Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Brittany Powell From SafetyGeeks SVI

Brittany Powell is a breath-of-fresh air, who's also an actress who blew in to my view from her nearby Comic Con 2010 Autograph Area booth to see what was happening at the booth for the stars of the movie Hatchet II.

Noticing that this blogger was toting two camcorders, and remembering that her own program was filmed in 3D, Ms. Powell lined up both devices to create the clips for a 3D video. Meanwhile, she explained that she's a friend (good friend? girlfriend?) of Rick McCallum, a stuntman who plays one of the hunters in the movie (and who gets hacked by the balls with the World's Largest Chainsaw by The Monster / AKA Victor Crowley.) She also talked about the program she was at Comic Con to promote: Safety Geeks SVI

Safety Geeks SVI is what you get when you combine Benny Hill, Monte Python, and Rocketboom. An online production, it features the video antics of Dave and Tom, who explain that what they do is this...

The P.O.S.H. (Professional Occupational Safety Hazard) team investigates safety violations and accidents, ineptly causing more damage as a result. P.O.S.H. provides an obscure, well-meaning service. Unfortunately, they are a bunch of idiots. The world of P.O.S.H. is very unsafe, largely due to them.

Safety Geeks SVI gained a bunch of awards in 2009, including rated the best of Internet Television by Clicker, and the 2010 LA Web Series Festival. Here's the video players presenting the episodes from their silly yet highly sexy and entertaining series:

For 2010, SafetyGeeks SVI has gone 3D, making it, as Brittany Powell explained, the first online video series to be created entirely in 3D. You can check that out here: SafetyGeeks 3D.

Who's Brittany Powell

But who's Brittany Powell? Ms. Powell - for some reason I want to say Ms. Peel - hails from Germany, but has an extensive American acting background. She's starred in Girlfriends, NCIS, Phil of The Future, Xena: Warrior Princess, Beverly Hills 90210, Weird Science, Titans, General Hospital, and in films like That Thing You Do, Fled, Airborne, and Dragonworld.

On top of all that Brittany Powell's a devoted mother who invests a lot of her time doing charity work in Los Angeles.  That is, when she's not teaching video-bloggers how to make 3D videos!

Apple iMovie 11 ships with two-year-old audio bugs. Why?

Just over one week ago, this blogger purchased an Apple MacBook Pro 13-inch computer from the Apple Store at Lenox Mall in Atlanta (where I spend about half my time of late when I'm not in Oakland, and here helping my mother).

The computer buy was of need, as the motherboard of my three-year old Black MacBook was compromised by a rain of two teaspoons of orange juice from a distance, that hit it just right.

At any rate, one software offering I used on my "old" Mac was iMovie 6 HD. Yes, an old version of the video editing system that comes with each Apple Mac purchase - and for good reason. iMovie 6 just plain works.

A number of bloggers (most famously the NY Times' David Pogue), users, and techies have complained about Apple's still unexplained switch from the old version of iMovie, which stopped at iMovie 6, and featured the large presentation screen at the left, a multi-function page at the right, and a video clip timeline below. The new-style iMovie is more like that of the Final Cut video editing software, that Apple also produces. But the similarities stop there, because Final Cut reportedly works...properly.

To cut to the chase, The new Apple iMovie series, from iMovie 9 to the present iMovie 11, has one really massively annoying bug that the company ran by CEO Steve Jobs should have fixed long ago. The audio portion of videos uploaded to YouTube just plain cuts out after six minutes of play after a video is uploaded.

For the last day or so, I've worked to upload a 12 minute video of my experience at my first football game at The Georgia Dome since the 2000 Super Bowl. Then, that was a "fam" trip as I was working to bring the 2005 Super Bowl to Oakland. The NFL provided four tickets to the game pitting the St. Louis Rams against the Tennessee Titans, and in all, it was a fantastic experience. I was jazzed to go to the Atlanta Falcons vs. Green Bay Packers game, and give my viewers a 12 minute taste of what it's like there. (Pretty awesome.)

The Apple iMovie 11 software worked fine for short videos of up to 4 minutes in length; there was no reason to think it would fail in uploading a 12 minute video. The final file played well in iMovie 11 and in Quicktime, but three different YouTube uploads all had one problem: the audio stopped after six minutes.

Back action research revealed no problem to cause this. Even with that, sound settings were adjusted before each reload. Still, the same problem. So, a little research was in order, and that's where the news that this wasn't a new problem came up.  

If it wasn't audio cutting in and out, it was audio not playing on an iDVD burn, and various discussions about that, then it was a slew of examples similar to mine.

In many cases, others have suggested workarounds, but it's really terrible that Apple first insists on pushing a type of iMovie on it's fans that few really want, and then working to eliminate us from using the popular iMovie 6 HD.  

Moreover, it's really, really upsetting to have to make an unplanned expenditure of  $1,200 during the holidays, when dollars are tight already, only to have the product, or a key part of it, and of importance to this video-blogger, not work properly.

iMovie 6 is a sweet product.  Again, it just plain works.  Apple really should go back to it, or let its fans upload it, and fix iMovie 11.   Some of the audio bugs identified in the discussion forums have been apparently passed on from iMovie 9 to iMovie 11.   Why?  

Apple really needs to work on this.

A's Ballpark subject of December 1st Oakland Planning Commission Meeting

Want to show your support for new ballpark for the Oakland A's? Show up at the meeting of the City of Oakland Planning Commission tomorrow, December 1st, at 6 PM PST at Hearing Room 1, Oakland City Hall, 1 Frank H. Ogawa Plaza, Oakland, CA.

If you want to speak in favor of the new ballpark proposal and talk about the creation of an Environmental Impact Report for the proposed new A's ballpark at Jack London Square - of course you do - just get there at 5:30 PM, fill out a speaker card, and give it to the Oakland Planning Commission's secretary.

Right now, according to the meeting's Facebook page, 156 A's fans plan to attend.

Be there.  Aloha!

Extending UI Deadlines WILL NOT HELP the 99ers

Congress extending the UI deadlines this or any week will not help the millions of 99ers in America. Let’s be clear here: No bill under consideration in the Senate (Including Max Maucus’ proposed 1 year extension S3981) will help the 99ers unless it adds extra weeks of benefits - not simply extends filing dates.

It will be a blue Christmas for millions more Americans, if Congress does not pass legislation to extend current unemployment insurance provisions, which are set to expire today.

Nationwide, 800,000 more unemployed Americans will exhaust their benefits this week and 2 million additional unemployed in the U.S. will exhaust their benefits in December, according to the U.S. Department of Labor. That will bring the total of unemployed in America without UI benefits to about 8 MILLION. Of those, at least 5.4 million are people who are “99ers,” which are individuals who have received the maximum 99 weeks of benefits and are not eligible for benefits even if the emergency unemployment legislation is extended.

Most UI “exhaustees” are already experiencing hunger, eviction, depression and suicidal ideation. Many of us just keep on fighting until there is nothing left to fight with at all.

I am facing just this situation myself. Unable to find any job (including all the fast food places in my area) and exhausting my 99 weeks in March this year - I will be cut off from the fight by losing my phone and internet very shortly. If my articles suddenly stop, you will know what happened.

