Archive for the ‘Politicians’ Category

Blog Service of Boring

Thursday, December 1st, 2022


Image by Gerd Altmann from Pixabay 

I’m not sure why but I’ve developed a dislike of the word boring. When young I’d get bored but haven’t for decades.

Political pundits and morning show hosts whine about a politician being boring which is why, they drone on, he/she isn’t a good candidate. Vision, intelligence, ethics, spot-on decision-making take a back seat. Some once praised a recent president for being hilarious and when, in a recent speech he was no longer, they complained that he was not amusing, energetic and vibrant—in fact, he was boring. Kiss of death!

Must we always be amused? Have you met slick-mouthed people who can sell butter to a dairy who are useless doing their jobs? They drop more balls than beau mots. I have stories….

It helps if a teacher isn’t boring. But we don’t all agree about that. I remember one—Dr. Blackwood in college—who put others to sleep yet his words resonated with me.

In addition to deadlines, obligations and chores, there is so much entertainment at our fingertips from streaming services with all range of series and films and podcasts covering cooking and philosophy to politics and gardening as well as news shows that dissect every angle of the political and international landscape and thousands of digital games.

There are so many books to read or museums to visit or walks to take or languages to learn or trips to enjoy or recipes to master or friends to meet or dogs to walk or children to coach in addition to people to help—and of course, there is work or homework. So where is there time for boredom? Do you get bored?


Image by 14995841 from Pixabay 

Service of Gifts with Strings

Friday, November 25th, 2022


Image by PublicDomainPictures from Pixabay

Strings are what often accompany political donations. You scratch my campaign and I’ll scratch your project–or go easy on you or your company.

However, the figurative kind of strings don’t belong on personal presents. We knew a wealthy woman who gave generous graduation checks to her grandchildren and then complained if some didn’t put the money in savings. She didn’t recognize that it wasn’t a gift if she was to control what they did with the money.

Sometimes people threaten beneficiaries of a will. If they don’t kowtow, they’ll be stricken from the document. A longtime friend of my mother’s suddenly tried to control and question her choices of whom to see and how often. Once mom determined the behavior wasn’t a one-off, it lasted only minutes more. She objected; the woman threatened to alter her will so that her daughter wouldn’t receive her antique gold coin collection. “Keep it,” said mom. That was it. Mom was right.

My friend Nancie suggested another kind of gift-with-string: The pads and address labels that accompany fundraising requests. We both admitted putting the “gifts” to good use and not filling the return address envelopes with checks.

It’s holiday tip time in apartments and offices around the country. Do tenants demand to know what workers do with their gifts? What about recipients of giant Wall Street and corporate bonuses—are they expected to divulge to employers what they do with their $millions? NO! So why do some people feel that they are entitled to control when they give a present?

What examples of gifts with strings have you noticed? Has anyone tried to tie you up? Do you use the “gifts” that charities include with requests for support without sending money?


Image by Steve Norris from Pixabay 

Service of Prep for the Job

Monday, November 14th, 2022

Some people succeed in jobs for which they weren’t trained or prepared. Take political widows who slip into their husband’s congressional seats. Wives that choose to be are steeped in their spouse’s work and have survived the drill. They campaign fiercely and are on top of the issues. Many had staying power. Here, from an article in usatoday.com, are just some:

  • Rep. Edith N. Rogers’s husband was in his seventh term representing Massachusetts in the House when he died in 1925. The Republican party urged her to run.
  • Rose McConnell Long took over Huey Long’s Louisiana Senate seat in 1935.
  • Margaret Chase Smith won a special election in 1940 after her husband died and joined the House. She also served in the Senate representing Maine.
  • Democrat Elizabeth B. Andrews, Alabama, took office a year after her husband died in 1971.
  • Cardiss Collins’s husband died in a plane crash in 1972. She won a special election the next year and took his place in the House representing Illinois. She remained until 1997.
  • Debbie Dingell replaced Representative John Dingell, Michigan, after he died in 2015.
Image by Keith Johnston from Pixabay 

However, there are some candidates whose preparation and background make no sense for them to be elected to office. Take a man running for Senate from a background in sports. He wasn’t in sports administration or marketing: He was a star player from the start: He won a Heisman Trophy as a junior at the University of Georgia and subsequently was inducted in the College Football Hall of Fame.

After he played for major NFL teams, he represented the US in the Winter Olympics as part of the bobsleigh team and tried his hand at mixed martial arts.

