Tag Archive: John Madden


The male of the species has never been the best when it comes to personal public relations.

The seemingly never-ending list of creepy, predatory men (e.g., Harvey Weinstein, Anthony Weiner, Al Franken, Roger Ailes, Bill O’Reilly, Matt Lauer, Charlie Rose, Dustin Hoffman, Kevin Spacey, Bill Clinton, Donald Trump …) represents the classic definition of a story with legs.

No pun intended.

When will this litany of abuses end?

One thing is for certain, not anytime soon.

The series of lurid and accurate stories of lustful men with next-to-zero self-discipline have resulted in pain, anguish and ruined careers for literally thousands-and-thousands of women.

These awful accounts go beyond the world of politics to include entertainment (e.g., casting couches), jurisprudence, business, military and many other human endeavors, bringing the two genders together.

The resulting anger from the fairer gender, justifiably directed toward males en banc, is warranted.

Having fully appreciated, comprehended and acknowledged the anguish and suffering inflicted on way too many women by way too many men, Almost DailyBrett wants to bravely make one statement, and then duck for cover:

Not All Men Are Creeps, it just may seem that way.

Seemingly absent in this public discussion are the guys who are – believe it or not — semper fi.

There are the men who are 100 percent faithful to the vows they made in marriage. Almost DailyBrett actually knows one of these kind souls.

There are men who are respectful of women, and do not even entertain the thought of using any influence to extract (e.g., sexual) favors from women.

There are men, who would never lay a paw on any woman for any reason (referring to professional settings). There is a time and place for everything.

As Henry Kissinger once said: No one will ever win the battle of the sexes; there’s too much fraternizing with the enemy.”

There are the men who can instinctively sense the dread of a single woman riding an elevator with a lone male. The man may move toward the door, allowing the woman to shift to a position behind him. When the designated floor arrives, he should be a gentleman, holding the door open, and maybe even wishing his travelling companion an absolutely fantabulous day.

Most of all there are actual men who do not think below their waist, but actually use their real brains (gasp) to distinguish between what is right and what is wrong.

An Office Door With No Window?

Touring our new office space this past winter, your author noticed to his horror that our new academic caves featured doors with no windows. No bueno. Nicht gut. Hell, no.

When asked, a rocket scientist from Facilities said there were zero dollars for door windows. Time to go to the mat.

There was absolutely no way I was going to teach public relations and meet with students, if I could not shut my door but at the same time the outside world could not see inside. To yours truly, this was matter of safety and common sense.

Your author today has a door with a window, but not one that can be locked from the inside (e.g., Lauer).

When it comes to the all-too-common “he said, she said” disputes, the one making the accusation can win, and the one on the receiving end may be on the downward slide to the end of a once promising career.

What are some common sense behaviors that good men should employ in this ultra-charged political climate?

  1. Never, ever touch a member of the fairer gender anywhere for whatever reason at any time in a professional setting. On your author’s last day after eight years working for the California Office of the Governor, my female colleagues gave me a hug … not the other way around.
  2. Never comment on the appearance of women (e.g., hair, dress, jewelry …). Former National Semiconductor CEO Brian Halla once took verbal notice that a Bloomberg TV reporter was wearing her wedding ring on her right ring finger …  Halla was then informed that her late spouse perished in the World Trade Center on September 11.
  3. John Madden has a rule: He will never say in private, what he wouldn’t say in public. Guys, it’s past time to deep six the sexual jokes and comments even among fellow knuckle draggers. Let the locker room be a simple place for showering, changing and talking sports. Period.
  4. The rules of sexual harassment are clear. Quid pro quo is obvious. When you are asked to stop … STOP!
  5. Former ABC correspondent Lynn Sheer suggested the universal adoption of a standard phrase, “That’s NOT okay.” Even bystanders can even use this same phrase when sexual harassment is in progress.

This common sense phrase should even be comprehended and immediately understood by all men, not just semper fi guys.

The latter, exist. Seriously.

https://www.brainyquote.com/quotes/henry_kissinger_105144

 

 

“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.”

https://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/the-barbarity-of-a-nation/2015/07/31/344f5140-36eb-11e5-9739-170df8af8eb9_story.html?wpisrc=nl_opinions&wpmm=1

https://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/the-price-of-fetal-parts/2015/07/23/13cb5668-316d-11e5-8353-1215475949f4_story.html

http://www.washingtonpost.com/news/post-nation/wp/2015/07/21/antiabortion-group-releases-second-planned-parenthood-video/

http://pagesix.com/2015/07/28/hillary-clintons-600-haircut-puts-bergdorf-on-lockdown/

http://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/decision2012/leaked-videos-show-romney-dismissing-obama-supporters-as-entitled-victims/2012/09/17/5d49ca96-0113-11e2-b260-32f4a8db9b7e_story.html?hpid=z2

http://www.biography.com/people/john-madden-9542594

http://gopro.com/

http://www.foxnews.com/politics/2013/01/08/planned-parenthood-receives-record-amount-taxpayer-support/

 

 

 

 

 

 

The author of Almost DailyBrett was there in 2006, when Barry Lamar BALCO Bonds hit home run #715 to move past Babe Ruth.

By coincidence (other than being an unapologetic sports fan) he was there in 2007 when the same Barry Lamar BALCO Bonds clobbered #755 to eclipse Hank Aaron for the all-time, home-run title.

In both cases, it was a sad triumph of medical science over integrity and fair play.bonds

How come I still feel a little dirty having witnessed these epic moments from the stands of AT&T Park, but not really cheering? The reaction was similar to a Mardi Gras party without the beads. The fan response seemed as artificial as standing like cattle in a freezing pen waiting for the ball to drop in Times Square on New Year’s Eve night. Pass the hand warmers and the flask.

