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Tuesday, May 31, 2005

It's the homeland for the sharks, you know (oh, you don't)

Ah, I'll just chuck this California stuff and flee north. I've only been here twenty some years. Let's see what's available in Gresham, Oregon:

$645,000.00 Gresham 4 3.1 4045

Address: 1488 SW 17TH CT, Gresham
Custom built with extras throughout. Granite counters, hardwood floors, cherry wood cabinets, double staircases, lots of...

$599,900.00 Gresham 3 3.1 3998

Address: 2842 SE MORLAN PL, Gresham
Medit style 3BR, 3.5 BA home backing to greenspace on .41 acres.Gorge & Mtn views! Home features Kitchen w/ island cooktop,...

$461,000.00 Gresham 3 3.0 2625

Address: 2730 SW BUTLER RD, Gresham
Gorgeous Custom Built Home w/ProfLandscaped Yard on .67 Acre. Gourmet Kit w/Corian Counters, Tile Floors; D Rmw/Fireplace...

$439,900.00 Gresham 3 2.1 2767

Address: 5037 SE WOODLAND DR, Gresham
Immaculate home with updates and custom features hard to find at any price. This home is warm and inviting w/hi-ceilings...

$399,900.00 Gresham 4 3.0 3230

Address: 4150 SW 25TH CT, Gresham
Immaculate traditional two story home. Lg master with sitting room.Spacious bonus room with sound surround. Air conditioned....

$337,000.00 Gresham 3 3.0 3000

Address: 736 SW NORMAN CT, Gresham
Quiet cul-de-sac near Sprngwtr Trail/dwntwn Gresham.Backs to protected greenspace.Scenic views.Spacious family rm w/wetbar...

$299,900.00 Gresham 4 3.0 2350

Address: 1617 SW ROYAL AVE, Gresham
Btfl Custom Home in Hunters Highland.Open Kitw/Nook, Hi Ceil, Oak Cabs w/ a Fab Pantry; Fml Lvg & Dng Rm; Fam Rm down w/Gas...

$299,900.00 Gresham 3 2.1 2281

Address: 2562 SE GLACIER CT, Gresham
One owner home in pristine condition. Mechanical updates and many amenities thru-out. New roof in 2004, copper plumbing,...

$299,900.00 Gresham 4 2.1 2710

Address: 3461 SW BRIXTON AVE, Gresham
Very open floorplan w/ high ceilings & vaults throughout! Pristine cond., better than new in grt loc! Almost 2700 sq ft...

But there's always a town called Hope:

$ 240,000 Hope (Hempstead County)

Click For More Info. 4 Bedroom 3.5 Bath Brick Home
You can have it all with this 4 bedroom 3.5 bath brick home with a fireplace, 2 car garage, 18' x 30' building, 4 decks, 2 balconies, tile flooring, central heat & air, a 7' x 7' storage building, and lots, lots, more. Don't forget the privacy you get with this home resting on 4.5 acres!

For more information contact:
Hope Realty
720 E. Third St.
Hope, AR 71802
Request Information
Visit Our Website

Listing Number: HR00027
Type: Residential
School: Hope Acres: 4.5 M/L Square Feet: 3511 Approx.
Bedrooms: 4 Bathrooms: 3.5 Garage/Carport Capacity: 2
Year Built: 1978 Taxes: $ ZIP Code: 71801
Listed by: Broker - Hope Realty


$ 88,900 Hope (Hempstead County)

Click For More Info. 3 bedroom 2 bath brick home
This nice 3 bedroom 2 bath brick home features gas central heat & air, den, livingroom, eat-in kitchen with wall oven and range, dishwasher, garbage disposal, a chainlink fenced back yard w/ storage building, and is situated on a 100x137 lot.

For more information contact:
Hope Realty
720 E. Third St.
Hope, AR 71802
Request Information
Visit Our Website

Listing Number: HR00005
Type: Residential
School: Hope Acres: 0.31 M/L Square Feet: 1667 Approx.
Bedrooms: 3 Bathrooms: 2 Garage/Carport Capacity: 2
Year Built: 1982 Taxes: $ ZIP Code: 71801
Listed by: Broker - Hope Realty


$ 84,000 Hope (Hempstead County)

Click For More Info. 4 Bedroom 2 Bath 2 Story Home
This 4 bedroom 2 bath two story brick home features hardwood flooring, central air, formal dining room, office or 5 th bedroom, a dressing room and a sun porch in 2844 square feet of living space.

For more information contact:
Hope Realty
720 E. Third St.
Hope, AR 71802
Request Information
Visit Our Website

Listing Number: HR00021
Type: Residential
School: Hope Acres: 0 M/L Square Feet: 2844 Approx.
Bedrooms: 4 Bathrooms: 2 Garage/Carport Capacity: 0
Year Built: 1940 Taxes: $ ZIP Code: 71801
Listed by: Broker - Hope Realty


$ 67,000 Hope (Hempstead County)

Click For More Info. 304 Brannon Street
This large 4 bedroom 2 bath home is a garden lover's dream. The home has a 2 car carport, dining/living room combination, and a family room. Also features central heat & air, city water & sewer, vinyl siding, on a 100x140 lot, all at a great price!

For more information contact:
Hope Realty
720 E. Third St.
Hope, AR 71802
Request Information
Visit Our Website

Listing Number: HR00001
Type: Residential
School: Hope Acres: 0.32 M/L Square Feet: 2376 Approx.
Bedrooms: 4 Bathrooms: 2 Garage/Carport Capacity: 2
Year Built: 1935 Taxes: $ ZIP Code: 71801
Listed by: Broker - Hope Realty


$ 27,000 Hope (Hempstead County)

Click For More Info. 2 Bedroom 1 Bath Home
Invest in this 2 bedroom 1 bath home on a 50x140 lot today!

For more information contact:
Hope Realty
720 E. Third St.
Hope, AR 71802
Request Information
Visit Our Website

Listing Number: HR00026
Type: Residential
School: Hope Acres: 0 M/L Square Feet: 954 Approx.
Bedrooms: 2 Bathrooms: 1 Garage/Carport Capacity: 0
Year Built: 1950 Taxes: $ ZIP Code: 71801
Listed by: Broker - Hope Realty

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Krystal Fernandez Confuses Paris Hilton's Body with Tony Stewart's Body - Van Earl Wright Resolves Confusion

Well, now I get my Morning Extravaganza fix from printed sources:

Later, Krystal asked Tony about the Mr. Clean carwash he will be participating in on Wednesday...

Krystal Fernandez: I was going to ask you if you were going to pull a Paris Hilton (referring to her sexy Carl's Jr. commercial) when you're washing those cars? Did you see that commercial yet?

Tony Stewart: I have, and have you seen my figure versus hers?

Van Earl Wright: Very good point Tony Stewart.

Tony Stewart: I'm like a beached whale compared to Paris Hilton. I'm not going even try and top her. I'm going to let her do her thing....

The FOX Morning Extravaganza with Van Earl Wright is the flagship product of the FOX Sports Radio Network. The show is carried on over 110 affiliates across the country from 9 a.m.- noon Eastern Time, Monday through Friday. Van Earl, Andrew Siciliano, and Krystal Fernandez give the national audience an incredibly entertaining spin on the biggest stories in sports while also speaking to its most influential and important personalities.

Incidentally, Rate It All has a category for sports radio personalities. Tony Bruno is one of the highest rated (4.53 out of 5 from 93 raters). Jim Rome and Colin Cowherd are twoard the bottom of the pack.

P.S. You can also rate Los Angeles religions.

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Garth Brooks Revisited

The man is calculating:

Garth Brooks surprise proposal of marriage to Trisha Yearwood at last Wednesday's Legends in Bronze celebration in Bakersfield, CA, was not a surprise to renowned sculptor, Bill Rains.

Rains told us that he's known for months that the event was going to happen.

"Garth was the last sculpture to be done and he had to pose in person to do it," says Rains. "At the sitting, he pulled out his wedding ring telling me that he wanted it to be part of the sculpture because he planned to propose to Trisha the day the statue was unveiled."

So, did Yearwood learn about it months ago, also?

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Manny Van Pelt, Take Two

I just quoted the following statement from Manny Van Pelt, esteemed obfuscator for Immigration & Customs Enforcement:

"We would not create a (memorandum of understanding) that created full-time immigration officers because we have full-time immigration officers," said Manny Van Pelt, a spokesman for Immigration and Customs Enforcement, which negotiates such agreements on behalf of the U.S. Attorney General's Office.

"The way it was meant to be used is as a tool to help officers in the street or in the jails, to help them do their day-to-day jobs in addition to their normal routine."

Well, if we have full-time immigration officers working for a so-called Immigration & Customs Enforcement agency, what the heck do they enforce? Free Republic cites the following from that hotbed of border problems, New Hampshire:

The attorney representing the illegal immigrant charged by New Ipswich police for criminal trespassing will argue state law is being misused and the Vienna Convention was violated when her client was not put in touch with the Mexican Consulate.

During an interview in her Merrimack office, Attorney Mona Movafaghi said the Vienna Convention guaranteed the right of her client to contact the Mexican Consulate, but police failed to provide the opportunity.

New Ipswich Police Chief W. Garrett Chamberlain charged Jorge Mora Ramirez, 21, with criminal trespass and operating a vehicle without a valid license on April 15. Ramirez encountered police on Turnpike Road after having car trouble. A local officer, who stopped to investigate, found Ramirez with several false identification papers and a Mexican driver's license.

