Bimbo Banter


BIMBO Nominees for September 2010


  • Bimbo
  • September 1, 2010
  • by Spaeth Communications

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This month we have BIMBOs from the Democratic mayoral candidate for Providence, R.I. who’s challenged by talking points and lawyer Gloria Allred and her newest client, Mark Hurd’s “friend.” Wolf Blitzer unwittingly BIMBOs the president and the head of the JPMorgan Chase & Co. commodities department learns that BIMBOs on internal conference calls will be made public. Democratic House members win the “straight face” award. We have “Wrong Things to Say” from wannabe star Levi Johnston, a commodities trader, candidate Sharron Angle, arrogant Assange, Housewife Michaele Salahi and TLC’s chief procreator Jim Bob Duggar. This month you’ll find an example of perspective and statistics from Iran’s President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad and two lonely good examples.

 THE WINNING BIMBO

“It may be stupid, it may be negligent, but it’s not corrupt,” said longtime Congressman Charles Rangel, D-N.Y., explaining an ethics violation where he sent hundreds of solicitations for contributions on Congressional stationary. (Rangel’s explanation, that he just “grabbed the wrong stationary,” will warm the hearts of disorganized fundraisers everywhere. Rangel is accused of 13 ethics violations, including failure to pay taxes, occupying rent controlled apartments for campaign purposes and others. The amazing thing to us is that he appears to truly believe this is all OK. Speaker Nancy Pelosi, who ran on the “drain the swamp” campaign slogan, insists she’s “not in the loop” about the investigation, but that it is “bipartisan.”

The Associated Press, “Rangel Vows Not To Resign,” Aug. 10, 2010

Christian Science Monitor, “Rep. Charles Rangel vows to fight ethics trial: ‘I’m not going away,’” Aug. 10, 2010

THE RUNNERS-UP

“We’re not necessarily showy people,” said Jeffrey C. Sprecher, about his purchase of an Atlanta mansion with 7 bedrooms and 11 bathrooms for $6.8 million, a record in the Atlanta housing market. (If this is not “showy,” what would “showy” look like? Mr. Sprecher and his wife have no children. Sprecher is CEO of Intercontinental Exchange, or ICE, the dominant company that brokers derivatives between companies. Please, God, let him be a Democratic donor.)

Bloomberg Businessweek, “Sultan of Swaps,” Aug. 8, 2010

“All the reports I’ve heard is that there’s nothing wrong,” said University of Southern California football coach, Lane Kiffin, about the potential NCAA investigation into his recruiting while coaching at Tennessee. “I have great confidence in what we did there, that we didn’t do anything wrong. That’s (the NCAA’s) job, to make sure there isn’t any wrongdoing. Just because they’re looking into something doesn’t mean we did anything wrong.”  (Memorable word? Wrong, wrongdoing. Tennessee athletic director, Mike Hamilton, noted that the NCAA is publicly looking into potential allegations of using attractive coeds, or “hostesses,” to encourage potential players to come to the school. Current coach, Derek Dooley, said he knew “absolutely nothing” about an NCAA letter, but that some assistant coaches did ask about it. “I really shouldn’t comment on that,” he said, adding, “I don’t want to say anything because y’all are going to say, ‘You told us there was no letter.’” Lesson here: these things will get out. Better to disclose them up front yourself then have them leak out like this and make it look as if the school is covering up. Note the number of times the word “wrongdoing” appears.)

The Commercial Appeal, “Lane Kiffin says no wrongdoing at Tennessee,” Aug. 8, 2010

On an internal conference call to executives, JPMorgan Chase & Co. head of commodities said, “Don’t panic,” after reporting the need for staff reductions following the acquisition of RBS Sempra Commodities LLP. (The news article is noteworthy because all the comments come from a recording obviously made by a participant and handed to a news source. The long article is replete with comments like, “We made a rookie error,” letting too many people go, and “No one is going to get screwed. We’re not going to do crazy things on compensation at the end of the year.” It’s a candid discussion, with comments like, competitors are “scared s**tless” of us,” and it’s a vivid reminder that internal communication is no longer separate from external communication. Comments continue: “It is not because we are changing our minds, backing off, backing out, backing down, running away, none of the above.” There is also an element of black humor in this report because the executive commands, “I don’t want us talking to the press. I don’t want us talking to the outside world,” and she stresses that “loose lips” can cause trouble.  This is a sobering reminder that we’ve democratized dissent. Had she been mindful of our lessons here at Spaeth, she could have expressed herself just as strongly but without the astonishingly quotable sentences.)

“Don’t panic’ as Commodities Slip,” Aug. 8, 2010

“We want to make clear that there was no affair and no intimate sexual relationship between our client and Mr. Hurd,” said celebrity lawyer Gloria Allred, representing “hostess” Jodie Fisher who released a statement that said, “Mark and I never had an affair or intimate sexual relationship.”  (In this incident, Hewlett- Packard CEO Mark Hurd was summarily dismissed having been accused of sexual harassment by an HP contractor, exonerated but then found to have fudged about $20,000 of entertainment expenses with her. He refused to resign, so the board dismissed him, but apparently allowed him to keep something in the order of $100 million in departure/severance pay. There are two lessons from this – besides the obvious BIMBO quotes. First, where were the people close to Mr. Hurd who could have told him to knock it off? Did they manage to miss all of what happened to Tiger Woods last year? Second, this shows the danger of hiring a PR firm. The board supposedly hired a Washington, D.C. firm and they wrote a news report about the coverage the company would get. So cowed were they by this thought that they apparently didn’t ask, “What kind of coverage would we get if we do fire him and then let him walk away with millions?” This is another example of how much you can pay for bad advice. An additional thought: Mr. Hurd was stupid, but is there really no redemption from stupidity? Wouldn’t this have been a good place for apology, reflection, forgiveness?)

The New York Times, “H.P. Ousts Its Chief for Hiding Payment to Friend,” Aug. 7, 2010

The Wall Street Journal, “Mark Hurd Neglected to Follow H-P Code,” Aug. 9, 2010

The Denver Post, “Jodie Fisher’s statement on her relationship with ex-HP CEO Mark Hurd, Aug. 8, 2010

New York Democratic U.S. Reps. Nita Lawrey, Jerrold Nadler and Steve Israel wrote, “This is not about class warfare,” in regard to their proposal to index the federal income tax code so that residents in New York – a high tax, high cost of living state – pay less. (Their argument is that the cost of living in New York is higher because it is a “desirable place to live, work and do business.”  Hmm. Those of us in Texas, where about one of every four businesses leaving California are moving, have remarkably good news for New York: You can create a “desirable place” without having rapacious taxes, featherbedding, and pensions. What’s delicious about the representatives’ proposal is it shows the real requirement for election to the House which is the ability to say outrageous things with a straight face.)

The Wall Street Journal, “Should Federal Tax Consider the Local Cost of Living?” Aug. 10, 2010

“Neither my office, nor I benefited in any way, engaged in improper action or influenced anyone,” said Maxine Waters, D-Cal., responding to charges that it was unethical by House rules to set up a meeting in 2008 with then-Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson and minority bankers, including her husband, a board member of OneUnited Bank in which Waters had investments of at least half a million dollars. (Even Rep. Barney Frank noted that Waters knew this was a conflict of interest. Like Rep. Rangel, Waters appears to think that continued protests that this is all typical business will get her through. “No benefit, no improper action, no failure to disclose, no one influenced, no case,” she said. One sad note: based on the reaction of the jurors in the Blagojevich case it seems that a good part of the American public thinks this is, indeed, how politicians behave. While 11 of 12 jurors voted to convict him of trying to sell the Senate seat, one juror held out convinced he was “only talking politics.”)

The Associated Press, “3 charges filed against Rep. Waters,” Aug. 3, 2010

“W.H.: Pres. Obama isn’t Muslim,” was the Chyron, or screen title, of CNN’s Wolf Blitzer’s report on the public’s belief that President Obama is Muslim. (This is an interesting twist on BIMBOs, because the White House emphatically did not make this statement; CNN’s staff characterized their statement on-screen. The friendly media tried to dispel it, but only perpetuated discussion on the topic.)

 “Is CNN Perpetuating the ‘Obama is a Muslim’ Meme?: Chyron: ‘W.H.: Pres. Obama Isn’t Muslim,’” Aug. 19, 2010

“This is not a stunt,” said Chris Young, Democrat mayoral candidate for Providence, R.I., as he was proposing to his girlfriend on live TV during a campaign debate. (Mr. Young has some campaign issues. During a live interview, when the anchor asked him why he got into politics, he read his answer from notes.)

CNN, Aug. 26, 2010

WRONG THING TO SAY

“It kind of makes me sound like a liar,” said wannabe star and former fiancé to Bristol Palin, Levi Johnston. (Johnston, whose second engagement to Bristol was called off last month, said he doesn’t regret posing for Playgirl magazine, he only regrets apologizing to his former mother-in-law, Sarah Palin. He explains he did it “to make my fiancé happy.” Johnston, who is now running for mayor of Wasilla where Palin was mayor, is concerned that if he does win, “I’m going to have to give up Hollywood for three years.”  Gee, it would almost be worth it for the rest of us. Bristol– count yourself lucky to be rid of this guy!)

US Magazine, “Levi Johnston ‘I regret apologizing to Sarah Palin,’” Aug. 27, 2010

“I make a living off the dumb money,” said Emil van Essen, founder of a Chicago commodity trading company. In a discussion of how Exchange Traded Funds have lost money, he added, “These index funds get eaten alive by people like me.” (Remember, these are supposed to be the masters of the universe, the smartest of the smart…)

Bloomberg Businessweek, “ETFs Imperil Commodity Investors When Contango Conspires With Pre-Rolling” Aug. 1, 2010

“Very few” people (women) are sentenced to death by stoning said Iran’s President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad. (Oh, I feel so much better. No, wait, the existence of the sentence, plus the defense that this is legitimate punishment and is administered fairly is barbaric. The particular incident involves an Iranian woman who was offered asylum by Brazil, embarrassing the Iranian authorities to suddenly charge the woman with murder as opposed to adultery. Another incident in Afghanistan made news this month when a young couple who had eloped returned to their rural village and were stoned to death. What was the reaction? Was there an outcry? The opposite. Nadir Khan, described as a Taliban sympathizer, said “People were very happy seeing this.” It would be nice to have had overwhelming global condemnation. Plus, where are the organized women’s groups? They should be howling.)

The New York Times, “Crime (Sex) and Punishment (Stoning,)” Aug. 22, 2010

The New York Times, “Taliban Order Stoning Deaths in Bold Display,” Aug. 17, 2010

“We wanted them to ask the questions we want to answer, so that they report the news the way we want it to be reported,” said Republican candidate for Senate, Sharron Angle, on live TV with a Fox News reporter. (Don’t we all. Dream on. Ms. Angle is trying to unseat Harry Reid. The reporter, Carl Cameron, gently told her she sounded “naïve.” We’d make that dangerously naïve. She wants reporters to be her friend? As President Clinton said, “get a dog.”)

The New York Times Caucus Blog, “Sharron Angle Wants the Press on Her Side,” Aug. 3, 2010

”I’m very busy and have no time to deal with people who prefer to do nothing but cover their own asses,” said Julian Assange, the founder of WikiLeaks, which dumped some 76,000 classified documents onto the Internet. (The arrogance and ignorance of Mr. Assange is startling. Even Amnesty International, not exactly a pro-war group, criticized him for including real names, creating a blueprint for Taliban and other terrorists to track down and assassinate people providing assistance and information to Americans. The New York Times even quotes them asserting that they intend to punish those named. Mr. Assange has been accused by two separate women of sexual harassment. What a jerk!)

New York Times, “Rights Groups Join Critics of WikiLeaks,” Aug. 10, 2010

“I have a lot of substance,” said party crasher and Real Housewives of D.C. star Michaele Salahi explaining why she doesn’t care what people say about her. (The Salahis give new meaning to the idea that celebrities don’t actually have to do anything or have any talent except for publicizing themselves.)

US Magazine, “DC Housewife Michaele Salahi: “I’m not ‘Anorexic,’” Aug. 6, 2010

"Some think we are overpopulating the world,” said Jim Bob Duggar. The Duggars, featured in TLC’s reality show, “19 Kids and Counting,” are making news. (And it’s not just the numbers. Their latest was born three months premature and required massive medical care because Michelle developed preeclampsia, a pregnancy induced condition which is dangerous, and potentially fatal, but the family continues to say they do not use birth control and will be happy to have more children. Gloria Steinem famously said that God gave her a uterus but also a brain. Please, Lord, do the same for Mrs. Duggar. Her kids need a live mother.)

“The Duggars: We’re Open to Having a 20th Child” Aug. 11, 2010

See The New York Times’ lengthy article about a “confidential” internal report commissioned by Transocean, the owner of the Deepwater Horizon, the rig which exploded, sank and caused the spill. The report was intended to assess the safety culture of Deepwater Horizon and other rigs. (The relevance of this example is that the so-called “internal” and “horizontal” report ended up being exactly the opposite. Transocean’s spokesman, Lou Colasuonno, did a noteworthy job pointing out that the report found many more positive than negative things. However, it’s predictable that the headline and most of the article focused on the negatives. Lesson? Consider releasing such reports proactively and explaining them. That allows a company to utilize multiple channels or networks of information rather than allowing one, like The New York Times, to hype the sensational aspects.)

The New York Times, “Gulf oil rig’s owner had safety issue at 3 other wells: Internal reports also identify deficiencies involving Deepwater Horizon’s equipment,” Aug. 5, 2010

GOOD EXAMPLES

“Stable and safe” is both the message and the headline from a report examining the fabled Alamo’s structure, particularly its roof. (The institution is run by a group called Daughters of the Republic of Texas who have been sharply criticized for their management. The report rebutted widely circulated reports that the Alamo was collapsing.)

The Dallas Morning News, “Roof ‘stable and safe,’ Alamo report says,’ July 31, 2010

This month’s courage award goes to the Southwest Airlines flight attendant who decided to intervene when a mother slapped a crying 13-month-old child. The incident sparked wide controversy, with many criticizing the flight attendant.  She’s our heroine and we’re glad she had the courage of her conviction.

The Associated Press, “Mom says she slapped baby who kicked her on flight: Incident aboard Southwest plane raises questions about when to intervene,” Aug. 18, 2010


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