The Advocates 7-29-09

“The Advocates”

 With

Richard J. Garfunkel

 WVOX – AM Radio 1460- 12 Noon Wednesday

July 29, 2009

All archived Shows at:

http://advocates-wvox.com

 

Wednesday, July 29, 2009, at 12:00 Noon, I am hosting my show, The Advocates on WVOX- 1460 AM, or you can listen to the program’s live streaming at www.wvox.com. One can call the show at 914-636-0110 to reach us on the radio.  Our guests are Jay Rosenberg and Malcolm Gissen. Our subject is “Surviving in the new American economy.”

 

Jay Rosenberg is the Principal and Chief Investment Officer of Arrival Capital Management LLC. He has been a finance and legal professional for the past twenty years, as well as an active investor. He holds JD (law)and MBA (business) degrees from Columbia University, where he studied value investing, behavioral finance, and valuation techniques from some of the foremost practitioners and academics in the field.

 

Mr. Rosenberg has served in government, as both a federal law clerk and as Deputy Chief of Staff for the Deputy Mayor for Finance and Economic Development of the City of New York. He has also been the Capital Finance Director of a publicly traded education management corporation. He graduated Magna Cum Laude from the University of

Pennsylvania, where he studied economics and history. Jay grew up in New York and New Jersey, and graduated from the Horace Mann School. He now resides in Manhattan with his wife, Lilli, and three children.

 

Malcolm Gissen, a native New Yorker, who grew up in Mount Vernon, NY, has operated Malcolm H. Gissen & Associates Inc., an investment advisory firm in San Francisco, California, since its founding in 1985. The firm manages money for affluent individuals and for retirement accounts.

 

Three years ago Gissen and the firm's Chief Investment Officer founded the Encompass Fund, a SEC-licensed open-ended mutual fund. The Fund can invest in any sector of the market the manager’s desire. Since its inception, the Fund has emphasized metals and energy companies, but it invests in many different sectors, in companies of all sizes and in many Canadian mining companies. The Encompass Fund has gained 79% this year to rank among the top 10 funds out of the 18,000 mutual funds tracked by Morningstar. Gissen is a graduate of Case Western Reserve University and the University of Wisconsin Law School.

 

Meanwhile, the mission of The Advocates is to bring to the public differing views on current “public policy” issues. “Public policy,” therefore, is what we as a nation legally and traditionally follow.

 

One can find my essays on FDR and other subjects at http://www.richardjgarfunkel.com. One can also listen to all of the archived shows at: http://advocates-wvox.com. Our guests next week will be Steve Lamoreaux and Gary Leogrande revisit regional real estate, reverse mortgages and the changes they have seen over the last 15 months. One can find all of The Advocates programs archived at http://advocates-wvox.com.

 

Richard J. Garfunkel

Speaking of Homeruns 7-26-09

Speaking of Homeruns

Richard J. Garfunkel

July 26, 2009

 

In 1884, the Chicago Cubs, who were known that season as the White Stockings also, played in Lake Front Park, where the dimensions in feet were from left to right: 186, 300, and 196. In that season where they played only 112 games, the 4th place Cubs finished 4th with a record of 62 and 50, under the legendary and infamous Adrian “Cap” Anson, who had a great deal with baseball’s “color barrier.”

 

The team hit 142 homeruns in that bandbox park. The Braves played in the South End Grounds during that same period and the measurements were: 250, 440, and 255. The Dodgers (Bridegrooms) played in Washington Park that measured 335, 445, and 215. In 1884 the next leading team in homeruns was the Buffalo franchise that hit 39. The top four homerun hitters in the league were all Chicago players: Williamson, Pfeffer, Dalrymple and Anson with 27, 25, 22, and 21. The mark of 27 set by Ned Williamson would stand until 1919 when Babe Ruth hit 29 with the Red Sox. Williamson would only hit 3 the next season when the Cubs (now Colts) moved to West Side Park which was larger dimensions. He would only hit a total of 63 homeruns in his 13 years career with 4553 at bats.

 

Frank “Homerun” Baker had his best power season with 12 homers in 1913 and would only hit 93 in his 13 seasons and 5985 at bats. He also hit 3 homeruns in 6 World Series appearances, but received the name, “Homerun” in the 1911 Series where he two and led the A’s with a .375 average. He hit one off Hall of Famer, Rube Marquand to win a game and was able to tie a game with his second homer when the legendary Christy Mathewson was pitching a i-0 shutout in the 9th inning. With regards to the 3rd baseman who played with the famous trio of Tinkers to Evers to Chance, it was not Baker, but Harry Steinfeldt. Steinfeldt starred on the great Cub club that set the National League record (also the Major League record for over 90 years) for wins with 116 (116-36). He led that team with a batting average of .327. The Cubs led the National League with a team batting average of .262, but were beaten by their light-hitting cross-town rivals, the White Sox, known also as the “Hitless Wonders.” The Sox (93-58) hit .230 which was probably the lowest batting average for a pennant winner in the history of baseball.

