Sunday, January 31, 2010

Taylor Swift wins Album of The Year at the Grammy Awards

The 2009 fairy tale story that is Taylor Swift continues in 2010. While Beyonce took home more Grammys than any female artist in Grammy history, Taylor Swift got three awards, including Album of The Year for the awesome Fearless.

Last year is seemed Taylor Swift could do no wrong, as she scored every award, major and not, that was in sight, including Country Music Entertainer of the Year.

At the Grammys, Taylor may have expected her long ride to end; it didn't. That should explain her wonderfully enthusiastic reaction to her award. (The video from that is not yet up as of this writing.)

Taylor Swift also had another dream come true when she got to perform with her childhood favorite, Stevie Nicks. The two performed songs from Fleetwood Mac and You Belong with Me, from Swift's Fearless album.

Stay tuned.

Stephen Colbert's Opening Speech bombs at Grammy Awards

Stephen Colbert of The Colbert Report is hilarious and his show is an American Cultural treasure. But Stephen Colbert's opening speech at the 2010 Grammy Awards just plain bombed. Either Stephen Colbert was before the wrong audience or he had the wrong material.

Whatever the case, watching Colbert struggle through his almost four minutes of his common "let's play the out-of-touch conservative trying-to-be hip, but not" character hurt as much as having the needle of a flu shot driven into your arm.

It was that bad.

The only part that saved Stephen Colbert from being a totally awful opening was pulling his Apple iPad out of his suit. "Does this make me cool?" He asked Jay-Z, for whom he slightly annoyed with his "What up, Z?" question at the start of the disaster. The look on Jay-Z's face was enough to make Stephen Colbert's skin crawl, and that's where it went bad. Stephen Colbert never recovered from that.

Yes. The fact that Colbert was bombing was the "in joke" but it ventured too far into his bombing actually not being funny. Colbert's humor is perfect for events like the White House Correspondents Dinner, but it wasn't a good idea to have him give the opening speech at The Grammys. Watching someone who's so talented just major league bomb at The Grammys was not fun at all.

Grammy Awards 2010: Beyonce performance wows the crowd

Beyonce's militaristic, head-banging performance was the Twitter talk of the 2010 Grammy Awards. Escorted by a group of black armored suit wearing dancers, Beyonce looked more like a super hot drill sergeant than a pop singer.

The design of Beyonce's performance brought up memories of Michael Jackson in This Is It performing HisTory. And it was very much like Emimen's 2002 MTV Music Awards performance of Slim Shady when he walked into Radio City Music Hall with an army of white men all dressed and cut to look just like him.

One thing you have to say: Beyonce is hot. No question about it. She's also the hottest Grammy winner, taking home six Grammys, the most by a female performer in one year.

Grammy Awards 2010: Miley Cyrus greeting fans with her mom

YouTube user Michalyse was one of the fans at the Red Carpet for the 2010 Grammy Awards, when superstar singer Miley Cyrus walked in and came over to sign autographs.

Miley Cyrus, wearing a short black cocktail dress, was with her Mom Tish, and not her boyfriend Liam Hemsworth. (They're not engaged, but reportedly they are still dating. Still one wonders where he was.)

You can hear the crowd, which sounds like her demographic of females 13 to 17, screaming her name. It's a very good video uploaded rapidly.

Miley was a presenter at the 2010 Grammy Awards.

Lady Gaga and Elton John get Grammy's started

The rumored and much anticipated Grammy Awards pairing of Lady Gaga and Sir Elton John happened, and go the Grammys off to a rousing start. Lady Gaga and Elton John are both piano wizards, so it was fitting that they produced a piano duet of a number of songs from past and present:

Sir Elton John had his own signature glitter glasses and both had a kind of "soot' makeup. Elton can still jam on the piano. It was cool: young and old, past and present, both massively brilliant.

Other performances that will be featured are Beyonce Rocks doing Alanis Morissette's 'You Oughta Know', Pink literally "up in the air" for 'Glitter in The Air', Taylor Swift And Stevie Nicks singing the Fleetwood Mac song Rhiannon, and Taylor Swift's You Belong With Me from her album Fearless.

Stay tuned.

Zennie62 Widget beats SFGate Widget, approaching NY Times Widget

Last year, my friend Steve Kloft (who's a consultant to several top New Media companies), came to me by my surprise having already created a widget for me called "The Zennie Abraham Widget". The best thing is I never asked for it or even thought of it. It was Steve's creation; his idea to promote me.

That's a friend.

Steve was then and still is now a consultant to WidgetBox, which I later featured in a video on the firm here:

YouTube has President Obama's full State of The Union Address

Thanks to The White House and YouTube News and Politics Editor Steve Grove, YouTube has the full, high-definition video presentation of the State of The Union Address President Barack Obama gave on Wednesday, January 27, 2010. If you missed it, you can watch it right here on video without leaving this post:

The speech was one of the greatest President Obama has made in history because it came at a time when he, and America, needed a great speech. Obama needed it to reset the course of his young presidency. The United States needed it to establish a vision of a possible, full employment economic recovery.

The problem America has suffered under is that while America's economy has grown at a three percent rate in the 2009 third quarter and at 5.1 percent in the 2009 fourth quarter, unemployment is still at high levels.

This is so because before the last two quarters of growth, America's economy was on a steady path of recession for almost two years. Job production has not yet followed this growth and credit is still tight.

The result was a feeling that America was not on the right track. But President Obama's State of The Union Address changed that. According to a CBS poll, 83 percent of Americans supported the proposals President Obama described in his speech.

The full text of the speech is presented by the New York Times, here.

Stay tuned.

Saturday, January 30, 2010

Miss America 2010 Winner: Rush Limbaugh dancing to Lady Gaga

The official Miss America 2010 Winner was Miss Virginia Caressa Cameron. But the real Miss America 2010 Winner was Rush Limbaugh dancing to Lady Gaga, which is becoming a YouTube and hit.

Rush Limbaugh cuts ..something (photo by Alan Colmes)

First, Limbaugh, the Couch Potato Conservative blowhard and radio star - who made news first by being named a judge in the wake of his blast of a female caller "April", telling her to get the "tampon out of her ears" (as he was insulting Haiti after the earthquake) - was named judge of the pageant.

Second, Rush Limbaugh, discovering he was happy to be alive in the wake of his unfortunate chest pain incident on New Year's Eve morning, got off a what can only by called a "dry heave" of a dance to Lady Gaga's "Poker Face" during the pageant. It was a hilarious scene worthy of analysis on video:

All kidding aside, it's great to see Rush Limbaugh getting lose and enjoying life. No word on Lady Gaga's opinion of Limbaugh's dancing. But if you're interested in what a "dry heave" dance is, it was created by the writers of Seinfeld and done by Julia Louise-Dryfus as "Elaine" and seen here:

Stay tuned.

001 - Sfist Oscar blog post gets Zennie story wrong

UPDATE: Zennie62 video views according to TubeMogul.

If there's one thing I can't stand it's getting the story completely wrong about another person. Like "Lady Gaga is dead" or "Johnny Depp is dead" for example. The blog Sfist has taken things too far with respect to this blogger and I'm calling them on it. The Sfist making fun of my Oscar predicament was the last straw. They got it wrong.

Sfist never shows this side of Zennie

First, SFist refers to me, Zennie Abraham, as their "Old Pal, Zennie". Well, I'm asking them to stop it, or if I am their "Old Pal" then take the "Old Pal" to lunch. I've never met a single soul over at SFist and would not know any one of them if they walked past me, and they probably have.

I do not know Sfist Editor Brock Keeling by face or any of the other editors at SFist. I've invited Brock to lunch, but he's never taken me up on the invitation (until an email I got as I was writing this). Meanwhile, I feel that at times, and as I've added up, SFist is trying to selectively take some of the 800 blog posts I've written on alone and make me look like a black buffoon.

Yes, it started with my take on Star Trek and black men, which I stand by. At the time, there was a question of how minorities would be shown in a show that was known for its racial diversity and that I grew up with.

While the Star Trek movie was much better than I expected, and I'm a fan of it, the movie was still a wee bit off. What I want of the World is for people to think in terms of diversity first and that's a battle, along with advancing women in business and politics, that I will fight forever.

