Saturday, February 13, 2010

We Are The World 2010 - Miley Cyrus kills it

25 years ago Michael Jackson, Lionel Richie, and Quincy Jones joined forces to make a song benefit for Africa called "We Are The World" which got together top music artists from Bob Dylan to The King of Pop for what's turned out to be a classic song.

In 2010 Lionel Richie, and Quincy Jones, and members of The Jackson Family joined with a more contemporary set of artists, from LL Cool J to Lil Wayne, Justin Bieber, and Barbara Streisand. But of all of the singers, the one who's got everyone talking is Miley Cyrus.

The teen pop sensation from the TV Show Hanna Montana sang her heart out and in a way some did not expect. Not this blogger.

Miley Cyrus can sing. Some, particularly on Twitter, express the idea in a way that they're surprised that this 17-year old white girl has a soulful voice. All of it has degenerated into a #WeLoveMileyCyrus v. #WeHateMileyCyrus tweet battle. But even with all of the sex-based marketing, if Miley Cyrus couldn't sing she would not have top selling albums or singles.

Moreover, Miley Cyrus is showing an interest in helping those less fortunate than she and teaming up with artists like Timbalind who are just outside her normal song genre.

Give Miley Cyrus a break and a real chance.

Oakland Raiders Stadium study: competitive bid and minority involvement missing?

The Oakland Tribune article on the possibility of a shared football stadium between the Oakland Raiders and the San Francisco 49ers is certainly exciting news, but lost in the hope that the Raiders get a new stadium - 49ers or not - is any attention to the process behind getting to that point.

In this case, on Friday February 19th the Oakland-Alameda County Coliseum Authority is considering a proposal from CSL International, an event planning and stadium development consulting firm to write a feasibility study of a stadium for the Oakland Raiders.

Great, but where's the competitive bid for the consultant? And what about minority involvement in the study's development? Now that the Oakland Raiders have finally succeeded in getting the City of Oakland to see that it needs a new stadium, it's important to make sure the Oakland Coliseum Authority doesn't screw it up.

Where public monies are used, sole-source consultant contracts are frowned on and have been for decades. The reasons are simple: such contracts are looked at as political gifts or favors to a friend unless there's solid evidence that that company, and only that firm, can do the job required.

In the case of a feasibility study for a stadium for the Oakland Raiders that may include the San Francisco 49ers, there's no evidence or source that can confirm that the Oakland-Alameda County Coliseum Authority conducted a competitive bid process, out of which CSL International emerged.

The contract is reportedly for $125,000, not below $5,000, which is the California legal level at which a contract must be below if it is "sole-sourced" or without a competitive bid process. And as Oakland is a charter city, this process goes against the City of Oakland's own process and it's "hire Oakland first" mandate for the use of Oakland's public funds for contracts.

As one who's done feasibility study work, this blogger can assert that what the Oakland Coliseum is looking for does not take a rocket scientist to do. (And this blogger has no interest in being considered for any City of Oakland contract.)

These questions must be answered by the Coliseum Authority:

1) which firms out there in Oakland and in the San Francisco Bay Area can do this work?

2) Where they contacted in writing by the Coliseum Authority's Executive Director?

3) What was their written response?

4) Why was CSL International selected out of the competitive bid process?

5) Does CSL International have people of color on its staff?

If all of these questions can be answered, then CSL International was selected fairly. But if not and it appears that CSL International was chosen out of an informal and process controlled by the current Coliseum executive director, their proposal should be rejected. The Coliseum executive director should be made to start the process over, the right way.

The Oakland Raiders deserve a new stadium. But there's no hurry; the process toward a new facility should be done in an inclusive, not secretive, way.

Dr. Amy Bishop of Alabama-Huntsville well regarded by students

Dr. Amy Bishop, who has been charged with murder and could receive the death penalty in the wake of the shooting of Gopi K. Podila, Maria Ragland Davis and Adriel Johnson, all professors in the Department of Biological Sciences at the University of Alabama's Huntsville campus. According to the Huffington Post, Amy Bishop could be heard saying "It didn't happen. There's no way .... they are still alive." No students were harmed in the shooting.

If this is a case of Amy Bishop allegedly "going off" - and as there's a man who's a "person-of-interest" so this matter is far from clear - she didn't do so to her students. And from online grades Amy Bishop received, the professor was well regarded by her students.

At the "Rate My Professor" page for Amy Bishop, students gave her an overall grade of 3.6, with her only low grade a 2.3 for "Average Easiness". Bishop received a 3.7 for Average Helpfulness.

