Sunday, July 31, 2011

Debt Limit - Macroeconomic Reason For Its Increase Using IS LM Model

This is a vlog unlike any other I've made before. The idea is to use a long-standing economic model called "IS / LM" to explain why the debt limit must be increased by August 2nd. The IS / LM curve was created in 1937 by Sir John Hicks, and has stood the test of time. Why? Because it's held up under a number of data tests.

IS is the name of a curve that represents all forms of macro spending, from government spending to taxes and overall weath. LM is the curve for the supply of money. All I do here is explain a "known" fact - that capping the debt ceiling will cause a decrease in money supply, causing an increase in interest rates, and a drop in overall national income.

But I then explain how that's related to government spending, and why "G" is important. If you disagree with my presentation, make a video of your own using the IS LM Model,and explain why.

Saturday, July 30, 2011

Friday, July 29, 2011

Monday, July 25, 2011

Comic Con 2011 Jeff Fahey, Tony Todd, Mark Hamill On Sushi Girl The Movie

Sushi Girl is a "grindhouse" style movie best, which this blogger is dying to see, and is best described as a dinner over a naked chic that ends badly.

My objective at the Sushi Girl Red Carpet held at Comic Con 2011, was to find out how badly the movie ends! Getting an answer out of Jeff Fahey, Tony Todd, and Mark Hamill was as hard as the abs on its lady star, Cortney Palm.

But I did learn that, according to Mark Hamill, Sushi Girl will make Tony Todd a "really big star." Todd plays the lead role, a guy named Duke, who he says has the kind of "switch" in his head such that if you say the wrong thing, he will "just snap," but who, Todd says, is "charming."

In other words, Tony Todd plays a lovable sociopath.

Unlike the epic, must-see Bellflower movie meetup, this was a standard Red Carpet, which was fine, but the problem was once you got into a talk with, say, Mark Hamill, a PR rep would come by winding her hand as if to say "wrap it up." And while she's doing that - you can see it on the video - Hamill just keeps talking (yeah!).

And that's because Hamill's got a lot to say about his character Crow, who he says is sexist, sadistic, and a lot of terrible things Mark's never played on screen before.

Sushi Girl's got an edge - bring it on.

And I'll have more videos from that red carpet, too.

Sunday, July 17, 2011

Oakland News: Facebook Page Blasts CEDA, Initiative Proposed, Upcoming Interviews

There's a lot going on in Oakland, but I'm figuring out that, frankly, this city of mine isn't as socially connected as it likes to think it is.  There are only a handful of bloggers, a small group of people who read them, and few, considering the total population, who use Twitter to tweet or any camcorder to vlog. In short, a lot of information about what happens in Oakland goes without matching content.   Just saying - though I'll say more about this later.

One small Facebook Page group of people is growing organically. Called "Terrorized by CEDA Oakland, CA," it has about 198 "likes" and it's not going to reach massive proportions unless someone connects Oakland's Economic Development boss, Walter Cohen to a sex scandal; I'm just kidding, of course, but you get the idea, given media today, and my opening paragraph.

A problem at the Community And Economic Development Agency CEDA, first reported here and at Oakland Focus by Gwillym Martin, caught the eye of the Alameda County Grand Jury. Now that's all well and good, but the Grand Jury can't throw anyone in jail and it's recommendations are too often alarmingly ignored, especially by the Oakland-Alameda County Coliseum Authority. But this is not about "The Authority," as it's called at times. It's about CEDA.

The Alameda County Grand Jury's report was just released and you can read it here: . But to save you the trouble of wading through document text, this is the opening paragraph you have to start with:


The 2010-2011 Alameda County Grand Jury received numerous complaints from property owners regarding building inspection fines, protocols, and abusive practices in the city of Oakland’s Community and Economic Development Agency’s (CEDA) Building Services Division (Building Services). These complaints were consistent with issues that had been raised by the 1999-2000 Alameda County Grand Jury wherein they recognized improvement was needed in Building Services. The current Grand Jury’s investigation determined that the recommendations of the previous Grand Jury had not been addressed, and in fact, the situation had deteriorated. The reviews, reports, interviews, and testimony provided to the current Grand Jury indicate that significant reform is needed as set forth in the body of this report.

