How Not To Win My Business via Karen Eng


I realize this is PR (possibly even paid PR), but still…

Erin Chan Ding, Special to the Tribune, writes:

When Karen Eng meets with potential clients, she often totes along her iPad so she can show off a prized photo. In it, she stands beaming on a boat, raising the tail of a short-nosed swordfish she’s just reeled in off the coast of Maui. It weighed 40 pounds.

In her world of engineering, one predicated on prototypes and programs, this is Eng’s way to place the focus on relationships.

“Almost every single time,” Eng said, “I go in there, and you have your slot, from like 10 to 10:30 a.m., to present. The people before me and the people after me are two men. …

“And they wear khaki slacks or black slacks and a blue shirt and a white shirt. And so there is this, whatever you want to call it, standardization that goes on.

“And then I show up, and I have, like, this (iPad), and I go, ‘First of all, I need to show you, I caught this fish.’

“Or I’ll say something like, ‘One of my favorite things in the whole wide world is nacho cheese,’ which it really is. That kind of personalizes it, you know, versus just getting started, straight up, like a presentation.”

(click here to continue reading Executive profile: Karen Eng –

When vendors pull this crap with me, I am irritated more than charmed. I don’t tell the vendor because I try my best to always be unfailingly polite, but I’m thinking, “Why the hell are you wasting my time with this twaddle?!”

I don’t care about your kids, your kids’ soccer game, your fishing stories, whatever. Get to the point first, if there is time left over at the end of your presentation, I might be willing to hear about your non-work life, but save it until then. In this type of meeting, I’m not looking to make friends, I’m looking for solutions for business problems (whatever they might be).

In other words, if Ms. Eng came into my conference room, and spent most of the time allocated for our meeting talking about nacho cheese and big fish she caught, I would most likely not hire her. Building strong relationships with vendors is important, true, but prove yourself worthy first.


KitchenAid Mistakenly Tweets Joke About Obama’s Dead Grandmother | Adweek

I thought this article was worth reading, especially this part…

During tonight’s presidential debate, KitchenAid posted a nasty and poorly spelled comment on its Twitter feed about President Obama’s grandmother, who died shortly before he took office. The full tweet from @KitchenAidUSA, while quickly deleted, was rapidly retweeted by many (such as Heather Spohr, shown below) who saw it appear during the debate. It read: “Obamas gma even knew it was going 2 b bad! ‘She died 3 days b4 he became president,’

KitchenAid Mistakenly Tweets Joke About Obama’s Dead Grandmother | Adweek


NBC is never critical of General Electric

Just in case you thought Fox was the only corporate media organization with a credibility problem, NBC has, once again, omitted criticizing its parent, GE. NBC pretends GE only does good things on earth, distributes puppies and the like, and isn’t one of the worst corporations on the planet. Of course, facts are troubling things…

Electricity comes from other planets

It’s the kind of accountability journalism that makes readers raise an eyebrow, if it doesn’t raise their blood pressure first. General Electric Co., reported the New York Times last week, earned $14.2 billion in worldwide profits last year, including $5.1 billion in the United States — and paid exactly zero dollars in federal taxes.

The front-page story drew widespread commentary in newspapers and on many Web sites. ABC News and Fox News, among others, were all over it.

But the story was conspicuously absent from the reportage of one news organization: NBC.

During its Friday broadcast, “NBC Nightly News With Brian Williams” had no time to mention that America’s largest corporation had essentially avoided paying federal taxes in 2010. Or its Saturday, Sunday or Monday broadcasts, either.

Did NBC’s silence have anything to do with the fact that one of its parent companies is General Electric?

NBC News representatives say that it didn’t. “This was a straightforward editorial decision, the kind we make daily around here,” said Lauren Kapp, spokeswoman for NBC News. Kapp declined to discuss how NBC decides what’s news or, in this case, what isn’t.

