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A New Phone Law?

Since Our Blog is a little bit about travel, this seemed like a good start.

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Do we need a new phone travel restriction law? Admit it! You get so irritated when you see someone sitting… just sitting in front of you, at a light that has turned green… and they aren’t moving because they are just sitting there talking on their cell phone. Or, maybe it’s just me.

Already, it’s against the law to text. But, Virginia State Senator Scott Surovell re-introduced a bill that was previously voted down on the Senate floor in 2015. A bill that would make it a traffic violation to use your cell phone in hand.  Hands free only.

Senator Scott Surovell today introduced SB 74 which prohibits driving while operating a mobile phone unless it is being used in “hand’s free” mode”.

Here is what the Virginia Transportation Alliance has said about the bill:

 

The Alliance applauds Senator Surovell’s efforts to find solutions that will help reduce distracted driving. Recent VDOT statistics show that over a 6 year period, approximately 1 in 6 traffic fatalities in Northern Virginia occurred when at least 1 of the drivers involved was distracted,” stated Northern Virginia Transportation Alliance President David Birtwhistle in an email to Potomac Local. “Many more traffic incidents impacting the efficiency of the transportation network are caused by distracted driving. Northern Virginia’s congestion issues will not be solved by such legislation, but every effort to reduce the number of incidents and save lives matters.

The days of having your cell phone in your hand while driving may come to a close after this session. The argument against passage of the bill includes that it may also serve to limit GPS use with your phone. Opponents of the bill believe that it just represents too much government involvement in our driving, and puts more burden on the police to enforce it.

For pic o’ day, this is more like just plain ole phone humor. (Does phone humor really exist?)

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Some Positive Spin Marketing!

I promised to write a shorter blog… after Yesterday’s dissertation. Tuesday’s blog might have caused you to think that I was working on my doctorate on free speech. The only truth in that possibility is that there were many words… and they were all free. Speech that was worth the price?

Today, I am posting on marketing. Although, I am not sure this advertisement could pass as marketing. What do you think of this positive spin? (It made me laugh!) And who doesn’t need “half a pair of headphones”?

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And finally, for pic o’ day, I guess this is what dogs look like when they Facetime friends:

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Let’s Talk Holiday

I wanted to start the blog out with wishing you a Merry Christmas, since I feel that advertisers have been doing that since September. When is it fashionable to begin wishing friends a Happy Easter. I say sometime around December 10.

First, a word on shopping, because it feels like a shopping craze is all around me. And as a side note, how did all these stores get my email? Seriously, I cannot read my emails because I have too many shopping emails. What happened?

Anyway, In keeping with my apparent complaining about being bombarded with shopping news, here is some news that I wouldn’t even know how to comment on, if I even did. I guess this qualifies as shopping news?

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To make the blog worthwhile, here is an article from USA Today titled 5 security mistakes you’re probably making. I  am posting it as an attachment because I know you will read it… if you have the time.

And by the way… I want to wish you a Merry Christmas. (Yes, I am getting carried away)

And for pic o’ day, now we are getting down to business on the shopping. Right?

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Consuming the Consumer?

Coming out of Thanksgiving, did you feel like this? Maybe I am blog confessing!

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Of course, this ad tells us it’s that time of year, not to mention that it’s a bit creepy. Right? Hopefully he is just being funny!IMG_1582

Which brings us to the real topic of being a consumer (since we are being bombarded with ads online and on TV that we need to shop)  and whether or not the U.S. Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) is protecting us, or slowing down business. (Is it causing Air Jordans to go up in price?)

The Agency was originally created under the Obama administration. It’s first director touts its accomplishments by stating that nearly 12 billion dollars were returned to consumers who were “cheated or mistreated by banks or other large financial companies“.

President Trump tweeted that the leadership of the CFPB “has been a total disaster as run by the previous Administrations pick. Financial institutions have been devastated and unable to properly serve the public. We will bring it back to life!”.

Here’s the politics as described in USA Today (article) It’s a story about dueling appointments and why.

On Friday, the original Obama-appointed pick stepped down and appointed his own replacement, his chief-of-staff. (Leandra English)  Under the law, the appointment names an acting director until the Senate can confirm a new pick of President Trump.

On Friday, Trump announced that he was appointing his budget director to also serve as the new acting director of the agency. (Mick Mulvaney) Mulvaney once characterized the consumer protection agency as a “sad, sick joke“.  Mulvaney said that he intends to head the agency and continue his current job, until a new agency director is appointed.

