Wednesday, August 04, 2010

Prop 8 : California Gay Marriage Ban overturned by Judge Walker

Judge Walker 
So how cool is this news on this blogger's 48th birthday: Proposition 8, the horrible and neurotic (Who cares who marries whom?) law prohibiting Gay marriage was overturned today, Wednesday, August 4th, 2010.

In other words, by "Memorandum Order of Judge Vaughn Walker Declaring California's Proposition 8 Unconstitutional."

The primary reason stated by Chief U.S District Court Judge For Northern District of California, Vaughn Walker is on page 135 of the case ruling document and reads:

Moral disapproval alone is an improper basis on which to deny rights to gay men and lesbians. The evidence shows conclusively that Proposition 8 enacts, without reason, a private moral view that same-sex couples are inferior to opposite-sex couples.

What's massively cool is that Judge Walker is himself Gay. Opponents will certainly look at that fact as an issue in his ruling, but I think it's fitting that someone who's life would be altered by Prop 8 has the chance to rule on its constitutionality.

Before you react one way or the other, take time to read the case document, which you can download here: CASE DOC.

And so ends, for the moment, the reason that just protests like this one in the video from last year, occurred, but will the anger from those who feel it necessary to block the civil rights of others, also expressed in videos below, subside? I hope so.

Stay tuned for more on this amazing development.

Money Hungry: Give VH1 $10K, lose weight & win back your money by: Nikky Raney

Money Hungry on VH1 is a new type of reality weight loss show where 10 pairs of overweight people paid $10,000 of their own money in hopes to lose weight and gain $100,000.

Out of the 10 pairs only one pair will win $100,000 but two of the other pairs will win back their $10,000. That means that for seven unlucky pairs they will lose weight, and the $10,000. Each team gave stories on how they were able to raise the money: selling cars, fundraisers, loans and other actions were taken in order for each pair to raise the money.

Every week one of the ten teams will be sent home. Each week the teams are all weighed at the beginning and then weighed at the end. The amount of pounds lost is not what matters most, but the measure of how much body fat is lost. The team with the lowest percentage of body fat lost will go home and kiss their $10,000 good-bye.

The first episode showed the contestants partying their first night. One of the contestants that will stick out through the season is Philip - who on the first night downed two bottles of wine and found himself naked in the pool.

Each pair gave themselves a team name. The ten teams consist of:

Team Fabulous: Philip & Stephanie
Team Roll Models: Shante & Jamie
Team No Excuses: Melissa & Josh
Team Chicago Deep Dish: Marilu & Bridget
Team Mission Slimpossible: Mark & Joe
Team Slenderellas: Kaitlin & Jackie
Team A Pair Of Nuts: Yamil & Johnny
Team Grading Curves: Missy & Tricia
Team Regulators: Po & Dave
Team Double Chocolate: Georgette & Tammy
Team Family Sized: Denise & Katie
Team Rocker Moms: Beth & Carrie

Tune in Thursday, August 5 at 5 p.m ET/PT to watch Money Hungry and see who works out the hardest and who ends up saying good-bye.

(Photo courtesy of VH1)

Ronald Reagan must be rolling in his grave

Former U.S. Representative David Stockman (R-MI), who served as Ronald Reagan's first director of the Office of Management and Budget, used the forum of the Sunday New York Times to unmask and rebuke Republican members of Congress and their elite messaging strategists who cling to claims to be fiscal conservatives.

"Mr. McConnell’s stand puts the lie to the Republican pretense that its new monetarist and supply-side doctrines are rooted in its traditional financial philosophy."
David Stockman
31 July 2010
Describing current and recent GOP tax rhetoric "a mockery of traditional party ideals," Stockman says these policy doctrines have led to four "great deformations" of the U.S. economy over the past four decades, starting when the Nixon administration ignored the 1944 Bretton Woods agreement to balance our accounts with the world while "Republicans have turned a blind eye to each one."

"By fiscal year 2009, the tax-cutters had reduced federal revenues to 15 percent of gross domestic product, lower than they had been since the 1940s. Then, after rarely vetoing a budget bill and engaging in two unfinanced foreign military adventures, George W. Bush surrendered on domestic spending cuts, too — signing into law $420 billion in non-defense appropriations, a 65 percent gain from the $260 billion he had inherited eight years earlier."
David Stockman
31 July 2010
Doubtless this is why so many who lately vote against Republican policies and politicians describe themselves as socially liberal yet fiscally conservative. The GOP has been abusing the trust of their base, successfully waging a PR war on the truth: relying on either the inattention, and/or gullibility of voters who have fallen for their appealing "brand ideology" without realizing this rhetoric is entirely at odds with actual GOP goals and actions for the past 4 decades.

