Weekend Digest: The Political Scandal (And Comeback) Edition

by Larry Brannan ([email protected]) 74 views 

For our weekend business and political readers:

POLITICO reports that former White House reporter Helen Thomas has died at the age of 92.

Thomas, who was a long-time Associated Press correspondent, covered presidents as far back as the John F. Kennedy administration.

Helen Thomas, whose career covering the White House dated back to the Kennedy administration, died on Saturday at the age of 92, the Gridiron Club announced in an email to members on Saturday.

Thomas was the the first woman to join the White House Correspondents’ Association, and the first woman to serve as its president. She was also the first female member of the Gridiron Club, Washington’s historic press group.

Read more from POLITICO’s Dylan Byars at this link.

One Woman Initiative founder Carly Fiorina, who is also a global ambassador for Opportunity International says, “Even in the most developed economies, gross domestic product could be increased by as much as 16% if the gender gap were closed.”

In a post for Harvard Business Review, Fiorina, the former CEO of Hewlett Packard, points out that, “People often avoid looking squarely at a problem that is so immense that the appropriate action isn’t obvious.”

A fact I might have suspected before hit me with full force when I participated in the Center for Strategic and International Studies’ effort to outline “a vision for global prosperity.” After reviewing extensive research, a group of us made recommendations on how the United States could improve the outcomes of its development efforts and bring greater prosperity and stability to the world. We all agreed on one of them: Invest more in female entrepreneurs.

Of the estimated 2.5 billion people worldwide who live on less than $2 a day, 70% are women. How is it tolerated that the weight of poverty, trauma, and subjugation still falls hardest on them?

For more of Fiorina’s analysis and how she believes companies like Coca-Cola could help tighten the gender gap, go to this link.

“The difference between winners and losers is how they handle losing.”

That’s according to Harvard Business School professor and author Rosabeth Moss Kanter. In a post for Harvard Business Review, she says surprises are the new normal and resilience is the new skill.

That’s a key finding from my ongoing research on great companies and effective leaders: no one can completely avoid troubles and potential pitfalls are everywhere, so the real skill is the resilience to climb out of the hole and bounce back.

Resilience is the ability to recover from fumbles or outright mistakes and bounce back. But flexibility alone is not enough. The point isn’t to learn to fail, it is to learn to bounce back.

Find out what else this expert says it takes to bounce back in “America, the Land of Second Chances” by clicking this link.

HondaJet is about to take off says the president of Honda Motor Company’s aircraft unit.

Michimasa Fujino began working on Honda Motor Co.’s aviation project 27 years ago at a hangar in Mississippi. Next year, Fujino says the project may finally get off the ground.

The seven-seater plane, which Fujino calls a “flying sports car” or “flying Acura,” will be 15 percent more fuel efficient, have roomier cabin space and fly 10 percent faster than comparable aircraft, he said.

Bloomberg has full details of this unconventional aircraft, which includes a radical new design. How much will it cost, how many orders have already been made, and what are its critics saying? And then there’s the FAA approval hurdle that must be cleared. Take a look and learn more about HondaJet getting its wings at this link.

Apple’s grand vision for television “remains a secret,” reports the New York Times.

But what is known is Apple “is taking the partnership route again, collaborating with distributors like Time Warner Cable and programmers like the Walt Disney Company on apps that might eliminate the unpleasant parts of TV watching, like bothersome set-top boxes or clunky remote controls.”

Some analysts continue to predict, as they have for years, that the company will someday come out with a full-blown television set.

Whether or not an iTV ever materializes, the company’s more modest steps, like improving the $100 Apple TV box that 13 million households now have and adding access to cable channels through the box, suggest that its strategy stands in stark contrast to Google’s, which is contemplating an Internet cable service that would compete directly with distributors like Comcast and Time Warner Cable.

Go to this link to learn more abut what Apple may be up to including a look by the experts at those specialized apps to enhance TV viewing.

The New York Times looks at how forgiving voters can be of scandal-laden politicians.

A study of post-Watergate Congressional scandals by Scott J. Basinger of the University of Houston found that while scandal-tarred incumbents were far more likely to retire or resign, nearly three-quarters of those who decided to run again survived their primaries and 81 percent of those who made it to the general election retained their seats.

Raymond Strother, a veteran political adviser, said that donations to Gary Hart’s 1988 presidential campaign dried up overnight when proof surfaced of Mr. Hart’s affair with a 29-year-old model. Just a few years later, Bill Clinton won the presidency despite multiple allegations of extramarital affairs, and Mr. Strother said prudishness has never been the same.
“When he did it, it was like Roger Bannister breaking the four-minute mile,” he said.

