Archive for March 2011

My Favorite Hour of the Day

In this age where everything on television can be watched later or online there are very few shows I care about watching live. But every weekday I rush home to watch LX New York at 5:00 p.m. and join the chat. It’s become a destination and every time I log in there are new chatters Read more

Should We Remain Silent About Climate Change

[Drafted with Jeremy Brecher]
To talk of climate change or not to talk of climate change — that is the question.
For the last several years many of the biggest players in the climate movement have argued that to save the planet we need to purge the words “global warming” and “climate change” from our talking points and educational materials. Poll-oriented groups like the Breakthrough Institute and the Environmental Defense Fund argue that public opinion surveys prove Americans care most about jobs and lack the capacity to act on some distant threat.
They maintain that instead of being prophets of doom, climate protection advocates should gather around a “good news” agenda that limits our messaging to green jobs, national pride, and reducing our dependence on foreign oil. “Forget about climate change” Jonathan Foley, director of the Institute on the Environment at the University of Minnesota, explained to a gathering of environmentalists last year. Just ask people “Do you love America?”
Eerily, the “good news” strategy is heavily influenced by the Republican pollster and messaging maven Frank Luntz — infamous for coining phrases like “death tax.” In 2009 the Environmental Defense Fund teamed up with Luntz ‘s firm The Word Doctors to figure out how to help marshal public support for a climate bill Read more

The Global Brain Chaos Theory and the Power of RealTime Social Media

In this excerpt from her new book The Power of Real-Time Social Media Marketing (co-authored with Teri Thompson), Beverly Macy offers a view of the global brain, world events, and the immense amount of metadata produced by social media platforms. Is it really just random, or are we following the laws of nature?
As a connected global society, people are sharing opinions, reviews, thoughts, and movements with one another all day, every day. That in itself is remarkable. We call it the real-time global brain Read more

Lets Talk About Sex A Call to Action for the Sake of American Teens Health

As a fashion photographer, I shoot a lot of pictures that contribute to the sexual imagery that confront youth every day in America. While American teens live in a society that uses sex to sell everything from lipstick to laptops, they are rarely afforded opportunities to discuss sex in an open, honest way. Because of my work in many different countries and cultures, and my involvement in a project called Move For Aids, I became interested in the issue and decided to take a deeper look at how America’s inability to talk about sex really impacts teens.
I was really shocked by what I found. Every day in America, 10,000 teens catch a sexually transmitted disease, 2,400 teen girls get pregnant, and 55 young people are infected with HIV Read more

The Global Tax Avoidance Dance

America’s most successful multinationals make great products and offer superior services. But they have another, less enviable quality in common — they have become world leaders in tax avoidance.
General Electric’s global effective tax rate for 2010 was 7.4%. Pfizer’s was 11.9%; Cisco came in at 17.5%. The nominal U.S Read more

Obama in Libya The Horror The Horror

I never thought I’d quote from Heart of Darkness to take issue with a black guy.
Then I listened earlier this week to President Barack Obama’s speech on the Libyan intervention. My thoughts kept drifting to Joseph Conrad’s unforgettable description of a late-nineteenth century colonialist warship shelling the African coastline.
“In the empty immensity of earth, sky and water, there she was, incomprehensible, firing into a continent,” Conrad wrote. “Pop, would go one of the six-inch guns; a small flame would dart and vanish, a little white smoke would disappear, a tiny projectile would give a feeble screech — and nothing happened Read more

Safety First

Before the Deepwater Horizon disaster, industry insisted that offshore drilling technology had become so advanced that a blowout was unlikely, if not impossible. Regulators accepted those assurances, and citizens had few tools with which to verify them. As a result, safety officials could not do what was necessary to prevent a catastrophic oil spill, and the Gulf of Mexico and its communities will suffer for decades.
In hundreds of less dramatic and less publicized accidents—like last summer’s pipeline spill that dumped 850,000 gallons of crude oil into Michigan’s Kalamazoo River—the lessons are the same. They tell us over and over again that we need to have strong safety standards, diligent oversight and tested response plans.
Before this country even thinks of expanding drilling in the remote and fragile Arctic Ocean, for example, reforms must ensure that oil companies can respond to significant spills in ice, hurricane-force winds, stormy seas and long periods of fog and darkness.
The United States should aspire to be the world’s leader in safe drilling standards, prevention and response Read more

