Archive for April, 2008

Going Green By Purifying Hotel Air

Monday, April 28th, 2008

Recently the Washington Post published an interesting article on Marriott’s efforts at going green with energy efficient approaches in the hotels managed by Marriott. In my view, this is effective and an important model for business in general. And, as a past President of Marriott Hotels, I know they will carry out this initiative in an effective and comprehensive manner.

The firm I now chair, Thayer Lodging Group, is also committed to energy efficiency and is taking this a step further and combining with health living. Our initiative is to purify the air in our guest rooms and meeting rooms with an air purification system that is designed:

  • By deep cleaning the coils inside P-tacs and air handling units on a more regular and efficient manner, less pressure is created against the coils which causes the units to run at peak efficiency. This, in itself causes the until to use less electricity. Studies have shown that a clean coil uses 18 to 25% less electricity then the “normal” use coils. The purifiers use up about 3% of that savings so the net is 15-22% savings.
  • Also, deep cleaning coils on a more regular basis will increase the life of the units as well. We are also gathering data that will confirm that the Pure Rooms have 90% less complaints from costumers concerning non-working HVAC units. The cost savings of recovering from that guest complaint is huge.
  • The process uses a micro-fiber encasement to protect humans from breathing in anything that’s inside the pillow or mattresses. The encasements are also moisture resistant so that the human body’s natural fluids, such as the pint of water that the body sweats out every night, will not find its way into the bedding. As well, the encasements keep all human skin cells and dander from the bedding. These contaminants are what causes the pillows to lose their fluff and the mattresses to flatten. We are gathering data now, but the manufacturers of the pillows and mattresses all agree that the life of these items will increase. If a pillow doubles its life when encased and an encased mattress lasts three years longer, imagine the number of these items that don’t go to the landfill.
  • Indoor air quality is also listed as a positive for the L.E.E.D. certification, which Pure will accomplish.

We are working on other “green” associated benefits but these are what we are emphasizing right now.

Parachuting With President Bush

Monday, April 21st, 2008

You may have seen the article the Washington Post business section did on me that appeared in today’s Business Section: “Brokering Power In Business and Politics: Buyout Firm Founder Fred Malek’s Career Spans Nixon to McCain.”

I was amused to see that the piece picked up on one of the coolest experiences I’ve had in my life: Parachuting with former President Bush.  Here’s what the reporter wrote:

Malek, by his admission, is not entirely warm and fuzzy, but he is likable and has a knack for winning people’s trust. He could relax a mouse who was about to be eaten by a cat. In this case, he created a clubby, insider atmosphere, showing off photos from a lifetime of moving in and out of power. There’s Malek with his former executive assistant, Gen. Colin Powell. There’s Malek with his ex-boss, President Richard Nixon. There’s Malek with former president Bush, after parachuting out a plane to celebrate Bush’s 80th birthday. “Did Bush jump, too?” Rued asked. “Hell yeah,” Malek said.

Here are some more details from that jump.

It was June 2004.  President George H.W. Bush celebrated his 80th birthday by parachuting twice onto the grounds of his presidential library.  He made both leaps in tandem with experienced jumpers from the U.S. Army Golden Knights Parachute team from Fort Bragg, North Carolina.  My jump was made a few days earlier along with his son Neil and several of his grandchildren.   The President gave us encouragement and congratulated us on completion. While I’d jumped before when in the Army, I found leaping from a small plane at 13,000 feet terrifying.

First lady Barbara Bush watched the jumps, as well as former Soviet President Mikhail Gorbachev.

Of course, as a Navy pilot during World War II, Bush bailed out of his plane when his torpedo bomber was hit by anti-aircraft fire south of Japan.  That was probably his most famous parachute jump of all.  Still, for an 80-year-old, the former President did quite nicely on his 80th.  A moment I’ll always remember and treasure.

 

Fred Malek President Bush from Washington Post

Business IT Support managed IT services IT Consulting Cloud IT solution Microsoft Office365 Cabling and Wiring Cat5 cabling Cat6 cabling Backup and Disaster Recovery On-Demand IT Support Small business IT Support Geeks to the Rescue computer repair Mac repair IT Support mac logic board repair laptop repair arlington computer repair falls church computer repair alexandria computer repair vienna computer repair Mclean computer repair fairfax computer repair Washington DC computer repair Computer geeks Law Firms IT Support  Medical Practices IT Support Financial IT Support Insurance Agency IT Support Non-Profit IT Support Real Estate IT Support  Computer service  Business consulting company  Services repair  Home computer repair Repair imac  Data recovery  Computer tech service  Computer geeks on call Computer hard drive recovery Cctv Security camera Surveillance camera Dropbox for Business Dropbox

 

Obama Is Wrong On Capital Gains Taxes

Thursday, April 17th, 2008

An interesting – and quite enlightening – exchange occurred during last night’s debate between Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton.

