A G.O.P. Leader Tightly Bound to Lobbyists

David Lassman/ Post-Standard

Representative John A. Boehner of Ohio, center, has used his business ties to become a leading fund-raiser for Republicans.


WASHINGTON — House Democrats were preparing late last year for the first floor vote on the financial regulatory overhaul when Representative John A. Boehner of Ohio and other Republican leaders summoned more than 100 industry lobbyists and conservative political activists to Capitol Hill for a private strategy session.

Representative John A. Boehner arriving for a fund-raiser for Ann Marie Buerkle, a House candidate from New York.

The bill’s passage in the House already seemed inevitable. But Mr. Boehner and his deputies told the Wall Street lobbyists and trade association leaders that by teaming up, they could still perhaps block its final passage or at least water it down.

“We need you to get out there and speak up against this,” Mr. Boehner said that December afternoon, according to three people familiar with his remarks, while also warning against cutting side deals with Democrats.

That sort of alliance — they won a few skirmishes, though they lost the war on the regulatory bill — is business as usual for Mr. Boehner, the House minority leader and would-be speaker if Republicans win the House in November. He maintains especially tight ties with a circle of lobbyists and former aides representing some of the nation’s biggest businesses, including Goldman Sachs, Google, Citigroup, R. J. Reynolds, MillerCoors and UPS.

They have contributed hundreds of thousands of dollars to his campaigns, provided him with rides on their corporate jets, socialized with him at luxury golf resorts and waterfront bashes and are now leading fund-raising efforts for his Boehner for Speaker campaign, which is soliciting checks of up to $37,800 each, the maximum allowed. Seguir leyendo “A G.O.P. Leader Tightly Bound to Lobbyists”

Sept. 11, 2010: The Right Way to Remember


Nine years after terrorists destroyed the World Trade Center, a memorial and a transportation hub are taking recognizable shape and skyscrapers are finally starting to rise from the ashes of ground zero.

That physical rebirth is cause for celebration on this anniversary. It is a far more fitting way to defy the hate-filled extremists who attacked the United States on Sept. 11, 2001, and to honor their victims, than to wallow in the intolerance and fear that have mushroomed across the nation. They are fed by the kind of bigotry exhibited by the would-be book burner in Florida, and, sadly, nurtured by people in positions of real power, including prominent members of the Republican Party.

The most important sight at ground zero now is Michael Arad’s emerging memorial. The shells of two giant pools are 30 feet deep and are set almost exactly in the places where the towers once were. Seguir leyendo “Sept. 11, 2010: The Right Way to Remember”

The New York Times Is Dead Wrong

Image representing New York Times as depicted ...
Image via CrunchBase

Bill Taylor

As a public speaker, I’m always looking for ways to engage my audience. One old trick — which I never use, precisely because it is so old — is to challenge executives and entrepreneurs to imagine their obituary in the New York Times. What impact did you have? What contribution did you make? What kind of life did you lead?

As it turns out, this audience-participation exercise requires a special act of imagination for women. Consider this amazing statistic, brought to you by a Web site called The NYTpicker, which pokes, prods, and otherwise critiques the world’s greatest newspaper. For the month of August, the New York Times ran 78 obituaries, but only six were of women. For 2010 as a whole, the Times has published 698 obituaries — and only 92 were of women.

What’s going on here? The question is especially vexing since the percentage of women in the paper’s 2010 obituaries is virtually identical to the percentage of women chronicled in Times obituaries back in 1990. “Are the world’s prominent women — the ones deserving of NYT obituaries — simply living forever?” the NYTpicker wonders. “In the last two decades, has there been zero growth in the number of notable women who’ve died? Does it stand to reason that no more women have worked their way into the limelight in the last twenty years than in the previous twenty?”

It’s always fun to challenge a powerful institution like the New York Times — especially when it is (ahem) dead wrong. Seguir leyendo “The New York Times Is Dead Wrong”

MasterCard Wants Programmers to Use Its Payment Technology

paypal credit card!
Image by laihiu via Flickr


There has been a lot of talk about digital forms of payment replacing cash and even credit cards. But MasterCard intends to stay in the middle of the technological innovation.

On Tuesday, MasterCard announced that it would let software developers use its technology in their own online apps and on mobile phones.

“A big part of the strategy is to be able to harness the innovation of others in the developer community to really push our business forward,” said Josh Peirez, MasterCard’s chief innovation officer.

E-commerce and mobile payments are changing the way we use money, Mr. Peirez said. Though MasterCard, Visa and other payment companies have experimented with building their own apps for things like mobile money transfers, MasterCard wants to see what other people can come up with for paying online and in the real world.

“You’re seeing quite different ways people are paying for digital goods, but you haven’t really seen that translate into physical goods,” he said. “It’s still really hard to buy a physical item from your phone.” Seguir leyendo “MasterCard Wants Programmers to Use Its Payment Technology”

The Power of the Brand as Verb

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Image via CrunchBase


Perhaps nothing better illustrates how far behind Microsoft is in the search engine wars than a recent comment by the company’s chief executive, Steve Ballmer, about why he liked the name Bing for Microsoft’s new competitor to Google.

The name, he told The New York Times, “works globally” and has the potential “to verb up.” That is, some day, Mr. Ballmer hopes, people will “bing” a new restaurant to find its address or “bing” a new job applicant for telling events in his past.

It once would have been unthinkable for a company like Microsoft to encourage people to use its brand name so cavalierly. Businesses feared that if their product name became a verb, then it would lose its individual identity. Seguir leyendo “The Power of the Brand as Verb”