Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Jillian Michaels Turns Down Playboy Magazine Cover

Jillian Michaels, the ever-gracious star personal trainer on NBC's The Biggest Loser, and who this blogger interviewed at the 2010 NFL Draft, announced 17 minutes ago on Facebook and Twitter that she was offered the cover of Playboy:

Here's a day that I never thought would come... I got offered the cover of Playboy today. Obviously I decided to...
16 minutes ago via Facebook

What Michaels decided to do, and this blogger understands why, is turn down Playboy. But she made a mistake.

Unless they made a specific request that wasn't something she should do, like pose nude, Michaels could do what she wanted and use Playboy as a platform. There's no requirement that Jillian has to pose nude, and she can place her own conditions on the appearance, including a full interview.

For someone who's a spokeswoman for women's empowerment, that's a large platform to have. One set of well-placed comments would make Jillian's words the views of the day.  And on that note, here's the interview from the 2010 NFL Draft:

And even better, let's say Jillian accepted with conditions, and Playboy rejected the request? Instant PR for Jillian's message anyway plus, an opening to a discussion of Playboy's role in the 21st Century.

All this space can say is it's too bad, Jillian's decision, but completely understood.

Oakland Mayor's Race: The Candell Endorsement Problem

Dr. Candell - I didn't endorse him
Note: no endorsement for any mayoral candidate from this space, yet.

When this blogger attended the second Oakland Mayor's Race Forum at The Lakeshore Baptist Church, a sheet of paper was being passed around the audience. It was a petition to have the name of Dr. Terrance Candell on the ballot for the election for Mayor of Oakland. I asked what I was signing before I put my name to the paper; such a signature is not an endorsement of any candidate.

For some reason, my name is listed in the voter guide as endorsing Dr. Candell for Mayor. It's not true.

The news of this problem came from Oakland businessman and once-challenger of Councilmember Ignacio De La Fuente (District Five - Fruitvale, Central East Oakland) Mario Juarez, who via Facebook asked if I'd lost my mind.

Of sound mind, certainly.

A call to the City of Oakland City Clerk Office did confirm Mr. Juarez's report. The person on the phone then said they would check the records for the actual paperwork and call back in 15 minutes, but never did. That was shocking.  I'm still waiting for a phone call.

Talked To Dr. Candell

Eventually, Dr. Candell was successfully reached via phone and to his credit, he apologized for any appearance of impropriety. He said his staff had nothing to do with it.  However, he pointed a finger at The City of Oakland.

I consider Dr. Candell and all of the candidates friends and remain pledged to providing fair and honest coverage of the race.  But I have not endorsed Dr. Candell for Mayor of Oakland.

Don Macleay 
But how and why my name is on the official endorser list is beyond me, and is a very scary development. The only blue card I've filled out, which is the document one uses to officially endorse a candidate and give permission for one's name to be used in campaign literature, is for Libby Schaaf, who's running for the Oakland City Council District 4 (Oakland Hills - Montclair) Seat.

That's it.

Planned To Help Don Macleay As Well

What's so weird is that Don Macleay personally asked if I would also help him get on the ballot and while I said I would, never made it over to his event to do so.   Too bad.  I wonder what the person who copied my signature or got the idea I endorsed would have done then?

Whatever the issue, the occurrence of this is disturbing.

Part of me believes that it may have been a conspiracy to do anything to take votes away from Don Perata. The other part of me is weirded-out that I'm such a public figure someone feels they have to do this.   In the future, no one gets an assist from this blogger in this way or in any way that doesn't involve the use of video.

Regardless, here's the word: I've not endorsed Dr. Candell for Mayor of Oakland.

Senator George LeMieux puts nail in 99ers coffin

Moments ago Senator George LeMieux (R-FL) objected to Debbie Stabenow’s request for unanimous consent for her Discharge Resolution in order to Bring the Americans Want to work Act to the Senate floor for a vote. (at present this bill is in the Senate Finance Committee)

A Discharge Resolution is a special motion in the Senate that any senator may introduce to relieve a committee from consideration of a bill before it. The resolution can be called up for Senate approval or disapproval in the same manner as any other Senate business.

