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Women

Cynthia Grenier: An American Beauty; An American Treasure

October 13, 2006 | By | No Comments

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Gun Deck

USS Constitution Last night at the Center for Military Readiness Celebration, Charmaine and I had the honor of having dinner with our dear friend Cynthia Grenier. Alert Readers will know her as a frequent contributor to The Weekly Standard. Many will remember her interviews with Faulkner, Moshe Dyan, Ingmar Bergman, Audrey Hepburn, Albert Finney and Hugh Hefner. And many of our Alert Readers will have actually read her many articles in Playboy… where she made her reputation as a gifted writer. As an ink-stained wench. Not the normal career path for women in that organization.

Yes, she interviewed Faulkner.

We remember her husband Richard who passed on and is still deeply missed, but his many works live on. His eulogy was given by Senator D. Patrick Moynihan. Richard is proof that good did once come from Harvard. He buried in Arlington National Cemetery, not far from my dad. One of Richard’s books The Marrakesh One-Two is Cynthia’s all-time favorite.

Anyway, Your Business Blogger was still processing the rich background of Cynthia Grenier (pronounced “Gren-yeah”) when I found this email in my box this morning. It was about a recent ceremony to acknowledge Medal of Honor awardees; and Cynthia Grenier writes,

Am impressed and touched to read of the ceremony aboard the USS Constitution. The CONSTITUTION is the vessel my great-grand father Mad Jack Percival commanded on its first round-the-world voyage April 1845 to September 1846. He was quite a character, and one with whom I am deeply proud to share some DNA.

Cynthia Grenier is an American Beauty, an American Treasure.

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Cynthia Grenier

WorldNetDaily.comHugh Hefner would agree.

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Thank you (foot)notes:

The Marrakesh One-Two is available from Amazon.com.

From WND, Cynthia Grenier, an international film and theater critic, is the former Life editor of the Washington Times and acted as senior editor at The World & I, a national monthly magazine, for six years.

12 Oct

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Media Alert: Center for Military Readiness on C-SPAN

October 12, 2006 | By | 2 Comments

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The Center for Military Readiness is having our Eleventh Annual Celebration, this afternoon, Thursday, October 12, 2006 in Washington, D.C.

C-SPAN has confirmed to cover the event.

The Celebration will be held at the National Guard Association of the U.S. Building — Hall of the States, on

One Massachusetts Ave., NW, Washington D.C. 2002, one block west of Union Station.

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Elaine Donnelly, President, Center for Military Readiness, will preside. I will MC.

CMR Issues Briefing

4:00 PM — 5:45 PM

The CMR Issues Briefing panel will discuss the question Respect for Women: Where is the Military Taking Us?

In addition to CMR President Elaine Donnelly, guest panelists will include:

Kate O’Beirne Washington Editor of National Review, author of Women Who Make the World Worse, and former member of the 1992 Presidential Commission on the Assignment of Women in the Armed Forces

Charles W. Gittins Noted attorney, USNA alumnus and former Marine naval flight officer and lecturer who has successfully defended many men who have been caught up in high-profile legal and cultural controversies at the service academies and in the military

Karin L. Agness Founder and President of the Network of enlightened Women (NeW), which helps female college students to confront radical feminists and liberals on fifteen college campuses. Ms. Agness is a Phi Beta Kappa member and student of law, University of Virginia.

CMR Celebration Reception 6:00 PM — 8:00 PM

2006 Honorees, 7:00 PM

“CMR Spotlight Award” Janet Parshall, Salem Radio Network

Ambassador Robert D. Stuart, Jr. of the Stuart Family Foundation

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Thank you (foot)notes:

Your Business Blogger is proud to serve as the Vice President of CMR. The Center for Military Readiness is an independent public policy organization that specializes in military personnel issues. Information about issues of concern to CMR can be seen on our website, www.cmrlink.org. More at the jump.

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The Family Research Council, FRC Action Briefing: Family, Faith and Freedom

September 22, 2006 | By | No Comments

FRC Action, the c4 component of The Family Research Council sponsored a briefing this weekend at the Omni Shoreham in Washington, DC. Your Business Blogger attended with Charmaine and the Penta-Posse.

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Charmaine at the

podium for the

FRCAction Briefing

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The 2,000 attendees at The Briefing

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Radio Row

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La Shawn Barber, Joe Carter and Jared Bridges

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Cross post from Reasoned Audacity.

Be sure to visit La Shawn and get her take on the event.

