Monday, March 2, 2009
The Rocky Mountain News closed shop. The LA Times is shrinking as we speak. The only paper that seems to be holding its own is the Wall Street Journal. Guess we need the Journal to keep reminding us about our sinking economy.
Tuesday, February 17, 2009
Guess Nadya Suleman will have to represent herself, which means she will be out of the spotlight. We all are winners.
Thursday, February 12, 2009
But surprisingly, the media have taken a hard line position on the story. Who is going to pay the bills has been a huge story, and there haven't been many, if any, cuddly stories on the babies.
Kudos to the LA Times for actually cutting loose some investigative reporters and doing their job.
That was before the world heard the details.
By all accounts, OctoMom has turned into a PR nightmare for Killeen Furtney Group. The more they do, the more the press and public turn against them and their client. What Killeen Furtney Group probably didn't realize was that OctoMom would become the poster child for everything wrong with the California economy. Not only has her giving birth to eight more kids come into scrutiny, the fact that California taxpayers will be footing the bill has made much of the public rage.
All PR firms like high profile clients. They are fun, exciting and often lucrative. But in this case, I bet Killeen Furtney Group would like to turn back the clock when they signed OctoMom.
Tuesday, February 10, 2009
As I watched the former Senator turned most powerful man in the world passionately talk about his $800 billion plus bill, I couldn't help but feel that he, nor anyone at the White House or Congress, has a clue how to counter our free falling economy. They are doing something, but do you think they really have a clue whether it will work, or is it more a PR move to make us all think it will work.
By the same token, elections were held today in Israel for the next government. As of this writing, centrist Kadima party candidate Tzipi Livni is edging past Bibi Natenyahu, the favorite. Bibi was prime minister once before and Tzipi has been in the current government for a number of years. Both talk about how they will being peace to Israel. Do you believe either knows?
Leaders need to make their flock feel good. Too bad it is more PR than substance.
Wednesday, February 4, 2009
Mother Nadya Suleman reportedly hired publicists Michael Furtney and Joann Killeen to field media inquiries and offers.
My sense is they are doing it for the PR themselves and are spinning the story to make Suleman the most famous and wonderful mom in the world. But they will have their work cut out for them as many reporters openly wonder how the mother of 14 can raise all those kids, especially since she has been living on workers comp for the past 10 years.
Companies are taking ordinary office buildings and turning them into super advertisements by placing huge ads on them. One building even covered up the windows with a super ad for Tropicana, much to the dismay of tenants.
I support advertising. It is my business. But there is a limit. When companies lease space, they should not have their windows covered up and offices darkened. There is something wrong with that.
On the other hand, the supergraphics bring building owners incredible sums of money. So for some they would rather turn their buildings into an ad than have tenants, and some indeed are telling tenants to take a hike if they don't like it.
First Richardson drops out because of shady bond deals in Arizona. Then Geithner reveals he oops forgot to pay his taxes, but coughed up the money and all is forgiven. Now Daschle seems to have the same problem with tax amnesia and has dropped out.
Yesterday the president sat down with five networks to say he "screwed up." A brilliant PR move on his part, admitting he was wrong and promising to set things right. Other presidents would have made excuses and stonewalled.
Regardless of what you think of Obama, he has a good sense of portraying an honest and decent image -- until the next screw up at least.
Thursday, September 4, 2008
But presidents are not selected by committees, they are voted in by the American public, and the American public is not as discerning as a committee of professionals.
We as Americans often vote charm, charisma, looks and personality over intellect, experience and values. That's why people like George Bush (the father) who was perhaps the most qualified person to assume the presidency, gets booted out of office by a charismatic Governor of one of the poorest states in the country. That's why a good-looking upstart like John Kennedy could beat incumbent vice-president Richard Nixon.
It's not about experience, talent, intellect or ability.
We are a nation of starry-eyed celebrity watchers. Our heroes are sports figures, movie stars, recording artists and the super-rich. We don't care for what a person has accomplished, rather, we care how someone looks on camera.
And that's why we always get what we deserve.
Thursday, April 24, 2008
If you like funny, you got to read CandyKirby.com
I am excited to announce the debut of my (sorta) new celebrity and pop culture Web site, CandyKirby.com, which takes the place of the now-defunct Holy Candy and Circus Hour. (R.I.P.)
Clearly, I commit to blogs like Clooney commits to women.
