Saturday, July 7, 2007

Al Gore is Tackling the World Today

In 9 locations around the world (including DC - despite the efforts of Senator Inhofe to get it banned) Al Gore is kicking off his Live Earth concerts to promote an end to Global Warming. For 24 hours, over 150 musicians and groups will entertain... live, on TV (3 hours on NBC tonite) and on the Internet, care of MSN.

I hope everyone participates in part of the event(s). This is really worthwhile. I'm getting on MSN at 10:30 when the DC concert starts at the Museum of the American Indian.

Above: Mick Hart, Nick Seymour, Neil Finn and Matt Sherrod of Crowded House and Neil Finn's son Liam Finn pose backstage at the Australian leg of the Live Earth series of concerts, at Aussie Stadium, Moore Park on July 7, 2007 in Sydney, Australia. (Image: Getty)

I tip my hat to Gore, although he has been saying lately tht he is no longer interested in politics and isn't planning on getting into the Presidential competition. Too bad. We need leaders who actually lead and do positive things instead of bringing more death and destruction.

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Monday, November 6, 2006

Election Day - Down To The Finish line

I found this story on the Daily Kos when I got home from making phonecalls for the Maryland Democrats.

When you go there you will see an outrageous brochure designed to fool, primarily, African-American Marylanders. This shows how little respect the Republicans have for their constituency.

Jack Johnson, PG County Executive held a press cohference and was reported in the Gazette:
"Here we have today a piece of literature that really, to say the least, is untruthful," Johnson said. "I'm offended ... and I'm angry about it."

He said he and Mfume are still strong supporters of the Democratic ticket, in which Martin O'Malley and Anthony Brown are the candidates for governor and lieutenant governor and Ben Cardin is the candidate for the U.S. Senate. They are not supporting Republicans in the statewide races, Johnson said.

Curry, however, recently endorsed Steele for Senate.

The glossy color brochure says it is paid for and authorized by the Bob Ehrlich for Maryland Committee and Steele for Maryland Inc., which are the names of the official campaign committees for those candidates.

The offices of Steele and Ehrlich could not be reached for comment at press time, but Maryland GOP spokeswoman Audra Miller said the flyer is not from the party, and that she had never seen it before.

"It's odd that they're both on there like that," she said, referring to the fact that both Steele and Ehrlich were listed as authorizing the brochure.

Johnson said he had put calls in to both Ehrlich and Steele.

"We have to assume that they know about it, or it was done under their authority," Johnson said.

I find this outrageous.

Vote these guys into early retirement tomorrow!

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Sunday, November 5, 2006

Lieberman is the dirtiest campaigner of them all...

This field report from David Sirota is in the Huffington Post:

This is a dispatch from the campaign trail cross-posted from the Lamont campaign's official blog. Get involved and help us make history here in Connecticut - go here to see how you can help.

For a guy who has screwed up so many huge things (say, for instance the Iraq War), I must say: Joe Lieberman is damn good at minute pettiness. I guess it's easy to be good at that if you have no principles or basic sense of manners, and are willing to deploy your surrogates to disrupt a major veterans event by trying to physically throw Ned Lamont out of the parade today in Hartford. It was the Return of the Lieberthugz, Part II.

Yup, you read that right: at the beginning of today's Veterans Day parade in downtown Hartford, Joe smiled and shook Ned's hand, and then quickly sent his folks out to try physically bar Ned from marching with Congressman John Larson and other Democrats who invited him to march. It was one of those moments where all you could think of saying was wow, stay classy Joe Lieberman.

Ned decided not to listen, and jogged around the Lieberman folks while we distracted them, and caught back up to the Democrats. When the Lieberman people again tried to physically remove Ned from the parade, Larson backed them off once and for all telling them simply: "Ned's with us." That could be the bumper sticker slogan of this campaign, as it perfectly sums up how in more and more people's minds, Ned represents standing up for regular people, and Joe represents standing up for the status quo.
I'll be frank: I was a bit nervous about the parade from the get-go because Joe has joined with Vice President Cheney to try to liken Ned and the majority of Connecticut who want change in Iraq to Osama bin Laden fans. But my concerns were allayed as we walked through Hartford - veterans kept coming up to Ned thanking him for having the guts to run in this race, and the guts to stand up and say what needs to be said about the war in Iraq.