 

In 1968, the “Pitcher’s Year “of baseball, the Tigers, led by Denny McClain’s 31 victory season batted only .235. Oakland led the league with a .240 average and the vaunted 5th place Yankees hit an amazing .214. Mickey Mantle his only .237 but 23 points above the terrible Yanks, and 7 points above the league average. “King” Carl Yastrzemski led the American League in batting with a record low .301.  The Mets that year actually hit .228 and the great Willie Mays hit .289 for the SF Giants.

 

With regards to the Bambino, Babe Ruth actually broke Williamson’s record in 1919 with 29 homeruns in only 439 at bats as he also pitched for the 6th place Red Sox, who finished in 6th place. The next two years with the Yankees and in the friendly Polo Grounds, he would hit 54 and 59. Ruth’s total of 54 over the previous record of 29, was the greatest spread between home run champions. I am sure that Ruth was the first 100, 200, 300, 400, 500, 600, and 700 home runs.

  

The team hit 142 homeruns in that bandbox park. The Braves played in the South End Grounds during that same period and the measurements were: 250, 440, and 255. The Dodgers (Bridegrooms) played in Washington Park that measured 335, 445, and 215. In 1884 the next leading team in homeruns was the Buffalo franchise that hit 39. The top four homerun hitters in the league were all Chicago players: Williamson, Pfeffer, Dalrymple and Anson with 27, 25, 22, and 21. The mark of 27 set by Ned Williamson would stand until 1919 when Babe Ruth hit 29 with the Red Sox. Williamson would only hit 3 the next season when the Cubs (now Colts) moved to West Side Park which was larger dimensions. He would only hit a total of 63 homeruns in his 13 years career with 4553 at bats.

 

Frank “Homerun” Baker had his best power season with 12 homers in 1913 and would only hit 93 in his 13 seasons and 5985 at bats. He also hit 3 homeruns in 6 World Series appearances, but received the name, “Homerun” in the 1911 Series where he two and led the A’s with a .375 average. He hit one off Hall of Famer, Rube Marquand to win a game and was able to tie a game with his second homer when the legendary Christy Mathewson was pitching a i-0 shutout in the 9th inning. With regards to the 3rd baseman who played with the famous trio of Tinkers to Evers to Chance, it was not Baker, but Harry Steinfeldt. Steinfeldt starred on the great Cub club that set the National League record (also the Major League record for over 90 years) for wins with 116 (116-36). He led that team with a batting average of .327. The Cubs led the National League with a team batting average of .262, but were beaten by their light-hitting cross-town rivals, the White Sox, known also as the “Hitless Wonders.” The Sox (93-58) hit .230 which was probably the lowest batting average for a pennant winner in the history of baseball.

 

In 1968, the “Pitcher’s Year “of baseball, the Tigers, led by Denny McClain’s 31 victory season batted only .235. Oakland led the league with a .240 average and the vaunted 5th place Yankees hit an amazing .214. Mickey Mantle his only .237 but 23 points above the terrible Yanks, and 7 points above the league average. “King” Carl Yastrzemski led the American League in batting with a record low .301.  The Mets that year actually hit .228 and the great Willie Mays hit .289 for the SF Giants.

 

With regards to the Bambino, Babe Ruth actually broke Williamson’s record in 1919 with 29 homeruns in only 439 at bats as he also pitched for the 6th place Red Sox, who finished in 6th place. The next two years with the Yankees and in the friendly Polo Grounds, he would hit 54 and 59. Ruth’s total of 54 over the previous record of 29, was the greatest spread between home run champions. I am sure that Ruth was the first 100, 200, 300, 400, 500, 600, and 700 home runs.

 

 

Henry Louis Gates Jr., Politics, Provocation and the Media 7-24-09

Henry Louis Gates Jr. and Politics, Provocation and the Media

By Richard J. Garfunkel

July 24, 2009

 

The other day a black man was arrested and led away in handcuffs in Cambridge, Massachusetts. Historically would that be a big story which would resonate around the world and be mentioned in a press conference by the President of the United States? In most cases it would not. There have been plenty of African-American people arrested and incarcerated in the United States for good and bad reasons for more time than anyone alive could remember.

Of course, times do change and we are supposedly living in a more open, transparent and tolerant era, where sensitivity training and political correctness, in some areas, seems to abound. Cambridge, Massachusetts, the ultimate college town is not Meridian, Mississippi and never was. It is where Harvard and MIT are located, along with a number of other smaller and less known institutions of higher learning. It is also the home of Cambridge Rindge and Latin School, the only high school in the city. During the late 1980s and early 1990s, the school was subject to criticism because of its seemingly inherent racism in its academic distribution of its student body, which led to the disbanding of its internal houses.

Almost by default, the original houses eventually represented a racial and/or class divide within the school itself. Pilot House was known for its “alternative” students who dressed and were perceived as counter-culture or alternative lifestyle, and who were allowed to address teachers by their first names in an era when this behavior was generally not acceptable. House A comprised mostly mid and lower class whites; B House was mostly African Americans; C House was mostly Latino, southern European, and Mediterranean; and D house comprised mostly students of various African descent. Finally, the vocational house known as Occupation Education or Oc-Ed (later to be known as Rindge Tech and finally RSTA) was a mix of lower-class students from across the municipality. Many may remember the well-known NY Knickerbockers basketball star Patrick Ewing, who was a graduate of Rindge, before he went to Georgetown University. He certainly benefitted by his basketball acumen as opposed to his academic achievements when it came to matriculating at that prestigious university.

