Ran across the following item in an article titled, “25 Things You didn’t Know About Le Cirque,” in Jetset Magazine, March, 2013.

“#20. The Donald Loves… – Donald Trump has always been a regular at Le Cirque, and a good friend of Sirio. His favorite dish? The flipper.”

It was the fall of 1999, and I was dining at Le Cirque, one of New York’s legendary restaurants, celebrating my coming retirement with two associates from the Golden Arches, on the occasion of my last round of visits there with the news media on McDonald’s behalf. We happened to be seated at a table next to Mr. Donald Trump and his two male guests that evening. As I recall we had a many laughs and a marvelous meal at that magical restaurant, in it’s old Palace Hotel location.

During a stop in the men’s room to powder my nose that night, I remember hearing Trump’s two young guests, apparently financial types, standing together at the urinals, discovering that they each owned identical red Ferrari’s. How Trumpish.

I also noted that it was in 1999 that Trump, then considered a possible Presidential candidate under a Reform Party banner, was widely quoted as saying things like: “I’m very pro-choice,” and “I believe in universal health care.” He also said: “Democrats are too far left. Republicans are too far right.”

That leaves only one question about his preferences: what is the “flipper” dish he favored at LeCirque? Perhaps that is what defines him still, in 2016, as the newly presumptive Republican candidate for President of the United States.

That was the clever theme of a public relations campaign for the Felines and Canines no-kill animal shelter in Edgewater, IL, conducted by a team of students studying community service communications at Loyola University Chicago.

Last night, at a reception attended by more than 150 students, faculty and guests of Loyola’s School of Communications, the Ebeling PRize for excellence in cause-related communications was awarded to students Rebecca Bowman, Madison Rau, Jacklin Kochen and Alexis Genge, by Charles Ebeling, creator of the award, now in it’s 11th year at Loyola.

The winning campaign was selected by a team of independent judges from among nine campaigns for different Chicago-area not-for-profit organizations mounted by student teams in the 2015-16 academic year. The students attended the senior-level class, where they are challenged to bring all their communications skills together for the benefit of real not-for-profit organizations and to produce real results.

The winning team sought to build awareness, attract more young people and gain corporate sponsors for the shelter. Their program included a wonderful mix of brochures, posters, social media, events, fact sheets and outreach, and they more than exceeded their goals. The first semester class was taught by Dr. Kay Felkins, co-founder of the Loyola Ebeling  PRize, and the second semester by Virginia Mann, a Chicago public relations consultant. Judges were Julianne Beck, APR, North Branch Communications, Kristine Kappel of Catholic Charities and Emily Van Camp, of Baxalta Corp., who was on the first Loyola Ebeling PRize winning team in 2006.

This is the title of a work by 18th century Spanish artist Francisco Goya, and I first encountered these unsettling words  on the wall of an exhibit at the Baker Museum in Naples, Florida, last weekend.

The words struck me, not for the artist’s original meaning, but first in relation to a certain American Presidential candidate, then this morning again in relation to the latest blind bombing attacks at the Brussels metro and airport. We were there in that beautiful city and at that very airport counter just two years ago on vacation.

Civilization is a fragile institution.

It will require great strength, and a cartful of reason, to overcome the monsters who have taken root among us.