Many are considering giving up their children to prevent them from living in the streets. One such brave soul is Rhonda Taylor of Rhode Island.

Rhonda appeared on CNN’s Wolf Blitzer’s Situation Room yesterday and tells the 99er saga like no other before her. [view video below - bring a tissue]

Unless Congress gets off it’s over paid dead ass and helps the 99ers survive, then Washington will be guilty of the largest preventable social holocaust in history - because: Extending UI Deadlines WILL NOT HELP the 99ers. Only a Tier 5 will!

[The donation button below is for me, Paladinette. If you like what I write please donate so I can keep on fighting for the 99ers! Thank You!]

2010 Oscar Screen Credits and Music Entry Forms Due December 1

The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences (AMPAS) reports via press release that 2010 Oscar Screen Credits and Music Entry Forms are due December 1. That's tomorrow, and at 5 PM, PST. (The great news is that if you're on the East Coast, the docs are actually due at 8 PM EST.)

This is very important to get it, because if AMPAS doesn't receive the Official Screen Credits (OSC) by tomorrow, a feature film like Iron Man 2 will not be eligible for an Academy Award for Best Picture. (Of course, Marvel Entertainment's on top of this, and has been; just using Iron Man 2 as an example.)

AMPAS says:

For a feature film to be considered for the 2010 Awards, the film’s distributor or producer must file an OSC form with the Academy by 5 p.m. PT on December 1. If a feature film is released in Los Angeles County in 2010 and the completed OSC form is not submitted by the deadline, the film will be ineligible for Academy Awards in any year.

OSC forms may be submitted online only, at http://aiwosc.oscars.org/aiwosc/. Information about submission and feature film eligibility can be obtained by contacting Credits Coordinator Howard Loberfeld at (310) 247-3000, ext. 113, or via e-mail at hloberfeld@oscars.org.

For an achievement to be considered in the Original Score or Original Song category, the principal music writer(s) for a feature film must submit an official music submission form by 5 p.m. PT on December 1.

To request music submission materials, contact Dave Hanson at (310) 247-3000, ext. 151, or via e-mail at dhanson@oscars.org.

While the credits submission deadline is December 1, feature films have until midnight, December 31, to open in a commercial motion picture theater in Los Angeles County and begin a minimum run of seven consecutive days to be eligible for 2010 Oscar® consideration.

Entries in the foreign language, animated feature, documentary, and short film categories are subject to special rules and must meet other qualifying criteria. The entry deadlines in these categories have already passed.

Complete 83rd Academy Awards rules are available at http://www.oscars.org/rules/. The 83rd Academy Awards nominations will be announced live on Tuesday, January 25, 2011, at 5:30 a.m. PT in the Academy’s Samuel Goldwyn Theater.

The Academy Awards for outstanding film achievements of 2010 will be presented on Sunday, February 27, 2011 at the Kodak Theater at Hollywood and Highland Center, and televised live on the ABC Television Network.

Monday, November 29, 2010

Turn Off The Dark: Spiderman Makes his Debut on Broadway

Spiderman is easily my favorite super hero of all time.  It was a regular staple in my cartoons diet as a kid and I was stoked when the movies came out and despite the fact that they turned out to be a little disappointing I am still a fan of Spiderman.

The Broadway play "Spiderman: Turn Off The Dark" made its debut performance yesterday at 6:30.  The project was a collaboration between Bono and The Edge and has proven to be an expensive endeavor.  The play cost 60 million too produce and is costing another million per show.  Which means the play is going to have to be a huge success to make a profit.  Unfortunately it's debut had a few hiccups with the flying stunts that stopped the show twice in the first act.  Hopefully they work out the kinks and the play won't be as disappointing as the movies.

John Bobst aka The Force of Nature


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Leslie Nielson: Death of a Legend

Leslie Nielson passed away yesterday due to complications from pneumonia at the age of 84. Leslie Nielson was best known for his roles in "Airplane" and the "Naked Gun" series. The actor/comedian passed in a hospital near his home in Fort Lauderdale surrounded by his wife and friends.

John Bobst aka The Force of Nature


Cyber Monday, Black Friday - No Christmas for the 99ers

Cyber Monday and Black Friday are usually joyous signs the holidays are approaching. In truth, Cyber Monday/Black Friday are painful reminders that there will be no Christmas for the 99ers and many will be lucky if they ring in the New Year still breathing.

New research suggests the nation's unemployed are committing suicide at an alarmingly high rate.

So is the recession fueling a suicide epidemic?

Unemployed people are two to three times more likely to commit suicide, researchers estimate, and the risk rises the longer someone remains jobless. That is potentially a very large problem as the recession continues, with 8.6 million Americans out of work for six months or more.

Counties with high unemployment are reporting a dramatic rise in suicides. Macomb County, Michigan, for example, has a 13.7 percent unemployment rate and reported almost 40 percent more suicides in 2009 than in an average year. The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline (NSPL) has reported a startling increase in the number of calls, from 13,423 calls in January 2007 to a high of 57,625 calls in August 2009. The toll-free helpline has since been awarded a $1 million federal grant to ramp up its program in high-unemployment regions.

The NSPL estimates that the 2010/2011 suicide rates when finally made public, will show a rise as high as 75%. As a point of fact reference: The suicide rate in the U.S. rose by only 20 percent during the Great Depression.

If you think your friend or family member is showing signs of the "trauma, isolation, and hopelessness" that can push a person "past the breaking point," I urge you seek professional advice on their behalf immediately. I myself receive countless emails of 99ers who cannot take it anymore and want to end their suffering. Over the Thanksgiving holiday week, there was at least one very publicized person named Mark. (Click here to read more)

Over this past weekend, there were massive, frantic searches and attempts to reach 3 more long time 99ers who fell out of communication after leaving cryptic text on social media sites, indicating self destruction was at hand.

Today the members of 99er Facebook groups and PalTalk chat room “Tier 5 to Survive” are clamoring to track down yet two others. Why is it the only ones who even care about these 99ers, so beaten down by Government enforced poverty and Congressional neglect that they choose suicide, are 99ers themselves? Where is the action from our President to attempt to thwart this domestic Social Holocaust? Answer: Conspicuously silent and that silence speaks volumes to millions in the 99er Nation.

NOTE TO OBAMA: When suicide is considered by 99ers, it is often not that these people want to die - it is more that they just cannot take living as they have for so long. Without money and void of all hope. Remember Hope & Change Mr. President? That was your promise when you wanted our votes and it is the failure of Hope that anything will Change which immediately precedes the final act of those who take their own lives.

The White House in their continuing use of social media to reach the masses and appear concerned over poverty in America, recently formed a partnership with Monster.com - collecting questions about employment for the Obama administration on its Facebook page.

The page was open to questions through November 14 after which a selection of questions were presented to the Obama administration for answering. One of the questions selected for the White House to answer involved the 99ers, however the answer only showed how little Austan Goolsbee, Chair of the Council of Economic Advisors understands the situation facing the 99ers.

The video can be viewed below. This guy may have said the term '99ers' but even HE does NOT get it. We have been denied the ability to participate in the US economy for going on 9 months now and the extension of UI being considered by the White House DOES NOT include the 99ers!

