Our Observations

Roses & Wreaths: Memorial Day 2014 Edition

Roses & Wreaths: Memorial Day Edition

A few observations on some recent winners and losers in the public perception arena.

Roses

Dumb Ass Partners: When Steve Coburn and Perry Martin paid $8,000 for a horse no one wanted in 2008, someone said only a “dumb ass” would pay that much. The two men liked the moniker and that’s how the partnership name was formed. Now, six years later, their investment could be worth millions. A horse born to the original filly is California Chrome, who won the Kentucky Derby and the Preakness. A win at the Belmont Stakes would make it the first Triple Crown winner since Affirmed in 1978. It’s the quintessential American story. Whether or not California Chrome wins, the partnership has earned a standing others in the industry can only envy.

Beyoncé: The entertainment phenom became a juggernaut in December with the secret release of a new album. Now, Beyoncé is everywhere. She has the music product and the marketing forces behind her where she is undoubtedly music’s reigning queen. Perhaps the best tribute to her megastar fame came in the form of a Saturday Night Live video called the Beygency – a takeoff the movie “The Agency.” Actor Andrew Garfield makes the mistake of saying he doesn’t really like a particular Beyoncé song , and suddenly he is being hunted down.

Wreaths

The U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs: News reports about inexcusable practices at some VA hospitals that ultimately resulted in the deaths of military veterans exploded in the airwaves and on social media this month. Any issue that can earn the wrath of Fox News and Jon Stewart demonstrates just how egregious the problems at the department have become. This new set of allegations, along with stories in recent years about problems at Walter Reed National Military Medical Center and an unbelievable amount of veterans claims backlogged at the department, adds to the belief that the department is dysfunctional at best and callous at worst. And, take a look at the website. It's as if nothing bad is going on.

Of course, everyone in Washington, D.C. is now outraged, though the previous two scandals mentioned above seemed worthy of their wrath back then. Those who did not react the same for those stories then only seem to be posturing for the news cameras now. It’s a worthy story – the department responsible for the care of our veterans has been more concerned about covering its own ass than the bodies of those who fought for our freedom. Our hope on this Memorial Day is that our elected officials actually take action and give our veterans the care they deserve.

Donald Sterling: There’s no defense for a man who thinks he hides his racism, and then believes he can sit down for a national interview and come across sympathetically. And, even more revealing, he seems to not understand the outrage and sends signals that he intends to fight his suspension as an owner of the National Basketball Association’s Los Angeles Clippers. He appears to have no regard for his players, the league’s players or America’s outrage. While he certainly is entitled to his legal rights, he doesn’t seem to understand that even if he wins the technical end game, he will still be a pariah. 

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