This is disgusting. Millions of Americans have been without UI for 7 - 8 months and the Senator pulls this? With Florida unemployment so high?

He is now responsible for every one who goes hungry and/or who dies because Senator Lemieux took away the hope of millions of hurting Americans. Once again, the republicannots have proven how little they care about Americans and the economy. You LeMieux, by this unconscionable act, have condemned millions of American 99ers to death by starvation. May God forgive you, because America NEVER will - Mr. LeMieux.

I say we all tell Mr. LeMieux's staff how we feel about this heartless act by the Senator, especially when only 10 days ago his staffers were saying He would not oppose the Tier 5 bill. Ask for Lauren, Legislative Director Michael Zehr or Ken Lundberg to express your outrage over what this Senator has done to the 99er Nation.

Senator George LeMieux, 202-224-3041

Guess he has really earned his place on the Wall of Shame:

San Francisco-Based Recology One Step From Final BOS Approval

San Francisco-based Recology is just one voting step away from approval to be the new collector of the city and county's non-recycled refuse. The San Francisco Board of Supervisor's is scheduled to vote on a resolution after it's introduced on October 5th.

If approved, the plan, reported about in this space before, will transfer the city's refuse from the South Bay's Altamont Landfill to Recology’s Ostrom Road Landfill, once the former reaches contracted capacity in 2015.

The resolution was filed and recommended by the San Francisco Department of the Environment, who's Director, Melanie Nutter said "This is a good deal for San Francisco and for the environment. Ostrom Road is a state-of-the-art facility that employs industry best practices, and the price is dramatically lower than the competition. This will help us maintain reasonable refuse collection costs as we move toward zero waste."

Mutter estimates the deal will save San Francisco ratepayers up to $125 million over the total life of the contract.

San Francisco Sets The Tone

According to The SF Department of the Environment, San Francisco is the nation's leader in recycling, with 77 percent of its waste stream diverted for that purpose.

John Kerry Says Karl Rove Is Back

Senator John Kerry's (D - Mass) email to this Democratic Liberal blogger warns that famed Republican Strategist Karl Rove "Is Back." Kerry's referring to Rove's increasing visibility in the media, particularly Fox News, of late.

What Kerry didn't note was that Rove's shining a critical light on that anti-masterbation, professional political one-advocate of witchcraft, GOP Delaware Senate Candidate Christine O'Donnell. Still, here's what Kerry's saying about Karl Rove:

Karl Rove is back - like an even worse sequel to a movie panned by the critics.

In 2006, you beat Karl Rove, taking back the Congress. Then you probably thought you finished the job in 2008, electing Barack Obama in the White House and bringing health care reform to America, and cracking down on Wall Street abuses, big reforms just starting to dig us out of the hole Karl Rove and his friends dug for us.

But, these guys don't go away quietly - Barack Obama's work bringing change to Washington means Karl Rove didn't have a hard time finding powerful interests to foot the bill for his comeback. And now he's spending millions to destroy Democrats in Senate races around the country.

We can't let him succeed. Once was one time too many for the politics of Karl Rove.

Remember Rand Paul, the man who thinks the problem with Medicare is that seniors don't pay enough? Karl Rove's shadow groups are spending millions telling lies about the great Democrat who's trying to beat him, Jack Conway.

In New Hampshire, Paul Hodes, faces attack ads distorting his positions and trying to tear him down. And in Missouri, Robin Carnahan, the daughter of the great Governor Mel Carnahan and a wonderful public servant, is getting smeared by millions of Rove-directed corporate funds.

They're even pouring millions into attacking Richard Blumenthal in his race against Linda McMahon, the "wrestling" titan who made millions while WWE wrestlers paid a horrible price.

It bears repeating: lies win if they drown out the truth. Karl Rove has done it time and again. But we've beaten his lies before, and we'll do it again.

Contribute to these great candidates right now, and we can make sure that the next Rove sighting doesn't take place in the backrooms and committee hearings of the United States Senate, paying back the agents of the status quo with the radical agenda they want to bring to Washington.

John Kerry

Senator Kerry would have done better to use Rove's words on Christine O'Donnell in the email. In this case, Karl Rove's more of a friend than an enemy to Dems.

