Monday, November 15, 2010

Oakland News: Mayor Elect Jean Quan News, City Slickers $4 Million

The election of Jean Quan as Oakland's Mayor-Elect has made her life far more complicated, and that's using her own words. Quan's newsletter, generally filled with news on happenings about Oakland, became a blog diary of her life since last Tuesday's news - one week after the election was held.

Quan Thanks Oakland

Quan explains that the voter turnout was greater than she expected, writing:

With a record breaking turnout of 121,927 voters, I was declared the next mayor with about 51% of the vote on Wednesday. About 30,000 more voters came out than predicted. I received 53,778 votes -- a record because of the fall election. Jerry Brown (48,124) and Ron Dellums (42,110) won in June elections when typically 40,000 less voters participate.

Sorry this editions is so late. As you may guess, my life has only gotten more intense since I was declared Mayor-Elect two days ago. My family, staff, and I are genuinely overwhelmed by the outpouring of support and joy we have received. We see the outcome as a victory for grassroots organizing; we see our campaign as a movement of neighborhood leaders that will continue to organize for change.

For those who may feel that Quan's effort to win Oakland "block by block" was just a campaign slogan, she says a group of supporters - over 150 in all - met last Thursday to discuss how they were going to continue neighborhood organizing.

Toward that end, they reportedly broke into small groups divided by district and by issues (like public safety) that remind this blogger of Oakland Sharing The Vision, or what my friend Phil Tagami used to call "sharing the ham sandwich."

Oakland Sharing The Vision was an 1990 effort that attracted 500 Oaklanders to the Oakland Convention Center on a Saturday to hammer out a giant set of goals and objectives for the City of Oakland.  That ultimately became the foundation for a document of those goals and objectives, with timetables, and a non-profit organization headed by Executive Director Emile Durette.  Over time, OSV was watered down from a vision custodian, to a political "cover" organization for elected officials to say "See, we really are doing something," then to a firm that was not doing anything like it's exciting first role.  

Hopefully the energy of Quan's supporters isn't watered down in the same way.

Henry Gardner To Assist Quan

Former Oakland City Manager Henry Gardner agreed to help Quan by charing a "Transition Advisory Committee." Quan reports the group will "make recommendations on the priorities of the Mayor's Office for the first 100 days and first year," and include input from other mayoral candidates.  That's great, but I have the feeling such an effort's going to get bogged down in egos and jousting really quick.  The Mayor-Elect is better off having a simple plan of action that she allows to be altered "here and there" by the political movements of the city.

Jerry Brown had a simple plan that consisted of four objectives around the arts, public safety, services, and if memory serves housing.  That was it.  The lynchpin of his effort was the "10K plan" where Jerry wanted to add 10,000 units of market rate housing to Oakland.   He eventually did it.

But the point is Jerry's plan, which he already had in mind when he was elected, was not such that it could be altered. And he stuck to it.  Jean's all-inclusive approach is admirable, but from my experience in Oakland, it could backfire and create more hard feelings from unmet expectations and unstroked egos.

Does that mean Mayor Dellums "bunker of friends" approach was better?  No. The idea was to have various task forces which consisted of his friends form plans that the public never saw and never saw the light of day.  It was an abysmal failure that signalled the start of a number of perception problems for Mayor Dellums.

In my experience on the Mayor Dellums Sports Task Force, we had four other groups working on the A's issue basically behind our backs.  Moreover, the chair, who was a friend I talked to about this, was afraid to take a stand and go to the Mayor. That's why I quit.

Jean's got to make sure that kind of crap - a lot of people trying to jockey for position to gain her attention - doesn't happen. Her supporters are not seasoned political aides, so they don't know that just because they're in the advise giving role all of a sudden, doesn't mean the Mayor has to listen to them.

Let's see how this plays out.

City Slickers, the non-profit organization that's become one of the success stories of the growing Oakland urban farmers movement, earned a $4 million grant to buy land in West Oakland and build a farm. Excellent news! If you're wondering what the organization's all about, this video I created below will give you some idea. Warning: it's long!

Chevron Ecuador: Plaintiff's Video Claims of Evidence Tampering Questionable

Eager to counter the damaging Crube movie film outtakes pointing to fraudulent action on the part of American Lawyer Steve Donziger (in photo with sunglasses), the Amazon Defense Coalition came up with a novel approach: revisionist history.

Via PR spokesperson Karen Hinton, who failed to respond to emailed questions sent while preparing this blog post, the ADC now says in a press release it was Chevron who committed fraudulent actions in oil cleanup, evidence tampering and "lies to U.S. judges." The problem is the videos the ADC refers to only show claims made by Steve Donziger years after Chevron left Ecuador, which was in 1992.

This is the latest salvo in the ADC's attempt to extort money from the American Oil Giant. Chevron was an active oil producer in the Ecuadorian Amazon River Delta region. But, after pressure to leave the nation, Chevron turned over its oil production facilities to the Ecuador-owned Petroecuador, including nummerous oil wells, to Ecuador in 1992 and, after a clean activity left the country.

Petroecuador took over the oil well sites and continued work. And that leads to the problems expressed today as being caused by Chevron, when they were actually caused by Petroecuador.

There are two sources for this information: a PDF file provided by Hinton and called "DATA ON TEXPET’S CLEANUP Prepared August 22, 2008 by Stratus Consulting Inc.," and the fact that Steve Donziger is on record admitting he had meetings with Petroecuador executives in the early years of his campaign of extortion to earn a multi-billion paycheck.  (A statement made because Donziger admitted he expected to become a billionaire from this effort.)

The PDF files, on page 7, admits that Petroecuador "made changes to the pits after June 1990 (when Texpet ceased operations)." The document refers to tests done at several pits years later, when Petroecuador operated on fields and using equipment once owned by Chevron.

But the problem is the document leaves Petroecuador's post-Chevron activity as a dangerous wild card, especially when the study reads "PetroEcuador changed “site conditions” after the initial remediation survey work."

How? By drilling oil? That's not explained at all.