I say we and everyone in our respective groups bombard Austan Goolsbee, Chair of the Council of Economic Advisors to educate him on this issue and/or let him know his double talk does NOT fool us at all!

The Hire Act discussed by Goolsbee in the video expires by year’s end and he does not even mention the TANF which has helped hundreds of thousands return to work that also expired at the end of September. On a personal note, I waited 18 months for my name to come up on the TANF list and 2 weeks before the program expired I received a call from the California EDD office. They congratulated me on making it into the program and apologized that since the funding would expire in a few weeks - they could not assist me at all. Isn’t our Government great? NOT!

1-888-245-0215 - you can get connected to Biden's office - call and ask why the Goolsbee video about extending benefits for the long-term unemployed does not address whether or not the 99ers are being included in Obama's calls for extending UI.

President Obama: as you meet with the Republicans during your fancy dinner tomorrow and cave in on extending those Bush Tax cuts for the wealthiest Americans, PLEASE try to show strong leadership and do not negotiate away these unnecessary perks for the WEALTHY without at least getting UI extended for exactly as long as you agree to extend tax cuts for the rich - INCLUDING our desperately needed Tier 5. If you do not see to it the 99er Nation gets help now - you know it will never happen in time to save hundreds even thousands of lives, unless more dead poor in America has been the goal all along.....

[The donation button below is for me, Paladinette. Unless someone uses it soon - I will be unable to publish as I will lose my internet connection. I thank you!]

Anne Hathaway and James Franco Hosts of 83rd Annual Oscars

Anne Hathaway
According to AMPAS, The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, Anne Hathaway and James Franco have been selected as hosts of the 83rd Annual Academy Awards in 2011, by Oscar producers Bruce Cohen and Don Mischer.

According to the Academy's press release, Cohen and Mischer said "James Franco and Anne Hathaway personify the next generation of Hollywood icons— fresh, exciting and multi-talented. We hope to create an Oscar broadcast that will both showcase their incredible talents and entertain the world on February 27. We are completely thrilled that James and Anne will be joining forces with our brilliant creative team to do just that."

Anne Hathaway is probably best known for her role as the first clumsy, then professional assistant to Meryl Streep in The Devil Wears Prada. In 2008, Anne was was nominated for an Oscar for her lead role in Rachel Getting Married.

James Franco
James Franco's role as Harry Osborn in Marvel Entertainment's Spider-Man Trilogy gave him instant name recognition. Additionally, Franco is in Eat, Pray, Love, with Julia Roberts, as well as Date Night.

Anne and James represent a major turn for an Oscar program looking to connect with younger audiences, but without mortgaging the luster that the event has developed over its 83 years.

Both have (or in the case of Franco, had) active Twitter pages: Anne appears to have two, one at @hathaway_anne and the other at @AnneJqHathaway , (Anne needs to have one of these marked "official," while James Franco's not currently on Twitter, but reportedly was.

But you can share your greetings and ideas with them on Twitter using the hashtag #OscarsHosts.

Oscars In February

AMPAS reports, The Academy Awards for outstanding film achievements of 2010 will be presented on Sunday, February 27, 2011, at the Kodak Theatre at Hollywood & Highland Center, and televised live on the ABC Television Network. The Oscar presentation also will be televised live in more than 200 countries worldwide.

Haiti Election Chaos

Haiti has been through a lot within the past few months, and The Associated Press has reported that the entire Haiti election became chaotic. Sunday was election day and protestors were ripping ballot boxes into pieces; they took the streets carrying tree branches and campaign posters.

Some of the polling places were "ransacked by thugs."

The Associated Press includes:

The chaos in Sunday's voting united most of the top presidential candidates against the president's heir apparent — Jude Celestin, head of the state-run construction company and beneficiary of a well-financed campaign.

Allegations ranging from outright fraud to polling-place disorganization that disenfranchised many Haitians nearly brought the election to a halt. Polling places opened late, voters could not find their names on lists, and some polling places were ransacked by thugs.

The United Nations cited "numerous incidents that marred the elections." Observers from the Organization of American States canceled an afternoon news conference, releasing a statement hours later that they were "in the process of evaluating and analyzing the information gathered."

The Dallas News goes into further detail with all the violence and the scary chaos that arose. The preliminary results are not expected until December 7.

Sunday, November 28, 2010

Google's reason for Google News changes: The Hot News Doctrine

The Google News Meta Tag program, activated 12 days ago on November 16th, has ignited a firestorm of controversy that shows no sign of abating. The intent of the online news aggregator's effort was to give proper link credit to the originator of a story. (Which, in itself, is a dicey affair, considering unnamed sources, and small blogs that are ignored by search engines.) But the real result has been the de-listing of small blogs and news websites, while large content farms like Associated Content have been retained.

Indeed, by the experience of this blogger at Zennie62.com, Google News staffers delist the blog, then claim some "violation" of their guidelines without providing evidence to back their claim while having counter evidence produced. Meanwhile, true violators of Google News guidelines, like Associated Content, are permitted to remain listed on Google News, and even today, as of this writing, produce content that is an obvious affront to those same guidelines.

Scott Rosenberg specifically pointed to Associated Content's practice in Salon in August, when he wrote...

A.C.'s appearance in the Google lead position surprised me. I'd always assumed that, inundated by content-farm-grown dross, Google would figure out how to keep the quality stuff at the top of its index. And this wasn't Google's general search index recommending A.C., but the more rarefied Google News -- which prides itself on maintaining a fairly narrow set of sources, qualified by some level of editorial scrutiny.

Gee, maybe Associated Content is getting better, I thought. Maybe it's producing some decent stuff. Then I clicked through and began reading:

The Dr. Laura n-word backlash made her quit her radio show. It seems the Dr. Laura n-word controversy has made her pay the price, as the consequences of herbrought down her long-running program. But even if it ended her show, it may not end her career. Despite being labeled as a racist, and despite allegedly being tired of radio, the embattled doctor still seems set to fight on after she leaves. In fact, the Dr. Laura n-word scandal has made her more defiant than ever, despite quitting

But fast forward to today, after the Google Meta Tag program, and the mass blog delisting for what this blogger claims is the "cover reason" of "guideline violations," and Associated Content still remains, and with a new post that features the use of "fantasy football" a whopping seven times in a paragraph-and-three-quarters.

So how can Associated Content's "crap" as Scott Rosenberg implies, remain, and better content from smaller blogs be removed?  Simple.  I assert that Google News Staff's not telling the truth and this move has everything to do with the arguments over something called The Hot News Doctrine, court cases involving websites FlyOnTheWall.com and Briefing.com, and Google's "friend of the court" role.

The Hot News Doctrine

According to a number of sources, among them a very good post at Arstechica.com , The Hot News Doctrine was originally introduced by The Associated Press in 1918 and in a case where a competitor news organization called INS was taking AP newspapers and rewriting their World War II stories if they originated from INS. At some cases, ilke California, where INS had a geographic advantage, it looked as if INS broke the story, not the AP.

The Supreme Court ruled that The Associated Press' work was being used for profit and without credit of any kind by INS. In the process of developing the argument supporting their ruling, the term "Hot News Doctrine" was created.