Just as everyone, except for the hoodwinked jury, knew that O.J. took a knife to Nicole, we are all 1000 percent certain that Barry cheated by using roids — excuse me creamy and clear “flaxseed oil,” — to bulk up beyond any recognition. By the way, before anyone writes any nastygrams, Almost DailyBrett is no way equating O.J. horrific crime with Barry’s pharmaceutical disgrace other than to say, we are sure without any doubt they were both in the wrong.

We also can bet that Pete Rose bet on baseball. John Madden has repeatedly warned about the potential abusive influence of the gambling industry into professional and college sports (e.g., fixed games or fights). The NHL should tread lightly on the question of siting an expansion team in Sin City.

We also know the sordid tale of Lance Armstrong. Sorry Lance, it was not only about the bike. It was about lying, intimidating and cheating, when it came to doping and literally stealing Tour de France fortune and fame. You were a hero until you became a worldwide douchebag.

Then again, not all lying can be universally condemned as an obvious violation of Immanuel Kant’s Categorical Imperative or what your mother always told you. As this particular blog has noted on more than one occasion, Jody Powell as Jimmy Carter’s press secretary, made the correct call in deliberately lying to protect the 1980 mission to rescue 52 hostages held in Iran. The lie protected the secrecy of the military action. Alas, the images of burning helicopters in the desert are still fresh today.

This preamble brings us to the question of Tom Brady, the Super Bowl champion New England Patriots, an appealed $1.8 million, four-game fine/suspension and deflated footballs. Does this caper rise to a similar level of cheating akin to Barry Lamar BALCO Bonds, Pete Rose and/or Lance Armstrong, all 10s on the Hall of Shame Richter Scale?brady

Deflategate is a 5.

“Integrity of the Game”

The NFL particularly in the aftermath of getting it wrong in the Ray Rice domestic abuse elevator incident had to aggressively respond to the next “incident.’ To compensate the league came down hard on QB Tom Brady and the New England Patriots to safeguard the “Integrity of the Game.”

Yes rules are rules and they are meant to be followed, but does playing with slightly deflated footballs rise to the same level as taking roids to break an iconic record, betting on your own sport or pulverizing your wife or significant other?

As Almost DailyBrett has reported, deflating footballs to make them easier to throw and/or catch, is not new when it comes to professional or college football. Former USC head coach Lame Kiffin prior to being shown the door by school AD Pat Haden blamed a rogue student football manager for being singly responsible for the Trojans playing with deflated footballs in a 2012 game against Oregon. The student manager was booted off the team. Those darn lone ranger student football managers.

Truth be known, USC was deflating footballs (at least the starting QB as far back as the 1977 Rose Bowl Game). Certainly, other teams in both the college and pro ranks are just as guilty. Maybe, the NFL should follow the practice of the NHL and freeze the footballs before games? More realistically, the NFL should consider an inflation range allowing teams to decide what pressure works best for their respective offenses.

Jan 24, 2015; Phoenix, AZ, USA; Deflated footballs with Super Bowl XLIX logo at the NFL Experience at Phoenix Convention Center in advance of the game between the Seattle Seahawks and the New England Patriots. Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

Jan 24, 2015; Phoenix, AZ, USA; Deflated footballs with Super Bowl XLIX logo at the NFL Experience at Phoenix Convention Center in advance of the game between the Seattle Seahawks and the New England Patriots. Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

One thing is certain when examining Deflategate: This transgression against everything decent in civilized society had zero impact on the outcome of the game in question as Tom Brady’s Patriots clobbered the Indianapolis Colts 45-7 to easily win the AFC championship. Deflategate … the latest “gate” … had zero to do with the outcome of that particular game.

The NFL responded by fining the Patriots and suspending Brady for four pre-season games, costing him $1.8 million.

Worse yet, the Patriots had to endure the hometown and national sports media for the two weeks before the Super Bowl about this molehill-into-a-mountain indiscretion.

That sounds like punishment enough.

http://www.cnn.com/2015/05/14/us/nfl-deflategate-brady-appeal/

http://www.cnn.com/2013/10/31/us/balco-fast-facts/

https://almostdailybrett.wordpress.com/2012/11/09/a-ball-inflation-needle-in-kiffins-coffin/

https://almostdailybrett.wordpress.com/2010/11/03/the-right-to-lie/

https://almostdailybrett.wordpress.com/2015/05/02/lying-to-the-new-york-times/

http://www.baltimoresun.com/sports/ravens/ravens-insider/bal-ray-rice-issues-statement-thanking-ravens-baltimore-apologizes-for-domesticviolence-incident-20150212-story.html#page=1

 

“When you’re winning, no one can hurt you; when you’re losing, no one can help you.” – Hall of Fame Coach and Broadcaster John Madden

Remember (former Vice President) Dan Quayle?

How about (former Attorney General) Ed Meese?

And (former Defense Secretary) John Tower?

And (former White House chief of staff) John Sununu?

And of course, (former NYC mayoral candidate/personal photographer) Anthony Weiner?

This brings us to present-tense USC coach Lane Kiffin.

What do they all have in common?kiffinhoodie

The answer is the media vultures were out for all of them at one time or another. In the end, the vultures picked (or are picking) their bodies to death.

As the press director of the Deukmejian Campaign Committee, I watched with delight and awe as the media took apart our 1982 opponent for the GOP gubernatorial nomination, former California Lt. Governor Mike Curb.

There was not a book to be seen in Curb’s palatial house, gleefully noted the Los Angeles Times.

Curb had not registered to vote (a 10-minute exercise) for Ronald Reagan (or anyone else) in 1966 and 1970 because he was “too busy” for 17 years with his record company business. Thank you LA Herald-Examiner and Valley News and Green Sheet.

The media vultures were circling over Curb’s dying candidacy. It was time for him to go. He was history. He was toast.

It was “vulture journalism” at its best or at its worst, depending on your point of view. The media had made up its collective mind: Curb was not going to be Governor of California.

