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Archive for April, 2011


Dear Comissioner Selig and Major League Baseball:

Your social media policy is dumb. Instead of understanding the true power of social media—a place where you could actually GAIN more fans and interest—you hide behind a prehistoric, traditional social media policy takes the fun out of the game.

Before we chastise you for the recent suspension of White Sox manager Ozzie Guillen for tweeting after being ejected from a baseball game in New York, let’s take a moment and understand the logic on your policy. According to the Associated Press, your policy is as follows:

Baseball has a social media policy covering employees that applies to managers and coaches and prevents them from disparaging umpires.

There also are guidelines that basically prohibit players, managers and coaches from communicating by electronic equipment from 30 minutes before a game until it ends.

True, you are following the same policy as the NFL, the NBA, and the EPL. But guess what? YOU ARE ALL DOING IT WRONG. You are missing a major opportunity to generate more interest, more loyalty, more engagement with the very same fans who are already complaining about juiced-up players, astronomical ticket prices, and declining attendance.

Ok, again, before we get to Ozzie, we have a few questions and comments for you:

  • As much as you don’t want managers to disparage umpires, deep down inside you love it. You loved Earl Weaver. you loved Billy Martin. You loved Lou Piniella. And yes, as much as he drives you crazy, you love Ozzie Guillen. You see, sport is all about passion and competition. It’s about trash talking and getting people into the game. So, if a manager or anyone tweets out: “That umpire sucked,” that is disparaging? We say that is FUN, that is INTERESTING, that will make us WANT TO SEE THAT SAME MANAGER IN ANOTHER GAME.
  • Just to clarify, say Guillen said something like, “Wow, that game was interesting. Still wondering what happened,” 31 minutes AFTER the game (not the 30 as you state), would he not be suspended? Why 30? Why not 34? How about 44? How about 30 minutes and 2 seconds? Would he still be in trouble?
  • Why try to control social media? What is the purpose? Are you afraid of “diluting” your brand? Here’s the rub: OPEN UP YOUR SOCIAL MEDIA POLICY and YOU WILL CREATE MILLIONS AND MILLIONS OF LOYAL AND MORE PASSIONATE FANS. Consider the possibilities: have players use FourSquare to check into stadiums and innings from live games, have players and managers post in-game photos to Flickr accounts, add a YouTube channel with REAL content from the benches and the fields, hold contests, ask fans to second guess managers, HAVE FUN.
  • You guys are too corporate and too serious. Stop listening to your lawyers and start engaging your fan base. Because we guarantee you that is you do, PEOPLE WILL COME. If you don’t, PEOPLE WILL LEAVE. We think that is called supply and demand.
Which leads us to Ozzie Guillen and his “controversial” tweets this week. Let’s look at the evidence. Here is Tweet 1:
And here is Tweet 2:
Ok, MLB, go right ahead and punish Guillen for his spelling and texting errors. But these two tweets are causing a suspension?
Come on, you are the same league that mandates managers to speak on-air during a game to TV, but once you hear TWEET, you are quicker to enforce “justice” over that instead of suspending actual players who were on the juice?
You are sad, MLB. Trust us, continue this traditional media policy concocted by a bunch of lawyers who probably think FACEBOOK is a NY Times Best Seller about cosmetic surgery and TWITTER is what you get when you hang out with too many twits, and people (especially those damn young, social savvy kids) will TUNE YOU OUT.
And when that happens, you will be begging for Ozzie to start tweeting after every pitch.
Take a chance, MLB, open up your social media policy and become the first league in the world to actually think sports can be fun again.
In the meantime, we say: #FREEOZZIE
With love,

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The following review was written by Randy Zahara, manager of the Kelowna Community Theatre in British Columbia, Canada:

On April 19, 2011 something amazing happened at the Kelowna Community Theatre, and although, widely anticipated, the impact on the audience was completely unexpected.

Fernando Varela, one of the world’s most promising young tenors took the stage and moved the audience with a performance that was an emotionally beautiful, completely entertaining and captivating blend of classical opera and classic rock. As the manager of the Kelowna Community Theatre, I have attended many great performances over the past eight years, however, I have never before witnessed such a powerful post-event audience reaction.