Ooyala is Powering Bloombergs Online and Mobile Video Distribution

Ooyala, the Mountain View-based video services company started in 2007 by a group of ex-Google executives, is powering the online and mobile video distribution for information giant Bloomberg.
Later today at the taping of the Beet.TV Video Strategy Summit, Bloomberg’s implementation of the Ooyala player and related services will be discussed as part of a two-hour, high-level conference featuring speakers from AOL, Akamai, ABC Digital, Bloomberg, iVillage,, MTV, NPD Group, Ooyala, Taboola and Yume.
The session will be Webcast on April 5 at noon EDT on Beet.TV.
I will moderate along with Erick Schonfeld, co-editor of TechCrunch.
Yesterday, we spoke with Ooyala co-founder Bismarck Lepe about developments with Ooyala and its work with the technology blogs it powers, including TechCrunch, GigaOM and Business Insider.
Lepe says that a growing area for online video distribution is the streaming of live, linear programming.
Ooyala has raised $42 million in funding.
Disclosure: Ooyala and YuMe are the co-sponsors of today’s event at Bloomberg. Last night in Manhattan, Ooyala sponsored the Beet.TV 5 Year Birthday Party at the Flatiron Lounge.

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Change to Medicaid Drug Coverage in NY Budget Would Hurt People Living With HIV

Gay Men’s Health Crisis (GMHC) firmly opposed the state budget proposal to subject HIV anti-retrovirals, anti-psychotics, anti-rejection drugs and anti-depressants to prior approval. However, these medications were taken off the prior approval exemption list in the final New York budget. This means patients will need to seek approval from Medicaid before receiving medications recommended by their physicians unless their medications are on a predetermined list. This adds another layer of bureaucracy and delay to an already complex system Read more

Advocate Magazine CoversUp the Democratic Label for Antigay Politician

The powerful anti-gay Democratic State Senator from New York, Carl Kruger, was outed this month by the New York Post for allegedly taking bribes that were used to partially pay for his gay lover’s water front mansion. In its front page March 11 story, the Post outed the Democrat as a hypocrite because of his 2009 vote to deny equal marriage rights to gays despite having an alleged romantic relationship with a man. The Post labeled the politician’s partisan affiliation prominently in the first sentence of the article.
The same day, New York Magazine used the label “Democratic” as the third word in its first sentence to describe Kruger in its’ breaking news story. New York Magazine even finished their piece by admonishing, “if true, it serves as a helpful reminder that the phenomenon of hypocritical politicians who live gay lives in secret, but vote against gay issues in public, is not reserved for only one side of the aisle.”
But The Advocate Magazine, the supposed promoter of gay rights and reason, only sits on the left side of the aisle Read more

Obama Aims for Elusive Goal of Energy Independence

On Wednesday President Obama set a goal to cut oil imports by one-third in the next decade. It’s a goal, he acknowledged, that echoes calls for energy independence from every president since Nixon. But it’s time for the country to “finally get serious about a long-term [energy] policy,” Obama said.
One of the first steps, he said, is to boost domestic oil and gas production — in line with Republicans’ “drill, baby, drill” refrain that’s called recently for expansion of offshore drilling. The country will likely hear more from the administration about this, since a White House official told reporters on Tuesday that Obama’s speech is the beginning of a new “concerted focus on energy.”
Drastically reducing oil imports would be a historic turn, since imports have been on the rise in recent months — and have risen sharply over the past 40 years, as domestic oil production has fallen since its peak in 1970 Read more

Dispatch From El Salvador Obamas Drug War Feels Eerily Familiar

It all feels intensely familiar, like the days of open conflict between El Salvador’s people and its government. Angry students marching, covering their coffee-colored faces with bandanas or masks as they file through the streets. Giant effigies of U.S. presidents and Uncle Sam next to huge, colorful banners demanding “Alto al Militarismo!” Nervous “security” demanding to know, “What press do you work for?” before forcing me to pull out my credentials.
Listening to wiry, tee-shirted student leader “Ana Maria” (a pseudonym) on the smoke-filled, sun-baked streets of San Salvador, I’m whisked back to similar scenes in the Cold War years of the ’80s and ’90s Read more

Will Obama Sell Out the Clean Air Act for a Deal With Congress

I was going to devote this blog exclusively to the energy speech President Obama delivered at Georgetown University, but there are some disturbing reports in the press today that I need to address first.
Despite public denials from the White House, the AP reports that behind the scenes the president’s team is insisting some Republican proposals to gut the Clean Air Act must be included in a bill to fund the government through September 30th. If these reports are true, this would be a betrayal of the American people’s demands for strong protections against all kinds of pollution — not to mention a betrayal of millions of voters and volunteers who supported the president in 2008 because of his positions on climate change and the environment.
First, the president failed to push through Congress a comprehensive climate and clean energy bill as he promised he would. Now he seems willing to sell out his own EPA’s regulations of climate pollution — the best tools we have right now to deal with climate here at home — to get a spending deal from Congress Read more

The 7 Biggest Misuses of Texting To Avoid in Dating

For those of you who use text messaging as a form of communication with someone you’re dating, whether you have a BlackBerry or an Apple iPhone, text messaging is the most abused and misinterpreted form of communication out there.
There are some things for which text messaging is great. It’s great for confirming things (“See you tonight at 7:00 at Joe’s Restaurant.”) It’s great as a good night kiss (“Did you get home safely?”) It’s great to reconfirm things (“What time are we meeting on Sunday? Let me know.”) It’s great for when you want to lob in a quick message to someone when they can’t talk on the phone (“Can’t wait to see you tonight.”)
Texting is all about short conversations, and can be useful and fun in the dating context. Texting used in certain other ways, however, gets ugly within the dating context — and can really get you into trouble Read more

PushUp Bikinis for 8YearOlds Dont Scare Me As Much As Other Parents

Well phew! At last, the teeny-weeny bikini I’ve been looking for! It’s sexy, it’s sassy, and it gives just the right amount of va-va-voom padding and lift to create that alluring, come-hither cleavage… too bad it’s being marketed to my second-grader.
Yes, that’s right. The latest marketing scandal du jour comes from our friends at the Abercrombie and Fitch “Kids” website, where we can now find padded bikini tops for sale. To reiterate: It’s a padded bikini top Read more

European Analogies to the 1920s and 30s

The slow motion train wreck that is the Eurozone continues to roil bond markets, banks and governments. The complex issues involved cannot be described, yet alone adequately explained, in this short piece but bear with me.
Economic activity is still contracting in much of Europe including the UK, Spain, Portugal, Greece, Iceland, Ireland and, quite possibly, France. To a greater or lesser degree all of these countries are pursuing policies of reduced spending, especially on health, education, welfare and retirement and government employment. In the UK and France this punishment is self-inflicted and relatively mild.
In the remaining countries the cutbacks have been more severe as a result of various bailout terms imposed by European authorities and the International Monetary Fund, or implicitly dictated by the bond market Read more

Bahrain Once Was Paradise Part 2

This is the second installment in a four part series. Read the first here.
Photo by Pamela Roberson
Just at sunset we reach The Tree of Life, a 400-year-old acacia perched on an abrupt hillock, the only visible piece of life in all directions. It is impressive. Thirty-feet high, with branches spreading almost seventy-five feet across, though on closer inspection, a bit disappointing to see trash strewn around its base, the result of visiting journalists, I’m told Read more

Mutiny of the Mane

Growing up, it seemed the source of my stresses involved the taming my tresses. No mountain was too high and no valley was too low, but my “Jewfro” had to go. My hair was naturally curly and unruly and an inordinate amount of products was expended to slick, de-frizz, scrunch and curl my recalcitrant ringlets. I was constantly fearful my hair would misbehave Read more

DealoftheDay Dating

If your email inbox is being filled with Groupon-type offers, you’re not alone. With Groupon, Living Social, and even online dating site JDate’s deal-of-the day JPicks, it’s hard not to get excited and sign jump on the discount bandwagon while you’re dating.
So what’s a single dater to do and how do you incorporate these types of deals when you still want to make a good impression?
Recently the New York Post ran an article called Discount Dating. I was asked my opinion on the subject. So without further adieu, here are my eight Dating Dos and Don’ts.
DO choose a discount with a twist Read more

Its Not Always Sunny in Philadelphia

Some dusty records and a sticker-covered door suggest that a teenager might have once called this space their own. Seeking respite from the elements a tree pries a window frame open, and forces its way into the room. Immediately regretting the decision, it begins planning its escape. Limbs curve and grow upwards and back outside to gladly face whatever Mother Nature might throw its way Read more

Green News Report March 31 2011 Audio

TWITTER: @GreenNewsReport.
The ‘GNR’ is also now available on your cell phone via Stitcher Radio’s mobile app!.
IN TODAY’S RADIO REPORT: Obama’s ‘new’ blueprint for energy security — not so ‘new’ after all; Offshore drilling — not actually ‘safer’ after all; US falls further behind in the global clean energy race; PLUS: The ‘Chernobyl Option’ for Japan’s nuclear reactors at Fukushima, as radiation continues to spike and spread … All those disasters and more in today’s Green News Report!
Got comments, tips, love letters, hate mail? Drop us a line at [email protected] or right here at the comments link below. All GNRs are always archived at
IN ‘GREEN NEWS EXTRA’ (see links below): US energy efficiency gains eclipsed by new gadgets; Dead dolphins confiscated from Gulf scientists; PA enviro chief to personally approve violation citations; PA’s gas drilling commission stacked with industry; Lose the ‘smart’ meter, but it’ll cost ya; Packaged foods raise levels of BPA; Organic farmers sue Monsanto; Aircraft contrails impact climate change; Joshua Tree NP escapes nearby landfill threat; CA approves nation’s strongest clean energy standard; Student’s Solarball creates drinkable water …

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What does government shutdown mean

What does government shutdown mean
  • Since Republicans won control of the House of Representatives in 2010, whispers of a government shutdown have echoed through Washington's corridors of power.
    Last year, a bitterly divided Congress was unable to pass a budget for 2011. Instead it agreed to keep funding the government at 2010 levels until 4 March, by passing a “continuing resolution” or CR.
    As the deadline approached, Congress moved no closer to an agreement.
    In some ways, the two sides moved even further apart after newly elected Tea Party-backed members demanded that House Speaker John Boehner make even deeper cuts to the 2011 budget than he had originally proposed Read more
  • Bronx Zoos missing Egyptian cobra found

    Bronx Zoos missing Egyptian cobra found
  • The Bronx Zoo's missing deadly Egyptian cobra has been found “alive and well”.
    The 20in (50cm) venomous snake was discovered in the zoo's reptile house on Thursday morning, nearly a week after it escaped.
    Officials say the cobra was coiled in a dark corner of the reptile house and that it is in good health.
    The zoo's reptile house has been closed since the snake went missing last Friday but officials say they hope to reopen it soon.
    “When we are certain that the snake is in good condition, we will reopen the Reptile House and plan to have the animal on exhibit,” a statement by the zoo said Read more
  • US Congress negotiators seek $33bn budget cut deal

    US Congress negotiators seek $33bn budget cut deal
  • US congressional leaders continue to labour on a deal that could cut a record 33bn (20.6bn) from the government budget by October.
    But Republican House Speaker John Boehner warned on Thursday that a final agreement had not been reached.
    Members of the anti-big government Tea Party movement held a rally in Washington DC to demand greater cuts.
    Without a budget agreement of some kind, much of the US government will shut down on Friday 8 April Read more