When federal authorities would not take Ramirez into custody, Chamberlain added the criminal trespassing charge — a tactic that has gained attention nationally.

"I'm disgruntled that the feds aren't going to follow up. We're stepping up to the plate and doing what the federal government refuses to do," the chief has said.

"We think that it's a misuse of the law and it was not the intent of the statute to be used in that way," Movafaghi said.

"If (Chamberlain) feels like this is his mission in life, he should join ICE," she said, referring to Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), the federal agency charged with enforcing immigration law.

Immigration authorities are "told to target criminals, terrorists and people who are causing trouble," the attorney said.

Manny Van Pelt, an ICE spokesman, disputed the priorities outlined by Movafaghi.

"We cannot turn a blind eye to violations of the law. And we will not," he said.

"We are going to place this person (Ramirez) in deportation hearings. Absolutely. We fully intend to," Van Pelt said in a phone interview yesterday....

I'm sure that Manny took care of that before he went home that evening.

"The police chief is saying a person who is traveling on public roads has no right to do so if they are in the U.S. illegally . . .," she said. "If you are from Milford, can you be on the roads in New Ipswich?" Movafaghi said. "Where does it end?

"The immigration laws make the determination on who's here illegally, not the police chief," she said.

Movafaghi has been a member of the American Immigration Lawyers Association since 1987 and has focused primarily on immigration and nationality law since 1996. Her law firm is at 419 Daniel Webster Highway in Merrimack....

The matter is scheduled for a bench trial at 10 a.m. on July 12 in Jaffrey-Peterborough District Court.

It turns out that the northeastern U.S. is a hotbed of enforcement:

HUDSON, N.H. -- Police Chief Richard Gendron finds himself in the middle of a national debate centering on immigration laws after citing two illegal immigrants on charges of criminal trespass.

Yesterday, moments before a group of about 20 protesters entered the police station to voice their objections to the policy, a delegation from the Statehouse presented Chief Richard Gendron with a plaque commending his actions.

Applying a state law that governs criminal trespass, Hudson police cited two illegal immigrants on May 10 who were stopped for driving with a broken headlight. The pair, Sergio Robles Ruiz and Margarito Jaramillo Escobar, two Mexican nationals, did not have valid drivers' licenses and no documentation to prove they were in the country legally. Although they were never arrested, the criminal-trespass violation carries a maximum fine of $1,000....

Gendron defended the actions of his officers, adding that the illegal immigrants were never arrested.

“Our position is that if you entered the country illegally, you committed a crime,” he said. “The United States government has spent billions of dollars on Homeland Security since September 11, 2001, and it starts with illegal aliens. They should not be here.”

Gendron followed the lead of New Ipswich Police Chief W. Garrett Chamberlain, who has used the trespassing law to deal with undocumented immigrants....

According to New Hampshire law, a person is guilty of criminal trespass if he enters or remains in any place knowing that he is not licensed or privileged to do so.

Gendron said reaction to the policy has been positive, but protesters outside in the rain held signs that read, “Stop Profiling,” and “Stop Bogus Arrests.”

LouAnn Fornataro had harsh words for the police.

“The people of New Hampshire ought to be outraged,” she said. “These chiefs of police have become vigilantes. The fact that they wear badges does not make them less than vigilantes. A law-enforcement officer has the responsibility to protect citizens from vigilantes. At the moment the vigilantes in New Ipswich and Hudson are wearing badges.”

Cliff Miller of Windham and Tom Stilings of Westford, Mass., sat quietly in the back of a covered pickup truck that carried American flags and signs that read, “What part of illegal don't you understand?”

“We spent many years defending everyone else's rights to free speech and now it's our turn,” said Miller, who is 73.

Locally, Victoria Fahlberg, Executive Director of ONE Lowell, weighed in on the issue, saying she fears the New Hampshire cases will lead to racial profiling.

“It stems from this whole attitude that came out of September 11,” she said. “It gives legitimacy to people who want to get rid of all the immigrants. If they're criminals, by all means let them go through the process. But these people are being dehumanized simply because they're undocumented.”

Fahlberg said she supports new reform legislation what would allow undocumented immigrants to earn their legal status....

Meanwhile, the State Department makes completely unfounded claims that Mexico does NOT welcome undocumented people into its own country. I'm sure that Mexico would not violate the Vienna whatevers and restrict entry into Mexico. I'm sure of it. Here are the lies that our fascist government is spreading:

The Government of Mexico requires that all U.S. citizens present proof of citizenship and photo identification for entry into Mexico. U.S. citizenship documents such as a certified copy (not a simple photocopy) of a U.S. birth certificate, a Naturalization Certificate, a Consular Report of Birth Abroad, or a Certificate of Citizenship are acceptable. However, the U.S. Embassy recommends traveling with a valid U.S. passport to avoid delays or misunderstandings. U.S. citizens have encountered difficulty in boarding flights in Mexico without a passport. U.S. citizens boarding flights to Mexico should be prepared to present one of these documents as proof of U.S. citizenship, along with photo identification. Driver's permits, voter registration cards, affidavits and similar documents are not sufficient to prove citizenship for readmission into the United States.

U.S. citizens do not require a visa or a tourist card for tourist stays of 72 hours or less within "the border zone," defined as an area between 20 to 30 kilometers of the border with the U.S., depending on the location. U.S. citizens traveling as tourists beyond the border zone or entering Mexico by air must pay a fee to obtain a tourist card, also known as an FM-T, available from Mexican consulates, Mexican border crossing points, Mexican tourism offices, airports within the border zone and most airlines serving Mexico. The fee for the tourist card is generally included in the price of a plane ticket for travelers arriving by air.

Tourists wishing to travel beyond the border zone with their car must obtain a temporary import permit or risk having their car confiscated by Mexican customs officials. To acquire a permit, one must submit evidence of citizenship, title for the car, a car registration certificate, a driver's license, and a processing fee to either a Banjercito branch located at a Mexican Customs office at the port of entry, or at one of the Mexican Consulates located in Austin, Chicago, Dallas, Houston, Los Angeles, Sacramento, San Bernardino, or San Francisco. Mexican law also requires the posting of a bond at a Banjercito office to guarantee the departure of the car from Mexico within a time period determined at the time of the application. For this purpose, American Express, Visa or MasterCard credit card holders will be asked to provide credit card information; others will need to make a cash deposit of between $200 and $400, depending on the age of the car. In order to recover this bond or avoid credit card charges, travelers must go to any Mexican Customs office immediately prior to departing Mexico. Disregard any advice, official or unofficial, that vehicle permits can be obtained at checkpoints in the interior of Mexico. Avoid individuals outside vehicle permit offices offering to obtain the permits without waiting in line. If the proper permit cannot be obtained at the Banjercito branch at the port of entry, do not proceed to the interior where travelers may be incarcerated, fined and/or have their vehicle seized at immigration/customs checkpoints. For further information, contact Mexican Customs about appropriate vehicle permits.

Upon arrival in Mexico, business travelers must complete and submit a form (Form FM-N 30 days) authorizing the conduct of business, but not employment, for a 30-day period. Travelers entering Mexico for purposes other than tourism or business, or for stays of longer than 180 days require a visa and must carry a valid U.S. passport. U.S. citizens planning to work or live in Mexico should apply for the appropriate Mexican visa at the Mexican Embassy in Washington, DC or nearest Mexican consulate in the United States.

Mexican law requires that any child under the age of 18, of any nationality, traveling into or out of Mexico must carry notarized written permission from any parent not traveling with the child. There have been cases where children, even American children, not carrying this document have been denied entry into Mexico, or have not been allowed to board a plane in the U.S. bound for Mexico. This permission must include the name of the parent, the name of the child, the name of anyone traveling with the child, and the notarized signature(s) of the absent parent(s). The child must be carrying the original letter – not a faxed or scanned copy – as well as proof of the parent/child relationship (usually a birth certificate) – and an original custody decree, if applicable.

See our Foreign Entry Requirements brochure for more information on Name of Country and other countries. Visit the Embassy of Mexico web site at Internet site: http://portal.sre.gob.mx/usa/ or contact the Embassy of Mexico at 1911 Pennsylvania Avenue N.W., Washington, D.C. 20006, telephone (202) 736-1000, Internet site: http://portal.sre.gob.mx/usa/, or any Mexican consulate in the United States for the most current visa information.

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Proposed California Border Police Act, Revisited

I recently had the opportunity to hear Congressman Ed Royce speak. Although much of the discussion revolved around technological and financial issues, the California Border Police Act came up. I forgot that Royce was the state co-chair.

Well, it turns out that the Feds are hem-hawing about the whole thing:

Assemblyman Ray Haynes' proposal to create a state immigration police force to help patrol the border and enforce immigration laws statewide could meet resistance from the federal government and be disputed in the courts....

Haynes, R-Temecula, cites a 1996 provision of a law that allows state and local agencies to negotiate agreements with the federal government to enforce immigration laws. But federal officials say the law has never been applied to create officers strictly devoted to immigration, and they have no intention of doing so.

"We would not create a (memorandum of understanding) that created full-time immigration officers because we have full-time immigration officers," said Manny Van Pelt, a spokesman for Immigration and Customs Enforcement, which negotiates such agreements on behalf of the U.S. Attorney General's Office.

"The way it was meant to be used is as a tool to help officers in the street or in the jails, to help them do their day-to-day jobs in addition to their normal routine."