Fast forward to today, and since 2005, media observers have warned that news organizations, hemorrhaging ad revenue as more news went to the Internet, and blogs proliferated, would resort to the "Hot News Doctrine" to protect their revenue base and get rid of the impact of blogs and bloggers. That, under the idea that they, the legacy news organizations, were the originators of news, even when that wasn't the case.

In 2008, the AP went on a kind of rant against blogs , claiming that some were infringing on its copyright by including portions of content from its articles. But the AP has not then, nor as of this writing, ever explained what a fair use of its content was. The best option was not to even link to the AP, as TechCrunch' Michael Arrington implied when he said his blog would just pretend the AP "didn't exist."

That inflamed the claim by some legacy sites, like the AP, that bloggers were not giving "proper link credit" to their work, even if bloggers could claim that legacy news sites were not giving "proper credit" to blog sites, ether.

This year, 2010, the big media players - in this case The Associated Press, New York Times, Time,Washington Post, Agence France-Presse, and Advance Publications to name the major players - have brought up the Hot News Doctrine in friend-of-the-court briefings in the case of Barclays Capital vs. TheFlyOnTheWall.com. Basically, the legacy media players don't want what they consider to be the re-reporting of "their facts."

What FlyOneTheWall.com was doing was collecting stock recommendations from investment banking companies, including Merrill Lynch, and reposting them on its website. The Federal Court agreed with Barclays and asked FlyOneTheWall.com to delay the release of its information. The case went to the appeals court.

That directly relates to the idea in Google News guidelines that news should be original or contribute to the original news story in some way. Blogs are commentary, thus, by the nature of the definition of that term, blogs do "contribute to the original news story." But the overall assumption, based on the position of big media as the accuser, is that they produce all original content, when in point of fact, blogs like TMZ.com and PerezHilton.com create as much or more original content. (Regardless of your view of the blogs, which is irrelevant, that is the case.)

The brief written in the Barclays Capital vs. TheFlyOnTheWall.com case states that

Unless generalized free-riding on news originators’ efforts is restrained, originators will be unable to recover their costs of newsgathering and publication, the incentive to engage in the news business will be threatened, and the public will ultimately have fewer sources of original news," reads the brief.

One of those "original news" sources online has been Google News. Google, with Twitter, wrote a "friend of the court" brief attacking the position of the big media players. The online giants have claimed the Hot News Doctrine is not workable in today's Internet news world. Google claimed that enforcing The Hot News Doctrine would create a "hot mess." Their voice was joined by that of the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF).

The EFF, in a statement to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit in the Barclays's case by Staff Attorney Corynne McSherry, wrote: "We're asking the appeals court to recognize the elephant in the room and analyze the 'hot news' doctrine in light of the strong First Amendment protections developed by the Supreme Court to encourage the expression of truthful statements on matters of public concern."

While a decision is expected, perhaps before the end of the year, one has been made in another case, the Briefing.com case . There, the Hot News Doctrine was used by Dow Jones, a division of Rupert Murdock's News Corporation. But Briefing.com admitted to copying parts of more than 100 articles, which is a violation of federal copyright law.

Google News and The Hot News Doctrine

Where Google News fits in this complex issue is that as a news aggregator facing a legal vice grip being tightened by the big media players, it's role in a Hot News Doctrine world is severely curtailed. According to Sam Bayard of the Citizen Media Law Project, news aggregators like Google News are negatively impacted, because TheFlyOnTheWall itself, which lost in court and is now in appeals court, is itself a kind of news aggregator.

What I think happened is, anticipating a negative ruling in the Barclays appeal case, Google had Google News install a "meta tag program" that would get rid of blogs, push them to "Google Blog Search" status, and leave Google News for many of the same big media players that Google and Twitter attacked in court via the friend-of-the-court briefs.

Everything in the Google Meta Tag Program results point to that occurrence. It's not that your blog's content is in some violation of Google News content guidelines, just that you're a small blog that Google News wants to get out of the way to protect itself. From what? From a lawsuit it fears it may lose by The Associated Press.

The only place of relief for this is Congress and the Federal Communications Commission (FCC). The big media organizations have too much legal money, think their very life is on the economic line, and Google and New Media players don't seem to have the stomach to fight them. This is a battle bloggers have to fight, if they can stop attacking each other for a spell.

Stay tuned.

"The Rise Of Psychopathy"? does that explain the Internet trolls?

This blogger was just reconfiguring the Zennie62.com template (again) when Richard Lui, previously with CNN's morning program, and now with MSNBC was interviewing someone, didn't catch the name, who was talking about the alleged murderer of a young college student.

Not really paying attention at all, until the woman interviewed, some kind of criminologist, referred to the "The Rise Of Psychopathy" in America.

Stop the presses.

My first thought was "So that explains all of the Internet trolls and stalkers."

Sad. If anyone has the name of that person on MSNBC - and I'll follow-up on this too - send an email.

Taylor Momsen uses an I-Pad

Just a quick post to note that now former or "on leave" Gossip Girl actress Taylor Momsen tweets with her i-Pad. How do we at Zennie62.com know this?

Well, check out this tweet she issued:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8lYCxD4rR6A hilarious! P.s.Perfect example of tabloids skewing quotes with false headlines...still funny tho
20 Nov via Twitter for iPad Favorite Retweet Reply

The i-Pad is something this blogger still doesn't use because the MacBook Pro is just fine. Moreover, one can't make video-blogs with it and it's almost like a MacBook Air. Perhaps Apple and Steve Jobs will decide to merge the two.

But it's also good to note that Apple's moved on beyond the early "whites only" marketing style for the i-Pad:

Apple didn't like that video, but it certainly seemed to impact their ads. I see black people in them now! Hurray!  

But that woman's finger.  What's it really pointing at?

Taylor Momsen - no Twitter about Gossip Girl news

As stated at Zennie62.com by Nikky Raney, and at MTV.com, Taylor Momsen was canned from the TV cable series Gossip Girl.

There's word from a number of media outlets about this, but nothing from Taylor Momsen herself.

Momsen's Twitter account has nothing on the news (as of this writing), but does mention this hilarious YouTube.com video from the TV Show The Soup. Check this tweet and video out:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8lYCxD4rR6A hilarious! P.s.Perfect example of tabloids skewing quotes with false headlines...still funny tho
20 Nov via Twitter for iPad Favorite Retweet Reply

Too funny.

Taylor Momsen Kicked Off Gossip Girl

It was only a matter of time before Taylor Momsen's out of control antics got her canned from Gossip Girl. After reading the books religiously back in 2005 Taylor Momsen was a disappointment as a depiction of Jennifer Humphrey - she is nothing like the book said she would be.

Taylor Momsen is even more controversial than Miley Cyrus, and she's younger. (Well, Miley is legal now). Taylor Momsen talks about her vibrators and how she dislikes wearing pants. She has a beautiful singing voice, but she's just so outrageous.

According to Deadline.com the actress is no longer a regular and will be MIA for at least four episodes. It'll be interesting to see if Gossip Girl gets rid of Jenny altogether or if there is another actress that replaces her - the latter wouldn't be too bad, or maybe Momsen will clean up her act.

