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Showing posts from August, 2009

SF Chronicle - a plan to help the newspaper

More at | Follow me on Twitter! | Get my widget! | Visit YouTube | Visit I happened to run upon an article in today's edition of "Editor and Publisher" which reported that the San Francisco Chronicle newspaper ( is the Chronicle website) was planning more layoffs after Labor Day. It may not happen, let's pray not, but staff reductions could come as soon as next week. Apparently, even after the last round of job cuts about two months ago or so, the newspaper is still losing $1 million a week or about $4 million a month, or a whopping $48 million-a-year loss. That's really, really sad news as a paper is nothing without the personalities who made it, but I think there's something that can be done to at least save some jobs and stem the tide of revenue losses. There are as of this writing 2,780,000 pages that make up My idea is simple: add a donate button to each one of them. The button would

Chevron Ecuador Judge Nunez focus of bribery allegation

More at | Follow me on Twitter! | Get my widget! | Visit YouTube | Visit In a blockbuster development, Ecuador Judge Juan Nunez, the key legal figure in the Chevron Ecuador environmental damage case, is captured in a video shown here explaining that he plans to rule against the oil giant and for an award of $27 billion "more or less". The judge explains that the verdict will happen and that Chevron will be blocked from filing an appeal of his ruling. In that segment of the video, the Judge explains he's only there to talk about the verdict, not about "the other stuff" which refers to a $3 million payoff request. Later in the video its implied that Ecuadorian President Rafael Correa will benefit from the bribe amount. On video today I talked to Chevron Media Relations representative Sean Comey about the video and Chevron's investigation. In the video Judge Nunez, Aulo Gelio Servio Tulio Avila ("Avila"), an

After Saints clobber Raiders, will Oakland sell out games?

More at | Follow me on Twitter! | Get my widget! | Visit YouTube | Visit On Saturday, the New Orleans Saints clobbered the Oakland Raiders 45 to 7, and it could have been worse were it not for one dropped pass in the end zone in the second quarter. One item of good news is that only 32,585 people saw the beating at the Oakland Coliseum. But the bad news is that only 32,585 people saw the beating at the Oakland Coliseum, and that causes me to ask this question: Will the Oakland Raiders' Monday Night Game against the Chargers fail to sell out thus preventing the Bay Area from seeing the game? The Bay Area economy is in terrible shape and it seems with all of the plant closures, the Raiders blue collar fan base is being harmed. The Washington Post reports that NFL sources point to the Raiders as one of the teams that could have problems selling tickets this year. Now, the Bay Area's unemployment is at nearly 10 percent, with rates over 9

Oakland Mai-Tai Day Party at Conga Lounge in Rockridge today

More at | Follow me on Twitter! | Get my widget! | Visit YouTube | Visit Last night I happened by the Conga Lounge Tiki Bar in Oakland's Rockridge District and the owners Mano and Michael Thanos treated me to a great Mai Tai and a cool t-shirt, and informed me that on Sunday (today) they're having a party to celebrate the creation of that tasty cocktail. The party runs from 5 PM to 10 PM at 5422 College Ave (above Cafe Rustica), and Oakland Councilmember Rebecca Kaplan (At-Large) will arrive to official read the proclamation proclaiming The Mai Tai "The Official Drink of Oakland" but here's some background. According to Mano Thanos, the Mai Tai was created in Oakland in 1944 by Victor Bergeron, the owner of the famed Trader Vic's Restaurant chain. His experiment, which you can read about in detail on the Trader Vics's website , and the growth of his restaurant chain led to the word-of-mouth re-creation of the dri

Oakland Lake Chalet helps but 14th and Lakeside still dangerous

More at | Follow me on Twitter! | Get my widget! | Visit YouTube | Visit The new Lake Chalet restaurant is really changing the vibe around the nearby intersection of 14th and Lakeside Drive in Oakland, but even with the new eatery, that corner and its area are still dangerous. I write this not to dissuade anyone from visiting what has become a gastronomic center of Oakland culture, but to explain what to do if you use your car to get there. Have their valet service park your car. Why? Well, my good friend's car was broken into Friday night as she parked along 14th not far from Lakeside Drive. The Lake Chalet , where she was headed, is on Lakeside Drive, and so close to 14th Street and the Oakland Public Library that one can comfortably walk to the place after parking along 14th. Trouble is, 14th's still sketchy from Lakeside to Broadway. Let's be honest in our assessment of that stretch: while a couple of apartments have opened

