Thursday, September 30, 2010

Cal Fires Jack Clark, Nukes Rugby And Cal Athletics

Jack Clark of Cal Rugby
On Tuesday, as this blogger was traveling away from the San Francisco Bay Area and Cal Berkeley, UC Berkeley was in the process of nuking it's prized Rugby Program, and destroying Cal Athletics as we know it.

Rugby Coach Jack Clark was fired - his position ends June 2011 -  and the program dumped to varsity sports status.

The reason given was Title IX requirements to financially equalize male and female sports, but given that Coach Clark had a plan to fund and to elevate Women's Rugby to intercollegiate status that was jettisoned by the Cal Administration, using Title IX as an excuse is pure horseshit.

The overall issue has been Cal's need to cut the overall budget of the athletic department, but the one revenue-generating program, Men's Rugby, and its coach who has a plan to elevated women's rugby, was a major target.

For someone not familiar with this issue at all, Cal Men's Rugby has achieved legendary status in the sports World. The Cal Bears are the 2010 National Champions and have won 25 National Championships and nine since 2000 - and it's 2010 as of this writing.   But because of political infighting, the one money-making program in all of Cal Athletics is being reduced to a mere shadow of itself.

As is common with Cal, the way this came about is always the stuff of harsh political infighting. From experience on the Cal Alumni Board and viewing Cal's Administration up close during the Long Range Planning Meetings , this blogger can say turf battles are a contact sport at Cal.

 For internal reasons not yet entirely known, Jack Clark, who's used to winning, lost a battle.   But in the end, Berkeley lost the one person synonymous with sports success at Berkeley: Jack Clark.

As KalosTV says on YouTube, it's time to celebrate Cal Rugby:

Did Cal Back Sandy Barbour Into A Corner?

The gut level feeling is Cal Athletic Director Sandy Barbour was backed into a corner by the overall Cal Administration. It feels like Sandy was forced to make a choice between her position or that of Jack's and the Cal Bears Rugby team.

Knowing Cal as I do, that gut level feeling that Sandy was placed between a political rock and a hardplace is powerful.

Stay tuned.

John Boehner And Lisbeth Lyons : Is Girlfriend Issue McCain 2008 2.0?

UPDATE: Media now silent on John Boehner mistress issue, and with 11 days before the 2010 Midterm Elections.

House Minority Leader John Boehner (R - Ohio) is accused of having, or had, an affair with Lisbeth Lyons (photo at left), Vice President of Government Affairs for The Printing Industries of America, a GOP-oriented lobbyist.

And a person who's evidently feeling the heat, because Lyons took down her Linkedin page, only to have done an incomplete job of that. Read on.

What follows is not any more information that points to an affair, but the foundation of a well-connected player in Lyons that, if the breaker of this story is correct with his details to come, may result in an at least an ethics problem for John Boehner.

The news of this alleged relationship was broken by Blogger Mike Stark of The Stark Reports, part of the Banter Media Group. Stark's allegation goes like this:

...While everyone knows that John Boehner enjoys the good life of luxury travel and golf junkets, many are convinced that enjoys a mistress, too.

I began hearing this from several sources last month with increasing amounts of detail, including the name of the lobbyists Boehner is supposedly having a relationship with – Lisbeth Lyons, Vice President for Government Affairs for the American Printers Association.

I decided I’d look into the story, but I hadn’t decided how to pose the question directly to Boehner. Last night, I learned the location of the House Republican Leadership’s "Pledge to America," event.

Stark then goes to the "Pledge to America" event and gets close enough to not only make this video below, but toward the end of it, ask Boehner point-blank if he was sleeping with Lisbeth Lyons. Here's the video:

If you look at how close he got, Rep. Boehner didn't have a chance; he had to do something. The something he elected to do was to keep walking. Rep. Boehner could have said no, or "no way dude," but he kept walking by as Stark fired off his question, more than once. Indeed, Stark was close enough for Boehner to deck him, thought it's not clear what good that would have done for the man with the tan.

