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Want to Get in the Game? You’ll Need a Coach PDF Print E-mail
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Written by Ginny Grimsley   
Tuesday, 21 February 2012 08:39

By: Marsha Friedman

We recently lost a legend, boxing coach and trainer Angelo Dundee, the cornerman for world heavyweight champ Muhammad Ali.

I’m a huge fan of world championship boxing – and boxing doesn’t get huger than Ali!

He was one of the great athletes who relied on “Angie” to advise him in the ring. Neither Ali nor Sugar Ray Leonard, both powerful and gifted, were crazy enough to think they could win all by themselves.

And yet, look at how many of us make that very mistake!

I published Celebritize Yourself in the spring of 2009. At the time, I’d been in public relations for nearly 19 years. My book was a how-to, based on my experience, for building yourself as an expert in your field – an expert celebrity, if you will.  Part of the method in my book is how to get lots of media exposure and how to be a great guest. Hello!? Of course I didn’t need anyone’s help with media for Celebritize Yourself! And even if I thought I did, how foolish would that look – the PR expert getting help with her PR?

But the reality is, we all need a coach. Ali and Leonard needed Coach Dundee. Giants quarterback Eli Manning needed Coach Tom Coughlin on Super Bowl Sunday. Tiger Woods has a swing coach and he had a life coach, his dad Earl Woods. Judging from the way things turned out after the elder Woods passed away, Tiger still needed a life coach.

When I set out to develop my media message for Celebritize Yourself, I found it a much bigger challenge than I’d expected. What comes completely naturally for me in helping clients was not at all natural when it came to my own book. Spending months immersed in writing will do that to a person. I became so involved in writing, I had a hard time stepping back and objectively assessing the options.

So I called my good friend Lee Habeeb, a media coach to many of the stars of talk radio: Michael Medved, Mike Gallagher, Dennis Prager, Hugh Hewitt and Bill Bennett.

Lee readily came to my rescue – and assured me that getting some coaching for my own book promotion was not only quite all right, it was essential. We spent many hours discussing critical messages he saw in Celebritize Yourself that I never would have spotted on my own – being too blinded by the trees to have any view of the forest.  We worked on sound-bite answers and alternate ways to get my message out.  He shared experiences from his days as executive producer of The Laura Ingraham Show, when guests would be cut short because of how boring they were or their infomercial approach. All good lessons from a pro.

So often I’ve heard writers and entrepreneurs, some of whom have spent years on their projects, say they plan to “handle the marketing” alone after they’ve finally finished. That’s like entering a crowded playing field wearing blinders. When you’re so close to what you’ve created, when you’ve been living with it in your head for so long, it’s difficult to see the full spectrum of marketing angles and possibilities.

Your novel about brothers fighting against each other in the Civil War could also make you the perfect person to talk about patriotism, family, fraternal bondsand the importance of standing up for personal convictions.

Your supplement for joint pain could be a springboard for a Valentine’s Day talk radio discussion of enjoying romance despite chronic pain; it could become an article with tips for exercises to supplement the supplement; it could even turn into a story about active grandparenting.

After you’ve poured heart and soul into a book, product or business, at the very least, get some coaching from friends who know your project, or fellow writers and entrepreneurs who have had their own successes.  Best of all would be finding people with experience in the media. Brainstorm the possibilities for publicizing your effort and you’ll soon see the potential for angles and messages that are far greater than you might have imagined alone.

If you’ve set high goals and you’re serious about the results, consider hiring a professional. It worked for Muhammad Ali!

About Marsha Friedman

Marsha Friedman is a 21-year veteran of the public relations industry and a sought after national public speaker on the power of publicity. She is the founder and CEO of EMSI Public Relations (www.GuaranteedNationalPR.com), a national firm that provides PR strategy, promotion and publicity services to corporations, entertainers, authors and professional firms. Marsha is also the author of the book, Celebritize Yourself: The 3-Step Method to Increase Your Visibility and Explode Your Business. When she is not running her business, she has Cherish the Children, a non-profit foundation that helps under-privileged local foster children.

 
Judiciary Exec: Gimmicks in President's Justice Dept. Budget PDF Print E-mail
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Written by Grassley Press   
Monday, 20 February 2012 15:40

Prepared Opening Statement of Senator Chuck Grassley

Ranking Member, Senate Committee on the Judiciary

Executive Business Meeting

Thursday, February 16, 2012

 

Mr. Chairman,

 

We have a request to hold over the Hurwitz nomination.  We can voice vote out the remaining nominees – Baker, Lee, Tharp and Russell.

