Archive - December 2012




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Monday Morning Quarterback – 12/31/12

Posted by: Andrew Schmitt | Posted on: December 31st, 2012 | 0 Comments

Rouen Group's Monday Morning Quarterback

Brought to you by The Rouen Group. Helping clients better communicate with their customers, employees and each other. WHAP! A Look Back at 2012: This is a humorous and sometimes brutally honest look back at 2012 from pop culture to politics there is something for everyone: "As the year began, the hottest recording artist was the brilliant singer-songwriter Adele, whose popularity made us think that maybe, just maybe, after years of rewarding overhyped auto-tuned dreck, we were finally developing more sophisticated musical tastes, and then ...WHAP, we were assaulted from all sides by the monster megahit video “Gangnam Style,” in which a Korean man prances around a variety of bizarre Korean settings riding an imaginary Korean horse and shouting a song that, except for the words “Eh, sexy lady,” is entirely in Korean...(More) Best and Worst Communicators of 2012: I was a little surprised by some of the choices, but this is a good list.  (Read) Politico's Top Social Media Moments of 2012: "Like never before, politics were social this year and the moments most shared, tweeted and liked tell the story of a tumultuous election year. This was the first presidential cycle in which the full complement of social media tools were mature enough to alter the canvas of American elections in ways that may not have seemed to matter at the time. In the process, politicos learned a lot about how these tools can be used well and badly, and what kind of impact they may have going forward." Check out the list here: (Read)
A Ten Point Plan for a Better 2013
From how do dress like a leader to recovering from a major office blunder, The Wall Street Journal published their plan for a more successful 2013. Take time to read it and have a more prosperous 2013.  (Read) Fiscal Cliff Diving Up to the Minute Fiscal Cliff News: The Washington Post has a page that tracks all of the latest developments as Congress continues to negotiate on the final day of the year. If you want to follow the news on the fiscal cliff check this out. (Read) What is the Real Fiscal Crisis? Here is an in-depth look at the real drivers of the fiscal crisis, complete with charts for the visual learners: "The end of 2012 was marked by lawmakers engaging in a distracting fiscal cliff debate over tax rates when the solution to the real fiscal crisis lies in an entirely different area of the budget. Federal spending on entitlements and interest on the debt drives the federal budget crisis. Together the three major entitlements of Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid (including Obamacare), as well as net interest, make up more than half of all spending in the federal budget today. Their share of the budget will grow to over two-thirds of all spending in 10 years."(Read) No Deal Yet: Politico takes a look at what's on the table as the Senate tries to negotiate a deal on the fiscal cliff: "The tit-for-tat over avoiding the fiscal cliff slogged onward Sunday, as Senate leaders remained essentially stuck following a frantic day of horse-trading and bitter attacks by both Democrats and Republicans.  Both sides now have 48 hours to resolve their differences, or risk a double whammy of historic tax hikes and spending cuts that will make them even more unpopular outside-the-Beltway." (More)  Also, check out the 11 side effects of going over the fiscal cliff (Here). What We Are Reading and Watching: Is One Party Rule Good For Minnesota? Professor Steven Schier takes a thoughtful look at this question and where it is sustainable in Minnesota: "Is enduring one-party rule arriving in Minnesota with the new year? The resounding Democratic successes in the 2012 elections have made the DFL the dominant party in the Legislature, in state constitutional offices (it holds all of them) and in the state's congressional delegation (now with seven Democrats and three Republicans). Democrats enter 2013 with unified control of the governorship and Legislature for the first time in 22 years. But are Democrats really capable of dominating state politics for the long term? Yes -- but one-party rule would be bad for Minnesota if it becomes the new norm."(Read) If You Don't Laugh You Might Cry: MMQ favorite Rich Galen takes a look at the 30 days total Congress has worked since June 2012 and what this means for the fiscal cliff.  Also, he provides a solution that just might work, unfortunately it would require Congress to act.  (Read) SKOL: Congrats to the Vikings on an impressive win versus rival Green Bay.  The fun part is the 2 teams meet again in Round 1 of the the playoffs next week. So what happened the one and only time the Vikings and Packers met in the playoffs? (Watch) Thank You! Thank you to the many loyal readers of the MMQ, I really appreciate your feedback, suggestions and encouragement.  It means a lot to me that you take the time to read the MMQ and share it with your friends and colleagues.  Our readership has grown over the year, and with your help it will grow more in 2013.  Please continue to share the MMQ with people you think would enjoy it. Happy New Year!

