Monday, September 06, 2010

Caroline Wozniacki Muscles A Victory Over Maria Sharapova In US Open

20-year old Caroline Wozniacki beat Maria Sharapova in straight sets on Labor Day at the 2010 US Open.

 The victory wasn't even funny to watch. It was brutal. It was the skinny beauty queen in Maria Sharapova versus the female bodybuilder Caroline Wozniacki, and brawn won big time.

Caroline Wozniacki had Sharapova literally chasing the ball all over the place. Then, just when it looked like Caroline from Denmark was six points from a win, Sharapova mustered her reserve and nearly avoided the straight set win that did happen, 6-3, 6-4.

Now, Caroline Wozniacki, the number one seed who's won 19 of 20 straight sets since Wimbledon, advances in the US Open.

U.S. Open Tennis: Venus Williams French Open Outfit Shows Legs

Venus Williams (AP)
The new buzz is all about U.S. Open Tennis and Venus Williams' French Open outfit. Since it lacks a skirt, all we see are legs and bikini panties. That's it.

Venus says the outfit's designed to show fireworks.  But the only fireworks were because of what the outfit shows - almost everything below the waist.

All this space can say is "WOW." But frankly, her sister Serena has better legs: more shape and muscle. Still both are sexy.

You have to admit, Venus knows how to stir a crowd online and offline.

 Caroline Wozniacki (Extreme Sports) 
And that brings up another thought. This should confirm that guys watch women's tennis to check out the legs.

It's really that simple. Where else can guys see women showing great, sexy, muscular legs? You can't even get that in Playboy.

And on the topic of Women's Tennis Players with legs, Caroline Wozniacki has better legs than Venus Williams, at least I think so.

Caroline Wozniacki, who's legs are even more muscular than in the photo, is as of this writing six points from beating Maria Sharapova. But nerves are getting to her. She's double-faulting.

Still Sharapova's making errors to.  Wozniacki is two points away from victory.

But those legs!

Oakland Mayor's Race: Don MaCleay, Don Perata, Tax Increment Financing

Blogging random thoughts on Labor Day 2010 in Oakland.

First, say Chip Johnson, my friend, can you name all of the candidates running for Mayor of Oakland without a list to assist you? A bottle of wine says you can't do it on video. Talking to Don Perata is great, and it was a great column, but we need more coverage from you - try doing all of them! Besides, Don skipped the Forum. He had a reason, but Perata's not Mayor; acting like he is will not win the prize.

...Still, I'm starting to see Perata lawn signs...

Second, this blogger has video from the Oakland Mayor's Race Forum on Jobs from last Thursday, but thankfully so do a number of Oakland blogs. That means I can wait and take my time. Yeah!

In fact, I have a backlog of videos that are of a higher priority than the Forum, and I will explain why below. But interviews with Oakland District Two Councilmember Pat Kernighan and her challenger Jennifer Pae, and an upcoming interview with Joe Tuman have to get out there.

Third, now, about the Forum. Where were Terrance Candell and Arnie Fields? Got to attend these things.

Don McCleay 
As I stated in my Twitter tweets during the forum - and there's a good chance you didn't see them, which is cool, but it's not like I have a million followers yet - I believed the best performances were from Councilmember Rebecca Kaplan, Joe Tuman, and (drum roll please) Marcy Hodge. I really didn't think Hodge would do that well, and I base much of my choice on the way she handled my tax increment financing question.

Frustrated with the dog-and-pony-show level of questions at the Oakland Mayor's Forums, I tossed in this one: What is Tax Increment Financing and how will you use it to help business and create jobs in Oakland?

Or something like that.

The question did what I engineered it to do: surprise the candidates and make them think, and scare them. In the process, we learn how they handle a real curveball. Because that's what Mayor's will have to deal with: lots of curveballs.

Beyond that, I wanted to see if the people running for Mayor knew about what tools were available to them for job creation and business assistance. TIF is one of them. (And before you tell me it can't be used for the provision of services in Oakland, I will tell you you're wrong. There's a little known part of the California Heath and Safety Code that says, essentially, that it can. So there. Go and do your homework, and when you're stuck, call me.)