But to others, NBC’s silence looks like something between a lapse and a coverup. The satirical “Daily Show” on Monday noted that “Nightly News” had time on Friday to squeeze in a story about the Oxford English Dictionary adding such terms as “OMG” and “muffin top,” but didn’t bother with the GE story.

Ignoring stories about its parent company’s activities is “part of a troubling pattern” for NBC News, said Peter Hart, a director at Fairness & Accuracy in Reporting (FAIR), a liberal media watchdog group that often documents instances of corporate interference in news. He cited a series of GE-related stories that NBC’s news division has underplayed over the years, from safety issues in GE-designed nuclear power plants to the dumping of hazardous chemicals into New York’s Hudson River by GE-owned plants.

What’s more, Hart notes, NBC News has covered corporate tax-avoidance stories before — that is, when they didn’t involve GE. All three networks’ news divisions, according to Hart, have become reliable sources of publicity for their parents’ other corporate interests, doing news stories about upcoming sporting events or new TV shows carried on their own networks.

(click here to continue reading On NBC, the missing story about parent company General Electric – The Washington Post.)

 Solve Danger


Ten Reasons Ronald Reagan Ain’t All That

Shouldn't That Be a Right Turn?

Ronald Reagan was never a hero of mine – he was the President right as I became interested in politics, and his genial, fact-free hatred of everything liberal still irks me. Even worse is how the conservatives worship him as a god, conveniently omitting mention of all of deeds that don’t conform to the Reagan myth.

Tomorrow will mark the 100th anniversary of President Reagan’s birth, and all week, conservatives have been trying to outdo each others’ remembrances of the great conservative icon. Senate Republicans spent much of Thursday singing Reagan’s praise from the Senate floor, while conservative publications have been running non-stop commemorations. Meanwhile, the Republican National Committee and former GOP House Speaker Newt Gingrich are hoping to make a few bucks off the Gipper’s centennial.

But Reagan was not the man conservatives claim he was. This image of Reagan as a conservative superhero is myth, created to untie the various factions of the right behind a common leader. In reality, Reagan was no conservative ideologue or flawless commander-in-chief. Reagan regularly strayed from conservative dogma — he raised taxes eleven times as president while tripling the deficit — and he often ended up on the wrong side of history, like when he vetoed an Anti-Apartheid bill.

ThinkProgress has compiled a list of the top 10 things conservatives rarely mention when talking about President Reagan:

Conservatives seem to be in such denial about the less flattering aspects of Reagan; it sometimes appears as if they genuinely don’t know the truth of his legacy. Yesterday, when liberal activist Mike Stark challenged hate radio host Rush Limbaugh on why Reagan remains a conservative hero despite raising taxes so many times, Limbaugh flew into a tirade and demanded, “Where did you get this silly notion that Reagan raised taxes?

(click here to continue reading ThinkProgress » 10 Things Conservatives Don’t Want You To Know About Ronald Reagan.)

Especially humorous is Ronnie’s record re raising taxes:

1. Reagan was a serial tax raiser. As governor of California, Reagan “signed into law the largest tax increase in the history of any state up till then.” Meanwhile, state spending nearly doubled. As president, Reagan “raised taxes in seven of his eight years in office,” including four times in just two years. As former GOP Senator Alan Simpson, who called Reagan “a dear friend,” told NPR, “Ronald Reagan raised taxes 11 times in his administration — I was there.” “Reagan was never afraid to raise taxes,” said historian Douglas Brinkley, who edited Reagan’s memoir. Reagan the anti-tax zealot is “false mythology,” Brinkley said.

