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Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Governor proposed resturcturing of higher education in Nevada

Governor Jim Gibbons will be suggesting sweeping changes in the way Higher Education is financed, structured and operates, as he addressed the Board of Regents tomorrow (Thursday). Over the past several years Gibbons has overseen or proposed cuts which total over 50% in higher education financing.

Say it ain't so, Sam!

The cover story of Forbes is worth a read. The topic "A Star Is Born: How Virtual Actors are changing the Business of Hollywood Forever".

Deep cuts and layoffs coming for UNLV, UNR

Theater, journalism and up to 18 other programs could come to an end at UNLV with budget cuts outlined by UNLV president Neal Smatresk.

Meanwhile UNR may cut its award earning Colleges of Agriculture and Natural Resources.

The key words are "may" and "could", not will, as ways to make deep cuts without an unsustainable increase in tuition and fees are being investigated. Faculty and staff will lose their jobs, department reduced if not slashed, and sections reduced, making completion of a degree much more difficult for the foreseeable future.

Education in Nevada cannot take the latest round of cuts, approved by the legislature this week without major painful and deep cuts, not just for faulty and staff who will lose their jobs, but also for students and student recruitment.

At UNR in addition to cutting two colleges entirely, several degree programs have been targeted for review and possible closure, including education counseling, education leadership, German, French, Italians, interior design, supply chain management, statistics plus advanced degrees in anthropology, history political science, philosophy and speech communication.

At UNLV no decisions have been made in what departments and degrees to cut, however a list of 20 programs is being used as a starting point, ranging from engineering and the sciences to theater and the arts. Nursing, journalism, physical therapy, finance an education are also included in programs being seriously looked at for cuts or closure. When the smoke clears 7 to 10 academic programs may see the ax.

Details for Henderson State College and the Community College System, including CSN, have not been released, but closure of entire campus locations, shutting down Henderson State College, elimination of degree programs and moving away from the open admission system to require proficiency in college  level course work for entry are areas being discussed.

For additional information go to the Review Journal or Las Vegas Sun.

Photo: Las Vegas Sun: Instructor Rhigel Alforque-Tan teaches Medical/Surgical Nursing inside the Bigelow Health Sciences building on the campus of UNLV in Las Vegas Monday, March 1, 2010.

Comedy Central pulls from Hulu

No more John Stewart.

No more Colbert Report.

Comedy Central has pulled is shows off Hulu.

The New York Times reports that Viacom and Hulu have parted ways. Most programs will be available on the network or on the program's web site.

The issue is money, of course, including the reality that Comedy Central shows do well on Hulu, yet the income sharing system is slow and approximately a third of the funds remain with the operators of Hulu.

Apple up in the clouds for future of computing, music and tv

Apple has discussed plans with studio executives that would allow iTunes to stream their content from the Internet onto an array of Web-connected devices, such as its iPad and a to be upgraded iTV, according to CNET, which quotes sources as saying Apple wants to build a cloud-computing platform for media that would eliminate the need for hard drives. In another streaming-media development, Netflix has polled customers on their interest in an iPhone application similar to its software for the Wii and PlayStation 3.Apple is also ready to launch a streaming audio service to partner with iTunes, where for tiered monthly fees music can be heard live or downloaded for specific periods of time as an alternative to purchase. Google, Disney and smaller companies are preparing alternatives, saying "Apple no longer has the leverage" to dictate terms or dominate an on line cloud computing digital format.

Apple has competition from Netflix, YouTube, Walmart and Sony in the move toward cloud computing on demand and direct streaming. The iTV, shown above, is being re-engineered into what Apple hopes will be the most efficient high definition delivery device.

Sources: CNET/Media Maverick blog (3/2) , Network World/PC World.

'Hurt Locker' Sued Over Stolen Identity

In intellectual property rights, plagerism and the fine line we all walk with any creative process, headlines this morning as an Army Sargent files suit against "Hurt Locker," its writers, producers and director.

Do we own our own experiences or are they public if "on the record?"

From an on-line publication and blog that follows Hollywood, The Wrap:
By Brent Lang and Sharon Waxman

An Army sergeant has filed a multimillion dollar lawsuit against the makers of Oscar-nominated film "The Hurt Locker" just days before the Academy Awards ceremony, claiming the central character in the film is based on him.

The suit was filed late Tuesday in federal court in New Jersey.

In the suit, Master Sergeant Jeffrey S. Sarver said he believes screenwriter and producer Mark Boal based the main character in the film on him.

Among those named in the suit are director Kathryn Bigelow, screenwriter Mark Boal, and the film's distributor Summit Entertainment and producer Voltage Pictures.

(Click here for the full complaint).

A lawyer for Sarver, Geoffrey Fieger wrote in a prepared statement: "Plaintiff, Master Sgt. Jeffrey S. Sarver, is, in fact, the film's main character "Will James" or "Blaster One" [which was Master Sgt. Sarver's "call signal" during his tours of duty in Iraq]."

The suit alleges that Boal, was allowed, as part of an armed services press program, to be embedded in Master Sgt. Sarver's unit. It further alleges that "virtually all of the situations portrayed in the film were, in fact, occurrences involving Master Sgt. Sarver that were observed and documented by Screenwriter Boal. Master Sgt. Sarver also coined the phrase, "The Hurt Locker" for Boal."