Boston, as a community, was known at one time for its reputation of toleration, and was the home to many abolitionists including William Lloyd Garrison, who in 1832, at the Old African Meeting House, established the New England Anti-Slavery Society. One can also drive up Beacon Hill and see the remarkable Augustus Saint-Gauden’s plaque which commemorates the actions of Colonel Robert Gould Shaw, who led the 54th Massachusetts Colored Regiment and its heroic, but ill-fated attack up the sandy hills protecting the Confederate stronghold, Fort Wagner, in Charlestown, South Carolina. Shaw, with many others, lost his life there and his actions were chronicled in the movie, Glory. But of course Boston and the communities that surround that old and historic city have also had a checkered past regarding integration, school busing, and racial tension. When I went to college there in the early and mid 1960’s the big story was about busing and South Boston, known as “Southy” The two main players in opposition to de facto segregation were Louis Day Hicks and Catherine Craven, the 2nd woman elected to The Boston City Council. Anna Louise Day Hicks, who died in 2003 at age 87, was a politician and lawyer from Boston, Massachusetts. She was elected to the Boston School Committee in 1961. In January 1963, she became chairperson and seemed likely to be endorsed by the leading reform group, when, in June, the Boston chapter of the NAACP demanded “an immediate public acknowledgment of de facto segregation in the Boston public school system”.

At the time, thirteen city schools were at least 90% black — but the Committee refused to acknowledge the segregation. Hicks was recognized as the holdout, and within months she became Boston's most popular politician, but also the most controversial, requiring police bodyguards 24 hours a day. In 1967, she came within 12,000 votes of being elected mayor of Boston, running on the evasively coded slogan “You know where I stand.” The race against fellow Democrat Kevin White became so acrimonious that the Boston Globe broke an eighty-six-year tradition of political neutrality to endorse White. Hicks later served one term in the United States House of Representatives as a Democrat from 1971 to 1973, becoming the first female Democrat to represent Massachusetts in the House. Hicks became nationally known in 1965 when she opposed court-ordered busing of students into inner-city schools to achieve integration. By refusing to admit segregation existed in city schools and by declaring that children were the “pawns” of racial politics, she came to personify the discord that existed between some working class Irish-Americans and African-Americans. “Boston schools are a scapegoat for those who have failed to solve the housing, economic, and social problems of the black citizen,” Hicks said. Her most notable campaign took place in autumn 1975, after a federal judge ordered Boston schools to expand their busing programs to comply with the 1971 Swann v. Charlotte-Mecklenburg Board of Education decision. To counter the trend, Hicks started an organization called Restore Our Alienated Rights (ROAR) which actively engaged in incidents of massive resistance to school desegregation. In 1976, Hicks was elected the first woman president of the Boston City Council, largely on the strength of ROAR, which was then at its peak.

Hicks claimed that while 13 Boston schools were at least 90% “Black,” Chinatown schools were 100% Chinese, the Italian North End had schools that were 100% Italian American; and the neighborhood of South Boston contained schools that were mostly Irish American. The Boston Public Schools included a conglomerate of ethnic Caucasians with very few WASPs.

Of course that brings to mind the checkered history of African-Americans and their role in Boston professional sports. The Boston Red Sox were the last major league team to employ a black ballplayer. It took them until 1959 to sign one Elijah Jerry “Pumpsie” Green to a contract and in those 12 years after Jackie Robinson broke the so-called “color barrier” in baseball, Boston, which was a major force in baseball in the late 1940’s, declined to a second division club by the late 1950’s. With regards to the Boston Celtics, with their outstanding and progressive coach and general manager, Arnold “Red” Auerbach, they were pioneers with regards to playing black players. They also were the first team to put an all-Black starting lineup on the famous parquet floor of the old Boston garden. They were certainly rewarded with artistic and championship success, winning eight NBA titles in a row in the 1960’s, but were rarely supported by their fans until many years later. Their big star, Bill Russell, who was an individualist, and outwardly sensitive to the racial undercurrent in Boston, was unhappy with his treatment by the fans and the general citizenry of the city. Over the years since his signing with the Celtics in 1956, he voiced and wrote about his feelings over Boston and race. Be that as it may, times were different then, and Boston, like much of America has come a long way since those days.

