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Why can’t we just get along?” – Rodney King

Is it heresy to actually celebrate teaching on today’s college campuses?larrycrowne

Seems like a silly question on the surface, but on closer inspection there is absolutely no doubt that research is held in higher esteem than teaching among faculty-and-university-administrator thought leaders on today’s American college campuses.

Guess that means that “Research 1” is more than just a Carnegie Classification of Institutions of Higher Education designation; it is a dominant mindset.

Keep in mind: basic, applied and predictive research are critical ingredients for discoveries to conquer horrific diseases, to devise better ways to manage our planet, and to produce new-and-always-improved bits, bytes, bells and whistles. All of these Carnegie Research 1 universities afford higher priorities to research, graduate 50 or more Ph.Ds, and secure $40 million or more (usually much more) of federal research funding every year.

And certainly, private industry and governmental agencies (e.g., National Science Foundation or NSF) pour millions into universities for research. In turn, universities form “advancement” departments to entice these research grants as well as alumni and friend donations. Yes, there is a huge link between university research and the legal tender, which in turn leads to the prevailing research über alles mindset.

It was notorious robber Willie Sutton, who once said about banks: That’s where the money is.”

Does research reign supreme? Does that mean that good old-fashioned teaching and student mentoring are relegated to second-class status? Both answers trend toward the affirmative … but should they?

Winners and Non-Winners

“University politics are vicious precisely because the stakes are so small.” – Dr. Henry A. Kissinger, former U.S. Secretary of State, National Security Advisor, and 15-year Harvard University Professor

This is not the first time that Almost DailyBrett has cited this particular Kissingeresque quote. There are certain sayings that just keep-on giving.

There are some poor souls, who sincerely do not believe there are warring camps on college campuses between those who generally align with research and academics and those who favor teaching and professional experience. For most, the two are generally regarded to be mutually exclusive with one clearly dominant and the other sadly, subordinate.algorithms

If you believe that the research/academic crowd holds sway on the vast majority of campuses, particularly Research 1 facilities, you would be correct. Let’s ask here and now: Is that the way it should be?

What Do Parents and Students Really Care About?

Has anybody thought about the opinions of the parents, who pay the tuition, or the students, who are mortgaging their future to years of staggering debt? Are these our customers? And the customer is always right. Right? Or wrong?

Students may actually appreciate learning something they can use in their coming careers and throughout their respective lives. But do the  majority of academics really give a rodent’s hindquarters about teaching and mentoring?

Isn’t that why the university evolutionary process relegates low-paid and underappreciated adjunct instructors to perform the rudimentary and mundane task of teaching undergraduates?

Before you ask, Central Washington University is NOT a Research 1 university. Way back in 1891, the university began as the Washington State Normal School with a dedication to teaching the instructors of tomorrow.cwuwildcast

In the spirit of radical transparency let me proclaim the author of Almost DailyBrett served as an adjunct instructor at the University of Oregon (a Research 1), published ghost blogging research in PRSA’s Public Relations Journal, and now researches and teaches/mentors public relations and advertising students at Central Washington University.

Now that the consumer warning has been issued, let’s ask a pivotal question: Can there be a balance on university campuses when it comes to research and teaching/mentoring?

Sure it makes sense for adjuncts rather than full professors to teach English 101, but if parents and students are paying top dollar to attend university shouldn’t the majority of the classes be taught by assistant, associate and full professors?

If not, are universities dropping the ball in teaching and mentoring students in their preparation for the life-long learning jobs of tomorrow?


There was a decade when giants walked. These were days when governments and societies for the most part worked. These were days when a wall came down, and the guns went silent. These were the days when 19 million jobs were created, the greatest peacetime employment expansion in American history. These were days when just plain living was a “good thing” as Martha would say.G7worldleaders

Almost DailyBrett will never be accused of being warm and fuzzy, romantic or even nostalgic. There is no desire to turn back the clock, but there is an almost daily longing to go Back to the Future (1985 film) and see what we can learn from the 1980s.

The 1980s began with 52 Americans being held hostage in Iran and ended with the Berlin Wall coming down and the successful culmination of the Cold War.

Some closer to home even dared to utter that it was “Morning in America.” Can you imagine saying that today?

There is no such thing as a perfect society and there never will be, but the 1980s gave us a peek into what we can do, if we can compromise, respect other opinions and work together.

“Bygone Bipartisanship”

“Why won’t our leaders work to accommodate each other, employing civility as they cooperate to accomplish goals in the country’s best interests? What in our national character, in the ways we choose to deal with one another and respect different viewpoints, has changed so much since the days of Reagan and O’Neill? How can we win back the faith that our republic is working?” – Chris Matthews, staffer to former House Speaker Tip O’Neill.reagantip

MSNBC’s Chris Matthews wrote his 2013 best seller, “Tip and the Gipper: When Politics Worked” about the relationship between a Republican president and a Democratic speaker of the house that were mirror philosophical opposites of each other, but managed to work together to improve America.

Even with Paul Ryan coming aboard as Speaker of the House are we in any way more confident that Congress and the incumbent president can put together enough votes and good will to do anything other than raising the debt limit to $20 trillion?

Going back to the future, to the 1980s, Ronald Reagan was president, Margaret Thatcher was prime minster, Mikhail Gorbachev was general secretary and Helmut Kohl was Kanzler. Would we trade Barack Obama, David Cameron, Vladimir Putin and Angela Merkel for their aforementioned predecessors?