Thus, it's difficult, if not impossible, to take the Amazon Defense Coalition's claims seriously. It looks more like a hail mary pass attempt after the opposition offense has intercepted the pass and scored a touchdown.

Stay tuned.

"Michael Vick For President" Says LeBron James On Twitter; Ocho Cinco Weighs In

Philadelphia Eagles Quarterback Michael Vick is having an incredible Monday Night Football game against Donovan McNabb and The Washington Redskins. So good, the Miami Heat's LeBron James got on Twitter and tweeted...

KingJames LeBron James
Mike Vick for PRESIDENT!!
19 minutes ago

But LeBron James wasn't the only famous athlete to use Twitter to issue an exclamation about Michael Vick. Dallas Cowboys Offensive Tackle Marc Colombo had a simple tweet:

marccolombo Marc Colombo
17 minutes ago Favorite Retweet Reply

Michael Vick's first nine passes produced 229 yards and three touchdowns, with no interceptions. Vick was 9 for 9, 229 yards, 3 touchdowns and an NFL Quarterback Rating of 158.33. But not to be outdone on Twitter was Cincinati Bengals Wide Receiver Chad OchoCinco...

OGOchoCinco Chad Ochocinco
Ok the Redskins coming back, God must have went to the settings and put the game on All Madden, got to check the settings before you start
5 minutes ago

OGOchoCinco Chad Ochocinco
Ok God put the joysticks down at 28 , that was Moses that unpaused the game n parted that next touchdown, 35-0, Its bed time
18 minutes ago

OGOchoCinco Chad Ochocinco
I went to use the bathroom and I come out to enjoy the game and it's 28-0 in the 1st qt. God need to put the joysticks down(only n Madden)
28 minutes ago

Rain Acts Like Krptonite To Vick

Since that amazing first quarter, the Eagles were up 35 to nothing.  Since then, it's been all Redskins, with McNabb scoring two long touchdown passes of his own to make it 35 to 14.

And yes, we're still in the second quarter of this ESPN Monday Night Football game.

Stay tuned.

Unemployment News: Credit Score the New “Mark of the Beast”?

As if it is not challenging enough to be unemployed, it seems a credit score ruined by the recession may be the new “Mark of the Beast” for America's long term unemployed known as the 99ers.

Being a 99er has many drawbacks. Poverty, eviction, homelessness and ultimately starvation or death by exposure. That is, of course, unless depression kills you first.

As a 99er, I have been basically unemployed about 3 years. To be exact, 158 weeks of scouring the want ads and internet for any job posted that I could possibly do - at any wage (including minimum).

Then some republican jerk in office (actually most every republican jerk in office) says things like this:

"The 99ers are a group of people out there who have already received 99 weeks of unemployment. You can’t keep people on unemployment. It’s kind of like the state of California right now, where you just keep giving more and more money and it becomes like drugs to a drug addict. So look, I’m all for people that lost their jobs, make sure that there are unemployment benefits out there, but 99 weeks is probably too long. We just can’t keep supporting people that don’t want to work."

[Republican Representative Devin Nunes from California during an interview on Fox Business’ Varney and Co.]

Well Mr. Devin Nunes, listen up:

I want to work! I need to work! In fact I have never worked so hard in all of my life as I have trying to find a job. ANY JOB!

It was not my fault that Congress deregulated the Wall Street banks and allowed them to crash our economy. It certainly was not my fault that the company I worked for wrote illegal loans to unsuspecting Americans that contributed to the foreclosure fiasco, which begat a substantial cut in tax revenues for all 50 states, which begat states cutting back on teachers, preschools, food programs, Medi-Cal
benefits and Police.

It was not my fault that California and many other states pillaged from their UI funds in better times and bankrupted that system. I did not create the collapse of the Sub-Prime Mortgage industry which caused me to lose a long held job as an Operations Specialist, which lead to 8 months of fruitless job search back in 2007.

It was not my fault that 1 day before I was to start a new job (landed after months of desperate searching), I was run over by an uninsured drunk truck driver while in a crosswalk in front of my home, which begat 8 months of rehab and left me over $60K in debt also costing me that job - as the new employer could not wait.

It is hardly my fault that once I was well enough to work again that my father took terminally ill and required me to be his hospice nurse for the last several painful months of his life, which begat his estate being bankrupted by his medical expenses.

It is certainly not my fault that the Congress cares so little about what their tax breaks for Corporate outsourcing has done to the unemployment rate and the resulting economic nightmare has done to the American people - let alone their credit rating. Nor is it my fault that a bill to end the Credit report abuse by employers for the unemployed has sat dead in committee for nearly 2 years now, which begat millions of Americans being discriminated against not only due to their age but now their credit rating.

I have spent untold hours looking for work, sending resumes, attending worthless job fairs, networking with friends and strangers just to get the chance for an interview, and of the few interviews I was blessed to get - I am turned down for at least a dozen jobs (mostly fast food and retail) because I am not bilingual. This is America but to get a minimum wage job at McDonalds or Sears I have to speak Spanish. I get it, I do - one needs to be able to communicate with the customers and I do live in Southern California. But it would have been nice if I was told of that requirement during the application process. Right?

However, by far the most absurd of all the hurdles I have met to finding gainful employment must be the credit report issue. In the past year I have jumped through every hoop the potential employer had set before me, passed with flying colors - as I happen to be an excellent prospective employee. I am prompt, articulate, intelligent, computer literate, driven, honest, self motivated, energetic and always have a great attitude. I am willing to learn, start at the bottom, do whatever is required and possess an excellent work ethic. But the economy, 158 weeks of unemployment and only 99 weeks of UI benefits has taken quite a toll on my credit rating. If you cannot afford to eat you certainly cannot keep your credit good.

In the past year alone I have had a half dozen employers take me as far in the process as any applicant can go - then I was disqualified because my FICO credit score was under 666. Sound familiar? 666 is referred to in the Bible as the “Mark of the Beast” as an impediment to being allowed to buy or sell, only now that same number 666 is preventing me from getting work.

