Friday, July 8, 2011

Friday Morning Coffee Klatch: News Wafting The Web

Bloomberg Puts His Money Where His Mouth Is, Supporting Marriage Equality
NYC Mayor Michael Bloomberg delivered speeches, held fund-raisers and lobbied lawmakers to legalize marriage equality in the state. Now he's proving it wasn't just talk.

Bloomie has volunteered to preside over the nuptials of chief policy adviser John Feinblatt and commissioner for consumer affairs Jonathan Mintz, partners of 14 years. Both worked with the mayor to legalize same-sex marriage. The wedding is scheduled July 24, a month after Gov. Andrew Cuomo signed the same-sex marriage bill into law.

As mayor, Bloomberg can marry any couple he wishes. Previously, he presided over the 2005 wedding of his daughter, Emma; and in 2003, former Mayor Rudolph W. Giuliani.

It's no secret that I'm not a big fan of the dictator Mayor, whose Nanny State mandates have turned New York City into a military zone. But in this instance, I offer the man a loud shout-out.

Lady B Loses Sting With Fourth Solo Set 4?
Beyonce's fourth solo album 4 debuted at the top of the album chart this week, selling a respectable 310,000 copies. However, that's the softest launch yet for Beyonce—which likely has to do with the dubious quality of her first two releases from the set.

Overtly noisy, nursery rhyme lead track "Run the World (Girls)," peaked at a dismal No. 29 on the singles chart, the first time a Beyonce launch single missed the top 10.

Second single "Best Thing I Never Had," No. 29 this week, demonstrates that the entertainer has made the fatal mistake of believing anything with her name attached will become a hit, with or without a keepsake hook. This is precisely what killed the career of George Michael. As Beyonce delivers her typical shrieking, shrill vocals, the track meanders like a jagged arrow, leaving you with little but... that voice. Sounds like Lady B has lost her sting.

Soaps One Life To Live And All My Children Live On... Online
Iconic soap operas One Life to Live and All My Children, both canceled in April by ABC to be replaced with lame lifestyle programs about food, weight loss & personal finance, will continue to air over the web. ABC has licensed the soaps to online production company Prospect Park.

Children, which garnered 30+ Emmy Awards over 40 years, will depart the tube in September, while Life, with 40+ Emmys, will be axed in January 2012.

Of course, the question is: Will soap operas primary audience—upper demo ladies—have the desire or wherewithal to watch Susan Lucci on a laptop? My guess: Not a chance. We'll see if the soaps are still washed up, or gain a potential new audience online.

NASA's Ends Search For Intelligent Life—After Wasting $500 BILLION In Taxpayer $$$$
NASA's mission statement is "To improve life here, to extend life to there, to find life beyond." Sounds like a silly sci-fi movie, doesn't it? President Dwight Eisenhower established the National Aeronautics and Space Administration in 1958, in response to competitive politics: The Soviet Union launched the first artificial satellite the previous year.

Now, at last, the current Atlantis shuttle, which launched today, will bring an end to the infernal mission to spend billions of dollars of taxpayer money. Four astronauts are making the 12-day mission to ferry 8,200 pounds of supplies and equipment to the International Space Station research facility to maintain it through 2012.

In its heyday, NASA’s allocation was estimated to be a staggering 24% of the national budget. From 1958 to 2008, its booty totaled $471.23 billion. In 2007, funding was slashed, but NASA still requested nearly $17 billion, with 17,000 employees. The organization spent $12 billion alone to develop a pen that writes in zero gravity.

I can’t help but wonder what all that money could do for people on the ground.

In the future, NASA will next focus on sending astronauts to asteroids and Mars—thankfully without wasting taxpayer money. Private companies will take over the business of getting space station cargo and crews to orbit.

Surprise: No One Is Hiring; Unemployment Hits Six-Month High
U.S. unemployment hit another low in June, as companies hired the fewest number of workers in nine months. The unemployment rate climbed to a six-month high of 9.2%.

"The message on the economy is ongoing stagnation," says Pierre Ellis, an economist at New York's Decision Economics. And once again, all of those rosy news stories about the accelerating economy that appear just before the monthly employment stats are pure bunk. The second Great Depression lives on.

Royal Couple Comes To U.S., And In Other Vital News...
Prince William and his royal bride Kate Middleton arrive in the U.S. Friday for a three-day visit to Southern California. The pair will attend an A-list party at the mansion of Britain's consul general, Dame Barbara Hay, followed by a charity polo match in Santa Barbara, and black-tie event in L.A.

In news that matters about as much, I shall be trimming my fingernails Saturday, just after showering, when they're nice and soft.