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White Paper on Civil Marriage Equality

Title: Becoming conversant with talking points needed in the Civil Marriage Equality struggle.Have you been confronted by friends, family, colleagues or others seeking your position on the so-called marriage equality, or same-sex marriage issue? This paper offers excellent talking points and responses to those queries, and gives you confidence when addressing the issue in general. Herein, I offer the following outline of the issue and its myriad ramifications.* Definitions: What is civil marriage equality?* Getting involved* Civil unions Vs Civil marriage* Civil marriage & families* Civil marriage & religion* The power of cool listening* Talking Points* Definitions: What is Civil Marriage Equality?You may find that when you mention civil marriage equality people won’t know what you mean. Whereas, if you say ‘gay marriage’, or same-sex marriage’ they immediately grasp the issue and its meaning, and often, at least if they’re already wary or lack understanding, will mentally shut down, or change the topic altogether. When we use the term civil marriage, we’re not evading the issue out of a sense of unease, or a lack of conviction. Quite the contrary, we use the term advisedly, because it’s what we mean.Civil marriage is just that: a contract between a civil entity, in this case the state in which one resides, and two people who have met, fallen in love, and committed their lives to each other. Civil marriage equality recognizes the unique relationship we enjoy in this nation between religious congregations of all types, sizes and definitions, and the various governmental bodies that tend to the civil affairs of our society such as taxation, property issues, elective office, driving privileges, schools and what have you. And, yes, civil marriage. Indeed, marriage is the perfect venue in which to best illustrate this unique separate relationship between two powerful entities in our society–religion and government. Just as the state has no authority or power within the walls of a church, church groups have no authority or power in the halls of government. Unlike other countries, whose governmental entities rely on religious texts to rule their populace, we in America rely on our Constitution & civic institutions to do so, for the benefit of all.Thus our use of the term civil marriage. In this insistence on that term there is protection for both parties, should that be necessary. Religious groups refer to marriage, or matrimony, or wedded bliss, and that is their right. We are not discussing equal access to those things; we are talking about only the state sanctioned status of civil marriage.Just so, civil marriage equality is, in all but six states at this writing, currently being denied to our LGBT citizens–despite the legal & constitutional protections, and the long-standing adherence to the separation principle we have enjoyed in America.This is why we’re cautious to use the term civil marriage. Various groups insist that the word marriage is unimportant, and that partnership, or civil union, or life-partner is acceptable. But as we’ll see in a later section, the term civil marriage is vitally important. Words have power; anything less than full civil marriage is a ‘separate but equal’ condition, therefore inherently different and unequal. Just as the terms are important, the issue must be discussed with full transparency. There is no ‘gay agenda’ so-called. The only thing LGBT people want is what heterosexual couples have taken for granted for a very long time. Thus, what needs to be discussed is the similar, not something different, or special. Not ‘gay marriage’, or same-sex marriage’, but civil marriage. Period. Heterosexual couples would not use the term straight marriage. Our LGBT friends should expect nothing less than the clarity of the term marriage, and all it holds.* Getting involved: Why should we get involved, and how best to do this? There are a number of ways to propel the issue of civil marriage equality forward. The first and best way is to simply not avoid discussing it at every opportunity. This is not always appropriate, or possible, and there is a natural reluctance to talk about private, personal matters. Most people heterosexual or homosexual aren’t wary of discussing anyone else’s marriage, so the basic issue is filled with anxiety by itself. If it helps, bear in mind that one of the primary reasons homosexual access to civil marriage is such a delicate topic is because LGBT people have always, unfairly but consistently, been viewed and considered in light of little else than their sexual proclivities.Heterosexuals openly discuss families, careers, weddings, recent dating experience, even sex among total strangers. If homosexuals do the same, they have an agenda. Hetero people talk about the most intimate parts of their lives, and demonstrate often highly provocative behavior in public. If homosexuals do that they’re ‘flaunting it’.So a possible first step is to become aware of the latent discrimination that exists in our hetero-normative society, and go from there. To reiterate, if we feel uneasy discussing the issue with friends & family, or colleagues at work, the anxiety manifests in a stridency that is difficult to put aside. The best approach to take if the discussion becomes heated, or your talking points don’t seem to apply is to recognize that you may be speaking to someone who is not in the movable middle after all, and change the subject. Confrontation is counterproductive. But open, logical, reasonable discussion can be invaluable.