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Thursday, December 31, 2009

Turn Up the Volume: The Loudness Wars

Christopher Clark graphed the peak levels of and RMS levels of three hit songs a year over the past three decades. This image links to a PDF of his full poster, "A Visual History Of Loudness."

Sometimes a picture is worth a thousand words, but in this case A You Tube Video illustrates it best...that today music producers amatures and consumers seem to demand your value loud over quality, fidelity and emotional meaning of the music you listen to.

Your music is getting louder, as songs compete to be noticed or heard, and ear drums become increasingly deaf, or at least sensativity to quality decreases. This is the result of several studies, that show the children and grand children of the Baby Boomers continued the process of audio self destruction.

In the process, using audio engineering measurements, the fidelity and quality of the music is decreasing, particurally with Mpeg reproduction.

This weekend National Public Radio talkes  a look at "The Loudness Wars: Why Music Sounds Worse."

This is not new. It began with the terrible, by today's standards, fidelity of AM Radio and how music had to be pumped up to attract an audience. 45's were also at fault (explained in the link). But as FM took over, and sound studios went digital, many if not most of those tunes were remastered for CD and the optimum FM fidelity, so most of us remember the music as sounding better than it did.

Today, even FM is at fault, with optimizers designed to crush and amplify sound for maximum braodcast area penetration, in distance and to overcome localized distortions or sound. Add that their listeners demand loud and pounding bass and exagerated experiences.

The sound on dance floors is many times louder, and much harder driven, than a decade ago, much less thirty or fourty years ago as the Babyboomers remember it. Most clubs are not built for acoustic fidelity, they are built for volume.

Doctors will easily confirm that volume, hard driving bass and distortion all contribute to overall hearing loss, as well as other potential conditions.

So, do you like your music loud?

Do you care about the music itself?

Do you see anything wrong with pushing ear drums to the maximum?

What can we do, as a society, to bring back some sanity?

Please read and contribute to my blogs

A reminder to check out and respond to my other blogs at ,,, , and

To submit a guest posting, or a personal commentary, send your material to

Your participation is welcome and appreciated.

-Art Lynch

Counting Blessings

Winston is our part wolf hound. He was Laura's mothers dog up until she passed away. On day Laura' sister shows up at our rented townhome and said, "here he is." This resulted in us moving to a house with a small yard in Boulder City. he is still with us but the carpet has been replaced with wood,

Winston had been with other dogs his whole life, so while on a visit to the pet store he picked out Mimi. She is an Australian Cattle Dog, and yes her eyes are different colors. An adoption agency out of Pahrump was looking for homes. She was a runner and an escape artists. One day Boulder City Animal Control called us and told us "your dogs are over by the Church on Adams past the schools, do you want to pick them up or sould I?" Winston never trusted her again and stayed close to home. While both are up there in age they still live with us in our little 1932 Dam house in BC.

My wife Laura is a social worker. She works with groups on mental health, aids those with daycare disabilities and is on call for the Emergency Room at Boulder City hospital. She has worked at the Lied Discovery Children's Museum, for local advertising agencies and at the Clark Country Jail. In every job she helps others selflessly. I am very proud of her and very blessed to have her in my life.

I have two step daughers, Beth and Ann, and six grandchildren. I know, too young, but at the holidays that does not seem to matter.

-Art Lynch

Topic Ideas from 2009 Year in Review Lists

Look back at 2009 and you will be able to build a long list of potential topics to use in COM 101 or any other college course. To help you out, a totally random list of year end links follows. There are many others (google, BING or simply dig out old magazines or newspapers to find your own sources of lists). If you have trouble thinking of what to write or talk about, let these be a springboard.

And what is on your own persona 2009 year in review list?

The Huffington Post has a two part lists of things Ariana would like to forget about 2009 including Myley Cyrus, poll dancer, and the infamous beer summit. Bob Frankin has his own take on the year in that on-line liberal leaning publication as well.

On the comedy side, one of the best, traditionally printed in the Review Journal before ink got so expensive, is Miami Harold and internationally syndicated columist Dave Barry's look back at the year (there was a TV show with a fictious Barry as its center a few years back).

Laughing Squid has its take.

Political Cartoonist have several year in review sites.

Gay and Lesbian sites have theirs.

YouTube has many different 2009 Year in Review features.

Skateboarding, golf, universal sports, video games,

Yahoo has a full graphic section looking back at 2009.

Apple has its own, on sevearal sites. 

The public relations and publicity industries have theirs.

A cool web site from Ohio State (why can't CSN do this?).


Politico, FeePress, Just News, JZ Net, StuntDouble, social web sites, virtual events, for the deal,

NASA, Scientists, Convenience Store Owners (Oh, thank heaver for 7-11, hot to go!), Beer Makers, mobile phone companies, psychologist and mental health profesisonals,

Cities have theirs including Chicago, Buffalo, Ft Wayne,

Other geographies and points of view from states, with California leading the list. Washington DC comes a close second, followed by New York, because the news media is focused in those three areas.

So, what tops your list of events for 2009?

What are your top ten events in your life?

How did 2009 impact you?

