Thursday, July 15, 2010

Warriors sale at $450 million: I'm glad it's not Larry Ellison!

Larry Ellison 
The Golden State (Oakland) Warriors NBA organization was sold today for a record $450 million and this space is happy Oracle Chairman of The Board and Co-Founder Larry Ellison wasn't the buyer of the storied Warriors because from all accounts, Ellison would have worked to move the team to San Francisco.

Instead, the buyer was famous Hollywood movie producer Peter Guber and Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers Venture Capitalist Joe Lacob. While it's not clear these two will keep the team in Oakland, at least its more certain than if Larry Ellison had bought the team.

Ellison claims that he, and not Guber and Lacob, had the highest bid for the team, but he was snubbed. According to's Frank Hughes, Ellison said "Although I was the highest bidder, Chris Cohan decided to sell to someone else. In my experience this is a bit unusual. Nonetheless, I wish the Warriors and their fans nothing but success under their new ownership."

Whatever the case, the next steps are for the Oakland-Alameda County Coliseum Authority to approve the sale, which should not be a problem, and to determine what the new owners are going to do.

My personal view is the sale was engineered to keep the team in Oakland. To do otherwise - to give it to the combative Ellison, would produce a scenario that would tie both he and the City of Oakland and The County of Alameda in court for years to come.

Why? Because Larry Ellison would have been sued if he tried to move the team. In fact, so will Lacob and Guber, if they try to do so. But that group's not going to do it; Ellison would chance it.

Stay tuned.

Oakland Mayor's Race: Black Clergy endorse NO candidate for mayor

Greg Harland - no endorsement 
Yesterday this space ran a blog post based on a source who was under the impression that Oakland Mayor's Race candidate Greg Harland beat out Don Perata for the endorsement of a group called the Bay City Baptist Union at a Tuesday meeting at The Good Hope Church in Oakland. One of its members is Oakland Pastor Joe Smith who's at Good Hope Church. Pastor Smith was kind enough to call this blogger and help set the record straight.

The group "did not endorse any candidate" Pastor Smith said. "Harland wasn't supposed to be there."

According to Pastor Smith, what happened was the chair of the Bay City Baptist Union said something inappropriate to Don Perata to the effect of "you should retire" or words to that effect. Perata said something to the effect of "well, you can vote for who you want to."

Pastor Smith explains that he personally supports Don Perata for Mayor, even though the 60-member Bay City Baptist Union has made no official endorsement. They're set to have a meeting on the Oakland Mayor's Race within the coming days.

Is it a setback for Greg Harland? No. For Don Perata? Not exactly, but clearly, and from Pastor Smith's perspective, the chair wasn't nice to Perata.

But remember, Pastor Joe Smith is backing Don Perata.

Stay tuned.

America's Got Talent: Fighting Gravity wins the crowd by: Nikky Raney

America's Got Talent has always had unique talent, but this year Fighting Gravity has brought a whole new act.

Fighting Gravity consists of 24 fraternity brothers from who came together to form a very unique dance group, but once on stage it seems to be only three brothers in all white attire while there is one brother above as a "puppet master." There are also multiple neon colored balls which seem to float in synchronization.

Howie Mandel has compared them to Blue Man Group, but goes on to say that Fighting Gravity is even better than Blue Man Group.

"It's so different, it's very current, it's edgy," said judge Sharon Osbourne. "Your timing is absolutely precise. I haven't gotten one negative thing to say about it.

"The most unique thing I've ever seen up to this point with a black light is trying to find stains on a comforter in a hotel room," said judge Howie Mandel. "So this beats that by far. You guys are phenomenal."

It's hard to put into words, so watch the video and see:

Oakland Mayor's Race: Joe Tuman is running for mayor

Joe Tuman 

The Oakland Mayor's Race added its 11th candidate: San Francisco State University Professor of Communications and Legal Studies and 25-year Oakland resident Joe Tuman. Tuman came from out of nowhere Wednesday to a formidable media splash suitable for, well, for someone who worked in the media.

In addition to teaching at SFState, Joe Tuman's other title was "CBS 5 Eyewitness News Political Analyst," a job he gave up to run for Mayor of Oakland.

Joe Tuman and I talked twice: the first time briefly at his campaign kickoff by Lake Merritt and the second time at Cafe DiBartolo on Grand Avenue (a video that will come later). Tuman says he simply felt that it was time for the right leadership at Oakland City Hall and he believes he can provide that.

In that way, Tuman is no different that Terrance Candell or any of the other candidates in the Oakland Mayor's Race, except that Tuman and Candell point to the leadership problem as they see it more often than the other candidates.

But what other difference does Tuman bring? Tuman has a more corporate style than his competitors. He comes with well-tailored suits, shined shoes, and tightly-tied tie. He stands ramrod straight, thin, and very well-tanned. Tuman looks more like a Miami Beach hotel developer than a guy running for Mayor of Oakland.

But the reality is Tuman came to Oakland 25 years ago and from Berkeley, settled in Trestle Glen, not far from Lakeshore and got tired of Oakland's direction. One day, at his wife's behest, he decided to run for Mayor.

