Affordable Housing Awareness Week April 23rd – 28th

This week marks Affordable Housing Awareness Week. Over the next week, 15 local non-profit housing organizations are working together to address safe and affordable housing in Richmond, not only in bringing awareness to the issue but to encourage area professionals to get involved with groups that support these causes.

One of the events this week is a blogger luncheon hosted by H.O.M.E. (Housing Opportunities Made Equal) and featuring a panel of some well known area bloggers (and me). The panel will discuss how housing is connected to jobs, transportation, education and entrepreneurship. The event is open to the public but RSVPs are required to attend. If you’re in the area, please join us Tuesday at noon in downtown Richmond.

If you can’t attend, you can still help. While the panel will address many issues and angles that impact housing, you can offer your thoughts on a couple questions and I’ll work to incorporate them into the discussion. All thoughts are welcome as this is a topic relevant not just to Richmond or only one side of the political spectrum. The more voices we can include in the conversation, the more we’ll have to work with to help find solutions.

1) How can we help the market be more responsive to housing needs?

2) Housing, jobs and transportation are very inter-related. What do we need to look at in terms of aligning these three?

From The Archives 4/16

As I rebuild J’s Notes I’m picking up pieces of the old site and putting them back on here. It’s going to be a long process (11+ years of material, some years busier than others) but it’s kinda nice to go back and see what I used to talk about. It’ll probably get weirder the further back I go, but there are a few gems in here.

In 2009 it seems I had a lot to say about newspapers and the mainstream media (as one might call it)

The Washington Post is Afraid of Change (3/1/09)

Newspapers: Adapt Or Die (3/2/09)

Fair Use, Fair Game (4/13/09)

The Buzz Bin: Newspapers Are Like Department Stores (5/8/09)

Sensationalist Headlines and Chicken/Egg Arguments (9/21/09)

June 4, 2009 marked the 20th anniversary of the Tiananmen Square Protests which got me to go off with my limited knowledge of Chinese history.

In the wake of the BP oil spill in June, 2010 I went off on how the gamification of social media isn’t exactly the best public relations push in all cases.

And a post written in August, 2007 that for some reason never got posted until July, 2010 still rings somewhat true when talking about where the Right of Center political movement stands online, though we’ve certainly come a long way through the years.

Then there was my whole bit about how James O’Keefe was doing it wrong when he tried to “punk” a CNN anchor on a boat.

More to come as I rebuild.

Facebook Users In Richmond UPDATED

In the process of rebuilding J’s Notes I’m digging through the past and figuring out what brilliant thoughts remain brilliant and what thoughts are best left in the past.

One post that made the cut is a February, 2009 bit that gave a breakdown of Facebook users in Richmond. While it wasn’t so long ago, it wasn’t until April of that year that Facebook would break 200 million active users. By September, 2011 that number would quadruple to over 800 million active users.

So three years later, how does Richmond measure up?

Using the Facebook Ads Creator you can get an interesting snapshot about Facebook users in your area. It’s not an exact science and comparing numbers from today to three years ago is a bit misleading due to the growth of Facebook leading to an increase in the number of cities in Facebook’s database (for example: in Feb 2009 you couldn’t say you were from Fredericksburg, VA – you had to choose either Richmond or Washington, maybe a NOVA locality) and other factors at play. But it’s still a fun exercise with numbers.

2/2009 4/2012
Total Facebook Users In Virginia: 1,794,480 3,899,660
Facebook Users In Richmond: 193,240 350,900
13-17 – 18,620 21,940
18-25 – 76,820 97,080
26-35 – 50,580 91,580
36+ – 43,320 140,260
Male – 77,690 156,640
Female – 108,520 190,480
In High School – 18,780 8,300
In College – 31,960 19,940
  • VCU –
17,300 8,220 (11,360)
  • University of Richmond –
2,640 1,480 (2,420)
  • Virginia Union –
80 620 (1,140)
  • Virginia State –
360 320 (3,640)
College Grad – 22,800 134,520
Relationship Status
Single – 50,800 77,220
In A Relationship – 33,500 45,060
Engaged – 6,140 10,000
Married – 52,300 97,840

For Colleges, the numbers in the brackets are all Facebook users in the US who are listed as currently attending.