After 65 years of growth, Nevada is shrinking/ Las Vegas is not in recovery

Justin M. Bowen

For the first time since WWII, Nevada is seeing a decline in population. That's 65 years of growth, often in fast spirts. Reno and Sparks up north, Las Vegas, North Las Vegas and Henderson in the south, experienced multiple massive growth spurts over the last six and a half decades. Now, for at least for the next two to ten years, that trend seems to have reversed itself.

A report issued Tuesday shows Las Vegas’ real estate market continues to be among the weakest in the country.

Edited from Las Vegas Su. Full story at:

Las Vegas-area home prices continued to fall through October and among big U.S. cities, Las Vegas "remains the one market that has not seen a glimmer of hope so far this year."

That's according to the closely-followed Standard & Poor's/Case-Shiller Home Price Indices, which were issued today and found that nationwide, the annual rate of decline in home prices improved compared to the September report.

But with Las Vegas prices as measured by S&P/Case-Shiller declining for 38 consecutive months, they are down 55.4 percent from their peak in August 2006 and up just 5 percent from January 2000, S&P said.

Las Vegas prices in October were down 26.6 percent from October 2008 vs. an average decline of 7.3 percent in the 20 cities in the S&P/Case-Shiller indices.

Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Guest Commentary: Teaching Communication

There are many sources for information on communication, careers, getting over your fears, getting your message through, being open to the messages in our lives and world, filtering fact from fiction, understanding the world around you and understanding how to prosper in, be healthy despite, and a contributing part of the world we live in. A large amount of information is out there. From time to time I will share guest commentary, links to other sites and suggestions on places to go to find additional inforamation. 

There is no reason to not do well in any Communication course or project. If you do not understand something there are many places to seek out explanation, information and clarification.

The article below is the first by  Adrienne Carlson, whose contact information and credentials can be found at links below.

Additional Teaching Options in Communication
There’s no doubting the fact that good communication skills are essential for success in any aspect of life; we may be smart and intelligent, but unless we’re able to show people our abilities, they are in vain. Communication is not just limited to the oral version; it can take on many forms from body language to sign language. Some people are able to transcend the limitations imposed by language and communicate effectively using their eyes and hands alone while others struggle when they don’t speak or understand the local lingo. Any way you look at it, being able to communicate effectively and according to the situation is important.
If you’re a good communicator, you would probably do well as an educator in this subject too, and if you’re interested in exploring teaching opportunities, here are a few options you could try:
·      Teaching in schools and colleges: Most schools and colleges have separate courses that teach communication skills. Some combine it with their English lessons, but this is really not the most effective way to teach communication because to be able to communicate well, you need to cross language barriers. Teaching communication skills is all about getting your students to understand the verbal and non verbal aspects of communication, and being able to get their message across without being ambiguous or vague. Good communication teachers are able to work with students individually and help them overcome their weaknesses and play to their strengths. 

·      Instructing at academies: Some people prefer to set up their own communication skills academies and are involved in conducting lectures and workshops across the country. They work with a select set of students for a while before moving on to the next batch. They have standard procedures and routines that they follow and are usually available on a consultancy basis. You could explore this avenue once you have gained a few years of experience teaching communication skills at a school or college.

·      Authoring self-help books: Once you become an expert in this line of work, you could sell your knowledge by writing self-help articles, e-books and books. You could set up your own blog and use your social networks to promote your articles and get more people to read them. Once you gain the reputation of being an expert, it’s easy to promote and sell your books and e-books.
To be a good communications teacher, you must first know how to sell your skills to others.
This guest article was written by Adrienne Carlson, who regularly writes on the topic of accelerated online degree . Adrienne welcomes your comments and questions at her email address:

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

CES Coming to Las Vegas

Read D, 3D glasses come to CES

CES: A gadget gathering

More tech companies look for Vegas roll at CES


Electronics manufacturers are ready to roll the dice in Las Vegas again.

More than 330 new companies are expected to be among the 2,500 exhibitors showcasing their gadgets at the 2010 Intl. Consumer Electronics Show next month.

That's good news for the Consumer Electronics Assn., which organizes the annual Las Vegas confab, considered the world's largest consumer technology tradeshow.

The recession hit last year's event, as heavyweights like Yahoo, Cisco, Seagate, Logitech, Belkin and Philips opted not to attend or held back on building pricey booths on the show floor in order to save money.

Overall, 2,700 exhibitors booked a presence at the 2009 show, and 113,085 people attended the event, less than the 130,000 that were hoped for.

The economy is still taking its toll on the show, however. While CEA can tout a slew of new exhibitors for 2010, the overall figure is down by 200; the event will be making use only of the Las Vegas Convention Center and not the additional Sands Convention Center that CES has also utilized in previous years.

While a down economy should hurt overall attendance levels, "Innovation is flourishing within the technology industry, and the 2010 CES is the only place to see it all," said Gary Shapiro, prexy-chief exec of the CEA. He also boldly predicted that "more technology deals will be made during the four days of CES than anywhere else on Earth."

