Wednesday, August 30, 2006

Our Next President Should Be ...

It’s coming upon that time again when we need to start thinking about who the next president will be.

Sure, the election is two years away, but that’s not stopping politicians like Hillary Clinton, John McCain and Rudy Giuliani, as well as a few others, from jockeying for position. Fund raising dinners are being held and top political consultants are choosing which campaign to milk for every last dime.

In more sober quarters of the American electorate, people will soon be asking, given the challenges that the United States faces today, who’s the best person for president?

After eight years of George W. Bush, I say we need someone – who at the very least – can speak English. And not just speak English – actually enunciate and have command of the language.

And, as always, given these treacherous times, we need someone with experience in foreign affairs.

And, finally, we need someone who can effectively straddle both the Democrats and the Republicans so they can meet the difficult tasks ahead of them.

So who is the best candidate for this difficult, thankless and often unforgiving job?

Tony Blair!

Yes, that’s right, the British Prime Minister should be elected president of the United States in 2008 because he’s the most qualified candidate for the job.

Blair has everything going for him: Executive experience and knowledge of foreign affairs because, well you know, he’s a foreigner. He’s basically a centrist when it comes to his politics, and he speaks English fluently but with a British accent, which would be a nice touch after eight years of mumbo-jumbo Texan.

Now, of course, there are those who will argue we can’t possibly elect Tony Blair as president because, even if he becomes a naturalized citizen, he’ll never be a native-born American, a key qualifier for the job of president, as laid out in the United States Constitution.

That’s strictly a technicality, I say, that should be overlooked. After all, our first 10 or 11 presidents weren’t native-born Americans – and the nation survived them. Yes, George Washington was born in Virginia, but he was born there when it was ruled by the British crown, effectively making him and a number of his successors native-born British subjects.

And, yet, no one ever accused George Washington of confusing his loyalties. So if George Washington could keep his allegiances straight more than 200 years ago, Tony Blair can certainly do the same two years from now.

So join me in voting for Tony Blair for president in 2008. He’s the best candidate for the job.

Monday, August 28, 2006

The fate of Knight Ridder

Please, God, don’t let anyone feel any sympathy for Tony Ridder, Knight-Ridder’s former chief executive officer. The demise of his company was written up in yesterday’s New York Times.

Perhaps it’s a shame that Tony lost his job, but keep in mind that he never winced once – well, maybe he did a few times – for the people whose jobs he eliminated or fired during his tenure running the company.

When he did eliminate jobs, he did it with the understanding that he was ridding Knight Ridder of people who had failed or were redundant. And so what happened to Mr. Ridder when he lost his company was nothing more than the business cycle getting even with him. Or, as the adage goes, what comes around goes around.

Where Mr. Ridder failed was capturing Wall Street’s imagination. Yes, Knight Ridder published fine newspapers and, yes, they even had Web sites. And, yes, Knight Ridder even owned a third of Career Builder. But so what said Wall Street. The only initiative the print editions had shown for the last five years was how small they could be.

He didn’t try anything dynamic with his print products. He simply managed them as a lean as possible so he could extract as many profits as possible. That, apparently, was supposed to keep Wall Street and his institutional investors happy.

Well, it didn’t. Knight Ridder’s single, largest shareholder was upset with the results, forcing the company to be sold to McClatchy. In other words, Tony was fired because Bruce Sherman, his largest shareholder, thought someone else could do a better job.

Besides being unemployed, Tony is counting his millions. The word was he grossed around $80 million as a result of the sale. What’s that after taxes and fees? $30 million? There are a number of people who’d sign up for that deal – lose the job but receive multiple millions as they walk out the door.

Had Tony tried something dynamic – like turn The Philadelphia Inquirer into a tabloid newspaper – he just might be sitting in his office today in San Jose, California. He could’ve killed off The Philadelphia Daily News and converted the highbrow Inquirer into a tabloid along the same lines as The Times of London.

Yes, it’s hard to say if this would have worked. But by doing something like this, he would have at least shown that he was prepared to take a risk in an attempt to make one of his finest print products healthy.

But he couldn’t be bothered. Instead, it was business as usual at Knight Ridder – sell ads, write stories, put things up on Web sites and, then, when the results he didn't like materialized, cut some more.

