Thursday, September 20, 2018


If one is going to make a dumb spelling mistake, it is probably better to do it where all can see.  That way, it can be laughed off.  Still, it is an embarrassment for Cathay Pacific, and it raises questions about the day-to-day management of the airline.  Someone should have seen the error before the plane took to the air and landed in Hong Kong.  The company handled the incident as well as could be done.  It publicly acknowledged the error and fixed the spelling on the aircraft right away.  Meanwhile, the internet had a field day spinning jokes from the mistake.

Wednesday, September 19, 2018

Go Away 

The current Administration is trashing two of the most powerful symbols of America.  Those, of course, are the Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island, which are beacons of hope for immigrants, the oppressed and refugees.  Lady Liberty and Ellis communicated freedom, a chance to start again, an open invitation to make of oneself what one wanted to be.  Trump is making a mockery of that by reducing the intake of foreigners just to one-third of its historical average.  He has often stated he wants to keep people out of America.  He wants a wall on the southern border.  He sees outsiders as a threat to the United States and not added ingredients to a cultural stew.  All this has come as a shock to those who want to emigrate here.  It is a mordant surprise to Americans who believe this land is the terrain of immigrants. There is little to be done until the next Presidential election.  Then,voters can decide whether to stand by Trump or toss him out. 

Tuesday, September 18, 2018

Internal Crisis 

Amazon has an internal crisis on its hands.  It appears some of its employees have been selling confidential inside information to companies seeking to improve their sales and making offers to delete bad reviews of products.  The company has launched an investigation and stated that what might be happening is strictly against its rules.  If so, the errant employees have hurt credibility and fairness and deserve to be dismissed and/or prosecuted.  Amazon is too big and important a retailer to have its trustworthiness impugned.  If the issue is pay -- employees acting out of bounds because their compensation is too small -- , part of the problem lies with Amazon itself.  The company ought to be paying more to deter illegal freelancing.  It is well known that it drives its warehouse employees hard and pays them relatively poorly.  Amazon should mete out punishment, but it also should take a look at itself and its procedures.

Monday, September 17, 2018

She Said He Said 

Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh is in a bind.  A woman has come forward who claims in high school he had tried to rape her but was too drunk to do it.  Kavanaugh has unequivocally denied that it happened and another man who was supposed to be with him has also said it isn't true.  Who to believe?  It is a classic case of she said he said.  In the #metoo environment, the woman is being given more credence than the man, and one prominent figure after another has disappeared from public life.  Kavanaugh might be next.  If so, it will be a blow to the Trump administration and perhaps, to the Court.  Kavanaugh is widely recognized as an able scholar of the law, a gentleman with the numerous female clerks he has engaged and an all-around good person.  If he did attempt to rape a woman while in high school, that should exclude him from the Supreme Court, but who is to say?  It is two against one now -- two men against one woman. How do you prove what happened?

Friday, September 14, 2018


This is one ironic measure of the importance of PR -- a lawsuit against a PR executive for disparaging remarks.  The essence of the tort is allegations from a former Uber executive that she vilified him to the media.  If she did, perhaps she deserves to lose the case.  If not, she is still going to spend money to defend herself.  In any event, if media relations were not important, this suit would be without merit.  

Thursday, September 13, 2018


Jamie Dimon, CEO of J.P. Morgan Chase, has engaged in conduct unbecoming for a leading business person.  He boasted publicly that he could beat President Trump in an election because he is "smarter" and he is as "tough" as Trump. Such self-promotion is out of order for a leader, and to Dimon's credit, he realized it right away and backed off of his comments.  It is too much already to listen to Trump's ego-filled speech. The country doesn't need another leader who is so high on self regard.  It takes overwhelming ambition to run for President because the road is long, difficult and thankless. But,voters don't want to hear from a candidate that he is smarter than other candidates.  IQ alone doesn't make a leader and the public knows it.  Maybe Dimon will run, maybe not, but he will need to live down his gaffe.  

Wednesday, September 12, 2018

Bold Law 

California Governor Jerry Brown has signed into law a bill that commits the state to produce 100% clean energy by 2045.  It is an ambitious commitment, but it leaves out key issues -- how is the state going to do it and most importantly, who is going to pay for it?  Since the law is mute on these topics, it will need to be revisited repeatedly to clarify its intent. It will come under fire if electricity producers have to raise rates significantly.  It will also be opposed if producers want to place wind generators where people can see and hear them. NIMBY is alive and well in California.  The law is a first step and a bold one, but it is a long way from translating words into action. PR is doing, not just legislating.

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