Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Google News Meta Tags Program Killing Blog Listings

The so-called Google News Meta Tags original content tagging experiment has resulted in a massive delisting of blogs on a scale such that it could be called The Blog Saturday Night Massacre. Especially since it happened on Saturday November 20th as well as that weekend.

A review of posts in a subject area called "Indexed stories for past 2 days missing" at Google News Help Forum reveals a common complaint that blogs were taken off Google News without email warning or reason, including Some blog webmasters waited for contact from someone at Google, and are still waiting.

This is what I posted at the Google News Help Forum:

Our blog, too, had the same problem. Indexing to Google News stopped on November 19, 2010, and it seemed to be timed with my blog post on Sarah Palin. I contacted Google News support, but no response. But then, a friend provided me with both the email and phone number of Krishna Bharat, the Google News Creator. I emailed, then called him while I O'Hare Airport. He seemed rushed, but said he's have support look into it.

The next day, I got a weird email that read the blog Zennie62 wasn't approved for inclusion into Google News. After investigation, I figured someone pointed at the fact that I blog at, the website of The San Francisco Chronicle, too. But all of my posts start at, and Google staff knew that. All of the blogging styles and approaches I use at Zennie62, I use at Period. Plus, we have anywhere between 3 and 10 active bloggers every day at Zennie62, not just me.

When I petitioned to have included on Google News, my main point was that my blog posts at were EXACTLY the same as on, yet Google News favored The Google Staff I contacted agreed, and made the case for In August, we were in. Now, not.

Then, this whole meta tag plan was established, and Google News, it seems, has made a mistake.

The meta tag plan is a good idea in theory, but a big mess in practice. Also, I noticed a lot of Conservative Blogs popped up on Google News - Red State, Newsbuster, and others - that were not there. It makes Google News look like it's favoring Conservative Blogs because liberal blogs like VF Daily are not on Google News.

But the even larger problem is bloggers do not "team up" to coordinate on Google-related issues. It seems like we act as free agents and point fingers at each other, while being harmed by Google in the process.

This blogger emailed Google News Creator and Principal Scientist Krishna Bharat, who once claimed that he wanted Google News to be a "Force For Democracy," as well as other Google staffers for an answer, and received this weird response:

Thank you for your note.

Although we're unable to provide specific suggestions at this time, we
sincerely appreciate your interest in Google News and your willingness to
provide your articles to us. As we mentioned in our previous email, we'll
log your site for future consideration.

Thanks for your interest in Google News.

The Google News Team

The email response to that was essentially that Google News and Google have no idea how many blogs they've impacted, or for that matter lives. Blogs are a source of jobs and income for many people today. For Krishna and Google to take the action they did was at best irresponsible; at worst, I'm not sure what to call it at this point. The whole episode's still unfolding.

A Blogger Calls

About an hour later, I wound up in an interesting but brief phone conversation with a husband and wife blogger team who's blog, which I will not mention here, was severely impacted by the Google News de-listing. (The good news for is my obsessive tinkering with the blog template has resulted in a website that's so-overengineered, the delisting impact is no where near as great as I feared it would be. The search engine placement is still extremely good, great, even. But that's not the case for others. I digress.)

They had to stop paying bloggers from their site, and reported of how other blogs, some on Google News for three years, were delisted and are suffering from decreased traffic and out-of-work bloggers. Overall, not a fun Thanksgiving Eve for bloggers.

As I warned Google and Krishna, they started a unified blog network that could really come back and bit them in the ass.  That's putting it mildly.

I understand, but disagree, with Google's desire to protect Old Media sites.  Indeed, Associated Content, the giant web platform now owned by Yahoo, was only partially impacted by the Google News Meta Tag Program.  I'm told Yahoo was allowed to "cherry pick" listings that appear as duplicate content on Google News and Yahoo News.   My source says "it's not fair for the little guy,"  or gal for that matter.

Between the Google News Meta Tags Program action, Google's's elimination of six popular music blogs because Google overreacted to a DMCA complaint, and Google's deal with Verizon that threatens Net Neutrality, 2010 is turning out to be the year Google turns its back on small business bloggers, then, in the case of music bloggers, shoots them as it walks away.    That's not too dramatic a statement.