Oakland's Mary Morris Lawrence Passes - Reflections On Her And On Ted Kennedy

More at | Follow me on Twitter! | Get my widget! | Visit YouTube | Visit   Mary and some of her colleagues in the 40s As I write this I'm sitting here watching the funeral for Senator Ted Kennedy and preparing myself to attend the memorial service for Mary Morris Lawrence. This is a hard day. To start, it's a day that marks the passing of two incredible people; one I never got to personally know, the other I did personally know. Both changed the society they were in. It's hard for me to accept the passing of Mary because her spirit was so powerful I can't see her as anything but here and alive. I suppose that's why it took me so long to write anything about this moment. Aside from the fact that this has been my sixth memorial or funeral this year, it's just something that's plain hard to acknowledge. Mary was America's first female photojournalist , and one who knew many, from Orson Wells to Humphrey Bogart.

Maria Muldaur finds her "Jug Band" roots in new CD

Maria Muldaur I had the wonderful pleasure of befriending legendary singer Maria Muldaur last year during the 2008 presidential primary and through a mutual friend and Obama supporter, Brent Turner and Joel Jaffe of Studio D in Sausalito, CA.  For those of you who have not heard of Maria, you may have heard of the classic song Midnight at The Oasis , it was she who wrote and sang it in 1973, around the time Lars, Bill, and I were kids using BART to get around . Last year the Marin County dweller created this cool song, a tribute to then-Senator Barack Obama called "Yes We Can" ; I created this video around it for her: After Obama's presidential win, Maria, now in her 70s but looks to be in her 40s, continued to perform concerts at local venues around the Bay Area. Today, she sent an email annoucing that she's returning to her "Jug Band" roots in her new CD and fall concert tour called "Maria Muldaur and her Garden of Joy". Maria explai

California's economy crumbles while Schwarzenegger smokes

It's agreed that the planned March 2010 closure of the Fremont New United Motor Manufacturing Inc. plant is a huge economic loss, but the elimination of 4,700 jobs only scratches the surface of the problem. That coupled with the stoppage and possible closure of the Chevron Richmond refinery, which already cost 1,100 jobs and we have a total of 5,700 direct jobs lost and over 29,000 total people thrown out of work or unable to get work in a San Francisco Bay Area that can't afford this economic hit at this time. 23,000? Yeah. 23,000 jobs. See, there's a multiplier impact with business operation such that an office or a manufacturer contracts with other businesses for supplies and services. The action of a small business owner walking down to the local store to buy printer paper is part of the multiplier effect because that small expenditure helps the retailer run his or her business. Or that person's employee - even if it's just the owner - eating lunch

Zennie Abraham shows Lanita Pace-Hilton his Flip camera

Zennie Abraham shows Lanita Pace-Hilton his Flip camera , originally uploaded by allaboutgeorge . This was at the Blogger meetup at the Berkeley J School. Here's the video from that event:

Zennie and Lars on BART to Berkeley: 1975

More at | Follow me on Twitter! | Get my widget! | Visit YouTube | Visit Ha! This is the beauty of being a local in Oakland and the Bay Area. Having friends who have old photos of you and them in action. In this case the photo below is one of Lars Frykman, Bill Boyd and myself on BART in 1975. (In case you're wondering where Bill is, he's the photog here.) Zennie and Lars - 1975 Bill found this photo and put in on his Facebook profile page; now it's on mine too. But I couldn't resist sharing it as it's a small window into the Bay Area of the past. I mean, I had a small "'fro" and Lars was sporting the Rolling Stones' hair look. But that was as much hair as I wanted; no longer. No big 'Fro for me! The only place I can think of where we may have been going at the time was Berkeley and to the Federation Trading Post (FTP) on a weekend or San Francisco just to ride through the then-new BART tube. That

