Monday, October 12, 2009

Sand sculpture celebrating Obama's 2009 Nobel Peace Prize

Jimmy Kimmel says he didn't joke about David Letterman

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As some of you may know I blogged that Jimmy Kimmel, the host of the talk show "Jimmy Kimmel Live on ABC" has been dating Molly McNearney, a co-head writer for the show for over a year.

Jimmy Kimmel

The Associated Press originally reported that, prior to the now widely spread news of his relationship in the wake of the David Letterman / Stephanie Birkitt sex scandal, Kimmel made a joke about Letterman on that matter.

Jimmy Kimmel says this isn't the case. In fact, he contacted SF Chronicle TV expert Tim Goodman via email - with whom he has a personal relationship - to explain that.  Then Goodman emailed me.

While research indicated conflicting reports, and finding a good show transcript is hard as heck to do, there was nothing to explain directly in a title that Kimmel himself said he didn't tell a joke about Letterman.

I can understand why Kimmel would take time to clear the air on the matter; it's good he did.  This blog post should clear the air for him.  It also means that Kimmel wasn't talking against Letterman as some other talk show hosts, with the exception of Craig Ferguson who works for Letterman, have done.

That's why Tim Goodman's "the man" when it comes to television in the Bay Area and Northern California! Follow him on Twitter at BastardMachine.

Healthy Manning & Giants Rout Raiders, Head To New Orleans 5-0

Healthy Manning & Giants Rout Raiders, Head To New Orleans 5-0
By Jon Wagner
Sr. Writer at Large Football Reporters Online
(photo: Steve Smith had another big day, while only catching 3 passes, one was his carer long of 43 yds. By Tomasso DeRosa
At a perfect 5-0, the New York Giants have begun 2009 on the right foot.

However, it was a certain right foot -- or more specifically, a right heel -- which concerned the Giants most on Sunday.

That is, the sore right heel of Giants’ star quarterback Eli Manning, who made his 83rd consecutive start.

As if following a script that Giants’ head coach Tom Coughlin couldn’t have written better himself, Manning tossed two touchdown passes while leading New York to touchdowns on each of its first four offensive possessions.

The fast start allowed Coughlin to pull and rest Manning for precautionary reasons before halftime, with the Giants very comfortably ahead of the woeful Oakland Raiders at The Meadowlands on Sunday.

Manning said, “It was just a… team domination from the start, and it gave us a big lead, and that’s what we wanted to do.”

Big Blue wasted no time in sending a clear message to the rest of the National Football League that with their offensive leader of sound health, the Giants intend to remain a legitimate Super Bowl contender this season.

On the first play from scrimmage in the Giants’ 44-7 rout of Oakland, Manning took a normal drop from under center, made a routine plant on the right heel that he injured in the Giants’ win in Kansas City last week, and off a play-action fake, completed a solid pass to tight end Darcy Johnson for a 9-yard gain.

As Johnson was tackled, 79,012 fans in attendance plus millions of other Giants’ fans watching on television or listening on the radio, breathed a collective sigh of relief.

With Manning’s plantar fasciitis question apparently answered on the game’s initial play, the Giants used more than half of the first quarter during a 14-play, 77-yard game-opening drive which took 8:03, to grab a 7-0 lead. Manning completed four passes to four different receivers in five attempts, for 36 yards on the drive, immediately quelling any doubts about the condition of his heel.

Manning later confirmed that he felt fine, saying “It felt great during the game, it felt like I could do everything, run the offense… I could do everything we had to do.”

New York capped the possession with a 4th-and-1 touchdown plunge by running back Ahmad Bradshaw, who led the Giants’ rushing attack with a game-high 110 yards on just 11 carries. Coughlin evaluated Bradshaw’s performance with high praise, saying, “He’s run the ball very tough, very physical, he makes a lot of people miss. He had a very, very good game.”

For further convincing, after an Oakland three-and-out, Manning began the Giants’ next possession placing the ball over the shoulder of Raiders’ cornerback, seven-year pro Chris Johnson, hitting wide receiver Steve Smith, who led all receivers with 70 yards on three catches, for a 43-yard pass to the Oakland 36 yard-line. Bradshaw then finished the three-play, 79-yard drive, which took only 1:37, with a rush of 17 yards, before going untouched on a 19-yard touchdown run, putting the Giants up 14-0 with 3:15 left in the first quarter.

After another Raider three-and-out, Bradshaw turned a Manning screen pass on third-and-24 into a 55-yard romp to the Oakland 30 yard-line on the final play of the opening quarter, a period in which the New York outgained Oakland 219-18 while controlling the ball for 11:07 to the Raiders’ 3:53.