What Joe has is a savvy media team that really gets the Internet, much better than the other candidates. Plus, he knows people like KTVU's Political Editor Randy Shandobil, who gave him a good long segment on The Channel Two News Wednesday night. On an Internet marketing scale of 1 to 10, I'd give him a 6; there's room for improvement but where the others are at a 4, with an easy-to-read website  at and constant use of his social networks, he's a step ahead.

But where Tuman has a long way to go to prove he's the right "Joe" for Oakland, is in his knowledge of the players in Oakland. A mayor has to know what buttons to push in order to get things done. With the exception of Don Perata, and Councilmembers Jean Quan and Rebecca Kaplan, both running for Mayor of Oakland, the people running haven't demonstrated that feel for the city.

On the other hand, they have three months to develop it.

Stay tuned.

No Senator Left Behind

The GOP claims they're really serious about deficit reduction, but Sentator McConnell (R-KY) says it's the "uniform view in his caucus that tax cuts needn’t be offset by other changes in spending..." Evidently none of them think tax cuts affect the budget.

$678 billion - it's a math thing. Republican Whip Jon Kyl (R-AZ) doesn't even want to talk about it.

There's ample evidence that the tax cuts enacted under the previous administration were, in fact, the largest factor in rapidly turning the Treasury's surplus in 2000 into the deficit under the Bush administration which mostly enjoyed a Republican Congressional majority.

What kind of voodoo budgeting lets you ignore a revenue decrease?  We lost 3 million manufacturing jobs while Bush was President, but the GOP line is that tax cuts will help?  Tax cuts don't put groceries on the table of an unemployed person, but they do add to the deficit - it's not complex math.

We've got to get more rational in discussing the budget and the deficit. The U.S. economy can work - productivity has nearly doubled in this country in the past 30 years, and corporate profits are obviously robust even as CEO salaries and bonuses have sky-rocketed.

Leaders who will safeguard the interests of ordinary citizens are becoming an endangered species in the Congress. In late summer 2008 Congressional leaders and the Bush administration told the country that big business needed behemoth bailouts or our entire economic system would collapse, but that Wall Street bailout did nothing to save blue collar jobs, or reverse the outsourcing trends, and while some say the jury's still out on job creation if the GOP pundits insist the Obama-era stimulus package didn't help then what of the Bush-era bailout? The bailout certainly didn't stimulate lending, though it did give banks enough cash for lavish year-end bonuses.

Can you think of another industry that would award bonuses when they had to get billions of dollars simply to remain in business?  Evidently it's not just GOP Senators who'd benefit from a little remedial math refresher.

And now Senate Republicans want to balance the budget (and stir up fears about deficits) while they claim there's no need to offset tax cuts with other revenue?

Think about that.  Tax cuts may or may not make be your cup of tea; they're a tool in the economist's arsenal. Yet to claim on the one hand deficits are bad and then turn around and advocate revenue reduction -- in this case by providing tax cuts for the wealthiest citizens -- without offsetting it in any way defies the reasoning powers we expect in our elected leaders.

Thomas Hayes
is a Democratic campaign staffer, entrepreneur, journalist, and photographer who contributes regularly to a host of web sites on topics ranging from economics and politics to culture and community.

Star Wars' Dave Prowse banned from Comic Con Star Wars Fan Days

Dave Prowse 
In this Comic Con update, 75-year-old Dave Prowse, who was the body behind Darth Vader in the Star Wars movie series, has been banned - that's right banned - from Comic Con's Star Wars Fan Days and, as his Darth Vader website put it:

It is with regret that I have been informed by my friends at C2 Ventures, Ben and Phillip, that I am not to be invited to C5 this year or any other Lucas Film associated events. After enquiring, the only thing I have been told is that I have "burnt too many bridges between Lucas Film and myself" - no other reason given.

I have also been advised by the promoter of Paris Manga in September that LFL have requested no photo opportunities with the 501 Squadron, even though I am commander in chief of the 501.

Sincere apologies to all my fans who were hoping to meet with me - I shall miss you too. As you will see from my events page I will be at many conventions all over the world so we can still keep in touch.

And Dave Prowse' Facebook page explains the Comic Con information in more detail:

Updated Dave's appearance schedule on his official web site. Dave is not appearing at DragonCon, Chicago ComiCon, Star Wars Fan Days, or the shows in Glasgow and Montreal. Dave has added new shows including his rescheduled trip to Turkey.

Wow. Curious to know just what Darth Vader did to "burn bridges" with LucasFilm? Speculation runs rampant, and LucasFilm's not talking. But this comment over at was provocative:

Scopi on Jul 10, 2010 03:05 PM
When it comes to burning bridges, I assume that Lucas Film wouldn't be very happy with story I've heard Prowse tell a couple times, along the lines that he thought he was doing the voice of Darth Vader and that James Earl Jones was only hired to appeal to the "black audience." I think Prowse walked back from that a bit later on, but maybe he's been telling accusatory versions of it again.

I can't see George Lucas making that stupid an assumption about the "black audience" and that take on Prowse part is boarderline racist. My insider information is that George thought he needed a more menancing voice that this one:

The simple fact is Darth Vaders supposed to sound like someone who can crush you with a thought, and not like someone who would beat you with a wet noodle. At any rate, he's out of Comic Con.

Stay tuned.