Tag Archive: Stanford


“Being Native American has been part of my story, I guess, since the day I was born” – Senator Elizabeth Warren

What is the definition of a story with “legs” (No pun intended)?

From a public relations standpoint, it’s a negative story that can’t or will not be stopped.

BP couldn’t contain the gushing oil into the gulf.

British Petroleum or BP is eternally synonymous with “The Spill.”

Hillary was unable to stymie the drip-drip of the 2015/2016 home server/emails scandal?

Madam Secretary is now a distinguished private citizen with yet another book to sell (Look for it on your Walmart discount rack in about six-months).

And then there is the Senator Elizabeth Warren’s (D-Massachusetts) self-inflicted wound about whether she has Cherokee blood somewhere, somehow, anywhere on the maternal side of her family.

President Trump lovingly labels her, “Pocahontas,” clearly getting under the skin of the honorable senator from Massachusetts, once taunting her to take a DNA test to clarify her ancestry.

And yes, she took the Stanford University test and the results indicated she was at best 1/64th Native American and no worse than 1/1024th Native American. There may be (or not) a smidgen of Cherokee Nation in her blood line, which originated somewhere between 150 and 250 years ago.

The Cherokee Nation was not impressed.

From assessing the reaction from the Washington D.C. Punditocracy (95.2 million Google results in 0.33 second), Almost DailyBrett must ask: Why Senator Warren is egging on a story that should simply die a quiet death?

Is there some crisis communication wisdom that lies beneath the surface?

Crisis Communications Time and Place Rule

Trump challenged Warren to prove she was a “person of color” by taking a DNA test.

The senator responded by submitting to the much criticized blood exam. The real question is whether the almost certain Democratic candidate for president made a terminal move against her interest in becoming POTUS #46?

Maybe? Maybe not?

What are the four tenets for Crisis Communication: Tell the Truth. Tell It Quickly. Tell It All. Move On.

We can argue whether Warren is telling the truth, let alone telling it all.

We can agree that she is telling it (relatively) quickly and trying to move on (if she can).

Consider the calendar. A few days after the most likely inconclusive No Blue Wave (e.g., Dems may take the house, Republicans remain in control of the Senate) November 6 midterms, the pundits will quickly shift focus to the 2020 presidential cycle.

When a candidate has bad news to bury, when is the best time to exorcise this demon?  Your author counsels at a time and place of your choosing.

As Almost DailyBrett wrote three years ago, the failure of candidate George W. Bush to address his 1976 DUI arrest at a time and place of his choosing well before the 2000 presidential election cycle almost cost him the presidency.

The DUI was shockingly revealed just five days before election day. It was “breaking” news.

Senator Warren well knows that her Massachusetts colleague, John Kerry, was “Swift Boated” by Bush in the latter weeks of the tight 2004 presidential campaign. Kerry never recovered.

Perhaps Warren is dealing with the Cherokee Nation issue now, making “old news” of an anticipated attack line in the upcoming Democratic Party presidential primary season. You can envision her crossing her eyes when this ancient issue is brought up.

Undoubtedly Trump will charmingly continue to label her, “Pocahontas.” She in turn will have a few choice rejoinders for him.

For Warren she is hoping the “Native American” issue becomes “old news” in 2020, dispensed with glaring headlines/cartoons/jokes about a controversial DNA test … way back in 2018.

https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/2018/10/18/just-about-everything-youve-read-warren-dna-test-is-wrong/?noredirect=on&utm_term=.c1ca6028cbc4

https://www.nytimes.com/2018/10/17/us/politics/elizabeth-warren-dna-test.html

https://www.foxnews.com/opinion/tammy-bruce-elizabeth-warren-and-her-little-dna-story

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=J2PAVv5so2s

https://almostdailybrett.wordpress.com/2015/01/16/how-one-dui-in-1976-led-to-hanging-chads-in-2000/

 

 

 

 

Soft Oregon?

Oregon Ducks fans are more rabid because there is nothing else to do in the state except watch ‘Portlandia.’” – author and New York City native, Buzz Bissinger.

Oregon is putrid against nationally ranked opponents. All the Ducks really do is feast on the poor, and suck it up against the rich.” – Harry Gerard “H.G.” Bissinger, III.

rosebowl

Leave it to the author of Friday Night Lights to mess up a magazine with heroin-chic Kate Moss on the cover.

Bissinger wants to bring back more concussions, blood and broken bones to college and professional football.

Yep, Buzz gave it to the Oregon Ducks from the comfort of his Manhattan digs in his From Butkus to Buttercup essay. BTW Bissinger III, OR-EE-GONE is located due west of the Hudson River…give or take two-or-three time zones to the west.

Maybe I shouldn’t be so rough on Buzz. After all, I thoroughly enjoyed the movie, Friday Night Lights, about Reagan-era football in West Texas.

And his reflection of the perception about Oregon football being soft is shared by others, particularly the talking heads on Bristol, Connecticut’s ES(SEC)PN.

Bissinger (not to be confused with Kissinger) offered that Baylor and Oregon have become “dirty words” in college football. Why?

Because they win?

Because they are both a blast to watch?

Substitute Oregon for Central Florida against Baylor in the Fiesta Bowl, and I guarantee you ES(SEC)PN ratings that will be higher than the astronomical figures on the scoreboard.

College football is immensely popular because of the breakneck speed in which it is now played. Huddles are so yesterday. Speed. Tempo, Excitement. New unis. New ways of thinking.

Bissinger and the purists want to go back to Woody Hayes, Bo Schembechler and three-yards and a cloud of dust. There is just something magical about watching a team break the huddle. The quarterback putting his hands on the center’s derriere. And then (gasp) handing off the ball to the burly fullback for a dive play…Yawn.

woodybo

If you want that kind of game, just watch Stanford vs. Michigan State in the Rose Bowl. There will be big burly linemen, packed like sardines on the line of scrimmage in which everyone in the stadium and on television knows what play will be run. The game will be as predictable as a root canal.

“Former Oregon coach Chip Kelly either revolutionized the game with the hurry-up, no-huddle offense every play or hastened the game’s absurdity, since the team looks like an amphetamine-induced ‘Tom and Jerry’ cartoon in which the beleaguered cat and its nemesis mouse wear green Speedos.” – Bissinger III in From Butkus to Buttercup.

buzz

That would be the same Chip Kelly, who has already doubled the number of wins for the Philadelphia Eagles with two games to go. These are the same Philadelphia Eagles that went 4-12 in 2012 and are now leading the NFC East at 8-6 with a big Sunday night game against the Chicago Bears on the docket.

Getting back to the notion that Oregon blows away the weak and crumbles before the smash-mouth crowd may be de rigueur with the Eastern Time Zone folks, who can’t stay up late for Oregon’s games. There are a few facts that belie this perception…Yes, yes, there is the adage about perception trumping reality. Sorry “putrid” does not apply unless you are talking about SEC non-conference “competition.”

● Oregon plays in the Pac-12 Conference, which mandates each team to play nine conference games. The SEC only requires its teams to play eight conference foes…which leaves a spot open for another cupcake game.  Let’s see…on November 23, Alabama walloped Chattanooga and South Carolina beat up on Coastal Carolina. West Carolina was not available that day as they had already played Auburn.

● Speaking of the SEC, Oregon ran all over Tennessee and its smash-mouth offensive and defensive lines, 59-14 at Autzen Stadium. This is the very same Tennessee team that later upset Steve Spurrier’s South Carolina Gamecocks, 23-21.

● Oregon lost to Stanford this year and in 2012 in relatively close games. Keep in mind, Oregon blasted Stanford in Palo Alto, 53-30 in 2011, and 52-31 in Eugene in 2010, with Andrew Luck serving as Stanford’s quarterback.

● Finesse Oregon never wins the big games, particularly big physical teams. Really? Does the 2012 Rose Bowl 45-38 win against burly Wisconsin with Russell Wilson at QB and Montee Ball carrying the rock ring a bell? Oh…Wisconsin ran out of time, instead of Oregon winning. Is that what you are saying? Scoreboard baby, scoreboard.

● Guess beating USC twice consecutively in the LA Coliseum doesn’t count, 53-32 in 2010 and 62-51 in 2012. SC has never been considered to be a soft opponent and winning in LA is difficult. Ask Stanford. Ask Ohio State.

● Yes, Oregon lost the 2011 “Natty” on a last second field goal to Cam Newton’s Auburn, the 2010 Rose Bowl to Ohio State and the 2011 opener to LSU in the Cowboys Classic in Arlington, Texas. They easily could have scheduled Idaho on that date, but they didn’t. Wait…didn’t Florida State play Idaho this year…in Tallahassee? It was an 80-14 squeaker on November 23. I’m quivering just remembering where I was when I heard the score for the first time.

● For the quantitative types, Oregon is 56-9 in the last five years recording 10-wins or more in each of these seasons. This is the first year that a BCS Bowl game is not the reward for a great year. Not bad, not bad at all.

Even though ES(SEC)PN makes Game Day visits to Eugene (and I will give them credit for that), most of the Trilateral Commission for Global Domination by the Eastern Time Zone (TCGDETZ) can’t handle the team from Eugene, Oregon and they can barely tolerate the team from Waco, Texas (Baylor).

At least when the latter plays the folks in the midtown Manhattan bars don’t have to stay up so late.

http://www.buzzbissinger.com/

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

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Friday_Night_Lights:_A_Town,_a_Team,_and_a_Dream

http://www.people.com/people/article/0,,20755383,00.html

http://www.philadelphiaeagles.com/team/coaches/chip-kelly/1e82ad7a-dd3c-4f69-be3c-8e0ee114e7f3

https://almostdailybrett.wordpress.com/2013/10/22/or-ee-gone/

 

oregonfootballbuilding

“We are the University of Nike. We embrace it. We tell that to our recruits,” – Jeff Hawkins, University of Nike senior associate athletic director of Football Administration and Operations.

Mr. Hawkins also told “that” to the New York Times.

Apparently, he said it on the record.

By the way, he works for the University of Oregon, not the University of Nike.

The correct brand is the “O,” not the “Swoosh.”

It’s so easy these days to get them mixed up.

This is an Almost DailyBrett blog that I wish I did not feel compelled to write…but I must.

I received my master’s degree from the University of Oregon, served as graduate teaching fellow for the University of Oregon and have contributed at least $1,000 annually to the Duck Athletic Fund since 1990…That is the University of Oregon’s Duck Athletic Fund, not the Nike Athletic Fund. I will leave the latter to Uncle Phil.

Hawkins’ quote is part of a massive New York Times piece that catalogues the excesses of the at least $68 million Football Performance Center complete with rugs woven by hand in Nepal, couches made in Italy, weight room hard wood from Brazil and fine Corinthian leather throughout…okay, there is no fine Corinthian leather…at least that is not in the NYT story.

Did the Athletic Department feel the need to provide that level of detail?

What is the PR strategy behind this public orgy of nouveau riche?

Asked about the extravagant football building, UO Athletic Director Rob Mullens used a negative: “People will complain, but this is not excessive.” Not excessive? How about: “This is appropriate for our student athletes, who give so much to the University of Oregon”?

One must wonder about the reaction of President Michael R. Gottfredson to the notion of the University of Nike? Something tells me he is not comfortable with this descriptor.

How about the university’s easily excitable faculty, particularly those that are not enamored with athletic emphasis? Will the University of Nike be thrown back in the face of university bargainers in collective bargaining agreement negotiations? I will take the over.

How about the UO development folks, who are trying their best to convince donors that the university really needs financial assistance, both academically and athletically?

And what about the students, who are not athletes? Are they students or employees?

Is the University of Oregon the equivalent of a publicly traded, multi-national athletic apparel company?

Does the University of Oregon have its own ticker symbol: (NYSE: NKE)?

Can we tune into CNBC, Fox Business, Bloomberg etc. every trading day to see how the stock is performing?

For history buffs, the University of Oregon was founded in 1876. Since then the University of Oregon has served as the premier liberal arts oriented public research university flagship of the Oregon University System.

deady

Conversely, Nike came into being in its first iteration in 1964 as Blue Ribbon Sports and 14 years later as Nike.

Think of it another way, the University of Oregon existed for more than a century before Nike was officially born. The university’s football team with UOs on the helmets (and no Swoosh to be found on the uniforms) actually made it to the Rose Bowl in 1994 before Phil Knight dug into his legendary deep pocket.

Don’t get me wrong, we should all be grateful for the generosity of Phil and Penny Knight, but the brand is and will always be, the University of Oregon.

Former UCLA head coach (and former UO offensive coordinator) Bob Toledo once said that Oregon had the best “team owner” in the then Pac-10 conference.

As an alum and an über-successful businessman, Knight, has given and given to his two alma maters, the University of Oregon (undergraduate) and Stanford University (post-graduate).

I trust that no spokesperson, academic or athletic, would ever label Stanford, the University of Nike. Even though, Google co-founders Sergey Brin and Larry Page both received graduate degrees from Stanford, there is no movement for the The Farm to be recast as the University of Google.