Henry Louis Gates, Jr., a prominent Harvard professor, who is on many boards, and has been the recipient of nearly 50 honorary degrees and numerous academic and social action awards. Professor Gates was named a MacArthur Fellow in 1981 and was listed in Time among its “25 Most Influential Americans” in 1997. On October 23, 2006, Gates was appointed the Alphonse Fletcher Jr. University Professor at Harvard University. In 2002 the National Endowment for the Humanities selected Gates for the Jefferson Lecture, the U.S. federal government's highest honor for achievement in the humanities. On July 16, 2009, he was arrested by Cambridge Police Sergeant James Crowley, an officer who has been trained specifically in dealing with racial incidents and has taught a course on that same subject to fellow officers for five years

On the evening of the 16th, Sergeant James Crowley, who was investigating the report of a burglary, met Professor Gates at his front door, and has stated that he had given his name when asked by Professor Gates.. When Professor Gates was told that the officer was investigating a possible break in, Gates then stated, “Why, because I'm a black man in America?” When Gates repeated a request for Crowley's name, Crowley replied that he would only speak to Gates outside. Crowley stated that he desired to go outside at that time as “Gates was yelling very loud [sic] and the acoustics of the kitchen and foyer were making it difficult for me to transmit pertinent information to EEC or other responding units”. Gates then followed Crowley from the house onto the porch, yelling at him. Crowley reported that he then warned Gates that he was becoming disorderly. Crowley reported that he then warned Gates again while at the same time withdrawing handcuffs to arrest Gates. Of course, how and why did this escalate and was it all necessary?

Gates told a different version of events, and stated that he established his identity, but demanded the name and badge number of the police officer, following him outside, at which time he was arrested for disorderly conduct, citing “loud and tumultuous behavior”  Gates and his attorney, Harvard colleague Charles Ogletree disputed the police report, with Gates noting that he has a bronchial infection contracted in China, which renders him incapable of yelling. The charges were later dropped by the Middlesex County district attorney's office, upon the recommendation of the city of Cambridge and the Cambridge Police Department, calling the incident “regrettable and unfortunate”.

According to published reports, Sgt. James Crowley, the arresting officer, says that he is not racist, pointing to his actions trying to resuscitate Reggie Lewis while working as a campus police officer at Brandeis University in 1993. Crowley has also served as an instructor for the Lowell Police Academy since 2004, teaching a course entitled “Racial Profiling”. Crowley stated that has no “ill feelings toward the professor” but that he has nothing to apologize for. Sgt. Crowley has received strong public support from his police department as well as his union.

In an article written by Ms. Abby Goodnough, in the NY Times, she wrote that, “The dispute between Gates and Crowley centers on two things: which one treated the other rudely and whether they properly identified themselves. Gates, 58, says the sergeant repeatedly refused to reveal his name or badge number; Crowley, 42, says the professor initially refused to provide identification, and then produced only his Harvard ID card, which included no address, to prove he lived in the house. Crowley told a local radio station Thursday that President Obama “didn't know all the facts” and that Gates — a prolific scholar of African-American history and a leading intellectual — had been oddly belligerent from the start of their encounter July 16.

With all of this in mind, what does it all mean? Has the media ballooned this story way out of proportion? Is racial profiling still alive and well in Cambridge, or is it a necessary evil? As to racial profiling, why did it evolve in the first place? Is it a vestige of stereotypical abuses of the past, or are stereotypes rooted in a priori experiences and ongoing statistical reality? On the other hand was Professor Gates taking advantage of this unforeseen, unfortunate and ugly opportunity? Was he carrying on his back all the petty insults, and abuse that African-Americans have weathered for uncounted generations? Did he see an excellent opportunity to make a sociological point in his home town, and did police Sergeant James Crowley become the victim of circumstance and his own professionalism?

Basically one would think that a 58 year old man, who was in his own home, could have easily explained who he was, and displayed his driver’s license, which has his address. But, maybe he doesn’t drive. Maybe it wasn’t handy, and maybe Professor Gates felt that he is so well-known, that anyone should not only know who he is, but accept his word without further thought or investigation. When a police officer has come to my door, and it has happened a number of times over the past forty years, I act with extreme politeness, and offer that office all the information he/she wishes. Inherently police officers face bodily threats all the time, and I can easily understand their sense of survival, caution and self-preservation. Knowing that the police officer has had a long history of training in the field of racial sensitivity when it comes to police work, it seems hard to believe that he would wish for some type of confrontation. It is also hard to believe that Professor Gates posed any threat to the officer. The question now arises to why Professor Gates did not defuse this incident by providing more information?

All in all, the truth always seems to lie somewhere in the middle. In many instances, cooler heads should have prevailed. Police officers can get on their “high horse” and the average citizen should avoid any provocation that can escalate the anxiety level that involves police work. On the other hand, maybe the officer should have backed off and understood that this older guy had gotten angry over past abuses and grievances that had nothing to do with him. But the police officer was in someone else’s home and anything could happen, there was another man identified in the initial report, and stranger things have happened in the past.

The other question always remains, has the media blown this incident way out of proportion, and has Gates fanned the flames of this small event into something it never should have been? Is this a lesson for society, or another exposure of the so-called abuses of “profiling?” Or is this a “tempest in teapot,” exacerbated by one side or the other? One could question the police officer’s motives if one wanted to peal back, layer after layer, regarding his character, but he seems the wrong guy to go after. As to Professor Gates, he may really have a case here, and he may genuinely feel abused by the whole incident. He may be overly sensitive, but so what? He may have felt that he was being singled out because he was a black man, who caught up in an all too familiar assumption by the police. The African-American community has had a long contentious history with police forces in this country. Has some of that contentiousness been deserved, I am sure the answer is yes!

