Thursday, September 30, 2010

Cal Fires Jack Clark, Nukes Rugby And Cal Athletics

Jack Clark of Cal Rugby
On Tuesday, as this blogger was traveling away from the San Francisco Bay Area and Cal Berkeley, UC Berkeley was in the process of nuking it's prized Rugby Program, and destroying Cal Athletics as we know it.

Rugby Coach Jack Clark was fired - his position ends June 2011 -  and the program dumped to varsity sports status.

The reason given was Title IX requirements to financially equalize male and female sports, but given that Coach Clark had a plan to fund and to elevate Women's Rugby to intercollegiate status that was jettisoned by the Cal Administration, using Title IX as an excuse is pure horseshit.

The overall issue has been Cal's need to cut the overall budget of the athletic department, but the one revenue-generating program, Men's Rugby, and its coach who has a plan to elevated women's rugby, was a major target.

For someone not familiar with this issue at all, Cal Men's Rugby has achieved legendary status in the sports World. The Cal Bears are the 2010 National Champions and have won 25 National Championships and nine since 2000 - and it's 2010 as of this writing.   But because of political infighting, the one money-making program in all of Cal Athletics is being reduced to a mere shadow of itself.

As is common with Cal, the way this came about is always the stuff of harsh political infighting. From experience on the Cal Alumni Board and viewing Cal's Administration up close during the Long Range Planning Meetings , this blogger can say turf battles are a contact sport at Cal.

 For internal reasons not yet entirely known, Jack Clark, who's used to winning, lost a battle.   But in the end, Berkeley lost the one person synonymous with sports success at Berkeley: Jack Clark.

As KalosTV says on YouTube, it's time to celebrate Cal Rugby:

Did Cal Back Sandy Barbour Into A Corner?

The gut level feeling is Cal Athletic Director Sandy Barbour was backed into a corner by the overall Cal Administration. It feels like Sandy was forced to make a choice between her position or that of Jack's and the Cal Bears Rugby team.

Knowing Cal as I do, that gut level feeling that Sandy was placed between a political rock and a hardplace is powerful.

Stay tuned.

John Boehner And Lisbeth Lyons : Is Girlfriend Issue McCain 2008 2.0?

UPDATE: Media now silent on John Boehner mistress issue, and with 11 days before the 2010 Midterm Elections.

House Minority Leader John Boehner (R - Ohio) is accused of having, or had, an affair with Lisbeth Lyons (photo at left), Vice President of Government Affairs for The Printing Industries of America, a GOP-oriented lobbyist.

And a person who's evidently feeling the heat, because Lyons took down her Linkedin page, only to have done an incomplete job of that. Read on.

What follows is not any more information that points to an affair, but the foundation of a well-connected player in Lyons that, if the breaker of this story is correct with his details to come, may result in an at least an ethics problem for John Boehner.

The news of this alleged relationship was broken by Blogger Mike Stark of The Stark Reports, part of the Banter Media Group. Stark's allegation goes like this:

...While everyone knows that John Boehner enjoys the good life of luxury travel and golf junkets, many are convinced that enjoys a mistress, too.

I began hearing this from several sources last month with increasing amounts of detail, including the name of the lobbyists Boehner is supposedly having a relationship with – Lisbeth Lyons, Vice President for Government Affairs for the American Printers Association.

I decided I’d look into the story, but I hadn’t decided how to pose the question directly to Boehner. Last night, I learned the location of the House Republican Leadership’s "Pledge to America," event.

Stark then goes to the "Pledge to America" event and gets close enough to not only make this video below, but toward the end of it, ask Boehner point-blank if he was sleeping with Lisbeth Lyons. Here's the video:

If you look at how close he got, Rep. Boehner didn't have a chance; he had to do something. The something he elected to do was to keep walking. Rep. Boehner could have said no, or "no way dude," but he kept walking by as Stark fired off his question, more than once. Indeed, Stark was close enough for Boehner to deck him, thought it's not clear what good that would have done for the man with the tan.

Lisbeth Lyons Doesn't Say No, Exactly

Not done, Stark then turned to a phone call to Lisbeth Lyons herself. In the next video, Stark asks essentially the flip side of the same question. But instead of saying "no," Lyons says "no comment" which keeps the fires of curiosity burning. Here's that video:

And they're burning hot.

What makes it harder for Boehner is all of this comes as he's trying to present the "Republican Pledge To America." And because he's drawing attention to himself, it helps fuel the story. Moreover, the New York Times and The New York Post are reportedly working on their own expose's of the alleged affair.

Who's Lisbeth Lyons?

Lisbeth Lyons, as mentioned, has been a lobbyist for the The Printing Industries of America. Her profile on the company's website reads:

Lisbeth Lyons is the Vice President, Government Affairs for the Printing Industries of America, having joined PIA/GATF in March 2005 as Director of Legislative Affairs. In this position, she is responsible for providing direct advocacy before Congress and the Administration on key industry legislative initiatives, as well as for the strategic direction of the organization’s grassroots and external outreach activities.
Previously, Lisbeth was Director, Government Affairs at the United States Telecom Association (USTA), representing telecommunications companies ranging from the nation’s largest Regional Bell Operating Companies (RBOCs) to small, rural telephone companies. Lisbeth also served as Director of Grassroots & Legislative Services at the National Federation of Independent Business (NFIB), the nation’s largest small business advocacy organization.
Lisbeth is a candidate for an M.A. in Political Management at The George Washington University and holds a B.A. from DePauw University in Greencastle, Indiana. Prior to working in Washington, D.C., Lisbeth was a teacher with Chicago Public Schools.
All Republican Lisbeth

Lisbeth's Internet trail is almost all Republican.  Aside from the alleged relationship with the Republican House Leader, Lyons has attended GOP lobbying functions like one sponsored by the Sunlight Foundation, and gave $2,300 to the campaign of Georgia Senator Saxby Chambliss.   And there's more.

While she took down her Linkedin page, Ms. Lyons forgot the cached version.  The cached Lisbeth Lyons Linkedin page shows she has just 22 connections, and the same education information as on the corporate page. If that's the case, why take it down?

The connections. She doesn't want anyone to see who she's related to, or to establish a trail. If she were really concerned about just taking down websites with information about her, Lyons would have started with her corporate profile page.

That's what the lobbyist Vicki Iseman did. Vicki was linked to Senator John McCain (R - Arizona) at the time of that story in 2008. Accused of an affair, Iseman threatened to sue The New York Times for $27 million, only to drop the lawsuit after the Times ran what turned out to be an ethics story. But the point is, she filed a lawsuit; Lyons has made no such threat as of this writing.

Other Findings On Lyons

Aside from the political cyber stuff, Lyons is also a speaker at conferences as part of her job. For example, as of this writing, Lisbeth's scheduled to speak at the Vision 3 Summit, March 13-16th 2011 in the Palm Dessert of California. Vision 3 is a conference "for the graphic communications industry."  She's also the Vice President of Government Affairs for PrintPac, the political action committee from Printing Industries Of America.

Overall, Lisbeth is a well-respected player in her profession.  Much as Vicki Iseman was.  This has all of the mark of, if not an affair, a possible climate of conflict of interest for Rep. John Boehner, and much like Senator McCain was accused of in 2008 with his friendship with Iseman.

Stay tuned.  (tips? email )

Leo Apotheker named new CEO of HP By Nikky Raney

Leo Apotheker has been named the new CEO of Hewlett Packard.

