Hope for the Pope

By Risë Birnbaum


I’ve always liked the whole Pope-mobile/red shoe thing the Popes have going on (Gucci or Prada?), but never been a big fan of the Church’s silence on pedophile priests (at least up until last week!).  That said, the Pope’s latest document on global warming is pretty darn cool.

Pope Francis defends science by saying, “plenty of scientific studies point out that the last decades of global warming have been mostly caused by greenhouse gases … generated by human action.”

So, what do some of the Catholic Presidential candidates have to say about the pope’s latest scientific declaration?  Both Jeb(!) and Rick S. pretty much distanced themselves from the papal white paper.  Bush said, “I don’t get economic policy from my bishops or my cardinals or my pope.”  Santorum made it clear we need to leave science to the scientists.  Then, Bush mumbled something about the waters getting higher around Miami (hope he has an arc in mind…or at least Carnival Cruise Ships).

The thing is, this ongoing “I am not a scientist,” Republican line is beginning to wear a little thin.  Why?  Because not only are the world’s scientists the ones claiming that climate change and global warming are real, but also because Pope Francis is actually a scientist.  Yup.  The current pope earned a degree in chemistry and worked as a chemist before joining the seminary.  Put that in a pipe and smoke it.

Get this irony – many of the Republicans want to leave the science to scientists, yet they won’t listen to the factual evidence for climate change. Isn’t that what science is all about – the study and behavior of the world through observation and experiment?  Don’t we know there are facts surrounding climate change that are rock solid?  And now, they won’t listen to the Church either.  It’s obviously going to take more than heaven and earth to get these folks to listen to someone with a brain. Honestly though,

And, if the Repubs want to get millennial’s on their side they better start seriously thinking about the reality of climate change, gay marriage and evolution ‘cause these are big issues for the flip flop-wearing, texting crowd.

As for Pope Francis?  Given his views on abortion, gay marriage and climate change, I’m definitely warming towards him.  I mean, who can argue with a guy who says all dogs go to heaven? Just pray others are, too.

Cocktails with Clinton

Risë Birnbaum


Hillary Clinton and I are soooo tight.  OK, strike that, maybe not “soooo” tight, but, I did get a chance to chat a bit, shake hands, look into those intense blue eyes and see her in action, up close and personal.  This all took place at a beautiful home in Washington, D.C., under sunny skies with ample glasses of rosé, small plates of roasted veggies and various salume.  Yum.

The first part of the evening was a little shoulder-rubbing with (and in my case, rubbernecking of) some D.C. elite.  The home was large, art-filled and beautiful.  After about a half hour of cocktails and conversation, we were herded into a room where we had the opportunity to quickly chat and take a photo with Hillary.  I mentioned to her that I was friends with her son-in-law’s cousin, and she knew exactly who that was.  I’ve met Hillary twice before at various events, and one thing that stands out is that when she locks eyes with you, you firmly believe for those 20-odd seconds that she is standing on this planet just for you.  Call it what you will, but I call it a phenomenal asset that is hard to come by.  If I had to shake hands with 100 people, by number 30, I’d probably be dozing off.

No dozing during her speech, that’s for sure.  She spoke on the outdoor patio near the pool for nearly a half hour.  And it was just what I wanted to hear from her.  She reinforced the need for more funding for early education, discussed the challenges of climate change and its’ dangers, as well as the need to both align with foreign leaders and be wary of some.   One thing is for sure, I’m not sure Hillary has any room left in her passport for more stamps.  She sure has foreign affairs down pat.

I do not think of her as a hawk (despite the fact she voted for the Iraq war, which was a mistake) but rather as a seasoned politician who is extremely capable. What was my take away from the event?  A higher regard for Hillary as a politician, grandmother and future leader.  And just as an aside…she looks damn good in person.



It’s Trans-Jenner Time

Risë Birnbaum


Caitlyn Looking Coy

Just when you think you’ve heard and seen it all…there’s more.   World — meet Caitlyn.  Caitlyn is gracing the July cover of Vanity Fair and, yes, Caitlyn used to be Bruce.  Annie Leibovitz captured Caitlyn for a cover that will go down in history about a his-to-her story.

No, this is not a still from Ex Machina, it’s formerly Bruce Jenner, the worlds’ greatest Olympian, who is looking pretty hot in some lingerie.  I’m not sure she’ll be the next Victoria’s Secret model, wait — strike that.  I think Victoria’s Secret might jump all over this opp.

Remember, this is the same testosterone-fueled person who jumped higher and ran faster than any other Olympian in the world (though hormone levels have probably changed).  And now this javelin-tossing athlete is striking a pose like a 1950’s  pin-up girl.


Bruce Jenner wins the Decathlon

As the red blooded all American woman that I am, I still drool over pics of Bruce when he won Gold.  That said, I guess Bruce-turned-Caitlyn still looks pretty fetching.

I could crack jokes all day.  It’s too easy.  This is an amazing story that will hopefully liberate men and women who believe they were born the wrong sex and are determined to do something about it.  If Bruce had not become Caitlyn, he might have died.  He and his family admit that.

So, Caitlyn is waaaay out of the closet, way beyond that box of Wheaties and way beyond the limits that we place on ourselves.

Bruce was amazing at the Montreal Olympics in 1976.  But, mon dieux, Caitlyn is even more amazing on the cover of Vanity Fair in 2015.



Risë Birnbaum


Wow!  Hang onto your cleats.  FIFA just became a household word.  But, def not in a good way.  Overnight, the FBI busted a whole bunch of FIFA execs who allegedly took a ton of bribes and kick-back moola to help steer media, marketing and sponsorships in the Americas worth like gatrillions.  Talk about inflated balls.