ABC News moderator Charles Gibson brought up the prospect of raising capital gains taxes.

Here’s part of the back-and-forth with Obama that caught my attention:

GIBSON:   You have however said you would favor an increase in the capital gains tax. As a matter of fact, you said on CNBC, and I quote, “I certainly would not go above what existed under Bill Clinton, which was 28 percent.”

It’s now 15 percent. That’s almost a doubling if you went to 28 percent. But actually Bill Clinton in 1997 signed legislation that dropped the capital gains tax to 20 percent.

SENATOR OBAMA: Right.

MR. GIBSON: And George Bush has taken it down to 15 percent.

SENATOR OBAMA: Right.

MR. GIBSON: And in each instance, when the rate dropped, revenues from the tax increased. The government took in more money. And in the 1980s, when the tax was increased to 28 percent, the revenues went down. So why raise it at all, especially given the fact that 100 million people in this country own stock and would be affected?

SENATOR OBAMA: Well, Charlie, what I’ve said is that I would look at raising the capital gains tax for purposes of fairness. We saw an article today which showed that the top 50 hedge fund managers made $29 billion last year — $29 billion for 50 individuals. And part of what has happened is that those who are able to work the stock market and amass huge fortunes on capital gains are paying a lower tax rate than their secretaries. That’s not fair.

And what I want is not oppressive taxation. I want businesses to thrive and I want people to be rewarded for their success. But what I also want to make sure is that our tax system is fair and that we are able to finance health care for Americans who currently don’t have it and that we’re able to invest in our infrastructure and invest in our schools.

And you can’t do that for free, and you can’t take out a credit card from the Bank of China in the name of our children and our grandchildren and then say that you’re cutting taxes, which is essentially what John McCain has been talking about. And that is irresponsible.

No, it’s not.  I disagree with Sen. Obama.  Raising the rates for capital gains taxes is a dreadful idea – particularly during troubled economic times.

John McCain’s position is better:

Low taxes on dividends and capital gains promote saving, channel investment dollars to innovative, high-value uses and not wasteful financial planning. John McCain will keep the current rates on dividends and capital gains and fight anti-growth efforts by Democrats.

That’s how we stimulate economic growth.  In my opinion, hiking taxes is standard discredited economic folly.

I’d love to know your thoughts.    How would increasing the capital gains tax rate affect your investment habits and decisions?  If you have a moment, leave a comment.

Business IT Support managed IT services IT Consulting Cloud IT solution Microsoft Office365 Cabling and Wiring Cat5 cabling Cat6 cabling Backup and Disaster Recovery On-Demand IT Support Small business IT Support Geeks to the Rescue computer repair Mac repair IT Support mac logic board repair laptop repair arlington computer repair falls church computer repair alexandria computer repair vienna computer repair Mclean computer repair fairfax computer repair Washington DC computer repair Computer geeks Law Firms IT Support  Medical Practices IT Support Financial IT Support Insurance Agency IT Support Non-Profit IT Support Real Estate IT Support  Computer service  Business consulting company  Services repair  Home computer repair Repair imac  Data recovery  Computer tech service  Computer geeks on call Computer hard drive recovery Cctv Security camera Surveillance camera Dropbox for Business Dropbox

The Cancer Discussion Continued

Tuesday, April 8th, 2008

Over the weekend, John McCain said something worth repeating.  Here’s the AP story:

Sen. John McCain called Saturday for a presidential campaign that is more like a respectful argument among friends than a bitter clash of enemies, and said he is better able than either of his Democratic rivals to govern across party lines.

“We have nothing to fear from each other,” the Arizona senator said as he wrapped up a weeklong trip designed to broaden his appeal beyond the voters who cast ballots in last winter’s Republican primaries.

“We are arguing over the means to better secure our freedom, promote the general welfare and defend our ideals.”

“Let us exercise our responsibilities as free people. But let us remember we are not enemies,” he added.

I’m a fierce believe in policy and issues debate.  And, like Senator McCain, I don’t consider my debate opponents to be my enemies.

This point was quite relevant to me last week when I posted on this blog my thoughts about Elizabeth Edwards and cancer research.