However, CandyKirby.com, which is undergoing a style makeover in a couple of weeks, is now my home for good. For those who are wondering, I didn't return to Holy Candy because I'm expanding my creative wings beyond the "altar of the superficial." So now in additon to the daily celebrity craziness, I'm also writing about wacky news (such as porn camp and Hello Kitty tombstones), live blogging TV shows (like "Talk Sex with Sue Johanson") and life in Los Angeles.
And I hope that, as someone who has previously visited Holy Candy, you'll pull up a chair and join me for the fun. Because just as I don't like drinking alone (but I will), I don't like blogging alone (but I will... while drowning my loneliness with margaritas).
With fondness and laughter,
L.A. Times editor Russ Stanton takes great pains in his memo to make it sound like current managing editor John Arthur will still have a crucial post, but the real winner is new managing editor Davan Maharaj. He is the current business editor (succeeding Stanton) and is seen inside as part of Stanton's team — "the titan from Trinidad," Stanton calls him. Arthur got his post under the old Jim O'Shea regime — and not that long ago — and was a rival for the job that Stanton got. Memo follows, as posted on the LAT website. (Story on the Times site.) Separately: Rebecca Trounson is the new higher education editor in Metro, and Eryn Brown takes over as letters editor on the opinion staff.
How much a mother eats at the time of conception may influence whether she gives birth to a boy or a girl, a new report shows.
The report, from researchers at Oxford and the University of Exeter in England, is said to be the first evidence that a child’s sex is associated with a mother’s diet. Although sex is genetically determined by whether sperm from the father supplies an X or Y chromosome, it appears that a mother’s body can favor the successful development of a male or female
LONDON (AFP) — A British foreign minister said Wednesday that US Democratic presidential hopeful Hillary Clinton's threat to "totally obliterate" Iran if it attacked Israel with nuclear weapons was imprudent.
Lord Mark Malloch-Brown, a former United Nations deputy secretary-general and the foreign office minister responsible for Asia, questioned the comments by the New York senator, made in an interview broadcast Tuesday.
"While it is reasonable to warn Iran of the consequence of it continuing to develop nuclear weapons and what those real consequences bring to its security, it is not probably prudent... in today's world to threaten to obliterate any other country and in many cases civilians resident in such a country," he said.
Monday, March 31, 2008
Will the last employee at The Times turn off the lights? Sam needs to save on the electricity bill.
Kevin Crust, film writer in Calendar
Jennifer Delson, Orange County staff writer
Glenn Doggrell, design editor
Joan Fantazia, assistant copy chief
Laura Gutierrez, editorial hiring staff assistant
Liz Hale, magazine deputy art director
Don Hunt, City desk weekend editor
Tom Furlong, deputy National editor
Greg Griggs, Ventura staff writer
Connie Kang, Metro staff writer
Greg Krikorian, federal court reporter
Myron Levin, Metro staff writer
Ela Lindsay, research assistant
Joe Mathews, Washington bureau staff writer
Alan Miller, Washington bureau staff writer
Sonia Nazario, Metro staff writer
Robyn Norwood, Sports writer
Charles Perry, food writer
Jonathan Peterson, Washington bureau staff writer
Gina Piccalo, film writer in Calendar
Jeff Rabin, Metro staff writer
Cecilia Rasmussen, Then and Now columnist
James Ricci, Metro staff writer
Ruth Ryon, Hot Property writer
Joel Sappell, special projects editor
John Spano, Metro courts staff writer
Lewis Segal, dance critic
Molly Selvin, Business staff writer
John Stewart, National news editor
Mike Terry, Sports writer
Tomas Alex Tizon, Seattle bureau chief
Cicely Wedgeworth, features copy editor
Henry Weinstein, legal affairs writer in Metro
Robert Welkos, film writer in Calendar
Nona Yates, politics desk researcher
Friday, March 28, 2008
From the day he bought Tribune, he rallied the troops by telling them that they are the future of the company, and the company's success will be their success. He then challenged and encouraged each and every employee to email him comments, complaints and ideas. His latest employee feel-good project is to set up an employee suggestion box. He recently touted the wonderful suggestions that have come from employees, many of which, he says, have been implemented.
If I worked there, the only suggestion I'd have is, "I suggest you don't fire me."
It appears the biggest project at the company, and certainly at the LA Times, is to get as many employees as possible, especially in the editorial department, out. Zell is offering a buy-out deal which is a nice corporate way of saying, "I'll pay you a bit more if you leave quietly, and leave now."
How can someone as successful as Sam Zell be so clueless?
I am an outsider and not privy to the long-range strategic planning of his empire. But doesn't he know that the problem is not with his product -- newspapers, TV and radio stations -- but rather that the market has and is changing? People are different today. People today don't want to read newspapers; they want their news electronically and they want it on video and they want it in 8 seconds or less.
