In Case You Were Wondering...

"Every difference of opinion is not a difference of principle. We have called by different names brethren of the same principle." Thomas Jefferson

"I am a Republican, a black, dyed in the wool Republican, and I never intend to belong to any other party than the party of freedom and progress." Frederick Douglass



Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Where DO I begin?

On a day like today, where does any blogger begin? I don't even know where to start. Barack/Hillary debate, who won, who lost? The economic slowdown and stagflation, what does it mean? Is Barack down with Farrakhan?

Starbucks closes its stores for three hours to retrain their baristas? Hmm....that's the ticket. That's where I'll start. As someone who used to work for Starbucks I know that we used to boast that all employees received over 24 hours of training on espresso preparation standards, the "Perfect Shot" (it's 18-23 seconds by the way to produce the perfect crema) but that's TMI. Too much information. Again, the Brother waxed nostalgic and digressed. I must focus here. There is a coffee giant to whip up on.

Now then, back to my pontification. We trained all baristas for 24 hours to ensure that they knew beyond a doubt how to make a cup of coffee. Only takes about 10 minutes with a Mr. Coffee but a Mr. Coffee isn't nearly as sexy as walking down the street with your Starbucks cup. So the well trained barista walks boldly into the Starbucks cyber cafe prepared and ready to make that perfect shot. Unfortunately, something happened on the way to the espresso bar. What was it?

Again, that nasty little "pride" bug raised it's ugly head in the Starbucks heirarchy. Key leaders Howard Behar and Orin Smith left the company and Howard went on to be the Chief Global Strategist which sounds like a role that is further from the voice of the customer if you're asking the Brother. They believed their own press and thought no one could touch them. And now, as they look back over the last few months and face a real economic slowdown for the first time in Starbucks recent history they are faced with the reality of dealing with "highbrow" staff that is no longer connected to what made Starbucks great, corporate leadership that cares only about maximizing value (that is NOT a bad thing, they just forgot the right way to do it) and customers who have to make tough decisions about whether they can spend $4 for a cup of coffee when Dunkin or McDonalds will gladly sell them a good cup of joe for less than a buck.

And now, Howard Schultz believes that closing the stores for three hours to retrain the already 24 hour trained baristas will somehow return the baristas to the company's roots. Howard, I always liked and respected you when I worked at Starbucks and I still think you are an incredible business leader and visionary. However, all that will do is reduce your already shrinking sales by oh, what, 3 hours of sales times 7,000 stores? You do the math Howard. And what will those regular 5:30-8:30 customers be doing during those three hours? Do you think they will be somewhere meditating on the return of Starbucks to it's roots? NO! They are somewhere else giving revenues to one of your competitors who are just rubbing their hands at your store closures! The guys at Dunkin just added you to their Christmas Card for Life Club!

Never send the customers into the waiting arms of your competition! That's "business in the trenches 101". You just don't do that. You're allowing your customers to form new shopping habits when you send them to your competition! Sheesh Howard! Let's get it together bro! I'm still pulling for you here!

Do you want to get back on top Howard? Get out of the corporate office. Go to the stores. Don't do the whole entourage thing. Just go alone and talk to the partners and customers. They will gladly and respectfully tell you what needs to be done. Many partners still care and still remember. This should be a time for greatness for Starbucks. The values of the company are exactly what this country needs at a time like now. A "Third Place". A familiar face. A sense of warmth and comfort. Provide those things....and people will find a way to pay $4 bucks again for a cup of coffee.

And they'll be happy to do it....

Best wishes to you Starbucks.

"Love your neighbor as yourself and your country more than yourself."

Thomas Jefferson

Monday, February 25, 2008

PT Barnum Was Right!

I believe it was the great circus-man PT Barnum of Barnum and Bailey fame who said "there is no such thing as bad publicity, any publicity is good publicity!" Now don't hold me to the exact wording on that quote but old PT's point is well taken.

Essentially what PT understood is that any publicity that brings attention to your name can be used in your favor. And that is precisely what the Clinton camp is up to now. Now watch this very carefully: Since the last public debate between Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton there has been a marked increase in the amount of news surrounding Hillary. Of course Barack is sucked into the news but this is clearly a case of Hillary initiating the attack in an all out last ditch effort to throw Obama-momentum off course and to attract attention to herself.

Clinton and her staffers understand that any publicity is good publicity. These are no simpletons that we're dealing with here. The increased volume of news initiated by her has lept off of the charts in the last couple of days. She is clearly initiating more news reports than we've seen in the previous 2-3 weeks. First, she's snarling at the camera over the Obama attack mailers that went out in Ohio, then she's mocking Obama in Rhode Island (new tactic) and now her campaign leaked a photo of Obama in African dress. How do I know her campaign leaked the photo? Because neither Clinton nor any of her senior staffers could deny the leak with a straight face.