This is a very strange threshold for FICO scores. Yes a FICO 666 can keep you from buying a car or a home - but should it keep you from being able to get a job so you can survive? And why isn’t it 665 or 667? The six employers and one volunteer position who quoted me that same number are in different industries. One was a temp agency, another was a non-cash handling retail position. The most recent was a part time clean up position for a burger chain. What does / should my credit rating have to do with whether or not I can sweep a floor or mop up a table?

Before the recession (which was man made by Congress and Wall Street), I was making over $40K a year working as a Legal compliance officer for a Nation wide mortgage company. I have not looked in that field exclusively since 2008. Am I to be discriminated against by possible employers not only for my age but also because of what the recession and unemployment have done to my credit rating? This is what millions of Americans are facing today. WE WANT JOBS - but even the few jobs available out there are not given to us (the longest term unemployed) for the flimsiest of excuses.

What exactly are we supposed to do? Lay down and die? This is unbelievable and inexcusable and I blame Congress for not passing Tier 5. The blood of the 99ers who do not make it out of this alive is on your hands Washington. This 99er thing is YOUR FAULT WASHINGTON and you need to clean up your mess by passing Tier 5 now and creating jobs for millions of Americans suffering beyond your limited understanding. After all...YOU lost them for us!

The donation button below is for me, Paladinette. If you like what I write and can afford to do so - please donate to the cause. I thank you!

Manny Pacquiao the People's Champ: Too Much for Floyd?

The other night many got a chance to witness history in the making as the greatest fighter of all-time next to Muhammad Ali show and proved that he’s no joke.Manny Pacquiao let all doubters including his opponent Antonio Margaritoknow that no matter how big, no matter how fierce and no matter how much heart you have, you will undoubtedly lose to a man far too many people have underestimated.

While the world watched and cheered, we’re sure a certain boxer with a big mouth and lots of money sat at home also watching. There is no doubt that Floyd‘Money Making’ Mayweather has come to realize two unshakeable truths. First, he can’t beat Mr Pacquiao. Yeah, yeah, we heard all the talk about how he’s a skilled precision fighter, a true student of the game blah, blah, blah…Save it. He knows it, I know and you know it. Mayweather watched and realized this past Saturday night this is man he can’t beat.

The other thing he realized is that he’ll never be seen as one of the greatest, even with an undefeated record. As a world champ, he misread history and what it means when you hold such a title especially as a Black man. The ring was always symbolic of power we did not have.. Even with boxing legends like Sugar Ray Robinson, part of what made him great was his accomplishments in the midst of hard oppressions. the accomplishments of boxing greats like Joe Louis and Jack Johnson became a symbolic victories for all those who felt marginalized and oppressed. Their victory was our victory.

Manny Pacquiao has captured that spirit globally. Sadly Floyd Mayweather has misread the signs of today’s times and missed the opportunity to be ‘the people’s champ‘. If Mayweather and Pacman were to fight and he somehow won, Manny would still be seen as champ all over the world. A Mayweather victory would be a hollow victory. Mayweather does not have the admiration of the people especially globally, and no matter how much he brags or ‘adroitly ‘plays the role of villan’ aka the ‘man you love to hate’, he’ll never be seen as a man for the people. What a wasted opportunity.

Understandably that assertion is hard pill for many to swallow, but it’s a truth that Mayweather and many who have come to admire him will have to come to terms with. There are a few thresholds that must be met to truly make a fighter GREAT. The standard is Muhammad Ali..

Ali was and will forever be the greatest even if we could make the case that he was not the ‘best’ to step in the ring. Yes, there were many who threw harder punches. There were some who had faster jabs. There were some who had better defense. Ali was the greatest because he combined all his skills transcended the ring and became a champ on the world stage. He knew how to seize the moment. He always had the pulse of the people. As champ Muhammad Ali came to represent the underdog. Floyd Mayweather as fast and as technical as he is, DOES NOT represent that..

He reps a shallow and ugly version of Americanism that quite frankly we as Black people should not be about. He’s ‘Money Making’ Mayweather when much of the planet including many of our own here in the states are impoverished, unemployed, under employed and clear that big corporation have done them dirty. He’s flossing when folks are starving, no different then the big Wall Street Bankers flossing and justifying bonuses after being bailed out and folks are losing homes.

Mayweather is not seen as the guy who makes the loot on behalf of the people. He’s not seen as the guy continuing the historic role of trickster who has out-thought oppressive situations and with each blow landed and each dollar earned has done it for those who have long done without. Sadly Floyd Mayweather has allowed himself to be positioned as the face of the ‘money making corporation. He’s the establishment. Someone best described him as a Black man who has lost his way.

Unless Floyd is doing some incredible work behind the scenes similar to the way Steelers corner back Troy Polamaluhas long gone out in the night to feed, cloth and give money to the homeless, he’ll always be known as the man who bragged and bragged without purpose or politic.

What eluded Mayweather was truly understanding the man who he borrowed a page from in terms of bragging. When Ali fought and bragged, a lot of the times there were political undertones attached to it. Ali became the ‘people’s champ’ by depicting all his opponents both Black and White as figures who were standing in the way of freedom and thus needed to be conquered. He did that with George Foreman. He did it with Ken Norton. He did it Sonny Listen. He did it with Joe Frazier. He especially did this with another boxing champ named Floyd.

Two time champ Floyd Patterson was quick, agile and had great technique, but he’ll always be remembered as the guy Muhammad Ali called an ‘Uncle Tom’ for siding with the system and refusing to call him ‘ Ali’ and instead insisted on calling him by his ‘slave name’ Cassius Clay.

For those who don’t recall, Ali born Cassius Clay changed his name upon joining the Nation of Islam then known as the Black Muslims. It represented him shedding a name imposed upon him and his family by slave owners and Ali was not shy in asserting this and demanding he be addressed by his new name. Most complied, but there were some white sports writers annoyed with Ali’s bragging who refused. For whatever reason Floyd Patterson also refused which led to Ali shrewdly pointed out that Patterson, a black man was Uncle Tomming for the establishment. When the two entered the ring Ali ruthlessly beat Floyd and humiliated him. With each punishing blow he could be heard yelling ‘Whats my name’?

