Monday, January 24, 2005

Paris Hilton Mad Over Paris Hilton Tape - Snatches Copy From Video Store

This story is unfortunate. I don't blame her though. I hope the LA County Sherriff's Office has better things to do and drops the charges...read on:

January 22, 2005 (Associated Press)— Paris Hilton is being investigated for suspicion of petty theft, authorities said.

"There was an incident, and she is alleged to have taken something," sheriff's Deputy Steve Suzuki said without disclosing further details.

Calls to Hilton's publicist, Gina Hoffman, were not immediately returned.

On its Web site, the TV show "Celebrity Justice" posted a security video taken last month of Hilton as she bought several magazines at a newsstand and was given change. It goes on to show her grabbing her infamous sex video and walking off with it.

Gerry Castro, an employee at Swing News in West Hollywood, told "Celebrity Justice" that Hilton became enraged after spotting the sex video "One Night in Paris" on sale at the newsstand.

"She threw her 80 cents change at me and took the video and said, `I'm taking this and I'm not buying it,"' Castro told the show.

Castro declined to comment when contacted Friday by The Associated Press, but he told KABC-TV of Los Angeles that Hilton and her bodyguards attempted to rip up a poster and pull down a display advertising the video.

"Nobody steals on my shift," Castro said.

Paris' sister, Nicky, told KABC that Castro overreacted.

"She did something anyone would have done in this situation," Nicky Hilton said. "It's not a big deal. Whatever _ she doesn't care. I think this guy is trying to make it into a big deal, to get some publicity for his newsstand."

The sex tape surfaced in 2003 just before the start of Hilton's reality TV series "The Simple Life." She has said she was embarrassed and humiliated that the tape ever became public.

Deputies were expected to present the case next week to prosecutors, who will then decide whether to file any charges, said Jane Robison, a spokeswoman for the Los Angeles County district attorney's office.

The Sheriff's Department decided to announce details of the Dec. 15 incident after getting numerous phone calls from reporters, Suzuki said.

The Passing of Johnny Carson - A Signpost

Johnny Carson passed away on Sunday. For 30 of my 42 years on this planet, I made "The Tonight's Show" a part of my life. When he hosted his last show in 1992, I remember feeling that a major part of my life had not so much went away, as was made dormant.

Johnny Carson was one of those "signposts" I referred to earlier in my blog. What I mean is that he helped shaped the cultural conversation of the day: what you talked about at school or at work, and what movies or commedians you were motivated to see.

Frankly, he had some funny jokes. Take when he did his last show, when he said "I feel like a chicken and Colonel Sanders is cooking up his 11 herbs and spices." Now, you know what he was referring to. He had a way of taking popular culture references, and using them in his jokes. (One could also remark that it was a great way to plug Kentucky Fried Chicken, but I feel it's a sign of how much a product becomes a part of popular culture.)

Johnny Carson was the first talk show host to become powerfully successful from television; at one point, 17 percent of NBC revenues came from his show. The show had a unique time placement: right after the evening news. So, every NBC affiliate was a lead in for The Tonight's Show.

I can't see another John Carson today. What are the new signposts? I'll have to think about that one. Any ideas?

Saturday, January 22, 2005

"The Superjumbo" - An Idea For McDonald's - Before They Use It

I posted this idea on the Fast Company website. I thought I'd replicate it here, for posterity. Here it is:

I think McDonalds need to focus it's efforts on new products. I vote for a replacement to the aged "Big Mac." I would call it "The Superjumbo" and work a marketing deal with Airbus Industries as they roll out the A-380. I'd even have a contest, where the winner is the buyer of every 10,000th Super Jumbo and that person wins a trip on, you guessed it: The A380. The Superjumbo jet.

Ticketmaster's Control of Presidential Inaugural Tickets

 Get Presidential Inaugural Tickets - click here.

According to Brian Becker of ANSWER Coalition, the reason why it was so hard to get Presidential Inaugural tickets is that the Presidential Inaugural Committee let Ticketmaster have control of distribution of the tickets. If you called Ticketmaster to buy them, they asked for you ID number. If you were a major party donor, you got a number. Or if you were Ticketmaster, you could go out and resell the tickets. That's why the tickets started poping up, first, on Craigslist, then other brokers bought them.

How did I find this out? Well, C-SPAN. Then I went online to check out the fact, and founf an article in the Washington Post. You can click READ to read it, or check it out below:

An antiwar group filed suit yesterday alleging that President Bush's inaugural committee has for weeks blocked the public from getting tickets to the inaugural parade route and has allowed only selected donors and supporters to purchase seats.

Although Presidential Inaugural Committee officials have repeatedly said that the tickets along the Pennsylvania Avenue route are available to the public, the suit alleges that individual members of the public are blocked from buying them unless they are Bush donors or supporters who have received an invitation and special identification number from the committee.

The lawsuit, filed by the ANSWER Coalition, seeks to stop the National Park Service from cordoning off large sections of Pennsylvania Avenue for Thursday's inauguration. A federal judge is expected to hold a hearing on the case early next week.

"Pennsylvania Avenue is considered American's Main Street," said Mara Verheyden-Hilliard, an attorney with the Partnership for Civil Justice, which helped file the suit. "For the government to come in and take this space, to say you may only have access to this event if your viewpoint is approved by the incoming administration, is a fundamental violation of all of our First Amendment rights."

An inaugural official called the suit frivolous but did say that some parade bleacher seats were held in reserve for presidential supporters.

Steve Schmidt, communications director of the Presidential Inaugural Committee, said the public has lots of access to the inauguration. "Many of the inaugural events require tickets to attend," he said. "A great many require no tickets and are open to the public. The lawsuit is being reviewed, but this inaugural committee is operating no differently than any other inaugural committee for both Democratic and Republican presidents."

People answering phones at Ticketmaster yesterday said callers needed an invitation and identification number to buy a ticket. "As of right now, the only way you can get a ticket is if you get an invitation," one said. "We haven't heard anything yet, but I don't think they're going to release any to the public."

The lawsuit says the coalition has documents from a related suit showing that the 2001 Presidential Inaugural Committee prevented members of the general public from purchasing bleacher seat tickets for that inaugural parade and provided those seats only for Bush donors, fundraisers, supporters and invited guests.

The coalition stresses that it is not contesting President Bush's right to select who sits near the Capitol to watch his swearing-in or in VIP seating at Lafayette Square and near the White House.

"We're only talking about the part that the general public thinks they're allowed to go to," Verheyden-Hilliard said. "If they oppose war in Iraq, they should be allowed to express that. If they are supporters of the Bush administration, they should be allowed to express that."

Anne Wilson, a coalition volunteer, submitted an affidavit as part of the lawsuit saying that she tried this week to purchase a parade ticket, as instructed by the Presidential Inaugural Committee. She called Ticketmaster, was routed to the presidential inaugural ticketing center and was told she needed an identification number and invitation to buy a ticket. She expressed her dismay and was told to call the Presidential Inaugural Committee, she said.

Tracey Schmitt, spokesman for the Presidential Inaugural Committee, said last night, "People now interested in getting tickets should go to the Web site," though she warned, "There's an overwhelming demand." She said previously that anyone can walk up to watch the parade from various locations along the route.

Earlier yesterday, Jeanne Phillips, the inaugural committee chairman, said inauguration tickets were still available.