Lisbeth Lyons Doesn't Say No, Exactly

Not done, Stark then turned to a phone call to Lisbeth Lyons herself. In the next video, Stark asks essentially the flip side of the same question. But instead of saying "no," Lyons says "no comment" which keeps the fires of curiosity burning. Here's that video:

And they're burning hot.

What makes it harder for Boehner is all of this comes as he's trying to present the "Republican Pledge To America." And because he's drawing attention to himself, it helps fuel the story. Moreover, the New York Times and The New York Post are reportedly working on their own expose's of the alleged affair.

Who's Lisbeth Lyons?

Lisbeth Lyons, as mentioned, has been a lobbyist for the The Printing Industries of America. Her profile on the company's website reads:

Lisbeth Lyons is the Vice President, Government Affairs for the Printing Industries of America, having joined PIA/GATF in March 2005 as Director of Legislative Affairs. In this position, she is responsible for providing direct advocacy before Congress and the Administration on key industry legislative initiatives, as well as for the strategic direction of the organization’s grassroots and external outreach activities.
Previously, Lisbeth was Director, Government Affairs at the United States Telecom Association (USTA), representing telecommunications companies ranging from the nation’s largest Regional Bell Operating Companies (RBOCs) to small, rural telephone companies. Lisbeth also served as Director of Grassroots & Legislative Services at the National Federation of Independent Business (NFIB), the nation’s largest small business advocacy organization.
Lisbeth is a candidate for an M.A. in Political Management at The George Washington University and holds a B.A. from DePauw University in Greencastle, Indiana. Prior to working in Washington, D.C., Lisbeth was a teacher with Chicago Public Schools.
All Republican Lisbeth

Lisbeth's Internet trail is almost all Republican.  Aside from the alleged relationship with the Republican House Leader, Lyons has attended GOP lobbying functions like one sponsored by the Sunlight Foundation, and gave $2,300 to the campaign of Georgia Senator Saxby Chambliss.   And there's more.

While she took down her Linkedin page, Ms. Lyons forgot the cached version.  The cached Lisbeth Lyons Linkedin page shows she has just 22 connections, and the same education information as on the corporate page. If that's the case, why take it down?

The connections. She doesn't want anyone to see who she's related to, or to establish a trail. If she were really concerned about just taking down websites with information about her, Lyons would have started with her corporate profile page.

That's what the lobbyist Vicki Iseman did. Vicki was linked to Senator John McCain (R - Arizona) at the time of that story in 2008. Accused of an affair, Iseman threatened to sue The New York Times for $27 million, only to drop the lawsuit after the Times ran what turned out to be an ethics story. But the point is, she filed a lawsuit; Lyons has made no such threat as of this writing.

Other Findings On Lyons

Aside from the political cyber stuff, Lyons is also a speaker at conferences as part of her job. For example, as of this writing, Lisbeth's scheduled to speak at the Vision 3 Summit, March 13-16th 2011 in the Palm Dessert of California. Vision 3 is a conference "for the graphic communications industry."  She's also the Vice President of Government Affairs for PrintPac, the political action committee from Printing Industries Of America.

Overall, Lisbeth is a well-respected player in her profession.  Much as Vicki Iseman was.  This has all of the mark of, if not an affair, a possible climate of conflict of interest for Rep. John Boehner, and much like Senator McCain was accused of in 2008 with his friendship with Iseman.

Stay tuned.  (tips? email )

Leo Apotheker named new CEO of HP By Nikky Raney

Leo Apotheker has been named the new CEO of Hewlett Packard.

Taken from
Apotheker was with SAP (Systems Applications and Productions) for over 20 years, and most recently resigned as the CEO. He was a very prominent salesman from the software industry.

Apotheker has much experience internationally from working with the Germany company, SAP.

