How Did This Happen?
Did Hilary lose because the undecided decided at the last minute that the greatest nation in the world still wasn’t ready for a woman in the White House? Was the election rigged? Did the Dems sit home on their hands instead of going to vote?
The polls? If you’d like to see how pollsters such as Mason Dixon can manipulate anyone to say most anything, please contact me. I’ll send you proof.
The media decimated this election both nationally and in each state. Months ago we questioned why they allowed the Man Who Would Be King to control his message on air, online and on the radio. They gave him the Golden Ticket to say what he wanted, when he wanted and from where he wanted - though never it seemed, in person, in studio. Those same outlets are now shaking their heads wondering what happened?
What we cannot do is run to the streets without permits, burn American flags or close down freeways. Demonstrations must be peaceful or we are just as bad, if not worse, than the very person we are protesting.
Last night’s protests showed the world we were angry, but without a definitive, unified, message in each city as to why people were in the streets other than they were angry, it was an opportunity lost.
We have much to save - and when we look at it like that, instead of what we have to lose, perhaps we organize the way any winning battle can - with positive energy, with a clear, concise one-voice message, with structure and with passion and with educated information for the media to help move our message forward.
When you have strength in numbers, you use that strength, you take the social media mic and you address not Trump, but our representatives in Washington to make sure this never, ever happens again. You let them know it is now their job to protect us in what will become the most contentious environment we most likely have ever experienced since the days of Nixon and the Viet Nam war. We have heard their rhetoric for years and yet, here we are.
Bookmark this link, and be prepared for what will be the fight of our lives and the lives our daughters, sons, nieces, nephews, mothers, fathers, grandparents.
It is our Guide to the Unknown.
Follow the Verified Twitter pages of your representatives in Congress. Whether they are here only until January or will be walking the halls of DC come next year, let them know now's the time for them to #suitup #showup #getbusyorgetlost because if they can’t do the job, we’ll vote in others who will.
We can watch the deck chairs be re-arranged on the Titanic or we can get busy. I vote for getting busy.
NYT v Amazon
By now, you’ve read it.
As of this writing, it’s received over 5,000 comments.
The Sunday New York Times Page One feature was a fascinating read and allegedly well researched. There was really nothing shocking disclosed as corporate culture demands and creates the type of environment described in the story with no compelling need to repeat it here.
The shocking part was Amazon's response in both the manufactured memo from Amazon Chief Exeutive Jeff Bezos, and the one from Jay Carney, Amazon SVP of Global Corporate Affairs, in believing he might control the burn via a remote feed from Seattle during a live interview on Monday’s (17 August 2015) CBS Early Show.
I’d ask what was Carney thinking by not being in-studio, however, we’re not sure if thinking was part of this excuse for a press strategy.
Based on what we have learned of Amazon, let's go out on a limb and say Amazon most likely has a jet on call 24/7 regardless of the day or time of the week. Unless there was a family emergency with Jay (and forgive me if there was), the former White House Press Secretary should have been on that plane Sunday and in studio at CBS on Monday.
CBS took the high road. Just prior to Carney’s interview (most likely pre-taped, pre-show), Jodi Kantor the NYT journalist who co-wrote the Sunday cover story with David Streitfield, was interviewed live at the Early Show desk. Amazon facts and figures, including their overall market value of $250 billion were discussed and displayed as graphics. If Kantor had remained seated there during Carney's interview, it could have gotten ugly.
It got ugly regardless.
Carney opened by saying to Charlie (Rose) that it was great to “see” him but stopped mid-sentence. On a remote feed, Jay most likely could not see Early Show co-hosts Charlie Rose, Gayle King or Holly Williams, nor their facial expressions or body language responses during his interview.
Then again, neither did we.
Perhaps this was the trade out Carney negotiated for giving an exclusive interview to CBS News and CBS agreed, knowing the amount of traffic they would attract to their digital platform. Or perhaps we’re giving too much credit to both or either side on this one.
Carney was presented with the gift of a national broadcast platform and international digital platform and uninterrupted time to state Amazon’s case. Instead he wasted it with an admittedly “fundamental reaction” to the Times feature, drawing countless comparisons of the corporate culture at Amazon to similar tech giants.
Finally, back at the desk and on camera, correspondent Holly Williams was as seemingly frustrated as all of us, and asked if Jay had "a concrete rebuttal" to the feature.
He did. Sort of.
