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Friday, December 31, 2010

2010 The Year of Mean

Bristol Palin and partner Mark Ballas on "Dancing with the Stars."
Adam Larkey/AP
Bristol Palin and partner Mark Ballas on "Dancing with the Stars."
So, we're getting meaner! What's it to ya?
NPR's All Things Considered asks if we are finally leaving behind "The Year of Being Mean," supported with just a few points below:
Broadcaster Pat Robertson saying the people of Haiti had basically brought an earthquake upon themselves.
The meanness meter went pretty high in 2010 — at least that's the premise of a conversation on All Things Consideredtoday between host Robert Siegel and satirist/blogger Andy Borowitz.
He argues that this was one of the meanest years since 1651 — when Thomas Hobbes wrote The Leviathan and, in Andy's words, made the case that man is at war "with each other all the time, 24/7."

Worth a listen: A decade of rapid change

Remember Y2K? That's beginning to seem like a long time ago, now. Morning Edition takes some time to remember how much has happened since the turn of the century. Listen for a decade of history in this audio montage from National Public Radio...just the tip of the iceberg on the Millennial Decade, click here.

Dam Short Film Festival Founder Lee Lanier's new film (early draft photo)

Lee Lanier is an award-winning animator and short film director whose work has played over 200 festivals, galleries, and museums worldwide. Before forming his own animation company, BeezleBug Bit LLC, Lee served as a Senior Animator at Dreamworks/PDI on the films "Antz" and "Shrek." When he's not busy with the festival, lee also writes software books. Lee serves as the festival's Executive Director.

Thursday, December 30, 2010

Carville and (Jeb) Bush to look at the changing political climate

A couple of political heavyweights will be in Las Vegas on Jan. 31.
Jeb Bush and James Carville will discuss the political climate after the November midterm elections at 7:30 p.m. at the Artemus W. Ham Concert Hall at UNLV, 4505 Maryland Parkway.
Las Vegas Sun columnist and "Face to Face" host Jon Ralston will moderate the discussion between Bush, the former two-term Florida governor, and Carville, Bill Clinton’s former political strategist. The event – “Post-Midterm America: Where do we go from here?” – is part of UNLV’s Barrick Lecture Series.
Admission is free, but tickets are required. UNLV faculty, students and staff may pick up tickets starting at 10 a.m. Jan. 12. Tickets are available to the general public beginning at 10 a.m. Jan. 15.
Tickets are limited to two per person and may be picked up at the UNLV Performing Arts Center box office at the intersection of Maryland and Cottage Grove. For more information, call (702) 895-2787

Rosie the Riveter RIP

Geraldine Hoff Doyle, in 1997, with a copy of the famous poster her image helped inspire.
The 1941 photo of Geraldine Hoff Doyle eventually made its way on to the cover of a 1986 Time-Life book, 'The Patriotic Tide: 1940-1950'.In 1941, a United Press International photographer snapped a photo that would help inspire the nation. As the Lansing State Journal writes, it captured a 17-year-old bandana-clad girl who was working at a metal-pressing plant near Ann Arbor.
Courtesy of the Lansing State Journal archive
Geraldine Hoff Doyle, in 1997, with a copy of the famous poster her image helped inspire.
That image heavily influenced a poster that "evoked female power and independence under the slogan 'We Can Do It!,' " The Washington Post writes. It became one of the most-famous "Rosie the Riveter" illustrations of the war.
Geraldine Hoff Doyle of Lansing, who 40 years later didn't realize that the photo of her played a role in the Rosie phenomena, died Sunday at a hospice in Lansing. She was 86.
Photo left: The 1941 photo of Geraldine Hoff Doyle eventually made its way on to the cover of a 1986 Time-Life book, 'The Patriotic Tide: 1940-1950'.

Changes loom for studios

Even with the economy rebounding, the majors are scrambling as never before to adjust to a fast-changing environment.
This past year saw profound changes in studios' focus, as marketing and merchandising became even higher priorities. And 3D was just the tip of the iceberg in terms of tech innovations; tech behemoths were knocking on studio doors offering new ways to distribute movie and TV franchises. The year saw Disney's Robert Iger and Relativity Media's Ryan Kavanaugh shake up the business profoundly -- Iger with a push for shorter windows for "Alice in Wonderland" and Kavanaugh with a five-year deal with Netflix. That pact will give the movie-rental service the ability to offer customers a slate of films shortly after they're released on DVD, bypassing paycablers HBO, Showtime, Starz and Epix. The exclusive pact with Relativity also enables Netflix to keep a list of films away from rival Redbox.