A "Gossip Girl insider" tells Deadline that creative reasons is why Momsen will be appearing less - yeah okay.

MTV.com also confirms that Taylor Momsen will be on an indefinite hiatus from the show.

Unstoppable is a Fox News Endorsement

The movie Unstoppable staring Denzel Washington, Chris Pine and Rosario Dawson is boring. Yes, the movie drags on too long and is too predictable. The plot is basically about a train that has no conductor and needs to be stopped.

Meanwhile the new source covering this entire story is Fox News. That's right, the entire movie is basically an ad for Fox News and how Fox News has all this breaking and live coverage and for once it isn't bias. It's like a great big advertisement for Fox News, and all the channel showed was this entire plane fiasco.

There were mini stories with the characters going on, but it was all about how to stop this train and Fox News was able to capture all of this breaking coverage. It was very accurate in depicting Fox News and its sensationalism and intensifying the situation with the lingo used in order to explain the situations.

This judgement of the movie is not based solely on the fact that it seems to be all about Fox News, but the movie in general just isn't very good.

Saturday, November 27, 2010

Bauer's Transportation Company Bus Shuttle Service

This is the San Francisco Bauer's "Wi-Drive" commuter shuttle bus service. It's the same one used by Facebook and Twitter employees to go to and from work. What this blogger likes about the shuttle bus service is the seats. Wow. They're really thick, cushy, leathery, and luxurious.

You can operate your laptop computer and work online while on your way to work. The Bauer's "Wi-Drive" bus was used by the San Francisco Giants to transport their players to and from that awesome parade after their amazing World Series win.

Need corporate transportation? Call my good friend Gary Bauer. He and Bauer's Transportation delivers for all occasions and transport needs. Bauer's Transportation is at 1-800-546-6688.

Fair Game Shows What Valerie Plame Went Through

Fair Game Shows What Valerie Plame Went Through
By Nikky Raney

Walking into the theater already knowing and being educated about the Valerie Plame & Scooter Libby fiasco could not have prepared anyone for the amazing portrayal done by Naomi Watts as Ms. Plame. Everyone reads the news about what happened and thinks they know, but they had no idea what went on within her personal life or how things really truly changed for her.

The use of real news images and clips from the actual events being re-enacted is brilliant and at the end of the movie the clip plays of the real Valerie Plame giving a testimony on C-Span.

The movie really informs about what happened after 9/11 and what the CIA was doing and figuring out behind the scenes - the difficult calls that had to be made and what it was like to be living a double life and have all these plans and then for it all to fall apart. There were many others whose lives were negatively impacted due to this other than Ms. Plame. The role of her husband, played by Sean Penn, was brilliantly done. Even if the reality of their personal life isn't completely accurate - the portrayal of how he involved himself in the media and how he helped deal with this catastrophe to save his wife's life and reputation as well as his own was brilliant.

It may have been exaggerated by Hollywood, but it's safe to say that the accompanying footage from real news reports across all news platforms help remind the viewer that what they are watching is not complete fiction, but something that really happened. It helps to educate viewers more about the entire scandal besides all the news reports.

Although the accuracy may be questionable about specific details - since the CIA must keep things private to an extent- it shows a good amount of realistic scenarios that lead up to this and the facts match up with the information that was provided.

This movie is truly a must see and was done very well. The lengths the members of the White House went to discredit her husband's op-ed piece in the New York Times was unjust - the fact that he knew what President Bush was telling the American people as "fact" was in fact not true made him want to write about what he did know - because he was doing a service to the American people in educating them on what is real. And those who opposed being "outed" got revenge in a way that ruined the career and safety of CIA agent Valerie Plame. Her life will never be the same and her world was turned upside down.

It is good that Scooter Libby and the others have been put to justice, but it cannot take back all the pain and suffering that the family went through and continues to endure to this day.

This movie should be watched by anyone who followed this story or had an opinion in some way about the way it was handled or who has more questions about it.

Brilliantly done - five stars. The only thing that may be overly controversial is the way the film clearly exposes the Iraq war and the mistakes made and the way that the American people were blatantly lied to by the President, and this may make things worse for President Bush's reputation (if that's possible).

It was really great to see Scooter Libby played as a snarky con man and coming off as truly vile -  David Andrews did a great gob - as did Adam LeFerve as Karl Rove.d It was disgusting to see how some of the journalists reacted though and unimpressive, but accurate.

It'll be interesting to hear what the real people have to say about the portrayals of themselves and how accurate the depictions are. The story follows Ms. Plame's book in a way - the story line converges and includes some direct quotes from her book.

X-Posted At The Future of Journalism

Cal Washington: Huskies 16-13 Win; Cal is Holmoesque

This is the level the University of California Football Program has fallen to. Cal Alumni are starting to call the team "Holmoesque." That term first surfaced two weeks ago after the Oregon loss, as a good Cal friend of this blogger feared a return to those ugly days of yore.

Three losses later, some think we're there. Cal lost to Washington 16 to 13 and this, the third loss in as many games, has Old Blues, Young Blues, and even Middle-Aged Blues fuming.

Tom Holmoe
Cal finished not just 5 and 7, but 3 and 6 in the Pac-10. The worst record in Jeff Tedford's glorious rein as Cal's Head Coach. While not the 1 and 10 season of 2001, Cal's 2010 performance was enough for my friend to say "I hope we don't see a replay of Tom Holmoe, we're starting to look "Holmoesque."

Tom Holmoe, currently the Athletic Director at BYU, was Cal's football coach for five years, posting a 16 and 39 record, the infamous 2001 season, had an 0 and 5 record against Stanford, and caused Cal to forfeit nine scholarships over four years, be banned from postseason bowl eligibility in 2002, Coach Tedford's first year with Cal.

No, this space is not saying Tedford is like Tom Holmoe, only that the stench from that period is still with many Cal faithful, and this season reproduced some bad, sad memories.

The Problem Is The System

SF Chron scribe John Crumpacker's blog on Cal vs. Washington was far too nice and failed capture the massive level of pissed off, pissed-offness expressed by Cal Alumns. Cal's problem is not as simple as replacing one quarterback with another. That's for people who, for whatever reason, fail to pay attention to play design. But the issue is the Cal Offensive system itself.

For some reason that rests in the collective mind of Coach Tedford and Cal Offensive Coordinator Andy Ludwig, Cal does not have a passing game that contains "safe," short throws for its signal callers. Just because we're in the era of the wide receiver screen, and all of its variations, doesn't mean it has to be Cal's offense. There are, by experiential estimate, over 1,232 variations of short passes to running backs; can't we use some of them? Why is it so important to throw downfield and with just predictability all the time?

There's nothing wrong with good, old, precision short passing. It's forgotten in the wake of the advent of the spread formation option systems - and their pass plays - that have spread like a virus around the country. An approach that has infected Cal Football, save for the running quarterback.

A disciplined approach to the passing game, one that Cal actually displayed the ability to uses against Stanford last year, is sorely needed. Cal must stick to this, and stop this need to play macho-passing ball, most of the time.

Or, if the concern is to keep the pass offense simple for students who have a lot of studying to do, given the demands of Cal, why not an approach that has elements of the Run-and-Shoot? (But retains the power running game.)

