The Commuter Challenge

1 October 2012

The October 2012 Challenge

by CC @ 01:06

Write a speech that you’ll be giving to either:

  1. formally apologize on behalf of your company for a recent PR gaffe, safety violation, large-scale ecological disaster, or the like; or
  2. concede the loss of an election to your opponent.

The people, organizations and incidents that your speech addresses can be either real or fictional. The text of your speech can be anywhere from 500 to 5000 words long.

The Results

Ryan Finholm

Concession Speech

I come before you on this beautiful April morning to announce that I am withdrawing all of my post-election legal challenges, and to affirm that I officially recognize and accept the results of November’s election. In doing so, I renounce my claim to the Governorship and vacate the office that I have held for the past four years.

During those four years, much has been accomplished: I successfully delayed the implementation of the redistricting amendment, I rejected federal funding for high-speed rail, and I worked with the state legislature to require drug screening for welfare recipients. We have dutifully protected your right to bear arms, and fought any suggested restrictions and limitations on that right. We have protected the sanctity of marriage as a union of one man and one woman. And we have held at bay the disturbing specter of stem cell research.

My critics in the media have chosen to ignore these accomplishments. Instead they spent their time blaming my administration for the state’s rising unemployment and foreclosure rates. I would like to point out that this rise in unemployment was mostly consistent with the national averages for the southern states, which is ample evidence that such a rise was due to the unavoidable nationwide economic crisis, and was not attributable to local government.

I would further like to point out that the drop in unemployment and foreclosures over the past five months since the election are also consistent with nationwide trends. It is ridiculous to suggest that these improvements are in any way related to local reaction to the gubernatorial election results and my impending departure from the office. The widespread media speculation along that line is cynical and exploitative.

I realize that I have come under a lot of criticism for my protracted legal battles questioning the validity of the election results. In a sober moment, we must all admit that there are fundamental problems with the lack of qualification specifications for public office candidate eligibility in the state constitution. It is useful, prudent, and even typical for a state to have standards of eligibility for holding state office, such as age and citizenship status. I still hold that there is something incomplete and inadequate about any state constitution that could allow for the election of a Keyboard Cat to hold the state’s highest office.

I will admit that the Keyboard Cat operation ran a campaign refreshingly free of negative advertising. I understand that my own campaign team’s attack ads against the Keyboard Cat were widely vilified, and that they precipitated a major backlash. Yet I want the “protest voters” (who proved themselves to be a vast majority of the voting public during this voting cycle), to try to understand the unique position I was placed in as an incumbent candidate: I was running against an opponent who, essentially, did not exist. My opponent was an entity with no positions on any issues, and no ability to express itself politically. The Keyboard Cat was incapable of being effectively criticized, while my appeals to the voting public’s sense of reason were interpreted as an attack on a defenseless animal. An adorable, defenseless animal – I’ve watched the video myself, hundreds of times, so yes, I know how adorable that cat is.

I have also seen many of the YouTube videos generated by Keyboard Cat fans and supporters, like that fake gubernatorial debate video that received so much press coverage. You all must realize how unfair and misleading it was to edit together moderator questions followed by unrelated quotes from me, taken out of context, from four years of press conferences, and to then intersperse it with those Keyboard Cat video clips. Given that tone of political discourse, I had no venue to respond as a dedicated, serious, and pragmatic man, working to govern this state in the best interests of its citizens.

But all of that is water under the bridge now, with this concession. And I don’t want to dwell on the election, primarily because all of my comments on the topic, regardless of content, are consistently translated by the media to make me out as a sore loser.

Most of you probably already know that as a part of my post-election litigation, it was recently discovered that the actual Keyboard Cat passed away nearly a year ago. And although it was later confirmed by the state supreme court that the state constitution does not prohibit a dead cat from being elected to the office, nothing can legally govern while dead, so the procedures of succession will be implemented. The plan, as I understand it, is to swear this dead cat in as governor in absentia, after which the Keyboard Cat’s successor will be sworn in immediately afterwards. Of course the successor will be the newly-elected lieutenant governor. I have not yet had the pleasure of meeting Lieutenant Governor Two Girls One Cup, but I look forward to working with… her? Them? I will work hard to ensure a smooth and successful transition, and I will be happy to provide assistance and advice if requested. God bless the great state of Florida, and I look forward to continuing to serve the citizens of Florida in whatever ways you allow me. Thank you and good night.

