25 October, 2010

Win Or Lose, Joe Manchin Will Still Have A Political Career: Jesse Johnson May Not

Win or lose, when this US Senate race is over, Joe Manchin will still have a political career.

Jesse Johnson may not.

I know, I know, it's heady stuff for a relatively young third party candidate to be in a position to drain off perhaps 5% of what would otherwise be Democrat votes and assure a Republican victory in a US Senate race but, Jesse if you do it your political career may be as good as over. And that would be a shame because you could be a rising star but if you persist in your role as West Virginia's Ralph Nader, you'll make more enemies than friends and you will always be remembered as the selfish egoist who enabled Senator John Raese to desecrate the Robert Byrd Senate seat.

There is a better way for the nation, the state and for you, Jesse Johnson: drop out of the race. Endorse Joe Manchin, campaign for him. Campaign with him. If you help Joe Manchin keep John Raese out of the sacred Robert Byrd senate seat you be a hero to Centrists and Lefties all over West Virginia. Joe Manchin will owe you. You'll be able to run for and win the Democratic nomination for elected office.

Win or lose, when this Senate race is over, Joe Manchin still has a political career. Jesse Johnson may not. You've seen the polls. You know you can't win. You can serve only one purpose in this race: you can hand the sacred Robert Byrd Senate seat to John Raese thus incurring the wrath of Centrists and Lefties or you can hand the seat to Joe Manchin, placing him in your debt.

Jesse, live up to your followers' praise by proving that you love your country more than you love the spotlight. Take the high road, Jesse. If you do, both you and Joe Manchin will have a political future no matter who wins this Senate race.

Higginbotham At Large will publish no obscene or anonymous comments. Comments unaccompanied by  a verifiable , full name and contact info will be rejected.

24 October, 2010

The Religious Conversation Juan Williams Almost Started (And Journalists Have Obscured)

By devoting so much ink and airtime to the least interesting, least important part of the story about how NPR fired Juan Williams for remarks he made on Fox’s The OReilly Factor, journalists and pundits have robbed us of the exegesis and the important national discussion Williams might have started had NPR not fired him and had commentators not obsessed about how Williams feels when he sees Muslims. Below is the text of the paragraph all the nervous, overpaid journalists and could-I-be-next-commentators are wringing their hands about with the important words – the religious conversation Williams almost started - italicized and colored red:

“'Look, Bill, I'm not a bigot. You know the kind of books I've written about the civil rights movement in this country. But when I get on a plane, I got to tell you, if I see people who are in Muslim garb and I think, you know, they are identifying themselves first and foremost as Muslims, I get worried. I get nervous.'”

Notice that what makes Williams “worried” and “nervous” is not that people are Muslims but that “they are identifying themselves first and foremost as Muslims”.

In other words, Williams has noticed the unavoidable and inevitable tension that will always exist in a society where church and state are distinct and where people are free to pledge their allegiance first and foremost to their religion, not to their nation.

Though members of the majority religion may not realize it, Williams’ nervousness and worry would have been no less valid and the potential for conflict between religion and nation no less real had he said “When I see people who are identifying themselves first and foremost as conservative, Calvinistic, Presbyterians, I get worried. I get nervous.”

I know. In my callow youth I was bitten by the conservative, Calvinistic theological bug and, for a time, fell in with a small, conservative sect of Presbyterians who followed the theonomist, RJ Rushdoony, and who wanted to impose Old Testament law on modern day Americans. And by “Old Testament Law” I don’t just mean the parts we all like such as “Thou shalt not murder” but the parts most people don’t even know are in the Bible like this one: “If a man lies with a woman during her sickness and uncovers her nakedness, he has exposed her flow, and she has uncovered the flow of her blood. Both of them shall be cut off from their people.” (Leviticus 20:18)

Don’t laugh. The Bible is full of laws you’ll never hear mentioned in a sermon down at the First Baptist Church or the Maranatha Fellowship and, for a time, I “sat under the ministry”, as we put it, of a man who, publicly, gingerly tested the extent of his flock’s tolerance for such verses but privately, behind the scenes, had an inner circle of Young Theonomists who swapped audiotapes and books by their favorite theonomists.

