Oct 5, 2022

Tieless In Gaza: When No Noose Is Bad News

Suppose they threw a necktie party and no one came?

By Ed Goldman

After the mid-summer G-7 summit, the story that seemed to trend the most was about a trend itself.

With climate change and world peace on the agenda, what most lit up the Internet was how dorky all the attending world leaders looked by not wearing ties with their big-boy funeral-ready suits.

Edgy Cartoon

Knot ready for primetime

The exception was the non-boy among them, European Commission President Ursula von der Leyden, who rocked a Bic Banana-yellow blazer and black slacks—presuming the color register in the photos was functioning by the time the pix made it to newspapers around the world.

(For some reason, the colors in newspaper photos still “bleed” or have double images, providing a nostalgic reminder of the first RCA color TVs. I still remember being at a neighbor’s house in the early 1960s, watching a green Harry Belafonte being interviewed by a chartreuse Jack Paar on the latter’s Friday night talk show.)

Okay, fashion-backward time.

What were these global influencers thinking when they unanimously decided to not wear—or suddenly remove, under advice from their aides—their neckties for a photo op?

Did they think it made them look casual? And more to the point: Do they think any of us want people in their positions to look, much worse act, casual?

About the only time you saw President Ronald Reagan without a tie was when he was photographed “clearing brush” from the hillside at his Santa Barbara hacienda. Exactly why the Leader of the Free World couldn’t spring for a ranch hand or two has never, in my mind, been fully answered. Nor did I ever figure out why President Jimmy Carter was often seen carrying his own suit bag when he’d climb down from Air Force One.

In any event, these guys usually projected a formality befitting their office. Even when Carter changed into a cardigan sweater and sat in front of the White House fireplace to mansplain the 1970s energy crisis, I vaguely recall his wearing a tie, giving off that solid, salt-of-the-earth, Ward Cleaver vibe.

Granted, equating serious attire with serious purpose can sometimes backfire, as when President Richard Nixon allowed news photographers to grab some “candid” telephoto shots of him walking on the beach at San Clemente. He wore a black windbreaker, black pants and black dress shoes. Just screams “Surfin’ USA,” no?

Looking for a Great Gift?

Being tieless in Gaza, or any other world hot spot, seems to be catching on.

For example, Robert Giaimo, a McLean, Virginia restaurateur, often likes to go tieless and make up for it by accessorizing.

“Once the tie’s off, I would never go without a pocket square and fun socks,'” he told a reporter for the Wall Street Journal. When he went to weddings this past summer, the Journal reports, Giaimo “enlivened his sapphire-blue Canali suit with a bush-pink pocket square and matching socks.”

Wait. How do we know those “matching” socks were also “fun” socks? If not, this guy’s lost all credibility with me—and with you, too, I hope, at least as a gesture of support for me and as a grateful acknowledgment of what you pay to receive this column three times a week. (To keep costs down, I don’t wear a tie while writing it, then pass the savings on to you. You’re most welcome.)

Ed Goldman's column appears almost every Monday, Wednesday and Friday. A former daily columnist for the Sacramento Business Journal, as well as monthly columnist for Sacramento Magazine and Comstock’s Business Magazine, he’s the author of five books, two plays and one musical (so far).

Yes, Virginia

A Weekly Blog by Virginia Varela

President, Golden Pacific Bank, a Division of SoFi Bank, Inc.

photo by Phoebe Verkouw


If you’ve read the first three installments of this series, you know by now how proud I am to be a Director of the FHLB of San Francisco.

Through the leadership of our board of directors and in partnership with our members, the Bank is challenging the industry to rethink the U.S. home financing process, critically evaluate the systemic barriers that continue to limit people of color from achieving homeownership and implement tangible solutions that ensure equity in homebuying.

Examples include the following:

– Rewriting the American Home Financing Process to Enable and Ensure Equity: FHLBank San Francisco is proud to be taking up the fight to effectively narrow the Black homeownership gap and reduce wealth disparities; and

– Partnering with the Urban Institute: FHLBank San Francisco and Urban have teamed up through a historic partnership to create solutions that will effectively narrow the Black homeownership gap and reduce wealth disparities. Referred to as the Racial Equity Accelerator Program for Homeownership, the FHLBank San Francisco and Urban partnership is working to create viable solutions for equity in homeownership.

FHLBank San Francisco and Urban will focus on fostering solutions for four priority areas that have historically worked against people of color in their pursuit of homeownership, including:

a. Underwriting standards: The partnership will explore alternative scoring models and credit options;

b. Technology and AI: Using technology and artificial intelligence, the partnership will root out how automated models and tools quietly discriminate in the homebuying and financing process.

c. Student loan debt: The partnership will consider creative approaches to addressing student debt, potentially turning a burden into benefits like borrower credit or down payment assistance.

d. Short-term payment issues: To reduce the risk of losing a home due to short-term cash flow interruptions, the partnership will explore ways to help borrowers through interim financial issues.

I hope you’ve enjoyed this four-part series on how, through Federal Home Loan Bank, my industry and others are working together to fulfill the dream of home ownership for many who might have given up on it. If there’s been an overarching message in all of this, it’s simply to never stop believing in dreams. They sometimes come true!

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