Godzilla 2012 3D Gets Star Wars 3D 2012 Competition

Jumping on the 3D bandwagon and setting up a 2012 competition with Godzilla 2012, George Lucas and LucasFilm announced the remake of The Star Wars Movies in 3D.

That means, not a remake as in a whole new movie, but the kind of 2D to 3D conversion Dreamworks Animation CEO Jeffrey Katzenberg spoke out against at the recent 3D Entertainment Summit in Universal City, California.

Katzenberg Hates 2D To 3D Conversion

In his speech, which you can see with a click below, Katzenberg said that he wasn't in favor of any 2D to 3D conversion:

Part two:

Moreover, Dreamworks has pushed something called Stereoscopic 3D, which means the movie is made from the start as a 3D picture.

Both Katzenberg, Avatar Producer and Director James Cameron, and some Sci-Fi fans has panned the 2D to 3D process, pointing to 2010's Clash Of The Titans as the best example of the worst work done in the field.

But the speech Katzenberg gave was to an audience that included some who do the kind of 2D to 3D conversion work he hates. Regardless of Katzenberg's take, 2D to 3D conversion has become the movie production flavor of the year. The revenue returns on 3D movies of any kind, conversion or not, have been impressive. But will that translate to Star Wars?

That's an open question we'll address more later. But for the present, LucasFilm promises that the conversion process will be done well. To assure that, Industrial Light & Magic have been assigned the conversion task. According to The New York Times, John Knoll, a visual effects supervisor for Industrial Light & Magic, said "getting good effects is a matter of taking the time and getting it right."

Stay tuned.

Anti-austerity protests all over Europe By Nikky Raney

Austerity is when a government reduces its spending and/or increases user fees and taxes to pay back creditors.

In over 30 European countries workers are holding anti-austerity strikes and demonstrations due to the many austerity measures the governments have adopted in order to fight public deficit crises.

Wage cuts and tax increases have been put in place by the government although there is a very high unemployment rate, hitting 20 percent over the summer. Europe lost millions of jobs during this financial crisis, and the governments are eager to save money.

There are also plans that may include pension reductions and making the age of retirement higher.

In Spain protests were throwing eggs at buses on streets in Madrid. The workers on strike also sat in front of the parking garage for buses in the city and screamed "scabs" at drivers that attempted to drive out onto the road.

Photo taken from AP
The headquarters of the European Union, in Brussels, Belgium,  is being barricaded by police. Labour leaders are hoping that over 100 thousand workers will gather outside the headquarters and protest, as reported by the BBC.

Jean-Clade Mailly, a French labour leader who heads the FO union, told Al Jazeera:

"Those responsible for this crisis, the banks, the financial markets and the ratings agencies are all too quick in asking for help from states and public budgets and today want the workers to pay for their debts."

Glee Britney Spears Episode Gets Hammered But Is A Hit On Twitter

Britney Spears Before Glee

Apparently a Facebook campaign helping Britney Spears get on Glee didn't translate into the kind of critical success Betty White realized after her Facebook campaign. But it got eyeballs.

As of this writing, Britney Spears's appearance on Glee is being hammered as resulting in an episode that didn't have the normal elements that marked success for Glee.

The Hollywood Gossip has an interesting take written by "Free Britney" that reads:

There wasn't even original Glee music, the hallmark of the show, which fans know connects the material to the characters in a very personal way. Not Tuesday.

The numbers were chosen basically because there was a Facebook campaign for a Britney episode and the star's manager lobbied for it. Not exactly organic.

Don't get us wrong, there were plenty of good lines and some of the covers were actually pretty good. But you can't abandon all storytelling like this as a stunt.

And over at The Washington Post, Jen Chaney and Liz Kelly are asking for an end to "celeb-focused tributes" in the wake of the Glee Britney Spears Episode.

But not every reviewer panned the show. David Itzkoff at the New York Times explains that it was a "total gas" when glee-choir member Brittany S. Pierce met Britney Spears on the show.

But while the Britney Spears Glee appearance may or may not have been well-done, and that's a matter for disagreement, it was certainly an attention getter, which was the whole point of having Spears on Glee. Ratings and eyeballs win. Spears and Glee were a hit on Twitter, with the show grabbing the Twitter Top Trends for the time it aired.