This year, 3D is expected to receive a major plug, with manufacturers hoping to entice attendees with 3D TVs and Blu-ray players plus new glasses with which to watch movies and play videogames.The suc-cess of "Avatar" and a number of other 3D performers at the box office throughout the year should help put a spotlight on the new technologies.

Apple will be the focus of the iLounge, which will feature products and technologies for the iPod, iPhone and Mac. The iLounge was expected to take up 4,000 square feet when first planned, but demand from exhibitors led to an expansion to 25,000 square feet.

Despite the strong presence, Apple chairman Steve Jobs won't be giving a keynote speech at the event. Instead, Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer will step up to the podium.

Ford Motor Co. president and CEO Alan Mulally will also give a keynote to tout the automaker's voice-activated Sync system, powered by Microsoft, and how its vehicles can essentially serve as docking stations for mobile devices.

In-car technology will have a major presence at the tradeshow, as that area of the tech biz is expected to rev up more than $9.3 billion in sales this year.

More than 380 exhibitors will be on hand at the Las Vegas Convention Center to showcase the latest in-vehicle technology trends, including entertainment systems, GPS and broadband offerings.
In addition, CES will include 20 market-specific TechZones highlighting emerging markets, such as e-books; mobile TV for cell phones and other handheld devices; and netbooks.

More than 250 sessions will take place during the show, and 800 expert speakers will be featured, including new-media execs from CBS, Hulu, Nielsen, Sony Pictures Technologies, TiVo and YouTube.
Other keynoters include Intel president and CEO Paul Otellini and Qualcomm chairman-CEO Paul Jacobs. Federal Communications Commission chairman Julius Genachowski will also attend.
NBC Universal is returning as the official broadcast partner of CES.

This year, NBC U used its 9,000-square-foot booth to produce live telecasts of CNBC's "Power Lunch" and "Closing Bell" and MSNBC's "Your Business." CNET/CBS Interactive will also exhibit and serve as the official online media partner.

Read the full article at:

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First Lady's are Window Dressing

From the Las Vegas Sun:

An advocacy group for autistic children and their families criticized Gov. Jim Gibbons' campaign adviser on Tuesday for referring to first ladies as "window dressing."

The founder of the Autism Coalition of Nevada issued a statement, calling comments made to a newspaper by campaign adviser Robert Olmer "demeaning" and "sexist."

Hours after a judge on Monday approved a divorce settlement between the governor and Dawn Gibbons, Olmer told the Reno Gazette-Journal that not having a first lady in the governor's mansion won't be an issue, because any first lady "is to a large extent window dressing."

Coalition founder Ralph Toddre said Dawn Gibbons championed the rights of those afflicted with autism and campaigned to raise awareness and seek funding for autism.

"To say that she is 'window dressing' could not be further from the truth and an awful way to paint the accomplishments of this first lady in the time she spent in that position," Toddre said.

He praised both Dawn Gibbons and the governor, who signed a bill mandating insurance coverage for autism treatment, for their support and efforts.

Window on the past influencing the future

The late, great Beat Monologist Lord Buckley.

Monday, December 28, 2009

Stolen Movies yet all time high box office dollars

Record Box Office, Record Online Theft

One way to look at it is that there’s good news and there’s bad news.  On the positive side, theatrical box office is up nicely, hitting record levels, though increased ticket prices are playing a big part.

Unfortunately, all the increases in ticket dollars are not making up for the theft of product online. With higher and higher broadband speeds, the theft problem is growing, and now threatens our business just as it trashed the music business.

Star Trek was said to be the most often stolen movie of 2009, illegally downloaded 11 million times.
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Below are Editors Notes- Art Lynch,

Biggest year, biggest Holiday Season and Biggest Christmas Weekend on record.

The holiday box office has continued the trend set for the year, breaking all time Thanksgiving to Christmas records. Variety reports  that boosted by "Avitar', "The Chipmonks Squakquil" and a different breed of "Shirlock Holmes", Christmas weekend also hit an all time box office dollar high, exceeding $280 million domestic (the last record weekend was led by "Batman: The Dark Knight" in July 2008). Domestic box office for the year topped ten billion dollars prior to Christmas week. Prior to Thanksgiving the trend was set and results guarenteed, despite the recession.

3D, at premium prices and advance ticket purchase, along with Omnimax and 3D Ominmax, have driven up average ticket prices. Theaters that have gone digital are having to raise all prices to recoup the investment. So box office records are really apples to oranges, or so it may seem.

This is in keeping with the pattern set in the Great Depression. A key difference is that with diversification of motions picture companies, as part of television, DVD, Internet, Cable, Theme Park and other interests, profits at the box office do not mean a healthy environment overall. Another key difference is that box office is now couted in dollars ($10 to $20 ticket prices) where in the Depression it was counted in bodies in seats (5 cents to fifty cents- some with usher exact seating). Our population has grown many times fold, as has ticket prices, even with inflation factored in. So is this really the largest box office in history? Or have things changed so much that there is no longer a common measuring tape?

And what about the rapidly growing Internet effect?