As to the media, it should step back, have a “cooling off” period and not jump to any conclusions about this being a seminal event that will be a “game-changer” with regards to police and community relations. Maybe we should all take a deep breath, and move on to more substantive problems that we all face.

 

 

 

Letter to the Dallas Daily News II 7-23-09

Letter to the Dallas Morning News

7-23-09

 

The problem with the flat-earth thinkers in the GOP is that they feel they are entitled to their low taxes, concealed weapons, and their hypocritical views on choice, family values, morals and the free market. As to choice, when their loved one needs birth control info or an abortion, don't you worry they'll get it and worry about their constituencies later. With regards to family values the newspapers are rife with the news of the Vitters, Craigs, Gingriches, Guilianis, Sandfords, Duke Cunninghams and many more who preached one way and played another. With regards to the free market, thay are all for capitalism when they want every break to get a piece of the market pie. But once in the door, they love monopolization, conglomeration, price-fixing, insider trading, phony stock options and bailouts when they fail. Just look at the record on Enron, WorldCom and numerous other failures, too long and extensive to list no less recall. Even the infamous Ross Perot, who blabbered that government, should be run like a business, and where did most of his business come from? You guessed it, the government.

 

Ms. Carly Fiorina, who after almost destroying Hewlett –Packard was sent off to be an economic advisor to John McCain with a bank-roll in the scores of millions. She of course, for a short moment, was being considered for vice-president on his ticket. Unfortunately after not being chosen, the scorned woman decided to tell the truth, and in an interview she stated that Sarah Palin could not be a CEO of a major Fortune 500 firm. When she realized her faux pas, she quickly amended her remarks to include John McCain. Of course since “there is many a truth said in jest,” her honesty really did hurt, and she has been declared persona non grata by the Steve Schmitt/John McCain campaign machine.

 

After Washington Mutual, a bank holding company, whose stock had traded as high as $45 per share dropped in mid-September of 2008 to as low as $2.00 and the price finally settled at 16 cents this week. The Chairman Kerry Killinger stepped down in June, but remained as the Chief Operating Officer. Later he was forced to resign because of pressure from the investors and Alan H. Fishman, a former CEO of the Sovereign Bank was named to head Washington Mutual on September 8, 2008. The depositors were not happy with what was going on and a massive run on their banks ensued as customers withdrew almost $17 billion in less than two weeks. Secret negations were started after the Office of Thrift Supervision seized the bank and placed into the hands of the FDIC. The negotiations over this past weekend proceeded and JP Morgan Chase became the new owner. The new CEO Alan Fishman, who was flying to Seattle when the transfer was consummated, was now out of job. He had held that position for 17 days, and for his time and effort he received a $7.5 million up front payment and a cash good-bye present for $11.6 million. As George Gershwin once said long ago, “Nice work if you can get it!”

 

This is how the “greed merchants” on Wall Street get compensated. They win when they lose!

 

Let's get some transparency and better regulation on Wall Street, and maybe these crooks will have a harder time in the future ripping every one off!

 

Richard J. Garfunkel

Host of The Advocates

WVOX Radio in NY www.wvox.com

Broadcasts archived at

http://advocates-wvox.com

Letter to the Dallas Daily News 7-23-09

Letter to the Dallas Daily News

7-23-09

 

My sense is that the wing-nuts of the lunatic fringe are so frustrated that their precious ideas have been rejected by the vast amount of Americas that they have turned to this silliness over President Obama's birth. I noticed yesterday there was a copy produced of a Hawaiian paper that had a notice of his birth! That must have been also planted retro-actively by the Obama-Manchurian Candidate Cabal. The fact is that he is president, and duly and fairly elected, not like the last fellow. He has a job to do and undermining him by appealing to the 8% who believe we staged the moon landing in La La Land is a fool's journey. What is the purpose? Is it to further divide the country and alienate the majority that supported him? He has a track record of achievement and the public accepted that record as a “free people” has a right to do in an open election. These fantastic claims about his legal expenses to suppress his background are ridiculous and a waste of time and energy. The politics of character assassination pay no freight. As to Obama being a socialist who is taking over private enterprise, how silly is that? He was elected because of the following: the failure of the Bush Administration, the economic collapse, the meltdown of many industries and the poor campaign team of McCain and Palin and their inability to convey a coherent message. If Obama had a name like Colin Powell Smith, was a two-term Senator and was 5 years older, and maybe even a veteran, he would have beaten McCain by 20 million votes despite not being of 100% WASP stock. The truth is that our country has been declining economically and educationally for many years. The policies of the GOP and their Dixiecrat allies have promulgated a spend and no tax policy, illegal immigration was encouraged to undermine labor, jobs were exported to low wage countries, we sunk into abject oil-dependency in the post-Carter and oil embargo era. We have reaped what we sowed. We are debtors in our own currency and we owe the world and our people trillions. The corporate strength of our auto, airline, financial, and retail institutions are hurting. Without timely intervention by the federal government, we could have seen a massive implosion that destroyed our total economic viability. Cascading bankruptcies and an economic meltdown may be favored by some nuts of the right-wing, but I am sure most Americans would rue that day. Let's get back to the real world and debate healthcare, education, taxation, deficits, and the future, not the idiocy that I have read on this blog by the many who have nothing better to do with their time.