Wall Street Journal blog reports Robert Ryan, lead independent direct of HP, said in a statement:

"Leo is a strategic thinker with a passion for technology, wide-reaching global experience and proven operational discipline — exactly what we were looking for in a CEO."

The Financial Times online speaks with Paul Hamerman, Forrester Research analyst. Hamerman was very surprised by HP's decision:

"He brings some strengths to the table: he built the SAP global sales organization and is very well connected with very large companies. On the other hand, the employee morale and customer relations did suffer under his tenure as CEO and that is a risk for HP."

Apotheker will officially begin his role as CEO on November 1, 2010.

ESPN's Jay Mariotti Pleads No Contest In Domestic Violence Case

ESPN Personality Jay Mariotti has entered a plea of "no contest" in the domestic violence case involving the ESPN Around The Horn star and his now-ex-girlfriend.

If you recall, Mariotti, the former Chicago Sun Times and AOL Fanhouse columnist, was said to have engaged in an argument with his girlfriend because Jay was jealous she was flirting with another man at a Santa Monica, California nightclub.

The argument continued to her home in Venice, California, where Mariotti was reported to have been seen pushing her and throwing items around in her apartment.

Mariotti was charged with a whopping seven misdemeanors, including alleged theft of his girlfriend's purse.

Jay Slammed Online

The report of Jay Mariotti's legal problem hit the Internet August 21st, leading to a stream of blogs and tweets critical of the ESPN personality's behavior, since Jay was so harsh on athletes when they were charged with the same crime. AOL dropped him from Fanhouse and their were rumors that ESPN wasn't going to hire him or renew his contract.

ESPN has not as of this writing given a definitive statement on Jay's future with the organization, only stating they have "no plans" to use him "at this time." But that was weeks ago.

According to The LA Times, Mariotti's releaved to get on with his life. In a deal with he Los Angeles city attorney's office, Los Angeles County Court Commissioner John Green was said to have agreed to drop all of the other charges except the domestic violence charge. Jay is on three years probation, has to complete 40-days of community labor (stuff like sweeping the streets or picking up trash at a public park), stay away from the victim, and complete a 52-week domestic violence course.

The best thing for Jay is he avoids jail time, but what did he learn? Was alcohol involved? It would seem it was. What was the real story?

Jay Paints A Different Picture

Mariotti claims that he was just trying to help his female companion get home safely. His lawyer Nick Hanna said "Jay regrets having put himself in a position to have a public argument with his female companion, and was simply attempting to get her home safely. While he is deeply saddened by how this was portrayed, he is wiser for having lived through it."

The one problem with Hanna's statement is that LA Police claim they found cuts and bruises on her.

Jay's Future

Will Jay come back to ESPN's Around The Horn? What will his future be? That remains to be seen.

Stay tuned.

TechCrunch AOL Deal Reported At $30 Million: Zennie62 Scores

TechCrunch's Michael Arrington Scores With AOL
AOL's acquisition of the blog and media company TechCrunch is, according to a number of sources including Ad Age, valued at just north of $30 million. That means the post written in this space calling the value of TechCrunch at $30 million was correct.

It's too bad the TechCrunch deal's not getting more attention outside of the tech and advertising media community, because it's a milestone development that should signal just how important blogs have become as part of the New Media environment that's developed over the past five years, the life of TechCrunch.

Blogs Have Become Acquisition Targets

TechCrunch's $30 million sale brings an estimated 7 million monthly unique visitors to AOL. Gawker Media, the network including blogs like Jezebel and Gawker, is three times larger than TechCrunch in traffic size, but without the conferences. Thus, this blogger pegs Gawker's value at roughly $70 million.

Gawker has achieved the point of size where it's buying other websites. In February, it purchased the NewYork blog and directory CityFile, it's first acquisition. is not a network but a single blog site who's estimated value has been as high as $48 million in 2009 and $20 million in 2010.  The last reported deal proposed for Perez' site, which generates  an estimated 8 million monthly unique visitors, while at $20 million, is undervalued when the TechCrunch deal is considered (and Duncan Riley at Inquistr has a great post on this subject).  Fortunately, that deal did not go through.

