Rob’s blog

Screwing up and apologizing: a case study

I mistook the Educational Policy Institute for the fringe-right-wing Education Policy Institute. Oops. I didn't double and triple check before posting a blog comment based on my misapprehension. Double and triple oops. I apologized over there, and I'll apologize over...

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Dog whistle politics

Here's a great little term I'd never heard before, courtesy of the Double-Tongued Word Wrester Dictionary: dog whistle politics n. a concealed, coded, or unstated idea, usually divisive or politically dangerous, nevertheless understood by the intended voters. Also dog...

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How not to handle a news conference

Pop quiz: you have to do a news conference where you have damn-all in the way of actual news to announce. The media's already prickly, and liable to turn on you. Do you: a) repeat your message over and over, making it the only clip reporters are likely to get from...

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19 times out of 20

Just a quick note to suggest you have a look at Matthew Yglesias' explanation of why you can't always take polls literally: I've seen polls showing, pretty consistently, that people favor a flat tax. Polls also consistently show that people think the rich should pay...

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Q. So what’s Kryptonite’s secret vulnerability?

A. Ballpoint pens and damage control. Jake McKee dissects an interview between PRNews and the general manager of Kryptonite, the ur-manufacturer of those U-shaped bike locks you now see everywhere. Back in September, a user at a bike discussion forum posted the...

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Alastair Campbell… or is it?

There's an entertaining if foul-mouthed blog out there, titled Alastair Campbell - the name of Tony Blair's former Dark Lord of the Sith spin supremo. Is there even a chance that this is really him, with such tempered and reasonable posts as this? Wish Piers Morgan...

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Viagra for graphs

Three minutes to deadline, and you've got a turkey of a story: an opinion poll that shows a minor difference - barely outside the margin of error - in the way Democrats see the Terri Schiavo issue, and the way Republicans see it. What to do... what to do... Well, if...

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Learning from the bad guys

I love The Left Coaster. It's thought-provoking as well as irreverent (a balance I suspect we rarely quite get right here at ODTAA, despite our staff of 200 researchers, 16 writers and 24-hour TiVO tech support) (ah, you knew I was making that up - you can't get TiVO...

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I Hate Huckabees

Jake at Community Guy has kindly extracted the top ten "I Hate (insert name of clod-like corporation here)" web sites from an article at Forbes. Here's a little background, for the curious: Back in 2001, Canadian Tire tried to separate Mick McFadden and his...

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Jetsgone: a view from the inside

2016 Update: The website was deactivated quite a while ago. (Here's the announcement, via Here's what it looked like in its heyday. One aspect of the whole Jetsgo fiasco that this space has touched on (without adequately addressing) is the horrible...

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Update: One of the things I love about the Net is the willingness of people to spring into action in times of crisis. Case in point: the spanking new site JetsGone that stakano plugs in the comments on this post. I've touched on JetsGo's problems in the past, and a...

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Public speaking and speechwriting: the essential guides

(photo of books with text) Leadership communications: the essential guides

Looking for advice on public speaking, speechwriting and leadership communications? Here are some of my most comprehensive posts, on topics that people ask me about most often.

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