So what can we see here? Well, for starters, Richmond Facebook users are absolutely following the overall trend of having gotten older over the years. Facebook’s growth with the over 35 users certainly can’t be overstated and was clearly visible nationally mere months after I ran the February, 2009 numbers.

Gender numbers appear to be the combination of growth and a change in what information Facebook requires of users.

The shrinking college numbers could just be a shift in how Facebook is used. In 2/09 Facebook was still primarily a college playground and identifying yourself with your school at the time you were there was an integral part of the experience. As it has grown and become more public, keeping tabs on exactly when you are enrolled in what school is less important. Simply list the college in your profile, leave the graduation date for later.

Relationship status appears to just be natural growth: as the audience is larger and older, more relationships and marriages.

If you wanted you could keep breaking these numbers down and find out exactly how many people with particular interests were in the area. Anyone who’s tried to do targeted advertising on Facebook has already played with this. But anyone wanting to just see some numbers because they’re a total nerd like myself might have some fun with this as well.

Everything Old Is New Again

Hey, where’s J’s Notes?

Here it is! Kinda. See, J’s Notes got to be kinda a mess. Not just because it had over ten years (serving up some J~ since 2001!) of junk but because at some point in the past it’d been hacked, attacked, and otherwise just messed up with pharma bots, spam bots, skynet bots and just any bot you can name. It was like a magnet for bots. I blame the coolness. It was just too cool for the internet.

All of that said, having such a mess of a backend that required clean-up was as good an excuse as any to just say fine, let’s reboot this baby and sally forth!

The old stuff isn’t completely gone. It’s tucked away in the database, waiting for me to dust it off and dig up the most interesting thoughts I’ve had through the years and re-release them as still interesting and amazing posts.

So I guess saying “pardon the dust” would be an understatement. More like “pardon the ruins.” But no worries, the amazing thoughts of J~ will be back one way or another. And hopefully for the better!

Jason’s Brilliant New Social Network: Jasonverse

Filing this under “brilliant ideas I’m going to trademark but never develop because I’m broke”:


Yes! You need ONE MORE! Or three more. Hear me out!

I call it Jasonverse. For lack of a better working title.

Think WritersCafe/YouTube/Flickr meets Foursquare meets Klout. You post a story/video/picture and share with your friends and the world. As you post you earn points and badges and the like. But you also earn actual physical REWARDS. For example:

“Congrats on posting your first story. Download Jason Kenney’s ’10 ways to edit your story to wow someone’s pants off’ for free! Normally a $1,000 value!”


“Congrats on posting your fifth sci-fi video. Take your pick of one of the following sound effects to use in your next project! Normally a $10 value.”

Stuff like that. Give people REAL rewards for sharing content. And build it up. The more they add, the bigger the rewards:

“Congrats on sharing your 70,000th word! That’s enough writin’ to make a book! Publish through Lulu and your proof copy is FREE! Normally a value of up to $25″


“Wow, that’s a lotta movies you’ve shared. 100?!?!!! Crazy! Here, use Adobe Movie Awesomeness to make your 101st! FREE! Normally an astronomical value.”

Work with sponsors who are willing to give away tastes of their stuff and sneak in upsells:

“Like this sound effect? Buy the package for only $25. Special deal for Jasonverse members only!”

Yeah, there are still badges to put all over the site to show your awesomeness. But the more you use the site, the more you get to help hone your craft, whether it’s filming or photography or writing.

Then include an evil ToS that makes all the results my property and make TENS OF DOLLARS ON THE RESULTS! MWA HA HA HA HA HA!!!!

But, yes, brilliant idea. I’m seeking venture capital starting NOW.

He’s On A Boat (Or How James O’Keefe Didn’t Do It Right)

So it seems James O’Keefe got busted trying to “punk” CNN by attempting to seduce anchor Abbie Boudreau with some sort of elaborate ruse involving fruit, sex toys, and a boat.


He’s on a boat!

Oh, where to begin on the absurdity. The plan itself is just full of issues left and right, reading like a Mary Sue CNN fanfic where everything will go so exactly to plan and the liberal media empire will crumble at their might.