Ten years in icons and words

If you are looking back at the last ten years, you may wish to refresh your memory or comment on the chart provided by Phillip Niemeyer of the New York Times, "Picturing the Past Ten Years."
Just a few from the list and added by yours truely, Art Lynch:


War on Terror

Boom economy

Housing bubble

Henderson as the fastest growing city in the country.

North Las Vegas as the fastest growing city in the country.

Las Vegas as the fastest growing city in the country.

Las Vegas as the only city that has not seen housing values inch up in 2009.


Chapter 13.

Chapter 7.

Quick sale.

The dot com crash of 2001

Airports changing forever (remember being able to see your friends off or meet them at the gate?)

The beard craze of 2006.

Flipping homes before the crash.

Google as a verb.

In 2000 Starbucks popularized Lattes.

Will Carry marry Mr. Big?

The 2001 birth of Wikipedia (according to Wikipedia).


Avian Flu.

Swine Flu.

Dale Earnhardt (Sr. and Jr), Michael Phelps, Lance Armstrong, Tiger Woods, Andre Agassi, Mia Hamm, Shaq or Kobe.


Camera phones.

Smart phones.


American Idol (2002).

Reality TV

John McCain for President (twice)

Glitz, chatter, surge, hpe, news cylcle as NOUNS.

IM, text, Tweet, network, download, de-friend, go rogue, blog, Google, Swift Vote, punk'd, crowd-source as VERBS.

Apple, Microsoft, Vista, Windows 7, Opera as products to watch.

Cable news wars.

Real wars.

Weapons of Mass Dictruction.

What would you add as icons and happenings for the first ten years of the new millennium.

Professor Barbara Cloud

Barbara Cloud is no longer with us. Micheal Toole reports her passing on Christmas Eva (no confirmation). When I came to Las Vegas as a news director she helped set up internships, and later was a journalism instructor for my wife Laura. A champion of journalism here and internationally, if it is true, one of the shining beacons of balanced journalilsm has left us.

Dec. 29, 2009
Copyright © Las Vegas Review-Journal

UNLV journalism professor dies

Cloud, 71, was reporter, joined university in 1979

Barbara Cloud, a longtime journalism professor at UNLV, has died. She was 71.

Cloud was a professor emeritus at the university, having served there since 1979. She was the associate provost for academic affairs from 1998 to 2003. She specialized in journalism history.

Her husband, Stan Cloud, also 71, was a physics professor at the university. He said his wife suffered a cerebral hemorrhage last week and died on Christmas Eve.

"Barbara's greatest pleasures were travel, history and writing," he said.

The two had been married for 49 years. They met when she was a student at Stanford University.
Longtime University of Nevada, Las Vegas journalism professor Mary Hausch said Barbara Cloud recruited her to the university.

"I owe her my career," said Hausch, who joined UNLV nearly 20 years ago after serving as an editor at the Review-Journal.

She said Cloud was a dedicated educator but occasionally could show a little flash. She bought a Corvette when she was in her 60s.

"People considered her a conservative sort of person; she was very quiet and reserved," Hausch said. "But the Corvette showed another side of her personality."

Before joining UNLV, Cloud was a reporter at newspapers in Oregon and in Idaho, where she grew up.
She was a freelance journalist in Los Angeles and a public relations consultant.

She published several books, served as president of the American Journalism History Association and received several awards for her work.

Cloud had been president of the UNLV Phi Kappa Phi honorary society and was key to the establishment of the Kappa Tau Alpha chapter.

She was teaching a class on women and the media and researching a biography of "Pop" Squires, a Las Vegas newspaper pioneer, when she died.

She is survived by her husband and her sister, Laura McMurray of Yakima, Wash.

A memorial is planned for the UNLV campus but has not yet been scheduled.

Donations may be made in her memory to Three Square food bank, Nevada Humanities or the UNLV Women's Studies Program.

Contact reporter Richard Lake at or 702-383-0307.

Sunday, December 27, 2009

The web you may never see, Republicans dominate the Intent. NPR's Weekend Edition.

The Republican Party and conservative right are winning hearts, minds and hardselling propoganda on the Internet.

Most of what is on the Web you may never see.

Teenagers comment on issues close to them.

And a poet looks at the decade ahead..

Four thing to be heard on todays edition of National Public Radio's Weekend Edition Sunday.

99% of what is on the web will not show up on search engines. Find out why and how to get around the limitations.

Inside the mind of three teenagers, topic ideas for papers and observations of their world.

Republican politicians make their social media push...Do Republicans dominate the Internet?

How will we define the decade ahead?

Sunday Morning News and Views

It’s Howdy Doody Time!

Dec 27, 1947 the Howdy Doody Show premiered on NBC. The puppet and its characters became a true nostalgic positive icon for the entire Baby Boom generation, although many others like Bozo and even Scooby Do replaced him with the youngest of the baby boomers.

The Health Benefits of Notaligia.

CBS Sunday Morning interviewed George Dewey of McCann Erickson on the truth and application as revealed by Draper, the fictitious 1960’s advertising executive in “Mad Men”.  He knew that you need to appeal to the core of American values, which are based on the best of the past, as we perceive and remember it.

