August 26, 2009

I’m a Bit Embarrassed…

Filed under: Activism,General,Health Care,Taxes & Government — Rose @ 11:42 pm

…. Here I thought that all the smart people in Michigan left the state.

This video is from a few weeks ago, but still current and very valid. Clearly, Congressman Mike Rogers isn’t giving up (wait for the punch line near the end):

Positivity: RIP, William J. Williams

Filed under: Business Moves,Positivity — Tom @ 8:12 am

From Cincinnati, for those who today would prefer to read about the passing of a man whose unblemished record of genuine accomplishment helped improve the lives of millions of people:

August 24, 2009

Western & Southern’s Wm. Williams dies at age 93

William J. Williams, a businessman who ran, built or influenced many of Cincinnati’s business, charitable and sporting institutions, but preferred to stay out of the public eye, died Sunday at the age of 93.

As chief executive officer and then chairman of Western & Southern Financial Group, Williams expanded a company founded by his uncle in the 19th century into one of the nation’s largest insurance and financial services firms.

As an owner of the Cincinnati Reds for 20 years, he presided over the glory years of the Big Red Machine and sold the team to its most controversial owner, Marge Schott.

He was a founding owner of the Cincinnati Bengals in 1968 and maintained his ownership until his death.

Although Williams’ business career is best known for Western & Southern, he created and for 30 years directed a major commercial real estate company that developed some of the first indoor shopping malls in the region.

And although his philanthropy extended to the arts, medicine and education, there are few brick-and-mortar projects that bear his name, as he maintained a low public profile throughout his life.

“He wasn’t flashy; he wasn’t egotistical,” said his son, Thomas Williams. “He never let ego affect his judgment.”

But he was influential, and traveled in circles that included some of Cincinnati’s most powerful business people.

….. Williams started selling insurance at age 16 for the company that his uncle and father co-founded in 1888. He graduated from Georgetown University in 1937, attended one year of Harvard University’s School of Business and was elected to Western & Southern’s board.

In 1941, he married Helen DeCourcy, then entered the U.S. Army in World War II. He rejoined the company as a vice president in 1947 after his Army service.

In 1954, he made a decision that would affect him, his family and the Greater Cincinnati landscape. Williams left the family business and branched out on his own, starting the North American Management and Development Co. The commercial real estate company left an imprint on the region, developing one of the area’s first indoor shopping centers, Northgate Mall, its first double-deck mall, Florence Mall, as well as big strip centers such as Kenwood Plaza and Brentwood Plaza.

The company, now called North American Properties, has grown to include offices in five cities and is run by Williams’ sons, Thomas and William Joseph, Jr.

In 1966, Williams was part of a group that purchased the Reds, and he continued as one of the club’s principal owners until 1985. He hired Bob Howsam, considered the architect of the Big Red Machine, in the St. Louis airport in 1967 to be the team’s general manager.

In 1985, Williams and his brother, James, put their majority shares of the Reds up for sale. They fended off offers from out-of-town interests, preferring to sell to a Cincinnatian. They settled on Marge Schott, the colorful owner of a car dealership, who was already a limited partner in the Reds.

“The city and the Reds owe him a debt of gratitude for bringing his business acumen to this team that he loved,” said Robert H. Castellini, Reds president and CEO. “He understood what it takes to win, and never lost his passion for it.”

His sons, William Joseph Jr. and Thomas, continue with the Reds as chairman and vice chairman, respectively, while a grandson, Dick Williams, is vice president of baseball operations.

“Bill’s sound judgment and quiet, determined leadership have left a considerable legacy not only with the ballclub and with Major League Baseball, but throughout the city he loved,” said Major League Baseball Commissioner Bud Selig.

He put his stamp on Cincinnati’s other professional sports team, the Bengals, as part of the investor group that founded the team in 1968. “He played a significant role with the team while we got under way,” said Bengals owner Mike Brown.

“He was a man of complete integrity. I trusted and admired him, and I regret his passing.”

In 1984, he returned to Western & Southern as president and chief operating officer; in 1988, he was elected chief executive officer and added the title of chairman in 1989.

During his tenure as CEO and chairman, Western & Southern – a group of diversified financial services companies that provides life insurance, retirement planning and investment products and is member of the Fortune 500 – grew from $4.6 billion in assets to $27 billion.

His business style matched his personal style – low-key, responsible, but always moving forward. “We have not gone haywire on a lot of new projects and ideas,” he said in a 2005 company tribute at his 90th birthday. “We have simply tried to do business profitably while meeting the needs of our policyholders.”

He served on the boards of more than a dozen companies and not-for-profit organizations, most of them Cincinnati-based. They included the Boys and Girls Clubs of Greater Cincinnati, the Cincinnati Zoological Society, Good Samaritan Hospital, the Taft Museum and Xavier University. The Williams College of Business at Xavier was supported by funding from Western & Southern and the Williams Foundation and named after his father, Charles F. Williams, and his uncle, William John Williams. ….

….. “Bill was truly a great Cincinnatian,” said Carl H. Lindner, chairman of American Financial Group and a former partner with Williams in the Reds. “He touched our life in so many ways as an owner in the Cincinnati Reds and the Bengals and was a great philanthropist, particularly in Catholic charities.” …..

Read the whole thing.

Stossel Gets An A-Minus

Filed under: Activism,General,Health Care,Taxes & Government — Rose @ 7:44 am

I’m shocked that ABC even aired this segment (HT: Emailer):

Stossel was only wrong about one thing…the number of times Obama claimed to want a government-run universal healthcare (hint: it was a lot more than once, John).

Surf’s Up, Barry…

Filed under: Activism,Health Care,Taxes & Government — Rose @ 7:40 am

From Rick Scott @ Conservatives for Patients Rights:

As the First Family prepares to take a summer vacation on Martha’s Vineyard, we want to make sure that President Obama remains focused on one of the most important issues facing our country: health care. Today, CPR will be launching a new ad, titled Surf’s Up, which is a direct appeal to the President to drop the public option plan.

Americans have made it very clear that they don’t want a government-run public option, they just want lower costs. While President Obama is vacationing in the surf at Martha’s Vineyard, Americans are growing increasingly anxious that the public option will raise costs, not lower them. When the President returns to Washington from his vacation, he should drop the public option plan and go back to the drawing board.

We still need your help to convince our leaders that a government take over of health care is not the right path for lasting reform. Your actions are making a real difference and we hope you continue to engage the health care debate on all levels. Having your voice heard is the most important part of the democratic process and CPR wants you to take advantage of every opportunity to speak out against government-run health care. Your continued attendance at town hall meetings is compelling legislators to carefully examine the reform effort and recognize the serious threat posed by a government takeover. It is through your passion and support that we can illustrate the real dangers of government-run health care.

Here’s how you can help right now:

* Watch our new ad and share it online on your blog, social network, and via email

* Sign our petition against government-run health care and ask all of your friends to do the same.

* Attend a town hall meeting in your area by checking out our comprehensive list of upcoming events.

* Contribute as much as you can to the CPR Education Fund, our educational affiliate, that will help us inform the public about the health care debate.

Thank you for all your efforts and together we will achieve sensible and lasting health care reform.

Sincerely,

Rick Scott
Chairman, Conservatives for Patients’ Rights

700 12th Street NW, Suite 700 | Washington, DC 20005

Amen, brother.

RIP ….

Filed under: General — Tom @ 7:38 am

…. Ted Kennedy.