Monday Morning Quarterback – 12/24/12

Posted by: Andrew Schmitt | Posted on: December 27th, 2012 | 0 Comments

Rouen Group's Monday Morning Quarterback

Brought to you by The Rouen Group. Helping clients better communicate with their customers, employees and each other. What Happened to The Inn Keeper? This is a powerful and fitting story for Christmas Eve.  If you are looking for something to share with your family tonight I recommend The Inn Keeper by Bethlehem Baptist pastor John Piper (Listen). You'll Shoot Your Eye Out: If you haven't had a chance to watch all of those holiday classics here are a few clips of my favorites: A Christmas Story: Chinese Restaurant Scene: (Watch) ELF: Throne of Lies: (Watch) A Christmas Story: Ralphie beats up the bully: (Watch) Larry The Cable Guy: Politically Correct Christmas Story:(Watch) Charlie Brown Christmas: (Watch) Christmas Vacation: Squirrel!: (Watch) Christmas Vacation: Clark Freaks Out: (Watch) It's a Wonderful Life: (Watch) Fiscal Cliff How does Fiscal Cliff Affect You? See some scenarios for how different groups of people may be affected by the tax changes that will take place if the fiscal cliff isn't resolved by the Jan. 1, 2013 deadline.(Read) Could You Do Better? Do you think you could do better than Congress and the President at crafting a deficit reduction plan?  Check out this cool tool from the Wall Street Journal. (Try it)  What We Are Reading and Watching: MN Legislature Know Your Limits: A well written editorial on some of the challenges and opportunities faced by the new legislative majorities:  "They should beware the pitfalls involved in advancing notions that sound good on a shallow level but have the opposite effect, theories that involve the government picking winners and losers and attempting to impose terms that make no little market sense. Lawmakers can't create a living wage by requiring one when markets tell them otherwise. Democrats are especially susceptible to fuzzy thinking on those points.." (More) The Story Behind Mitt Romney's Loss The Boston Globe takes an in-depth look at the Romney campaign: "a reconstruction by the Globe of how the campaign unfolded shows that Romney’s problems went deeper than is widely understood. His campaign made a series of costly financial, strategic, and political mistakes that, in retrospect, all but assured the candidate’s defeat, given the revolutionary turnout tactics and tactical smarts of President Obama’s operation..." (More) Need Good Creative to Drive your Message this Session? Are you and your organization working on crafting your message for the new legislature?  The Rouen Group can help.  We have an in-house graphic designer and creative team ready to help you create and deliver your message with impact. Learn More (Here) Merry Christmas!

Monday Morning Quarterback – 12/17/12

Posted by: Andrew Schmitt | Posted on: December 18th, 2012 | 0 Comments

Rouen Group's Monday Morning Quarterback

Brought to you by The Rouen Group. Helping clients better communicate with their customers, employees and each other. Silent Night: Readers of the MMQ know I am a big SNL fan, and often post links from their openings.  Well this is one of the best.  I have to give credit to SNL, not known for their sensitivity the opening this week with the New York City childrens choir signing Silent Night was amazing. No jokes, no satire, no politics.  (Watch) More Good Than Evil: As we continue to reflect, pray and move forward from the tragic events in Newtown, CT let's all remember there is a lot more good in the world than evil.  Here is a great link to 26 moments from 2012 that will restore your faith in humanity.  I recommend this to everyone: (Read) And Even More Good: The Columbus Dispatch had this great story on a local high school: "For all 18 years of her life, Megan Ryan has given to others.  Last night, her peers at Bishop Hartley High School returned some of the love. Ryan, who has Down syndrome, was crowned the 2012 homecoming queen during a ceremony at the Roman Catholic school on the East Side..." Link includes some great photos. (Read) Fiscal Cliff Tax Breaks That Expire This Year While much of Washington is consumed by the debate over tax cuts scheduled to expire next year, a big package of tax breaks already expired this year.  Check out the list among the biggest, along with the cost to retroactively extend each one for 2012 and 2013 (Read) What We Are Reading and Watching: The Republican Brand Problem: "Consider the following findings in the NBC/WSJ poll:  Asked an open-ended question as to what single word or short phrase people would use to describe the Republican Party, 65 percent of the responses were negative, while just 17 percent were positive. (For Democrats, 35 percent were positive, while 37 percent were negative.) Among the most oft-mentioned phrases used to describe Republicans: “bad/weak/negative” (8 percent), “uncompromising/need to work together” (6 percent) and “broken/disorganized/lost” (6 percent). So, that happened..."(More) Where Was God? Mike Huckabee answers the question in the wake of tragedy:  (Watch) Learn Why you Won't Finish This Article: This is an interesting article from the WSJ: "In the few minutes it takes to read this article, chances are you'll pause to check your phone, answer a text, switch to your desktop to read an email from the boss's assistant, or glance at the Facebook or Twitter messages popping up in the corner of your screen. Off-screen, in your open-plan office, crosstalk about a colleague's preschooler might lure you away, or a co-worker may stop by your desk for a quick question..".(More) Who Saves for Retirement Early-Republicans or Democrats? Marketwatch.com has an interesting look at another difference between Republicans and Democrats: Retirement Savings. "You can add another item to the long list of things that Republicans and Democrats do differently. A new study shows that Republican baby boomers are significantly more likely than their Democratic counterparts to have started saving early for retirement. That’s a fact that may have far-reaching implications – and digging into the factors that might lie behind it offers an interesting glimpse into the personality differences behind the nation’s political divide..." (More) Democrats Firm Grip on the Electoral College in One Great Chart: "This chart – put together by Brad DeLong, an economist at Cal-Berkley — shows just how firm a grip Democrats have on the electoral map.  If the 2016 Democratic nominee carried only the states that President Obama won by 4.5 points or more last month, he/she would end up with 272 electoral votes and a victory...(Chart) Good Design=Good Message: Are you and your organization working on crafting your message for the new legislature?  The Rouen Group can help.  We have an in-house graphic designer and creative team ready to help you create and deliver your message with impact. Learn More (Here)