Here's something else very slick that the Clinton campaign is doing. Pay attention because this is slick and points to their understanding of how the mind works. Although Sen. Clinton has come out and said she even wore native dress when she visited other countries and saw nothing wrong with Obama's Shaka Zulu get up; what they have very cleverly accomplished is subliminally reinforced the message to undecided voters that Obama is a closet Muslim. They have hyponotically implanted an image in voters minds that can't be erased: Obama looks like a terrorist and has a name that sounds like a terrorist. They distract the voters with messaging that says "we're with Obama and we agree that this is an outrage" but they have already done their damage by getting that image in front of us. The Clintons have gotten us to let down our conscious guard by stating that they see no problem with the image and then once that guard is down they slip in the picture which is now embedded in the subconscious mind. On an conscious level, we agree that there is no problem with the picture but at a deeper level we are now associating Obama with terrorism. And that deeper level is where most decisions come from. I know this may sound deep but you gotta stick with me here.

Can you see just how devious this is? This is real talent folks and I must confess that The Brother on the Right has truly underestimated the depth of the Clinton's brilliance. This is an absolutely drop dead smart tactic and it could mean the difference between victory and defeat.

The tactic is to immediately denounce the picture (that you leaked) as outrageous to show your support for your opponent while at the same time planting an image in the voters minds that this guy is aligned with our enemies. Notice how all of this is precisely designed with the announcement of Ralph Nader's entrance into the race which could potentially weaken Obama's young "new voter" base. The timing is just too good to be coincidence.

Slick Hillary. Very slick. We should all pay attention and watch. We are witnessing true genius at work here.

"Oh, Brother on the Right, you're getting too conspiracy theory for me!" Am I now? Well consider this skeptical friends. This Obama photo was taken TWO YEARS ago! Obama was on an official visit to Kenya as a newly elected member of Congress. This picture has been a part of the official and public record for two years. Why would the Clinton campaign leak it now? They could have leaked it six months ago but then Obama wasn't on Clinton's radar as a viable candidate so why bother? Now that Hillary's back is against the wall they are pulling out all of the stops and this shows their level of desperation.

Next, look for some edited photos showing Barack firing AK-47 Assault Rifles into a desert. It will be an obvious cut and paste job buuuuut it will reinforce the image of Barack the Terrorist. You won't see any pictures of Barack in Austria wearing Lederhosen or in Scotland wearing a Kilt. Oh no, only controversial pictures will do here. They may even dig up some pictures of "radical Barack" wearing an Afro wig while holding up the Black Power fist. Did you know he was also a member of the Black Panthers as a two year old? Oh yeah, he was chasing all of the other two year old Hawaiians around forcing them to sing along to James Brown's "Say it Loud, I'm Black and I'm Proud!" This was shortly before the point in Barack's life when the Clintons tell us that a young kindergarten Barack first revealed his nefarious intentions of being the first black President of the United States and making us all sing the Negro National Anthem.

If a picture of Hillary showed up with her wearing African dress Bill would immediately run to a black church and show it off to show just how "black" the Clintons are. It would show us that they are really "down" with the struggle. Any truth to the rumor Bill was last seen asking Rev. Jesse Jackson to show him how to do "The Electric Slide"?

"Love your neighbor as yourself and your country more than yourself."

Thomas Jefferson

Sunday, February 24, 2008

Nader Jumps In! WHY?

Hillary Clinton just received the best news of her campaign: Consumer Advocate and perennial presidential campaign loser Ralph Nader just entered the presidential race. Why? Only God knows but it's certain that the voters that Nader usually attracts are part of Barack Obama's base. Young, college age voters are votes that both of them will share. If this dem race gets close (and it still can) Nader can mean the difference between victory and defeat for Sen. Clinton. Hmm...I wonder if she asked Ralph to run? But I digress.

You may be aware that Nader runs almost every election season not because he really thinks he has a snowball's chance in you know where of winning but because he believes it helps him get his message out. He may also be vicariously living out his own presidential aspirations through the other candidates, but I'm not here to analyze Ralph.

The reality of his entrance into any race is that he has the serious potential to play the "spoiler" role and in this case he is more likely to spoil Obama's chances than Hillary's. Nader runs behind the mantle of his Green Party which ostensibly is enviro-consumer friendly and is sure to attract votes from the extreme left wing of the democratic party. Years ago he started out as a fairly mainstream (albeit left leaning) "good guy" who was out to help the consumer. He was here to help the "regular Joe Bag o' Donuts" guy. (He ensured we all received the high quality donuts that we as Americans are entitled to...) And in some regards I recollect that he did blow the whistle in a good way on some occasions. He led consumer watchdog groups that helped to ensure that companies presented high quality consumer goods that were safe and delivered on their advertising message. But somewhere along the line (probably the Jimmy Carter era) Nader went a little goofy and is now spends most of his time hugging penguins or something.