Taken from
Apotheker was with SAP (Systems Applications and Productions) for over 20 years, and most recently resigned as the CEO. He was a very prominent salesman from the software industry.

Apotheker has much experience internationally from working with the Germany company, SAP.

Wall Street Journal blog reports Robert Ryan, lead independent direct of HP, said in a statement:

"Leo is a strategic thinker with a passion for technology, wide-reaching global experience and proven operational discipline — exactly what we were looking for in a CEO."

The Financial Times online speaks with Paul Hamerman, Forrester Research analyst. Hamerman was very surprised by HP's decision:

"He brings some strengths to the table: he built the SAP global sales organization and is very well connected with very large companies. On the other hand, the employee morale and customer relations did suffer under his tenure as CEO and that is a risk for HP."

Apotheker will officially begin his role as CEO on November 1, 2010.

ESPN's Jay Mariotti Pleads No Contest In Domestic Violence Case

ESPN Personality Jay Mariotti has entered a plea of "no contest" in the domestic violence case involving the ESPN Around The Horn star and his now-ex-girlfriend.

If you recall, Mariotti, the former Chicago Sun Times and AOL Fanhouse columnist, was said to have engaged in an argument with his girlfriend because Jay was jealous she was flirting with another man at a Santa Monica, California nightclub.

The argument continued to her home in Venice, California, where Mariotti was reported to have been seen pushing her and throwing items around in her apartment.

Mariotti was charged with a whopping seven misdemeanors, including alleged theft of his girlfriend's purse.

Jay Slammed Online

The report of Jay Mariotti's legal problem hit the Internet August 21st, leading to a stream of blogs and tweets critical of the ESPN personality's behavior, since Jay was so harsh on athletes when they were charged with the same crime. AOL dropped him from Fanhouse and their were rumors that ESPN wasn't going to hire him or renew his contract.

ESPN has not as of this writing given a definitive statement on Jay's future with the organization, only stating they have "no plans" to use him "at this time." But that was weeks ago.

According to The LA Times, Mariotti's releaved to get on with his life. In a deal with he Los Angeles city attorney's office, Los Angeles County Court Commissioner John Green was said to have agreed to drop all of the other charges except the domestic violence charge. Jay is on three years probation, has to complete 40-days of community labor (stuff like sweeping the streets or picking up trash at a public park), stay away from the victim, and complete a 52-week domestic violence course.

The best thing for Jay is he avoids jail time, but what did he learn? Was alcohol involved? It would seem it was. What was the real story?

Jay Paints A Different Picture

Mariotti claims that he was just trying to help his female companion get home safely. His lawyer Nick Hanna said "Jay regrets having put himself in a position to have a public argument with his female companion, and was simply attempting to get her home safely. While he is deeply saddened by how this was portrayed, he is wiser for having lived through it."

The one problem with Hanna's statement is that LA Police claim they found cuts and bruises on her.

Jay's Future

Will Jay come back to ESPN's Around The Horn? What will his future be? That remains to be seen.

Stay tuned.

TechCrunch AOL Deal Reported At $30 Million: Zennie62 Scores

TechCrunch's Michael Arrington Scores With AOL
AOL's acquisition of the blog and media company TechCrunch is, according to a number of sources including Ad Age, valued at just north of $30 million. That means the post written in this space calling the value of TechCrunch at $30 million was correct.

It's too bad the TechCrunch deal's not getting more attention outside of the tech and advertising media community, because it's a milestone development that should signal just how important blogs have become as part of the New Media environment that's developed over the past five years, the life of TechCrunch.

Blogs Have Become Acquisition Targets

TechCrunch's $30 million sale brings an estimated 7 million monthly unique visitors to AOL. Gawker Media, the network including blogs like Jezebel and Gawker, is three times larger than TechCrunch in traffic size, but without the conferences. Thus, this blogger pegs Gawker's value at roughly $70 million.

Gawker has achieved the point of size where it's buying other websites. In February, it purchased the NewYork blog and directory CityFile, it's first acquisition. is not a network but a single blog site who's estimated value has been as high as $48 million in 2009 and $20 million in 2010.  The last reported deal proposed for Perez' site, which generates  an estimated 8 million monthly unique visitors, while at $20 million, is undervalued when the TechCrunch deal is considered (and Duncan Riley at Inquistr has a great post on this subject).  Fortunately, that deal did not go through.

TechCrunch To AOL Is A New Day

In the wake of the TechCrunch deal, watch for more blogs to network, increase their traffic, and form whole companies around their platforms in the future.  Blogs are now firmly at the center of the media landscape, signaling a new day.

Fisher Price Recall Of 11 Million Toys Along Four Products Lines

Fisher Price just caused a problem for Mattel's Barbie right at the start of the fall and winter shopping season.

 The long-standing division of Mattel announced a sweeping product recall that encompasses 11 million units along four product lines.

The problems included choking on small parts, and injuries due to falling on other kinds of parts.

According to ABC News, the specific products impacted are:

About 7 million Fisher Price Trikes and Tough Trikes toddler tricycles

About 950,000 Healthy Care, Easy Clean and Close to Me High Chairs

About 100,000 Fisher-Price Little People Wheelies Stand 'n Play Rampway

About 2.8 million Baby Playzone Crawl & Cruise Playground, Baby Playzone Crawl & Slide Arcade, Baby Gymnastics Play Wall, Ocean Wonders Kick & Crawl Aquarium (C3068 and H8094), 1-2-3 Tetherball, Bat & Score Goal.

Fisher Price' Playzone and Playground products have 46 examples of when "a small piece came free from the product" according to the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission's Chairwoman Inez Tanenbaum as told to ABC News.

In other words, if you have a Fisher Price product, visit the Mattel Consumer Products Website for more information and stop your child from using it.

Actor Tony Curtis Dies: Film Great Lived From 1925 To 2010

Sadly, the great film actor and father to Jamie Lee Curtis, Tony Curtis, passed away Wednesday of a heart attack in Nevada at 9:25 PM, according to EOnline.

Tony Curtis was a heartthrob to women for all of his adult life and for the six times he was married, and undoubtedly had a lot of fun in between.  Tony was a "man's man" who lived life to the fullest.

But Curtis, nominated for an Oscar, was also one hell of an actor.

Curtis was in 117 film and television roles, and starred in some of the movies that define American Culture. Movies like Spartacus (1960) with Kirk Douglas:

And of course, there was the timelessSome Like It Hot (1959) with Jack Lemmon and Marilyn Monroe:

And Curtis was the press agent Sidney Falco in this blogger's favorite, The Sweet Smell Of Success:

Tony Curtis is an American Prince. He will be missed, and never forgotten.

Danielle Harris: Film Retrospective & Hatchet II Party - Planet Hollywood NYC

The beautiful - ah, let's move beyond that and say she's also massively cool - Danielle Harris, is holding a film retrospective and party for Hatchet II today in New York City. So, stop by Planet Hollywood Times Square 1540 Broadway at 45th Street, today at 1:00 pm, for what promises to be a massive party.

Who's Danielle Harris? Well, before we present her publicist's description of her background, check out this video we made from Comic Con 2010 that is full on Danielle Harris. She should be one of FHM's 100 Sexiest Women:

Now, here's Danielle Harris:

Danielle Harris -- re-confirms her status as one of modern horror's great heroic scream queen heroines as she takes over the role of 'Marybeth' and goes mano-a-mano with the murderous Victor Crowley in Hatchet II.

