Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Adam Lambert controversy

The Adam Lambert controversy heated up this week after his controversial performance on the American Music Awards. I have several thoughts.

1. While he isn't saying he's sorry, he is admitting his performance "got carried away"...i.e. he admits he was offensive. It's as close to an apology as we will get. Furthermore, he admits he should have revealed to network executives during rehearsals that the simulated sex and other garbage was what he was going to do. Again, not quite an apology but as close as we will get.
2. Yes, his performance aired around 11 p.m. which is past kids' bedtimes but that shouldn't excuse someone from performing a simulated sex act on tv.
3. While I think he has a point that his sexual preference factors into the attention, I don't think that if it was a male performer with a woman or a woman performer with a guy simulating oral sex on-stage, there wouldn't be as much attention. I have to disagree with Adam on that. There would still be controversy.
4. Adam Lambert is not Elvis Presley. There is no comparison here as mentioned in the article....talentwise or shock-wise.
5. While he says Janet Jackson grabbing her crotch didn't get any attention, keep in mind Janet's brother Michael did it YEARS ago and has become a signature move. While not all that "family like or wholesome," it's not exactly over the top as simulated sex onstage.
6. On a network morning show a couple days later, Lambert performed and promised that his appearance was more "family friendly." Hey, either be one way or another in terms of your act. This is where Adam is right in terms of parents having responsibility with their kids. I just think it's rediculous to try to appeal to everybody, including families, if some of your act includes the raunchiness that we saw on the AMAs.

NEW YORK (AP) — Adam Lambert admits he got carried away with his sexually charged American Music Awards performance, but he's offering no apology.

The glam rocker from "American Idol" said on "The Early Show" that his performance would not have caused as much controversy if he weren't openly gay. He also said there were other "adult" moments on the show that caused no outrage.

"I admit I did get carried away, but I don't see anything wrong with it," he said Wednesday. "I do see how people got offended and that was not my intention. My intention was to interpret the lyrics of my song and have a good time with it."

Lambert kissed a male keyboard player, dragged a female dancer around by the ankles and had a dancer simulate oral sex on him while performing "For Your Entertainment," a song with a sexual edge. ABC received many complaints about the performance and that network's morning show, "Good Morning America," canceled Lambert's scheduled appearance on Wednesday because it said it couldn't trust what he would do.

"The Early Show" on CBS, perennially third in a three-network morning show race, happily gave him a platform and milked it — interviewing him, having him interact with fans and asking him to sing. One of the show's hosts, Harry Smith, tied the flap to rock history, noting that camera operators were only allowed to shoot Elvis Presley from the waist up during a network TV appearance generations ago.

Lambert admitted he didn't rehearse some of the more risque elements of his award show performance — a point that particularly upset ABC, which said it was taken by surprise by what he did. In the future, he said he'd try to get these issues cleared before the show.

But he noted that Lady Gaga smashed whiskey bottles during her performance, Eminem rapped about rape and Janet Jackson briefly groped a male dancer.

"Janet Jackson, crotch grab," he said. "I haven't heard one peep about that."

He said that "if it had been a female pop performer doing (his) moves that were on the stage, I don't think there would be nearly as much of an outrage."

"I think it's because I'm a gay male," he added.

Offered a chance to apologize, he declined. He said he didn't consider that there may have been children watching because his American Music Awards performance came at nearly 11 p.m., and that it's a parent's job to monitor what their children are watching on TV.

"I'm not a baby sitter," he said. "I'm a performer."

Asked what he'd do differently if he had the chance, Lambert said, "I would sing it a little bit better."

"I guess I have a tendency to divide people," he added. "Apples and oranges — you either like it or you don't."

"For Your Entertainment" is the title cut and first single from Lambert's new album, which went on sale Monday. He didn't perform that on "The Early Show," opting instead for the songs "Whataya Want From Me" and "Music Again."

He said before performing, "Parents, this is appropriate, I promise."

Lambert took questions from fans surrounding CBS' midtown Manhattan studio, including one who said she had traveled from Japan to see him. None of the questions were about Sunday's performance.

His mother, Leila Lambert, came on stage between his two songs, and was asked what she thought of her son at the American Music Awards.

"I was a little taken aback," she said. "But, you know, I just went with the flow. It's all good."