I try to help people by showing them, openly, how to make money with videos on YouTube. (How many times have I talked about the YouTube Partner Program?). I like helping people, as my friend Sarah Austin shows:

I wish Sfist would present that side of me.

SFist always of late uses a video that's of me doing something not serious (Zennie Abraham goes to White Castle) or if its a blog, about race (Harry Reid). SFist skipped over my blog posts on Haiti. They didn't even pay attention to my Haiti donation list. Matters about Oakland's draconian parking problem are not there at SFist. My interview with Craig Newmark was ignored by SFst. Why?

No. I'm not perfect. I'm a terrible proofreader. I'm at points undisciplined. I talk alot, to a lot of people. I hate tech event where there are a few folks of color. I hate it when people segregate themselves by race. I'm not an ideologue. I favor big business. And I'm perhaps too wonkish. But I am extremely creative. I do know how to write for the Internet. Bots love me and some people, too. It's the reason I'm the highest traffic generator at

I've generated over 1 million visitors at for three straight months including January, and discovered and developed a formula that allow me to cover both the national and World traffic generating content, then once I reach a point, mix in the local news with it.

I use the strategy for my own blog system and only Google's irrational protection of news websites over blogs keeps the same performance from being repeated by my blogs. If anyone were smart, they'd pay attention: does.

I'm trying to help advance media's future. We can disagree on a lot of things, but one thing we can all agree on is we need to fashion a course for news that's sustainable. News, like it or not, is now a commodity market. But the reason many news organizations fail is they treat it like its at their whim. The idea that "the editor knows best" is the reason many news efforts fail.

In the old days, blacks were shut out of newsrooms. Today, in this tech-led culture, any one can make a difference regardless of race, color, or sex. That's what I'm trying to prove and I love it when some get pissed off about it. Tech can overcome racism and prejudice, if one knows what they're doing. Why Sfist can't present that is beyond me.

But the bottom line is SFist got it wrong. AMPAS (the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences)invited me to apply for a press credential for The Oscars. Anyone would be excited if they were given such an opportunity. The Oscar invite was to me a gauge - a measure - of the impact of what I've done. I have the metrics; I should be at the Oscars. But if not, I just want to know what I need to do to change that for 2011. There's nothing wrong with that.

001 - Mike Silver's in The Audi Efficiency Challenge charity drive to Super Bowl XLIV

My long time friend Yahoo! Sports Mike Silver's in The Audi Efficiency Challenge charity drive to Super Bowl XLIV. This is the email he sent on the event:

Hey everyone... I'm fired up to participate in the Audi Efficiency Challenge, beginning tomorrow in Washington D.C. and ending at the site of Super Bowl XLIV. It is a race to see who can make the drive (in a state-of-the-art, clean-diesel SUV) with the most fuel efficiency, and I am trying to win $20,000 for a pair of Type 1 diabetes-related charities, the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation and the Diabetic Youth Foundation. As many of you know, my 10-year-old son has Type 1 and it is a daily and constant challenge for our family and for those of the up to three million Americans with the condition. I hope you will check out my new website and offer any support that you can. There are direct links for both charities. And please spread the word! I totally appreciate it.

Mike Silver

001 - Domino's new pizza taste is just awful - an update

On December 20th, this blogger conducted his own informal taste test of the new Domino's Pizza formula. It was terrible:

I read that Domino's Pizza had a new recipe that aimed to "put away the competition" as CBS News reported. So I decided to order a sausage, bell peppers, and cheese version from the store on Grand Avenue here in Oakland.

Aside from the fact that the delivery person didn't understand how to use the intercom system where I live, and had to come twice, the pizza itself was just plain awful. Now, it was cold but warming it just worsened things. I'm sorry. I read that Domino's spend two years developing this new taste; what the heck were they thinking?

A pizza is made by the crust, the sauce, and the cheese. The Domino cheese, whatever it is, is so bad I don't even want to finish my pizza. And the sauce is so bland, it might as well not be on the pizza.

I'm now eating the Cesar Salad I ordered to go with it. In fact, I'd have been happier with just the salad!

Since then, commenters and emailer have responded to explain how much they like the new taste or to say I didn't have the new version of the pizza. So to prove that wasn't the case, I uploaded the video above. You can see that the box claims the new pizza is the one with Domino's Pizza'a new taste. And that was the pizza I called terrible.

Then, I received this email:

Hi Sir,
With refrence to our telephonic conversation ragrading your last experience with us at Domino's pizza I sincerely appologize for the inconvinience you had .
Just to make it up your next order is on us .
Again we appologize for inconvinience you had.
Best regards

Apparently Domino's Pizza Headquarters saw the blog post, contacted the Oakland Grand Avenue store, and the manager contacted me. He offered to provide another pizza made to order by my instructions, and on Domino's Pizza.

Since then, the call to order one has not yet happened, but Domino's Pizza has not stood still. Now, the fast food giant claims their last pizza version was terrible. The new marketing strategy has taken many by surprise. Econsultancy wrote:

Domino's Pizza has a confession to make: the pizza it has been selling for decades sucks. If you ever thought that the crust tasted like cardboard, or that the sauce tasted like ketchup, Domino's isn't going to argue with you. It knows.

Wow. But the problem I has was the new taste was worst than the old one. Of those who took issue with my blog post, I think most were Domino's Pizza plants: people hired by the firm to respond to my often-seen blog post either by commentary or email. Domino's has worked aggressively to get the word out that their new pizza is really better. They even have their own YouTube channel, with their latest pizza taste-test videos just having been uploaded one week ago:

Is all of this really the best approach? I don't know, but I'm going to take them up on their pizza offer.

Stay tuned.

Friday, January 29, 2010

001 - California lawmakers want to take free parking away from you

No free parking? This article in the LA Times has a number of people up in arms. Apparently California State Senator Alan Lowenthal (D- Long Beach) wants cities to reduce the availability of free parking. And just as the City of Oakland's thrown a parking choke chain around Oaklanders. His proposal won Senate approval. He says this:

"Free parking has significant social, economic and environmental costs. It increases congestion and greenhouse gas emissions."

It's this - wanting to take away free parking - that's the kind of stupid squeezing of Californians during what is now a jobless recovery that will doom Democrats in November. Lowenthal has the backing of the Sierra Club, which picked the wrong issue to wade into, and the Natural Resources Defense Council. The bill reportedly provides financial incentives for cities and counties to stop providing free parking on the street.

The question is, will it provide campaign financing for any Democrat who backs it. The ones who do will get a swift ticket out of office in California. It's really just a money grab dressed up as an environmental concern.

Stay tuned.

001- Bank of America website is down as of 12:17 PST

Wow, the website for the Bank of America really is down as of this writing. After a long load time, the result is "page not available". Moreover, it looks like the servers are not responding and their may be what's called a "DNS" (Domain Name System) problem. The reason for that assertion is the logo links do not come up in the page that you see below:

So, even with the special page Bank of America page, we can aee what looks like a DNS issue. We can't browse, and B of A may be getting numbers but not pages. The DNS system is supposed to convert number codes into the readable webpages we're all know. This blogger's bet is that's not happening.

The question is why?

The impact is that millions of people around the World can't get in to see their accounts. However, it does not appear to be impacting account transactions offline. For example, credit and debt cards my friends have are working as of this writing.

As of 12:17 PST, the Bank of America website is still down. A cyber attack has not been determined as the cause of the problem.

Stay tuned.

Oakland Library: novelist Daniel Alarcon event Saturday-007

We love you Oakland Library - Oakland Word kickoff Sat with award-winning authors; free creative writing workshops this Spring

Finally write your novel, poem, blog, essay - with the brand new **and free** Oakland Word creative writing workshops. Program jumps off this Sat, Jan. 30 at 1pm at the Oakland Public Library Main Branch, 125 14th St. Words and music by award-winning novelist DANIEL ALARCÓN, author of Lost City Radio and War by Candlelight, poet and writer TENNESSEE REED, author of Spell Albuquerque: Memoir of a “Difficult” Student and multiple poetry collections, Oakland Word instructors, LINDA GONZÁLEZ, CLAIRE LIGHT, CARRIE LEILAM LOVE and BISOLA MARIGNAY, beats by DJ MAX CHAMP

***The party is free and open to the public.***

More details from organizers:

To provoke dialogue and encourage creativity among underrepresented youths and adults, the Oakland Public Library is offering free writing workshops during the months of February and March. The program, called Oakland Word, launches Saturday, January 30, at 1 p.m. with a kick-off party at the Main Library, 125 14th Street, in Oakland.