At any rate...

Marcy Hodge answered the question and correctly referred to TIF for what is is, a tool. For someone who didn't spend time in redevelopment (well, OK, she is on the Peralta Board), she gave a good answer of what it could and could not do.

I can't say that for my friend Don MaCleay, who's first concern was "Who asked the question." My thought was "Who cares! Just deal with it." I was openly disappointed in Don, and I think he knew he could have handled that better.

In fairness, Don was the one who got the question first. But that deer-in-the-headlights look he had was frankly totally funny. He paused for a second, and almost had his own Jan Brewer moment, except he saved himself by 8 seconds.

Because of Don's flub, the other candidates were under pressure to try and get it right and for the most part, they did. Councilmember Jean Quan actually got it better than the other candidates, and were it not for Hodge's surprisingly poised answer, would have won the round. Jean Quan was fair, she didn't bash TIF, just gave an evaluation of its pros and cons.

Larry Lionel Young Jr, started off well if stilted, but then lost me when he went "street" in the last part of his answer, ending in a "Vote for LL."   Still, "LL" is a very polished candidate and has presented himself extremely well.   The gap between he and say, Councilmember Jean Quan isn't much, frankly.

But the "much" is critical. I think if the Forums had more policy questions like that one, Jean would do better than she has. Councilmember Quan's a really bright and well-considered person. In retrospect, I don't think the Forums have done her justice, but one thing is she's getting better at just being happy rather than having the view of "what am I doing here with these people."

I hope she keeps it up.

What Is Tax Increment Financing?

Oh, forgot to mention. Tax Increment Financing goes like this. You have an area of the City that you and I agree is blighted. So the Oakland City Council agrees and to make a long process short, we have a redevelopment area. The property tax paid by land and building owners normally goes to the city, county, BART, AC Transit, and EBMUD; now it goes to the Oakland Redevelopment Agency.

The first year of collection, we take the total assessed value of the new area and that becomes the base year of AV. (AV is assessed value.) Each year from that point we take the total assessed value for that year and subtract it from the base year, and multiply that times the tax rate. That's our money for that year, but we let it build up year after year.

If we look out over a 40 year projected period, we have enough to use to float a bond to finance a redevelopment plan.

That's the basic explanation of TIF from a guy, me, who's been a consultant to the City of Oakland, Emeryville, and Elihu Harris, when he was Mayor of Oakland.

OK. It's Labor Day. Enjoy it.

Mad Men: The Suitcase - Don Draper's Racism In Ali vs. Liston

In my previous post on Mad Men, I blogged this:

Mad Men and Ali v. Liston 2: May 25, 1965

To put things in perspective, I was born August 4, 1962. What's great about being alive now is that there are shows like Mad Men that reach back to my very early years, but I'm contemporary such that I can express what I was seeing then, now using a blog. By then I was barely three years old, but I remember the buzz about this Cassius Clay guy and how some people in Chicago said he was Muhammad Ali.

A lot of people, black and white and whatever, wanted Ali to lose that fight; not true for my parents, who never communicated a negative thought about Ali. But it was all over: neighbors talking to my dad. On radio. On television (we had one.) Ali was this bad guy who talked too much.

Ali kicked Liston's ass. I was happy then, and happy to see Don Drapers face sag as he drove his cigarette into the ash tray.

Yes. Happy. Prior to his visit to the local bar with Peggy (which was a pretty bold step to bring a woman not your wife to a bar in 1965), Don Draper commented that Cassius Clay was a big mouth who talked to much. "Why does he have to say it; just do it."

Draper spouted all of the fears that America, circa 1965 had about Muhammad Ali. If you were black, you were supposed to keep quiet. Not say anything. In those days, in some areas of the United States, it was considered not legal to even have a white girl friend. In the South, just looking at a white girl would get you lynched. That was the era Mad Men is focused on.

I mention sex because sexual advance toward a woman is the common act of male sexuality. The simple fact is, even at a time of same sex marriage, being able to overcome the fears of rejection of a woman and learn the female language is considered the ultimate act of manhood.

