Tuesday, August 31, 2010

7928: The Secret Is Out.

Seems like this Antonio Banderas fragrance would appeal to Tiger Woods.

7927: My Foe Has Fallen And He Can’t Get Up.

Who needs Med-Alert when you can give Grandma and Grandpa the gift of deadly force?

7926: Wall Street Is White Street…?

From The Chicago Tribune…

Bill aims for diversity on Wall St.
Each of the 30 federal financial agencies and departments are required to establish an office to boost hiring of and contracting opportunities for minorities and women.

By Julia Love and Jim Puzzanghera, Tribune Washington Bureau

The recently enacted financial reform legislation tries in numerous ways to change how Wall Street companies and their federal regulators act, but a little-noticed provision aims for something potentially more difficult and controversial — altering how they look.

To promote diversity in the largely white, male world, the new law requires each of the 30 federal financial agencies and departments, including the Securities and Exchange Commission and all 12 Federal Reserve banks, to establish an Office of Minority and Women Inclusion.

Those offices will work with vaguely defined powers to boost diversity at their agencies and the companies they regulate, and to increase federal contracting opportunities for minority- and women-owned businesses. Banks and other financial firms determined to have failed to make “a good-faith effort to include minorities and women in their workforce” could lose their government contracts.

“This is a wake-up call for Wall Street: women, black Americans, Asian Americans, Latino Americans, they all pay for your bailouts,” said Michael Yaki, a member of the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights. “Firms must take steps to be more reflective of America.”

The provision, championed by California Rep. Maxine Waters (D- Los Angeles), has been hailed as groundbreaking by minority and women’s advocates. But it is raising concerns in the banking industry and among some Republicans of potentially burdensome regulations and costly new oversight that unnecessarily duplicates — and could go well beyond — other federal diversity initiatives.

“This will destroy the financial industry,” warned Diana Furchtgott-Roth, a senior fellow at the Hudson Institute who was the Labor Department’s chief economist under President George W. Bush. “If the CEOs of American financial institutions have to be worried about the diversity regulations, whereas those in other countries are worrying about their profits, we are going to fall behind.”

Industry groups, regulatory agencies and analysts are just starting to grapple with the potential ramifications of the provision, which takes effect in January. The effect is hard to gauge because the law gives the directors of each of the new offices the authority to develop their own standards for equal employment at their agencies as well as at the companies they regulate and contract with for services, such as asset management.

If the legislation is interpreted broadly, the diversity requirements could reach down to subcontractors who provide food or janitorial services — something not required under current rules, said Jon Geier, an employment law expert at the Paul Hastings law firm.

“My clients are wondering what more will they have to do?” he said. “I can’t tell them yet. It could be substantial. It could be a paper tiger.”

The directors of the new offices have limited enforcement power. They can recommend to the agency’s head that a contract be ended and refer a case to the Department of Labor for sanctions, but can’t force any action.

The diversity requirements in many ways duplicate those already mandated by other laws for the federal workforce and contractors.

Sen. Susan Collins (R- Maine) has criticized the provision for creating another bureaucratic hurdle for small companies hoping to get government business. She said each federal agency already has an Office of Small and Disadvantaged Business Utilization to help minority- and women-owned firms, not to mention the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission and the Labor Department’s Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs that cover the same territory.

But the requirements for banks and other financial firms under regulatory oversight are new. And they’re vague: the provision says only that the new offices must assess the diversity policies and practices of regulated companies.

At the least, the provision adds to the great uncertainty in the industry caused by the sweeping financial reform bill as firms await detailed rules on hundreds of provisions to be drafted by individual agencies.

“This is one of the provisions that has a large question mark,” said James Ballentine, senior vice president in government relations for the American Bankers Assn.

As the female president and chief executive of Community West Bank in Goleta, Calif., Lynda Nahra is the type of person the provision aims to help. But she thinks it’s unnecessary.

“Do we need an office in each federal regulatory agency?” she said. “I think that’s overkill, and it’s not the best use of money.”

Read the full story here.

7925: Bruce Lee R Us.

For the martial artist who has everything.

Monday, August 30, 2010

7924: Keeping Up With The January Joneses.

Um, AMC series Mad Men actress January Jones should have picked an outfit from Betty Draper’s wardrobe closet.

7923: Unfiltered Bullshit.

Don’t mean to beat a dead horse, but here’s another actual job listing seeking original Web content. The employer has the audacity to lecture about quality over quantity—while offering $5 per article (600-800 words) and $2.50 per blog post. Oh, and he’s seeking “fascinating articles on various water filtration methods and the benefits of healthy water.” This asshole deserves waterboarding.

Title: Long term article/blog writer needed
Project ID: 000000

Category: Writing, Editing & Translation
I am seeking a writer who can write informative, interesting, if not fascinating articles on various water filtration methods and the benefits of healthy water. If you are very good at writing about diverse subjects and enjoy this kind of writing, then we will enjoy working together. Obviously previous experience writing about water filtration will be valued.

The project consists of:

Writing new articles for specific keyword phrases that I provide to you. The articles will be in a simple text format (*.txt). I will supply a topic and a list of keyword phrases to base the writing of new articles on. The length of each article should be a minimum of 600 words and up to 800 (or a bit longer if necessary). The finished articles must be delivered free of spelling errors and grammatically correct.

Each new article will consist of:

1. A headline
2. A sub-headline (tag line)
3. Body copy

The main keyword phrase MUST be contained in the title of the article and in the first and last sentence of the article. Derivatives of the keyword phrase along with other related keywords (i.e. in the keyword list provided to you) should also be used a number of times in the main body of the article, but all additional usage should be natural and not forced. In other words, just write the article as if you are not trying to incorporate the keywords, but afterwards make sure that some of them made it into the body copy.

I will request that each writer submit 4 articles for a keyword phrase that I will supply and 2 blog posts as well (300-500 words on any topic you wish to do with water filtration).

Each candidate will be paid $5 per article and $2.50 per blog post for a total of $25 via safepay escrow. The final candidate(s) will be chosen based on their writing sample. The final candidate will be offered future work with us depending on the article quality. Remember when writing your sample – QUALITY IS ALWAYS BETTER THAN QUANTITY – Therefore do not rush in order to get an article in as quick as you can. High quality work will always be rewarded higher than quick work. These articles are to be written for everyday consumers, therefore, each article should avoid technical terms or explain technical terms with simple examples. Each article must be interesting and /or fascinating and provide the reader helpful hints or tips which they implement regarding the subject matter. Each article must provide at least one piece of information that is not common knowledge. Each article MUST BE ORIGINAL. All articles will be subjected to copyscape, therefore copyright will be penalized immediately. The style and voice of the article should be interesting, conversational, filled with everyday language and expressions. These articles are written for Middle America, you should explain things like explaining them to a child without talking down to the reader.


1) All work delivered must be original and absolutely not violate any copyright. Service Provider must agree to indemnify Buyer and take full responsibility for any costs of any copyright infringement action including damages and attorney's fees should they occur. This should be no problem if your work is original.

2) Service Provider agrees to keep the nature of his / her writing assignments and the fact that the articles will be published under the name of the Buyer strictly confidential.

3) All work shall be delivered to the Buyer in individual text files as the article is completed, and shall be spell checked, and fact checked.

4) All deliverables will be considered "work made for hire" under U.S. Copyright law. Seller will assign and Buyer will receive exclusive and complete copyrights to all work purchased. (No GPL, GNU, 3rd party components, etc. unless all copyright ramifications are explained AND AGREED TO by the buyer on the site per the coder's Seller Legal Agreement).