During the first of two sessions, a variety of Oakland Word workshops will be available at three Library locations, starting February 3 and concluding March 6:

Asian Branch, 388 9th Street (238-3400)

§ Intro to Writing Short Fiction (Fridays, 4 – 5:30 pm)

§ Writing Life Stories (Saturdays, 4 – 5:30 pm)

§ Teens: Blogging 101 Seminar (one day only: Saturday, March 6, 12:30 – 3:30 pm)

Cesar E. Chavez Branch, 3301 East 12th Street, Ste. 271 (535-5620)

§ Urban Fiction: Elements of Short Story Writing (Saturdays, 2:15 – 3:45 pm)

§ Take Charge of Your Work: Career Development (Saturdays, 4 – 5: 30 pm)

Main Library, 125 145th Street (238-3134)

§ Life Stories in Poetry and Prose (Thursdays, 6 – 7:30 pm)

§ Writing and Speaking Word: Poetry and Spoken Word (Saturdays, 3:30 – 5 pm)

§ Soul Song: Song Writing Seminar (one day only: Sunday, Feb. 28, 2 – 5 pm)

§ Literature of Oakland: Reading & Writing about Oakland Public Library (Wednesdays, 6 – 7:30 pm)

§ From the Heart: Love Poetry Seminar (one day only: Sunday, Feb. 14, 2 – 5 pm)

Courses at Chávez Branch will be taught by bilingual (fluent in Spanish and English) instructors. Some Asian Branch classes will be held at the Oakland Asian Cultural Center, upstairs from the Asian Branch Library, at 388 Ninth Street, Suite 290 (call Asian Branch at 238-3400 for information).

A second session will begin in March and conclude in late April (details about class offerings are forthcoming).

Oakland Word is funded by a grant from the California State Library

Anyone interested in participating in the Oakland Word writing workshops will need to register in advance. For information, call (510) 238-6572 or email Information is also available online at For information in Spanish, call the Chávez Branch (535-5620).

Obama SOTU: Red State's "cocky" word of White Supremacists is not Sci Fi

Red State's Erick Erickson, now identified as one of Thursday's "Worst Person's in The World" by MSNBC's Keith Olbermann on Countdown, was given a chance to walk back what this blogger identified as his really misguided and historically racist application of the word "cocky" to describe how President Obama delivered his State of The Union Address Wednesday night.

Indeed, since his blog post compares to that from a forum member of the White Supremacist Group, Stormfront, you'd think he would be eager to reconsider what I had hoped would have been an off-handed, beer-fueled, post television party blog statement.

Erick Erickson not only failed to do that, he actually slammed his head right into what for me is an even bigger problem: his total lack of understanding of The Star Wars Saga.

In his latest RedState post, Erickson brings up the scene in Star Wars - Episode Four: A New Hope, where Han Solo says to a young Luke Skywalker "Don't get cocky" as an example, of how Erick was using the term "cocky".

And that's exactly my point. Erick, I know George Lucas (we met at Aqua four years ago and for the second time, and only San Francisco locals or well traveled people reading this will know that establishment) and thus by extension I know Han Solo.

Erick Erickson, you're no Han Solo.

Han Solo was trying to tell Luke Skywalker to know his place in the scheme of things. Han Solo was trying to tell Luke Skywalker not to get too big for his pants. Thus, the word "cocky".

Han Solo is not a racist because he never told Lando Calrissian to not "get cocky", and Lando's black. Indeed, Han Solo was smart enough to know that he would need Lando's help, and got it in Star Wars - Episode Five: The Empire Strikes Back and in Star Wars - Episode Six: Return of The Jedi, shown here:

Han Solo and Lando Calrissian were good friends in life and in business. They were equals with complementary skills. Han Solo would never tell Lando Calrissian to know his place, because to douse Lando's fire, to try and "box in" his personality would have threatened Han Solo's life.

This never occurred to Erick Erickson because he apparently only sees African Americans as "less than" and can't stand that America has a black man as president. I make this assertion because Erickson called President Obama's Nobel Prize win an "Affirmative Action Quota Pick" and he thought it was funny.

I'm not laughing; it's disgusting. And it's why I stand by my assertion that Erick Erickson's "cocky" statement to insult President Obama was used in the same way that members of the White Supremacist Group Stormfront would do, and have done as I demonstrated in my original blog post. Indeed, Erickson's unfortunately allowed himself to be painted by others as a racist, let's hope and pray he's not proud of the charge.

Racism is a mental illness to be treated, not fostered or celebrated.

If Erick Erickson wants lessons in how to have friends of different colors without putting them down, there are two people he should consult: Han Solo and me.

Stay tuned.

Thursday, January 28, 2010

John Edwards and Elizabeth split after 30 years -Cat

John Edwards and Elizabeth, his wife of over 30 years, have separated. Elizabeth faithfully supported her husband in 2006 when he divulged to her that he had strayed from the marriage. It would later come out to the public. And to add insult to injury, a few years ago rumblings started to surface that John Edwards was in fact the father of Rielle’s daughter. Edwards vehemently denied this. Well, three weeks ago the truth came out and Edwards admitted that he is indeed the father of Rielle’s daughter.

That was the final breaking point for Elizabeth Edwards. Unfortunately, this story cannot be reported without acknowledging a certain circulating rumor. One in which there is a sex tape involving John Edwards and a visibly very pregnant Rielle Hunter.

Stay tuned.

*posted by Cat of

Obama SOTU: Red State's "cocky" word used by White Supremacists

President Barack Obama's State of The Union (SOTU) Address has been hailed as a success, with long-time political observer Howard Feinman saying on MSNBC the speech was so good they should get ready to "carve another space in Mount Rushmore."

Indeed, President Obama's speech was a successful game of "take away": in one night Obama took the staples of Republican election success - tax credits, pro-business policies, and nuclear power - away from them, and the GOP cheered in the process. But when the hangover from the SOTU cleared, and the GOP realized what happened, some conservatives went for the racial-code-word jugular and sounded like White Supremacists in the process.

One such example is Red State's Erick Erickson.

In his Red State blog post, Erick Erickson used a word that's has a totally racist connection to describe President Obama's delivery: "cocky."

What you did not know at home listening to Barack Obama’s speech tonight is that he inserted a few quips that were not in the prepared text. They were cocky and snide.

Erick Erickson, forgetting that Barack Obama is President of The United States, or perhaps upset about it, echoed the same views expressed over at the White Supremacist website Stormfront.

In a rather wild thread called "Politically Correct Racism", Valhalladream
let loose with the "C" word on Valentines Day, 2009 (there must be something wrong because Valhalladream should have been out with his girlfriend, right?) Valhalladream writes:

And the problem is - is that we are just so used to it. We laugh about it - shrug it off. Time has come to get just as "touchy" as them. Oh, and you know the election which was supposed to bring the country together in one big kum-by-ya love in and it will be like mixing coffee and cream and we will all "get along" and live happily ever after? NOT! I have been so much more openly antagonistic towards blacks - especially the ones who think they own the freakin' world now because of that black sob in MY white house. They are getting really cocky. One crackhead in his pimp-mobile blocked an intersection and I opened my window and said "You better move that car you black ba_ _ _ _ _d!" He looked at me I think in shock and didn't know how to react. I would have never done that a year ago. I don't care. They need to be slammed back

What Red State's Erick Erickson wrote is the same. In other words, Erick Erickson and Red State apparently think that this African American President needs to be "slammed back" because he's too "cocky" and presumably like other black men should know his place.

Really? Really?

I do hope that's one blog post Erick Erickson wants to have back.

Stay tuned.

Tiger Woods sex rehab work trashed by Loredana Jolie

Tiger Woods sex rehab work is being trashed by former mistress Loredana Jolie. In New York Post's Page 6, Loredana Jolie let loose with another set of bombshell comments targeted directly at The World's Greatest Golfer. Just a month ago, Loredana Jolie claimed Tiger Woods was bisexual in the same Page Six section, and by the same representative Teisha Dynell (who's increased her online visibility of late).