That's about as bad as it gets, folks.

Here are the complaints listed in the Grand Jury report:

1. inconsistent standards for citing blight and nuisance/substandard violations;
2. lack of timely and understandable notice of violations;
3. lack of clarity about the abatement process;
4. difficulty in contacting and working with inspectors;
5. inconsistent evaluations by different inspectors working on the same case;
6. unprofessional, retaliatory and intimidating treatment by inspectors;
7. excessive and exorbitant fees, fines and liens;
8. unclear and ineffective appeals process that is sometimes ignored by
Building Services personnel;
9. lack of a reasonable amount of time to comply and take corrective
10. impropriety in the selection of abatement contractors, including
allegations of ethical violations in awarding contracts and a lack of transparency;
11. citizens feel discouraged from correcting blighted or substandard properties because it is too difficult and expensive to work with Building Services.

And some of the examples of mistreatment of the Oakland community are hair-raising, even if you don't have hair. Here's an example:

One property owner received a warning notice threatening large fines if abatement did not occur. The owner did not understand because the property was well kept. The owner discovered that an employee of the city’s Keep Oakland Beautiful Program gave a packet of blank warning notices to a neighbor who then distributed the notices throughout the neighborhood. The property owner then received a formal citation from Building Services regarding “offensive plant overgrowth” and then filed a written appeal that was misplaced by the city. The owner subsequently trimmed a shrub and the inspector told her by phone to disregard the notice. The owner asked for written confirmation of dismissal and the inspector refused. The property owner scheduled a re-inspection and the inspector failed to appear.

You can read the rest of the report for yourself. But, really, even with the Grand Jury's findings and recommendations, it's going to take an initiative process to change things.

An initiative?

That's something proposed by a group of Oakland citizens, but I don't have much more in terms of what the initiative would consist of. They're in the process of gathering signatures, I'm told, and I as I get more information, I'll share it with you. In my conversations with my source, my bet was that they would not get too far, but I could be wrong. I'm being deliberately cryptic here for a reason. More later.

Upcoming Interviews: Kaplan, Russo, Schaaf

Last week, I conducted three long interviews with Oakland's At Large Councilmember Rebecca Kaplan, Alameda City Manager John Russo, and new Oakland Councilmember Libby Schaaf. The Kaplan and Russo videos will be up today; Libby's I have to redo and because somehow I lost my Flip Video Camera. Cried? Hell, yeah!

It fell out of my shoulder bag, and because I put it there, rather than in my pocket, as I usually do. I'm toying with the idea of using my new iPhone for all video-blogging, but the Flip is easier to hold and use. (I still have four camcorders, when you count the iPhone, but still the Flip was the best one.) Anyway, that aside, the Libby interview was classic, but we can recreate that magic again. In all, what I discovered was that Kaplan, Russo, and Schaaf, are all focused on how to do more with scarce resources. It's a new position for all elected officials to be in, but it governs their thinking on a lot of issues.

That aside, and on the matter of the City Attorney, Kaplan and Schaaf think the pay scale, set at what's calculated in the City Charter, should be maintained. Russo says Oakland can't get a good person at the level of pay that results - about $165,000. Libby sternly offers that she took a pay cut but did so because she loves Oakland.

My take sides with Russo. Libby's a gem - there just aren't a lot of Libby's running around. So, Oakland has to make sure it's able to attract the best candidates for what is, and should be, an elected position. Not appointed.

Stay tuned.

San Francisco CPMC Hospital Protest At City Hall - Mayor's Office Absent

On Friday, San Francisco City Hall got a visit from some "Angry Birds" in the form of supporters of an effort to build a new California Pacific Medical Center Hospital at Cathedral Hill. What has been described as a "complex," six-year negotiating battle, has evolved to the point where CPMC, upset that community opposition is standing in the way of job creation, called out as many people as it could collectively get it's hands on - employees, spouses and significant others of employees, and even kids - to come to San Franciso's City Hall and show support on it's steps.

What's the problem?