Haynes says he interprets the law 287(g) of the Immigration and Naturalization Act to mean states can step in and enforce immigration laws after technicalities are worked out with the government....

Meanwhile, experts disagree as to whether a plan for a separate state immigration police force would be constitutional or allowed.

State and local agencies have the inherent authority to enforce federal law, unless Congress specifically prevents them from doing so, said Mark Krikorian, executive director of the Washington, D.C.-based Center for Immigration Studies.

"Congress can and has pre-empted the states from enforcing other areas of law ... but immigration isn't one of them," Krikorian said.

Immigration attorney Carrye Washington of Ontario disagreed.

"It's the federal government that is properly trained to know the immigration laws, and any time state police groups decide they should regulate or do something to an immigrant, it seems they are doing something that is not constitutional," she said.

Whether states and localities have inherent authority to enforce civil immigration laws is an open question, said Marshall Fitz, associate director of advocacy for the American Immigration Lawyers Association.

The understanding prior to 2002 was that they do not, he said. In 2002, however, the Department of Justice issued a memo reversing that interpretation, but has never made that document public....

The North County Times opposes the initiative:

There are many reasons why California doesn't need a state force of border cops, and why you shouldn't sign those petitions.

As a rule, government by initiative is a poor way to run a state, and this initiative seems certain to invite legal challenges on constitutional grounds.

But even if Haynes' "California Border Police Act" made sense, we couldn't afford it.

With the state borrowing money hand over fist to subsidize today's expenses, now is not the time to be adding a new, expensive state agency whose mission is the essence of redundancy. The existing border patrol ---- renamed Immigration and Customs Enforcement but still underfunded ---- is appropriately federal, as are the immigration laws it's charged with enforcing.

Haynes' estimates of a force of 1,000 to 2,000 sworn officers costing between $200 million and $400 million each year sounds unrealistically cheap. The clout wielded by public safety unions can be easily observed in city, county and state budgets. Another bloated bureaucracy is exactly what this cash-strapped state doesn't need.

Haynes and other opponents of illegal immigration routinely cite the fiscal drain that undocumented immigrants place on California. They say the state spent $10 billion this year on such unwelcome guests, making a state border patrol cost-effective if it thins their ranks.

But the anti-immigration crowd also routinely denies the economic contributions those undocumented workers make to the state's fiscal health. Those contributions are most evident in our produce bins and flower vases; as many as two-thirds of California's agricultural workers are not citizens. It's worth considering the impact strict enforcement of citizenship requirements would have on the state's $28-billion-per-year agricultural industry weather....

Meanwhile, the Roseville Conservative blog quotes George Skelton:

[G]iven the federal government's dereliction of duty along the U.S.-Mexican border, this seems to be the only sensible alternative for Californians frustrated with rampant illegal immigration. And many are."It's the first question that comes up," says the legislator, Assemblyman Ray Haynes of Murrieta, referring to citizen meetings he holds in his district that covers western Riverside and northern San Diego counties. "Folks literally have illegals running through their backyards." (He's talking big backyards, as in ranches.)"About two years ago, things started heating up. It's now the hottest issue. The [state] budget, people can't understand. They understand illegal immigration. They see it." Mark Baldassare, pollster for the Public Policy Institute of California, agrees that Republican voters — the people Haynes talks to — have become increasingly upset about illegal immigration. "It is one of their top issues," he says, "even though for Californians as a whole, it ranks in the second tier, behind the economy and schools."

But also in that second tier of issues is budget deficits. And many Californians believe these problems are all related. Precise figures don't exist, but it's broadly estimated that California spends between $5 billion and $9 billion annually to educate, medically care for and imprison illegal immigrants.

There are roughly 2.6 million illegal immigrants living in California, according to a recent report by the Pew Hispanic Center in Washington, D.C.

Although many get dinged for federal Social Security taxes, it's not logical they're paying much in state and local taxes. They may get tapped through rents for some property taxes. But with low wages, it's doubtful they owe state income tax. And their meager discretionary income means they can't be buying a lot, so the sales tax they pay is minimal. Moreover, based on Pew research, illegal immigrants in California are sending at least $4.3 billion back to their native countries — primarily Mexico — rather than spending it here.

Liberals who close their eyes to illegal immigration point out that it benefits consumers by keeping down prices for vegetables and fruits and — they'd like us to believe — restaurant meals and hotel rooms. But it also depresses wages and benefits, and leads to exploitation of workers.

Evidence of that was found by the Pew center: Latinos — mostly new immigrants — accounted for 1 million of the 2.5 million American jobs created in 2004. But Latinos are the only major group of workers to have suffered a two-year decline in wages and now earn 5% less than two years ago.

This suggests, the center continued, "that they are competing with each other in the labor market to their own detriment."...

A state border patrol was suggested by a voter at a meeting in Temecula. "Why doesn't California just do it?" he asked Haynes.The assemblyman, surfing websites, found a 1996 federal act that allows states and counties to negotiate pacts with Washington, D.C., to help enforce immigration laws. No state has done it.

Haynes envisions a force of 1,500 to 3,000 officers, costing $200 million to $300 million a year. There now are about 1,700 federal officers on the California border, says Rep. Edward R. Royce (R-Fullerton), chairman of a House terrorism subcommittee who strongly supports Haynes' idea. Where does our deficit-ridden state get money for this?

"We need to bite the bullet and pay whatever we have to pay," Haynes says. "We don't need a tax increase. Revenue growth will more than pay…. "We conservatives believe government has one legitimate function — public safety. Protecting the border is public safety."...

Meanwhile, the illegal immigration war continues in Jersey. Not NEW Jersey...OLD Jersey:

More Romanians attempt entry

Another two Romanians have been caught at Jersey’s harbour trying to get into the UK.

A man claimed to be Lithuanian but eventually admitted he wasn’t and that he’d spent over £1000 on a fake passport.

A woman was caught with his real ID papers.

This incident brings the number of Romanians trying to get through the Channel Islands recently to eleven.

Immigration Manager David Nurse says the island plays a vital role in keeping illegal immigrants out of Britain.

Meanwhile, France is not tolerating stuff:

France announced new measures yesterday to clamp down on illegal immigration, including rules to stop arranged marriages, the rapid extension of “biometric” visas and an increase in the number of expulsions.

“When it comes to illegal immigration, the rule has to be firmness,” said Interior Minister Dominique de Villepin in an interview with Le Figaro newspaper.

The number of illegal immigrants currently in France is between 200,000 and 400,000, he said. Many of these are people who entered the country lawfully but have overstayed their visas....

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Saturday, May 28, 2005

Human Nature is More Than a Michael Jackson Song - Or, Why Don't You Report All The Good Michael Jackson Has Done for Humankind?

From Jan Glidewell in the St. Petersburg Times:

The recent set-to about whether Al Capone ever hung around Moon Lake points to an interesting quirk in human nature.

We love places with historical associations, and, for some reason, we seem to be more fascinated with the negatives than the positives....

I can't ignore the fact that I live in Dade City, which draws its name from the 1835 "massacre" of Maj. Francis Dade and most of his command by Seminoles.

It was, of course, called a massacre because the Indians won. When such situations were reversed, they were described as glorious victories....

You do notice through all of this, though, that there are very few positive claims to fame hereabouts.

Elvis made a movie in Citrus and Levy counties; Grover Cleveland used to fish in Citrus County. I could tell you about the Gray Moss Inn in Dade City where Theodore Roosevelt is said to have stayed on a swing through the area that also took him to St. Leo ... but then I would probably have to point out that two of Saint Leo University's most famous former attendees were actor Lee Marvin, who got expelled from the old Saint Leo prep school for throwing another kid out of a second-story window and breaking his arm, and former brutal Nicaraguan dictator Anastasio Somoza....

From Gina Lubrano of the San Diego Union Tribune. Note that she blames the Communists and the baby seal clubbers for the problem:

Sometimes, newspapers cannot win. Report the news, and some readers will complain that the paper is too negative. Introduce some lightness, and other readers will complain that more important stories belong on the front page.

Tuesday, the front page of The San Diego Union-Tribune included a story about San Diego third-graders who entered a national science and technology contest and took second prize with an imaginary device called "the Sleep Doctor." The device, the Holmes elementary school children explained, would monitor brain activity and determine when a person is having a nightmare.

A reader complained that stories about the Iraq War that appeared on Page A2 that day were more important than what the children had accomplished....

The call referring to the story about the children was unusual in some ways, because instead of asking for more positive stories about Iraq, the articles the reader wanted on the front-page were negative – about Abu Ghraib and allegations of lavish spending by Halliburton Inc. in Iraq and Kuwait. Most complaints these days are about stories on the front page. Because developments in Iraq have been dominating the news, some readers are convinced that this newspaper is bashing Bush, that is, as one reader put it, "tilting to the left." What I hear from readers on an almost daily basis is that they want the positive news out of Iraq. One reader said she knows the newspaper needs to report the news, but contends there are positive stories that she said simply are not being reported by the Union-Tribune.

Editors will argue there has been positive news about Iraq, citing stories about the coming transfer of power....

What is of deep concern to editors...is the way some highly partisan readers on both sides of the political spectrum are dismissing stories that do not fit in with their worldview. They accuse editors of having an agenda, of being biased, of not reporting the truth. They listen to talk radio and television commentators with a view; they scour the Internet for tidbits that will support their point of view. They dismiss news stories that contain confirmed information. Instead, they prefer to rely on unverified information that has been gathered by people with an agenda. That is dangerous for anyone, regardless of what you believe.