Loredana Jolie

As part of her upcoming "tell-all" book, Loredana Jolie through Teisha Dynell claims that Tiger Woods sex rehab in Mississippi will not work. In Page Six she says:

"He would engage in sex from 9 p.m. until the sun came up the next morning. But he wasn't a healthy guy. He couldn't sleep and would stay up all night. I am not really sure rehab for sex addiction will help him...Tiger's sexual fantasies were not normal. He likes role-playing, he likes to be the guy in control and wearing a suit while there are girls performing girl-on-girl and guys entertaining guys. By that, I mean they would dance for each other like girls would do for a man," the would-be author claimed.

Tiger Woods Management had no response for the NY Post.

Jessica Simpson farted is news? Simpson giving to Haiti is better

The webpage does not lie, even when it's changed. US Magazine writes "EXCLUSIVE: Oops! Jessica Simpson Farts During Business Meeting". Unbelievable.

Not that Jessica Simpson farted during a business meeting, but that it wound up on the front of US Magazine. (One wonders if she gave to Haiti?) There's certainly a connection between her body concerns and what she's putting in it...

But is this going too far?

The metric test here is of interest. Will this post get click? Yes. How many? A lot. Why? Who knows. Forget the really important question, which is "what did she eat?" this news is all over the place. Still, US Magazine reports:

A source tells Us Weekly that Jessica Simpson had a, ahem, windy moment during a business meeting for her denim line in late January. "While one of the executives was speaking in a room full of five people, Jessica let out a very loud fart," says the insider.

Oh, Jess! Recap her most outrageous moments

"Her mother [Tina Simpson] was there, and it prompted her to turn around and yell, 'Jessica!' The tension was extreme. No one knew what to say."

Yes, people are voyeurs, and they will certainly be interested in a lot of what celebs do, but farting? And what about the US Magazine claim that It wasn't Simpson's first brush with public flatulence

OK. I just can't help but wonder where this is going to go. One certainty is whatever squeaky-clean image Jessica Simpson had is gone.

Jessica Simpson giving to Haiti is better news; if she did. Stay tuned.

Technorati blog directory update screw up, upsets bloggers is the popular and widely used blog directory. It has hundreds of thousands of blogs representing millions of pages in its system. At one point in the past, before Google News and Google Trends, Technorati's "most popular tag" system was the go-to app to learn what topics bloggers were writing about the most at a particular time of a given day.

But today, Technorati, once the darling of the blogosphere, has gotten lazy. Technorati's more like a news website now, and less like the blog directory it was loved as. The greatest example of this is the blog update system.

It simply takes forever for Technorati to update blogs. Take this profile for here. It has the old name of "Zennie's Zeitgeist" in the description. This blogger updated that description two weeks ago, and yet the old one still remains.

So the problem resulted in a trip over to Get Satisfaction, the customer service website that represents Technorati, and where a number of bloggers - 46 in all - were issuing the same "what the hell is going on" complaint. For example:

vjack replied 3 months ago
Wow! 17 days and no responses! I submitted claims but never received the email with additional information that was supposed to be coming. Should it take more than 2-3 weeks for these claims to go through?

kalamarie replied 3 months ago
My blog is being indexed by Google and Bing and it only took a week. Come on guys!

And so on.

Technorati needs to get its service act together if it wants to continue to be considered as an authority on blogs and blogging. It's information on The State of The Blogosphere is valuable, and its blog ranking of the Top 100 blogs and the authority ratings are useful, but not updating blogs in its directory in a timely fashion is hurting its credibility.

Draeger Construction rebuilds the Bay Area, is Haiti next?

Who makes the buildings of the San Francisco Bay Area? That's something this blogger's wondered about as, with a background in City Planning and a masters from Cal and undergrad degree from Texas-Arlington, the "who" behind buildings is as important as the building itself. Some times emals jog one's brain, and one I got on a Haiti-related building issue I can't go into now start me on to this path of interest.

A Drager-built building in Burlingame

So in going to cities like Burlingame and Emeryville, where apartment complexes are in abundance, the one question I've had is "who is building them."

In the case of some interesting venues, that answer is Draeger Construction company. According to its website..

Draeger Construction is a full service contractor based in Northern California. For over 30 years this family owned and operated business has successfully performed thousands of reconstruction projects. Draeger Construction specializes in all aspects of multi-family and commercial reconstruction and in solving complex structural problems for it's clients. We have differentiated ourselves by obtaining licenses in the specialty trades, to offer our clients a cost saving advantage.

In the wake of the Haiti 7.0 Earthquake, finding firms with experience in making quake-safe buildings like Draeger Construction become very important. The problem is most people don't know how to find companies that have such expertise; this blog post, and others to come, should help.

Update on DocGurley's Trip To Haiti

Day 14 and counting: I woke up to these two emails from our lead organizers, mailed to all of us who are going as medical volunteers to Haiti on February 15 (you may notice some key developments buried within):

First up, from Randy Roberson, the brilliant person behind the Container Clinics, and a Jedi-level master of the understatement:

Randy Roberson

Randy Roberson


I am up and operational at the Hotel Montana in Port-au-Prince via solar
powered satellite uplink. Sorry for the lack of communication. It was a very interesting trip in from DR. We did however bring a few tons of rice, water and blankets along with all the supplies I brought from the states. To say there are huge medical opportunities here to help would be a gross understatement. We know of approximately 40 neighborhood groups who are crying out for aid. My feeling is that placing the container clinic on the back of a flatbed truck and moving to various locations would best serve profound needs in the short term, then place it permanently when the medical surge is reduced.

More to come


Closely on it's inbox heels came the second, a message from our local Bay Area organizer, Dr. Enoch Choi. So who's Dr. Choi? He's what I think of as a sleeper - the kind of person you may be tempted to think you know on the basis of some superficial characteristics, then,

Dr. Enoch Choi. He's on Twitter too!

Dr. Enoch Choi. He's on Twitter too!

bam, he blows you away with the unexpected or flat-out-remarkable. Sure, he's an Asian doc who works hard, full-time, in urgent care (probably the highest burn-out position imaginable). In groups, he seems kind of quiet. Not uncomfortable - in fact, the opposite - comfortable and content to watch others posture. And then, dropped nonchalantly into the conversation as people discuss iPhone apps, you find out he's a wild karaoke fiend. We're talking belting it out while sitting in an open convertible at public intersections. "Sure, why not?" he says. And, oh yeah, that full-time burnout job? He's also a cranking writer on the web, after his paying job lets him loose. I've only had a few phone conversations with him, but they tend to go like this, [imagine a quiet, calm male voice] " I think we have the planning in place to adequately--" [bellows like a fishwife to someone in background without pausing for breath: she's supposed to be admitted! don't wheel her away! we're waiting for ultrasound!] "--cover all our bases as far as the steps we can control now. Do you have any questions?"

I am often left stunned - by the volume, by the unexpected sides to his character, by the Olympic-level multi-tasking skills, by the passion for what he does, and by his effortless-seeming attention to detail. Here's his email message to us all today. Check out the detail, the itemized list of what you should bring to work in this disaster zone, how effortlessly it includes both those who already know the score, and those who've never done anything like this before (and keep in mind he's got an 80-hour a week brutal job breathing down his neck while he's typing):

Just want to verify that we all agree with the mission: safe & secure outpatient medical care to Haitians, in very austere conditions, sacrificing personal comforts and preferences for a week to support the group's success in providing the best care given a disintegrating environment that will cause
multiple changes in our best laid plans. To be a pioneering team that establishes an opportunity for future MD & RNs to come for 1 week missions in contrast to the existing inpatient-only 2+ week commitments.

Scope: cellulitis, post-op complications, lacerations, fracture
management, wound care, IV & PO medications, IV & PO analgesics

1) Valid passport

2) Copy of your health-related license (if you're in healthcare)

3) Immunizations: MMR, varicella, hep A & B, Tdap, seasonal & H1N1 flu, typhoid, rabies, weekly chloroquine 2 weeks prior to departure

4) Carry with you meds: HIV prophilaxis (2 sets for the whole team), cipro

5) Personal supplies of DEET bug repellent, hiking-style head lamp, your favorite snack to serve as lunch for 6 days (see more detailed list below)

6) Try to raise funds for the cost of your personal travel. Estimated $900 if we have to fly to Santo Domingo but hope to get private charter to increase luggage capacity

7) get personal medical emergency evacuation insurance, one that covers a disaster area, I'm researching this

Tentative details:

2/15 travel to Haiti (today, United canceled my reservations for 10 to PAP. Backup: fly to dominican republic, but looking for private plane)

2/21 return

Things are very fluid, and tonight's news reports from CNN highlight a
deteriorating security situation
. We may need to operate closer to Dominican Republic where we can more readily secure our clinic. I'm very sensitive to maximizing safety over the needs of providing care, and will have multiple contingency plans for armed evacuation if necessary. Randy Roberson arrived in Haiti today to ensure we can locate a safe & securable location for the shipping container clinic.