Patterson became the symbol of a good man being on the wrong side of history and while no one is even remotely suggesting that Floyd Mayweather is an Uncle Tom, he’s definitely on the wrong side of history. He’s embraced a mindset and ideology of ‘greed’ and he has the potential to be better than that.

Some have said Mayweather with his flashiness and crudeness is simply representing today’s society. That may be true, but deep down inside he knows he can be so much more. being champ has always meant being so much more. The question is, with Mayweather refusing to fight Pacquiao is he really symbolizing that he’s afraid to step up and be a true champ? Is he afraid to really wear the crown and sit on the throne? Some folks simply are afraid of success on that level. They are comfortable just getting by. Is that how Mayweather feeling inside?

Sadly Mayweather via his actions has become the quintessential American; shallow, crude, materialistic and only about himself. We don’t see him taking hard stands on political issues. We don’t see him in Haiti? We don’t see him in New Orleans.. We don’t even see him in Detroit.. This is not to say he hasn’t done those things..We know he has a charity and this is not to say he’s required to do such things. Is that unfair to put that burden on him? Technically yes, but in the larger scheme of things ‘No’. To not rise to the occasion, Mayweather eludes being ‘Great’ and in many ways he actually cheapens his position. He’s not seen as rebellious or even street so he can’t play the role of being anti-establishment the way a Mike Tyson did.

Mayweather has allowed himself to be the face of a corporatist way of thinking that has long been problematic. He’s the hedge fund head of boxing and to be honest thats the real fight. On the other hand, Pacquiao seems to know what he’s come to symbolized and has continuously moved onto the world stage to be among the Greats.

Manny Pacquiao has come to understand that with much comes great responsibility and thus he’s been out and about doing things that transcend boxing. It could be him dabbling in politics, including being elected to office in the Filipines or it could be him having fun and dabbling in singing. Whatever the case Manny has made himself accessible and has positioned himself to be guy the working class poor person all over the world can relate to and will back up.

Say what you want, but at the end of the day, money and lots of it will only take you so far. Floyd Mayweather knows this. he knows that this is not just about matching skill sets in the ring. Mayweather has to figure out what he really represents. What does he stand for? It can no longer be just the money its got to be something more. Mayweather is wrestling with this knowing that the longer he avoids fighting the ‘people’s champ’ Manny Pacquiao the more he’s likely to wind up be just a footnote in the annals of boxing even if he remains undefeated

Something to ponder

Davey D

Facebook Email and Messages: Confused How To Use It?

Today, Facebook unveiled a new messaging system that includes an email component called The system is one more step in the development of the giant "closed social loop" that is Facebook. Now, we have email.

According to the live presentation that just concluded, Facebook messages integrates text, chat, and email into one reportedly seamless affair. In that way, it's much like Gmail (Google Mail) which has a chat and a text component. But the main difference is that you can use the system just for your friend network in Facebook.

Some of the press seems confused regarding "level" of friends, and if people who they don't know can just email them. (That person, from NPR, probably isn't a Facebook user.) What you and that person can do is just set your privacy filter.

Message forwarding? Yes, it's there. You can forward your message to a friend. You can also include a friend in a group conversation.

The question is how do you get to this!

That's the unanswered question. You have to visit a page and ask for an invitation to use it.

You go here:

Business Simulations: Oakland Baseball Simworld and XFL Simworld

On the heels of the San Francisco Giants World Series win, there is, as is customary for this period in the baseball season, a great interest in the business of baseball.

If you're teaching a high school or college course in business, finance, marketing, sports management, or sports finance, Sports Business Simulations, still the best provider of ready-to-use business simulations of sports organizations specifically for use in the classroom, has the Oakland Baseball Simworld and the XFL Simworld.

Both simulations were created by Zennie Abraham, the Chairman and CEO of Sports Business Simulations and the Executive Producer and CEO of The sims were designed to match real world situations in sports organizations.

Regarding the XFL, the SBS website explains:

After Mr. Abraham finished his stint heading the effort to bring the 2005 Super Bowl to Oakland, CA., he became interested in building a system dynamics model of the worldwide business operation that is the National Football League. The idea of the simulation is that the NFL can evaluate business strategies before they're put into actual practice. Moreover, because the simulation would be online, it would permit distance conferencing between NFL executives and business partners.

In 2001, Mr. Abraham met Michael Bean and Will Glass-Hussain of Forio Business Simulations. Mr. Bean and Mr. Glass-Hussain invited him to learn and use Forio's system dynamics-based language called "Forio Macro Language" or FML. So, learning three programing languages at once -- HTML, FML, and JavaScript -- Abraham built what is now called the XFL Simworld.

The inspiration for the XFL Simworld was People Express, an airline which lasted one year and was the basis for a popular business school case study. The XFL's similar business fate was the perfect foundation for an online simulation for the business classroom.

The Oakland Baseball Simworld is far more complex than the XFL Simworld, and is the best classroom simulation of its kind ever developed. Again, the SBS website explains:

The Oakland Baseball Simworld was originally created as a tool to evaluate how new stadium proposals would impact the business of running the Oakland Athletics Bsseball Organization. The equation base was developed when SBS CEO Zennie Abraham , its creator, was Economic Advisor to Oakland Mayor Elihu Harris in 1998.

That year, the Mayor asked Mr. Abraham to find potential buyers for the A's franchise. At the request of one of the potential owners, Mr. Abraham created a five-year system dynamics model of the Athletics organization. That simulation, far beyond a spreadsheet, became the basis for the Oakland Baseball Simworld.

The Oakland Baseball Simworld that you're about to use came to life after Mr. Abraham established a relationship with Forio Business Simulations, represented by Michael Bean and Will Glass-Hussain. As both Mr. Abraham and the Forio Business Simulations principals know, System Dynamics, and live in the San Francisco / Oakland Bay Area, they created a strategic alliance. When Mr. Abraham met University of San Francisco Professor Dan Rascher in June of 2002, he also expressed an interest in Abraham's simulation work. When Abraham and Rascher met again after the Oakland Baseball Simworld was finished, they established Sports Business Simulations.