Joe was, per the norm, as polished as a patent leather shoe, but as dirty as the sole of that same shoe had it been trudged through a manure pile. He marched waving and smiling - but not to the crowd, because there were very few people cheering for him. But he knows how to create a picture for the cameras, so he went ahead and waved and thumbs-upped the group of his own staffers and security guards walking through the crowd along the sidewalks.

But while Joe is smart about the tight shot, it was the wide angle pictures that I snapped here that told his story. While Ned marched with Democrats like Larson and Attorney General Richard Blumenthal, Joe marched with embattled Republican Congresswoman Nancy Johnson and conservative radio host Brad Davis.

Remember when Joe told reporters he wasn't going to say whether he thought it would be good for Democrats to take back the House? This picture tells you why he said this - because he's actively campaigning for Johnson to defeat Chris Murphy in what is shaping up to be one of the most important House races in the country.

What's most interesting to me about this campaign in terms of the race's mechanics is how unflappable Ned is. I've worked with a lot of different candidates, and all of them have their good traits and bad ones. But most often, non-career politicians aren't very even-keeled at this point in the race.

Not so for Ned. The guy is really passionate about what we're doing and how important this race is in trying to end the war in Iraq - but he never gets shaken by Lieberman's pettiness. My bet is that's really a commentary on Ned's focus - a focus that likely comes from his business experience where he's competed and won against the major cable conglomerates in one of the toughest industries out there. It must also be a commentary on Ned's smarts - though I've never asked him, I bet that Ned knows that everytime the career politician he's running against pulls one of these stunts, that career politician is once again sending a strong signal of desperation.

Today was a great example of this. When they tried to bully Ned, he didn't get upset - he just figured out a way to get around them so that he could meet with as many veterans as possible to talk with them about the issues. It was a successful event because it's obvious, to echo Larson, more and more voters know "Ned's with us" and Joe is not.

It's not too late to get rid of a traitor to the Democrats and to Connecticut... C'mon friends and family in my native state... get out there and fight for Ned Lamont!

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Tuesday, February 1, 2005

There but for the grace of Prozac...

This has been the kind of day that, some years ago, would have had me curled up in a corner wondering whether life was worth living.

As part of Aflac Sales School, we had to go out and visit 15 businesses face to face that we had researched over the weekend with the goal of SCHEDULING AN APPOINTMENT for next week. That's it. We didn't have to sell anything but ourselves.

I started the day getting ready, organizing my list, making coffee, doing my blog entry and walking Nestle (that took from 6:30 to 7:30). Before I put on my suit, I went to neatly trim my beard and accidentally took too much off one side. So, of course, while trimming the other side to balance, I took off too much of the other side. By the time I was done I was left with just a mustache (Elly really likes the beard...she's going to be disappointed.)

Following that debacle, I put on my suit and tie, grabbed my appointment calendar, cards, a pen, etc., and left Nestle to his own devices.

During the course of the day I visited 20...not 15... businesses. Guess how many appointments I got?

Right. None.

What I learned today was how to handle rejection and keep smiling.

I should have known the day would turn out like this after the first visit. It was an Interior Design and furniture company called "About Interiors". According to my research it had between 5 and 9 employees and was owned by one Dawn Patrick. I never got to meet Dawn. Her office manager... the gatekeeper... would only let me see her if I explained exactly what Aflac was selling. Telling her we sold "sensible employee enhancement programs that build loyalty to your organization" - the script we were given to kick off with - didn't cut it. "You mean EMPLOYEE BENEFITS!" said Joanna, he gatekeeper. "Dawn has never given employee benefits and never will."

