Thursday, February 10, 2011

Nicole Kidman, Tom Hanks 83rd Academy Awards Presenters

The 83rd Annual Academy Awards are just 17 days from Thursday, and the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences are sending out press release after press release announcing presenters. So, now, with a good critical mass of names, and more to come, here's who's going to say "and the Oscar goes to" on Sunday night: Tom Hanks, Nicole Kidman, Robert Downey, Jr., Jude Law, and performing (and in some cases presenting too) will be Zachary Levi, Alan Menken, Mandy Moore, Randy Newman, Gwyneth Paltrow, A.R. Rahman and Florence + The Machine.

Since Tom Hanks is a Member of the Board of Governors of AMPAS, it's a fair bet he'll reprise his 2010 role in naming who gets the Oscar Best Picture Award.  As to who else is slotted where, I'm going to bet that Nicole Kidman's going to be involved in one of the "best" award categories.

But with that, there's still 17 days, more names, and still not a lot of color.  It would be nice to see AMPAS fearlessly attack this problem.

Of course, there's a lot we don't know; just because AMPAS asks a celeb to present or perform doesn't mean the person's going to do it.

But sill, we can wish for: Beyonce, Jamie Foxx, John Cho, Halle Berry, Tyler Perry, Sidney Poitier, Zoe Saldana, and Jennifer Lopez.

Stay tuned.

Ongo: New Media Aggregator For NY Times, AP, Established Brands

Ongo, which I guess means "on the go," is a new kind of online company that takes the risk of combining paywalls and news aggregation in its business model.

Ongo, with Alex Kazim as its CEO, was started with a $12 million first tranche of funding (not bad) from Gannett Company, The New York Times Company, and The Washington Post Company (not VC firms at all), it combines the following established news print media brands: The Associated Press, The Guardian, Slate, The Boston Globe The Miami Herald, USA TODAY, Financial Times, New York Times Picks, The Washington Post, The Indy Star, The Kansas City Star, The Miami Herald, Charlotte Observer, Detroit Free Press, The Fort Worth Star-Telegram, and other print titles. (not The San Francisco Chronicle as of this writing.)

You have to subscribe to get its information, which is news content from those publications. Ongo is an "inny" or what's called a "closed loop." A system, (1) the existence of which you have to know about as a brand, and then (2) information's sent out to you and (3) only after you pay for it.

That's three reasons why Ongo's going to have a hard time building revenue off the $12 million start. Here's another problem.

As of this writing (in case they fix it), I go to the Ongo website, and right at the top I see three links: "Ongo Is.., How Ongo Works, and in large letters, SUBSCRIBE.

Ok, so I click on SUBSCRIBE expecting to know what the cost to do so is, right? Makes sense. When I click on the link, I'm taken to a page that's just a bunch of simple HTML entry fields, and nothing - not a thing - telling me how much the subscription is, and for how long. According to The Examiner's Romona Paden, it's $6.99 per month, but that must have come from the PR folks, because guess's not listed on the dog-on Ongo website!

And I'm supposed to just enter my credit card number anyway? As the folks on ESPN's NFL Prime Time say "C'MOM MAN!"

So, I'm looking around to find out the cost of subscription to Ongo, and I can't find a single mention of a price.

That's bad.

It's also a major deterrent to getting subscribers.

Kevin Skaggs, who did a good job of running, is the Chief Content Officer for Ongo, so this business falls into his lap. Kevin, you should have called me to beta test the damn thing, because I'd have pointed this problem out straight away then, instead of now, in print, online.

Or, that could be why you didn't call me.  But I digress.

NY Times Really Committed To This?

If the New York Times is really committed to this new media effort, it could promote it at NY  But, there's no top link with the Ongo logo in it.  In fact, the Facebook login button, a great way to promote Facebook, is prominent.

Ongo Arrogance

The problem with Ongo, called Hulu for news, is the idea that people want to get their news from a bunch of newspaper brands that are dying in print.  The problem with not having any basis in a real open-loop, web platform, competing for search engine space with other brands, is the ability to piggy-back off popular stories online and gain subscribers and views, and value, is totally lost.   This was a bad idea.

I see the "immediate" cognitive hit that making a "Hulu for news" is to those who don't know how to make their own websites, but the fact is print does not have one thing going for it that television has: TV makes its own original content.

Because TV makes original content, I can go to Hulu and see shows that are hard to get online anywhere else.  Ongo's not presenting original online content, just stuff that I can get at The Huffington Post.  Which was just bought by AOL for $315 Million.

