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Blog Posts for April 2010

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Celebrity Sucks


I don't envy celebrities. Fame comes with a price, and when something bad happens in your life, if you're famous, it's suddenly everybody's business.

I was at the local grocery store when I noticed that five of the checkout rags had Sandra's picture. For such a horrible circumstance in her life to be played out in public... is the fame worth it?


by Brett Rogers, 4/3/2010 6:52:43 AM



This is our new office space, in downtown Des Moines. Duane, Mandy, and I signed papers of incorporation on Friday, and our enterprise is now christened Worldwide Amplified Media Group. The local operation is Des Moines Amplified.

Our mantra is very simple: "Amplify the Host."

We currently have about 40 hosts, and we're looking to ceiling at 100. I expect that we'll reach that number in two months.

Our arrangement for the hosts is simple: each host gets a weekly show, 1 to 2 hours long. It's free to them - they pay nothing for it. Their show is broadcast and recorded, and after the broadcast they can collect the recordings of both audio and video and put them out there for the world.

This is part of how we amplify the host.

Additionally, we make the very back space available for our hosts to use as a seminar room. There, they can use the Smart Board for presentations to groups of 30 or so people. For a host, they can use the space for $25 for a 90-minute block of time. They can record the video and audio of the session.

Yet another part of how we amplify the host.

We'll be conducting classes - for free - in the seminar room to teach our hosts how to become better presenters, speakers, entertainers... all taught by local broadcasters and professionals. In this way, we help their ability to educate and communicate. The classes will not only improve their on-air performance, but likely strengthen their career as well.

More amplification of the host.

There are other things that we plan for them, but our goal is simple: give the host the most attractive space and tools available to become bigger than they are today. Our intention is not that they can make their income as a host, but that they can double their income.

We aim to have 100 of the most interesting people in Des Moines, a diverse crowd of varied interests and expertise, showcasing their skills and passions, improving their careers and connections. If we're able to drive value into our business and if we're able to execute our plan, then I expect that we'll open at least 10 affiliate locations by the end of the year, based upon our business model.

The fun begins :)


by Brett Rogers, 4/4/2010 9:04:23 AM

When You Can't Dazzle 'Em with Brilliance...


...baffle 'em with bullshit.


by Brett Rogers, 4/4/2010 10:15:14 AM

Cliff Notes


A guy I used to know started commenting on my site here recently when he discovered that I protested my local representative, the leaden Leonard Boswell. In his comments here, he made mention of the Constitution, and brought up "all men are created equal." That renders him to be about as deep a scholar on matters Constitutional as our resident Super Genius in the White House.

The founders of the country wrote many pages in description of their beliefs, much of which are found in the Federalist Papers. There, Madison and Hamilton gave more definition around exactly how the government would be defined, articulating why they came to the conclusions and rationales that they did.

Unfortunately, most Americans never got a proper introduction to the concerns of freedom. Instead, they rely on a Cliff Notes understanding of the Constitution. Had he understood the Constitution, aside from quoting introductory lines of it, he would have grasped the importance of the 10th amendment, and how nationalized health care is an utter violation of it, and why that's vital. And even if he doesn't take the time to noodle that through today, there's a high chance that his children will acquaint him the ramifications of the concept later. Federalism is brilliant, and a terrific stop gap for when politicians think they're all that and a bag of health care.

For those of us who get it now, a writer for Politco warns politicians:

Spring forecast: Incivility with a chance of rage.
It all depends on how much those clouds are seeded with an invested knowledge of the Constitution. The Super Genius and his ilk are about to discover that elephants have long memories.


1 Comment
by Brett Rogers, 4/5/2010 7:50:08 AM




by Brett Rogers, 4/6/2010 6:09:04 AM

Playing the Part of Acting Smart


Ron Paul, self-imposed guru of all things truly American, said at the Southern Republican Leadership Conference (SRLC) that Obama is "not a socialist."

Some guy named Chip gives a little assistance with that assertion:

Merriam-Webster Online Dictionary:

socialist advocate or supporter of socialism.

1 : any of various economic and political theories advocating collective or governmental ownership and administration of the means of production and distribution of goods
2 a : a system of society or group living in which there is no private property b : a system or condition of society in which the means of production are owned and controlled by the state
3 : a stage of society in Marxist theory transitional between capitalism and communism and distinguished by unequal distribution of goods and pay according to work done

So, for the record, ol' Ron believes that Obama is a corporatist. You can look up the definition for yourself... suffice it to say that saying such a thing and drawing that distinction might tempt people into thinking you look smart, but one thing is for sure: Obama does not seek to strengthen corporations as a means to re-order society. He's planning to overtake and abolish corporations.