From PAP airport, US marine armed transport by 3pm bus to US Embassy. Must make that bus since later one is 6pm which is after curfew, and less safe. Four Square Gospel armed transport to church headquarters 2 minutes down from the US Embassy on 'Eglise Quadrangulaire'. President Pastor Guy Thomas facilitates this.

Daily armed transport 1 hour from/to rented apartment just across the border in Dominican Republic. Both of these are facilitated by Jesse Mendoza of Jordan International Aid of San Jose, CA.


From PAP airport if possible. This has not been secured yet. If flights canceled, will have backup plans to leave from DR. Green card holders expect a 2 h delay at PAP to leave.

In disaster medical relief things are very fluid. In past disasters such as Katrina, we had to resort to a 3rd unplanned backup lodging plan, and ditched potential clinic locations until we found where the most need was. In Katrina, this location dovetailed with the safest place (national guard surrounded us), but this will not be the case in Haiti so we'll be very vigilant of ensuring that our clinic is safe.


Who is your contact person? Randy, who's there now. Also has been there since day 5 Jesse Mendoza, president, who will arrange for apartment on DR side of the border and armed transport

Will we be meeting other medical staff there from other places? Yes, will have the Cuban hospital as our staging ground, and place to send too sick folks.

Will we be replacing an already working team in the container or the first? The first

Haiti, January 22

Haiti, January 22

Is there a source of more medical supplies once we run out? MedShare is bringing supplies in, donated from Sutter Health & PAMF, & I hope to access those there.

What kind of equipment and amount of supplies are on the shipping
container clinic?
$100,000 worth, I'm unclear if that's just telemedicine devices or consumables we need. It has not been shipped yet, is in transit.

Is the Jordan relief group on the ground giving medical assistance at the same/close location? Unclear. They're mobile.

Where are they operating out of? Jordan operates out of DR

Can we get PAMF to let us take a bunch of supplies with us to supplement? Likely, if Katrina is an appropriate example. We took whatever we wanted. Will have to ask when we figure out how much luggage we have. For now, one 50lb bag, so we would need to get supplies over there.

Individual Traveler Packing List:

light weight, compressible sleeping bag (WalMart: Micro Tek Ultra-Compact 30-degree sleep bag; $34) & small emergency space blankets (small metallic pack, costs about a dollar at most camping stores, will provide insulation and additional waterproofing)

mosquito net

insect repellent



hand sanitizer and hygiene wipes

Food items: protein bars, packaged nuts, jerky, ration packs (pack your favorite snack of 1000 calories per day) since we should have food in Dominican Republic apartment for breakfast/dinner

chlorine tablets (better than iodine at treating heavily contaminated water) and linen squares for filtering water before treatment (to remove sediment) OR bottled water (depending on resources where we are stationed)

heavy duty work gloves

Group supplies:

toilet paper

duct tape


oral re-hydration packets

post cards, pens or pencils (this is optional--we thought we might be able to have our translator take information from people trying to contact family in the US or other countries, and mail them when we got home--not sure how practical that is, I understand over half the population of Haiti is illiterate)

Consider 2 large sleeping tents, depending on space and location where you are stationed

Yikes. I had a United plane flight (5:30 am, Chicago). Now I don't. Apparently, this is all just normal for disaster relief work. Besides, I don't have time to worry about it. The bottom line is we're going, no matter what. My friend, Pam, the world's most incredible organizer, without even asking, called to say she's setting up a trust fund account at Wells Fargo tomorrow. "It seemed obvious that you would be able to use one - I've already heard from people who want to donate for your expenses - don't squawk, I know you'll need it." I try to pretend that my voice is not shaking, that I don't sound like I'm trying to not cry as I thank her. It's really a tangled ball of misery, gratitude and joy, knowing that I want to go help people in Haiti, but I couldn't do it without accepting what sometimes feels like uncomfortable help from people around me. Besides, the urge to weep is probably just because my arms are still achy, and I've got a low-grade fever from the vaccinations. But who has time to think about all that - I called in my prescriptions for my chloroquine pills and ciprofloxacin (even the Target pharmacist was lovely "you're going to Haiti? when do you need them?"). I had to hurry and get it done because, afterward, I called in to the Walnut Creek number and found out I have to report early tomorrow morning for (brace yourself) jury duty.

I draw a shaky breath and remind myself - hey, it's just another step. There's two weeks before departure. Fourteen days and counting. Jury duty is like everything else in life, you show up and hope for the best. We're going to Haiti, one way or another. Right?

So do you have a plane? Know someone who does? Cause, I'm telling you - Dr. Choi is the guy to contact. He'll soothingly talk you through the logistics of how it could be a life-saver (literally) for hundreds, if not thousands of people. But don't be surprised if, while discussing it, he discreetly bellows once or twice. It's all for a good cause.

Share in the comments section - and tune in for the next in the series to get details about the Haiti trip - what will I panic about next? Will I get sequestered? Hey, it's not like I have a plane ticket to prove I'm going... Keep up on the Haiti trip and the latest health issues in the news by signing up for a Doc Gurley RSS feed by clicking here. Look for future pics and other articles at Doc Gurley - discover the weird, the wacky and the everyday symptoms you want to know about, as well as practical expert tips on staying well. Want to express your inner fan-girl/boy? Become a Doc Gurley fan on Facebook! Want to be on the inside, fast track of health news and tips, as well as Haiti tweets? Get on the Twitter bandwagon and follow Doc Gurley! Also check out Doc Gurley's joyhabit and iwellth twitter feeds - so you can get topic-specific fun, effective, affordable tips on how to nurture your joy and grow your wellth this coming year.

Anne Hathaway feted at Harvard, Oscar Nominations host Tuesday

Anne Hathaway's the toast of Cambridge, or at least Harvard. The actress slated to host the Oscar Nominations Tuesday, February 2nd, is the Hasty Pudding Theatricals student drama troupe's Woman of the Year. According to the Hasty Pudding website:

Continuing to emerge as one of Hollywood’s most engaging talents, Anne Hathaway shot to stardom starring opposite Meryl Streep in the hit “The Devil Wears Prada.” She went on to receive an Academy Award, Golden Globe, Independent Spirit and SAG Award nomination for “Lead Actress” for her performance in Jonathan Demme’s recent critically acclaimed “Rachel Getting Married,” for which she was also awarded Best Actress by the National Board of Review, the Chicago Film Critics Association and the Broadcast Film Critics Association. Hathaway has impressed audiences with her wide range as an actress, from her lauded dramatic performances in “Becoming Jane,” “Passengers,” and “Brokeback Mountain” with Jake Gyllenhaal and Heath Ledger, to her brilliant comedic turns in such films as “Get Smart” with Steve Carell, “The Princess Diaries,” and “Ella Enchanted.” An actress with theater roots, Hathaway took to the stage this past summer in Shakespeare in the Park’s production of TWELFTH NIGHT, receiving all around rave reviews for her performance as Viola.

Hathaway will next star in the ensemble romantic comedy “Valentine’s Day” to be released February 2010 and as the White Queen alongside Johnny Depp in Tim Burton’s “Alice in Wonderland” hitting theaters March 2010. Hathaway has also signed on to the Judy Garland biopic “Get Happy.” Hathaway will play Judy Garland on the stage and screen; two productions both being produced by the Weinstein Company. Of Hathaway, “Valentine’s Day” and “The Princess Diaries” (and its sequel) director Garry Marshall says, “The multi-talented Hathaway is a combination of Julia Roberts, Audrey Hepburn and Judy Garland.”