Wouldn’t we certainly like to see bare-chested Putin ride his horse into the sunset?

Reading Kohl’s Vom Mauerfall zur Weiderveinigung: Meine Erinnergungen, one is floored by how Kohl drew an inside straight with Gorbachev barely 50 years after Barbarossa commenced and the Panzers roared into Russia.

KARACHAEVO-CHERKESSIA. USSR President Mikhail Gorbachev and his spouse Raisa and German Chancellor Helmut Kohl, right, have a walk prior to their talks at the resort settlement of Arkhyz on July 16,1990. (Photo ITAR-TASS / Yuri Lizunov and Konstantin Tarusov) Êàðà÷àåâî-×åðêåññêàÿ àâòîíîìíàÿ îáëàñòü. 16 èþëÿ 1990 ãîäà â êóðîðòíîì ïîñåëêå Àðõûç ïðîøëè ïåðåãîâîðû ïðåçèäåíòà ÑÑÑÐ Ìèõàèëà Ñåðãååâè÷à Ãîðáà÷åâà ñ ôåäåðàëüíûì êàíöëåðîì ÔÐà Ãåëüìóòîì Êîëåì. Íà ñíèìêå: Ìèõàèë Ãîðáà÷åâ ñ æåíîé Ðàèñîé Ìàêñèìîâíîé è Ãåëüìóò Êîëü (ñïðàâà) âî âðåìÿ ïðîãóëêè ïåðåä íà÷àëîì ïåðåãîâîðîâ. Ôîòî Þðèÿ Ëèçóíîâà è Êîíñòàíòèíà Òàðóñîâà /Ôîòîõðîíèêà ÒÀÑÑ/.

KARACHAEVO-CHERKESSIA. USSR President Mikhail Gorbachev and his spouse Raisa and German Chancellor Helmut Kohl, right, have a walk prior to their talks at the resort settlement of Arkhyz on July 16,1990. (Photo ITAR-TASS / Yuri Lizunov and Konstantin Tarusov)

All Kohl wanted to do was reunify Germany, expel Soviet troops from former East Germany, enroll a united Germany in the NATO alliance, integrate Germany into the European Union and maintain a defense force of 370,000. Surprisingly, Gorbachev said “da” as Germany promised to monetarily assist with Russia’s perestroika or restructuring program.

One of the key ingredients for Kohl to secure what he wanted for Germany and his place in history was being able to provide Gorbachev with talking points he could use back home in the Rodina. Imagine putting yourself into the other leader’s shoes and helping her or him make the politically tough, but correct choice? Alas, Gorbachev paid the ultimate political price for his courage.

Can anyone conceivably imagine Putin signing off on any of the above or compromising on anything? Heck, Putin and Merkel won’t even speak the same language to each other when they meet. Courage seems to be in short supply these days (not suggesting that Merkel is a shrinking violet).

Looking back at the 1980s, Americans were notorious ticket splitters and reflecting the national mood, more times than naught they gladly re-elected incumbents. Almost DailyBrett can’t forget how Republican Governor George Deukmejian was re-elected with the greatest landslide in blue California’s history with a 61-37 percent margin in 1986, and Democratic Senator Alan Cranston won re-election by a 49-47 percent count on the very same day.

21st Century Filter Bubbles

Contrast the mood in the country and political climate in the mid-1980s with the widespread vitriol, anxiety and angst that is prevalent at this mid-point of the second decade of the 21st Century.

Many have asked the question, what happened (e.g., Chris Matthews)? The more important question is to ask: What can we collectively do to bring back the optimism and achievements of the 1980s?

Are we turning back the clock as the pessimistic pundits would say or are we applying the digital wizardry of the 21st Century to recapture the optimism and best hopes of a not-too-distant time?DSC01433

As PR practitioners, reputation managers, students of global society do we dare appreciate the other team’s point of view? Can political animals read both Karl Rove’s Courage and Consequence and David Axelrod’s Believer and learn something from the two architects of the last four winning presidential campaigns?

Or do we selectively search on Google, Yahoo and Bing for news and information that serves to corroborate our own personal confirmation bias? Some even revert to their crayons, coloring books and play dough when some foreign thought is threatening the filter bubble? Vaccines are really bad; it says so right here on Wikipedia.

Even though the 1980s were not perfect, we know they were a better time, a much better time. Sometimes the best strategy is to take one step back before going two steps forward. Sounds like a tactical retreat, a period of reflection and then moving forward with great vigor to New Frontiers. A little compromise may be in order as well.

Do we have the makings of a 1980s plan?,_1986







“The games they remember are played in November …”

… unless these games are played in the greatest conference of them all, ESECPN.cupcakesaturday

Take a gander at the full slate of ESECPN cupcake games on Saturday November 21 or one week before the end of the regular season:

☻Charleston Southern is visiting the Top-10 ranked Alabama Crimson Tide in Bryant-Denny Stadium. “Bless their hearts.”

☻Idaho and Auburn are renewing their storied intersectional rivalry at Jordan-Hare Stadium. Auburn leads the series, 1-0.

☻Florida Atlantic is making a trip to the “Swamp” for its third cross-state confrontation with #11 Florida. Florida will be playing the Florida Atlantic Owls for the third time. The first two resulted in (gasp), Gator victories by an average margin of 59-20.

☻The same is true for Georgia Southern going in-between the hedges to take on the Georgia Bulldogs. Georgia leads the series 5-0. Can a sixth consecutive victory be in the offing?