This is tragic and doesn't speak well for our future, but reality is reality. Yes the LA Times and all major print media have websites and they are struggling to find a way to capture the young electronic news consumer. But hitting reporters and editors over the head isn't going to make more people read newspapers or watch the evening news. Reporters and editors report and edit. That's what they do. If they were corporate tycoons, reporters would be writing about them.
Zell, you should have the brilliant ideas. You were smart enough to buy Tribune with the employees' money. So now you want them to figure out how to make it profitable for you? That's your job. Let them do their's.
Stop with the emails and start figuring out your own business.
Tuesday, March 25, 2008
Two construction workers died and five were injured Tuesday when a seven-ton section of crane fell 30 stories onto a Miami home made famous by the film “There’s Something About Mary.”
Fire and rescue officials said the collapse occurred about 1:45 p.m. as a construction crew tried to lengthen the crane for work on a 46-story luxury high-rise overlooking Biscayne Bay. The 20-foot section dangled, witnesses said, before dropping through the roof of a Spanish-style home that the contractors used as an office.
The data was included in a study by police psychologists who are in the process of retooling the agency's suicide prevention program.
The report said 19 Los Angeles police officers killed themselves between 1998 and 2007, while only seven died in the line of duty during that time.
Sunday, March 23, 2008
Arnall gave me my first job while I was still in graduate school. He was both the most brilliant and brutal businessperson I have ever met. Working for him had to be 100 times worse than attending military boot camp. I lasted almost five years and learned more than any MBA program could teach me. But I also learned to treat people ethically and with kindness, something I saw lacking in Arnall.
Despite his cutthroat work ethic, Arnall was beyond generous. During his lifetime, he gave away literally tens of millions of dollars to worthy causes, usually with no fanfare. He also gave to individuals in need who found their way to his office and were never turned away empty handed.
Not surprisingly, every obituary of Arnall includes discussion of Ameriquest, his subprime mortgage company that was targeted several times by the U.S. government for unscrupulous lending practices, and fined to the tune of $325 million dollars. Most obits brushed over his philanthropy while focusing on his subprime industry involvement.
I knew Roland when he was a mere millionaire and not a billionaire. Back then, he lived very well being worth $300 million or so. But I guess it wasn't enough. He aspired to amass a true fortune of $1.5 billion and succeeded when he got involved in the sleazy subprime lending business.
As a result, his legacy is one of greed and not deed, despite all the good he did in his lifetime.
Was it worth it Roland?
Friday, March 7, 2008
Hamas claimed responsibility Friday for a militant attack on a Jerusalem rabbinical seminary that killed eight Israelis.
A Hamas radio presenter said the group's military wing had "promised a jolting response" to this week's violence in the Gaza Strip in which more than 120 Palestinians were killed by the Israeli military, many of them in the northern Gaza town Jebaliya.
The radio referred to the Jerusalem attack as "the fruits of what happened in Jebaliya" and called on believers to "celebrate this victory against the brutal enemy."
Tuesday, March 4, 2008
Colbert's letter to Blue Cross says the statements "appear intended to burnish the corporate image of Blue Cross of California, and of its insurance affiliate, in the eyes of consumers."
It advises Blue Cross that the California Supreme Court has held that "such statements are a form of commercial speech subject to the prohibitions against deceptive advertising" under two state laws.
Monday, March 3, 2008
Among the Iranian officials hit with travel and financial sanctions by the United Nations Security Council on Monday is a prominent Revolutionary Guards commander close to Iran's supreme leader Ayatollah Khamenei and a long list of technical figures involved in Iran's nuclear program
ON THE ROAD AGAIN: Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa supports Sen. Hillary Clinton during a rally in Fort Worth, Texas. He has spent 18 of the last 65 days out of town campaigning for her.
For more than 2 1/2 years, Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa has been the public face of Los Angeles, appearing in one neighborhood after the next and often leading the nightly news.
But over the last two months, he has devoted noticeable time and energy to a cause outside the city. By today, the mayor will have spent 18 of the last 65 days on the road for presidential candidate Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton (D-N.Y.) -- visiting Iowa, New Hampshire, Nevada and Texas as the primary election season has intensified.
Sunday, March 2, 2008
Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton met her match while appearing on NBC's "Saturday Night Live" to deliver the show's trademark opening line and provide an "editorial response" to a mock presidential debate.
