feature that neatly sums up the middle-class, middlebrow myopia that characterizes the paper. It's an article by Charles Isherwood about the fortieth anniversary of the musical Hair, which is being restaged at the Delacorte Theater next week.

Isherwood describes the history of the show, praises its "musical charm," notes how firmly rooted its lyrics, themes, and tone are in the world of 1967, and otherwise competently sums up Hair's place in the cultural firmament as Times readers are likely to see it. What makes the piece such a perfect reflection of the goofy worldview of the Times is Isherwood's apparent assumption that Hair actually reflected "youth culture" of the rebellious 1960s. Thus, he is baffled by the negative review the show received in The Village Voice (which was then fairly "radical" in its political and cultural sympathies):
Back in 1967 the critic for The Village Voice, a publication you might think would be whole-heartedly supportive of a "tribal love-rock musical," took umbrage at [its] comprehensive "with-it"-ness, writing that the show was "bald opportunism" that "exploits every obvious up-to-date issue--the draft, the war, even negritude--in a crass effort to be both timely and tidy." (Negritude!)
I'm not going to defend that weird word "negritude," which I vaguely recall as reflecting some fleeting political attitude of the moment. But I find it faintly amazing--and actually a little touching--that a writer for the Times should fail to recognize what should have been obvious to anyone under the age of 27 in 1967: that the notion of a Broadway musical supposedly capturing the hippie ethos was just plain silly.

Then as now, the vast majority of Broadway theatre-goers were suburban ladies and their executive husbands. They went to see Hair in the same spirit as midwestern visitors taking tours of the East Village to gawk at black-light poster shops and street-corner incense salesmen from the safety of a double-decker bus. Under the circumstances, the idea that Hair could be anything other than a Disneyesque vision of what a "tribal love-rock musical" would be is obviously comic.

Hair is in fact an interesting cultural artifact--not as a reflection of the youth culture of its time but rather as an example of how actual youth culture got transformed into a sanitary commodity for middle-class consumption, on a par with The Monkees, The Partridge Family, and the long sideburns worn by people like Ed Sullivan and Bob Hope in the 1970s. Recognizing this does not make me particularly sophisticated or "hip"--just one notch more sophisticated than anyone working at the Times.

Labels: , , , ,

AddThis Social Bookmark Button

Thursday, September 13, 2007

"Father Knows Best" Was a Fantasy Even in the 1950s

Over dinner tonight, Mary-Jo told me a little anecdote that I thought was interestingly revealing. As you may know, she works with adolescent patients at a psychiatric hospital.
Mary-Jo: The new guy at work was commenting last week about the kinds of patients he'd been seeing. "I can't believe we have all these kids who are acting out, and almost none who are depressed," he said. I told him, "Just wait till school starts." Sure enough, this week all the depressed kids are being admitted.

Karl: Huh. Why is that? What is it about the school year that brings all the depressed kids to the hospital?

Mary-Jo: It's simple. During the summer holiday, the depressed kids just sit at home in their rooms, quietly plotting how they're going to kill themselves. No one notices they have a problem till they go to school. Then the teachers and counselors get alarmed and send them to us.

Karl: That's kinda weird.

Mary-Jo: Yes, you'd think the parents might notice that their kids are in trouble. But usually they don't. When we ask them about how their kids have been during the summer, they say, "Oh, everything seemed to be fine." And from what I've read, it's the same at every psychiatric hospital--the same ebbs and flows that match the school seasons.
I've written before about the silly smugness of the ultra-conservative "family values" crowd that loves to mock Hillary Clinton's slogan, "It takes a village to raise a child." (Yes, I know Hillary borrowed it from an African proverb. But if Hillary hadn't appropriated the idea, do you think Rick Santorum would have written a book ridiculing it?) These conservatives prefer to insist "It takes a family to raise a child," and they dream of insulating their kids from the evil influences of the world behind a wall that only people like them (in ethnicity, religion, language, and beliefs) and are allowed to enter. Hence the attraction of home-schooling--not for all home-schoolers, but for those who are driven by theocratic motives.

This little story is a perfect illustration of why they're so wrong. The fact is that families alone cannot provide everything that young people need. The average mother and father just don't have the time, the specialized knowledge, or the disinterested wisdom that it would take. In most cases, they can't even tell when their kids are considering suicide. (And let's not even talk about the families that drive their kids to consider suicide.)

If all our kids were "shielded" from the broader society and left exclusively to the tender mercies of their parents, the results would be scary.

Labels: , , , , ,

AddThis Social Bookmark Button

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

The Depressing Inadequacy of Bush's "Scruffy Charms"

The following paragraph from Salon's interview with Bush biographer Robert Draper is getting a lot of pickup around the blogosphere:

And it's amazing to me that people refuse to acknowledge that [George W. Bush] has any gifts at all. But those who are in a room can feel it. And among them is that Bush has a very pungent personality. He has these scruffy charms about him. He doesn't really put on airs. The guy you see is the guy he is, pretty much. Sure, he has a variety of shortcomings, and they've hamstrung his presidency in a variety of ways. But one thing that became meaningful to me in doing that book is that I interviewed people who have been working for Bush over the years--they love this guy. I don't just mean that they admire him. I don't just mean they are in awe of him. I mean they really love him and would take a bullet for him. I've spent a lot of time now with a lot of elected officials and the people who work for them, and you can't always say that about them.
I have no doubt that Bush has a certain degree of personal charm. (As some blog commenter wrote, guys who are both charismatic and nasty aren't that rare--in high school they are known as "bullies.") But I would also remind people (including Mr. Draper) about the strong psychological and emotional appeal that fame, wealth, and power exert.