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Home Theatre

Given a choice, I'd rather watch a movie at home!

OK.This baby costs $6 million but it’s the ultimate home theater experience. If you needed a reminder for how good some we’re doing, here’s one of the sweetest home entertainment. Check out the photos....

"Show me the Constitutional Authority," House Rules Change.

When Republicans take over next week, they will do something that apparently has never been done before in the 221-year history of the House of Representatives, they will read the Constitution aloud. The Washington Post reports that the entire exercise could take only 30 minutes, but is likely to be stretched out into a much longer political grandstanding exercise.

Optimist feel that this will bring in an age of constitutional lawmaking. Pessimist, including many in the Tea Party movement that inspired the move, say that this is just non-substantive politics as usual to put up a new facade. There is a feeling that Congress is playing a Public Relations game instead of making the changes promised in campaign speeches.

The rules of the house will be changed, under the new Republican majority, t0 require that every new bill contain a statement by the legislator who wrote it citing the constitutional authority to enact the proposed law. The problem is that many pressing needs filled by the Federal Government, including emergency legislation, may not have a direct Constitutional authority but be needed none-the-less.

The move may be more than a feel good for Tea Party and conservatives, it could lay the groundwork to attack health care reform, the Department of Education, tax law and other functions of the Federal Government which Libertarians and other groups see as having no place in a government set up by the founding fathers to only take on what the individual states cannot and only for the national security and safety.

Interpretations of the Constitution can vary widely. Where a Democratic lawmaker could see constitutional grounds for a bill, say by citing an oft-referenced clause in Article 1 giving Congress the power to regulate commerce, a Republican lawmaker could argue the opposite. The ultimate deciders will be the lawmakers themselves, who can vote down any measure they believe to be unconstitutional.

The House Historian's Office found no record of the Constitution ever having been read aloud on the House floor.

For the complete report from The Washington Post, click here.

Oprah, Olympics, Comcast, MGM and TV

Small screen, big headaches. The end of a year always brings with it lots of stories looking back and looking ahead. After all, with little happening this week, papers and blogs (including this one) have to be filled with something. Variety looks at the big issues facing the TV business next year, including how a Simon Cowell-less "American Idol" will perform and what Comcast will have in store for NBC Universal. Personally, I think the game changers in 2011 will be the changing ways people get their content and the havoc that will wreak on traditional economic models.
New owners mean a new building. MGM, which is looking to be born again in 2011 with its new management, is moving its corporate headquarters from Century City to Beverly Hills. According to the Beverly Hills Courier, MGM is going to move into the office space that was originally built for William Morris Endeavor, which had been trying to get out of relocating to the building. 
Jumping the gun. As if the Broadway production of "Spider-Man" didn't have enough problems, now two prominent theater critics, Bloomberg's Jeremy Gerard and Linda Winer of Newsday, broke the unwritten rule against reviewing shows before their official premiere. The show blasted the move, and some other media watchers also took aim at the two. More on the brouhaha from the Hollywood Reporter and some vitriol from Dave Poland's Hot Blog.
Carrying the torch or snuffing the flame? One of the first decisions cable giant Comcast Corp. will have to make when it takes control of NBC Universal is whether it will bid on the 2014 and 2016 Olympic Games. NBC has been home to all things Olympic for more than a decade but at a high cost. The 2010 Games lost more than $200 million, and although they are ratings gold, the long-term value to a broadcast network is debatable. The New York Times looks at the pros and cons for Comcast when it comes to the Olympics. 
It's Oprah's world, we just live in it. We promised you a story on OWN, the new cable network from Oprah Winfrey and Discovery Communications launching New Year's Day, every day this week, and we're two days away from completing our mission. This story on OWN comes from Gary Levin atUSA Today. Winfrey tells Levin that making the decision to create a cable network has not been worry free. "I would literally wake up in the middle of the night clutching my chest, thinking, 'What have I done? What have I taken on?' " she said. Meanwhile, in some good news for OWN, the channel cut a distribution deal with New York-based cable operator Cablevision Systems, which has subscribers in the Bronx and Brooklyn as well as the hoity-toity Hamptons. More on that deal from the Los Angeles Times

Higher Ed on Chopping Block? Not the Best Economic Move.

