Saturday, February 16, 2008

Your Rights. Use 'em or Lose 'em.

While we have a revolutionary, history making election in progress, the US Senate just passed a bill Tuesday night, 2/12/08, granting retroactive immunity to telecom companies that helped spy on Americans, without a warrant.

Fun stuff, huh? Congress just sanctioned the single largest invasion of privacy in American history. So much for the Constitution which our officials in Washington were elected to uphold.

But it's not over, if Senator Patrick Leahy of Vermont and others in Congress have their way. And if we speak up. The Internet makes it oh, so easy to do, too. Senator Leahy urges citizens to email your home state Senators and Representative and ask them to insist on a House-Senate conference that produces a fair FISA bill.

To get email contact info on your senators and members of congress, I like this link:

According to Leahy's email message Friday, 2/15/08, "We may have lost the first FISA fight on the Senate floor this week, but I'm not backing down -- and neither should you.

President Bush and his allies blocked our efforts to improve civil liberties protections and remove telecom immunity from the bill that passed the Senate. Without those fixes, the Bush-Cheney Administration's FISA bill is unacceptable.

There's still time to fix FISA and do it the right way -- providing the balance we need to protect national security, preserve civil liberties, and refuse retroactive immunity to phone companies who went along with Bush-Cheney Administration lawbreaking. But I need you to join me in speaking out, right now, to make sure we get a fair FISA bill."

So speak out now or forever hold your peace. No, I mean, really, hold your peace. Your wires and wirelesses just might be tapped.

Saturday, February 9, 2008

Gals, Reach Out & Touch the Glass Ceiling.

The equality of women in the workplace has been an important and debated issue forever. Today, even in an industry as progressive as advertising, most ad agencies fall way short of fair hiring and promotion practices.

This is blatantly apparent to any reader reviewing the work and the credentials of the winners posted monthly in Creativity magazine, a sister publication to Advertising Age. While the editor is female, there is seldom a woman's name attributed to any campaign, awarded ad, spot, or Agency of the Year lineup of principals. In a year, you can count on one hand, the number of women even mentioned.

According to DIMA@NYU quoting, ("Human Rights Commission Releases Agencies' Minority Hiring Goals," 2007), on January 11, 2007, 15 advertising agencies in New York City released the first set of goals pledged to increase minority hiring and retention. They were all major ad agencies. This pledge was the result of The New York City Commission on Human Rights' probe into their hiring practices. However, there was no definition of minority and each agency chose their own percentage of minorities to be hired—all different numbers.

"One agency executive said the working definition is 'non-white' (meaning that white women won't count toward the goal)." Huh?

This is only the tip of the iceberg. When it's an industry that caters heavily to women consumers and a city as progressive as New York being held accountable, there's definitely more to uncover here. I find it fascinating that this is the status quo today, when skilled men are growing older, fewer men than women are entering college, and women in the workforce are younger and represent a large percentage of the employed.

In the '70s and '80s, in response to the glass ceiling, it became the thing for women to found their own ad agencies, doing some of the most pioneering advertising that's ever been created. Adrienne Hall (who just passed away on February 7), Joan Levine (Adrienne's partner), Janet Marie Carlson, Mary Wells Lawrence (first person to take an ad agency public)--these were my mentors as I opened my little-shop-that-could in LA. But the boys were my inspiration. The boys who would hire me, but wouldn't give me the title or tithe to go with the talent. So I gave it to myself and Medlin & Associates was born. I loved that baby and it grew to be a thing of beauty.

Gender discrimination is happening at some of our biggest and best companies, too. According to the Global Learning Resources, Inc. web site ("No Women at Apple's Top?" 2007), "Over 77% of women between the ages of 35 and 44 are working today, versus about 39% in 1950. Similar increases are found at every age level. It should be the dawn of the age of women if you look at the impressive statistics and trends." But company employment statistics prove otherwise.

In 2008, when the first woman ever is running for president of the United States of America, surely there should be more CEOs and CDs named Shirley.