The story was on Nostalgia in advertising. The man from Petridge Farm, Mr. Whipple when he returned, the use of the Island of Christmas Past from “Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer” in Verizon’s McCann Erickson ads against AT&T and the iPhone.

Nostalgia for centuries was considered a disease and depression, a part of soldier’s shell shock condition, women’s suicides or divorces. Psychologists are split on if it is healthy or not, but many say it is. Look at the good in your past, and use it to give you the energy to move forward and know what you are capable of. They say it helps you see through the debris and keep only the stuff worth putting back on the shelf.

The story also visited the University of Chicago and a study of how small interacts with the brain faster than sounds or sights, and can be the best way to change people’s behavior and change. It could be smell is the most therapeutic of the senses to reach nostalgic positive memories and calm down the mind and spirit. Odors do vary since people have differing memories by region and nation. Positive smells ten to be flowers in the east, fresh air in the south, meat cooking in the west, farm animals or cooking in the Midwest. Eastern European cultures find garlic, meats, and what we might think of as the smell of decay in an old -fashioned market s positive, comforting and heart warming. Fish is a positive in fishing communities, a negative as you go inland.

People want to feel at home. It works for therapy, relaxation and to regroup. An attitude of only looking at the future leads to stress and too often failure.

Good News from 2009

As you review the New Year, be aware that all the news is not bad. We will not have to go through it again. Recovery is expected to begin in earnest by mid 2010. Sharks attacked fewer people this past year. Studies have found that men are more attracted to women who reveal no more than 40% of their skin. Men with scars on their face are more attractive to women for short-term relationships. Clean-shaven men with good skin and longer ring fingers are most attractive for marriage. There is a correlation between finger size and financial success…yes, in that area longer is better. The human brain has shrunk ten percent in the past ten thousand years, but what is missing are things we no longer need now that we are higher functioning individuals and less animal-like. Scientist have found 30,000 planets have been found that could support human life. More people are going to church or other religious services on a regular basis than a year ago. Birth death rates are down in countries that track such events. While there are noted exceptions, the amount of wars and level of crime actually decreased during 2009. Oh, and energy use is down.

The Internet.

There may be reasons to swear by the Internet and list is as the driving force behind rapid chage over the past ten years, good and bad There may be reasons to suspect it as part of the reason behind declining test scores, a change in how we think and our priorities, the antithisis of democracy in how rumor and faslehood can become preceived as fact. It opens doors and closes just as many as we sit before out computer screens where once we would sit down and talk with others on the front porch or in our living rooms. Charities, live theaters, music groups and even political organizations have been forced to trace feet on the ground or in the seats, actors in the overall live interactive world, for keyboard punching, video game playing micro-communities spanning blocks, cities, nations and continents.

Blogging has brought change across the globe, along with Twitter reports from China, Facebook coverage of major events and of course, text messaging. NPR has had a series of stories on how the Internet has changed the world in the unofficial 40 years since if founding.

I am old enough that I remember playing "Star Trek" where each university had a starship or Klingon Cruiser. I recall destroying the University of Kentucky flagship on behalf of the Klingons of the University of Illinois, Chicago Circle.

It was black and white, highly pixated, slow and you had painstakingly enter three dimentional coordinates in Fortran. But it was live and connected colleges across the US (and military bases, as I later found out). We even used punch cards and large reels of fast moving data tape in huge air conditioned and static resistant clean rooms.

We have come so far in 40 years!

Where will be be five, ten, fifteen or forty years form now?

Your phone is spying on you

A world view of the past ten years and America.

The BBC looked at what they have declared the even to the Decade, the 9-11 attack. Their panel was honest and open in a way that would American audiences either yelling at the top of their lungs or calling for an advertiser boycott.

An economist who was the former director of Communication for the UN, from India, painted us as waging a war of power and profit, and dictating what other countries should look like, do and how they should act. The anti-dictatorship, pro- Civil Rights world or president Clinton, who is help in high regard in the world, has changed to “might makes right” and religious fervor overtaking Democratic rights. We face what he called the “hundred year war” or if Islamist have their way the “millennium war.” because the US cannot achieve its stated goals in less than two and probably may more decades, if at all, and we support unpopular regimes in Asia, the Middle East, Africa and even parts of Europe. He feels that the New Federalists, the military and right wind Republicans have crippled the US government and are dictating a policy of world control if not dominance. We are increasingly being mistrusted if not hated as a result. Even under Obama, we are stuck under the Bush Doctrine of action first, US interests first and an “our way or the highway” mentality.”

This was countered by the other guests, who did work with Obama during the campaign. An American political scientist has a far more American view, although American conservative would all him liberal. By international standards he would be called conservative and American-centric protectionist. He said the US was angry and reacted the way “the enemy” wanted to by simply being American and “don’t tread on me”, just as we reacted to Pearl Harbor. Americans supported, and most still do, the invasion of Afghanistan and our current war there. We supported the invasion of Iraq because in the hurt of the event, we trusted out president and intelligence services. Interesting, since President Bush was not elected and we were very split as a nation prior to 9-11 (an event that took Bush from unpopular and mistrusted to leader of the Free World and our almost unanimously supported president).