"We are still selling tickets," she said. "I mean, you can safely say we always have a few tickets at will call. We will be selling tickets until the last one is gone. It is going to be tight, but if you hurry on Sunday you might be able to get the last few."

The parade is expected to start at 2 p.m. Thursday after Bush's swearing-in on the Capitol steps.

Post staff writers Timothy Dwyer and Susan Levine contributed to this report.

Thursday, January 20, 2005

Jacksonville Super Bowl XXXIX Hotel Room Fiasco - Pt 8

Well it appears that this hotel room shortage problem started because Jacksonville had signed letters and not contracts claiming the 17,000 rooms. For evidence, read this article I found: http://www.hotel-online.com/News/PR2002_4th/Nov02_SuperRooms.html

I learned today that in 2000, my competitors at Jacksonville's Super Bowl Bid Committee did not have hotels signed under contract, but simple letters of support and rooms from some of the hotels in the surrounding area. I and others (including the Bay Area Media) were led to believe that they had signed contracts, each 13-pages long, totalling 17,000 rooms.

The Oakland bid effort I led had about 7,000 rooms under contract, and a letter from the San Mateo CVB for 12,500 more. So, where I felt bad because we didn't have enough contracts, it turns out we had more rooms under contract at the time of our bid presentation on the morning of November 3rd 2000 in Atlanta, and yet Jacksonville won.

I remember Robert Gammon, who wrote for the Oakland Tribune at the time, as refering to the Oakland Super Bowl Bid as "failed." Well folks, we didn't fail. I didn't fail.

I believe to this day, we should have won -- the Super Bowl should be here in Oakland. But I do feel a high degree of personal vindication. Given what I had to put up with -- a less-than-supportive Jerry Brown, and no shortage of people telling me we could not do it -- I can officially say that I and the people that helped me with that bid did a hell of a great job. We can all officially say we got more hotels under contract than Jacksonville. We did what we didn't think we did.

Think the Oakland Tribune will report that? Hmm? Hmm?

Well, the other problem is a Jacksonville hotel gouging and reservations issue that may rank as one of the largest in sports events history.

Tuesday, January 18, 2005

Jacksonville Super Bowl XXXIX Hotel Room Fiasco - Pt 7

OK. For a recap, how did this hotel room problem start? Well, it goes all the way back to the year 2000, when Jacksonville reported that they signed up cruise ships to add 3,500 rooms to their bloc of 10,000 rooms under NFL contract. Well, as you can see if you read this blog and my series on this problem, Jacksonville gave the NFL the cruise ships, period plus another 3,500 rooms, not 10,000 rooms. In other words Jacksonville came up with only -- let's see -- about 7,000 rooms.

Oakland had about that many under contract, not including a letter from Ann Le Clair, who was the Executive Director of the San Mateo County Convention and Visitors Bureau. Well, that letter pledged an additional 12,500 rooms, so we would have been able to give the NFL their rooms, not including the 30,000 rooms in San Francisco, and the 40,000 rooms in the Bay Area, all within one-hour's drive of The Oakland Coliseum.

Want evidence of Jacksonville's promise? Click here : Press Release Oh, in the release, Jacksonville officials claim that they have over 17,000 rooms. Geez.

The question is what will the NFL do after this? You can be sure that Jacksonville's getting a game will be a problem in the future, but the bottom line is tha the Jax executives signed binding NFL contracts promissing rooms. So, I'll bet the league's pissed. What am I writing, I know they are.

The other big problem is the undoubtely large number of instances of hotel room booking fraud. I think that the law should change to prohibit those who are not registered hotel travel agents from booking rooms, and that of those registered, they and the hotel manager are required to report all transactions to the parent company, even if the parent company does not own the property.

Then, that the parent company is responsible for the resolution of all potentially frauduent transactions. This will cause them to police their properties better.

Jacksonville Super Bowl Hotel Room Fiasco - Pt 6

Well, I finally got a hotel about 50 miles (!) out from Jacksonville, and yes in Jekyl Island, GA. That reported, it sounds like a nice resort. But this whole deal is not over just because I have a room.

I got an e-mail from a friend who has an exhibit at the NFL Experience, so he has more Super Bowl experience than I do. This is what he wrote:

"Hi Zennie,
I relate to your issues. When I first started my negotiations with the NFL this year, they told me that I would be responsible for securing my own rooms because there is a huge room issue for this year’s game. I told them that I would increase my fees to reflect the change in policy. The next conversation, they had only 2 rooms secured for the 3 of us, and that they would pick up the tab, as always. The problem with these rooms is that they are more than 30 minutes away from the NFL Experience, so I also had to rent cars for my staff."


So that's proof there's a real problem. Oh, and Best Western? They called to tell me what I already know, that my name was not on a reservation. What I was trying to determine is if the ticket broker actually had a room in the first place, and also get a room for myself.

I've got a room, but I'm going to bring this whole matter to the attention of whoever will listen in Congress. This is ridiculous, and I'm not going to stop until hoterliers are discouraged from inviting fraudulent practices.

Monday, January 17, 2005

Jacksonville Super Bowl XXXIX Hotel Room Fiasco Pt 5

I have not had a great time with this matter of hotels. I didn't here from the Best Western people today, but that could be because they're investigating this matter -- as they said they would do. It's also Martin Luther King's birthday holiday, ....but hey, I did talk to the Best Western people on Sunday, huh? Hmm...

This will be resolved in some way. I was contacted by a reporter for the Florida Times-Union not on this problem, but on my remarks that the economic impact of the Super Bowl is under-estimated. The reporter's passing my hotel problem story to a person in their business section.

Maybe I'll have a public voice about this stuff, if only to get a room. But there's a real problem down there in Jax. For example, I finally used the website at jacksonvillesuperbowl.com for more than just maps. They've got a website for hotels and a hotline. Used the website but the closest hotel I located at a $150 price was in Georgia. Yep, South GA is about an hour's drive. But that's a whole hour.

When I called the hotline, I discovered that the guy on the other end of the line was just using the same website, because when he told me to go to the Jacksonville website, I said "I'm already there," and he said "That's what I'm using." Geez.

Oh, so you would think that the hotline guy was located in Jacksonville, and could tell me something about the area, like where to get Chicago-style pizza,right? Nah. He was in Chicago. Geez. If this were The Apprentice, who would The Donald fire?

After fishing around the Internet, I thought I found a room at the Florida Inn on Amelia Island, and at $169 a night as reported on their website. Check out their website by clicking on the word LINK. Then type in the dates of Feb 3rd to arrive and Feb 7th to get out of Dodge, as they said in Gunsmoke.

Notice that their are rooms at $169, right. Right? Yeah. So, I called them, with a smile. They person did report the room as available and at that rate!!!

But then they fax out this room form for me to fill out (fine), and the rates on the paper are from $600 for the same room, up to $900. And that's per night. Per night. Per night. Should I repeat this?

So, I called the Inn, and the person on the phone agreed that the prices were too high, but she didn't set them. She agreed that the price was set at a "scam level." I'm not kidding. She also told me that the Inn elected not to sign up with the Host Committee.

I'm not sure if that was a good move or a bad one.

I still need a room.

Saturday, January 15, 2005

Jacksonville Super Bowl XXXIX Hotel Room Fiasco - Pt 4

(This is the fourth installment on the problem I'm having getting a hotel room in Jacksonville for this year's Super Bowl. For the others scroll down below.)


