Monthly Archives: October 2011



For one of the nation’s most famous billionaires, Steve Jobs kept a low profile as a charitable donor.

Unlike fellow tech leaders Bill Gates and Mark Zuckerberg of Facebook, he did not sign the Giving Pledge, the effort under which the nation’s richest individuals commit to giving at least half their wealth to philanthropy.

His name is absent from the list of gifts of $1 million or more maintained by Indiana University’s Center on Philanthropy.

And it wasn’t until after an unflattering media report about Jobs on the subject over the summer, that Apple in September initiated a “matching gifts” program, under which donations to philanthropies made by employees are matched by the company.

Now what will happen to Jobs’s fortune — Forbes has estimated his net worth at $8.3 billion — is a matter of speculation that is provoking discussion both about Jobs and the societal obligations of the very rich.
The most recent round of debate began after the New York Times published an unflattering piece in August, stating “there is no public record of Mr. Jobs giving money to charity. . . . Nor is there a hospital wing or an academic building with his name on it.”

Moreover, Jobs had closed Apple’s philanthropic programs when he returned to the company in 1997 and never reinstated them despite $14 billion in profit last year, the Times reported.

“Many other innovative companies have found ways to apply their ingenuity and resources to helping society,” Vincent Stehle, a longtime grantmaker in nonprofit technology circles and a columnist for the Chronicle of Philanthropy, said Thursday. “It was a little disappointing not to see Apple at the table.”

But Jobs supporters note that the bulk of his contributions to society may reside in the quality and innovation of Apple’s products. They also pointed out ways that Jobs and Apple have been charitable.
Bono, U2’s lead singer and a noted activist, quickly responded to the Times piece, writing that “Apple’s contribution to our fight against AIDS in Africa has been invaluable.”

The company had given “tens of millions of dollars that have transformed the lives of more than two million Africans through H.I.V. testing, treatment and counseling. This is serious and significant. And Apple’s involvement has encouraged other companies to step up,” Bono wrote. “Just because he’s been extremely busy, that doesn’t mean that he and his wife, Laurene, have not been thinking about these things.”
Jobs’s supporters say it also may be impossible to know from public records what he gave away because he could have requested anonymity. Indeed, his plans for the rest of his wealth may not be known until well after his death.

The fact that he doesn’t appear on lists of public giving “doesn’t necessarily mean that he’s not giving generously,” said Adriene Davis of Indiana University’s Center on Philanthropy, which tracks such gifts.
What may partly explain Jobs’s absence from the donor rolls is that he was so busy with his company.
Jobs’s most direct effort at philanthropy was when he set up the Steven P. Jobs Foundation, shortly after he was forced out of Apple in 1985. To run that effort, he hired Mark Vermilion, who first spent time at Humanitas International, a charity founded by Joan Baez, and then headed Apple’s community efforts, which began when Vermilion proposed the company give away computers to nonprofits.

Jobs wanted his foundation to focus on nutrition and vegetarianism. Vermilion favored programs that promoted social entre­pre­neur­ship. But then Jobs got tied up building another company called NeXT and the foundation shut down.

“I said, ‘You really need to spend some time on this’ and he said ‘I can’t right now,’ ” Vermilion said. “I really don’t blame Steve. I think I could have done a better job on selling him on my idea or I should have done his idea.”

Had Jobs, who died at 56, lived longer, he might have gotten around to more public charities, Vermilion said, but because he was a perfectionist, he would have needed to devote a lot of his scarce time to it.

“He’s gotten a lot of criticism for not giving away tons of money,” Vermilion said. “But I think it’s a bum rap. There’s only so many hours in a week, and he created so many incredible products. He really contributed to culture and society.”


Make sure you tune in to the Dr. Drew Show on ABC this Tuesday at 3pm.  Houston’s own Kathryn Griffin Townsend will be making an appearance on the show.  This is not Townsend’s first rodeo.  You’ll recall she made an appearance on the Steve Wilkos show earlier this year.  Griffin has become so popular that plans are in the works to create a television show around her.  The Insite hears Townsend will begin shooting a pilot for a show this month.  Details are still being worked out so stay tuned to the Insite.  Also, don’t forget to watch her on the Dr. Drew Show this Tuesday at 3pm!


Last year the King Street Patriots were in charge of poling sites as part of the Republican party.  This year the Democrats will be in charge.  As a result the Harris County Attorney’s Office is training the Democrats to ensure a smooth transition.  As you may remember last year several people complained about Republicans at the polls.  Terry O’Rouke with the County Attorney’s Office says he’s hoping for a smooth transition this year without irregularities and complaints.  Early voting begins Monday in Houston!


