Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Maya Moore and UCONN Women's Basketball Set Win Record!

Congratulations to Maya Moore (photo at left) and the UCONN Women's Basketball team. UCONN set a new college basketball record of 89 straight wins. In other words, the University of Connecticut hasn't lost since the 2008 Presidential Race.

UCONN star Maya Moore was hot, scoring 41 points, and dominating play against Florida State, with the team winning 93 to 62.

OK. That aside, let's talk.

All of that crap about comparing the UCONN women's team to the UCLA Men's Basketball Team coached by the late John Wooten is just that. Crap. It doesn't matter that the UCONN team that set the record for all of college basketball is female.

What matters is they did it, and we should get behind women's sports for that reason: we're in a golden age of great female athletes at play.  From Maya Moore at UCONN to Lindsay Vonn and Julia Mancuso in skiing, and the growing of acceptance of the strong woman in American culture, this is a great time for women in sports.

It's a total shame more women's sports don't get the support they need to generate profits. And it's really not just the fault of men, but women too.

So how do we get past this problem? Easy.

Buy tickets to women's sports event.

It's that simple.

FCC and the Internet

Today there was a vote in "net neutrality," which has now been approved. The FCC claims that this is aimed at protecting Internet freedom, but given the FCC's track record - that's a bit hard to believe.

The FCC is known for censoring what is on television & radio - and suing those who are unable to keep things clean. The FCC is in charge of what words need to be bleeped and at what time things are allowed to get a little dirtier than usual - but the Internet has not had to deal with the FCC until now.

Internet in the United States has seemed to be a basic right - there is no one in the government saying that we can't go to specific web sites (minus this WikiLeaks scandal and military not being allowed to access the site). Other countries have banned Facebook and other sites, but the United States has kept it so citizens have the freedom to view whatever it is they would like.

The Christian Science Monitor reports that the "rules" of this new approved net neutrality include:

• Transparency for consumers about how the Internet's core players manage the network.

• A right for consumers and innovators to send and recieve lawful traffic and to connect devices of their choice to the network.

• A level playing field, in which government regulators don't pick winners and losers.

• Reasonable flexibility for network management and service pricing, to promote investment and innovation by private firms.

FCC critics on the left say that, by stepping back from bolder ideas it had considered earlier this year, the agency has caved in to corporate interests. The group Free Press, for example, argues the commission should issue an outright ban on "paid prioritization" deals, in which an Internet service provider cuts deals that put data from some clients on a faster track than others. (The FCC said such deals are "unlikely to satisfy" its new policy.)

But on the right, critics say the FCC is trying to fix something that's not broken, and that existing antitrust laws can be used to protect consumers if the need arises. Further, they say, the FCC has no authority from Congress to regulate the Internet.

Obama issued a statement where he called the FCC's decision a victory and even said that it would help freedom of speech.

CNN reports that the new rules could make it so some Internet users are charged more than others based on the type of media used such as watching videos.

"The rules are designed to, in effect, keep the companies that own the internet's real-world infrastructure from slowing down some types of websites or apps -- say, those belonging to a competitor -- or speeding up others for high-paying clients."

The vote was 3 Democrats to 2 Republicans, CNN reports:

The vote was along party lines, with the commission's three Democrats voting to "concur" with the rules and its two Republicans voting against them.

Commissioner Robert McDowell, a Republican, called the vote a "radical step" and said it puts the FCC "on a collision course" with the courts, which he predicted will throw the rules out.
"The FCC is not Congress," he said. "We cannot make laws."

Republicans have largely argued the government has no right to interfere with business practices online.

But CNN reports that not all Democrats are happy with the way this is playing out completely:

Commissioner Michael Copps, a Democrat, signed off on the rules but called them only a "first step in the right direction."

"In my book, today's action could have, and should have, gone further," he said. "Going as far as I would have liked was, however, not in the cards."

For example, he said, the rules won't absolutely prevent broadband providers from "pay for priority" -- giving faster service to those able to pay for it, or to one favored business over another."

Bret Michael and Kristi Gibson Engaged

With all the celebrity break-ups it's good to know that there's some love going on. This is really strange, because Bret Michaels had three seasons of "Rock of Love" (which were such a guilty pleasure), but now he is getting married to Kristi Gibson who he has been with off and on for 16 years.

