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Jake Brewer Memorial Education Fund

Sunday, September 20, 2015  |  posted by Duane Patterson

Our friend Mary Katharine Ham lost her beloved husband Jake Brewer yesterday. Her note to her many fans is below. An education fund for their two children (one of whom is a few weeks shy of the delivery room) has been set up, and is linked here.

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Apologies, Confessions, Christianity and Leadership

Sunday, September 20, 2015  |  posted by John Schroeder

Friday, Jim Geraghty wrote of the “No Apology” style, as exemplified by Ann Coulter, and expanded on it in his Friday Morning Jolt.  As Geraghty points out in the Jolt, when in leadership, the apology can be problematic:

In the 1949 film She Wore a Yellow Ribbon, John Wayne declares, “Never apologize. It’s a sign of weakness.” Jethro Gibbs, the zen master of masculine toughness on CBS’ top-rated NCIS, echoes Wayne’s line as one of his rules.

An apology puts power in the hands of the person or people to whom the apology is addressed, as it seeks forgiveness or absolution of some sort from them.  Webster defines “apology” with the characteristic of regret – from which the appearance of weakness can flow, and undermine leadership.  I understand why leaders in all senses of that word do not always apologize.

Buy there is a related word that is not used enough – confession.  “Confession,” Webster defines as

: a written or spoken statement in which you say that you have done something wrong or committed a crime

: the act of telling people something that makes you embarrassed, ashamed, etc.

This can be useful for the leader and has its roots in Christian thought. Continue Reading

It Had To Happen Eventually

Friday, September 18, 2015  |  posted by Duane Patterson

Hugh Hewitt has now come to the attention of Jimmy Fallon. From last night’s Tonight Show.

Ideas and Lives, Not Brands Matter

Friday, September 18, 2015  |  posted by John Schroeder

We live in a branded world.  The current presidential campaign is an effort for each candidate to establish a brand, and then get America to buy that brand.  “Republican” and “Democrat” nowadays function as brand names, as do “conservative” and “liberal.”  Increasingly, words like “spiritual,” “religious,” and “Christian” are brand names too.  But as branding has moved from a marketing technique for goods, and sometimes services, into how we do pretty much everything, problems are emerging.

Branding started as a way to distinguish products that were difficult to distinguish.  They were a short hand for why product X was better than product Y that could not be told in the confines of an ad of some sort.  That is to say if you were in a grocery store and confronted with a shelf of canned peas, Green Giant, Del Monte, Stokley-Van Camp, which one do you pick?  Branding was a way of making the Green Giant peas look a little better than the Del Monte peas, and there were genuine differences.  Green Giant worked primarily in southern Minnesota, Del Monte in other places – their canning processes were slightly different as were the genetic variety of pea.  Remember when generic or unbranded products began to appear in stores?  They were generally the peas that were safe to eat, but the brands found did not meet their exacting standards.  Yeah, generics were cheaper, but they were not quite as good.

But nowadays, with a few notable exceptions, it is a different story.  Factory farms sell to all the canners who sell their labels while the peas really are exactly the same.  Unfortunately, people have learned this, even if subconsciously.  Brands have become image, not necessarily a shorthand for some reality.  That has two major consequences.  For one it means there will be major battles for people to define, and in some cases redefine, a brand without ever actually changing the product.  Secondly, it means people are going to pretty much approach anything cynically. Continue Reading

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