Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Haiti Earthquake update: death toll at 70,000 and rising

The latest Haiti Earthquake news has the official death toll at over 70,000 and rising. One week after the 7.0 Haiti Earthquake hit ten miles away from and six miles below the capital city of Port-Au-Prince, Haitians and people from around the World have worked to rescue people trapped below the rubble of collapsed buildings.

In an email to those on The Clinton Foundation email list, Former President Bill Clinton reported:

I wish you could have seen what I saw. Haitians were performing surgeries at night, without lights, with no anesthesia, using vodka to sterilize equipment. It's astonishing what they've been able to accomplish in such devastating conditions.

Many corporations and foundations have donated over $200 million to the Haiti Earthquake Relief effort as of this writing. Around the country, from San Francisco to New York, groups, organizations, and people have established efforts to collect money, food, and clothing to send to Haiti; and more help is on the way.

Operation USA has collected 2 million water purification tablets - almost one for the estimated 3 million who need water. And they plan an airlift of medical supplies scheduled to leave next Tuesday. U.S Troops arrived in Port-Au-Prince, Haiti " in dramatic style", landing on the lawn of the badly damaged Presidential Palace.

The question is how long will it take to rebuild Haiti? The level of destruction and death is on a scale that's just awfully incredible. The question - for which there's not yet an answer - is just how long and how much will it cost to bring Haiti back to health.

Stay tuned.

U.S Unemployment and Underemployment rate at 17 percent

A 17 percent unemployment and underemployment rate. The real problem behind President Barack Obama's surprisingly dropping approval rating and what could be a factor in the Massachusetts Senate Race is a not-so-surprising reason; the combined U.S. unemployment and underemployment rate.

According to Portal Seven and based on U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics data, the U6 Unemployment Rate is:

The U6 unemployment rate counts not only people without work seeking full-time employment (the more familiar U-3 rate), but also counts "marginally attached workers and those working part-time for economic reasons."

Note that some of these part-time workers counted as employed by U-3 could be working as little as an hour a week.

And the "marginally attached workers" include those who have gotten discouraged and stopped looking, but still want to work.

The age considered for this calculation is 16 years and over

The incredible 17 percent rate translates to almost one in five people either working part time or not at all. While the $787 billion Economic Stimulus program has kept America from plunging deeper into a Depression, it has not helped to stop the seemingly chronic high rate of underemployment and unemployment. It's too small.

The problem is that at the time the Stimulus bill was past, it represented at best two to three percent of Gross Domestic Product. But GDP was falling at a projected rate of eight percent per year at the time. While the Stimulus has worked to slow that to a halt, the rate of growth required to make up for the fall, at 3 percent last quarter, is not large enough to counter the economy's collapse. In other words, we still have not enough new jobs for the people who need them.

One solution is to do what some have suggested and that's to give American taxpayers under $100,000 $5,000 each or as one GOP Congressman suggested a $20,000 tax credit. The idea is to stimulate consumption which then causes business growth and employment.

Whatever the case, a taxpayer bailout has not been done, and the economy is not improving. If something's not done, and soon, Democrats will lose more than a few seats in the House and Senate.

Bill name Chan Gailey coach over Leslie Frazier; why?

The Buffalo Bills took Chan Gailey as their new head coach and to replace the fired Dick Jauron. Chan Gailey brings an 18 win, 14 loss NFL record to Buffalo, and a reputation of being a conservative offensive coordinator.

The hiring of Chan Gailey is shocking in the wake of the way Minnesota Vikings Assistant Head Coach and Defensive Coordinator Leslie Frazier's "minority token interview" by the Seattle Seahawks and now apparently The Buffalo Bills.

The NFL now must answer for The Rooney Rule, because it appears NFL owners outside of a few, have a desire to limit the number of coaches in the league who happen to be black. Chan Gailey is not a proven winner; his selection as head coach is questionable. ESPN's John Clayton writes that the Bills wanted "An offensive mind" with "head coaching experience."

Leslie Frazier has a better record with the Vikings as assistant head coach than Chan Gailey does at 18 and 14, and the Vikings 34 to 3 NFC First Round Divisional Playoff win just helps his credentials. Chan Gailey is seen by many NFL fans as "conservative", take this commenter over at the Chicago Sun-Times blog who wrote this before Gailey was selected by the Bills:

Well at least the (Chicago) Bears are looking at Chan Gailey, one of the most conservative coordinators ever. He is highly mediocre, but suits the role of coordinator who only gets one or two year contracts before he is fired. By that criteria he meets every qulification that Lovie is looking for. Mediocre, Conservative, Doesn't last long with a team, easy to fire, easy to hire, attacks a defense by not attacking a defense. But most think Gailey will end up with the Bills.