“No one’s more miserable than myself. So it’s our job to get it fixed.” – Kiffin quoted this week in the Los Angeles Times deftly moving from the first-person singular to the first-person plural.

USC Athletic Director Pat Haden earlier this year described his embattled head football coach as the “anti-Teflon.” Instead of Teflon, Kiffin is Mr. Velcro…everything and anything sticks to him.

haden

Did the Trojans just hold a “players-only” meeting? Who would normally care? These are not normal times. Apparently, no one told Lane Kiffin. Is he out of touch? The media cares.

When asked in the wake of USC’s home field loss last Saturday night to the Pullman Cougars, whether Cody Kessler or Max Vittek was going to be his QB starter this coming Saturday against Boston College, Kiffin said he didn’t know.

You don’t know? USC is paying you $2.4 million annually, and you don’t know…

Besides being the anti-Reagan, Kiffin is also the anti-Chip Kelly the anti-Jim Harbaugh, and most of all, the anti-Pete Carroll.

Everyone is excited about whether Chip’s fast-paced, Michael Vick running the ball Oregon-style offense will work on a week-in, week-out basis in the NFL. Maybe.

Everyone is salivating over the Sunday night matchup between Harbaugh’s 49ers and Carroll’s Seahawks. Harbaugh’s and Carroll’s paths have crossed before (e.g., “What’s Your Deal? What’s your Deal!!!), which adds to the intrigue.

Do you think USC fans would take Carroll back? In a heartbeat. Would they even accept former Stanford coach, Harbaugh? Deep down you know they would.

Just win, Baby!

Even though the hiring of Carroll was not embraced by Trojan alums, they came to adore him. And why not?

He came across as a great guy with a penchant for winning big time.

There are some who contend that anyone can win at USC. Why not? There are more high school and junior college football studs within a 30-mile radius of the LA Mausoleum than there are within a 300-mile radius of Pullman…And yet…Ted Tollner, Larry Smith, Paul Hackett and now, Kiffin couldn’t get it done at Troy.

Carroll was that magical guy with a special knack. Combine Carroll’s coaching persona and genius with the geographic advantages, wealth and tradition of USC, and the result was orgasmic. USC was back and it dominated the Pac-10…seven straight titles…something that will never happen again.

In contrast, USC alums were giddy when Kiffin was hired away from Tennessee after his limp, low-T 7-6 record in Knoxville. No one is cheering now.

firelanekiffin

The biggest mystery is why did three-storied football programs: the Silver-and-Black Oakland Raiders (5-15), the Rocky Top Tennessee Volunteers (7-6) and now the Cardinal and Gold USC Trojans (27-15) hand the keys to their respective Ferraris only to achieve exploding gas tank Pinto results (39-36)? How do you spell mediocrity? K-I-F-F-I-N.

The latest Kiffin tenure was always a media relations train-wreck going someplace to happen.

Was this former USC Athletic Director’s (the guy who hired Kiffin) Mike Garrett’s parting gift to Haden?

Almost DailyBrett can rightfully be accused of piling onto Lane Kiffin.  After all, this is my third blog as a USC grad on this subject. I plead guilty.

Can effective public relations counsel help Kiffin withstand the media vultures at this point in time? Will simply winning rescue Kiffin from his seemingly inevitable fate? Possibly.

Having said that, one cannot discount the most recent losses to rivals UCLA, Notre Dame and more to the point, embarrassing debacles to Georgia Tech (Sun Bowl) and Wazzu…the latter two should not even be competitive against USC.

One suspects the upcoming trips to ASU and Notre Dame will not be pretty. Ditto for the home games against Stanford and UCLA. Kiffin should thank Darwin that Washington and (gulp) Oregon are not on the schedule this year.

Is Haden quietly going over a list of potential replacements? You know for certain the thought has crossed his mind, more than once or twice…

http://bleacherreport.com/articles/1770356-usc-football-top-recruits-turning-on-lane-kiffin?utm_source=newsletter&utm_medium=newsletter&utm_campaign=college-football

http://www.dailynews.com/sports/20130910/marqise-lee-contradicts-lane-kiffin-on-players-only-meeting

http://www.usatoday.com/story/sports/ncaaf/2013/09/08/analysis-mack-brown-texas-lane-kiffin-southern-california-coaches-hot-seat/2782321/

http://www.latimes.com/sports/college/usc/la-sp-0912-usc-football-20130912,0,473654.story#axzz2ehZMTeBN

https://almostdailybrett.wordpress.com/2013/02/03/uscs-vietnam/

https://almostdailybrett.wordpress.com/2012/11/09/a-ball-inflation-needle-in-kiffins-coffin/

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WeS3VeluAmg

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lane_Kiffin

 

Putting Lipstick on a Pig

“Life’s too short to drink cheap beer.” – Warsteiner button

You can’t put frosting on manure.” – John Madden

I don’t often drink beer but when I do, I prefer it not to be Pabst Blue Ribbon (PBR)” – With Apologies to Dos Equis’ “The Most Interesting Man in the World.”

(Scene: A Pabst Blue Ribbon marketing guru walks along a Southern California beach and finds a magic lantern. He rubs the lantern and a genie emerges offering to grant him a wish…)

PBR marketing pro: “I would like there to be finally peace and harmony in the Middle East?”

Genie: “What is the Middle East?”

PBR pro: “See this map? Here is Israel, the Gaza Strip, Lebanon, Syria, Iraq, Iran, Afghanistan, Pakistan…”

Genie: “Whoa…these people have been at each other’s throats for hundreds of years…Is there anything else I can do?

PBR: “Can you make Pabst Blue Ribbon, cool?”

Genie: “Can I see that map again?”