California spends $216K on prison inmates; $8K on Oakland students

More at | Follow me on Twitter! | Get my widget! | Visit YouTube | Visit Nicholas Kristof has a great op-ed piece in today's New York Times where he explains... California spends $216,000 annually on each inmate in the juvenile justice system. In contrast, it spends only $8,000 on each child attending the troubled Oakland public school system, according to the Urban Strategies Council In a pointed critique of our seeming blood lust in spending money on prisons and locking people up over health care and education. While one may quibble with the estimates, there can be no disagreement that California has lost any desire to maintain the vast education system that it was known for. When I was little, California schools were considered the best in the country, and while Oakland had its challenged programs, it had gems like Skyline High School where I graduated. Not any more. The "me generation" brought us Proposition 13 and dramati

Vlogger Saran Austin's back in SF party with Poken!

Vlogger Sarah Austin - who looks like a (she's gonna kill me for this) kind of cross between Britney Spears, Chelsea Clinton, and Heidi Montag - invited me to her coming back to San Francisco party Monday evening. (Yes, yesterday!) Now, you may be saying "Who's Sarah Austin" - good question. She's a micro-celebrity tech vlogger who gained her fame from appearing first on and now has a livecasting show on Mogulus. The difference between what I do and what she does is she's not a political commentator and focuses more on tech. To that end, she started her own site and has drawn a range of guests from the tech industry and has Ford Motor Company (she's an "agent" of The Ford Fiesta Movement ), Virgin America, Perkett PR and TechCrunch news blog as sponsors. Sarah is a study in how to make vlogging a business and her party was no exception to her example. Held at the office of ZaudHouse Design Group in Portrero Hil

'Skank' Blogger v. Google and Federal Law

More at | Follow me on Twitter! | Get my widget! | Visit YouTube | Visit YouTube , Metacafe and DailyMotion Rosemary Port is the blogger (and fashion model student) who for some reason believed it was ok to call fashion model Liskula Cohen a "psychotic, lying, whoring...Skank," under the blog post title, "Skanks of NYC" and from under the cover of a name not her own. On Wednesday August 19th, a U.S. Federal Judge ordered Google to identify the name of the person who we now know as Ms. Port.   Rosemary Port But for some weird reason I can only attribute to a lawyer with a super large ego, Rosemary Port thinks she can win a lawsuit against Google for $15 million . No way. And it's not because she's suing Google; it's because in using her blog to make malicious fun of Cohen, Rosemary Port unknowingly violated a provision of "Violence Against Women and Department of Justice Reauthorization Act" that wa

Message to YouTube's Renetto from Zennie62

Even though vlogging - video blogging - can be considered a self-indulgent practice, vloggers are fans of others who vlog. In my case, I'm a fan of several - Paul Robinett, or "Renetto" is one of them. Renetto's YouTube's first big vlog star just from the simple practice of posting videos consistently of him talking into a camcorder about something . But after developing a great following - 41,000 subscribers on YouTube - and a "name", Renetto's concerned that he's not serving his fan base, so my idea is that he shorten his video time . What makes Renetto popular is he talks to you through the camera . It's not so much lifecasting as leaving a message for the World. But they tend to go on for seven or eight minutes, where I've found that people tend to drop out of a video after about 2.15 minutes. I don't always like making such short videos, but I've slowly adopted this rule: me talking should be up to four minutes

Oakland Lake Chalet haters need to get over it

More at | Follow me on Twitter! | Get my widget! | Visit YouTube | Visit Now that the long-awaited Lake Chalet is open, one would think everyone in Oakland's happy that it's done and the boathouse is restored. But no. I'm told some Oakland councilmembers are still upset over a vote that took place three years ago. So much so they won't even set foot in the Lake Chalet! Let's go back three years to 2006, when San Francisco restaurateurs Lara and Gar Trupelli, known for the Beach Chalet and Park Chalet restaurants, were selected over the always good and very popular Everett & Jones Barbeque, in Jack London Square. The Oakland City Council was deadlocked four in favor of the Beach Chalet proposal and four against it. Specifically, Nancy Nadel (Downtown-West Oakland), Oakland Councilmembers Larry Reid (Elmhurst-East Oakland), Desley Brooks (Eastmont-Seminary), and Jean Quan (Montclair-Laurel) against the Beach Chalet pro