Obama has been under attack more than any other president, except possibly Nixon and maybe Bush. His allies attack him in areas of health care, Afghanistan, the economy and his not “keeping” campaign promises. If you go back to his actual campaign, he has kept his promises and except for Gitmo, is on timeline. He never said anything could be solved quickly, that we would pull entirely out of Iraq, or that we would pull out of the Middle East. The primary reason for criticizing him appears to be that he is a Constitutional Lawyer and scholar and governs more according to the Constitution than the way Bush or Reagan did, or with the idealistic agenda of Clinton or Carter (who was also a constitutionalist, which lost him support very early in his presidency).

It seems the American people do not want a president who governs in the way the founding fathers’ intended or wrote into our constitution. People want an aggressive, powerful CEO and probably would accept a dictator if we were to have one.  Also involved in the issue is that Americans have become a polarized, celebrity gossip and quick to criticize people. Where once we were simply isolationist and looked at things with the turn the other cheek and forgive those who trespass against us biblical perception, today we seen to want to throw stones regardless of who has or does not have sin, and to be quick to condemn and attack without mercy or even an attempt to understand. Why is that? How did it get this way?

News of the Day

The underpants bomber was in great pain (or highly medicated) when a judge formally informed him he is charged with trying to destroy and crash a jet liner and murder its passengers over Detroit Christmas day. The explosives were sewn into his underpants, so when they went up in flames so did some rather private areas, with maximum and potentially lethal burns. He received immediate treatment, so the prognosis is good.

Not only was security stepped up on travel, adding to the woes caused by bad weather, but a major new regulation was put in effect requiring as you board a plane headed for the US, while security is high, full body searches may be performed with far greater frequency, regardless of who you are or your point of origionation. All passengers who travel from foreign countries by plane to remain seated the final hour of their flight. I guess you need to hold up your hand, as the teacher and get someone to hold your hand if you have to go to the bathroom.

The US is looking at how the terrorist watch list is being used, how to use it without discriminating or leading to false violations of civil rights, how the alert system works and what can be done to increase Homeland Security without further eroding out privacy or our rights. For the president could be just as difficult a political landmine to work with as health reform and Afghanistan.

Iran is in the middle of the largest protests since last spring, nation wide. And it has turned bloody. Police and military have reportedly fired on crowds in at Tehran and at least two other cities, leading to casualties including deaths, and igniting an anger that has led to the torching of cars and businesses. There are at least five dead, including an elderly man who was shot clean through the center of his forehead.

A nephew of opposition leader Mir Hossein Mousavi may have been killed in today’s potests.

The riots began against religious ceremonies marking the 7th Century death of Mohamed’s Grandson in a religious war, making him one of Shiite Muslims greatest martyrs and beloved saints.

There are no confirmed report on events in Iran, because foreign journalist are forbidden to report on it and banned from many areas where protest may be taking place.

We remain at war. An American serviceman was killed this morning in Afghanistan, the victim of a roadside bomb.

Governor Jim Gibbons will be spending the week between Christmas and New Years in a Reno courtroom, sitting opposite his wife, First Lady Dawn Gibbons. The divorce trail will be hotly contested on the rights and eventual possessions of their 23 years marriage, and is liable to bring up many of the allegations and issues that have haunted the governor since his campaign, including his alleged affairs.

Nevada and Florida are not only hard hit with top heavy housing, bank foreclosures and unemployment, but also lead the nation in percentage of their population moving out of state. While the number of people actually leaving remains small, for both states this repesents a reversal of decades of consistent growth. For Nevada the recession ends a long trend of four of the five fastest growing cities in the country being with in the state, most often Las Vegas, Henderson or North Las Vegas, with Sparks and even Reno occasionally leading the list.

Wild horse advocates are citicizing the BLM and Forest Service for routing wild horses to private land, where the group is not allowed to monitor the relocation of the animals. The BLM says it is being done on land where collection is safer for both the animals and those who are collecting the horses.

It lasted just a tick over 26 seconds, but still goes down as  a new world record. Takuo Toda of Japan reached the holy grail today in the world of paper only flight. He flew a four inch craft, using Orgigami rules (no paste, cutting or non-paper used), for 26.1 second, short of his own personal goal of thirty seconds. His best was 27.9 seconds, but that plane had some tape on it. His long term goal is to launch something of his design from space and built it in a way that it will survive reentry.

Financial News and Views          

Michael Holland, president of Holland and Company says the best way to predict the Stock Market is to predict what is happening will continue. He says the Santa Claus Rally of the last few days will not be undone over the next few days, but is not an indication of the New Year itself. There will be a Tsunami of cash that is being held back by world wide investors that will eventually break loose, but there is no way or predicting when that will be. The smart money is betting against the dollar continuing to gain in the world market. He says the bailout in China, many times larger than ours and done by a Totalitarian state, worked. Jobs have been corrected and the recession very much overturned.

