Nancy Slotnick: Gold Diggas

“Now I ain’t sayin’ she’s a gold digger, But she ain’t messin’ with no broke n—s.” Kanye means this as a compliment. And it is. There’s a fine line between gold digger and assessing a guy’s ambition. Gold digger is very unattractive. But hanging out with a 37-year-old-broke-“entrepreneur”-who-won’t-buy-you-a-tea-on-the-first-date is plain masochistic. So where’s the line?

There’s an expression that goes like this: “Men treat women like sex objects, women treat men like success objects.” Any kind of objectification is wrong. Men are not meal tickets. Sometimes women claim they like to “get to know a guy slowly,” so they go out on 15 dates, let him pay every time, and there’s never even a make-out session. Guys- if you see this pattern- she is toying with you- run the other direction.

Nancy SlotnickThe most exasperating part is that if you talk to these women, they really believe their own bs.  They rationalize this behavior by being male bashers- i.e. “he has to prove himself to me” or “I’m trying to give him a chance” or “Maybe I like him, I just can’t tell yet— he shouldn’t need to rush me.” Yeah, I guess it will take 2 more dinners at Per Se to figure that out. Now I ain’t sayin’ she’s a gold digger. Oh, yes, in this case I am.

On the flip side, there is a reason that women look for a man to take care of her financially. A man who is interested in marriage and children and wants to give to them will naturally think about planning for their financial future, even while he’s still single. The inverse is true too. If a man says he is ready for marriage and children yet his actions show no signs of being prepared for this endeavor financially whatsoever, then he probably has more baggage than he admits. Especially if he is over 35. This is not to say that he can’t be a teacher or an artist honing his craft, but he can still have a savings account, wait tables double shifts to support his lifestyle, have good credit and buy your tea. 

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Nancy Slotnick: Gold Diggas

Krystal Ball: The Real Scandal is Happening in the Military

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John Y’s Musings from the Middle: How Grownups Behave

How grown-ups behave. When they have to.

My business partners and I last week sat down to make a presentation to a potential client. As we were getting started I began thinking what would be a nice topic to open the meeting on as I excitedly gave in to my nervous habit of twisting back and forth in my chair (when I am sitting in a chair that allows twisting).

It’s a nervous energy thing.

I was doing some supporting commentary on a news show about a year ago and one of my daughter’s teachers saw me. Her comment to Maggie the next day was something along the lines of, “I saw your father last night on television. He did a nice job but I almost got woozy watching him twist back and forth in his chair the entire show. He must have Attention Deficit Disorder.” They both laughed.

And I was up to my old ways again as our business meeting opened. But not for long. I hit a snag or brake of sorts–but wasn’t sure what it was. I turned and saw my partner’s hand steadying the chair. She whispered to me, “You are twisting.” I didn’t understand at first but then thanked her for the heads up. Of course, I was thinking to myself, “I kinda like to twist in my chair.” It helps calm my nervousness in some odd distracting way. But it also appears a little sophomoric to others and can have even more severe effects on those prone to motion sickness. So I did the mature thing and stopped.

jyb_musingsUntil it was my turn to speak.

I figured since I had the floor it would be more difficult for Laura (see post below) subtly to subdue my nervous movements. So I twisted just enough to satisfy the little boy in me that wanted to have his way and calm himself down —but not enough for Laura to feel it necessary to steady me from seeming childlike.

We make a good team in that way.

We made a nice presentation even though I forgot to wear a tie, which Laura reminded me of in the parking lot. I joked I used to keep a tie in the car but hate tying them and just wish they still sold clip-ons, which are a lot less complicated to figure out.

Right now I’m twisting back and forth in my chair at home as I type. And am making bigger swings than usual since it’s the weekend and no one can see me. And on Monday I’ll have to start acting more like a grown-up again.


Laura Emberton Owens is an extraordinary Kentuckian committed to serving her state in a variety of ways.

She’s a lady who has an abundance of charm, intelligence, and beauty (both inside and out) who is devoted to her family and community and who I have the great good fortune to call my business partner.

Here’s a wonderful piece posted about her on a national blog last week that captures beautifully her personality and love of life–and her knack for leaving everyone she meets a little better off than she found them.

Erica & Matt Chua: What to See on an Antarctic Voyage

Hours, no days, of any “expedition” to Antarctica is spent on your ship.  Considering the majority of the time you’ll be on the ship, what will you see?  Here’s a photo guide to an Antarctic Peninsula trip to show why time on the ship won’t be wasted.

Our ship, the M/V Plancius, had an open bridge.  That meant we could wander up to the controls whenever we pleased to get the captain’s view.  This was “the” moment that we saw the first land of Antarctica with bare eyes after two days of seasickness inducing, rocking through the Drake Passage.

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Erica & Matt Chua: What to See on an Antarctic Voyage

John Y. Brown, III: Memorial Day

A Memorial Day reflection

Memorial Day is a special time we set aside each year to thank those men and women of our military who fought and died so we could have freedom and a better way of life.