Romney also plays the part of acting smart, and he's proud of himself for RomneyCare. Romney is right about one thing: "[Romney's] argument is a federalist assertion that the new law usurps powers that properly reside with the states." Yep. ObamaCare violates the 10th Amendment. But socializing an industry is not smart. Ever. Even at the state level.

And let's not forget that Romney is the genius who admired Obama's backbone for firing GM's CEO.

Politicians are jackasses. Less is more...


by Brett Rogers, 4/10/2010 11:00:22 PM

Johnny's Tale


Johnny loved to run. He ran to school each day. He ran during recess. He ran with all of his friends in the evenings. He would come home sweaty and dirty - and happy. Running made Johnny happy.

At school during outside PE, the teacher paired the kids up to run against one another. She pitted Johnny against another kid, Jared. As their race neared, Johnny's heart just about burst through his chest in anticipation of speed.

And speed he did. Legs churning, each step was a jolt thrust into the ground, striving to escape earth's gravity and vault skyward.

All of that energy beamed from his face as he crossed the finish line. Out of the corner of his eye, he saw Mrs. Pittingham's face, and his impression at that glimpse was not unlike eyeballing a huge bag of candy only to find tiny ants swarming throughout the confection. He spun his head around, wondering at the growing deflation in his powerful limbs. Sure enough - the young gym teacher's face soured a grimace. Johnny followed her gaze and then he saw Jared.

So fast was Johnny out of his starting stance that he'd easily covered half the distance to the finish line before Jared had made two steps. The race was over before the rest of the class could even cheer anyone on. Jared remained, now jogging alone, head down, embarrassed. Even humiliated.

"That wasn't fair," Mrs. Pittingham announced, loud enough for the rest of the class to hear. "We need to do that over."

Johnny's exuberance returned, and he glided once again to the starting position. Jared moved next to him. Mrs. Pittingham disappeared into the school briefly and then emerged.

In her hands she held a heavy janitor's coat. It was a shiny vinyl gray, and it draped listless over her palms as she carried it to Johnny.

"Put this on," she said flatly.

Johnny obeyed, and the class giggled at the near dress he now wore. Jared smirked and bent to the task at hand, legs cocked for action. Johnny bent with him. The weight of the rubbery shroud felt like the hands of eight people pressed onto his back and shoulders.

He looked up. His heart thumped its defiance and he felt the blood fire into his thighs.


Instinctively, Johnny moved at the woman's guttural bark, barely the letter G sounded out of her mouth, and it was as though the air refused to let him feel the janitor's coat at all. Time slowed and allowed him to savor the heat generated when he planted a foot and then pushed off.

This time he looked right at his teacher as he drove down the track. No coat would hold him back, no expression would drown his joy, and no other boy would beat him. It was just that simple.

And so it was. The coat turned to ether for the few seconds that it took Johnny to charge across the asphalt. Weightlessness then gave way to reality as the race ended and ether again became a coat. Johnny turned to see how he had done.

Mrs. Pittingham ran toward Jared, who had stopped somewhere in the middle of the track. Her hand stroked his hair and she tilted her head to him as she asked if he was alright.

Just over his shoulder, Johnny heard one of his classmates. "You're a bully." He stayed riveted to the scene in the middle of the track. "Yes, you, John Galt. You're a bully."

Johnny smiled. He refused to feel guilty for his love of running.


by Brett Rogers, 4/14/2010 8:15:11 PM



The etymology of "persevere" is "per" and "severe," which literally means "very strict." I find that interesting...

"Severe" likely has its root in the Latin "se vero" - which means "without kindness."

True perseverance is unforgiving and unrelenting. It implies a true discipline of schedule and effort. It doesn't care if you're tired or sick of it.

Try, try again... this little poem comes from Bill Bennett's "Book of Virtues," which I read to my kids when they were young. This impacted them more than I know. My youngest of the first batch, Aaron, came up to me tonight and asked me to design a tattoo of the poem. He wants to have it done.

You see my design up above... we'll see if someone in town can do this.

Tattoo'd into him... wow. If there's a lesson I could have wished for any of my kids to learn, it would have been that one.


by Brett Rogers, 4/22/2010 1:15:21 AM



If you graduate from a top-notch university with your MBA in hand, you're deemed a smart person. Your job, then, is to go forth and help business revenue multiply.