There's more news in this unfolding nightmare. After I had the great conversation with Best Western's Paul Alben, I checked my cell phone voicemail, only to find a nasty message from my friend's friend who was supposed to have the room at the Best Western Executive Inn.

I had specifically instructed his accountant not to run my credit card until I called him. What I really did was use one of my debt cards that didn't have money on it, until I found out I actually had a room.

Well, on Wednesday I called to express concern that I didn't have the proper hotel confirmation. Well, his accountant seemed to understand my fear. But the guy who runs this brokerage firm in New York didn't. He basically started yelling at me that "He was only doing this as a favor," and "He wasn't making money on the deal anyway."

I tried to make light of the conversation by simply laughing or basically calming him down, but in my mind I was more nervous that ever. So, I kept calling Best Western until I received call backs starting Thursday.

Anyway, it turns out that they decided to run my card, without my permission. So, of course it came up declined. Now get this, the hotel rep I talked to when I called to report the cell phone message told me that some other firm seemed to have control of the rooms. There are 61 of them.

So if I placed $700 on that card's account, I may not have had the room anyway! The very fine print of the credit card authorization reads "All orders on on a try to fill basis." Plus, the document refers to tickets and not hotel rooms. Geez. A ticket broker trying to move hotel rooms.

Whew!

I hope Best Western comes through.

Jacksonville Super Bowl XXXIX Hotel Room Fiasco - Pt 3

Hey. Best Western's Will Jansen did call me. He said that they were concerned about what was going on down there, and would check to see if the room was indeed there for me. Then I just now got a call from Mr. Paul Alben who represents Best Western's customer relations department. He's also going to check into the hotel matter. He agrees that third-parties should always give you a hotel confirmation number.

Thursday, January 13, 2005

Jacksonville Super Bowl XXXIX Hotel Room Fiasco - Pt 2

OK. I called the office of Best Western CEO David Kong and was helped by his wonderful secretary. I also called a guy named Dan Williams who's VP of North American Hotel development.

Well, somehow, I got passed to a Best Western Customer service person who told me that Best Western had no control over what the individual hotels did. I told her I don't believe that. Any CEO who discovered that a hotel with his or her logo on it may be up to shady practices would certainly step in.

So, I called Mr. Kong's secretary back, and now I'm calling Will Jansen.

If you came into this in the middle, look at the first post on this about four posts down.

Going to the Super Bowl? Have hotel problems? Share them here.

Dan Siegel Busted For Pot Possession - Could Get Him Elected Mayor of Oakland, CA

If you click on the title, you will learn that Oakland School Board member and prominent Oakland community participant, and nice guy Dan Siegel was held by the Oakland Police after they found some weed in his bag at the Oakland Airport.

Dan handles it all well. He said, "Hey, I use it to relieve stress." I recall that Dan's running for Mayor of Oakland. I think this could get him elected. I'm serious. How many people reading this use pot for the same reasons? OK. Put all those hands down. Me? I'll take a trip to the gym or a good glass of Merlot. But, I think Dan's a candidate to consider.

If Mayor Jerry Brown slipped the pot in Dan's bag, the strategy backfired! LOL. Dan and Jerry are not the best of friends.

Oakland Athletics Lost $23 Million

In preparing the Sports Business Simulations Oakland Baseball Simworld for students to use this year, I always recalibrate the simulation to reflect the organization's fiscal pattern at the end of the previous season.

In this case, after balancing the sim, I learned something you're not going to see in the press -- yet. The A's are over $20 million in the hole, and that's a big reason why "The Big Three" pitching rotation was broken up. It's also why the owners are selling the team. In the Oakland Baseball Simworld, the A's franchise value is $172 million. That's what I believe the team's currently worth.

Try the Oakland Sim and see if you can dig the A's out of this hole. Go to www.sbs-world.com and click on "SBS Free Trial" on the left. Then run the Oakland Baseball Simworld.

I'm Applying to Be On "The Apprentice"

Hey folks. I'm applying to be on "The Apprentice." This week, my friends former Mayor of Oakland and now Peralta Chancellor Elihu Harris and Oakland City Attorney John Russo were good enough to come down to Lake Merritt and appear in my video. It was a great time! And Oakland never looked so good.


If you were on The Apprentice, e-mail me and share tips! Thanks!

The Jacksonville Super Bowl XXXIX Hotel Room Fiasco

I’m planning to attend what will be my fourth Super Bowl, this one in Jacksonville, Florida. I’ve never been there. Regardless, it’s a city I look at with more than a bit of envy and anger simply because we lost to them, That’s right, I worked to bring the 2005 Super Bowl to Oakland, and not Jacksonville. Jacksonville won over Oakland and Miami at the NFL Owner’s Meeting in Atlanta, in November 1st-3rd 2000.

One of the reasons for their victory in 2000 was that they claimed to have 17,000 hotel rooms secured. To prove it they submitted signed contracts. Now, the NFL Super Bowl Hotel Contract is a 13-page affair that would scare the devil. And in a lot of cases, if you view some hoteliers as the devil, that’s what happened in the case of the SF Bay Area.

Well, more about that later. Let me cut to the chase. The NFL expected 10,000 rooms from Jacksonville, and got 3,500. That’s not including the cruise ships they brought in to make up the huge hotel room shortage.

Some people blame the NFL owners approval of an initiative called “Jax39” for this. The simple story is that the NFL team owners gave the Jacksonville Host Committee approval to gain more money from hotels than was allowed under the initial contract, and to pay for improvements to host the Super Bowl. In other words, they allowed them to gouge patrons.

I think the NFL set itself back to 1996, when hucksters and shady hotel people overpriced the heck out of people attending the 1996 Super Bowl in Phoenix. The NFL started issuing contracts after that, and things were more or less ok….until now. It’s a nightmare to get a room and many are going for over $400 a night.

I think I’ve got a room at the Best Western Executive Inn, and not for $400 a night, but for $170. I got it via a friend who knows a guy who runs a booking firm in New York. I generally get my room through the NFL, so this is way different. This time, Sunday Billings of NFL Special Events, who's a heck of a great person and has gotten my rooms for me all the way back to 2000, called me to explain the problem. It's a terrible deal this time.

I’ll say what I’ve said before: Jacksonville has no business hosting the Super Bowl. The region does not have enough hotels. Moreover, to build a large hotel room inventory just for the Super Bowl is stupid, as most of the hotels will go empty, and the Super Bowl’s not going to be there every year.

The Super Bowl is a measure of where a city and a region should be in order to be considered a "top-tier" economically successful urban place. The NFL has specific specifications for how many hotels and what kind, as well as the size of ballroom space. This is a great gauge for what a region needs, not just to host a Super Bowl but any large convention or event.

It's also a great way to determine if a region should be in the Super Bowl mix at all. I know that the Jacksonville people bugged the NFL for two years before they were taken seriously. And the Jacksonville boosters had a popular NFL owner in J. Wayne Weaver, who owns the Jacksonville Jaguars. That goes a long way, as the Super Bowl is a way of rewarding owners for being great team players. What I mean is, for example, San Diego Chargers owner Alex Spanos is known as the kind of person who will let you as a fellow NFL owner use his private plane. That's a "chit" he can "cash in" to get San Diego the bid to host the Super Bowl (Provided San Diego produces a good bid package.)

So, in honor of Wayne Weaver, the league fudged things a bit, I think.

