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“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?


“In German, a young lady has no sex, while a turnip has. Think what overwrought reverence that shows for the turnip, and what callous disrespect for the girl.” – Mark Twain in his 1880 essay, The Awful German Languagegermanbeauty

What do you call someone, who speaks three languages? Trilingual.

What do you call someone, who speaks two languages? Bilingual.

What do you call someone, who speaks one language? An American.

Not my favorite guy, but the last of the three rhetorical questions posed by deposed CBS anchor Dan Rather to the National Governor’s Association meeting in Chicago hit me right between the eyes.

The year was 1989. It was das Jahr die Mauer fällt. That was also the year the author of Almost DailyBrett made a resolution to learn another language, German. Die deutsche Sprache was one of the hottest languages in the world as the Berlin Wall came down and the soon to be reunified Germany started to project “soft power.” German was once again in vogue.

Certainly when it comes to romance, German with its guttural sounds (see Schmetterling above) will never qualify. The closest word in this category may be Gemütlichkeit, which conveys a sense of coziness, a warm fire, an Alpine meadow, a beautiful hike in the Black Forest (Schwarzwald).

I’m Happy That You’re So Sad

There is also Schadenfreude, which roughly translates, “I’m happy that you’re so sad.” Keep in mind that Schadenfreude is also one of the German language’s many compound nouns, making it virtually impossible to play Scrabble in German. How about Arbeitslosigkeitsunterstützung or unemployment insurance?

With a language as tortured as German in which all nouns must be capitalized, is it any surprise there is really no German word for public relations? The closest translation is Öffentlichkeitsarbeit or work with or in the public sphere. If you desire an even longer German compound noun, how about the word for Germany’s public relations miracle from 1945 to present day: Öffentlichkeitsarbeitswunder?

German is far from the hardest language on the planet to learn (i.e., Mandarin, Cantonese, Japanese or even Hungarian), but it is certainly not the easiest. Der, die, das, die (nominative case); den, die, das, die (accusative); dem, der, dem, den (dative) and des, der, des, der (accusative) are all the ways Germans say the word, “the,” depending where and how “the” falls in any sentence.

In English, the word,“the” is “the.” Simple.

And let’s not forget irregular and separable verbs in which a prefix gets thrown to the conclusion of the sentence and with or without the prefix at the end, it changes the meaning of the sentence. For example, rufen means to call and anrufen means to call by telephone … rufen is conjugated, and an is placed at the end of the sentence.

Do you really want to make that phone call?

To get on the Autobahn with no speed limit in long stretches, you follow the Einfahrt, and to exit you follow the Ausfahrt. That’s a lot of Fahrting for one ride on the Autobahn (compound noun).ausfahrt

Similar to Spanish and French (and presumably many other languages), German articles (der, die, das) must be correctly placed before the corresponding masculine, feminine and neuter nouns.

As noted above, clever Mark Twain pointed out German is the only language on the planet that makes a turnip, feminine, die Rübe, and a young unmarried girl/woman neuter, das Mädchen and das Fraulein. Translated: the actual gender of the noun may not matter in determining the article that precedes it.

There is also the issue associated with the fact that many Germans do not believe you can ever learn their language. Go to Berlin or München and ask a question in (near) perfect High-German and more times than naught, you will receive your answer in English oder Englisch.

The good news: they understood your question. The bad news: they are still convinced you will never learn German.

Why Learn German?

“ … People know that you get further in a country if you speak the local and the official language and not just English. For networking and approaching clients, and partially also for business communication, knowing German gives you an additional advantage.Ulrich Ammon, author of The Status of the German Language in the World

Let’s face it, when it comes to learning German, many will instantly equate the language with charming memories, such as Blitzkrieg, Luftwaffe, Achtung, U-Boots, Messerschmitts, Fokkers and dozens of other militaristic terms that harken back to two world wars and the Holocaust.

That’s why it was all the more surprising to learn that German is being offered to 14-to-15 year-old students in Israeli schools or more than 20,000 Israelis have moved to Berlin, the once capital of the Third Reich.