There are plenty of journalists--including women--who seem to think that men like Henry Kissinger and Fred Thompson are "sexy." And in my work as a business writer I have encountered my share of CEOs who were frankly neither very talented, smart, nor good-hearted and yet were surrounded by devoted followers. When every good thing you enjoy in life, including a generous income, is granted to you based on the whims of a powerful man, it's surprisingly easy to find that man charming--especially if that is how he wants to be perceived.

Let's not forget that Stalin, Hitler, and--yes--Saddam Hussein were loved by their closest associates, too. Bush isn't equivalent to those tyrants . . . but judging a leader by the devotion of his retainers strikes me as a very doubtful enterprise.

There's a second observation Draper makes that I find interesting. He is discussing Bush's well-documented unwillingess to ever admit a mistake:
I think in a way he's like a baseball umpire who feels like if you call a ball a strike, you've got to stick to that. Otherwise people will question you. They will think that your equivocation is a sign of a lack of certainty.
This strikes me as intuitively just right, not least because Bush is a big baseball fan. And it's actually true that baseball umpires are explicitly trained to be forceful and decisive when making a call, especially when the call is a close one. There's even a name for it--"selling the call." The idea is that is you look certain, people will believe you are certain, and they will be more inclined to accept your judgment.

This is a fine psychological tactic when used by baseball umpires. Unfortunately, the job of a president is rather different. The baseball umpire has to make arbitrary, split-second calls and then make them stick, so that the game can continue rather than breaking down into inconclusive squabbling (like the sandlot games we played as kids without an umpire). And, of course, nothing of great moment actually rides on the rightness or wrongness of an umpire's decisions. (Not that I feel that way when a blown call costs my Mets a game.)

By contrast, a president can take his time about making decisions--and when the decisions are crucial, he certainly should. Unlike an umpire, he can consult with advisors and experts before deciding. He can temporize, make tentative choices, and reverse course when events demand--none of which an umpire can do. And because a president is operating in the flow of history, he can learn from mistakes and take steps to rectify any damage he has caused, whereas an umpire who mistakenly calls a runner out can't mend matters by calling the next runner safe.

So for an umpire calling balls and strikes, hiding uncertainty under a mask of self-assurance is a valuable skill. For a president making life-and-death decisions, it's of minimal value--on a par with looking good in a jeans jacket. But since it happens to be one of Bush's most notable talents, it's what he relies on--unhappily for us.

Labels: , , , ,

AddThis Social Bookmark Button

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

When the Stakes Are Life and Death, Your Message Had Better Be Tough

Via Boing Boing, here is a fascinating history of the most controversial--and arguably the most effective--political commercial in history: the 1964 "daisy" ad used by Lyndon Johnson to brand Barry Goldwater as a dangerous kook. If you've never seen the ad (which may be the case with some of our--ahem--younger readers), follow the link and click on the "Daisy: Video" line to watch it; I think it is still chilling after all these years, even with the original Cold War context now ancient history.

One of the beautiful things about this ad was the shrill response it evoked from Republicans around the country--an overreaction that most observers felt helped Johnson and the Democrats. As Bill Moyers, one of LBJ's strategists, wrote in a memo to the president:

It [the ad] caused [Goldwater's] people to start defending him right away. Yesterday [Republican National Committee Chairman] Burch said: "This ad implies that Senator Goldwater is a reckless man and Lyndon Johnson is a careful man." Well, that's exactly what we wanted to imply. And we also hoped someone around Goldwater would say it, not us. They did. Yesterday was spent in trying to show that Goldwater isn't reckless.
And the ad evidently had a real impact on public opinion, both directly and indirectly:
A Harris Poll taken a week after the ad first aired reported that 53% of women and 45% of men believed that Goldwater would involve the United States in a war. The Republican overreaction to the spot and the resulting publicity (the Daisy girl appeared on the cover of Time magazine's September 25, 1964 "Nuclear" issue) almost certainly influenced the polling numbers. Author Theodore H. White summed up the GOP misstep in his election postmortem "The Making of the President 1964": ". . . the shriek of Republican indignation fastened the bomb message on them more tightly than any calculation could have expected."
Furthermore, because of the controversy, the ad--which ran just once as a paid commercial--got played many more times for free on news programs, much like the Republican "swift boat" ads in 2004. Interesting to see that strategy pioneered by tough, assertive Democrats lo these many years ago.
(The sad irony of course is that Johnson, who won the 1964 election in a landslide partly by effectively branding Goldwater as a warmonger, soon lied the US into a needless, self-destructive war in Vietnam--the first of four presidents in my lifetime who clearly deserved impeachment.)