Most cities that have over 50,000 hotel rooms within one hour of the downtown have them for one reason: there are a lot of people who live there, and so hotel rooms are needed to house people who visit the other people who live in the region. (Yeah, that's more than one reason, but whatever.) It’s not just a tourist matter, but simple population density as well. Jacksonville is not a truly large first tier urban area.

The Jacksonville host committee and hotel brokers are pushing people as far out and away as Orlando, which is three hours away, and comprises a whole other metro area. The NFL has always told us we have to find 17,000 hotel rooms within an hour of the stadium. The San Francisco / Oakland Bay Area has about 60,000 rooms.

That whole message of "hotel room radius" has been blown away with Jacksonville.

The NFL’s made a mess it has to clean up. I think one move is to avoid going into regions that are too small, and regardless of how much they want it or how popular the team owner is in the league.

American cities that have teams and enough hotels within an hour of the stadium (no cruise ships) should be the candidate hosts. Period. That includes Atlanta, Miami, Tampa, San Diego, Houston, Detroit, and New York, if they get a dome. The San Francisco / Oakland Bay Area is the best-undiscovered host region. (OK...1984 was a long way away.)

Oakland and the SF Bay Area would have been better hosts. And were it not for Oakland Mayor Jerry Brown, we would have won.

In other words, Jerry lost it for us. And that’s something I’ll not get over for a while. He really mucked it up.

More on that, later.












The Matter of Randy Moss and the Media

Look. The only people who really care about what Randy Moss did when he scored a touchdown against the Green Bay Packers (in Sunday’s NFL Wild Card Playoff Game) are the media. I don’t care, but I’m freaking tired of hearing about it. In fact, the only reason why we are paying attention to this is that the sports media people will not let it go.

Now, if the Green Bay Packers fans mooned Randy Moss, the media would not spend as much time on it. And you know what, when the 2005 NFL season rolls around, and the Vikings travel to Green Bay, I’ll bet they do it, and in the stands and before him while he’s one the sidelines, not as the team buss comes driving up.

Watch. Just watch.

A Great Weekend Dinner To Be Invited To

Last Saturday, I was invited to an impromptu dinner party thrown by my new friend Deborah and her husband Sean. Deb and I have been talking a lot about her coming to SBS as our CFO, so I felt “obligated” to make the trek down to Milbrea from Oakland…or let the Bay Area Rapid Transit (BART) take me.

I went even though I was supposed to go to the movies with Laura, but I thought she’d go down there with me. Nope. Wrong. So, I was alone. Sadly. I like her, but I think she wants to be more of a friend than anything. Whereas I would prefer a little more certain and serious tie.

Anyway, what was so nice about the party is that I felt instantly accepted by Deb’s husband and friends. It’s worth stating that since there are not a lot of African Americans in the Bay Area (10 percent) one wonders if they’re really going to be genuinely accepted in what (more often than not) are all-white audiences. I mean some make efforts to connect with you, but sometimes it’s clumsy.

But on Saturday, January 8th there was none of that at all. I stayed from 7 to 3 AM. And we talked about everything under the sun of popular culture. And, yes, for those who know me, I was not shy about eating. (I’m not fat, but I can pack away a lot of food.)

What made the night’s conversation flow, aside from the people, was the music being piped into the house from various speakers. The music was a mix of stuff from the 80s, 90s, and today. It was also the selection of music that people in late 20s and early 40s would like and talk about, especially after the wine flowed.

In fact, what occurred to me was that the people of America are increasingly mated by the cultural glue of music. I think that the larger selection of music from seemingly every decade and its quality and clarity have served to mesh generations in an unprecedented way. Moreover, music technology and the growth of communications systems are bringing people together and breaking down imaginary racial barriers every day.

While I think this is an amazing development, I have one question: Why isn’t anyone writing about it? What? I am. Yeah, but I don’t want to be the only voice. Ok, bloggers, I need help. Get to writin’

Oh, to show you how tech has progressed, I’m writing this from The Alley, having finished dinner here and enjoying an Irish Coffee as I write, with Rod Dibble playing the piano over there across the room…and, because I wanted to. Now, when
I get back home, I’ll upload this into my blog.

In fact, if The Alley had a wireless transmitter…

Tuesday, January 04, 2005

How To Talk About Race in America

I write this because I am rather tired of hearing the occasional comments "I don't see race," "Race card," "Playing the race card", and "Race doesn't matter."

About 95 percent of the time I hear these comments, it's from someone white or Asian or Latino, but mostly white by far. Only twice in my life have I heard anyone black say a variation of those words. I can personally pinpoint the origin of the term "Race card:" the OJ trial in 1994.

It was during that "court media event" that I remember that term used. It was offered by a right-wing pundit in a debate and as attempt to diminish the imporatance of race as a factor in the police investigation. The trial itself aside, I didn't like the term then, and I don't like it now.

Today, the single reason why blacks and whites in particular can't talk effectively about race is the use of the terms I described above. As the culture becomes (happily) more integrated by the minute, we have to develop a more effective way of communcating. Thus, here's my primer I call "How to Talk About Race in America."

It's really a simple set of rules to be applied by both white or Asian or Latino persons and blacks when talking about race with each other:

1) First, allow the person to complete their sentence.
2) Avoid talking while the other person is talking, as that is the foundation for the development of an argument.
3) Don't use any term like "Race card."
4) Talk in general terms about race and at all costs don't talk about what you do that's racist or not racist at the start of the conversation. In other words...
5) Start by talking about race in America generally, if only to determine how each of you thinks. So, ask this question: do we have race problems? And follow it up with "What are race problems in your view?"
6) Don't justify yourself by explaining how many black (if you're white or Asian or Latino) or white or Asian or Latino (if you're black) friends you have.
7) If you're white or Asian or Latino, don't say "I don't see race" and then say "I have black friends" because you just admitted you see race.
8) Think of a joke to tell to keep things light, and no, not a racial joke.

There you have it. If you apply my primer, you and America will have gone a long way toward improving our collective culture!

41, 42, and 43

Confused? Those numbers refer to the last three siting presidents. It also points to today's news of the ex-presidents heading a new funding initiative to the Tsunami-ravagged areas of Asia. (See CNN)

Even though I'm a Democrat, putting President Bush I and President Clinton together to head this effort was an excellent move both personally and politically by George W. Bush. The reason, for me, is that it shows that we can remove party lines and bring the best people to solve a problem.

On top of that, it seems to confirm a suspicion I've always has that Clinton and the younger Bush are more alike than people would think. I first formed this idea after watching the ceremony for the Clinton Library on CSPAN. CSPAN is great for presenting scenes of politicians talking together after a ceremony. Such was true in this case. The three Presidents seemed to be sharing a lot of information. I think the matter of the middle east and terrorism, combined with their Southern populist roots, have forged a bound between Bush II and Clinton that should be studied in more depth.

I believe that in their personalities are the keys to what Americans want in the people they elect to be President. In short, they connect with people on a personal level.

I think this effort will be very successful. Moreover, it marks -- in my view -- a turning point in Bush II's growth as an American President and a World leader.

I also think he and Clinton are sharing "presidential secrets." I just don't know what they are.