During the opening sketch -- which featured SNL actors playing Clinton, rival candidate Barack Obama and the debate moderators -- Clinton complimented the performance of Amy Poehler, who regularly lampoons Clinton with her impersonation of the senator from New York.
After meeting Iraqi President Jalal Talabani, right,
Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, left,
visited with other Iraqi officials.
BAGHDAD (AP) — Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad said Sunday his landmark visit to Iraq opened a new chapter in "brotherly" relations between the two countries, which were once bitter enemies.
Ahmadinejad is the first Iranian president to visit Iraq. He went from Baghdad's airport straight to a meeting with Iraqi President Jalal Talabani, who gave him a red-carpet welcome. The two kissed four times on the cheek in the traditional fashion and a band played the two countries' national anthems.
For years, the brahmins of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences have viewed the Oscarcast as a sacred tradition.
However, with viewership of the kudocast hitting an all-time low last week, it's clear that Oscar, now 80, is showing his age. Many members of the Academy -- even conservative types that aren't your typical squawkers -- are grumbling that it's time for a change.
With an average of 32 million viewers, the kudocast only barely topped the regular Tuesday airing of "American Idol," which reeled in 29 million. (Oscar's ratings are likely to inch up some next week when delayed viewing via DVRs is factored in by Nielsen.) In the demographic that matters most to advertisers, adults 18-49, "Idol" had the edge with an average of 14.7 million to Oscar's 14 million.
I'm told by a staffer that the positions of publisher and managing editor were eliminated today at the Long Beach Press-Telegram, along with the copy desk and most of the production jobs. Those functions will now be handled at the Daily Breeze, located in Torrance.
Laid-off P-T production staffers were told they could apply for a fewer number jobs at the Breeze. Two reporters and a photographer had already resigned this week. Online reports in the District Weekly and LB Report, which together pretty much make a skeletal Singleton newspaper in Long Beach unnecessary.
Leonard S. Riggio and wife
Leonard S. Riggio, the founder and chairman of Barnes & Noble, thinks that Steven P. Jobs is wrong, at least when it comes to the reading habits of Americans.
In January, Mr. Jobs, the chairman of Apple, declared that a new electronic book reader introduced by Amazon.com was unlikely to be a commercial success because of a fundamental problem. “It doesn’t matter how good or bad the product is,” Mr. Jobs said. “People don’t read anymore.”
In a telephone interview last week, Mr. Riggio — who has based a long and profitable career on the proposition that people love to read — said that Mr. Jobs’s perception “is off by a lot.”
While Mr. Riggio said he could not comment on Amazon’s device, the Kindle, he said that at Barnes & Noble, “our business in general is fairly sound.” And while the book industry as a whole is “fairly flattish” now, Mr. Riggio said, “it has had periods of flattish growth in the past.”
“I’m still very optimistic,” he added.
Friday, February 29, 2008
Mike Smith, the lead singer, keyboardist and face of the Dave Clark Five at the height of the British band's popularity, died Thursday of pneumonia. He was 64.
Smith was admitted Wednesday morning to Stoke Mandeville Hospital outside London with a chest infection stemming from complications of a 2003 spinal cord injury that had left him paralyzed, his New York agent, Margo Lewis, said in a statement.
Thursday, February 28, 2008
From The Times of London:
A university professor allegedly caught in a Saudi-style honey trap has been sentenced to 180 lashes and eight months in jail — for having coffee with a girl.
The man, a prominent and well-respected Saudi teacher of psychology at Umm al-Qra University in the holy city of Mecca, was framed by the religious police after he angered some of their members at a training course, his lawyer said.
Wednesday, February 27, 2008
Michael Jackson's famed Neverland Valley Ranch in California will be foreclosed and sold on March 19 unless the pop star pays a balance of nearly $25 million, property records showed on Tuesday.
Six sophomores were expelled and more than a dozen other students faced suspensions Tuesday in a cheating scandal that has rocked Harvard-Westlake, a top-tier
Administrators said students conspired to steal Spanish and history tests by distracting teachers in their classrooms. The tests were then shown to several other students before midterm exams last month, said Harvard-Westlake President Thomas Hudnut.
Southwest Airlines, responding to claims by two female passengers that they were discriminated against because of their good looks and banned from future flights, released a statement via YouTube disputing their story, adding that it doesn't have the ability to selectively ban passengers, “even if we wanted to.”
Tuesday, February 26, 2008
JERUSALEM (AP) -- Former Israeli military chief Dan Shomron, the paratrooper who commanded the famed 1976 hostage rescue at Entebbe airport in Uganda, died Tuesday from the effects of a stroke. He was 70.