The definition of “oxymoron” is a figure of speech in which incongruous or seemingly contradictory terms appear side by side including: legal brief, paid volunteer, plastic glasses, pretty ugly, clearly confused, Beaver Nation and Pabst Blue Ribbon is cool.

pbr

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is duly charged with preserving species that are threatened or endangered with extinction such as: marbled murrelets, northern spotted owls, diamond back rattlesnakes and alligators. Should we also be concerned about saving Pabst Blue Ribbon, the Mother of All Mediocre Lagers?

As a resident of the State of Oregon, we Pacific Northwest-types know a thing or two about rain, salmon, pinot noirs and microbrews. Checking out a public house recently in Eugene, there was a list of ales and lagers to imbibe (mostly the former) and it included a Ninkasi Total Domination IPA, an Oakshire Oatmeal Stout, a Widmer Hefeweizen, a Deschutes Black Butte Porter, a Red Hook ESB, a New Belgium Fat Tire (amber ale) etc. For those who prefer making love in a canoe, there were the predictable offerings: Bud Light and Coors Light.

At the bottom of the beer list was the mysterious listing: “PBR.” What the f… is “PBR?”

It took a while for the little light to go on. PBR is Pabst Blue Ribbon of Milwaukee…err…Los Angeles, California. If you are looking for bad boob jobs, one should head to LaLaLand. Now if you are seeking out desultory lagers, LA is your place as well.

“PBR” is a Hail Mary marketing campaign championing Pabst Blue Ribbon “coolness” and it is already claiming a few victims. This point was evidenced this morning by the empty Pabst Blue Ribbon 40-ounce bottle lying beside the Pioneer Cemetery, located adjacent to the University of Oregon campus (the irony does not escape me).

Carefully picking up the empty, I noted on the label that Pabst Blue Ribbon was celebrated as America’s best beer in 1893. And the Chicago Cubs claimed their most recent World Series championship in 1908. Heck, anyone can have a bad century…and then some.

As a public relations instructor at the university level, I believe that everyone and every organization should be able to tell their story (e.g., Lance Armstrong on Oprah). At the same time, PR, marketing and advertising pros are not miracle workers. And truth and morals should not be flexible.

Maybe, your great-grandfather (and/or great-grandmother) consumed Pabst Blue Ribbon, and your grandparents as well. Quite possibly your father and mother both took a sip from the white can with the blue ribbon as well. Instead of projecting youthful coolness with the acronym, PBR, wouldn’t it be more honest to celebrate Pabst Blue Ribbon as the lager that made your ancestors, your ancestors?

http://www.schiesshouse.com/beer_quotations_and_humor.htm

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Most_Interesting_Man_in_the_World

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pabst_Blue_Ribbon

“When you’re winning, no one can hurt you…

… and when you’re losing, no one can help you.” – Former Hall of Fame Coach and Broadcaster John Madden

A rogue student manager has been deflating footballs at USC.

The Pac-12 reprimanded and fined USC for the practice.

And according to Head Coach Lane Kiffin, the (now fired) student manager was acting as a lone ranger, even though footballs are easier to throw when they are slightly deflated.

lamekiffin

How do I know this?

I was a student manager at USC during the 1976 and 1977 seasons. Even more precisely, I was the student manager working with the offensive coordinator at the time, Paul Hackett, the quarterbacks (e.g., Vince Evans, Rob Hertel and Paul McDonald) and wide receivers (e.g., Shelton Diggs, Randy Simmrin).

For each game, I was responsible for getting the USC football into the game when the Trojans were on offense. That meant following the line of scrimmage, carrying at least two footballs, for the better part of three-plus hours.

During the Rose Bowl played on January 1, 1977 against Michigan, our quarterback, Vince Evans, kept a ball-inflation needle in his sock. The needle was not used to inflate footballs, but for the opposite reason.

The referee and other officials kept throwing the under-inflated balls to me and demanding an inflated ball. Vince, in turn, kept on deflating the balls. This put me in a classic Catch 22.

When I told Vince about the officials tossing the underinflated balls out of the game, he responded with an imperative. I think it was something like, “Duck you, Kevin!”

We managed to win the game over Michigan, 14-6, and finished #2 behind Tony Dorsett and the Pitt Panthers for the national title. The incident with the ball-pump needle went into the DRAM (Dynamic Random Access Memory) of my brain and remained there…until this week.

How serious is an underinflated football on a bending-the-rules scale of 1-10? How about a “five”? Yes, it may be easier to throw a football and that certainly is a factor for USC with a great passing quarterback, Matt Barkley, and all-world receivers. Conversely, one would think it would hurt the performance of the punter and field-goal/extra point kicker. USC punted only once last Saturday against Oregon.

My problem with this story is why would a 19-20-21-year-old student manager be deflating footballs without anyone else on the football team (e.g., coach and/or player) knowing anything about it?  This one doesn’t pass the giggle test.

And was it the (scapegoat?) manager that was deflating the balls or maybe a player with a ball-pump needle in his sock? It’s happened before.

What is more germane about this story is how it relates to Kiffin. Let’s face it. This guy is an Oakland-Knoxville-Los Angeles public relations disaster zone always waiting for the next installment. When you open up the dictionary looking up the word, “arrogance,” Kiffin’s mug shot will most likely jump out of the page.

His predecessor, Pete Carroll, was Mr. Public Relations. Pete was everyone’s pal. He was a player’s coach. He was a good interview. He was the face of USC football. Heck, he even risked his life night-after-night, driving into the worst parts of LA to give youths a third option besides jail and death.

Have you ever heard about Kiffin giving back? Opposing teams aren’t even allowed to walk through the LA Coliseum the day before games with the Trojans.

The marauding student manager story follows the quick and painful end of USC’s over-inflated dream of playing in the BCS national championship. The team has lost two straight, surrendered 101 points in the process, and is looking at the prospects of playing in the…Holiday Bowl.