But, if John Kenneth Galbraith's Theory of Countervailing Power, outlined in his classic book American Capitalism, is correct, then the large number of bloggers could unite as one to, in some way, force Google and Google News to stop the harmful tactics of present day.  Indeed, Google has laid the platform for Galbraith's theory to take hold.

Stay tuned.

Christy Martin Stabbed by Husband

The 42-year-old Christy Martin, well-known boxer, was shot and stabbed by her husband, Jim Martin, while the two were fighting in their Florida home, according to The Orange County Sheriff's Office as reported by the LA Times, ESPN and The Associated Press., boxing news site, reports that a passing motorist found Christy on the side of the road and brought her to a hospital in Florida where she was being treated for a gunshot wound and stab wounds in her leg and torso.

Marcus Jordan: Following In His Father's Footsteps

Marcus Jordan has been dominating as a sophomore at UCF.  On Tuesday Marcus Jordan intercepted a pass against his schools rival Stetson and leaped over a defending opponent to dunk the ball ala mode of Michael Jordan.

Marcus Jordan is averaging 16.5 points per game in his sophomore year.  The young college star is definitely filling the very big shoes that his father has left behind.

John Bobst aka The Force of Nature

Media Take Out is a Joke

Does anyone actually take seriously?
Well here are some comments that seemed screenshot-worthy in response to one of the posts on that site that suggested that Nicki Minaj was not liked by Katy Perry, Rihanna and Ke$ha.  The site is a joke - the way the posts are written there is no way that anyone could possibly use that site as a credible news source. Look forward to more criticism of MediaTakeOut from yours truly.

Dennis Rodman Gets It From Teresa While Jorge Sedano Interviews Him

This is but one reason why former Chicago Bulls NBA Star Dennis Rodman has his well-earned reputation as a bad-boy on and off the court.

While being interviewed by Miami's 790 the Ticket, which Rodman called, Dennis' girlfriend decides she's going to "play with him" while he's on the phone and live on the radio with Jorge Sedano.

 The result is this totally funny audio of the conversation:

Lost in the sensational storyline is a valuable observation by Rodman about the "Big Three" of the 8 and 6 (as of this writing) Miami Heat: LeBron James, Dwayne Wade, and Chris Bosh. Rodman said they don't get along, whereas Michael Jordan, Scotty Pippen, and he got along very well on the Chicago Bulls championship teams of the 90s.

The "Big Three" is not performing well, and there may be a coaching change.

Stay tuned.

Dancing With The Stars Lacey Schwimmer Tweets Kyke Massey Snores On Twitter

This is an example of how Twitter can be used to "out" a friend's bad habits.

Professional Dancer Lacey Schwimmer (in photo at left), who partnered with Kyle Massey of The Disney Channel to take second place in Dancing With The Stars 2010, got on Twitter and let lose with a hilarious tweet about him, just after they flew to New York City for appearances on Good Morning America and on The View:

LaceySchwimmer Lacey Mae Schwimmer
Omg @kylemassey1991 snores so loud! Me Derek Tony mark Kyle had a rap battle on the plane!

The others Lacie mentions are Derek Hough, Mark Ballas, who partnered with Bristol Palin, and Tony Dovolani.

Lacey Schwimmer just appeared on Good Morning America and tweets she's on the set of The View as of this writing.

Couples influence each others happiness by Dr. Christina Villarreal

In my practice as a clinical psychologist in the Bay Area, I've seen many individuals who come in for therapy complaining of their spouses' negative influence upon their mood. In these instances, the person seeking treatment is looking for ways to improve their own mental health, though their spouse could clearly also benefit from treatment. Further, couples appear to influence each others level of happiness as well.

New research supports the notion that a person’s happiness is closely tied to the happiness of their spouse.

According to a study in the latest issue of the American Psychological Association’s journal Developmental Psychology, a person’s individual happiness appears to be linked to their spouse — in the case of long-term, married couples.

“What we saw over a long period of time is that if one spouse changed in terms of increasing happiness, the other spouse’s happiness would go up,” says Christiane Hoppmann, professor of psychology at the University of British Columbia and lead author of the study. “And if there was a dip in happiness, this dip would also affect the respective spouse."