5) All work must start within 3 business days of award, and must be completed at a minimum rate of 3 completed articles per U.S. business day after the start date. To be clear on this point you will be expected to have e-mailed 3 separate article e-mail before 11:59 P.M. PST each business day excluding holidays.

7922: Shirley Sherrod Opens Up.

From NAACP.org…

Open Letter From Shirley Sherrod: You and I Can’t Yield—Not Now, Not Ever

By Shirley Sherrod

Back in March, I delivered a speech to an NAACP Freedom Fund banquet in my home state of Georgia. I drew on my personal life story to urge poor people, white and black, to pull together and overcome racial divisions. We have to understand that our struggle is against poverty and against those who are blocking our path out of poverty.

Unless we figure this out, I warned, our communities won’t thrive and our children won’t prosper.

As you know, a Tea Party blogger named Andrew Breitbart released an intentionally deceptive, heavily edited clip from that speech to make it look as if I was delivering exactly the opposite message. Then Fox News blasted that false message across America’s airwaves, creating a firestorm that led to my ouster as the USDA State Director here in Georgia.

Not long ago, I sat here in my living room in Albany, Georgia for an afternoon of deep conversation with NAACP President Benjamin Jealous. As he has done in public, Ben movingly apologized for the fact that the NAACP was initially hoodwinked by Breitbart and Fox into supporting my removal. I told him what I want to tell you.

That’s behind us, and the last thing I want to see happen is for my situation to weaken support for the NAACP. Too many people confronted by racism and poverty count on the NAACP to be there for them, especially those in rural areas who often have nowhere else to turn.

People ask me, “Shirley, how are you getting through all of this?” I tell them that, if they knew what I have lived through, they’d understand that these current challenges aren’t about to throw me off course.

When I was 17 years old, my father was murdered by a white man in Baker County, Georgia. There were three witnesses, but the grand jury refused to indict the person responsible. I knew I had to do something in answer to my father’s death.

That very night, I made a commitment that I would stay in the South and fight for change.

I have lived true to that commitment for 45 years. I didn’t yield when, just months after my father was killed, they came in the middle of the night to burn a cross in front of our house with my mother, four sisters, and the baby brother my father never got to see still inside.

And I’m surely not going to yield because some Tea Party agitator sat at his computer and turned everything I said upside down and inside out.

I learned a lot of lessons from my parents growing up, but one of the most important ones is what my mother taught her children after our father was killed. She told us we mustn’t try to live with hate in our hearts.

My mother led by example. Just 11 years after that cross-burning incident, she became the first black elected official in Baker County, and she’s still serving, still working to bring people together.

You and I have to keep working as well. Change has to start with us. I have been overwhelmed by the outpouring of support I have received over these last few weeks. It means so much to me and my family.

But you and I have to make sure that people all across the country who wage a daily struggle against poverty and racism have support networks as well. And that’s why your personal involvement in sustaining the NAACP is so critical.

The NAACP confronts the virulent racism that my family and so many other families have had to endure. But it is also leading the way in breaking down the structural barriers that block so many people’s paths out of poverty.

In our struggle between the “haves” and the “have-nots,” they want to keep the poor divided - and we have to insist, by our words and our actions, that there is no difference between us.

As we move forward together, I urge you to remember this: Life is a grindstone. But whether it grinds us down or polishes us up depends on us.

Thank you for all you are doing to challenge poverty and racism. I look forward to working and struggling right by your side.


Shirley Sherrod

7921: Burger King Gets A PUSH.

In a news story that should come as no surprise to anyone, Target Market News reported the Rainbow PUSH Coalition is questioning Burger King’s decision to flame-broil fire its minority advertising agencies and hand the assignments to White firms. Worth noting is a typo in the piece that reads, “…the fast food operator has done a ‘descent job’ in applying diversity and equal opportunity to other aspects of its business…” Oh, things will likely take an accelerated, spiraling descent at this point.

Rainbow PUSH urges Burger King to re-hire black and Hispanic ad agencies

The Chicago-based Rainbow PUSH Coalition (RPC), headed by the Rev. Jesse L. Jackson, issued a statement last week asking Burger King to reconsider its plan as quoted in news accounts dropping advertising assignments to its African-American and Hispanic ad agencies of record.

The PUSH demand comes after the New York Times quoted Burger King’s top marketing executives as saying they believe the expertise of ethnic ad shops is not necessary because “younger African-American and Hispanic consumers don’t necessarily see the world as ethnically divided, but rather as ‘a melting pot.’”

Janice L. Mathis, RPC vice president and counsel, said, “The remarks attributed to Burger King’s chief marketing officer Mike Kapitt are so inappropriate that we believe there must be a better explanation of the company’s recent advertising decisions.”

While saying that the fast food operator has done a “descent job” in applying diversity and equal opportunity to other aspects of its business, Mathis said, “We think this move to end the relationships with minority ad agencies is a mistake.”

Rainbow PUSH is asking Burger King to complete its diversity and inclusion survey to determine exactly what the company’s business relationship is with the minority community. It is also requesting a meeting to discuss the agency firings.

In addition to announcing that it was cutting its ad assignments to UniWorld Group and LatinWorks, Burger King said it intended to have African-American ads to be created by Wunderman and its Hispanic advertising done by Crispin Porter & Bogusky.

Mathis responded, “There is something deeply troubling about the assumption that white agencies can communicate with everyone and black and brown agencies can communicate only with racial and ethnic minority customers. If there was going to be a change, minority-owned agencies should have been invited to compete for the general market business.

“There is also something grotesquely unfair,” Mathis continued, “about relegating black and brown consumers to the role of customers in the apparent belief that whites are most competent to serve as advertising consultants to everyone.”

7920: Mad Men Mention.

The latest episode of AMC series Mad Men presented two race-related scenarios. One was blatant, while the other was probably unintended.

The blatant scenario involved a new art director whose reel included a commercial for Lyndon B. Johnson featuring the Ku Klux Klan.

The probably unintended scenario focused on Don Draper’s hiring of a talentless copywriter. The hack landed an interview because he was related to Roger Sterling’s wife. And Draper hired him after accidentally ripping off a headline from the rookie’s portfolio. The scenario demonstrated quite clearly that the advertising industry has forever awarded positions to unqualified candidates. To understand the race-related component, click here.

(Additionally, the scenario was a rip-off of an identical incident from short-lived TNT series Trust Me.

Sunday, August 29, 2010

7919: Camel Droppings.

Can’t help but stare at the massive warning here.

7918: Mad Men Creator Looked Mad.

Mad Men creator Matthew Weiner won the Emmy® Award for Outstanding Writing for a Drama Series. And he appeared to be really pissed off when the award show director cut him off before he could finish his moment at the winner podium. Guess Weiner shouldn’t expect any trophy for Writing for an Acceptance Speech.

7917: Oily Keywords…?

Wonder if these guys hoped to benefit from the keywords of BP Blowout.

7916: From Super Bowl To Super Bad.

The downside to winning a Super Bowl: Your agent signs you up for really corny advertising opportunities.

7915: Direct Marketer Seeks Direct Marketing.

This actual job listing was posted by someone who needs a direct response sales letter to hawk services on “How to increase [your] sales in record time.” Guess he’s not as good as his self-hype might indicate.

Title: Direct Response Sales Letter
Project ID: 000000

Category: Writing, Editing & Translation
I want to write a Direct Response Sales Letter that make small business owners to call me or visit the website to hire my services on “How to Increase their sales in record time.” I am looking for someone with experience and result track record of their sales letter successes! My service consists of door to door advertising. It’s got to be a letter that makes people buy! I am also looking to produce this letter in a Spanish version so please keep that in mind. I am looking for “out of this world” concepts, creativity with result I can count on.

