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2012.02.22 Wednesday



Have you ever wanted to add some power to your punch? Do you feel threatened because of your lack of strength when it comes to defending yourself? Then it's time to finally get the edge you need over your attacker with a cheap pair of one of our real brass knuckles for sale, a reinforced piece of metal, gripped in the fist to increase the damage of normal unarmed attacks. Also sometimes called "knucks" or "knuckle dusters" or "punch rings", and a similar weapon the "tekko" is one of the traditional weapons of kobudo, a martial art from Okinawa, Japan.


Dear New York Times,

I am a subscriber of Times Reader and a blogger and researcher for strategy and mental model.
Yesterday, I analyzed the mental model, which I define as “the combination of thought process and knowledge”, of a Japanese columnist and I concluded that I don’t want to pay for that kind of article.
My blog is non-commercial and its purpose is to enlighten and urge anonymous readers to be able to filter worth-reading articles and information.

As the article (written material) is the reflection of a writer’s mental model, its analysis is an “inorganic” process without emotional detachment to the theme, up-to-date or obsolete, or writer, famous or unknown, for the filtering.
At this particular blog I am going to introduce an antithetical example I found in the front page of your February 20 issue.
Since some readers do not subscribe and may not have access to the article, I would like you to allow me to copy and paste it on this blog. I do hope that you should take this as part of your sales promotion.

The article is;
「From Knife Seller to the President’s Hard Edge」(By MARK LEIBOVICH Published: February 20, 2012)
URL is;

Thank you very much,

何度もブログに書いてきた大統領上級アドバイザーのプラウ(David Plouffe)に関するものですが、プラフ、またはプラッフ(Pluff)と呼ぶのが正しいそうです。はい、知りませんでした。でもこれまで通りプラウと書くことにします。


それとBrass knuckleと何の関係があるのか、下手なシャレのつもりなんです。


David Plouffe is not a hugger, crier or someone who gets all gaga every time he walks into his West Wing office, just a few feet from that of the president. He disdains doomsayers as “bed-wetters,” press hordes as “jackals” and the political noise machine as a profanity that begins with “cluster.”

Fiercely data-driven, Mr. Plouffe revels in the company of spreadsheets, lists, maps and the Baseball Almanac. Fiercely competitive, he once decked a colleague in a friendly touch football game for taunting him. Fiercely unsentimental, he expends zero amazement over his career climb from selling knives door to door to a first-among-equals status in the White House’s closed circle.

Mr. Plouffe, 44, who managed President Obama’s campaign in the relatively dewy-eyed days of 2008, rejoined his team last year after a lucrative hiatus. Since then, he has asserted himself as the main orchestrator of the White House message, political strategy and day-to-day presentation of the candidate.
If the campaign of four years ago sold Mr. Obama as a force for what Mr. Plouffe called “a politics of unity, hope and common purpose,” this one is rooted firmly in the grind-it-out imperatives of re-election. Today, Mr. Obama seems every bit primed for “brass-knuckle time,” as Mr. Plouffe once termed campaign brawling, with Mr. Plouffe leading an effort that has shown every sign of doing whatever it takes to succeed.

This month, with Mr. Plouffe’s support, Mr. Obama ditched his long opposition to directing his campaign donors to “super PACs” ― outside groups whose bankrolling of negative advertising against his Republican rivals has done much to change politics, and not in a “unity, hope and common purpose” kind of way.
Mr. Plouffe (pronounced Pluff) has also pushed for a more combative White House stance toward Congressional Republicans and an aggressive early tack against former Gov. Mitt Romney of Massachusetts, whom the Obama team still views as its most likely and most formidable opponent in November. It was Mr. Plouffe who declared on “Meet the Press” last fall that Mr. Romney had “no core.”

Intense and self-contained, Mr. Plouffe, who declined to be interviewed for this article, is a temperament alter ego to a president who has always been drawn to loyal fixer types. Mr. Obama, whose favorite movie is “The Godfather,” has compared Mr. Plouffe to a character ― a relentless cop played by Mark Wahlberg ― in the more recent mob film “The Departed.”

Mr. Obama’s aides are hesitant about discussing the frequency of Mr. Plouffe’s dealings with the re-election effort led by Jim Messina in Chicago, presumably not wanting to suggest he is running the campaign from the White House. Likewise, they are reluctant to characterize Mr. Plouffe’s relationship with the president as special, or suggest that it trumps that of other top lieutenants, particularly Jacob J. Lew, the new chief of staff (Mr. Plouffe is a stickler for hierarchy).
But people inside Mr. Obama’s political apparatus say Mr. Plouffe is most in tune with the president’s thinking in terms of his unsparing focus on the middle class and his abandonment of the bipartisan bridge-building efforts that have mostly failed through his first term.

“The president probably took David’s opinion with more certitude than he did anybody else’s,” said William M. Daley, who left as chief of staff last month after a year in the White House. “If David said X, I think the president would more often believe X than challenge it.” Mr. Daley added that Mr. Obama would be more likely to heed Mr. Plouffe’s advice than his or that of other longtime confidants, the senior advisers Valerie Jarrett and Pete Rouse.