What has changed, particularly when only 104 million of the earth’s 7 billion-plus inhabitants are native German speakers? One answer is these native speakers equate to the 4th largest economy in terms of GNP and the world’s most proficient export machine.

Germany will be eternally tarnished by memories of the Nazis and the Holocaust, but its leadership in the European Union, its popular and consensus-oriented Chancellor Angela Merkel, and its (soft) powerful export driven economy has made it a land of opportunity. Partially as a consequence of its postwar guilt and its aging population and declining workforce, Germany has been more than generous in opening its borders to those fleeing from Iraq and Syria, and is expected to accommodate 800,000 refugees by the end of the year.schmetterling

Reportedly, there are 15.5 million present day students of die Deutsche Sprache, up 4 percent in the last five years.

Should you become one of them, you will soon be able to translate: Der kleine schöne Schmetterling hat durch den grünen Wald geflogen.

Yep, that is one beautiful little butterfly that flew through the green forest. Pass the schnapps!








Hillary’s election was “inevitable” in the 2007-2008 presidential election cycle.

As we all know, it didn’t quite work out that way.


For months, we have been told once again that at least her 2016 Democratic nomination was “inevitable,” and quite possibly her election as the 45th president of the United States could be phoned in as well.

The plan commenced with the “Hard Choices” book tour, followed by ones-and-zeroes binary code video presidential candidacy announcement, and then bus tours to listen to average voters in Iowa and New Hampshire. The path seemed so easy … until it wasn’t.

Almost DailyBrett will refrain from taking a deep dive into the plethora of errors including declaring the first couple was “dead broke,” the myriad of allegations of conflict of interest regarding the Clinton Foundation and of course, the wiped clean private email server … that damned server.

We are 14 months away from 2016 election day, and the tenacity of the Clintons should never be underestimated. There is still time for the “inevitable” to once again be inevitable.

Maybe to understand why “inevitability,” which some could very well equate with arrogance, is not quite working, it is instructive to appreciate the profiles of two very powerful women: Madam Secretary Hillary Rodham Clinton and Kanzerlin Angela Merkel.

Never Take The Electorate for Granted

“….It is for the rising German generation, for German youth, to dispel the mistrust, this fear, by rejecting what has long been rejected and clearly and unanimously announcing their desire: not for a German Europe, but for a European Germany.” – Author Thomas Mann

One is known as “Mutti” or a German term of endearment for “mother.”

The other is closer to being America’s mother in law.

This month, Angela Merkel will mark her 10th year as the second longest-serving Chancellor of the modern iteration of the Vaterland, the European Union’s strongest economy: Germany. Merkel bristles at the notion that she is the first female chancellor of Germany, preferring to be seen as the first German chancellor, who just happens to be a woman.

After the evil demagoguery that led to Germany’s eternal shame, most Germans want their nation to be seen as normal. They desire their country to be regarded as  an integral part of Europe, not for Europe to be an essential  part of Germany.

Ever compromising Angela Merkel has served as a calming influence for the 80 million inhabitants of Germany. Yes, she has ruffled feathers in rebellious Greece and other southern European nations, but that is a result of fiscal austerity policy not because of her personality.merkel2

She and her Union parties will be required to call an election in two years’ time. Certainly, there will be no proclamations of inevitability. Instead, the anticipated rhetoric will be along the lines of her earlier, Deutschland’s Zukunft in Guten Händen (Germany’s Future in Good Hands). Merkel will once again want to be seen as a strong mother figure, which seems to suit the Vaterland with no desire to flex its muscles ever again. Germany has been repeatedly described as the reluctant hegemon.

“Run as if you are running behind; Take Nothing for Granted”

The folks who attend the first-in-the-nation Iowa caucuses are notoriously fickle.

The same maybe even more true with the Live Free or Die crowd in no-state-sales-tax New Hampshire, the site of the country’s initial primary.

