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Sunday, April 11, 2010

Learn and move forward, don't give them the ammo.


"Don't be distracted by criticism. Remember-the only taste of success some people have is when they take a bite out of you." - Zig Ziglar

For Lucky Hayes, RIP

Photo by Art Lynch

Sunday Morning News and Views



Voice Overs are a 12 billion dollar industry each year. Casting directors hear 40 to 50 voices per voice cast, often with multiple auditions per voice. They hear 200 to 500 for animation projects. Stars taking many jobs previously held by professional voice actors.  Where staff announcers once prospered, CBS Nightly News is now announced by Mogan Freeman and NBC’s broadcast by Michael Douglas. So what does it take to make a living as a voice artist? SAG board member, New York commentary and professional voice artist Nancy Giles says “talent, luck, a thick skin, marketing skills and being in the right place at the right time.”

This week the Navy banned smoking on submarines, effective January 1, 2011. The smoking light will be permanently off.

On this date, April 11, 1900 the US Navy “took the plunge” and the Submarine Service was born. 110 years ago today the Navy bought a 64-ton submarine from inventor John Holland, the formal start of the US Navy submarine program. True there were submarines of sorts during the Civil and Spanish American Wars, but those submergible never went fully below the surface, relying on snorkels for air and not very maneuverable. The USS Holland changed all that.

During World War II US Submarines sunk over 5 million tons of Japanese shipping. In 1955 the first nuclear submarine, the USS Nautilus, set sail. Three years later, in 1558 the Nautilus made the first passage under the polar ice cap. I grew up in an age of nuclear missile subs with the constant threat of nuclear war. There were tragedies of other sorts, such as when the USS Thresher imploded and sank out of Cape Cod, 129 crewmen lost.


In the Southern Republican Leadership Caucus Mitt Romney was selected most likely Republican Candidate for president, beating the prior “winner” Ron Paul by one vote, and besting Sarah Pallin by a good margin. The straw poll has a 70% success rate in selecting the candidate who will run two years in the future.


Profiling by police and at airports is back in the headlines, but not as it was prior to 9-11 when there was general outrage against profiling in the post-Rodney King age. 51% of Americans say that racial profiling works, while only 38% oppose it. Opponents say that the problem with profiling is that we are looking for those that fit, discriminating against innocents, while not looking at those who do not fit the profile. Increasingly terrorist, much less violent criminals do not fit the profile system.

Behavior detection officers are being used at airports and in criminal investigations to look for traits rather than ethnicity or physical appearance. The inexact science involves micro-expressions, clothing, the way people move, what they say and their travel patterns. The Transportation Security Administration has 3,000 Detection Officers, enough to cover one third of major airports and at that only one third or less of the actual screening lines.

We could learn from Israel. 9 million passengers fly in and out of Israel each year, where security is at its best. Over 600 million fly in and out of American airports, so the cost and manpower for the US could be prohibitive, plus our laws are far more limiting and protective of civil rights than those in Israel.

What Israel does have in quality internal intelligence, something the US has not led in. Intelligence in the US has been traditionally focused outwardly, at other governments and at larger threats, not individuals.

Tens of thousands of people are standing silent in the streets of Poland, and in the streets of Chicago, remembering the 97 people who died in a plane crash over Russia. Church bells are ringing as I write this, with police sirens and military rifle salutes. Among those lost were Polish President Lech Kacrynaski, the First Lady, and many of the countries political, military, and religious and business elite. Also gone is a Chicago sculptor who created a Chicago area landmark, a sculpture remembering the victims of a Soviet massacres, including his father. The plane was on its way to the site of the murder executions of thousands of Polish officers, intelligence and soldiers during World War II. Among the dead in Saturday’s crash are Poland’s Army chief of staff, the commander of the Navy, all heads of land and air forces, the head of Polish Special Forces, three presidential candidates, cabinet ministers, the head of the Polish Central Bank and the two wealthiest and most influential business leaders of that nation, on a painful pilgrimage to commemorate Polish officers slain by Soviet Secret Police in 1940 in western Russia.