A veteran film and television performer, Ms. Harris landed her first job at the age of seven on the hit series Spencer: For Hire, which led to her first starring role as Jamie Lloyd in the horror classics Halloween 4: The Return of Michael Myers and Halloween 5.

A number of leading and featured roles in movies and television shows came quickly after that, including turns in The Last Boy Scout, Don't Tell Mom The Babysitter's Dead, Free Willy and Daylight. On television, Ms. Harris was cast in regular roles in the series Roseanne and That's Life and recurring roles on ER and Brooklyn South. She also has a thriving voiceover career and was the voice of Sierra on the NBC series Father of the Pride and Debbie Thornberry on both the Nickelodeon animated series and a pair of The Wild Thornberry's Rugrats Gone Wild feature films from Paramount.

The last decade has seen Ms. Harris returning to the horror movie roots of her childhood with star turns in two acclaimed "re-imaginings" of classic horror fare with which she is all too familiar: Rob Zombie's Halloween and H2: Halloween II. She has also appeared in such recent chilling fare as Left for Dead, Blood Night, The Black Waters of Echo's Pond and Prank, which she co-directed with fellow scream queens Ellie Cornell and Heather Langenkamp. She'll next be seen in the horror offerings Stake Land and alongside her Hatchet II co-star Tony Todd in Night of the Living Dead: Origins, an animated 3D feature inspired by George Romero's original zombie opus.

HATCHET II Movie Trailer - Film Release October 1st

Hacthet II is the "Old School Horror" movie by Adam Green that this blogger has featured since Comic Con 2010. It stars Danielle Harris from Rob Zombie's Halloween movies, and Kane Hodder as the man-monster Victor Crowley. Here's the trailer followed by the official description:

Here's the official description.

Adam Green's HATCHET II - (Dark Sky Films)

Adam Green's HATCHET II picks up at the exact moment where 2006's HATCHET ends, wherein the quiet but hot-tempered Marybeth (Danielle Harris) is in a small boat in the Louisiana swamps, screaming for her life as she tries to free herself from the clutches of the deformed, swamp-dwelling killer Victor Crowley (Kane Hodder). Crowley has murdered Marybeth's family and other fellow vacationers who had come together on a tourist excursion in the swamp lands outside of New Orleans.

Marybeth escapes from Crowley and manages to make it back to civilization, where she once again encounters voodoo shop proprietor Reverend Zombie (Tony Todd), who had helped to arrange Marybeth and company's earlier, ill-fated tour of the area. To help Marybeth and also serve his own secret agenda, Reverend Zombie recruits a hardened pack of hunters to head back into the swamp to seek revenge on Victor Crowley.

The movie is a must-see gore-fest for fans of 80's style horror. Look for HATCHET II at a theater in your area.

Did Meg Whitman Treat Housekeeper Nicky Diaz Santillan Like Crap?

So late in her gubernatorial race against California Attorney General Jerry Brown, the last thing Former eBay CEO Meg Whitman needs is the words "Meg Whitman Housekeeper" as a popular search.

But that's what happened after Nicky Diaz Santillan befriended LA lawyer Gloria Allred, called somewhat derisively a "Feminist avenger."

Gloria Allred has scored another TV-worthy moment in a press conference that featured the tearful presentation of Ms. Santillan. What's so damaging for Whitman is that Nikky looks like someone you just want to take under your wing and protect from harm. And what Whitman is accused of doing and has not denied saying to this writing is that she devalued Ms. Santillan, a Latina.

In the press conference, Ms. Santillan claims Whitman told her "We don't know you," and that Meg asked her to work longer hours than she was going to pay her for.

The underlying problem for Whitman isn't that Santillan was illegal. The problem is that Whitman's presented as a mean, opportunistic user of a defenseless Latina woman who needs her help. This is Allred's best presentation of the year - light years beyond the porn star she threw in the face of Tiger Woods a few months ago.

While the Whitman campaign has released documents to claiming that Santillan lied on her job application. While that casts doubt on Nikky's claim that Whitman knew she was illegal when she hired her, it still does not address the issue of worker abuse.

(Docs are here)

It would be one thing if Whitman said she didn't know Nicky Diaz Santillan, but she admits she does. That opens the door to questions about their relationship.

Whitman's real problem is Santillan has made her look like an insensitive bully of a Latina worker. If Whitman doesn't address that claim, and soon, she can kiss her campaign goodbye.

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Jillian Michaels Turns Down Playboy Magazine Cover

Jillian Michaels, the ever-gracious star personal trainer on NBC's The Biggest Loser, and who this blogger interviewed at the 2010 NFL Draft, announced 17 minutes ago on Facebook and Twitter that she was offered the cover of Playboy:

Here's a day that I never thought would come... I got offered the cover of Playboy today. Obviously I decided to...
16 minutes ago via Facebook

What Michaels decided to do, and this blogger understands why, is turn down Playboy. But she made a mistake.

Unless they made a specific request that wasn't something she should do, like pose nude, Michaels could do what she wanted and use Playboy as a platform. There's no requirement that Jillian has to pose nude, and she can place her own conditions on the appearance, including a full interview.

For someone who's a spokeswoman for women's empowerment, that's a large platform to have. One set of well-placed comments would make Jillian's words the views of the day.  And on that note, here's the interview from the 2010 NFL Draft:

And even better, let's say Jillian accepted with conditions, and Playboy rejected the request? Instant PR for Jillian's message anyway plus, an opening to a discussion of Playboy's role in the 21st Century.

All this space can say is it's too bad, Jillian's decision, but completely understood.

Oakland Mayor's Race: The Candell Endorsement Problem

Dr. Candell - I didn't endorse him
Note: no endorsement for any mayoral candidate from this space, yet.

When this blogger attended the second Oakland Mayor's Race Forum at The Lakeshore Baptist Church, a sheet of paper was being passed around the audience. It was a petition to have the name of Dr. Terrance Candell on the ballot for the election for Mayor of Oakland. I asked what I was signing before I put my name to the paper; such a signature is not an endorsement of any candidate.

For some reason, my name is listed in the voter guide as endorsing Dr. Candell for Mayor. It's not true.

The news of this problem came from Oakland businessman and once-challenger of Councilmember Ignacio De La Fuente (District Five - Fruitvale, Central East Oakland) Mario Juarez, who via Facebook asked if I'd lost my mind.

Of sound mind, certainly.

A call to the City of Oakland City Clerk Office did confirm Mr. Juarez's report. The person on the phone then said they would check the records for the actual paperwork and call back in 15 minutes, but never did. That was shocking.  I'm still waiting for a phone call.

Talked To Dr. Candell

Eventually, Dr. Candell was successfully reached via phone and to his credit, he apologized for any appearance of impropriety. He said his staff had nothing to do with it.  However, he pointed a finger at The City of Oakland.

I consider Dr. Candell and all of the candidates friends and remain pledged to providing fair and honest coverage of the race.  But I have not endorsed Dr. Candell for Mayor of Oakland.

Don Macleay 
But how and why my name is on the official endorser list is beyond me, and is a very scary development. The only blue card I've filled out, which is the document one uses to officially endorse a candidate and give permission for one's name to be used in campaign literature, is for Libby Schaaf, who's running for the Oakland City Council District 4 (Oakland Hills - Montclair) Seat.

That's it.

Planned To Help Don Macleay As Well

What's so weird is that Don Macleay personally asked if I would also help him get on the ballot and while I said I would, never made it over to his event to do so.   Too bad.  I wonder what the person who copied my signature or got the idea I endorsed would have done then?

Whatever the issue, the occurrence of this is disturbing.