The fact that Gannett, and not a VC firm, made this $12 million investment is telling.  It means no VC would touch it for that much money.  VC's want to see page view potential - something like 4 billion unique visitors a year.   That calls for an online platform that Ongo is not - now.

I wish Ongo and Kevin luck, but this "inny" thinking's not the way to go.

Eliza Kruger Pictures Make Mark Sanchez Seem Pervy

Mark Sanchez of the Jets is 24-years-old and he is dating Eliza Kruger. Kruger is 17-years-old and is the daughter of a hedge fund manager in New York. The laws in New York and New Jersey allow the two to date so that is not an issue, but although the two are allowed to date there is still something wrong with someone under 18 giving out compromising photos.

The Stir is a Cafe Mom blog which writes about the sexy pictures of Kruger that have showed up on the Internet. The blogger writes:

But go looking for proof of Mark Sanchez and Eliza Kruger in flagrante delicto, and you're more than just a perv. You're a pedophile. If you want to see lascivious pictures of Eliza Kruger, you're committing a crime under federal law. Whether she's legally allowed to have sex or not, at 17 she falls under the federal child pornography statute regardless of who took the photos (yes, even if she took them of herself to send to Marky boy). That includes any picture that:

"Depicts a minor engaging in sexually explicit conduct and is obscene, or depicts an image that is, or appears to be, of a minor engaging in graphic bestiality, sadistic or masochistic abuse, or sexual intercourse, including genital-genital, oral-genital, anal-genital, or oral-anal, whether between persons of the same or opposite sex and such depiction lacks serious literary, artistic, political, or scientific value."

DeadSpin has an entire expose on the relationship of the two which is called "The Somewhat Romantic Story of March Sanchez And A 17-Year-Old Girl," the entire article written is pretty epic, and the word epic is overused but in this case it is quite all right. The article is worth reading to get the whole background information on the two. It gives Kruger's account of what happened and how the two met: which include hotel rooms and threatening e-mails and all sorts of interesting tid bits. It includes a shot from Kruger's Facebook. At that time her name had not been released and she was only known as E.K:

The photos will not be posted on, and no one from Zennie62 Media has seen the photos so all of this is based on what other sources have to say, because the photos have not been seen first hand.

Eliza Kruger Pictures: Mark Sanchez 17 Year Old Deadspin Victim

In a complete surprise, and on the day that Egyptian President Hosni Mubarek is expected to make a statement on his future (hopefully he steps down), the dominant Google Trend is still for...eliza kruger pictures, eliza kruger, and mark sanchez 17 year old.

That's largely for the reasons stated in this space yesterday and in the video, below:

Also, it's because Deadspin's doing a LOUSY job of protecting its real source - Kruger. They're just spilling everything she's shared with them onto the space of their blog site.


Let's get one thing straight here: Eliza Kruger didn't ask for this. It happened because someone claiming to be associated with Deadspin - but Al Daulerio, Deadspin's Editor says is not - contacted her and threatened to tell what they knew.

And if Daulerio and deadspin had nothing to do with the contact, why get involved by using the person's information?   Think about it.

According to Deadspin, for Eliza Kruger it all started this way:

A threatening email was sent to me from someone by the name [name redacted] who claims to be doing research for you, it regards Mark Sanchez picking up a girl in a club around new years. The tip was originally sent from a [name redacted]. If you could explain what is going on here I would greatly appreciate it because so far I am being threatened w media exposure regarding false accusations and slander.

And then, today, Deadspin prints this email message that was sent from her:

Well I'm still "close" w mark and he knows about you so jets pr was like here how's you handle it, I don't want to betray him but I don't want to let him play me like this, if this comes out like I technically sold this then I can risk any jobs or college in the future. They may not want me if I "sold" the story. So publish what you no and ill just be like it was a deceitful friend of mine. You no? So my future isn't ruined but mark doesn't get everything. He is a genuine person but not necessarily good to women. You know?

Wow. Talk about throwing a source under the bus. Eliza's 17 and is obviously in way over her head. Instead of Deadspin taking steps to protect themselves and her, they just went buck wild, all over the place.

We're not talking about someone running for public office, or who's a public official, we're talking about an innocent person. One who's not threatening anyone, and probably has a very good heart. She just wanted to have a good time with a star.

There's no crime in that.

Deadspin's played fast and lose with the email messages sent, especially the one from Eliza mentioning how Sanchez is "not necessarily good to women. You know?"

Nice, Deadspin. Gain a young woman's trust, then use it to crap all over her.

That's not cool at all.