Besides generating controversy du-jour during his relatively brief stays with the Oakland Raiders, Tennessee Volunteers and now USC, Kiffin has consistently parlayed Viagra expectations into Low-T results, 43-37 overall.

What does the fired student manager, underinflated football-gate mean to squeaky clean, play-by-the-book USC Athletic Director Pat Haden? If this was an isolated incident in the nation’s second largest media market, it most likely would be noted and quickly forgotten.

But with USC coming off the third most severe set of NCAA penalties (exceeded only by Penn State and SMU) and considering Kiffin’s repeated bouts with controversy, this may be another small nail (or ball-pump needle) in Kiffin’s coffin.

Haden must know that someday, sooner or later, he will have to terminate Kiffin and maybe even spend literally millions to buy out his contract. Sometimes acknowledging mistakes of your predecessor (e.g., Mike Garrett) is costly. You sure can buy a treasure trove of ball-inflation pins, even with millions of inflated dollars.

Editor’s Note: As mentioned, I managed the USC football team for two seasons, earning a Tommy Trojan statue for my service. I have a Rose Bowl ring and watch, and graduated from Troy with my undergraduate degree in broadcasting journalism. I also managed the football team at the University of Oregon. I am a 23-year season ticket holder at Autzen Stadium and a member of the Duck Athletic Fund. I received my master’s degree from, and presently teach public relations at the University of Oregon School of Journalism and Communication.

http://espn.go.com/los-angeles/ncf/story/_/id/8608359/usc-coach-lane-kiffin-says-manager-deflating-footballs-acted-alone

http://www.latimes.com/sports/sportsnow/la-sp-sn-usc-football-lane-kiffin-no-comment-delated-footballs-20121108,0,5616530.story

http://www.latimes.com/sports/sportsnow/la-sp-sn-usc-football-culture-dufresne20121108,0,822130.story

http://www.latimes.com/sports/college/usc/la-sp-1109-plaschke-usc-footballs-20121109,0,6907619.column

Whatever happened to Scott McNealy?

We know what happened to his company; Sun Microsystems was swallowed up by Oracle.

And Steve Ballmer? Well, he is the chief executive officer of Softwaremeister Microsoft (Nasdaq: MSFT) with a market capitalization in excess of $200 billion.

And what about “Butthead?” Not MTV’s Beavis and Butthead, but the object of McNealy’s snide quip…His name is Bill Gates, the founder of Microsoft, one of the wealthiest individuals on the planet and a philanthropist. You may have heard of him.

ballmergates

Sometimes reporters, editors, bloggers, analysts, investors bestow rock-star status on C-level executives. And in return, some of these very same executives earn their stripes in part by resorting to let’s say “provocative” activities or tactics. Are these antics, including old-fashioned name calling, in the best interest of shareholders, employees, customers, suppliers and partners…the very same people for whom they have taken a vow of fiduciary responsibility?

“Ballmer and Butthead” is like catnip to the Fourth Estate Crowd, but is it really that funny when the company’s stock is in single digits and heading further south? How about concentrating on your business…a business that is now a part of Silicon Valley’s history.

Why even bring this matter up when Nasdaq: SUNW does not even exist anymore? That’s just the point. As difficult as it may be, C-level executives should be discouraged from engaging in sophomoric behavior and statements by their public relations counsel. The very people who you are denigrating today, you may be facing across a negotiating table tomorrow. Sun ultimately accepted $2 billion from Microsoft to end the protracted litigation between the companies. And Sun was desperate for the cash.

Certainly Scott is not the only former or present executive guilty of bombastic rhetoric, but boardroom deportment is even more important in these days in which literally trillions of dollars of aggregate personal wealth is being erased in just a matter of days, if not hours.

Personally, I would never offer investment advice to anyone and you would wise to not accept Wall Street counsel from me, except for one point: I never invest in companies in which I do not condone the behavior of the CEO. I am also very wary of companies in which the CEO and the company are synonymous terms…Hello Steve Jobs. What’s your blood pressure today?

There is no denying that McNealy is super bright with an undergraduate degree from Harvard and a MBA from Stanford…after all, Sun stands for Stanford University Network. Having said that, there is a difference between bright and smart: “Ballmer and Butthead” in hindsight was barely clever and not smart.

mcnealy

I stayed away from investing in Hewlett-Packard during the imperial reign of Carly Fiorina. Her efforts to bludgeon the HP culture into acquiring Compaq left permanent scars. Her fights with the media, particularly the San Jose Mercury News, were undertaken without the prospect of an upside. She was forced to resign three years later as HP’s CEO. Last year, she ran and lost in her attempt to wrest a Senate seat away from Barbara Boxer in California. And today… (she just won’t simply go away), she is working with the GOP Senatorial Campaign Committee.

Another stock that had the effect of a crucifix to a vampire for me was Advanced Micro Devices or AMD under the notorious direction of Jerry Sanders. Brash and colorful, Jerry was the ultimate loose cannon beyond any kind of reasonable control by his PR handlers (probably too strong of a word). Jerry was going to say what Jerry was going to say.

There was the night that he concluded an annual Semiconductor Industry Association dinner with “We have come a long way since the days we were fighting the Japs (over trade access).” He is (mis)credited for inventing the term that “Real men have fabs,” prompting semiconductor makers without their own factories…or fabs…to establish their own trade association, the Fabless Semiconductor Association, now the Global Semiconductor Alliance.

And of course my all time favorite from Jerry: “Money is life’s report card.” Guess that means Mother Teresa really sucked at life.

When it comes to corporate excess, no one does it better than Larry Ellison of Oracle…The planes, the yachts, the mansions, the divorces…And how many people are unemployed in this country? How many are underwater on their mortgages? How many are afraid to open up their investment portfolios? Larry doesn’t need my money, but I have made a vow to never invest in Oracle regardless of the company’s financial results as long as Larry is in charge.