Part of me believes that it may have been a conspiracy to do anything to take votes away from Don Perata. The other part of me is weirded-out that I'm such a public figure someone feels they have to do this.   In the future, no one gets an assist from this blogger in this way or in any way that doesn't involve the use of video.

Regardless, here's the word: I've not endorsed Dr. Candell for Mayor of Oakland.

Senator George LeMieux puts nail in 99ers coffin

Moments ago Senator George LeMieux (R-FL) objected to Debbie Stabenow’s request for unanimous consent for her Discharge Resolution in order to Bring the Americans Want to work Act to the Senate floor for a vote. (at present this bill is in the Senate Finance Committee)

A Discharge Resolution is a special motion in the Senate that any senator may introduce to relieve a committee from consideration of a bill before it. The resolution can be called up for Senate approval or disapproval in the same manner as any other Senate business.

This is disgusting. Millions of Americans have been without UI for 7 - 8 months and the Senator pulls this? With Florida unemployment so high?

He is now responsible for every one who goes hungry and/or who dies because Senator Lemieux took away the hope of millions of hurting Americans. Once again, the republicannots have proven how little they care about Americans and the economy. You LeMieux, by this unconscionable act, have condemned millions of American 99ers to death by starvation. May God forgive you, because America NEVER will - Mr. LeMieux.

I say we all tell Mr. LeMieux's staff how we feel about this heartless act by the Senator, especially when only 10 days ago his staffers were saying He would not oppose the Tier 5 bill. Ask for Lauren, Legislative Director Michael Zehr or Ken Lundberg to express your outrage over what this Senator has done to the 99er Nation.

Senator George LeMieux, 202-224-3041

Guess he has really earned his place on the Wall of Shame:

San Francisco-Based Recology One Step From Final BOS Approval

San Francisco-based Recology is just one voting step away from approval to be the new collector of the city and county's non-recycled refuse. The San Francisco Board of Supervisor's is scheduled to vote on a resolution after it's introduced on October 5th.

If approved, the plan, reported about in this space before, will transfer the city's refuse from the South Bay's Altamont Landfill to Recology’s Ostrom Road Landfill, once the former reaches contracted capacity in 2015.

The resolution was filed and recommended by the San Francisco Department of the Environment, who's Director, Melanie Nutter said "This is a good deal for San Francisco and for the environment. Ostrom Road is a state-of-the-art facility that employs industry best practices, and the price is dramatically lower than the competition. This will help us maintain reasonable refuse collection costs as we move toward zero waste."

Mutter estimates the deal will save San Francisco ratepayers up to $125 million over the total life of the contract.

San Francisco Sets The Tone

According to The SF Department of the Environment, San Francisco is the nation's leader in recycling, with 77 percent of its waste stream diverted for that purpose.

John Kerry Says Karl Rove Is Back

Senator John Kerry's (D - Mass) email to this Democratic Liberal blogger warns that famed Republican Strategist Karl Rove "Is Back." Kerry's referring to Rove's increasing visibility in the media, particularly Fox News, of late.

What Kerry didn't note was that Rove's shining a critical light on that anti-masterbation, professional political one-advocate of witchcraft, GOP Delaware Senate Candidate Christine O'Donnell. Still, here's what Kerry's saying about Karl Rove:

Karl Rove is back - like an even worse sequel to a movie panned by the critics.

In 2006, you beat Karl Rove, taking back the Congress. Then you probably thought you finished the job in 2008, electing Barack Obama in the White House and bringing health care reform to America, and cracking down on Wall Street abuses, big reforms just starting to dig us out of the hole Karl Rove and his friends dug for us.

But, these guys don't go away quietly - Barack Obama's work bringing change to Washington means Karl Rove didn't have a hard time finding powerful interests to foot the bill for his comeback. And now he's spending millions to destroy Democrats in Senate races around the country.

We can't let him succeed. Once was one time too many for the politics of Karl Rove.

Remember Rand Paul, the man who thinks the problem with Medicare is that seniors don't pay enough? Karl Rove's shadow groups are spending millions telling lies about the great Democrat who's trying to beat him, Jack Conway.

In New Hampshire, Paul Hodes, faces attack ads distorting his positions and trying to tear him down. And in Missouri, Robin Carnahan, the daughter of the great Governor Mel Carnahan and a wonderful public servant, is getting smeared by millions of Rove-directed corporate funds.

They're even pouring millions into attacking Richard Blumenthal in his race against Linda McMahon, the "wrestling" titan who made millions while WWE wrestlers paid a horrible price.

It bears repeating: lies win if they drown out the truth. Karl Rove has done it time and again. But we've beaten his lies before, and we'll do it again.

Contribute to these great candidates right now, and we can make sure that the next Rove sighting doesn't take place in the backrooms and committee hearings of the United States Senate, paying back the agents of the status quo with the radical agenda they want to bring to Washington.

John Kerry

Senator Kerry would have done better to use Rove's words on Christine O'Donnell in the email. In this case, Karl Rove's more of a friend than an enemy to Dems.

Godzilla 2012 3D Gets Star Wars 3D 2012 Competition

Jumping on the 3D bandwagon and setting up a 2012 competition with Godzilla 2012, George Lucas and LucasFilm announced the remake of The Star Wars Movies in 3D.

That means, not a remake as in a whole new movie, but the kind of 2D to 3D conversion Dreamworks Animation CEO Jeffrey Katzenberg spoke out against at the recent 3D Entertainment Summit in Universal City, California.

Katzenberg Hates 2D To 3D Conversion

In his speech, which you can see with a click below, Katzenberg said that he wasn't in favor of any 2D to 3D conversion:

Part two:

Moreover, Dreamworks has pushed something called Stereoscopic 3D, which means the movie is made from the start as a 3D picture.

Both Katzenberg, Avatar Producer and Director James Cameron, and some Sci-Fi fans has panned the 2D to 3D process, pointing to 2010's Clash Of The Titans as the best example of the worst work done in the field.

But the speech Katzenberg gave was to an audience that included some who do the kind of 2D to 3D conversion work he hates. Regardless of Katzenberg's take, 2D to 3D conversion has become the movie production flavor of the year. The revenue returns on 3D movies of any kind, conversion or not, have been impressive. But will that translate to Star Wars?

That's an open question we'll address more later. But for the present, LucasFilm promises that the conversion process will be done well. To assure that, Industrial Light & Magic have been assigned the conversion task. According to The New York Times, John Knoll, a visual effects supervisor for Industrial Light & Magic, said "getting good effects is a matter of taking the time and getting it right."

Stay tuned.

Anti-austerity protests all over Europe By Nikky Raney

Austerity is when a government reduces its spending and/or increases user fees and taxes to pay back creditors.

In over 30 European countries workers are holding anti-austerity strikes and demonstrations due to the many austerity measures the governments have adopted in order to fight public deficit crises.

Wage cuts and tax increases have been put in place by the government although there is a very high unemployment rate, hitting 20 percent over the summer. Europe lost millions of jobs during this financial crisis, and the governments are eager to save money.

There are also plans that may include pension reductions and making the age of retirement higher.

In Spain protests were throwing eggs at buses on streets in Madrid. The workers on strike also sat in front of the parking garage for buses in the city and screamed "scabs" at drivers that attempted to drive out onto the road.

Photo taken from AP
The headquarters of the European Union, in Brussels, Belgium,  is being barricaded by police. Labour leaders are hoping that over 100 thousand workers will gather outside the headquarters and protest, as reported by the BBC.