That's the real threat to the Republican Party, which is now gleeful for media coverage of Tea Party events so far to the political right they may fool swing voters into thinking the GOP looks as though they occupy the middle-ground. Stockman's Op-Ed article is a must read for all who take politics seriously enough to vote.

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

Obama Birthday; Zennie's birthday - The Kennedy Generation

Today is President Barack Obama's birthday. He was born on August 4th, 1961. It's also the birthday of this blogger, Zennie Abraham. My birth date was August 4th, 1962 - exactly one year behind President Obama.

Last year, I made the video below to thank President Obama for allowing this blogger to be who he is and not an African American stereotype. This one:

The message of one year ago still applies today.

It's no accident that Barack Obama comes from my generation of not just black men, but Asian, Latino, and other minorities of color both male and female. All of us, it's not too much of a stretch to say, don't reflect the historic stereotypes American society stamped on those before us, and tries to stick on some of those with us today.

I never grew up seeing anyone Asian as "The model minority" or anyone Latino from the negative stereotypes placed on them. At Skyline High School (where the class of 80 just had a rocking 30th reunion), I knew guys who were stoners, screw-ups, smart folks, and cheerleaders, and all of them were Asian, Latino, and Black.

I never grew up seeing anyone that way.

At my 30th Skyline High School Reunion I looked out and saw my friends and classmates of all different shapes, sizes, and colors intermingling and having a massively great time and thought to myself, "That's my generation. What a cool group of people!"

My generation is Barack Obama's generation: "The Kennedy Generation."

No offense to Tom Hanks, who graduated from Skyline High School in Oakland in 1974 and talks about those who fought in World War II as "The Greatest Generation," but I think our generation's not too far behind that one in greatness. We're the first to break away from racial stereotypes, not just of others, but of ourselves, and realize the full range of possibilities of The American Dream.

The fact that Barack Obama - the 44th President of The United States, and of the class of '79, and America's first black president - is from my generation is no accident. My generation consists of those who are on the cusp of the Bay Boom, born in 1960 and up in America.

I suppose, since John F. Kennedy was president when we were born, you could call us "The Kennedy Generation."

If you think about it, "The Kennedy Generation" reflects the sweeping hopes and dreams of President Kennedy himself: to reach for the moon and improve the quality of life for everyone on Earth. We learned how to protest from the early Baby Boomers, but altered our approach with a desire to cause change from within the system itself.

Little, by little, we gained power and influence, until one of us was ready to be President and we elected him.

Barack Obama reflects the best of my generation: we broke the mold and made America an even greater nation.

Happy Birthday, Mr. President.

Google Adsense payment process problem for YouTube Partners

Susan Boyle has been very good for
YouTube Partners 
If you regularly read this space, you know this video-blogger is a YouTube Partner. YouTube explains that it wants its partners to earn a living from the production of videos, like my commentary on Susan Boyle from April of 2009.

The debut of Susan Boyle resulted in this video-bloggers first 1 million-view-in-one- month video and translated into a nice check.  Susan Boyle's success has been good for many of the 10,000 YouTube Partners.  She had the most watched set of videos on YouTube last year.

Google Adsense reporting subpar

A key part of the YouTube Partner program objective of having its content producers earn a living is the smooth running of the Google Adsense payment system. But as of this writing, the Google Adsense payment process is a problem for YouTube Partners, like myself, who want to know in detail what's happening with the checks that are to be sent.

Using myself as the example, I have signed up for the "secure payment" program, so I'm paid between the 1st and the 5th of each month. Google generally posts the delivery tracking information so you can call and check on the path of your check. But this month, for reasons not known, Google has not done this. A look at the help area revealed that I'm not the only one experiencing the problem.

Google Help Area not reliable

What compounds the problem is the "top contributors" in the help section at times don't know what they're talking about. A lot of misinformation is communicated around the Google Adsense program process, which compounds the frustration of the person waiting for the check.

YouTube itself has taken great steps to improve the YouTube Partner payment reporting program as much as it can. Now, we get reports on monthly video revenue performance all the way down to specific videos on a daily basis. It's the best improvement the program has initiated in the near-four-years I've been in the YouTube Partner program.

But now, Google has to step up its payment process information system. It's the weak link in the YouTube Partner program, and since blogs also have Google ads, the total network that I've built generates revenue that's paid from Google Adsense.

Hopefully this issue is resolved. Google must improve this, so YouTube Partners can enjoy the fruits of their labor in a timely fashion.