Celebrations for Ms. Hathaway will take place on January 28, 2010 and will include the Woman of the Year Parade down Massachusetts Avenue in Cambridge at 2:30 PM, followed by a Roast in her honor at the New College Theater (12 Holyoke Street) at 3 PM.

If this video from Renee Zellweger's 2009 Woman Of The Year event are any indication, Anne Hathaway's having an awesome time today!

Oscar ads just $1 million less than Super Bowl ads - Oscar Buzz

As we near the February 2nd Anne Hathaway-hosted Oscar Nominations announcement meeting (which this blogger really should have been able to attend and AMPAS Leslie Unger should pay attention here), ad execs are looking to TV ratings for it as the big key to how well Oscar ads will perform this year. In 2010, and for the first time in recent memory, 2010 Super Bowl ads are just about $1 million greater than Oscar ads.

Because of the massive economic downturn, Super Bowl ads once priced at $3 million are now going for only $2.5 million; Oscar ads that could have closed the gap to less than $1 million are actually under-priced at $1.3 million, according to's Brian Steinberg.

Last year's Oscar telecast cost advertisers around $1.4 million for a 30-second ad, down significantly from 2008, when a 30-second spot commanded as much as $1.82 million...

And Steinberg reports that price is about the same this year. There are two factors: first, Oscar ratings have been horrible, with a near-decade-long drop that stopped last year because of the anticipated buzz surrounding The Dark Knight after the death of Heath Leadger, who was nominated for and won Oscar Best Supporting Actor for his roll as "The Joker". Second, the economy itself.

Oscar observers are counting on the fact that the Best Picture race will consists of ten movies, and not five, and now the winner will be selected with Preference voting.

To the extent AMPAS can communicate that this year's Best Picture competition is really a race, and it's not one already decided by Avatar's Golden Globe Best Picture win, Oscar ratings will go up.

The key is not the ratings for the February 2nd Anne Hathaway-hosted Oscar Nominations announcement meeting, but the buzz after it, including Twitter.

That's something Leslie Unger's staff must track.

Stay tuned.

California Politics: drawing state election lines - Aimee Allison/OaklandSeen

Apply for Commission to Redraw CA Election Lines - oh, yeah it pays $80K too. Get the scoop tonight 5:30pm.

Adam Briones of the Greenlining Institute is heading an effort to expand the pool of people of color applicants for a citizen's redistricting commission being formed (read for more). Redistricting is directly responsible for the amount of money that goes to schools, jobs and neighborhood in the community. It's one of those obscure but powerful groups that will define the political power and future of California communities like Oakland.

So apply - and for more information attend the Greenlining Institute's seminar TONIGHT at 5:30 pm at their office at 1918 University Ave, Berkeley. Or go to and submit the short application.

From the Greenlining website's Q&A:

Q: What does redistricting mean?

A: Redistricting means to redraw the lines of an election district. In California these districts must be adjusted every ten years following the census.

Q: Why is redistricting important? What does it do for me?

A: Redistricting equals representation. It determines who is represented, how well they are represented, and what laws are passed.

More at

Chris Matthews forgot Obama was black; many forgot Obama was black

Today we find that MSNBC's Chris Matthews claim that he forgot Obama was black is raising a racism charge against Chris Matthews.    But that claim is not correct and misses Chris Matthews valuable point.

Chris Matthews is the popular political talk show host of Hardball on MSNBC. Frequent viewers of the show, like this blogger, are used to Chris Matthews paying close attention to capturing the African American point of view of a problem.

Chris Matthews has devoted entire episodes of Hardball to the black perspective on a political issue. Chris Matthews is rightly fascinated with how American politics and race relations have been impacted by President Obama.

Chris Matthews is rightly pointing to a sea-change in American Culture. Americans have been hard-wired to think of someone white when they think of a person on television talking from a position of authority.

Consider this: how many black TV pundits are there, not on public television? Answer? Zero. How many black rappers appear on TV daily? Answer: a lot.

That's the problem.

It's a still a problem for this blogger, who still gets called the "N-word" on video comments, or who has received death threats because of the existence of racist, bigoted idiots who can't stand that a black guy with a Jewish last name speaks with the same confident arrogance of his white American male friends.

Too bad.

While Chris Matthews forgot Obama was black, frankly so did I.

At first, when Obama came out and was introduced, I was praying that security protected him in the wake of the White House State Dinner Party Crashers incident and because there are nutcases (some who are black) who don't like that America's led by an African American man, but once Obama started his speech, all of those fears were jettisoned. President Obama was excellent last night, and in being Obama showed everyone that you can be anyone of any color, and be the best.

Greg Oden dirty pictures show NBA players can go nude

If the first overall pick from the 2007 NBA Draft Greg Oden has learned anything from his dirty nude pictures on the Internet, it's that NBA players can be exposed, too.

The possibility that posting Greg Oden nude photos was a publicity stunt aside, it's clear that Greg Oden's dirty pictures of his upper body and privates have become an Internet hit for Greg Oden and the website that posted them World Star Hip

While it's too early to see what impact Greg Oden nude pictures are having on World Star Hip Hop, the website already has a healthy traffic ranking of 1,182; the prediction here is it will go up to 900 by Friday.

But NBA players like Greg Oden should be careful who's on the other side of whatever camera is pointed at them. Moreover, if they're in the buff, better not to have a camera pointed at them at all.

In this case, the photos, which Greg Oden apologized for, were taken, by someone said to be a "former girlfriend" which opens a new can of worms. Did he dumper her? Because if that's the case, hell hath no furry because she's certainly put his business into the street.


But now that the nude photos are flying around, it's time to watch how it impacts Greg Oden's star power. Does his Internet traffic draw rank go up? For how long? With which demographic?

Stay tuned.

John Edwards splits from Elizabeth Edwards after Rielle Hunter affair

Former Senator and Vice Presidential Candidate John Edwards has separated from his wife Elizabeth Edwards. In a news report from CNN that contained the cryptic title "Ex-VP nominee splits from spouse", the story, which broke at 3 PM EST Wedneday, January 27th in People Magazine online, wasn't confirmed until 6: 28 PM with this statement by John Edwards:

"It is an extraordinarily sad moment, but I love my children more than anything and still care deeply about Elizabeth."

Then the following statement was issued by Random House, Elizabeth Edwards' book publisher:

"Elizabeth is moving on with her life and wants to put this difficult chapter behind her. It was an excrutiatingly (sic) painful period for her and she no interest in rehashing the past. Based on the limited portions of the book that have been made available, it is clear it contains many falsehoods and exaggerations. She will not engage in a dialogue on each of the false charges, but would like to set the record straight on two key points. First, the allegation that she sought to politicize her cancer is unconscionable, hurtful and patently false. Second, she believed Andrew Young to be the father of this child until her husband confessed his parternity (sic) to her this past summer. She will have nothing further to say."

At this point, calling John Edwards every terrible name in the book is a good idea had by many. John Edwards is probably one of the most disliked public figures in America, or at least not far away from Rush Limbaugh.

If one needs a reminder of what happened, briefly, then-former Senator John Edwards was rumored to have been sneaking around on his cancer-striken wife Elizabeth Edwards. The National Enquirer broke the story and a very small number of bloggers, including this one, followed it starting in October of 2007.

But Edwards denied it. Then, after being caught in a kind of reporting sting by The National Enquirer's reporters, Edwards admitted to the affair.

All of that was after he lost the presidential campaign, but was still a delegate player. The news blasted him out of the party and embarrassed his supporters, most notably his wife.

More: John Edwards admits he's the father of Rielle Hunter's kid.

Haiti Earthquake update: answer to Doc Gurley

In her brilliant blog post, Doc Gurley explained her Haiti trip plans in great detail and offered this brain-twister:

Algebra Problem of the Day: If I board my connecting flight to Chicago, hurtling at 31,267 feet for 3.87 hours, while carrying a 4-liter grocery bag of donated 2 oz. pill-bottles labeled with 34 different individual names, and each bottle is 3/4 full of highly regulated narcotics, then please calculate how many DEA agents, on arrival at O'Hare, will force me to undergo how many body-cavity searches? Please express your answer in mucosal centimeters. Extra Credit: And, more importantly, given an estimated factor of X minutes per search will those body-cavity searches cause me to miss my Haiti flight? Hmm...