Early elections began today in Harris County.  As a preview to the election process county officials made the Insite aware of last year’s controversy at at the polls.  On the Insite we reported the King Street Patriots played a pivotal role at the polls last year.  Their representative took up my offer to give the public a clear idea of what the organizations role is and will be.  Here is the comments and statement from the King Street Patriots here in Houston.  And remember if you take issue with anything on the Insite make sure you reach out to me like the Patriots did: 


First, the King Street Patriots is an independent non-profit organization.  They are neither part of the Republican Party, nor do they perform tasks on behalf of the Republican Party.  Further, King Street Patriots is a separate entity from True the Vote, the group to which you are most likely referring, albeit with incorrect references. True the Vote is a non-partisan, citizen led initiative to inspire and equip citizens for involvement in election processes. The goal of these entities is to do all we reasonably can to reduce and eliminate voter fraud. We would hope that all reasonable people, and members of both of the major political parties, would be interested in supporting any and all efforts to improve the integrity of our elections.   

Second, the King Street Patriots have never been “in charge” of elections or polling sites. Polling place operations are run by political parties, with hierarchy determined by the outcome of the previous gubernatorial elections. A citizen-led group like King Street Patriots has no authority whatsoever at the polls, nor should it.  The True the Vote initiative provides education and training on polling place procedures, available to any citizen, regardless of party affiliation. Well trained election workers are an essential component of free and fair election processes. 

Third, no political party is in charge of voting.  The County Clerk for Harris County is in charge of running elections, and in that process doing so in conformity with election laws.  Each polling place has election judges who are nominated by the respective political parties.  When one political party is not represented at the election polling place, there are opportunities for fraudulent activities.  Parity between the parties is an essential element of sound polling place operations and is  further ameliorated by the presence of poll watchers.  A poll watcher has no authority other than to make note of an election irregularity, and to in turn call it to the attention of the election judge.

Fourth, you report there were complaints made last year.  That is true, but what you did not report is that all-ALL-of the complaints which were asserted against the poll watchers trained by True the Vote were found to be without merit.  The complaints were invariably made by election officials who were not accustomed to having poll watchers or anyone question their activities and practices. These complaints were all investigated, coming up with nothing about which a legitimate complaint could be made against the King Street Patriots or True the Vote.  

Fifth, the County provides polling place worker training for both parties.    There is no special training or special responsibility for only Democrats in this or any other election.  

We would hope that rather than incorrectly implying that King Street Patriots is somehow a source of controversy that you would instead be willing to report on the great public service provided by True the Vote and the inspirational spirit of volunteerism that compels citizens to get engaged in the administration, protection, and defense of elections. If our elections are not truly fair, we are not truly free.


Brock C. Akers 


Hans Marticiuc

Congratulations to Houston Police officer Hans Marticiuc who’s retiring after 30 years at the Houston Police Department.  Hans may look familiar because at one point he served as President of the police union.  That means he was on television a lot.  Dozens of people showed up to the Houston Police Officers’ Union to say their final good bye to the veteran on the force.  On that list: HPD Police Chief Charles McClelland, Mayor Annise Parker, Gary Blankinship, JJ Berry, Mark Clark, Ray Hunt and many more.  Congratulations Hans and happy retirement!


Congratulations to the FOX 26 morning news team and executive producer Margaret Cordes for their big award nomination.

Margaret Cordes AM Show Executive Producer

The monster 6 hour newscast was nominated for best of the year by the National Academy of Television Arts and Sciences.

If you’re not quite sure what that organization is just think of the golden lady.  The Emmy.

Cordes and her morning staffers will know in November if they’re the big winners when the Emmy awards are announced here in Houston.

KRIV is the only station in Houston nominated in this category.

The event is being held at Warehouse Live where I think there are still tickets available so act fast.

Way to go Margaret and the gang!

FOX 26 Morning News Team:

Jose’ Grinan
Melissa Wilson
Natalie Bomke
Mike Iscovitz
Chris Stipes
Michelle Merhar
Ruben Dominguez
John Donelly
Ford Atkinson
Todd Smith
Harry Hulsey
Xavier Kirts
Raymond Ramirez
Kristi Powers
Kevin Collins
Stuart Brown
Dartagnan Bebel: VP Pres. General Manager
Tom Doerr: News Director
Margaret Cordes: Executive Director 
Floor Directors