Before his campaign, in addition to a friendship with the president, the closest he got to politics was as co-chair of the President’s Council on Sports, Fitness, and Nutrition from 2019-2020.  James Morgan, usatoday.com, covered the announcement of his two year appointment although the article was fuzzy about his role and background: “As Co-Chair, Walker will have a lot of responsibilities related to the council but he has been quoted saying that he is willing to help President Trump. Walker continues to be in excellent shape and fitness that he is legendary for. Walker has made a significant impact off the field, since his retirement from the NFL, and always does an outstanding job of representing the University of Georgia.”

Impact doing what? He is also associated with a company that sells branded meat products.

To be fair, there have been sports stars who turned their attention to politics and did well. Here are just a few of the ones that Business Insider mentioned: Four term House member from Oklahoma, Steve Largent, had been a renowned player for the Seattle Seahawks and J.C. Watts, University of Oklahoma and Ottawa Rough Riders quarterback also served his state in the House. NFL wide receiver and college football coach Tom Osborne represented Nebraska in the House for eight years until 2003.

I have friends who have made 180 career switches. One moved from a spectacular career in marketing to owner/founder/chef of a food enterprise. Her success benefits her family yet should she have failed, it would have impacted only them.

Americans are sports crazy which accounts for this candidate’s name recognition and acceptance as a contender. Sports competition teaches crucial life lessons. Yet don’t you wonder how physical fitness and a connection at a high political level translates to potential success for the essential job of US Senator? In addition, there’s something mean about subjecting this man to such scrutiny. I can’t help thinking about the Jimmy Stewart character in the 1939 movie “Mr. Smith Goes to Washington.”

Service of When Over the Top Marketing Blows Back

Thursday, September 1st, 2022

‘Tis the season which the following note illustrates. The email arrived at my inbox recently.

Image by Grégory ROOSE from Pixabay

A contributor wrote: “I’m bombarded by both [political] sides and they cry disaster in order to coax $$ out of one’s pocket.  I think I could recite all of their ploys, which include  ‘weeping’ ‘last request’ (yeah right) ‘losing’ ‘packing our bags’ ad nauseam!  One request started by trumpeting that I am an ’embarrassment.’  I liked that one so much that I pressed the unsubscribe button.  Don’t count on those ads to relay real news — their motif is not fact, but enrichment.”

If you’re reading this post I bet you receive such missives especially if you’ve ever sent a politician even just a few dollars. They must sell donor contact info.

It’s not just political campaigns. I’m a former subscriber to a magazine whose publisher sends countless emails with drastic discount offers. Make sure, if you fall for one, that you’re signing up for more than just a few issues. These offers culminate with “this is your last chance.” For today maybe or until next month or perhaps in celebration of St. Swithin’s Day [July 15].

Clothing brands with dedicated stores and e-commerce operations use the same ploy. “Some discounts as large as 70 percent!” “Sale ends tonight.””Add another 40 percent reduction!” You can be certain that the cashmere sweater you coveted was sold out in every size and color two sales ago.

Were this approach not profitable we wouldn’t be bombarded. I suspect the cry wolf sales approach–“there will never be another deal or opportunity like this” or “without your money we’re doomed”–works for some while it irritates others. Where do you fall? Have you succumbed to the pressure of “now or never” or “Your $10 will make all the difference”?

Service of Switch and Bait Marketing

Monday, August 15th, 2022

Morgan Library garden

I visited the new $6 million garden at the Morgan Library and got into an argument about it with a friend who told me what was obvious: Much of the money couldn’t have been spent on the garden but on upgrades, such as cleaning of the adjacent building. She started to detail the structural and evident superficial improvements that justified the expenditure.

“STOP,” I pleaded.

“Why,” I asked, “were the sponsored social media postings about the $6 million garden which, compared to many others in the city, is a nonevent?” [Plus it’s rarely open to the public.] “Why didn’t they promote the remedial work on the resplendent building as well?”

If the idea was to entice me to visit the museum to see the garden they won. But it will be a long while before their promotions catch me again because I don’t like switch and bait style marketing.

I’m particularly sensitive to this because I’ve spent much of my career tamping down clients’ exuberant claims which might work in advertising or make a client happy but would not pass the smell test with me in PR. “This unique leaf-patterned wallpaper or textile,” for example, would never see its way into my press release copy when said motif is a traditional fern or banana leaf. In fact, the word unique doesn’t apply to most leaf motifs. Nor would I reference a $6 million garden when short of a rip-off, that’s probably not where so much money went.

