Thursday, November 25, 2010

United Airlines 747-400 Economy Plus -

This is the video recap of my United 747 plane ride from Chicago to San Francisco in Economy Plus last week. The highlight was the food selection, a "wrap" sandwich, and the movie "Despicable Me," as well as San Francisco Chronicle Editorial Page Editor John Diaz sitting two rows ahead of me.

The area was just a bit cramped, but then I'm used to the United 747 First Class seating. But that written, overall, it was great. (For those of you who don't know, I fly standby as my Mom worked for United, so UAL is pretty much all I've known.)

 I miss the days when 747s had "Coach Lounges" where one could go and talk with people. Of course, I was a little boy then.

Saints v. Cowboys: Saints up 29-27, Dallas trailed by 17 #saints #cowboys

Thanksgiving NFL football has seldom been better. After down by as much as 17 to 0, the Dallas Cowboys under Interim Head Coach Jason Garrett, have scored 27 points to be up 27 to 23 over the New Orleans Saints. Then, with just under 2 minutes to go, the Saints just scored a touchdown to go up by three points.

The Dallas Cowboys have to go to within field goal range to tie, touchdown to win over the World Champion Saints.

The game, if Dallas should come back to win, should be enough to take the "Interim" tag off Jason Garrett's title. Regardless of the outcome, the Dallas Cowboys has showed a great combination of fight and disciplined play under pressure. Something they've not done all year.

What Dallas is extensively using is a good, well executed short passing game. Perhaps former Head Coach Wade Phillips didn't want such a passing attack. That has to be the reason, because this group's not afraid to use the latest short passing concepts as part of it's attack.

Stay tuned

Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 1 Thoughts

Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows was originally advertised as a 3D movie which brought a lot of hype to the movie - even for those who were not particularly fond of Harry Potter.  (The movie has made $125.1 million since last weekend according to The Independent.)

Part one seems to have the purpose of setting up the scene and excitement for part two of this movie, because there isn't much that really stands out as being too remarkable or memorable after seeing this movie. This is coming from someone who is not particularly a Harry Potter fanatic, but the ending was more enjoyable than the beginning.

There are great graphics, but it just brings the thought of how much better the movie would look had it been put out in 3D. Part two is set to be released in 3D.

The pace of the storyline for part one seemed quick - although the movie was over two hours long. It didn't drone on, which was pleasant.

Without giving away too much - there is a brief scene that involves some strange nudity. The whole movie is really dark and dismal - it wasn't expected to be a bright and happy film, but the whole thing just seems so depressing and dark. Hopefully it won't fall into the same category as Spiderman 3 (which has been nicknamed Spiderman 3-Emo).

At the end one of the cutest characters dies (hopefully that doesn't give too much away), and it's quite upsetting.

It is surprising that there are a lot of Harry Potter fans who exist that who don't actually read the books - but I guess it is possible to just be a fan of the movies - it makes it so the ending and entire plot isn't already known. Maybe Harry Potter is more enjoyable that way.

Being someone who read the first four books and has watched some of the movies (not by choice) it wasn't too terrible to watch in theaters and it wasn't a waste of money, but seeing part two in 3D will probably be more enjoyable and thus lead to a more exciting and interesting review.

This isn't so much a review, because if it was a review the plot/story line would be more explained and elaborated upon, but this is mostly just a critique of the movie as a whole.

NELP, Labor Unions & Congress Abandon 99er Cause

It appears for certain that NELP, several labor unions and Congress have all abandoned the 99ers’ cause. Congress is the major culprit here, with Senator Stabenow (D-MI) blatantly lying to the 99ers on National TV (MSNBC’s The Ed Show) when she promised S3706 would be brought to the floor for action right after the election. Liars in Congress are no big surprise - but one would think better of labor unions and NELP, right? WRONG!

The 99er nation was assured time and again from April through July this year by NELP (National Employment Law Project) that once HR 4213 was passed (which did not include a Tier 5) that NELP would immediately turn their enormous lobbying power and energy towards getting a Tier 5 bill written and passed. Once HR 4213 was finally passed, NELP did NOTHING of the sort. More liars!