The answer I provide is simple: zero. The reason is Doc will never get through TSA Security at SFO carrying "a 4-liter grocery bag of donated 2 oz. pill-bottles labeled with 34 different individual names". That is one huge bag, more like a trash bag that's oversized to start with, thus can't even be allowed on a plane.

Better to check the bags. But that brings up the issue of baggage claim at Haiti and other what would seem to be wild details.

Stay tuned.

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Obama State of The Union Address; Geitner and Summers should go

In his great, second State of The Union Address (SOTU), President Barack Obama kept his focus on creating new jobs, and called for a new sprit of bipartisanship, but without caving in on Heath Care Reform. But left out of the SOTU was what would have been his boldest stroke of all: firing Treasury Secretary Tim Geitner and Chief Economic Advisor (title: Director of the National Economic Council) Larry Summers.

Larry Summers

This blog post is more directed at Larry Summers than Tim Geitner, because according to The New Yorker's January 28th edition, Larry Summers failed to present the $1.2 trillion Economic Stimulus Plan Option to President Obama, even though his colleague, Berkeley Professor Christine Roemer said that all of the models she ran pointed to that size of stimulus as the best plan:

The most important question facing Obama that day was how large the stimulus should be. Since the election, as the economy continued to worsen, the consensus among economists kept rising. A hundred-billion-dollar stimulus had seemed prudent earlier in the year. Congress now appeared receptive to something on the order of five hundred billion. Joseph Stiglitz, the Nobel laureate, was calling for a trillion. Romer had run simulations of the effects of stimulus packages of varying sizes: six hundred billion dollars, eight hundred billion dollars, and $1.2 trillion. The best estimate for the output gap was some two trillion dollars over 2009 and 2010. Because of the multiplier effect, filling that gap didn’t require two trillion dollars of government spending, but Romer’s analysis, deeply informed by her work on the Depression, suggested that the package should probably be more than $1.2 trillion. The memo to Obama, however, detailed only two packages: a five-hundred-and-fifty-billion-dollar stimulus and an eight-hundred-and-ninety-billion-dollar stimulus. Summers did not include Romer’s $1.2-trillion projection. The memo argued that the stimulus should not be used to fill the entire output gap; rather, it was “an insurance package against catastrophic failure.” At the meeting, according to one participant, “there was no serious discussion to going above a trillion dollars.”

“There was no serious discussion to going above a trillion dollars," even as economists were talking about a stimulus package that had to be over $1 trillion. Dean Baker of the Center for Economic and Policy Research was quoted as saying "You're talking about a gap on the order of twelve-hundred-fifty billion dollars, and we're trying to plug that with four-hundred-something, so we've got a long way to go."

Paul Krugman said "I'd like to see it bigger." Krugman said. "I understand that there's difficulty in actually spending that much money, and I--they're also afraid of the--of the T word."

The "T" word is "Trillion" but with the economic stimulus package already close to that number, and the country in deep trouble, worrying about what Congress would think - rather than letting Congress deal with the truth - was a big mistake.

China's Economic Stimulus Package was 20 percent of GDP, and many eonomic observers used that as the benchmark for what the size of a U.S. Economic Stimulus Plan would be. Instead, it came in at just about 5 percent of U.S. GDP. The problem feared the most: of doing too little, too late is now facing America, just as it did Japan in the 90s.

Fears of the "T" word and the total U.S. Debt have backed us into this corner. The misunderstanding is that GDP growth guarantees a smaller percentage of GDP that is debt. The Economic Stimulus Package is supposed to jump-start growth. The fact that even the $800 billion version did is proof that the theory is sound, but it didn't boost American Economic Growth to levels that would reduce the record high unemployment rates around the country.

Larry Summers is to blame for this problem:

Summers brought a third argument to the debate, one that echoed his advice to Bill Clinton sixteen years earlier, when his Administration was facing persistent budget deficits that Summers believed were suppressing economic growth. He, like Romer, was guided by an understanding that in financial crises the risk of doing too little is greater than doing too much. He believed that filling the output gap through deficit spending was important, but that a package that was too large could potentially shift fears from the current crisis to the long-term budget deficit, which would have an unwelcome effect on the bond market. In the end, Summers made the case for the eight-hundred-and-ninety-billion-dollar option.

If Larry Summers had done the opposite: that is make an argument for the trillion-dollar option, there's clear evidence America's economic recovery would have been larger and more robust, as the extra $400 billion could have gone to a temporary injection of, say, $5,000 for every American taxpayer under $100,000, thus buying time for the other parts of the stimulus plan to take effect, and boosting consumption at the same time.

But that did not happen, and now America still has its employment problem and a Congress shy to spend more money, even though its badly needed. America has lost $976 billion in wealth due to jobs moving overseas over the last 30 years; over $400 billion just in the last eight years. Turning that problem around is going to take a lot of money.

Stay tuned.

Journey To Haiti With DocGurley!

14 days and counting. I got the message yesterday that a group would like me to go to Haiti. I'd already thrown my name in the hat in the beginning, but they all needed (appropriately) surgeons. Or nurses. But now the situation has morphed, and when the call came my insta-gut response was "yes." Afterward, a tiny flicker of stomach-butterflies set it. Maybe it was the fact that I don't (and maybe won't) have a confirmed return flight home. The estimated time for being there is a week (very do-able), but no guarantees on that estimate (um, less do-able?). Or maybe the butterflies were in part because of the way the lead doctor emphasized (three times!) the fact that we would always have Security with us (clearly said with a capital S). But I knew I wanted to go. When it comes to Haiti, so many of us want to do something. And so I thought you might like to go with me. Which is why I'm going to write about the trip, probably more openly and personally than anything I've written to you before. But first, just so we're all clear, here are the rules:

Doc Gurley's Haiti Manifesto

Rule #1: Why me? Altruism is a gift that benefits the giver. Never more so than when despair hovers. It is amazing how, when I told family, friends and co-workers that I was going to a life-threatening disaster zone, rife with disease and unspeakable deprivation, the uniform first response has been a blurted out: "You're so lucky!" followed a shocked moment of horror-filled realization as they heard their own words, then "Not lucky, I mean, it's going to be hard, really hard, it's just that I wish I could do something like that, well, you know what I mean..." Sometimes it's even difficult to verbalize exactly why we feel that spike of jealousy. I think it's because we all wish we could do something tangible. Something with our hands and our backs. Heavy lifting. Hey, we all know the checks are important (VERY important), but after a while they feel the same as handing your kid a twenty on her birthday. Like something crucial is missing in the act. Could that urge to do something, anything, be the reason I'm going? I've thought about it - am I taking the place of someone else who should go instead (keeping in mind that it can be too easy to think that maybe someone else ought to go, and, if we all do that - no one goes). But I don't think I am taking someone else's place. Here's why: a) I'm an internist, a grunt, a flea, a sickest-of-the-sick-adults'-doctor, one with extensive ER and hospitalist experience, the type of doctor (after the surgeons have left) that they need now, and b) I currently see patients in a homeless clinic with a strong culture of collaborative care so - while it's admittedly still not Haiti - I don't tend to have the typical easily-offended doctor amount of either ego or fastidiousness, and c) I speak good-enough French to have worked for three months in a monolingual medical environment, and d) I did those French-speaking healthcare months in a Third World country in Africa, a place somewhat like Haiti in that the generators turned off every night and mosquito netting and hungry bats were our major malaria interventions, and e) frankly I am lucky enough to have the job/benefits/luxury of being able to go on short notice while not paid to do so like a disaster team is, and f) while the fact is that I'm not a nurse (okay sure, I ran an IVAC once, but all I remember of the experience is a panic-filled blur of jabbing buttons while machines beeped at me in a decidedly contemptuous fashion), and would never claim to be a nurse, I can honestly say that if there's a bandaging, dosing, vital-sign-taking, bedpan-changing, spongebath giving, floor-mopping job to do, well, like most of us peri-menopausal moms, I'm your Gurley. All of which leads to Rule #1 - the better candidate goes. That means if someone more qualified or adept can take my slot, I step out. Even at the eleventh hour (that would be 4:30 am, February 15, in a United terminal at Chicago's O'Hare, in case anyone's keeping track).