 

Richard J. Garfunkel

Host of The Advocates

WVOX Radio 1460 AM

www.wvox.com

New Rochelle, NY

The Advocates 7-22-09

“The Advocates”

 With

Richard J. Garfunkel

 WVOX – AM Radio 1460- 12 Noon Wednesday

July 22, 2009

All archived Shows at:

http://advocates-wvox.com

 

Wednesday, July 22, 2009, at 12:00 Noon, I am hosting my show, The Advocates on WVOX- 1460 AM, or you can listen to the program’s live streaming at www.wvox.com. One can call the show at 914-636-0110 to reach us on the radio.  Our guest is Mr. Burt Solomon, author of FDR vs. The Constitution: the Court Packing Fight and the Triumph of Democracy, published by Walker & Company, NY. NY.

 

This fascinating, behind the scenes story is about FDR’s attempt to re-organize the federal court system and enlarge the Supreme Court. Historically many term this dramatic effort that started on February 5, 1937 as the “FDR’s attempt to pack the Supreme Court.” This story has “…special resonance today as we debate the limits of Presidential authority.” Burt Solomon.

 

Burt Solomon was born and raised in Baltimore, graduated Harvard College in 1970, worked for Texas Observer, Danvers (Mass.) Times, The Real Paper (alternative weekly in Cambridge, Mass.), went around the world 1975-76 when the paper was sold, The Energy Daily (as the editor), National Journal (covering the White House and other beats). It won the Gerald Ford Prize for Distinguished Reporting on the Presidency in 1992. This is his 3rd book; the first one, Where They Ain't, was about baseball in the 1890s in Baltimore and Brooklyn (named by GQ as one of the 20 best books of the millennium); the 2nd, The Washington Century, was a 20th century history of Washington through three families. He is now a contributing editor for National Journal and lives in Arlington, Va., inside the Beltway with his wife and has two grown kids.

Meanwhile, the mission of The Advocates is to bring to the public differing views on current “public policy” issues. “Public policy,” therefore, is what we as a nation legally and traditionally follow.

 

One can find my essays on FDR and other subjects at http://www.richardjgarfunkel.com. One can also listen to all of the archived shows at: http://advocates-wvox.com. Our guest next week will be Mr. Jay Rosenberg, who will discuss, “Surviving in the New American Economy.”

 

Richard J. Garfunkel

Escape to White Mountain 7-21-09

Escape to the White Mountains

Richard J. Garfunkel

July 21, 2009

 

Franconia Notch is a wondrous stretch of real estate nestled in the White Mountains, not far from Lincoln, and Woodstock, New Hampshire. We spent time with our kids, Dana and Jon, at a marvelous time-sharing resort called the Villages of Loon Mountain. They drove up from Boston, a distance of 130 or so miles, and we drove up from the Mass Pike north on 495 to I-93 to Lincoln. It’s a five hour, 320 mile trip on wide-open 65 mph roads. Luckily there was very little traffic.

 

We were able to get in about four hours of singles and my elbow, which was recently the beneficiary of a cortisone shot, held up nicely. I have a bone spur, some tendinitis, and arthritis, but besides all of that I can still run and hit.

 

We took a wonderful drive up the Franconia North Parkway to the magnificent Mount Washington Hotel which is located in Bretton Woods. It was here, 65 years ago, on July 25, I944 that Secretary of Treasury Henry Morgenthau chaired the all-important United Nations Monetary and Financial Conference that was called for by President Franklin Delano Roosevelt.

As World War II was still raging, 730 delegates from all 44 Allied nations gathered at the Mount Washington Hotel. The delegates deliberated upon and signed the Bretton Woods Agreements during the first three weeks of July 1944. Setting up a system of rules, institutions, and procedures to regulate the international monetary system, the planners at Bretton Woods established the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and the International Bank for Reconstruction and Development (IBRD), which today is part of the World Bank Group. These organizations became operational in 1945 after a sufficient number of countries had ratified the agreement.

The chief features of the Bretton Woods system were an obligation for each country to adopt a monetary policy that maintained the exchange rate of its currency within a fixed value—plus or minus one percent—in terms of gold and the ability of the IMF to bridge temporary imbalances of payments. In the face of increasing financial strain, the system collapsed in 1971, after the United States unilaterally terminated convertibility of the dollars to gold. This action caused considerable financial stress in the world economy and created the unique situation whereby the United States dollar became the “reserve currency” for the states which had signed the agreement. Meanwhile the hotel and the grounds are spectacular and we had a wonderful luncheon the wide veranda that overlooks part of their golf course, and the White Mountains. One could not have asked for a more awe-inspiring venue.

The next morning we headed back out to the Franconia Notch Parkway and to the Flume Visitor Center. In the shadows of the Liberty and the Flume Mountains we hiked our way up to the fabulous Flume Gorge. This gorge, which was discovered in 1808, is a natural water slide that races 800 feet downward from the base of Mount Liberty. It flows through the walls of the Conway granite opening that is between I5 and 20 feet wide and whose sides climb to a height on both sides between 76 and 90 feet. It is a great experience and well worth the two mile hike up and down the nature trails.