The point is to have a real, true, system that can be effective with respect to the coverage, is disciplined, and doesn't get the quarterback killed.

Time For Action; Tosh Shows The Way

Some Cal Alumns want California defensive line coach Tosh Lupoi to be Cal's Head Coach, after the fake injury scandal in the Oregon game. Well, not really, but you get the idea.  It's not that cheating is prized by Cal Alumns, just the need for a coach to do something to move Cal Football forward. Remember, we have Coach Lupoi to thank for Wide Receiver Keenan Allen, so no one wants him to leave Cal for any reason.  Well, within reason.

Well, whatever the argument, we'll have an entire year to hash it out.


Congress Return Not Lame Duck - Just LAME

The “Do Nothing” Washington crowd makes Congress’ return not “Lame Duck” - just LAME. Voters clearly want lawmakers to ease the nation’s unemployment pain, but a sharply divided Congress is still balking at extending jobless benefits for those out of work a long time.

Unless Congress acts by Tuesday, an estimated 2 million people slated to receive extended benefits will not get them on time, if ever. Congress took this week off for a Thanksgiving recess and will reconvene Monday.

If lawmakers don’t extend the UI filing dates, it will be the third time this year that they will have missed a deadline to do so, even though the nation’s unemployment rate, at 9.6 percent, hasn’t budged since May. Earlier this year, after Congress failed to extend benefits before deadlines, jobless workers received retroactive benefits once legislation was passed.

Not once this entire year has Congress added weeks of benefits to those jobless Americans suffering the most, the 99ers and never have any previous extensions, delayed by Congressional gridlock (in 2008 and 2009) been retroactive for those effected. To be clear: Extending the deadlines set to expire WILL NOT HELP the millions of 99ers in America.

The average family receives about $290 a week from the benefits, which can last up to 99 weeks, depending on a state’s jobless rate. State employer taxes pay for the first 26 weeks. In weeks 27 to 99, a federal program funds most of the benefits; that’s what could be affected if Congress doesn’t act.

What happens when UI benefits are taken away from Americans in desperate need indeed effects everyone. The American economy suffers greatly when millions cannot spend for even the basic necessities. More jobs are lost and more Government spending is required for programs such as Welfare or Food Stamps.

Washington is not effected in any meaningful way, as they are all far too wealthy to understand the pain of poverty or the hopelessness and despair of being hungry or homeless.

In South Korea yesterday, hundreds of people demonstrated at Yongsan, the huge U.S. military base in Seoul, with smaller actions taking place in Kwangju and other cities on Nov 23-24. On Nov 25, student radicals threw petrol bombs at Camp Gray, a U.S. military support base in Seoul.

The demonstrators, set off fire extinguishers and waved sticks as they called on the government to take action after four people were killed as a result of North Korea shelling of Yeonpyeong island.
Just 4 people died as a result of North Korea's barbarous provocation and those in South Korea took to the streets in protest. Well done. Why is it that after countless 99er suicides as a direct result of Congress’ failure to act on any additional UI benefits for more than 1 year now, no Americans are willing to protest in mass? Have Americans really become that uncaring about the suffering of their own citizens?

Why not? Hollywood seems equally unconcerned as Washington about millions of hungry, hurting 99er families across the nation. Where are the celebrities outraged over Governmental neglect of the unemployed without jobs or UI benefits for going on 9 months now?

Celebrities like Demi Moore and Ashton Kutcher who spend their time and untold dollars to draw the attention of millions on social networking sites (like twitter) to causes that help victims of human trafficking - usually overseas. Why won’t they use their celebrity to help those hurting in their own country?

Within the past year Demi Moore was credited with possibly saving the lives of 2 suicidal twitter fans when their tweets appeared to cryptically indicate hints of “self destructive” text. When just days ago - when one more 99er could not face Thanksgiving with eviction imminent and hope evaporated - made public his suicide note - was basically ignored by authorities. (Read note here)

Although dozens of concerned 99ers, leaders in the movement, traced this poster and reported it to police and FBI - NOTHING was done and the response from authorities was: There is nothing we can do’ or ‘It’s not our jurisdiction” - I’ll bet Demi Moore did not get that response.

Fact is that nobody seems to care at all what happens to the millions of 99ers, from the President to the media, celebrities or even professional protestors. However the truth is the longer these and other unemployed Americans suffer without money for basic goods and services - the more every employed American should fear the loss of their own jobs, as without sufficient demand, the next pink slip resulting form this slow economy may just be yours.

A fact the very lame “Lame Duck” Congress refuses to address let alone resolve.

[The donation button below is for me, Paladinette. If you like what I write and can afford to do so - please donate to the cause. I thank you!]

Heidi Montag goes after Frank Ryan, after his death

Heidi Montag's Boob Comes Out (Pacific Coast News) 
Heidi Montag, the actress and entertainer most famous for her large boobs, is complaining about those bodatious tatas after the man who gave them to her, Dr. Frank Ryan, is dead.

Dr. Ryan passed on after a horrible car accident back in August 2010. Then, Montag said she was devastated to learn of the news.

Montag used her Twitter page to praise Ryan, saying he was "brilliant."  Now, the 24-year-old star seems to be making the whole experience and his involvement look almost sinister. Basically, Montag says Ryan didn't prep her for the pain she suffered in her "quest for perfection."

In an interview with ABC Primetime that came on Wednesday, Montag said she was in so much pain she thought she "was going to die." Here's the ABC interview:

Montag also said she had the following done: -brow lift
-nose job
-ears pinned
-chin shaved
-two breast enlargements
-back scooped out
-fat injected into her cheekbones
-lipo on her inner and outer thighs

In other words, she had her body remade on a scale that puts the Six Million Dollar Man to shame. And now that she has it, she's not happy, it seems. Perhaps Heidi should find God and a spiritual center to help her.

Stay tuned.

Friday, November 26, 2010

ESPN's Craig James thinks Cam Newton will get Heisman

Just got off Twitter, sharing a few tweets with ESPN Personality Craig James. James was as quick on Twitter (@craigjames32) as he was on ESPN's College Football Show, sharing that he thinks Auburn Quarterback Cam Newton will win the Heisman Trophy, after Newton's stunning rally of his Auburn Tigers from 24 points down to beat Alabama 28 to 27.

You may remember Craig James as the father of Texas Tech Wide Receiver Adam James, and in the role of angry father, so much so that he, the elder James arguably cost Head Coach Mike Leach his job.

But this blogger remembers Mr. James as the fullback for a Southern Methodist University team that was one of the nation's best in the early 80s. That was the time SMU had a certain halfback named Eric Dickerson, and the University of Texas at Arlington (UTA) had a certain student named Zennie Abraham.

It was the time of my first car, a 1978 Thunderbird, that I drove from Arlington to Dallas on the weekends to hang at a place called The Greenville Avenue Country Club.   That bar was known for its pool and totally hot SMU women hanging out at it, wearing next to not much.

One Thursday night, I was just five feet away from the beer-swigging running back tandem KRLD's Brad Sham had christened "DickerJames."  No, they were on their best behavior off the field; on it, they ran all over UTA and everyone else..