So the question for the courts becomes, does President Trump have the right to name a replacement until the Senate confirms a nominee, or does the current appointment by the prior agency director stand, until confirmation of a new appointee.

Why is this appointment so important. Well, if the supporters of the agency are right, then this agency protects consumers. If the Trump administration is correct, then the agency must be changed or dismantled because it creates major obstacles with his burdensome regulations.

Politics! The article details more about the agency. But this story and the upcoming appointment fight?  It makes holiday shopping and crowds seem like a walk in the park!

Finally, I guess I felt that I had license to post our first holiday pic o’ day. Here we go!

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Bent Letters to the Right?

In 1994, artist Dwight Kalb sent David Letterman a statue of Madonna, made of 180 pounds of ham. Originally, I was going to write a blog with a food theme. As I began writing, I realized it was probably as useful as art made from ham.

So, instead, I have attached an article from didyouknow.com, that provides us with clues on how to read a person’s handwriting. How’s that for Our Thursday blog?

I cannot say that I totally believe this. But again… it is more useful than ham!

 

If letters slant to the left: Indicates introspection and a lot of emotional control.

If letter slant to the right: Reveals a person who’s outgoing, friendly, impulsive, and emotionally open.

If letters are straight up and down: The sign of someone who’s ruled by the head, not the heart.

Letters that slant in more than one direction: Indicates versatility and adaptability.

An erratic slant: Usually means a lack of flexibility.

Heavy pressure writing (like you can feel the rib made on the back of the paper): The writer is agitated.

Moderate pressure (the writing is dark, but you can’t feel the rib on the other side of the paper): Shows ability to deal with stress.

Light pressure: Indicates someone who seems to take life in stride.

Tiny letters: Indicate the writer is has somewhat low self esteem but is intelligent.

Small letters: The hallmark of quiet, introspective types – they’re generally detail-oriented and have good concentration.

Large letters: Sign of a confident, easygoing individual.

Huge letters: Indicate someone who’s theatrical, usually loud, and needs to be the center of attention at all times.

Wide letters (their width and height are about the same): The mark of someone who’s open and friendly.

Narrow letters: Show someone who’s somewhat shy and inhibited but very self-disciplined.

Letters that don’t touch: Indicate an impulsive, artistic, sometimes impractical free thinker.

Some letters connecting: Means the writer’s personality blends logic and intuition.

All letters making contact: The sign of someone who’s highly cautious.

A curved first mark: Shows a person who’s traditional and plays by the rules.

A straight beginning stroke: Reveals someone who’s rigid and doesn’t like being told what to do.

A final stroke straight across: The writer is cautious.

An end mark that curves up: Reveals generosity.

Perfect penmanship: The hallmark of a communicative person.

An indecipherable scrawl: Indicates a person who’s secretive, closed-up and likes to keep his thoughts to himself.

 

So that’s clues in handwriting. Like Colonel Mustard, in the living room, with the wrench.

And for pic o’ day, I figured it was a good time to slip one in for Thanksgiving. It feels like everywhere else we are just sliding right into the holidays and bypassing Thanksgiving.

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History, Lies and a Liar

How about this as a starter for Our Monday blog? Did you refuse to turn back your clock? Not so much?

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I did learn on the internet this weekend that February 22, 2022 (2/22/22) falls on a Tuesday. We will be able to truly call it 2’sday. How about that! And you have to believe it because it was on the internet. Right?

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Which brings me to what is truth? It’s hard to know. Watching any TV right now pretty much guarantees a political ad. Right? I mean, come on!

That led me to wonder how often one politician calls another politician a liar. In the courtroom, that is a “no no”. Although, I have heard liar used. Usually, someone says of another lawyer, “You are practicing sharp practice” or “you are misrepresenting facts”. I have referenced Roger Clemens before, when he came up with a new word for liar during the Congressional steroid hearings. In discussing Andy Pettitte’s assertion that Clemens had injected steroids, Clemens simply dismissed the claim by saying that Pettitte just “misremembered“. A new word for liar.

That brings me to a portion of a transcript from a now deceased, Washington DC, defense lawyer. He also once owned the Baltimore Orioles. (Edward Bennett Williams, also known as EBW)

This transcript of his cross examination occurred during the time of the Watergate Scandal and subsequent hearings. John Connolly had served as Secretary of the Treasury under President Nixon and was charged with taking a bribe. Williams was defending Connolly.

As background, this is the same Connolly who had been Governor of Texas and had been seriously injured while riding in President Kennedy’s car, on the day that Kennedy was assassinated.