After our hiking, and a stop at the outlet stores in Hilton, NH, we part ways. The kids headed back to Boston, and we made our way back to Westchester, which included a dinner stop at Reins NY Style Deli at exit 65 on Route 84. If you are planning to get to New England, think long and hard about making a trip up to the Notch. It is well worth to the time and effort.

 

 

The Advocates 7-15-09

“The Advocates”

 With

Richard J. Garfunkel

 WVOX – AM Radio 1460- 12 Noon Wednesday

July 15, 2009

All archived Shows at:

http://advocates-wvox.com

 

Wednesday, July 15, 2009, at 12:00 Noon, I am hosting my show, The Advocates on WVOX- 1460 AM, or you can listen to the program’s live streaming at www.wvox.com. One can call the show at 914-636-0110 to reach us on the radio.  Our guest is Associate Professor Robert F. Jefferson of Xavier University, Cincinnati, Ohio.  Our subject is his critically important book, Fighting For Hope, African-American Troops of the 93rd Division WWII, (The Johns Hopkins University Press, September, 2008), about the struggle for the Double V victory in WWII against fascism and at home against racism.

Robert F. Jefferson, is an Associate Professor and teaches courses in African American studies and United States history along with being the campus coordinator for the Student Achievement in Research and Scholarship Program (STARS) at Xavier University.  He holds a Ph.D. in history from the University of Michigan, a master’s degree from Old Dominion University, and a bachelors’ degree from Elon University. Professor Jefferson has taught at the University of Iowa and Wayne State University, respectively. 

Jefferson is also a Distinguished Lecturer for the Organization of American Historians. He is currently working on a new book titled Searching for Shadrach’s Sons and Daughters:  African American Ex-GIs, Race, and Disability in Modern American Wars. His articles on African American GIs and World War II, Oral History, and Disability Studies have appeared in Oral History and Public Memories, the Journal of Family History, Quaderni Storici (Bologna), Oral History Review, Contours:  A Journal of the African Diaspora, and the Historian., and the Historian

His book Fighting For Hope, is a fascinating history showing how African-American military men and women seized their dignity through barracks culture and community politics during and after World War II.

Led by white officers and presumably unable to fight—and with the army taking great pains to regulate contact between black soldiers and local women—the division was largely relegated to support roles during the advance on the Philippines, seeing action only later in the war when U.S. officials found it unavoidable.

Jefferson discusses racial policy within the War Department, examines the lives and morale of black GIs and their families, documents the debate over the deployment of black troops, and focuses on how the soldiers’ wartime experiences reshaped their perspectives on race and citizenship in America. He finds in these men and their families incredible resilience in the face of racism at war and at home and shows how their hopes for the future provided a blueprint for America’s postwar civil rights struggles.

 

Email: Jefferson@xavier.edu

Book Website: http://www.press.jhu.edu/books/title_pages/9459.html

 

Meanwhile, the mission of The Advocates is to bring to the public differing views on current “public policy” issues. “Public policy,” therefore, is what we as a nation legally and traditionally follow.

 

One can find my essays on FDR and other subjects at http://www.richardjgarfunkel.com. One can also listen to all of the archived shows at: http://advocates-wvox.com. Our guest next week will be Mr. Burt Solomon, the author of FDR v. The Constitution and FDR’s Court Re-organization plan.

 

Richard J. Garfunkel

 

The Advocates 7-8-09

“The Advocates”

 With

Richard J. Garfunkel

 WVOX – AM Radio 1460- 12 Noon Wednesday

July 8, 2009

All archived Shows at:

http://advocates-wvox.com

 

Wednesday, July 8, 2009, at 12:00 Noon, I am hosting my show, The Advocates on WVOX- 1460 AM, or you can listen to the program’s live streaming at www.wvox.com. One can call the show at 914-636-0110 to reach us on the radio.  Our guest is Dr. Lilli Link, and our subject today is how nutrition and diet affect lifestyle. Dr. Link will discuss her thoughts on the importance of integrative nutrition.

 

Lilli Link, MD, MS, who grew up and was educated in White Plains, NY, graduated from the University of Chicago Medical School and completed her residency at Columbia Presbyterian Medical Center. Dr. Link earned an MS in epidemiology while a fellow at Cornell Medical College, and then did a second fellowship in cancer epidemiology at Columbia University's School of Public Health. During these fellowships she led and published the results of two studies that evaluated the relationship between cancer, behavior change, and diet. She is a board certified internist and currently practices as a nutritional counselor in New York City. Her passion and knowledge of the subject began after her own cancer diagnosis in 1998, at the age of 31. Dr. Link is uniquely qualified to counsel her patients in optimizing their health by helping them to alter or adjust their diet and lifestyle. Through her medical knowledge, complementary training, and personal experience, she has acquired a unique perspective regarding the problem of “inflammatory” foods and the creation of a healthier lifetime regimen for her patients. Dr. Link is a knowledgeable and well-respected speaker on the topic of diet and health. She lives in New York City with her husband and three young children.  For more information about her practice, visit her website, www.LLinkMD.com.