Reminds me of Flavor of Love. He had all those episodes (Flava Flav), but then at the end of it all he got back with his "baby momma." Don't remember the name of her, but it was on the last reunion show.

So, basically the point of Rock Of Love was to give some girls 15-minutes-of fame, break some hearts, drink a little and get famous again. Well, there goes all the beliefs that true love can be found through a reality tv dating show. Oh wait, those beliefs went out the window when Bobby and Tila broke up after the first episode of "Shot at Love with Tila Tequila."

Anyway, yes: Bret Michaels is engaged to Kristi Gibson. This information was obtained from MTV.com :

Bret Michaels and his girlfriend finally hit the right note. The "Rock of Love" and "Celebrity Apprentice" star proposed to his on-again, off-again companion of 16 years, Kristi Gibson, during the finale of his latest VH1 reality show, "Bret Michaels: Life as I Know It."

I didn't even know Bret had a new VH1 realty show. Wow, I'm behind the times.
Well, congratulations!

HR6556 is Dead: 99ers “Scrooged” AGAIN!

According to the staffers at Rep Bobby Scott's office, HR6556 is NOT coming out of committee. With HR6556 now dead, seems the 99ers are Scrooged yet AGAIN.

Bill HR 6556 Is a bill introduced in the House last Friday to add 14 weeks to Tier 1 and HELP ALL the 99ers NOW.

The bill, H.R. 6556, is sponsored by Representatives Barbara Lee and Bobby Scott and was introduced in the House on December 17, 2010.

"We would request that you immediately contact Rep. Lee and Rep. Scott as well as the Congressman in your district requesting this bill be removed from committee and brought to the floor for a vote before the 111th Congress comes to a close," The American 99ers Union wrote on its website this weekend.

The language of this bill has yet to be released, but crewof42.com states the bill contained the following provisions:

••• This section provides 14 additional weeks of emergency unemployment compensation in Tier I.
••• This additional benefit will be available for those who have exhausted all their benefits (99ers and other exhaustees) as well as those who will be unemployed this year. 

••• This expansion is similar to the expansion in Nov. 2009 which provided an additional week of benefits to Tier II. 

••• Adding these extra weeks in Tier I makes them available for all chronically unemployed and not only those currently collecting unemployment benefits from a "high unemployment state."

Even the 99ers beloved advocate Ed Schultz, on his radio show yesterday took the stance that this bill has no chance of getting passed. The problem is that instead of fast tracking it like the emergency help HR6556 truly is - they have referred it to the House Ways & Means Committee, chaired currently By Jim McDermitt (D-WA).

UGH! Congress passed the Bank bail out and the Help for Haiti bill in 3 days or less they went from being written to being signed into LAW ! This requires the same urgency or why even bother, since if not passed NOW will likely DIE forever in 4 days when this Session of Congress is DONE!

From the CHANGE.ORG Petition: USA News Media: Report ASAP re: H.R. 6556 & S.3706 Americans Want To Work Act for Tier 5 99ers

Many 99ers have been without this lifeline since March 2010. There is no accurate data re: how many 99ers there are currently and estimates are all over the map. The BLS estimates there are 1.5 million but in June a Dept. of Labor press release stated there were 4.3 million.

On December 12th, OpenCongress.org, through the Congressional Black Caucus announcement of support for the 99ers, stated, "There’s no official estimate of how many 99ers there are already, but most estimates put the number around 5 million". There are 4 million more that are set to lose benefits in 2011. These are significant numbers of people that have gone virtually unreported by network and cable news programs and talk shows.
Part of the problem is that most of the Nation has been fooled into thinking this bogus 13 month extension in the Obama “Bend Over” extended UI for all of the unemployed. NOT TRUE!

Kelly Wiedemer, the Denver Unemployment Examiner, wrote this to the Denver post and is encouraging all 99ers/exhaustees to contact their own local media to correct this intentional misconception created by Washington:
“There is a HUGE mis-perception about what the tax cut compromise and it's 13 month U.I. extension actually provided (which was nothing for about half of the unemployed.) Members of Congress and the media everywhere are incorrectly reporting that this bill ADDED 13 monts of U.I. benefits. It is a complete falsehood. Senator Orrin Hatch is one of several members of Congress who either 'didn't know the facts' about the bill (that they voted against) or are outright LYING to the public. This is happening everywhere, locally, nationally.