Some graduates understand that money doesn't always last forever - so they believe that they should maximize their short-term investment. They also understand that their position within a corporation won't last forever, so they maximize their their short-term accomplishments.

I call these folks Lilypadders. They become expert hoppers. They leap forward, and they rarely look back. What lies in their wake doesn't concern them as they cross the pond.

They don't care about what's in the best interest for the country, the corporation, their co-workers, or really anyone... it's all about what gets them further along. Is their status, title, or salary benefited? That's the razor of their decision-making. There's nothing wrong at all with acting in your own self-interest, but doing so at the expense of others is the hallmark of a lilypadder.

The sad fact is that these folks get lumped in with capitalism, when the very last experience they ever want to have is a free market. They hunt for subsidies, angle for regulatory hurdles for their competition, seek exemption from statute, and generally squander resources - financial and personal - for their own gain. Capitalism is not their goal, but rather monopoly. They seek to restrict a free market.

Lilypadders hate competition, and capitalism, by definition, thrives on competition.

Never mistake titans of business for capitalists. If they embrace an artificially-narrowed market, or if they lobby the government for an advantage over their competition, they're the enemies of capitalism.

These lilypad monopolists are generally in cahoots with the government, which is why so many MBA's on Wall Street give money to the Democrat party. That's not to say that there aren't lilypadders in the Republican ranks - oh yes there are - but the Republican base trends away from government-aid. The MBA's on Wall Street are smart enough to know that, and so they give to those most willing to help them restrict the market.


by Brett Rogers, 4/25/2010 3:23:42 PM

On the Tea Party Movement


As many people know, I was one of the founders of the Des Moines Tea Party. We got 3,500 people to that April 15th event, as estimated by the troopers who were there. But shortly after the event, it went off the rails for me and I backed out of it. Let's call my stance "supportive from a distance."

Due to an unfortunate circumstance, the guy who was to emcee the second event on July 4th had to fly to the east coast and I was asked to fill in. So I did. About 2,500 people attended that event.

I also attended a few other tea parties in other cities, but just as a spectator.

It's from this rather in-depth experience that I come to my conclusions about the tea parties.

A bit of definition: all politics are pressure and intimidation. Period. End of story. Politicians respond to only two stimuli: pleasure and pain. They love your support and any bon mots you want to throw their way, but once you say something nice about them, they figure that you're in their camp and they no longer need to spend any time worrying about you. They know that you'll vote for them, and that's all that they care about. That's what happens you give a politician pleasure - you're only useful to the degree that they can use you in their marketing.

Pain is much more useful. Sad, but true. Politicians hate to be embarrassed or humiliated. Threaten to do either one and they are likely to work to avoid such an event. They'll work to intimidate you in response. But if you persist, they might buckle, unless someone else is intimidating them harder.

Back to the tea parties...

The tea parties are filled with amateurs. They stand together and shake their fists at the sky.

Numbers can intimidate a politician. It can seem threatening. So being the political professionals that they are, they know how to use embarrassment and humiliation in retaliation.

"Selfish racist teabaggers!" the pros call out. It's a form of intimidation.

And so half the crowd of citizens go home red-faced. Nobody likes the label of "racist." And if the tea party has no central call to action, then people just gather to howl at the moon. Big deal. You can't ask people to take time off work if there is no compelling outcome offered in exchange for their valuable time.

Which is why this year's April 15th Des Moines Tea Party, of which I was not a part, only drew about 1,000 people. There was no central call to action, and there was no leadership that understands the game of politics. I heard it was pretty anemic from several people who attended.

I don't think there will be a tea party next year without a change in leadership.

Last fall, I decided to put all of my efforts instead into the election of a guy I know and support. Should he get elected, my efforts will have a much more permanent effect. Every citizen should do that.

Last fall, I invited folks to a series of brainstorming sessions. The outcome of those sessions, for me, was this chart:

Congress makes the rules. Don't like what Washington is doing? Then support someone who will help to change what Congress is doing by being in Congress. That is the most effective use of your time and money, not the tea parties - unless the tea parties are a focused means toward that end.

There are some states where the tea parties are having significant impact and they are growing, but that's because those folks have effective and politically savvy leadership focused on a clearly stated cause.

Every state, including Iowa, needs that. I hope it happens.


1 Comment
by Brett Rogers, 4/26/2010 9:59:33 AM




1 Comment
by Brett Rogers, 4/27/2010 5:25:32 PM