Friday, August 21, 2009

Colin Powell rumored to be selected for high-level post

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This blog post is to be filed under "hedging my bets" because it's based on a tip from a very good friend who texted me that Ret. General and Former Secretary of State Colin Powell was to be named as Deputy Commerce Secretary under Gary Locke.

But Dennis Hightower - who's referred to as the "Colin Powell" of business and serves on the Howard University Board of Trustees with Powell - was sworn in to that position August 11th.

So either there will be two deputies, or my friend's source (who's a friend of General Powell) got it wrong, or Powell's headed to another high level post, or some hybrid possibility's afoot.

But since my friend is not in the habit of calling or texting me with this kind of tip (or any kind for that matter) and remained firm that the news was certain when I fired off questions , I elected to pull the trigger on issuing this rumor. Moveover my friend and I both worked for several years on the Obama campaign and gained a lot of well-placed contacts, so the chance my friend's correct is pretty high.

But to be sure, I just called the White House and The Department of Commerce for confirmation - no "yea" or "no" but a promise to "check and call me back" as of this writing.

Powell the focus of many appointment rumors

Since Barack Obama became the 44th President of The United States, Powell, who endorsed him even though the General's a Republican and Obama's a Democrat, has been rumored for a high-level post. Last December it was Mid East envoy, before that it was defense secretary, and for a time education secretary. And while Obama has stated that Powell would have a role within his administration, he hasn't made that happen. Meanwhile, Powell has taken to the airwaves to express concern with the President's economic strategy.

Powell appears on CNN's Larry King Show three weeks ago to talk about the Gates / Crowley issue and said he was concerned with how much money the Obama Administration was spending and where it was going. On King's show, he said:

"And the greatest concern I'm hearing -- and I see as a citizen and I hear from my fellow citizens as I go around the country -- is, my gosh, where is all this money coming from? Doesn't this mean more taxes? And we have to do -- what the administration, I think, and the Congress, has to do a better job in helping the American people understand some of these most complex issues, health care being number one.”

So it may be that Obama's planning to put Mr. Powell in a position to help him focus on the health care issue, or the economy in general. Regardless of the direction, it's clear that President Obama wants Colin Powell in his administration in some kind of way.

Stay Tuned.

Billy Ray Cyrus defends Miley Cyrus' pole dance at Teen Choice Awards

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Last week, 16-year old singing sensation Miley Cyrus performed a song and dance number using a stripper pole at the Teen Choice Awards as she introduced her new single "Party in the USA."

I remarked that it was good, but well look, she's 16 and according to her Twitter page, still concerned about wearing her retainer, ok? Too young. Moreover her father Billy Ray Cyrus reportedly helped her create the performance!

The controversial production was the focus of much discussion and even outrage in some quarters. But according to US Magazine, Miley's father Billy Ray Cyrus defended his daughter's actions Thursday at the Hellman's/Facebook Feeding America event in New York City.

"You know what? I just think that Miley loves entertaining people, She loves singing, songwriting. I always tell her to love what you're doing and stay focused for the love of the art and not worry so much about opinions."

On the matter of opinions, the poll I ran asking what you thought of her dance presentation has drawn 1,763 votes with 38.84 percent preferring she had not used a pole and another 30.46 percent hating both the pole dance and Cyrus too.

What I find interesting is that people don't understand that even a negative online reaction is an endorsement of Cyrus in that it's additional content about Cyrus.

As I will present in a a future post, Miley Cyrus has a remarkable worldwide online search reach I've never seen before, reaching three continents. There's a marketing formula here that seems to tap into our basic primal instincts and generates buzz, traffic, ratings, and sales. ("Party In The USA" opened this week at number two in the Billboard Hot 100.)  In effect this approach actually uses society against itself.