 

Before we vote on the nominations, I’d like to say a few words about the release of the President’s fiscal 2013 budget that was released earlier this week.  Specifically, I want to talk about the Department of Justice budget which this committee has a distinct interest in reviewing.

 

The Justice Department budget, like the rest of the President’s fiscal 2013 budget, is loaded full of budgetary gimmicks and sleight of hand.

 

While the budget claims to be nearly $1.8 billion below the fiscal 2012 appropriations, many of the savings achieved in this budget are one-time recessions from existing balances that remain in Justice Department accounts.  These one-time recessions are more than just deceiving, they are actually harmful to the long-term viability of the federal government’s budget.

 

For example, those who attended yesterday’s hearing heard from the Government Accountability Office (GAO) about how the Justice Department has been carrying over a balance in the Bulletproof Vest Partnership program dating back as far as fiscal 1999.  According to GAO, those funds include $27 million sitting in an account that could be deobligated and used to offset future appropriations.  This is the same tactic being used by the department throughout the rest of its budget.

 

Now, using unspent or unallocated funds is a good thing—and the department shouldn’t be carrying over significant balances—otherwise, we’ll need to cut down future appropriations.  However, this becomes a problem when these one-time recessions are used to offset base-line spending increases—as the department’s fiscal 2013 budget does.

 

These one-time recessions are used to mask spending increases for a variety of Justice Department accounts.  For instance, the Marshals Service has a net increase of $29 million, but it only appears to be a $12 million increase to the baseline when offset with $17 million in one-time recessions from construction and salary funds.  The FBI appears to be reduced by $48 million, but in reality the FBI sees a net budget increase of $114 million, offset by a one-time recession of $162 million.

 

Same story with the Drug Enforcement Administration budget where they show a net increase of only $10 million, when in fact the baseline increase is $25 million offset by $15 million in recessions.  The list goes on and on throughout the rest of the budget.

 

Perhaps the most concerning part of the department’s budget is the fact that many of the spending increases will be paid for out of the Crime Victims Fund.  This fund was created in 1984 by the Victims of Crime Act.  It is financed by fines and penalties paid by convicted federal offenders, not from tax dollars.  The funds in the account are to be used for victim’s services and assistance.

 

For years, the fund has had an administrative cap placed on it by the Appropriations Committee.  This arbitrary cap limits the amount of funds that go to help victims, creating an additional funding stream for appropriators to pay for programs they want to fund.

 

The fiscal 2013 budget does manage to increase this cap from $705 million, to just over $1 billion.  This should be good news for victims, but it is not.

 

Instead of providing this money to victims, the department’s budget, in the department’s own words, “proposes to preserve important OVW and OJP grant programs that directly or indirectly assist victims of crime by funding them through [Crime Victims Fund] receipts…rather than with discretionary budget authority.”  So, instead of asking Congress to fund grant programs, the department is asking to use Crime Victims Fund money to pay for programs that “indirectly assist victims”.

 

This is a significant change and one that allows the Justice Department to continue to increase funding for bureaucratic components like the Criminal Division, Civil Division, Tax Division, and law enforcement components like the FBI, DEA, and Marshals, while decreasing net expenditures.

 

What this does is essentially allow the Justice Department to increase the size of the bureaucracy, without looking like they’re spending more money.  Instead, the crime victims fund takes the hit.

 

This is not a budget that seeks to lead for the future.  It is not a budget that faces the reality that the federal government is too big already.  It is an election year ploy to say they are cutting the budget while using gimmicks to pay for it.

 

The only solace is that Majority Leader Reid has already signaled that he has no intention of bringing such a dead on arrival budget to the Senate floor.

 

So, keeping with the practice that the Senate Majority has followed for more than 1,000 days, we don’t really need to worry about voting for the gimmicks in the department’s budget.  However, we’ll need to keep an eye out so that these gimmicks don’t find their way into an appropriations bill.

 

Thank you.

 
Broadway to Campaign Trail, Mormon’s the Buzz PDF Print E-mail
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Written by Ginny Grimsley   
Monday, 20 February 2012 15:12
From Romney and Huntsman’s Polygamist Ancestor to Christian Critics, Expert Shares Insights

For a religion many Americans still describe as “cultish” and “secretive,” the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints has gained a lot of mainstream clout in the past couple of years.