NEVADA RANKS 46th in funding per citizen at the higher education level, with programs already cut at the universities, faculty at all levels and staff forced to take unpaid monthly furloughs. A brain drain is rapidly overtaking the state and limiting its future growth, according to both independent out of state auditors and at least one major developer. Meanwhile K-12 is suffering from major reductions in property tax income and state support. All education K-Bachelors Degree, represents over 53% of the state's budget, a budget the new governor has sworn to slash. What are the long and short term impacts? Can Nevada compete without a strong education base?
Gov.-elect Brian Sandoval is finding himself increasingly isolated in his position against any new taxes. A large number of politicians and businesspeople acknowledge that tax increases will be necessary to maintain vital state services, including education.

Developer Rich Worthington thought he had two big fish on the line, the kinds of companies whose arrival in Las Vegas would have made headlines, a tidy profit for his firm and created hundreds of jobs.

IKEA, which sells home furniture and accessories, wanted to open one of its massive showrooms here; Internet service provider EarthLink was considering moving a call center from California to Las Vegas.
The Molasky Group of Cos., where Worthington is president, wined and dined representatives of the two companies and took them on tours of the valley. “They were very interested in the tax structure, in the low operating costs,” Worthington said.

But both companies decided against coming here and both did so for the same reason — a lack of college graduates.

The above is from a story in the Las Vegas Sun that illustrates where instead of cutting education, Nevada should raise taxes (if necessary) to support and grow education, if there is any chance of attracting quality employers to the state. The story goes on to explain how lines are now drawn in the sand going into the new legislature with Governor Elect Sandovol taking a "no new taxes" and cut state infrastructure to the bone approach and others set to protect their own interests, constituents and beliefs. Worthington is a Sandovol supporter who is working hard to get the governor to see the importance of higher education for the near and long term economic health of the state.

Many business leaders concede that cutting the state budget alone won’t bridge the gap between revenue and expenses

For the complete story and more on the upcoming legislative budget challenges, as presented in the Las Vegas Sun, click here.

Univision tops some prime time English Speaking rivals

Univision Communications is becoming a potent rival to English-language television networks, which have long dominated prime-time viewership.
The Spanish-language television broadcaster said Tuesday that its program “Soy Tu Dueña” was its most watched telenovela ever, finishing its six-month run with a final episode that drew more than 7.3 million viewers Monday night. 
Since its launch in June, “Soy Tu Dueña,” which Univision translates as “woman of steel,” has pulled in an average of 5.4 million viewers per episode, oftengenerating bigger audiences than programs aired by such formidable English-language TV networks as Fox and NBC. The Univision telenovela, or soap opera, revolves around the travails of a scorned woman, once left at the altar, who vows never to love again until she falls for a man she accidentally shot. A literal translation of the show’s title is “I am your owner.”

A new world war

Indonesia is the largest Muslim nation in the world, yet it is located off the eastern, not mid-East western portion of Asia, half a world away from Iraq and Afghanistan. And it has the fastest growing anti-American pro-al Qaeda popular support in the world.

Sitting north of Australia, the area is key to the economies of Australia and much of eastern Asia.

One in four Indonesian citizens surveyed by the Pew Trust, one in four, just over 25%, said they feel that they believe Osama bin Laden will "do the right thing regarding world affairs." Just over 23% of Indonesians said they had favorable views or support for al Qaeda. 15%, or between one in ten and one in five, say that terrorism that takes human life is "often" to "Sometimes" justified (as opposed to "rarely" or "never").

There has been quiet "wars" against al Qaeda, Islamic extremist and communist rebels for decades, with varying degrees of US involvement (the same is true in the pro-US Philippines).

The survey also showed strong, but in most cases lower levels of support for al Qaeda, bin Laden and the use of terrorism in Egypt and Jordan, both US allies in the "middle-east" and northern Africa. 34% of Jordanians, more than on in three, and one in five Egyptians (20%) feel bin Laden will do the right thing. 20% (1 in 5) of Jordanians and Egyptians show support of suicide bombing as "sometimes" to "often" necessary.

While the Pew International Trust survey focused on those three countries, similar surveys have found a  minority but growing support for terrorism and the war on "American Imperialism."

In contrast when asked about support for American and the United States respondents in all three countries, with the strongest pro-America feelings being in Indonesia, has grown in the two years that Barrack Obama has been the president of the United States. His election represented, to them, a change in the US toward a world view and and understanding of who they are and their best interests.

Sources: Pew Trust, Wall Street Journal, BBC

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Privacy RIP

Is 2010 the year that privacy died?