He never recovered after being rushed to Sourasky Medical Center in Tel Aviv on February 5, hospital spokeswoman Aviva Shemer said.
Israeli leaders remembered Shomron as one of the greatest military minds in the country's 60-year history.
A top Iranian official on Sunday said the Islamic Republic has started using new centrifuges that speed up its ability to enrich uranium – a key step toward developing nuclear weapons, the Associated Press reported.
“We are running a new generation of centrifuges,” said Javad Vaidi, deputy secretary of the Supreme National Security Council. Vaidi’s announcement confirmed reports earlier this month that Iran is using centrifuges that can enrich uranium at more than twice the speed of the machines that now form the backbone of its illicit nuclear program.
CEO Howard Schultz announced the 3-hour closure starting at 5:30 p.m. local time Tuesday to energize 135,000 employees.
He wants baristas to share their passion for making espresso, or as he says, "to pull the perfect shot, steam milk to order and customize their favorite beverage."
Schultz says it's part of his refocusing on the coffee customer experience.
The new method will be particularly attractive for developing countries which face a dearth of trained clinicians or require standardised reliable diagnosis, as in drug trials, said Richard Frackowiak of Wellcome Trust Centre for Neuro-imaging.
Lawyers says Jerry Seinfeld was kidding when he took shots at a woman suing his wife, Jessica, left
Jerry Seinfeld was joking when he compared a woman accusing his wife of plagiarism to the killers of John Lennon and the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr., his lawyers said.
In a filing in U.S. District Court in Manhattan, attorneys for the former sitcom star asked a judge to throw out a lawsuit filed by Missy Chase Lapine against Seinfeld and his wife, the New York Daily News reported in Tuesday editions.
Monday, February 25, 2008
Ralph Nader lashed out at the Democratic presidential candidates Monday after they said he could hurt their chances of taking back the White House.
Ralph Nader's decision to again run for president is drawing criticism from Democrats.
The longtime consumer advocate announced Sunday that he will launch his fourth consecutive White House bid -- fifth if his 1992 write-in campaign is included.
Technicians work inside North Korea's nuclear plant at Yongbyon.
For a nation President Bush labeled as part of the "axis of evil," it was not an impressive sight: a dilapidated concrete hulk, built with few resources back in the early '80s.
With a week to go until the Texas and Ohio primaries, stressed Clinton staffers circulated a photo over the weekend of a "dressed" Barack Obama.
The photo, taken in 2006, shows the Democrat frontrunner fitted as a Somali Elder, during his visit to Wajir, a rural area in northeastern Kenya.
The senator was on a five-country tour of Africa.
Palestinian Authority Chairman Mahmoud Abbas gestures during a press conference following his meeting with Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak, not pictured, in the Mediterranean port city of Alexandria, Egypt.
Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas urged the US on Monday to make good on its promise to work for a Middle East peace settlement by the end of the year, warning that there would not be any future chances.
The US "must understand it is to play an active role, not just as a supervisor, by intervening directly to help make peace," Abbas told reporters. He also urged Israel "to stop escalating the situation in the Palestinian territories and stop all attacks in the Gaza Strip, including firing missiles there."
Javier Bardem of 'No Country' holds his Oscar.
Preliminary ratings for the 80th annual Academy Awards telecast were 14 percent lower than the least-watched ceremony ever, according to Nielsen Media Research.
Nielsen said Monday that overnight ratings were also 21 percent lower than last year, when "The Departed" was named best picture.
Could television be the next industry to become Internet roadkill? Online video has been a hit. Americans watched more than 300 million videos on Google's YouTube in December alone, and the amount of time spent watching video online grew 34% last year.
Private-equity firm Gores Group LLC will make an investment worth up to $100 million in embattled radio syndicator Westwood One Inc. that would also give Gores three seats on the company's board.
The air of inevitability that once surrounded Democratic presidential hopeful Hillary Rodham Clinton has shifted to challenger Barack Obama. In a new national USA TODAY/Gallup Poll, those surveyed predict by 73%-20% that Obama will be the Democratic nominee.
Sunday, February 24, 2008
WALLINGFORD, Conn. - The media have been barred from covering a speech by former presidential adviser Karl Rove to students at a prestigious prep school on Monday.
Mary Verselli, spokeswoman for Choate Rosemary Hall, said Headmaster Edward Shanahan and Rove decided mutually to exclude the media. The prep school, which is the alma mater of President John F. Kennedy and two-time Democratic presidential nominee Adlai Stevenson, is limiting attendance to students and staff due to space restrictions in the auditorium, she said.