Bimbo Banter


BIMBO Nominees for September 2009


  • Bimbo
  • September 1, 2009
  • by Spaeth Communications

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MEMO TO FRIENDS AND FAMILY

The “Wrong Thing to Say” category is worth looking at this month. From a town hall meeting, see Barney Frank’s comment to an angry constituent. Secretary of State Clinton snapped at a questioner and made headlines, but that may have been a blessing because it crowded out a truly astonishing comment made elsewhere. N.Y. Gov. David Patterson blamed heightened criticism on his race, and then said he didn’t say it. More BIMBO comments from the manager of South Africa’s women’s track team, S.C. Gov. Mark Sanford, a participant in the  secretive D.C. power group, Pfizer’s CEO, Amgen’s EVP and one of the “Real Housewives of Atlanta.”  In social media, singer-songwriter Dave Carroll is back with the next song in his series, titled “United Song 2” and a New Jersey teacher discovers the hard way that students have cell phones with cameras.

THE WINNER

“My campaign is not based on a foundation of lies. My values are not lies. It’s just the information I provided to the people is false,” said Antwon Womack, candidate for the Birmingham Board of Education. (What’s worse: The comment or that he wants to be on the board of education?)

Birmingham News, “Candidate Antwon Womack says he will stay in school board race despite falsified biography.” August 18, 2009

THE RUNNER-UP

“This is not a sex tape,” said Marty Singer, lawyer for Eric Dane, star of Grey’s Anatomy. He confirms that Dane and his wife “are nude” but says, “It is a private tape made only for my client’s use.”  (News reports added that “the third woman in the video reportedly is Kari Ann Peniche, who in 2002 was crowned Miss Teen USA but was later stripped of the title after posing for Playboy.”  Do you think they meant the pun on ‘stripped’?)

People.com, “Eric Dane’s Lawyer: This is Not a ‘Sex Tape’” August 17, 2009

“We have nothing to hide,” said Phiwe Mlangeni-Tsholetsane, manager of the South African women’s track team after 19-year-old star Caster Semenya’s gender was questioned. (This is an example of inverted or competitive comments. The manager also said, “Even the ID that she has, the passport, says she is a female.” He also threw in a number of negatives, “There was no cheating on our part.”  He should have said the team is committed to the spirit of athletic competition, transparency and following the rules.  Note that “cheat” became the headline.)

CNN.com, “Accused champion Semenya not a gender cheat, says manager,” August 20, 2009

“I’m not going to be railroaded out of office by political opponents or folks who weren’t fans of mine in the first place,” said South Carolina Gov. Mark Sanford after the state’s lieutenant governor called for his resignation. (Can’t someone glue his lips shut? If people weren’t fans of the governor from the beginning, it only shows they were smarter than the rest of us.)

Wall Street Journal, “Gov. Sanford Rejects New Call to Resign,” August 27, 2009

There’s nothing sinister here, no dark secrets,” former Rep. Tony Hall said about a group called the “Family”, which is comprised of mainly Washington D.C. power men. (The group’s founder and current staff preach a gospel that appears to allow the rich and powerful to be unfaithful to their spouses, pile up millions, and act unethically on the dubious premise that God has chosen them to be special, like King David in the Bible. The group believes that they, like David, answer only to God. Hall’s comment reminds me of Dolly Parton’s lyrics in The Best Little Whorehouse in Texas: “There’s nothing dirty going on.”  Yuck. At least we understand where the justification for self-delusion in D.C. is coming from.)

The Week “Washington’s ‘invisible army’ for Christ,” July 31, 2009

Pfizer CEO Jeffrey Kindler was worried that drug companies were seen as “greedy, arrogant, not transparent,” so the pharmaceutical giant started a free-drug program called Maintain. (Kindler used very “bad words” that shouldn’t have been repeated. He should have used his quote to say that Pfizer wanted to further its mission of helping people.)

BusinessWeek, “Will Pfizer Giveaway Drugs Polish Its Public Image?,” August 3, 2009

“We don’t intend to be exploitive,” Amgen’s executive vice-president Dr. Roger Perlmutter said about how they intend to price their new osteoporosis drug. (Also an example of inverted speech; he goes on to say, “We want the value proposition to be clear.” And even that’s the wrong quote. Their drug is a twice a year injection, presumably compensating for women who forget to take daily or weekly dosages. He should have said that this feature will be welcomed by busy women who forget to take a pill and therefore put themselves at risk.)

BusinessWeek, “An Amgen Drug’s Iffy Payout,” August 24 & 31, 2009

“Nobody’s pushing any dogs here,” Gregg Slager of Ernst & Young’s private equity consulting group said about the improving outlook for companies wishing to undertake initial public offerings. (This is not “Animal Planet”. He raised the specter of crummy deals, and he crowded out what should have been a great quote. He would have been better off with something like, “We’re seeing some excellent opportunities with great values.”)

BusinessWeek, “IPOs: The Wait Is Over,” August 24 & 31, 2009

“We were not evicted,” Lisa Wu Hartwell, one of the featured housewives on Real Housewives of Atlanta said after hastily departing from her house. (This is another example of inverted or competitive comments. Hartwell also said, “This was a decision we made,” but then added a number of negatively framed phrases: “We were not put out,” and “It was not a foreclosure.” Note that the “not evicted” phrase also became the headline.)

CNN.com, “Atlanta ‘Housewives’ star: We were not evicted,” August 12, 2009

“I don’t want people thinking I just have a bunch of plants in here,” said President Obama at a town hall meeting after a lengthy statement of his own. (According to Obama, his programs can be accomplished without raising taxes on families making less than $250,000 a year, that taxes should go up for anyone above the 28 percent tax bracket and they should also be able to claim less tax deduction, but that “I don’t want anyone saying that I’m pulling a bait and switch.”  He’d better hope plants vote.)