Tony, you earned your fate.

Thursday, August 24, 2006

Saving the Country

After Al-Qaida, the next greatest threat to the United States, as President Bush sees it, is the potential downfall of traditional marriage. It’s under siege, taking fire from people who want to see it changed.

Fueling this assault is the fact that heterosexuals are divorcing in droves and gays want to get married. Nothing could be worse for the country, says the President. And it begs the question, how can we save marriage before it becomes irrelevant or, worse, obsolete?

Well, let’s take a look at the current state of traditional marriage. According to the Centers for Disease Control, about 2.2 million marriage ceremonies are performed annually. And every
year, the Census Bureau reports, there are about one million divorces.

There’s always lots of speculation as to why people divorce but the reasons likely include infidelity, falling out of love, boredom, lack of communication, and the arrival of children.

The only thing that’s surprising about the debate on gay marriage is why so many gays want to get married in the first place. If you’re gay, take a good look at the nearest married, heterosexual man. Nowhere will you find a more sexually frustrated human being. Consider
that before you run off to the altar or join the protests to legalize gay marriage.

Your average married heterosexual man is sexually stifled because his wife works, in or out of the home, and her headaches increased exponentially since the day they lucky couple said, “I
do,” meaning he’s not getting, well you know, as often as he’d like. In addition, if they’re blessed with children, matters have only become worse. Colds, homework, play dates have
taken their toll on the romance.

That said, traditional marriage provides a man and woman with a stable home life and also ties them to one another emotionally, financially and, sometimes, physically; and, also, each spouse
knows who’s parenting the offspring produced as result of this union.

But, let’s face it, there’s a nagging strain on marriage, and it’s called monogamy. Who doesn’t want to have a quick fling? It’s not like you want to leave your spouse, you just want to check out, as the song goes, the fruits of another.

And now there’s a University of California-Santa Barbara study reporting that women want different kinds of men in their lives. They want a testosterone-filled guy for a “short-term” relationship, which likely means something quick and physical; but they also want, for the long term, a nurturing guy who will father their children and assist in their upbringing.

If my wife had her druthers, she’d marry four different men. She’d marry testosterone-filled
guy for the great nookie; she’d continue with me because I’m the father of her children; she’d also marry a handyman to do all of those household projects that usually cost a hefty buck when I call the local professional to handle the job; and last but not least, she’d marry a younger man to make her feel attractive and desirable as she advances toward middle age.

So what’s the solution to saving marriage? Polygamy!

The Mormons are onto something. Of course, officially, the Church of Latter Day Saints doesn’t condone polygamy, but let’s consider that polygamy, as it’s currently practiced by rebellious sectors of the Mormon Church, or even in certain parts of the Arab world, recognizes that men have certain desires: They want to fool around. And those Mormons and Arabs are willing to pay a high price for these trysts – they’re prepared to marry these women.

We just need to Americanize polygamy by making sure it meets all of today’s civil rights requirements. That means that federal legislation needs to be passed giving women the right to practice polygamy with as many husbands as they want; for that matter, guys should also be
able practice polygamy with as many wives as they’d like.

I see no reason why we can’t let gays in on this practice. If gay men and gay women want more than one husband and wife, power to them. I’m still not sure about the bisexuals. We’ll need to
convene a Congressional task force to consider that one.

Polygamy is the only rational way to save marriage and rid the United States of this pending threat. Both men and women will attain a higher level of satisfaction within marriage, and
polygamy should bring us closer to our Arab brethren, thereby improving national security.

If you're curious as to what affect, if any, polygamy has on children. Well, over the weekend, in Salt Lake City -- where else! -- there was a protest on behalf of polygamy by the children from these unions.

As for the political landscape, polygamy promotes marriage – something that should make
President Bush and his band of Republicans happy – and it allows a certain amount of sexual
variety within the confines of a committed relationship. I see no reason why the Democrats should withhold their support for this legislation.

It's great to be here

I go through about five newspapers a day, so it's nice to be able to have my own place in which to tell the world exactly what I think. With any luck, you'll find this blog fun and interesting to read. Thank you for your time.