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Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Anti union humor

Free Internet Speed Test from US Government

The FCC asks that you go to "" to do a free test of your internet speed. The FCC is seeking to see if Internet providers are giving their afforded "up to" speeds. Do not trust your service providers tests, as the FCC says that those test may not show your true speeds.

The FCC initiative posts its stated goals:

  • Goal 1: At least 100 million U.S. homes should have affordable access to actual download speeds of at least 100 megabits per second and actual upload speeds of at least 50 megabits per second.
  • Goal 2: The United States should lead the world in mobile innovation, with the fastest and most extensive wireless networks of any nation.
  • Goal 3: Every American should have affordable access to robust broadband service, and the means and skills to subscribe if they so choose.
  • Goal 4: Every community should have affordable access to at least 1 Gbps broadband service to anchor institutions such as schools, hospitals and government buildings.
  • Goal 5: To ensure the safety of Americans, every first responder should have access to a nationwide public safety wireless network.
  • Goal 6: To ensure that America leads in the clean energy economy, every American should be able to use broadband to track and manage their real-time energy consumption.
Broadband Test Beta
Broadband Test Beta Get an instant review of your broadband speed connection, and help the FCC spot broadband dead zones in the US. Learn More

To translate killibites per second to the measure used by COX and the phone company, Mbs, use the following link:

As an example this morning my COX speed came up at 24575 kps, or 25.575 Mbs, faster than the COX test that showed me at 2.25 Mbs. I have a feeling between the two there is a dismal shift somewhere. Technology!

Which also indicates why the FCC is beginning this nation-wide measure of speeds.

And what exactly is "turbo-boost"?

Blockbuster Falls?

Blockbuster is filing for bankruptcy. Among the factors to take down the giant that shuttered many a local family owned business are Redbox, Netflix, On Demand, Internet delivery sources and a rapid decline in DVD sales and rentals.

20 poll observations on Health Care Reform

Anger and resentment, hatred and corporate money have replaced citizen discourse and compromise for the greater good. Party line votes on almost every issue, even those that should not be controversial are the rule in Congress. Heaven forbid you visit friends and get into a discussion where you find yourself on the opposite side of an issue. Instead of a discussion and the type of dining room talk tradition to American discourse, you are likely to get an ear full up to and possibly including personal attack.

There is a class divide, a color divide, a basic philosophical divide right down the center of America, if polls and the current state of Congress are to be believed.

We are a nation divided and the two sides seem incapable of, or unwilling, to understand and compromise with the other. And within each camp there are also deep divides, with Tea Party eating into the support of Republicans and Progressives (what some still call liberals) undermining efforts by the Democratic Party.

With health care reform legislation facing its final hurdles, destined to pass or fail on a slim margin, it is important to consider what polls are telling us about ourselves as Americans.

An NBC/ Wall Street Journal poll correlated with an ABC TV poll,  and a Pew Trust poll, reveals what most of us already know.

1. Opposition to the health care bill are mostly "middle to upper class".

2. Opposition to the health care bill are mostly "white".

3. Opposition to the health care bill are most likely to watch FOX news.

4. Opposition to the health care bill tend to be older voters (most likely to actually vote).

5. Opposition the the health care bill identify with five "slogans" but show little in depth knowledge of the bill or the issues it covers.

6. Supporters of the bill mostly identify themselves as Democrats.

7. Supporters of the bill are mostly "middle class to poor."

8. Supporters of the health care bill are multi-ethnic, including white, Hispanic, African-American Asian and Native American.

9. Supporters of the health care bill tend to read the newspaper or seek multiple media sources for their information.

10. Supporters of the health care bill tend to be younger (less likely to vote) or seniors who rely on medicare, medicaid and other social services.

11. People blame the opposite party for the lack of action for or against the bill.

12. Voters are split in thirds, with one third saying that the vote of their congressional delegation will definitely effect if and how they vote in November, one third saying it may effect their vote and one third saying it will not impact their votes.