Data for the happiness study was gleaned from the Seattle Longitudinal Study which, since 1956, has followed more than 6,000 individuals, tapping them for insights into their life satisfaction, personality, and health issues. Researchers at UBC, the University of Washington and Penn State analyzed data of 178 married couples and compared their happiness ratings.

Overall, results supported the notion that couples' happiness is reciprocal, that is, when one person in the couple is happy, there is a higher likelihood of their spouses' level of happiness matching theirs.

Hoppmann says this new research could help future studies better comprehend the varied influences upon what actually makes a person happy.

For professional referrals, contact Dr. Christina Villarreal at

Chalmers Johnson Passed: Wrote MITI and The Japanese Miracle

UC Berkeley Professor Chalmers Johnson passed away four days ago and reportedly of complications due to rheumatoid arthritis. Professor Johnson was one of this blogger's intellectual heros and a main reason why I applied to Cal's graduate school of city planning. Yes, City Planning.

Berkeley's graduate school is an intellectual smorgasbord where, beyond your first semester, you can mix classes from various departments, and design a program for your own interests.   Mine was cities and industrial policy.

At the time I was there in 1985, Chalmers was basking in the glow from the success of his then-still-hot book MITI and The Japanese Miracle. As Industrial Policy and its impact on urban economic development was my central focus, I'd not just read, but devoured MITI and The Japanese Miracle.

In it, Professor Johnson not only explained how Japanese Government, via MITI, or what is called The Ministry of International Trade and Industry, skillfully picked key industries to assist via subsidies, but focused on the culture of business in Japan.

His central contribution to the American Zeitgeist, aside from MITI and The Japanese Miracle, was the American use of the term "Keiretsu," or a quasi cartel of business and government organizations in Japan. This grouping made the sharing of production resources more efficient, and blurred the lines between business and government such that implementing an overall industrial strategy or policy was easier to do than in America.

With all of this, you'd think Chalmers Johnson was a raging conservative capitalist. Hell no! Professor Johnson was a ragging liberal who was massively fun to talk to at Friday meetups at Barrows Hall at UC Bekerley.

At the time, and presumably still today, Thursday and Friday beer busts between students and professors in various departments and by groups were common.  Then, Barrows Hall was the home of the UC Berkeley Business School and business classes, and that was before the construction of the lovely compound called The Haas Business School.

In this one case from my memory, Professor Johnson was at one held by the then-new Berkeley Roundtable On The International Economy (BRIE), and in conversation with me just hauled off on what a stupid idiot he thought President Reagan was. Chalmers had little good to say about Ronald Reagan as president, wishing the former actor had returned to Hollywood, where he felt Reagan belonged.   Professor Johnson was someone I always sought out at events because he was a terrific conversationalist who would leave you in stitches.

Professor Johnson was also a major help in providing direction for the completion of my thesis, a work I entitled A Theory Of Decline, The American Institution In The World Economy.

But Chalmers real legacy, one not appreciated today, when it should be reconsidered, is the idea that American government can have an impact on industrial growth in a coordinated fashion, what we call "Industrial Policy."   Liberals and progressives should buy a copy of "MITI" and really understand how Japan became "Japan Inc." and also how America can dig itself out its economic problems today.

Professor Chalmers Johnson: a great man who will be missed.  RIP.

Oakland News: Parkway Theater Back? New Group Needs $200K

The latest Oakland News is good for an old friend.  The Parkway Theater building at 1836 Park Blvd off E. 18th here in Oakland, California, has been unused for over a year now, and the neighborhood before it an empty representation of its once lively self.

But all that could change if J Moses Ceaser and the New Parkway Theater Group can raise $200,000 within the next six weeks to reestablish the popular "Speakeasy" theater in the space.