Then we have the AFL-CIO labor union, who was a major player in the One Nation Rally, held on October 2, 2010 in Washington DC. Before the election, the AFL-CIO and their Working America (WA) branch by all appearances embraced the 99ers cause, yet at the One Nation Rally - NOT ONE WORD in the entire 4 hour plus program was given to address the desperation and struggle of the millions of 99ers, suffering greatly - without UI benefits for (by then) 7 months.

It was neither NELP or the AFL-CIO who successfully lobbied the House and Senate to draft the Tier 5 legislation introduced after HR 4213 finally passed Congress. It was the relentless work of the 99er Nation who bent the will of the House and Senate and Washington’s FEAR of losing the election that resulted in those bills being introduced. Nobody in Congress ever had any intention of allowing either bill to do anything but die in committee.

Now, all of the sudden NELP and the AFL-CIO are publicly outraged over the failure of Congress to pass an extension of the UI filing dates expiring next week. After all - God forbid that another 2 million jobless Americans lose their benefits around the holidays. Funny though how neither organization gives a damn about the 4 to 5 million jobless Americans who have not had any UI income for soon to be 9 months.

NELP and the AFL-CIO seem to be playing the same tune once again and the name of that tune is “Screw the 99ers” - just like Congress and the Whitehouse have been singing all along. But NELP and the AFL-CIO have a very strong connection.

It appears that NELP's Executive Director used to be a big cheese at AFL-CIO. Why am I not surprised?

Christine L. Owens, NELP Executive Director
202-887-8202, ext. 304 (Washington, DC Office) 212-285-3025 (New York Office)
Christine Owens joined NELP as its Executive Director in January 2008. Over her long career as a workers’ rights advocate, she has held a variety of public interest and public sector positions advancing employment rights and opportunities for women, people of color and low wage workers. In 1997, she joined the national AFL-CIO as a senior policy analyst specializing in workplace equity issues, and in 2001, was appointed Director of Public Policy. At the AFL-CIO, she worked closely with NELP and numerous national and grassroots economic policy and worker advocacy groups, along with national unions and state labor federations, to promote reforms such as minimum wage and living wage hikes, pay equity for working women, and state UI coverage expansions. Before joining the AFL-CIO, she founded and ran the Workers Options Resource Center, which coordinated the efforts of a broad-based coalition of national and community organizations to win the 1996 federal minimum wage increase.
You see this is not about jobs or UI for Americans - it is more about job opportunity for those big wigs in the powerful positions improving their own wages and opportunity.

I suggest that if NELP gets any public funding at all from Washington that every 99er needs to ask the incoming Republican Tide to cut off their funds immediately! NELP and the AFL-CIO should not be discriminating against the longest term unemployed in favor of those not suffering anywhere near as long as the 99ers have been.

Now the AFL-CIO has announced a National Day of solidarity on December 7th, 2010 to stand together for America’s long-term jobless workers and want you to sign a petition that leaves out over 5 million jobless American 99ers suffering the worst. Well I will NOT be signing that petition or any other which does not include help for the 99ers!

Next up U-Cubed announced "Join us for National Unemployment Insurance LOBBY DAY on December 1, 2010."
Text from the announcement: “Last chance! Congress must pass a year-long extension of unemployment benefits before the holidays.
Unless Congress reauthorizes the current program before it expires on November 30th, jobless benefits will be cut off for about 2 million workers by the end of December.

Act now. Participate in the Unemployment Insurance Lobby Day on Wednesday, December 1st.
Not one word yet again about the 99ers in this one year long extension! Unbelievable!

Cindy Paoletti, relentless advocate for the 99er Nation decided to email Rick Sloan, IAM Communications Director & Acting Executive Director of Union of Unemployed (UCubed) to find out why.

The following is a quote from Mr. Sloan’s return email:

“In 40 days, de facto control of Congress shifts to the GOP and the deficit hawks among the D's. Between the House Rules Committee and the Senate Cloture Rule, no jobs bill, no UI extensions and no new Tier V will see the light of day ... unless by some miracle the GOP wakes up to the fact that jobless households cast 45 percent of their votes for Republican House candidates. I, for one, don't believe in such miracles.