13. Voters are split evenly on whether to keep the current system, with another ten percent either undecided or considering it a non-issue.

14. Those in the medical profession are over 87% in favor of health care reform.

15. Employees of the insurance industry are evenly divided on the issues.

16. Over 80% of those opposed to the bill have employer paid insurance coverage.

17. 65% of small business employers are in favor of reform.

18. 67% of those who identified themselves as likely to vote in November, say they are dissatisfied with their current congressional delegation.

19. This result also revealed that Republicans are less supportive of their representatives than Democrats.

20. Only one if five voters say they will consider at third party if one were offered on the ballot.

On war films and the American lack of interests

Hollywood calls a truce on war films.

That's the headline in Variety.

"Green Zone" has been dragging, despite star power and another Iraq war film winning Best Picture less than two weeks ago. "The Pacific" is only doing mediocre ratings for HBO despite heavy press, Tom Hanks and the nostalgia for the "Greatest Generation". "Hurt Locker" has earned a paltry million dollars on its statues, compared to many dozens of millions for traditional "best picture" winners.

Some of it is that the way we distribute and do things has changed. "Hurt Locker" only received limited release when it was in theaters and has been out on DVD, Blue Ray and other distribution sources since long before its Academy Award nomination, much less the win. Distribution windows, how we consume media and who goes to movies have changed in radical ways over the past decade.

But the dominant reason Hollywood may not green light new scripts on war themes, and why projects already underway or completed are being jockeyed into new distribution windows and methods, is that Hollywood measured success in millions of dollars and in box office income. The average movie-goer is 23 years old, with a primary range between 14 and 29.

In the Vietnam years war movies were on the decline, with fewer large budget films about the Second World War and Korea and most Vietnam films dieing at the box office (it John Wayne to take the "Green Barret" to box office heights, and it was a highly criticized film). It took years for theater goers to choose to see films about Vietnam, and even today the numbers of successful films on that war  parrell the success of the war itself.

Hollywood is changing the way it finances and releases films, moving toward a blockbuster or "tent poll" model, backed by multi-platform merchandise. Unless an Iraq or Afghanistan film can sell GI Joe's and Janes, it holds little interests for most Hollywood studios and their distribution chains. Then if people do not turn out to support the films, preferring the "Alice" in Wonderland and "Avatar" or low level situation comedy star driven films, then the incentive for films that reflect on the experience of war is simply not there.

Another possible factor lies in the US fighting wars, for the first time ever, with all volunteer military. In the past war hit home because the boy next door could be drafted, and most everyone knew or were touched by the war itself. Today we have no rationing stamps, not scrap metal drives, and fewer Americans are close to those put in harms way. 24 hour news has made us tire of wars dragging into their seventh, eighth and ninth years. We simply do not want to think about it.

Of course there is the role of art to shake the tree, make us feel uncomfortable, reflect the good and bad sides of our nature and our society. Movies are not just profit making box office machines. They can and should be art. They should make us think, feel, learn and experience the universe we live in. But if no one pays to go, then why should studios finance this art.

Because our government, unlike all of the other industrialized and civilized nations in the world, does not subsidise the arts.

Didn't you even wonder why so many of the great films that reflect American life, comment on who we are or tell our stories are made in Canada, England, New Zealand or even eastern Europe? Even Tom Hank's acclaimed "Band of Brothers" used primarily non-American actors to portray Americans and was made in England under a British Equity contract.

So, is there hope that the bravery and hardships of our troops will be honored, memorized or reflected in future "Hurt Lockers".

As long as Hollywood is a business and we do not go to the films and drop our dollars, that hope seems fleeting.

Television Production Jobs at Fox 5

Week-End News Producer KVVU
Meredith - Henderson, NV US
Producer KVVURequisition #: KVVU1138Department: KVVU NewsJob Summary: The Week end News Producer creates... In addition, the News Producer:* Coordinates efforts...