Oaklandish Radio Regatta at the Lake

OAKLANDISH PRESENTS THE 4th ANNUAL RADIO REGATTA When: TODAY! Sunday, August 23rd, 1:00-7:00pm Where: Lake Merritt Sailboat House, 568 Bellevue Avenue (inside Lakeside Park) What: Oaklandish's biggest event of the year! Inluding DJ's, free gondola rides, and half-priced boat rentals. "The music the DJ's will be spinning in the Boathouse will be micro-FM broadcast out across the lake, so folks can tune in and enjoy it while out on the water in the summer sun. Bring a portable radio if you have one, and money if you want to pick up an Oaklandish tee from the Mobile Ops truck, make a donation to support free events like this, or buy artwork from the Innovators winners. We will enjoy beer from Linden Street Brewery, Pacific Coast Brewing Co., and the brand new Lake Chalet. There will be Lanesplitter pizza, and other food thanks to Noah's Bagels, Bacheesos, and Semifreddi's Bakery. This event is also sponsored by Hard Knock Radio and will feature some of the 2009 Oa

District 9 movie review and poll - best sci-fi ever?

More at | Follow me on Twitter! | Get my widget! | Visit YouTube | Visit     Last night I saw the incredible sci-fi movie "District 9" at the Grand Lake Theater in Oakland (and the line for it was out of the door and around the building). Without giving too much away (and that's a matter of opinion) for those who've not seen it, the movie produced by Peter Jackson (of Lord of The Rings and King Kong ) and directed by Neil Blomkamp, concerns a giant alien spaceship that has parked itself over Johannesburg, South Africa. Over the course of the last 28 years - over a generation - over one million aliens, called the derogatory name "Prawns", were placed in an area of the city called "District 9", and that zone became a giant slum. Some say District 9 is the best science fiction movie of 2009 if not the best one ever made. That question will be the focus of my poll below, but let's focus on the movie more b

Southwest Airlines Passenger gets Naked - 08-21-09

From: NewsPaperOnline....What happens in Vegas stays in Vegas. But what if you haven't even gotten there yet? A Southwest flight with 108 passengers headed from Oakland, Calif. to Las Vegas turned around this morning after a 300-pound man punched a woman on board and then stripped naked. Both were taken More.. off the plane and taken away in ambulances. One of the passengers, Steve Lichliter, was on the plane accompanying his daughter to college at Penn State. She took a photo of the man -- sans clothing. Here's Lichliter's story, according to an email forwarded to Well our flight started ok but about 30 minutes out of Oakland a big guy started hassling other passengers then took off all his clothes. A posse of redneck vigilantes was quickly formed by the stewardesses and they were given restraining devices and taught how to tie the guy up after they got him pinned face down in the aisle. I offered to sit on top of him afterwards, as long as he was face down

Local bloggers meet at Berkeley J-School (YouTube video)

More at | Follow me on Twitter! | Get my widget! | Visit YouTube | Visit Last night, Wednesday, August 19th at 6 PM (well, I got there ay 6:38 PM) Paul Grabowicz, the Associate Dean and New Media Program Director at the UC Berkeley Graduate School of Journalism, hosted the second meetup of local bloggers in the school's library. It was a great event. The idea of these meetings is, as the email put it, ... "so people can get together to socialize, share ideas, solve common problems and explore ways we might collaborate. We also want to find out what kind of training people might be interested in through the UC Berkeley J-School's Knight Digital Media Center" And really that's what happened. The meeting itself, which I did not video as some people don't want to be on camera, started with the idea of breaking into groups around "editorial" concerns and "business" issues, but that was jettison

Will Britney Spears visit Oakland's Lake Chalet Restaurant?