There is further evidence of this b/c the Congressional Black Caucus has introduced an 11-th hour bill to help the 99ers - but most members of Congress, the WH and the media brush these stories under the rug (HR6556).

I know you are very busy but feel strongly enough about this to ask if you can help - or suggest someone that may be able to help. If the 99ers (there will be 100k of them in CO within months per Bill Thoennes) - 99ers have exhausted all UI benefits and are not eligible for anything under the new extension (there are already approx 30k of us in CO). This is going to add to the explosion of SNAP, homelessness, etc..
Here is the article Kelly wrote about the FOX News interview which took place last Friday afternoon: Sen Hatch, FOX News' Van Susteren broadcast more lies about the EUC extensions

More from Kelly:
I wrote about this in my article and included a video of Hatch telling Van Susteren that the UI has been extended to 'well over 100 weeks now' - a complete lie. This has been covered by a few other media outlets...is there anyone at the Denver Post that would be willing to print a story abut this? This is so disgraceful - it is happening to such an extent that it appears to be propoganda - not a 'mistake' or misunderstanding of the legislation.
We (99ers) are asking CNN & MSNBC to do a poll asking how many American believe (incorrectly) that the tax cut compromise added additional EUC benefits to the long term unemployed. I'm willing to bet that there is significant number of Americans that DON'T know the truth - and would probably not be happy that the tax cuts for the top 2% were extended without really helping the long-term (longest) term unemployed - a growing population of middle class professionals.”
Personally I do not ever watch FOX news, but I did take advantage of the opportunity to give them a piece of my mind on this subject. You can too:

Fox News Contact Information from their website:

We want YOUR input! Tell us what you love, tell us what you hate ... just don't keep it to yourself! As a FOX Fan, you'll have a unique opportunity to make your voice heard and affect change a...t FNC. Below, you'll find a few ways to contact us. BUT, if you're more of a phone person, you can call us at 1-888-369-4762
This is another idea to get involved in the 99er fight for survival from the site Democraz.org
Here's how you force the Republicans to extend unemployment benefits for Tier 5.

Brown Forman Corporation 502-585-1100 the distributor of Jack Daniels whiskey and Southern comfort gives money to Republicans for campaign donations regularly to Mitch McConnell and operates out of Kentucky the State where McConnell Resides. 

Wendy's Restaurants (614) 764-3100, ext. 2032 and JM Smuckers 888-550-9555 ( Makers of Peanut butter and Jam ) both have given money to Republicans and operate out of the State of Ohio where the new speaker John Boehner resides. 

Normally if you wrote to McConnell and Boehner to get unemployment insurance extended both will politely ignore you at best or laugh at you at worst. 

So I have a better way. Write, email and call Brown Forman corporation, Wendy's restaurants and JM Smuckers corporations i.e. the corporate friends of McConnell and Boehner and tell THEM:

I refuse to do business with your company from now on until you talk to your friends Speaker John Boehner and Senate Minority leader McConnell go and pass the unemployment extension without any amendments. 

I promise that if you get 300,000 people like those who got Keith Olbermann back on the air in 5 days [which was boldprogressives.org, located at 1630 R St., NW #703, D.C. 20009 / info@boldprogressives.org] you will do the American people a service of helping those unemployed who need help. 

Click this link to send email to demand that the Republicans get unemployment insurance benefits extended. 

Extend unemployment insurance benefits for Tier 5 now. 

Let the calls, emails, and letter writing begin. [Focus on Congress and the Media] 

Don't forget that the Republican party appears weak and vulnerable at the cash registers of those companies that give them money.

So there you have it. Another Charlie Brown & Lucy football moment for the 99ers. Congress teases cruelly by dangling another carrot of hope only to snap it back at the last minute. Completely and totally PATHETIC if you ask me.