When a TV show hits the Top Trends on Twitter as it's on, that means people are watching it and and are engaged it in.

Let's see what the ratings report reveals.

Stay tuned.

TechCrunch Disrupt SF Women In Tech Panel Final Word (Maybe)

After landing and looking at the video from the TechCrunch Disrupt SF Women In Tech Panel this blogger had high hopes for, the final verdict is the panel was a disaster. Unfortunately, the moderator, Sara Lacy, is my friend and most at fault. Personally this space is very disappointed in Sara. She did not conduct herself with the level of care, empathy, and maturity she's more than capable of expressing.

Have a look for yourself:

A moderator's job is to coordinate the discussion for the panel, not eat the panelists, which is what we got. The overall fact is that beyond TechCrunch and TechCrunch Disrupt the Tech World has a massive diversity problem that needs to be addressed.

Rachel Sklar's correct and courageous in bringing up the pressing problem; Sara and TechCrunch Founder Michael Arrington were wrong and cowardly in not allowing a good, meaningful conversation to develop.

Moreover the discussion of why the ratio of women and minorities is low in Tech was not helped by a woman who's CEO of a company formed with her better known Tech husband, making crazy statements. While Cyan Banister may be well known in Silcon Valley, her statement that people like "Italians" have been discriminated against was nuts.

Cyan said that she was against Affirmative Action and believed people rose on merit.  But she never considered that her own rise may not have happened had she not hooked up with a White tech guy in Angel Investor Scott Banister.  Sara never asked Cyan about that; I would have. Not discounting hard work, but having a partnership helps.

White women rising in American business by hooking up with White business men in the same field is common place (read PowerPlay, the story of Mary Cunningham, as one example).   And no, it does not advance the role of Women in Tech.

Cyan's comment about people rising by merit, considering how that's just another person using a measuring stick that reflects their own prejudices, was silly at best, and sad at worst.   She must consider that it's impossible for people to effectively ferret out their own "issues" - as Sara admitted she had going into the discussion - and so wind up using the idea of "merit" to cloud their biases.

Indeed, the various issues of the panelists so dominated the conversation, we were robbed of what could have been an effective talk.  The moderator set the tone for the discussion by allowing her own "stuff" to overshadow the need for a respectful exchange.  Sara went on the attack and that wasn't necessary at all.

Give her an A, for Awful.

Brown Whitman Debate: Jerry Brown Beats Meg Whitman

If you're a Californian with over 20 years in the state, you don't have to pay much attention to the video replays to know that Jerry Brown was light years ahead of Meg Whitman in Tuesday's debate.

Simply put, Meg Whitman came off as a policy wonk with bad hair, whereas Jerry Brown appeared as an experienced elected official who knows how California works.

Take the exchange on the California Budget. Whitman talked about ideas, as in when she said that she would start the budget process earlier. But Brown talked specific actions beyond a start date.

Jerry said that he would have each legislator go through their budget and look for areas to cut. In short, former Governor Brown is more comfortable talking about how to make the California government work than Meg Whitman is.

On the subject of Illegal Immigration Meg Whitman's problem of not understanding the system of California operation comes up again. Brown favors a path to legalization, whereas Meg Whitman does not.

But then Meg says something confusing. She says that she doesn't favor a path to legalization, but then says we all know illegal aliens are here "for the jobs." So making them legal allows them to get a job; not doing so just perpetuates the cycle of deportation and return to America.

There are other examples, but the overall result is Jerry Brown is more comfortable with himself and with dealing with California's problems. Let's face it. Meg Whitman hasn't done that. But the Former eBay CEO has another problem: her appearance.

Someone has to say this, so it might as well be this blogger: Meg Whitman's hair looked awful. It seemed frayed and her eyes looked tired.  Meg has looked better before and it could be the rigors of the campaign have caught up to her.  A pair of glasses would have made a big difference in Whitman's appearance for the debate.  One commenter wrote that Whitman looked like "Hagatha."

Whatever the case, Meg Whitman could benefit from a good makeover. In fact, so can the State of California. The perception here is Jerry Brown - who doesn't need a makeover and one can argue already got one while he was Mayor of Oakland - is better for the job of California Governor than Meg Whitman.