Why were our G-men able to make the bust?  Because the plans and payments were reportedly made and carried out in the U.S. — that’s why.  After all, the US TV market is like #1 in media money when it comes to the World Cup.  So, when it comes to ad dollars, The Cup runneth over.

What were some of the clues besides the fact US prosecutors smelled something rotten at FIFA for years?  One big one is that Qatar is hosting the World Cup in 2022 and the summer temps can climb to a toasty 105 degrees.  That’s schvitz city for any pro soccer star and definitely NOT a place to start kicking the ball around.  Think about it, a soccer player could play 100 minutes running up and down a 130 yard field for almost 8 miles in just ONE match.  Add 105 degree sun to that formula and I just hope the medics are on call.

As for Russia winning the Games for 2018…I’m sure some rubles changed hands, but at least there’s a much lower chance of a sand storm or heat stroke.

And for FIFA – it’s one big red card.  And a big score for the FBI.



Risë Birnbaum

Maybe Cheney should start counting backwards from 100 by 7 to check his cognitive abilities these days ‘cause the guy is making no sense at all.  There was more gibberish in Cheney’s Wall Street Journal op-ed than on Honey Boo Boo.

I mean, can we really blame Obama for the Iraq war?  No.  If anyone had war paint on it was Cheney himself, who told us all point blank that Saddam Hussein had weapons of mass destruction, and even linked Saddam to the September 11 attacks.  So let’s all vote for war instead of UN inspectors. Yay!

Dick Cheney himself was the head cheerleader for a war that cost us thousands of American men and women and trillions of dollars.  Yes, that’s trillions with a TR.  And what about the Cheney lines that we’d be “treated like liberators” and the war would take “weeks not months?”  Maybe it’s a Mayan calendar.

Is his memory failing?  Does he need some magic Dr. Oz supplements to help maintain his brain?

How can Cheney blame Obama for a nasty war he engineered with the help of fearless leader President George W. Bush?

Why doesn’t Cheney blame Obama for the Holocaust and Vietnam while he’s at it.

I cringed when President Clinton said “I never inhaled,” with a straight face, but the stuff Cheney is saying is way beyond cringe-worthy.  It’s pure bullsh*t.  In short, the guy has zero/nada/zilch/no shame.

Cheney had a successful heart transplant in 2012 and we won’t go into whether he got special treatment, but before that his heart would automatically get “shocked” if there were irregular beats.  Can you imagine Cheney getting shocked every time he told a lie?  Shock-a-rama!

To sum it up, even though Cheney has a new heart, I’m not sure at all it’s in the right place.  And as for a brain?  Let’s just call it small.

10 Gifs To Inspire Your Next Satellite Media Tour

Need to get the word out? Satellite Media Tours, or SMTs, are a great way to share your messaging, because you can do interviews with outlets across the country in just a few short hours. But how do you get the most out of your SMT? Here are some tips to help make your SMT a success!

1.  Time it right. 
Choose a date to maximize the impact of your messaging. Be aware of possible competing stories, and try to tie in your messaging to current events or industry trends and news.


2.  Bilingual Spokespersons.
Credit - http://www.fanpop.com/clubs/glee/images/29016077/title/im-bilingual-fanart
Consider using a bilingual spokesperson or two separate spokespersons to extend your audience reach to English and Spanish language media outlets.


3.  Here’s a genius thought: You can reach more people by booking more than just TV.

Despite TV being the dominant medium for SMTs, radio and online interviews can give added presence to your message.


4. Don’t hit the snooze button on pitching.
To ensure you get the best interviews possible, reach out early, ideally a month out.


5.  Make everyone feel special when you talk to them.

Localize each pitch interview with statistics that pertain to each market and type of viewer or listener.


6.  Don’t let your spokesperson say this.
Media training is a valuable resource to make sure your spokesperson engages audiences like a rock star!


7. No one likes a Sales Pitch
Try not to make your messaging sound like a sales pitch. Make your story newsworthy and talk about the news trends in a way that incorporates key messages, without sounding like an advertisement.


8.  Get the word out on every medium possible.
Spread the word about your SMT with digital, movie, fitness clubs and social media outreach. The average listener has to hear your message 7 times to remember it, so cross promoting increases the chance that your messaging will be retained.


9.  Keep distractions out of your background.
Your background can help tell your story in an interesting way, so take some time to make sure the background is something that complements your messaging and/or the image you want to convey.


10.  Contact zcomm and get some help.
Call us at 202-821-1020 x116 or visit www.zpr.com to book your SMT today!


By Risë Birnbaum

What a smooch!  Who would have thought one kiss would go so viral the CDC is on red alert?

I mean everyone knows Michael Sam is gay.  So, instead of kissing his girlfriend or fiancée he locks lips with his partner who, yes, just happens to be a guy.

And yes, ESPN aired it.  They didn’t think about it, they just shot it and shared it.  And I say it’s about time.

If we’re having the ongoing conversation about gay marriage and gay rights and LGBTQ and all that it entails then the public should be brave enough to see a guy, on top of the world, kiss another guy.

And yes, we’re talking about a handsome football player getting drafted by an NFL team.

If anything, this kiss should go into a time vault as the moment that opened the public’s consciousness that this is the new norm.

Just think about it.  Kids watch the most violent video games, see movies with sex and violence and nudity and terrible language, and watch wrestlers turn into human pretzels.  And this?  It was just an emotional, in-the-moment kiss.

If we all keep it in context, I think even homophobes should be able to understand that the world is a changing.

And if Michael Sam is the guy who changes perception and history with the shot watched round the world, he deserves a pat on the back, not a kick in the head.