Jean-Clade Mailly, a French labour leader who heads the FO union, told Al Jazeera:

"Those responsible for this crisis, the banks, the financial markets and the ratings agencies are all too quick in asking for help from states and public budgets and today want the workers to pay for their debts."

Glee Britney Spears Episode Gets Hammered But Is A Hit On Twitter

Britney Spears Before Glee

Apparently a Facebook campaign helping Britney Spears get on Glee didn't translate into the kind of critical success Betty White realized after her Facebook campaign. But it got eyeballs.

As of this writing, Britney Spears's appearance on Glee is being hammered as resulting in an episode that didn't have the normal elements that marked success for Glee.

The Hollywood Gossip has an interesting take written by "Free Britney" that reads:

There wasn't even original Glee music, the hallmark of the show, which fans know connects the material to the characters in a very personal way. Not Tuesday.

The numbers were chosen basically because there was a Facebook campaign for a Britney episode and the star's manager lobbied for it. Not exactly organic.

Don't get us wrong, there were plenty of good lines and some of the covers were actually pretty good. But you can't abandon all storytelling like this as a stunt.

And over at The Washington Post, Jen Chaney and Liz Kelly are asking for an end to "celeb-focused tributes" in the wake of the Glee Britney Spears Episode.

But not every reviewer panned the show. David Itzkoff at the New York Times explains that it was a "total gas" when glee-choir member Brittany S. Pierce met Britney Spears on the show.

But while the Britney Spears Glee appearance may or may not have been well-done, and that's a matter for disagreement, it was certainly an attention getter, which was the whole point of having Spears on Glee. Ratings and eyeballs win. Spears and Glee were a hit on Twitter, with the show grabbing the Twitter Top Trends for the time it aired.

When a TV show hits the Top Trends on Twitter as it's on, that means people are watching it and and are engaged it in.

Let's see what the ratings report reveals.

Stay tuned.

TechCrunch Disrupt SF Women In Tech Panel Final Word (Maybe)

After landing and looking at the video from the TechCrunch Disrupt SF Women In Tech Panel this blogger had high hopes for, the final verdict is the panel was a disaster. Unfortunately, the moderator, Sara Lacy, is my friend and most at fault. Personally this space is very disappointed in Sara. She did not conduct herself with the level of care, empathy, and maturity she's more than capable of expressing.

Have a look for yourself:

A moderator's job is to coordinate the discussion for the panel, not eat the panelists, which is what we got. The overall fact is that beyond TechCrunch and TechCrunch Disrupt the Tech World has a massive diversity problem that needs to be addressed.

Rachel Sklar's correct and courageous in bringing up the pressing problem; Sara and TechCrunch Founder Michael Arrington were wrong and cowardly in not allowing a good, meaningful conversation to develop.

Moreover the discussion of why the ratio of women and minorities is low in Tech was not helped by a woman who's CEO of a company formed with her better known Tech husband, making crazy statements. While Cyan Banister may be well known in Silcon Valley, her statement that people like "Italians" have been discriminated against was nuts.

Cyan said that she was against Affirmative Action and believed people rose on merit.  But she never considered that her own rise may not have happened had she not hooked up with a White tech guy in Angel Investor Scott Banister.  Sara never asked Cyan about that; I would have. Not discounting hard work, but having a partnership helps.

White women rising in American business by hooking up with White business men in the same field is common place (read PowerPlay, the story of Mary Cunningham, as one example).   And no, it does not advance the role of Women in Tech.

Cyan's comment about people rising by merit, considering how that's just another person using a measuring stick that reflects their own prejudices, was silly at best, and sad at worst.   She must consider that it's impossible for people to effectively ferret out their own "issues" - as Sara admitted she had going into the discussion - and so wind up using the idea of "merit" to cloud their biases.

Indeed, the various issues of the panelists so dominated the conversation, we were robbed of what could have been an effective talk.  The moderator set the tone for the discussion by allowing her own "stuff" to overshadow the need for a respectful exchange.  Sara went on the attack and that wasn't necessary at all.

Give her an A, for Awful.

Brown Whitman Debate: Jerry Brown Beats Meg Whitman

If you're a Californian with over 20 years in the state, you don't have to pay much attention to the video replays to know that Jerry Brown was light years ahead of Meg Whitman in Tuesday's debate.

Simply put, Meg Whitman came off as a policy wonk with bad hair, whereas Jerry Brown appeared as an experienced elected official who knows how California works.

Take the exchange on the California Budget. Whitman talked about ideas, as in when she said that she would start the budget process earlier. But Brown talked specific actions beyond a start date.

Jerry said that he would have each legislator go through their budget and look for areas to cut. In short, former Governor Brown is more comfortable talking about how to make the California government work than Meg Whitman is.

On the subject of Illegal Immigration Meg Whitman's problem of not understanding the system of California operation comes up again. Brown favors a path to legalization, whereas Meg Whitman does not.

But then Meg says something confusing. She says that she doesn't favor a path to legalization, but then says we all know illegal aliens are here "for the jobs." So making them legal allows them to get a job; not doing so just perpetuates the cycle of deportation and return to America.

There are other examples, but the overall result is Jerry Brown is more comfortable with himself and with dealing with California's problems. Let's face it. Meg Whitman hasn't done that. But the Former eBay CEO has another problem: her appearance.

Someone has to say this, so it might as well be this blogger: Meg Whitman's hair looked awful. It seemed frayed and her eyes looked tired.  Meg has looked better before and it could be the rigors of the campaign have caught up to her.  A pair of glasses would have made a big difference in Whitman's appearance for the debate.  One commenter wrote that Whitman looked like "Hagatha."

Whatever the case, Meg Whitman could benefit from a good makeover. In fact, so can the State of California. The perception here is Jerry Brown - who doesn't need a makeover and one can argue already got one while he was Mayor of Oakland - is better for the job of California Governor than Meg Whitman.

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

S3706 on Senate Calendar for Sept 29th?

According to a tweet by @StabenowPress this afternoon Senator Stabenow's bill, #S3706, The Americans Want to Work Act, will be on the Senate floor tomorrow. More info:

Check out the tweet for yourself:

99ers are all encouraged to contact the following all day tomorrow and until this bill passes:

The retiring Senator Voinovich may be just what the 99er Nation has been praying for and all unemployed Americans are urged to contact his offices in mass this week.

Washington D.C. Phone: 202-224-3353

Cincinnati, OH
 phone: (513) 684-3265 fax: (513) 684-3269

Cleveland, OH
 phone: (216) 522-7095 fax: 522-7097

Columbus, OH 
phone: (614) 469-6697 fax: 469-7733

Nelsonville, OH 
phone: (740) 441-6410 fax: (740) 753-3551

Toledo, OH 
phone: (419) 259-3895 fax: (419) 259-3899

Another possible ally in the fight to pass our Tier 5 bill could be Senator George LeMieux of Florida.
Washington, DC Phone: (202) 224-3041, Toll free: (866) 630-7106 Fax: (202) 228-5171

The two Senators from the great state of Maine may also be receptive to helping the unemployed “exhaustees” get this bill passed or at least stop a filibuster threat.

Senator Olympia J. Snowe:
Washington, DC Phone: (202) 224-5344 Toll Free: (800) 432-1599 Fax: (202) 224-1946

Senator Susan Collins
Washington, DC Phone: (202) 224-2523 Fax: (202) 224-2693

Call the White House comments line to demand the same. White House Comments Line 202-456-1111 Comment line is only open 9:00 AM - 5:00 PM Monday thru Friday EST. ***REMIND the President that this is an emergency and WE the people (middle class then - impoverished now) voted him in office. Now he needs to speak up for us and do whatever he can to assure our Tier 5 becomes law NOW!