7914: Back To School Racial Classes.

It looks like blondes qualify more than Blacks for back-to-school grants.

7913: Kellogg’s Soggy Diversity Ad.

Kellogg’s diversity advertisement was updated, changing the “daily requirements” and adding the obligatory diverse employees. The revised result is not Gr-r-reat!

7912: Black Enterprise Celebrates 40 Years.

The August 2010 issue of Black Enterprise celebrates the publication’s 40th anniversary. A handful of advertisers offered salutes.

Comcast added a single sentence to its standard diversity ad.

ExxonMobil used weird stock photography to honor BE.

IBM declared BE is good for the planet.

Saturday, August 28, 2010

7911: Articles R Us.

Want to know why the majority of Website content sucks? This actual job listing seeks over 200 articles—about 50 will require 300 words—within 10 days. Of course, there’s no mention of payment, which means you’ll be working at pro-bono levels. For copywriters, the Internet has created a virtual sweatshop.

Title: Copywriting for Website
Project ID: 000000

Category: Writing, Editing & Translation
I need an accomplished and strong copywriter to write content for a website I own which is a popular ski resort town in the US.

The content will range from informational articles to specific articles about resorts, hotels, condos and units in the town.

Additionally there will be smaller articles (300 words) required for some of the pages such as the resort pages, hotel pages, and those which list actual condos and units the user can then book from.

There are 206 total articles to be written. Of those, about 50 will be 300 word articles.

I am only looking for someone with Travel – specifically hotel review and travel writing experience.

I need someone who can commit to having these articles within a period of 10 days total upon project completion. The articles must solely be written by you.

7910: Black Churches Fighting The Flood.

From The New York Times…

In New Orleans, Black Churches Face a Long, Slow Return

By Samuel G. Freedman

NEW ORLEANS — Five minutes past 9:30 a.m. on a Sunday this month, which is to say five minutes past the time the worship service was supposed to start, Shantell Henley pushed open the front door of her pastor’s house in the Lower Ninth Ward. She entered the living room to find a gospel song playing on the stereo, two ceiling fans stirring the sticky air and 25 folding chairs for the congregants waiting empty.

“Am I late?” she asked the pastor, the Rev. Charles W. Duplessis.

“No,” he replied, smiling. “We’re Baptists.”

His joke, though, could not dispel the truth. The problem at Mount Nebo Bible Baptist Church had nothing to do with any Baptist indifference to punctuality and everything to do with Hurricane Katrina, even as its fifth anniversary on Aug. 29 approached.

Having lost his house and his church to the broken levees in the Lower Ninth, Mr. Duplessis had managed by grit and will and fathomless faith to reopen in early 2009, using his rebuilt home to replace the sanctuary he couldn’t afford to replace, the sanctuary that had stood in some grim coincidence on Flood Street.

He installed an electric piano and a computer with a projector. He collected several dozen copies of the Baptist Hymnal. He put out weekly editions of the church bulletin; he put up a lawn sign declaring, “Our Church Is Back!”

What was not back was the bulk of his congregation. Of the 120 members before Hurricane Katrina, only 40 had returned. The rest were still strewn across the map — Alabama, California, Missouri, Tennessee, Texas. And Mr. Duplessis could not in-gather the exiles, as the Bible commands, because most of the Lower Ninth remained a ruin of buckled roads, cracked foundations and swamp grass six feet high.

“It’s church — it’s serving the Lord,” Mr. Duplessis, 59, said in an interview in his house. “If I linger on what I don’t have, I can’t see what I do have.” He paused. “But I know this isn’t where God wants us to be.”

In his plight and his persistence, Mr. Duplessis represents the experience of churches, ministers and congregations throughout the Lower Ninth. While the fifth anniversary of Katrina offers much reason to celebrate New Orleans’s revival, this neighborhood that once thrived with a black working-class of homeowners and churchgoers continues to stand as a desolated disgrace.

As every level of government has failed to restore more than a fraction of former residents to habitable homes, the black churches have tried desperately to return through a combination of sacrifice, insurance and charity. And anyone with an even cursory understanding of African-American life knows that without vibrant churches, the Lower Ninth can never truly rise again.

Where about 75 churches operated before Katrina, barely a dozen have been able to reopen, according to the Rev. Willie Calhoun, a local minister who has closely tracked the process. Even among those churches that have rebuilt, what were once congregations of 150 to 200 now number in the dozens. The monthly intake of tithes and offerings, previously $20,000 or more, has fallen to the low thousands.

“You got those that are still struggling to come back,” said Mr. Calhoun, the assistant pastor of East Jerusalem Baptist Church, “and you got those that came back but the congregations are so small they’re struggling to keep their doors open. And without the churches, you got no community.”

East Jerusalem, for example, has only $55,000 of the $150,000 it needs to replace the church building that was destroyed when the floodwaters propelled a house into it. In an especially perverse touch, which several other congregations have faced, New Orleans officials are requiring the church to buy land for off-street parking, as if the pressing problem of the Lower Ninth is traffic gridlock.

“I remember that film — ‘build it and they will come,’” said the Rev. Hall Lanis Kelly Jr., 62, the pastor of East Jerusalem. “I believe in that. The Bible tells us, you plant the seed, God will do the watering. But we sure thought that in two, three years, we’d be back.”

The Rev. Michael Zacharie did get back, rebuilding Beulah Land Baptist Church for nearly $400,000 with a combination of savings, insurance money and a grant from Samaritan’s Purse, a Christian relief organization. On the Sunday in early 2009 when he rededicated the trim red-brick sanctuary, Mr. Zacharie preached to only 50 of the 400 pre-Katrina members. Etched in the church cornerstone were the names of four who had died in the flood.

“We were determined to come back so we could be the light shining in the darkness,” Mr. Zacharie, 54, said in a phone interview. “We want to be there for anyone that needs comfort, counseling, compassion.”

Such balm in Gilead has long been the mission of the Lower Ninth’s black churches. When Mr. Duplessis first inspected the wreckage of Mount Nebo’s building — pews tossed aside like toothpicks, chunks gone from the roof, the rear wall knocked loose — he also learned that several boats had been tied to the steeple. With 20 feet of water around, the second floor of Mount Nebo was, in more ways than one, a sanctuary.

And so he has persevered in his living room. On this particular Sunday, the faithful finally did arrive, a dozen by 10:15 a.m., nearly 25 by 10:35. Mr. Duplessis preached from the Book of Joshua, all about determination. He conducted a baby blessing. And he joined his people in singing lyrics that were almost unbearably freighted with double meaning:

“Storm clouds may rise
Strong winds may blow
But I’ll tell the world wherever I go
That I have found the Savior and he’s sweet, I know.”

7909: Shitty Ad Agency Creates Shitty Ad Maker.

New York Times Ad Journalist Stuart Elliott reported Euro RSCG developed software capable of producing advertisements. Ironically, the software is the most creative thing to come out of Euro RSCG in quite some time.

Don’t Tell the Creative Department, but Software Can Produce Ads, Too

By Stuart Elliott

For decades — maybe even since computers began arriving in workplaces in the 1960s — there have been predictions that machines will be able to perform the creative tasks that usually require human beings. An agency in Paris is offering a new twist on those venerable forecasts, to make a point about the creative process.

BETC Euro RSCG, part of the Euro RSCG Worldwide division of Havas, has developed software that can produce elementary advertisements. The software is called CAI, pronounced Kay, for Creative Artificial Intelligence.

