Year in Review – Part II

Published: December 31, 2011

By Jim Lichtman
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On a positive note, the stories from this site that stood out for me include…

Fifty Years Ago… recalled the first time I watched and listened to President Kennedy’s Inaugural Address in which he reminded Americans “…of individual responsibility… ‘In your hands, my fellow citizens, more than mine, will rest the final success or failure of our course.’

“… a call to service…‘Since this country was founded, each generation of Americans has been summoned to give testimony to its national loyalty.’ ”

“… [and] a call to a higher standard…‘…whether you are citizens of America or citizens of the world, ask of us here the same high standards of strength and sacrifice which we ask of you.’ ”

Reliable Sources – media reporter Howard Kurtz frequently shines a light on a news media that can frequently wander off the path of keeping citizens apprised of the stories and facts they need to know in order to make informed decisions

“…Kurtz has discussed issues like the media’s overblown coverage of Charlie Sheen and Lindsay Lohan. Most recently, he’s questioned the media’s fixation of businessman Donald Trump who’s been given far too much coverage discussing his own obsessive belief that President Obama’s birth certificate is illegitimate. The other Trump constant — from Trump’s tilted perspective — is why the press won’t let him discuss policy issues for a potential 2012 presidential run.”

Powell’s Rules in which the former Secretary of State and Joint Chiefs Chairman talks about 13 rules that have made a difference in his life. Two that stand out to me:

“ ‘3. Avoid having your ego so close to your position that, when your position falls, your ego goes with it.’ Accept responsibility for the consequences of your actions; set a good example for others.

“ ‘13. Perpetual optimism is a force multiplier.’ In my own talks, I’m sometimes asked if it is unethical to be cynical. My response: if we understand and accept that pursuing excellence is an integral part of responsibility, how, then, can we pursue excellence, be committed to total quality, seek to develop our knowledge, skills and judgment in the performance of any duty by being negative?”

Debt-Ceiling Talks: Impossible has Food Network’s Chef Robert Irvine, facing his most impossible challenge to date: getting the Republicans and Democrats to agree… on anything!

“ ‘This is not about the business of politics,’ Irvine says. ‘This is about the business of the people and doing the right thing for the millions that you both represent. Failure is not an option.’

“ ‘I was sent here,’ Eric Cantor says, ‘by the Tea Party and…’

“ ‘Well this isn’t a party, Eric. This is serious work, because, my friend, if you want to sit at this table you have to be willing to represent all the people.’ ”

In The Answer Man from July, the whole world believes that writer Arlen Faber has all the answers. The piece contrasts and compares the fictional Faber with the very real Rupert Murdoch.

“In the movie, people believe Arlen speaks to the Almighty.
In real life, Rupert believes he IS the Almighty.
Arlen Faber developed an open-mind.
Rupert cultivated an open check book.
Arlen sees that we’re all interconnected and dependent on one another.
Rupert sees others as a means to an end… his.
Arlen became compassionate.
Rupert doesn’t know how to spell compassionate.”

In July’s The Other Jackie Robinson, center field standout Curt Flood, talks about his principled stand against baseball’s long-held reserve clause.

“For Flood that amounted to indentured servitude, slavery. ‘They say, Curt Flood you make a lot of money. You make a hundred-thousand dollars a year,’ Flood said at the time, ‘but that’s not the point. I don’t want anyone to own me.’ ”

November’s Whatever Happened to Statesmanship? was written to remind the current Congress of what Americans wish for most.

“Statesmanship is that quality of leadership that looks at the big picture. It’s an understanding – particularly in times of crisis – that we are all in this together and must all do what is necessary for the whole.

The politician works the levers and switches of power.
The statesman works to achieve a balance.
The politician works for the expediency of the moment.
The statesman works for the long term.
The politician is about the interests of politics.
The statesman is about the interests of all the people.

“Churchill might remind the committee: ‘It is no use saying, ‘We are doing our best.’ You have got to succeed in doing what is necessary.’ ”

Here’s to a new year where integrity truly matters.


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