Rule #2: We go there to work. There will be NO ethically weird moments when the camera swings, Gupta-like, in my direct and I orthodontially blind you while simultaneously performing surgery. I'm going there to work. As a doctor. I'll be sweaty, I won't waste suitcase space on make-up, and God knows what my hair will be doing. Sweaty doctor - that's it. There is no sub-clause, no asterisk, no employer, no other job title. There is no conflict-of-interest. The Chronicle/SFGate is not paying me anything, not transport, nada. Heck, I can't even get a satellite cell-phone out of them to make sure I can send and/or upload posts (but maybe! they're working on it!). Any sharing of the experience from me to you happens after the work is done. But as much as is humanly possible, we'll go together. Every step we can. Because whether you're frustrated, or despairing, or hungering to do something, or rage-filled about our own neglected problems at home, there are moments when it's best to share. And an epic disaster is one of them. Join me. We'll go together and do what we can to help.

Rule #3: HIPPA goes to Haiti. People the world over deserve their medical privacy. And no one - especially the very desperate - should have to wonder what their doctor's motivation really is. If I write/blog/video/audio record about a patient, or a situation, either that person will NOT be one of my patients, or their identity will be so changed that no one will ever be able to know exactly who that 12-year-old girl with a head injury really was.

Rule #4: It takes a village to help a village. It's been less than 24 hours since I found out I was going and friends have already stepped up. An Eagle Scout mom has an ultra-small sleeping bag for me (so I'll have more room for medical supplies in my luggage). Colleagues are pitching in to cover shifts they have NO obligation to work (thank you, Barry! thank you, Mary!). Churches - here and there - are helping with logistics and food. Total strangers are coming forward with airline miles for me to use, and a place for me to bunk in Chicago while I wait for my flight out. You too are welcome to go with me to Haiti in spirit. And if you would like to go with me in a more tangible way, I'll let you know of opportunities. But, when it comes to "stuff," I am limited to one 50-lb checked bag. In contrast, there is no limit on goodwill, or funds for those suffering there. I am not wasting time or energy picking apart anyone who wants to help - I don't care about your politics, religion or cash reserves. You want to roll up your sleeves too, well, you're my kind of Gurley...

So here we are, Day 14 and counting:

1) Told my kids I was going. Squeals, hand-flapping, "I'm so jealous," then silence while it sunk in. They're teens, they'll be fine. But I notice how the 15 year old wants to sit closer to me on the couch than she has in years, virtually sinking into my right side. I don't say anything about it, of course. I just let her sink into me too.
What is WRONG with these DPH Travel Clinic people? Don't they know medical visits aren't supposed to be (gasp) pleasant?

What is WRONG with these DPH Travel Clinic people? Don't they know medical visits aren't supposed to be (gasp) pleasant?

2) Shots today. I went to the phenomenal folks at the Traveler's Clinic at the Department of Public Health (conflict-of-interest disclosure: NONE. They don't pay me, I never saw them before today). Dropped in without an appointment at 12:45 pm, was asked by the receptionist in a stricken voice "Would 1:10 work?" After a stunned silence, I squeaked out a "You mean today?" and when she nodded (apologetically) "yes," I had to do a double-take to make sure I was actually standing in an American medical clinic. Who are these people? This is so NOT how medical care works. I got three shots - a hepatitis A, tetanus, and typhoid shot ("ooh, those are going to ache" the lovely NP said, as well as "too bad there's not time for the rabies series - you know it's rampant there, don't you? Just be sure and get airlifted out if anything furry breaks your skin"). The ooh-that's-going-to-hurt shots didn't seem to hurt at all. Being a macho internist, I nodded in agreement while thinking to myself good thing I'm stoic and not a big weeny like their other patients are. Three hours later, I promise you, I'm so sore I would not lift my arms up from my sides unless my hair caught fire. Even then I'd have to think about it. I'm getting a little panicky, in fact, about which side I'm going to sleep on - I'm imagining a night ahead of me composed of "ow" and then "ouch" muttered in the dark as I roll endlessly from side to side in my sleep.

3) Am now panicked about my "functional" French. I have been known on two prior occasions, when I spoke French in Paris, to provoke, from Gauloises-smoking, too-cool-to-sneer citoyens, a shocked guffaw of snorted laughter. One Parisienne laughed so hard she hiccuped. Apparently I tend to speak French with a thick West African accent. But see, French is the only foreign language it's almost impossible to use in the Bay Area (at least medically). Oh God, what if I've forgotten it all? So I ran to my town's fabulous library and checked out every single (non-beginner) French language item (yes, I am the pig who took them all, staggering out of the library under a teetering skyscraper of perilously stacked books): four textbooks - including one Haitian-Creole dictionary - and five massive boxed sets of CDs. Including one two-disc set from The Language Teacher To The Stars - Mel Gibson! Barbra Streisand! Woody Allen! Which makes me wonder what will happen if I visit Paris and speak french to sneering Gauloises-smokers in a thick Mel Gibson accent?

So, in the few moments while I'm not going ow and then ouch during the night tonight, I plan to be subliminally absorbing the nasal tones of a total 189 hours of French audio-lessons I checked out ("ne mange pas ce gateau"...).

But who am I kidding? Sleep is unlikely to occur. Because I've already started fretting over Ethical Haiti Dilemma #1. Let me lay it out for you:

Exhibit A: The supplies MOST in need in Haiti now are wound care, debridement/incision kits, rehydration and dressing supplies, as well as antibiotics and analgesics.

Exhibit B: Most of those supplies are too bulky for me to bring many of them in a suitcase. Except for pills (which are surprisingly heavy, but compact).

Exhibit C: Expiration dates on drugs are arbitrarily set by pharmaceutical companies (who have an obvious conflict of interest), and reliable sources have studied the issue and found that almost all pills and powders are still completely effective years after they "expire."

Exhibit D: I have a legion of eager-to-give-something neighbors, friends and acquaintances with bathroom medicine cabinets bulging with leftover pills.

Ergo: Should I take a half-suitcase of potentially expired, but still-effective antibiotics to Haiti? And...

Algebra Problem of the Day: If I board my connecting flight to Chicago, hurtling at 31,267 feet for 3.87 hours, while carrying a 4-liter grocery bag of donated 2 oz. pill-bottles labeled with 34 different individual names, and each bottle is 3/4 full of highly regulated narcotics, then please calculate how many DEA agents, on arrival at O'Hare, will force me to undergo how many body-cavity searches? Please express your answer in mucosal centimeters. Extra Credit: And, more importantly, given an estimated factor of X minutes per search will those body-cavity searches cause me to miss my Haiti flight? Hmm...

Should I "recycle" drugs for Haiti? Or is it ethically wrong to dump them on a people who have no choice? Share in the comments section - and tune in for the next in the series to get details about the Haiti trip - what will I panic about next? What DO they advise you to bring to a disaster? Keep up on the Haiti trip and the latest health issues in the news by signing up for a Doc Gurley RSS feed by clicking here. Look for future pics and other articles at Doc Gurley! Also check out Doc Gurley's joyhabit and iwellth twitter feeds - so you can get topic-specific fun, effective, affordable tips on how to nurture your joy and grow your wellth this coming year.

Megan A. Fox on Rush Limbaugh Haiti tampons comment

Since his insensitive comments on Haiti, including his blast on "April" a female caller who he told to take the tampon out of his ears, Rush Limbaugh has gained a firestorm of criticism and has been silent for a week (that is, no blasts). The Daily Beast commenters were all over Rush.

Amanda Terkel took up the Rush Limbaugh blast at Think Progress. Reid Report wondered what was wrong with Rush Limbaugh.

At, we wondered what Megan Fox would say about Rush Limbaugh's comments. To that end, Megan Avalon and this blogger came up with Megan A. Fox, a mix of a female bodybuilder and Megan Fox, who's middle name starts with a "D" and not an "A", but we're calling our hero Megan A. Fox.

Megan's a composite of the angry comments and emails and videos I've gotten from viewers, like this one sent to Zennie62 from a woman who actually put tampons in her ears!:

Megan A. Fox got rather heated about Rush Limbaugh's comments and took it out on the host, but given what Rush Limbaugh said, that's OK. Rush Limbaugh really should apologize for what he said as it offended women and good people everywhere. Of course, since that's one of the many ugly ways Rush Limbaugh justifies his $400 million contract, Megan A. Fox and others aren't holding their breath.

Stay tuned.