☻The Citadel is making the trip to Columbia to play the South Carolina Gamecocks. The Citadel Bulldogs are 7-40-3 all-time against South Carolina. The last time the Gamecocks played a game at the Citadel?

Lyndon Johnson was president.

☻And let’s not forget the first-ever meeting between the UNC Charlotte 49ers and the Kentucky Wildcats in Lexington. This would be a much better basketball game.cupcakesaturday2

Why does the ESECPN conference play all these “cupcakes” this late in the season? Do we really think that Charleston Southern Buccaneers out of the Big South Conference has a snowball’s chance against Alabama, #7 ranked team in the nation in Tuscaloosa?

Looking forward to the second-ever meeting between the Auburn Tigers and the Idaho Vandals, Saturday Down South commented: “Auburn squeaked by with a 30-23 win in the Tigers’ only previous meeting with the Vandals. This game is strategically placed on the schedule to give Auburn an extra week of rest and preparation for the Iron Bowl. It should be an easier win this time around.”

Why are these ESECPN games being played, particularly so late in the season? There are several reasons:

  1. The ESECPN conference categorically refuses to increase the number of conference games from eight-to-nine each season. This shameful decision translates into one less time each season the ESECPN teams put in jeopardy their respective won-loss records compared to other conferences (e.g., Pac-12).
  2. Most college football teams adopt an A-B-C system of scheduling with one really tough non-conference game, one medium difficulty game and one cupcake. The cupcake game is typically played before the conference season starts and serves as a glorified scrimmage in preparation for the conference slate.
  3. As Saturday Down South commented Alabama playing Charleston Southern and Auburn taking on Idaho on November 21, essentially gives both teams a “bye” the week before the Alabama vs. Auburn “Iron Bowl.”
  4. The same is true for ESECPN conference-wanna-be Florida State, which plays Chattanooga the same day that Florida is matched up against Florida Atlantic. The Seminoles and Gators are playing cupcakes before they take on each other.
  5. All of these ESECPN cupcake games are surprise, surprise — home contests — meaning a full-stadium (e.g., 101,821 in Tuscaloosa) of Kool-Aid drinkers. Do you really think Auburn would travel to Moscow, Idaho or Georgia would ever stoop to play at Georgia Southern? Alabama playing at Charleston Southern? You’re kidding. Right?

Any bridges you would like to buy?

To be fair to the ESECPN conference office in Bristol, Connecticut, not all conference teams will be playing cupcakes on November 21: Mississippi State travels to Arkansas; LSU plays at Ole Miss; Tennessee visits Missouri and Texas A&M heads to Vandy.

Compare this shameful practice with the Pac-12 conference in which every team plays nine conference games, which translates into zero late-season cupcakes. Let’s check out the Pac-12 lineup on November 21:

USC vs. Oregon

Cal vs. Stanford

Arizona vs. Arizona State

UCLA vs. Utah

Colorado vs. WSU

Washington vs. OSU


If you are scoring at home that means that 12 teams playing six Pac-12 conference games vs. six ESECPN teams playing cupcakes and eight teams playing four conference games.

Will the issues rightfully raised by Almost DailyBrett resonate at ESECPN? Don’t count on it, particularly when you consider the unholy big bucks alliance that brings us the SEC ESPN Network.

Whattyathink Rece Davis (Alabama)? How about it Jesse Palmer (Florida)? Are you concerned about the spectre of Cupcake Saturday David Pollack (Georgia)?





“You say you want a revolution; Well, you know, We all want to change the world; You tell me that it’s evolution; Well, you know, We all want to change the world.” – The Beatles, Revolution

Sometimes it’s hard to provide PR advice to an accomplished hombre, who is 74-years young.

What do they say about: “Teaching an old dog new tricks”?Bernierevolution

Now before you accuse Almost DailyBrett of making aspersions about seasoned citizens, please weigh the fact that your author is on the cusp of this rarefied age group.

This particular epistle pertains to Senator Bernie Sanders (S-Vermont) not once — but actually twice — invoking a call for “revolution” during the course of his losing debate performance against Hillary Clinton, October 13.

And then this past weekend, Sanders doubled down on his summons for a citizen uprising with an airplane pulling the following streamer: “REVOLUTION STARTS NOW! FEEL THE BERN!”

The Saturday event was the annual Jefferson-Jackson dinner in first-in-the-nation caucus state, Iowa, to be held next February. Hillary Clinton brought along her beau, Bill, and conceivably he brought along Katy Perry.clintonsperry

In contrast, Bernie invoked visions of a Great October Socialist Revolution. Wonder what he will do for kicks on November 7? Are TJ and Old Hickory turning over in their respective graves?

Why even assess Bernie’s call for “revolution,” when conventional media wisdom points to Hillary winning the nomination in a cakewalk? Maybe, there’s something out there, which cannot be taken for granted, no matter how many times the word “inevitable” is employed. And that is the fact that the folks in retail states, Iowa and New Hampshire, are notoriously fickle, similar to herding cats.

What will actually happen in February, four months from now (a political lifetime), is not preordained. Let’s ask: Why is Bernie still conjuring up visions of Great Leaps Forward, little red books, collective farms, re-education camps and all-expense-paid, one-way trips to Siberia?

Honeymoon in the Rodina

Leave it till tomorrow to unpack my case; Honey disconnect the phone; I’m back in the U.S.S.R. You don’t know how lucky you are boy,” – The Beatles, Back in the USSRcoopersanders

CNN’s anointed Wunderkind Anderson Cooper rubbed a few liberal … err progressive raw nerves with Bernie’s disciples when he asked during the debate whether Americans would actually elect a president, who honeymooned in the bucolic Soviet Union in 1988.