Sunday, January 02, 2005

Stars to Whom We Said Goodbye in 2004

This article is by Emily Feimster for Netscape. I think the passing of the celebrities listed mark "signposts" for generational change. For example, I grew up with Bob Keeshan, who was known as Captain Kangeroo in the morning. Now, I can't think of a modern equivalent. Kids have such a wide range of choices on TV, and certainly more than was presented to me in the 60s. Plus, as a kid, shows like his help you form an understanding of the culture.

Then, there was Isabel Stanford of the Jeffersons. I think I saw every one of those shows. But they also gave the first American pop-culture real view of a modern, successful black couple.

Well, here's Emily's post, below.

With the end of 2004 in sight, we must bid farewell to some of our most beloved celebrities who passed on during the year. Though some deaths came too soon, many of these legendary entertainers were lucky enough to enjoy a long, full life.

The death of "Superman" actor, Christopher Reeve, 52, came as quite a shock to fans who had watched his progress since being paralyzed in an equestrian accident in 1995. The tireless advocate for spinal cord research went into cardiac arrest at his home after developing a serious systemic infection during treatment for a pressure wound. The computer-animated movie, "Yankee Irving," being made by Reeve at the time of his death, will be completed, producer Morris Berger has vowed, and released in 2006.

Movie star, governor, president - there wasn't much that Ronald Reagan did not do in his lifetime. The 93-year-old had been suffering from Alzheimer's disease for the last 10 years which caused him to live his post-presidency in quiet isolation. In June, he died of pneumonia, surrounded by his children and wife Nancy. Thousands lined the streets to pay tribute to "The Great Communicator" as his body was transported for a memorial service in Washington D.C.

One of the greatest actors of all time, Marlon Brando, 80, died in July from pulmonary fibrosis, a condition that involves scarring of the lungs. Over the course of his long career, including legendary performances in "A Streetcar Named Desire" and "The Godfather," the intensely private actor was just as famous for his off-screen antics involving his eccentric behavior and sometimes outlandish salary demands.

However, it was the 82-year-old comedian Rodney Dangerfield who didn't get the respect he deserved until he died of heart disease in October.

Hollywood was dealt the loss of another legendary actor, Janet Leigh, 77, whose infamous shower slaying in Hitchcock's film "Psycho," sealed her place in movie history. She died of vasculitis, an inflammation of the blood vessels. The one-time wife of Tony Curtis is survived by her actress daughters Kelly and Jamie Lee Curtis.

American music lost an icon in June with the passing of Ray Charles, who immortalized such songs as "Hit the Road Jack" and "Georgia on My Mind." His life continues on with the recent biopic, "Ray," in which actor Jamie Foxx delivers a performance that's expected to receive an Oscar nomination.

Another great music man, Ramones guitarist Johnny Ramone, died of prostate cancer at the age of 55.

We said goodbye to legendary women including Isabel Sanford, 86, who most notably moved into a deluxe apartment in the sky as Louise Jefferson on the TV series, "The Jeffersons," "King Kong's" Fay Wray who died in August at age 96, and chef Julia Child, who became an early star on PBS and popularized French cooking in America. She died of kidney failure in July at the age of 91.

This year didn't come without its share of mystery deaths as well. Rapper ODB, whose death in a Manhattan recording studio Nov. 13 - at age 35 -- sent shock waves through the hip-hop community, died accidentally of the combined effects of cocaine and a prescription painkiller, ruled the medical examiner. The Super Freaky Rick James, 56, who had dealt with drug addictions in the past, died of a heart attack in August. The actor best known as Murphy Brown's house painter, Robert Pastorelli, died at age 49 of drug-related causes in the same house of his girlfriend's mysterious shooting death five years prior. Spalding Gray's death was ruled a suicide by drowning. The 62-year-old actor/writer had disappeared on January 10, and likely died the same day, though his body wasn't found for nearly two months.

Fans of "The First Wives Club" were shocked when finding out that its author, Olivia Goldsmith, 54, had died of a heart attack during cosmetic surgery. Another writer, Arthur Hailey, best known for "Airport," died of a stroke at age 84 in November.

In 2004 we saw the loss of Tony Randall, 84, who became a first-time father when he was 77. The actor was best known as Felix on the TV series "The Odd Couple."

The 76-year-old Alan King, who had been a staple of the comedy scene since the 50s, died in May of lung cancer. He was the host of the legendary New York Friars Club's celebrity roasts.

Jack Paar, who is often credited with inventing the present-day late-night talk show when he took over as host of "The Tonight Show" in 1957 - died at age 85 in January. Critics often maintained that no talk-show host ever commanded the intelligence, sophistication and edge that Paar brought to an interview. He quit the show in 1962 and was succeeded by Johnny Carson.

Legendary composer Jerry Goldsmith, whose long career included some of the most famous themes of the last 50 years, died in his sleep at age 75 after a long battle with cancer. He had been nominated for 17 Academy Awards, winning his sole Oscar for "The Omen." Also, musician Jan Berry, 62, of "Jan & Dean" died in March of complications from a seizure.

In October, former ABC newsman Pierre Salinger, 79, died of a heart attack in France. He had also been press secretary to John F. Kennedy and Lyndon Johnson and briefly served as a U.S. senator from California.

America lost a great soap star, Anna Lee, at the age of 90. She starred as Lila Quartermaine on "General Hospital" and "Port Charles." Earlier in her career, she had been paralyzed from the waist down in a car accident and acted in a wheelchair for more than two decades. She died of pneumonia in May - just a week before she was to have received a daytime Emmy award for "lifetime achievement."

We also said farewell to: Bob Keeshan, 76, (A.K.A Captain Kangaroo); "The Real World" co-creator Mary-Ellis Bunim, 57; "Sounder's" Paul Winfield, 62; "Diary of a Mad Housewife's" Carrie Snodgress, 57; MTV's first VJ, J. J. Jackson, 62; "Masterpiece Theatre's" Alistair Cooke, 95; '40's and '50's dancer/actress Ann Miller, 81; "Dallas" actor Howard Keel, 85; filmmaker Russ Meyer, 82; cosmetic queen Estee Lauder, 96; legendary character actor Sir Peter Ustinov, 82; Tony winner John Randolph, 88; "The Jackie Gleason Show" choreographer June Taylor, 86; "Hawaii Five-O" actor, Zulu, 66; singer/actor Carl Anderson, 58; "Walker, Texas Ranger's" Noble Willingham, 73; filmmaker Brian Gibson, 59.

And Mercedes McCambridge, the actress known for voicing the demon in "The Exorcist" and winning a Best Supporting Actress Oscar for "All the King's Men," died in March at age 85.

2004 Top Ten Scandals From YAHOO!

Yahoo presents the top scandals of 2004, and you can see the list below, and if you click here > list. The Kobe Bryant Case is number ten and the Janet Jackson "boob" problem is number one. In my opinion, the Martha Stewart Case should be ranked a bit lower than number three.

What say you? (Oh, if you want to make a comment, just press the "comment" link below.)

The List


10) KOBE CASE CLOSED - Arrested and charged with rape in July of 2003 for allegedly forcing himself on a 19-year-old hotel clerk while in Colorado, L.A. Lakers star KOBE BRYANT's preliminary hearings became a media circus. If convicted of one count of sexual assault, he could have faced a maximum sentence of life in prison and a fine of up to $750,000. But the charges against Kobe were dropped in September when the accuser told the prosecution she would no longer participate in the case. Speculation as to why included the fact that her name had been released to the public and a ruling that her sexual behavior before and after the incident could be admissible in court. In response to the dismissal, Kobe issued a statement apologizing to the victim, yet maintained his innocence: "Although I truly believe this encounter between us was consensual, I recognize now that she did not and does not view this incident the same way I did. After months of reviewing discovery, listening to her attorney, and even her testimony in person, I now understand how she feels that she did not consent to this encounter." A civil suit against Bryant is still pending, and the young woman is expected to testify in that case.