Summit, which released the critically-lauded film, issued this statement on Tuesday:

"We have no doubt that Master Sergeant Sarver served his country with honor and commitment risking his life for a greater good, but we distributed the film based on a fictional screenplay written by Mark Boal," Summit said.

Photo:  screenwriter Mark Boal and director Kathryn Bigelow, PR file photo from "The Wrap".

Slogans and talking points to stir up hate and resentment

Yesterday a Republican running for the Senate launched a TV ad attacking me for supporting health insurance reform, calling it "government run health care." The spot recycles the same tired insurance company talking points we've heard over the past year.

It's important that we not let these kinds of attacks go unanswered, even when they show up 8 times in a 30 second ad.

LIE #1: Health insurance reform is "one-size-fits-all government run health care"
TRUTH: If families have coverage and like their plan they can keep it, and are protected against insurance company abuses.

LIE #2: I think 'Washington' knows best
TRUTH: Families in Nevada and around the country know best, that's why the Senate bill gives them more insurance choices.

LIE #3: The Senate's 'big government' health care plan will raise taxes
TRUTH: Right now families pay more than $1,000 each year to cover people who don't have health insurance - it's a hidden tax and reforming insurance eliminates it by giving every American access to quality, affordable coverage.

LIE #4: Health insurance reform puts a bureaucrat between you and your doctor
TRUTH: Insurance companies put profit-motivated bureaucrats between patients and their doctors now, rationing care by dropping people when they get sick, denying coverage to people with pre-existing conditions, and capping yearly and lifetime benefits. Reform will end these shameful practices.

LIE #5: The Senate bill will weaken Medicare
TRUTH: Reform strengthens Medicare, improves benefits for seniors, and ends multi-billion dollar giveaways to insurance companies they don't need and we can't afford.

LIE #6: Reform will kill jobs
TRUTH: The cost of health care is crippling small businesses - the Senate bill aims to ease that burden and protect small business jobs.

LIE #7: Reform will push us further into debt
TRUTH: The Senate bill is fiscally responsible, cutting the deficit by $132 billion over the next decade.

LIE #8: 'Government-run health' care is wrong
TRUTH: SCHIP is good for kids, Medicare helps Seniors, Medicaid gives a hand up to millions who can't afford coverage, and the VA works for our Veterans.

How someone could claim to stand up for Seniors by supporting and protecting Medicare while railing against 'government-run' health care is downright confusing. But I learned a long time ago that even if an attack doesn't make sense, that doesn't mean you shouldn't knock it down.

We've got to keep fighting to pass health insurance reform, Nevadans and Americans cannot wait any longer for a level playing field and access to affordable coverage.

Thank you so much for reading. With your help, I'll be able to continue working alongside President Obama to get Nevada, and America, back on track.

-Harry Reid

And President Barack Obama's words on health care:

Last Thursday's first-of-its-kind summit capped off a debate that has lasted nearly a year. Every idea has now been put on the table. Every argument has been made. Both parties agree that the status quo is unacceptable and gets more dire each day. Today, I want to state as clearly and forcefully as I know how: Now is the time to make a decision about the future of health care in America.

The final proposal I've put forward draws on the best ideas from all sides, including several put forward by Republicans at last week's summit. It will put Americans in charge of their own health care, ensuring that neither government nor insurance company bureaucrats can ration, deny, or put out of financial reach the care our families need and deserve.

I strongly believe that Congress now owes the American people a final vote on health care reform. Reform has already passed the House with bipartisan support and the Senate with a super-majority of sixty votes. Now it deserves the same kind of up-or-down vote that has been routinely used and has passed such landmark measures as welfare reform and both Bush tax cuts.

Earlier today, I asked leaders in both houses of Congress to finish their work and schedule a vote in the next few weeks. From now until then, I will do everything in my power to make the case for reform. And now, I'm asking you, the members of the Organizing for America community, to raise your voice and do the same.

Essentially, my proposal would change three things about the current health care system:

First, it would protect all Americans from the worst practices of insurance companies. Never again will the mother with breast cancer have her coverage revoked, see her premiums arbitrarily raised, or be forced to live in fear that a pre-existing condition will bar her from future coverage.

Second, my proposal would give individuals and small businesses the same choice of private health insurance that members of Congress get for themselves. And my proposal says that if you still can't afford the insurance in this new marketplace, we will offer you tax credits based on your income -- tax credits that add up to the largest middle class tax cut for health care in history.

Finally, my proposal would bring down the cost of health care for everyone -- families, businesses, and the federal government -- and bring down our deficit by as much as $1 trillion over the next two decades. These savings mean businesses small and large will finally be freed up to create jobs and increase wages. With costs currently skyrocketing, reform is vital to remaining economically strong in the years and decades to come.

In the few crucial weeks ahead, you can help make sure this proposal becomes law. Please sign up to join the Organizing for America campaign in the final march for reform:

When I talked about change on the campaign, this is what I was talking about: coming together to solve a huge problem that has been troubling America for 100 years and standing up to the special interests to deliver a brighter, smarter future for generations to come.

I look forward to signing this historic reform into law. And when I do, it will be because your organizing played an essential role in making change possible.

Thank you,