* Civil unions Vs civil marriage: “Would you settle for a civil union?” Asked in a calm, reasoned manner, this may be a good way to open any discussion of the all too common civil union Vs civil marriage question. The response most often is no, “but this is different”. “We’re talking about traditional marriage”, people say. “We don’t want to interfere with traditions like this.”Without getting into a discussion of tradition here, I’ll add only this. There was a time not long ago in America when slaves were kept (justified by Biblical tenets, no less), a time when, by virtue of a legal tenet called ‘coverture’, women were not allowed to own property. Not too many years ago children began working in coal mines as young as twelve, girls were ‘married off’ as chattel to establish political connections, blacks rode in the backs of buses, women didn’t vote and, as recently as 1967, sixteen states still had on their law books enforceable legal proscriptions against blacks and whites marrying. These, and many more best forgotten travesties were ‘traditions’.But back to the topic. Why not civil unions? Again, the separate but equal distinction serves us well. Any civil marriage equality advocate must know this: LGBT people don’t want a separate, distinct category or designation. No gay marriage, or same-gender marriage. No mother wants her son or daughter to announce their upcoming civil union. Mothers want their sons and daughters to get married.But for the purposes of this paper, the real reason is in reference to the definition discussed above. What is civil marriage? At its core, civil marriage is a contract between the state and two of its residents. It is, just as it says, a civil–not a religious–marriage. As such, this contract entitles and demands certain rights, benefits, and legal protections. In fact, there have been over 1138 separate such rights and benefits identified that pertain to marital status in this country. Ask any reasonable person if those rights and protections should be denied to others, and they will say no.Civil unions are an interim measure at best; they fail to provide the instant credibility that the rights–not the rites–of civil marriage provide. Civil unions can offer certain well defined rights such as health care access, estate planning clauses and the like. But each of those are dependent either on the jurisdiction in which they’re acquired, or actively by the two individuals through an (expensive) legal process. Plus, civil unions likely don’t cross state lines, so it’s entirely possible, probable even, for a civil unionized couple to drive from Massachusetts into New York and have their rights vanish as the state line crosses beneath their vehicle.The fourteenth amendment to the U.S. Constitution contains the following text. “…nor deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws.” Civil marriage being a contract between residents of a state, those individuals are entitled to equal protection regardless of any religious or other determination.The recent ruling in Iowa* allowing the civil marriage of LGBT people is an interesting case. Iowa’s court ruled that the state had no interest in denying access to civil marriage to any of its residents. No interest, in other words, from keeping gays and lesbians from enjoying the full range of civil rights and responsibilities any other Iowan enjoyed. Iowa didn’t create a special category, or protect a certain segment of her population. Iowa said it had no interest in denying equal protection. A simple, elegant solution, one from America’s heartland. And one which gays and lesbians embraced.*Varnum et al Vs Timothy J. O’Brien No. 07-1499 4/03/2009Further. Article IV section 1 of the U.S. Constitution, is called the fair faith and credit clause. The Article states that laws promulgated in one state are recognized, by ‘fair faith and credit’ in all other states, unless those states have specific laws otherwise. In civil marriage we have a perfect test of this issue. At this writing, the State of Massachusetts has enjoined a lawsuit challenging other states’ disinclination to observe this clause. In short, Massachusetts is saying that the couple driving to New York must, according to the U.S. Constitution, observe and recognize the civil marriages of residents of the Bay State, and all 49 other states must as well.The issue of civil unions Vs civil marriage comes down to this: civil unions are a back of the bus solution. The real answer is civil marriage equality nationwide.* Civil marriage & families: According to the 2000 census, there are 601,200 same gender households in the United States. Fully 20% of those couples are raising children. That figure represents an increase of over 300% since the 1990 census. Both poll numbers are considered skewed, however. The census bureau acknowledges that even in the improved political climate many same-gender couples are likely to hide their status, so the actual figure is likely higher.It should come as no surprise that a basic objection to civil marriage equality centers on families. But considering the numbers above, and that those couples referenced have clearly committed to creating stable, secure homes for themselves and their kids, thereby providing shelter, becoming role models for what society expects, and strengthening their communities, it’s clear that those households share the same ‘family values’ as those who object. It is no stretch to see that civil marriage equality has many benefits for children of LBGT couples. Two married people always have more financial stability, for one thing. They have more latitude in child care, educational opportunity, activities, dietary needs, and the range of issues that children present. As for the often heard claim that boys need a father figure, and girls need mother figures, that would seem intuitively true. The realistic response is that there are already more single-parent households in