BET Founder Robert Johnson, now chairman and CEO of the RTLO Companies, was on Wall Street Journal report talking about how banks are being brought to recessed minority neighborhoods, and how African American businesses are benefiting even in a recession. The fundamental core of what makes this country so great, including the economic values of entrepreneurs are still out there. It is more difficult now, but the will and drive has never been higher. His company is the second highest holders of hotel properties, owns 24 major automotive dealships (primarily in the Midwest) owns banks, is involved in gaming in the Caribbean, owns sports teams and has a major private equity firm. He says that minority businesses operate on the thin edge of the economy and are in major straights now, since traditional bank lending is now tight to non-existent for any small business. He feels that president needs to have a summit with minority business to see how minorities can be helped, since minority businesses are located mostly in the core cities with the highest levels of unemployment and most problems in home ownership. Banks have been closing in minority areas faster than in any other area. There is an “under banked” mentality where people go paycheck-to-paycheck, use “payday” high interests lenders, or simply stockpile cash. One major problem for all society is that Americans are basically financially illiterate as a people.

Friday, December 25, 2009

Apple Computer Pad?

NPR asks what next for Apple? While the Apple Tablet, Apple Media Pad, iPad and other product names have been bounced about in the blogisphere, there is no official confirmation and even reasons to believe it is all speculation with little fact. But then Apple has long used speculation to its advantage, and there is plenty of evidence outside what Apple may officially say, that a touch screen interface tablet, readers or some other device is not only in the works, but is ready for marketing come Apple's January annual convention in San Francisco.

Will there be an Apple Pad computer announced at Apple's convention January 20th? Not likely, but maybe before the next Christmas season. The New York Times reports on the reasons for delays and the reason it will come about.


The Times seems to think that other developers are waiting for Apple to establish a product and demand for the product before releasing theirs. The author also points out that other manufacturers, who do market by price point and go after lower end consumers, have released preliminary products that failed for lack of quality, software, name recognition, marketing expertise or timing.

Steve Jobs was not happy with earlier technology and prototypes, although they did lead to iPhones and iPod touch, and to the applications that drive them. Now it has led to most all smart phones copying the interface, and indirectly to the Amazon's Kindle and similar Sony product.

He is a prefectionist and insists that it be within a reasonable price range (affordable is in the mind of the beholder, and Apple has never gone to the low end consumer). He insists it works. He insists that it be innovative and not just a larger iPod or an Apple verison of Kindle. He insists that is be light weight. He insists on a battery life long enough to use it for real reading and movie viewing. He prefers it also function as a larger smart-phone and small net-book.

Steve Jobs also wants it to be a video quality that will not fatigue the eyes, be good for text as well as the highest possible definition of video viewing.

He also wanted for there to be enough product and demand. With demand raised through iTunes and competitors, Netscape, Hulu, You-Tube, and on the reading side Kindle and Sony this Christmas season, his primary objection has now been met.

There are patents already filed, in large numbers, by Apple and Apple suppliers.

Discussion is underway, or reported to be, with Verizon to be the carrier for the Apple "Media Pad" and a less enabled and lower price point product being called "iPhone Lite" while the iPhone itself remains exclusively with AT&T. Lots of speculation throughout 2009 on a product that has not officially been announced.

And Apple has gained ground and acceptance as an operating system against the giant Microsoft and in the phone area against Microsoft Phones.

So, despite Apple's official denial of an Apple reader or Apple Pad, one has been in the works and near release.

Since the demand was not proven until the recession holiday season, and since we remain unofficially in a recession with ten percent or higher unemployment in the US, it is my feeling Apple will not release such a product until later this year,

I hope I am wrong.

It would be great to see it announced as the next big Apple break through in San Francisco early in the New Year.

Additional information and updates related to Apple:

iPhone and ATT 

iMac and Mighty Mouse from Apple

From PC to Mac:

Is Apple TV ready to explode:

iPhone vs Droid:

Thursday, December 24, 2009

Scroll down or updated items or items that fit your interests

From the Desk of the President

From the Desk of  the President;

Although it's Christmas Eve, I wanted to share some exciting news: The Senate just passed a historic health reform bill.

In all the back and forth, it's easy to lose sight of what this incredible breakthrough really means. But consider this: This Christmas, there are millions of Americans without health insurance who risk losing everything if they get sick.

There are mothers and fathers who wonder how they'll provide for their children because an illness has wiped out their savings. There are small business owners who worry that they'll have to lay off a long-time employee because the cost of insurance is rapidly rising.

If we finish the job, all this can change. We will have beaten back the special interests who have for so long perpetuated the status quo. We will have enacted the most important piece of social policy since the Social Security Act in the 1930s, and the most important health reform since Medicare in the 1960s.

In Decembers to come, millions more will have access to affordable coverage. Parents will have the security and stability of knowing their insurance can't be revoked at a moment's notice. And the skyrocketing costs plaguing our small businesses will be brought under control.

When you make calls, write letters, organize, this is the change you're making -- a better life for your family and for men and women in every state.

There is still more to do before I can sign reform into law -- a last round of negotiations and final votes in the Senate and the House -- and I'm counting on your help every step of the way. But for now, I hope that as you celebrate this holiday season, you remember that the work you are doing is making our union more perfect, one step at a time. For that, I am grateful to you.