These are retail states. These are states that want to see the candidates in living rooms, coffee shops and factory gates. They are fiercely independent. They don’t want to be taken for granted. Their support is anything but inevitable.NHvoters

If elected, Hillary Rodham Clinton will make history as the first woman president of the United States. Her other half, William Jefferson Clinton, will be the nation’s First Man, a position he has previously held … albeit in another capacity.

From a public relations, marketing, reputation management standpoint is it best to campaign to be the first woman president of the United States or the first president of the United States, who just happens to be a woman?

If Angela Merkel was born in Hampton Roads as opposed to Hamburg, there would be no campaign focused on her inevitability. She would undoubtedly prefer to be the first president of the United States, who happens to be a woman.

Reflecting back on my days working on George Deukmejian’s successful California gubernatorial campaigns and also in his media office in the Office of the Governor, we always ran as if we were running behind (even when we won by a record 61-37 percent margin in 1986), and we took absolutely nothing for granted.

Do the folks in Iowa and New Hampshire believe they are being taken for granted, let alone residents of South Carolina, Nevada and the other states that will follow on the primary/caucus calendar?

Almost DailyBrett contends the electorate is much more tuned in than many of those within the confines of the Beltway believe, ditto many of those in the hallowed halls of academia.

Maybe Hillary and her trained spokespeople would be well advised to be a tad more humble, and focus on Hillary becoming America’s first president, who happens to be a woman.

The image of Mutti is far more endearing than America’s inevitable Mother in Law.






Lost my Apple 5s smart phone on Lufthansa flight #491 from Seattle to Frankfurt.

Besides being a $599 mistake, yours truly had no cell phone for the entire course of our 17-day honeymoon to Bavaria (e.g., Gemütlichkeit) and to Tuscany (e.g., Le Dolce Vita).

To more than a few the loss of a cell phone for almost three weeks would be the near equivalent of being sentenced to three years of solitary confinement or even worse, suicide. How can life possibly go on? How can my online disciples know exactly what I am doing at exactly this very point in time? Shudder: No smart phone means a world without Facebook “likes” and immediate gratification.

Tourists use a selfie stick on the Trocadero Square, with the Eiffel Tower in background, in Paris, Tuesday, Jan. 6, 2015. Selfie sticks have become enormously popular among tourists because you don’t have to ask strangers to take your picture, and unlike hand-held selfies, you can capture a wider view without showing your arm. But some people find selfie sticks obnoxious, arguing that they detract from the travel experience. (AP Photo/Remy de la Mauviniere)

Tourists use a selfie stick on the Trocadero Square, with the Eiffel Tower in background, in Paris, Tuesday, Jan. 6, 2015. Selfie sticks have become enormously popular among tourists because you don’t have to ask strangers to take your picture, and unlike hand-held selfies, you can capture a wider view without showing your arm. But some people find selfie sticks obnoxious, arguing that they detract from the travel experience. (AP Photo/Remy de la Mauviniere)

Even for Pollyannaish me, I immediately realized that Lufthansa was not going to find my cell phone in the messy cabin of a Boeing 747. Maybe it ended up in some flea market along the banks of the Main River.

Hopefully, I still had an upgrade at Verizon Wireless (alas that was not the case). Quickly coming to full acceptance mode, I rationalized there were at least 1,000 worse things that can happen to anyone than just misplacing an uninsured cell phone.

Besides Jeanne and I were on our belated honeymoon. Beer was on the tables in fun München and soon Sangiovese would be served al fresco in romantic Firenze. There were art museums to check out, castles to explore, and little Alpine towns that beckoned us. The cell phone replacement could just wait for our return to bucolic Ellensburg, Washington

Mobile Technology Liberation

What became immediately apparent in my first moments of Apple OS cold turkey was watching the teeming hordes on München’s famed Marienplatz, and coming to the realization about literally how many people were paying more attention to their mobile devices than the centuries worth of history all around them.

What would Mad King Ludwig think? Would smart phone narcissism drive him crazy?

