Monthly Archives: April 2009

Hollywood on the Potomac

Here’s a calendar-worthy event for Washingtonians and visitors planning to be in the city next weekend: Politics on Film is the first-ever film festival to award jury prizes to movies that focus on themes of politics or policy. And if you think making movies about politics and policy is sort of like dressing up an ugly […]

May It Please the Court – Supremely

I’ve posted on Maira Kalman before because I think she’s so clever and creative, and because I love the way she uses her art to illuminate her ideas.  Check out her latest piece for the New York Times — a tribute to justice, brave women, spring in Washington, and self-confidence.

Keeping Tweets Kosher

Today’s Wall Street Journal has an interesting article about the potential SEC pitfalls of corporate Twittering. The thesis: Companies that are using Twitter to talk about financial information need to be sure they’re not running afoul of SEC guidelines pertaining to communications with potential investors. Meanwhile, the SEC looks for ways to make its investor […]

6 Ways to Make a Commencement Speech Soar

“Commencement speeches,” the cartoonist Garry Trudeau once quipped, “were invented largely in the belief that outgoing college students should never be released into the world until they have been properly sedated.” As commencement season rolls around, this post falls (once again) into the category of shameless self promotion.  But as two of the many who […]

Obama’s Cabinet Challenge

President Obama today urged his Cabinet members to find $100 million in savings from their departmental budgets. It’s easy to harass the president about such a miniscule figure compared with the kind of spending he’s enacted and proposed of late. But he rightfully recognized that $100 million is a “drop in the bucket” compared to […]

The Curious Case of Pushing the Right Buttons

The Obama administration’s versatility in using social media is reshaping the way the government contracts. The bonanza called the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act–$137 billion for infrastructure, $20 billion to modernize health records, $43 billion for energy initiatives–is being transparently run as a social media function on Interestingly, making the most of a corporate […]

Do You Hear the People Sing?

This is a bit off topic, but since it’s Sunday and Podium Pundits seems to have a predilection for British things, I thought I’d comment on the Susan Boyle phenomenon. In case you missed it (and I doubt you have), Ms. Boyle is the 47 year-old amateur singer who charmed Britain – and then the […]

Something Nuevo and Diferente

Just a quick note to acknowledge another communications innovation from the White House — and this one long overdue, IMHO:  Dan Restrepo, senior advisor on Latin America, addressing the press corps in Spanish as he explained last week’s changes in policy toward Cuba.  Check out the video here. Earlier this year, my former colleague Jamie […]

How to Secede Without Really Trying

At a tea party protest in Austin, Texas Governor Rick Perry drew the sharpest line in the sand since Colonel William Barrett Travis asked his men to stay and defend the Alamo.  The governor, not usually known for inflammatory statements, suggested that if Washington’s big gummit ways pushed us too far, Texas could invoke a […]

We’re All Dangerous Now

One of the incontrovertible rules of government PR is that if you want to say something unpopular, say it on a Friday. Latest example: today’s EPA announcement of a proposed finding “that greenhouse gases contribute to air pollution that may endanger public health or welfare.” This isn’t a shock to anyone who’s ever listened to a […]

“A Dark and Painful Chapter”

Sorry for the long post, but I had some thoughts on the Obama Administration’s release of previously classified Justice Department memos on the treatment of detainees, a move that resulted from a lawsuit by the ACLU. On balance, I think it may be a good thing. As the president said in his statement accompanying the […]

Roe, Roe, Roe Your Hijacked Boat

File this under “never allow a crisis to go to waste.” Mike Allen includes a remarkable tidbit in today’s Playbook: FROM THE RIGHT — CREATIVITY IN E-MAILING — Family Research Council, for “Victory at Sea”: “As you know, I don’t agree with the majority of the President’s policies, but I believe he deserves credit for […]

The Fed Gets Chatty

The Wall Street Journal examines Fed chairman Ben Bernanke’s recent “PR push,” including a well-received “60 Minutes” interview last month, a full-on press conference with reporters, and Tuesday’s appearance at Morehouse College, during which Bernanke took questions at a roundtable with students. Bernanke’s larger mission is to make the Fed more transparent, which has proven […]

Barack Obama And The Return of Eloquence

Has Barack Obama brought eloquence back to 21st-century politics for good? That’s the question  (hagiographical as it may be) that animates the BBC’s new documentary, Yes We Can! The Lost Art of Oratory. Full disclosure:  I was interviewed for this series, although I haven’t yet figured out if I outmuscled — our out-talked — the likes of […]

Video Killed the Spontaneous Star?

Interesting commentary from Virginia Heffernan in the April 12 New York Times Magazine on the paradox of YouTubery in our nation’s political arena. On the one hand, video has been a gift to folks like yours truly who believe in the power of a great speech — extending the life of a speech well beyond […]