The other ultimate act of manhood and adulthood for women is self-expression of prowess: that is to say I'm the best. For someone black to openly say that in 1965 was considered a threat to a white World.

Thus, many Americans regardless of color did not want Ali to win, let alone "be Ali." They wanted him to be Clay. To remain in the background. To be a boxer and not a political symbol. Donald Draper embodied all of that in Mad Men: The Suitcase.

I'm glad he lost his bet.

Mad Men: The Suitcase - Internet Buzzing, And About Ali vs. Liston

Mad Men: The Suitcase is a perfect example of why Mad Men rules The Emmys. Look, I'm not a Mad Men junky, but I know great television when I see it.

For this blogger Mad Men: The Suitcase was a study in the collapse of the professional masks of two very damaged people, and Don Draper's mainstream racist view of Muhammad Ali (which I explain in this link.)

Don Draper's got nothing but his work; Peggy wants to be seen as more than just an office tart. But at the end of the day, literally, both get scrubbed up and go back at it again. With Draper finding creative inspiration from a fight he took the wrong bet on.

Mad Men and Ali v. Liston 2: May 25, 1965

To put things in perspective, I was born August 4, 1962. What's great about being alive now is that there are shows like Mad Men that reach back to my very early years, but I'm contemporary such that I can express what I was seeing then, now using a blog. By then I was barely three years old, but I remember the buzz about this Cassius Clay guy and how some people in Chicago said he was Muhammad Ali.

A lot of people, black and white and whatever, wanted Ali to lose that fight; not true for my parents, who never communicated a negative thought about Ali. But it was all over: neighbors talking to my dad. On radio. On television (we had one.) Ali was this bad guy who talked too much.

Ali kicked Liston's ass. I was happy then, and happy to see Don Drapers face sag as he drove his cigarette into the ash tray.

Buzz for Mad Men: The Suitcase

Of course, the accounts of Mad Men don't even focus on Ali v. Liston, but they're worth noting, none the less. The LA Times Meredith Blake blogged:

"Mad Men" can be a lot of things, but one thing it’s usually not is a tearjerker. The show always packs an emotional wallop — you'll laugh, you'll cringe, you'll want to throw paperweights at Don — but good, old-fashioned lumps in your throat are hard to come by. Sunday night, however, there wasn't a dry eye at my house. Granted, I watched the episode by myself, but still: If the image of Don, drunk, heartbroken and curled up in Peggy’s lap, won't get you a little misty-eyed, then your name must be Betty Draper.

Hmmm. Reading between the lines, I'd say Meredith Blake's trying to tell us she's single and ready to mingle, but I digress. Here's the Entertainment Weekly's Mad Men Central:

...And there kicked off one of the finest two-player performance pieces I can remember from TV history. (Hyperbolic? So what. I'm drunk on feelings of love and goodness. And from pressing repeat on ''Bleecker Street.'') It was like watching a play unfold, as Peggy and Don circled one another, spitting out long-held accusations — he's a drunk, she's a child — and sharing revelations from their similarly traumatic childhoods. Elisabeth Moss had so many brilliant moments.

I'm waiting for the Mad Men fan sites to kick in with their take. It's going to be interesting. But I'm still thinking about Ali vs. Liston.

Labor Day no picnic for jobless 99ers

This Labor Day is no picnic for the jobless 99er Nation. While much of the country is busy celebrating the unofficial end of summer, millions of jobless Americans can barely put food on the table because they have been without unemployment benefits since February/March this year.

One week from today, the US Senate will return from their summer break, but will only remain in session through October 8th, when they will again adjourn until long after election day. Currently there are 2 bills waiting in Congress for when they reconvene next week. Time is short. The Americans Want to Work Act (S3706) and HR6091 are both flawed, as they do not cover all UI ‘exhaustees’ in all states. For the many facing hunger and homelessness everyday, today is certainly no day of celebration.

The best Americans who have exhausted all tiers of UI benefits can hope for now, is to have the Americans Want to Work Act extended to include all states and passed immediately. No half measures will do and for those struggling desperately to stay afloat, this cannot happen soon enough. Once S3706 passes in the Senate, it should pass easily in the House, then on to Obama for his signature. Once it becomes law, it will depend on each state how fast the UI benefits will get to those who needed them months ago.