That posting got noticed in several circles in the blogosphere – and produced an outpouring of responses.  Many of them were thoughtful and, although several disagreed with my position, were worth presenting on my blog.  This is such an important – and emotional – issue that I’m eager to keep the conversation going, even with folks who don’t agree with me.  In fact a few of these comments led to me to alter my view, and I now feel Mrs. Edwards truly did a service by further raising the profile of the critical issue of cancer in the political equation.  The more focus and discussion the better.

Many more comments, unfortunately, left the realm of polite debate.  I’m aware of those comments as well and, although I do appreciate their eagerness and earnestness on this issue, it’s probably better off to maintain a higher plane of discourse.

But thanks to all for taking the time to read my thoughts.  It’s a valuable conversation.  Let’s keep it going.

Let’s Keep Cancer Off The Campaign Trail

Wednesday, April 2nd, 2008

One of my proudest activities is my work on behalf of cancer research. My wife Marlene is President of Friends of Cancer Research, where I am a contributor, and she is on the board of, and I am a contributor to, the MD Anderson Cancer Center, the Duke Comprehensive Cancer Center, and the Mayo Clinic Cancer Center Leadership Council.

Finding a cure for cancer is a vitally important mission for this country. Supporting that mission should unite everyone – and should be off-limits from the political and partisan battlefield.

That’s why I was more than a bit concerned to see Elizabeth Edwards – herself a heroic cancer survivor and inspiration for us all – bring cancer into the presidential race.

Here’s what I read on Jake Tapper’s blog at ABC News:

Speaking to the Association of Health Care Journalists on Saturday, Elizabeth Edwards said that she and Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., have something in common in addition to being cancer survivors: “Neither one of us would be covered by his health policy.”

Edwards — the wife of former presidential candidate and Sen. John Edwards, D-NC — said that insurance companies, under McCain’s proposal, “wouldn’t have to cover preexisting conditions like melanoma and breast cancer.”

Dr. Douglas Holtz-Eakin, senior policy advisor to McCain, told the Los Angeles Times that, in the words of the Times, “Edwards’ comments were disappointing and that they revealed she did not understand the comprehensive nature of the senator’s proposal.”

Holtz-Eakin, former director of the Congressional Budget Office, said McCain’s policy would harness “the power of competition to produce greater coverage for Americans.”

I give Mrs. Edwards all the benefit of the doubt in the world on this one, that she really has our best interests at heart by introducing John McCain – who is Honorary Co-chairman, Advisory Board of Directors of the Arizona Cancer Research Foundation — into the political conversation.

I just hope that it doesn’t become a common occurrence on the campaign trail. The cancer conversation is best left to the experts, researchers, and doctors.

The Battle For The Senate

Tuesday, April 1st, 2008

The presidential race has been taking center stage in our political discussions and debates.

But don’t forget the vitally important campaigns for Republicans running for Senate in 2008.

Here’s a great quote by Sen. Orrin Hatch (R-UT) in today’s Roll Call:

“‘I’m going to try to stop them from doing it — it would be disastrous for our country,’ Hatch said.”

(Senator Orrin Hatch on what would happen to our great nation if Democrats gained 60 seats in the Senate, Roll Call, 4/1/08)

Senator Hatch is right.  We need to keep the Democrats from expanding their 51 seat majority to a filibuster-proof, 60-vote margin — which would relegate the Republicans to the sidelines.

Last week I was honored and thrilled for President Bush to join me and my wife Marlene at my house for a fundraiser in support of our Senate campaign efforts.  Senator Hatch was also in attendance

Here’s an AP story on the event:

Bush to Raise Money for Senate GOP

The Associated Press; Tuesday, March 25, 2008

WASHINGTON — President Bush joined an old partner to raise serious campaign cash for Senate Republicans.

The president headlined a private fundraiser Tuesday night at the home of Fred and Marlene Malek in the wealthy Washington suburb of McLean, Va. The dinner was raising $2 million for the National Republican Senatorial Committee, the campaign arm of the Senate GOP.

Malek, a local venture capitalist, was leader of a group that unsuccessfully bid two years ago to become the new owners of the Washington Nationals baseball team. Further back, he co-owned the Texas Rangers baseball franchise with Bush.

Malek, a veteran of the Nixon White House, also advised Presidents Ford and Reagan and was the 1992 campaign manager for the first President Bush.

It was a great evening – and the money we raised will help, as Senator Hatch might put it, avert disaster for our country.