 

Meanwhile, the mission of The Advocates is to bring to the public differing views on current “public policy” issues. “Public policy,” therefore, is what we as a nation legally and traditionally follow.

 

One can find my essays on FDR and other subjects at http://www.richardjgarfunkel.com. One can also listen to all of the archived shows at: http://advocates-wvox.com. Our guest next week will be Professor Robert F. Jefferson of Xavier University in Ohio and he will be talking about the contribution of African-American troops in WWII.

 

Richard J. Garfunkel

Who is the Greatest Tennis Player in History 7-6-09

Who is the Greatest Tennis Player in History?

Richard J. Garfunkel

July 6, 2009

 

Recently many of us witnessed all, or parts of the great Wimbledon Men’s Final, between Roger Federer and Andy Roddick. Of course the debate over who is best in the history of the game will never end or be decided.  Bill Tilden, Donald Budge, Jack Kramer, Pancho Gonzalez, Rod Laver, Pete Sampras and maybe Bjorn Borg have been considered, at one time or another, the best in history. But each era is different and new equipment, every generation or so, changes the game. I never particularly thought that Sampras had the total game of many of his more modern predecessors. It seemed he had one of the worst records of any number one player in history when it came to winning non-Grand Slam events. With regards to his career, I do not have access to his statistics regarding when he exited tour events. But he was ranked number one for six straight years and Tennis Magazine named him the greatest player from 1965-2005. He did win 64 ATP Singles titles, which is 4th on the all-time list. Because of the importance of the Grand Slam events, his place as number one player in history seems to have been eclipsed by Federer, who is quite healthy, and says he has the desire to continue to play. His form is smooth, he has the right demeanor and he is able to keep his great success in proportion. Federer accomplished his 15 Grand Slam titles in four years less time, and at a younger age than Sampras. Of course, he may have been helped considerably by the injury to his great nemesis and rival Rafael Nadel. Injuries are part of the game, it will be interesting to see if Nadel’s are chronic and his future is now limited. Ironically, Steffi Graf benefitted greatly by the knifing of Monica Seles, who when it happened Monica, she was at the peak of her game. Seles had won 10 Grand Slams in four years and her winning percentage was 83% compared to Sampras’s 77%. Graf, who won 22 Grand Slam titles, and had a lifetime winning percentage of 88%, was defeated by Seles in the Australia Open in 1993. After Seles was stabbed in Hamburg by a crazy Graf supporter, she missed two years of play, was never really the same, and Graf won the three remaining titles in 1993 and seven more over the next number of years.

 

As to the longest match in Wimbledon history, that belongs to Pancho Gonzales and Charlie Pasarell. I can recall it to this day, and I was surprised that no one mentioned it during the long final set between Federer and Roddick. Gonzalez, who was on the less regarded professional tour from 1949 through 1967, missed many, many opportunities to win Grand Slam events. He certainly was the dominant pro player for eight consecutive years and he was still a potent force at Wimbledon at age 41.

 

As to Rod Laver, he swept all of the Grand Slam events in 1962 as an amateur and in 1969 a year after the Grand Slam events became open to professionals. Laver won a total of eleven Grand Slam titles and for sure would have won many more. His life-time winning percentage in ATP Open era events was 80%. When he returned to Wimbledon in 1968 he easily defeated both Arthur Ashe, the defending champion in the semi-finals, and Tony Roche in the finals, both in straight sets.

 

One of the greatest matches ever played

In 1969, however, it was Gonzales's turn to prevail in the longest match ever played till that time, one so long and arduous that it resulted in the advent of tie break scoring. As a 41-year-old at Wimbledon, Gonzales met the fine young amateur Charlie Pasarell, a Puerto Rican younger than Gonzales by 16 years who revered his opponent.

Pasarell won a titanic first set, 24-22, then with daylight fading, the 41-year-old Gonzalez argued that the match should be suspended. The referee didn't relent and thus the petulant Gonzalez virtually threw the second set, losing it 6-1. At the break, the referee agreed the players should stop. Gonzalez was booed as he walked off Centre Court.

The next day, the serves, the volleys and all the prowess that made Gonzales a fiery competitor surfaced with trademark vengeance. Pasarell, seeking to exploit Gonzalez's advanced years, tried to aim soft service returns at Gonzalez's feet and tire him with frequent lobs. Barked Gonzalez on a changeover, “Charlie, I know what you're doing — and it's not working!” Gonzalez rebounded to win three straight sets, 16-14, 6-3, 11-9. In the fifth set, Gonzales won all seven match points that Pasarell had against him, twice coming back from 0-40 deficits, to walk off the court from the 5-hour, 12-minute epic.[2]

The final score was an improbable 22-24, 1–6, 16-14, 6–3, 11-9. Gonzales went on to the fourth round of the championship, where he was beaten in four sets by Arthur Ashe. The match with Pasarell, however, is still remembered as one of the highlights in the history of tennis and has been called one of “The Ten Greatest Matches of the Open Era” in the November/December 2003 issue of TENNIS magazine.] But it was not this match alone which gave Gonzales the reputation, among the top players, of being the greatest long-match player in the history of the game.