On the next play, Manning threw a nice 30-yard touchdown pass to wide receiver Mario Manningham in the far right corner of the end zone, giving the Giants a 21-0 lead just seven seconds into the second quarter.

Only three plays later, the Giants got the ball back on the first of three Oakland fumbles, all by quarterback Jamarcus Russell, who was just 8 of 13 for 100 yards. Cornerback Terrell Thomas sacked Russell, the first of six New York sacks, forcing the ball loose. Defensive end Justin Tuck recovered at the Raiders’ 13 yard-line. After two rushes, Manning threw a 3rd-and-6, nine-yard bullet in the end zone to wide receiver Hakeem Nicks (4 receptions, 49 yards) for the rookie’s second career touchdown (Nicks made his first career touchdown reception last week). The Giants led 28-0 with 12:37 remaining in the half, and the rout was on.

The Raiders’ only points came on only their fourth touchdown of the season -- as many touchdowns as the Giants had in Sunday’s game alone, to that point –- after Sinorice Moss fumbled a punt which Oakland recovered at the New York 15 yard-line. Running back Michael Bush cut the Giants’ lead to 28-7 on a 5-yard touchdown run with 2:19 to go in the first half after it appeared that the Raiders got a break when a Giants’ fumble recovery was negated on a questionable forward progress ruling on the previous play.

At that point, having completed 8 of his 10 passes for 173 yards (49 more than the total yards Oakland managed for the game), Manning was lifted for the remainder of the day in favor of backup David Carr.

Russell’s second fumble set up a Lawrence Tynes 25-yard field goal with two seconds left in the half, as the Giants took a 31-7 lead into the break.

On the Giants’ opening possession of the third quarter, Carr capped a six-play, 53 yard drive with a 12-yard run into the near left corner of the end zone, for a 38-7 Giants’ advantage with 10:01 left in the third quarter.

Tynes added a 33-yard field goal with 6:52 left in the third, and closed the scoring with 11:38 remaining in the game on a 37-yard kick.

The Giants’ dominance of the Raiders was of an equal opportunity variety for both the running and passing games. New York, which outgained Oakland 483-124 yards overall, held advantages of 220-64 on the ground and 263-64 through the air.

The win marks the third time the Giants have started a season 5-0. The previous times, they lost in the 1941 NFL championship game, and the 1990 Giants won Super Bowl XXV.

In a showdown of arguably the top two teams in the NFL right now, the Giants, who have beaten up on a soft schedule of Tampa Bay (0-5), Kansas City (0-5) and Oakland (1-4) over the past three weeks, will travel to New Orleans to face the 4-0 Saints on Sunday, at 1:00pm EST.

Though Sunday’s game will foremost be a big regular season matchup with possible big playoff seeding implications, it will also be an emotional homecoming for Manning, who was born in New Orleans. For the first time ever, Manning will be playing in The Superdome, where his father, Archie Manning, a former two-time pro-bowl selection who still makes his home in New Orleans, played for the Saints from 1971-1982.

Tom Hayes: Will the next wars be fought over water?

WaterOver two billion people do not have adequate water to address basic sanitation needs (according to the World Health Organization/UNICEF report, “Meeting the MDG drinking water and sanitation target: the urban and rural challenge of the decade,” Global Water Supply and Sanitation Assessment, [World Health Organization and United Nations Children’s Fund, 2006].)

    Here are three questions:
  1. Do you know how much water it takes to put a pound of beef on the table?
  2. Is there much difference in the water content between a cup of coffee and/or a cup of tea?
  3. How many people don't have access to clean drinking water?
answers below

In the United States and elsewhere a number of local governments now rely on "privatized" water systems.  The Institute for Agriculture and Trade Policy [IATP] has produced a map and a report on the impact of water privatization in the U.S.  Links to those documents and other related materials can be found at "Helping Local Communities Thrive" at the henoticworld blog.

Water "Remunicipalization"

Nonetheless, some communities have insisted on returning water and sewage treatment services to public management -- "remunicipalization" -- forcing water multinationals to pull services out of communities world-wide. Do you know how many communities in your state are buying their water from for-profit multi-national corporations?  Is it the end of water as we know it? I know this: it's enough to make Lewis Black curse. (The following clip contains strong language that may not be appropriate for some readers.)

The answers:

  1. It requires 1500 gallons to raise and deliver a pound of beef to your kitchen (over six times more than a pound of chicken!)
  2. It takes roughly 4 times as much water to make a cup of coffee compared to a cup of tea.
  3. Over 1 billion people do NOT have access to clean drinking water.

Columbus Day in America - I'm so confused!