At issue is something called The Cathedral Hill Facility (pictured at left). What the nonprofit California Pacific Medical Center wants to do is build the $1.9 billion edifice and it wants to rebuild the St. Luke’s Hospital in the Mission district, said to be "aging."

But the sticking point, according to The San Francisco Examiner, is that San Francisco Mayor Ed Lee has asked for $108 million from the CPMC to mitigate impacts to affordable housing and traffic, and asked the CPMC to contribute $34 million a year in charity care benefits to lower-income patients, in addition to its contribution of $86 million in 2009. CPMC says the Mayor's proposal is not feasible for their cost / revenue structure.

At the protest, the supporters, like Steve Falk, the CEO of The San Francisco Chamber of Commerce, as you can see in the video, talked about the jobs that would be provided with the new hospital. This need not be a "complex" issue: unemployment, at over 10 percent in most Bay Area counties, and just over 8 percent in San Francisco, is a problem. And under-employment, where people just take a job to make money, rather than earning what they need for a proper existence, is an even larger, yet insanely not officially documented problem.

If you think about it, we have people who are well-paid, making decisions that impact people who aren't well paid. It's easy for someone to screw around when it's their goose that's not being cooked.

Mayor's Office Unresponsive

During Friday's protest, this blogger made a quick walk over to the San Francisco Mayor's Office, expecting that someone would be able to offer a statement. What I got was weird for a Mayor's Office.

Now, I like Ed Lee, always have, so this is not personal. But he can correct it.

I walked into an environment where there were five guys at the desks, two on the phones, two others talking to staffers, and the fifth person reading. Two of the men got off phones, and one of them looked at me and said "You can talk to anyone of us." So I asked to get a statement on the protest going on, outside.

Such a request is a matter of routine for a Mayor's Office to handle. It takes a few seconds, and a savvy office would already have a one-sheet ready for the press, upon request. Not so here; the man said "They're all out to lunch. You need an appointment."

Wow. That's a new one. No offer to call the spokesperson - nothing. I didn't waste time - I left the office, and made note of the encounter on the video.

And why can't the Mayor's Office get any women in there? In all of my years that's the first time I've seen a totally-male-staffed Mayor's Office main greeting room. They got something against women?

But I digress.

The Mayor and San Francisco Supervisor David Campos are doing business-as-usual in a weak economy. It's a time of budget cuts, layoffs, and shrinking spending. To stem that tide of economic shrinkage, the Mayor and the Supervisor should give a little more than they have thus far.

Stay tuned.

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Blue Cross California Uses False Data To Reject Applicant

Blue Cross of California is full of it. This blogger, seeking lower health care costs than the half-million dollars Kaiser was charging each month (really almost $500), quit Kaiser, and applied to join Blue Cross of California and under what seems to be a far more reasonable plan.

But Blue Cross of California doesn't want you, er me, to have the plan, it seems. They claim to reject me for a "male reproductive system" problem. That's bullshit. And simply because I never told Blue Cross I had such a problem, and they never tested me, not even a blood test.

By contrast, Kaiser actually bothered to send someone over to my place, take a blood sample, and test me. Maybe that's why the cost was so high? But whatever, Kaiser never rejected me, let alone said I had a "male reproductive system" problem.

But Blue Cross?

Now I see what the company's doing. In an interview they conducted with me about two weeks ago, almost, the interviewer kept asking questions that had nothing to do with my application. He also asked me if I'd ever used a chiropractor. I said "yes" but not regularly. I explained there was a chiropractor at my gym who occasionally offered to adjust my back - why not, I figured? The interviewer kept asking me about that - that's not cool and not right.

It's not right for Blue Cross to have it's employees make up data and stories to reject you. It's not right for Blue Cross of California to even allow itself to be seen as doing that. What Blue Cross does is figure that you're not going to talk about "sensitive information" and probably gets away with murder (if you will) on the assumption that people aren't going to yell and scream about how Blue Cross is treating them, because the person doesn't want to talk about their "condition."

Look, as they say on the street, "my stuff works," OK?

What Blue Cross of California is asking me to do is go in and pay to have a physician check me out, then tell them don't have a problem. So, what am I supposed to do, go in with my girlfriend, screw her in front of the doc, then say "See, it works!"