CAI can be programmed to produce ads by selecting a product category (say, soft drinks) and type of product (for instance, coffee, energy drinks, fruit juice, milk, tea or water).

Next up are questions about objectives. Do you want to generate awareness? Create loyalty? Increase purchase? Introduce a product? Recruit customers? CAI then wants to know the demographic target for the ad by sex and age.

Last come questions on the intended benefits of the product. For milk, for example, qualities like fresh, healthy and organic are offered. CAI ponders all those requirements, then produces three possible ads that meets them.

CAI can randomly generate an estimated 200,000 ads. In a recent demonstration, the software brought forth bland and formulaic — but perfectly acceptable — ads that could run in magazines or newspapers, as banners on Web sites or on billboards.

And that is the point being made by the executive who came up with the idea for CAI.

The initial response to CAI is “playful,” Stephane Xiberras, president and executive creative director at BETC Euro RSCG, wrote in an e-mail message, as people “try to create campaigns for perfumes or for chips, and it’s true that it generates fun ads.”

“After this first reaction, they get a little scared,” he said, “when they see that a software program can create the same (mediocre) results in just 10 seconds as several hours of strategic meetings and production.”

And that is, according to Mr. Xiberras, “a pretty scary thing.”

Another year of working on CAI “could turn it into a real tool for agencies and clients,” he said, because the software “sometimes leads to random accidents that could stimulate the creative process.”

It also “provides good examples of what not to do,” he added.

Even so, humans ought not to be replaced by software, Mr. Xiberras said.

“Our industry has been living in a paradox for several years,” he explained. “In a world where it is increasingly difficult to get brands’ messages to emerge, there is a growing standardization of advertising.”

The contention that most ads are “no more than a reconstitution of already existing ideas and forms” led to the development of the software.

Mr. Xiberras wrote the copy for the ads for CAI and Claire Maoui, an art director, found the thousands of images. Clarisse Lacarrau, international planner, and Elodie Andurand, account director, handled the strategic planning aspects.

And Abder Zeghoud, Web developer, and Vincent Malone, executive creative director, worked on the programming side.

Friday, August 27, 2010

7908: Not Ready For Race Talk.

From The Chicago Tribune…

Conversation on race? Why we’re just not ready

By Ta-Nehisi Coates

Virginia Sen. Jim Webb recently wrote an op-ed for The Wall Street Journal titled “Diversity and the Myth of White Privilege” that really brought home the foolishness of pining for a “conversation on race.” The headline itself was a device meant to drive conservatives to cheering, liberals to howling, and the whole of them to page-clicking and reading. Webb’s piece was about affirmative action, and his argument was much more nuanced than the headline — sympathetic to the argument for historical redress for African-Americans, unsympathetic to hazy appeals to diversity, appealing for more discussion of a seemingly invisible class of impoverished whites.

And yet the very terms of debate remained undefined. When we say affirmative action, what, precisely, do we mean? Are we speaking of public institutions? Do we mean any institution, anywhere, at any moment that takes race/ethnicity/gender into consideration? Without a specific definition of affirmative action, we don’t have much of a handle on its effects. Has affirmative action built the relatively new, broad black middle class? How much has affirmative action actually affected white workers? How do these effects play out across the spheres of education, contracting and employment? In general, debates about affirmative action shy away from such specifics and instead are used to justify our most elemental feelings.

Webb’s column was precipitated by the fracas between the tea party and the NAACP, the final act of which featured President Barack Obama appointee Shirley Sherrod as a woman robbed of specific history. Sherrod’s comments were edited to appear that she was advocating racism, when she was doing the opposite. The broader history behind her comments was also excised — the murder of Sherrod’s father by a Klan member, her subsequent devotion to a war against domestic terrorists inaugurated by her rifle-toting mother, the sad years of unpunished murder of black people in the South, and the accompanying pillage of black farmland. What you were left with was rather profound — like watching a tribunal in which the zeal to render a verdict was matched only by the zeal to ignore all evidence.

I keep hearing people bantering about this notion of a national conversation on race, and I have finally figured out why it rankles so. The source is the peculiar notion that we can talk our way out of anything, that talk is some sort of cure-all requiring no context or prep work to be effective. But conversation is not, in and of itself, a demonstrable good. Uninformed conversation is often a demonstrable bad. This is a country where any variant of the phrase “slavery caused the Civil War” is still considered controversial, and the NAACP, the oldest institutional advocate of integration in this country, and the tea party movement are two sides of the same coin. In short, this notion of conversation is premature, and we are not qualified to have it.

Expecting an American conversation on race in this country is like expecting financial advice from someone who prefers to not check his or her bank balance. It’s not that the answers themselves are preordained — perhaps affirmative action actually is bad policy — it’s that we are more interested in answers than questions, more interested in verdicts than evidence.

Put bluntly, this is a country too ignorant of itself to grapple with race in any serious way. The very nomenclature — “conversation on race” — betrays the unseriousness of the thing by communicating the sense that race can be boxed from the broader American narrative. It proceeds from the sense that one can intelligently speak of Thomas Jefferson without mentioning Sally Hemings; that one can discuss Andrew Jackson without discussing the black artillerymen who fought with him (and were ultimately betrayed by him) at the Battle of New Orleans; that one can discuss suffrage without Sojourner Truth, Ida B. Wells or Frederick Douglass.

It’s not so much that we don’t know — it’s that we aspire to not know. The ignorance of the African-American thread in the broader American quilt — the essential nature of that thread — is willful, and the greatest evidence that the spirit of white supremacy walks with us. There was a lot of self-congratulation around the justice done for Shirley Sherrod. It’s premature. The thing will happen again. Race isn’t a “distraction” from more important political issues; it’s the compromised, unsure ground upon which this country walks every day. Talk is overrated. In so many beautiful ways, we have the country we deserve. Any desire to better understand that country must proceed from the sense that we deserve even better.

Ta-Nehisi Coates is a writer and senior editor for The Atlantic and its Web site. His blog can be found at theatlantic.com/ta-nehisi-coates.

Thursday, August 26, 2010

7907: Starving Artist Needed For Diet Articles.

Here’s another actual job listing that shows the sorry state of our industry. A writer must deliver 25 original 500-word articles in 7 days at $5 per article—for a grand total of $125. Oh, and the employer requires: “English be your first language.”

Title: 25 articles @ $5 Fitness & Nutrition
Project ID: 0000000
Category: Writing, Editing & Translation


I would like 25 articles concerning diet, fitness, nutrition, workouts etc.
Each article should be 500-550 words, Written in a conversational style.
I will pay $5 per article
For Inspiration checkout www.menshealth.com for more ideas on what to write.
You can get Article Templates here:
And here is an article example

The articles MUST MUST be original content not copied from others sites, etc.

You agree that I publish the article with my name or my pseudonym.