Politicians do this. They ask for money to support a situation–say a lawsuit against them–and divert the money to something else. Their supporters don’t seem to mind as they keep on giving.

Do you ever feel bamboozled by a promotion, reminiscent of a shell game, that disappoints?


Image by Yousz from Pixabay

Service of Who Are You Fooling?

Thursday, September 2nd, 2021



Image by Couleur from Pixabay

Astonishing how some are willing to harm themselves, and others in some cases, believing harum-scarum theories over science or thinking they are clever to cut a crucial corner and cheat at their own and others’ peril.

Don’t Horse Around

A Facebook posting this week made me laugh: “Anti-vaxxers who ingest horse dewormer Ivermectin shall hereby be referred to as neighsayers.”

But it’s not funny especially because politicians have given the dewormer credibility as a potential cure for Covid-19 in spite of FDA warnings. According to Dominick Mastrangelo on thehill.com: “Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) suggested researchers are not pursuing ivermectin as a possible COVID-19 treatment because of their disdain for former President Trump.” Reminder: Sen. Paul is a physician who should know that when it is prescribed for humans, it’s often in a head lice lotion.

Steve Benen wrote on msnbc.com: “Republican Rep. Louie Gohmert of Texas also pushed ivermectin at an event late last week.” He quoted a CDC health advisory: “Clinical effects of ivermectin overdose include gastrointestinal symptoms such as nausea, vomiting and diarrhea. Overdoses are associated with hypotension and neurologic effects such as decreased consciousness, confusion, hallucinations, seizures, coma and death.”

Wrote Mastrangelo: “The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) warned Americans last week not to take ivermectin….. “You are not a horse. You are not a cow. Seriously, y’all. Stop it,’ the FDA said in a widely shared tweet.”

Dangerous Fake ID
What about the essential workers who populate hospitals, nursing homes and schools who endangered those they are entrusted to care for as well as themselves? They–some 250 in all–paid $200 to Jasmine Clifford for fake Covid-19 vaccine documents. Molly Crane-Newman wrote about this bunch in The Daily News in “13 charged with paying ‘AntiVaxMomma’ for fake documents to avoid free vaccine, say Manhattan prosecutors.” The “AntiVaxMomma is Clifford’s Instagram pseudonym.  She promoted her scam on this social media platform.

For $250 more, reported Crane-Newman,  a collaborator who worked at a medical clinic entered false proofs-of-vaccine into New York State’s official Excelsior Pass database system, the smartphone passport to enter New York restaurants, sporting events, gyms and the like. They found 10 of these.  

“The DA charged the 13 essential workers with felony criminal possession of a forged instrument and conspiracy, a misdemeanor,” she wrote. “Prosecutors also accused one of the 13 with offering a false instrument for filing, for paying the extra $250 to be entered in the Excelsior Pass database.”

Manhattan DA Cy Vance, Jr said “We need companies like Facebook to take action to prevent the fraud happening on their platforms. Making, selling and purchasing forged vaccination cards are serious crimes with serious public safety consequences. This investigation is ongoing.”

What makes people believe in untested ivermectin and not the Covid-19 vaccine vetted by scientists and taken safely by millions?

What twisted minds think they are getting away with anything by cheating about having taken a life-saving vaccine? More important, have they harmed their charges?




Image by Katja Fuhlert from Pixabay

Service of Bad Precedent

Thursday, November 12th, 2020

Many of my friends stopped watching the news weeks before the election. They couldn’t take any more stress. Grownups are capable of this choice and of switching channels.

That’s why I found the following news an eye-opener in the land of freedom of speech:

“The three big broadcast networks — ABC, CBS and NBC —cut away from President Trump’s news conference at the White House on Thursday as the president lobbed false claims about the integrity of the election,” Michael M. Grynbaum and Tiffany Hsu wrote in The New York Times. Fox and CNN stayed with it, they reported.

A few days later Fox News did this to press secretary Kayleigh McEnany for the same reason.

So why are the networks suddenly doing this now? Why didn’t they do it during the 2016 presidential campaign?

In July, 2020 The Guardian reported that “Donald Trump has made 20,000 false or misleading claims while in office, according to the Washington Post, which identified a “’tsunami of untruths.’”

The 45th president has been covered on TV many times since.

I think cutting off a political figure–especially a president–or her/his spokesperson because you don’t like what you’re hearing is inappropriate. Instead a news organization should have on hand credible pundits who parry the bogus allegations or they shouldn’t cover the conference in the first place.

Should a news organization, or its news division, use its ability to cut off a prominent speaker because its producers or owners feel she/he is making things up? Remember all the tobacco industry chiefs who stared into the camera telling the public that smoking is not harmful? Is this a bad precedent?

Service of Fear II

Thursday, November 5th, 2020

This morning an NPR listener characterized the choices of the 2020 electorate as driven by fear. I agree.

Many voters were terrified by the shoot-from-the-hip performance of the incumbent. What would be done to control the deadly Covid-19 if Dr. Fauci was fired, another symbol of disrespect for medical science as bad as the relaxed mask and social distancing stances? How much more damage could one person cause to the environment and our standing in the world? Would this person be concerned about the welfare of all citizens or only his devotees?

The blueprint for the next four years was drawn by the last four.

On the other hand people voted for the incumbent for fear that they would be crushed by taxes; police would abandon them for lack of funds and their homes and family would be in danger; the country would limp from foreign invaders –some claimed they were communists–breaking down our borders, stealing our jobs and socialism would smother capitalism.

In fact only those making $400,000+ would be impacted by Joe Biden’s proposed tax increase; nobody wants to live in a place without a trained, well-funded police force; many of the jobs taken by immigrants are rejected by American citizens and millions of Americans benefit from government-run programs like unemployment and social security, the latter an example of an 85 year old socialist program. According to cbpp.org, “Over 64 million people, or more than 1 in every 6 U.S. residents, collected Social Security benefits in June 2020. While older Americans make up about 4 in 5 beneficiaries, another one-fifth of beneficiaries received Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) or were young survivors of deceased workers.” [In fact, the incumbent has spoken of cancelling the payroll tax which funds social security, therefore strangling it.]

Talk is cheap and politicians say what their constituents want to hear. I nevertheless appreciate one that recognizes the chasm between us and wants to cool the rhetoric and lower the emotional temperature. I fear the one who enjoys the heat of conflict and creates more.

Did fear impact your vote?

Service of When You Lose, Let Go

Monday, October 12th, 2020

I’ve been on the losing side of a board vote. It’s not easy to let go, especially if you spent hours researching the argument for “your side.” The immediate choice: support the majority’s decision or leave the board.

The country did that in 2000 after the Bush vs. Gore election. A large percentage of the population gritted its teeth and moved on when Gore won the national popular vote but lost the electoral college according to the Florida vote recounting.

I am concerned that there are too many militia groups prepared to show their displeasure in violent ways should this president not win a second term.

On Friday Len Berman and Michael Riedel in the Morning on WOR 710 radio, a station with largely a conservative Republican point of view, interviewed Brad Garrett, ABC News Crime & Terrorism Analyst, former FBI agent, media consultant on crime & terrorism and private investigator. He shared his thoughts about the arrested plot by a militia group to kidnap, try for treason and kill Michigan Governor Gretchen Whitmer and to overthrow the Michigan Statehouse.

Garrett said that the hate groups were “serious and were really going to try it.” Berman asked him “are there lots of kooks and groups like this around the country?” Garrett replied “Yes.” He said it is a locally-driven phenomenon and that he is concerned because “they really like President Trump” and “feel that he is in their corner.” My concern, said Garrett, is that if he loses they must “take care of their guy.”

Mary B. McCord in a New York Times opinion piece, “The plot against Gretchen Whitmer shows the danger of private militias,” identified a range of laws that “point to a single conclusion: there is no right in any state for groups of individuals to arm themselves and organize either to oppose or augment the government”

The former acting assistant attorney general for national security wrote: “now, more than ever, state and local officials must enforce these statutes.” And “Those groups, like the Three Percenters, Oath Keepers and others they claim to be ‘patriots’ but answer to their own interpretation of the Constitution, are likely to hear the presidents unsupported claims about election fraud as their license to deploy to the polls to ‘protect’ or ‘patrol’ the vote.”

The president didn’t contact the Governor to see if she was OK after the foiled attempt on her life. Instead he wrote three  tweets, [excerpts follow], in which he claimed the Governor “has done a terrible job,” and he commended the Federal Government’s “tremendous help to the Great People of Michigan.” He added “…. Rather than say thank you, she calls me a White Supremacist–while Biden and Democrats refuse to condemn Antifa, Anarchists, Looters and Mobs that burned down democrat run cities…” In the third tweet he wrote “Governor Whitmer – – open up your state, open up your schools, and open up your churches!”

Craig Mauger in The Detroit News wrote: “Along with federal authorities, state and local law enforcement officials were also involved in uncovering the plot against Whitmer.”

In addition Mauger  reported: “Trump also falsely tied school and church closures to Whitmer. Schools decide for themselves whether to have in-person instruction in Michigan. Churches have been exempt from many COVID-19 restrictions in the state, and many have been holding worship services.”

Have you lived with a decision or vote you disagreed with? How have you handled the disappointment and frustration? Do you think all will be hunky dory after the election if Donald Trump loses? Are you planning to stay home the day the winner is announced in case there is violence?

Service of Standing Up to Power When Health is Involved

Monday, October 5th, 2020

Why does someone charged with upholding rules cave?

Most people follow the rules. You brake at red lights, stay within the speed limit [pretty much], especially at school crossings and in bad weather, wear a seat belt and don’t smoke in public places. If stopped you apologize to the authorities who catch you and do what they say.

There would be chaos if most didn’t react to warnings and requests to comply. Yet some act as though they are exempt and unstoppable regardless of the stakes.

Jason Abbruzzese, a blogger for nbcnews.com, wrote that the moderator of the presidential debate last week, Chris Wallace, “noted that Trump’s family members present at the debate did not abide by the mask mandates put in place by the Cleveland Clinic.  ‘The interesting thing was that the Cleveland Clinic said that everybody in the hall with the exception of the president the vice president and myself had to wear a mask,’ Wallace said.”

The Center for Disease Control [CDC] is clear: it “calls on Americans to wear masks to prevent COVID-19 spread.” In a July 14 CDC press release: “There is increasing evidence that cloth face coverings help prevent people who have COVID-19 from spreading the virus to others.”

Abbruzzese continued “Trump’s group wore masks as they entered the hall but took them off when they sat down. According to NBC News reporters who attended the debate, a doctor from the Cleveland Clinic tried to offer some of the group masks but was waived away.” In addition, this group had arrived late to the debate and were not tested as was the rest of the audience.

On Sunday, Fox News Sunday anchor Wallace grilled Trump Senior Advisor Steve Cortes asking, about the Trump family, “why didn’t the rules apply to them?” Cortes accused Wallace of haranguing him as he did the president during the debate. Wallace said that the Commission on Presidential Debates revised its rules: anyone without a mask will be kicked out, ejected next time.

Clearly nobody followed CDC guidelines in the Rose Garden at the White House regarding social distancing at the Supreme Court nomination ceremony on September 26 for Judge Amy Coney Barrett. Hugging and handshaking happened as though it was 2019. Reckless gathering happened at a reception indoors as well, mid-pandemic, where few masks were worn. Video clips of the garden show none who have subsequently tested positive wore a mask: Kellyanne Conway, Chris Christie, Republican Senators Thom Tillis, N.C., Mile Lee, Utah, Ron Johnson, Wis. and Rev. John I. Jenkins, C.S.C. president of Notre Dame. Who knows where the first lady and Donald Trump were exposed.

At least Rev. Jenkins apologized. According to a Facebook posting by America Magazine: “‘I regret my error of judgment in not wearing a mask during the ceremony and by shaking hands with a number of people in the Rose Garden,'” Jenkins wrote in a Monday letter to students, faculty and staff. ‘I failed to lead by example, at a time when I’ve asked everyone else in the Notre Dame community to do so.'”

Anyone else? Yesterday, on Face the Nation, Trump campaign senior advisor Jason Miller complained “Biden uses masks as a prop.”

The mountain of doctors on the steps of Walter Reed Medical Center on Sunday, some of the best minds in the world watching over the president’s every breath and course of illness, show that they are turning their attention and expertise to cure a sick chief of state. However I thought of the 208,000+ dead citizens who didn’t enjoy such care during the months the administration downplayed the severity of coronavirus and scoffed at the protocols and measures science claims will help stop it. Will Congress take a second look, before it takes further steps in November to repeal the Affordable Care Act, so during the crisis, if not the future, millions maintain insurance stability for the little care they currently get?

When compliance can mean life or death, should the Cleveland Clinic doctor have insisted–or someone come on a loudspeaker to announce–that those who refuse to wear masks please leave the auditorium? Why didn’t this happen? What are people afraid of? What are the rules for if anyone is exempt?

How come the White House ignores CDC protocols and guidelines for its guests and visitors and why do the latter play along? Who do they think masks and social distancing are meant for? Do you think those who before didn’t believe they served a purpose will do so now? Can we expect enforcers to put more muscle behind mask wearing and social distancing no matter who refuses them?  Have you witnessed other examples of people who think they are above the rules and of someone who stood up to them? What is the worst that can happen to the person who does?

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