Fast Forward to tonights tweets, and James thinks Oklahoma will run all over Oklahoma State, and Nebraska will fall to Boise State.

Rachel Berry: Miss Orange after The Oscars and MTV-U

This is for those who wonder "what happened to.." In the case of 2009-2010 Oscars and MTV-U College Correspondent Competition finalist Rachel Berry, she went on to become Miss Orange.

That's right. Rachel Berry went from college broadcast journalist to beauty queen.

When this blogger met her at the press conference for the Oscars / MTV-U College Correspondent Competition on the Saturday before the 82nd Annual Academy Awards, it was obvious she had great legs...

Great dancer's legs.

Yep.  That's Rachel Berry smoking up the floor last October for the Miss California 2010 Competition, where she placed as a finalist.   As for doing another "go" at the MTV-U Oscar Competition, can one do it again if they've done it the year before?

Stay tuned.

In closing, here's a cool video featuring Rachel's Oscars Red Carpet appearance:

Oscars and MTVU Correspondent Contest: 12 Days to deadline

This Oscars news update is on the Academy Awards / MTV-U Third Annual "Oscars®
Correspondent Contest" for College Journalists. With December 6th approaching, you have just 12 days remaining to get in your video showing your interviewing skills and explaining why you're the best choice to cover the 83rd Annual Academy Awards in 2011.  (Update: Rachel Berry after the 2009-2010 contest.)

This blogger highly recommends that you enter the contest; the end result of being on the Red Carpet for the Oscars will be not just a great learning experience, but a moment in time you will never forget.

Moreover, as a winner, you will be treated like a star, yourself. Last year's participants were the focus of a major press conference on the Saturday before the 2010 82nd Annual Academy Awards. Here's this blogger's video highlight from that event:

Here are the details from the AMPAS press release:

From October 27 through December 6, college students are invited to submit a video at http://oscars.mtvu.com, showcasing their interviewing skills and proving why they deserve to cover the Oscars. All videos submitted must be from teams made up of one reporter and one videographer. The Academy and mtvU will select the top ten videos to be posted online at mtvU.com, where students and other viewers can watch and vote for their favorite journalists from January 10 through January 28.

The three teams whose videos capture the most votes will advance to the final round of online voting from February 7 through February 18. All three teams will be flown to Los Angeles to cover Academy Awards pre-events, including the Animated Feature Symposium, Foreign Language Film Award press event, the Makeup Artists and Hairstylists Symposium and the Governors Ball preview.

The Grand Prize-winning team will be revealed on Saturday, February 26, at an Academy press conference. The reporter and videographer will be awarded a spot on the red carpet for the 83rd Academy Awards arrivals, as well as credentials for access to backstage press rooms. The winning team’s coverage will be aired on MTV News and mtvU. The two finalist teams will receive bleacher seats along the red carpet and admission to an Oscar® viewing party.

Last year, Terry Stackhouse and Zach Cusson from Emerson College captured the Grand Prize and covered the red carpet at the 82nd Academy Awards. Runners-up Rachel Berry and Christian Hartnett of Chapman University and Brandon McCaskill and Kiarra Hart of Florida A&M University earned bleacher seats along the red carpet and admission to an Oscar viewing party.

For a complete list of rules and regulations for the “Oscars Correspondent Contest,” please visit http://oscars.mtvu.com.

Google News Meta Tags Program killing blogs - update

The first two blog posts in this series reported how the Google News Meta Tag program was killing news partnerships and blog listings. But more conversations with bloggers revealed that its killing some blogs as well, many of them Liberal Blogs, and with traffic losses as great as 90 percent in one known case.

The entire affair, said to be "experimental" by Google News staff, is triggering so much consternation in the blogosphere that the end result will be if not one, then several complaints filed to the Federal Communications Commission (FCC).

The Google News Meta Tag program was created to establish one "canonical" URL for a thread of news articles and blog posts. In other words, the system asks the authors to favor the post where the news "originated" from. But in implementing the system last week, Google's machines removed a very large number - perhaps over 100 - blogs from Google News, leaving legacy news sites like The New York Post or The Wall Street Journal.

The legal problem is that Google News action results in a surpression of a certain form of speech. That claim is not hyperbole.

First, Google News staff has sent emails pointing to the overall idea of "news quality" as being the reason for the actions taken. But the problem is websites that exhibit obvious use of writing approaches to gain traffic, specifically from Associated Content are allowed to remain on Google News, where small, independent blogs, which have better track records of non-abuse, are taken off Google News.

This happened to Zennie62.com, even though this blogger has taken great steps - even to blocking other Zennie62 bloggers from posting "illegal" blogs - to maintain quality blog posts. (The good news for Zennie62, is that the traffic impact has only been a negative 10 percent to 18 percent per day, from overall page view count data. That's far less than the 50 percent to 90 percent in other blog cases.)

Second, Google News staff's actions have resulted in an uncomfortably large number of Liberal Blogs being removed from Google News, like VF Daily, the blog of Vanity Fair, while Conservative Blogs, like Red State, curiously remain in place on Google News.  The other blogs are "banished" to Google Blog Search level.  Google Blog Search is not shown as a first-click option in Google search results.

In claiming "news quality" as the reason for the blog taken down action, Google News staff is harming free expression and overall diversity of opinions expressed, and flat out telling a lie as well. "News quality" is attacked whenever the person issuing the attack disagrees with the content of the blog that's being questioned. Rare is the case that a person will attack a blog who's content they agree with.

Google's other claim is that the blog post does not "add new information" to the news.  But in that claim Google unknowingly shows its actions to be not legal, for blogs are and have been considered an "echo" chamber, where one idea is commonly repeated by other blogs (this is confirmed in a study called Blogs Are Echo Chambers).  That's the reason the media refers to the "blogosphere's" take, be it the Liberal, Conservative, or Tech blogosphere.  It's not the blog's role to necessarily create new news, but to reflect the overall speech Zeitgeist of the day.

That's why Google News staff is not telling the truth, and if it is, then what it's doing is not legal - Google can't win. That's why the entire Google News action is subject to legal review. It is unconstitutional purely because of the overall size of Google.   But with that, Yahoo and Microsoft's Bing will have to fall in line with what happens to Google in the wake of this skirmish.

Google's market share for search, estimated at 63 percent as of this writing, is such that Google News becomes the online "controller" of what is news for everyone because Google News results are prominently displayed on the front page of a search result.

What must happen is that the FCC and perhaps ultimately The Supreme Court, will have to step in and set a standard for the presentation of online news that does not harm free speech and represents the FCC's calls for diversity and openness online.   Right now, Google's actions are destroying those objectives in practice.

What should Google do to right this wrong?  It goes beyond just reinstating the blogs removed from Google News.  This solution offered will open Google News to blogs and citizen journalists and give a much-needed and understood roadmap for the blogger to follow:

1) The Google News results should include a list of the latest keyword-relevant blog posts from Google Blog Search, and the top blog posts from that should be on the front of the search page.  Of course, because of the constant addition and indexing of blog posts, the results will change frequently, much like those for Twitter on Google, but that's better than what exists today.  
2) A clear set of instructions on how to redesign a blog for inclusion into Google News, must be posted and accessible via link from the results for Google News searches.   Also, all blogspot.com blogs, owned by Google, should have a Newssite map code that can be installed.  Currently, Google subordinates its own blogspot blogs, and does not tell users of Blogger how to upgrade their blog templates for better results in search or inclusion to Google News.  
3) Google News staff must give takedown warnings one month before such actions are done, and explain what the problem is to the webmaster.  That would eliminate the current appearance of favoritism and give the webmaster a chance to correct a problem, if it does exist.   

