Solutions Advice For Jeb Bush… Be Positive.  Have Some Fun At The Expense of Donald Trump

  

The man Jon Stewart called “the comb-over King” is giving Jeb Bush a bunch of bad hair days. 

This was the guy who was supposed to be the optimistic candidate, who campaigns with “joy in my heart”.  But Bush 3 been thrown horribly off his game by the great usurper, Donald Trump.

“Mr. Bush does not seem to be radiating much joy these days,” reports Jonathan Martin on today’s front page of The New York Times. “Mr. Trump, the surprise leader in the polls, had turned his summer into a miserable one for Mr. Bush.”

The taunts, provocations, broadsides and personal ridicule from The Donald have clearly thrown Jeb off his game. And his poll numbers have sunk to single digits. 

“Trump is trying to insult his way into the Presidency,” said the somewhat glum candidate today on ABC’s Good Morning America.

Meanwhile, Trump is having a ball at the expense of others.  Instead of dry and detailed policy statements, Trump plays on his celebrity with a mixture of bluster and outrage. 

Bush needs to use a little humor to deflate Trump.  And he must at least look like he’s having fun out on the trail.

Answering Trump’s barbs point-by-point on Good Morning America may be the right way to respond to Hillary Clinton, Ted Cruz, or Scott Walker. But not to a guy who operates outside the normal theater of politics.

“Bush’s YouTube response to one of Trump’s attacks was good — for 2008,” writes Jonathan Capehart in The Washington Post.  But sending a Twitter link to a 70-second video is not enough.  Instead, Bush needs expand his use of social media and make brief Instagram slaps at Trump. 

“Going forward, watch for other campaigns to use the popular social media site to draw distinctions between themselves and others in the race. If you can’t say it, explain it or show it in 15 seconds, you’re not doing it right,” says Capehart.

And Jeb Bush also needs to do more radio and podcasts: Quick interviews from his campaign bus interviews with liberal as well as conservative hosts.  

Act like you have nothing to lose, Jeb.  After all, right now you are only one of 17 Republican candidates.

Seeking Solutions in an Age of Division, Despair and Donald Trump

  
Take a look at this slide. It’s all about hope and building a better future.

The 7 P’s were for podcasters who gathered recently at Podcast Movement, an annual industry conference held in Texas. As I’ve written before, the event was a rally: a celebration of what we do in podcasting. The message was overwhelmingly positive.

But have you ever wondered why the language used to discuss business and politics are so different?

When company profits or sales are down, ideas are shared about how to change course.  At the best institutions and firms, innovation and fresh thinking are encouraged, especially when times are tough.

Not politics.  Outage and disgust are Donald Trump’s currency.  

Instead of offering a detailed, well-thought out vision for the future, what we get are furious outbursts and personal put-downs. Much of the news media only make it worse by feasting on controversy and highlighting the day’s most outrageous comments.

That’s why my friend, Jim Meigs and I decided to do “How Do We Fix It”. Both of us spent decades as mainstream media journalists, and we thought there was room for a show about solutions. So far we’ve done 14 weekly podcasts on matters that matter: From parenting and personal debt to politics and identity theft.   

The latest show came this week in response to the turmoil on Wall Street, when words like “fear”, “pandemonium”, and “panic” were being used to describe the stock market.

We were lucky when Redfin Senior Economist Nela Richardson promptly said “yes”, to our invitation to be the guest on our latest show. With rich experience in the private sector, academia, think tanks, and as a regulator, Nela is an economist who knows her stuff and can talk about it in an engaging way.

  
While she told us that the stock market turmoil was “shocking”, Nela also said “it’s important to remember that the stock market is not the economy.”

“The economy hasn’t changed. It’s still slowly humming along, and a lot of the fear and panic came from overseas markets. It wasn’t home-bred like the financial crisis eight years ago. There’s a big difference between now and back then.”

One takeaway from our interview was “keep calm”. Compared to most overseas economies, the U.S is doing reasonably well. This week’s volatility was largely caused by fears of a sharp slowdown in China.

Nela’s special focus is real estate and young home buyers. The outlook for 2015 “looks really good,” she says. “The housing market is going to out-perform last year’s level.”