On Broadway, the irreverent musical satire “The Book of Mormon” was the hands-down favorite of 2011, winning nine Tony Awards. On television, “Big Love,” a fictional HBO series about a Mormon polygamist, enjoyed a five-year run ending last March. And on the GOP presidential campaign trail, front-runner Mitt Romney and Jon Huntsman are both Mormons with deep roots in the 181-year-old church.

Los Angeles attorney Robert P. DesJardins studied the religion and its history for his newest novel, Land of the Saints (http://robertpdesjardins.authorsxpress.com/). He found a history that provided him not only with plenty of mystery and intrigue for his fiction, but also gave him insights into the religion’s role in contemporary America.

Did you know?

• Former governors Romney and Huntsman share a common ancestor: Parley Pratt. An original apostle of the church founded in 1830 by Joseph Smith, Pratt was Romney’s great-great grandfather and Huntsman’s great-great-great grandfather, DesJardins says. Pratt was said to have had 12 wives in the years before polygamy was banned by the church in 1890. (Current members practicing plural marriage are excommunicated.) Pratt was killed in 1857 by the estranged husband of a woman with whom he’d become involved.

• Romney and Huntsman are not the first church members to run for president. Joseph Smith, who founded the church in 1830, began his run for president on Jan. 29, 1844. It ended with his assassination five months later on June 27.

• Contrary to popular belief, the church’s growth has slowed dramatically since 1999. From 1974 to 1994, it was said to be the fastest-growing American-made religion, but the numbers started dropping in 1999, DesJardins says. There are now about 14 million Mormons worldwide and they comprise just 2 percent of the U.S. population, which is interesting, DesJardins notes, since they comprise 28 percent of the Republican and Democratic presidential candidates.

• One issue that surfaces in heavily evangelical Christian states such as Iowa and South Carolina is whether Mormons are Christians. “Mormons believe in God the father, Jesus the son and the Holy Ghost. They believe in Jesus as our savior and Messiah,” DesJardins says. “So how why would anyone say they’re not Christians? The difference is, they do not believe the three gods are one. And they believe in human deification – that humans can become gods. Those are two fundamental reasons why some Christians say Mormons do not share their faith.”

• The Latter-day Saints is well-known as the keeper of the largest genealogical library in the world, with more than 2.4 million rolls of records on microfilm, and a database with names of 600 million dear departed. Why all the data on non-church members? Mormons can assure ancestors are together for all eternity through baptism of the dead; living church members stand inn as proxies.

The church has long been regarded with suspicion, and even outright violence. Despite its growing prominence in American culture, those attitudes still prevail, DesJardins says.

“The church itself hired two ad agencies in 2009 to research public perception and was disappointed to find Americans still describe it as ‘cultish,’ ‘secretive’ and ‘sexist,’’’ DesJardins says. “It set about to change that with a multi-million-dollar TV, billboard and Internet campaign in 2010.”

The campaign expanded in 2011.

DesJardins expects it will do little to help a religion that still idolizes its authoritarian founder, carefully guards secrets and ceremonies, and reserves positions of power within the church for men.

About Robert P. DesJardins

A successful Los Angeles lawyer for more than 35 years, DesJardins is now a lecturer, private judge and judge pro tempore for the California Superior Court - in addition to being a novelist. In Land of the Saints, his third book, his main character is an attorney who finds himself drawn into the mysterious and dangerous world of Mormon spirituality after a friend is charged with murder. DesJardins is also the author of "The Mistral and A Darker Shade of Orange."

 
DAVENPORT MAN WINS $10,000 LOTTERY PRIZE PDF Print E-mail
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Written by Amy Garringer   
Monday, 20 February 2012 15:07

DES MOINES, Iowa – A Davenport man won the first top prize of $10,000 playing the lottery’s “PAC-MAN™” instant-scratch game.

Frank Reyes claimed his prize Monday at the Iowa Lottery’s regional office in Cedar Rapids. He purchased his winning ticket at Casey’s, 222 Front St. in Buffalo.

PAC-MAN™ is a $2 scratch game. Players scratch each play. If “PAC-MAN™” goes from start to finish without meeting a “ghost,” players win the prize shown. If they find a “cherry” symbol, they win $10 instantly. If they find the “strawberry” symbol, they win $50 instantly. Overall odds for winning in the game are 1 in 3.94.

Twelve top prizes of $10,000 are still up for grabs in PAC-MAN™, as well as 880 prizes of $100.

