Thought Leadership


Minor abortion and parental involvement abortion laws in the United States

Pink:   No parental notification or consent laws.
Purple: One parent must be informed beforehand.
Light Blue:  Both parents must be informed beforehand.
Medium Blue:  One parent must consent beforehand.
Dark Blue: Both parents must consent beforehand.
Light Gray: Parental notification law currently enjoined.
Dark Gray: Parental consent law currently enjoined.

“You’re Entitled To Your Own Opinion, But Not Your Own Facts”

Stats can be technically correct and yet misleading when appropriated out of context by some partisan hack to convey an impression that is actually contrary to fact. Sadly, this has become the norm. The following argument is illustrative. Disreagarding the political or ideological issues, let’s narrowly focus on the dynamics of the communication:

If you have to get your parents’ permission to go on a field trip or take an aspirin in school, but not to get an abortion — you might live in a nation founded by geniuses but run by idiots. Common sense has been thrown out the window.  Only 5 states require notification and consent: Oklahoma, Texas, Utah,Virginia, West Virginia, and Wyoming. All other states allow consent or notification only usually by one give parent only (some both).  PLUS, there is a judicial bypass in ALL states.  In other words, the government claims jurisdiction over our children. That’s the liberal agenda.

The above statement gives the impression that parental involvement is the exception rather than the rule. Now let’s reframe it with a response representing a differing viewpoint:

Just 7 states don’t have consent/notification laws: Connecticut, Hawaii, New York, Oregon, California, Vermont, Washington – plus Washington, D.C. Most states require one of two types of parental involvement– consent or notification, or both. 22 states require one or both parents to consent to the procedure, 11 require one or both parents be notified and 2 require both consent and notification before an elective abortion. Representing this as some governmental claim of jurisdiction doesn’t make sense because, to the contrary, the U.S. Supreme Court has ruled in favor of the right of state legislatures to require parental involvement.

What Just Happened?

According to the writer of the first statement, the source was the Guttmacher Institute, which was named in memory of Dr. Alan Guttmacher, past president of Planned Parenthood. The slight of hand here is an interesting variant of the appeal to authority – citing a source generally regarded as liberal to make a purportedly conservative argument.

However, reading the report, it becomes clear that the source was obviously appropriated out of context by some partisan writer to convey the impression that parental involvement is the exception rather than the rule. Partisan ideological sources misinform. The actual report starts out as follows:

 A majority of states require parental involvement in a minor’s decision to have an abortion. Most of these states require the consent or notification of only one parent, usually 24 or 48 hours before the procedure, but a handful of states require the involvement of both parents… HIGHLIGHTS:

  • 38 states require parental involvement in a minor’s decision to have an abortion. 
  • 21 states require parental consent only, 3 of which require both parents to consent. 
  • 12 states require parental notification only, 1 of which requires that both parents be notified. 
  • 5 states require both parental consent and notification. 
  • 8 states require the parental consent documentation to be notarized.

News Vs. Slant

Given that a free society needs to accommodate a broad spectrum of differing opinions and beliefs on any number of subjects, one has to learn to both expect and allow for differing viewpoints. The 4th estate was therefore considered to be an integral part of the democratic process. Yet, today it has been corrupted to the point that instead of facts, people are fed manipulative propaganda and infotainment that dumbs down public awareness.

Beyond Partisan Frameworks

Regarding slant, the liberal/conservative framework doesn’t mean much to me; I am particuarly suspicious of partisan talking points of any kind, as they tend to hinge on circular logic, and become inconsistent and self-contradictory. For instance, the conservative/libertarian talking point that government shouldn’t be too intrusive doesn’t square with cries like the above  for more restrictive abortion laws. Ideological rigidity is just too complicated for me. Life is complicated enough without having to buy into predefined political memes and feel angry and upset all the time just because somebody out there happens to disagree with me. 

So given that people are going to disagree, we ought to all be provided accurate rather than distorted data to enable them to make informed judgments and engage in constructive, rather than divisive dialogue.  Sadly, this is not the case.



Corporation, n. An ingenious device for obtaining individual profit without individual responsibility.

~Ambrose Bierce

Thomas Friedman

I hope the President turns down the Keystone XL oil pipeline. (Who wants the U.S. to facilitate the dirtiest extraction of the dirtiest crude from tar sands in Canada’s far north?) But I don’t think he will.

So…I think if we all make enough noise about this, we might be able to trade a lousy Keystone pipeline for some really good systemic responses to climate change. We don’t get such an opportunity often — namely, a second-term Democratic president who is under heavy pressure to approve a pipeline to create some jobs but who also has a green base that he can’t ignore.

…We need the president to be able to say to the G.O.P. oil lobby, “I’m going to approve this, but it will kill me with my I’ve got to get something really big in return.”


What Stands in the Way of Compelling Content?