But what concerns her is that incomes are flat and that many college graduates have much big student loans to pay off. “Wages are really stagnant and yet we see every month that house prices keep grow a little a bit higher.”

On the other hand, interest rates are very low and inflation shows no sign of being a threat soon. Most millennials are patient, says Nela, and don’t appear to be in a hurry to buy their first home.

But there are signs that more young adults are responding to the housing crunch in the most expensive markets on the coasts by moving to cheaper areas.

“There are some places where we still see a lot of affordability… Places like Oklahoma, Texas and South Carolina, where you can still get a good job make a good living, provide for your family, and buy a home.”

As for solutions, Nela says: “I think we need to get smart about home ownership policy.”

Because of rising income inequality, “the next generation of homeowners are going to be less wealthy, more ethnically diverse and without the same resources as previous generations. We need to figure out how to extend credit without tanking the financial system.”

“I think there are ways to acknowledge the new forms of households that we’re seeing growing up all around us.” Nela suggests that banks should be more creative about lending money to baby boomers and millennials who buy property with friends.

“There is really no banking product that takes account of three or more household incomes.” Multi-generational households with more than two wage earners are quite common among Hispanics and some Asian communities.

 “Why not create products that make sense for the new types of families and households that we are seeing pop up.”

 Another way for homebuyers and banks to respond to the changes in the economy is view rental income from spare rooms in a positive light.

But many people may never be able to afford a mortgage. “We are going to see more renters in the next ten years that homeowners. We have to make sure people have a place to live.”

As urban areas expand, says Nela, local and federal home building policies should reflect the these changes. And better data collection will be needed to show where the needs and demand for housing will be greatest.

Next week, we’ll be looking at another part of our rapidly changing economy: the jobs market. We’ll focus on fixes and real-world ideas for change.  Want to find out more about “How Do We Fix It?” Head to our web page and sign up for “The Fixer”, our newsletter.  

Lessons I learned from “How Do We Fix It?” Podcast #1

  Developmental Psychologist Abigail Baird… Our first guest on our new podcast.


This is launch day, and there’s excitement in our house.  

I’m writing this on the morning of June 10th, two months to the day since I moved on from full-time employment as Business Correspondent and news anchor at ABC News Radio to work on my digital audio startup.

Our new weekly half-hour podcast, How Do We Fit It?, is now searchable on iTunes and other podcast sites.  There are four episodes so far with new ones being added each week.  Please subscribe! 

With a great deal of help from our fab producer, Miranda Shafer, we built a website that has lots of info on us and what we are up to.  We’re also posting photos on Instagram and thoughts on Twitter and Facebook.

My buddy, former Popular Mechanics Editor-in-Chief,  Jim Meigs, and I are both practical guys, impatient for solutions.  We’ve spent decades reporting the news, and want to move past tired old left vs. right rhetoric of yesterday to something new.

Instead of despair, our podcasts are about hope.  Each show is a lively conversation, built around a smart guest, who is known for fresh thinking and innovative ideas.

The expert we reached out to for our first show is Abigial Baird.  As Developmental Psychologist at Vassar College, Abi studies the teenage brain.  She’s a thinker and a doer – the proud mother of two young twins.

As dads and journalists, Jim and I know what a challenge technology presents for parents and kids.   Computers, video games and mobile devices are a huge temptation. But are they an obstacle or a great opportunity as children learn about the world? 

Here on our first show, Abi shares her humor, enthusiasm and wisdom as a caring parent and a whip-smart neuroscientist.  We learned a lot listening to her.  We think you will too!

Please download and subscribe to our podcasts.  If you like what you hear, share us on social media.  We’d very much like to read your suggestions for new shows.

We are public radio without the N P R.  Thanks for being part of our brand-new community.

I’ve Got a Blog. So, Why Am I Launching a Brand New Kick-Ass Podcast?

  

 Co-host Jim Meigs and I on the How Do We Fix It? Facebook page.


We’re in the final stages of building a brand new weekly podcast, and I’m pretty excited about it.  If all goes well, How Do We Fix It? will be up on iTunes by June 10th.

That would be exactly two months to the day since I left ABC News Radio.

Why bother? Why throw our podcast pebble into the frenzied media firmament?