Fernando began the concert singing the classic “Granada’, in the wings out of sight of the audience and before he had walked the short distance to the microphone stand at centre stage he had already won the audience over. The person I was sitting beside and I just looked at one another, both mouthing the same words, “Oh, My God!” From the very beginning of the concert, through to the final notes of the encore, which was a brilliantly arranged blending of “O Solo Mio” with “It’s Now or Never” ( where Fernando holds an incredibly powerful note for an unheard of, full thirty seconds), was a span of over two hours, but, under Fernando’s spell, the time seemed to go by in a matter of minutes.

Listening to the audience reaction to the various songs throughout the concert was also a unique experience, as it became very clear that Fernando had attracted a broad spectrum of music lovers, from those who started cheering at the first few notes of Nessun Dorma, to the screams that erupted at the beginning of the Bohemian Rhapsody, to the people singing along to Orbison’s “Pretty Women”, to the women I saw weeping openly at Fernando’s delivery of Elvis’s “American Trilogy”. Although they all may have come with a specific genre of music in mind, they all left united by the brilliance and power of Fernando’s performance and of an evening that was pure magic.
It has taken me three days to write this review, as I have needed the time to truly absorb what I had witnessed the evening Fernando performed at the Kelowna Community Theatre, and in that time I have had numerous people telephone me, email me, drop into my office and stop me in the street to let me know how moved they had been by Fernando’s performance, and what an unbelievable experience it had been for them. As I have already mentioned, I saw women weeping openly, unable to speak immediately after the concert as they had been moved so emotionally by Fernando’s voice and grace on stage, and, I, myself, at one point, laughed out loud, at the surprise of hearing a sustained note of such purity, power and beauty that it was completely unexpected, and I had no personal reference for witnessing such an amazing musical moment.

I would be remiss if I did not mention the stellar group of musicians who accompanied Fernando Varela on stage, as they were nothing less than absolutely brilliant. Ron Paley on Piano is one of the finest musical arrangers and concert pianists in North America, and his sense of how to exploit the incomparable talent of Fernando Varela was a significant contribution to the success of the evening. On Bass, Gord Maxwell was flawless and his supporting harmonies were pitch perfect. The drummer, Murray Smith was fabulous, with an accurate and crisp style that showed his experience and also a deep understanding and grasp of the arrangements created by Ron Paley. On lead guitar was Mr. Lee Worden who’s solo’s were another one of the many highlights of the evening and who truly showed off his talent when he tackled Bohemian Rhapsody with all the skills of a Brian May.

Judging by the number of people who told us after the performance that it had been the best concert they had ever attended, I think that Fernando’s promise to return to the Kelowna Community Theatre in the not too distant future, will be one event that Packing the House Productions will have no problem selling tickets for.

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Still stinging from his recent arrest for driving drunk and possession marijuana, Rhode Island Republican state representative and Minority House Leader Robert A. Watson is now facing demands that he resign from Rhode Island’s immigrant Guatemalan community. Watson, who offended the state’s Guatemalan community earlier this year with an ill-timed joke he had made, has indicated that he has no intent of resigning.

Mr. Watson stated that smoking marijuana is not a lifestyle for him,” said David Quiroa, spokesperson for the Guatemalan American Alliance. “Well, being undocumented is not a lifestyle for many hard-working Rhode Islanders neither. They’re just trying to make things better and better their families. [Watson] is going to lose his effectiveness. He is not going to be effective any more.

A local Rhode Island television station ran the segment calling for Watson’s resignation. Here is a video of that segment:

Watson issued the following statement as a response to Quiroa’s request:

I represent people of the towns of East Greenwich and West Greenwich. I respect the Guatemalan community and their right to their opinion.

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Karma can be cruel.

Rhode Island House Minority Leader Robert A. Watson (R), who went through a controversy earlier this year for a joke that offended the Guatemalan community, was arrested on Good Friday in Connecticut for driving under the influence of alcohol and possession of marijuana.