And then I saw them: The narcisticks. Yes, the selfie-sticks. The same selfie-sticks that would be hocked by the bushel on the Ponte Vecchio the following week in Firenze. München’s 11 a.m. Glockenspiel play may be in full motion in the background, but the selfie-stick crowd was more interested in the folks in the foreground – the very same people they saw in the mirror earlier that very same morning.selfiestickobama

Smart phones have become indispensable, but at the same time they are addicting. This point is not novel, but to see it played out throughout Europe at the height of the summer tourist season was nonetheless stunning, revealing and disconcerting.

One week later, we were the first through the doors of the Galleria dell’ Accademia in Florence. We immediately headed for Michelangelo’s 17-foot masterpiece sculpture of David. Being among the first, we took digital photos of the statue and ourselves in front of David. We concentrated and admired arguably the greatest sculpture on the planet, dating back to 1504.

Coming back later, the crowds predictably had descended on David, including literally hundreds with their mobile phones and selfie sticks (don’t inadvertently scratch the statue!). What would King David think, if he was still around? ‘I fought off Goliath, and I have held this pose for more than 500 years, just to have you take a selfie in front of me?’

Early the next day was the Uffizi Gallery and Botticcelli’s The Birth of Venus and Primavera. Once again, the early birds caught the worm and we were virtually alone with these 15th Century masterpieces for a few precious minutes. Our relative solitude would soon change as the selfie-stick brigade came charging down the second floor hallway of the Uffizi. Yes, Venus standing on her sea-shell would serve as the mere background for the narcissists in the foreground.

Be sure to smile. Maybe Venus can even be in focus?

Behind the Iron Curtain

A little more than three decades ago, yours truly made his first trip overseas to Leonid Brezhnev’s Russia. PCs were just being mainstreamed by IBM in 1981. There were really no cell phones, let alone selfie sticks. We went into and out of the Soviet Union with no ways to communicate, other than postcards back home or an ultra-expensive KGB monitored phone call from the Intourist hotel.

During the course of this venture and subsequent pleasure and business trips to Europe and Asia, I always tried to concentrate on the dramatic change of scenery, the splendors of the Old World and the different cultures. It was about Russia, England, Germany, Netherlands, Italy, Japan etc., and not about me … and I was fine with that.

The libertarian in me usually gravitates in the direction of personal freedom. At the same time, there is a global movement toward the banning of narcisticks including Disney parks, the Vatican’s Sistine Chapel, Mecca, Lake Tahoe and wisely … The Running of the Bulls at Pamplona (great selfie shot before being gored by angry Torro).selfiestickpamplona

Autzen Stadium in Eugene (e.g., “It never rains at Autzen Stadium”) has banned umbrellas. Why? They are potentially dangerous and they block views of Oregon touchdowns. As a 25-year season ticket holder, this ban makes sense. Besides it rarely rains that hard in Oregon.

Prohibiting selfie sticks in the Hall of Mirrors at Versailles works for little ole me. According to Travel Advisor Tips, there are “17 grand arched windows facing Palace of Versailles gardens [which] are reflected in the 17 arches inlaid with 357 pieces of mirrors creating the effect of mesmerizing beauty.”

Three-hundred fifty-seven mirrors? Isn’t that enough for even the most dedicated narcissist?

Guess not. How would the narcissist’s friends “like” these pleasing reflections, if they cannot see them online? That simply will not do.–Paris-museums-move-towards-ban-on-sticks#.VdzA3I2FNCo





“A million dollars isn’t cool. Do you know what is cool? A billion dollars,” – Justin Timberlake playing the role of Napster founder Sean Parker in The Social Networkseanparker

There are problems in America, and much of those aren’t about the sharing economy. Income inequality is rising, and the middle class isn’t better off than they were a decade ago. We don’t need government investment, and we can provide a solution.” – Brian Chesky, Airbnb co-founder to USA Today

We all have a choice: We can either hate or we can celebrate.

We can resist change and inevitably fail or we can embrace the future.

There are very few that make it to the vaunted three comma club, those with 10 or even 11 figures as their cumulative assets. Nobody has made it to the 12-figure mark … yet.