So, since I cited Michael Jackson in the title, I should note the positive things that Michael Jackson has done recently. Let's look at one of his strongest supporters, his ex-wife:

With tears in her eyes, Michael Jackson's ex-wife Deborah Rowe took the stand in his child molestation trial Wednesday and contradicted the chief prosecutor, saying she was never scripted or rehearsed to say positive things about him in a video interview made to rebut a damaging TV documentary.

"I didn't want anyone to be able to come back to me and say my interview was rehearsed," Rowe said. "As Mr. Jackson knows, no one can tell me what to say."

MISTER Jackson? Reminds me of the lyrics of a song by his younger sister.

Prosecutors called Rowe to support their conspiracy case against Jackson, who is accused of molesting a 13-year-old boy in February or March 2003. The case alleges Jackson conspired to hold the accuser's family captive to get them to rebut the TV documentary "Living With Michael Jackson" by British journalist Martin Bashir.

Rowe reiterated that she had been offered a list of questions by her interviewers but she declined to look at them before she talked.

"It was a cold interview and I wanted to keep it that way," she said.

Deputy District Attorney Ron Zonen asked her what she expected after she gave the interview.

Teary, she said, "To be reunited with the children and be reacquainted with their dad."

Asked why she wanted to see Jackson again, she said, "He's my friend."...

Rowe said she knew Jackson for perhaps 20 years before they married and once they divorced she was allowed visitation with the children for eight hours every 45 days. She said it was a tough schedule to keep because Jackson travels so much with the children and she finally relinquished all parental rights.

"The visitations were not comfortable," she said, explaining that they would meet at a hotel and "it was a very sterile environment."

She said that she has not seen the children in 2 1/2 to three years.

In 2003, she said, she received a call through her former employer, a doctor who brought Jackson and her together. She said he told her that someone associated with Jackson wanted to talk to her and arranged a phone call for her with Marc Schaffel, who is named as an unindicted co-conspirator in the case.

Jackson got on the phone briefly during that conversation, she said.

"He told me there was a video coming out and it was full of lies and would I help. I said, as always, yes. I asked him if he was OK. I was very upset," she testified.

Zonen asked: "What did he ask you to do?"

"He asked if I would work with Ronald and Dieter. I asked him if he was OK and the children were OK and if I could see them when things settled down," she said. "He said yes."

Ronald Konitzer and Dieter Wiesner, Jackson associates, have also been named by prosecutors as unindicted co-conspirators.

Zonen then asked, "Did you want to see the children?"

With tears welling in her eyes, she said, "Yes, very much."

Rowe said her conversation with Jackson lasted perhaps 2 1/2 minutes and there was no discussion of what he wanted her to do other than to work with his associates.

She said all she could recall him saying was, "There was a bad video coming out."...

Her testimony did link Jackson to the making of the rebuttal video. But her account offered less evidence than the prosecution seemed to expect to tie Jackson to a conspiracy. She said she was not pressured to say anything specific and that there was "no quid pro quo."

Asked why she would help Jackson, she said, "I promised him I would always be there for Michael and the children."

She did not give any details of her private life with Jackson and made it clear that she did not want to discuss it.

"My personal life was my personal life and no one's business," she said when asked by the prosecution if she had talked completely truthfully on the video that was made.

Rowe said that before the interview began at Schaffel's home, they talked briefly about her family and he reported on her children's progress.

She said Schaffel told her that "they were fine, that Michael was going to be OK, how big the children had gotten and how beautiful they were and how strongheaded Paris was, like me."

She said the videotaped interview lasted nine hours and that she recently saw a two-hour version of it which was shown to her by prosecutors.

She said she found it "very boring and dull" and didn't really pay attention while she was watching it.

Rowe said she did not see the "Living With Michael Jackson" documentary before her interview was taped.

"All I knew is whatever was being put out about Michael was hurtful to Michael and the children," she said.

Rowe said she told Jackson's associates that before she could take part in the video she needed a release from a confidentiality agreement.

"The confidentiality agreement said I could not speak with the press, public, anyone, regarding Michael or the children or our lives together," she said....

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Scuse Me Again

Sorry to the people waiting for the latest Krystal Fernandez news, but for me, this is actually fun reading. From about.com:

Your target customers need to hear your marketing messages at least 7 times to influence a buying decision. Using marketing & sales strategies outside your budget, does not allow you to repeat your message often enough to make an impact....

Hitching a ride on the marketing of another company can save your small business time and capital. When computer reseller franchise, Computer Exchange, was looking for methods to reach price conscious consumers on a low budget, the company followed Wal-Mart openings. Wal-Mart`s big budget marketing department would carefully select the new store openings based on demographics and other costly analysis. Cyber Exchange opened stores in the vicinity of Wal-Mart saving real-estate selection costs and piggy backing on Wal-Mart`s marketing plan....

Joint ventures are too powerful for small business to ignore. Forging an alliance with a group of small companies or a large corporation can give your marketing plan the ultimate "bang for the buck." A joint venture will lower your costs, enabling you to enter into new markets and create new distribution opportunities....

From marketplan.us:

Everyone needs a marketing plan; we build and maintain them for a living. However, surprisingly few executives can actually define a marketing plan when asked....

Marketing tools, like IT tools in the early 90’s, have gotten remarkably better and cheaper. Yet businesses still rely on a patchwork of solutions for “marketing” problems just as they did for IT problems. The marketing toolbox has grown rapidly at precisely the time when companies have had to eliminate strategic marketing planning from their budgets. The result is the sort of makeshift marketing that does nothing to further the strategic goals of the company, and is ultimately confusing to the company’s constituencies of customers, investors, and community....

So how do we build a Marketing Plan? Even if we agree on a concise definition of “Marketing Plan”, we can still ask, “What is a marketing plan?” Or more directly, “What is in a marketing plan?”

The marketing plan elements include budgeting and project planning for:

1. Tradeshows, expos, and conferences
a. Exhibits
b. Sponsorships
c. Press events

2. Press releases

3. Web advertising
a. Website
b. Email Newsletters
c. Paid placement advertising

4. Print advertising
a. Ad messaging and layout
b. Industry trade journals ad placement

5. Press editorial coverage
a. Interviews
b. “Expert” profile maintenance for journalism sources

6. Analyst and investor presentations

7. Speaking and writing opportunity sourcing and management

8. Ongoing sales tool development and revision
a. Brochures
b. Sales slicks
c. Case studies
d. Application notes
e. Customer testimonials
f. Annual report (non financial writing)
g. Consistency of message across all external communications

9. Website annual plan for inclusion of new “fresh” content

The above non-exhaustive list is sometimes called the “Marketing Mix”. Like the list of ingredients for a cake, it may be complete but is not usable without the knowledge of how to blend it all together....

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Friday, May 27, 2005

Busted in the Ukraine

Star Wars Geek 2.0 (found via Pointless Comments) cites this story via Digg:

A presentation about Shared Source (SSI) by the head of Microsoft Ukraine was almost ruined when the Windows machine (a Tablet PC) linked to the projector developed problems. The solution was to adopt OpenOffice.org 1.1.2 and ALT Linux Compact 2.3 (A Russian distribution), which was already running on the presenter's laptop (an IBM Thinkpad).

P.S. The story made Slashdot.

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Truefresco's "Referring Web Pages" feature records, among other things, the people who get to my blog via Blogger's "Next Blog" feature. Truly an eclectic collection. Ignoring the nude babes and services spams, here are some of the blogs that people were visiting before they got here.

Dutch Barista. All about the Dutch barista culture. Active since "donderdag, mei 12, 2005." The first post was about the Belgian barista culture, and there's a subsequent post about Portland, so this is a wide-ranging blog.

FanaCoria. A Spanish-language blog about "tenis."

Une Femme en Ville. A French-language blog that is not about men in the country.

this-ism. An English-language blog (finally) about music lyrics.

Pointless Comments. Up my crick (heh). Everyone go here now.

HushNJ. Record reviews.

Shasta McSpastic. She needs space and junk.

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Thursday, May 26, 2005

Pressing Non-Random Question of the Evening

When Amish Fighter Pilots rock the casbah, do they listen to Ladytron?...

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More Calculation

The Tom Cruise/Katie Holmes brouhaha reminded me of another publicity stunt:

Calif. - Garth Brooks stole the show Wednesday night when he got down on one knee in front of 7,000 fans and proposed to fellow country music star Trisha Yearwood.


She said yes — and the crowd went wild.

The occasion was the "Legends in Bronze" event at Buck Owens' Crystal Palace, where 10 larger-than-life bronze statues honoring country stars were unveiled, including one of Brooks.

After his big moment, Brooks popped the question....

Other musicians honored with bronze statues were Buck Owens, Willie Nelson, Merle Haggard, Hank Williams, Bob Wills, Johnny Cash, Elvis Presley, George Jones and George Strait.

I'm sorry, but proposing in front of 7,000 people smacks of a stunt. Somehow I'm not going to believe it when their press agents issue this joint press release a year or two from now:

Trisha and Garth are distressed over the unprecedented invasion of their privacy during their recent wedding and honeymoon, and respectfully request privacy during this very special time in their lives.

P.S. They already granted sole rights of honeymoon pictures to People, so everyone else back off.

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Well, At Least It's Not Katie Couric

Lots of blog-talk about Katie Holmes and Tom Cruise.

Groovebunny links to a Paul Davidson post that speculates, among other things, that Tom Cruise has engineered every single romantic relationship for publicity purposes.