One of my denomination’s most infamous preachers carried his obedience to Old Testament law to its logical conclusion and made national news when he murdered an abortion doctor. If the more moderate members of my Presbyterian church waited for my pastor’s unequivocal denunciation of that act, they were disappointed as I knew they would be because, in theonomy world, what this minister did was perfectly logical and biblical.

Their reasoning – some would say casuistry – went like this: (1) The taking of an innocent human life is murder and it is always morally right to defend the defenseless innocents from being murdered. (2) An unborn fetus in its mother’s womb is an innocent and defenseless human life. (3) Therefore, protecting the unborn fetus - by lethal force if necessary – is biblical, moral and the duty of the obedient Christian.

Theonomists also preached that parents of stubborn and disobedient children should hand over such children to the elders who were to then stone them to death making an example of them so other stubborn and disobedient children would get the message that we won’t be reading any James Dobson books, we’ll be nipping the problem in the bud. (Deuteronomy 21:18-21).

And, no, churches that preach such things are not meeting secretly in store fronts in the warehouse district of town or in David Koresh-style compounds; many of their churches meet in steepled, churchy-looking buildings. Some of them are even borderline megachurches.

And if Juan Williams sat on an airplane next to a guy who was reading R J Rushdoony’s Institutes of Biblical Law he would have had just as much reason to feel “nervous” and “worried” as he would feel next to a guy in “Muslim garb” because within religion itself are always the seeds of conflict with earthly governments, societies and cultures.

Let me be clear: it is only because most people do not take their religions seriously enough to consistently live by them and to obey even the goofy and evil parts of their holy books that we are able to enjoy any peace in this free nation of ours.

Higginbotham At Large only publishes comments by identifiable, accountable people with verifiable IDs.

What Are Democrats Prepared To Do To Win Back Liberals Who Defected To The Tea Party?

I consider myself a liberal first and a Democrat second so when I recently said on Hoppy Kercheval's radio show and in my blog that  good fellow liberals should vote for Joe Manchin rather than hand the Robert Byrd seat to John Raese by voting for Jesse Johnson,  I was in uncomfortable territory.

Now I have something uncomfortable to say to my Democratic Party: now that it's become abundantly clear that you don't have the votes to elect Joe Manchin to the US Senate unless former Democrats who defected to the Mountain Party can be persuaded to vote strategically instead of sincerely*, what are you prepared to do to bring your own Tea Party back into the Democratic fold?

Democrats, you have alienated your liberal wing. You can't win big races without liberals. What are you prepared to do to bring liberals back to the Democratic fold?

* I'm borrowing game theory terms here

23 October, 2010

Rush Limbaugh Misrepresents Liberal Position On Separation of Church And State

On a recent broadcast, Rush Limbaugh said that this is how liberals interpret separation of church and state and the First Amendment: According to Rush, liberals think the First Amendment proscribes people like Pat Robertson or other religious people from running for office.

Rush may not have finished college but he knows full well that liberals don't think separation of church and state means religious people can't run for office.

What liberals believe vis a vis separation of church and state is that religious people shouldn't be able to use government to impose their religion on people who don't share their religion.

Some "issues" would vanish if religious people stopped trying to use government to impose their religion on the rest of us. Take same sex marriage, for instance.