9) NICKY HILTON'S VEGAS WEDDING - A party weekend in Vegas in August turned to marriage for PARIS' li'l sis, NICKY, now 21, when she married old flame TODD ANDREW MEISTER, 33, at a Vegas wedding chapel. The Hilton sisters were in town for a Stuff magazine party at the Palms Casino Resort where they were joined by Todd and Paris' "Simple Life" co-star, NICOLE RICHIE, for dinner late Saturday night. Dinner led to an after-party at the Palms' Little Buddha and, then, apparently to matrimony, as Paris and pal BIJOU PHILLIPS reportedly joined the couple at the impromptu, early morning ceremony just a few hours later. The ET Insider was in the limo, inside their hotel room and at Caesars Palace just hours before the wedding with Nicky, Paris, Bijou, TARA REID, KIMBERLY STEWART and "That 70's Show"'s DANNY MASTERSON. We caught up with the newlyweds after they flew back to L.A. on Sunday, and, although tired from the journey, they looked very much in love. "We are very, very happy," they commented. Later, KATHY and RICK HILTON told ET they were delighted with the marriage, announcing, "Todd exudes a great warmth and personality. He is a longtime friend of the family and is loved by all of us. He is a Harvard graduate and a successful businessman and Kathy and I welcome him to our family. Kathy would have loved to plan a formal wedding, yet Nicky opted for a small quiet ceremony." Alas, three months later, the couple reportedly had the marriage annulled and remain on good terms.

8) J.LO'S JUNE WEDDING - The runaway bride gave everyone the slip with a surprise wedding to old flame/freshly divorced Latin crooner MARC ANTHONY in June. About 40 guests watched as the couple exchanged vows under a flower-covered bridal arch in Jennifer's Beverly Hills backyard. In full wedding regalia, including a full-length, champagne VERA WANG gown and white umbrella, Jennifer walked down a rose-petal-strewn aisle, sparkling from head to toe with diamonds in her hair, diamond earrings, a necklace and bracelet, while Anthony sported diamond cufflinks. When contacted by ET, Lopez's spokesperson would neither confirm nor deny that the couple had indeed tied the knot. After the wedding, the happy pair skipped an immediate honeymoon as Jennifer was working on her latest film, 'Monster-in-Law,' and Anthony was busy promoting his new album. This was the third wedding for Ms. Lopez, who was famously engaged to BEN AFFLECK last year before abruptly calling off those planned nuptials. She and Marc first dated in 1999 and rumors that they were back together began again when the twosome were spotted dining together after the Golden Globe® Awards, just five days after her very public split from Ben -- and only weeks after Anthony's ex wife DAYANARA TORRES filed for divorce from their 3-1/2-year marriage.

7) JERI RYAN'S SEX SCANDAL - Embarrassing and lurid details from "Star Trek: Voyager" star JERI RYAN's split with Illinois Republican and U.S. Senate candidate JACK RYAN became public in June. In court papers originally filed in 1999, Jeri made allegations that she was pressured by her ex-husband to engage in intimate acts with him at "sex clubs" while others watched, including a New York nightspot described as a "bizarre club with cages, whips and other apparatus hanging from the ceiling." After the news broke, Jeri's ex-husband held a press conference promising to stay in the Senate race and addressed the allegations, saying, "I really try to live my life to the highest standards," he said. "But I know, like all of us, I fail sometimes." Still, the scandal took its toll, and Ryan dropped his bid for an Illinois U.S. senate seat, stating that instead of debating the issues, it was "a brutal, scorched-earth campaign." Jeri and Jack wed in 1991 and were married for eight years. Just before the papers went public, the "Voyager" actress made no mention of the five-year-old claims and said of her former husband, "Jack is a good man, a loving father, and he shares a strong bond with our son. I wish him all the best."

6) BILL O'REILLY SEX SCANDAL - The man usually associated with firing tough questions at others, FOX News Channel's BILL O'REILLY came under fire himself this fall. The 55-year-old host of "The O'Reilly Factor" was sued for sexual harassment by 33-year-old ANDREA MACKRIS, a producer for the show. Mackris claimed that O'Reilly repeatedly tried to engage her in inappropriate conversation, "forced" her to have phone sex and generally created a "virulently hostile work environment." The suit followed one filed against her by O'Reilly, who claimed she tried to extort $60 million from him by threatening to go public with the allegations. But before the case could truly catch fire, the opponents agreed to settle and drop their high-profile lawsuits against each other. A statement released by O'Reilly's attorney said, "The Parties regret that this matter has caused tremendous pain, and they have agreed to settle. All cases and claims have been withdrawn and all Parties have agreed that there was no wrongdoing whatsoever by Mr. O'Reilly, Ms. Mackris or Ms. Mackris' counsel, Benedict P. Morelli & Associates ... Out of respect for their families and privacy, all Parties and their representatives have agreed that all information relating to the cases shall remain confidential."

5) BRITNEY'S SURPRISE WEDDING - On the weekend of September 18, ET broke the news that BRITNEY SPEARS tied the knot with her dancer fiancĂ© KEVIN FEDERLINE in a surprise ceremony in Studio City, CA. While the media's attention was on the following day's Emmy® Awards, the newly brunette bride wore a white, strapless MONIQUE LHUILLIER dress and Kevin donned a black tuxedo and fedora as the two exchanged vows during a non-denominational ceremony. Twenty to 30 guests, including Britney's mother and sister, were on-hand for the event, which took place around midnight in a white tent erected in the backyard of a private home. All attendants were shuttled to the house from a hotel about 20 miles away, and were required to sign confidentiality agreements. Afterwards, everyone dined on a feast of chicken fingers, ribs and Waldorf salad while music played from a boom box. The smiling couple later had to clear up rumors about the legitimacy of their marriage, telling People magazine that they had signed their marriage license, but just simply had not filed the paperwork before the wedding. Britney told People, "I know we're not completely legal until we file the license, which we'll do next week, but in a real sense, a spiritual sense, we're married."

4) MARY-KATE ENTERS TREATMENT - In June, "Full House" twin and merchandising entrepreneur MARY-KATE OLSEN checked into a treatment center just shy of her 18th birthday to "seek professional help for a health related issue." A few months before, ET reported there were worries over Mary-Kate's alarmingly low weight. Mary-Kate's shrinking frame became a concern for observers when she and sister ASHLEY went public to promote their new movie, 'New York Minute,' receive a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame and graduate high school. The Olsens have acknowledged that being a teen fashion icon is a stressful role to maintain, especially with millions of young girls looking up to them, and many believe the pressure to be perfect under the spotlight became too much of a burden for Mary-Kate. Despite reports of a family intervention, a spokesperson said the star voluntarily checked herself in for treatment as a proactive way of dealing with the issue before her freshman year with her sister at New York University. Six weeks later, Mary-Kate was discharged and her spokesperson said, "She is feeling very well and is looking forward to rejoining her family and friends and preparing for her freshman year at New York University." Mary-Kate is now reportedly receiving follow-up counseling and reportedly has an "eating coach."