But at its core O’Keefe’s largest issue isn’t the need for a bigger boat but the characters involved.


Exhibit A: James O’Keefe


Exhibit B: Way out of Exhibit A’s league

The idea that, one, the liberal media was sending attractive reporters after him to seduce him is hilarious. And well played, CNN. But that the tables might be turned, well, c’mon, really?

Besides, the idea is so crazy that there’s absolutely no way Bourdreau or CNN could possibly fall for this. I mean, we’re talking about the kid that pretended to be a pimp and brought down ACORN in the process. Been there, done that, were there t-shirts?

It was juvenile.

It was disgusting.

It wasn’t nearly as good as my idea.

You see, about a year back I presented Bearing Drift Head Poo Bah Jim Hoeft with a BRILLIANT idea to not only expose the liberal media as a bunch of hacks but also get so much attention for Bearing Drift and myself that it’d just be crazy delicious all up in here!

CNN Caper

Getting CNN to report on a fake story and then spoof them the same day


Jason, Jim, Brian

Technical people needed:
Photographer, stenographer, Thomas Kincaid, Kitty Kelly

Written by:
Jason S. Kenney Esq.

The idea was pretty straight forward.

Bearing Drift would invite CNN reporter Abbie Boudreau to a secluded getaway to have a one-on-one meeting with me. The idea would be that we’d discuss matters of the day and I’d be pretending to be crazy and right wing and she’d use her powers of Liberal Bias to spin me into some sort of right wing monster and utterly destroy me and Bearing Drift with it.

Well, once Ms. Boudreau arrived, a dastardly villain would smash through the window and kidnap her!


Psst… It’s really Jim!

This evil villain would spout off socialist and communist rhetoric and pretty much make himself out to be a left wing nut (it’s a set-up, you see…) as he tied Ms. Boudreau up and left her lying on train tracks where the 4 o’clock Roanoke Express was always on time!

Knowing how these things usually ended up, evil villain would have his henchman watch over our helpless captive to ensure the full evil plan came to effect. Really it would be Brian Kirwin making sure she didn’t get away so the best part of the plan could happen.

You see, cause right as the train was sounding in the distance I’d show up with a broadsword and no shirt and do battle with evil villain henchman. Through the genius placement of my sword between Brian’s torso and arm and timely pressure on ketchup packets, the henchman would appear to be slain and I would rescue Ms. Boudreau before the train arrived. I’d be her hero and she’d fall madly in love with me.

Saving the day would then lead to an amazing CNN story about this heroic hero who also happened to be a Republican! Lefty heads would just explode! My awesomeness would change minds because anything Jason Kenney is associated with would automatically be more awesome than the alternative. People would flock to the Republican Party. The GOP would have a 434 seat majority in Congress come November. Rocky Road would sell out everywhere!


More awesome than other ice creams

CNN would suddenly realize the error of being part of the evil liberal media empire and rebrand itself. Anderson Cooper would even become the president of my fan club.


Answer: Very.

I’d be invited to appear on Rush, Beck, Hannity and even Maddow would want to talk to me to bask in my greatness. People would ask about the day and what happened after and I’d talk about how Ms. Boudreau and I are happily married and expecting twins.


Jason Jr. and Jason Jr. II

World peace would be achieved in our lifetime and everyone would life happily ever after.

Unfortunately Jim nixed it.


Never gonna happen now. Thanks, Jim…

So the liberal media continues to exist and I will not be a hero of the right. Yet. But I’m not done with absurd ideas. I’ve got bunches of them. Now I just need a boat to do them on.

I wonder if James will lend me his…

Media Holdouts In The Digital Age

The Economist writes about media’s analogue holdouts and how they may be missing out on some awesome digital benefits:

They have some good reasons. Online advertising is worth much less than television or print advertising. It is hard to persuade people to pay much (if anything) for digital content. Technology firms such as Amazon and Apple can often set retail prices. Digital products can be less beautiful than physical ones.

But such gripes are widespread in the media industry. They must be set against the fact that digital distribution is a low-cost way of reaching huge audiences. What is more, refusing to go online is a sure way to alienate many potential customers. So why do the analogue holdouts hold out?