The bottom line is that C-Level behavior does matter. Some are willing to look the other way just as long as the company is doing well. And what happens when the sun starts sinking against the horizon and the stock heads south? The “Ballmer and Butthead” quotes aren’t so funny. As John Madden once said: “When you are winning no one can hurt you; when you are losing, no one can help you.”

http://www.edn.com/article/479110-Ballmer_Butthead_and_McNealy.php

http://www.cbronline.com/blogs/technology/best_mcnealy_qu

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Scott_McNealy

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sun_Microsystems

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bill_Gates

http://content.usatoday.com/communities/onpolitics/post/2011/07/carly-fiorina-senate-republican-campaign-committee-nrsc/1

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jerry_Sanders_(businessman)

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Larry_Ellison

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sAAirNeKWxQ

http://www.motherteresa.org/

“What happens in Vegas…will probably end up on YouTube.”

Since the onset of truly interactive computer-mediated communication more than a decade ago (Web 2.0), pundit questions mainly revolved around whether digital social media could ever be effectively monetized.

Wall Street finally responded last May 19 with enthusiastic institutional and retail investor response to the initial public offering (IPO) of LinkedIn.com. Securities for the business networking oriented social media outlet were offered on the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE: LNKD) and the results that day constituted the biggest IPO since search engine Google Inc. debuted in 2004. LinkedIn was initially priced at $45, but opened at $83 up 84%. The stock eventually peaked at $122.70 before closing at $94.25, a 109% gain for the day, representing $8.9 billion in market capitalization.

linkedin_logo_11

Despite the impressive results for the initial offering of publicly traded securities for LinkedIn and the fact that there are no longer questions about whether social media has authentic monetary value, the IPO was widely seen by financial and market analysts as preliminary at best.

LinkedIn capitalized on being the “first mover” among social media companies, prompting many to ask what will happen when Twitter, Groupon and most of all, Facebook with its 600 million subscribers, (any or all) decide to take their respective shares to the public marketplace. Will they trigger a second Internet bubble?

Underneath all of the euphoria (irrational exuberance?) about digital interactive media, the use of ones-and-zeroes, transmitted in packets across switches and routers or wirelessly via the satellite, are troubling questions about this relatively new means of communication.

There are publicly traded and privately held companies with products to sell, non-profits with missions to fulfill, governments with essential services to provide, and politicians with electoral messages to deliver. Most are using digital publishing in an attempt to reach their target audiences, but at the same time (and maybe truly for the first time) these very same audiences, some with competing agendas, have unprecedented capability to target the messengers. Instead of “vertical” one-communicating-to-many, it is increasingly “horizontal” with the “audience” participating in the conversation. The game has changed and the rules are still being developed.

Today, we can look back upon a growing litany of examples of how ease-of-use interactive publishing and related conversations are upsetting the best-laid public relations and marketing plans of those charged with reputations to protect and brands to manage.

Consider that one blogger ultimately prompted the recall of Intel’s vaunted Pentium processor; bloggers repudiated a “60 Minutes” story extremely critical of former President George W. Bush, leading to the “resignation” of Dan Rather; a BART passenger video-taped and posted footage of the 2009 New Year’s evening shooting of Oscar Grant, leading to a conviction of the officer in question and setting off civil disturbances in Oakland; undercover cameras and super-sensitive microphones discredited ACORN and NPR;  Rep. Anthony Weiner (D-New York) was pressured into resigning in the wake of his Tweeting of his “junk” to selected females across the fruited plain. Train Station Shooting

What, where, when and who will be next to experience the loss of reputation and branding control to interactive media? Has the digital playing field been leveled to an unprecedented effect? Is this an unintended consequence of Web 2.0?

Think of it this way, reputations and brands are now traded commodities in the marketplace of public opinion. And just like securities, reputations and brand equities can rise with “shareholder” approval or they can crash under pressure from this same audience.

The question is not whether there are unintended loss-of-control consequences of Web 2.0, but instead what are the strategies to safeguard reputations and brands, and how they should be implemented? The birth of micro-blogging/content sharing sites: LinkedIn in 2003, MySpace in 2003, Facebook in 2004, Flickr in 2004, YouTube in 2005 and the 140-character-per-message Twitter in 2006, rapidly accelerated the growth to a staggering number of Web 2.0 subscribers.

The power of each of these social media sites and the ones that will inevitably follow (e.g. Google+) is magnified by the number of friends, connections, contacts that can be reached with a short message and a few key strokes. Will publicly traded and privately held companies, non-profits, governmental entities, appointed and elected officials ever regain hegemony over their cherished reputations and hard-fought brands or must they learn to live with a permanent loss of total control?

The answer is undoubtedly the latter. If this is indeed the case, then what are reasonable techniques and strategies that can be employed in this Web 2.0 era of digital self publishing with ease-of-use software tools? Here are five reputation-and-brand protection strategic recommendations for consideration by public relations practitioners, marketing/brand management professionals and social media evangelists.

1.)   Quality Products; Credible Messaging

The keys to success will be the specific relevance of the message, and the effectiveness of the delivery of the message or program in the time and space where the potential customers want to receive it, not where the marketers want to shout it out,” Irene Dickey and William F. Lewis. 

The point being made by academics Dickey and Lewis is the best way to defend a reputation or a brand is to deliver credible messages in a timely and effective way to customers. Doing the right thing at the right time deserves to be rewarded regardless of the unprecedented speed of global communications. Is a good offense the best defense?

Take Zappos.com as an example. The $1 billion online shoe seller has a distinct philosophy of under-promising and over-performing for its customer base. The company’s leadership is constantly exploring way to sustaining the high quality experience it is known for – to deliver “wow” to its customers, suppliers and partners. The targeted result: Positive and consistent word-of-mouth advertising. Said Alfred Lin, Zappos chairman, CFO and COO: “…Word of mouth works a lot faster on the Internet than it does person-to-person because you can just e-mail out a bunch of your friends and say ‘hey I just had this amazing experience.’ That was one of the reasons that we wanted to keep upgrading shipping.”

lin Erik Qualman in his Socialnomics cited a study by the Strategic Planning Institute that 96 percent dissatisfied customers don’t bother to complain, and 63 percent of these silent dissatisfied customers will never buy from the vendor again. Through networked customer feedback, it is much easier for a company to respond and make things right. Douglas Rushkoff offered very simple advice: “Marketers need to learn that the easiest way to sell stuff in the digital age is make good stuff.” 

2.)   Treating Reputations and Brands As Tradable Equities 

“More young people will learn about IBM from Wikipedia in coming years than from IBM itself,” New York Times Columnist Thomas L. Friedman 

Qualman was just as direct as Friedman when he stated that if you maintain a large, well-known brand you can rest assured (or not rest assured) that there are online conversations, pages and applications being constantly developed around a brand. He cited an August 2008 Facebook search for lawn-care equipment provider, “John Deere,” and discovered 500 groups dedicated to John Deere; more than 10,000 users total in the top-10 groups. Chief competitor, Caterpillar, also maintained a page in John Deere’s top-10 listings and one simply called “John Deere Sucks!!!” also made the top-10 list on the social media site. Along with the ascent of interactive social media has been a corresponding decline of consumer trust in brands.

According to advertising agency, Y&R, consumer trust in brands dropped from 52 percent in 1997 (generally agreed upon birth year of Web 2.0) to only 22 percent in 2008. It should also be noted that the worldwide recession began in 2008, but that does not alone explain the 30 percent drop in brand trust.

Canadian author Malcolm Gladwell wrote that Facebook and other social media sites are extremely effective at building networks, which he said “are the opposite, in structure and character, of hierarchies. Unlike hierarchies, with their rules and procedures, networks aren’t controlled by a single central authority. Decisions are made through consensus.”

3.)    24/7/365 Monitoring and Response

“The digital bazaar is a many-to-many conversation among people acting in one or more of their many cultural roles. It is too turbulent to be directed or dominated,” Author and columnist Douglas Rushkoff. 

What is the direct effect of Rushkoff’s assertion about the turbulent seas of social media with its many-to-many discussants in the conversation? For those charged with protecting a reputation and safeguarding a brand, it means that the most carefully laid marketing and public relations plans can be shattered in record time.

It means that just as global equities are traded virtually every day of the year as the sun moves over the Nikkei in Japan, the Hang Sang in Hong Kong, the DAX in Germany to the FTSE in London to then to the NYSE and NASDAQ in New York, the same is true for brands. The sun never sets on global markets and brands; in fact brands are being traded on a 24/7/365 basis in the digital interactive marketplace of public opinion.

Consider the infamous sucker punch by Oregon running back LeGarrette Blount against Boise State’s Bryon Hout immediately following their game in 2009, and captured in all of its intensity by ESPN’s cameras. Today, there are 17,400 search engine optimization (SEO) results on Google for the keystrokes, “LeGarrette Blount sucker punch.”

blountpunch

For the University of Oregon Athletic Department and its carefully crafted image, the damage from Blount’s actions was swiftly demonstrated in cyberspace with an immediate YouTube video, Wikipedia post and literally thousands of comments on Twitter and Facebook. A reputation and brand can come under pressure at any time of day or night, requiring constant vigilance and assigning individuals specifically charged and authorized to respond on behalf of a company, governmental entity, appointed or elected official or an educational institution.

4.)   Fiduciary and Corporate Social Responsibility

“Can companies do well by doing good? Yes – sometimes.” Aneel Karnani.

Publicly traded and privately held companies and by extension the public relations and business development firms that counsel them must worship at the altar of fiduciary responsibility. Karnani in his 2010 Wall Street Journal piece stated the global movement for better corporate governance dictates that executives must seek the best return possible for their investors. He said that managers who sacrifice profit for the common good also are in effect imposing a tax on their shareholders and arbitrarily deciding how that money should be spent. If push comes to shove between fiduciary responsibility and corporate social responsibility, the former will usually prevail…but still there are benefits for society.

Wrote Karnani: “Consider the market for healthier food. Fast-food outlets have profited by expanding their offerings to include salads and other options designed to appeal to health-conscious consumers. Other companies have found new sources of revenue in low-fat, whole-grain and other types of foods that have grown in popularity. Social welfare is improved. Everyone wins.”

Should companies spread this fiduciary responsibility (and by extension improving society) message via social media tools? The risk is being accused of “green washing” or something worse by detractors of the brand. Companies do not have a choice about participating in this on-line discussion. The question is how well they do it.

In particular, publicly traded companies have a fiduciary responsibility to generate the best return for their investors – in many cases their own employees – and why shouldn’t they triumph their activities on behalf of shareholder value? If communities, workers and the environment benefit from healthier foods, less-power hungry devices, more fuel-efficient cars, while at the same time related companies are producing returns for investors, then let there be a race to use social media tools for the gratification of the companies as well as their detractors. Truth should be the defense against “greenwashing” charges. Let the conversation commence.

kfc

5.)   Honesty, Openness and Transparency

Companies don’t have a choice on whether they do social media; they have a choice in how well they do it,” Erik Qualman, Socialnomics, 2009

In the case of social media, someone is always watching YouTube videos, posting JPEGs on Flickr, sending Tweets via Twitter, inviting connections on LinkedIn or friending or unfriending on Facebook. There are frankly millions of netizens and they are always on, around the clock and around the world. And the rate of innovation is accelerating at a pace never seen before in human history. It took 38 years for radio to reach 50 million users;  television 13 years; the Internet, four years; iPod, three years; Facebook added its first 100 million subscribers in just nine months.