The idea that marriage can only be "between one man and one women" is a religious idea. Without this religious definition of what a marriage is, there would be no basis for denying two men to marry each other or two women to marry each other. If same sex marriage were being opposed on grounds other than religious grounds, there would be no violation of the doctrine of separation of church and state and liberals would be open to hearing that argument but when opponents of same sex marriage oppose same sex marriage by using a religious definition of marriage, yes, of course liberals oppose that argument. We're OBLIGATED to oppose arguments that depend on a religious concept of marriage. The only way opponents of same sex marriage can deny tax-paying fellow citizens the right to marry the person of their choice is by using a religious definition of marriage and liberals, indeed all of us who understand separation of church and state, are obligated to oppose such religion-dependent, dare I say, "respecting an establishment of religion", arguments against fellow citizens.

Rush was probably throwing spit wads and daydreaming about football in Civics class, but even he knows that liberals don't believe separation of church and state means religious people can't run for office. What liberals think about separation of church and state is that religious people shouldn't use government to impose religion on others.

The recent flap over the proposed Islamic Cultural Center near ground zero and the flap over whether or not Barack Obama is a Muslim would not exist if our nation were serious about separation of church and state and if political candidates like Christine O'Donnell knew the 1st Amendment.

22 October, 2010

What Joe Manchin Must Do To Win

Yesterday I wrote that if Mountain Partiers love America more than they hate Joe Manchin, they need to ask their leader, Jesse Johnson, to drop out of the Senate race and endorse Manchin.

Today I want to tell Manchin 2 things he needs to do if he wants to win this Senate race.

First, Joe Manchin needs to take to the airwaves and run an ad that says "A vote for Jesse Johnson is a vote for John Raese."

Second, Joe Manchin needs to meet with Jesse Johnson and ask him for his endorsement.

Joe Manchin, you're campaigning like John Raese Lite and you've alienated liberals but you can't win this race without liberals and Mountain Party voters who don't want to turn  on MSNBC one day to see Senator John Raese casting the 60th vote against Obama legislation or casting a key vote against an Obama court appointment. Joe, do what you have to do to keep Raese out of the Senate. Make peace with the Mountain Party. Give Jesse Johnson a job if you have to but get him out of the race.

Whether Manchin wins or loses this Senate race, The West Virginia Democratic Party will have learned a hard lesson: Democrats can't win without liberals. Win or lose, Democrats need to mend fences with liberals - both the Mountain Partiers and the disenfranchised liberals who just stay home on election day because one party doesn't give them a candidate who can win while the other denies them a voice.

21 October, 2010

The Race For Robert Byrd's Senate Seat Has Become A Test Of Mountain Party's Love Of Country

Does The Mountain Party love their country more than they hate Joe Manchin? That's the question I asked on Hoppy Kercheval's radio show today and I want to publicly thank Mr. Kercheval, a Raese employee and a Raese supporter, for giving me plenty of time to make my case for why it's time for The Mountain Party to work hard to block John Raese's attempt to take Robert Byrd's Senate seat by supporting Joe Manchin.

This Senate race has become a test of Jesse Johnson and The Mountain Party's love of country because if one day we turn on our TVs to see Senator John Raese voting against President Obama's court appointees and legislation, it will be The Mountain Party's fault.

As I told Hoppy Kercheval, I cast my protest vote for a solid liberal, Ken Hechler, in the primary because everybody knew Manchin was going to be the Democratic nominee so I used my vote to make a point, but with Raese up by roughly the percentage of people who say they'll vote for Jesse Johnson, liberals don't have the luxury of voting for a pure liberal. It's time to cast a defensive, strategic, pragmatic  vote that blocks the worst of two evils from desecrating the Robert Byrd seat in the US Senate. It's time for liberals to hold their noses and vote for DINO Joe Manchin and it's time for Jesse Johnson and his Mountain Party to show some responsibility and grow up.

And then when Joe Manchin wins in a squeaker and he knows he couldn't have done it without The Mountain Party, he'll owe you.

Why It's Time For Jesse Johnson's Supporters To Ask Him To Endorse Joe Manchin

If Mountain Party Senate candidate, Jesse Johnson, loves America he will suspend his race and tell his followers to hold their noses and vote for DINO Joe Manchin.