There are oodles of millionaires, but reaching the billionaire or the three comma club as Justin Timberlake as Sean Parker ($2.6 billion) offered to Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg ($33.4 billion) is quite a different story.

Some may try to dismiss the select membership of the three-comma club, contending the majority of the wealth was inherited and thus represents just another indicator of income inequality. This contention for the most part is not correct.

For the vast majority of billionaires, as opposed to mere millionaires or multi-millionaires, the difference lies with what Harvard Business Professor Clayton Christensen proclaims as “disruptive technologies.”

Under Christensen’s theory, existing corporations usually have the edge when it comes to sustaining innovations (e.g., one generation to the next generation; one model to the next model). When it comes to “disrupting innovation,” the advantage lies in the hands of new entrants/first movers into the marketplace. That is where we typically find new members of the three comma club.

Taking a gander at the Forbes annual list of billionaires, one finds Bill Gates in first place at $79.2 billion. Were Bill Gates and Paul Allen ($17.5 billion) game changers? The question almost seems silly. Microsoft became THE software side to the PC equation with its novel Windows operating system and its Word-PowerPoint-Excel business suite. Intel (e.g., Gordon Moore, $6.9 billion) provided the other half of the Wintel monopoly with its Pentium processors.windows10

Joining the celebrated three comma club is an incredibly difficult proposition. For the most part, it means the new member came up with a novel idea that changed not only the rules of the game, but society itself.

Jeff Bezos at $34.8 billion was the driver behind first-mover, digital-retailer Amazon, which transformed the way the world shopped with its long-tail strategy (e.g., 99 percent of all of Amazon’s inventory is sold at least once a year to at least one grateful consumer). Jack Ma of China’s Alibaba ($22.7 billion) is attempting to do the same as 400 million of the Middle Kingdoms’ population moves up into the middle class.

Mark Zuckerberg ($33.4 billion), the subject of the aforementioned The Social Network, invented Facebook in his Harvard Kirkland H-33 dorm room just 11 years/1.4 billion subscribers ago. Facebook has changed how we instantaneously transmit to friends and family the exciting (or not so exciting) developments in our daily lives.

Google co-founders and former Stanford students Larry Page ($29.7 billion) and Sergey Brin ($29.2 billion) pioneered the world’s dominant search engine, another first-mover victory, as well as the Android operating system for mobile devices.google1

Elon Musk (a mere $12 billion) is attempting to make climate change neutral electric cars a reality for the middle class with his publicly traded Tesla. And if that was not enough, his privately held SpaceX is delivering payloads into orbit for NASA.

Disruptive Technologies

“Change is the law of life and those who look only to the past or present are certain to miss the future.” – John F. Kennedy

It’s not the progress I mind, it’s the change I don’t like,” – Mark Twain

Are there those out of sheer jealously, who don’t like reading or hearing about billionaires? Yes indeed. Do some people rationalize these monetary gains as being ill-acquired? Yes again. And then there is the disruptive part of the equation.uber

There are those with mobile devices with time on their hands and cars that can be put to work. Hello Uber and its $50 billion in market valuation. And who is negatively impacted? The cab industry and their drivers, who would be well advised to be fairer and nicer to their riders.

And there are those with mobile devices with houses and rooms to rent, reaching out to those around the world, who just want to couch-surf. Hello Airbnb and its $25 billion in market valuation. And who is negatively impacted? The hotel and motel industry, which soon will be facing downward pressure on its pricing model as a result of expanding supply.Airbnb

For Uber, Airbnb and other privately held “unicorns” (i.e., Snapchat, Pinterest, Dropbox), they are forcing change onto those who do not want to change. The forces of inertia have powerful allies (e.g., New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman). These change agents need effective public relations, marketing and branding to help the on-demand economy to succeed and for society to advance.

Let the storming of the barricades continue.