It comes down to different strokes for different folks.

While an online presence may be “low-cost” in the overall scheme of things, cheaper than print, cheaper than smoke signals, etc, it still is a cost. You have to pay for the site and someone to maintain it, not just posting new content but policing any interactive areas. When ad revenue from websites is so much less than print, a firm has to decide if it can at the very least pay for itself but that comes after an initial investment that may not be worth the effort.

Beyond that, if you’re providing a product that is dependent upon sales in order to remain in operation, why are you doing to give it away online? This mainly applies to specialty products, niche targeted items that don’t provide services easily found elsewhere. Washington Post can’t afford to fall behind New York Times online in regards to its national coverage, but a women’s weekly magazine with a solid subscriber base can keep itself merely focused on print as long as it provides quality content unavailable elsewhere. Giving it away online in the hopes that someone will then decide to subscribe to the print (as the article suggests) is a frightening prospect when most companies would fear losing a number of already existing subscriptions to their now free online service.

Beyond news, the article suggests the Beatles could really benefit from a digital catalog and that whoever convinces them to do it will make a boatload of money. While true, the Beatles aren’t hurting for money or sales of the physical copies of their music. Here you’re talking about a brand that is so hugely popular that it has no need to go digital in order to reach masses it might not otherwise. Every music store carries the Beatles catalog and any number of “best of” compilations to saturate the market. If someone wakes up at 2 a.m. in a cold sweat because they just HAVE to hear Come Together or they’ll never sleep again, Walmart is right around the corner with three different CDs to choose from.

The internet is hardly one size fits all and not all people absolutely have to be in a rush to get online and digitize their content that they’d otherwise charge for. There’s a reason newspapers are flipping out over how to make money. In their rush to be ahead of the digital curve they completely removed their at one time profit base and helped breed a society now used to getting the news for free. To suggest others need to rush to do the same is drinking the digital Kool Aid without first having it pass the sniff test.

A post about a Washington Post column that mentions Lady Gaga but not Justin Beiber found via

Interesting column from Gene Weingarten about how the new newsroom is different than the old and, in particular, the impact it has on headlines:

The only really creative opportunity copy editors had was writing headlines, and they took it seriously. This gave the American press some brilliant and memorable moments, including this one, when the Senate failed to convict President Clinton: CLOSE BUT NO CIGAR; and this one, when a meteor missed Earth: KISS YOUR ASTEROID GOODBYE. There were also memorably wonderful flops, like the famous one on a food story about home canning: YOU CAN PUT PICKLES UP YOURSELF.

Newspapers still have headlines, of course, but they don’t seem to strive for greatness or to risk flopping anymore, because editors know that when the stories arrive on the Web, even the best headlines will be changed to something dull but utilitarian. That’s because, on the Web, headlines aren’t designed to catch readers’ eyes. They are designed for “search engine optimization,” meaning that readers who are looking for information about something will find the story, giving the newspaper a coveted “eyeball.” Putting well-known names in headlines is considered shrewd, even if creativity suffers.

Headlines now have to not only boost SEO but summarize the article well enough to capture the reader. Creative titles that don’t practically tell the whole story are passed over. For some this is a challenge to get even more creative with headlines (see Skywalkers In Korea Cross Han Solo), but 9 times out of 10 it just leads to laziness. (via Kottke)

Twitter Users More Likely To Be Active Offline

According to a survey by MRI, Twitter users are not only more active online than average adults but are more than twice as likely to be active in their communities offline:

The survey finds that Twitter users score high on all dimensions of public activity. They are 209% more likely to have written something that’s been published than the average American, 142% more likely to participate in political or environmental causes, 141% more likely to be part of a lobbyist group or similar organization, and 103% more likely to have attended a political rally or even in the past twelve months.

The idea isn’t that far fetched. People who use social media services like Twitter or maintain a blog usually have an opinion they’re trying to express relevant to whatever community they fit themselves into. Whether politics, technology, social justice, or PTA, clearly these people have a dog in whatever race they’re advocating. But it does also lead to a chicken and egg consideration: did Twitter or social media lead to them becoming more socially active or did the activity lead them to Twitter?