English be your first language

Titles for the articles will be the following:
7 Simple Ways To Cut Carbs
Why You Need To Cut Carbs To Stay Lean
Do Waist Trimmer Belts Really Work?
Burn Fat Not Time = (Article talking about the merits of interval training)
The 20-Minute Workout (Interval training workout)
the 3 Rules of Lean Eating
Interval Training Do’s and Dont’s
3 Protein-Packed Recipes
3 Belly Busting Recipes (mens health style lean meats vegetables etc.)
Vibration Plates Do They Work?
Smash Your Belly fat With This Killer Exercise (pros of Heavy Bag Boxing etc.)
The Ab Workout (intensive ab workout routine)
Exercise Without Weights - No Gym Required (workouts using your own body weight)
Lose the Belly With These 4 Proven Exercises (They Work)
7 Easy Full-Body Exercises to Do at Home
6 Eating Rules for 6-Pack Abs
3 Perfect Protein-Packed Snacks
3 Great Foods That Chisel Abs (benefits of Broccoli, Steak, Oatmeal)
6 Ways To Stick To Your Workout
4 Habits to Carve a 6-Pack
4 Hunger Busting Foods
Good carbs vs bad carbs (Good carbs are whole grains, vegetables, fruits, and beans. Bad
carbs full of sugar and white flour)
How to Lose Weight without losing your muscle mass How To eat 6 meals a day and still lose weight!
Cardio and Weight Training – How Often Should I Exercise?

All 25 articles to be completed within 7 days of start
Each article is $5, so that’s $125 in Total

Thank you,
Carl Marley

7906: Louisiana Beats Kentucky.

Isn’t this sort of like saying dog shit tastes better than horse shit?

7905: Dog Food Dog Shit.

Share the delicious experience…? Are dog owners encouraged to dine along with their pets?

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

7904: Mad Men Mention.

The fifth episode of AMC series Mad Men featured the latest installment of the Unilever series starring Phil Smith and Tad Winter of SmithWinterMitchell. This week, the hack duo worked their inane magic on Klondike Bars. What would you do for a Klondike Bar? Apparently, the talentless crew at Mindshare Entertainment is willing to embarrass themselves with more concept-free drivel. Bon appétit!

7903: Glenn Beck Has A Dream.

From The Chicago Tribune…

Glenn Beck and fans to rally on ‘I Have a Dream’ anniversary
The political talk show host and fans will gather at the Lincoln Memorial, the site where Martin Luther King Jr. made his famous speech. Sarah Palin will headline. Civil rights leaders are not happy.

By Kathleen Hennessey, Tribune Washington Bureau
Reporting from Washington

Glenn Beck says he didn’t intend to schedule a rally Saturday in front of the Lincoln Memorial on the anniversary of the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr.’s “I Have a Dream” speech. But it’s a convergence of time and place that the conservative talk show host describes as “divine providence.”

Some have used other words.

Civil rights leaders aligned with Democrats are recoiling at the Fox News pundit’s plan to gather his faithful on the same steps where King delivered his call for racial justice. They’re planning their own march in honor of the speech and criticizing Beck, saying he’s trying to hijack King’s legacy.

The debate is just one in a handful surrounding the event, which, despite its billing as an apolitical show of support for military families, has not dodged the trappings of partisan politics. Like the man behind it, the event seems to raise ire while preaching unity.

In the months leading up to the “Restoring Honor” rally and related events, Beck has accused the Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts of religious discrimination. He has suggested the federal government has tried to limit such protests on the mall, without citing evidence.

And he’s enlisted an undeniably political figure — former Republican vice presidential nominee Sarah Palin — as a headliner, while promoting the rally through a constellation of political groups often aligned with Republicans.

Still, Beck says, this has nothing to do with politics.

“This has everything to do with, ‘Who are we?’” he said, over a soundtrack of soft piano in a video promotion of the rally posted on his website. “There is profound change happening in America, and there is a window of opportunity that comes in the lifespan of every republic, every civilization — a window of opportunity to reach for that brass ring or to miss it. We’re not the people that we’ve allowed ourselves to become.”

The explanation is typical Beck — high-flying, vague and salted with a dash of doomsday. His nearly nine-month-long promotional campaign has followed the same pattern.

When first announced in November, the rally was to be the scene for the unveiling of “The Plan” a 100-year outline to “save the country.” But Beck quickly changed focus, opting for a less political event that would raise money for military families and honor a group of heroes.

He has said he believes the event will be “the turning point in the American experiment.” He urged parents to bring their children, whom he called the best hope to “restore us.” And he has suggested that this rally could be the last of its kind.

“The government is trying to now close the Lincoln Memorial for any kind of large gathering,” Beck said on his radio show in June. “This may be the last large gathering ever to assemble at the Lincoln Memorial. Historic, historic.”

The assertion caught fire online, but a spokesman for the National Park Service, which maintains the space and issues permits for protest, said it was “based on nothing.”

“There is absolutely no attempt or move on the government’s part, nor specifically on the National Park Service’s part, to close off or to restrict free speech or any 1st Amendment activities on or below the step where Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. stood to give his ‘I Have a Dream’ speech on Aug. 28, 1963,” National Park Service spokesman Bill Fine said.

Asked to explain the statement, a Beck spokesman declined to comment.

Beck is hoping for a crowd of more than 100,000. There were an estimated 250,000 at King’s 1963 address.

In response to what they see as Beck’s hypocrisy, the Rev. Al Sharpton and other civil rights leaders have decided to hold their own rally.

Sharpton’s National Action Network, the National Urban League and the National Assn. for the Advancement of Colored People are planning to march from a Washington high school to the site of a planned King memorial, just blocks from the Lincoln Memorial.

The original emphasis of their gathering was on closing educational disparities, and Education Secretary Arne Duncan is among those scheduled to participate. But recently, the groups’ leaders have focused on Beck and Palin as philosophical opposites of King’s supporters.

“In ‘63, they went to Washington for a strong national government to protect civil rights,” Sharpton said in an interview. “He and Palin are going there for a weak national government and to advocate state rights.”

Taking advantage of the flood of activists coming to town, other conservatives are planning events this week in Washington. The political advocacy group FreedomWorks, a leading organizer within the “tea party” movement and an advertiser on Beck’s television program, is scheduled to hold a rally Friday featuring several GOP candidates.

Beck also has an event planned Friday. His radio production company has rented a stage at the Kennedy Center for “Divine Destiny,” a program to illuminate the role of religion in the nation’s founding and call for unity among those “sick and tired of hearing about how divided America has become,” Beck’s website says.

But the call for unity didn’t get off to an amicable start. When a Kennedy Center official questioned whether the taxpayer-supported arts center could hold an event that included prayer, Beck responded as expected.

“And I’m like, ‘Oooh, sue me,’” Beck mocked on his show. “And, Kennedy Center, arrest me.”

The Kennedy Center turned to lawyers, who cleared the event, according to a spokesman.

7902: Verifying Minorities.

E-Verify hypes its experience in identifying undocumented workers—with stock photography typically used to illustrate workplace diversity. Nice.

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

7901: BP’s Fishy Response.

The Times-Picayune presented the editorial below criticizing BP for its response to the Deepwater Horizon disaster. Worth noting is the bolded section featuring a New Orleans entrepreneur’s brilliant suggestion.

BP must address seafood

BP’s decision to provide $13 million to monitor the effects of its oil spill on Louisiana seafood for three years falls far short of what is needed to restore confidence in this critical, $4 billion industry, and the state is right to press the oil giant for more.

Two months ago, Gov. Bobby Jindal’s administration asked BP to fund a five-year, $173 million long-term comprehensive seafood certification and marketing plan. The plan includes options of renewing every three years up to 20 based on three criteria: the results of tissue samples, landings that are at or above pre-spill levels and a restored market, with the overall value of seafood at or above pre-disaster levels.

“This is an important first step—and we thank BP for this investment,” Gov. Jindal said about the $13 million, which will be used to monitor the spill’s effect on Louisiana fisheries. “However, this is only a first step, and we need the next step to happen in the next days or the next week—not next month or next year,” Gov. Jindal said.