Mean while out in the freezing wind and cold, Rhonda Taylor and Jobs with Justice held a candlelight vigil for the 99ers in Rhode Island last night. Some of the following video is difficult to hear over the wind but you can see the turnout was excellent for the conditions they encountered. Bravo JWJ and Rhonda Taylor!

[Please use the donation button below to help Paladinette to KEEP FIGHTING for the 99ers! Thank you Merry Christmas to all.]

Rosati's Is One Of The Best Pizzas In The World, Next To Zachary's

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Ok, Rosati's Pizza is the best in my World, but what's the difference between it and Zachary's Pizza?

As this blogger writes this post, it's Tuesday morning at the Crowne Plaza Hotel near O'Hare Airport. It's snowing outside. And I'm looking at the remains of a Rosati's Deep Dish Pizza I ordered last night.

I grew up in Chicago, so Zachary's Pizza in Oakland's a welcome reminder of Chicago-style pizza. That is, until you've had Chicago-style pizza.

The difference between the Rosati's Pizza and Zachary's Pizza? The sausage. The Rosati's Deep Dish Pizza has that insanely great Italian sausage and a lot of it and in large portions. That's it.

Really. That's it.   Other than that,

So, come on Zachary's Pizza in Oakland, up that Italian sausage count!

Lunar Eclipse Live Camera Missed by Stranded O'Hare Travelers

When dealing with air flight cancellations, sad passengers, and cold, snowy weather, the last thing on your mind is a lunar eclipse. And that explains why this blogger and thousands at Chicago's O'Hare Airport missed the lunar eclipse.

Unless, of course, someone had time to avoid standing in long customer service lines for enough time to catch it all on live stream.

Assuming of course they had a laptop computer.

Anyway, I missed it as it happened.


Christmas Travel: Stuck At O'Hare At A Crowne Plaza Where The Phone Failed

Well, here's another blog post in the annals of Zennie's air travels: stuck at O'Hare Airport (again), but this time in a Crowne Plaza where the room phone doesn't work. That's right: this blogger can't call out or in. Thankfully cell phone and Twitter make up for the phone fail.

What happened was United Airlines flight UA 102 made it to Chicago from San Francisco and landed in what at first was a relatively typical snow for Chicagoland. That was 6:12 PM CST; as the night got older the snow got worse, and eventually O'Hare took on the look of The North Pole, complete with sightings of Santa Claus outside.

And, yes, the weather outside was somewhat frightful. A good 24 degrees. Yes, it's been colder than that with the wind-chill, but the snow's snarling travel. And as is my generally bad luck, the connecting flight I was to get on to Atlanta was delayed.

And then delayed.

And then the United gate reps explained the airplane we were to board had landed. To that end, this standby passenger got seat 12 F and waited.

And waited.

And waited and talked with a woman from Vancover BC and a brother from LA.

And then had a hunch that something was wrong with the flight, so went online to check its status. Sure enough, just seconds before United told the passengers at the gate, the flight was cancelled.

Well, I'm used to that, and I know the drill. Hey, it happened to me after this 767 flight a few weeks ago for Thanksgiving:

But I digress...

There's a service you can use at United's Customer Service Desk that provides pink vouchers where you can get deep hotel discounts if you're stuck at O'Hare and don't want to sleep there overnight. The place I stay at is the Hilton at O'Hare Aiport, only this time, the freaking hotel was booked two hours before my flight was cancelled.

So, the service person gave me the next choice: the Crowne Plaza Hotel at O'Hare. The room rate was just $69. That's it.

But, man you should see the long line for United's Customer Service Desk; it must be a good quarter-mile long.  My friend from Canada was told to stand in the line to get a boarding pass for another flight.  Frankly, I'm surprised they could not have had her self-print a pass, rather than stand with the huddled masses yearning to get a boarding pass from the humans manning the desk.  But that's what happened.

Lots of people.  Lots of kids.  It's Christmas week, and they're all sleeping at O'Hare.

Except me and a few others.

So, as this blog post is being written, I'm impatiently waiting for a deep-dish pizza from a place called Rozatti's. They're going to deliver it in the snow.  I planned to take the 6 AM flight to Atlanta, but there's are going to be so many standbys my Mom think's it's nuts to try it.

You know. I'm gonna listen to her.