Sunday Morning Coffee - February 13, 2011
Cause Marketing & Your Business

Sunday Morning Coffee - February 20, 2011

Sunday Morning...that time of the week when we can sit back, look at theCoffee Cu ps  past week and peek into the next.  Sunday Morning Coffee is just that.  It's a conversation between friends of some of the happenings we've experienced and the hopes of next week.  And, because it's a conversation...let's keep in touch.  You can post a comment below, send me an e-mail, join me on Twitter or head over to my personal Facebook Page.  Grab a cup and let's go!

They May Have Gone Too Far

Emboldened by the November elections the "moon-bats" who make up the loudest and most shrill voices in the Republican Party may have Madison Tom Lynn Photopushed just a bit too much.  This past week thousands of people descended on Madison, Wisconsin to protest Governor Scott Walker's budget bill.  Yesterday the crowd was estimated at 70,000 people.  Teachers, students, union activists and...regular people  have now been galvanized with a cause.  It's what the Democrats have needed.  Seasoned members of the party will tell you that "wonkish" ideas, while important, don't move the masses.  This is different.  One does not have to be a "union person" to appreciate the forty-hour work week, vacations, job security.  Even the most "pro-business" person now realizes that it was not the unions which put Wisconsin, or Ohio or Iowa into budget problems.  It was...government.  Unions in Wisconsin have already given back over $120 million in pay and benefits.  That was in what is called bargaining sessions.  It's what we America. (Photo: Milwaukee Journal Sentinel - Tom Lynn)

The Protests Spread to Other StatesWe Are One AFL CIO

While this isn't Cairo or Tienanmen Square...yet.  Protests in support of the Wisconsin Workers are springing up all over the country.  Here in Iowa, on Tuesday at 1:00PM the Iowa Federation of Labor will hold a rally on the West Steps of the Capitol.  "We Are One" is inviting not only union workers but all "concerned Iowans" to the event.  This could get interesting.

A Simple Business Question

If you had millions of dollars in red ink would you terminate over 25% of your labor force to save $125,000 a year?  And, let's say that labor force has, as it's focus, the mission of insuring the safety and security of some of he most vulnerable of individuals...the elderly or infirm who Rod-roberts-300x210 reside in nursing homes.  That's exactly what the newly appointed director of the Iowa Department of Inspections and Appeals did last week.  Rod Roberts, in his brief, yet failed, bid to become governor on a platform of "creating a more friendly business climate in Iowa" slashed the number of nursing home inspectors.  In January the Des Moines Register suggested that the budget cuts for the DIA were less than anticipated.  So, where did Roberts cut the budget and...why?  Here is the story from Bleeding Heartland.   Oh...and another nod to the Des Moines Register for this background story about...why...Branstad selected Rob Roberts for the DIA position.  (Photo - Iowa Independent)

Had Enough?  Me Too - On to More Fun ThingsPedro the Pool Boy Feb 17 2011


Marketing can take many forms and this story proves it.  My bride decided to hold a jewelery party at our home this past Thursday evening.  Knowing that even the most strident of her friends might balk at going to an event where they are expected buy jewelery she came up with two marketing schemes.  1)  All invited guests were to bring with them a food donation for the Iowa Pet Project's "Pet Pantry".  (Who could say no to hungry puppies and kittens?) and 2)  The ladies who came would be "served" by "Pedro" the "House Boy".  In what some might call a "tasteless expression of stereotyping a minority" "Pedro" showed up, did his very best impression of Foster Brooks and was the hit of the event.  Marketing

I Spent Tuesday Afternoon in a Court Room

It is said that one of the reasons the Second Temple was destroyed was the baseless hatred of one Jew toward another.  So central to our faith is Second Temple Burning that thought that we mark the day of the distruction and talk about baseless hatred during the observance of the 9th of Av(Here's some background information.)  But...there I was in Small Claims Court as the Des Moines Jewish Orthodox Congregation, Beth El Jacob, represented by Aaron Beckerman and Valerie Cohen, sought $5,000 from congregation member Jess Bernstein.  In the end the judge found Mr. Bernstein should pay his 2012/2013 dues of $650 and dismissed the suit.  Good news for Mr. Bernstein, who was forced to drive from Milwaukee to answer these charges.  It's truly a shanda.  Clearly some Jews in Des Moines need to spend more time learning about their faith and less time exercising baseless hatred.  It can also destroy a congregation.

I know...I said...  "more fun".  Sorry...I'm in a mood.

A Tale of Two Media FolksTed-williams-on-CBS

Last week Ted Williams, the "Man with a Golden Voice" spoke for the first time since leaving rehab.  Telling the CBS Early Show that he felt too much pressure and could not focus on getting his personal and professional life on track Williams entered a less restrictive group home which monitors his sobriety.  Here is the full story from Entertainment Weekly We can only hope...