And if Johnson's supporters love America they'll insist that Johnson quit the race and endorse Manchin immediately.

If Joe Manchin were running away with the Senate race as many thought he would, it would be OK for Mountain Partiers to cast their protest votes against DINO Joe Manchin and I'd tell them to have their fun. But this isn't funny anymore. We could all wake up one morning to see Senator John Raese casting the 60th vote against important Obama legislation or to see Senator John Raese voting against an Obama Supreme Court nominee so if Jesse Johnson loves his country he should quit the race and tell his followers to vote against Raese by holding their noses and voting for Joe Manchin and if Johnson doesn't do this willingly his followers should insist on it.

20 October, 2010

Linkedin Tips: How To Make Your Linkedin Profile Work Harder For You

Are you making people work way too hard to get in touch with you? Are you making your Linkedin profile work hard enough for you? If you don't have actual contact information in your Linkedin profile then you're using Linkedin to tease people, not to meet new people and, as my friend, Grover Mollineaux,  says, "Nothing good happens until you meet somebody." If you don't have actual contact information on your LInkedin profile, you're like a pretty girl who won't give out her phone number or email address and then wonders why she doesn't get dates.

Do you have actual contact information on your Linkedin profile or is your profile just a tease?

On her Linkedin profile, a recent graduate of West Virginia Junior College wrote a passionate pitch for a job in her field of study but her Linkedin profile provided no contact information whatsoever. Oh, and she didn’t belong to any Linkedin groups. I’ll say more about Linkedin groups in a moment.

One Kanawha Valley Linkedin use wrote on his Linkedin profile “the best way to get in touch with me is email” but he failed to put his email address on his Linkedin profile.

A friend of a friend of mine recently paid a lot of money to be on the radio. During her radio appearance she mentioned that she needed people to refer math tutors to her for business reasons. Well, I did what I always do: I looked her up in Linkedin and, wouldn’t you know it, there was no phone number and no email address on her Linkedin profile. Well, after I did some Googling I found her email address and her phone number and emailed that info to my friend, Charles Pique, who is a math tutor. Then I emailed the person on the radio to tell her she made me work way too hard to help her and asked why she doesn’t have actual contact info on her Linkedin profile. She wrote back and said she had “made it all public” and she didn’t know why I couldn’t find her contact info.

From that comment it was obvious to me that she hasn’t actually looked at her own profile or she would see what others see: that she is not making her Linkedin profile work hard enough for her and she is making other professionals work too hard to find contact info. I don’t know, maybe she already has all the business she needs but if you’re like most Linkedin users, you need clients so make it easy for clients to find you.

I have my email address in the “summary” field right beneath my name and then it appears again under “contact settings”. Most Linkedin users have no actual contact information under “contact settings”. I’ll never understand why not.

Now, let’s talk about Linkedin groups. Linkedin groups are a powerful way to instantly make yourself easy to reach by other Linkedin users. There are geographic groups, professional groups, hobby groups, all kinds of groups. Let’s say you want to do more business with the people who live in your town. Go to the “groups” field and type the name of your city or state and see if there’s a group by that name then join it. Or, let’s say you want to meet other people who share your interests or hobbies. In the “groups” field simply type “coin collecting” or “gardening” or whatever and look at the available groups and join some.

When you sign up for a group, you’ll be asked if you wish for other group members to be able to contact you via Linkedin. Check the box that enables that function. If your group has 10,000 members you’ve just become accessible to 10,000 people.

Make your Linkedin profile work harder for you. Make people who look at your profile work less. Put some actual contact info in your Linkedin profile and join some groups.

14 October, 2010

What The Mountain Party And The Tea Party Have In Common

The race for Robert Byrd’s senate seat is a statistical dead heat so, if John Raese wins, he may have West Virginia’s Mountain Party to thank for his victory.