Tony Perkins, President of the FRC, has an open letter to Barry Lynn

An Open Letter to the Reverend Barry W. Lynn

Dear Reverend Lynn,

I want to take this opportunity to thank you for your presence this weekend at our Washington Briefing, Values Voters Summit 2006. I was delighted to see your name as a paid registrant for a number of the activities. As head of Americans United for Separation of Church and State, you, of course, disagree with us on a number of issues.

Your support of same-sex marriage and abortion coupled with your opposition to school choice and any public recognition of God would make most people think our differences are vast. However, your willingness to attend our Briefing shows that even you recognize the importance of concerned citizens being involved in public discourse.

While you are here, I recommend you attend our Saturday session, The Role of Churches in Political Issues, moderated by Dr. Kenyn Cureton with speakers Reverend Herb Lusk, Reverend Dr. Richard Land and Reverend Dr. John Guest. I am sure you will find it enlightening as the panelists discuss how to apply the teachings of the Bible to the issues we face today.

It is reported that many Evangelicals do not vote and I’m sure you would agree such citizenly neglect is detrimental to any democracy. That is why we are holding our Briefing and also participating in nonpartisan get-out-the-vote rallies around the nation. Thanks again for being with us.

Photo credits: Your Business Blogger

What Lily Tomlin Taught Me About Pilot Projects

September 12, 2006 | By | One Comment

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Your (very young) Business Blogger

and Lily Tomlin Big Shows always start small. Lily Tomlin would test her acts, not on an off-Broadway hide-a-way in New York City — not even another country, like say, New Jersey.

No, Lily would test her lines and the script in another world: Branson, Missouri.

A few decades ago, Your Business Blogger — that’s me, the dork on the left — caught up with Tomlin backstage at the Kennedy Center in Washington, DC. During the run of her solo — one woman performance in The Search For Signs Of Intelligent Life In The Universe.

It was no secret that Tomlin is the consumate professional whose presentations seemed effortless. Yes, she and her team practiced with military precision.

But she knew to do a bit more. One of her secrets was to practice in front of a live crowd. To test her timing. For the laughs and special effects. Practice and pace. To hit the marks and watch the sparks.

Her testing would require stops and starts and direct interaction with her Branson audience — which was a test market for her new show; her new product her new production. She would be a wizard alchemist reformulating as she observed and assessed her focus group’s response. And the laughs.

Comedy is hard work.

The challenge of conducting the practice, the dry runs, was that the critical, cynical New Yorker would not sit still through trial run. Tomlin as magician perfected her act behind the curtain, away from the show-bizzie chattering classes. So Lily would go to ‘fly-over country’ where normal people live, to hone her act.

To Branson, Missouri, the Show Me state where over 100 shows play in over 40 theaters. Branson is called “The Live Music Show Capital of the World.”

Lily Tomlin and her crew would then take her perfected, polished performance back to the Big Apple and the rest of civilization.

Her business lesson from show business was to quietly introduce a pilot show, a pilot project. Gauge reaction and launch a high percentage deal. And practice to a small sample size.

Because you will screw it up. And it is best to screw up on the farm team than before the big league crowd.

Do you have a pitch to practice? Find a small group who loves you.

Practice your sales pitch to a live audience. And ask for feedback.

Looking to flog your product on national television, the cables and network? Start with small radio wattage. Then take your show on the road.

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Training Is Never Wasted and The Best Interview Question

September 6, 2006 | By | One Comment

An investment in knowledge always pays the best interest said Ben Franklin. And sometimes learning a skill will pay off in ways unintended and unanticipated.

My favorite interview question is to ask candidates what their high school dream was. What did they want to do, what did they want to be. The best candidates — by that I mean the most contented candidates, have a thread in their lives of what they wanted to do back then and what they are doing today.

An expert interviewer, like Your humble Business Blogger, can discern the contentment and the fire in the belly of the job candidate, by analyzing any gap between high school plans and the current stage in life — I find that the larger this gap, the more unhappy the candidate. Unhappy candidates make for unhappy employees.

Critics of this crazy question accurately say that technology, markets, the world have changed since we were in high school, back in the day. And they are right: the material world changes. Less so people. And what people love to do, and how each individual candidate would like to make a difference.

Here is my favorite example.

She was a competitive swimmer in her youth. And wanted to be a life guard. Her dream job that would make a difference. She trained, studied and was certified.

She found her calling; her vocation but she never found that job.