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Today's Columbus Day and for that I'm, well, kinda pissed off because my bank's closed by state government offices are open and I need to go to both. So, considering that I work seven days a week the idea that this is a holiday's almost meaningless but even more so because the State of California doesn't see it as a day of relaxation but the Feds do!

I remember when I was little we learned "Columbus sailed the ocean blue in 1492" and had to say that again and again and again. But no one told me there were no black folks working as crew on the Nina, the Pinta, and the Santa Maria (see, I had to memorize that too).

If you asked me as a small boy was anyone that looked like me sailing with Columbus, I'd have said "yes" because we were learning about him. That's how it goes when you're a kid: you think the subject matter has something to do with you in some way and that, in this case, there's no way Columbus would reject me.

Oh, how wrong I learned I was latter in life.

Discovering that Christopher Columbus was just another racist butthole who's first idea would be to enslave me was jarring. The first awakening to the fact that nothing is as it seemed to me as a boy. It also really caused me to take a second look at how we as a people seem to denounce critical thinking, but far more so then than now.

Today, we have blogs and vlogs!

The reality is Columbus Day is a celebration of the discovery of the new world for Italian Americans, and since I'm one step from joining Oakland's Columbo Club, I will certainly celebrate that, just as these folks are having a good time in New York City.

But Columbus Day also a time when all of us should take moment to reflect on how wonderfully diverse America has become and how we take steps to insure the development of a more perfect union.

Academy Awards news - eight films for Documentary Short Subject

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The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences reports that eight films have been selected to compete for the award of "Documentary Short Subject" at the 82nd Annual Academy Awards.

The films, selected by the Academy’s Documentary Branch which viewed this year’s 37 eligible entries, are listed below in alphabetical order by title, with their production company:

"China’s Unnatural Disaster: The Tears of Sichuan Province," Downtown Community Television Center, Inc.
"The Last Campaign of Governor Booth Gardner," Just Media
"The Last Truck: Closing of a GM Plant," Community Media Productions
"Lt. Watada," Chanlim Films
"Music by Prudence," iThemba Productions, Inc.
"Rabbit a la Berlin," MS Films
"Tell Them Anything You Want: A Portrait of Maurice Sendak," Outside Productions
"Woman Rebel," Women Rebel Films

From this group, three to five will earn Oscar nominations. The 82nd Academy Awards nominations will be announced on Tuesday, February 2, 2010, at 5:30 a.m. PT in the Academy’s Samuel Goldwyn Theater.

As to the early favorites, it's hard not to think it's got to be "The Last Truck: Closing of a GM Plant", given the economic times, and "Tell Them Anything You Want: A Portrait of Maurice Sendak" which is about the creator of the popular "Where the Wild Things Are."

Stay tuned.

Blogger says NY Times uses misleading photo to blame Chevron in Ecuador case

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Two bloggers, Carter Wood of and Jeff Poor of Business & Media Institute are pointing a finger at the New York Times for using a photo and a story that seems to blame Chevron for environmental damage from oil production in Ecuador. Chevron has not operated in Ecuador since 1992. It turned over its production to the state-run company Petroecuador.

A murky photo to say the least

Chevron has been fighting Ecuador - who would get 90 percent of the estimated $27 billion in the lawsuit if Chevron lost - in this case. The photo was used in a NY Times story called "Ecuador Oil Pollution Case Only Grows Murkier."

The problem with the photo, Wood and others claim, is that the photo applies to Petroecuador. But I will go a step beyond that. There have been over 100 oil spills in the Ecuador Amazon region which includes the town of Lago Agrio since 1992, so a combination of firms including Petroecuador are to blame, but not of them American.

Ecuador kicked Occidental Petroleum out of the country in 2007 and took over Chevron production in 1992. So the finger points to the state-run oil company.

Wood explains just who's really behind the lawsuit from his point of view:

The lawsuit is being financed by the Philadelphia law firm of Kohn, Swift and Graf, directed by New York trial lawyer Steven Donziger, and marketed by the Amazon Defense Coalition, which would receive the money from any settlement. And the legal/activist lawsuit is indeed a shakedown intended to force a settlement from Chevron for pollution supposedly left by Texaco, which Chevron purchased in 2001. Texaco operated in Ecuador as Texpet in a joint exploration and production venture with the government-owned oil company, Petroecuador, up until 1992. (See this Texaco history, “Chevron in Ecuador.”)

1992. 1992. 1992. 1992. We stress the year because any oil now appearing as liquid in Ecuador is the responsibility of Petroecuador. First, TexPet remediated all the sites assigned to it for clean-up by the government of Ecuador, which released the company from future claims. Second, oil doesn’t stay liquid on the surface for 17 years!