In response, the Daily Kos harkened back to the McCarthy-era (not Eugene) memory lane accusing the Clinton News Network anchor of “red baiting” Bernie about how he took his then-new bride, Jane, on a honeymoon beside the banks of the Kotorosi in Yaroslavl.

How romantic: hearing the balalaikas ringing out; keeping your comrade warm.

Cooper’s question envisioned a potential Republican attack ad against Sanders, which could “write itself,” conjuring up his support for the Sandinistas, opposition to capitalism and the couple’s romantic honeymoon behind the Iron Curtain.yaroslavl

Sanders didn’t even blink, pivoting to his tried-and-true attack on the system being “corrupt” and “rigged” against the middle class. Later he boldly called for revolution.

From a public relations standpoint does “revolution” work in Iowa and New Hampshire, let alone South Carolina and Nevada? Is Sanders a P.T. Barnum press agentry circus act with an aerial streamer buzzing overhead? Could he actually win the Democratic nomination and if he did, how could he put together a coalition that leads to 270+ electoral votes?

Asking Sanders to comb his hair (as opposed to the Donald Trump comb-over) is probably not in the cards. How about toning down the rhetoric, but not enough to aggravate his always excitable followers? What did Nixon say about running to the poles in the primaries and to the center in the general election? Sanders is taking the former to the extreme.

This exercise brings us to the heart of the question: Can one actually provide public relations, branding and reputation management to larger-than-life personalities including Donald Trump, Vladimir Putin and Bernie Sanders?

Trump doesn’t seem to care what you think or say about him, just as long as you are thinking and talking about him 24/7/365. Be sure to spell the name right.

Ketchum Public Relations shamelessly received at least $55 million in fees from Putin’s Russia even as the dictator occupies the Crimea, his compatriots shoot down jet liners and props up an evil despot in Syria. Ketchum is way past the point of worrying about selling its collective soul (not referencing the band). That relationship was terminated by Russia this past March.

Back to Bernie: Is there a pragmatic bone in Sanders’ body? Does he really think that Revolutionary Democratic Socialism will sell in Peoria? His message may have a chance in Berkeley, Santa Cruz and Portland, but alas for Sanders there aren’t enough of these collectivist societies to propel the senator to the White House.

Pass the borscht.





The words-and-related-photo on the iconic cover of Playboy’s first issue in December 1953 are impossible to miss: “Marilyn Monroe Nude.”marilynpb

The text-and-related-photo on the second sell-out, collector’s issue of Playboy in December 1998 is also simple-and-direct: “Katarina Witt Nude.”

Playboy pioneered the reality of that very special woman, providing the world with the gift of her beautiful unadorned body, for millions of admirers.

Since the beginning of time nude women have been portrayed in statues, paintings, photos, and in recent decades in digital still-and-video formats for consumers. Playboy took this trend and became a legendary first-mover, trend-setter.

The magazine provided intimate looks at iconic women: Monroe, Witt, Cindy Crawford, Ellie MacPherson, Pamela Anderson, Jenny McCarthy, Madonna, Farrah Fawcett, Barbi Benton, Stella Stevens, Bo Derek, Lindsay Lohan, Drew Barrymore, Kim Basinger, Joan Collins, Margaux Hemingway, Margot Kidder, Amanda Beard and many, many others.

Men (and maybe a few women) wanted to see these celebrities, nude. They were grateful. Playboy -provided the up-to-that-moment-forbidden-peek-at-that-very-special woman. And similar to National Geographic; Playboy took you to places you would never get to in your lifetime.

And with these provocative peeks came widespread criticism and controversy, correctly charging Playboy with objectifying women … as if that had never happened before. “You read it for the articles, right?” Don’t forget the recipes.

And now that tradition is coming to an end.

Does the 62-year era of the Girl Next Door need to end this way?

Is The Cure Worse Than the Disease?

Just as Johannes Gutenberg’s 1439 printing press served as the destructive 15th Century communications technology, the same is true with the Internet is the 1990s. The 600-year era of the expensive-and-cumbersome printing press has come to an end.gutenberg

The directly related list of casualties is growing: Newsweek, Rocky Mountain News, Seattle Post-Intelligencer and others.

Time Magazine is anorexic. Its days are most likely numbered, but should the news magazine give up its decades-long coverage of the White House in response to the digital threat? From this day forward, Time will no longer present stories about the executive branch because in three-or-less clicks readers can easily find stories and photos of Barack Obama.

This kind of bite-off-your-nose-to-spite-your-face response to a new threat is one of those cases in which the cure is worse than the disease. What’s next? Will Baskin-Robbins no longer serve ice cream? Will Ghirardell no longer make chocolate? Will Nike no longer manufacture and market athletic shoes?

The decision by Playboy to abandon nude photography of some of the most beautiful women of the world is the wrong response to the destructive forces of digital publishing. Instead, Playboy will feature scantily clad women, which can be (not-so-safely) viewed at work.

The world already has a Maxim; it doesn’t need another one.

When In Doubt Declare Victory

That battle [for mass access and consumption to porn] has been fought and won. You’re now one click away from every sex act imaginable for free. And so [nudity is] just passé at this juncture.” – Playboy CEO Scott Flanders

One of the most prominent axioms of public relations and marketing is when in doubt, declare victory. Playboy is trying to make lemonade out of its dropping nudity lemon of a decision.shamwowguy

Flanders’ proclamation is nothing more and nothing less than pure spin. Some will fall for it, and most will not.