The Mountain Party on The Left and the Tea Party movement on The Right have a lot in common: they want to send a message to a major party more than they want to defeat candidates who are their ideological opposites.

Third party candidates have always been spoilers. People forget that it was a strong third party bid by Ross Perot that made Bill Clinton’s 1992 upset of incumbent, George H W Bush possible. And though he denies it, Ralph Nader’s presence on a ballot hurts Democrats more than it hurts Republicans. Imagine America under a Gore administration. Take Nader off the 2000 Florida ballot and that’s the America we would have had.

If Mountain Partiers cost Joe Manchin the senate race, I hope West Virginia Democrats will realize they can’t beat Repubicans if they lose The Left. I hope if John Raese wins with the help of Mountain Partiers the Democratic Party in West Virginia will do some soul-searching and ask themselves what they can and should do to reach out to The Left and bring them back into the Democratic Party. As a Lefty myself, there's a part of me that almost hopes Jesse Johnson and his Mountain Party do cost West Virginia's Democratic Party a few big elections so West Virginia's DINOs will be forced to ask themselves why they deserve to win elections of they are indistinguishable from Republicans.

11 October, 2010

Why Do Businesses Hire So-Called "Salespeople" Who Don't Use Linkedin, Twitter And Blogs To Build Business And Relationships?

I’ll never understand why people who make their livings by “prospecting” and selling – like car salespeople and realtors and financial services people – aren’t using the awesome power of Linkedin to build their networks of prospects and referral sources.

I don’t know why their bosses don’t require it.

I don’t know why their bosses don’t provide them with training on how to use Linkedin.

I don’t know why their bosses aren’t modeling the behavior.

Take car dealers, for instance. If there’s a business that needs to use every tool at their disposal to sell their product in this weak economy, it’s car dealers. I just did a Linkedin search on what may be the largest automobile empire in my market and found only 5 people from that company with Linkedin accounts.

I performed a search on another auto empire in my market and found only one employee from that empire with a Linkedin account.

I know this: if I were the sales manager or GM at any car dealer I wouldn’t hire a so-called sales or marketing person who doesn’t have a Linkedin account or isn’t using it every day to start and strengthen relationships.

As my regular readers know, back in December of ’09 (see blog archive) I wrote a short series of three posts on “business development” that got me a nice plug on the SMPS.org site (Society for Marketing Professional Services). New readers – especially readers who don’t know how to use Linkedin - may want to look in my blog archives and read those December ’09 posts and any other posts that mention Linkedin.

As far as I can tell, most car salespeople, realtors and others who make their livings by knowing people, seem to think it’s the boss’s job to bring prospects to them through expensive advertising.

Picture this: it’s a cold January or February night. There’s snow and ice on the ground and the car lot is full of cars that nobody’s looking at. Car “salesmen” are in the showroom telling jokes and watching TV and flirting with the cute new website sales manager and nobody’s doing anything to bring customers into the showroom.

Does the dealership have Wi-Fi? Do the sales reps carry smart phones? If the answers are yes and yes, why aren’t the sales reps using their laptops and their smart phones to go to Linkedin and see what they can do to scare up a customer? Why does the dealer have to buy expensive ads to attract customers?

And why don’t these car “salespeople” have blogs about cars, trucks, financing, and other things of interest to car buyers?

Why are car dealers hiring people who aren’t using every tool at their disposal to sell cars?

Why do real estate brokers hire realtors who don’t have contact info on their Linkedin page, don’t have a real estate blog, don’t have a Facebook page and don’t know how to Tweet in a way that connects them to people without annoying them?

Why don't people whose business depends on knowing people - and that's most of us - join Linkedin groups? In my area there are several groups business people should join if they want to have instant access to other Linkedin users. For example, I own a group named LinkedSt.Albans. 

What's that? You don't know how to join a Linkedin group? Give me a call. I'll help you out. Free. 