MORE Show Producer
Meredith Corporation - Henderson, NV US
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From Meredith Corporation -

When right vs wrong becomes tagged as liberal propoganda

By Scott Mendelson

Last Friday saw the long-delayed opening of Paul Greengrass's Iraq-war thriller The Green Zone. Why it did not open this Friday, which is the seventh anniversary of the start of the Iraq campaign, I do not know. As expected, Paul Greengrass uses his Bourne-tricks to craft a thrill-infused version of just what went down during the earliest days of 'Operation Iraqi Freedom'. For those who want the same discourse without the somewhat generic thriller elements, just rent the fantastic documentary No End In Sight, which deals (as objectively as possible) with the hopelessly bungled occupation which led to the protracted post-invasion conflict. Or, if you've got five hours to kill, rent the PBS/Frontline documentary Bush's War.

But is The Green Zone a true liberal screed? Not really. Like a lot of recent films that are tagged as liberal, the film deals with moral absolutes and is tagged as left-wing by those who would disagree with the scenarios at play. When it comes to normal fiction entertainments, mainstream movie-making is relatively apolitical. Conservative commentators love to claim for their own various films (Groundhog Day, The Incredibles, A Simple Plan, etc) that merely espouse mainstream values of good vs. evil, self-defense, family loyalty, monogamous relationships, and personal responsibility, as if liberals actively oppose these bedrock tenants of our current society. Ironically, many of those 'American values' derived from the character of Superman, who started his days as a pro-FDR, pro-press muckraker who was in favor of joining the war in Europe and regulating business when many on the political right were opposed.

Many conservative pundits also presume that just because characters in a film act in a way with (Knocked Up) or against (Million Dollar Baby) their values means that the film and the filmmakers are firmly on the side of their characters. Just because Juno decided against having an abortion does not mean that Jason Reitman and/or Diablo Cody are anti-choice. While there are certain mainstream entertainments that could be classified as solidly conservative (Phone Booth, Bad Boys 2, The Devil's Advocate, or The Eighth Day), most mainstream entertainments are just about characters making life choices and moral decisions ignorant or uncaring about which side of the political spectrum those choices might fall under at a given time.

And we liberals love to claim for our own films like Avatar. Sure the picture may contain swipes at the Iraq war and its propaganda and the film is certainly liberal when it comes to environmental concerns. But at least where it concerns issues of war and peace, the James Cameron opus merely states that land-theft and murder is not a nice way to operate, and that an indigenous populace has the right to fight back against aggressors. Do mainstream conservatives really want to claim that being anti-genocide is somehow left-wing? Most movies classified as 'liberal' are thrillers that deal with faceless corporations using their unchecked power to engage in various sorts of skulduggery (think The Constant Gardener, State of Play, or Edge of Darkness). Sure, the GOP has allowed themselves to get tagged as the party of corporations, but aren't these movies merely stating, as a hard moral bedrock of free enterprise, that giant corporations shouldn't kill people or commit treason as a matter of public policy? At what point did 'business shouldn't poison/murder people' become a left-wing idea?

Remember ten years ago, when it was the liberals who were being tagged as the party of 'oh, there's an excuse/mitigating circumstance for everything' and the conservatives who preached hard morality and the rule of law regardless of circumstance? I'd argue that one of the unfortunate effects of post-9/11 discourse is to render seemingly mainstream views regarding a whole host of issues, such as torture (no), preemptive invasion (no), the rule of law and due process (yes), and constitutional rights (yes) into amoral gray zones for political discourse. Of course, that's what The Dark Knight is really about, which is why it hit such a nerve in audiences of all political stripes (it was certainly no neocon fantasy). Believing in 'the right thing' is meaningless if you don't stick to those principles in times of great strife, which used to be a pretty mainstream philosophy.