By then, our coffee was cold and we were already shutting down, as he had blown the valuable opportunity afforded to him by disrespecting those of us that turned on and tuned in to hear something, anything of substance.
Then, as Jon Stewart used to enticingly proclaim with his wonderful "Go on..." This Happened.
In the closing moments of his interview, Charlie asked, and Carney admitted that Amazon does not pay for maternity leave.
Carney was then quick to throw one final Hail Mary comparison in that Amazon was one of “80% of U.S. companies" that don’t cover maternity leave.
With every example he was quick to bore us with during the interview, this one wasn't weak. It was reprehensible.
What he didn’t mention was how many of those U.S. companies had that overall market value of $250 billion, the figure CBS reminded us of at the beginning of the segment.
Then again, when you phone it in, you're going to miss a few great moments by believing you're the smartest guy in the room when in fact, you're not even there.
This post was the lead feature in the August 18, 2015 issue of PRNewswer.
The Chain Breaker: A Dairy Queen Like No Other
Jackie Varriano CONTRIBUTOR
It's 8:30 a.m. and the Dairy Queen in Moorhead, Minnesota is already buzzing. The scent of sugar, vanilla, and toasted waffle batter hangs heavy in the air as two soft serve machines quietly hum, whipping the soft serve base into a semi-frozen state. Girls in their tie-dyed t-shirt uniforms chat quietly as they dip Dilly Bars in chocolate, butterscotch, and cherry.
The tiny neighborhood shop sits squarely on the corner of Main Avenue and 8th Street, with only the space of a narrow sidewalk between its three service windows and the busy intersection. From the outside, it looks exactly as it did in when Bob and Phyllis Litherland opened for business in 1949: the front third of the building is wrapped in glass, allowing customers to peek in as their cones are dipped and Blizzards are whipped. Large plastic red umbrellas embedded in the concrete shade the only seating area.
The Moorhead Dairy Queen has never been a year-round thing: it opens each spring on March 1. Even though the temp was -11 on opening day last year, over 1,200 customers still stopped by.
With its seasonal hours and walk-up service windows—plus a penchant for producing menu items you won't see elsewhere—the shop has more in common with the first Dairy Queen, which opened in 1940 in Joliet, Illinois, than the sleek stone-walled Grill and Chills that make up many of the franchise's over 5,000 restaurants today.
Not only does it operate the same way as it did when it opened, the Moorhead Dairy Queen is a local icon because it's where the Dilly Bar, a beloved chocolate-dipped ice cream puck-on-a-stick, was invented—but that's not something Dairy Queen's central corporate office admits.
According to Caroline H. Otis, who recounts the DQ story in Cone with the Curl on Top, Dairy Queen credits franchise owner Frank Moffett with the invention. "I don't think they would give this store any credit because Bob [Litherland, the original owner] was kind of a rebel," says Troy DeLeon, the current owner of the Moorhead DQ. "It's been written up many times that this is the place and no one's ever come back and said 'no it's not.'"
According to DeLeon, in the 1950s, Dairy Queen didn't have preferred vendors or a corporate warehouse, and salesmen often stopped by to show off new products. They took their time with each shop in an effort to create lasting relationships with store owners. One day two Kohler salesmen stopped by Litherland's Dairy Queen to see if he needed anything and got to talking about new ideas for frozen novelties. Litherland pressed a thick, round disk of ice cream onto a piece of cardboard. One of the salesman put a tongue depressor through at the base, creating a sort of ice cream lollipop. As a final touch, they dipped the whole thing in chocolate.
"They held it up and someone said, 'isn't that a dilly!'" DeLeon recounts, before shrugging his shoulders and explaining that dilly was basically 1950s slang for "eureka."
Soon operators from Dairy Queens all over the Midwest came to the store in Moorhead to learn how to make the Dilly Bar. The treat became so popular that medical supply companies were constantly sold out of tongue depressors. "Now they're specifically made for Dairy Queen," says DeLeon.
At the time, many Dairy Queen operators made their own batches of the standard menu items in house, but according to DeLeon, it was out of the ordinary to experiment further. Litherland was a bit of a maverick, though, always going off menu. In addition to making the regular Dairy Queen offerings, he was constantly creating new confections, like the Monkey Tail, a chocolate-covered frozen banana that didn't appear elsewhere and is still sold at the shop, and the flaming sundae.