What the state is requesting is reasonable, and it’s discouraging that BP has not yet agreed to it. Monitoring alone won’t restore consumer confidence in Louisiana’s seafood. People need to know that the seafood harvested off our shores is being tested and found safe. That will require an aggressive marketing effort, but BP has not addressed that.

“We want the world to know that Louisiana seafood is not only safe, but continues to be the best seafood in the world,” Gov. Jindal said.

The governor’s concern is well-placed. Kevin Adams, a representative of Alaska’s seafood industry, recounted the damage that the Exxon Valdez oil spill did to the image of his state’s seafood at a meeting of marketing experts and seafood safety scientists in New Orleans earlier this month. He said it took 10 years to reverse the negative perception.

Restaurateur Ralph Brennan, who also attended that meeting, suggested asking BP how much it’s spending to rehabilitate its corporate image after the spill and “ask them to match that for us.”

Gov. Jindal called the seafood industry “unique and integral to our economy and the very fabric of our state.” That’s not an exaggeration, and BP must not ignore the damage it has done to Louisiana’s brand.

7900: Schlessinger Full Of Schit.


Dr. Laura’s use of N-word betrays her true colors

By DeWayne Wickham

I’m going to talk about the flap over Laura Schlessinger’s use of the N-word without once calling her the R-word.

The nationally syndicated radio talk show host said the N-word 11 times during a recent program in response to a black woman who called to complain about the racially tinged language some of her white husband’s friends use.

The caller was looking for relationship advice. What she got from Schlessinger was a cacophony of the word many blacks consider a hate-filled pejorative, especially when used by whites. Schlessinger rattled off the N-word easily in suggesting blacks are schizophrenic when it comes to its use.

“Black guys use it all the time. Turn on HBO, listen to a black comic, and all you hear is nigger, nigger, nigger,” she said. “I don’t get it. If anybody without enough melanin says it, it’s a horrible thing; but when black people say it, it’s affectionate. It’s very confusing.”

Context matters
But to an advice expert, that shouldn’t be any more confusing than women who recoil when a man calls them the B-word but laugh it off when a girlfriend does the same thing. Or more confusing than the outrage gays show when a heterosexual calls them the F-word, but treats it as a term of endearment when it comes from another homosexual.

Anyone smarter than a nitwit understands that words can take on a different meaning, depending on who uses them. But Schlessinger’s failure to acknowledge what most first-year psychology majors understand isn’t what makes me think she’s got some bigotry coursing through her veins. It is what followed her N-word rant.

“If you’re that hypersensitive about color and don’t have a sense of humor, don’t marry out of your race,” Schlessinger said. That sounds to me like the good doctor is saying the caller should just grin and bear it when her white husband’s friends start talking like they’re at a Ku Klux Klan coffee klatch.

It is Schlessinger’s insinuation that blacks who spend time in the company of whites should expect to be exposed to the racial stereotyping the caller complained about that rubs me raw. And it is Schlessinger’s stereotyping of blacks that makes her vulnerable to a charge of racial prejudice.

Where racism lurks
Racism is a contorted value system that often takes the form of something far less menacing, such as advice from a radio talk show host. It can lurk just beneath the surface when someone says, as Schlessinger did: “A lot of blacks voted for Obama simply ‘cause he was half-black. Didn’t matter what he was gonna do in office; it was a black thing. You gotta know that. That’s not a surprise.”

It is to me.

In every presidential election since 1964, “a lot of blacks” — in fact, the overwhelming majority — voted for the Democratic Party’s candidate. And in 11 of those 12 contests that person was white. So to say blacks voted in great numbers for Obama simply because he is black is not only factually wrong, it’s also a crass, racial stereotype.

Even crasser is Schlessinger’s attempt to play the victim. She’ll give up her show in December so she will be free to say what’s on her mind and in her heart, Schlessinger told CNN’s Larry King.

I think that’s exactly what she did when she offered that black caller a piece of her twisted mind.

7899: Shirley Sherrod Stays Unemployed.

From The New York Daily News…

Shirley Sherrod will not return to the Department of Agriculture full-time, declines new job offer

By Sean Alfano, Daily News Staff Writer

Shirley Sherrod, the government official forced to quit last month after being falsely accused of making racist comments, refused an offer to return to work at the USDA full-time.

Since the flap over her remarks, Sherrod has not appeared eager to take a new job with the agency. She held talks with Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack Tuesday.

“I just don’t think at this point with all that has happened,” she told reporters, though she admitted she was “tempted” to take the job.

Sherrod will remain affiliated with the agency as a consultant.

“I think I can be helpful to him (Vilsack) and the department if I just take a little break and look at how I can be more helpful in the future,” she said.

The incident in question began when conservative blogger Andrew Breitbart posted an edited clip of Sherrod talking about not helping a white farmer during a speech years before she joined the USDA.

The full clip, however, showed Sherrod making a larger point about moving beyond race.

The farmer’s wife came forward shortly after the firestorm erupted to say Sherrod helped her family save the farm.

Both the Obama administration and the NAACP apologized to Sherrod after the full scope of her remarks was revealed.

Prior to her resignation, Sherrod was the USDA’s director of rural development for Georgia. The job Vilsack offered her Tuesday is deputy directory for the Office of Advocacy and Outreach.

In a speech last month, Sherrod said she planned to sue Breitbart.

“I will definitely do it,” she said.

7898: Arby’s Advertising Too White Bread?

Adweek reported Arby’s is going into review. A company honcho declared, “…this is a natural time to introduce fresh thinking in our brand positioning and brand messaging.” Well, in lieu of introducing fresh food, perhaps the fresh thinking could involve inviting a minority agency to join the competition. The White agencies have obviously failed to sell the shitty sandwiches. Plus, Uniworld and LatinWorks are available.

Arby’s Goes Into Play
Chain spent close to $130 mil. last year in measured media

By David Gianatasio

The casual-dining category continues to be in flux, as Arby’s today launched a review of its creative assignment.

The incumbent, Omnicom Group’s Merkley + Partners in New York, is not defending. Merkley has handled the account since 2004.

Arby’s spent $128 million in major measured media last year, down from $140 million-plus in ‘08, per Nielsen. Ad spending in the first half of 2010 was slightly more than $50 million.

EBJ International Consultants in Dallas is overseeing the process.

Wendy’s/Arby’s, the parent firm, last week reported a 4 percent second-quarter revenue slide to $877 million compared to the same period a year ago. Most of the blame was placed on the poor performance of Arby’s, where revenue fell $28 million vs. Q2 ‘09. (Publicis Groupe’s The Kaplan Thaler Group added the Wendy’s ad assignment last year.)

“We are deeply involved in analysis and consumer research that will result in the evolution of the Arby’s brand vision and positioning,” said Hala Moddelmog, client president. “With that work nearly completed, this is a natural time to introduce fresh thinking in our brand positioning and brand messaging.”

The review process should finish up by year’s end. Media chores, with IPG’s Initiative, are not in play.

The category has been especially active of late. Red Lobster concluded the review of creative chores on its $115 million account yesterday, naming WPP Group’s Grey in New York, which already worked for its parent company. Denny’s $60 million business is currently in play. And numerous smaller chains—Boston Market, Bojangles and Church’s Chicken, among others—have also made shifts and/or launched new campaigns.

Monday, August 23, 2010

7897: Seeking Human Torch.

Here’s another actual job listing from an idiotic employer. The contrived copy demonstrates the place is likely not as hot as they think.

Position: Digital ACD / CD
Location: City of Chicago
Status: Full Time
Rate: 6 figures

Job Description:
Our client is a hot player in the digital space and they are looking for equally hot creative management talent to bring them to the blazing level!