Nasheen Liu, VP of marketing at The  IT Media Group,  discusses hindrances marketers face in creating compelling marketing content and and recommends three strategies to overcome them.  Two key problems she identifies are:

  1. Lack of control over the subject-matter.
  2. Feeling too removed from their audience.

She shares some approaches for overcoming those  challenges that allows markerters to more effectively create and repurpose compelling content.

Three Strategies

Strategy 1: Be an avid journalist to your internal  audience

In brief, there is no substitute for interaction with your field organization and customers.  Your notes from these interactions should include insights  from customers that can be summarized in a report and communicated to  your stakeholders.

Liu’s recommendation is to repurpose these valuable insights as “Industry Newsflashes,”  “Customer Insights,” and “Opportunity Analysis” for your internal audiences.  Why is this important?

Marketers often fail to realize that their most important audience is the  internal one. To market anything successfully, one must first and foremost  create as much visibility as possible internally. Every employee is your message  carrier. You will not become a rock star marketer if you don’t have the support  of your internal stakeholders.

Strategy 2: Insource your content, but control the  output

To get a good handle on your subject matter, it’s important to identify the domain experts  – at least one person in each cross-functional area who can serve as your go-to resource. This will give you a ready supply of content.

Getting subject experts to be responsive is a key challenge. You’ll need to schedule some time interviewing them in person. The conversation should be targeted to extracting content from them in 30 minutes or less.  One way to set this process in motion is to create an editiorial calendar.

If you promote your experts and give them visibility, you can gain you loyal sponsors and  support for your endeavors.

Strategy 3: Outsource your topics to industry  experts

One of the most common failures that I see marketers make in trying to promote themselves as thought leaders or impress audiences with their products and services is the mistake of “singing your own praises.”  To gain the attention and trust of the customer, it’s much better to get someone else to do the praising in an indirect way.

In the technology space, I engage industry experts, media personalities, and  well-known bloggers. The kind of perception you are trying to create is this:  “Wow, these guys are associated with her? Impressive.”

To build on this,  you can build  an onging campaign in which your expert can help you in various activities. Some ideas:

An initial article can turn into a moderated customer forum. The  findings from the forum become a whitepaper. The whitepaper can be used to  develop a video case study. And so on. Such linkages can continue to develop and  mature over the life of the catmpaign.

As Liu points out, “content is the bread and butter of what we do in the world of marketing.” Yet it often seems to get lost in the flurry of planning and execution, and becomes an afterthought. A successful marketing organization exists as part of a larger context of consistent messaging accross all touch points, internal and external. Nothing promotes an organization’s brand value more effectvely than shared messaging.


Actor, writer, lawyer, and commentator on political and economic issues, and son of economist and writer Herbert Stein, who worked at the White House under President Nixon, Ben Stein attained early success as a speechwriter for American presidents Richard Nixon and Gerald Ford. He is a public speaker on a wide range of economic and social issues.


March 1, 2013. A date which will live in infamy.

The people and nation of the United States were slowly and deliberately attacked by the partisanship, ideological rigidity and lack of courage of the top levels of the government of this nation.

Government run for the people with care, devotion and love of country went off the rails.

Over the question of how much to cut spending and how much to raise taxes, both totally legitimate subjects for debate, we are going off the map of the known world and into a “Twilight Zone” of sequester never-never land.

We are playing hazardous games with defense, with the economic recovery, with the guiding of airplanes into airports, with the education of our children.

In the midst of a highly tentative and slow recovery from a terrible recession, we are threatening to throw tens of thousands, maybe hundreds of thousands into the unemployment lines.

 I get the points on both sides: The Democrats want the rich to pay more tax, and I completely agree. The rich should pay more and the middle class should have some skin in the game, too.

The Republicans say we are drowning in debt and have to cut spending on entitlements somewhere. And both points of view are ideologically pure, but totally unrealistic approaches to the real world.

The real world is not about absolutes. This is America, not the Third Reich. We govern by compromise.

The goal here is not perfect ideological nirvana. It is the dirty, gritty business of compromise. Anything less at this point is a betrayal of those who have given their all for this country.

This nonsense about the budget has gone on way too long. It is exhausting and maddening. We have a government acting like rival grade school gangs on a playground.

As the great Mick Jagger so aptly said, “The game to play is compromise solution.”

Or take someone much greater. Abraham Lincoln said long ago that America was “the last best hope of Earth.” Let’s get way, way back from the brink and show that Lincoln was right again. Mick, too.

Senators, Congressmen and women, Mister President, get back to Washington D.C., and get to work. Compromise. Work like you love America.

And get it done.

At least 40% of your measures must be leading indicators, or you will lose speed to change.
Lesson: Excessive focus on downstream measures (e.g., revenue and net income per employee) can take your eye off the ball.
Leading indicators, such as rational and emotional engagement, give leaders a glimpse into the future. If these indicators are high, it’s a good bet that people will overcome obstacles to deliver results and sustain value.
~ Michael Conforme, Country Manager, PI Korea



A Picture is Worth a Thousand Words

While plutocrats obsess about the Federal debt, who’s discussing the real debt problem – household debt – and its cause – the plutocrats’ austerity policies?

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