A disappointed teenager, she took a position as an Assistant Cashier in the athletic center at Camp of the Woods in Adirondack Park of upstate New York in June of 1982. She didn’t get what she wanted, but at least she was near the water.

One afternoon while ringing up a sale, the young girl heard a commotion from the pool behind her across the hall.

A woman was just pulled from the pool. Limp, on her back turning blue. Not breathing. Stunned on-looking bystanders frozen. Inaction.

The teenage girl darted to the woman. Started mouth-to-mouth. The woman moved, struggled, gagged, puked and breathed.

Our teenager never got exactly the job she wanted; that job she trained for.

But her education did pay off. Expecially for one swimmer visiting Adirondack Park.

Training is never wasted.

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Today that teenage girl, now a mature woman, lives out her high school dream making a difference in a big, dramatic vocation before an on-looking crowd of millions. She wanted to make a difference in a unique way. And does so today.

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Thank you (foot)notes:

The management at the resort was concerned that the near death by drowning would cause adverse publicity, I suppose. The life-saving event was never reported. Bad for business, you see. Our young heroine was never thanked.

And she doesn’t want to be thanked now. And really doesn’t want this blogged. (But that’s what husbands do.)

C-SPAN Slug Fest

August 28, 2006 | By | One Comment

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On the C-SPAN set Charmaine has been doing media interviews for a couple of decades on the “shouting shows.” Debating or interviewing Andrew Dice Clay, Jesse Jackson, Bill Mahr, Chris Matthews, Gloria Steinem, Patricia Ireland, Vanessa Redgrave, Dennis Weaver, Jason Alexander, David Crosby, Ray Ramono, Adam Goldberg, Victoria Jackson, Maury Povich, Christopher Titus, Mmi Rogers, Larry Flynt, Alexandra Wentworth, Joshusa Morrow, John Salley, John McLaughlin, Katie Couric, Naomie Wolf, Sean Hannity, James Carville, Michael Kinsley, Pat Buchannan, John Sununu, Bob Novak, Tucker Carlson, Ron Wydne, Bob Beckel, Lynne Cheney, Heather Wilson, Stephanie Coontz, MacNeil-Lehrer, Phil Donahue, Mo Rocca, Jesse Ventura, Jeff Greenfield, Montel Williams, Sam Donaldson and others.

But this debate on C-SPAN this Saturday was the worse. It was the first time a debating opponent accused her of witchcraft. And that Planned Parenthood receives no government funding (!).

Here’s the C-SPAN clip of Charmaine “debating” the local president of Planned Parenthood, Jatrice Martel Gaiter.

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Thank you (foot)notes:

Yes, they did spell Your Business Blogger’s last name wrong. Won’t be the last. But C-SPAN did spell “Jatrice Martel Gaiter,” correctly. Go figure.

Media Alert: Plan B Debate on ABC News Now

August 24, 2006 | By | One Comment

Cross post from Jack Yoest at Media Alert.

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Charmaine will be on ABC News Now at 12 noon EST talking again about Plan B.

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You can watch streaming video live online here. Subscription based.

Charmaine’s boss, Tony Perkins, President of the Family Research Council says,

Today President Bush threw his support behind Dr. Andrew von Eschenbach’s plan to approve Plan B for over-the-counter (OTC) sale to women 18 and older, while keeping it prescription (Rx) for teen girls. The FDA lacks the legal authority to approve “dual status” marketing of the same dosage of a drug, and they lack the authority to enforce an age-restriction. How will the FDA ensure that Barr Laboratories confines OTC sale of Plan B to women 18 and older? Indeed, the CEO of Barr has already told the press that it can’t be held responsible for pharmacists who do sell Plan B to younger teens.

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Thankyou (foot)notes:

Charmaine blogs at Reasoned Audacity and is the wife of Your Business Blogger.

Media Alert: Charmaine On ABC News Now Debating Plan B

August 24, 2006 | By | No Comments

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Charmaine will be on ABC News Now at 12 noon EST talking again about Plan B.

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You can watch streaming video live online here. Subscription based — but ABC is running a free trial.

Tony Perkins, President of the Family Research Council says,

Today President Bush threw his support behind Dr. Andrew von Eschenbach’s plan to approve Plan B for over-the-counter (OTC) sale to women 18 and older, while keeping it prescription (Rx) for teen girls. The FDA lacks the legal authority to approve “dual status” marketing of the same dosage of a drug, and they lack the authority to enforce an age-restriction. How will the FDA ensure that Barr Laboratories confines OTC sale of Plan B to women 18 and older? Indeed, the CEO of Barr has already told the press that it can’t be held responsible for pharmacists who do sell Plan B to younger teens.