As reported by the Providence Journal, Watson spoke this week on the floor of the Rhode Island House and admitted that he used marijuana to treat complications from pancreatitis. Watson was hospitalized last November for this illness. In addition, Watson claimed that he did not fail any sobriety tests when East Haven, CT police pulled him over on April 22.

The ProJo recorded Watson speaking to his colleagues and posted the video on its website. You can see Watson’s entire speech below.

As the newspaper reports,

Watson, R-East Greenwich, said he took a small amount of the drug with him when he went to Connecticut that day to help a friend move because he had had a pancreatic attack the day before, and wanted the drug handy if he had another severe one.

“I confess I did treat with marijuana on one of those rare occasions where I had that debilitating pain that literally had me flat on my back and wondering at what point do I decide an ambulance comes and takes me away. And I’ve got to confess it worked. It provided relief. And it alleviated the pain.”

“I didn’t smoke marijuana that day because I didn’t suffer a relapse,” he said of the Friday of his arrest.

But he acknowledged that he is not among the 3,428 Rhode Islanders legally authorized to use marijuana under the state’s medical-marijuana program because he feared his personal medical information would somehow leak out of the state Department of Health.

Watson also addressed issues with his arrest and hinted that the East Haven police acted improperly.

“I wish there had been cameras there. I wish it wasn’t just my word against the police,” he said. But “I deny that I failed any of the sobriety tests.”

The East Haven police did not respond to a request for comment, but a dispatcher confirmed that none of the community’s police cruisers are equipped with cameras.

Rhode Island State Rep. Robert A. Watson

Finally, after Watson’s speech, many of his colleagues, who previously voted to keep Watson in office, gave him a standing ovation.

House Speaker Gordon D. Fox, with whom Watson has often sparred, said afterward: “You saw how difficult that was for him. This is a time to say, ‘Let him deal with his issues. Politics has no role to play in this, and we’ll see what happens’… I feel for him on a human level.”

Asked if he accepted Watson’s medical explanation for his unauthorized use of marijuana, Fox said: “It is not my duty to judge whether it is believable or not.”

Rep. Michael J. Marcello, D-Scituate, was not among those who stood to applaud Watson after his speech. A lawyer, Marcello said: “It is more appropriate that this plays out in a courtroom, not this room.”

Rep. Roberto DaSilva, D-East Providence, did applaud.

A Pawtucket police lieutenant, DaSilva took some offense to Watson’s characterization of what the Connecticut police did that night. “I was not there. But there are two sides to every story,” he said in an interview after Watson’s speech.

But, “A lot of what he said here makes a lot of sense. He has a medical condition that he’ll have to deal with. His constituents will judge him on his actions and decide if they want to return him here, and his colleagues have given him a vote of support,” DaSilva said.

Watson is schedule to appear in a New Haven court on May 11. Initiall, according to the ProJo, Watson had denied the events the Monday after Easter, but on Tuesday, he began to reveal more details.

“Well I encountered that event … confident that I was neither intoxicated or under the influence,” he said. “The police asked me had I been drinking. I was open and honest as I always believed that you should be with police. I told them yes, I had several drinks at dinner, which is true.

“They asked me where I had been. They asked me where I was heading. They asked me for my license … [and while] I was retrieving my license, another officer took note of the legislative ID card in my wallet and wanted to know what it was, and I informed him. Well, I am a legislator.

“It seemed from that moment on, the whole dynamic changed. It appeared that the police suddenly became ‘agendized.’ I was ordered to park my car and exit the vehicle. I was immediately told that I would have to submit to a field sobriety test. … I complied with every request asked of me.”

“I was asked to submit to a Breathalyzer test. I complied because I was not intoxicated. I was not under the influence. I took the test. And, it came in well below the legal limit. It came in at 0.05, consistent with somebody that just had several drinks at dinner, well below the legal limit to operate a vehicle.”

Watson said the depiction of him, in the police report, as someone “incapable of standing and incapable of speaking” is “belied by the fact that I was processed and released in an hour… Police do not release intoxicated individuals. They detain them for [their] own personal safety and the safety of the public.”