 This email sent to this blogger and posted below tells the whole story:

Hi Parkway Lovers:

Big news! The Parkway will be reopening at its rightful home on Park Blvd! We don’t have a signed lease yet but we’re very close to the finish line and absolutely expect to get something done shortly. Please read on for all the details about the impending lease, other Parkway-related developments, and an amazing Quote of the Week:

Negotiations with the Chengs—the Chengs notified us a few weeks back that they would prefer to lease the building than to sell it, and so we’ve been trying to hammer out lease terms that suit both parties. And the negotiations have moved along to the point where Mr. Cheng has said that he is “confident that we can work out something that we can both be satisfied with”, and we agree. We are very happy that the Chengs are prepared to invest money—with help from the City of Oakland—to fix up the theater. We’ve also made our absolute best financial offer and are ready to invest money in the kitchen, lobby, theater spaces, and projection room to bring the Parkway back to life. I expect that we’ll have a lease in place in the next week or two and that we’ll be able to reopen the Parkway in roughly six months time, give or take a few permits and a beer and wine license. How’s that for happy Thanksgiving news!! Please help spread the happy news, and read on since this deal will only move forward if we raise the necessary start-up funds.

We’re Done with Phase One!—I’m very happy to report that we’ve successfully completed Phase 1 of fundraising for the theater’s reopening. Having this first core group of equity investors in place is critical since it’s this group that assumes the most risk and responsibility for the venture. Now we’ve got to raise another $200-300K in Phase 2 and hope to do it over the next six weeks.

Only 10 More Days for Kickstarter—we’ve only got ten more days for our Kickstarter campaign, and it’s not looking good, sort of like the Raiders and 49ers games this past Sunday. “Bleak” might be a better descriptor. But, I’ve been told that deadlines bring out the best in some, and we’re hoping for a last-minute rush on the small donation aisle. Please do your part, and remember that you’ve got nothing to lose, your donations are not cashed until we reach the magical $50K goal. Help make the comeback story of the year possible. Help do what the Raiders and 49ers couldn’t. Help us reach our goal against all odds. Here’s the link:

Pizza, Sodas, and Cake, Oh My!—the first dishes out of the New Parkway “test kitchen” are getting rave reviews. We served some pizza at our investor meetings that made guests exclaim, “if the pizza is this good, the Parkway will definitely be successful.” We also made a flourless chipotle chocolate cake on another night, which I think could find its way onto the menu, along with a savory wild mushroom bread pudding, and a few wintry soups. Lastly, we’re looking into making our own fountain drinks so as to avoid the high-fructose corn syrup-filled crap that’s commonly distributed. Could you live without your high-fructose Coke at the theater if we’ve got some tasty alternatives?

December Investor Meetings—we’ll be holding a few more meetings for investors and potential investors in December. These are a chance to learn more about the business plan behind the New Parkway, the risks and benefits involved, and how you can help to bring Oakland’s favorite theater back to life. If you’re interested in learning more about investing your $5,000+, you should email to request an investor packet, and then aim to attend one of the following two meetings:
Sunday, December 12th, 6-8PM
Thursday, December 16th, 7-9PM
Both of these meetings will be held in Berkeley and require an RSVP so that we can be sure to have enough food and drink on hand. That’s right, free pizza and beer for all potential investors. So reserve your spot soon, and more importantly, own a piece of a theater you love.

Quote of the Week—I know that this section is called “Quote of the Week”, but this one could be the “Quote of the Year” or even better. Here it is, from Mark Lynn:

“Let me start by saying I hate movie theaters. I hate folks who talk. I hate not being able to get a man drink. I hate the temperature. I hate food munchers, wrapper manglers, and drink slurpers. I hate shitty candy. I hate cell phones. I hate sticky floors. I hate sitting by people I don't know, much less like. Simply abhor theaters.


I love movies. And I LOVE, LOVE, LOVE The Parkway Theater. I was crestfallen when it closed. It's seriously the ONLY theater I like and I truly love it! I can't describe with words current in the Oxford dictionary how happy I would be if the theater reopened. I haven't been to a movie since it closed. Not kidding.”

Join the Mailing List—in addition to supporting the Parkway financially, we’d love to get more and more folks on the mailing list so that you can hear directly about what’s going on and send us your thoughts. Please help us double, triple, quadruple the mailing list. Steer people towards .

If you're new to the Parkway Theater issue, here's a playlist of videos that cover its closing, community meetings on saving the facility, and an interview with the previous owners, Katherine and Kyle Fisher: