Archive for the ‘Business Innovation’ Category

Grassroots Civic Action Is Best Hope To Correct Federal Prosecution Abuses, Says Author Harvey Silverglate In DC Radio Interview Jan. 28

January 28, 2010

Informed and pro-active citizens are the nation’s best hope to correct increasing abuses of power by federal prosecutors, according to my radio interview today with Harvey Silverglate, author of the pioneering new book Three Felonies A Day: How the Feds Target the Innocent.   

Silverglate spoke live on the DC Update edition of My Technology Lawyer Radio, archived at www.MyTechnologyLawyer.com/update.

Silverglate, a Boston-based litigator for 42 years, showed how the federal executive branch abuses power via selective prosecution under hard-to-understand statutes.  The book is winning praise from experts across the political spectrum.  His book deserves the attention of anyone in the country worried that loss of constitutional rights affects politics and business.

Silverglate explained the book’s title thus: The average professional is unaware that he or she has likely committed several federal crimes each day.  Why unaware?  Modern federal criminal laws have exploded in number, and become impossibly broad and vague.

In gripping detail, his book shows unfair prosecutions in different fields affecting ordinary people, as well as Martha Stewart-level celebrities.  In congressional testimony last fall on the problem, Silverglate said:

I was readily able, from my own litigation experience as well as from research done on other cases, to pinpoint myriad inappropriate prosecutions of many an unwary innocent citizen in the medical  community, the medical device and pharmaceutical manufacturing industry, investment houses, bankers, lawyers, accountants and auditors, academics, artists, newspaper reporters, merchants, as well as public officials.  

Won’t judges and defense attorneys protect defendants from unfair treatment?   Silverglate responded to the question on today’s show from my co-host Scott Draughon by saying that too many judges and prosecutors began their careers in a “culture” that assumes that those who are accused must be guilty.  So, Silverglate said, 95% of defendants then plead guilty, in part because so many defense attorneys are former prosecutors accustomed to “processing” clients through the system rather than fighting for them.

His advice for defendants seeking the right attorney?  He suggests seeking help from attorneys active in civic groups compatible with the defendant’s perspectives, not simply experienced courthouse players.

Three Felonies A Day author Harvey Silverglate is counsel to Boston’s Zalkind, Rodriguez, Lunt & Duncan LLP. He is co-founder and board chairman of the Foundation for Individual Rights Education (Fire), a columnist for the Boston Phoenix and a Cato Institute fellow.  His congressional testimony last fall is available here.  In 1999, he co-authored The Shadow University. For details, visit here. Three Felonies a Day is available via Amazon.com here.

Jan. 7: DC Radio Hosts Ken Auletta On His Best-Seller ‘Googled’

January 7, 2010

New Yorker media columnist Ken Auletta discussed his latest best-seller Googled: The End of the World As We Know It on the Jan. 7 DC Update edition of My Technology Lawyer Radio.  

Listeners can access the show nationwide via the link at www.MyTechnologyLawyer.com/update, which also contains archives of previous shows.

In the show’s first guest segment beginning 18 minutes into the hour, Auletta discussed how, “Google has morphed from a search into a media company…that bestrides the world.”  He further described how Google in the process has become both “beloved” by some and “feared” by others.  

The book lives up to its advance billing:  Using Google as a proxy for the larger digital revolution, Auletta shares the secrets of Google’s success and describes why that success threatens traditional media.  The author enjoyed unprecedented access to Google’s founders and executives, but brings to bear an independent expert outlook. 

The book has hit the bestseller lists, with publishers in 12 nations.  Netscape founder Marc Andreessen describes Googled as, “A uniquely incisive account of the new Internet revolution, powered by Ken Auletta’s unparalleled access.  A great book.”

The radio show is co-hosted by business radio pioneer Scott Draughon and by Washington commentator Andrew Kreig.  The hosts begin with an overview of Washington policy news affecting the nation’s business, politics and quality of life.  As a listener advisory: Mac computer users need the tool “Parallels” to hear Windows Media Player.

About Ken Auletta and Googled

Ken Auletta has written the “Annals of Communications” column for The New Yorker since 1992. He is the author of 10 books, including four national bestsellers. These include Three Blind Mice: How the TV Networks Lost Their Way, Greed and Glory on Wall Street: The Fall of the House of Lehman, and World War 3.0: Microsoft and Its Enemies. In naming him America’s premier media critic, the Columbia Journalism Review said, “No other reporter has covered the new communications revolution as thoroughly.”  For details, visit his website here. Googled is available via Amazon.com here, with 32 reader reviews averaging a four-star rating out of a possible five.    

About Scott Draughon and My Technology Lawyer Radio Show

Richard Scott Draughon is host and producer of the My Technology Lawyer Radio Show, which is affiliated with MyTechnologyLawyer.com ─ an on-demand legal service that he leads.  Draughon is author of the pioneering book The Art of the Business Radio Show.  For details, visit the website: http://www.mytechnologylawyer.com

About Andrew Kreig

Andrew Kreig is an investigative reporter, author and attorney who reports frequently about official corruption on such new media sites as Huffington Post, Connecticut Watchdog, Nieman Watchdog and OpEd News. Kreig is finishing a year as senior fellow with the Schuster Institute for Investigative Journalism at Brandeis University and is a research fellow with the Information Economy Project at George Mason University School of Law. Earlier, he was president of the Wireless Communications Association International from 1996 to last summer and authored the 1987 book, Spiked: How Chain Management Corrupted America’s Oldest Newspaper.

 

 

 

Chick-fil-A Founder Brings Down-Home Success Story To National Press Club In DC

November 15, 2009

The 88-year-old founder of Chick-fil-A told a Nov. 13 Washington, DC luncheon audience about his company’s tale of continued growth through recent hard times enabled by low-debt, customer service, family ownership and religious faith.

Truett Cathy, who borrowed money in 1946 to start his first restaurant in suburban Atlanta, remains chairman of the privately held company that announced its 42nd straight year of record sales and an expected record of $3 billion in total revenue by year-end.

“I had the privilege of growing up in poverty,” he told the National Press Club audience.  “The blessing is you have to work for a living.” 

Chick-fil-A President and CEO Dan Cathy, the founder’s son and co-featured speaker, amplified on both the company’s success and why the story can help other companies and employees prosper.

The son said the company is on track for a 9% increase in sales this year through its 1,475 U.S. restaurants in 38 states, and will continue its low-debt tradition by becoming completely debt-free within 36 months.

The company heavily relies on controlled growth, the younger Cathy said, along with hiring top personnel and providing exceptional service, especially by the standards of a fast-food restaurant. With enthusiasm, he described his practice of camping out overnight with customers at shopping center parking lots to get to know each other better and how the chain is introducing a new spicy Chicken sandwich in June. 

He mentioned also the “tremendous opportunities to treat our customers with honor” by such means as placing flowers on customer tables and teaching teenage trainees to “pull out a chair for a lady” about to sit down. 

Such traditions are easier to maintain, he said, by keeping the company committed to family-ownership.  Family ownership is expected to continue despite the vagaries of estate taxes, he said, after he and his sister recently signed legal documents pledging such control.

He said that Chick-fil-A avoids even the current bank loan rates of 2.5% interest because the company seeks self-funding in effect financed by satisfied customers, not outsiders.    

Truett, left, and Dan Cathy (National Press Club Photo by Gregory Tinius of Tinius-Arts Photography

Truett Cathy, left, and son Dan Cathy (Photo by Gregory Tinius of Tinius-Arts Photography at National Press Club)

The elder Cathy is credited with inventing the fast-food industry’s boneless Chicken sandwich and Chicken “nuggets” menu items.  He teaches Sunday school to 13-year-olds in recognition of his religious mentoring when he was that age, and made available to attendees signed copies of his five books, several focused on community and religious service. 

In introducing the speakers, Club President Donna Leinwand said, “The chain’s growing revenues and expanding stores have come without the burden of layoffs.  And without ending its long-questioned policy of closing its doors every Sunday.”

During Q&A, Dan Cathy quoted his father as saying Sunday-closings was “the most important business decision I ever made.”  Shying away from religious connotations on this question, they said the original decision was because they were so tired from working the other six days, but that ultimately a day of refreshment revitalized restaurant quality and enthusiasm overall.

In other remarks, they repeatedly argued the importance of religious faith in their company’s success, while denying bias against any employees who might not share it.   “Biblical principles work,” Dan Cathy said.  “The challenge is to keep up with change, but pay attention to the things that never change.”

As for the future?  Truett Cathy, who in 2006 landed on the Forbes list of the nation’s richest and now leads the company’s foundation arm, said, “Why would I want to retire from something I enjoy doing?”

This article was published originally in The Wire of the National Press Club