Players can enter eligible non-winning scratch tickets online to earn “Points For Prizes™” points. The point value will be revealed to the player on the website upon successful submission of each eligible valid ticket. There is a limit of 30 ticket entries per day. To participate in Points For Prizes™, a player must register for a free account at ialottery.com. Registration is a one-time process. Merchandise that can be ordered by using points will be listed on the website in the Points For Prizes™ online store. Players can choose from items in categories such as apparel, automotive, jewelry, sporting, tools and more.

Since the lottery’s start in 1985, its players have won more than $2.8 billion in prizes while the lottery has raised more than $1.3 billion for the state programs that benefit all Iowans.

Today, lottery proceeds in Iowa have three main purposes: They provide support for veterans, help for a variety of significant projects through the state General Fund, and backing for the Vision Iowa program, which was implemented to create tourism destinations and community attractions in the state and build and repair schools.

 

PAC-MAN™ & ©NAMCO BANDAI Games Inc. 

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Grassley, Issa Seek Independent Review of FDA’s Monitoring of “FDA Nine” PDF Print E-mail
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Written by Grassley Press   
Monday, 20 February 2012 14:59

WASHINGTON -- Sen. Chuck Grassley and Rep. Darrell Issa today asked the independent U.S. Office of Special Counsel to investigate the Food and Drug Administration’s monitoring of personal email accounts used by nine employees to communicate safety concerns about medical devices to Congress.

“The law is intended to prevent exactly what this agency is accused of doing,” Grassley said.  “A federal agency can’t interfere with an employee’s communications with Congress.  An agency can’t retaliate against employees for communicating with Congress.  And an agency’s right to access an employee’s personal email without a subpoena is limited to messages transmitted through or accessed from a government computer. An independent review is necessary to determine how much of the agency’s conduct was legal and how much was illegal.”

“FDA owes its employees and the public a full explanation of how and why it accessed personal email accounts of employees who were whistleblowers about potential concerns they had regarding FDA operations and public safety,” Issa said. “FDA must explain why its managers potentially broke the law by conducting illicit surveillance of protected communications between whistleblowers, Congress, and the Office of Special Counsel.”

Three years ago, the Food and Drug Administration scientists and researchers raised concerns with Congress and the White House about the safety and effectiveness of certain medical devices used to detect diseases including breast and colon cancers.  The agency is under fire for monitoring the employees’ email accounts for communications with Congress and to the extent it retaliated against the employees for the communications.  Such communications between agency whistleblowers and Congress are expressly protected by law.

Six of the nine employees have filed a federal lawsuit, alleging that the FDA relied on information it collected through secret surveillance to “fire, harass or pass over for promotion at least six doctors and scientists who communicated with Congress.”

The FDA also is reported to have monitored emails between the employees and the Office of Special Counsel.  Employee communications with the Office of Special Counsel are legally protected as confidential.

The duration, extent, and technical details of the agency’s monitoring of the emails are unclear.  Whether the agency’s interception and collection of personal emails was lawful depends on when, why, and precisely how the agency obtained the emails.

The agency was quoted as saying it did not begin the targeted monitoring of the employees’ email until April 2010.  However, an internal memo from the FDA about the lack of trustworthiness of one of the employees contains an email from the employee’s personal account to Congress from January 2009.

Grassley and Issa asked the Office of Special Counsel “to examine (1) whether the monitoring occurred in retaliation for protected whistleblowing activities and thus may constitute a prohibited personnel practice, and (2) whether the monitoring may have violated any other  law, including the Stored Communications Act (18 U.S.C. §§ 2701 - 2712) as an unauthorized access of stored electronic communications or as a failure to provide notice to the subscriber of court-approved access.”

Grassley sent a letter to the FDA commissioner last month, asking for an accounting of the email monitoring and the intentions behind it.  Issa sent a separate letter earlier this month.

Today’s Grassley-Issa letter to Special Counsel Carolyn Lerner is available here.

The U.S. Office of Special Counsel is an independent federal investigative and prosecutorial agency.  Its “primary mission is to safeguard the merit system by protecting federal employees and applicants from prohibited personnel practices, especially reprisal for whistleblowing,” according to its website.

Grassley is Ranking Member of the Senate Judiciary Committee, with jurisdiction over computer privacy statutes, and a longtime advocate for whistleblowers who has conducted extensive oversight of FDA processes.  Issa is chairman of the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform.

 

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