Rice’s HERE (Houston Enriches Rice Education) Project will celebrate Wash Allen’s 45 years in broadcasting Oct. 22 at the 2011 HERE Legacy Award ceremony.
The event will be held at 7:30 p.m. in Alice Pratt Brown Hall’s Stude Concert Hall on the Rice University campus, located at 6100 Main St. For directions, go to
Allen began his career as a 14-year-old broadcaster at WDIA Radio in Memphis, Tenn., and went on to major in Speech and Drama at Tennessee State University. He has spent over 45 years in broadcasting, holding several managerial positions at radio stations in Nashville, Tenn., Cleveland, Washington, Detroit and Houston, respectively. He was syndicated on ABC Radio Network for 12 years on the Solid Gold Soul format and has worked on the Houston radio scene at KYOK Radio in 1969 and with KCOH since 1971. Allen became Houston’s first African American TV host with a weekly program called “Talent Unlimited” on KHOU, the local CBS affiliate, from 1971-1974.  
Among the guest speakers at the ceremony are M. Helen Cavazos, president of M. H. Cavazos Associates; Judy Foston, president of Foston International; Anthony Le, president of Double Eight Properties; U. S. Congresswoman Sheila Jackson Lee; Ethel Porter Taylor, former television executive; Michael McCall Allen, Wash Allen’s son; Waverly Nolley, attorney at Waverly R. Nolley & Associates; Karen Carter Richards, CEO and publisher of Houston Forward Times Newspaper; andWilliam Terrell, director of African-American Programming at South Carolina Education Television.


Just when I thought my 15 minutes of fame were up I get a call from a friend.  She tells me to go to Hollywood celebrity Holly Robinson Peete’s page on Facebook.  That’s exactly what I do and I find what that friend was talking about. Apparently, Peete posted one of my old Youtube videos from the 1990’s on her page.  She writes, “I never get tired of him.”  Thanks Holly and I will never ever ever get tired of you either.  That 15 minutes of fame still ticking!


Every time I think I’m rich from that letter in the mail it turns out to be yet another scam.  This time a travel agency said I’ve won my choice of a Mercedes Benz, BMW or a Porsche.  But if I didn’t want the silly cars valued at $50,000 each I could settle for a $1500 shopping spree.  But the options didn’t end there.  I was also given a chance to settle for a 5 day exotic vacation valued at $800.  If this was real what do you think I would choose?  If you get this offer in the mail I advise you to just toss it.  The one thing you should always remember is nothing in life is every free.  And if you still think there is a chance on God’s green earth it could be real then call the Better Business Bureau to check it out.  Also, the quickest and easiest way is to just Google the company.  If it shows scam then run like h*ll!


I think the last time former Houston Mayor Bill White faced so much controversy was several years back.  It’s when his campaign staff approved a political advertisement that placed his head shot in the middle of Dr. Martin Luther King and President Barack Obama.  That ad appeared in an African American publication.  Now, White has upset people again.  This time the Democrat has endorsed a Republican against a sitting City Council Member.  White wrote a letter to the Houston Chronicle expressing his support for Jack Christie over incumbent Jolanda Jones.  Since that letter was published White has been attacked by members of his own political party.  One person was quoted as saying that’s why White couldn’t beat Rick Perry in the Governor’s race because he’s not a true Democrat.  White still stands behind his endorsement!


PRESS RELEASE: Saks Fifth Avenue OFF 5TH announced today a new store will be opening at The Market at Town Center in Sugar Land, Texas on October 20, 2011. The new store will replace the previous location at The Fountains on the Lake, which closed on October 15, 2011.

The store includes a successful new design that has redefined and elevated the outlet experience. The 25,000 square foot OFF 5TH store will follow Saks Fifth Avenue OFF 5TH’s innovative ‘luxury in a loft’ design that debuted in 2008. The new concept has been very well received since its launch and has set a new standard for outlet shopping with its modern and uncluttered layout.

“We are thrilled to be relocating to The Market at Town Center,” noted Robert Wallstrom, President of Saks Fifth Avenue OFF 5TH. “The new Sugar Land location will offer an impressive array of the best designer names in sportswear, handbags, shoes and more. The store will also feature an expanded assortment of fine jewelry and a newly launched beauty department.”

The Market at Town Center is conveniently situated 20 miles southwest of downtown Houston. The new store is approximately 4.1 miles from the previous location at The Fountains on the Lake. The Sugar Land location is one of three Saks Fifth Avenue OFF 5TH stores in the Houston marketplace, including the Houston Premium Outlets, Cypress Texas and Katy Mills, Katy Texas. There are a total of seven Saks Fifth Avenue OFF 5TH stores in the state of Texas.

To celebrate the opening, The Market at Town Center OFF 5TH store will host a variety of festivities with special customer incentives. Throughout the opening weekend, customers will enjoy a complimentary tote with any $50 purchase and receive FashCash cards when joining More! Rewards (a free discount program).

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