[I]nformation came to me years ago through reliable sources when Cruise was married to Mimi Rogers -- the word...was that Cruise was at least bi-sexual if not totally gay. But at that point in his life, his mega-huge Public Relations firm P.M.K. (Pat Kingsley's firm) felt that in order to maximize his success and get more women to see his movies, that getting married would add to that allure....

Her marriage to him raised the level of buzz for her, but in the end didn't work out as well as she'd hoped. Tom's PR firm was quick to get him out of that relationship and into one that would "really have legs." That next PR stunt was none other than marrying Aussie Nicole Kidman.

At that point, Nicole Kidman had only done one half-successful film called Dead Calm. It was her appearance in Days of Thunder which allowed her to "fall for Cruise" in the film and off-camera, and which began Tom's 9 year 11 month marriage (at 10 years, Cruise would have had to split everything 50/50) to the red-headed Aussie. What followed, of course, was a string of box office gold for both sides of the equation....

It was around 1996, after Jerry Maguire's success, that Cruise and Kidman made a huge financial mistake. By locking the two up in a three year UK nightmare, filming Eyes Wide Shut for Stanley Kubrick, they disappeared off the face of the Earth, and away from prying eyes. The lack of success the movie had, once released, didn't help Cruise's follow-ups....

With other actors making more money in the movies than Cruise, something had to change. Again. Behind the scenes a deal was struck with Penelope Cruz....Suddenly she was signed on by PR firm P.M.K. (Cruise's PR firm) -- and soon thereafter, a big role in Vanilla Sky opposite Tom Cruise appeared.

And that was about when the "marriage" between Kidman and Cruise was ended in a very contractually-mutual, business-like scenario. Kidman was already getting bigger than Cruise, had already started to win awards that Cruise had always dreamed of....They found an up and coming starlett [sic], who had just started to get American movie roles, and they put the two together. Because, you see -- any actress who is already a huge success would never agree to a "fake relationship" with Cruise. It's the ones desperate for success that know, just like the unpopular kid who dreams of dating the head Cheerleader in high school, if you align yourself with someone famous -- your fame will soon follow as well.

It's enough to make you sick.

Today -- we're seeing the same kind of scenario but in an even more over the top way. Now no longer with P.M.K., Cruise's sister represents him in all media situations. And with the Church of Scientology looking for their cruise-control meal ticket to keep on paying off -- everyone is trying to do what they can to bring Cruise back to the top when it comes to box office gold.

What better way to get the young ladies interested again in Cruise than to put him together with a 26 year old up and coming star, who also has her first big American movie releasing this Summer?

On Oprah today, it was ridiculous. Cruise was smiling and laughing in an overly-actish way to try and "guard" his feelings. A man with not even two months clocked in a relationship is alluding to "talk of marriage" and "loving this wonderful woman." Don't get me wrong -- I'm not one to shit all over a happy relationship, but this thing is engineered to the point of ludicrousness....

Meanwhile, Dear Buster is commenting on Katie:

Another Hollywood Actress Falls From Grace

Well, not exactly "falls from grace", but pretty much falls from my personal list of "pretty girls I'd chase if I wasn't married or old or not famous". Who exactly? Katie Holmes. I loved Katie in Dawson's Creek....

So what's turned her to the dark side? The most recent picture of her, showing a nice cold sore Herpes Simplex outbreak on her face....Why on earth she would ever go out in public while this was going on is beside me....

Goodbye Katie. It was nice admiring you from afar, but our one-sided, long-distance "thing" is over. Enjoy hanging with Tom. Enjoy becoming a Scientologist. Enjoy being famous for a little while. Enjoy your herpes....

There is a Tom Cruise Daily blog that links to a story in Channel News Asia:

An unscientific poll by People magazine indicated that 63 percent of readers believe the romance is a publicity stunt, while only 37 percent believe the pair is genuinely in love.

A similar random poll by Us Weekly magazine showed that 65 percent of its respondents were sceptical, even as publicists for the two actors, who have been dating a month, insist they are genuinely smitten.

Well, friends, the big story here is the major discrepancy between the People and Us polls. A whopping two percent difference. Which is correct? Which reflects the true views of the American people? Enquiring minds want to know.

Well, that reminds me to check what the Weekly World News says:


Life in Korean-occupied Western America won't change completely. But expect some noticeable shifts right away if Kim Jong Il's diabolical war plans succeed.

"Hollywood will continue to churn out movies for the world to enjoy, but you'll probably see more of an Oriental flavor," says a D.C.-based expert in North Korean affairs who was shown a copy of the plan. "For example, Kim Jong Il's son-in-law, an aspiring actor, is likely to become a big star while Tom Cruise is reduced to 'humorous sidekick' roles."...

Well, let's end this ramble with Ron Reagan Jr:

Reagan hosted Saturday Night Live midway through his father's second term as President, and in one funny skit he parodied Tom Cruise in Risky Business by dancing in his underwear in the White House while his parents were away. His parents, watching on television, reportedly had no idea who Tom Cruise was, and didn't get the joke until it was explained to them.

Reagan has said NBC made him wear three pairs of underwear for the dance sequence, to be extra certain his manliness wouldn't slip out....

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I'm a Grownup Now

Buy stuff.

And how about a gun to go with those cigarettes?

The only thing that I haven't found is a Junior Taxpayer Kit.


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Life in the Slow Lane
this is an audio post - click to play


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A Journey of Ten Thousand Steps Begins With a Single Mile
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Say WHAT Now?
this is an audio post - click to play

[1] [2]

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And you say engineers are truthful?

So you're checking for blogs (I was trying to find a blog, but I couldn't), and you need to decide whether to read a particular blog or now.

Some blogs, such as Ontario Empoblog, don't have compelling names. But, for a certain audience (including myself), a blog with the name All Marketers Are Liars sounds intriguing.

The blog is actually used to promote a book by the same name, but it still has some interesting posts. Such as this one on organic cigarettes.

Not just organic, but "all natural" and not tested on animals and certified "cruelty free" by PETA. Did I mention that there's a native American on the box?

This is brilliant niche storytelling. There's a percentage of smokers who are able to get by the internal inconsistency...of the term "organic cigarettes" and love the story....

When you perform a Google search for american spirit organic cigarettes, the first sites that come up are all discount cigarette stores. Sounds like someone's being exploited by The Man.

In February 2001, Smokeshop Magazine ran an article on American Spirit. Dale Scott, the author of the article, sounds like a marketer himself:

Anyone who spends time in northern New Mexico soon comes to love the remote serenity of this rugged country. Its mysterious, evergreen-forested mountains offer solitude from mainstream America's breakneck pace. The equally mysterious and ancient Native American presence, combined with that of the pacific Hispanics, lends a stabilizing balance to the Anglo influence. The prolific art, centered on Nature and these other cultures, soothes and enhances the sense of being surrounded by the aesthetic. Outdoor activities are the focus of leisure interests. It is not surprising that this true "Land of Enchantment" draws free and independent thinkers, who don't buy into the post-Industrial Age ethos of modern America.

It was here that several forward-thinking local residents formed Santa Fe Natural Tobacco Company in 1982. Their mission: to answer the increasing world demand for all-natural tobacco products, totally devoid of chemical additives....In an era of hardship for many in the tobacco industry - due to market and competitive pressures, an increasingly militant prohibitionist mentality, taxes, gargantuan liability suits, and regulatory burdens - Santa Fe flourishes.

According to Henry Sicignano, vice president of marketing, "Our company's greatest challenge - also our greatest opportunity - is to expose smokers to our chemical-free, all-natural tobacco products, and to educate them to Natural American Spirit's superiority over mainstream cigarettes."

With a market share of less than 1 percent of the total U.S. cigarette business, Santa Fe is undaunted by the behemoths that are their competition....

The shift in America's awareness accelerated Santa Fe's growth dramatically. With the chemical laden aspects of mainstream cigarettes becoming nightly TV fare, smokers' search for all-natural alternatives became serious....

"The Natural American Spirit product line fits every smoking preference: filter cigarettes in regular, medium, light, ultralight, menthol, menthol light, and the new perique blend," says Sicignano. "We also offer non-filter Natural American Spirit Cigarettes." Most are available packaged in either soft or hard packs....

So, when Ludo Cremers' hip hoppers need to leave Compton and/or Chino, they can go to New Mexico and go natural. Although, frankly, it sounds like the same market that Phillies Blunts is pursuing.

Well, without knowing it, this blog has become (as Ludo would put it) the Tobacco Authority. Although I don't think that smoke hits (heh) will outdistance Krystal Fernandez hits on this blog any time soon.

As a public service, I'll start making posts about the ravages of lung cancer. You're welcome.

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Wednesday, May 25, 2005

I Thought Kirstie Alley was a Scientologist Anyway
My favorite blogging Catholic apologist commemorated an anniversary:

Do not pronounce "Diet of Worms" as it it was a new weight-loss fad involving nematodes....Today--May 25, is the anniversary of the Edict of Worms, which was issued in 1521 against Martin Luther and his writings.

The actual Edict (in English) can be found here. Excerpts:

...Certain heresies have sprung up in the German nation within the last three years, which were formerly condemned by the holy councils and papal decrees, with the consent of the whole Church, and are now drawn anew from hell; should we permit them to become more deeply rooted, or, by our negligence, tolerate and bear with them, our conscience would be greatly burdened, and the future glory of our name would be covered by a dark cloud in the auspicious beginnings of our reign.