So, in the closing days of this Congress, the AFL-CiO and the Democratic leadership are trying to thread the needle. If a short term extension is all that has a chance of getting through, then that is what they'll try to get done. But that's still a long shot given the election results. Without a big lobbying push, even a couple month extension might not happen.”
I, Paladinette have nothing but the highest respect for Rick Sloan. His opinion has merit and is based upon years of experience about how Washington works. U-Cubed has always been supportive of the 99er plight and our Tier 5 hopes.

With that said, it is with great regret that I cannot and will NOT participate (again) in yet another fight to extend UI filing dates only. The 99ers did this before and when we greatly helped HR 4213 get passed - nobody stood with the 99ers to get us what we needed when it was over.

Maybe I just do not have any fight left in me - poverty will do that to a person. Fact is I need all my energy and every penny I can beg, borrow, find or earn just to survive and continue to look for the one thing that can save me - a JOB!

In closing I just want to point out that labor unions, NELP and Congress all have their own agenda and the 99ers are flat out not important enough to any of them to fight for or save. Congress and NELP have proven themselves to be liars and the AFL-CIO refuses to include the 99ers in their fight. In my book that makes them all useless!

If the Democrats are going to cave in to the Republicans on the Tax cuts for Americans making over $250K per year - which it looks like they will - then at the very least Washington Democrats, Union Leaders and supposed lobbying groups for the unemployed like NELP should see to it that Americans get the most out of that negotiation by including help for the 99ers in that “give away” to wealthiest citizens who do not need it at all.

The Republicans would give up just about anything to keep the Bush tax cuts in place - so why not grow some “stones” Democrats and get the utmost in return for what you give away? Here is a clue for those faint of heart members of Congress who may not have a political spine left after the election: Extend the cap up to $1 million (from the current $250K) for exactly as long as the Republicans agree to extend UI benefits - including a Tier 5. Anything less is simply weak and unAmerican.

Gee - anyone feeling THANKFUL for NELP, Labor Unions & Congress yet? Me neither....

[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!]

South Korean Defense Minister Resigns

">CNN reports that Kim Tae-young has resigned as South Korean Defense Minister today, November 25, 2010 - two days after North Korea's attack left four South Koreans dead.

However, Tae-young submitted his resignation May 1, 2010, but it was not accepted until today. The Guardian reports that the news came after South Korean President, Lee Myung-bak, "ordered the country's military to strengthen its troop presence on islands near its disputed maritime border with North Korea and Pyongyang warned of retaliation for any 'reckless military provocations.'"

Myung-bak's decision to send more troops is a very controversial, but it's quite odd that the resignation of the Defense Minister was finally accepted during the same time as this announcement.

Patriots at Detroit Update

As of right now the New England Patriots are beating the Detroit Lions. The score is 38 to 24 and it is the fourth quarter. It was odd to see Kid Rock performing during half time, but there was also a quick interview with Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson to promote his new movie coming out "Faster."

There is 6:34 left in the game. Go Patriots!

Happy Thanksgiving From President Obama (video)

President Barack H. Obama sends his Thanksgiving Greetings to America and to The World on Thanksgiving Day. Well, really the video was made something like 22 hours ago. President Obama's probably working today. President Of The United States is a 24 and 7 job.

Of course Obama will spend time with his family, but after the Cowboys game, he's going to be reading. Bet on it.

President Obama just sent this email containing his Thanksgiving message:

Zenophon --

When Michelle and I sit down with our family to give thanks today, I want you to know that we'll be especially grateful for folks like you.

Everything we have been able to accomplish in the last two years was possible because you have been willing to work for it and organize for it.

And every time we face a setback, or when progress doesn't happen as quickly as we would like, we know that you'll be right there with us, ready to fight another day.

So I want to thank you -- for everything.

I also hope you'll join me in taking a moment to remember that the freedoms and security we enjoy as Americans are protected by the brave men and women of the United States Armed Forces. These patriots are willing to lay down their lives in our defense, and each of us owes them and their families a debt of gratitude.

Have a wonderful day, and God bless.


Here's President Obama:

Happy Thanksgiving!