CNN.com, “Transcript: Q&A at New Hampshire Health Care Town Hall,” August 25, 2009

WRONG THING TO SAY

“Ma’am, trying to have a conversation with you would be like trying to argue with a dining room table, I have no interest in doing it,” Rep. Barney Frank said to a voter at a town hall meeting. (Our sympathies are with Rep. Frank. The constituent was way over the edge, throwing around comparisons to the Nazis, but Frank should know that he’s the one who will make headlines.)

CNN, August 25, 2009

“My husband is not secretary of state, I am,”  snapped Secretary Hillary Clinton at a town hall meeting in Kinshasa, Congo when a question was either incorrectly asked or incorrectly translated, asking her “what Mr. Clinton thought” of a Chinese loan to the country. (This is a good example of where humor could have defused the situation. The problem with Mrs. Clinton’s response was that it made headlines around the world drowning out her other well received stops and meetings. A reminder: a negative drives out positives in every situation. She should have smiled and said, “I’ll ask him when I get home,” then stated what she, as secretary of state, thought. However, it may have been a fortunate comment because at a stop in Nigeria, she dismissed the country’s roundly criticized 2007 election, which observers said was both corrupt and violent, by appearing to say America had the same problems: “You know, we had some problems in some of our presidential elections. As you may remember, in 2000, our presidential election came down to one state where the brother of one of the men running for office was the governor of the state. So we have some problems, too.”  This appalling comment from the nation’s top diplomat should have made front-page headlines, but got crowded out by the “husband” line.)

MSNBC.com, “Clinton: I’m secretary of state, not Bill,” August 11, 2009

Washington Times Weekly, “Diplomacy 101,” August 24, 2009

New York Gov. David Paterson got himself into hot water by claiming – twice – that he was receiving harsher attention because he was African-American. When public response was negative, he got into hotter water by claiming he hadn’t said anything like that, only to have the reporter read his comments back to him verbatim. Here are his words below:

“My poll numbers are no worse than 40 other governors who are in states that have deficits. My point is that you don’t hear this crusade that it’s time for the governor to step aside…I submit this is the same kind of treatment that Deval Patrick is receiving right now in Massachusetts and I’m receiving…that we’re not in a post-racial period. And the reality is the next victim on the list—and you see it coming— is President Barack Obama.” Paterson then said, “One very successful minority is permissible, but when you see too many success stories, then some people get nervous.”

The New York Times, “Paterson Steps Back from Race Remarks: But Answers to Questions Appear to Contradict Earlier Statements,” August 26, 2009

When reports surfaced that CIT Group Inc., a commercial lender, had sold individuals millions of bonds that were now worth less than 50 cents on the dollar, head of underwriter Incapital Tom Ricketts, came up with a less-than-persuasive explanation, saying, “You make a rational decision and sometimes the assumptions were wrong. Not just for retail bonds but, for God’s sakes, people do all sorts of worse investments.”  (Part of the problem is that Ricketts is the son of the TD Ameritrade founder, and the wealthy family owns 95 percent of the Chicago Cubs and Wrigley field. Ricketts and Incapital claimed to be savvy business people, but now are blaming everyone else.  He said, “Individual investors weren’t the only people that put more faith in credit rating agencies than was probably warranted.” What is needed here is some sort of understanding of the plight of older investors on fixed incomes as well as a commitment to try to make them whole, or at least improve their finances.)

Bloomberg.com, “CIT Debt Sold to Widows Has Fine Print Pimco Resists,” August 21, 2009

SOCIAL MEDIA

He’s back! Singer-songwriter Dave Carroll, who had a spectacular YouTube hit with his complaint, “United Breaks Guitars” has released a second song “United Song 2.” Carroll sent the link to his first video, which describes how United Airlines broke his guitar, to the 600 people on his email list-- it generated 25,000 views the first day. The second song is about his emails with the United employee, Miss Irlweg, who corresponded with him about his claim and to whom fell the unenviable task of telling him that he would receive no further communication from them. This is a great example of many things; why employees should be empowered to act like human beings as well as how complaints have been democratized and a customer can now gripe to millions instead of just close friends. Although United apologized and forked over the money for repairs, they made a critical mistake by declining to talk about the incident and making no mention of it on their website. They should be hosting a songwriting contest of their own for satisfied customers to describe United’s employees-- surely there are some positive stories that can compete.

SmartPlanet.com, “Dave Carroll v United Airlines, social media round two,” August 7, 2009

Everyone has a cell phone with a camera, including the students of a New Jersey school teacher who was videotaped by a student while making a personal phone call. The video, which showed her students dancing while she made the four minute phone call, was posted on YouTube. The school district suspended the teacher without pay, and then took her to court when she protested the suspension. The teacher says she was on the phone seeking advice about how to handle an unruly student. The incident cost her $23,000. (Wow! What happened to common sense? There’s a policy of no personal calls during class, but we have to think that this could have been handled a whole lot better. Don’t they have better things to fight about in court?)

CBS 2, “NJ Teacher Docked $23,000 For Phone Call,” Aug. 14, 2009

THEY SAID IT

Correction in the Los Angeles Times:  “TV Listings: The Prime-Time TV grid in Thursday’s Calendar section mistakenly listed MTV’s “Jackass” show on the MSNBC cable schedule at 7 and 10 p.m. where instead MSNBC’s “Countdown with Keith Olbermann” should have been listed.”

Los Angeles Times, “For the Record,” August 21, 2009   


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