Jeffrey Kluger

Senior Editor, TIME Magazine

Originally published on TIME Magazine on Sunday, Nov. 06, 2005.

You don’t get as successful as Gregg and Drew Shipp by accident. Shake hands with the 36-year-old fraternal twins who co-own the sprawling HiFi Personal Fitness club in Chicago, and it’s clear you’re in the presence of people who thrive on their drive. But that wasn’t always the case. The twins’ father founded the Jovan perfume company, a glamorous business that spun off the kinds of glamorous profits that made it possible for the Shipps to amble through high school, coast into college and never much worry about getting the rent paid or keeping the fridge filled. But before they graduated, their sense of drift began to trouble them. At about the same time, their father sold off the company, and with it went the cozy billets in adult life that had always served as an emotional backstop for the boys.

That did it. By the time they got out of school, both Shipps had entirely transformed themselves, changing from boys who might have grown up to live off the family’s wealth to men consumed with going out and creating their own. “At this point,” says Gregg, “I consider myself to be almost maniacally ambitious.”

It shows. In 1998 the brothers went into the gym trade. They spotted a modest health club doing a modest business, bought out the owner and transformed the place into a luxury facility where private trainers could reserve space for top-dollar clients. In the years since, the company has outgrown one building, then another, and the brothers are about to move a third time. Gregg, a communications major at college, manages the club’s clients, while Drew, a business major, oversees the more hardheaded chore of finance and expansion. “We’re not sitting still,” Drew says. “Even now that we’re doing twice the business we did at our old place, there’s a thirst that needs to be quenched.”

Why is that? Why are some people born with a fire in the belly, while others — like the Shipps — need something to get their pilot light lit? And why do others never get the flame of ambition going? Is there a family anywhere that doesn’t have its overachievers and underachievers — its Jimmy Carters and Billy Carters, its Jeb Bushes and Neil Bushes — and find itself wondering how they all could have come splashing out of exactly the same gene pool?


Annise Parker: The Villian Of Freedom Of Speech

Annise Parker

 By Chinedu Ezeocha for Ezeocha Post
Originally Published on Monday October 20, 2014 at 1:57 AM CT

Annise Parker; the Mayor of Houston is a lesbian. That is the choice she made for herself. We Houstonians love her as both a person and as a politician. And that was why we elected and re-elected her into the hallowed Office of the Mayor of the City of Houston.

Annise Parker is first an American, and then a member of the Democratic Party. Being an American and a politician, I have no doubt in my mind that Mayor Parker is very familiar with the First Amendment to the Constitution of the United States of America which prohibits the making of any law or decree or ordinance to abridge the freedom of speech of any U.S. citizen.

I am not an expert in American history. But I know a little more than the average Joe about the past of the United States. And from the little that I know, I can say that dating back to the early 20th Century, the only time an elected official have tried to suppress, through the powers of his or her office, the rights of other citizens to freedom of speech, is during the era of Joe McCarthy. Joe McCarthy was an eccentric senator from Wisconsin who saw almost everyone with opposing ideas to his as a communist or a communist sympathizer who deserves to be treated as enemy of the United States. And Joe McCarthy was a Republican.

Republicans are known for making laws to disenfranchise citizens from their voting rights just because they vote Democratic Party; they are known for thinking that only them have monopoly of wisdom and love for ole America, and of course, Republicans have this weird inkling that if democracy doesn’t work for them, then fuck democracy. Forgive my French. Why else would an elected official in Jefferson County, in the beautiful state of Missouri call for military coup d’état to remove President Obama from power?

Those kind of stuff are what Republicans are known for. It’s atypical of Democrats. Hence my surprise, the surprise of every lettered man, and the surprise of every constitutional law scholar at what Mayor Annise Parker is doing in the City of Houston, trying to be a ‘modern day authoritarian in a democracy,’ by demanding that preachers bring to her sermons they have written to preach in their churches for her approval [first] before they can preach it in their various churches. Because she want to filter anti-LGBT rhetoric [If any] from the sermons the preachers have penned down to preach to their congregation before they can go ahead and preach her approved version.

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