I will go a step further because someone must be paying Kohn, Swift and Graf for that law firm to be able to pay Donziger, and the Amazon Defense Coalition, and Amazon Watch. Remember law firms do not have to disclose their clients.

Who would be interested in arranging a deal to keep this money flow going from law firm to lawyer to anti-American-oil-company activist to sue an American company?

Well, think about it. While Amazon Watch and the Amazon Defense Coalition may claim to represent the "indigenous people" of Ecuador, why haven't they filed a lawsuit against Ecuador? After all, to this day, 65 percent of the Amazon is zoned to allow oil production.

That's no accident.

Sarah Palin "Going Rogue" will keep her out of office

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Let me start by sharing that I like Governor Sarah Palin. Yes, I know she's no longer governor of the Great State of Alaska, but I was raised that you call a person who was a head of state by their former title, hence I will refer to her as Governor Sarah Palin. But it's the "former" tag that will keep her out of office for a good long time.

As Governor of Alaska, and the GOP Vice Presidential Candidate, I firmly believed that Governor Palin was a political star of the future but as an independent. I fully expected Palin to resign from the GOP in the middle of the presidential campaign because of all of her problems, but she stuck it out mainly by fighting with McCain Campaign elites.

Sarah Palin 

Gov. Palin was treated terribly by the staff of the McCain Campaign and it's really because she was not cut from the elitist cloth that Americans have come to expect from their elected officials.

Her new book "Going Rogue" is proof of what I've expected all along: that Governor Palin didn't want to learn how to be an effective politician at the highest levels of office. Like any member of the masses who obtains a little power and attention, it overcame the larger responsibility of governing and so she jettisoned being Alaska's leader.

By contrast, elite elected officials rise to power because they have an overarching sense of purpose that involves true social change focused more on helping people than a party or a group. The lynchpin idea of Ronald Reagan's assent to power was that government had become too large and inefficient at a time that America didn't need goverment spending to supercharge the economy.

Reagan tapped into an idea that Americans were overtaxed and bullied. He caught that political lightening in a bottle and used it to form a conservative revolution that lasted 25 years. But over that time the offshoring of industry weakened America's economy and now we're in a position where without government spending the country's financial system would have collapsed.

Exactly the wrong time to call for "smaller government." No elite is asked for this. No Republican or Democrat in power will tell you that we don't need the stimulus program, but will tell you that money's not getting our fast enough for their areas. That's an elite agreement on the policy direction for America to repair its economy.

It's exactly what Governor Palin's advocating against and why Alaskan's were angry with her for rejecting about 30 percent of stimulus money. At first Palin's "logic" was that Alaska's oil revenues would help make up the difference, but that over $2,000 per Alaskan check reduced to about half that in 2009.

Palin's other message in rejecting the money was that it was to go to "grow government" but that's where the Governor showed that she flunked Economics 101.

In Economics 101, we learn that Gross Domestic Product equals spending from Consumers, Investments, Government, and Exports, minus Imports. So what happens when the "C" or "Consumers" can't spend as much? We have a weaker economy and the "G" - that's Government - is used to make up the difference.

That's where we are today and why so many Alaskans thought Governor Palin lost her mind when she threw back part of the stimulus money. Again, her attempt to channel Ronald Reagan - who had the voice of elites because economic conditions in the 80s favored his message - failed because his ideas are wrong for today.

Elites understand this and are interested only in solving the economic problem. Ideologs like Palin certainly tap into a point of view held, frankly, by a group of the masses that are not elite, but that's the problem.

Gov. Palin has become a kind of repository for the hopes and fears of the undereducated mostly white American masses. And that is why Governor Palin will never be taken seriously as a political candidate in the near future, even by her own supporters. Elites form policy direction and have done so. Palin's message is outside of that of the power elite because it doesn't help solve the problems they're dealing with.

So what happens? She's caractured. Made fun of. Her family issues take center stage with former future son-in law Levi Johnston posting nude and talking to everyone with a TV camera. All of this, but no real talk of Palin as the serious GOP Presidential candidate. If Palin remained as Governor, and learned to play the elite game, she would have been a shoe-in.

Now, Palin's best chance to be take seriously is an an independent party candidate. But the minute that parade of Ralph Naders and Lyndon La Rouches comes out of the gate, her value will diminish yet again.

When the words "kook" and "fringe" are written in the same paragraph as your name, and that becomes a constant Saturday Night Live punch-line, your chances of really getting elected are toast.

"Going Rogue" has made Palin a millionaire, but it's also rendered her unelectable and out of touch with America's problems and the Power Elite. Governor Palin would be happy not to be associated with the last group, the Power Elite , but that is why she's failed as an elected official.