More at | Follow me on Twitter! | Get my widget! | Visit YouTube | Visit YouTube , MySpace , Metacafe , DailyMotion , , StupidVideos and Sclipo I couldn't wait to visit the new Lake Chalet Restaurant at the restored Lake Merritt Boathouse, so I made a plan with my friend Gab to be there when the doors opened for the first time right at 5 PM last Monday, August 17th.  As you may recall, I recently posted a video-blog of the day the ribbon was cut to dedicate the boathouse and Lake Chalet owner Lara Truppelli and Executive Chef Jarad Gallagher were kind enough to give me an interview at the bar as the eatery was under construction.  Now, it's open and man is it terrific!  What's so exciting is the setting.  The Boathouse is right on the shore of Lake Merritt and a seat at the "Pumphouse Bar" section of the place on a sunny day as Monday was is a treat to the kind of Oakland many of us have wanted to see and c

Gabrielle Teschner , Oakland Artist

I had the pleasure of meeting Gabrielle today, who lives in Oakland and is an artist with a special interest in reforming arches. For more on this check out her blog and stay tuned here!

Robert Bobb on CNN today for his Detroit Public School System work

More at | Follow me on Twitter! | Get my widget! | Visit YouTube | Visit Robert Bobb, the former Oakland City Manager, possible candidate for Oakland mayor, and currently Emergency Financial Manager for The Detroit Public School system is on CNN now regarding the identification and arrest of employees in the Detroit Public School system (DPSS). Bobb already made headlines when he had the DPSS file for bankruptcy; now there's more news and while it's not good for the system , it's good for Bobb. Bobb said got a tip regarding embezzlement of funds from the system's new hot line installed to identify such problems, but what is being done to monitor employees in the future? "We have already implemented a very strong monitoring system," Bobb said. "Individuals who would be cheating the system will be caught." CNN's Kyra Phillips is hailing Bobb with what is a "great job" salute. It's still not cle

Richmond, Ca Mayor on Chevron refinery issue

More at | Follow me on Twitter! | Get my widget! | Visit YouTube | Visit In the wake of my interview with Chevron employee Dennis Roos I've gotten a number of email and calls updating me on the matter of the negotiations to restart the stopped construction of the improvements to the Richmond refinery. One of them was this "Meet The Mayor" community meeting held Friday, August 7th at 5:30 PM. Here, one could ask questions of Richmond Mayor Gayle McLaughlin for one hour, but my intent was to attend, film residents who were concerned about the project, pro and con, and after it was over, get the Mayor's direct point of view if she would give it to me. (Take note of that.) To review, Chevron's planned upgrade of their giant Richmond oil refinery was stalled because environmentalists sued them in court regarding what was viewed to be an inadequate environmental impact report (EIR) regarding how emissions were going to be lesse

The Rolling Stones Satisfaction Oakland 1969

By steveinmarquee66 who writes: The Rolling Stones performing Satisfaction, live at Oakland Coliseum 9 November 1969(second show). Soundboard recording Jumping Jack Flash Carol Sympathy For The Devil Stray Cat Blues Prodigal Son You Gotta Move Love In Vain I'm Free Under My Thumb Midnight Rambler Live With Me Gimme Shelter Little Queenie (I Can't Get No) Satisfaction Honky Tonk Woman Street Fighting Man

Police slam elderly lady, taser Oakland A's fan - what's up?

More at | Follow me on Twitter! | Get my widget! | Visit YouTube | Visit Oakland Mayor Ron Dellums has called for reform of how police solve problems in the wake of the Oscar Grant shooting. I'm not sure if it's because we have more digital camcorders around than ever before, or there's something sinister in the way police are being trained today, or some combination of both, but we now have two disturbing examples of excessive force applied by the people we hire to protect and to serve. The first and most recent example comes from a Walmart in Columbus, Ohio . In the video below this elderly woman named Virginia Dodson reportedly of 84 years old is standing in a parking lot and holding a knife. The reason for holding the knife was that Dodson's daughter left her in her car while she went back into the store. The elder Dodson, an Alzheimer's Patient, got scared because she was alone and cut herself out of the car seat belt,