Since now without doubt it is plain to you all how far these errors and heresies depart from the Christian way, which a certain Martin Luther, of the Augustinian order, has sought violently and virulently to introduce and disseminate within the Christian religion and its established order, especially in the German nation, which is renowned as a perpetual destroyer of all unbelief and heresy; so that, unless it is speedily prevented, the whole German nation, and later all other nations, will be infected by this same disorder, and mighty dissolution and pitiable downfall of good morals, and of the peace and the Christian faith, will result....

He not only holds the priestly office and order in contempt, but also urges secular and lay persons to bathe their hands in the blood of priests; and he uses scurrilous and shameful words against the chief priest of our Christian faith, the successor of St Peter and true vicar of Christ on earth, and pursues him with manifold and unprecedented attacks and invectives....

Especially has he everywhere bitterly attacked the Council of Constance with his foul mouth, and calls it a synagogue of Satan, to the shame and disgrace of the whole Church and of the German nation....

We strictly order that immediately after the expiration of the appointed twenty days, terminating on the fourteenth day of May, you shall refuse to give the aforesaid Martin Luther hospitality, lodging, food, or drink; neither shall anyone, by word or deed, secretly or openly, succor or assist him by counsel or help; but in whatever place you meet him, you shall proceed against him; if you have sufficient force, you shall take him prisoner and keep him in close custody; you shall deliver him, or cause him to be delivered, to us or at least let us know where he may be captured. In the meanwhile you shall keep him closely imprisoned until you receive notice from us what further to do, according to the direction of the laws. And for such holy and pious work we will indemnify you for your trouble and expense.

In like manner you shall proceed against his friends, adherents, patrons, maintainers, abettors, sympathizers, emulators and followers. And the property of these, whether personal or real, you shall, in virtue of the sacred ordinances and of our imperial ban and over-ban, treat in this way; namely, you shall attack and overthrow its possessors and wrest their property from them and transfer it to your own custody and uses; and no one shall hinder or impede these measures, unless the owner shall abandon his unrighteous way and secure papal absolution.

Consequently we command you, each and all, under the penalties already prescribed, that henceforth no one shall dare to buy, sell, read, preserve, copy, print, or cause to be copied or printed, any books of the aforesaid Martin Luther, condemned by our holy father the Pope as aforesaid, or any other writings in German or Latin hitherto composed by him, since they are foul, harmful, suspected, and published by a notorious and stiffnecked heretic. Neither shall any dare to approve his opinions, nor to proclaim, defend, or assert them, in any other way that human ingenuity can invent, notwithstanding he may have put some good in them to deceive the simple man.

But things are a bit calmer now. View the Joint Declaration of the Doctrine of Justification, signed by the Lutheran World Federation and the Roman Catholic Church. To my knowledge, no one cussed out the other side during these discussions. In other words, they were boring.

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Video Killed the Video Star

Caught this from Erin:

...The other day, I was in Stereo Advantage with Rand. We walked by the plasma TVs, and he asked me, "Are you ready to pay $2000 for a TV?"

I snorted.

"Well, it's the future," he said.

"Then I guess I'm going to have to be behind the times," I said.

He then explained to me that by the end of 2006, I would no longer be able to receive regular TV broadcasts on my analog set.

"It's going to take an act of Congress for you to be able to watch TV on your current set," he said....

She then linked to an article from Newsweek the Mississippi Clarion-Ledger. Emphasis mine:

Call it the American Resolution. TV sets: Join or die.

It is the country's commitment to digital TV, a transition from analog mandated by the Federal Communications Commission....

By July 1, all TV sets measuring at least 36 inches diagonally must be sold with digital tuners. By Dec. 31 of 2006, the conversion to digital, allegedly, will be complete.

Supposedly, then, broadcasters will no longer air analog signals by Jan. 1, 2007....

Is it time to buy a digital TV, which in its clearest, sharpest version is called High Definition?

If you want true HDTV, or if you're not a cable or satellite customer, the answer may be yes....

What you probably have now, unless you're a chic TV trendsetter, is an analog set — one in which a camera reproduces an image electronically. One in which the intensity of the signal changes; over long distances, it eventually falls apart.

With digital, the TV image being reproduced is encoded, or digitized. You either have a perfect picture, or no picture. Compared to analog, the image is several times sharper....

Once broadcasters begin airing their fare only in digital (more than 1,400 broadcasters now transmit in digital as well as analog), you won't be able to watch TV programs unless you have a digital TV set or some kind of digital reception equipment, including cable or satellite hookups.

For the most part, the change won't dramatically affect the 85 percent of Americans who get all their television from cable or satellite providers, unless they want to receive true high-definition broadcasts.

If you're a Time Warner cable customer, for instance, you wouldn't necessarily have to buy a digital TV set to receive digital broadcasts. All you'd need is a digital converter, for an extra $7.95 a month. If you already subscribe to Time Warner's digital service, you have all you need, says Frances Smith, the company's public affairs director....

The people who will be hit the hardest are those who live in the estimated 15 million households without cable or satellite, those who receive TV service over the air only. Most of these consumers are lower-income, and many are minorities.

A proposal in Congress would allow the U.S. government to help low-income households pay to convert to digital, but only for one set per household.

That idea has a lot of opponents, though....

At any rate, deadlines have changed before. And there are exceptions for communities in which most viewers can't receive digital signals. Under law, the conversion won't be complete until 85 percent of TV households in a market have digital reception equipment....

And there's the money — not for the broadcasters, for whom it will take a while to recover conversion costs. It's money for the federal government, which can make billions of dollars off the analog spectrum.

When the conversion to digital is complete, broadcasters have to give back the analog channels. The government will then auction them off to companies that provide mobile high-speed data services, or for use in emergency communications systems, and more.

Modisett, for one, believes the FCC deadline for total conversion is shaky.

First of all: "Most homes have a set in the den, the bedrooms, the playroom, the bathroom," he says. "You're going to make obsolete all these sets, which will enrage all these viewers."...

So, in answer to Erin's question as to why she (and I) haven't been paying attention to this, it's only an issue that affects the poor, so no one cares.

Waiting for Gil Cedillo's outrage over this racist regulation...

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No, It Wasn't Cancelled...Well, It WAS Cancelled Just a Little Bit

There's a common theme to these search engine requests:

25/05/2005 12:05:31 Van Earl Wright, Andrew Siciliano cancelled (Google)
25/05/2005 11:42:51 krystal fernandez tony bruno show (Yahoo)
25/05/2005 11:21:59 What happened to XTRA Sports Morning Extravaganza? (Google)

For the record, the Fox Sports Morning Extravaganza is still on the air - just not in southern Los Angeles County, Orange County, or the Inland Empire.

As a result, KSPN (AM 710) and KMPC (AM 1540) are fighting over the title of "Los Angeles sport station."

And Mancow is doing whatever it is that Mancow does.

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Tuesday, May 24, 2005

The Tactile Imperative

BuzzMachine put it best: Unshopping at the nonmall.

Here's the press release:

Press Release Source: Epicenter Holdings, Inc.

Epicenter Retail Format Enriches the Multi-Channel Shopping Experience
Monday May 23, 9:01 am ET
Brings New and Unique Merchants Into Shopping Centers
Launch of the Epicenter Collection Provides Growth Opportunity for Direct Merchants, and Creates a New Use for Anchor Locations

GREENWICH, Conn.--(BUSINESS WIRE)--May 23, 2005-- Epicenter Holdings, Inc., an affiliate of Sheldon Gordon, chairman of Gordon Group Holdings, today introduced the Epicenter Collection, bringing together in high-profile shopping center anchor locations a unique assortment of direct marketing and retail brands never before seen together in a retail environment. The Epicenter Collection is expected to generate unprecedented excitement among consumers while giving shopping centers the ability to re-invigorate or re-purpose strategic anchor locations. Epicenter's stunning architectural format provides each of its merchant partners with a totally branded retailing space, and its patent-pending technology enables consumers to shop among merchants using the revolutionary BUYpod(TM) hand-held shopping device.

The Epicenter Collection is the brainchild of Sheldon Gordon, the visionary developer of renowned world-class retail and entertainment properties. Gordon has assembled an experienced management team to roll out the Epicenter Collection, both nationally and internationally.

Epicenter will be exhibiting at the 2005 International Council of Shopping Centers Conference (ICSC) at the Las Vegas Convention Center (Glimcher booth #2155, Twenty-First Avenue) May 22-25 in Las Vegas. The company will also exhibit May 23-25 at the 2005 Annual Catalog Conference (ACC) at the Gaylord Palms Resort (Epicenter booth #423) in Orlando, Fla.

"In a multi-channel world, consumers expect merchants to have retail stores," said Antony Lee, CEO of Epicenter. "Epicenter provides merchants and brands a way to open successful stores at a fraction of the cost of traditional retail locations. In addition, we provide our merchant partners with a complete systems package to make their entry into retailing as effortless and inexpensive as possible."

"I believe there is a great opportunity to re-invigorate anchor locations with our Epicenter Collection," said Sheldon Gordon, chairman of Gordon Group. "In particular, our BUYpod(TM) hand-held devices will allow consumers to shop across stores, making the Collection greater than the sum of its parts."

Growth in Multi-Channel Retailing Leads to Demand for New Retail Spaces

The growth of online and catalog companies has given rise to the need for these merchants to open retail stores as a way to execute their multi-channel strategies. Recent studies have shown that customers purchase substantially more from a single brand when they can access the brand through multiple channels. Following on from the first wave of direct merchants to create substantial retail businesses, such as Williams-Sonoma, Sharper Image and J. Jill, the Epicenter Collection now affords the opportunity for today's highly successful catalogers, e-tailers and brands to open retail stores in some of the nation's premier shopping destinations with lower risk.