Privacy has always been with us, but not in the ways we think today.

The Little House on the Prairie was too small for privacy.

Small towns are where everyone knows your name, and your life.

What we think of as privacy started when people moved to cities, away from prying eyes, and found nooks to hide in.

Then came the computer, and in 2010 the boom in smart phones, iPads, Facebook, e-mail, data mining, Internet identities, avatars and communities not defined by physical walls or geography.

Young people, and most of the rest of us, give up our privacy every time we sign a service agreement for a computer, computer program, networking site, transaction contract with retailers and so on and so on and so on and so forth...

So we enter an age where we need to manage who we are, brand market ourselves and redefine what is socially right or wrong.

Employers, the government, potential mates, retailers, scam artist all can access who you are through a stream of transactions, Internet addresses, cookies, micro-cookies, posts and even posts you have deleted (which can and have come back like ghost in the night on Witch Mountain).

Our skills, potential, character, personality and reliability are found, if you know where and how to look, through easy to open doors and Windows, Googles and Androids, transactions and simple look-sees.

We can be teased, dished, or attacked through sites that rate your_____, share your_____, reveal your_____, advertise your_______, or simply achieve your_______.

No matter how much work they may have really done, how much talent they have or how much training, actors are rated by what they have done lately as reported on IMDB. Linked-In shares your business history, your reference contacts and your educational experiences.

Our lives are an open book, and some of it fiction (of our own doing and the bashing of others).

And Americans under 30 do not seem to care.

Even our country, with its pro-business bias, fights attempts by other nations, and by individuals who live in far more private countries, to comply and open their records. We did it to Swiss Banks and German Industries, just to name two of many countries where American anti-privacy ethics and information sponge business models have left their mark.

How do you feel about your life being an open book, for all to look in on, comment on, change or judge?

Reply on Facebook : )

Has Vegas City Center Lived Up To Its Promise?

The massive City Center project on the Las Vegas strip is about a year old. It opened to great fanfare and promises of economic revitalization in a city hit hard by the recession and housing bust. How has the project done? Well 12,000 employees and counting, many of them unemployed a year ago. Harry Reid and Barack Obama helped to finance what could have been a science fiction construction city-scape. NPR's All Things Considered has the audio story. Click here.

Ending 2010 in the hands of the mob

To be a patriot  you must put your own selfish needs and even you life ahead of all other things. Are we doing that? If we are how come we are falling to the bottom of international rankings in medicine, education, helping our own citizens and standing up for the, yes religious, principles of our nation?

We were improving and stimulus was working, yet voters voted "the bums" out who were fixing the problem and actually saved us from a Depression, something only my Aunt's generation (she turned 90 one week ago today) can remember.

9.8% unemployment at the end of 2010..but better than the 10.4 at the end of 2010. From 2009 to November 2010 we were adding up to 100,000 workers a month. But the layoffs in the recession and the tumble in construction and property values are the worse since the Great Depression. Some experts say that it may take 25 years for unemployment to get to the 5% , which is considered full unemployment, and property values to near 2008 levels.

One in ten are out of work, one in four are earning below their bills and overhead, and one in three are working at jobs they had to take just for the money that meet bills or pay less than bills. It could have been one in three unemployed had Bush (yes, George W Bush), Obama and the congress not acted the way they did. Unfortunately Bush's party became the party of "say no" and stick you head in the sand and things will go back to the way they were. They did so to do what was done in November, toss out incumbents, take over the house (and they tried the Senate) and to weaken Obama's chances of winning a second term. They did not do things for the people. And wealthy individuals and corporations, strengthened even more by a Supreme Court decisions tossing out 110 years of campaign reform), began two years ago in building distrust and an grass roots conservative base which evolved into the Tea Party (top strength on in five Americans, but claimed to be the majority).

So we face long years of long cold winters and the US moving toward a second class nation.

Casting Call Introduces Art Lynch

Casting Call Introduces Art Lynch (SAG)

Art Lynch brings to Casting Call Entertainment his considerable and varied background in theater, film, television, marketing, advertising, broadcasting, journalism and education. Art is on the faculty of the College of Southern Nevada. He can be heard on Nevada Public Radio as the host of Weekend Edition Sundays. With a BA in Theater, Speech and Mass Communications from the University of Illinois Chicago, with MFA studies in theater at UNLV. Mr. Lynch offers students a Chicago Theater perspective, along with an in depth understanding of the industries that hire talent and what is required to be hired. Lynch is on the National Board of Directors of the Screen Actors Guild, is past president of the Nevada Branch of the Screen Actors Guild and of the Professional Audio Visual Communications Association. He has an MA in Communications from and is currently pursuing PhD postgraduate studies in theater and education. Lynch spent over a decade as lead faculty in the Elite program at a Las Vegas based acting academy, coaching students in auditioning, cold reading, monologues, improvisations, speech, public speaking, and specialized techniques for situation comedy, soap opera, television, film, live theater and commercial acting.