the U.S. than ever. According to the census bureau there were 12.9 million one-parent families in 2006 – 10.4 million single-mother families and 2.5 million single-father. There is no scientific evidence that children suffer ill effects from the absence of either parent unless their departure has left the remaining parent financially strapped.Legal efforts, and some recent successes to restrict adoptions to heterosexual couples benefit no one. Quite the contrary, a couple unable to procreate on their own are the perfect resource for many adoptable children. The same pre-adoption screening and procedure would be required in any case, and, as mentioned above, it’s probable that many same-gender households are more financially stable than single-parented homes. Plus, there is no scientific evidence or study showing that kids do worse in same-gender households. Quite the contrary, over 300 studies, some by such prestigious organizations as the American Psychological Association saw no difference in childrens’ development regardless of their placement in hetero or other households. The practical reality is, that kids in single parent households may do worse, only because those homes, though stable and secure otherwise, may lack sufficient financial support. The bottom line is that, as one study proved, kids thrive on one thing: stability. Lacking stability, and the security it provides, children tend to suffer from various social and psychological ills. This is yet another reason that civil marriage equality is indeed a true family values issue. Our LGBT brothers and sisters should be encouraged to enter into civil marriages, to provide stability to their children.* Civil marriage & religion: There are two premises we must accept before civil marriage equality can even be discussed in a meaningful way. Number one is that homosexuality is a condition of birth, like eye color, or left (or right) handedness; number two is that, regardless of how one feels about premise number one, civil marriage equality is just that, a civil, legal issue, not a religious one.Only when those two facts are accepted can any meaningful discussion take place. But once those two realities are accepted, the understanding comes easily to reasonable people. Just as it would be outrageous for the state in any capacity to dictate what is preached, or believed inside a church, it’s equally unimaginable that churches ought to dictate the business of the state and its institutions.When applying for a driver’s permit, for instance, we’re not expected, nor are we required, to bring along religious documents, the Bible, the Koran, passages from the Veda etc. All that’s required of an applicant for a driver’s permit is proof of age, driving school papers if needed, passage of a state-crafted written & vision test, and a bit of money. When applying for a zoning permit, or papers to run for public office, or tax forms, etc. etc. no religious tract is needed or expected. Now, some teenagers may pack a prayer book for the driving test if they believe it might help, but it’s not necessary. All these transactions are understood to be strictly legal, civil proceedings.Just so, a civil marriage license is a document created by, printed by and delivered by the state–likely in the same office–as the other certificates. The requirements for the issuance of a civil marriage certificate, in most states, are relatively simple: the couple must be sane; not coerced into the marriage; of proper age according to the jurisdiction; and not currently married to someone who is still alive. Beyond that, as we saw in the Iowa ruling, the state should have no interest in restricting the right of civil marriage to anyone desiring to make that commitment. Indeed, the states that have thus far endorsed civil marriage equality have recognized that encouraging stable, committed marriage is in the interest of all society.So we see that it is no stretch to understand civil marriage equality not only as a human rights issue, but as a family values issue. Instead of restricting marriage to our LGBT brothers & sisters, states should be encouraging them to marry & settle into long-term, stable, committed, safe and secure, child-friendly marriages. If ever there was a conservative friendly issue, this is it.Further, it’s gratifying to see the appearance of so many so-called ‘affirming’ churches, or reconciling churches. In several denominations–UCC, Episcopal, MCC, UU, and many other Christian and other congregations, the LGBT community is being welcomed and encouraged. While it does seem a bit odd that any church should have to advertise inclusivity, it is good to see the outreach becoming more widespread.And as more and more LGBT people and their families become more and more visible to the community at large the more acceptance will build on itself. When religious communities realize that the sun will still rise in the east, cows still give milk, and western civilization continues in its inexorable way.But what about capital ‘T’ Tradition, the definition of marriage as we’ve always known it, and don’t see any reason to change? We’re fearful that same-gender marriage will truly undermine the institution of marriage. Period. Surely this is a concern rightly addressed and monitored by religious people?Here are a few interesting facts about the ‘Tradition’ of marriage: The Catholic church didn’t recognize marriage until 1215, and I don’t mean clock time, but Anno Domini 1215. And yes, the Church got around to making it a sacrament at that time, primarily to bring order to the chaos of who was married to whom. And that was a dilemma only because of, you guessed it, property rights.Here’s an interesting side note: until that same time, priests & bishops married and sired children right & left. The Church had to put a stop to that ‘tradition’, because children of those priests & bishops were inheriting property from their clerical parents, thus wresting it from the property books of the church. That’s why priests are celibate today, the vow of chastity notwithstanding.Not too long ago the tradition of marriage included a codicil called ‘coverture’. Simply explained, coverture was a legal attachment to marriage stating that only men could own property in that union. In short, a married woman was ‘covered’ (the definition of coverture), by her husband. The two were seen by the law as one person, and that person was the husband. The ironic part of that little legal twist is that, according to the law at least, a single woman had more rights than her married counterpart. Under coverture, a married woman couldn’t own property in her name, keep a salary for herself, or obtain an education against her husband’s wishes.Not too long ago marriages were little more than the best method of establishing alliances between neighboring–or often conflicting–landed families. If Romeo & Juliet had survived it’s likely they would have been at the forefront of the civil marriage equality struggle. Alas, they did not.As recently as 1967 sixteen states in this country had anti-miscegenation laws. Not until the appropriately named Loving Vs Virginia case did they go away. Rendering black/white marriage illegal now would seem ludicrous.As for Biblical tradition & the marriage issue, care must be taken. The old testament does in fact cite Abraham’s twelve wives. Solomon supposedly had 700. So much for one man one woman.Continuing with Biblical precepts, it is Tradition, according to the Good Book, that daughters may be sold into slavery, shellfish, wearing garments of two types of fabric, planting two crops in the same field, working on the Sabbath and other issues are an abomination against God. Speaking of long-discarded traditions, in this country slavery was a traditional practice, justified by Biblical passages. It’s readily apparent that our religious friends must tread lightly if they wish to deny marital rights to LGBT people. It may be better for them to seek wisdom and counsel in the simple truth that civil marriage equality offers protection for them as well: religious organizations are free to practice their faiths behind the doors of their sanctuary, where the state dare not intrude; the state is free to do the peoples’ business in the courthouse, where churches dare not intrude. Speaking of capital ‘T’ Tradition, this wonderful system has served us very well for 233 years, and promises to continue.* The power of cool listening: There are many people involved in the civil marriage equality issue, people of good faith and good credentials on both sides of the controversy. On this highly contentious issue it is possible even for people of good will to lose sight of the cool, moderating aura of reason. Civil marriage equality is an issue that has little middle ground, and issue about which people find a passion. In this age of general comfort and ease, an almost apathetic time except for the economic woes surrounding us, this is an exceptional thing. Not since the sixties has an item commanded so much of the public’s attention. Indeed, for this writer, the feeling is passing strange: in the seventies I was at the barricades marching for people’s right Not to marry.Having gone through those times, for anyone reading this who was born before 1960 at least, a lot of the scripts and dialogues are eerily similar. It was all about civil rights, and paternalism, and the religious right, and the perfidy of the Republican party. We had our favorite magazines, our iconic authors, our keywords and phrases, and all the trappings of a revolutionary movement that would change this nation for the better.And we had anger. There was no denying the fact that, had we been able to stand apart and see our own behavior in an objective fashion, we’d have been embarrassed for our stridency. We were far more narrow minded and intolerant than the dark side that we denounced. The seventies marked the birth of the political correctness movement that plagues so much of our social interaction today.There’s a lesson in all that; stridency, anger, and the confrontational impulse will only lose this battle. And we should avoid calling it a battle, too. If ever there was a time, and a cause, for which we need reason, logic, a dispassionate view, and cool listening, this is the time, and this is the issue. Recently I had the opportunity to meet with a fellow who had many connections in the struggle, who knew a lot of important people, and a lot of people knew him. This fellow is connected, smart, energetic–and fighting mad. During our lunch date he referred to our President’s seeming disregard for a highly controversial ruling against gays in the military. His reaction was full of anger and hostility, and it became clear to me that, despite his potential ability to get things done, he was a liability to our movement.Cool listening is simply what it claims to be: the ability to sit quietly, cooly, across from someone who may disagree, and allow them to expend whatever energy they wish in their argument. Meantime, even taking notes if you wish, the cool wind of logic allows us to really hear their fears, listen to what they’re not saying–which is often the better part of the speech–and prepare our followup response. Plus, we open ourselves to the possibility that we may learn something, and that may be the best reason to chill. Some one once told us this phrase: “Emotion high; Intelligence low.” Think about it. There’s a reason we have two ears and one mouth. Cool listening takes full advantage of that physical fact.The other benefit of cool listening is, that the ability to disengage in the heat of an argument is unsettling. It’s said that the best way to get a child’s attention is to whisper. That may not apply only to kids. Cool listening can serve to calm the discussion, highlight the logic involved, and recognize that the opposition are people of goodwill, mostly, and they’ll appreciate the gesture. No one enjoys a preaching session, not even preachers. We all respond better when others take us seriously, acknowledging us as adults. Cool listening can go a long way toward moving us forward to civil marriage equality.Here’s the bottom line: the issue of marriage equality has already been decided; it’s only a matter of time before reasonable people see the clarity of the argument in favor of marriage rights for all, and help us make it happen.* Talking Points: CME Civil Marriage Equality- Number of same-gender households in the U.S. 601,209 (2000)- Number with children. 20%- Number of states with CME. 6- CME is a family values issue. People who earnestly wish to commit to each other should be encouraged to do so, not restricted- States confer marriage rights; clergy perform marriage rites- LGBT people do not militate for church weddings, only the civil right of equal marriage- There is no gay agenda- There is no such thing as a gay lifestyle- In America we say liberty & justice for all, not for certain people, but ALL- CME is a human right- Marriage is not a heterosexual privilege but a human right- Civil unions are separate but equal, thus inherently unequal. Would you accept a civil union instead of marriage?- Traditional marriage has changed time and again, always to be more inclusive- There’s no shortage of marriage licenses. If the state runs out, they’ll print more- Do you know a gay or lesbian couple? Get to know them first, and you’ll understand- Children can suffer in single-parent homes when there’s too little money. CME stabilizes and secures families financially and otherwise- Over 300 studies have showed no ill effects to children in same-gender households- Our Tradition in America has always been to increase rights, not restrict them. The Constitution is a shield, not a sword- Listening, and finding common ground is always preferable to confrontation & anger. Light does not create heat. Heat often creates very little light- Demographics are on our side; the issue of CME has already been decided. It’s a matter of time catching up to the culture- People don’t marry to have kids, or join properties, or to further goals; people marry because they fall in love- If marriage was a religious issue atheists would be barred from it- The biggest threat to marriage today is heterosexual divorce- LGBT people are everywhere, and all they want is what we take for granted every day- State with the lowest divorce rate? Massachusetts; State with the highest divorce rate? Arkansas- CME is the right thing to do

Newsblogging – How to Get Readers and Google to Love Your Blog

The New NewsDo you think Google should help people find articles and posts from the news companies that are suing them over copyright issues? The search giant has no choice but to send traffic to people who are willing to make their content available on generous terms, and to avoid indexing content that others claim copyright to. This has always been a factor driving online citizen journalism. It turns out that corporations, nonprofit organizations, religious groups, and political campaigns can also be journalists, and that their journalism can have just as much influence as citizen journalists or media moguls if it’s well researched and well produced.The Origins of Newsblogging”Newsblogging” is a term I more or less invented to describe a style of blogging we stumbled onto in 2007, and then refined at the online PR firm, Patron Saint Productions. Our process was innovative and our results were extraordinary, so I spun the service off into a separate company in 2010. I partnered with a former employee, David Reich, to create SixEstate Communications. I believe that newsblogging will rapidly spread in the coming years and we’ll see an increasing proportion of news stories produced by private organizations, not media outlets. Let me explain why this is happening.No Time to BlogWe came up with newsblogging when we found ourselves between a rock and a hard place with the new technology. The rock is blogging. It enables “principals” — CEOs, celebrities, spokespersons, political leaders, etc. — to communicate directly with their constituents. The thing is, those constituents no longer want to hear from me, the PR guy, the intermediary. They want to hear from the Big Kahuna herself or himself. The hard place, however, is that the Big Kahunas don’t have the time or journalism skills to blog effectively. The Big Kahunas are supposed to manage people, make appearances and run companies, for the most part, not write. They don’t have the two hours of concentration required each day to research and write a post worth reading.Ghost Blogging Gets No RespectThe answer some PR firms and marketing departments came up with was to hire ghost bloggers; but ghost blogging defeats the whole point of blogging, because readers want to hear from the Big Kahuna directly. If you don’t disclose that you’re using a ghost blogger, you violate all kinds of ethical guidelines regarding transparency, authenticity and disclosure. You risk breaking securities laws. And you risk being outed in a potentially embarrassing way. If you do disclose you’re using a ghost blogger, people lose respect for the credibility of the blog. While people are comfortable with the idea of politicians using speech writers, they’re uncomfortable with the idea of blogs using ghost bloggers, even when this fact is disclosed.Blogging’s Increasing Importance in MarketingFor my firm, the biggest problem became that blogging is too important to leave to the principals. If the Internet is going to be how people discover and learn about your organization, and the main way of navigating the Internet is via search engines, and those search engines display a strong preference for content on blogs, well then you’d better be blogging, whether the CEO’s good at it or not, because otherwise you will become invisible over time. It’s not that blogging is a good idea; it’s blog or disappear. We found a way out of this tight jam with newsblogging.Enter Kaiser Permanente CEO George Halvorson. Kaiser is one of the largest HMOs in the U.S. and Halvorson is the company’s outspoken leader. In 2006, he put together an outline of what he thought was a compelling plan for health care reform, published it in a book called Health Care Reform Now!, and pushed it to the center of the health care debate as U.S. presidential candidates took their stands leading to the 2008 election. We were hired to push this agenda online.Goldman Sachs and Blog ToursI had stopped doing blog tours after a fiasco with Goldman Sachs Vice Chairman Robert Hormats. If folks think there’s no civility at town hall meetings, they should see the comment streams when controversial figures do blog tours. The ugliest side of America is revealed in the anonymous nastiness that passes for “discussion” on the Internet. There is no way I would recommend a top CEO try to engage in an open debate on the Internet on a subject as supercharged as health care reform. The conversation becomes dominated by rude and profane people who chase the intelligent commenters away.Newsblogging is BornFor Kaiser Permanente CEO George Halvorson, we suggested a compromise. We would produce a blog, but instead of it being ghost-written by someone pretending to be George Halvorson, we would hire a journalist to blog the news, and Halvorson would add the “color commentary” when he had time or when the news begged for it. At the time, I had George “Loki” Williams on my payroll. George runs the blog SocialGumbo — a top social media blog — and has a long history of investigative journalism at the local level. So I put him on the health care beat.”Riding the News”Every day, Loki would ride the news feeds for the biggest stories in health care reform, then write them up on the blog. His job was to find good journalism on the issue, summarize it and point to it on the newsblog. Rather than adding one more voice, the blog was a survey of other voices, and as such it became quite successful. How successful? The screen capture below shows the Google Blog Search results. We were the number-one “related blog” on Google for the phrase “health care reform” 30 days after we launched the blog.The CEO Stayed Hands-OffIn 30 days, we had a top-five health care reform blog. We didn’t lose that position for a year, and only then because we stopped blogging. Our original contract was to produce the newsblog for 90 days. That became six months, then a year. In all that time, Kaiser Permanente CEO George Halvorson, never added commentary to the blog. There was no need to. In 2007, our experiment was over, and a whole new way of blogging was born: newsblogging.It’s Not About YOU!The way we newsblog, we don’t cover news about the company. Our focus wasn’t reporting on Kaiser Permanente. Our focus was to report on health care reform and generate awareness for Halvorson’s prescription for change. By hiring a journalist, we could be sure to get a daily post up on the blog, which is essential for search-engine visibility, but is difficult for principals to commit to. Every newsblog post contains:1. Copyright-Permissible Image
2. Optimized Headline
3. Transparent Byline
4. News Post
5. Quote from Respected Source
6. News Citation
7. Image CitationIt’s About The NewsTo give an example, Loki would set up a Google Alert for “electronic medical records” to see who’s covering that issue. Electronic medical records, or EMRs, are a major part of Halvorson’s platform and have been adopted as a major plank in virtually every health care reform proposal, in part because of Halvorson’s compelling evidence about the efficiencies and improved care they generate. If Loki found someone at a credible news source who has written something about EMRs, then he’d cite him or her on the newsblog. Loki would often add quotes from George Halvorson’s writings to his posts, integrating the client’s views with the current debate online.Optimizing a Blog PostWhat makes this a complete process for us is when we hook the hired journalist in with the rest of the team. Loki suffers from spellus atrocious, which not only results in typos but also in an aversion to spell-checkers. So prior to being published, his posts were passed to an editor, the amazing Rachelle Matherne, owner of FiveByFivePR firm. Rachelle wouldn’t just fix the spelling, though. She’d fact-check, link-check, grammar-check, then optimize paragraph length, sentence length and keywords, categories, and tags. Finally, she’d tweak the headline and schedule the post for release. We got so used to Rachelle’s treatment that none of us blogs without a net anymore — it’s too dangerous.Images That Won’t Get You Sued! Then there’s the art department. We decided right away that every post had to have a piece of artwork that somehow went with the story, and that we had to have permission to use the art. We quickly expanded the definition of artwork to include images, video embeds, slideshows, or any other visual component. Most of the art we found through Flickr using CreativeCommons.org, but we now have several sources, both paid and free, that we draw from. We also created rules for artwork credits and citations. It’s still