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Thankyou (foot)notes:

Charmaine blogs at Reasoned Audacity and is the wife of Your Business Blogger.

Do Elite Women Want to Breed?

August 23, 2006 | By | One Comment

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BreederLast week Charmaine participated in a round table discussion on the world’s de-population. The take-away from the research was that a growing population is a market driver. That there was more innovation from 1900 to 1950, than from 1950 to 2000 — As good as life has become in the last 50 years all advances, including, well, blogs, were merely incremental improvements. As compared to the great advancing leaps in the first 50.

Growing populations are wealth creators and wealth drivers. Growing populations produce innovation and inventors. And more. De- population doesn’t. For example, the creator of the HIV-AIDS vaccine…was aborted in 1974.

This is a cross post from Charmaine late last year.

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The New York Times is horrified. Elite young women at prestigious Ivy League schools are indicating an interest in, gasp, motherhood.

The article and its supporting ‘research’ is heavy on anecdote and fails to explain its methodology — the source of its “data” is email responses from some young women at the Ivy’s. So, even though I think the conclusion is interesting and one that I agree with, in all honesty the researcher in me has to point out to you that this is not terribly reliable reporting.

The more interesting question is: what is that sterile Grey Lady, The Times up to here?

Well, the headline may read neutrally: “Many Women at Elite Colleges Set Career Path to Motherhood,” but the text is anything but. The idea that young women might choose motherhood is clearly, from their perspective, a bad trend.

Let me offer my own anecdotal evidence: frankly, the young women The Times quotes, who feel comfortable expressing a preference for motherhood, don’t sound at all like the co-eds I taught at the University of Virginia, a few years ago, who felt pressured to be single-mindedly devoted to a high-powered career track, and would admit to interests in marriage and motherhood only sotto voce.

Here’s the good news, Shirley Tilghman, President of Princeton, [now the #1 school, besting Harvard] said to the reporter:

“There is nothing inconsistent with being a leader and a stay-at-home parent. Some women (and a handful of men) whom I have known who have done this have had a powerful impact on their communities.”

Cheers for her.

Here’s the bad, from Peter Salovey, dean of Yale:

What does concern me, is that so few students seem to be able to think outside the box; so few students seem to be able to imagine a life for themselves that isn’t constructed along traditional gender roles.

The man is dean at Yale and he misses the irony that he is the one who isn’t thinking outside the box?

Memo to Peter: You’ve got it exactly backward. In today’s world, thinking outside the box involves constructing a life outside traditional male career paths. For both men and women, but especially for young women.

It is precisely the female inclination to think outside the box — sequencing, part-time work, entrepreneurial innovation — that is enlivening the 21st century work world.

Alert Reader, Carl at Gelf Magazine has outstanding reporting and an astute observation.

Dr. Yoest,

I saw your post about yesterday’s NYT article …And noticed your comment about the methodology:

“The article is heavy on anecdote and fails to ever explain its methodology, the source of its “data” is email responses from some young women at the Ivy’s. So, even though I think the conclusion is interesting and one that I agree with, in all honesty the researcher in me has to point out to you that this is not terribly reliable reporting.”

Carl continues:

It seems you had reason to be suspicious. Over at Gelf, to which I contribute, we’ve run a copy of the survey the NYT reporter emailed to Yale students, as sent to us by one of the recipients. The survey seems to have leading questions, basically implying that all Yale women must be straight and want kids: story here David Goldenberg byline .

Well said. Carl nails it down:

Among the leading questions, many from right at the top of the survey:

When you have children, do you plan to stay at home with them or do you plan to continue working? Why?

If you plan to continue working, do you plan to work full-time in an office, or full-time from your house, or part-time in an office, or part-time from your house? Why?

If you plan to stay at home with your kids, do you plan to return to work? If so, how old will you wait for your kids to be when you return?

Was your mom a stay-at-home mom? Explain whether she worked, and how much she worked! Were you glad with her choice (to either work or stay-at-home or whatever combination she did)?

How do you think college-age men at Yale feel about whether wives should stay at home with their kids?