“There are 47 percent who are with him (Obama), who are dependent upon government, who believe that they are victims, who believe the government has a responsibility to care for them, who believe that they are entitled to health care, to food, to housing, to you name it. These are people who pay no income tax.” – 2012 Republican nominee Mitt Romney caught on a planted Mother Jones videoromney47

“I want a Lamborghini.” – Mary Gatter, Planned Parenthood Pasadena and San Gabriel Valley medical director, caught on a planted Center for Medical Progress video.

Hall of Fame football coach and legendary commentator on CBS, ABC, NBC and Fox for three decades, John Madden, was asked on KCBS-Radio what was one of key reasons for his unprecedented run on four major networks:

“Never say in private, what you wouldn’t say in public.”

Also remember that allegations make headlines; rebuttals are buried in the story.

Saying that you were quoted out of context is weak, defensive and sounds lame.

How about not making inexpedient or arrogant comments in the first place?

How about assuming that you are always on-the-record regardless of where, when, what, why, how and to whom you are speaking?

The cameras are everywhere. The microphones are ubiquitous. And soon the drones will be swooping in. And thanks to Gordon Moore’s Law (e.g., the number of transistors on a piece of silicon real estate doubles every 18-24 months), ever more complexity can be packed into smaller and more powerful than ever before devices using a fraction of the power as in the past.

Think of it as the serendipity of the consumer electronics business.

The Cameras are Everywhere

The Mother Jones hidden video of Romney’s 47 percent remark, made to a supposedly private meeting with wealthy donors, immediately fed to the growing perception of the former Massachusetts governor as a heartless plutocrat. Whether that image was real or not, really didn’t matter at that point … the damage was done.

The Center for Medical Progress hidden video of Planned Parenthood’s Gatter discussing the dollars-and-cents pricing of tiny body parts of aborted fetuses over salad and wine in a tony Pasadena (CA) restaurant, ended with her visions of an Italian sports car. She inadvertently put Planned Parenthood’s $542 million in federal subventions into the crosshairs of a Republican-controlled Congress.Lamborghini

Think of it this way: a Mother Jones planted video came from the left side of the political spectrum and a Center for Medical Progress planted video came from the right side of the political spectrum. As Mary Matalin once said: “Politics is a contact sport.”

At the same time, publicly traded technology companies, such as GoPro (NASDAQ: GPRO) and others, are pioneering ever-smaller, more reliable cameras with excellent sound pickup, which are available for reasonable prices. Top it off, uploading these videos and having them go viral is easier than ever.

Digital is Eternal.

The candidates for the presidency and everyone else serving as the FrontMann/Frau(lein) or mouthpiece for any political sensitive organization or profitable business is now on record: No conversation is harmless. You should trust no one. Should you be a tad paranoid? Hello!

Take a mundane chore, such as Hillary Clinton heading off to Bergdorf Goodman on New York’s Fifth Avenue for a $600 haircut at the John Barrett Salon. Reportedly, her entourage closed down one side of the store on a Friday and marshalled a private elevator so the inevitable nominee could have her hair done.

July 26, 2015 - Ames, Iowa, U.S. -  HILLARY CLINTON speaks during an organizing event at the Iowa State University Alumni Center .(Credit Image: © Brian Cahn via ZUMA Wire)

July 26, 2015 – Ames, Iowa, U.S. – HILLARY CLINTON speaks during an organizing event at the Iowa State University Alumni Center .(Credit Image: © Brian Cahn via ZUMA Wire)

Does this $600 haircut square with championing the needs of the struggling middle class? Or does it add to the notion of privilege?

Once again in our Twitterverse, second-screen world, everything and anything is in play. Nothing is off-the-record. Literally anything is discoverable. Have we lost to a large degree our privacy? Yes, we have.

Thirty years ago, we were all told to be wary of anything that you wrote down or typed because scary Xerox machines existed. Your ill-advised words could be copied and delivered to a non-friendly reporter, looking for “good dirt,” in a plain-white envelope.

Life was so innocent back then.

Today is so different. Who would have thought that munching on an overpriced salad, sipping nice wine, while dreaming of a nice car with the top down, could be so dangerous to the political and economic health of your organization and/or campaign?madden

Once again contemplate the wise words of John Madden: “Never say in private, what you wouldn’t say in public.”