What's that? You have a Linkedin account but you have no idea what to do with it. If you're in the Charleston-St.Albans area just call me and I'll come to your business and give you a tutorial that will show you how to unlock the awesome power of Linkedin.

A friend of mine wants to syndicate her internet radio show to radio stations.  I performed a simple Linkedin search on the words "radio syndication" and found over 2,000 people in my network who can help her syndicate her show. That's the power you're not using if you don't use Linkedin to build your business.

Come to think of it, my new readers may want to go to my archive and look at my instructional posts on Linkedin and Twitter.

10 October, 2010

Mad Men Starts Firing Chekhov's Guns But Rubicon May Be This Season's Best Show

In my 11 October 2009 post I wrote “At the very least, Mad Men writers have forgotten “Chekhov’s Gun”, the principle that "a pistol on the wall in the first act must be fired by the last act." Well, in tonight’s episode Mad Men’s writers fired the pistol on the wall marked “what happens if the agency loses their biggest account?” Layoffs. Internal squabbles among the partners. A partner (Cooper) leaves the firm in a huff because he doesn’t approve of a “Hail Mary” play Draper makes to save the company.

I’m glad Mad Men is also firing the pistol on the wall marked “Don Draper’s kids and ex-wife.” For seasons now the Mad Men writers have been showing us way too much of Draper’s immature, snobby wife (Betty) and his daughter (Sally) in ways that add nothing to the show. Well, now the writers have taken those family pistols off the wall, placed them in the hands of a child psychiatrist and started firing. Finally, the writers have noticed what viewers knew all along: that Betty is a bad mother and Sally is a normal, smart little girl who is crying out for love, guidance and attention from the selfish adults in her life.

Oh, and in tonight’s episode, Don Draper didn’t commit adultery. That doesn’t happen very often so it’s worth mentioning.

Now to what’s fast becoming my favorite TV show, Rubicon. In tonight’s episode we learned the meaning of the title Rubicon but we haven’t yet learned the significance of the four leaf clovers although we have some clues about why if you find one in your morning paper you’re likely to die.

In tonight’s episode, Rubicon’s writers took a lot of pistols off the wall and started shooting. The blue-eyed, New Jersey-born convert to radical jihad finally struck by sinking an oil tanker in Galveston Bay in an effort to choke off ¼ of the US oil supply. Will Travers and his team actually figured out what the blue-eyed terrorist was going to do but not in time to stop him.

And API chief, Truxton Spangler, who is up to his eyeballs in treason, corruption and dead bodies, finds out that several members of his team including Kale Ingram (Will’s boss) are working against him and have discovered at least some of his (Spangler’s) involvement in the blue-eyed terrorist’s strike.

I think what I appreciate about AMC’s 3 great dramas : Breaking Bad (new season starts soon) , Rubicon and Mad Men – is that they all assume the viewer is intelligent. The plots are complicated and if you step out of the room to get a coke and miss something they make no apology and don’t help you catch up by spelling anything out for you. You have to pay attention. You have to pay attention to every piece of dialogue and every peek into a character’s past or state of mind or you won’t understand that character.

If you haven’t yet seen Rubicon, you’re missing this season’s best new show.

08 October, 2010

Attention Employers And Staffing Companies: Sometimes The Talent You Seek Comes In A Package You Don't Expect

A Parkersburg, WV -based staffing company with an office in Charleston recently scored a public relations coup by getting one of those you-can't-buy-this-kind-of-publicity stories written by Eric Eyre (http://wvgazette.com/News/201009241072).

The thrust of the story was that staffing agencies actually have jobs they can't fill - even in this jobless recovery.

According to marketing executive, Christian Kager, companies are "having a hard time finding qualified individuals willing to work."

I wonder if Kager has considered another reason why open jobs may be going unfilled: so-called staffing coordinators who don't know how to staff and recruiters who don't know how to recruit and front-line HR people who don't realize - or don't care - that sometimes the talent they need is literally looking them in the eye but comes in a package they didn't expect or aren't willing to advance to the next level of the employment process.