If University of Oregon football coaches want to celebrate the university’s connection to Nike in recruiting young studs with fast 40 times, Just Do It.

Telling the New York Times or any other media that UO is now the University of Nike is simply not smart.

If it was true, the band would be playing Mighty Nike as opposed to Mighty Oregon on game days.

http://www.nytimes.com/2013/08/03/sports/ncaafootball/oregon-football-complex-is-glittering-monument-to-ducks-ambitions.html?_r=0

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nike,_Inc.

http://www.uoregon.edu

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

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

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/joseph-lowndes/fighting-for-public-educa_b_3924676.html

I believe some Americans are simply saying, we don’t want to pay the price. We would rather spend our time on the net, texting, tweeting, gaming, creating our own little worlds. We are not willing to study hard. We don’t want to learn a trade. We don’t want to go to a demanding college. No. It’s far easier to devote our time to leisurely pursuits and let the government take care of us. – Fox News commentator Bill O’Reilly, February 14, 2012.

For just one mere nanosecond, please resist the temptation to shoot the messenger and concentrate on the message. There is an uncomfortable truth in these words, yes even words from Bill O’Reilly.

oreilly

The world is changing. It is moving from analog to digital. It is shifting from the old to the new. Are we wasting precious time or making the best of our limited tenure on earth? Will we take control of our lives or will we ask someone else to take care of us?

When it comes to sinking or swimming, I have made my decision. The real question is: Will I ultimately succeed? Nothing is certain.

After a long kick-in-the pants career including leadership stints in the California governor’s office, a publicly traded custom semiconductor innovator and an international public relations firm, my prospects came to a crashing halt three years ago.

When I would compete for a job, I would receive “optional” demographic forms asking me whether I was male of female? Male, strike one; Caucasian of anything else? Caucasian, strike two; Veteran and/or handicapped? Neither, strike three. None of these factors has changed or for that matter will ever change, but I do know that more of these optional demographic forms are in my near future.

What I can do and some of my fellow, mature, white, Anglo males are doing (none of these characteristics are an advantage) revolves around preparing to personally compete again in this high-tech world requiring as Mr. O’Reilly stated, skills, education and disciplined thinking.

If all goes well I will finish next month my master’s degree in “Communication and Society” from the University of Oregon School of Journalism and Communication. I am actually looking forward to sporting the long robes, the mortar board and tassel. This degree was hard-earned, much more difficult than I ever imagined. I sweated out this degree. Would I do it again? That’s not an easy one to answer.

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As a Baby Boomer reentering the college ranks at 54-years young in order to reinvent myself yet again, I had several concerns:

1.)  Would I be accepted by my fellow classmates or would I be an amusing curiosity? There was no denying that I was almost 2x the age of the average graduate student. Refreshingly that turned out to not be a problem. For the most part, my colleagues have treated me well and with respect, and made sure that I was always invited to their bull sessions over adult beverages.

2.)  Would my annoying political philosophy be resented by my “progressive” colleagues? I adopted a policy that listening was cheap, and it doesn’t hurt to hear what people have to say. If my social justice classmates believe that Internet access is an entitlement and a basic human right…well then, intellectual property be damned.

3.)  Mac vs. PC. This was actually the biggest hurdle to clear. After two decades of jobs with IBM Think Pads loaded with Microsoft Word, PowerPoint and Excel and powered with Intel processors, virtually every machine at the UO School of Journalism is a Mac. It is akin to driving a stick for the first time, if you are used to an automatic.

Reflecting on O’Reilly’s words, I have to say that not all of us are willing to study hard and for good reason. I still have the scars from taking both Qualitative and Quantitative Analysis in the same quarter, and earning the Zertifikät Deutsch from the Goethe Institut. The 50-100 pages of laborious communications-related philosophy each night for the relentless Pro Seminar class was absolutely brutal. I made it.

O’Reilly opined that some of us don’t want to go to demanding colleges. This remark reminded me of the Stanford student holding up the sign (after Oregon spanked the Cardinal last fall) stating that Oregon was his “safety” school. If all else failed, he could go to Oregon.

Guess I must not be at the same academic level as the geniuses on the Farm. His opinion of my “safety” school is not going to make me any less proud. If a Baby Boomer asked me about going back to college my reply would be: “If not now, when?”

And finally, if I had a dollar for every time someone suggested that I was going back to college to chase coeds, I would be a very wealthy hombre. I am old enough in most cases to be a coed’s father…but that doesn’t mean that I am not interested in her mother.

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