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Wednesday, April 7, 2010

American Eagle


Took this photo with my iPhone in Washington State, no zoom. He posed for the photo, but was still a wild bird and flew away with a wonder wingspan (iPhone not good enough to catch that photo op).

My patriotic side come out whenever I pull this photo out and look at it. God Bless America!

Over 1,000 jobs to be cut by School District

From the Las Vegas Review Journal:

CLARK COUNTY SCHOOL DISTRICT: 
Tentative 2010-11 budget would 
slash 1,077 positions by July 1



The Clark County School Board today approved a tentative 2010-11 budget that is $30 million short of closing what is now a $140 million gap created by reduced state funding and declining property tax revenues.

It's red ink the School Board plans to clear before June 8, when a final budget must be submitted to the state.
The Clark County School District will have to cut 1,077 positions for the new fiscal year that begins July 1 to close the budget gap with a reduction in force alone. About 649 positions have already been identified for elimination.

The gap had been estimated at $123 million, but district officials said today that the decline in property tax revenues is going to be steeper than previously expected.

There was hope that concessions on salary reductions and furlough days from the district's four employee unions might be able to reduce the number of layoffs that need to be made, but the district is forced to plan for the job cuts because of state-imposed budget deadlines.

Contact reporter James Haug at jhaug@reviewjournal.com or 702-374-7917.
Find this article at:
http://www.lvrj.com/news/tentative-2010-11-budget-would-slash-1-077-positions-90148422.html

The unseen world...hidden quality sources



Do you really know the Internet?

If you think you do then you are overly confident. Over 99% of what is out there, much of it documentation of facts, records, archives and valued information, is not available through any search engine (even Google which leads in amount of material to be resourced by 5 to 1 over its nearest competitor). When you add international source information in other languages, most Americas have easy search engine access to less than one quarter of one percent of what is available out there.



Experts call this the “deep web” or “invisible web” as coined by Michael Bergman. Search engines are basically dumb spiders crawling across the web, using one specific formula to search, going from link to link. If the site is new, not formatted in a pro-search engine way, not put out there on sites that search engines know exists.



University of California at Berkeley researchers found that by adding the word ‘database’ to your search would increase the quality of results. There are sites that can find sites other search sites will not, but they on their own are far weaker than conventional search engines. Bergman’s recommendation is that you test those sites and use them for what they are good at.



Searches will get better, as smart robotics take over. One obstacle is the very commercial nature of the web and of web search engines, driving you to commercial sites and ignoring those with greater value and information or burying them deep within the search.



So, with these shortcomings, is the Internet losing its value as a way to find source material? In a word, “yes”, thanks to large amounts of money being put into slanting the information and the bias by corporations and special interests groups.



“It seems that all I get is anti-Obama information. That guy must really be screwing up!”



It is not your imagination. NPR has a feature that looks at Internet use by politicians and political parties. Republicans lead Democrats almost four to one in Internet information (or rumor or sales points, depending on your political leanings) over Democrats. They dominate Facebook and Twitter, for example, and have more off campus (not taxpayer supported) web sites then Democrats by an almost ten to one ratio.  How can this be? Money. Republicans bring in far more campaign donations from wealthy donors, lobbyist, so called political action grass roots organizations, corporations and other sources. Because they do they can hire teams of professional Internet marketers to populate and spread the “truth”, the “word”, what “Americans believe” on every possible media. Republican’s also know that form CNN to the New York Times, local papers to private bloggers, it pays to respond to postings and articles. What you think are citizens like you, may often be paid consultants or campaign volunteer staff assigned and trained in internet proliferation through responses.



Is there anything wrong or un-American about this?



No. Our founding fathers hired pamphleteers and town criers to pass along their version of the news, of what the people want, and their own propaganda. Thomas Jefferson hired people to pass along fake newspapers saying that John Adams was dead.



Is it ethical?



Only if you want the rich to control public policy and what we think we thing, what we think we know and what we perceive as fact.  Those who have the money now have the tools to influence public opinion on a massive level with very little invested compared to more expensive and less convincing traditional media. Studies show that people believe what they are sent by friends, or what is passed on by people they already think they agree with, with far less questioning or doubt.



That’s how a 70% pro-health care reform public opinion, as polled by neutral and academic professionals in a non-weighted or leading question manner, became “over 70% of Americans do not want ‘Obamacare’”.

First posted 9-29-09

Think Bridges not Barriers

Photos by Art Lynch, used in web design for artlynch.org.

Going after Veterans Votes, Reid vs. Lowden.

From the Las Vegas Sun:

Harry Reid, Sue Lowden spar over votes on veterans

Image
Steve Marcus
Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) holds “Fifi,” a toy poodle belonging to Ron Malone, right, during a campaign stop in Lovelock, Nev., Wednesday, April 7, 201

Published Wednesday, April 7, 2010 | 3:36 p.m

LOVELOCK – Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid again showed today he expects Sue Lowden to be his Republican opponent, delivering a sharp attack on some gauzy TV ads Lowden is running to burnish her credentials with veterans.

The ad shows Lowden, a former Miss New Jersey, as a USO volunteer entertaining the troops during the Vietnam War.

But Reid's campaign highlighted some Lowden legislative votes, seeking to portray them as anti-veteran.

Reid said Lowden sponsored a bill in 1995 that would charge non-combat veterans $100 to be buried in the state's veterans' cemeteries. The bill did not pass.

Lowden also was the only "no" vote on a 1995 bill to raise funds by offering specialty license plates for vets at the Department of Motor Vehicles.

"I'm glad she went over there with the other beauty queens," Reid said. "Standing next to somebody doesn't do anything for veterans."

Reid touted his own record, including securing funding for the veterans’ hospitals in Las Vegas and Reno, passage of the new GI Bill for vets returning from the Iraq and Afghanistan wars, and his work to ensure veterans are able to retain both disability and vets' benefits.

Hire Jon Stewart to save CNN?

Thinking outside the box, Hollywood's on-line industry newspaper, The Wrap, suggest five ways to save CNN. Among them "hire Jon Stewart". Worth a read if you are at all interested in the slip of CNN from top cable news provider to bottom of the barrel in less than a year...click here.