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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

April 25, 2011

Center for Puerto Rico Equality & Advancement to hold 

Policy Briefing at the U.S. Congress

The Center for Puerto Rico Equality & Advancement (CPREA), an independent and non-partisan policy and education organization that advocates on behalf of civil rights and equality for Puerto Rico, will present its Spring 20ll Status and Economic Policy Briefing Tuesday, May 3rd at the Rayburn Office Building of the U.S. House of Representatives, Room 2237, at 3:00 p.m.  The briefing will include presentations by four panelists followed by a Q&A.

The briefing will focus on the March 2011 Report of the President’s Task Force on Puerto Rico’s Status, which made recommendations to resolve the question of the territory’s future status, regarding Federal programs and the islands; and concerning the insular economy.

Confirmed panelists include: Puerto Rico’s Secretary of State, Kenneth D. McClintock, advisor and counsel on national security and territorial law to the administrations of President’s Reagan and George H.W. Bush, Howard L. Hills; Graduate School of Business of the University of Puerto Rico Professor Carlos A. Colon De Armas; and Democratic National Committee Member Andres W. Lopez.  The moderator will be Jeffrey L. Farrow, coordinator of policy regarding Puerto Rico and other territories in Clinton and Carter White Houses and former Staff Director of the U.S. House of Representatives subcommittee on territories issues.

In the evening, the law firm of Akin/Gump will host a reception and fundraiser for CPREA.

CPREA President Rafael Rodriguez said in announcing the briefing that, “As we seek to deal with Puerto Rico’s territorial status and economy, it is important that we lay out a path to attain true equal social/economic equality for the 3.7 million U.S. citizens of the islands. While staying true to our central message of Civil Rights and Equality for Puerto Rico, this status and economic policy discussion will strongly argue why Puerto Rico’s territorial status is in the way of economic growth and potential, and why there can be no parity without equality.”

The Center for Puerto Rico Equality & Advancement (CPREA) is committed to advancing a bold, innovative course of policy analysis, education, and action aimed at empowering the people of Puerto Rico to attain their full rights – and discharge their full responsibilities – as citizens of the United States of America.

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Here is what the pro-statehood Center for Puerto Rico Equality and Advancement (CPREA) had to say about President Obama’s Task Force on Puerto Rico’s Status report.

As the Report of the President’s Task Force on Puerto Rico’s Status makes clear once again, democracy at the national government level and full equality under the American flag is only achievable through statehood. Polls in Puerto Rico have shown pretty consistent growth in support for statehood. The 2008 elections gave Puerto Rico’s elected officials a mandate to enable a status choice that will lead to an end of the colonial status. It is time for that choice.

The Report of the President’s Task Force is detailed and comprehensive. It lays out many possible processes for resolving the question of the territory’s status. Most important, it should put an end to the debate about whether “Commonwealth” must be a territory status. The Obama Task Force agreed with past Federal administrations of both national political parties that under “Commonwealth” Puerto Rico remains subject to the broad authority of the Federal government—in which Puerto Rico has no votes—to govern unincorporated territories as it sees fit, limited only by the fundamental rights of individuals, and that Puerto Rico would remain subject to this authority under any “Commonwealth” arrangement.

The Popular Democratic Party’s dream of an “enhanced Commonwealth status,” one that would be permanent and end Federal territory governing authority is simply unachievable.

The leaders of the PPD need to decide if they want a Puerto Rico to continue as a territory without votes in its national government and equality for Puerto Ricans with other U.S. citizens or the territory should have the democracy, equality, and dignity that is only possible through nationhood or statehood – with statehood being the only status that offers this under the U.S. flag.

The Center for Puerto Rico Equality and Advancement (CPREA) calls upon the leaders of the PPD to accept the realities of the status options, stop trying to misinterpret the Report of the President’s Task Force to confuse people about its plain meaning, give up making impossible status proposals that delay resolution of the issue, and stop trying to impede the people of Puerto Rico from choosing their preference among possible statuses.

CPREA applauds the Task Force report for dissipating fears concerning Puerto Rico’s language and culture. As in other states of our union, Puerto Rico’s culture, language, and identity under statehood would be a part of the fabric that has made our Nation great. English would continue to play the same important role in Puerto Rico as it does today.