The freedom and “better way of life” these brave and dedicated Americans fought to protect and preserve for each of us living today provide the political, social and economic structure—the preconditions, if you will— for our way of life. They don’t provide “happiness” but rather ensure that we have the life and liberty to pursue happiness.

And that is a lot. In fact, it’s one hell of a gift.

Thank you for that…and thanks to the families who lost their loved ones so we can live a richer life today.

And so today we take a quiet and reverent moment to show our appreciation. But perhaps more important than the day we offer in recognition for those who died for our country’s way of life, is what we do the remaining 364 days of each year.

Are we just in possession of the pre-conditions for a free and full and happy life? Or are we fulfilling that uniquely American opportunity we’ve each been given by how we live our lives each day the remainder of the year?

To truly honor those we seek to recognize today, I believe, is to do more than just possess the freedoms they secured for us. It is to live more fully in our daily lives “because” of these freedoms.

We can still take Memorial Day each year to say thank you for the opportunity to be free and pursue happiness. But the way we live our lives –and extent to which we fulfill our individual American dream—will be our greatest gift back to those soldiers who sacrificed so much so we could be play our part in fulfilling the promise of the American dream.

Saul Kaplan: Breaking Down Generational Silos

Beware of random collisions with unusual suspects.

Unless, that is, you want to learn something new. In that case, seek out innovators from across every imaginable silo and listen, really listen, to their stories. New ideas, perspectives, and opportunities await in the gray areas between the unusual suspects.

It seems so obvious and yet we spend most of our time with the usual suspects in our respective silos. One of the most important silos we need to break down is the one between generations.

We keep youth off to the side while the adults talk and talk about how to improve the world. To youth, it is a lot of talk and little change. It’s ironic and sad that youth, with the biggest stake in the future, are so often seen and not heard. Think of all the areas where adults are monopolizing a conversation in which youth have the largest stake.

Saul KaplanWe should recognize that young people seek purpose and want to impact their surroundings. We should listen to and give them access to the tools they need to design the future they will inherit. Would they imagine a world they are more likely to engage in and commit to? What if we connected youth, our burgeoning innovators, with today’s most successful innovators?

Choose2Matter and the Business Innovation Factory (BIF) are doing exactly that.

Choose2Matter recently launched the Quest2Matter, which challenges students to accept that they matter and act to solve problems that break their heart. Imagine connecting these impassioned young leaders with today’s leading innovators and transformation artists.

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Saul Kaplan: Breaking Down Generational Silos

The RP in The Daily Beast: Can Miss America Take Down Mitch McConnell?

On this Memorial Day weekend, The RP asks how the GOP can claim that someone who has spent her entire adult life championing disabled veterans could have “no applicable qualifications” to serve in the U.S. Senate.  Is it because she once was named Miss America?  And what does that say about the status of women in Kentucky?

Read an excerpt from his piece in today’s The Daily Beast:

Miss America stands ready to step in. Heather French Henry, that is, the Northern Kentucky resident who won the famous beauty pageant–ahem, scholarship contest–in 2000, and later married the then-Lt. Governor in a fairy-tale, televised wedding. Henry, who last week announced that she is considering the Senate race, doesn’t fit the beauty-queen stereotype: She is a dynamic, charismatic speaker, boasts Clinton-ian retail politicking skills, and has developed a policy platform that no one dares criticize as a passionate and successful advocate for disabled veterans for more than a decade.

And Henry has a strong historical precedent on her side: The 1979 Kentucky gubernatorial race was turned on its head by another former Miss America: CBS Sports icon Phyllis George. While the ballot listed the name of her husband, John Y. Brown, Jr., George’s media sparkle and hand-to-hand political charm enchanted the state, and ultimately helped to produce a surprise victory for the first-time candidate and his insurgent campaign. Even today, Brown gives his ex-wife generous credit: “There’s no question about it, ” the former governor told me, “I simply would not have won without Phyllis as a partner.”

Of course, Governor Brown was no slouch himself. The multi-millionaire businessman, most famous for franchising Kentucky Fried Chicken and owning the Boston Celtics, articulated a fresh, outsider message – ”Let’s run Kentucky like a business” — to a populace exhausted by political corruption.

Alas, Henry’s husband is no Brown. Former Lt. Governor Steve Henry’s political career was continually tarred by scandals: pleading to misdemeanor campaign finance violations, settling federal lawsuits for alleged Medicaid and Medicare fraud, even being forced to reimburse the state for public resources used at his and Heather’s wedding. The McConnell machine has already pounced: Within 24 hours of Henry launching her trial balloon, the state GOP party had started heckling,calling her ”a bottom-of-the-barrel pick…with such egregious political baggage and no applicable qualifications to run in one of the most important Senate races in the country.”