Students comments painted a picture of a teacher who cared about her subjects, and of students who seemed to care about her. They also show a person who's bright, gives lectures that go off on "tangents", and who at least one student described as "hot":

am in her lab and her class. She is smart, talks about more stuff than just the book. She lets me sit in her office and study. She always dresses nice. She should stop trying to straighten her hair and go natural!

Bishop uses the online stuff, the internet, powerpoint, from the book and some stuff not from the book. If you show up to class and listen to what she tells you what is important and what is not as important you will get an A. Her animations from that anatomy program always crash the laptop(last year). This year her she bought her own laptop.

Study wha she tells u to study. If you have previous exams, u are more likely to get an A. Make sure u have good friends in that class, b/c they might have more resources to share with ya. Dont sweat it and go for it.

Dr.Bishop is so cool!

She is very nice, but her class is boring. Human A&P all we do is highlight the book. She reads straight from the book. I can do that at home. There is tons of material and she doesn't really narrow down what's going to be on the test. However, the class wasn't too hard though. There's just a lot of studying.

This prof is absolutely the bomb! Knows her stuff cold, and quick witted too. Never met anyone who knows more random knowledge. Sci-fi to quantum mechanics with a little art history thrown in the mix. Who knew? Definitely take one of her courses!

Dr. Bishop says she has to teach us about so much so we are ready for nursing classes. It is so much material! But she is nice, helpful and makes it interesting. I like her study day she has before the test.I heard she is from Harvard.I hope she remembers that she is not at Harvard.

Dr. Bishop is a great teacher! She talks about the stuff in the book but then she talks about extra stuff like diseases. This makes the class fun. She's super smart and thinks everyone else is too so sometimes she goes too fast.

Dr. Bishop tries to be a good teacher, but it's really pointless to come to class. All you do is highlight the book word for word. She is also very vague about her tests and what you should study; her answer is just study everything (which is the entire book.) She might have graduated from Harvard, but she has very little common sense.

I don't know what you people are talking about! She is not "easy" unless you are her favorite. She gets off on random**** all the time and is sooo completely scatter brained! I was there everyday, studied HARD, and still barely passed. I don't like her and don't recomend her.

Beware of Tangent Square Root!

Awesome teacher. She tends to make a lot of tangents but you learn a lot and she's always willing to help you out.

Mrs Bishop was totally awesome! She made this class fun and entertaining with her great sense of humor. She is always willing to help, and is great at working with students. I highly recommend this teacher!!

brilliant & hot

She makes class fun eventhough it is still hard.I thought because she is from Harvard she would be a snob but she isn't.She does not give multiple choice tests so her tests are hard. By the way Diane teaches BYS310 not Dr. Bishop.

If you didn't understand something in this class, she was willing to take time and give you a hand. She does what a professor is suppose to do: helps you and doesn't make you feel stupid.

She makes it seem like it is going to be hard but it is extremly easy. She is very unorganized, but its easy to get an A

Dr. Bishop is brilliant. Her research is fascinating. She will surely get the Nobel Prize. She is the best teacher I have ever had.

r. Bishop is extremely knowledgable about her field. She is grateful to help, you just have to ask. Her lectures are disorganized, but if you read your book, you'll get an A. I learned alot.

Dr. Bishop is very unclear in her test preparation, grading, and overall teaching style. She is not at all organized and neither are her lab instructors. The tests are fairly easy and you never really have to go to class except on review day.

Since Amy Bishop's not yet entered a plea regarding the murder charge, and the "person of interest" is still outstanding, we can't be absolute in our discussion of what happened. But what's clear to this blogger is there's a weird "Southern" issue with a "Harvard-trained" professor. The Alabama media stuck that tag as if to imply it had something to do with her alleged shooting of the three faculty members.

But the reference may be a clue to another problem: Dr. Bishop may have experienced a kind of anti-intellectual prejudice from the University of Alabama-Huntsville culture that could have just driven Bishop batty. A "You think you're better than us because you're from Harvard" attitude that may very well have blocked her from fair consideration by her peers.

I think there's something there worth investigating. This is not to excuse the action of murder, but an honest, cold, read of the situation with the current available information would lead a reasonable person to think Bishop was being discriminated against in the way I described. What's the point of mentioning that she's "Harvard-trained"?

If this happened at U.C. Berkeley (God forbid), no media outlet would mention that Bishop was "Harvard-trained", yet a ton of Berkeley faculty and instructors are. Something's wrong here.

Stay tuned.