Brian Raiter

Press Release: For Immediate Release

From: Derek Whitman, CEO of Greeny, Incorporated

Two days ago the marketing department of Greenly, Incorporated issued a press release that outlined the company’s planned activities over the next six months in the greater New York area. Since that time, a small but vocal minority have claimed that the press release was poorly composed, and insensitive to a broad class of fellow New York citizens. At this point in time, I feel that, as the CEO of Greenly, Incorporated, it is important for me to take the time to address these concerns openly and honestly.

It is claimed that certain phrases in the press release were generally dismissive of women’s health issues, and therefore the the press release as a whole can be safely characterized as misogynistic in tone. Let me just say upfront that no such impression was intended to be conveyed, at any point in the drafting of the press release, and I am personally very sorry that it was taken as such by so many people. Although the company of course takes a neutral stance on political issues, I as a husband and father am deeply committed to issues of women’s health. My wife and I are staunch pro-choice allies, in fact, and have worked to keep abortion safe and legal in our state. Some may find this fact ironic given that the health issue involves miscarriages, but I do not, and I point it out here only in hopes of heading off such tasteless commentary.

Many of the same people have also claimed that the statistics in the press release were inaccurate. But this is simply not true. The quoted percentages of women who experience RPL, or Recurrent Pregnancy Loss, are entirely accurate, and claims otherwise is nothing more than wishful thinking from people who wish to hold this supposed misinformation up as evidence of the company’s so-called dismissive attitude toward women’s health issues. I encourage everyone so inclined to look up the paper “Endometrial Stromal Cells of Older Thai Mothers and Recurrent Miscarriage”, published in the 2002 edition of the Cleveland Journal of Medicine, the source for the statistics in question.

Unfortunately, the above criticisms are not made in a vacuum. Instead, they are, across the board, put forth as thinly disguised (if that) opening attacks on the apology that was offered in the press release. Although the central point of the press release was to outline the response plan put forth by Greenly, Incorporated — the subject that is inarguably more important than any sniping over matters of tone — the volume of these attacks are such that I feel compelled to address them here as well. The company once again apologizes for any conception of denigration or minimization of the environmental issues that have formed in people’s minds. People have accused of putting forth an apology that expresses regret without taking responsibility. To these people I can only shake my head in sorrow, for what more can be done to counter such threadbare changes? Still, let me unequivocally state, yet once more, that Greenly, Incorporated takes the cleanup plan very seriously. Indeed, this is why the company chose to voluntarily share the details in a press release. Actions speak louder than words, and I am confident that the vast majority of New York citizens care far more about the company’s proposed plan of action than the wording of any apologies.

There is a perception that the business community sees apologies as a “bad thing”, a legal misstep. People seem to believe that we consider apologies to be a show of fallibility, if not actual liability, and therefore they are to be avoided at all costs. Speaking both for myself and for all of Greenly, Incorporated, I wish to assure that nothing could be more untrue. We do not in any way consider apologies to be a “show of weakness” or even an admission of culpability, and we hope that everyone will accept the apology offered in the aforementioned press release in the spirit in which it was offered.

A certain amount of overreaction is completely understandable, of course. The situation is certainly unusual, and many people were unprepared for it. After all, it’s not every day that a quantity of radioactive material is liberated from a research laboratory and makes its way into an unshielded natural environment. We fully realize that we are breaking new ground with this response plan, and we are excited for the opportunity that it will offer all of us. This is not the time for choosing sides in a debate; rather, it is a time for uniting. By working together, we all can make a difference.

I look forward to working with all of you over the next six months.

Mike Hamrick

An Open Letter


I’m sorry. I’m sorry for all the times I’ve wanked out, flaked out, failed to deliver, and have generally not done any of the things I so emphatically proclaimed that I would. It was not my intention disappoint, frustrate, or cause anyone any inconvenience, but that’s often been the result, and for that I apologize.

Some of these occasions I often think back on with regret. There is that time I didn’t show up for Brian’s party at the bowling alley, or that time I failed to pick up Andy and his wife from the airport. Not only did I cause inconvenience, but I felt like may have hurt people’s feelings, which is much worse. I’m sorry.

On some of these occasions it’s possible that I disappointed no one but myself, like my half-ass attempts at NaNoWriMo or the Commuter Challenge. Clearly it’s much easier to talk about doing something than actually doing it. It’s easy for me to build things up in my mind to such an extent that when it comes time to actually do them, I feel way too overwhelmed to even begin. While this is not an excuse for my behavior, hopefully some self awareness will help me from repeating the same patterns.

Again, my friends, I regret my past behavior, and I hope I can make it up to you. If you’d like to discuss this with me further, please don’t hesitate to bring up the subject.



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