Merry Christmas and happy holidays,

President Barack Obama

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History made by US Senate Christmas Eve morning

Health Reform with a price

This will be the first major health are reform since the Great Depression

NPR takes a look at the differences between the bills and how they impact consumers.

What path lies ahead before a bill hits the president's desk?

What does this mean for the now polarized partician divide and the next two election cycles?

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid of Nev. answers questions outside of the Senate chambers on Capitol Hill in a Wall Street Journal photograph.

But the coverage comes at a price, one that is being paid by taxpayers, in premiums (few controls on costs in either bill), by the very wealthy, by unions, and by those who do not face the health care issues and potential loss of coverage of their fellow Americans. It is those weaknesses, that over the next few weeks, will be heavily exploited in the media and on-line by opponents to reform.

The Screen Actors Guild has press releases and comments by officers supporting health care reform, but no official stand. One reason is that for the small minority of membership, at least in the Nevada Branch, who qualify for any SAG health care plan strongly support SAG Pension and Health (P&H), one of the best plans in the nation. Under the US Senate Health Care Plan, passed this morning, so called "Cadillac" plans such as SAG's will be taxed. President Obama told National Public Radio he supports this tax on corporate executive health care plans, and plans that can only be afforded by those making over a quarter of a million dollars. According to the US Senate the majority of such plans fall in the "Cadillac" catagory. The addition of unions was placed in the bill by Republicans, hopeing to generate a decrease of union support for reform, and union votes for Democrats come November.

SAG is studying the current form of the legislation and will monitor reconcilation. According to the Guild it's members come first, which often means those who earn or have earned at least middle class incomes under contract, are "vested" and qualify for SAG's health plans. Officially SAG has no stand on the current legislation.

Early this morning, Christmas Eve, the US Senate passed their version of health care reform. It will expand coverage to 30 million Americans, elininate companies dropping individuals insurance or denying coverage due to pre-existing coditions, allow for portability of insurance, elminate discrimination against women, make some progess in controling drug and other costs, allow individual options inpurchasing health care and increase medicare and medicade funding.

The bill makes health insurance more accessible, hold the insurance industry more accountable, and moves in a direction that may lower health care costs. The "may" comes from changes that eliminated any single payer, universal or guarenteed coverage provisions. These provisions were shot down by mostly Southern Democrats and all 40 Senate Republicans.

This will be the first major health are reform since the Great Depression, and the only real reform that impacts the entire population in history. Seven US Presidents prior to Obama have tried, but the powerful insurance, drug and special interests have shot it down. Four were Republican presidents.

The battle, heavy advertising campaign, Internet slogan and misinformation campaigns are not over. The Senate and House versions of the bill must be reconciled and voted on before a final bill goes to the President. There will be heavy insurance industry backed advertising, debate and attempts to fully sway the American people against reform between now and the final bill. The battling will come from both sides, as progressive organizations such as MoveOn are upset that single payer and any move toward universal coverage are not in the bill, that controls on costs of coverage and medication are weak and that too many "give me's" have gone to special interests and specific senator's states.

President Obama hopes to sign health care reform into law before the State of the Union address in January.

Senator Harry Reid on this mornings Senate Health Reform vote

After many months of hard work, this morning the Senate passed the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act.

I can't help but think how appropriate it is that we have accomplished this amid the holiday season - a time we join together with our loved ones to celebrate our families, our friends, our children and grandchildren.

This bill embodies that spirit - care for one another.

Because of this historic legislation, next holiday season 518,000 of our state's uninsured will have access to stable, affordable coverage. And 300,000 Silver State residents and 24,000 small businesses will know that tax credits to lower premiums are right around the corner.

And Nevada's 328,000 Medicare beneficiaries can rest assured, their current benefits are guaranteed and they will now be eligible for free preventive services and lower prescription drug costs.

Finally, and perhaps most importantly, no insurance company will be able to deny coverage to a child because of a pre-existing condition. This aspect of health reform will take effect immediately, and not a moment too soon.

That is what this legislation achieves. And that is something we can all be thankful for.

Happiest of holidays to you and yours from Landra and me, and all the best in the New Year.


Harry Reid

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

President Obama defends health care bills

President Barrack Obama is shown during his interview with National Public Radio's All Things Considered. He defended the Senate Health Care bill and touched on other health and public safety during the lengthy discussion, a portion of which aired this afternoon on public radio.

"This notion I know among some on the left that somehow this bill is not everything that it should be ... I think just ignores the real human reality that this will help millions of people and end up being the most significant piece of domestic legislation at least since Medicare and maybe since Social Security," Obama told NPR's Robert Siegel and Julie Rovner.

Obama told NPR that he supports a key provision in the Senate bill that would raise revenues to pay for the expansive plan by taxing insurers that provide so-called Cadillac plans, or high-end employer-paid insurance plans.

"I'm on record as saying that taxing Cadillac plans that don't make people healthier but just take more money out of their pockets because they are paying more for insurance than they need to do, that's actually a good idea," he says. "That helps to reduce the cost of health care over the long term."