stunning to me to see how many blogs use copyrighted artwork without permission or citation. They are begging for trouble.Good Content is the Best SEOAs time went on, we’ve refined the formula based on watching the stats. Every post had to have a news citation from a credible news source and a link to that source. We found that mentioning celebrities caused traffic to spike, then drop back down. It’s very seductive to analyze traffic results and engineer blog posts that pop in the Google Alerts, but the focus has to stay on good journalism. One of the main benefits of a newsblog is that it gets your viewpoint across to the media. If a journalist visits your blog and sees the posts are nothing but a bunch of keyword-laden references to celebrity news stories, it doesn’t advance your cause even though it brings traffic.A Visibility MachineAt one point, I stepped back and looked at the beast I had created: the newsblog. What amateur blogger could compete against a professional journalist, proofreaders, copy editors, optimizers, and traffic analysts? Some amateurs can compete with pure passion. But there are only five top spots for any keyword or phrase. You have to manage several blogs to afford the overhead of a blog-polishing department, but the rewards are worth it. If you run a top-five blog, you’re not only at the top of the blog search results for your term, but you also make the Google Alerts for that term, which are sent via email to other people watching those terms.The Power of Google AlertsThe reach of a top-five blog is stunning. You don’t only make the alerts for your target keyphrases. Because you’re a “top blog” you make the alerts for almost anything you say. If you mention a healthy restaurant on your health care blog, you might hit the alerts for the restaurant’s name because you’re a “top blog.” Your reach is also magnified by RSS, which makes it easy to parse your content. Anyone who was following the term “health care reform” using Google Alerts would see top blog posts from Kaiser Permanente’s newsblog in their daily alerts. That’s why blogging is too important to leave to chance. Blogging is the road to online visibility — if you blog effectively, your content gets visibility in numerous search engines and alerts engines.Adding Social Networking to NewsbloggingDoes this newsblogging thing sound like a juggernaut to you yet? Let’s add gasoline to fire: hook the newsblog up to Twitter, Facebook, and the other social networks. The newsblog we’ve created for the radio industry, Radio 2020, was our next big experiment. The following image shows the blog traffic graph when we added the social networking hookups at the end of 2008. When you hook the blog up to your social networks, you can blog in one place and have it appear throughout the network, as a tweet or status update, or a post.Credible, Reliable, TransparentIf you’re like me, your head is spinning right now. How could this be possible? How could corporate journalism outscore conventional journalism? Where’s the credibility? The reliability? The transparency? In newsblogging, they’re all there. We don’t originate stories as much as call attention to them. That turns out to be a very valuable service. In fact, that’s what a good news anchor does, isn’t it? — guiding us through stories rather than being the story. Our journalism wins out because it’s better produced, more accurate, more “fair” than conventional journalism because we can’t take a stand. We’re hired guns. Our news doesn’t have the slant of the pundits or the authority of the CEOs. It’s just the news. Told well. From an organization’s perspective, transparently revealed.Is Corporate Journalism Legitimate?Is newsblogging good journalism? Why is Rupert Murdoch’s journalism any better than, say, the United Auto Workers’ journalism, when it comes to covering the auto industry? Both publishers have an agenda. Ratings is an agenda. The question is whether or not the agenda is revealed and whether or not the news is well reported. After seeing what passes for journalism these days — video news releases provided by corporations who pay to have them inserted as stories in newscasts, sometimes even without disclosure — newsblogging adheres to a higher standard. If your reporting is good and you’re transparent, there’s no reason your news shouldn’t have market share just because it’s produced by your organization.Why Search Engines Love NewsblogsGoing one step further, I would add that search engines prefer news made this way to news made the old-fashioned way, with gatekeepers to stories who charge a price for admission. Search engines want to point people to the best, most authoritative matches for their searches, but if they’re prohibited from scanning the contents of your news, it makes it difficult for them to know what you have and send readers your way. On the other hand, if you produce your content on a blog, essentially copyright-free, the search engines can see it, index it, and point to it. Search engines like and reward those news providers with meaningful information and targeted traffic.Newsblogging and PRNewsblogging gives organizations the PR opportunity they’ve always dreamed of: the ability to tell the news your way. NewsCorp gets their say on Fox News, in The Wall Street Journal or The New York Post. Even Comedy Central gets to tell the news its way, through The Daily Show with Jon Stewart. Newsblogging allows you to tell the news your way, with a professional journalist and supporting editors and optimizers. As long as your news is well researched and well produced, and the process is transparent, you have as much credibility as the news produced by these corporations. And you’ll be rewarded with a premiere position in the search results for your target keywords.