They are looking for the next generation Digital lead. Someone who has the energy and capacity to work only under the C-suite to build a legendary shop.

ONLY apply if you are hungry, in-demand, intrigued, have a portfolio that demonstrates borderline genius.

We want those that don’t need this opportunity, but who want to hear more about it because they hunger for a creative building challenge!


• Exceptional leadership abilities… someone who is constructive, charismatic, smart and committed to producing high quality user-centric digital experiences.

• A strong graphic design background and an extensive portfolio of top notch creative executions in the interactive space.

• Experience leading teams of 5-10 creatives, including designers, developers, animators and video production teams.

• At least 8-10 years experience in interactive.

• The ability to concept innovative interactive solutions.

• Strong client presentation skills.

• A keen awareness of current industry trends.

• Experience designing and/or leading the development of interactive projects for fortune 500 companies.

7896: Scary Employer Seeks Ghostwriter.

Advertising job sites continue to display the current state of affairs in our industry. As the actual ad below indicates, prospective employers have unrealistic expectations, unclear directions and poverty-level budgets. Oh, and most of them are patently insane too.

Title: The Truth About AKA
Project ID: 0000000

Category: Writing, Editing & Translation

As a member of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Incorporated for 4 years, I took part in years of ritualistic and occultist activities. Unbeknownst to me at the time, I was a member of an organization that celebrated self-praise and pagan worship. I became privy to decades of sorority secrets and rituals that are often held from the general public. As a born again Christian, I became aware of my idolatry and immediately denounced my affiliation to such organizations. I was able to link sorority rituals, handshakes, and symbols to those of ancient pagan cultures and masonic organizations. As a Christian, I have made it my personal duty to open the eyes of those distracted by the colorful greek lettered jackets and cover ups of “sisterhood” and “brotherhood” to the dark, demonic reality of these organizations. I am looking for someone who would be willing to ghostwrite this book for me. I can pay up to $300. I propose the book will be a little less than 150 pages and there is no requirement for experience as long as you have a love for writing. :) Hope to hear from you soon!

7895: Boatloads Of Bias.

From The Los Angeles Times…

State apologizes for mistreatment of Italian residents during WWII
Legislature passes resolution expressing ‘deepest regret’ for the wartime internment, curfews, confiscations and other indignities that thousands of Italian and Italian American families faced.

By Steve Chawkins, Los Angeles Times

Reporting from Monterey — When Mike Maiorana was a boy during World War II, his family was like a lot of others in his Monterey neighborhood.

In 1942, his mother was declared an “enemy alien,” along with 600,000 other Italians and half a million Germans and Japanese who weren’t U.S. citizens. More than once, men in suits searched the Maiorana house for guns, flashlights, cameras, shortwave radios — anything that could be used to signal the enemy.

Like 10,000 others up and down the California coast, the family was suddenly forced to uproot. At their new place in Salinas, they had to be home by 8 p.m. or face arrest. And when the government seized fishing boats for the war effort, Maiorana’s dad, a naturalized U.S. citizen, saw his livelihood go down the drain.

“He was on the skids for the rest of his life,” said Maiorana, 75, who owns a boatyard and marina on the harbor where his father’s boat — as well as those of his uncles and several dozen other Italian fishermen — were confiscated.

Families like the Maioranas last week received a formal acknowledgement from California. A measure that swiftly made its way through the Legislature expresses the state’s “deepest regrets” over the mistreatment of Italians and Italian Americans during World War II. Not nearly as severe or long-lasting as the internment of Japanese Americans, the wartime restrictions are still little-known throughout California, where they were the most heavily enforced.

The resolution was the brainchild of a 79-year-old San Jose man who entered a legislator’s annual “There Oughta Be a Law” contest.

“The treatment Italians received in California was horrible,” said Chet Campanella, who recalled his father hiding a radio in a backyard chicken coop. “There wasn’t one tiny bit of evidence that any Italian was responsible for spying, sabotage, or doing anything else to hinder the war effort.”

Sen. Joe Simitian (D-Palo Alto) sponsored a bill based on Campanella’s idea.

“I was wholly unaware of the circumstances he described,” Simitian said. “Somehow this story had passed me by.”

Simitian, an attorney and former Palo Alto mayor, said he saw “contemporary importance” in the effort: “We’re at war on the other side of the world, and I think it’s important to remember that there are millions of Americans who are ethnic Arabs or Muslim by faith, and that they’re good Americans.”

Read the full story here.

7894: Mad Men Mention.

The latest episode of AMC series Mad Men addressed racial bias.

During a meeting to discuss pitching the Honda motorcycle account, Roger Sterling sought to the squelch the opportunity and expressed anti-Japanese sentiments. (However, it should be noted that Roger’s ignorance was both denounced by his partners and romanticized/excused as the rants of an angry war veteran. Once again, creator Matthew Weiner pulls his punches when examining racism.)

Later, Don Draper took a girlfriend to a Benihana-style restaurant.

When the Honda executives visited with agency leaders, Roger continued to spew offensive sentiments—directly at the potential client. Yet the agency was still invited to pitch the business.

Which demonstrates the phenomenon that continues today, whereby culturally clueless White agencies are awarded multicultural accounts.

Sunday, August 22, 2010

7893: American Beauty.

From The New York Post…

Muslim Miss USA: Move the mosque!

By Jennifer Fermino

Looks like Miss USA—a practicing Muslim and the first Arab-American ever to snag the sparkly crown—won’t be unrolling her prayer mat in the mosque near Ground Zero.

Rima Fakih, a Queens-raised daughter of Lebanese immigrants, said she respects freedom of religion but believes the proposed $100 million Islamic cultural center is too close to the site of the worst domestic terror attack in US history.

“I totally agree with President Obama with the statement on constitutional rights of freedom of religion,” the beauty queen said in an interview with “Inside Edition” that aired yesterday.

“I also agree that it shouldn’t be so close to the World Trade Center. We should be more concerned with the tragedy than religion.”

Fakih—who graduated from St. John’s Prep HS in Queens before relocating to Michigan with her family—spoke to the TV show while she was practicing for Monday’s Miss Universe pageant.

She and Obama might have different views on the mosque, but the Lebanese-born stunner harbors no ill will toward the president.

In fact, she dedicated her barely-there costume for the beauty extravaganza to Obama.

Fakih unveiled the sexy get-up in a YouTube video, saying, “Mr. President, the amazing costume I will wear during the Miss Universe pageant represents the celebration of life, liberty and all that is American.”

She said she dedicated the gold lamé outfit—a Victoria’s Secret-like interpretation of the American eagle on the presidential seal featuring massive gold wings and little else—to Obama as “a tribute to your work to bring peace to the world.”

Fakih’s stance on the controversial mosque is not the first time the pageant winner has made headlines for her off-stage activities.

Pictures of the 24-year-old—who recently told the Detroit Free Press she was fasting for Ramadan while preparing for Miss Universe—pole dancing surfaced shortly after she won the crown.

The shots were taken in 2007 at a dance contest, and included images of her working her way up a stripper pole in tight shorts and bopping around with dollar bills in her bra.

Saturday, August 21, 2010

7892: Rock Star Furniture Salesmen.

Walter E. Smithe is a furniture store chain in Chicago and Indiana run by three brothers who star in some really terrible commercials. Here’s one example.

Friday, August 20, 2010

7891: Burger King Flame-Broils Minorities.

The New York Times published the story below. A brief MultiCultClassics perspective immediately follows…

Burger King Again Consolidates Agency Assignments

By Stuart Elliott

Two months after consolidating some major advertising assignments, the Burger King Corporation is paring its agency roster again, this time affecting agencies that specialize in marketing to African-American and Hispanic consumers.