I could write a long blog, just about stories of Connolly. He was known as a master manipulator who would do things like instruct his aides to call airports where he was just arriving. The aides would ask airport announcers to page “John Connolly, you have an urgent call“. He wanted those at the airport to know that he was there, and also make him sound important.

That background also provides context to the following transcripts of EBW’s cross examination of Jake Jacobson. Jacobson was the principal bribery testimony witness against Connolly.  Jacobson was also a disbarred Texas lawyer.

In defending Connolly against these bribery charges, Williams obviously wanted to discredit Jacobson and destroy his credibility. This is how Williams (EBW) began Jacobson’s cross examination:

Q: Mr. Jacobson, you’re a liar, aren’t you, sir?

A: No, I’m not!

Q: Take a look at this document. It says “Statement of Jacob Jacobson” on the top. That’s you, isn’t it?

A: Yes.

Q: And that’s your signature on the bottom?

A: Yes.

Q: And the first sentence says, “I lied when I testified before the grand jury,” doesn’t it?

A: Yes.

Q: So you are a liar, aren’t you?

BOOM!

I guess Al Gore had not yet “invented the internet” (I love that whopper of a lie)… and Benjamin Franklin had not discovered electricity. So may it was hard to find the truth!

 

And finally for our pic o’ day!

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Wednesday’s History Trivia

First, some Halloween humor:

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Trivial Pursuit is a board game that involves players attempting to answer questions to demonstrate their general knowledge. Here are some facts about women that you might not know:

Alene B. Duerk, head of the Navy Nurse Corps, was the first woman in the U.S. Navy to be promoted to the rank of Rear Admiral.

The designer of the Statue of Liberty, French sculptor Frederic-Auguste Bartholdi, used his wife as the model for the body and his mother as the model for the face. (Just a thought. Were family holidays interesting… or argumentative?)

In 1930, the heaviest a female flight attendant could weigh was 115 pounds. They also had to be unmarried nurses. ( Seems to be a bit restrictive for application. And does it seem a bit disconcerting about flying safety that only nurses could apply? Might explain why I am not a big fan of flying.)

She was born Florence Nightingale Graham but was better known by her business name, which became a cosmetics empire: Elizabeth Arden.

Here is some Kennedy family history: Rose Kennedy was the daughter of the Mayor of Boston, the wife of the Ambassador to England, and the mother of a President: John F Kennedy; and two Senators Robert and Ted Kennedy. She lived to be 104 years old, outliving four of her nine children.

And finally, former Senator and Presidential/Vice Presidential candidate summed it up, “Behind every successful man is a proud wife and a surprised mother-in-law.” 

And now our pic o’ day. A bit mean, but it when it was forwarded to me “for the blog”, it made me laugh:

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It’s going to be a great Wednesday!!

 

 

Monday’s Collection of Information

In the iconic 1987 movie Wall Street, Gordon Gekko proclaimed that “The most valuable commodity I know of is information“. Today’s blog is a collection of information. Valuable? After this, you might feel like we are zigging and zagging. Some useful; some useless; and something sad.  Our Blog!

First, I have stumbled upon some amazing mustard. (I suspect you didn’t see this one coming!) I am putting it on everything. Obsessively!

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Next is apparently how to keep pigeons off your porch. (In case pigeons are on your porch!) It’s this right here:

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(photography provided by renowned photographer Joel Bieber)

Yes, a balloon is the first line of defense! I guess pigeons are afraid of balloons with eyes?

Now, some serious discussion for the blog. Who was the youngest American serviceman killed in action? Honestly, this is terrible. The answer: Dan Bullock, at age 15.

 

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When he was 14-years-old, he altered his birth certificate to show he was four years older. He wanted to become a pilot, police officer or a Marine. So he enlisted and graduated from Parris Island boot camp in 1968.

He arrived it Vietnam on May 18, and was assigned as a rifleman. On June 7, while making an ammunition run to resupply his unit, he was killed by a Vietnamese night attack.

His grave did not even have a marker until 2000. Today, the Vietnam Veterans Memorial finally recognizes him as the youngest soldier killed. And I must ashamedly admit that I did not know his story until recently.

I said that this blog has lots of information. I felt that after that story of Marine Dan Bullock, I didn’t want to end there. It’s too sad.

So, I post some lion wisdom as part of the continuum of the blog:

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And finally, here is our pic o’ day.

I am thankful for Monday!