3) MARTHA GOES TO JAIL - After she was found guilty in March on charges stemming from her controversial 2001 sale of ImClone stock, domestic diva MARTHA STEWART decided to start her sentence early, rather than wait for her appeal. On October 8, as the world watched, Martha turned herself in to the Alderson, WV, federal prison, a.k.a. "Camp Cupcake," to begin five months of prison time for her obstruction of justice conviction. Just like all new inmates, she was reportedly photographed, fingerprinted, strip-searched and placed in a cottage with 60 other women who must share two showers and two sinks. Before turning herself in, Martha sent a message to her fans via her Web site, saying, "While I am away, my updates here will be less frequent, if not altogether impossible. But please know this change is only an unfortunate reflection of my current circumstances, and in no way diminishes my commitment to my life's work or to the friends, colleagues, customers and supporters who make it possible." When Martha's five months in prison are up in February, she will head back home to Connecticut for five months of house arrest.

2) MICHAEL JACKSON'S WOES - The self-proclaimed King of Pop cannot be sleeping well. Last year, he was the center of controversy several times, from the infamous "baby-dangling incident" to his life-shattering arrest on suspicion of child molestation, leading to formal charges: seven counts of lewd and lascivious acts with a child under the age of 14 and two counts of administering an intoxicating agent to a child to commit the alleged molestation. In January of this year, with his family unified behind him, Jackson pleaded "not guilty" to the charges filed by Santa Barbara County District Attorney TOM SNEDDON. The courthouse was mobbed by the media and fans alike who came to support Jackson in a "Caravan of Love." As the year progressed, Jackson battled a number of unrelated lawsuits, several claims of more sexual abuse and alleged, lurid details surrounding a 1993 investigation of child molestation which never resulted in charges. To top it off, Jackson erupted into a war of words with controversial rapper EMINEM, whose "Just Lose It" video parodies the pop star's foibles and features a scene with little boys bouncing around on his bed. Jackson is currently free on $3 million bail, with his trial set to begin in January.

1) "BOOBGATE" BOOKEND - JANET JACKSON's now infamous overexposure at January's Super Bowl caused a rippling wave of consequences for everyone involved -- and even some who had no part in the shocking halftime show incident. During the halftime show, a duet with JUSTIN TIMBERLAKE culminated in his ripping off the breastplate of her costume -- exposing her right mammary (and sun-ray nipple ornament) to the nation and giving birth to the term "wardrobe malfunction." Janet later apologized in a videotaped statement saying: "My decision to change the Super Bowl performance was actually made after the final rehearsal. MTV, CBS and the NFL had no knowledge of this whatsoever. Unfortunately the whole thing went wrong in the end. I am sorry if I offended anyone, that was truly not my intention." But the networks felt serious repercussions, with the FCC coming down hard on "indecency in the media" and CBS airing the subsequent Grammy® Awards with a video delay. The ripple effect is still being felt, with HOWARD STERN announcing he's moving his syndicated radio show to the un-regulated Sirius Satellite Radio and with many network affiliates pre-empting the Veteran's Day airing of an un-cut version of 'Saving Private Ryan' on ABC.

In November, TARA REID made a red-carpet entrance she'd probably prefer to erase, bringing back memories of Janet's debacle. The actress was posing proudly on the red carpet at SEAN "P. DIDDY" COMBS's 35th birthday bash in New York when her gown strap slipped off her left shoulder, exposing her breast for the flash bulbs. Although she had clearly been struggling with the strap before the slip, she appeared shocked when her publicist covered her up and pointed out that she was fully exposed for several excruciating seconds. Reid pleaded with members of the press not to publicize the photo, to no avail. Although the slip-up was not televised to the nation -- and the FCC did not get involved -- Tara's exposure provided a convenient bookend to Janet's January "wardrobe malfunction."

BCS Still Needs To Be Fixed

I really don't care if my school Cal (Master of City Planning grad) lost to Texas Tech , the The Bowl Championship System (BCS) still needs to be fixed.

Fox bought the BCS contract through 2007. After that, the format should be changed.

Check out an alternative proposal I present at the SBS website. Just go to http://www.bcsproblem.com

Let me know what you think.

2004 News Review By CNN

CNN has a review of the top news stories of 2004. Surprisingly, the writer didn't include the Tsunami disaster. Here's the list, and the link (http://www.cnsnews.com/ViewNation.asp?Page=\Nation\archive\200412\NAT20041231a.html )

Read it and let me know what you think.

The List

September 9, 2004: CBS Air Guard Documents Suspected Might Be Fake
(CNSNews.com) - In a report that cut across media, politics and culture, this exclusive Cybercast News Service analysis of the 32-year-old documents used by the CBS News program '60 Minutes' to disparage President Bush's service in the Texas Air National Guard was the article that began the unraveling of one of the year's most explosive stories with ramifications that are still reverberating. Full Story

October 4, 2004: Saddam's WMD and Terror Ties Exposed (CNSNews.com) - Iraq's weapons of mass destruction and ties to terrorism were the motivating factors in the decision to make war against Saddam Hussein. The absence of direct evidence of this fueled anti-war and anti-US sentiment worldwide, until Cybercast News Service obtained, authenticated and published confiscated Iraqi documents showing efforts by Saddam Hussein's regime to work with al Qaeda to target Americans and the presence of mustard gas and anthrax in Iraq.~~ Full Story

May 11, 2004: Decapitation As Propaganda
(CNSNews.com) - Nick Berg was in Iraq to help rebuild the country, but the 26-year-old contractor from Philadelphia ended up butchered on-camera by terrorists aligned with Osama bin Laden disciple Abu Musab al-Zarqawi. This beheading of a bound, un-armed civilian marked a grisly twist on the propaganda front in the war in Iraq.~~ Full commentary

Election '04-November 3, 2004: The Election Night Roller Coaster
Boston (CNSNews.com) - Exit poll data on November 2 suggested John Kerry was coasting to victory, but as President George Bush edged closer to 270 electoral votes, Kerry's supporters openly wept and consoled each other in an Election Night celebration that changed from jubilation to bitterness in a matter of hours.~~ Full Story

Election '04-March 18, 2004: Kerry's Anti-War Past Resurfaces Amid Controversy
(CNSNews.com) - A Vietnam War historian and supporter of Democratic presidential candidate John Kerry told Cybercast News Service that Kerry lied about key events related to his anti-war activities in 1971, and redacted FBI files obtained by Cybercast News Service backed-up the historian's position.~~ Full Story

Election '04-March 24, 2004: Kerry Still Backpedaling on 1971 Anti-War Meetings (CNSNews.com) - Five days after Cybercast News Service reported that Democrat John Kerry had attended a 1971 anti-war meeting at which the possible assassination of U.S. senators was discussed, the presidential hopeful was still backpedaling on statements regarding his whereabouts during that meeting.~~ Full Story

Election '04-April 22, 2004: Kerry's Own Words Haunt Early Campaign
(CNSNews.com) - While John Kerry's past involvement in Vietnam Veterans Against the War was certainly no secret, some of his past comments about the Vietnam War were long forgotten, including his November 1971 remarks to a Bethany College student newspaper. Forgotten, that is, until Cybercast News Service obtained a copy of the original article.~~ Full Story