"He would make a hot fudge sundae and then he would dip a sugar cube in I don't know what, and then he'd light it on fire," says DeLeon.
Litherland also made all of his own toppings from scratch; he whipped up barbecue sauce for his sloppy joe-like sandwiches and crushed pineapple for garnishing sundaes. Most other branches ordered these items wholesale from corporate, and as Dairy Queen grew and introduced new products, they centralized production of ice cream novelties. Franchises were a turnkey operation, with minimal training provided for employees. The chain discontinued the cherry, blueberry, butterscotch, pineapple, raspberry, and banana flavors used as toppings for sundaes, and stopped making Candy Crunch, a nut/sprinkle/candy topping for cones—all items DeLeon still makes and sells.
"Corporate would love for us to disappear, no question about that," he says.
When the DeLeons took over, the original 1949 contract transferred, meaning the Moorhead DQ doesn't have to adhere to many strict company rules. Had they signed a newer contract, they would have had no choice but to discontinue their barbecue sandwiches and Polish dogs and launch a full Orange Julius menu like many newer DQ franchises. Thanks to their old-school contract, the Moorhead DQ still pays the original 1949 royalties rate on Dairy Queen treats that they order from the corporate warehouse. Perhaps most importantly, DeLeon is able to source ingredients from outside providers and still make many desserts in-house.
"We pay a percentage of whatever the item costs back to corporate and the only thing we pay royalties on are the novelties we buy and our (ice cream) mix. For every gallon we use we pay 32 cents," notes DeLeon, a figure that's roughly 1 percent of cost, compared to current DQ standards of 4 to 5 percent.
As far as changes go, he's redone the floors, but DeLeon still keeps all the sundae toppings inside the vintage wood-sealed walk-in refrigerator that Litherland built by hand. Opening the heavy door and stepping in, he points out the mint-flavored simple syrup they make alongside their hot fudge and all the fruit flavors DQ has eliminated.
"We're just carrying on Bob's tradition," he says proudly. "We aren't here to tell you how it's supposed to be; we want to know how you want it."
DeLeon builds the ice cream cakes himself. "Corporate-made cakes have a six month shelf life and you don't know—how long does it sit at the manufacturer? Then it gets shipped to the warehouse, and then it gets shipped here. We rotate our stuff constantly. People say our cakes taste different, and that's because we make them all the time."
Naked Dilly Bars awaiting their chocolate, cherry, or butterscotch baths fill the freezers, alongside Mr. Malties, the chocolate malt on a stick that was popular in the '50s but has all but disappeared. Employees also make Peanut Buster Bars every day, layering soft serve, peanuts, and fudge in a plastic cup and placing a wooden stick in the center before freezing the filled cups until solid. Once frozen solid, employees remove the cups and dip the treat in chocolate. They've got Chipper Sandwiches;vanilla ice cream sandwiched between two chocolate chip cookies and dipped in chocolate;and plenty of Monkey Tails, the chocolate-dipped frozen bananas on a stick that Litherland created.
Two decades after taking over, DeLeon says that people still ask him if he's the new owner—after Litherland sold the store, he stayed on for a few years, and even after retirement, he often visited to check in on the customers. There was no grand reopening announcing new ownership, as the DeLeons didn't want the community to get alarmed by the change.
Why does DeLeon follow Litherland's model, making so much from scratch when it's all available from central warehousing?
DeLeon jokes that it's to keep his workers busy: "You go to most fast food restaurants and if it's not busy, what is the staff doing? Sitting around, talking, getting into trouble, looking on their phones. We don't have that problem," he says. At the Moorhead Dairy Queen there's always something to do: decorating cakes, dipping Dilly Bars or other novelties, filling special orders. And "If there isn't something to make," he notes, "there's cleaning."
Despite this tough 'time to lean, time to clean' mentality, it's clear DeLeon has other motivations for hand crafting so many of their desserts. "There's a little pride that goes into making it, rather than just ordering it. Honestly, it takes talent. Anyone can order it," he says with a quiet smile.
Some of his employees have returned every summer for nearly a decade, always trying to come up with an invention that rivals the Dilly Bar. A few times they've come close.
DeLeon joins the friendly competition; at one point he created a taco shell mold for waffle batter. Once molded, he'd dip the end of the waffle-taco in chocolate and fill it with whatever Blizzard flavor the customer wanted.