The Report of the Task Force should lead to a growth in the ranks of the statehood movement by burying myths about the status options as loyal American Puerto Ricans who have been misled by the PPD realize that the only way to obtain full democracy, equality, and security and, at the same time, to continue to enjoy our rich linguistic and cultural heritage is through statehood. This should lead to a majority of Puerto Ricans choosing statehood in a choice among real status options.

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In response to what appears to have been a very public airing of dirty laundry among major Latino social media organizations, Hispanicize also issued a statement to clarify their views about recent developments that led to accusations of unprofessional behavior.

We don’t have all the details and in fact, we don’t care why this occurred, but we do believe the following: ATTACKING AND ACCUSING among similar online groups serves no purpose. It creates an atmosphere of division, jealousy, anger, and frustration. Social media is not about competition and ego-blasting, it is about sharing, caring, supporting, mentoring, and humility. Those are the principles we should be sharing in all instances.

Here is their statement, which posted on their blog today:

Collaboration Will Foster Growth of Latino Social Media

BY MANNY RUIZ

It was a bizarre time for us at Hispanicize last week.  Barely days after our Hispanicize 2011 conference, certain people who we do not even know took to personally attacking us, falsely accusing us of having a secret partnership with folks from one social media organization, hating on our friends at BeingLatino and much worse.

Our policy is not to respond to unfounded accusations because we believe the body of our work over almost THREE YEARS speaks for itself: two leading online content platforms covering Latino social media (Hispanicize) and public relations (Hispanic PR Blog) as well as two highly acclaimed national conferences that have pioneered the Latino social media space.

Other organizations have clarified their position so our industry friends have recommended that we make our own clarifications:

Hispanicize will not condone, support or even retweet any public attacks against other organizations, individuals or companies.  A lot of Latino organizations and people get attacked online all the time but as a matter of principle we do not repost, rebroadcast or retweet anything about them because that’s the same as creating or supporting those things being published.  As an industry colleague wrote recently, shame on those who stir divisions.

Despite being a for-profit, Hispanicize we will not waver in our commitment to Latino bloggers and social media marketing professionals.  As our own conference modeled for the world recently, we will continue to build online and offline forums for collaboration and unity in this growing space and we will continue to provide these communities with countless free, professional development services because these tools are needed.  This belief is what compels us to produce the annual Hispanic Social Media Guide, the yearlong Latino Blogger Training Series and the Hispanic Social Media Insights Webinars series, among other things.

Hispanicize will continue to provide thought leadership content that helps propel ALL Latina and Latino bloggers forward regardless of whether they blog for personal, private or business gain.  We do this because we are passionately committed to helping ALL Latino bloggers – English and Spanish-language – succeed as citizen voices.

Despite being a for-profit, Hispanicize will also continue to provide the Latino community organizations with in-depth initiatives that serve and empower them.  Our national Latino Social Media For Social Good program, for example, provides unprecedented full day communications and social media training to non-profits serving Latino communities in eight major cities starting in June.  This major initiative is foundational to who we are and what we will continue to be.

Manny Ruiz

Hispanicize will not shy from our commitment to provide marketers with the facts and resources they need to make informed decisions about Latino social media.  We do not pretend for one second to have all the answers but we won’t allow that to stop us from examining the issues and trends that impact Latino social media.

The Latino social media space is maturing and will mature.  People have suggested that one party or another has preposteriously claimed they “own” this space.  I hadn’t heard that until recently but what’s interesting is that we have deliberately it seems to me that if our recent conference didn’t promote unity, collaboration and partnership in our community in the fullest way possible with many of the leading social media voices in attendance in one place at one time, nothing else can.

One last thought – Hispanicize is growing and evolving so don’t put us in a box.  We will continue to change and we will try new and innovative things.  Some will succeed and others won’t.  Hispanicize doesn’t have the corner on the best ideas by a long shot but we will put big ideas in motion and we will collaborate with many of you along the way.  In this long and ongoing process, we hope you will judge us by the fruit of our labor.

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