As some of my close friends and clients know, I have earned some ridiculous fees finding and recruiting talent and here's what I have observed: qualified people apply for the job but can't get past the HR gatekeeper because he or she is too black, too fat, too old or too gay or too (insert your prejudice here). I have collected 5-figure headhunting fees for "finding" candidates that my clients actually had a chance to hire but had rejected. I know a prestigious law firm that instructed its HR Director not to hire anybody who is "fat, black or ugly."

Take older workers , for example. Workers in their 50s remind front-line staffing coordinators and entry-level HR people of their parents. These twenty-something gatekeepers - let's say it like it is - use their jobs to stock their company with the kind of people they want to socialize with so when the talent they need comes to them in a package that looks like their parents, well, the hiring manager never knows about these older applicants because the twenty-something gatekeeper finds some way to disqualify them.

What's the solution? Simple: get some older workers in the gatekeeping positions. And while you're at it, get some black people and some gay people and some physically challenged people into gatekeeping positions.

If all your staffing coordinators and first-level interviewers are young and white you're going to have a hard time "finding" talent that isn't young and white.

And while you're at it, hire some staffing coordinators and some first-screeners who know how to evaluate candidates who have executive backgrounds, scientific backgrounds and technical backgrounds.

For more on this subject see my "There's No Whining In Recruiting" which first appeared in Business Lexington and later in this blog. Click here to read "There's No Whining In Recruiting". :: http://higginbothamatlarge.blogspot.com/2009/10/theres-no-whining-in-recruiting.html

07 October, 2010

Rubicon, Breaking Bad and Mad Men

I love AMC's "Rubicon" so much that after it airs at 9PM on Sunday night I stay up and watch 2 hours of "Mad men" (the new episode and its encore) so I can see the "Rubicon" encore. I simply can't get enough "Rubicon". AMC's motto is "Story matters here" and Rubicon is proof that a TV show doesn't need any well-known actors to make raving fans out of viewers if the story is strong.

"Rubicon" started with a bang, figuratively and literally. While his family frolicks on the lawn a guy finds a four-leaf clover in his morning paper and takes out a pistol and blows out his brains. On "Rubicon", people who see four leaf clovers either commit suicide or get death threats and electronic bugs in their homes. 

"Rubicon's" main character, Will Travers, played by James Badge Dale, works for something called API - American Poiicy Institute. API is a contractor to every branch of the US military and all the US spy agencies and has access to every secret and top secret database. When they're not spying on their bosses and co-workers or being spied on by their bosses and co-workers, Will Travers' team of analysts are tracking terrorists and trying to figure out what they're up to before there's another 9/11. 

I can't stop watching. I'm hopelessly hooked.

I'm hooked on three AMC shows. The other two I've mentioned in this bog before: "Mad Men" and "Breaking Bad". "Mad Men" is nearing season's end and "Breaking Bad" will soon return to the screen with a new season. I'll watch every new episode and I'll stay up late and watch the encore presentations. And when AMC has those marathons when they re-play every episode of "Breaking Bad" or "Rubicon", I'll watch them again. I simply have to find out why it's called "Rubicon" and why when those four-leaf clovers show up people either commit suicide or get caught up in a spynet.

And if you'd told me a few years ago that on Sunday nights I'd stay up late to watch a show about a high school science teacher who becomes the biggest meth cooker in Albuquerque and then The Southwest, I'd have said you were the one with the meth habit but, like AMC says, the story matters and as long as AMC keeps giving me strong stories, I'm going to take a pizza or a bag of potato chips and a dip to bed with me and spend as many hours with AMC's shows as AMC is willing to give me. I hope the other networks are paying attention to what's going on at AMC. If AMC's shows were part of the basic cable package across the nation, AMC would have more viewers on Sunday nights than all the other networks combined.