Yeah, right. But that's one scenario Blue Cross of California sets up.

Blue Cross of California should be ashamed. But it also should stop doing this. It's unethical to treat applicants that way. Kaiser had me, so there's no reason Blue Cross of California should not have me too.

Stay tuned.

Thursday, July 07, 2011

Harry Potter Premier Live On YouTube and USTREAM, On Twitter #harrypotterlive

To celebrate and announce the final Harry Potter movie, Harry Potter And The Deathly Hallows Part 2, the producers staged their premier at London's historic Trafalgar Square.

That space has seen a lot of people, for a lot of special reasons, but it's rare that it's filled from wall to wall and street to street; it is today.

Check out the live stream on YouTube and here, on USTREAM:

Live Video app for Facebook by Ustream.

Fans have camped out for hours and days just to see this event. So far, stars like Evanna Lynch, who plays Luna Lovegood, and is in the photo here, have arrived. And all under a lovely London spring evening.

But the fans are waiting for Daniel Radcliffe, who's yet to show up, but he will be there.

Live Stream Coverage

As I stated, live stream coverage is on USTREAM and YouTube, which provides two camera views. But the one of the whole of Trafalgar Square has a fogged dot right in the middle of it. Someone needs to clean off that camera!

Stay tuned.

Monday, July 04, 2011 - A New Interactive Sports Social Media Game, simply described, "is a social platform for sports fans to engage and connect online" and that's actually the "25 words or less" pitch line used by its co-founder, Marlon Sullivan. In the video above, I talked with Mr. Sullivan and he gave a demonstration of how work.

Let's just say that if you play it, you'd better know your sports info stuff. consists of two parts in its online space: a social network designed such that if you pick your favorite team or player, you can see what has been written and add to the conversation, and a unique fanometer that's coolly addictive.

With the fanometer, you can gain points for what you know about your team. You can pick a game and if you guess the correct winner you gain points. You can challenge friends in "one-on-one" competition, or go into what's called a "pool" challenge.

It's a really great social network game, that makes a game out of watching a sports event.

What it needs is to add another set of competitors: owners versus players.

Considering that both the NFL and the NBA are in the middle of lockouts, that addition would make a nuclear hit.

Stay tuned.

Port Of Oakland Budget At $296 Million, Increased 1.8 Percent

On July 1st, The Port of Oakland quietly issued a long press release announcing its 2011-2012 Budget. The release reports that "revenue from the Port’s aviation, commercial real estate, and maritime businesses has been recovering modestly," but that tenants remained concerned about the overall economy.

The Port also explains that it brought $462 million in taxes to the City of Oakland over the last fiscal year, and that it has a $40 million "pipeline" of new projects that will come under the consideration of the Port Of Oakland Board Of Directors.

Here's the full press release:

For Immediate Release
July 1, 2011
Port Of Oakland Adopts 2011-2012 Budget

$296.6 Million Budget Represents Port's Aggressive Focus on Business, Competitiveness, Positive Economic Impact, and Environmental Stewardship

Oakland, Calif. - July 1, 2011 - The Oakland Board of Port Commissioners just adopted a 2011-2012 fiscal year (FY) operating budget of $296.6 million. This is a 1.8% increase over anticipated FY2011 actuals and a 5% increase over the current FY 2011 budget, which was focused on stabilizing the Port after the Great Recession. The FY2012 budget is a forward-looking, pragmatic and job-preserving budget that is sustainable over the long term. In the short term, it will facilitate the second stage of the Port’s 5-year Strategic Plan, focused on marketing, relationship-building, and business growth.

"During these uncertain economic times, our adopted FY2012 budget strikes a healthy and sustainable balance between fiscal responsibility and strategic investments," said Port Board President James Head. “This is especially important as we aggressively focus on growing revenue from our three business lines, which will help us continue to generate positive economic impacts - especially jobs and tax revenue - throughout the region."