Without me mentioning benefits, insurance, or any of the key words we were taught to stay away from, Joanna was insistent. Either I left her with a pile of papers so Dawn, who was too busy to give me 1 minute much less the 19 minutes for a presentation in the future that I was trying to schedule, or I could kiss it off now. I tried the two or three answers we were given, but it didn't satisfy the gatekeeper. Finally, I realized that I couldn't get any farther. Even if I had something more than a business card to leave with her, it would not be enough.

As I left, Joanna walked out the door and lit up a cigarette. Now, this was a woman who had been smoking for at least 40 years, so I tried one last pitch: "What happens in your company if someone comes down with cancer and can't work? Who pays the rent? Who makes the car payment? How do you get past the health plan deductible?"

Joanna told me she didn't have a health would cost her $500 a month and she couldn't afford it. Anyway, she was hoping cancer would just kill her anyway and it was none of my business.

I tried to explain that with Aflac, we could set her up with coverage against cancer for pennies a day that would protect her income and lifestyle when the cigarettes finally got to her.

She didn't budge. Here was a woman with a death wish who was going to stand her ground no matter what.

I went on to 19 more failed prospects (three of whom had Aflac already, so I replaced them on my list...that's why I got to 20;
2 of whom gave me an "I see an Aflac guy every goddam week and I'm sick of the duck...get out", at least one where the office had closed and one where the company had moved and I couldn't find an address, two whose HR person was out that I got cards from and callback times, and one lovely woman who does want to have Aflac but is involved in moving her day spa
and won't see me until April - when she made it clear that she wanted me to bring a duck for her grandchild.)

I even tried to get in to see my Dentist, Dr McCarl, whose practice with 10 or so employees (mostly family) has seen me frequently over the past couple of years (I paid at least a semester or two for his kid to go to Cornell.) His gatekeeper said that Dr. McCarl was with a patient but certainly would call me to schedule a time later in the day. He didn't. I called back and still wasn't able to get him. I may cancel my March appointment and find another dentist.

I got home around 4:00 PM and fed Nestle.

Here I am, beardless, without an appointment (I guess I failed the assignment) and wondering about my future. If anyone out there is listening... I need some cheering up.

And there's Sales School tomorrow!

PS: in honor of the start of black history month, the poster that Eartha Kitt autographed for me when I did her poster designs and web site for a production of "Lady Day at Emerson's Bar and Grill" that she did in Chicago a few years ago, got bumped by my laundry basket as I was coming downstairs this evening and fell on my head. "To Bill - Love it... Eartha Kitt" is what she wrote on it. That, coming from the performer Orson Welles called "The most exciting woman in the world", and 2 Prozac left me feeling much better.
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Sunday, January 30, 2005

Today... a day like no other

It is January 30th. Today is the election in Iraq, which appears to be having an overwhelming turnout among Shiites and Kurds, but relatively little participation by Sunnis. What the results are we won't know for a few days.

Yesterday, my wife heard George Carlin on the radio ask why the Iraqi's needed to make a new Constitution. He felt they could use ours, after all - we're not using it any more. A nice comedy line, but to many of us it seems true.

Did you know that today is also the anniversary of the assassination of Mahatma Ghandi, who brought democracy to India but could not bring the Indians and Pakistanis together. Now, almost 60 years later, not much has changed in that part of the world. Pakistanis and Indians still fight over Kashmir. Non-violence has been replaced by war.

Today I am studying my Aflac sales book learning how to present an incredibly beneficial product. Yet we have to learn to approach business owners in a manner that does not trigger their innate fear and rejection of sales people. Trust is not part of the current milieu.

Today Elly and I will call Buddy before he leaves for Prague tomorrow. Elly will be there in March, but I won't see him until the summer. We are setting up Yahoo Messenger to save on phone bills. At least we can keep in touch that way.

So much for today....


Yesterday I taught my first Web Design 1 class at the Corcoran. I have a lovely group of women of diverse backgrounds and ages who seem highly focused on their goals and have wonderful experiences to share. There's also one member who slept through the class... I couldn't wake her... and this poses a problem for me. I have to talk with the Administrator I report to at the school.

I'll talk more about this class as it progresses. This is my, believe it or not, break during a week of insurance focus and I really like it.


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