Some counter-programming:


The Ronald Reagan who won the cold war, cut taxes, shrank the government, saved the economy, and was the most beloved president since FDR is a myth, Bunch says. The cold war fizzled out primarily because of Soviet economic collapse. Reagan cut taxes just once, in 1991, and thereafter raised them yearly. He vastly expanded the government and burdened the economy with enormous deficits. Moreover, his approval ratings were just average, reflecting his divisiveness as a political figure. Bunch also shows that however tough-talking, Reagan was a negotiator who achieved nuclear arms reductions by talking with Soviet leader Gorbachev and got into the Iran-Contra mess because he wouldn’t send combat troops abroad. In practice, especially of foreign policy, he was a pragmatist, not an ideologue. The truculent jingoist of the myth was concocted after Alzheimer’s silenced the man and the would-be juggernaut launched by the GOP’s 1994 election triumph crashed and burned before a Democratic president who shrank government and the deficit, balanced the budget, and even racked up surpluses. Bunch names the leading, venal mythmakers and shames the myth exploiters, too. Anyone interested in America’s immediate future should read this book.

And a bit of historical perspective from Peter Dreier:

During his two terms in the White House (1981–89), Reagan presided over a widening gap between the rich and everyone else, declining wages and living standards for working families, an assault on labor unions as a vehicle to lift Americans into the middle class, a dramatic increase in poverty and homelessness, and the consolidation and deregulation of the financial industry that led to the current mortgage meltdown, foreclosure epidemic and lingering recession.

These trends were not caused by inevitable social and economic forces. They resulted from Reagan’s policy and political choices based on an underlying “you’re on your own” ideology.

Reagan is often lauded as “the great communicator,” but what he often communicated were lies and distortions. For example, during his stump speeches, while dutifully promising to roll back welfare, Reagan often told the story of a so-called “welfare queen” in Chicago who drove a Cadillac and had ripped off $150,000 from the government using eighty aliases, thirty addresses, a dozen Social Security cards and four fictional dead husbands. Journalists searched for this “welfare cheat” in the hopes of interviewing her and discovered that she didn’t exist. But this phony imagery of “welfare cheats” persisted and helped lay the groundwork for cuts to programs that help the poor, including children.

Reagan’s most famous statement—“Government is not a solution to our problem. Government is the problem”—has become the unofficial slogan for the recent resurgence of right-wing extremism. The rants of Glenn Beck and Rush Limbaugh, the lunacy of Tea Party, the policy ideas promulgated by propaganda outfits like the Cato Institute and the Heritage Foundation masquerading as think tanks and the takeover of the Republican Party by its most conservative wing were all incubated during the Reagan years. Indeed, they all claim to be carrying out the Reagan Revolution.

What did that revolution bring us?

Many Americans credit Reagan with reducing the size of government. In reality, he increased government spending, cut taxes and turned the United States from a creditor to a debtor nation. During his presidency, Reagan escalated the military budget while slashing funds for domestic programs that assisted working-class Americans and protected consumers and the environment. Not surprisingly, both George H.W. Bush and George W. Bush followed in Reagan’s footsteps.

(click here to continue reading Reagan’s Real Legacy | The Nation.)

Rockefeller and Reagan

Greg Mitchell interviewed Eugene Jarecki about the upcoming HBO film about Reagan, which truth be told, I probably don’t have the intestinal fortitude to sit through.

An orgy of Ronald Reagan worship, including at the Super Bowl, will roll out today to mark the 100th anniversary of his birth.  For those who can stand to wait another day for a more evenhanded, though often critical, assessment, HBO will be airing Eugene Jarecki’s documentary, fresh from Sundance, titled Reagan, on Monday night at nine. Jarecki (left) is best known as the director of the acclaimed docs, Why We Fight and The Trials of Henry Kissinger (and, more recently Freakonomics).  Reagan is  an extremely well-made film, featuring some expected and some surprising talking heads, plus occasional spurts of fun provided by a Daily Show clip, Phil Hartman’s famous SNL skit portraying two faces of Reagan (public bumbler, private strongman),  and even a Simpsons moment.

Reagan’s two sons take center stage.  That would be the rightwing radio talk show ranter Michael Reagan (who was adopted) and the much more liberal Ron Reagan.   Others interviewed include familiar Reaganites such as George Schultz, James Baker and Grover Norquist, and what Jarecki calls ‘honest brokers” including Tom Frank, Andrew Bacevich, Will Bunch, Frances Fitzgerald, James Mann and Simon Johnson.