"The Epicenter business model presents a means for direct marketers and branded manufacturers to establish a bricks and mortar retail presence," said Jim Hersh, COO/CFO of Petals Decorative Accents LLC, the premier direct provider of silk flowers and accessories. "We think this strategy is an excellent solution that provides existing and prospective customers an exciting shopping environment and a way of experiencing the actual product before making a purchase."

By opening stores in the Epicenter Collection, not only will merchants create profitable retail businesses, but millions of consumers will see their brand on a regular basis, thereby driving more business to their Web and catalog channels.

Real Estate Trends Favor Rapid Expansion of Epicenter Collection Sites

The recent wave of consolidation in the department store industry has left shopping center developers and owners scrambling to find profitable alternate uses for anchor locations. Even some of the best shopping centers in the country are impacted by this trend. By utilizing anchor locations as the foundation for its Epicenter Collection sites, Epicenter Holdings offers developers and owners a new shopping venue which is guaranteed to generate substantial consumer excitement.

"There is a tremendous need for a new retailing format that brings unique merchants and merchandise into the malls," said Ray Carew, Epicenter's EVP for business development and who as a partner in GCD Consultants has worked with some of the nation's leading retailers in locating shopping center spaces. "This is a win-win for owners and developers on the one hand, and on the other, also for merchants who can leverage the mall's existing traffic and location."

Today's Merchants See Significant Obstacles in Opening Traditional Stores

The main reason underlying the scarcity of new retailing concepts has been the cost and complexity faced by merchants in opening stores. A new store can cost between $150-$500 per square foot to build, and landlords traditionally require long-term leases. In addition, new retailers need to invest in retailing systems and establish a separate management team.

The Epicenter Collection has been designed specifically to make the merchants' transition into retail as easy and as cost-efficient as possible. "We provide a complete range of services for our merchant partners," said Rich DiDonato, SVP for business development with Epicenter, formerly with Coach Store and Danskin and an expert in retail operations. "We will help to design and build their stores, recruit and train personnel, and ensure that their daily operations run smoothly in each location."

In addition, Epicenter provides each merchant with a complete retailing systems package, interfaced to their current operating systems. "The Epicenter system is a total solution for both merchants who wish to sell inventory from their store and those who wish to showcase individual items in the store for home delivery," said Ann Gambardella, Epicenter's CIO and formerly with Columbia House and Barnes & Noble. "The BUYpods(TM), touch-screen kiosks and the other hardware that we put into each Epicenter are completely integrated with the systems package that we make available to our merchants."

The first Epicenter Collection is expected to open in 2006 at the Polaris Fashion Place in Columbus, Ohio. This site is owned by Glimcher Realty Trust (NYSE: GRT - News) and was chosen because of its position at the center of one of the fastest-growing, upscale communities in the country. It is regularly visited by more than 6 million consumers each year. Plans are under way to open 100 Epicenters, both in the United States and abroad.

About Epicenter

The Epicenter Collection brings together, in high-profile anchor locations, a collection of leading catalogers, e-tailers, retailers and well-known brands into a single, architecturally stunning retailing space where each merchant can create their own store environment, yet also benefit from the power and consumer appeal of the entire collection. For consumers, the Epicenter experience will combine the convenience and speed of online and catalog shopping with superb store retailing, creating an innovative consumer experience supported by advanced shopping technology. For more information, visit www.epicenter.net.

Articulate Communications Inc.
Alison Foster, 212-255-0080, ext. 20

Source: Epicenter Holdings, Inc.

Not to be confused with this Epicenter.

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So call me juvenile

From MCOT:

Miss Universe contestants visit Phuket

PHUKET, May 19 (TNA) – The contestants in this year’s Miss Universe, led by Miss Universe 2004 Jennifer Hawkins of Australia, have arrived in the Thai island resort of Phuket....

The beauty contestants were given a warm welcome when they arrived at the Phuket International Airport on Thursday....

After lunch the beauty queens joined local provincial officials in activities aimed at promoting Phuket’s recovery from last December’s devastating disaster.

The presence of the beauty contestants in Phuket will help restore confidence in the province, especially among foreign tourists, according to local officials.

The beauty queens plan to donate 12 million baht to the Patong Hospital to help tsunami victims during their one-day visit to Phuket.

They contestants are scheduled to return to Bangkok on Thursday evening.

The Miss Universe 2005 pageant will take place in Bangkok on 31 May....

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Nesler (the son) Convicted

From KXTV:

A Tuolumne County jury on Monday convicted William Nesler of first degree murder in last summer's beating death of a Sonora man.

Nesler, 23, was accused of stomping 45-year-old David Davis to death just hours after Nesler had been released from jail for a previous assault on Davis.

The jury also found Nesler's friend, Dean Dee Phillips, guilty of being an accessory to assault. Prosecutors said Phillips picked up Nesler from jail on July 25 and went with him to Davis' location, where Nesler committed the murder. Phillips then drove Nesler away and helped him avoid arrest.

Nesler and Phillips, who has two prior strikes, are both scheduled to be sentenced on June 20. Each is facing 25 years to life in prison.

Nesler gained notoriety in 1993 when his mother, Ellie, shot and killed a defendant accused of molesting him.

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Monday, May 23, 2005

Lottery Effects

I saw this statement at AT's blog:

97% of all lottery winners after 3 years are in worse shape than when they started the day prior to winning the lottery.

I couldn't verify that, but I did find the following:

Winning $15,000 a year for 20 years - no major effect on your life

Winning $80,000 a year for 20 years - would affect your labor force
participation, automobile expenditures, the value of the home you own,
and your savings....

Much more at the link.

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Sunday, May 22, 2005

It's Working!

My reprogramming of my Yahoo! LAUNCHcast station is starting to take effect. When Loretta Lynn is followed by Ladytron's "Seventeen," which is then followed by Freddie Hart's "Easy Loving" (hadn't heard it before, but I like it), all is right with the world.

Basically, I want the station to veer from extreme to extreme - kinda like this blog.

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Another L.A. Radio Departure

As the Morning Extravaganza leaves Los Angeles (with a hard G) airwaves (unless you live in Lancaster), another Los Angeles deejay (better known nationally for other things) is also leaving:

Comedian Steve Harvey has signed off for the final time after five years hosting a morning radio show that delivered one-liners, political commentary and hip-hop.

"The Steve Harvey Morning Show" on KKBT-FM featured a mix of Harvey's advocacy for the city's black community, ruminations on everyday life and interviews with local and national political figures. The show, which also aired in Dallas, ended Friday....

The WB network also announced this week it was canceling Harvey's TV variety show, "Steve Harvey's Big Time Challenge."...

Harvey was featured in the 2000 standup comedy film "The Original Kings of Comedy," and appeared last year in "You Got Served" and "Johnson Family Vacation."

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Friday, May 20, 2005

this is an audio post - click to play

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Changing Radio Presets and Blog Searches

I just e-mailed the following. E-mail addresses courtesy KTKR. Old presets listed here:

Date: Fri, 20 May 2005 20:09:30 -0400 (EDT)
From: Ontario Emperor oemperor[at]excite.com
To: vwright[at]foxsports.net, andrews[at]foxsports.com, krystalfernandez[at]clearchannel.com
Subject: Changing Radio Presets and Blog Searches

Dear Van Earl, Andrew, and Krystal,

Although this is minor in the macro scheme of things, I just wanted to drop you a note to say that I'll be dropping KLAC AM 570 from my car radio presets.

This ISN'T exclusively because of the removal of "The Morning Extravaganza" from KLAC's lineup (after a ratings increase?!? obviously there's something else going on that we the public haven't heard), but that event indicates a continued move by KLAC away from sports programming. I happen to like Phil Hendrie, but his appearance on KLAC bumped evening sports off of the station, and the coming of Mancow bumps morning sports off of the station.

Perhaps they'll get a DJ to spin 80s hits during lunch hour and be done with the sports format altogether.

P.S. I have a blog (the Ontario Empoblog, http://oemperor.blogspot.com/ ) that occasionally addresses radio programming issues, and I can definitely tell you that searches for "Krystal Fernandez" are fairly frequent on the Internet right now. (Sorry, Van Earl and Andrew, but I think you understand.)

Ontario Emperor
Ontario, California


As a followup, here's what Blogpatrol lists for recent searches to my blog:

Top 25 Keywords:

krystal fernandez (Google) 109
christopher nance (Google) 17
krystal fernandez pictures (Yahoo) 14
Krystal Fernandez (AOL) 10
ellie nesler (Google) 9
godaddy sucks (Google) 8
Candice Michelle (Google) 8
Krystal Fernandez (Google) 7
krystal fernandez (Yahoo) 7
angi taylor chicago (Yahoo) 7
"Christopher Nance" (Google) 6
krystal fernandez poster (Google) 5
"angi taylor" (Google) 5
DAVE KAMPEL (Google) 5
"Krystal Fernandez" (Google) 5
Krystal Fernandez pictures (Google) 4
93.1 DRQ (Google) 4
candice michelle interview (Google) 4
kori federline (Google) 4
krystal fernandez (AOL) 4
krystal fernandez (Google) 4
jay and rachel in the morning (Google) 4
jay towers (Google) 3
red heifer 2005 (Google) 3

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Pardon me for just a moment

I need to do some research. The Krystal Fernandez updates will resume at a later time. Thank you.