Art's classes are on Friday's from 6 to 8 pm.
Ages: Teen and Adult

Right to Free Speech may not apply to TV and Radio, Box Office Bad News, Company Town news

Comedy is dangerous. There was an accident and a stuntman seriously injured during filming of the sequel for "The Hangover." According to Deadline Hollywood, a car crashed into a truck during a stunt, and that was not supposed to happen.
Isn't this over yet? The Federal Communications Commission has told a court that broadcasters give up their rights to full 1st Amendment protection by operating with licenses provided by the government. The filing is the latest in the back-and-forth between the FCC and CBS over Janet Jackson's Super Bowl mishap in 2004. Broadcasting & Cable has the latest details on the case, which is being heard in the 3rd Circuit Court of Appeals.
Report cards. Seems to me there is not a whole lot to celebrate in network TV. Has any new show really broken through? Vulture offers up a series report card on the first four months of the season for each network. Here's their take on CBS. On the movie side, the Wrap is offering its own end-of-the-year results with a look at Paramount.
Put an asterisk next to that number. Box-office revenue is almost flat with the $10.6 billion generated a year ago, which, given the economy, is no small feat. But look closer and the picture is grimmer. The number of actual tickets sold is off by 4% to 6%. The reason the numbers don't look worse is all the money brought in by ticket sales for 3-D movies. Although some 3-D films live up to the hype, lots don't,  and sooner or later, the movie public will catch on and stop shelling out the extra bucks. The Los Angeles Times and New York Post look at the year in numbers, and the Daily Beastrecaps what scored with audiences. 

"V" vs. "\"

Walmart is lowering its expenditure and expansion in America, but investing heavily in India, China, Africa and even Europe. More than half of General Motors investment and two thirds of its sales are outside the United States. The steel and consumer electronics industry have long ago moved their plants to other countries. Industry is in a "V" shaped recovery while the rest of us are still "\".

The recovery is in stocks, owned by most Americans though retirement funds (if you still have any), and the value of the wealthy personal portfolios and investments. Shareholders are seeing a rapid recovery with all time highs promised.

Meanwhile Americans see no real improvement in jobs. The US Government will, for the first time, begin tracking individual unemployment cases over a 7 year period (it has been 3). Real incomes are up, but only because inflation has crawled to a halt, and assuming you have income. The costs of food, gas and other products we use daily are going up well past inflation levels, yet Americans are accepting it without protest, or long lines or cries for help.

In fact we just extended tax breaks for the wealthy so they can invest outside the US even more.

It is only normal, as investment in the US may take a long time to return on your dollar, if ever. Investment overseas promised rapid response and growth.

Monday, December 27, 2010

Larry King warns TV News is now a land for political preaching

The legendary broadcaster says while it hurt his ratings staying neutral, he has a "problem" with the biased pundits.

On Sunday, Larry King appeared on CNN again courtesy of an interview with Howard Kurtz's Reliable Sources. During the chat about his 25-year career, King took aim at the pundit style of his former time slot rivals Rachel Maddow and Sean Hannity.

While he had kind words for the respective MSNBC and Fox News hosts ("I'm not objecting what they do, they're more about what television is about today…they're both very good at what they do"), he opened up about his "problem" with their programs.
"They're preachers of their opinion. They're telling you what they know. They're not learning. There's no learning experience from either of those programs," King said.
Though he conceded that Maddow and Hannity's style "got better ratings," King maintains he is at peace with his insistence on staying mostly neutral.
"Obviously it did [make it more difficult to compete]. They got better ratings. However, I don't regret anything. I'm happy with what I did," he added.
King said that he was not "nudged" from the network because of his numbers. While they had offered him a shorter King King said in the end, he "thought it was time to go."
Earlier in the program, he explained his un-biased approach to broadcasting more thoroughly.
"I always felt like I was the audience, I was a conduit…I asked short sentences. My questions didn't take three sentences, it always had a question mark in the end," he said.
"I know what I don't like. I don't like any show where the host is more important than the guest."