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

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.

Some of the lobbyists readily acknowledge routinely seeking his office’s help — calling the congressman and his aides as often as several times a week — to advance their agenda in Washington. And in many cases, Mr. Boehner has helped them out.

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David Lassman/ Post-Standard

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

By ERIC LIPTON

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. Leer más “A G.O.P. Leader Tightly Bound to Lobbyists”

Sept. 11, 2010: The Right Way to Remember


Editorial

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. Leer más “Sept. 11, 2010: The Right Way to Remember”

The New York Times Is Dead Wrong

But the real issue, I’d submit, goes beyond a “gender gap” in the editorial offices of one newspaper. It speaks to basic questions of life, work, success, and how society (and all of us) measure those attributes.

For example, Who really matters? So much of how we continue to define impact (one reason to deserve a prominent obituary) involves people with high-profile positions in established organizations — big-time lawyers, Fortune 500 executives, investment bankers and money managers.

Yet in an age of huge problems and great flux, many of the people who have a real, game-changing impact are startup founders, social entrepreneurs, community activists, nonprofit leaders — the sorts of innovators to whom we pay plenty of attention today, but who have been flying under the radar for decades. I’d much rather read about the passing of a gifted educator, or a committed neighborhood leader, or a beloved nun, than yet another starched-shirt banker or lawyer. These unsung heroes and grassroots innovators don’t live forever — even if their ideas and impact do.

A related question is, What really matters? As a society and business culture, we still tend to equate money with success. If someone is rich, the thinking goes, he or she may or may not be a no-good SOB, but a fortune is evidence that someone is smart, or at least shrewd, and no doubt a success. Which helps to explain why so many wealthy males get New York Times obituaries, while women who died with smaller bank accounts, but who may have led richer lives, don’t get the attention they deserve.


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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. Leer más “The New York Times Is Dead Wrong”

What We’re Reading: Relationships


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By THE NEW YORK TIMES

The tech reporters and editors of The New York Times found these articles on the Web provocative… Leer más “What We’re Reading: Relationships”

MasterCard Wants Programmers to Use Its Payment Technology


paypal credit card!
Image by laihiu via Flickr

By CLAIRE CAIN MILLER

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.” Leer más “MasterCard Wants Programmers to Use Its Payment Technology”

The Power of the Brand as Verb

That’s why companies acquire trademarks, after all. By controlling the use of their brand name, businesses hope to put off the day when the name grows so popular that it defines all similar products on the market. When that happens, a brand has been lost to “genericide,” lawyers say. That means that the term is so prevalent, or generic, that it no longer sticks to a single company.

Yet, as the Bing example shows, the speed at which reputations are made and destroyed in the Internet age has changed the thinking about the danger of brand names’ becoming verbs. Better to get the market share when you can and worry later, when the brand becomes part of the popular vernacular and less distinctive in the process.


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By NOAM COHEN

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. Leer más “The Power of the Brand as Verb”