Serene-branson Meanwhile the Internet was buzzing last week when CBS2 reporter Serene Branson, reporting from the Grammys, did a live stand-up but her unintelligible

 speech fueled speculation that she had a stroke.  Less friendly types posted "This is soooo funny!" suggesting that she had been drinking.  On Thursday Branson made the rounds of the talk shows explaining that her doctors confirmed it was a severe migraine Here's the story from The Stir.

Raccoon Needs $18,000

Last night I had the pleasure of attending the Raccoon River Valley Trail Association Annual Event in Panora, Iowa.  I wasn't alone.  It wasRaccoon River Trail Feb 2011  me and about 250 other friends of "The Trail".  There was Carla and Chuck Offenburger (the drivers of the association), former First Lady Christi Vilsack (who offered a great speech about bikes, RAGBRAI and Iowa), bicycle activist and artist Brian Duffy, Kevin and Molly Cooney(KCCI-TV8 folk - He bought a kayak at the auction....just sayin'.) Jason White of the Midwest Partnership Economic Development Group, the Alice Ann Andrews family who donated 200 shares of McDonald's stock valued at over $15,000 to the effort.  (Carla Offenburger reminded attendees that these funds were, "...extra they don't count towards the total needed.").  Mayors, county supervisors and just regular folks like me enjoyed an evening supporting, what has become for the little towns that dot the Raccoon River Valley Trail, an economic gift.  It's great to see neighbors helping others.  And, it was fantastic to see Chuck and Carla who have experienced some serious health issues look and be so well.  (Photo: Carla, Bob German, Sharon Duffy, Brian Duffy & Chuck)

Chuck Offenburger and notepad One other thing.  Those of you who know Chuck Offenburger know that he worked in the newspaper and news business for years.  (Back in the days when the Des Moines Register was a nationally recognized news authority.)  Proof that once a news-person...always a news-person is in this photo.  A reporters notebook tucked into his back pocket.  Classic my friend...

Christi Vilsack for Congress?

The stories have been going around for...years.  There was speculation that Christi, who is wildly popular in Iowa, would run against Sen. Charles Grassley.  That didn't happen.  In recent months the speculation has been that she would run against Congressman Leonard Boswell forcing a primary.  I don't think so.  The Iowa Democrats are notIowa Map maybe  looking to divide and Boswell has shown that he can take on some big names...and win.  And, if the map you see here (thank you Bleeding Heartland), is close to being adopted it sets up a Boswell - Latham contest.  Boswell wins, easily.  So...where else might Mrs. Vilsack look?  How about a run at Steve King in the current 5th District?  It would do two things...eliminate an embarrassment to Iowa (sorry Tea Party & "Birther" friends) and Iowa would elect, for the first time, a woman to congress.   Hmmmm....

One Time This Week Try...This:

Add a little kick to your scrambled eggs.  Just before you finish cooking them add a table spoon of Sabra Jalapeno Hummus to the eggs.  Whip 'em around a couple more times and.....  WOW!   If you happen to live in or near Urbandale, Iowa I KNOW the Urbandale Hy-Vee has in their case @MichaelLibbie Sabra Jalapeno Hummus... ;-)

Union Bank & Trust Company

I don't believe I have ever been punitive in my blog.  In the over 1,000 posts I've written about people and business who do good...and those Union Bank Linclon Building who just can't, for whatever reason, get it right.  Union Bank & Trust seems to be one of those companies who...sadly doesn't get it.  Backstory:  We have had an account with Union Bank and Trust in Lincoln, NE for several years.  About eight months ago they started sending us collection notices saying they had no record of our vehicle being insured.  Mind you, this was a year after we made the purchase.  They had, out of the goodness of their heart, purchased an annual auto policy for us.  The premium: $2,000.  I know, a little high.  We wrote, called...but nothing changed.  Finally in December, after sending a letter requesting the name of their legal counsel, we received a reply from Scott Tolle, Assistant Collections Manager telling us they had made an error and our insurance company had confirmed we had, and have had, coverage.  Of course the letter included, "I am sorry for any inconvenience this may have caused you." I'm just sure you are Scott.

Meanwhile, and the new wrinkle, our monthly payment to Union Bank & Trust is due on the 13th of the month.  We pay automatically on the 11th from our Des Moines Bank. days AFTER our payment has been made Scott's little "Consumer Collections Department" starts calling us saying we are delinquent.  We'd love to call them back but the robocalls don't answer. I'll share more tomorrow during Insight on Noon.'s just silly and a huge failure...Scott.  By the way, I am sorry for any inconvenience this may have caused you.  Grumble...told you I was in a mood....

Also tomorrow Insight on Business with Michael Libbie has as our guest Sean Sullivan...join us for the Metro Monday Edition here at Webcast One LIVE.

That's IT...I know...way too long...but so much going on in all our worlds. Have a fantastic...SUNDAY!