The changes, to be announced on Tuesday afternoon, are indicative of a trend that has accelerated as younger consumers, who are often less likely to use traditional labels of race and ethnicity, have become more of a force in the consumer marketplace. As a result, advertisers are rethinking their decades-long approach of assigning duties for minority markets to agencies that specialize in those markets.

Those shifts, by advertisers like Home Depot, have stirred spirited discussion, however, as some shops that are owned by members of minority groups call it ill-advised to remove them from agency rosters in favor of general-market or mainstream agencies.

Burger King is making the changes “based on where our consumer is,” Mike Kappitt, chief marketing officer for North America, said in a phone interview, particularly when considering “the X and Y generations” and their beliefs in the “melting pot.”

Consolidating the assignments will provide “a consistent voice,” he added, without overlooking minority consumers.

Leo Leon, vice president for marketing impact at the Burger King North American operations, estimated that a third of the United States population is composed of minority-group members.

“We felt the right decision for Burger King is to address all our consumers as a whole,” he added, “instead of taking a segmented approach.”

Burger King will consolidate the duties to create campaigns for adults, whatever their ethnicity, at Crispin Porter & Bogusky in Miami and Boulder, Colo., The agency, owned by MDC Partners, is responsible for ads aimed at the general market and has also been creating most ads aimed at black consumers.

The decision means that LatinWorks in Austin, Tex., will no longer create campaigns for Burger King aimed at Hispanic consumers. And the UniWorld Group in Brooklyn, N.Y., which has been creating some national radio campaigns aimed at the African-American market, will relinquish those duties as well.

Burger King will continue to run ads for Hispanics in Spanish as well as English, Mr. Leon said, adding that Crispin Porter had already “helped out a little” with the creation of ads in Spanish.

Although LatinWorks is losing its Burger King business, it was named last week as the new Hispanic creative agency in the United States for the Chevrolet division of General Motors.

Burger King is also consolidating the assignment for what is known as field marketing, which involves sending agency representatives into local and regional markets to help a company sell goods and products on the grass-roots level.

The assignment, which had been divided between UniWorld and Wunderman, part of the Young & Rubicam Brands division of WPP, will now be handled solely by Wunderman. Most of the field team members at UniWorld who currently work on the Burger King account who will be offered jobs at Wunderman, the Burger King executives said.

Although the Burger King executives did not disclose the spending for the assignments that are being shifted, they said that they planned to increase the amount of money spent on ads aimed at black and Hispanic consumers by more than 30 percent.

The last time Burger King trimmed its agency roster came in June, when Burger King dismissed Campbell Mithun in Minneapolis, part of the Interpublic Group of Companies, which had been handling ads aimed at children and families. That assignment was consolidated at Pitch, an agency in Culver City, Calif., that has been the promotions agency of record for Burger King.

The changes in the Burger King agency line-up come after the hiring of a new global chief marketing officer, Natalia Franco, who had worked at Coca-Cola.

Wow, this announcement is a whopper—and it looks like the minorities got flame-broiled. Yet there’s no mention of the proceedings at Advertising Age and Adweek. And it only rated appearing in the blog of New York Times ad journalist Stuart Elliott, who has never really shown interest or expertise in non-White advertising.

Uniworld had been handling Burger King since 1983. Elliott mentioned that the agency created radio campaigns for the fast feeder, so maybe the shop was being quietly phased out. LatinWorks picked up Hispanic-focused duties in 2009. Regardless of the length of service, to completely abandon partnering with minority shops is a dramatic decision for Burger King. Kinda bullshit too.

Burger King spinning this as “the-youth-market-believes-in-a-melting-pot” is a crock. It’s more like the fast feeder believes in putting its marketing budget into one pot. Besides, it’s no secret that most of the cultural trends among youth originate with minorities. Even idiots including Marian Salzman recognize the reality. BK’s position should have led to increasing minority involvement.

Elliott wrote that CP+B “is responsible for ads aimed at the general market and has also been creating most ads aimed at black consumers.” Um, CP+B is not qualified to speak to non-White audiences, as they’ve produced some polarizing and culturally clueless communications over the years.

Additionally, CP+B has acknowledged the industry is lacking diversity—essentially admitting to the color deficit in its own hallways. The move to award business typically slotted for minority agencies to a White agency flies in the face of BK’s alleged commitment to supplier diversity. Perhaps CP+B will address this when tasked with developing diversity campaigns as depicted at the top of this post.

What’s with the plan to bump spending for minority audiences by over 30 percent? Did CP+B realize it could never operate with the minimal money minority agencies usually receive? Or is BK trying to combat potential negative reactions by appearing to be generous to the colored people? BTW, a 30 percent raise probably still equals a substandard total.

In the end, “Have it your way” no longer applies to minorities.

7890: Wyclef Jean Not In The Running.

From The Chicago Tribune…

Wyclef Jean reportedly excluded from list of Haiti presidential candidates
An electoral official says the hip-hop artist fails to meet several legal requirements for candidacy, but does not elaborate.

From Reuters

Port-au-Prince, Haiti — Haitian American hip-hop star Wyclef Jean is not on the list of approved candidates who satisfy legal requirements to run in Haiti’s Nov. 28 presidential election, an electoral official said Thursday.

The presidential bid by the 39-year-old singer-songwriter and international celebrity had triggered widespread enthusiasm in his poor, earthquake-ravaged Caribbean homeland. But it had been challenged on the grounds that Jean, whose primary residence is in New Jersey, did not fully meet the requirements, including a key one on Haitian residency.

“He is not on the list as I speak,” said the member of the country’s provisional electoral council, who asked not to be identified.

He said the electoral disputes bureau entrusted with settling challenges to candidacies had ruled that Jean did not meet several legal requirements, but he gave no details.

Jean, who left Haiti with his family to live in Brooklyn, N.Y., at the age of 9 and launched his music career in the United States, was among 34 contenders for the Haitian presidency who filed their documents with the council this month.

There was no immediate comment from Jean, who earlier Thursday met President Rene Preval in Port-au-Prince, the nation’s capital.

The provisional electoral council was expected Friday to formally publish the list of approved candidates to succeed Preval, who cannot seek reelection, having served two terms in office.

Haiti is still struggling to recover from the Jan. 12 earthquake that killed more than 200,000 people and dealt a crippling blow to a country that was already the poorest in the Western Hemisphere.

Thursday, August 19, 2010

7889: Don’t Retreat…Retweet.

Tweeting and Assorted Birdbrains in a MultiCultClassics Monologue…

• Sarah Palin came out in defense of Dr. Laura Schlessinger. The former vice-presidential candidate tweeted supportive phrases like, “Dr. Laura: Don’t retreat…reload.” Palin added, “Dr.Laura=even more powerful & effective w/out the shackles, so watch out Constitutional obstructionists. And b thankful 4 her voice, America!” Um, Schlessinger and shackles should not appear in the same sentence.

• A poll showed nearly one in five Americans think President Barack Obama is a Muslim. The same group also believes Sarah Palin is a genius and Dr. Laura Schlessinger is a civil rights activist.

• A Muslim hostess at a Disney-owned restaurant filed a discrimination complaint, charging she was sent home for refusing to remove her hijab. No word if she attends services with President Obama.

7888: Check Out BP’s Blunders.

Banner advertising for BP boasts, “When tragedy strikes, people need help without hassles,” and, “We will keep working. We will make this right.” And it’s all alongside a story detailing how claimants expecting compensation payments received check-free envelopes.