He still runs for prez every four years in some attempt to reinforce his relevancy to the American public. His late entry into this race in which he knows he stands ABSOLUTELY NO CHANCE OF WINNING can only mean one thing: he enjoys his brief moment of publicity every four years and he thinks he can play a spoiler role. (Ok, that was two things but I'm typing fast here.) He'll actually get some votes too: Obama votes. That's why Hillary is doing the "happy dance" right now. She just put Nader on her "Christmas Card for Life" list. He's also on the list of "least likely to be audited" if Hillary gets elected.

Good one Ralph. As usual, you show up with no real chance of winning but you do get your "save the penguins" message out to mainstream America where it really matters.

See you again in 2012!

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"Love your neighbor as yourself and your country more than yourself."

Thomas Jefferson

For My Brothers From Another Mother!

I just found this vid. It's pretty cool. It's a lil' sumthin' for my Latino and Latina brothers and sistas!

"Love your neighbor as yourself and your country more than yourself."

Thomas Jefferson

Clinton Blasts Obama

Faced with certain defeat if she does not win the Ohio and Texas Primaries, Sen. Hillary Clinton went after Sen. Obama BIG TIME today while campaigning in Ohio. Evidently, Hillary realized that she has absolutely nothing to lose by going after Barack so she let lose with both barrels regarding some mailers from the Obama Campaign.

All of her attacks in the past have backfired against her but this one could work in her favor. Time will tell. It's not terribly different from New Hampshire when she cried the night before when she saw her career dissapation light flashing in strobe like fashion. Today in Ohio, what she displayed was anger. Emotion from Hillary has helped her in the past and I'm wondering if this show of emotion will help her again.

The mailers were about Bill Clinton's NAFTA deals (a sticky problem in Union heavy Ohio) and Hillary's disastrous proposal for universal health care. The Obama campaign defended the mailings and unblinkingly stood by their contentions. So, could Clinton just be using this as an opportunity to show some emotion disguised as outrage at the "untrue" remarks in the Obama mailings? She has nothing to lose by trying it.

Mark my words friends...this is all typical Clinonesque smoke and mirrors. If anything Obama played into her hands by giving her another chance to use the emotion button on voters.

Watch for yourself. And then you determine if this is the kind of leader you want to trust your family with....

"Love your neighbor as yourself and your country more than yourself."

Thomas Jefferson

Friday, February 22, 2008

It's almost shoutin' time!

After reviewing some footage from last night's democratic debate in Austin, TX. a number of things are plainly evident:

1) Hillary doesn't know when she's beaten
2) She doesn't learn a lesson very well
3) She has grossly underestimated the wishes of the American People and the strength of her competition.
4) It won't be long before The Brother on the Right will shouting to see her demise and dance on the ashes of her campaign

Oh, we'll see her again in four years no doubt and she will be tougher, wiser and smarter then buuut at least we'll have four more years of peaceful, Hillary-less, BLISS!

As usual she went on the attack against Obama with the Xerox comment which brought about a chorus of "boos." She actually looked stunned that the crowd would boo her! It was like "how dare those cretin's boo me!" This woman just doesn't get it! Many people just do not like her style and NEVER WILL! Apparently she thinks that her pithy remarks are supposed to bring cheers. What she fails to realize is that every time she pulls something like that it only reinforces her "Dragon Lady" perception and further alienates her from voters.

This of course is further compounded by the defection of her Superdelegates in droves to the Obama campaign. We're watching the implosion of a American dynasty. This is good. Say it with me...the end of the Clinton Era is good for America and good for the world. It's time for the end of this shameful episode in our history.

Watch Hillary caught up on her own hypocrisy. This is good!

"Love your neighbor as yourself and your country more than yourself."

Thomas Jefferson

Thursday, February 21, 2008

That's the best they can do?!

Of course by now everyone knows that presidential politics is a contact sport and that any candidate should expect shots and even low blows from their blind side. Opponents will dig up anything they think will throw other candidates out of contention and if they can't find anything legitimate they may actually make up something. Ask Dan Rather why he left CBS.

Well today we've reached a new low. The New York Times actually printed a story about an alleged affair between Sen. John McCain and a lobbyist that at this point amounts to nothing more than locker room hearsay and yet they are willing to make a feeble attempt to ruin a man's reputation. What makes the NYT look even more STUPID is that they just ENDORSED Sen. McCain last month. I read a funny quote earlier today that said "The New York Times is giving The National Enquirer a bad name." So true. The Times has sunk well below pure unadulterated trash. This is absolute tabloid journalism from the Times and they should be embarrassed at how far they've allowed themselves to sink.

How they can pretend to maintain any sense of credibility is way beyond me. If Sen. McCain doesn't sue them for libel or defamation of character they should consider themselves fortunate.

This story was printed without any witnesses, no quotes from anyone, no corroborating evidence of any kind; in fact it was a speculative rumor from over nine years ago! Unfortunately, this sort of irresponsible reporting is what is giving all journalism a bad name and the Times should show some sense of decency and print a retraction and an apology to John McCain.

He deserves much better than this!

"Love your neighbor as yourself and your country more than yourself."

Thomas Jefferson
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