Oakland Baseball Simworld Objectives

The simulation has over 100 decisions that impact the baseball organization. What you're trying to do is "grow" the business of the baseball firm over a period from 2006 to 2021. (SBS changes this each year to maintain a current base of team information and a 15-year play period into the future). Your objective is to achieve constant increases in franchise value, keep the team "in the black" where annual revenues are greater than annual expenses, and maintain a competitive team on the field, winning playoff and World Series games - if you get that far.

You must do this within the overall economic structure currently presented by Major League Baseball. The recently passed Collective Bargaining Agreement is represented here. But you can try different CBA agreements, too. All of the observed macro fiscal patterns common to the A's organization are replicated here. Thus, this platform is perfect for evaluating different new stadium financing options and baseball economic strategies, from high-payroll teams to low-payroll teams and other considerations.

Both simulations are available for use online right now.  Just visit SBS here. You don't have to download anything and if you contact us and are a classroom teacher, the simulation account is free.

The "sims" are self-contained and even have a provision for evaluating student performance. All of this for the low price of just $20 per student, per class.

For more information, contact SBS at

Mike Tompkins on Today Show

Mike Tompkins, YouTube star, went on the Today Show to participate in the five-part series called "Today Goes Viral," according to

Tompkins is compared to Glee, and some even have made bold statements insinuating that Tompkins may be better than Glee.

Tompkins joined the news anchors in performing a cover of "Dynamite" by Taio Cruz.

He teaches how to make a viral video, and hopefully with his assistance they will either gain some new talents or be reminded not to quit their day jobs.

Newsweek and The Daily Beast Conflict with The Future of Journalism

NewsBeast? BeastWeek? Neither of those names sound rather appealing and Newsweek and The Daily Beast sound better separately, but apparently that is no longer an option.
Newsweek has been my favorite magazine since 2003 (age 13), and conversing with Steve Tuttle from Newsweek on Twitter (and being followed by him, and being told I should apply for Newsweek internship) has been a huge deal.  When Jon Meacham wrote his final Editor's Note it was assumed that there were going to be new changes, but I didn't realize that those changes would include the web site automatically directing to

On November 14, 2010 a Tumblr account was created named SaveNewsweekdotCom. The tumblr account posts a single post defending Newsweek and why the magazine should not have its web site shut down.

The New York Times' article Newsweek's Printing Press Was a Top Draw For Diller goes into great detail about what the plans of this merger are, but what the article is lacking are interviews from anyone that is at Newsweek.

The article is written by Jeremy W. Peters, and Mr. Peters fails to show that he is worthy of writing for the Times considering he didn't even try to interview the sources from the other side in order to make the article more objective - or at least show an attempt to care about what Newsweek staff thinks of all this.

Barry Diller is the owner of The Daily Beast, which is an online news source. Apparently Diller "insisted that with or without Newsweek, The Daily Beast was going to exist someday in print form."

Well, that's a bold statement. If by print form he means clicking the print button on the top of the web site and waiting for the paper to come out of the printer then I can understand that, but to actually turn The Daily Beast into a credible news source that even deserves to be considered on the same wavelength as Newsweek is just jaw-dropping.

Newsweek is a big deal. That magazine is award-winning. Although its journalism lately has been more "essay" it still has contributors like Fareed Zakaria who are able to bring the true journalism back to the paper. Newsweek at least has fact checking, copy-editing, etc. The future of journalism is not all about the web media - it really isn't. The biggest reason the web media isn't as good as print is due to the lack of editing and fact-checking. Sure, it's instantaneous, but it is also erroneous. With the print there is a print cycle, research deadlines, fact-checking, copy editing, etc. Now, it's all about getting it posted first - getting it onto the web and getting the most hits.

That's why I put a big difference with blogging and journalism. See, if this was an editorial there would be no personal pronouns at all - this would be persuasive using lots of secondary research to back up my point. With articles, there need to be first hand interviews and secondary research done in order to put out something worth reading. It's about putting out something original, and taking the time to get it done while meeting the deadlines.

What would Hunter S. Thompson think of this? What about Carl Bernstein and Ben Bradlee? Why is it all of a sudden that just because of the web being so instant all of a sudden the quality of work is overlooked?

Now, thinking of The Daily Beast merging with Newsweek as a magazine in a print edition is scary. The Times' article states that Diller has been communicating with Newsweek's new owner Sidney Harman who saw "obvious and overwhelming benefits to sharing costs and reporting staffs with another publication." The part that really shows where Harman's mind is is when he continues to say that the "attention he could garner by having Tina Brown, The Daily Beast's editor and a celebrated creative mind in the magazine world, edit his magazine."

Edit his magazine? HIS magazine? Yes, he bought the magazine and it belongs to him, but really?  All the attention he can garner because of Tina Brown? The article really lacks without showing quotes, or even a reaction from anyone who actually is on the Newsweek staff.

Harman has owned Newsweek for about a month and he's already making these huge decisions that are going to throw everything out into a big loop of confusion.

And the part of the article that proves that this is some sort of "sell out" is:

Plus, by rolling into The Daily Beast, they could hope to absorb some of the nearly five million unique visitors Newsweek clocks each month. The Daily Beast’s traffic growth has slowed lately, though it is up tenfold to more than two million a month since the site made its debut in October 2008, according to comScore. will cease to exist after the merger. Readers who type that URL into their browser will be redirected to, where Newsweek content will be housed, Mr. Colvin said. The merger is likely to come with other forms of consolidation. One of the main reasons the merger appealed to Mr. Diller and Mr. Harman was that combining the newsrooms and business sides would allow them to reduce staffing. When asked about possible job cuts on Friday, Ms. Brown said, “We’re going to have to look at the whole business model, the whole editorial model, and we’ll have to make our assessments.

Wow. Selling out is something that is pretty common nowadays. Yes, Newsweek was sold and money is a big problems - but this just seems like it is going too far. The future of journalism does not seem to be moving in a positive direction in relation to this new announcement.