He's working on recreating a dish he remembers from his childhood: "It's this great big bowl of all the toppings and tons of ice cream. We need to have this signature treat—I know college students would love and sit out here for an hour eating it. Something unique to just this store. But we haven't figured out a container to put it in."
"We've kept Bob's idea of being different going strong. We have the opportunity to try unique things, as opposed to a Grill and Chill you have to follow the rules. They can't come in and tell us we can't do things."
Instead DeLeon listens to his customers.
"You want a Blizzard with chocolate sauce and only four pieces of cookie dough? We'll do it, no problem. It's not like you're asking for the world to stop."
Full story and photos here.
About Jackie Varriano
The St. Valentine’s Day massacre of Ray Rice cold-cocking his then-fiancée in a Jersey casino elevator finally set off a firestorm that must continue to burn.
When trash-talking TMZ exposed the tape that everyone knew Goodell and Company viewed back in February, we all finally saw what domestic violence looks like prior to a black eye covered up by Cover Girl and a turtleneck hiding finger marks from being lifted feet-off-the-floor prior to being hurled across the room by husbands and lovers, linebackers and defensive ends.
Since the Rice incident, more reports of physical violence have been reported in record numbers. The National Domestic Hotline’s landing page now alerts those brave enough to take the first step that due to an increase in call volume and web traffic, there might be a delay in their response to the victim on the other end of the computer or the phone. Domestic Hotline CEO Katie Ray-Jones states there’s been an 84% spike in calls since the video went public. Still, she says, tens of thousands of calls go unanswered due to a lack of sufficient staff. The NFL has pledged a multiyear, multimillion-dollar pledge.
The NFL and the NFL Players Association are beefing up their ranks with a former FBI director, a former Federal prosecutor, female advisors and most recently, Dawn Hudson as the NFL’s Chief Marketing Officer. Hudson spent the last five years at a consulting group and 11 years at one of the NFL’s biggest advertisers, PepsiCo - including a final stint as North American President and CEO.
Her official quote in NFL’s press release announcing her appointment stated, "I am excited to join the NFL where I will be able to combine two of my passions -- sports and marketing,” ... “Sports have always played a big role in my life and in my career. While at Pepsi, I worked with numerous sports properties, including the NFL, and I also served as a LGPA board member." End quote.
With zero reference as to how Hudson might pick up the ball and run towards that Super Bowl “Get It Right” goal promised by the Park Avenue Pimp, the league took their press release, injected their uppity egos and didn't bother to hide the fact that the Hudson hiring simply put lipstick on the pig. Regardless, they’re still wallowing around in the mud.
We want to assume that in the NFL’s bum rush to place a smart girl in their CMO position, an intern was assigned to bang out a quote for the press release and in their haste, forgot to ask Hudson for her input or approval. We fear it won’t be the last time they’ll forget to ask her what she thinks.
A six-game suspension for a first offense is offensive. Until the league remembers they are the NFL and not the WWE and takes a zero-tolerance stance, these buildings with legs and no hearts will get a second chance to possibly finish off what they didn’t do the first time around.
This most likely was not the first, nor will it be the last time Rice’s now-wife Janay Palmer will feel the force of Rice’s fist. She continues to be the victim of Ravens owner Steve Bisciotti’s non-stop arrogance and ignorance in defending himself (and previously his then-high-priced running back) and we can only hope that eventually someone will mercifully wire Bisciotti’s jaw shut.
The sad statistic is most victims of domestic violence stay silent because they feel they deserve the abuse. They put themselves, their children and their pets in the line of fire, believing “it won’t happen again.”
When she had the chance to walk away, Janay stayed and then married this monster, possibly hoping for a changed man and a life of luxury as the wife of an NFL player with a multi-million dollar salary.
Did she fear jeopardizing his livelihood was worth jeopardizing her life?
Perhaps this is what “beating her senseless” truly means.
National Domestic Violence Hotline: 1-800-799-SAFE (7233)
Jane Hoffman has created successful communications and marketing strategies, produced live events and established effective community relations programs for a diverse range of clients and initiatives as both an independent and in-house specialist for decades.
She became a football fan the year Joe Namath led the Jets to Super Bowl victory, still can't believe the Patriots won three NFL championships and is presently watching hesitantly from the sidelines.
(JH notes: This guest post appeared in Mediabistro on October 3, 2014 before the Pats won their fourth NFL championship. The opinions were mine alone and do not/did not in any way reflect or represent the policies or opinions of any of my clients.)