On the surface, the fact that we are discussing a movie like The Green Zone as left-wing at all is a little disconcerting. The film surprisingly goes out of its way to avoid partisan name-calling, as the film basically faults a single fictional corrupt Bush administration official (played by Greg Kinnear) with using a single overeager reporter ('not Judith Miller', played by Amy Ryan) in order to sell the case that Iraq had weapons of mass destruction. For those so politically-inclined, this is the biggest problem with the picture as it basically lets the Bush administration, the mainstream media, and the American public off the hook by holding up mustache-twirling figureheads as the culprits (the finale also fatally plunges the picture into wish-fulfillment fantasy). In the end, The Green Zone simply argues that the people who lie and deceive a populace into waging war against a nation under false pretenses are the bad guys. And the people who fail to adequately plan for various contingencies associated with that war, a failure that results in years of protracted slaughter and loss of national blood and treasure, should not be commended. It was wrong when Lyndon B. Johnson did it and it was wrong when George W. Bush did it. The fact that such an opinion is now viewed as a politically partisan one and movies that espouse it are considered liberal screeds is a troubling sign of how far down the rabbit hole we've plunged since the second week in September of 2001.

This is by Scott Mendelson as posted in

- Scott Mendelson

Journalism as a slave to technology and ignorance

Are journalists too close to social media and technology? Do they miss the real world of those who are not wired, or who choose not to be? Are they out of touch with people who prefer quiet time, family or just vegging in front of TV? Do journalist thank that people are more "wired”, "tuned-in" and "turned-on" then they actually are? It is possible that journalism is suffering as a profession due to the very technology used to report.

The Guardian Newspaper in England reports most journalist use social media, with over 55% considering it important or very important. All but the graying traditionalist of journalism are linked to their computers and smart phones as an appendage in reporting and research, sometimes to the point of missing the interpersonal in person interaction, the listening to folks in the coffee shop, the things older journalist may have seen or heard through slow and careful observations.

A George Washington University study done in association with Cision (a global media intelligence research and think tank), according the Guardian, found that "all journalists are using Google, followed by 61% which are turning to Wikipedia." Many journalist cannot distinguish between a juried, scholarly or academic source and a "wiki" unchecked popular source of myth or presumed fact. The repeating of press releases, misinformation off the Internet or from e-mail as fact or as assumed reality is becoming an everyday part of alleged journalism. This is why in the health care debate so many slogans were used not only by journalist, but also by politician, the origination of which were word for word from special interest group lobbyist press releases.
Now add the 24-hour news cycle where increasingly audiences, readers and social media summaries demand audio, video or at least photographs. Video and other quick, dirty and immediate technology may be interfering with the ability of reporters to dig below the surface, to discover "truths", to screen out the smoke and mirrors of those who feed them news. 

An even more profound impact on the use of social media and the inability of reporters to slow down and use traditional methods to find and screen the information they present, may be that reporters themselves are now younger, from a generation raised on fast information, action movies and less on completing the full book "War and Peace" or sitting through three to five hours of an unabridged Shakespearian play.

Are we losing the patience and observation abilities needed to serve as the Fourth Estate and truly observe, police and report on the world around us?

Too often a press release leads to a story in one publication or on one media, then copied by others, in part due to Internet proliferation, and repeated as fact to the point where people start to believe it without questioning. And when they are exposed to those who do question, they reject those views as politically motivated, conservative right or socialist left or just uninformed.

Repeat things enough and you believe it. Report it enough and everyone accepts it as true.

Mass media, driven by video, has also had an impact of blurring the lines between reality and entertainment, truth and fiction. We want personalities, excitement, story line and simple resolutions. Reporters, while they should be the vanguard of filtering and interpreting information, too often look for the simple way to explain things or simply for the headline that will keep their audience reading, watching, listening and therefore make the reporter into a celebrity, personality or lead to their next higher paying, higher profile job.

Death panels never existed in the health plan bills. Its’ all about Obama and not about the issues or problems that need action or consideration of action.

This is a very simple and short introduction, courtesy to a Guardian report delivered to my computer by Twitter, to a very important, even vital, set of questions we need to ask and perhaps to a trend we need to reverse in who we trust for news, and how we seek out information and “facts.”
First posted 2-14-10