"Reduce staffing" sounds more like firing some of the Newsweek staff, and I really don't know how much faith I have in the journalism ethics, standards and moral of The Daily Beast staff. Does this mean that MSNBC won't be apart of Newsweek anymore? If that's the case then it is going to lose some credibility and those 5 million hits online are not going to be going up.

The tumblr account sums up the post by writing:

In the face of indifference, condescension and even outright hostility from its print counterpart; with little to no resources; with more high-level hires and fires over the past couple of years than anybody could possibly count—and a revolving door of editors—the small but tireless staff at consistently created editorial work that made waves: via a Website, on video platforms, through multimedia, photo and social media. Whatever happens to Newsweek, we are all proud to have played a part in that.

There is so much more that can be said, and there will be follow up on this issue, guaranteed. Newsweek is not that far deep in trouble that it needs to look to an online news source that lacks the credibility and reliability for help, or at least it didn't seem that it was. If the case is that there is no other way for Newsweek to exist than for this merger to occur than so be it.

Reactions from Jon Meacham as well as "current" Newsweek staff is definitely something that will be interesting - and hopefully there's honesty.


Jessica Simpson Engagement Because Nick Lachey Married Vanessa Minnillo?

Ok. Singer Jessica Simpson, who was linked to Dallas Cowboys Quarterback Tony Romo, is now announcing her engagement to former San Francisco 49ers Tight-End Eric Johnson, good old number 82 (man, she likes the white NFL offensive players), just six months into their courtship (photo by NY Daily News).

But here's the kicker: according to US Magazine, the blonde beauty also linked to singer John Mayer, has reportedly timed her engagement announcement to counter the news that her ex-husband Nick Lachey's marrying Vanessa Minnillo.

And add to that, Eric Johnson just got a divorce from his wife one month ago. He started dating Jessica in May of this year, while he was still legally marrried, but "estranged" from his wife, a hair stylist named Keri Johnson.

Jessica Simpson and Nick Lachey divorced in 2005, and after three years of marriage. Since then, Simpson has been linked to a number of athletes and entertainers, and had an open, public issue with managing her weight.

Here's hoping Jessica finds some stability. But she's going after a type of person rather than a real partner. One day, she will learn that it's more important to have someone who really loves her, rather than a man that fits a box that reads "White Male Athlete Or Singer."

Stay tuned.

Taylor Momsen | Shake 'N Bake Taylor Momsen Commercial

Considering her boob-flashing bad girl ways of present day (causing this blogger to observe she needed a boob job), its hard to realize that Gossip Girl star Taylor Momsen (where she plays Jenny Humphrey on the CW television series) was this adorable young child actress, who's Shake 'N Bake commercial took America by storm when it was aired.

According to EOnline, Taylor Momsen was three years old when she filmed that commercial.  A commercial so good it makes you want to shake and bake chicken to produce what she's eating.

 Since then, Taylor's grown to become a model and an actress, starring in 10 different major film and television roles.

Oh, and at 17 years old (as of this writing) is currently going through a major rebellious streak. (Photo by

College students with Bipolar & other mental health problems- management tips By Dr. Christina Villarreal

For most American college students, the influx of new social opportunities, academic demands & pulling all nighters, and the ubiquitous college party scene can lead to high levels of stress. But students with bipolar disorder or other mental health problems, and students with a family history of mental health disorders, are especially vulnerable in a college environment.

The pressure of academic performance, social demands, and irregular sleep patterns are all triggers of depression as well as mania, the euphoric, revved-up state characteristic of bipolar disorder. In fact, college is one of the most frequent environments people experience their first bout of depression or mania. According to Russell Federman, Ph.D, the director of Counseling and Psychological Services at the University of Virginia student health center, the desire to fit in and conform to the college lifestyle can cause students with mental health problems to abandon healthy behaviors, even their medications. Without the right treatment and support, bipolar college students face higher dropout rates, drug and alcohol abuse, and even suicide.

A 2006 study in the Journal of Affective Disorders compared a group of bipolar adults with a group of healthy adults who had similar IQs and social backgrounds. More than 60 percent of both groups entered college, but their achievements differed greatly: Nearly half of the control group received a college degree, compared to just 16 percent of the bipolar group.

Students with bipolar disorder or other mental health problems can succeed in college, but doing so requires dedication to a plan. The following points are ALL crucial and can make the difference between achieving your college success goals and dropping out or worse, losing control of your mental health.

* Taking the proper medications, and ensuring they are easily accessible for refills
* arranging for the appropriate counseling and medical care on campus in addition to outside support
* avoiding drugs and alcohol and even caffeine, as they can render medications ineffective
* maintaining a steady sleep and study schedule
* finding sources of peer support

In his 2010 book, "Facing Bipolar: The Young Adult's Guide to Dealing With Bipolar Disorder", Federman outlines what he calls the "four S's of bipolar stability": structure, stress management, sleep management, and self-monitoring. This framework includes sticking to a regular schedule of studying and sleep, and learning to recognize the signs that you are beginning to drift into mania or hypomania.

An organization called Active Minds is trying to open the dialogue about mental illness on college campuses. Founded by Alison Malmon in 2001, following the suicide of her older brother, the organization now has more than 200 chapters nationwide. Active Minds organizes events such as National Day Without Stigma and has partnered with the Depression and Bipolar Support Alliance to create peer support groups on college campuses.

This author, Dr. Christina Villarreal is a clinical psychologist in private practice in Oakland, CA. For professional questions or referrals, email her at or visit her website at

Messy Mya Dead: YouTube Partners Must Be Careful

The murder of YouTube comedian Messy Mya recalls the murder of 20 year old Asia McGowan (in photo from Flickr), and since there was no motive given for what happened to Messy Mya, requires YouTube Partners and performers to be reminded of the dark forces in society that appear with New Media fame.  (Hat tip to Rolling Media for blogging about this.)

First, Asia McGowan

Asia McGowan was a 20 year old YouTube contributor who was murdered by a man named Anthony Powell on April 10th, 2009. Powell's motives were the product of a nutcase who had weird beliefs about black women that this blogger will not repeat here. Also on YouTube, Powell railed against anyone who believed in the theory of evolution.

