Posts filed under ‘Current Events’

Still Un-Managing

We made a decision some time ago to avoid too many political diatribes on these august (web)pages. I feel compelled to re-enter the fray this one time due to a recent occurrence that brings to mind President Obama’s poor managerial skills.

A friend of President Obama, prominent Harvard professor Henry Louis Gates, was arrested when someone called 911 as he tried to enter his house without a key. He cried racism. Obama commented that he was unaware of the facts of the case, but believed the Cambridge Police acted “stupidly.”

Since then various law enforcement organizations have cried foul, many have vouched for the quality and effectiveness of the arresting officer, and the local district attorney has contemplated releasing recordings that could actually paint Gates in a very poor light if the arresting officer’s assertions are true.

This isn’t the first time that the President has waded into waters far too shallow for his situation. Since his initial poor statements he has made an effort to clarify, but it is still emblematic of his generally poor record on issues that are ultimately inconsequential to the office. I’d worry less if it wasn’t the first time, and I suspect it will not be the last.


July 24, 2009 at 11:56 pm 2 comments

The Lamentations of Lowry – Chapter 16: Truth in Advertising

A woman sued Cap’n Crunch, or rather Quaker Oats, on the basis that Crunchberries are not actual fruit!


The blog I linked to has a fantastic line:

Judge England also noted another federal court had “previously rejected substantially similar claims directed against the packaging of Fruit Loops [sic] cereal, and brought by these same Plaintiff attorneys.”  He found that their attack on “Crunchberries” should fare no better than their prior claims that “Froot Loops” did not contain real froot.

I tried to grow a froot tree once.

On a similar note, this is an interesting article about the history of Grape Nuts, which are neither grape nor nuts. It’s actually…BREAD. Burned, dried, smashed bread. It makes you manly too.

Has Grape Nuts ever been sued as was the Cap’n? I don’t know, but in posing the question on Instapundit, Ann Althouse prompted this historical bit from Eugene Volokh. Coca-Cola was sued for not actually containing significant amounts of coca, as in the plant from which cocaine is derived. From the Circuit Court’s 1914 opinion:

‘The use of a compound name does not necessarily * * * indicate that the article to which the name is applied contains the substances whose names make up the compound. Thus, soda water contains no soda; the butternut contains no butter; cream of tartar contains no cream; nor milk of lime any milk. Grape fruit is not the fruit of the grape; nor is bread fruit the fruit of bread; the pineapple is foreign to both the pine and the apple; and the manufactured food known as Grape Nuts contains neither grapes nor nuts.‘ …

We conclude that the name Coca Cola as applied to plaintiff’s product, while undoubtedly suggestive, is not so substantially and really deceptive as to invalidate the registered mark.

It’s the pause that refreshes.

June 6, 2009 at 11:51 am 1 comment

Staying Classy

On comedian Wanda Sykes stint at the White House Correspondent’s Dinner:

From Deadline Hollywood‘s Nikki Finke:

…I do think her overall performance was inappropriate for the room, and I say that as a liberal Democrat. Sykes herself was prescient when she began her performance with these remarks: “This is truly an honor to be here. It really is. I keep getting asked the same question, ‘Are you nervous? Are you nervous?’ With this administration, what is there to be nervous about? If I do a good job, I get great press. If I screw it up royally, Tim Geithner gives me a bonus.”

Mike Lupica from the New York Post also weighed in.

Isn’t the real issue here one of class? And not upper and lower class, but the class borne of consideration and self-respect.

But we’ve lost that. We’re not even trying, and the media doesn’t care enough to be fair. And society loses.

May 11, 2009 at 2:38 pm 1 comment

The Lamentations of Lowry – Chapter 13: InfoWars!

I just read this post about the rivalry of Billy Mays and Vince Offer. Mays is well known for his enthusiastic pitchman skills and Offer was profiled in an earlier Chapter on this blog.

Vince’s latest success comes from the “SlapChop,” a knockoff of the “Quickchop.” Vince’s product seems superior for the very reason he claims in the video below. We received a QuickChop as a wedding gift but threw it away after a while because it was impossible to clean. The miraculous SlapChop seems to solve that problem.