So what are some of the other elements that have given scandalized candidates like Elliot Spitzer and Anthony Weiner the polling lead in their comeback races?  Click here to find out.

This past Thursday, President Obama gave a speech where he “got deep into the specifics of the sweeping health care law, from a rule that forces insurers to send rebate checks to consumers to the price competition in its new health insurance marketplaces — all provisions designed to save Americans money.”

At times, Obama returned to lofty themes he hasn’t used in years. He compared the law’s implementation struggles with the early opposition to Social Security and Medicare, and declared that health care is “a basic right that everybody should be able to enjoy.”

For the most part, though, Obama talked about the less ambitious part: money in people’s pockets.

POLITICO reports, “The auditor-in-chief routine lets Obama tout how real people have pocketed savings, while steering clear of the many controversies swirling around the law, including a recent decision to extend a requirement for employers.”

While many Democrats say they like the strategy, they wonder if it’s coming soon enough to knock down the latest Republican warnings that the law is falling apart – and with just three months to go until Americans start signing up.

“It’s always like they wait a month too long to say what should have been said a long time ago,” said Democratic strategist Joe Trippi.

Go inside the POLITICO story for more analysis and reaction on the speech at this link.

It mostly centers around same-sex marriage and states that have passed laws opposed to it, but there are laws pertaining to immigration and other social issues that have some top state officials “saying the statutes are unconstitutional and should not be enforced.”

In Pennsylvania, for example, Attorney General Kathleen Kane (D) says she won’t defend the state’s ban on same-sex marriage in federal court. In Hawaii, Gov. Neil Abercrombie (D) filed court papers calling that state’s gay marriage ban unconstitutional.

And in Indiana, Attorney General Greg Zoeller (R) has come under fire from conservatives for refusing to defend a portion of that state’s immigration law. He said a recent Supreme Court ruling on a similar Arizona provision means that Indiana’s law is unconstitutional.

The Washington Post reports, “The moves have put officials in both parties under attack from opponents, who accuse them of basing their decisions on political, rather than legal, motives. As a result, groups on both sides of the spectrum are laying plans to target the officials in upcoming elections.”

Consequently, the Post says gay activists will be targeting several AG races in 2014.

While criticized by conservatives and opponents for their stand, some legal scholars say AG’s “are obligated to scrutinize laws that might be politically popular but legally flawed.”

It could make for a very messy situation come election time and the Washington Post has full details about how it may play out at this link.

Politico has posted some classic “throwback” photos shared by politicians on social media.

Every Thursday, social media users like to share an old picture for #ThrowbackThursday, or #TBT. Pols are no strangers to the game, sharing some of their favorite throwbacks with their followers.

Click here for some charming and funny throwback shots of politicians, some very familiar, and one that was taken of Arkansas’ former First Family a long time ago.

The City of Detroit is insolvent and has filed for Chapter 9 bankruptcy protection.

Detroit’s emergency manager Kevyn Orr wasn’t able to get enough buy-in from stakeholders for his plan to restructure almost $20 billion in long-term liabilities.

“Detroit’s problems have been building for some time. It’s lost a quarter of its population in the last decade. It’s insolvent; it can’t pay its debts,” Daniel Howes, the business columnist at the Detroit News, told Marketplace. “And the situation is getting worse. Citizens wait 58 minutes for a cop to respond to a call.”

Marketplace has details on the filing and how it “is going to set a lot of precedent around the country.” Get the full story by clicking this link.

Even the least successful major league teams out-do minor league clubs when it comes to attendance and the bottom line. With much smaller parks and shorter seasons, minor league teams must scratch for every dollar with all sorts of promotions. But even so, many minor league clubs are doing very well with investors that include exotic partnerships as well as ownership by some Hall of Famers.

Though wealthy individuals comprise the majority of team owners, an interesting twist on minor league ownership is the few MLB teams that have bought their own minor league affiliates. The MLB clubs are already paying most of the costs – all minor league player and coaching costs are picked up by the affiliated MLB team, along with half the cost of bats and balls – so why not also reap the profits?

Forbes has compiled a list of the most valuable minor league teams and you can “catch” them by “sliding” to this link.

In the television business that’s a huge change and Fast Company asks: “Do Netflix’s Emmy nominations blur the line forever about what is television?”

As Netflix’s House of Cards, Arrested Development, and even Hemlock Grove are validated by 14 Emmy nominations, the streaming company’s chief content officer, Ted Sarandos, explains that Netflix is not a creator of content so much as a facilitator. “We hire the creators and get out of the way.”

But does the Netflix way make for good TV? Not everyone agrees and Fast Company has the whole story plus details on other Emmy nominees here.