Revenue from the Port’s aviation, commercial real estate, and maritime businesses has been recovering modestly; however, the Port’s business lines and its tenants and customers remain concerned about general economic conditions including decreased consumer demand, oil price increases, European debt concerns and Middle East turmoil. Oakland International Airport revenues for the first ten months of FY2011 are 1.8% higher than budgeted in FY2011, though we expect to see a modest decline in actual passenger traffic. Commercial Real Estate revenues have been stable in FY 2011. For the first ten months of FY2011, Maritime revenues were approximately $9.7 million (5.9%) higher than budgeted as a result of a 14% increase in container volume that moved through the Port in calendar year 2010. In FY 2012, we expect to see moderate increases in Aviation and Commercial Real Estate revenues compared to both FY 2011 budget and actuals. Maritime revenues are expected to increase compared to FY 2011 budget, but expected to decrease when compared to anticipated FY 2011 actuals.

"We remain cautiously optimistic that the coming year will bring continued modest economic recovery," said Port Executive Director Omar R. Benjamin. "We therefore need to move strategically from stabilizing the Port, to marketing and growing the Port’s business. That’s why this year we are going to enhance the Port’s export program, capitalizing on our position as the only major West Coast port that exports more than we import; continue bringing new air service to Oakland International; move forward on the transformation of the former Oakland Army Base into a world-class, intermodal trade and logistics center; and continue promoting the development and utilization of our waterfront assets at Jack London Square."

The FY2012 budget includes an $85.6 million capital budget designed to maximize Port assets in order to grow core business. Highlights include:

$51 million in Aviation projects such as airport improvements at the terminals and the BART connector to Oakland International Airport;
$29 million in Maritime projects such as shore power infrastructure, dredging and security enhancements
$3 million in Real Estate projects including Jack London Square improvements at the Oakland waterfront

There is an additional $40 million pipeline of projects that is anticipated to be brought to the Board of Port Commissioners for consideration during FY2012.

The strategic investments made by the Port’s FY12 budget, both in operations and capital, are essential to supporting the Port’s continued positive economic impact in Oakland and the region, which amounts to nearly $10 billion annually, and includes the following jobs and tax revenue benefits:

The Port receives no local tax revenue, and from its operations and those of its tenants—contributes more than $462 million in taxes to the City of Oakland, regional cities and counties, and the State of California.

Through its operations and policies, and the business activities of its tenants and customers, the Port supports more than 73,000 jobs across the region, and is connected to approximately 827,000 jobs across the nation.

For all of its land, I'm surprised the Port Of Oakland isn't used as a location for movies. Given the constant search for cheap land to film on, and different venues, the Port Of Oakland could fashion itself into a top destination at a time when movie production is being done less in California, and more in places like Louisian and Canada.

Sunday, July 03, 2011

Mark Halperin's 2008 Apology Could Work In 2012

Earlier, TIME Magazine Senior Editor Mark Halperin, who called President Obama "a dick" on Thursday's MSNBC Morning Joe Show, has a pattern of insults and puts downs toward the man who's now the 44th President Of The United States.

In 2008, as revealed in earlier in this space, Halperin called Obama "a pussy," but the difference was he didn't lose his job over the matter; this time he was suspended from his television assignment with NSNBC. But, like 2008, he did issue an appology.

But what Halperin should have done was just reissue the apology he trotted out in 2008. This is what he wrote on TIME Magazine's The Page on February 13, 2008:

I'm sorry. In a live radio interview this week, I used a word I shouldn't have. The fact that I was conveying other people's words is no excuse for my lapse in judgment. It won't happen again. -- Mark Halperin

Halperin could have just switched around the words a little for 2012, and wrote:

I'm sorry. In a live television interview this week, I used a word I shouldn't have. The fact that I was conveying my personal thoughts is no excuse for my lapse in judgment. It won't happen again. -- Mark Halperin

Has Halperin really learned his lesson? Time will tell.

Friday, July 01, 2011

Mark Halperin Called President Obama A Dick On Morning Joe Because Obam...

On Thursday Morning's presentation of Morning Joe on MSNBC, host Joe Scarborough gave Senior Contributor and TIME Magazine Senior Editor Mark Halperin a chance to say what was on his mind using a term that Halperin himself ask for a seven-second delay for - he didn't get one. But for Halperin to think of what he said - that President Barack Obama was being "a dick" during his press conference (Presumably because Obama didn't let Mark ask a question?) was classless, and arguably racist.