I would love to see Democratic strategists for 2008 go to school on Moyers, Tony Schwartz, Sid Myers, Bill Bernbach, and the other strategists who were responsible for the daisy ad. It's long past time for us to promulgate messages that are as truthfully tough as that. And if the Republicans nominate Rudy Giuliani--a dangerous kook if there ever was one--they are frankly asking for it.

Labels: , , ,

AddThis Social Bookmark Button

Monday, September 10, 2007

Things People Say (2)

A recent story in the Westchester section of the New York Times offers me not one but two opportunities to write a second installment for my series about Things People Say that are very commonplace--but also very dubious. It's a story by local journalist Kate Stone Lombardi (a former neighbor of ours in Chappaqua) about the financial and other problems currently facing Rye Playland.

As you may know, Playland is the only amusement park in the United States that is owned and operated by a government agency--in this case, Westchester County. This makes it mildly controversial, especially in this age of "downsizing" and "small government." And the controversy has become more intense in the wake of three highly-publicized deaths at the park, two involving small children, one a park worker. All three took place since 2004, and lawsuits against the county have been filed by the families of the two children.

Obviously any deaths in an amusement park are awful and tragic, but how bad is Playland's safety track record? I really don't know. Wikipedia says that Disney World in Orlando reported four deaths and nineteen injuries during a single year (2005-2006). Of course, Disney World is much larger than Playland and draws many more visitors, so maybe four is a "reasonable" number for a year's operations. But I suspect that one of the reasons there has been more public outcry over the Playland deaths (at least in the New York area) is the fact that Playland is publicly owned--and doesn't have the P.R. talent and economic clout exercised by the Disney organization in Florida. (Until 2001, Disney was completely exempt from having to report visitor injuries to any government agency.)

Anyway, in Lombardi's article about "troubled, beloved Playland," she offers a couple of good examples of Things People Say that have the ring of "common sense" but deserve to be questioned. The first is a quote from George Oros, Republican minority leader of the Westchester Board of Legislators:
"Recent events have caused people to second-guess whether we should be doing something that is primarily a private venture," he said. "Government shouldn't try to do things that business does, because we aren't equipped to do it and we don't do a very good job of it."
The second example comes from journalist Lombardi herself, summarizing the reasons why "running a contemporary amusement park is an increasingly risky business":
The world has changed greatly since 1928, when the Art Deco park opened with its Japanese Tea House, dance hall and boathouse. Rides are fast-spinning, high-flying and potentially more dangerous. People have become progressively more litigious.
Take Oros's comment first. Thanks to conservative propaganda, it has become a truism that "government shouldn't try to do things that business does." But what exactly is the evidence that government is incapable of running a theme park?

Consider: Most people who have studied the subject consider the National Park Service one of the best-run government agencies in the US; it manages almost 400 recreational sites and serves over 270 million visitors every year.

Of course, an amusement park like Playland isn't "just" a nature preserve--it also has a major technological component, and the rides had better be run competently to keep the kids safe. But government entities all over the US (and elsewhere) operate countless buses, trains, and subways without any complaints that they are incapable of doing so safely.

In reality, there are many, many examples of categories of organizations that have been run successfully by both governments and private businesses, from airlines to hospitals to universities to radio stations to security services. Some are well run, some are not--on either side of the private/public divide. There's simply no basis for saying that "government isn't equipped to do what business does," and asserting this as fact is sheer laziness masquerading as thought.

I judge Ms. Lombardi's remark, "People have become progressively more litigious," less harshly. It may even be true, depending on how you define "people" and "litigiousness."

Those who have actually studied the issue point out that most lawsuits are brought by businesses, not by aggrieved individuals ("people" in the sense Lombardi probably means). And as for the alleged "litigiousness," how exactly would one define "an excessive propensity to file lawsuits," which is what I take the word to mean? If your seven-year-old child gets killed on an amusement park ride, are you being "litigious" if you seek redress in a court of law? Is it historically accurate to assume that "people" wouldn't have sued under the same circumstances in 1975, say, or in 1955? I don't know for sure--but it's far from obvious.

I'm not writing to either defend or attack Playland. Personally I enjoy its old-fashioned, slightly down-at-heels charm, as well as the motley multi-ethnic crowds its attracts on sweltering summer afternoons. I would be sorry to see it close, or to see it taken over by a corporation with more aggressive marketing and profitability goals. But it's wrong for a journalist to off-handedly imply that a publicly-owned park like Playland just doesn't make sense any more, because "people" have supposedly become more "litigious."

I know this is one of those things that has been stated so many times that it's easy to assume it must be true. But that doesn't make it true; and it certainly doesn't make it automatically relevant to every story that refers to a lawsuit.

Labels: , , , ,

AddThis Social Bookmark Button

"Infused with entrepreneurial spirit and the excitement of a worthy challenge."--Publishers Weekly

Read more . . .


What do GE, Pepsi, and Toyota know that Exxon, Wal-Mart, and Hershey don't?  It's sustainability . . . the business secret of the twenty-first century.

Read more . . .