SALT LAKE CITY, UT (PRWEB) DECEMBER 15, 2015
Bruges Waffles & Frites recently participated in a french fry taste test, the results of which shows them outperforming other restaurant franchises. The study, conducted by an independent research firm, Rise Strategic, hired secret shoppers to participate in the test. The shoppers were tasked with visiting several local restaurant franchises known for their fries and reporting on how the fries are prepared, wait times between ordering and receiving their fries, and the cost of a small order. They were then asked to rate each franchise on a scale of 1-5 in the following categories:
-Aroma
-Color
-Overall Flavor
-Saltiness
-Exterior Texture
-Interior Texture
-Consistency
-Separation
-Temperature
-Length
-Serving Size
-Value
-Variety of Condiments/Sauces
-Flavor of Condiments/Sauces
-Size & Shape
-Overall Rating
When the study was complete, Bruges authentic Belgian frites were shown to have the best overall flavor, best aroma, best presentation, best variety of condiments/sauces, best flavor of condiments/sauces, and were the only fries not under salted and with an ideal consistency. Bruges also had the highest rankings for ideal color, best exterior texture, and won the highest overall ratings.
“We are thrilled with the outcome of the survey results,” said Pierre Vandamme, Owner and co-founder of Bruges Waffles & Frites. “Since the history of fries dates back to Belgium, it makes sense that an authentic Belgian frite company should be topping the charts for best frites in the region. Our fries are not your typical french fry as they are fried twice for the perfect flavor and consistency. Paired with our hand-made dipping sauces, this is a recipe for french fry perfection!”
Shoppers in the taste test said the fries were delicious, presented beautifully, and ‘sooooo good.’ They loved the ambiance, the friendly employees and the fact that the fries were fresh and cooked to order. One shopper said, “It was worth the wait for freshly cooked fries!”
Bruges added Belgian frites to the menu after seeing the success their authentic waffles were having in the community and decided it was time to share another Belgian favorite. Today loyal fans rave about the frites on social media and online review sites. To learn more about the Bruges Waffles & Frites brand, and the restaurant franchise opportunities offered, visit the company website: http://www.brugesfranchising.com

P1010234

The first reference to Homeland Security was apparently made in a 1997 Pentagon report, and was a term coined by an unknown bureaucrat. In 2002 Peggy Noonan opined that”homeland” seemed like it was not an American term to her.

Since then, and all in the aftermath of 9/11, “homeland” has become all too common, and inappropriate, in my view. To me, it has an isolationist ring to it. Motherland, fatherland, homeland. Intonations of the old world, even of the Nazis. Ask a Jew what the term homeland connotes to them. Probably not Israel.

Of course, one does not deserve to be a critic without offering a better idea. In the last century, the American century as many remember it, we simply used the term “domestic” to refer to things within the United States.  Domestic security said it all, and still does in my book. “Homeland” has a sci-fi otherness associated with it that I have not become comfortable with, a dozen and more years on.

So going forward, I will use the word “domestic” and ban “homeland” from my personal vocabulary in referring to America and our security. And every time I hear a political candidate from either party use “homeland,” I will assume they are pandering to isolationist fears and the status quo of political correctness, and not thinking clearly as a true American would do.

 

Well, now it’s been 15 YEARS since democracy failed in America, updating my post below of Dec. 13, 2010. And, as we of into another Presidential debate tonight, we’re heading toward another such electoral failure next fall. Thanks to the Electoral College, my vote in Chicago is worth one sixth of a Presidential vote in Alaska. Want to learn more about this ongoing travesty of democracy? Google National Popular Vote. Want to learn even more? Send me a message and I will email you my essay written for the Chicago Literary Club on the obsolete and dangerous Electoral College. Whatever party you support, or none at all, the Electoral College is distorting the popular vote in America, together with gerrymandered Congressional districts and national election funding that should be government funded only.

December 13, 2010 in Electoral College, government, History, Politics | Tags: Electoral College, National Popular Vote, Presidency | 1 comment (Edit)
It’s been exactly a decade since the outmoded Electoral College system of electing our Presidents, with the aid of the Supreme Court, handed the Presidency of the U.S. to a man who lost the popular vote in the nation by the population of Milwaukee. It was a close election all right, and the finger on the scale of history tipped the balance away from the people’s choice.

It’s happened three times before in our history, and it will happen again, and again, until the Electoral College is eliminated or marginalized. The electoral college was a political compromise made in the founding days of the republic, when it was feared that the common man, in the days before mass media, could not know enough about the candidates to make an informed choice. So now, in all but two states, electors unknown to the people cast all of each state’s electoral votes for the winner of the popular votes in that state, throwing out all votes cast for the opposition, and in effect dumbing down the national electoral votes, so they do not necessarily reflect the overall popular will. How dumb is that?

Yesterday, I met an authentic modern hero. Not the kind of domestic hero, who works as a volunteer at a food bank, or rushes to put out a fire, or adopts a needy child. But a modern military hero, who acted to save lives at the risk of his own in a combat zone, who accepted the role of leadership, even when it meant personal sacrifice. A living oxymoron: a French Algerian, who came to America, renounced his French citizenship to join the U.S. Army, and rose to become the newest and one of the 10 living Medal of Honor winners alive today.