In polling we call this “priming the pump.” It is used to direct answers with subtle questions with subtle assumptions. Good polls are designed to uncover the truth (of opinion) across a broad sample. Bad polls have an agenda. This is, as Carl suggests, a bad survey.

No matter what our differences in the blogosphere, the work by Gelf Magazine shows us why the NYT chopped 500 off the head count and is bleeding red ink. The NYT has lost the public trust — because of such questionable reporting.

As Arthur C. Brooks writes in The Wall Street Journal in The Fertility Gap, swing states like Ohio will soon be populated with the next generation — that is tilting toward conservatives. The Roe Effect.

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Thankyou (foot)notes:

The New York Times isn’t doing much better since Charmaine’s post from last September.

Outside The Beltway has more on the NYT’s firings.

17 Aug

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Hiring Super Stars vs Tolerating Turkeys

August 17, 2006 | By | 2 Comments

Microsoft has one real point measurement for hiring.

IQ

Your Business Blogger has hired (computer) coders, sales reps…and government bureaucrats.

When given the option of head count and budget flexibility, I always recommended to my managers to hire the most expensive talent possible — the Super Stars.

Even when hiring government workers.

Into Good and Evil reminds us that when talent really counts, when talent determines life and death, who would get hired? He points us to Professor Kingsley Browne in The Ace and the Turkeys,

“Given the cognitive and temperamental patterns required, it is not surprising to find that the ability to fly aircraft successfully in combat is an ability that not many have. Indeed, it is not an ability that even all combat pilots have. Aviation analysts recognize that the majority of combat kills are scored by a small minority of pilots. Mike Spick has observed: “The gulf between the average fighter pilot and the successful one is very wide. In fact it is arguable that there are almost no average fighter pilots; just aces and turkeys; killers and victims.”

Fighter pilots, like sales guys in a role playing exercise, can practice and give a passable presentation, but,

As one Air Force pilot stated, “Most guys can master the mechanics of the systems, but it’s instinctive to be able to assimilate all the data, get a big picture, and react offensively. Not a lot of guys can do that.”

But the Air Force has a challenge most sales managers don’t: Separating the Aces from the Turkeys,

Ideally, one would have only “aces” or “killers,” leaving the “turkeys” and “victims” to another career path. The difficulty lies, however, in the fact that there is no known way to separate the aces and the turkeys prior to combat. Unfortunately, many of those who will end up being turkeys often do not know what they are getting into. These pilots may have the ability, intelligence, and know-how to fly the plane well, but they ultimately lack the “fighting spirit” that they will need in combat. ”

(Buffalo Law Review,Winter, 2001, 49 Buffalo L. Rev. 51,Women at War: An Evolutionary Perspective By Kingsley R. Browne)

But the hiring manager does have an advantage over an Air Force Wing Commander, the civilian Ace has a track record of Kills.

The best indication of future performance is past performance. Our armed forces are hampered by looking only to recent combat or aerial engagements — and there aren’t that many of those dogfights. The hiring manager has different metrics of combat measures for top business talent. Eat what you kill. Who had produced the best numbers?

In this human resource practice and strategy, there are down-sides as Anita Campbell, my editrix at Small Business Trends citing the Trizoko Biz Journal mentions. She and others make the valid point that Super Star and Aces are nearly impossible to manage. And, indeed, can only be managed by Super Star managers.

But if these crazy iconoclasts can be harnessed, a big ‘if’ to be sure, big numbers are sure to follow. For example, when I had a modest software company, I learned the hard way that a one genius coder was worth a half dozen coders. And not because he (and he was usually a ‘he’) was faster, but that his work was nearly bug-free. Which saved me from hiring three coders just to patch.

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With my sales teams, Pareto’s 80/20 Principle always played out. But the top guy, usually a deviant was always a standard deviation above the norm. My #1 sales guy was sometimes double the sales of #2, the rest of the sales team on the long tail. That #1 guy drove me nuts. But I loved his numbers.

And government bureaucrats? Goodness. I once had an agency head ‘lose’ a $100 million department. It was necessary to find it for obvious political reasons, but we only became aware of the lost unit because I was working the Y2K rollover and really needed to find all the laptops. We finally found it. Hidden away, quietly working away. And there were lots of good excuses why it was floating alone off on its own org chart, in its own universe. How they got paid is outside the scope of this post. I was assured that it was not illegal.

So Anita and Trizoko Biz are right, Super Stars are a pain.

But I wonder how many $100 million business units are lost. And could be found with a few dozen more IQ points.

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