More contacts: (Some my be duplicated)

Congressional Toll free Switchboard: 1-866-220-0044

Senator Harry Reid 202-224-3542 REID FAX 202-224-7327

Reno office:Tel 775-686-5750 Fax 775-686-5757

Reid Staffers:,,,,,,



Schumer Staffers:,,,,,


STABENOW FAX # 202-228-0325

Stabenow Staffer Matt Williams 202-360-5014  matt’s cellular number

Stabenow Staffer Ilana Levinson 202-228-3674 Ilana direct number

Other Stabenow staffers:,,,

ALSO: Stabenow's back office line: (202) 224 - 1437 Call them now. Call them often. Tell them you are from 99er press.

Here are additional Republicans we want to contact in mass now:
Senator Richard Shelby, 202-224-5744 Legislative Director Laura Friedel
Senator George LeMieux, 202-224-3041 Legislative Director  Michael Zehr  (no email for Michael, email instead)
Senator John Ensign, 202-224-3041 Legislative Director Pam Thiesse
Senator Kit Bond, 202-224-5741 Legislative Director Kara Smith
Senator Susan Collins, 202-224-2523 Legislative Director Rob Epplin
Senator  Scott Brown, 202-224-4543 
Steven Schrage – Chief of Staff  (I cannot release his email. Have no other staffer emails to offer)
Senator Olympia Snowe, 202-224-5344
 Legislative Director Ron Le Francois

A complete list of legislators can be found at:  

These are the most up to date contacts I have, so if any of them has changed their email due to the heavy traffic in our past campaigns, the emails may be returned.

Incumbent too timid to debate in MN District 2

According to the campaign spokesman of former MN State Representative Shelley Madore, currently running for Congress in Minnesota's Second District, they received a formal response Monday from GOP incumbent Congressman John Kline (R-MN) rejecting an opportunity to debate her in front of a live audience in the Second Congressional District at any time that was convenient to him.
"Only 12% of voters believe most members of Congress are more interested in helping people than in helping their own careers. Seventy-six percent (76%) say most in Congress put their own careers first. Skepticism has remained this high since October."
Rasmussen Reports
In a year when incumbents are on shaky ground, Kline is keeping his head down. "It saddens me that the voters of this district will have one 25-minute radio interview just one week before the election as their only opportunity to evaluate our ability to best represent them in Washington," said Madore discussing the incumbent's reluctance to make time to appear before district voters. Kline's voting record is more conservative than Michelle Bachmann (MN-6), and his district gets back less than half the federal taxes they pay now that Kline's anti-earmark ideology has painted him into a corner when it comes to helping his constituents.
"Rep. John Kline has been in office for eight years; he seems to take for granted that his seat is secure despite the 18% public approval rating for members of Congress. I believe the voters of this district have had enough of elitist Washington politics.

I have appeared at FarmFest and the Goodhue County Veterans candidate forums and will participate in two Transportation Alliance candidate forums in the next two weeks, all of which John Kline has refused to attend. In his response, John Kline cited his conversations with voters at community events over the summer. I have spent the last nine months listening to voters' concerns about jobs, health care, transportation and education funding. These are serious times and demand a serious candidate willing to work for your vote."

Former Minnesota Representative Shelley Madore
Madore's campaign has reportedly conveyed an additional offer made Monday by the Burnsville Chamber of Commerce to host a debate, seeking an opportunity for voters to compare and contrast the two candidates and their records in a setting where the public can see and judge both.

According to Rasmussen incumbents are in trouble, and Kline's lack of initiative for projects within the district while he continues to vote for earmarks inserted by other members of his party leaves him open to questions from the voters. His record of voting against funding for veterans has led some to accuse him of supporting war without supporting the warriors. Madore's 35 Cent Tour has successfully explained to Minnesotans that not all earmarks are pork, and at least one survey suggests swing voters (those who report they have not stuck strictly to one party in the past) believe Kline needed to do more than repeat talking points if he wanted to represent them in Congress again - and I'm inclined to believe them.

Thomas Hayes is a political strategist, entrepreneur, and journalist currently working for the Madore for Congress campaign in Minnesota's Second Congressional District. He contributes regularly to a host of web sites on topics ranging from economics and politics to culture and community, and helped the Madore campaign to a convincing upset victory in the August primary.

TechCrunch Disrupt SF: Sara Lacy Eats The Panelists

This blogger watched the TechCrunch Disrupt SF "Women In Tech Panel" from Gate 73 while waiting to board the flight to Denver then to Atlanta. In fact, this post is being written as I wait standby. The tweets preceded what was on the USTREAM broadcast:

EmilysHere - why is sarah lacy so angry? #tcdisrupt
10 minutes ago via web

sue_anne - Had high hopes for #womenintech panel. Unfortunately moderator set a bad tone and it turned in to a snarkfest. #tcdisrupt

emilyjo - RT @tenaciouscb: Renaming "Women in Tech" to "You shut up. No, you shut up." #tcdisrupt <--watching online...exhausting!

Those Twitter tweets sum up what part of the panel I saw here at the gate. In fact, when the livestream was first activated, Sara's angry voice lit up a good 20-foot square area of the gate. Volume down on the computer.

First, let's get this out of the way. Sara's awesome. She's done a lot for herself in carving a good niche in tech journalism. She's a friend. Well, we'll see after this little crit, but for now, yes.

To watch her just go out and eat the panelists was disappointing. Presented with an effort to show Women In Tech getting along, Sara revealed just why there's a problem after all: infighting.

In other words, the old problem demonstrated at times when a minority of people in any group faces discrimination - one person saying "I'm OK," and the other saying "I'm not." The the two fight rather than seek agreement.

Well, I've got my ticket. On to Denver.

And wishing I were backstage to see the aftermath of this war.

Sara, don't hurt em.

Google Blogger Needs Stop Auto-Removing Blogs; Making Mistakes

There are millions of blogs hosted by Google's Blogger division and under the "" domain. Many people use their blogs as the basis for their business activities. So, it should come as no surprise that the same people are shocked to learn their blogs are deleted because they're called "spam blogs" when in point of constant fact they're not.

Recently, this happened to a friend of mine, who's blog this blogger set up on, extolling the virtues of using the service and how she could base her fitness business there and generate revenue. So when Blogger took her blog down as spam, presumably because she posts maybe twice a month, she went ballistic on Google, Blogger, and me.

She called and just started crying and yelling: "Google's doing this! They run everything! It's not right! I'll go broke! You've got to do something because you got me into this. Why did they do this? I have the right to blog when I want to!

Basically, I tried to explain that one needed to update their blog so it didn't look like a website. She didn't care. "So fucking what! That's bullshit! It's my blog. I can blog when I want." And more crying.

Basically, she's right; she can blog when she wants to and Google has to stop acting like God. Regardless of the Terms of Service, which most people don't read, Google and Blogger do by their words make you the user think the blog is your blog. After all, the search for "" reads "Blogger: create your free blog."

Really, given what they can do, they should call it "their blog" because the Terms of Service state they can remove it for any reason. That's mean and unnecessary legal language that should be jettisoned immediately.

That language should change. It implies that Google Blogger can decide "We don't like that you're writing militant black stuff," not tell you that, and take your blog down. Now what militant black stuff is differs from person to person, so that would be a mistake. But you get the point.