With this evaluation, the Buffalo Bills must explain to their fans why Chan Gailey really was their choice. If it was to escape a "Rooney Rule" hire, as Leslie Frazier would have been, then "The Rooney Rule" itself is to be reevaluated. Moreover, it appears something is going on here.

While Sports Illustrated's Peter King mentioned the Chan Gailey hire is "easy to knock" because of his "conservative" offense, he failed to mention The Rooney Rule issue, or even a single African American NFL coach that the Bills could have interviewed. King says that Gailey "took a team in decline and staved it off for as long as he could" - that's called being a "coach killer". A "coach killer" is good enough to field a competitive team, but not good enough to build a championship team.

Stay tuned.

Scott Brown for Senate supporters accused of sexism

The Massachusetts Senate Race between Massachusetts AG Martha Coakley and State Senator Scott Brown has taken an ugly turn according to The Boston Globe. In an article by Joan Vennochi, Scott Brown's supporters are shown as displaying a large degree of sexism.

In talking about Coakley, a Brown supporter yelled "Shove a curling iron up her butt", regarding a controversial sex abuse case. But Brown is reported to have said "We can do this" in response. This video, circulating the Internet features Scott Brown making the statement:

While Scott Brown does say that, and it may be just a cry to supporters that they can win, there's no evidence that he took time to say "We're not going to do that."

The "curling iron rape remark", as the NY Daily News called it, has gathered steam and could sink Scott Brown's campaign.

Stay tuned.

Mayor Ron Dellums and Port of Oakland - Michael Lighty tie breaker?

[Aimee Allison - OaklandSeen] Mayor Dellums is finally using his city-chartered right to break a council tie by casting a vote for his appointee Michael Lighty to the Port Commission. The Mayor, who recently brokered a deal with port truckers and the state over tighter emissions regulations, is finally playing his hand at strong mayor.

The Port Commission is one of the most powerful groups in city politics, and plays a key role in approving development project like the BART extension and housing, environmental fights as in the ongoing stand-off between truckers and the port, and jobs - as in whether local people are going to get the 6,000 jobs that will be created by the project at the old army base.

More from Sanjiv Handa, East Bay News Service:

Mayor Ron Dellums is still planning on attending the Oakland City Council
meeting Tuesday, Jan. 19, to cast the tie-breaking vote approving the nomination
of Michael Lighty to the Board of Commissioners of the Port of Oakland.It has
been so long since a mayoral tie-breaking vote was cast that many, including
some Council members, are rusty on the process.

Pursuant to the new
rules of procedure adopted effective May 1, 2003, mayoral tie-breakers appear on
the non-consent portion of the Council agenda — which cannot be called prior to
7 p.m.

Tuesday's Council meeting begins at 6 p.m. with open forum,
consent calendar items, closed session report, and ceremonial items. Four
ceremonial presentations, including two lengthy retirement honors, will be heard
during the 6 p.m. portion.

Deputy Police Chief Dave Kozicki and Chief
Technology Officer Bob Glaze are scheduled to be recognized for their long
careers with the city. Both retired as of Dec. 2009.

Councilmember Larry
Reid was quoted in local media as saying he might change his vote. Two local
blogs also indicated changes in the voting lineup, without citing names,

The official meeting agenda states:

Rule 29 [of City Council
Rules of Procedure] provides the following regarding the procedure: "Council and
public discussion is permitted on the item to be voted on by the Mayor; however,
Council members cannot change their vote unless the item has been properly
noticed for reconsideration. The Mayor must appear at the Council meeting to
cast his vote."
If the Mayor does not cast the tie breaking vote, the motion

The votes, according to draft minutes of the Jan. 5, 2010,
Council meeting was:

4 AYES — Kaplan; Kernighan; Nadel; Quan
— Brooks; De La Fuente; Reid; Brunner

Many speakers are expected to sign
up for the item. It is likely speaker time will be reduced to one minute per

Upon approval, Lighty can take the oath of office on the spot if
he makes arrangements with the City Clerk's Office — or the next day in the
Clerk's office during regular business hours.

The Port has cancelled its
Jan. 20 Audit, Budget and Finance Committee meeting, which is chaired by Tony
Batarse, whom Lighty would replace. The next Port Commission meeting is not
scheduled until Feb. 2.

Scott Brown, who snubbed 9-11 workers, posed nude, ahead of Coakley?

Massachusetts State Senator Scott Brown, who voted against providing assistance to 9-11 workers, is reportedly ahead of Massachusetts Attorney General Martha Coakley in the race to fill the U.S. Senate seat vacated by the death of Ted Kennedy.

But all of the news organizations reporting the lead are conservative: Fox News, The Washington Examiner, and Politico have Scott Brown ahead in their polls; the liberal Daily Kos calls the race a tossup and has many newspapers endorsing Coakley.

