Ugly and Soft

The Carolina Tarheels had made it to the Sweet 16 on Friday in a very uneven game. They won it but it wasn't pretty. In contrast to that, earlier today they played a very good game against Georgetown. At least it was well played by the Tarheels until the last 5 minutes or so of regulation play. They they just couldn't get any points and Georgetown was able to come up from behind and tie--forcing overtime, which just hasn't worked well for the Tarheels all season long. This was no exception. The Tarheels collapsed in overtime. Georgetown scored something like 12 points in the 5 minutes and the Tarheels went scoreless until the last 7 seconds. A 3-pointer that was far too little and far, far too late. End of the season for the Heels. It was sweet while it lasted and there's always next year -- and for such a young team, that's a promise that will be kept.

That was the "ugly" that was referred to in the title. The "soft" was 60 Minutes. Have you ever seen 3 segments that were so lacking in hard questions?

To tell you the truth, I still found all 3 segments interesting but they were all essentially PR pieces for the people being profiled. First US Presidential candidate John Edwards and his wife Elizabeth discussed his ambitions and what her diagnosis of Stage 4 cancer would mean for them in terms of their life together, his run for office, and their kids.

It was an interesting piece but as soon as I saw Katie Couric was going to run the segment it became obvious that it was going to be soft sell. My personal belief, for whatever it's worth, is that Elizabeth Edwards is doing the right thing. Being able to throw yourself into a cause when you're given a diagnosis that is so dire might well be the perfect thing to do. Few people have the resources to be able to do that--but I bet it's a lot more satisfying than just sitting at home worrying about the cancer growing within. I was impressed at how well they both were able to spin their answers to Couric's questions into acceptable political concepts and slogans.

The other two segments were about Dennis Kozlowski, once the high-flying CEO of Tyco who earned over $100 million a year and Hassan Butt, a former terrorist recruiter from London, England. Butt, who was born and raised in London, grew to regret his role in helping to create terrorist cells after the bombings in England, and is now trying to change the linkage between violence and Islamic religion. Kozlowski, on the other hand, despite being caught red-handed with his hand in the cookie jar, agreed to do the puff piece on 60 Minutes only if he didn't have to address any specifics. He was quite unrepentant and seems to believe that he's just misunderstood. LOL

To be honest, Kozlowski was probably worth every dollar he made, but even now he sees nothing wrong with a centi-millionaire using corporate funds to pay for everything from small items like his health club fees and pool cleaner to interest free loans to buy multimillion dollar houses and paintings. According to Kozlowski he was going to eventually pay it all back. Nice of him, huh?

Of course that sort of thing is commonly done at that level. Koz was just one of the worst examples. Jack Welch, former CEO of General Electric, has GE pay for almost all of his expenses--even now that he's retired--so in a way the fault here lies at the feet of the members of corporate Boards that rubber stamp these excessive forms of lavish corporate expense accounts for their top executives.


Deana said…
I feel so bad for Elizabeth Edwards. I think it will help her to not focus on it. My own Doc told me she originally had a bad mammogram and waited years to go back, not until she found the lump....Women you have to take care of your OWN bodies and you do need mammogram screenings!

I was crushed by UNC's choking at the end of the game yesterday...AH Man!
kenju said…
Dave, I had to watch that game in the company of 3 people pulling for GU, while I cheered for UNC. Mr. kenju is crowing like a rooster today, but I and my 3 children are glum!!

I also saw 60 mins. My heart breaks for the Edwards and their children, but I think she is doing the right thing.

What makes me mad is when an interviewer says that if he wins, he might be distracted by his wife's illness. Well, so what?! That could happen to any candidate. Say Hillary wins (ick), and then finds out that Bill has some advanced form of cancer. She would be distracted as hell, and rightly so.
tiff said…
Don't watch 60 minutes anymore because it too often sells to corporate interests and has stopped being a news program.

For much the same reason, I've stopped watching more "news" shows. I can get better and more accurate news from the papers and online.

I'm turning into a curmudgeonette, and I don't care.

Now get off my lawn!
SassyAssy said…
I cannot deal with pseudo-news as seen by 60 mins, et al. I prefer the pseudo-reality of CSI & House. My intellectual pursuits at the moment stop at tax law & human resource junk for school.

PS-The "sistahs" say hello back.
Teresa said…
Sorry about the basketball game... I saw parts of the last 6 minutes of regulation and then the OT period. Nothing went their way...

Hating Miss Katie didn't help my impression of that interview with the Edwardses. Not much liking the guy to begin with didn't help either. However, I really like Elizabeth. But I do think she's doing the wrong thing. If John wishes to continue, by all means he should. Unfortunately, he needs her there. He really is the only on in the front pack who really does need his spouse by his side to be viable. They are a package. So, in their case it pretty much was a scrap-it-or-as-you-were dilemma. I see why she's forging ahead and some of the points made were valid, but she is risking losing the time she could be using to make peace with the situation and helping her children adapt to it. It looks like they are ignoring the elephant in the room until it actually sits on them.

On the other hand, I do believe that it's a private decision and up to them to make. I wouldn't want to publicly battle cancer under any circumstances, much less during an 18 month campaign.
utenzi said…
Yeah. You're probably right, Teresa. Elizabeth Edwards is so oriented towards her kids that this is probably mostly about him. Good call.
rennratt said…
I'm not really a fan of John Edwards, but I think highly of his wife.

My initial impression was that he is a selfish brat, and she was doing this because it is her nature.

Then I saw a clip of the interview this morning. When asked why JE was still campaigning, EE stated it was what SHE wanted. She said "When you are diagnosed with a terminal disease, you can do one of two things. You can pick up and continue what you were doing yesterday, or you can lay down and wait to die..."

The entire time she spoke, her husband was looking at HER, with tears in his eyes. I may not like the man, but he truly loves his wife.

I have no doubt that 1/he doesn't expect to win and 2/ he is staying in to help distract her as she prepares to die.
utenzi said…
I dunno, Renn. I agree with you that they're both quite in love with one another. I've thought that since I first saw them together years ago. But I don't think his motivation is quite that selfless. If nothing else, it'll certainly raise awareness of breast cancer--but breast cancer has a pretty high profile already. It's tragic that people keep dying from it and that there's no end in sight.
srp said…
Sorry about the basketball game. I just heard about the mascot too. The report said he was hit by a car while in New Jersey and had passed away. He was apparently a fine young man and his family unselfishly donated his organs for transplantation. I know all the UNC students must be devastated and saddened by this news even more than the basketball loss.

I wish the best for Elizabeth Edwards, attitude is a big part of a cancer patient's outcome. And now Tony Snow with recurrent colon cancer and a liver met.

I wonder if he will get the same compassion given Mrs. Edwards, the same compassion he personally expressed to both she and her husband before his surgery.

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