At Sundance, Jarecki admitted he had “an axe to grind,” but not so much to expose Reagan as a bad guy but to dispel various “myths” that absurdly enlarge — or diminish – him.  He also revealed that he had received a fair amount of criticism from some who feel the film is too kind to Reagan.  Indeed, its first half paints a largely favorable picture of the man’s early life and rise to the governor’s mansion in California, but the second half, on his presidency and fallout from it, proves largely critical.   What that means is that viewers who like the first half are more likely to stick around and learn something in the latter sections.

“The Reagan sales pitch has been going on a long time,” Jarecki told me in an interview this week.  “If people see the real Reagan they may learn a lot.  What’s amazing is how much we are told about Reagan today is only half true,” if that.

(click here to continue reading “Reagan” Comes to HBO: An Interview With Director Eugene Jarecki | The Nation.)

Chicago-esque Music

Chicago Opera Vangaurd performance of Winterreise

“Schubert: Winterreise” (Mark Padmore, Paul Lewis)

If I get a chance, I’d like to hear this performance. You should go if you can.

Chicago Opera Vanguard continues it’s 2009/2010 Season with the Chicago premiere of WINTERREISE by composer Franz Schubert. WINTERREISE’s limited run begins Friday March 5 in the Fasseas White Box Theatre at the Menomonee Club Drucker Center, 1535 North Dayton Street, in Chicago’s Lincoln Park neighborhood.
The most difficult journey begins with a single step. The team behind last season’s hit Orpheus & Euridice bring you a new look at Schubert’s beloved and haunting song-cycle of love and loss. WINTERREISE! This romantic masterwork receives the unique staging that only Chicago Opera Vanguard could conceive!

Premiered in 1827 and traditionally relegated to the concert hall, Chicago Opera Vanguard has put the task to Artistic Director Eric Reda to create a unique, highly visual staging of the work in the raw, storefront theatre aesthetic for which he has become know in the Chicago theatre and music scenes. Joined by an impressive team of performers and visual artists from across Chicago’s creative community, this is a “Winter’s Journey” that will not soon be forgotten!

“I have been haunted by these songs since first hearing them over two decades ago and have always been struck by the operatic scope of their construction,” says COVArtistic Director Eric Reda. “I am so excited to explore and share WINTERREISE not only as a dazzling musical masterpiece, but also as a dramatic tour de force.”

WINTERREISE (Winter Journey) is a cycle of 24 poems by Wilhelm Müller, best known as the song cycle set for male voice and piano by Franz Schubert (D. 911, published as Op. 89 in 1827). It is the second of Schubert’s two great song cycles on Müller’s poems, the earlier being Die schöne Müllerin (D. 795, Op. 25, 1823). These two works, in their scale, their dramatic coherence and power, their musical and literary unity, and their interpretative demands, stand in a league of their own within the song-cycle genre.

In his introduction to the Peters Edition of this work, Professor Max Müller, son of the poet, remarks that Schubert’s song-cycle has a dramatic effect not unlike that of a full-scale tragic opera. While normally presented in a recital setting, the work’s strong narrative through line and emotional intensity has prompted several international stagings in the past.  

“I like these songs better than all the rest, and someday you will too,” Franz Schubert told the friends who were the first to hear his song cycle WINTERREISE.

WINTERREISE performs 8PM Fridays and Saturdays & 3PM Sundays, beginning Friday March 5, in the Fasseas White Box Theatre at the Menomonee Club Drucker Center, 1535 North Dayton Street, in Chicago’s Lincoln Park neighborhood. General Admission is $25; a limited number of $10 student discount tickets are available for all performances. Tickets are available online at Running time is approximately 80 minutes with one intermission.

[Click to continue reading CHICAGO OPERA VANGUARD | SEASON 0 – GREEK]