“For some ten years I have kept a journal more or less regularly as a vehicle for adjusting my own perspective. I’ve found it a convenient way of stepping back occasionally to see what forms and shades my sometimes hectic activities were leaving on the canvas of my life.” – Former New York Governor Mario Cuomo (1932-2015)cuomo

Seems so simple, and for more than just a few … terrifying.

Just write every day for 15 minutes a day, every day.

That was the advice to post-graduate students by University of Oregon School of Journalism and Communication, Department of Women’s and Gender Studies, Professor Carol Stabile.

Good advice from my former across the cul-de-sac neighbor.stabile

Sorry to say, we are not talking about cumulative texting every day for four hours or more … With all due respect from the author of Almost DailyBrett that is not writing. LOL, SOL, BTW, BRB, JK, FOMO and the timeless WTF do not and will never constitute written expression or even coming close to contributing to the canvas of life.

Instead, we are discussing the practice of actually sitting down each and every day and writing for 15 minutes or longer.

Why would we want to do that? How about to improve our writing and thinking abilities?

Here’s the key question: What should you write about?

If you are asking that particular question, it may point to another issue: You may not be reading enough.

Yes in order to write; you need to read and read and read …

Canvas of Life

“An astrologist sent me a horoscope that said I was going to die on election day. I don’t know if she meant literally or figuratively. Just in case she means it literally, I think I’ll vote early.” – Cuomo diary on 1982 general election eve

Cuomo’s diaries of his difficult 1982 Democratic primary against NYC mayor Edward Koch and general election campaign for the governorship of New York were a hit in the mid-1980s.

Considering that my boss (e.g., Governor George Deukmejian) went through a similar process in the same year, just from the other side of the aisle, and across the country in California drew me to Cuomo’s diaries.

Cuomo wrote in the pre-dawn hours before heading out for a full-and-frantic day of politicking. Guess there are some not requiring the standard eight-hours of sleep that mumsy recommended.

The former New York governor used the old-fashioned pen and journal for his diaries, reflecting the historical fact the IBM PC had just been invented. Today, we will most likely opt for a lap top or tablet to write … even though pen and paper still works in this digital age. Heck Moses used his own tablets thousands of years ago.

There is so much happening in the world to write about, more good than bad. Yep, your author has been accused of being a Pollyanna.unicorn

The Economist just this week wrote about “Unicorns.” Yep, those highly capitalized and inventive, privately held companies with valuations exceeding $1 billion that are in no hurry to take their shares public … Uber, Airbnb, SpaceX, Pinterest, Dropbox, Snapchat …

Some lament the gyrations of Wall Street; sometimes the market is overbought and sometimes it is oversold … the choppy trend line is upward to the right.

Almost DailyBrett wrote about the Silly Season of politics, essentially recommending not getting one’s knickers in a twist about the bloviations of Donald Trump or Bernie Sanders. Believe it or not, the political process has a way of moderating itself.

Summer is upon us (at least in the Northern Hemisphere) and it is a magical time of Urlaub that wundervolle Zeit for vacationing, exploring and sampling yummy wines and refreshing microbrews. Ahh … Gemütlichkeit … Le Dolce Vida.

Soon the days will grow shorter, the air will become cooler and the leaves will start to change colors, it will be that magical time: college football season. There is something about the pageantry of the fall spectacle that serves as a rebirth and pleasant thoughts of another New Year’s Day In Pasadena.

Please excuse my bout of positive vibrations. Yes Almost DailyBrett recognizes there is and will always be the cup half-empty portion of the world. This blog is indeed pragmatic and recognizes it is much more difficult to be always positive, than the latter.

Go away Gloomy Gus and Negative Nancy.

The point is this: The Canvas of Life has so much to read about and more importantly to write about.

Sit down for your 15 minutes and write to your heart’s content. And if you are brave enough, publish your journal. The digital ones-and-zeroes of binary code will enable your self-publishing.

It only takes 15 minutes each day, every day.






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