Still, it's questionable that Massachusetts voters would actually replace Ted Kennedy with a man who not only voted against providing assistance to Massachusetts 9-11 aid workers, but posed nude and has a questionable record of legislative experience.

The Attleboro Sun Chronicle wrote this endorsement:

The candidates in Tuesday's special U.S. Senate election have given a pretty clear idea of how they would vote on the major questions of the day. Martha Coakley is right on more of the big issues, mainly health care and the economy. We endorse her for election.

As the state's first female attorney general, Democrat Coakley since 2007 has proven herself an effective administrator. Throughout her career as a lawyer and district attorney she has exhibited rare skills in mediation and conciliation - the arts of finding middle ground for divergent viewpoints. It will serve her, and Massachusetts, well in the Senate.


There's much to be said for endorsing a local candidate. However, we have an insurmountable problem. To paraphrase words Brown applied to his Democratic opponent, "he's a nice man, but he's wrong on all the issues."

Brown initially took a militant stand against gay marriage, which we have consistently supported. While he has softened his position some, his outlook on equal rights in a private matter remains worrisome. After voicing support in this space for health care reform, we can't very well back Brown when he is promising to submarine national health care on his own as "the 41st Republican senator." We are left instead to wonder how he sees himself as a fitting successor to Sen. Edward Kennedy, who made health care reform a signature issue, while planning to spoil the best chance for reform the nation has ever had.

The vote is today; stay tuned.

Guatemala, Venezuela, Argentina earthquakes after Haiti Earthquake

It's one week after the Haiti Earthquake and the World has seen earthquakes in Argentina, Venezuela and most recently Guatemala.

This AP video shows the eruption of a quake in Guatemala City, Guatemala:

It was 6.0 on the Richter Scale and rocked Guatemala and parts of El Salvador on Monday, but no damage was reported.

On Sunday a 6.3 earthquake was reported in the South Atlantic, just near Argentina. The Latin American Herald Tribune reports:

The earthquake occurred some 380 kilometers (236 miles) south-southeast of Ushuaia, the capital of Tierra del Fuego, in the Drake Passage at a depth of 25 kilometers (15 miles).

Again, no word of damage or a tsunami warning.

Venezuela was struck by a 5.6 Richter Scale earthquake, Friday of last week, and right on the heels of the 7.0 Haiti Earthquake. According to NPR (National Public Radio), it hit near the coastal town of Carupano, Venezuela, which is just 813 miles from Port-au-Prince, Haiti.

View Larger Map

A point six miles below and 10 miles from Port-au-Prince was the epicenter of Tuesday's 7.0 Haiti Earthquake, which left thousands of victims.

The US Geological Survey reports that the quake hit 7.3 miles below the ground in a region called Sucre, Venezuela.

There's no word of damage; just reports of people scared and shaken up.

The last large quake in Venezuela was in September 2008; it was 6.2 on the Richter Scale.

There's no word if these quake events in South and Central America and the Carribean - all close to each other - are in some way related, as of this writing. But the timing alone would seem a good reason to investigate what's happening.

Stay tuned.

2010 Golden Globe Awards winners press conference

UPDATE: 2010 Golden Globe Awards was the focus of house parties like this one:

The 2010 Golden Globe Awards show was a success Sunday, with great speeches and well deserved awards by many, most notably Jeff Bridges.

This blogger took MLK day off not just to rest, but to wait for the Hollywood Foreign Press to upload its videos. Thanks to the Hollywood Foreign Press' YouTube channel, we can see the back stage press at work, talking with the winners.  

While by Tuesday, many will have seen video clips of the acceptance speeches, what's not seen to as great a degree are the press conferences that go on back stage.   Some of the questions were interesting and others were controversial: two concerning Tiger Woods went unanswered.

Each video is presented in the order of the list of winners.

FILM AWARDS - Courtesy of Entertainment Weekly

Best Picture, Drama
The Hurt Locker
Inglourious Basterds
Up in the Air

Avatar Director James Cameron's speech:

Best Picture, Musical/Comedy
The Hangover WINNER
500 Days of Summer
It’s Complicated
Julie & Julia

The Hangover - cast presentation:

Best Director
James Cameron, Avatar WINNER
Kathryn Bigelow, The Hurt Locker
Clint Eastwood, Invictus
Jason Reitman, Up in the Air
Quentin Tarantino, Inglourious Basterds

Best Actor, Musical/Comedy
Robert Downey, Jr., Sherlock Holmes WINNER
Matt Damon, The Informant!
Daniel Day-Lewis, Nine
Joseph Gordon-Levitt, 500 Days of Summer
Michael Stuhlbarg, A Serious Man

Robert Downey Jr:

Best Actress, Musical/Comedy
Meryl Streep, Julie & Julia WINNER
Sandra Bullock, The Proposal
Marion Cotillard, Nine
Julia Roberts, Duplicity
Meryl Streep, It’s Complicated

Meryl Streep on how she "becomes" a character:

Best Actress, Drama
Sandra Bullock, The Blind Side WINNER
Emily Blunt, The Young Victoria
Helen Mirren, The Last Station
Carey Mulligan, An Education
Gabourey Sidibe, Precious

Sandra Bullock talks about The Blind Side:

Best Actor, Drama
Jeff Bridges, Crazy Heart WINNER
George Clooney, Up in the Air
Colin Firth, A Single Man
Morgan Freeman, Invictus
Tobey Maguire, Brothers

Jeff Bridges on why he turned away from Crazy Heart, at first:

Film, Best Supporting Actress
Mo’Nique, Precious WINNER
Penelope Cruz, Nine
Vera Farmiga, Up in the Air
Anna Kendrick, Up in the Air
Julianne Moore, A Single Man

Mo'Nique on her acceptance speech:

Best Supporting Actor
Christoph Waltz, Inglourious Basterds WINNER
Matt Damon, Invictus
Woody Harrelson, The Messenger
Christopher Plummer, The Last Station
Stanley Tucci, The Lovely Bones

Christoph Waltz:

Best Screenplay
Jason Reitman & Sheldon Turner, Up in the Air WINNER
Neill Blomkamp & Terri Tatchell, District 9
Mark Boal, The Hurt Locker
Nancy Meyers, It’s Complicated
Quentin Tarantino, Inglourious Basterds

Best Animated Film
Cloudy With A Chance of Meatballs
Fantastic Mr. Fox
The Princess & The Frog

Best Song
“The Weary Kind,” Crazy Heart WINNER
“Cinema Italiano,” Nine
“I Want to Come Home,” Everybody’s Fine
“I Will See You,” Avatar
“Winter,” Brothers

Best Score
The Informant!
A Single Man
Where the Wild Things Are

Michael Giacchino talks about being in the spotlight..after a long pause as no one opened with a question:

Best Foreign Language Film
The White Ribbon WINNER
Broken Embraces
The Maid
A Prophet

The White Ribbon interview:

Cecil B. DeMille Award
Martin Scorsese:

Big Love (HBO)
Dexter (Showtime)
House (Fox)
True Blood (HBO)

Mad Men Cast question and answer:

30 Rock (NBC)
Entourage (HBO)
Modern Family (ABC)
The Office (NBC)

The Cast of Glee:

Grey Gardens (HBO) WINNER
Georgia O’Keefe (Lifetime)
Into the Storm (HBO)
Little Dorrit (PBS)
Taking Chance (HBO)

Toni Collette, United States of Tara WINNER
Courteney Cox, Cougar Town
Edie Falco, Nurse Jackie
Tina Fey, 30 Rock
Lea Michele, Glee

Toni Collette:

Alec Baldwin, 30 Rock WINNER
Steve Carell, The Office
David Duchovny, Californication
Thomas Jane, Hung
Matthew Morrison, Glee

Michael C. Hall, Dexter WINNER
Simon Baker, The Mentalist
Jon Hamm, Mad Men
Hugh Laurie, House
Bill Paxton, Big Love

Michael C. Hall on why this season took off, the impact of John Lithgow, and cancer:

Julianna Margulies, The Good Wife WINNER
Glenn Close, Damages
January Jones, Mad Men
Anna Paquin, True Blood
Kyra Sedgwick, The Closer

Julianna Margulies slaps down an awful question about Tiger Woods' wife, Elin:

John Lithgow, Dexter WINNER
Michael Emerson, Lost
Neil Patrick Harris, How I Met Your Mother
William Hurt, Damages
Jeremy Piven, Entourage

John Lithgow on his role in Dexter as "The Trinity Killer":

Chloe Sevigny, Big Love WINNER
Jane Adams, Hung
Rose Byrne, Damages
Jane Lynch, Glee
Janet McTeer, Into the Storm

Kevin Bacon, Taking Chance WINNER
Kenneth Branagh, Wallander: One Step Behind
Chiwetel Ejiofor, Endgame
Brendan Gleeson, Into the Storm
Jeremy Irons, Georgia O’Keefe

Kevin Bacon:

Chloƫ Sevigny also bats down another weird question about Tiger Woods:

Drew Barrymore, Grey Gardens WINNER
Joan Allen, Georgia O’Keefe
Jessica Lange, Grey Gardens
Anna Paquin, The Courageous Heart of Irena
Sigourney Weaver, Prayers for Bobby

Drew Barrymore:

Does all of this mean a clean-swwep for Avatar all the way to the Academy Awards? Stay tuned.