From Hoyt & Company:

Today, the 3 major networks combined command only a 31 share of primetime viewership reaching 20.1% of households while Wal-Mart alone captures an 83% Household Penetration and 125 million transactions per week. Is it any wonder why more and more smart marketers are seeking to establish co-marketing relationships with their key retailers as an additional way to build equity for their brands?

From Brian Goldfarb's blog:


Product Manager

Manage strategy for engaging with third-party content publishers for Microsoft developer tools. Drive business plan and marketing program for academic and developer community.

Manage relationship program with book publishing partners to support publication on Microsoft developer tools in trade and academic books.

Provide book planning to developer tools product teams to engage authors and publishers to publish on new tools and technologies.

Create co-marketing plan to support publishing partners online and at industry events.

Provide ongoing communication and support to community of book authors.

• Plan developer tools track at annual publishing summit and host on-campus training events.

• Identify new authors to include in the program.

Manage Code Wise Community Web sites.

Provide ongoing support to sites in the form of information on developer tools and marketing plan to promote Web sites.

Continue growth of program worldwide and inclusion of Web sites in Visual Studio.

Plan co-marketing opportunities and manage agreements with industry magazine publishers.

Plug community influentials into company-wide marketing activities: events, web casts, blogging, MVP and RD program, etc.

Provide expertise on resources help developers learn about developer tools and technologies to product teams.

Spokesperson for developer tools community efforts.

Support the Field in engaging with book authors and participating in online communities.

Manage contract negotiation and maintenance.

From Food & Beverage Marketing:

Account-specific marketing could possibly solve many of the problems between manufacturers and retailers. It's learning how to solve the organizational and logistical stumbling blocks that remains the biggest hurdle. A continuum is necessary, with the following four stages crucial to the success of the strategy:

  • Plan at the detailed account and store level.

  • Execute from an account-specific perspective.

  • Evaluate results according to the same framework.

  • Understand the keys to performance.

From Brandweek:

[T]he irony behind the aggravation with promotion and the big predictions for co-marketing, the latest buzz-trend in consumer marketing [is that o]ne day, senior managers go ballistic over waste in promotion spending; the next, they sign over $20 million to co-marketing programs and unwittingly dilute the brand plan.

Why? Their sales forces and promotion agencies execute thousands of isolated promotional plans without evaluating the aggregate program in the context of the total business, so little is actually learned or improved....

"Co-marketing is one big undelivered promise because marketers look at it as a tactic, not as a strategy," says Jon Kramer, president of promotion agency J. Brown/LMC Group....

[W]hat's missing in the process is a common framework for planning, reporting, evaluating and improving account-level activity....The solution? Give the keys back to brand management by instituting a four phased co-marketing system.

For starters, pick your spots according to sales potential and in-store support....

Second, shift perspective. The goal is to drive traffic in specific stores....

Third, get dirty. Manufacturers are long on data but short on evaluation. To put co-marketing in a totalbrand context, there's no substitute for digging through the details, store by store....

Finally, put it in the bank. What worked, what did not-when, where and why-these are the seeds of advantage....

From Phoenix Technologies (not to be confused with the Phoenix Group):

Looking for ways to differentiate your application offering? Do you want to integrate your applications into the host protected area of the #1 BIOS creator in the world?

If you're serious about reaching PC manufacturers worldwide, then take advantage of the Phoenix Technologies Trusted Partner Network ISV Program for developers and software vendors!

The program was designed to help you succeed both in developing your product and in growing your business. The ISV Program promotes your success by providing resources for developing your software products into the host protected area (HPA) of any cME-enabled PC and co-marketing to OEMs worldwide....

From the Software Council of Southern California:

IMPACT! Sales & Marketing

Channel Marketing - Leverage Partners for Success

April 19, 2005

Joint Event with WITI - Women in Technology International

One of your best sources for revenue is the proper utilization of your external sales channels. IMPACT will help you tap into the value of leveraging partners. We'll cover acquiring, retaining and managing partners to help drive your revenue. It will also address how to avoid channel conflicts without giving up a lucrative sales channel.

Topics you will hear:

  • Why does channel marketing matter?

  • Who should you partner with?

  • How to develop the right program to keep partners engaged.

  • How to best market and pursue sales together.

  • How to develop and implement an effective co-marketing plan to generate leads.

  • How to open up new channels and avoid conflicts.


Leslie Givens, Program Director for ISV & Developer Relations, IBM
Paul Hafen, Executive Director of Channel Sales, 8e6 Technologies
Paula Milano, Co-Founder & CEO, Axion Solutions & Ki Solutions


Kathleen Connolly, Associate Publisher, West of CRN
Leslie Givens, Program Director for ISV & Developer Relations, IBM
Leslie is responsible for developing IBM's ISV marketing and recruitment strategy and driving its successful worldwide execution.

Previously Leslie managed marketing and product management for IBM WebSphere Commerce, where she was responsible for marketing and managing IBM's portfolio of commerce technologies and products. Prior to this, Leslie held a number of positions in technology, marketing, recruitment and evangelism. Leslie joined IBM in 1997.

Paul Hafen, Executive Director of Channel Sales, 8e6 Technologies.
8e6 is a privately held network security company and is the pioneer and leading provider of appliance-based Internet filtering and reporting solutions for business, education, government and ISPs worldwide. Paul has recruited and sold through channel partners at 8e6 for the last 6 years, increasing revenues year after year. He directs reseller business for North America. Prior to joining 8e6, Paul sold technology in both direct and reseller channels and has trained teams in selling methodologies. Paul holds an MBA from the University of California, Irvine

Kathleen Connolly is the Associate Publisher, West of CRN.
West of CRN is the #1 publication in the Channel and a must-read not only for solution providers, its core audience, but for those who need to understand the solution provider market.

Kathleen is responsible for driving sales on CRN and its brand extensions; CRN.com and CRN events, as well as Digital Connect-a publication focused on the convergence of the IT and Home networking market and the channel making that convergence happen. She brings 15 years of sales and management experience beginning in 1989 on a small publication, Communications News, in the telecommunications market. She came to CMP in 1994 to drive sales on Communications Week and followed with sales and management roles on InformationWeek, Network Computing, InternetWeek, DataCommunications, LAN Times and tele.com.

After 11 years working in the "end-user" publication market, she moved over to the Channel in 2000 into her current position with CRN. A high-tech media veteran, Kathleen has spoken at many industry events and worked with a number of companies developing their channel strategies.

Paula Milano, Co-Founder & CEO, Axion Solutions & Ki Solutions
Paula Milano is the co-founder and President of Axion Solutions and its division, Ki Solutions.

Prior to founding Axion Solutions, Milano held management and sales positions with Hughes Data Systems, Sybase, Data Equipment Corporation, and Hewlett-Packard. She was named Western region Territory Manager of the year for Oracle Corporation.

Paula Milano is well known for giving back to the community. She is on the Board of Directors for Working Wardrobes, and a founding member of Orange County United Way’s Women in Philanthropy, and on the Board of Directors for the Women’s Advancement Network.

Milano and her business partner Karen Mills were named Entrepreneurs of the Year by Women In Technology International (WITI) Orange County Chapter in 2002. Milano was also nominated for the 2004 Orange County Business Journal Women in Business Awards.

Holding a Bachelor of Science in Economics and a Master’s in Business Administrations from the University of California at Irvine, Milano graduated Phi Beta Kappa and Summa cum Laude.

From Baseline:

Ostensibly, companies develop "co-marketing" programs in order to promote themselves to the outside world.

But for Gary Hensley, director of information technology at Odwalla, a maker of high-energy juices and snack bars in Half Moon Bay, Calif., the biggest benefit to participating in the "e-leaders" campaign started by Oracle is to get the ear of Oracle itself....

And because the request comes from an e-leader that Oracle is trying to showcase, it carries more weight and prompts a faster response....

But the list of Oracle e-leaders is not as exclusive as it used to be. When Pam Truswell took over last year as Oracle's vice president of service and operations, that roster was limited to 200 companies.

That made no sense to her. Asked why there was a limit, she says, "You got me. I think someone drove in to work one day and said 200 was a good number."

Now the program has morphed into a "global customer reference" program for companies with well-known names and global reputations that are using a broad range of Oracle applications. Customers such as Odwalla, who fit that bill, can get free use of video footage when Oracle sends in a camera crew to shoot a testimonial; a company may even get a $100,000 study from Bain & Co. that shows exactly how it is generating a return on its investment in Oracle software....

[S]ometimes the best way to manage one's vendor is not to deal directly with the vendor at all.

Odwalla is also dependent on Novell and its NetWare operating system and related software to maintain a network of 350 users across 30 locations, coast to coast. Over the past seven years, Odwalla has never turned to Novell for basic assistance; it's turned to Dynamic Networking Systems of Benicia, Calif., for first- and second-level support....

Soon, though, Hensley might not be able to choose which vendor to try to manage. In December [2001], Odwalla was acquired by the Coca-Cola Co. For now, it is part of the Minute Maid juice division, which also relies on Novell. But long term, that may change: Coca-Cola itself uses Microsoft network operating software and Lotus Notes, not Novell NetWare and GroupWise.

Before Coke came into the picture, managing his vendors was critical because the costs of switching—at about $10,000 per user—were too high for a medium-sized company to consider. Now, if Coke requires a switch, Hensley expects his new parent to pick up the tab.

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