Election '04-May 3, 2004: Enter the Swift Boat Vets
(CNSNews.com) - Even before Swift Boat Veterans for Truth formally announced the formation of their organization, Cybercast News Service was there, reporting on the early goings-on of the group that had what pundits came to call the biggest independent impact on the 2004 election.~~ Full Story

Election '04-May 4, 2004: Former Navy Commanders Call Kerry 'Loose Cannon' in Vietnam Washington (CNSNews.com) - John Kerry made his Vietnam-era Navy service the centerpiece of his presidential campaign, prompting a group of veterans to characterize him as a 'loose cannon' and demand that Kerry authorize the release of his full military record, something the candidate has to this day refused to to.~~ Full Story

Election '04-September 16, 2004: Navy Contradicts Kerry on Military Records (CNSNews.com) - Republicans managed to tag John Kerry as a flip-flopper during the presidential campaign, and those efforts were reinforced by Kerry when the Navy contradicted his claims of having released all of his military records.~~ Full Story

Election '04-June 4, 2004: FBI Files Show Kerry Met With Communists More Than Once (CNSNews.com) - John Kerry's campaign inconsistencies weren't confined to his Navy service or anti-war activities, particularly when FBI files revealed that Kerry attended more than one meeting with North Vietnamese communists in Paris in the early 1970s after having admitted to only a single meeting.~~ Full Story

Election '04-June 28, 2004: Politics by the Numbers
(CNSNews.com) - A new political number was ushered in during 2004 - 527, the generic name assigned to those groups that spent tens of millions of dollars on political ads, most of them attacking President Bush in ways previously unseen on television.~~ Full Story

Election '04-September 2, 2004: Feminists Compare Bush's 2000 Election to 'Savage Rape'
New York (CNSNews.com) - The Republican Convention provided an unfettered opportunity for liberals to attack President Bush, with feminist poet Molly Birnbaum going so far as to tell a crowd in New York's Central Park, "Imagine a way to erase that night four years ago when (President Bush) savagely raped every pandemic woman over and over with each vote (he) got, a thrust with each state (he) stole."~~ Full Story

Election '04-October 26, 2004: Bush Blamed for Florida Hurricanes
(CNSNews.com) - During the final days of the campaign, liberals became so desperate they bought billboards in Florida accusing President Bush of being responsible for the spate of hurricanes to hit the state in 2004.~~ Full Story

Election '04-June 1, 2004: When Bush-Bashers Collide (CNSNews.com) - Left-wing filmmaker Michael Moore and former White House counter-terrorism czar Richard Clarke both did their part to disparage and distort the president's record on terrorism and the war against Saddam Hussein. But this Cybercast News Service report on the contradictions in both Moore's and Clarke's versions of the truth was one of the most read articles of the entire year.~~ Full Story

Election '04-June 28, 2004: Michael Moore Backspins Key Premise of Anti-Bush Film
Boston (CNSNews.com) - It didn't take long for the Cybercast News Service report on the factual discrepancies in Michael Moore's filmmaking to gain a little traction - with Moore himself.~~ Full Story

January 14, 2004: Thousands of Pilots Won't Fly Armed, Blame TSA (CNSNews.com) - Almost two and a half years after the 9/11 attacks on the United States, the question of defense firearms in the cockpits of commercial jetliners was subject to both scrutiny and controversy, as demonstrated by this exclusive Cybercast News Service report on charges the federal agency responsible for providing security for US airlines was simply going through motions and intentionally sabotaging a congressionally-mandated program to train and certify pilots who volunteer to carry guns in the cockpit.~~ Full Story

January 28, 2004: Stossel Rips Network for Hostility to Conservatives
Washington (CNSNews.com) - Liberal media bias didn't abate in 2004, but it was brought into somewhat sharper relief when ABC News correspondent John Stossel observed that most establishment journalists, including those at his network, are leftists who view conservatives as "selfish and cruel" for embracing capitalism.~~ Full Story

February 2, 2004: Feds Investigate Breast-Baring Super Bowl Show (CNSNews.com) - We're not sure which was weirder - pop singer Janet Jackson's now-infamous 'wardrobe malfunction' during the Super Bowl or the decision to initiate a federal investigation into how fellow performer Justin Timberlake managed to expose Jackson's breast on live television.~~ Full Story

February 26, 2004: Howard Stern Dumped by Clear Channel
(CNSNews.com) - Shock jock Howard Stern was not a beneficiary of the crack-down on broadcast indecency triggered by the Janet Jackson Super Bowl incident. Before the end of the month, Stern's show was axed by radio leviathan Clear Channel after spending nearly an hour during one program talking about "explicit sexual activities between Rick Solomon and Paris Hilton."~~ Full Story

May 27, 2004: Liberals Want Limbaugh Booted Off Military Radio (CNSNews.com) - Howard Stern wasn't the only radio personality under fire in 2004. A liberal group that monitors media called on Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld to remove radio talk show host Rush Limbaugh from the American Forces Radio and Television Services, claiming his hour-long broadcast to almost one million U.S. troops in more than 175 countries was "abhorrent," and arguing that Rumsfeld needed to "protect our troops from these reckless and dangerous messages."~~ Full Story

April 7, 2004: Kennedy Dodges Questions on 'Memogate' Probe Capitol Hill (CNSNews.com) - President Bush faced Senate filibusters on a number of his judicial nominees in 2004 and will likely face similar hurdles in 2006. But when it was learned there may have been an orchestrated plan by Democrats to delay review of the president's nominees - and that a pair of former Ted Kennedy aides were under scrutiny in the 'Memogate' investigation - the senior senator from Massachusetts appeared flummoxed when asked about it by Cybercast News Service .~~ Full Story

June 30, 2004: Protestors Call Jesse Jackson 'Worst Nightmare' for Black Community Chicago (CNSNews.com) - While Jesse Jackson's 33rd annual Rainbow/PUSH Coalition Conference was going on in Chicago, African-American religious and community leaders gathered outside the conference to protest Jackson for being the black community's "worst nightmare," calling him "an immoral person," with a "history of being on the wrong side of history."~~ Full Story

July 1, 2004: Jackson Claims 'Negroes Can Drive Cars Fast' Chicago (CNSNews.com) - One day after being denounced as the Black community's "worst nightmare," Cybercast News Service published this exclusive report on how Jesse Jackson took to the podium of his Rainbow/PUSH conference and said there ought to be more African-American NASCAR drivers because "negroes can drive cars fast."~~ Full Story

July 2, 2004: Bill Cosby Says Stop Blaming 'The White Man' Chicago (CNSNews.com) - Comedian Bill Cosby injected himself into the race relations debate in a major way in 2004, pleading with blacks to stop blaming the "white man" for their problems.~~ Full Story

December 17, 2004: Oh, Kyoto? Never Mind
Buenos Aires, Argentina (CNSNews.com) - After relentless attacks on the United States for opposing the Kyoto Protocol, liberal environmental groups eventually conceded in 2004 that the international treaty would have no impact on what they believe to be the impending catastrophe of global warming. Problem is, they went all the way to Argentina to make the admission, which would have gone virtually unnoticed had it not been for Cybercast News Service .~~ Full Story

HAPPY NEW YEAR

NYE, was fun. I met a lot of people in San Francisco, played Poker for the first time, didn't "hook" up because I wasn't looking to get "hooked up." All in all, a good time. I'll probably write more on it later.