It led this blogger to charge that, had President Obama been white, Halperin would have not made that statement. On my YouTube video channel page, some have agreed; others have asked why. Almost a perfect divide between people who are either just plain empathic regardless of color, or people who just don't understand, or don't want to understand, what it's like to be black in America.

I don't expect to reach a lot of people with what I'm about to write, and by that, I mean change a lot of minds. While society is making giant strides, I'm still skeptical of this culture's ability to alter its behavior when it counts. What makes me smile is that I'm proven wrong more often than not.

Blogging only for myself, being black in America (the only real experience I have) is to be handed a set of "rules as a black man." You can, as I do, try to ignore them, but the enforcers of "the rules" come in all shapes and sizes.

These enforcers tell you not to be 1) obviously intelligent, to 2) be quiet, to 3) not exhibit a "Type A" personality. The black friend you have who says "it's all good," is not a Type A personality, but Type B. Because for a Type A personality, it's not always "all good" and Type A's are constantly working to make it better.

As a black man you can't have a big ego in any place other than the sports playing field, and even then there's some commentator, generally white and male, who says you "showboat" or it's "all about you." While society may increasingly dislike anyone who's aggressive, a special place is held for someone who's white and male, and who's like that, because it's expected.

President Obama knows this, and that's why, when he was running for President, he took great steps not to be considered as that Type A black guy, even though he was and is very much like that. Obama, in order to get elected, had to follow the rules.

But social change at the younger end of the demographic spectrum, where diversity is expected more often than not, is pushing a change in society that has not touched some people like Mark Halperin.

Halperin's in my generation - one of those on the cusp of those social changes that either goes with them, or resists them, or is conflicted.

Mark Halperin is conflicted, and it took an Obama, more comfortable with the chair of the presidency, and more willing to shed the rules for American black men and be a man in full, to get under Halperin's skin, and let lose with an insult never before used toward a POTUS on national television.

My first taste of Halperin was bitter, and it came during the 2008 Presidential Campaign, when it seemed Halperin was always willing to find some little thing wrong with the "upstart" Obama, and so often that the idea Mark may be racist could not escape my mind. It was so much, that I developed the habit of changing the channel when I saw his face, and wasn't at all surprised when Halperin accused the media of a "pro-Obama" bias, implying that he had the anti-Obama bias I long suspected of him.

But, in order to keep his job, Halperin has the task of keeping his inner demons in check. A task that obviously became too great for him on Thursday, so he let lose and called Obama "a dick."

Bravo for President Obama.

America needs to shed the last remnants of slave mentality. Black men need to be able to live under the same set of rules as white men, and women as a whole must also be able to live under the same rules as white men - be aggressive and expressive. State what you want. Make demands. Live your life.

And if someone calls you a dick, don't get angry, just say "Yep and a big one, too!"

Stay tuned.

Jobless Talk to return July 8, 2011

After nearly a month hiatus, Paladinette’s Blog Talk Radio show “Jobless Talk” will resume broadcasts next friday, July 8, 2011.

It has been a tough ride for the long term unemployed Americans, called "the 99ers." Everyday in this country, another 15,000 more displaced workers lose their UI benefits. Often they have sold every thing of value just to survive. Such is the case for the long term unemployment advocate Paladinette.

Last Fall, Jobless Talk was in danger of ending broadcasts completely, when out of the blue a benefactor offered to subsidize Paladinette's advocacy efforts. This agreement was for a term of 6 months and during that time I was able to continue the fight for the millions of unemployment exhaustees and fight for more help for these citizens Washington DC has deserted.

Looking for work in this economy is NOT improving as Obama would have America believe. The additional 6 months of constant job search did not yield the desired result and like the millions of other 99ers out there today, Paladinette finds herself on the brink of homelessness once again.

"I wish I could have been more successful in inspiring the masses to get out in the streets and protest in large numbers, but alas it appears there is no fight left in the majority of those in the 99er community."

It is likely that next Friday's Jobless Talk at noon Pacific time, will be the last broadcast in the series which began in April 2010.

[If you like what I write please donate so I can keep on fighting for the 99ers! Thank You!]