Monday Morning Quarterback – 12/10/12

Posted by: Andrew Schmitt | Posted on: December 10th, 2012 | 0 Comments

Rouen Group's Monday Morning Quarterback

Brought to you by The Rouen Group. Helping clients better communicate with their customers, employees and each other. Let it Rain Teddy Bears? This is the best hockey goal of the year.  A Calgary Hockey team wanted to collect teddy bears for local children for the Holidays.  Even if you hate hockey you will love this video of what happened on this goal. (Watch)  There were over 25,000 teddy bears and the clean up took over 45 minutes, but there will be some happy kids this Christmas. Where Republicans and Democrats Shop: The Wall Street journal published this piece just in time for the Holiday shopping season.  If you don't know where your friends or family fall on the political spectrum, maybe where you shop for their gifts will give you a clue.  (Read) This one is for my Wife Keri: The bureau of labor statistics released a study that shows on average men spend 16 minutes a day on housework compared to 52 minutes a day for women.  In our defense, men, our participation is on the rise.  Check out how the work is divided and see how you stack up. (Here) Fiscal Cliff While the consequences of the "fiscal cliff" are real and will have a dramatic impact on millions of Americans, sometimes all we can do is laugh.  Here are a couple of amusing looks at the "fiscal cliff" Mr. Burns Describes the Fiscal Cliff Here is the fiscal cliff and the future of the GOP explained Simpson's style by Mr. Burns: “Think of the economy as a car, and the rich man is the driver. If you don’t give the driver all the money, he’ll drive you over a cliff.  It’s just common sense,” (Watch) Why Obama Feels Bad for John Boehner: Saturday Night Live opens with a live joint press conference with President Obama and Speaker Boehner on the "fiscal cliff" negotiations: (Watch) What We Are Reading and Watching: Inside the Koch Empire: How the Brothers Plan to Reshape America: This article which will appear in the December 24th edition of Forbes Magazine takes an in-depth look at 2 of the most powerful men in business and politics.   This is a must read: "But to really understand the Koch brothers’ long game–and how the political goals they espouse play out in real life–it’s essential to examine the ultimate source of their power: Koch Industries. Their conglomerate boasts 60,000 employees, 4,000 miles of pipeline and enough refinery capacity to supply 5% of U.S. daily fuel demand. It makes Lycra and Stainmaster carpet, Brawny paper towels and AngelSoft toilet paper. If Koch Industries were publicly traded–and Charles has said that will happen “only over my dead body”–it would rank among the top 40 U.S. corporations in terms of market cap, on par with McDonald’s...(Read) Colin Peterson and Moderate Democrats Struggle for Relevance: The Star Tribune takes a look at Rep. Peterson and the "Blue Dog" coalition.  It is not just the GOP that are looking for moderate voices: "It's a tough time to be a moderate in Congress. Just two years removed from being one of Capitol Hill's most powerful voting blocs, centrist Democrats like U.S. Rep. Collin Peterson are now something of an afterthought. In the early years of President Obama's administration, members of the Blue Dog Coalition, a conservative Democratic caucus, were among the most influential in the House. Leaders from both parties coveted their swing votes on legislation ranging from federal health care to budget bills. Now the Blue Dogs' bark has become more of a whimper. Political forces have decimated their ranks and influence, leaving just 15 members of a pack that once stood more than 50 strong..." (More) You are Doing It Wrong: The Right and Digital Politics Former MN GOP operative and now DC insider Randy Skoglund pens this pieces for the Hill: "The results of this election made one thing clear about the GOP and the era of digital politicking: we are doing it wrong.  It is not that Conservatives are not engaged online (in fact the opposite is true), or that the Right is not using the best tools or techniques. It is fundamentally that Conservatives do not have the correct view of the role of digital politics in campaigns...(More) The Five Most Persuasive Words in the English Language: You are getting the new MMQ instantly for free, because I hope you read, share and enjoy.  That sentence contains all 5 of the most persuasive words, can you guess which ones?  Check your guess (Here).