Google News 'Massacre' Affects Small Business Bloggers

As Zennie pointed out earlier in his post, "
Google News Meta Tags Program Killing Blog Listings" Google News has done a lot to "clean out" their database of small publishers. Basically, the decision was made without warning, without explanation, and without any input from Google Staff to publishers.

There are a couple of things at play, here and many unanswered questions. First, many blog owners have been sent out generic emails which state that their blogs don't meet "quality guidelines."

Really? What are the quality guidelines? I'd link to a list of them...but guess what? There are none! A review of some of the publishers who have reported their blogs to be de-listed leaves one scratching their head. Why are publishers who have been listed for several years, who give credit to their sources via links, and who engage readers in meaningful conversations de-listed while some content mills get to stay listed?

Scott Rosenberg at Salon.com called out one Associated Content writer for his overuse of the popular search key "Dr. Laura n-word" back in August. A cursory glance at the link to the piece
leads you to the
author's page...
and guess what? The same author is still using practices, which Rosenberg describes as "vein, cobbled together with no care beyond an effortful -- and, I guess, successful -- determination to catch Google's eye by repeating the phrase...as many times as possible."

A quick look at Google's small amount of guidelines that are available in the Webmaster tools claims that you are supposed to make your content "primarily for users, not search engines" and that a Webmaster should ask him/herself before posting anything "does this help my users, would I do this if search engines didn't exist?" It's important to note that these are quality guidelines in general - not just for Google News. There are no such guidelines, to this blogger's knowledge, of any special quality guidelines for Google News alone.

The whole "content farm" and small publisher backlash has been a long time coming. Last year, Belinda Luscombe at Time Magazine wrote an article titled "Why Does Google Search Love Examiner.com?" The article goes on to say that articles on the site are a compendium of tidbits culled from other websites, neither advancing the story nor bringing any insight (a description, it should be noted, that can be just as fairly applied to many offerings of more mainstream media). Most Examiners are not journalists, and their prose is not edited."

This all goes against the premise of Google News which is "original" content - which you will find on sites like Zennie62.com and also ours and several other recently banned publishers.

There are a couple of questions that I, along with thousands of other small business bloggers, want answered. 1) What determined who got erased from the Google News database 2) Why isn't everyone treated the same? Why are there still small publishers in News? And most importantly...why aren't Google employees responding to the many publisher pleas in their "help" forum?

The Effects of Google's Blog 'Massacre' On Me

How has this affected this small business blogger? Our traffic has declined about 90%, and our ad revenue about the same. Therefore, it's not only our small business that has been affected - it's also the small business ad networks that we used in addition to Google Adsense. In addition, we had to tell our writers to 'hold off' on hyper posting until we can either get re-listed with Google News or figure out how to build our traffic up to a base where we can afford to pay writers.

We, too, contacted Google News explaining that we had installed a plugin to solve the "meta tag" compliance issues Zennie has discussed earlier. We explained that we hired an editor (who we will try to retain, but may not be able to), and outlined all we have done to "comply" with the implied quality guidelines.

The response we got was the same response Zennie got which read:We periodically review news sources, particularly following user complaints, to ensure Google News offers a high quality experience for our

Upon reviewing your site, we found that we can no longer include it in Google News at this time. We have certain guidelines in place regarding the quality of sites which are included in the Google News index

If your site is in violation of these guidelines, it will not be added to Google News. Please feel free to review these guidelines at the following link:]Please note that you'll still be able to find your site in Google Web Search and other Google services.

Thanks for your interest in Google News.

The Google News Team

Back to the drawing board.

This isn't right. There are too many weird factors at play. Is Google trying to suppress the voice of the independent blogger? Is Google giving in to "big media", paving the way to the day where we will have to pay publications for their online information?

All I know is that the actions are blatantly un-American, infringe on our rights, and borderline on violating first Amendment rights....but Why? Who's behind this recent action by Google? The same action which has added quite possibly 10-20 more people to the ranks of the unemployed - just on my publication (which has no relation to Zennie62.com) alone? Why was this move made over the holiday, and why won't Google reply to any inquiries from frantic publishers willing to bend over backwards and do whatever is necessary to keep Google happy?

Cyber Monday deals? How about free?

Today, Friday, is "Black Friday," but we're already talking about "Cyber Monday." America's into the period, the holidays, where consumption of goods, far more than services, is pushed.

At a time when unemployment rates are still high, and the unemployed are, in some cases, waiting to determine if Congress is going to extend the Unemployment Benefits they get, how about one day that's free? Why not have the Cyber Monday deals be for free?

While scary at first, a series of free Cyber Monday deals would help businesses clear out inventories, while allowing people to get what they need even while they don't have money coming in. To make it better, the firm's offering such deep discounts would be able to write them off.

That's right. Offering free deals is a form of charity, as this logic goes, so why not allow the businesses doing so to write off the cost of each item? It's a kind of tax credit for doing good.

Who could benefit from this? Large retailers with strong online sales programs, for one and enough reserves to be able to offer the program, then enjoy the tax benefits the next year.

Cyber Monday doesn't have to be a "let's see if we can make them part with their money" time in our lives. With so many people in need of a helping hand, this idea is just the solution for them, and helps the companies who chose to help them, too.

Happy Thanksgiving thoughts, happy to be alive

This Thanksgiving blog post is backwards; its supposed to be done in the morning. But now, with my belly full of food and drink it just seemed like a good idea to jot a few thoughts down in brief.

I'm thankful to be alive. Especially since two of my fathers and a number of my friends have died and passed on to Heaven. I think of people like Michael McQuire, who died at 48 of heart failure, and Pernell Harris who died at 40 of what appeared to be an aneurysm.  Then my father Zenophon Abraham, Sr, who passed away from Prostate Cancer, as did my stepfather Chester Yerger, Jr. and both in 2005.  And from Skyline High School, Ann Lucas passed at just 47 from cancer.  

And when people I knew passed in their 20s it was generally from a car accident, which was the case for the great Sam Peters, who was my friend at Cal Berkeley.   I think of all the people who have passed on and wonder what I'm doing here and what this is about.  That's why I turn to God.

Then, I think of all of my blessings.  Like my current good health and appearance.  I think of my Mom and how I'm blessed to have her here.  And I think of how happy I am to have been able to craft a living from my talent, and not be trapped in doing something just to make money.  

I'm blessed to have met a number of amazing people, from professors, to actors and actresses and movie producers and NFL team owners, and NFL commissioners.  The list goes on.  

I'm happy for the people I know and the few really good friends I have.  I do wish some people I knew were more genuine.  That is disappointing.

But overall, I've got a lot to be thankful for.  Overall, my Mom's here and she's my only direct family remaining.  

I'm also thankful for Roosters in Oakland.