Whatever the merits of the product, Vince can sell. Watch the pitch if you want- “You’re gonna love my nuts”

Can you possibly think anything but that this infomercial war is good for America? In an age of commodization and consolidation these video warriors may be a YouTube-era VHS and Betamax, battling their way into and out of our homes. In their coming we will find promise and hope. In their going deliveries of Shamwows and Oxy-Clean.

Oh brave new world.

February 12, 2009 at 6:00 pm 2 comments

Whither the Jdon?

Some of our more seasoned readers will remember Jdon. His last post on this blog (almost one year ago!) was a prescient bit of commentary on the candidacy of John McCain. In the immortal words of former Arizona Cardinals coach Dennis Green, “[He is] who we thought [he was].”

Well, since I last saw Jdon in June I’ve been doing some delicate intelligence gathering as to his whereabouts over the last several months. Review the evidence and judge for yourself.

It seems fairly innocent at first. A photo of a performance at Jordan Smith’s wedding. Then a lazy afternoon with the Obama’s…hmmm. Then we see Jdon playing a key role for the National Champion Florida Gators, under a false name, no doubt because he exhausted his NCAA eligibility while playing goalie for BVD Hockey.

The next several photos are disturbing. You see Jdon with then-Governor Blagojevich and Senator Roland Burris. Clearly the contact with Blago was damaging, as the next photo finds Jdon with the Dear Leader, Kim Jong Il.

I demand an accounting from this lost soul. Come home Jdon…come home.

February 4, 2009 at 11:14 am 6 comments

A Tale of Two Six-Year Olds

Rarely do six-year olds make the news. What’s even more rare is when two of their stories provide the perfect back drop for the polar opposite ways one can raise her child.

Tiernan Paul, a kindergartener, is still breastfed by his mother, Robyn.  She feels it creates a closer bond between them and allows her to soothe her son. Tiernan’s two older siblings also breastfed until the age of six and they have only fond memories of their days being nursed. Robyn says she enjoys very open communication and strong relationships with her kids, due in part to their prolonged breastfeeding.

Six is definitely too old in my book for this, but you can’t argue that this mom has earned a medal of valor for her efforts in being there for her kids. (We complained to my sister that her two and a half year old was too old for it, since he was eating hot dogs in one hand and leaning in for sips in between bites. She might have been on ABC News in Robyn’s place had she not thrown in the towel shortly after she became pregnant around her son’s third birthday).

In the other corner, we have a first grader who feels like he has to fend for himself.This poor little guy missed the school bus and  hopped in mom’s Taurus and drove himself 10 miles to get there.  He slammed into a utility pole and told the sheriff “he did not want to miss breakfast and PE.” The boy’s  father had been under court order not to leave his two sons alone with their mother, so sadly, the boys have now been placed in foster care. The mom is in jail.

Even though Tiernan is poised for some tortuous years of teenage teasing and some embarrassing slides in his wedding slide show, he he has nothing on what our little Taurus driver is going to have to deal with if this is the kind of supervision and parental involvement to which he’s grown accustomed.

January 7, 2009 at 12:53 pm 9 comments

Change Gives Hope

You may recall this post where I assailed some of Obama’s proposed economic plans. To jog your memory, an excerpt from that August 4th message:

Friday’s proposal says Obama “is proposing to offset the cost of his emergency energy rebates over the next five years by enacting a windfall profits tax on big oil companies.”
“Obama simply asks that big oil companies contribute a reasonable share of the windfall profits they receive from high oil prices over the next five years to pay for emergency assistance for families right now,” the campaign says.

“Over the next five years” assumes a great deal. It fails to take into account the impact that this very tax will have on profits. It assumes continued strength in the oil sector that is far from guaranteed. It targets a specific industry due to some kind of dubious moral judgement as to what kind of profits are reasonable.

I’m doing my best to be optimistic about Obama. The news that he has decided to drop this exceedingly ill-conceived idea is very positive and THAT is the CHANGE WE NEED. I certainly didn’t expect this tremendous drop in oil prices to come so quickly, but I think it gives the idea’s proponents a needed lesson in the behavior of markets.

December 4, 2008 at 12:07 pm Leave a comment

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