Monday Morning Quarterback – 12/3/12

Posted by: Andrew Schmitt | Posted on: December 3rd, 2012 | 0 Comments

Rouen Group's Monday Morning Quarterback

Brought to you by The Rouen Group. Helping clients better communicate with their customers, employees and each other. What Did You Do in the Last 48 Hours? I actually thought I had a very productive week last week until I read this piece.  Watch how a developer in India constructed a 10 story building in 48 hours. (Watch) The Best Article Yet: One of the best things about writing the MMQ every week is the wide variety of articles I read.  Some of them are good, some of them not so much.  This is one of the best I have read, perhaps because it combines my two passions of politics and being a dad.  If you don't read anything else this week, take the time to read this one all the way through. (Read) Ladies Here is Your Chance: If you missed Men's Night at The Foursome last week, not only did you miss a great opportunity to look good all holiday season, you missed great food and a screening of National Lampoons Christmas Vacation.  So, if you missed that or felt excluded because of gender, on Weds, Dec 5th you can shop at The Foursome's Women's Night!  Enjoy great live music, desserts and 20% off everything in the store.  Shop for the guy(s) in your life or grabs those UGGs you have been waiting for.(details) Fiscal Cliff Still confused about the fiscal cliff?  Want to know the latest?  Who are the key players?  What deals are really on the table?  Check out this piece from the Washington Post. (Read) What We Are Reading and Watching: As Companies Look for Deals, Taxpayers Pay the Big Price: This is an in-depth piece by the New York Times that examines the incentives many local units of government are offering businesses.  To no one's surprise the taxpayers do not come out ahead.  Hopefully all of our new elected officials will get a chance to read this: "A Times investigation has examined and tallied thousands of local incentives granted nationwide and has found that states, counties and cities are giving up more than $80 billion each year to companies. The beneficiaries come from virtually every corner of the corporate world, encompassing oil and coal conglomerates, technology and entertainment companies, banks and big-box retail chains. The cost of the awards is certainly far higher. A full accounting, The Times discovered, is not possible because the incentives are granted by thousands of government agencies and officials, and many do not know the value of all their awards. Nor do they know if the money was worth it because they rarely track how many jobs are created. Even where officials do track incentives, they acknowledge that it is impossible to know whether the jobs would have been created without the aid." (More) Dayton Aims to Overhaul Tax System:  This will be a big week as we will finally get some details of the Dayton administration's tax overhaul proposal.  I wonder how much it has changed since the election and the Democrats take-over of the legislature.  From the Star Tribune: "Gov. Mark Dayton is embarking on what could be the most dramatic overhaul of the state tax system in a generation. After years of careening from one budget crisis to the next, the alarm bells are sounding everywhere: Minnesota's corporate income tax rate is among the highest in the nation, yet many businesses don't pay it. The sales tax rate is the highest in the region, but includes the least amount of goods and services. Legal fees, food, clothing, architectural plans, baby bottles and feminine hygiene products all are exempt. And over time, the state has carved out obscure tax breaks for an array of powerful industries, including mining companies, hospitals and even ski hills." (Read)  White House Says "Fiscal Cliff" could cost Minnesota 1.3 Points of GDP: The report suggests that consumers in Minnesota could spend nearly $3.6 billion less than they otherwise would in 2013 just because of higher taxes.  A critical part of the economy that might be squeezed is retail, a sector that employs 278,700 people in the state. (Read) Ten Quotes That Can Change Your Life: Zig Ziglar died last week at age 86. A World War II veteran, Zig Ziglar became the top sales person in several organizations before striking out on his own as a motivational speaker and trainer. With a Southern charm and lessons grounded in Christianity, Ziglar wrote over two dozen books and amassed a following of millions who were encouraged by his lessons for success. Here are 10 quotes from Zig Ziglar that have the power to completely change the direction of one’s life. (Quotes)
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