President Obama needs to get involved and in touch with the 99er community by holding town hall meetings and speaking to us directly. These meetings could be held online. The 99ers are angry and our votes will show it in November. No Democrat is safe at this point and many 99ers have already changed their affiliation to Independent, as a direct result of the lack of compassion and urgency thus far to help the 99 community, by the party in power. If Obama will not talk to the 99er Nation, we must talk to him.

To that end, we are encouraging all unemployed Americans, exhaustees or otherwise to participate in a campaign to contact the President, all your Senators (Democrat or Republican) and demand they vote for this bill immediately.

Contact information for all Senate members can be found at: Congressional Toll free Switchboard: 1-866-220-0044.

Every day WE NEED ALL AMERICANS concerned about this crisis to contact the White House Comments Line 202-456-1111 Comment line is only open 9:00 AM - 5:00 PM Monday thru Friday EST.

If we can get millions of Americans to call the White House Comments line, demanding this Tier 5 bill become law, we will not be ignored. So, spread the word, share this article where you know it will reach the unemployed masses. If we make this call in campaign vital to the success of their November campaigns, we cannot lose.

Machete Race War? The Expendables Has Whites Killing Latinos

Machete Race War? What about The Expendables? A small Internet brush fire, started by Alex Jones of the blog Prison Planet, has it that the movie Machete is anti-white.

The take on the movie, which this blogger hasn't seen yet, has led to protests online and offline. The San Jose Mercury News reports that a protest was held in Livermore, California over the idea that Machete is anti-white.

But a commenter here at and on the previous post about Machete has a take worthy of mention:

Alex Jones is stoking the flames of white american frustration and anger. His articles of this movie have been featured on the past few days. I've certainly have never heard or read of him before but by reading his recent articles he seems like a complete conspiratorial nutjob.

A recent movie I viewed called the "The Expendables" with Sylvester Stallone deals with him and a band of mercenaries (whites) flying into a small island banana republic controlled by a CIA rouge agent (white again) and end up totally massacring at least 250 latino soldiers. The sole latina in the film is even water boarded in full view graphically. Not one word from Univision/Telemundo etc. etc. of this. Why no outrage? It's not reality, it's fiction, it's film.

Can't we have a movie where mexicans are for once the heroes? Alex Jones says NO!

Interesting. But given my interview with Sylvester Stallone at Comic Con 2010, I'm certain he would bristle at the notion The Expendables is anti-Latino, let alone anti-Mercenary.

Still, the commenter has a good point. Even if there's no stated intent to present Latinos in a bad light, The Expendables does have to do with a fictional South American (read: Latino) country and a dictator (read: Latino), and people who defend the country who The Expendables, of which all are not white - Terry Crews is black and Jet Li is Asian - but do kill people who have a Latino reference, if you will.

Oh, boy. My guess is Lionsgate's not going to be happy about having their tentpole film tossed into this debate.

Machete Race War? Alex Jones Claims Machete Movie Is Racist

There are three problems with the claim that Alex Jones makes about Machete igniting a race war.

First, from occasionally watching as much as this blogger cares to of MSNBC's Lockup, race wars are something that only happen in prisons and not in civilization.

Second, a movie attacking Arizona's psychotic illegal immigration law, as Machete reportedly does, is bound to make someone in Arizona who's involved in the administration of the law look bad.

Allegedly Machete makes whites look like evil bad people and Mexicans look like the good great people who will overcome the white people. Or at least that's what Alex Jones of says here:

Welcome to stereotypes. Blacks have been dealing with that problem since film was created. Oh, come to think of it, according to CMR, there aren't any African Americans in Machete.

Oh well. Now, I'm really upset.

Oh, third, according to the search stats, only people in Arkansas, Alabama, and Texas care about this issue. They represent 20 percent of the search traffic. So, the Machete Race War is really only on the minds of those in Arkansas, Alabama, and Texas anyway.

Translation? Don't worry about it. But see the movie first. I've not seen it. Maybe I will.