Oakland Mayor-Elect Jean Quan's Car Booting Shows Knifes Are Out Already

Having her car, a Toyota Prius, booted for more than 10 unpaid parking tickets (you only need more than 5 to get booted) is one of those moments where Mayor-Elect Quan needs a thick skin. Why? Because, from experience, I know it was an inside job. Probably the work of City Hall Gadfly Sanjiv Handa, or someone with that level of knowledge.
Happy Thanksgiving! When then-Oakland City Councilperson Jean Quan beat former State Senator Don Perata to become Mayor-Elect of The City of Oakland, this blogger wrote the following:

...With all of this, Mayor-Elect Quan must be sure to realize that she does not have a mandate; she did not score the majority of popular votes. That should be of concern for her. The Mayor-Elect must - and I think will - be open to people. Moreover, Jean must - and this can't be overstated - develop a very thick skin. She must work to jettison the idea that people who criticize her aren't in her corner. Not so. She's Mayor of Oakland, now, and that means she's got a PR-issue to deal with every day.

As Oakland Mayor Elihu Harris told me, "Zennie, there are a thousand games you can play in City Hall every day. The question is which one you should play?" What Elihu was saying to me is you always have to watch your back, figure out where the arrows are coming from, and then have a plan to strike back, if it's worth doing so. If you have the right temperament , the game's fun. Jean's got to develop that to be successful.

Having her car, a Toyota Prius, booted for more than 10 unpaid parking tickets (you only need more than 5 to get booted) is one of those moments where Mayor-Elect Quan needs a thick skin. Why? Because, from experience, I know it was an inside job. Probably the work of City Hall Gadfly Sanjiv Handa, or someone with that level of knowledge.

In other words, the "police technician" who ran Quan's Toyota for tickets at 9:30 AM on Tuesday didn't just walk down 14th Street with a happy whistle and nothing better to do than check the ticket status of the cars parked at the City Council parking spaces. That happened because someone either in the current Mayor's Office, or a person in the know, or another councilmember tipped off the cops.

That's how my car was towed when I worked for Oakland Mayor Elihu Harris. I commonly parked my 1997 Ford Probe in the Mayor's Parking Space, but only after checking with Mayor Harris before hand.  I arrived early, then, as between 1995 and 1999 I represented the Mayor at the Tuesday morning committee meetings.   It got to a point where parking at the space, in fact exactly the same one Quan used the Tuesday day it was booted, was habit.  

Then, one day, my car was gone.  This was 1997.

I thought it was stolen for a good hour.  But an Oakland police officer called my office to report it was towed.  In my case, it wasn't outstanding parking tickets, but a mean-sprited person in the name of one Toni Cook.  Cook served as Mayor Harris Policy Advisor over the Oakland Schools, and was the advocate of the use of Ebonics, which is a kind of "black English" in Oakland Schools in 1995.  Ebonics was something I and Mayor Harris hated, but Elihu supported her idea in his "political head-fake way" of making you think he backed something he disliked.

Cook and I, while both African American, were as different as night and day.  She wasn't a friend, amd I exchanged perhaps a few words with her, but had no idea she held this deep resentment of my permission to park in the Mayor's space.  She did, and I was told by Oakland Mayor's Office staffers, that it was she who called Oakland's finest and made up a lie to have my car towed.   True story and I was steamed.  I had to cough up $106 to get my car out.

When Mayor Harris found out about it, he had Cook pay me back what I spent.  

Later that year, at the City of Oakland's Christmas Party, Sanjiv Handa approached me and was red-faced that I was parking in the space.   Now, again, Mayor Harris had consistently given me permission to park there, even as others didn't want me to be there.  I told Sanjiv to get upset about more important matters.   He was being rather weird at that time in our lives, anyway.

The point is, people at the City of Oakland can be massively petty.  If they don't like you for some small reason, and its always a small reason, they will work to make your life less than happy.  It's one of the major draw backs of working for the City of Oakland.

In Quan's case, I know for a fact her car-booting was an inside job, and it's a sign Mayor-Elect Quan needs to mak sure that every "I" is dotted, and every "T" is crossed when she takes any action at Oakland City Hall.

In the car-booting case, the problem was Mayor-Elect Quan parked in the Mayor's Office Parking Space, while she's still technically an Oakland City Councilperson.  Having her car booted for tow was someone's way of telling her she's not yet Mayor of Oakland, so she should stay out of the Mayor's Parking Space until after she's sworn in next year.

Mean?  Yes.  But that's the City of Oakland, for ya.

That's my story, and I'm sticking to it.