Does this mean that Playboy will never republish some of these iconic women au naturel even though they have the exclusive rights to do so? Isn’t no nudity just that, no nudity?

And how does dropping nudity solve the digital-inspired issues associated with circulation dropping from 5.6 million in 1975 to 800,000 now? Why should Playboy give-up its hard-fought, first-mover advantage?

Reportedly, Playboy editor Cory Jones convinced 89-year young founder Hugh Hefner that dropping its signature girl next door will solve all that ills for the magazine in the 21st Century.playboybag

Doesn’t the answer come from optimizing the full power of its “rabbit head” brand and making binary code change its friend?

One must wonder whether Playboy will soon join Newsweek and many others in the ash-heap of digital history. Did Hefner just sign his company’s death warrant?

Farewell to the Girl Next Door.




“Every object in a state of uniform motion tends to remain in that state of motion unless an external force is applied to it.” – Physicist Sir Isaac Newton

“Don’t tell me it can’t be done. Show me how it can.” – Plaque in the office of former House Speaker Jim Wright

Japan’s Hidekichi Miyazaki ran the 100 meters in 42.22 seconds, just a tad behind Jamaica’s Usain Bolt’s world-record time of 9.58 seconds.bolt

In fact, Miyazaki’s 42.22-second 100-meter time was also well short of Bolt’s world-record time of 19.9 seconds for the 200 meters.

Darn it, his 42.22 time did not even match Miyazaki’s 34.10 seconds’ personal best.

Okay, let’s give him a break. Miyazaki or “Golden Bolt” achieved his 42.22-second time the day after his 105th birthday. He took up sprinting in his 90s.

Almost DailyBrett says: “You go dude.”

Don’t tell Hidekichi that he can’t, because obviously he can, and that includes his version of the Usain Bolt victory pose.goldenbolt

Which is Worse: Can’t or Won’t?

There are literally millions of people through no fault of their own, who simply can’t.

They are too young. They are too old. They are infirm. They don’t have the proper opportunity. They just can’t.

And there are millions more, who just won’t. They can, but they won’t. They are the external force … or should we say, “internal force” … that stops a personal state of motion dead in its tracks.

Think of these cup-always-half-empty souls this way: They are the concentric zone theory in reverse.

Instead of the suburbs and exurbs moving away from the inner core of the city, the exurbs and the suburbs are collapsing and the world is getting smaller-and-smaller for Mr. and Ms. Won’t.

They don’t like their job, but they won’t do anything about it.couchpotato

They are in a rotten relationship, and yet they suffer and won’t even contemplate dropping the hydrogen bomb.

There are few, if any opportunities in their locality, and yet they won’t leave a neighborhood in which Jerry Springer comes in search of guests.

They won’t consider moving elsewhere, even though a pot of gold may indeed exist at the end of the distant rainbow.

They won’t give up smoking. They won’t give up drinking. They won’t give up this bad habit or that bad habit.

They won’t take this trip. They won’t try this new technology. They won’t leave their boring civil service job. They won’t develop new relationships. They won’t try new foods. They won’t seek out a second career.

They won’t. They won’t. And they won’t.

What’s the Point?

“The doctors are all surprised. It’s all about being in good health” – 105-years-young Japanese sprinter Hidekichi Miyazaki

Miyazaki’s secret for a long-life: exercising daily, eating in moderation and chewing his food thoroughly.

How many do we know who won’t exercise at all, let alone daily? How many do we know who won’t eat in moderation and keep packing on the pounds? How many won’t even consider chewing food thoroughly or deliberately?

If anything and everything is they won’t do this or won’t do that, isn’t their world getting smaller and smaller?

Soon they won’t change. They won’t have any place to go. They won’t have anything to do. They won’t have any new horizons. They won’t have any friends. They will be alone in their won’t world.

And after years of a won’t world, they will be faced with the passage of time with a can’t world.

Then what is the point of life? Or is life a running-out-the-clock ordeal, just waiting for that inevitable fateful day.goldenbolt1

For Hidekichi Miyazaki as well as everyone else that day will come. Something tells Almost DailyBrett that before he meets his maker, Miyazaki will strike one more “Golden Bolt” pose with a huge smile on his face.

He is the ultimate can-do kind of guy.





“We got the bubble headed bleached blonde;  Comes on at five.  She can tell you ’bout the plane crash with a gleam in her eye.  It’s interesting when people die;  Give us dirty laundry.”  —  Don Henley, Dirty Laundry, 1982

Big Government is broken.

The same is true with Big Media.bigmedia

The decline of legacy media – newspapers, magazines, television and radio – has been well documented.

The corresponding rise of digital native media – social media, blogs, news aggregators – has also been covered to death, including by Almost DailyBrett.

What is gaining increased traction is the loss of trust in Big Media – major newspaper mastheads (i.e., New York Times, Washington Post, USA Today, Wall Street Journal), Big Three networks, cable news – as evidenced by the latest Gallup survey of 1,025 results, hailing from all 50 states with a 95 percent confidence level with a scientifically valid margin-of-error of plus or minus 4 percent.

The Gallup results are stunning: Only four-out-of-every 10 Americans have a great deal or fair trust and confidence in the media to report the news fully, fairly and accurately. Translated six-out-of-every 10 Americans have expressed a vote of no-confidence in the media.

In 1998 just 17 years ago, 55 percent had a great-to-fair confidence in the media. Today that number is down to 40 percent … well outside of the margin of error. Yes, the decline is precipitous and real.

Among younger Americans (18-49), the trust and confidence level in media is only 36 percent. There also exists a major gap between Democrats, whose trust fell to a 14-year low of 54 percent. Only 32 percent of Republicans express great-to-fair confidence in Big Media.

Gallup pointed to the former NBC anchor Brian Williams caper in which the celebrated anchor embellished on his experiences including being hit while covering the Iraq invasion in 2003 as the canary in the mine as it applies to the media’s loss of confidence.williamssorrydude

Not mentioned by Gallup was the totally fabricated and subsequently retracted “A Rape on Campus” by Rolling Stone.

The Gallup results effectively validate the 2015 Edelman Trust Barometer, which reported a continued decline in trust in media from 53 percent in 2014 to 51 percent in 2015. The eye-raising result was how 72 percent of Millennials gravitate first and foremost to search engines for breaking news and information.

And you wonder why Time Magazine is suffering from anorexia? And what happened to Newsweek, Seattle Post-Intelligencer and the Rocky Mountain News? Which traditional media outlet will be the next to bite the dust?

The media, which celebrates throwing digital, broadcast and printed rocks at the high and mighty, is under assault. What is the answer?

Maybe Big Media needs help from the “Dark Side”? Yes, Big Media needs better public relations … pronto.

An Adversary In Need of An Adversary?

Reporters leaving the profession to enter the growing ranks of public relations pros (flacks if you prefer) have quickly been labeled as joining the “dark side.” The premise is one is saying goodbye to objectivity and selling her or his soul to become an advocate. This transition was a career defining choice for the author of Almost DailyBrett.

Despite the animosity, media needs public relations pros for news and information. In turn, the PR pros need media – whether it be legacy or digital native – to get out their messages to stakeholders. In effect, they are friendly adversaries.

Now it seems that Big Media needs PR counsel … yes from those very same flacks and spin doctors newspapers, broadcast, news aggregators, bloggers etc. so despise.

Quite simply, Big Media has an unprecedented crisis of public confidence. Big Media relishes in setting the agenda for how we are supposed to think and what we are supposed to think about. Doesn’t this assumption of this precious responsibility strike you as being a tad … arrogant?

And what about the notion of media elites and how they are there for you … always for you? Brian Williams was on the front lines … even when he wasn’t. Dan Rather wore traditional Afghani robes and became Gunga Dan. He was also part of the celebrated caper involving forged documents, exposed by bloggers, purporting that President George W. Bush received favorable National Guard treatment in 1972. Both Brian and Dan permanently lost their anchors chairs at NBC and CBS respectively.cbs2

There is also the issue of the media elites learning to the left with the notable exceptions of Fox News and the Wall Street Journal. They piously declare the obvious is not true, even though the massive evidence points the other way. Do you really think it was a wise idea to donate $75,000 to the Clinton Foundation fair-and-balanced George Stephanopoulos of ABC News? And let’s not forget the $600,000 per year paid by NBC News to Chelsea Clinton for four reports.

Let’s face it: It will be a long-and-hard fight for Big Media to restore the trust and confidence of the American people.

Maybe the answer lies with the word, objectivity. How about a systematic effort backed by actual level-playing-field reporting – not just sanctimonious pronouncements of being fair and balanced – that begins the multi-year effort to prove that Big Media gets it when it comes to its obvious perception problems? The Economist continues to thrive namely because it is intelligent and equally offends those on both the left and right.

Most of all how about a little humility? Do you think that is possible, particularly those that occupy the Big Anchor positions in God’s Time Zone (e.g., EDT)?





“ … Stuff happens, there’s always a crisis and the impulse is always to do something and it’s not necessarily the right thing to do.” – Jeb Bush speaking at the Conservative Leadership Project

“I don’t even think I have to react to that one. The American people should hear that.” – President Barack Obama

Close your eyes for a nanosecond …

Imagine a PAC-funded 30-second attack ad. There is the aerial view of a community college in Central Oregon. Nine dead. There are emergency vehicles. A SWOT team risking their lives. Perhaps, spent bullet casings. Maybe there is even blood on the walls … a horrific scene.umpqua

Next there is a chart listing contributions to former Florida Governor John Ellis Bush or “Jeb” from gun interests, including the always warm-and-fuzzy National Rifle Association.

And finally: Video of Jeb essentially dismissing the latest mass shooting, “Stuff happens.”

Presidential? Don’t think so.

Quoted out of context? The Mother of All Weak Alibis.

A gaffe? Certainly.

Campaign defining? Could be.

Rhetorical Discipline?

Remember former Texas Governor Rick Perry’s “Oops” moment, failing to remember a major federal cabinet-level agency he wanted to abolish? He never recovered in both the 2012 and 2016 presidential cycles.

Or how about Mary Gatter, a Planned Parenthood medical director, saying “I want a Lamborghini” in the context of selling fetal organs for profit? The non-profit’s image and reputation has been irrevocably tarnished. It’s time for a rebrand.

And now we have Jeb Bush and his version of caca happens in  response to eight students and one teacher losing their lives in the Southern Willamette Valley. When asked about the gaffe, Bush defensively and rhetorically  asked whether it would be better, if he had said, “Things happen.”

Former Fla. Gov. Jeb Bush speaks at the Hispanic Leadership Network conference, Thursday, April 18, 2013 in Coral Gables, Fla. Bush says he applauds the comprehensive reform bill formally unveiled Thursday in Washington and told conference attendees the bill tries to balance the immigrant experience and respect for the rule of law. (AP Photo/Wilfredo Lee)

. (AP Photo/Wilfredo Lee)

Sorry Governor, “things” is a distinction without a difference. How about cutting your losses and quickly admitting that you misspoke and clarify your remarks?

The image that comes across is someone who is more interested in appeasing and pacifying the firearm lobby than to demonstrate concern about gun violence. Couldn’t you have discussed enforcing the myriad of gun laws on the books and implementing the death penalty for brazen mass murder? Or how about expressing concern about the influence of violent video games and movies that portray mass killing as recreation?

Instead, the response from a two-term governor from a major swing state is “stuff happens.” As a former press secretary, I winced when I heard the news.

Pathetic, downright pathetic.

“Stuff” and “You Know”

As a college professor of public relations writing and presentations among other subjects, the author of Almost DailyBrett has strongly cautioned students about using the words, “Stuff” and “You Know.”

What is “stuff”? Is it bigger than a bread box? What constitutes “stuff”? Or is “stuff” just a crutch word to throw into a presentation when one is nervous. Once “stuff” becomes ingrained, it is a hard habit to break, similar to nicotine’s deadly hold on smokers.

Equally egregious are the words, “You know.”

U-No disease in college classrooms is as prevalent as cock-roaches. Once you hear one, the next one is not far behind. Many times, yours truly has kept a count of how many “you knows” pops up in any presentation. Sorry, I don’t know the exact circumstances about what you are talking about, so why are you implying that I do know?

These are two-more addictive words, and they are difficult to shake.

So why is the former Governor with a bachelor’s degree from the University of Texas using such a sophomoric word/phrase in such a horrific context?

Eternal Digital Audio and Video

All 44 presidents, particularly those in the modern era, live under the constant glare of our digital media on steroids.presidentialpodium

Do you think that Messrs. Obama, Clinton and Nixon would like to take back “Jayvee team,” “…Did not have sex with that woman” and “I am not a crook” respectively? Almost DailyBrett is not equating the three, other than to say they are all mistakes.

“Stuff happens” brings into question whether Jeb has the temperament, sensitivity and discipline to serve as the unquestioned leader of the free world.

And if Jeb does indeed overcome this rhetorical debacle and attain the presidency, will the electorate simply dismiss anything and everything  that goes wrong – horrifically wrong – by simply shrugging, “stuff happens”?

Don’t think so.





“This is a dangerous moment for the life sciences industry that is increasingly vital to the U.S. economy.” — Lead Wall Street Journal editorial, Sept. 23, 2015

There are dirty-little secrets out there …

If one buys low and sells high, there is a resulting profit.

If demand is high and supply is low, prices rise … profits are likely.

And some forward-looking companies may take those profits and plow them right back into R&D (research and development), resulting technological breakthroughs may ensue, which may lead to more profits … and more R&D. Sounds like a plan to Almost DailyBrett.biotech

There are some who just don’t agree with buy low, sell high. There are some who are not enamored with supply and demand. In fact, they are declaring war on capitalistic “profiteering.”

The target du jour is bio-technology, the very folks who produce cures (e.g., Hepatitis C) and management regimes to control diseases (e.g., AIDS). One would think these biotech superstars, such as Gilead Sciences (NASDAQ: GILD), would be regarded as heroes. Alas, you would be wrong.

Certainly, there is a poster-child villain in this story.shkreli

His name is Martin Shkreli, the chief executive officer of Turing Pharmaceuticals, guilty of raising the price of parasite infection drug, Daraprim, by 4,000 percent. The 32-year-young hedge-fund manager beat a hasty retreat last week in the face of a chorus of cat calls. He is a walking-talking, first-rate public relations disaster.

Having made this point, should the entire life sciences industry, its scientists and patients, some in desperate need of breakthrough drugs, be punished for the sins of a hedge-fund manager and presumably a few others?

Here are a few more troubling price-control questions:

  • Will after-tax R&D expenditures of life sciences and by natural extension, technology companies, become the subject of regulatory-imposed quotas (e.g., no more than x percent of net income can be used for R&D)?
  • What impacts will these Washington D.C., or Sacramento-initiated command-and-control limitations have on finding cures for diseases or next generation killer apps? Will there be fewer newer drugs on the market? Will there be less “destructive” game-changing technologies?
  • Will other operating expenses on the income statement also be subject to governmental expenditure controls, such as SG&A (selling, general and administrative)? For example, will life sciences, software and/or hardware companies be restricted in how much they can spend to market a breakthrough product? What impacts will these restrictions, if they become reality, have on the fiscal health public relations and advertising agencies?
  • What happens to heart disease, cancer, Alzheimer’s patients and others facing potentially fatal diseases, if the political class imposes draconian controls on new drug development … pharmaceuticals that potentially could save their lives?

Guess life’s tough, right?

Steve Jobs Turning Over in His Grave?jobsmemorial

There are ballot initiatives circulating in California – the home of Silicon Valley technology and some big league life sciences companies – that would impose price controls on pharmaceuticals and limitations on after tax R&D, marketing and presumably other operating expenditures.

Do you think that once emboldened the political elites will stop at the income statements of life sciences companies? Or would they march onto the next battle: social, mobile and cloud companies in Silicon Valley and San Francisco?