Mr. Plouffe’s history with the president ensures him a rarified place in any Obama endeavor. He became a folk hero within the grass-roots network in 2008, his sleep-deprived face and deadpan delivery evoking urgency (and twiggy frame crying out for cheeseburgers). Mr. Plouffe approaches campaigns with a tribal sense of good-vs.-evil, rarely seeing much humanity in opponents. (He assumed that Hillary Rodham Clinton’s crying episode before the New Hampshire primary in 2008 was “deviously contrived and staged,” he wrote in his campaign memoir, “The Audacity to Win.”)
In keeping with the high-minded rhetoric of 2008, Mr. Plouffe railed against the corrosive political culture in Washington, even though he has worked there for years. Mr. Obama himself would talk about those who entered politics for “the right reasons” and those who wanted to make money. And Mr. Plouffe, in his memoir, denigrated Republicans as “a party led by people who foment anger and controversy to make a name for themselves and to make a buck.”

After Mr. Plouffe made a name for himself in the campaign, he made a buck. He signed on with the Washington lawyer Robert Barnett, a longtime Clinton loyalist whom Mr. Plouffe had privately denigrated during the campaign as a consummate Washington insider, according to several campaign aides.
Considered the prime facilitator in Washington for those seeking to “monetize” their political service, Mr. Barnett negotiated a reported seven-figure book advance for Mr. Plouffe and set him up for speaking gigs. Mr. Plouffe earned $1.5 million in 2010, according to White House disclosure statements, which included management consulting work for Boeing and General Electric, and close to $500,000 for speeches around the world, including $100,000 from MTN Nigeria, an African telecommunications firm.

In early 2009, Mr. Plouffe agreed to speak in Baku, the capital of Azerbaijan, for $50,000 without realizing that the event’s sponsor had ties to the authoritarian government there. After complaints from human rights groups, Mr. Plouffe donated his fee to the National Democratic Institute, a pro-democracy nonprofit organization partly financed by the American government.

Speculation about Mr. Plouffe’s status in the White House is precisely the kind of Kremlinology that the Obama team abhors ― none more than the No Drama archetype himself, Mr. Plouffe, who lives in Northwest Washington with his wife, Olivia Morgan, and their young son and daughter. He occupies the same role previously filled by David Axelrod, his former business partner, who remains a main adviser to the campaign in Chicago.
Mr. Axelrod, who compares his yin-yang with Mr. Plouffe to that of Oscar and Felix in the Odd Couple, is the expansive slob to Mr. Plouffe’s fastidious detail man. At a going-away party for Mr. Axelrod last year that was attended by numerous White House officials (including the president) and Axelrod pals (including the jackals), Mr. Plouffe looked as if he would rather be cleaning a litter box. He slipped out early.
The skills and sensibilities of the two Davids appeal to Mr. Obama for distinct reasons. Mr. Axelrod, a former journalist known as “Axe,” is an idealist inspired by Robert F. Kennedy who helped fulfill Mr. Obama’s ambition for lofty messages and oratorical sweep. Strategic and unemotional, Mr. Plouffe comports with Mr. Obama’s exacting style and natural reserve (“very, very, very, very, very, very private,” Mr. Daley said of Mr. Plouffe and Mr. Obama ― six verys).

“If Axe is the person most in tune with the president’s voice,” said Dan Pfeiffer, the White House communications director, “Plouffe is the one most in tune with the president’s personality.”
Mr. Plouffe grew up in Wilmington, Del., the third of five children. His father worked on the factory floor at DuPont and eventually moved into marketing. David joked in his high school yearbook that he planned to “join the mob” but instead enrolled at the University of Delaware.
He dabbled in beer pong and earned tuition money by selling kitchen knives and sweeping chimneys. He studied political science but craved a real-world exposure to campaigns that led him to bolt in his senior year for a career as a political gym rat. He worked on dozens of campaigns, including Senator Tom Harkin’s presidential run in 1992 and Mr. Obama’s Senate race in 2004. (He completed his college credits online in 2010.)
“He walked out of his job interview and I said, ‘He’s too nice,’ ” said former Senator Robert Torricelli, a New Jersey Democrat who hired Mr. Plouffe to run his 1996 Senate campaign against Representative Dick Zimmer, a Republican. “I thought he was going to be eaten alive.”
He hired him anyway, and Mr. Plouffe was not eaten alive: the Torricelli-Zimmer race is recalled as carnivorous ― “unrestricted chemical warfare,” as a Rutgers political scientist, Ross Baker, put it. It featured charges of race-baiting, mob dealing, terrorist ties and even accusations (never proved) that Mr. Zimmer’s campaign had rummaged through Mr. Torricelli’s trash. Hope and change, not so much.

Stories of Mr. Plouffe’s competitiveness abound ― like when a former business partner, John Del Cecato, scored in a touch football game, talked trash at Mr. Plouffe and got thrown to the ground next time he got the ball. After a doctor told Mr. Plouffe he could not run a marathon because of a knee injury, Mr. Plouffe did so anyway, and wound up on crutches.

If Mr. Plouffe has an ideological bent, other than being a Democrat, it is not evident. “I don’t know that he has a passion for the middle class, or the environment, or whatever it is,” said Steve Elmendorf, a Democratic lobbyist and close friend. “He has a passion for winning and a passion for putting together the operation to do so.”
In his memoir, Mr. Plouffe recounts what sounds like an ideal evening for himself ― alone with his laptop in a hotel room in Decorah, Iowa, running election scenarios in 2008. What if the turnout of voters under 30 was 17 percent of the electorate? What if it was 22 percent? “I ran through these exercises frequently,” he wrote, “sometimes at 4:00 a.m., according to my wife, while flailing in my sleep. Often it gave me comfort.”


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