Monday, January 31, 2011

HTC Thunderbolt 4G Smartphone Features Discussed In Video

It's interesting to read the recent various articles and blog posts on the HTC Thunderbolt's features, because many of them were introduced in my CES 2011 video.

But for some re-introduced news, the much anticipated smartphone is will have a mobile hotspot, simultaneous voice and data transfer, and the rumor is that it will be available for sale at Best Buy on Valentine's Day, February 14th.

But will it out-do the iPhone?

It depends.

If it's released with the mobile hotspot and simultaneous voice and data transfer, it's got a good chance. But some blogs report that it may be released without those features.

Stay tuned.

Person WIth Gun At Oakland Unified School District La Equelita School

I just got a horrifying email. This one:

We have just been notified of reports of a person with a gun at the Oakland Unified School District facility, La Esquelita School @ 1100 3rd Avenue. The OUSD school facilities have been locked down, and the Laney Childcare Center staff are being informed of appropriate precautions. Please steer away from any area adjacent to lower 10th Street and 5th Avenue. The Peralta Community College District new parking lot at East 8th Street and 5th avenue, (with solar panels, next to baseball field) is being used as a staging area for La Esquelita School families to pick-up their children, while the Oakland Police Department has the matter under control.

More later...

The History Channel Airs Silly Bohemian Grove "Visit" By Brad Meltzer

The History Channel did a real disservice to its own moniker by airing Brad Meltzer’s Decoded episode on The Bohemian Club and The Bohemian Grove.

It reminded me of Vanity Fair's Contributing Editor Alex Shoumatoff's ill-fated attempt to "infiltrate" the Grove in 2008 - he got arrested. I've still got his mug shot here!

The Meltzer / The History Channel TV segment was embarrassingly bad and devoid of any real information about the club, except to repeat old and false statements about rituals and sacrifices that are alleged by both left and right wing extremists like Alex Jones.

Without breaking the gentlemanly code of silence at The Bohemian Club, I have been there, I'm a friend, and I'm obviously black (in case you're keeping score) and I can tell you the club is about friendship, jazz, theater, the arts, poetry and current events.

The only "sacrifices" that go on are the state of one’s liver and wasteline from the drink and food that are copiously consumed.  (Seriously.  It's one reason I've cut back on drinking!)

I contacted The Club after seeing The History Channel story and asked if they provided any information about the history of the organization, the annual ‘Cremation of Care” ceremony at the Grove, to Brad Meltzer or The History Channel. The Club said they declined to be interviewed on camera, but gave The History Channel a backgrounder that explains the Club, its ceremonies and its history.

It’s too bad The History Channel and Brad Meltzer didn’t read the materials they were given or looked online at The Monte Rio Show, the annual fundraiser the Bohemian Club puts on the Monte Rio community in which The Grove is located.

That website explains the Club’s background. And if The History Channel and its Decoded crew (which decoded nothing) had read that perhaps they would not have been arrested for trespassing at heavily guarded Grove during their filming of the show.

A little research goes a long way.

Where are the jobs, Mr. Boehner?

Just what are the leaders of the GOP doing with their new-found Congressional majority? We all know they took the symbolic vote to repeal the Patient Protection & Affordable Care Act (PPACA or sometimes just ACA) complete with a provision explicitly naming their own bill "Repealing the Job-Killing Health Care Law Act" without proposing any alternative. We all know the majority of U.S. citizens like the reforms, and the savvy have noticed that the only part being challenged in the courts is, in fact, the mandate inserted to win GOP support in the first place and protect insurance company profits -- and that they managed not just one but two responses to the President's State of the Union.

But what are GOP leaders actually doing?

OK, fair enough, House Speaker John Boehner did take to the airwaves on Sunday, to warn FOX viewers that it, "would be a financial disaster not only for our country, but for the worldwide economy," if the U.S. defaulted on its debt, because, "You can't create jobs if you default on the federal debt." That could happen, according to some estimates, sometime between March and May due to - what? Inaction by Congress. So he's talking to pundits, which isn't exactly doing nothing.

But neither this rhetoric nor talking to pundits is creating one job. Meanwhile, Rick Ungar of Forbes and others argue that the repeal they voted for would actually be a job-killer itself. The ironies seem lost on most who fashion themselves as speaking on behalf of GOP voters.

Here's an excerpt from Ungar's Policy Page at Forbes:
"The primary, most enduring complaint of the opponents of the ACA has been that the law is deathly bad for small business.

Apparently, small businesses, and their employees, do not agree.

The next argument has been that the PPACA is a job killer.

If these small businesses found the new law to be so onerous, why have so many of them voluntarily taken advantage of the benefits provided in the law to give their employees these benefits? They were not mandated to do so. And to the extent that the coming mandate obligations might figure into their thinking, would you not imagine they would wait until 2014 to make a move as the rules do not go into effect until that time?

Of course, there is the nagging banter as to how Obamacare is leading us down the road to socialism.

Let it go, folks."

Rick Ungar,

So the pundits are permitting the politicians - particularly those leading the GOP - to play familiar partisan games, posturing for the cameras while criticizing every nuance of the President's stance and efforts, but what's the impact? Wasted time.

What does the country need? What do we want our elected leaders to actually do? Act responsibly, behave like adults, get to work and fix the problems for Main Street like they did for the fat cats on Wall Street who contribute to their campaign coffers - we need jobs.

There are millions of us, millions of hard-working citizens - and voters - out of work watching jobs move overseas and foreclosures ruin our neighborhoods, yet the politicians prefer to pretend that what matters most are symbolic votes, the profit margins and bonuses on Wall Street, and criticizing without proposing solutions, or even alternative initiatives? What's next, Mr. Boehner, holding your breath until your face turns blue?

It's enough to make a grown man cry.

Thomas Hayes is an entrepreneur, former Democratic Campaign Manager, strategist, journalist, and photographer who contributes regularly to a host of web sites on topics ranging from economics and politics to culture and community. You can follow him as @kabiu on twitter.

SAG Awards 2011: The King's Speech Ready For The Academy Awards

The Academy Awards are now weeks closer and more into focus; the SAG Awards 2011 helped to bring all into crystal clear view: The King's Speech, barring a shocking upset from The Social Network, will be The Academy Awards winner for Best Picture.

The movie produced by The Weinstein Company already got Outstanding Cast For A Movie at The Screen Actors Guild Awards tonight, and Tom Hooper, it's director, scored Best Director at the Directors Guild Awards Saturday night.

On top of that, Colin Firth got a well-earned Best Actor award, and now is well on his way to an Oscar win for the same category.

The emergence of The King's Speech over the once favored The Social Network is shocking, but when one considers all of the talk of the movie about Facebook being "not the real story," that may have impacted the movie's SAG and Academy Awards fortunes.

Stay tuned.