Captain Florence (Flo) Groberg appeared yesterday at a small luncheon hosted by the Chicago Council on Global Affairs. He brought along his charming girlfriend and his Pentagon handler, a public affairs master sergeant. Groberg described coming to America from a Paris suburb, where his French Algerian mother had married an American businessman. He attended high school and college in the U.S., and after 9/11, and becoming a naturalized American citizen, joined the Army and attended Infantry Officer’s Candidate School and advanced Ranger training.

On Groberg’s second tour in Afghanistan, he was leading a personal security detail for senior American and Afghani officials walking toward a local conference, when an elaborate suicide bomber attack began. Identifying the nearest would be bomber, Groberg pushed down the assailant, taking part of the blast himself, but saving many others in the process. While four died in the attack, Groberg survived, and after 33 surgeries is back on his feet. Two weeks ago President Obama presented him with the Medal Of honor at the White House.

Captain Groberg, now a Pentagon civilian employee,  is an intelligent, personable, modest patriot. When asked to comment on national policy issues, he reminds the audience that, “I am just an Army Captain, not a talking head political commentator.” He believes the U.S. is well prepared and our forces are well trained to fight the asymmetrical battles of the 21st century. Asked what his calling was in Afghanistan, he said, “to help the villagers with their local security issues.”

Asked what military traits he thought would be most beneficial in civilian employment, Groberg smiled and said, “punctuality, and then planning. Punctuality means we should up when, where and as needed, and planning means we approach every situation with a plan of action.”

In today’s era of widespread cynicism about America’s foreign adventures, with which I can heartily relate, it is moving to meet and hear from one of hundreds of thousands  of young people who live to serve and sacrifice in the name of American principles and leadership that they trust and admire.

 

 

Fareed Zakaria on his news analysis program GPS this morning juxtaposed two statistics:

  1. Global terrorist related deaths over the past year totaled just over 36,000.
  2. U.S. gun deaths over the same period totaled around 33,000.

I offer some observations about these grim statistics: The public seems to be more traumatized about the overseas terrorist-related deaths, yet the U.S. gun deaths of almost the same scope are so much closer to home, in every sense.

Our current and prospective U.S. political leaders seem more inclined to take global action (air strikes, ground troops, even open war) over the offshore terrorist threats than to take domestic legislative and other actions to curtail gun deaths right here inside U.S. borders.

While both issues turn around violence, and represent threats to living peaceful lives, the odd weighting of attitudes begs the question: Are Americans reacting more to the sensationalist scare of terrorism abroad or the very real threat of violent death in our own backyards?

What the hell is wrong with our people, from the highest in leadership to our friends down the street? While terrorist threats from abroad are real, the proximate terrorist threat is from fellow Americans, and our society and leadership seem incapable of dealing with it, though other countries around the world have long since done so.

We have so much to learn…

“Earned Media” is one of the most-used expressions in the world of public relations. It refers to the media coverage given to an issue, person, product or brand that is covered as news because of its potential appeal to readers, viewers or listeners, and not because it was paid for by an advertiser. Earned Media is free media coverage as opposed to paid media coverage.

Back when I was doing public relations work for corporations and not-for-profits, we would take pride when the quality of our messages and messengers on behalf of these clients would be perceived by the news media or worthy of coverage as news for their audiences. Our PR agencies or departments would receive praise and great credit from management for “Earning” such free media coverage based upon the merits and creativity of the messages we crafted. Such “earned media” coverage was usually seen as more credible and thus more valuable than messages we purchased as advertising. Though we could precisely choose how to phrase and present our own messages in advertising, it was seen as much more valuable when such messages were communicated through credible news people, who supposedly selected what to cover as “news” based upon its editorial   worthiness and suitability to their target audiences.

But in today’s news, when “infotainment” is the new norm in so-called news coverage, and entertainment value trumps (pardon the expression) real news content, it is increasingly embarrassing to professional communicators to see gratuitous coverage of political foolishness passed off as “earned media.” The public relations profession either needs a new term for real news that  “earns” its place in news coverage versus advertising, or else infotainment that tries to pass for “earned Media” should perhaps just be called what it is — “Goofy Media!”.

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