Publicly traded and privately held companies, non-profits, governmental entities, educational institutions and appointed and elected representatives live in a fish-bowl world. The rules of the game have changed, and yet there are still rules of engagement. Ghostwriting of executive blogs should to be publicly disclosed. Companies need to focus on quality products, under-promise and over-deliver.

Statements need to be credible and respectful or as John Madden once said: “I will never say in private what I wouldn’t say in public.” The Web 2.0 digital world is demanding accountability, honesty and transparency. If these simple rules are followed the consequences associated with the loss of control should be benign. However, if the conduct is not becoming of a reputation that has been hard-earned and brand equity that has been built, both of these can come tumbling down in just a matter of mouse clicks.

“I will never say in private, what I wouldn’t say in public.” – John Madden

For the past 10,220 days (give or take about three months or so), the sun has risen every morning in the Golden State and likewise the moon has been seen in the heavens in the evening. The birds have chirped. The bees have buzzed. The waves continued to crash on the beaches. Life has gone on…without assistance from the State of California for public broadcasting.

My former boss for eight years California Governor George Deukmejian used his veto pen more than 2,300 times in his two terms. One of those times was the total “zeroing out” of California Public Broadcasting in 1983. The state was broke, about $1.5 billion in the red. On top of that, the governor did not philosophically believe that the government should be in the business of subsidizing media…because subsidies come with strings attached. Sorry, there are no free lunches in life.

220px-George_Deukmejian_Official_Portrait_crop

A news conference was held in Sacramento to announce $1 billion in vetoes in his very first fiscal blueprint that actually balanced that budget. Included in that amount was all of the funding for California Public Broadcasting. The radio reporter for the California Public Broadcasting covering the event opened the budget book, saw the veto, rose from his desk, and stormed out of the Room 1190 (news conference room in the State Capitol in Sacramento). We had a first-rate public relations fire storm on our hands…but it didn’t last long.

Periodically reporters would bring up this issue with us, most not agreeing in the slightest. We would remind them that California was out of money and how the governor believed in a church and state-style separation when it comes to the media and government.

Which brings us to the very emotional subject of NPR, which has Charlie Sheen-style public relations problems that only intensified this week. Liberals love NPR because NPR is liberal. Conservatives detest NPR because NPR is liberal…err…progressive (whatever). But should NPR, which is taking $400 million or 12 percent of its funding from the federal government, be so unbalanced?

Liberals will instantly scream, “Well what about Fox News?” Fox News is owned by Rupert Murdoch, and receives no federal funding. Want to yell about Rush Limbaugh? The answer is essentially the same.

The biggest public relations blunder made by NPR was to be seen as so far out of the mainstream. They were safe as long as the economy was decent and Democrats were calling the shots in DC, but as we all know things change in politics and they can change quickly. The economy cratered, the federal government is horrifically in the red, and there is a whole posse of red state, Tea Party Republicans, now running the House of Representatives. Americans through their actions time-and-time again have proven that they prefer divided government.

The first blow came last October with the clumsy firing of NPR correspondent Juan Williams (who appears regularly on *gasp* Fox News) saying out loud what many Americans think in the aftermath of 9/11; many are very aware that Muslims are among the passengers on plane flights they are taking.

juanwilliams

And just this week, NPR’s chief fundraiser Ron Schiller was secretly videotaped during a meeting with the Muslim Education Action Center. As Russell Adams of the Wall Street Journal pointed out nobody at NPR, including Schiller, vetted the Muslim Education Action Center. The group does not exist, but served as a front for the secret videotaping.

The result was that Schiller was silent as the two potential $5 million Muslim contributors complained about how other media outlets were controlled by “Zionists” while NPR was not (Does silence constitute agreement?). NPR’s chief fundraiser proceeded to declare that NPR does not need the $400 million in federal support, completely undermining NPR’s lobbying effort. He then completely trashed the Republican Party and the Tea Party movement, labeling them as white, gun-toting “racists”…Did Mr. Schiller not appreciate who is running the House of Representatives and holding the purse strings for NPR?

Specifically, the Washington Post reported that Schiller said in the video about the Tea Party movement:  “They believe in sort of white, middle America, gun-toting – it’s scary. They’re seriously racist, racist people.” He also said NPR “would be better off in the long run without federal funding,” a statement most Republicans agree with.

John Madden, who was a football commentator on four major networks for 29 years, said once: “I will never say in private, what I wouldn’t say in public.” That is the best defense possible in the case of an ambush video tape job. And you know this ambush video technique, whether we like it or not, is going to be used again-and-again with technology making possible smaller cameras and more sensitive microphones. Politics is a contact sport indeed.

The net result was that NPR chief executive Vivian Schiller “resigned” Wednesday and the NPR Board accepted her resignation with “regret.” Read: She was pushed out of the job. (She is not related to Ron).

Now the big question is whether the GOP majority in the house will push NPR’s $400 million appropriation out of the budget. If it does, NPR will survive someway, somehow on donations and corporate contributions. Alas, there will be no $5 million donation from the Muslim Education Action Center. And just like California, the sun will rise in the morning across the fruited plain.

http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2011/03/10/AR2011031002032.html?wpisrc=nl_pmheadline

http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2011/03/09/AR2011030901802.html?wpisrc=nl_pmheadline

http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052748704132204576190344232339766.html?mod=WSJ_hp_LEFTWhatsNewsCollection

http://blogs.wsj.com/washwire/2011/03/09/push-to-defund-public-broadcasting-heats-up/

http://finance.yahoo.com/news/February-federal-budget-apf-1010393433.html?x=0&sec=topStories&pos=main&asset=&ccode=

http://www.foxnews.com/opinion/2010/10/21/juan-williams-npr-fired-truth-muslim-garb-airplane-oreilly-ellen-weiss-bush/

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Charlie_Sheen

http://www.meactrust.org/

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/John_Madden_(American_football)

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