2000 Suzuki GSF 1200 S Bandit S Centerstand

2000 Suzuki GSF 1200 S Bandit S Centerstand

The Centerstand mounts to the bottom of the frame and provides a more secure and stable platform for storing the bike than the Kickstand. The Condition of this part is Used.

A used Centerstand will be straight and operate properly. Due to the location of this item on the bike, stone chips, finish imperfections and dings are considered normal wear.

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Digital Concepts +1 +2 +4 +10 Close-Up Macro Filter Set with Pouch For The Canon XS, XSI, XT, XTI, 50D, 40D, 30D, 20D, 10D, 5D, 1DS MARK 2 & 3, 1D MARK 2 & 3 Digital SLR Cameras Which Have Any Of These (60mm, 50mm 1.8) Canon Lenses

The Digital Concepts Macro Filter Kit includes four close-up diopters at +1, +2, +4 and +10 magnification, and a durable carrying case. These filters simply screw onto the lens, and will maintain resolution and picture clarity while magnifying image size. Plus, these filters are double-threaded, which means you can combine them to achieve increased magnification, or you can attach additional optics such as polarizers or skylight filters.
These macro filters are ideal for photographing small items and focusing in on details of coins, flowers, jewelry and insects, as well as industrial photos of miniaturized components, medical and dental laboratory work and other scientific photography. PLEASE NOTE: Some cameras require an adapter tube to fit the filters.
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3 Great Ways to Travel Australia

Australia remains one of the most popular tourist destinations in the world. As the biggest “island” having an entire continent to itself, the Aussies sure have it all. Gold sand beaches, ultra modern cities, spectacular mountain ranges, The Great Barrier Reef and of course the outback. A 2 or 3 week holiday simply aren’t enough to see this vast country and choosing your mode of travel is as important as the places you choose to visit.With Australia being such a big place you will often need to cover vast distances which can be both expensive and time consuming. Here are the 3 best was to travel Australia:1. By Air
There is a great network of internal flights and you can reach almost any major city every 2 hours. Be warned though – these aren’t short flights. Perth to Sydney is more than 4 hours and unless you book in advance it can be quite expensive. Quantas is the main carrier, but Virgin Blue and JetStar are 2 budget airlines that offer discount airfares.2. By Sea
Being an island, you can reach virtually any of the major cities via the coastline. There are tons of cruises that operate all along the coastline and Sydney is famous for its international terminal in Circular Quay. Private boat charters is also a great option for those who want to splash out and you can even hire a yacht to make your own way. Even if you just do short trips in the Great Barrier Reef – make sure you explore Aus by sea.3. By Road
Although it’s a big place, there is nothing like a road trip through Australia. Seeing the countryside and exploring all the small towns is where the real charm of rural Australia can be found. Getting a camper van is a great option and although its “slow” its very economical.

Buy Cheap Bailey Button Ugg Boots For Women

The Ugg Bailey Button boots are the most stylish new boots in 2009! One of the best selling items this year. They are set to be this year’s hottest, must-have items. They are cute as a button and offer all the comfort, style and versatility you’ve come to expect of Ugg boots. They can either be worn up or cuffed down to have a different feeling, adding a little variety depending on your style!They are shearing and these are what everyone wants. Once you put them on you will never want to take them off. They are also a more fashion forward style to the Classic Short, but the Bailey Button can we worn styled up or styled down with twin faced sheepskin uppers with suede heel guards for added structure. They are very warm and comfortable. They always look great and you can wear them all day and they still feel like you just put them on!

The boots also has a logo wooden Ugg button for style. Genuine sheepskin lining keeps feet and ankles warm and cozy. These boots are 100% first run Grade A boots guaranteed authentic. These boots come in whole sizes only and they run big, if you are in-between sizes then it is recommended to size down.They are heavily discounted with free super savers during Black Friday or Holiday season if you purchase online for yourself or as a gift.

If you are wondering which boots are the best, visit the cheap UGG boots section on Amazon.com for more detailed reviews and discover the special deal.