Poland is left without a president, prime minister, all of its military leaders and many of its political leadership. The speaker of their house is now the president. The forest where the plane crashed has long been seen as a dark forest damned and haunted. Pilot error is being blamed, as the plane was advised to go to other airports due to heavy fog. But all possibilities will be investigated since the plane was old, too many leaders were on one plane and the core of the Solidarity movement is left only with its founder, who is aging and outside of direct politics.

UC Berkley Economics Professor Robert Reich says that despite this week’s talks with China, that country will keep its currency at an artificial level to spur large exports and a trade imbalance, taking US and other jobs. Speaking on the Wall Street Journal Report he said the reason is that the policy is a social and not financial policy, aimed at providing jobs and a higher standard of living to over one billion Chinese.”

A 7.1 earthquake struck the Solomon Islands this morning.

“When I Stop Talking,  You’ll Know I’m Dead” is music and film producer Jerry Weintraub’s new book, speaking on NPR, Wall Street Journal Report and the BBC promoting his book. He writes about Sinatra, Presley, George Clooney and the celebrities he influenced or was influenced by. Among his films are the remakes of “Ocean’s 11” and “Oh God.” What is funny is that it was on Wall Street Journal Report on Channel 8 at the same time as NPR this morning, so I had different stories from the man in each ear of my headsets. He said that Elvis always insisted his fans and not celebrities be in his fist 20 front rows, and that every show be sold out, no matter what it takes, “because I need the energy.”

“Oh God” will be remade next year with Whoopi Goldberg set to reprise George Burn’s role as “God”.

The Monarch butterflies are starting to migrate north from Mexico.

Lots of Republican political ads on TV this morning, for Senate, Governor and lesser offices.

Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and Secretary of Defense Robert Gates were the guest on CBS “Face the Nation”.

Tomorrow 46 world leaders will be in Washington to talk about how to keep terrorist from buying or stealing nuclear weapons. Last week the president announced a major change in strategy.

Are we giving way too much?  Gates says that the negative security assurance that we will not use nuclear weapons against non-nuclear states is not a new thing. The new part is that we will not use nuclear weapons against a non-nuclear state that attacks us with chemical or biological weapons. We have no scenario where a state can make a major attack, but we reserved the right to revise the policy and respond under extreme circumstances. Any nation that attacks us will suffer a devastating conventional response, and we will hold both civilian and military leaders in that country personally responsible.

Clinton says we have an enormous amount of firepower conventionally. We do not want countries to go down the path North Korea or Iran are. If countries develop nuclear weapons, we will reserve the right to use nuclear tactical response.

Gates says North Korea and Iran are not in compliance with nuclear treaties.

Both said that we will maintain a strong deterrent. Clinton did not say we did not go so far as saying “no first use”.

Gates says that where this is different than any meeting in the past is the focus on non-proliferation and decrease of nuclear weapons and control of nuclear materials and resources.

“This is a country that is under enormous pressure, this is a leader that is under enormous pressure…they have been on a war footing for over thirty years,” Clinton said on the president of Afghanistan, who appears to be critical of the US.

“They find it difficult to separate our free press from our policy…. as they feel that it would not be printed if the government had not approved it.”

Gates says he is “modestly optimistic about where we are in Afghanistan…the military campaign is going well…I think things are preceding pretty well.”

On Iraq “our withdrawal is on schedule” notes Clinton, “this continuing campaign of terror and violence is meant to destabilize” the government and our role in Iran.

Chief Legal Correspondence Jan Crawford spoke about the retirement of a Supreme Court Justice Stevens at the end of the court’s term in June. Republicans are going to try to portray the Supreme Court, as out of touch with Americans and “liberal”, implying that what is now a conservative court remains “too liberal.” 78% of Americans are not in favor of the corporate citizenship decision on business donations to campaigns. Democrats will use this to show that Democrats, not Republicans, understand Americans.