TechCrunch To AOL Is A New Day

In the wake of the TechCrunch deal, watch for more blogs to network, increase their traffic, and form whole companies around their platforms in the future.  Blogs are now firmly at the center of the media landscape, signaling a new day.

Fisher Price Recall Of 11 Million Toys Along Four Products Lines

Fisher Price just caused a problem for Mattel's Barbie right at the start of the fall and winter shopping season.

 The long-standing division of Mattel announced a sweeping product recall that encompasses 11 million units along four product lines.

The problems included choking on small parts, and injuries due to falling on other kinds of parts.

According to ABC News, the specific products impacted are:

About 7 million Fisher Price Trikes and Tough Trikes toddler tricycles

About 950,000 Healthy Care, Easy Clean and Close to Me High Chairs

About 100,000 Fisher-Price Little People Wheelies Stand 'n Play Rampway

About 2.8 million Baby Playzone Crawl & Cruise Playground, Baby Playzone Crawl & Slide Arcade, Baby Gymnastics Play Wall, Ocean Wonders Kick & Crawl Aquarium (C3068 and H8094), 1-2-3 Tetherball, Bat & Score Goal.

Fisher Price' Playzone and Playground products have 46 examples of when "a small piece came free from the product" according to the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission's Chairwoman Inez Tanenbaum as told to ABC News.

In other words, if you have a Fisher Price product, visit the Mattel Consumer Products Website for more information and stop your child from using it.

Actor Tony Curtis Dies: Film Great Lived From 1925 To 2010

Sadly, the great film actor and father to Jamie Lee Curtis, Tony Curtis, passed away Wednesday of a heart attack in Nevada at 9:25 PM, according to EOnline.

Tony Curtis was a heartthrob to women for all of his adult life and for the six times he was married, and undoubtedly had a lot of fun in between.  Tony was a "man's man" who lived life to the fullest.

But Curtis, nominated for an Oscar, was also one hell of an actor.

Curtis was in 117 film and television roles, and starred in some of the movies that define American Culture. Movies like Spartacus (1960) with Kirk Douglas:

And of course, there was the timelessSome Like It Hot (1959) with Jack Lemmon and Marilyn Monroe:

And Curtis was the press agent Sidney Falco in this blogger's favorite, The Sweet Smell Of Success:

Tony Curtis is an American Prince. He will be missed, and never forgotten.

Danielle Harris: Film Retrospective & Hatchet II Party - Planet Hollywood NYC

The beautiful - ah, let's move beyond that and say she's also massively cool - Danielle Harris, is holding a film retrospective and party for Hatchet II today in New York City. So, stop by Planet Hollywood Times Square 1540 Broadway at 45th Street, today at 1:00 pm, for what promises to be a massive party.

Who's Danielle Harris? Well, before we present her publicist's description of her background, check out this video we made from Comic Con 2010 that is full on Danielle Harris. She should be one of FHM's 100 Sexiest Women:

Now, here's Danielle Harris:

Danielle Harris -- re-confirms her status as one of modern horror's great heroic scream queen heroines as she takes over the role of 'Marybeth' and goes mano-a-mano with the murderous Victor Crowley in Hatchet II.

A veteran film and television performer, Ms. Harris landed her first job at the age of seven on the hit series Spencer: For Hire, which led to her first starring role as Jamie Lloyd in the horror classics Halloween 4: The Return of Michael Myers and Halloween 5.

A number of leading and featured roles in movies and television shows came quickly after that, including turns in The Last Boy Scout, Don't Tell Mom The Babysitter's Dead, Free Willy and Daylight. On television, Ms. Harris was cast in regular roles in the series Roseanne and That's Life and recurring roles on ER and Brooklyn South. She also has a thriving voiceover career and was the voice of Sierra on the NBC series Father of the Pride and Debbie Thornberry on both the Nickelodeon animated series and a pair of The Wild Thornberry's Rugrats Gone Wild feature films from Paramount.