It’s hard to believe that Kentucky voters will hold a wife responsible for the sins of her husband — a different set of facts, indeed, liberated Hillary Clinton as a more vulnerable, and likeable, candidate.  Instead, it is the secondary charge — that Henry has “no applicable qualifications” — that should cause the most concern and, perhaps, spur on the most hope.

It appears that the McConnell campaign is already appealing to the misogynist strain in our state’s body politic, painting Henry as the dim beauty queen companion of a corrupt husband.

The accusation, however, is manifestly absurd: The mother of two, children’s author and small businesswoman — who travelled the nation for years, championing our most cherished, suffering heroes — boasts an ideally unique résumé for the world’s most deliberative body. More significantly, whack-a-moling Henry could backfire, playing into the national Democratic narrative of a Republican “war on women.” If that happens, Kentucky could emerge, ironically, as Ground Zero for a more progressive, women-friendly politics.

Click here to read the full piece in The Daily Beast.


Stephen Colbert Takes on the Hemp Debate




As the U.S. Senate continues to debate the Farm Bill, which pro-hemp advocates are hoping to amend with legalization lanaguage, Stephen Colbert takes to task Kentucky Senators Mitch McConnell and Rand Paul — Colbert calls them “Mitch and Chong” — for supporting industrial hemp legalization.

Hilarious (h/t Joe Sonka):

John Y’s Musings from the Middle: Mencken

jyb_musingsA form of intellectual creative destruction. Or the iconoclasts role in developing authenticity.

As a college student in 1985, after much research and questioning, I found this recording and ordered it from the back of a magazine.

It’s the only known recording of American essayist and celebrated cynic, Henry Louis (H.L.) Mencken.

I read Mencken voraciously as a young college student and think I am the better because of it. Much of what Mencken says in this interview comes from his writings.

Mencken, in my view, is a purely American concoction of ill-tempered irreverence, agitated playfulness, omnivorous erudition and literary elegance. He is perhaps our nation’s greatest iconoclast.

As a college student I used to think a course in Mencken should be required of all college freshmen. Why? Because Mencken served the role of the great destroyer of convention and institutions –of all things status quo. Do I think that is a good thing? By itself, of course not. But as part of a learning process where young people are forced to let go of old assumptions to eventually, on their own terms and for their own personal reasons, come to their own beliefs about the world we live in, I think the iconoclast plays a most integral role.

Mencken, for me, was a catalyst for me releasing the second-hand ideas I adopted as a child and cleared the way for me to come to my own conclusions. Most interestingly, many of my “own conclusions” turned out to be consistent with the “second hand ideas” took on in my youth. But now they were mine and I understood them at my core….not just repeated them from rote memory and pretended they were my beliefs.

In that sense, the HL Menckens of the world serve as intermediaries to our most sacred beliefs.

Of course, Mencken wold probably chafe at such a compliment and dismiss it with hilarious and savage sarcasm. And force me to rethink the proclamation and make a more subtle, accurate, and personally compelling description of Mencken’s impact. Just as he forced me to do with so many other of my beliefs.

I’m thankful I had the “Mencken threshold” as part of my mental and moral development—that opinions and viewpoints I was developing had to overcome before I would settle on them.

I wish the same for any college freshman or curious person who is not afraid of stripping down completely intellectually and seeing where the truth leads them.

Julie Rath: What to Wear for Video Conferencing

Men's Personal Shopper: What to Wear for Video Conferencing

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You’re wearing a shirt and tie along with your boxer shorts and slippers. Let me guess…you’re on a Skype call. Am I right? Well, you’re not the only one In fact, one of my clients recently confessed he had done just that. Though the correct camera angle can conceal what shouldn’t be seen, you should still focus on your overall telepresence. There are many aspects to this, beyond whether or not you are wearing pants. Read on for 7 suggestions on how best to present yourself for video conferencing, including what to wear and related etiquette points.

1) Wear a full outfit
Business on top and party on bottom works in some situations — but not here. What if you have to jump up from your desk to adjust lighting or equipment? Not to mention, being dressed professionally from head to toe (including shoes) will put you in a productive business mindset .

julie-rath-bio-photo2) No busy patterns
Much like with what to wear for headshots, you shouldn’t wear anything that’s apt to distract the person with whom you’re conferencing. Busy patterns can become wavy lines on video, so stick with subtle patterns or solids. Generally, blues and purples look good, and you should avoid white, black or red. Also, if you’re sitting against a solid background, make sure you don’t wear the same color as that of the wall behind you.

3) Check yourself
Before starting the call, make sure everything is in place visually by either previewing yourself on your computer camera or recording a test video of yourself using software like Vodburner (for Windows) or Pamela (for Mac). Check out your teeth and your nose to make sure nothing is where it shouldn’t be. Also, take a look at your hair. It may look fine in the bathroom mirror but fuzzy and strange on camera depending on how much light is behind you. You may need some extra product, and previewing yourself is the best way to determine that.

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Julie Rath: What to Wear for Video Conferencing

The Recovering Politician Bookstore


The RP on The Daily Show