Unlike many news and public affairs shows, where the tired old left vs. right arguments are hurled across the table, our half-hour podcast is a spontaneous conversation about new solutions and fresh thinking.

Rather than shouting at each other, we take some of the best ideas out there, no matter where they come from. 

Jim Meigs and I are both good friends, who’ve spent decades in the news media.  Jim has been editor-in-chief of four magazines, most recently Popular Mechanics.  I covered politics, business, and finance for ABC News Radio.

We don’t agree on everything (far from it!).  But Jim and I are both practical guys who think there’s a big hole in the market for a show that tackles tech, teaching, taxes and many other controversial matters in a positive way. It’s time for a show that sheds more light than heat.
  
We’re building a website for our podcast at http://www.howdowefixit.me


In the first episodes of How Do We Fix It? we’ve had a lot of fun learning from some of the best in the business.  

Phil Plait, who writes the highly popular Bad Astronomy blog at Slate gives us some great insights into how to fix the space program.  Elizabeth Green, author of the excellent book, Building A Better Teacher, has solid common-sense advice for parents who worry about the quality of teaching in public schools.  And motivation expert Ron Friedman has fascinating thoughts on how to create a happier workforce. Those are just three of our shows.

Jim and I are thinking outside the box and going beyond labels.  How Do We Fix It? talks about practical ways to put theories into practice.

We’ve also had a ton of help from our producer Miranda Shafer, audio mixologists Jim Briggs, Denise Barbarita of MONOLisa Studio, and Joe Plourde, as well as composer Lou Stravinsky. Thanks all!

These shows came about after years of lively chats that Jim and I had together over dinner, coffee or simply out hiking together.  We want to make the world a better place, and are tired of politicians, pundits and others shouting the same phrases and making the same mistakes over and over again.

We hope you’ll listen and suggest new episodes and smart people who we can have as guests. Pull up a chair and join the conversation. Like and add your suggestions to our Fix It Show Facebook page, and please follow @fixitshow on Twitter.

Instead of kicking up a lot of dust, we like to bring people together as we talk about the stuff government, businesses, communities and all of us can do to improve our lives. 

That’s something new, people!

A Brand New Journey: From Network News to Startup

April 10, 2015. My final daily newscast at ABC News Radio

29 years as a network radio news correspondent is enough. The clock has run out on my oath of impartiality.

During my time at ABC, and before that at RKO, CNN, the BBC, IRN and LBC, (why are most networks acronyms?) I took that oath seriously, and was lucky enough to be a eyewitness to history. I covered presidential campaigns, foreign wars, OPEC conferences, the near collapse of the financial system and two royal weddings.

From the fall of the Berlin Wall in the heady days of November 1989 to the streets of New York on that dreadful morning of 9/11, I tried to be as fair and as objective as possible.

Now I’m free to say what I think.  And I have a lot to say in this blog and on the radio.

You will disagree with some stuff, but hopefully I won’t be blowhard.  We have more than enough of that already. No one is right always, and if my time as a reporter has taught be anything it is that all of us are at least somewhat flawed and a little bit foolish. 

What those years bred in me, more than anything else, was an abiding revulsion for ideology, in all its guises,”  the great New York Times correspondent John F. Burns wrote last weekend in a retirement column summing up what he learned while reporting from “some of the nastiest places in the world.”

Unlike John Burns I made a lousy war reporter. The things I carried back included a view that a measure of ideology is vital for any democracy.

But I passionately agree that “it can be depressing beyond words to hear the loyalists of every political creed – whether of the left of of the right – adopt the unyielding certainties common in totalitarian states.”

Wisdom can be found in unlikely places. But our public square has too often become an echo chamber for narrow, angry rhetoric.

The internet was supposed to open us up to a vast array of new information sources.  But instead most of us have used it to retreat into our cozy cultural bubbles.

It’s time to listen with respect to those who make us uncomfortable. Successful business leaders and entrepreneurs know this already. The chattering classes are lagging behind.

This may be hopelessly wrong, but I believe the marketplace for snarky, rigid, and negative rhetoric has reached a low water mark.

I’m setting up shop as a solutions guy.  A podcast called “How Do We Fix It?” will be launched next month and a talk radio show may follow. As I said at the end of my last newscast at ABC, “thanks for listening.”