Friday, November 20, 2009

How NOT to fire people.

According to BusinessWeek, here are the top ten things to not say or do when letting someone go. I won't call out a particular boss who fired me but I'm amazed that he nailed five out these ten.

The Top 10 Comments to Avoid Uttering

Here are 10 things you should never say when terminating an employee:

While these comments may not be evidence of an illegal motive, they may produce anger that results in the employee's visiting a lawyer to determine whether a viable claim exists.

1."This was a job elimination and had nothing to do with your performance." Do not say this when a discharge had everything to do with an employee's performance. Your desire to protect an employee's feelings -- or your own -- can later be used as evidence of pretext if the employee brings a discrimination claim.

2. "We have carried you for many years. It's just not possible to continue to do so during these difficult times." Don't trash the past. It is not only insulting to the employee, but it may be inconsistent with the employee's prior evaluations. Remember, pretext alone wins cases.

3. "We have no choice but to terminate your employment." There are always other options. Why not tolerate mediocrity a little longer? Termination need not be the only viable option, so don't suggest that it is.

4. "You have no one to blame but yourself. You just did not try hard enough." Hold employees accountable, but don't impugn their integrity. When employees feel personally attacked, they fight back.

5."This is just as hard for me as it is for you." There are few absolutes, but it is absolutely true that it always harder to be fired than to fire. Don't ask an employee who is looking at unemployment to feel your pain.

6. "This is not the right job for you. When you get the right job, you will thank me." That may make you feel good, but it will make the discharged employee bristle. The "thank you" may come in the form of a complaint.

7. "I am sorry, but you are fired." You may mean: "I am sorry we have come to this situation." The employee may hear that you think you are wrong. It's not a good time to have a conversation about the meaning of "I am sorry." Avoid apologies, even though you may genuinely feel badly.

8. "I know how you feel." Unless you have been fired recently, you don't know how the person feels. If you have been fired recently, now is not the time to share that experience.

9. "You will always be a part of the corporate family." Trust me. This will make the fired employee think: "Oh, good. Will I still get the newsletter after I sue you?"

10 "Pardon the e-mail, but you are fired." This may not be unlawful, but it's gutless. And it invites the angry employee to go for your gut.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Badly in need of p.r.

This is the city of Toledo's dog warden, attempting to defend his reasoning for euthanizing a large number of dogs instead of pushing for more dogs to be adopted. Check out what he says are signs of a "good dog."

Sunday, November 8, 2009

Great editorial in The Blade

Today's Toledo newspaper, The Blade, has a great editorial on high school education and No Child Left Behind. I am seeing the results of this teaching at the college level. Too many students are unprepared in terms of reading and writing skills. This has to change!

Diluting academics
TO ENSURE that schools meet the federally mandated goals of the No Child Left Behind law, some states have set easier academic standards to measure student achievement. So, while the schools may meet the federally mandated goals of the 2002 statute, their students are falling behind in what they ought to be learning.

That was the troubling conclusion of a blunt report by the Department of Education in an assessment of how state achievement levels can be undermined when tougher standards are applied. "We're lying to our children when we tell them they're proficient, but they're not achieving at a level that will prepare them for success once they graduate," said Education Secretary Arne Duncan.

His agency compared state achievement standards to the more challenging standards behind the federal National Assessment of Educational Progress. The findings include 31 states with fourth-graders who rated proficient in reading when they would have rated below basic on NAEP.

Seventeen states claimed eighth graders proficient in reading when they also scored below basic on NAEP. And another 10 states deemed fourth and eighth graders proficient at math when NAEP scores indicated that they, too, would have rated below basic.

The Obama Administration says the report, which shows stunning disparities in academic standards among states, bolsters its argument for all states to adopt the same tougher standards for what students should know. And while the federal government can't impose those standards on the states, it can encourage them - with millions of stimulus dollars in grants - to accept a set of uniform standards being developed by the National Governors Association and the Council of Chief State School Officers.

The good news is that every state, with the exception of Texas and Alaska, has signaled an interest in better preparing children to achieve and succeed in a global economy by already committing to the higher standards.
That way, advocates say, no matter where children live, the educational achievement bar won't be determined by their ZIP Code.