Powell reportedly wanted to date McGowan but at the same time was what is called a "hater." Asia made a video about that before her passing:

What's A Hater?

"Hater" is a word used so much over the last five years, it now has an official designation in The Urban Dictionary. Here it is:

A person that simply cannot be happy for another person's success. So rather than be happy they make a point of exposing a flaw in that person. Hating, the result of being a hater, is not exactly jealousy. The hater doesnt really want to be the person he or she hates, rather the hater wants to knock somelse down a notch.
Susan: You know, Kevin from accounting is doing very well. He just bought a house in a very nice part of town.

Jane (hater): If he is doing so well why does he drive that '89 Taurus?

"Hater" described a culture that's all too active in Oakland, California, but that's for another blog post.  The bottom line is that, from observation, that term started to be widely used just over the last five or six years.  It roughly matches the rise of a digital generation and rapid stardom fueled by reality TV and performance shows like American Idol.

It seems that this new way of creating stars also formed a current of jealously on the part of those who may want the same level of attention, but for whatever reason don't get it.  Rather than constructively dealing with the feeling associated with such a position, some lash out against those who they perceive as successful.

This happens on YouTube all too often.

Toward YouTube Support Groups

One thing lacking is something I call a "YouTube support group," or a place for YouTube Partners and performers to go where they can be around supportive people.  In the way I see such a group, a criteria for membership is they have to be a YouTube Partner, which is a person permitted by Google / YouTube to make money from ads posted on their videos.

Stay tuned.

Trader Joe's: Are There Too Many Of Them?

Trader Joe's.  On Sunday, The LA Times asked if there were too many of them at the same time the Omaha World-Herald hailed a new Trader Joe's opening in that city.  (Photo by

This blogger must confess to have never been a fan of Trader Joe's because it seemed like a lot of marketing hype.

Yes, hype.

Hype around the idea that their food doesn't contain artificial colors, flavors, or preservatives. OK, but the price of the food this blogger purchases, meat, is still something like one dollar to two dollars higher per-item than at Safeway or Alberton's. You're not likely to find a Trader Joe's in a low-income neighborhood like West Oakland or South Chicago.

Just saying.

If there are too many Trader Joe's, it's because a significant number of Americans have bought into the marketing hype that the food retailer actually sells, again, food that doesn't contain "artificial colors, flavors, or preservatives." Now, my mother, who I'm visting as of this writing, agrees, saying Trader Joe's has "quality food, but it's not cheap."

That's the point.

The real food retail void to be filled is by providing "quality food" at cheap prices. Maybe the urban food farming movement is the answer, but that's still in its infancy.

Messy Mya Murder: YouTube Comedian Dies At 22

A very sad news story: "Messy Mya," a 22-year older who's name was "Louis," according to a reference on his Facebook page, was shot in New Orleans on Sunday.

The incident reportedly happened after Messy Mya was attending the baby shower of his girlfriend. According to, New Orleans Police reported that "a man" was killed at St. Anthony and North Rocheblave streets in what is called the 7th Ward.

Police have not released the official identity of the man, but observers and others identified him as the YouTube performer Messy Mya.

According to his YouTube channel page, Messy Mya joined YouTube in 2008 and produced 76 videos. He gained 3,676 subscribers. What's confusing is the last visit of Messy Mya is listed as being 7 hours ago. That would put the time at around 2 in the morning on Monday, November 15th. If Messy Mya was shot on Sunday, and is dead, then perhaps he shared his account with someone else.

The problem is that's not clear from the way the channel is set up. Here's the link: and a sample of his video work:

Picture Of Messy Mya After Death Posted?

Reportedly, a photo of Messy Mya after he was shot was posted on Twitter. That is a sick action and the person who did it should be tracked down and prosecuted for Internet harassment.

Messy Mya Death Connected To YouTube Work?

Was Messy Mya's death connected to his YouTube work? It's not clear at this stage why he was murdered. Police have not reported a motive or named a suspect.

But Messy Mya's death recalls the murder of young YouTuber, 20 year old Asia McGowan on April 10th, 2009.  Asia was killed by another YouTuber and follower Anthony Powell, who was said to be mentally ill and made negative comments about black women.  Powell killed McGowan, then turned the gun on himself.

Oakland Focus

Oakland Focus

Oakland News: Mayor-Elect Jean Quan and Women Now Run Oakland

Posted: 14 Nov 2010 10:25 AM PST

With Jean Quan's stunning Ranked Choice Voting win in the 2010 Oakland Mayor's Race, the City of Oakland now has six of its eight mayor and city council positions held by women. Here's the count: Oakland Mayor-Elect Jean Quan, Council President Jane Brunner (District 1: North Oakland), Coucilmember-Elect Libby Schaaf (District 4: Oakland Hills, Montclair), Councilmember Pat Kernighan (District 2: Chinatown, Glenview), Councilmember Nancy Nadel (District 3: Downtown, West Oakland), and Councilmember Desley Brooks (District Six: Central East Oakland).

That leaves just Councilmember Ignacio De La Fuente (District 5, Fruitvale, San Antonio), and Councilmember Larry Reid (District 7, East Oakland) as the only remaining male members of the Oakland City Council. Why? This isn't to provide a definitive answer by any stretch, but to start conversation about an important turning point in Oakland's political history.

For years, any woman running for office in Oakland stood a better chance of winning over her male counterpart. The best example of this is unknown Audie Bock's victory over then-former Mayor Elihu Harris for the California Assembly. While Bock didn't last long, her victory was as much due to gender and Green Party affiliation as it was the "chicken dinner" campaign error on the part of Harris' Campaign Manager Richie Ross. What Bock had going for her was she was an unknown and a woman.

Note, unknown.

If you think about it, it's hard to find an election example where a victorious female candidate was known. In many ways Quan's victory was more about some not wanting Don Perata as Mayor of Oakland. That was the same as voters not wanting Harris to be in the California Assembly.

If you consider the field, the vast majority of Oakland's elected officials are women who have been political novices. That is, they were unknown outside a group of people who intensely supported them. Outside of Congresswoman Barbara Lee, there's no female "political heavyweight" in Oakland.