Ed Schultz gives Powerful 99er Commentary on MSNBC

Ed Schultz gave a powerful 99er commentary on MSNBC last night.

The Ed Show, now in it’s new time slot at 10PM EST on MSNBC, is every bit as powerful as the show was in his earlier time slot. Ed has a flare for telling it like it is, day in and day out.

Last night was the first time Ed has really had 99er news to focus upon all this year and he did the 99er Nation proud. Ed’s powerful commentary began with snippets from yesterday’s Press Conference where Barbara Lee and Bobby Scott called on House Republican Leadership to allow a vote on the Emergency Relief to help Long-Term Unemployed Americans now.

Several 99ers joined Reps. Barbara Lee (D-Calif.) and Bobby Scott (D-Va.) at a press conference announcing proposed legislation that would give an additional 14 weeks of benefits to anyone who's been out of work for longer than six months.

"People want to enjoy the dignity of work instead of collecting unemployment check," Scott said. "Critics of unemployment compensation believe it gives people incentive not to work, but the fact is ... that there are more people looking for work than there are jobs."

Ed went on to introduce his own variation on a community works program that made so much sense, Congress could never comprehend it's merit - let alone pass such. The clip below features press conference comments by 99er Rhonda Taylor (one of many 99ers present at the Lee/Scott announcement in Washington D.C. yesterday).

The commentary moved many to tears when he discussed Gerry DePietro’s story featured in yesterday’s Huffington Post article by Arthur Delaney: 3.9 Million Americans Ran Out Of Unemployment Benefits In 2010: Report

From the article:
"We're just trying to let them see that we're real live human beings," said laid-off accountant Gerry DePietro, 65. A 99er, she carpooled from the Philadelphia suburbs with her friends Patty Fraschetta and Bob Stroop, both of whom have been out of work for more than a year.

Gerry DePietro said she ran out of unemployment benefits in September and has been selling her jewelry to get by. She said she got $20 for a gold ring that had been given to her by her late husband 37 years ago, before they married.

"It was like losing a million-dollar ring," she said.

[The donation button below is for Paladinette. If you like what I write please donate so I can keep on fighting for the 99ers! Thank You!]

"Save Cal Sports?" Does The University Of California Care?

Today's the day that we'll learn the fate of several University of California sports slated for reduction to reduce a large annual deficit that, in point of fact, has existed for over a decade. It's just that, in the past, the University could afford to carry it; not today.

Still, faced with the prospect of losing men's and women's gymnastics, women's lacrosse, and baseball, you'd think there would be massive alarm bells going off. You'd expect this to be a front page issue on the Cal Athletics website. You'd think "Save Cal Sports" would be a rallying cry for the University itself, and not just a set of concerned alumns.

It's not.  And the Cal Athletics website doesn't ask you to donate money for any one of the sports on the chopping block.

I get the impression the University of California at Berkeley just really doesn't give a damn.  Cal lacks the fight required to maintain its athletic programs; it's just not the focus of a massive campaign, because there is no massive campaign outside of what Save Cal Sports has been able to do - raising $15 million is incredible, and the University itself should help.

The simple fact that only California Golden Blogs is running a post encouraging donations to help Cal baseball - and not the Cal Athletics website - causes me to ask just what the hell is going on?  When I go to Cal Athletics's website, I should see DONATE in red Stanford letters, then explaining that "The Cardinal red will go away if you help us today."

If the University of California and Cal Athletics doesn't care enough to communicate its needs via its websites, why should anyone else care either?    And with this, the Cal's "going to make an announcement" today?

Even the Cal Baseball website communicates the idea that everything's OK as of this writing, when we know it's not.


The only thing the University should say today is "We're going to get behind Save Cal Sports" and help raise more money.

Anything less would be a shame.

Donald Trump Considers Running for President

Multi-billionaire tycoon, Donald Trump, told CNN's Piers Morgan that he is honestly considering running for president.

Trump told Morgan that he wants to change the foreign policy and he considers China to be "the enemy," and that they want to take over.

"The first thing I would do is announce very strongly that we're going to tax Chinese products -- 25% tax on all Chinese products. They will come to the table immediately and stop manipulating their currency which they're doing."

He also says:

"I love this country. I hate what's happened to this country," he added. "We're a laughingstock throughout the world. We're not respected."

Well, he is very blunt about this. Trump has never been a political figure and has never even been in any position of political authority so it would be shocking if he were to actual win or even be taken seriously.

Trump has said that he will not make a final decision until June of this year; and for those who are wondering which party Trump is affiliated with: GOP.