My Friend Gets Her Blog Back

After a few hours Google Blogger did restore my friend's blog. But really that should not have happened. Google Blogger should be in the business of helping people maintain their online businesses, not scaring the crap out of them just because they can.

This economy is too bad for too many people to allow that policy of auto-removing spam blogs to stand. Google Blogger must get rid of it, and sooner rather than later.

Google Blogger has the potential to change the world just by making it easier to blog, but also by letting bloggers know it stands with them and will not yank their content just because some Blogger autobot was drunk with power.

TechCrunch Disrupt SF: AOL Close To Buying TechCrunch. Movie?

TechCrunch, the Tech blog started by former lawyer Michael Arrington, is reportedly the center of a deal to be purchased by AOL.

If so, the deal, expected to be announced at TechCrunch Disrupt SF, is a major sign of the growing power and value of blogs. was recently valued at $20 million, and was at $48 million.  From that, and given TechCrunch revenue generation of about $3 million, a fair estimate for purchase is about $30 million.

Michael started TechCrunch in 2005 and has skillfully grown it to where it is today, known not just for covering the Tech industry, but and at times for better, sometimes worse, influencing it.

Michael's best move was in bringing in Heather Harde as CEO. Her presence has served to add stability and legitimacy to the organization around the blog. The conferences have dramatically improve in terms of presentation and sponsor visibility.

Though it all, Michael has managed to maintain a sense of humor:

According to Gigaom, the terms of the deal have not been announced. AOL CEO Tim Armstrong, who was at TechCrunch Disrupt New York City, is expected to appear at TechCrunch Disrupt SF this week, and that, reportedly, is when the deal will be announced.

Congratulations to Michael, Heather, and the staff at TechCrunch. This blogger's waiting for the movie.

Wonder what it would be called?

Arianna Huffington Called "Quintessential Opportunist" By BitterGate Blogger

Arianna Huffington 
The Huffington Post's controversial policy of refusing to pay bloggers has created its first high profile critic: Mayhill Fowler. In a blistering blog post, Fowler calls Huffington Post Founder Arianna Huffington the quintessential opportunist for, from Fowler's perspective, using her and generating web traffic, ad revenue, and publicity from Mayhill's work.

If you don't remember her name, Mayhill Fowler's the person behind the Obama "BitterGate" scandal. During the 2008 Presidential Primary Campaign, then-Senator Barack Obama appeared at a fund-raiser at the Pacific Heights district of San Francisco on a bright, sunny, April 6th Sunday day.

Mayhill was there and took a tape recorder that was hidden from view of the campaign staff. If they saw it, staffers would have certainly kicker her out of the mansion as she not only wasn't supposed to record Obama, she wasn't even supposed to be in the building as she was banned from the campaign.  Yes, before BitterGate.

BitterGate's Mayhill Fowler 
Fowler recorded Obama making this now-famous statement:

So it's not surprising then that they get bitter, they cling to guns or religion or antipathy to people who aren't like them or anti-immigrant sentiment or anti-trade sentiment as a way to explain their frustrations.

Her recording led to this blog post in the April 11th, 2008 Huffington Post, and a giant firestorm of negative publicity that was a nightmare for Obama For America.

Harder still for the campaign to take, as this blogger has explained before, Fowler wasn't even supposed to be in the room when Barack made that statement. Mayhill had already crafted a reputation for quoting people without notes, only to have someone complain they were misquoted in one of her blog posts where she was overly critical of everything the Obama campaign did.

Mayhill tried to present herself as an Obams supporter, and some have quoted her and her husband's campaign contributions level as "maxing out" at $2,300 for the primary as proof. But this blogger knew better as Fowler was consistently aiming to report negative news about Obama for America and positive news about then-Senator Hillary Clinton's campaign.  

How did I know this?  Because I was the first Huff Post blogger assigned by staff to work with Mayhill as we both lived in Oakland, California at the time.  I took note of her anti-Obama blogs entries and backed away from working with her as I was and still am pro-Obama.

But Mayhill hit her targtet. Her BitterGate story has been referenced over 9,000 times online and many times on television. And for a time, it threatened to derail the Obama For President effort.

Eventually, Barack Obama overcame BitterGate, and everything else, to become president.

Mayhill Fowler Becomes Famous But Remains Unpaid

Regardless of what Mayhill claims in her blog post, she was highly sought after for appearances on radio and on panels.  This, over the time where The Huffington Post was taking major shit for Fowler's actions.  What she did was the supposed to be the stuff of Fox News, not the liberal Huff Post.

Many who experienced Mayhill's anti-Obama work weren't happy with that episode.

Still, Fowler continued to blog and take trips to political events, all paid out of her own pocket.  In her blog post complaining about the stories she pitched and The Huffington Post's refusal to monetarily support her desire to do them, Mayhill still doesn't get that many people still hold a grudge against her for BitterGate.  A lot of those people have relationships with Arianna Huffington.

So when Arianna told Mayhill the Huff Post didn't have a budget to fund her requests, even as they were paying Sam Stein, what she meant was she didn't have money for someone viewed as an enemy of the Obama campaign.

What Mayhill doesn't seems to have learned is that forming relationships and protecting them is a lot more important than issuing the blog post that's a campaign torpedo.  So, The Huffington Post figured they would just let her go and do her thing now that the campaign is over and Obama won.   The Huff Post wins because they're not paying her or encouraging her.  Thus, they're not liable for whatever she does.

Mayhill's Right: The Huff Post Model Sucks

For all of her faults, Mayhill's correct when she blogs that "The Huffington Post business model is to provide a platform for 6,000 opinionators to hold forth. Point of view is cheap." There are ways to cause bloggers to be paid. The Huffington Post, and some other newssites, are operating under the wrong business model. At we cause bloggers to be paid and some have made as much as $60 per day for very little work.

But where Mayhill's wrong is in writing as if The Huffington Post was going to, at some point, pay her.

There was never a plan for that and a number of people didn't want it.

Monday, September 27, 2010

Segway Owner Dies Driving His Own Segway Off A Cliff

To learn that the Segway Owner dies because he piloted his Segway off a cliff is as much sad as it is strange.

One would think Jimi Heselden, the creator of the Segway Personal Transporter, would have known how to pilot his own vehicle to avoid such a development. Apparently not.

According to The Associated Press:

A witness had reported seeing a man fall Sunday over a 30-foot (9-meter) drop into the river near the village of Boston Spa, 140 miles (225 kilometers) north of London.

There's not much information on how this happened, and reportedly there's a lot of lack of information on how to drive the Segway and a number of YouTube videos showing people falling off of it:

Meanwhile, RIP Jimi Heselden.

TechCrunch Disrupt SF Women In Tech Panel: @digitalsista's view

The second blog post in this space about Tuesday's TechCrunch Disrupt SF 2010 "Women In Tech" panel started a conversation. Indeed, one that's more valuable than for AngelGate.

The post, TechCrunch Disrupt SF Women In Tech Panel - Where's The Black Girl?, called for the need for all to embrace the objective of diversity if we're really going to "change the ratio" of women and people of color at tech conferences like TechCrunch Disrupt SF

Two observers brought a blog post by Shireen Mitchell aka @digitalsista (pictured at left) to this blogger's attention.   Called "a tale of two challenges at tech conferences," it's a great and intimate view of how Shireen, recognized as one of the " 2010 Top Women to Watch" in Tech (and note, in all of Tech, not just the black wing), was left out of a panel at the AlwaysOn Stanford Summit called "Women and Entrepreneurship," even though the other panelists lobbied to have her on it.