Does that mean a female incumbent can be beaten by an unknown female challenger? The answer seems to be no. Jenn Pei failed to beat the incumbent Pat Kernighan this year, just as Pat's withstood challenge from Aimee Allison. Congratulations Pat!  And there are other examples.  Desley Brooks won her seat over the unknown-to-all-but-insiders Nancy Sidebotham.

To continue that view it's even harder for unknown men to beat women elected officials in Oakland, Councilmember Nancy Nadel withstood a challenge from two men: Greg Hodge and Sean Sullivan.

Community Involvement Is Key

One common quality of all of the successful and unsuccessful female candidates in Oakland is their level of community involvement. Mayor-Elect Jean Quan's reach came at first from her involvement with the Oakland Unified School District before she became District 4 Councilmember. Rebecca Kaplan's base came from her tenior on the AC Transit Board. When I talked to people about Councilmember Kernighan, they point to her involvement with the Crocker Highlands school before she started working as an aide to then-Oakland Councilmember John Russo.

Libby Schaaf's involvement in Oakland extends all the way back to The Festival At The Lake in the mid 1990s, and then her work for the Oakland City Council, and Councilmember De La Fuente. Her first taste of Oakland campaigning was with me, working to get Don Smith elected to the Oakland School Board in 1990.

The key for successful women elected officials is to be involved in the Oakland community. Being a school teacher's a great foundation, as is being involved in neighborhood groups and organizations. This is not to say that a woman can't be a building developer and achieve political success in Oakland, but the current pattern points toward community activism.

What Will This Mean For Oakland?

Now that women run Oakland - and the pattern will be complete if Mayor-Elect Quan selects a female Chief Administrative Officer, something Oakland's never had before - what does it mean for Oakland?

It means the Oakland Police Department is going to have to change its approach in Oakland. In my conversations with Oakland cops, all male save for one, their view is almost classically "Let's bust some heads" male. That approach has caused a lot of problems that, I think, Mayor-Elect Quan and the council want to put a stop to. One change from all of this will be an Oakland Police Department that's more sensitive to the community and less an enemy of it.

Stay tuned.

CNN Parker Spitzer Ratings Cure? Eliot Spitzer Must Have Hooker As Guest

CNN's replacement for Campbell Brown, Parker / Spitzer, is a ratings and reviews failure.

The show, featuring former New York Governor Eliot Spitzer and Conservative Columnist Kathleen Parker, is in big trouble. Right out of the gate, its debut show attracted just 460,000 viewers, more than 500,000 less than for Campbell Brown's start, and its never recovered.

Moreover, Bill O'Reilly's show had over 3 million viewers, and MSNBC's Keith Olbermann drew just over 1 million viewers in the same time slots.

While CNN should be alarmed by this news, it's not clear it is.  Instead of provocative shows, Parker / Spitzer gives us more of CNN's crack-fiend-level coverage of Sarah Palin.  (When will CNN's minders realize the country's not going to elect a quitter for President?  And on that note, how funny is it that Palin's new show is on, of all places, The Learning Channel?)

What CNN and Parker / Spitzer should give us viewers is what we all really crave.  To see Eliot Spitzer interview his hooker Ashley Dupre (in photo) and have co-host Kathleen Parker right there to deliver the "What were you thinking? questions to Spitzer.  Meanwhile, Dupre (in photo can ask Spitzer why she wasn't his favorite hooker after all.


Can you say "classic television?"  Can you say "CNN ratings skyrocket?"  Can you say "big fantasy."  I can, but given how badly the show's performing, it's not outside the realm of possibility.

Client Nine: The Rise & Fall of Eliot Spitzer

One documentary making the festival rounds may provide the backrop for Parker / Spitzer's ratings recovery. It's called Client Nine: The Rise & Fall of Eliot Spitzer, and features a talkative Spitzer, explaining what was going on in his mind during his sex scandalous romps...

The movie was released November 5th, and is already generating more buzz than Parker / Spitzer has managed to muster. So, instead of Sarah Palin for the hundreth time on CNN, how about a segment that would generate real ad dollars: Eliot Spitzer talking with his ladies of the evening and with Kathleen Parker, on hand (to excuse the pun)?

Does CNN have the guts?

Stay tuned.  The bet in this corner is CNN doesn't have the fire in the belly to do it.

Too bad.

RockMelt Browser Review By Zennie62: Better Than Apple Safari

The RockMelt Browser, the result of a team led by Netscape developer Marc Andreessen. The idea is to create a one-stop system that "melts" the social network with Internet browsing, and in such a way that desktop widgets to control, for example, Twitter tweets, are no longer necessary.

The browser is at once easy to use, smooth, and fast. Based on the Google Chrome platform, it can literally cause you to have pages and well-managed pages of information before your eyes, yet not feel overwhelmed by it all.

This video blogger has already logged more time using it on the brand-new MacBook Pro than the Safari, Firefox, and Opera browsers put together. Part of the reason, aside from its speed and feel, is the addictive way information is presented at what the creators call "The Edges" of the page, or the sides. But what's impressive is the layering of the panels that open when cursor contact is made.

RockMelt is a terrific, innovative upgrade of the Internet browser. It's flexible design means you can add new social networks and blog feeds to the pages and never miss a step in performance.

There's only one problem with RockMelt...

The Need For Diversity In Its Staff

The RockMelt team posted a photo of themselves that opens when you go to a webpage with the download information. It features a group of about 60 or so people, two woemn, perhaps three "of color," and the rest mostly white male. It's hard, really hard, to understand why real racial diversity isn't the order of the day in tech, at least in the San Francisco Bay Area.

Microsoft Founder Bill Gates and Apple CEO Steve Jobs could take a page from the book of the late great San Francisco 49rs Head Coach Bill Walsh, who recognized that it was stupid to have almost no blacks in coaching positions in pro football, yet knew their were capable people. To change that Walsh worked to establish the NFL Minority Coaches Fellowship, which bears his name.

Why not the same for tech? After all, a sane person can't possibly enjoy this lack of diversity.

Sane. Person.