Let’s see, the price for an Apple 6s smart phone is $849.99. There are no deals or discounts on Apple smart phones. Is that price too high? Are we all entitled to have a smart phone? Should price controls be imposed on Apple smart phones, tablets, watches, Macs, iPods …?

Whattyathink Tim Cook?

Looking at the income statement for Q3, Apple generated $49.6 billion on the top line (Is that too much?).

The company paid $3.79 billion in taxes (Is that too little?).

Apple devoted $2.03 billion for R&D and $3.56 billion for SG&A (Are these figures simply way too much for research and marketing respectively?).

The company also devoted $29.9 billion for COGS or the cost to make its breakthrough products. (Does Apple really need to spend that much? Your collectivist thoughts, Sacramento and/or Washington?)

Worse yet, Apple produced a profit of $10.67 billion. Is the company (and many others) guilty of “profiteering.”

These figures are reflections of not only extraordinary success, but engineering breakthroughs, entrepreneurial spirit, calculated gambles of consumer acceptance, and of course, the risk of failure.

The whole notion of venture capital is to spend private equity on ideas that may stick to the wall, but then they may also flop. An idea may be good, but too early for consumer acceptance (e.g., HDTV in the 1990s).


One of the distinguishing characteristics of America, which makes it the land of opportunity, is calculated risk-taking of entrepreneurs. Ultimately, they have the super ideas that may lead to landmark products and with them literally tens of thousands of new jobs – not family wage jobs (whatever they are), but career path jobs.

Should we literally kill the goose that is laying golden eggs?–abc-news-health.html#






“We must love each other or we must die.” – Lyndon Johnson voice-over for the 1964 “Daisy Ad” with a nuclear explosion in the background

“What Reagan wanted was to get on with the last act. He reached into his coat pocket and removed a deceptively plain white laminated card that had the power to summon hell on earth.” – Excerpt from Lou Cannon’s “Role of a Lifetime”daisy1

Has there ever been a political attack advertisement that could rival the shock-and-awe that comes from watching the stark black-and-white Daisy Ad? There was absolutely no subtlety when it came to President Johnson intimating that the unnamed Barry Goldwater of being trigger happy when it came to nuclear war.

Hillary Clinton ran the 3 am ad in primary season 2008, essentially asking voters whether they were comfortable with Barack Obama having the plain white laminated card in his pocket. Some said the ad was the equivalent of the Daisy ad. Watching both ads back-to-back (see both links below), the 3 am ad seems almost tame.

Harry S. Truman said if one needed a friend in Washington, D.C. the simple solution was to get a dog. Today’s political culture is downright brutal. We have seen ads featuring a politician pushing granny off the cliff, “swift-boating” a veteran or introducing the nation to Willie Horton. Even against these provocative examples, they all fail to rise to the level of fear mongering associated with the young girl picking daisy petals as the nuclear war countdown begins.

Johnson’s frank choice between love and death brings into question his temperament to have access to nation’s nuclear codes. Reagan’s calm relinquishing of the white laminated card, intended to be inserted into the “football,” should be seen as reassuring.

For years, we were reassured that no major terrorist event ever occurred in this country. We can’t say that anymore. What are the chances of a nuclear, biological, chemical or cyber attack in the next 50 years? At least 50/50?

Can you imagine waking up and finding out that your digital records of all of your investment, savings and checking accounts have permanently disappeared into the ether … and with them your nest egg, your child’s college education, your daughter’s wedding, the house down payment or even tomorrow’s groceries … ?

Maybe the question posed by the Daisy ad is still relevant. A related interrogative of equal importance relates to character and temperament of the next person to hold the plain white laminated card in his suit jacket or her purse.donaldcarly,jpg

For example, are we comfortable with the thought of Donald Trump, Carly Fiorina or Bernie Sanders having possession of the plain white laminated card?

Persona Matters

As the date of the next presidential election gets closer, those charged with reputation management and branding of candidates for the highest office in the land are naturally preoccupied with projecting strength, intelligence, sensitivity and gravitas.

These are all vital for a president. But please allow Almost DailyBrett to ask if you mother told you: “It’s not what you say, but how you say it”? Most of us have heard some iteration of this “mom-a-lee” during the course of our lives.

Political campaign press secretaries and communications directors need to be even more concerned about how a candidate deports herself or himself under constant fire in a world of ever-smaller cameras and ever-more acute microphones. Yes, everything and anything is on-the-record in our 24 news-cycles-per-day digital world.

Does your candidate come across as arrogant, unyielding and demagogic or does your candidate project calmness, humor, discipline and confidence?

Does your candidate simply tear everything down from Washington, D.C., Wall Street and other candidates, calling them “stupid” or “corrupt” or does your candidate offer a roadmap with specifics for a more positive future to an anxious nation?

Most of all, does your candidate have the temperament and character to be trusted with four-year or eight-year possession of the plain laminated white card? Some may point to social issues, the economy, jobs, immigration as being the most important questions that will confront the next president.

But heaven forbid, what happens if ICBMs are inbound from Russia and Vladimir Putin isn’t taking any calls?

Even though we are not practicing duck-and-cover any longer in our classrooms, the threat is still there; it will always be there.

Daisy Ad 2016?

What should we think of a candidate and her or his team that would dare to run the 21st. Century equivalent of the Daisy Ad with a nuclear explosion (or chemical, biological or cyber attack) in the background?daisy

What if that candidate gave us a stark choice between loving everybody or dying?

What would that either/or question say about the temperament, the character and persona of that candidate?

Would we really want that person to have access to the plain white laminated card to summon hell on earth?



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