Lisa Stone of BlogHer was even willing to give up her seat to Shireen just to have a diverse panel.

Wait. Couldn't they have just added an extra chair?

At any rate, Shireen then notes she was, as they say, "cool with it" until a panel started called "The Open Media Revolution Is Over: Are we Better Off?" and with, as Shireen reports:

Michael Arrington, Tech Crunch, Robert Scoble, Scobleizer, Quentin Hardy, Forbes, Josh Tyrangiel, Bloomberg Businessweek and Chamillionaire, rapper moderated by AlwaysOn's own Tony Perkins.

Shireen correctly observes that Chamillionaire is an entertainer and his own Twitter page explains that he's "Bio Platinum & grammy award winning recording artist. Tech conference tourist. Professional sports trash talker. Knowledge seeker. Boss."

When the irony of having a non-techie on a panel was brought up to colleague Erika Alexander, Erika observed that one can be a "tech-entertainer." While Shireen says that's a good point, I disagree. In this case there's no evidence that Chamillionaire is a person who's established his own tech start up like, say, Sports Business Simulations. Had he done so, he would qualify as a "tech-entertainer."

At TechCrunch Disrupt SF, the one black entrepreneur who should be on someone's panel is MC Hammer, who was the founder of a startup called DanceJam that he later sold and reportedly for a profit.   MC Hammer is a true tech-entertainer.

In fact, he's, well, uh, OK, the entertainment headliner at TechCrunch Disrupt SF.

Michael Arrington. Man, put that dude on a panel.  Will ya?

Ed Schultz confirms S3706 will get Senate attention this week

Ed Schultz confirms S3706 will get Senate attention this week. Today on his radio show, Ed Schultz ended the weekend speculation over whether the Stabenow story was in-fact true and what prompted him (Ed) to make that call to the Michigan Senator last Friday, on behalf of the 99er Nation.

Ed has expressed a great deal of concern over the impact disenfranchised voters, like the 99er NOVOs would have on the midterm elections. Last week, Ed announced on the radio his determination to change the minds of those who had planned to sit out this election, unless the Americans Want to Work Act was brought to the Senate floor.

On today’s show, Schultz gave his rendition of how the process may play out this week. He confirmed that Senator Debbie Stabenow (D-MI) did commit to bring S3706 to the floor for a vigorous debate and a possible voice vote. He also acknowledged the distinct possibility that the Republicans will likely block such a vote. Ed did add that there was a possibility that a few Republican Senators may help override such filibustering techniques, but that is anyone’s guess. No telling what the Republicans might do.

Ed said he was not sure if this was going to be enough to change the minds of the 99er NOVO movement, but it is a step in the right direction.

After hearing this radio dialog, the San Diego Unemployment Examiner contacted Rob C. to confirm his intention was to indeed dissolve the 99er NOVO movement, once the bill gets to the Senate floor. “All we want is a fighting chance to survive,” Rob explained. “Ed has done his part, Stabenow should do her part and then we will keep our promise to take all the energy of the NOVOs and put it toward a Democratic win in November. There may be those in the NOVO movement who disagree with doing so, but that is the beauty of living in America. We all have the right to choose for ourselves and then act accordingly, but the great majority of the NOVOs are on board with this decision.”

At the close of his radio show today, Ed Schultz announced that he will have 99er information tonight on his MSNBC show that you do not want to miss.

TechCrunch Disrupt SF Women In Tech Panel - Where's The Black Girl?

On Tuesday, TechCrunch Disrupt SF will host a panel that is provocative not just by its title, but by the panelists. It is simply called "Women in Tech" and consists of, according to the agenda, Lauren Leto (Bnter), Leila Chirayath Janah(Samasource), Sara Chipps (Girl Developer IT), Cyan Banister (Zivity), Rachel Sklar (, Michelle Greer (SimpleSpeak Media).

Now, the idea behind the panel, this blogger assumes, is to talk about the lack of women in tech. It's a subject my friend Mediaite Editor-At-Large Rachel Sklar has really placed a laser focus on of late, starting a blog called "Changing The Ratio" and poking at TechCrunch Founder and Editor Michael Arrington for forming an event in TechCrunch Disrupt she feels is not inclusive of women.

Rachel's efforts have landed her a well-deserved invitation to be on the panel that meets on Tuesday morning.

So, I wondered, who's on the panel, other than Rachel? The answer, several white girls and one of apparent Indian (Asian) decent.

Where's the black and the Latino women?

The point is, talk about diversity should not stop at one group of people, because that method of thinking doesn't help solve the overall problem. Moreover, the discussion becomes "white male centric" - in other words, "Why aren't we as (white) women in this group of people we perceive as mostly white male?"

Even with the increasing diversity of men in tech as evident by the TechCrunch Disrupt SF Hackathon, the idea is that it's still a white guy's game. But the people who complain about this don't seem to realize they're excluding others themselves. So what we get are panels on Women in Tech, Blacks in Tech (at SXSW), and so on, but no discussion of how to really alter this picture before us.

The problem is there's a lack of understanding of the need to think in a racially and sexually diverse way. It's not enough to just have a panel of, frankly, hot almost all-white women (was that Michael's doing?) talking about the issue, but to ask is that panel itself diverse? The answer is no.

So are we really solving the problem, or talking around it?

We're talking around it.

Diversity-think must be in the DNA of a group or culture, period. It's all about making everyone feel that they're included in a discussion, in other words that you're thinking about them. What we forget is that everyone want to be heard. They want to know if you're affirming their value by paying attention to them. There's nothing wrong with that and it's human nature to want that.

The overall problem is many people feel they must make groups that are exclusive if only to give value to themselves. Or to take it a step beyond that, to make themselves feel better about who they are at the expense of others. Thus, some, like Michael, will say "It's not the fault of men" that there aren't a lot of women in tech.

If you think about what Arrington's saying in depth, it's an ugly gatekeeper mentality: "I'm the person who has helped to set the bar for who gets in and it's that you must have a good idea or product. It's not that your female or black or whatever."


The first order of business is to admit our biases. The second order of business is to speak frankly, which works back to the first order.

A friend of mine in Oakland politics and legal circles, a mentor who's white, said it best long ago: white people don't like to be considered racist (or for that matter sexist). It's a fear. So sometimes we may replace that idea with some other manufactured issue about a person of color."

So, while the real problem may be that while the man has an issue that's racist or sexist, it may be covered by another assertion that effectively works to shift the blame to the victim: thus we have Michael's idea that it's the fault of women that there aren't a lot of women in tech.

Changing The Ratio Means Changing Ourselves

You can't change society without changing how people think. For example, the "Women In Tech" panel should be more racially diverse than it is. Then it means the very people raising that issue of sexism aren't themselves racist.

(And here, an aside. To be racist or sexist is to put down a person because of their race or sex. It's not being aware of race or racial divisions or sex and issues of sexism. People who claim one's being racist or sexist by talking about race and sex are just playing a nutty game.  The end result is to stop you from pointing out the problem.)

If the TechCrunch Disrupt SF Women In Tech Panel that meets on Tuesday doesn't talk about the need for everyone to think in a diverse way, then the panel's a failure.

Also, Michael Arrington himself should moderate the panel. If he doesn't, it means he's running away from an issue he's made himself part of and in a way signaling that the whole panel's not really one to be taken seriously.  

Here's hoping he doesn't do that.