The last decade has seen Ms. Harris returning to the horror movie roots of her childhood with star turns in two acclaimed "re-imaginings" of classic horror fare with which she is all too familiar: Rob Zombie's Halloween and H2: Halloween II. She has also appeared in such recent chilling fare as Left for Dead, Blood Night, The Black Waters of Echo's Pond and Prank, which she co-directed with fellow scream queens Ellie Cornell and Heather Langenkamp. She'll next be seen in the horror offerings Stake Land and alongside her Hatchet II co-star Tony Todd in Night of the Living Dead: Origins, an animated 3D feature inspired by George Romero's original zombie opus.

HATCHET II Movie Trailer - Film Release October 1st

Hacthet II is the "Old School Horror" movie by Adam Green that this blogger has featured since Comic Con 2010. It stars Danielle Harris from Rob Zombie's Halloween movies, and Kane Hodder as the man-monster Victor Crowley. Here's the trailer followed by the official description:

Here's the official description.

Adam Green's HATCHET II - (Dark Sky Films)

Adam Green's HATCHET II picks up at the exact moment where 2006's HATCHET ends, wherein the quiet but hot-tempered Marybeth (Danielle Harris) is in a small boat in the Louisiana swamps, screaming for her life as she tries to free herself from the clutches of the deformed, swamp-dwelling killer Victor Crowley (Kane Hodder). Crowley has murdered Marybeth's family and other fellow vacationers who had come together on a tourist excursion in the swamp lands outside of New Orleans.

Marybeth escapes from Crowley and manages to make it back to civilization, where she once again encounters voodoo shop proprietor Reverend Zombie (Tony Todd), who had helped to arrange Marybeth and company's earlier, ill-fated tour of the area. To help Marybeth and also serve his own secret agenda, Reverend Zombie recruits a hardened pack of hunters to head back into the swamp to seek revenge on Victor Crowley.

The movie is a must-see gore-fest for fans of 80's style horror. Look for HATCHET II at a theater in your area.

Did Meg Whitman Treat Housekeeper Nicky Diaz Santillan Like Crap?

So late in her gubernatorial race against California Attorney General Jerry Brown, the last thing Former eBay CEO Meg Whitman needs is the words "Meg Whitman Housekeeper" as a popular search.

But that's what happened after Nicky Diaz Santillan befriended LA lawyer Gloria Allred, called somewhat derisively a "Feminist avenger."

Gloria Allred has scored another TV-worthy moment in a press conference that featured the tearful presentation of Ms. Santillan. What's so damaging for Whitman is that Nikky looks like someone you just want to take under your wing and protect from harm. And what Whitman is accused of doing and has not denied saying to this writing is that she devalued Ms. Santillan, a Latina.

In the press conference, Ms. Santillan claims Whitman told her "We don't know you," and that Meg asked her to work longer hours than she was going to pay her for.

The underlying problem for Whitman isn't that Santillan was illegal. The problem is that Whitman's presented as a mean, opportunistic user of a defenseless Latina woman who needs her help. This is Allred's best presentation of the year - light years beyond the porn star she threw in the face of Tiger Woods a few months ago.

While the Whitman campaign has released documents to claiming that Santillan lied on her job application. While that casts doubt on Nikky's claim that Whitman knew she was illegal when she hired her, it still does not address the issue of worker abuse.

(Docs are here)

It would be one thing if Whitman said she didn't know Nicky Diaz Santillan, but she admits she does. That opens the door to questions about their relationship.

Whitman's real problem is Santillan has made her look like an insensitive bully of a Latina worker. If Whitman doesn't address that claim, and soon, she can kiss her campaign goodbye.