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“Get a Tailor”

I often hear that we are living in difficult times. I cannot disagree. There is a lot of anger out there.  I guess that’s why I like this picture. Lessons from a dog about finding joy in living in the present!

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Which brings me to some anger that came in on our website a couple of nights ago. Here was the message:

Message Body:
You have the worst commercials I’ve ever seen. Your clothes are terrible. It would benefit you to meet with clothing specialist and a decent ad agency..

How about that! I guess she doesn’t like my suits… or my commercials? Where there is anger….there is also pain!

Which brings me to the survey that we had done several years ago. At the time, a political survey company, headed by a man named Frank Luntz, (His wikipedia) was a good place to start. He was know for doing political surveys in several states. This was long before Frank Luntz was regularly seen on Fox News. (By the way, his hair is fascinating. Just sayin’. Survey says?)

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It was around 1995, and I was still facing a lot of criticism for my commercials. On a weekly basis, I would hear from lawyers, who told me that they were offended by them. Some even said I was ruining the profession. So, even though business was good, I was still concerned about our marketing. I had to be confident in trying jury trials and legal marketing was still a bit new. (Today, people are so used to legal marketing that it’s not easy to even make an impact with TV ads)

I hired Frank Luntz to do a survey of several things, so that it didn’t seem like it was only a survey about our marketing. This was back in the day, when people would be honest about their feelings in a survey. Now… not so much.

Luntz finished his survey and left a voicemail that he wanted to go over the results. Even though we had hired him, he had no idea what we did as a business. Those doing the survey were not in any of our markets.

I called Luntz and said that I was returning his call. “What do you do for a living?”, he started out. I told him that I was a lawyer. He seemed more confused, which made me really wonder what he was about to tell me.

“I laughed when I read the survey responses”, Luntz said. Which isn’t what I expected. Then he went on to tell me what he had learned. One-third of the people liked me; one third despised me. And then he added, that there was about 6% who had never heard of me… and the rest could care less about me.

He went on to add, “keep doing what you are doing. It’s obviously working, because they know who you are”.

I have to admit that I fall in the category of wanting to be liked. Still, when I see a web hit that comes in about our advertising, I remember what Luntz told me. At least you are getting their attention. Advertising and branding. And 40 years from now, I hope I am still receiving those calls!

An attack on the suits? Right? Maybe I should show more of the socks next time!!!

And finally, I have to mention National Coffee Day.  Shouldn’t this be a federal holiday? Yes! On our law firm social media pages, we are having a contest, to celebrate.  These are the good days!

I hope you have a great weekend! And here is pic o’ day. More dog humor. I guess this pup is not living in the present!

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A Mind Made Up!

I call it the Firefighter Fact Experiment (research paper here) I am a nut for psychological research studies. (which probably explains why I sometimes write about them in Our Blog) Plus, I hearken back to my political science college days, because that was always such a moving target of information anyway. (Notice how I just rambled on there about nothingness?)

So back to my Firefighter Fact Experiment and how it relates to kneeling during the National Anthem. Do I have your attention or are you so bored of hearing about the kneel down, that you are almost about to stop reading the blog. Wait… that’s exactly what the research says!

Two groups were given a story about firefighters, and then a questionnaire to answer about the fact pattern. The study was done by Anderson, Lepper and Ross in 1980. (attached above).

One group was given information that proved that successful firefighters are also risk-takers. The second research group was given information that supported the idea that firefighters are not risk-takers at all, and that’s the very reason they are successful. Complete opposite fact-patterns. The participants then filled out their questionnaires.

After that portion was completed, the research facilitator then announced that the information that they had just read “was completely fictitious. I made it up. There is no evidence one way or another“.

In a follow-up study after this announcement, the participants were then asked what they believed about firefighters, and why. In each study, the participants still believed the original information that they had received. The announcement that it had all been made up did not change their opinion. They couldn’t give reasons why they believed the different views on firefighters and risk-taking. They simply had formed that opinion and it was not changed by the announcement.

In jury trials, we call that the trial story. Once jurors make up their minds, it is typically difficult to get them to change their minds.

I think it’s the same way with political issues. Specifically, I have noticed that about opinions on kneeling during the National Anthem. Once an opinion is set, people don’t usually change their opinion. In fact, they just get stronger about their opinion. And I suspect you would also say to me right now.. “And they are not afraid to just keep repeating their opinion”. It’s the psychological effect of believing what I believe… because I believe it! And it keeps Facebook with many postings!

 

And for pic o’ day, sometimes it’s crazy what strikes my funny bone!

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