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Sunday, June 20, 2010

Sunday Morning News and Views

Sunday June 20, 2010



Father’s Day
I lost my father the day of finals in my junior year of college. Awakened early in the morning my mother with the news that dad had a heart attack at work as was rushed to the hospital. Long wait then seeing him briefly. I told him I had exams, loved him and would be back after exams. A strong fist squeezed my hand and I was off. He died when I was in class. The next year a writing teacher asked me to his office to discuss what my dad did or me to love him so much (based on what I had written for class) and to let me know how he understood what I was going through, having last his own dad while he was in high school. The best selling author that was my teacher wanted to know, because he was the father of a young boy himself.

God bless William Arthur Lynch, my dad. Happy fathers day.

Is it harder today?
69 % of those surveyed by CBS news say it is harder to be a father today than when they were kids. 23% say things are about the same while only 6% say that things are the same. The rest preferred to not answer or voice no opinion. (photo: www.everythingbaby.com.au/)

Bob Marley
12 kids, 53 grandchildren. That’s the legacy of Bob Marley, who died of cancer at the age of 36. CBS took this Father’s day to look at Bob Marley a father and in some ways the spiritual father of his country. All of his children and some of his grandchildren are musicians, the most famous Ziggy.



DANGER: A Facebook Society
Facebook is now bigger than Google in use. That means that New Corp operates a “gynormous gap in the meeting of minds and the means of research and determination fact,” according to a BBC report.

The point about communicating is that it is a consensual activity between two people, varying content and tone to the situation and individual. But Facebook ushers in an era where everyone is mass and mass media, broadcasting to large groups the most intimate thoughts, stupid games and passing things people have no interests in. Yet younger people are addicted, and older people are having to go on line just to learn about and keep up with family, now that no one sends birthday cards, photographs or hand written letters, and the thought of picking up the phone to wish Grandma a Happy Birthday does not eve come to mind, superseded by Facebook, Skype, e-mail and personal web pages.

I have friends who are offended that I do not drop whatever I am going and join in Instant Messaging chat over Facebook. It is almost impossible to share family photos without going on Facebook, with those posting completely unaware of the lack of intimacy in the act or the reality that such photos are special to certain recipients (like grandparents) and not part of a broadcast to the world photo show.

The intimacy of in person meetings, phone calls, handwritten letters, tangible cards and photos you can hold in your hand and paste in your albums.

The shift suggest a far greater change in society, as we go from research and fact orientation with intimacy and privacy as bedstones of our constitutional society, to hear say, slogans, emotional decision making and personal broadcast, including this blog, replacing one on one conversation and digression, once considered a virtue.

It is interesting that the same company that brings you the inaccuracies and sales of one political view, Fox News (also owned by Newscorp) brings us Facebook.

Communication

Some people contend that all communication is at its root interpersonal and one on one. In many ways that is true. But increasingly the true listening part, the personal and personalized are being lost to mass broadcast to groups or audiences. Are we losing out ability to relate to our fellow human beings as individuals?

Politics points to “yes” as hatred, slogans and one-sided views replace reasoned discourse and compromise all but disappears.

This is the communication environment we enter the 2010 elections with, one of blanket distrust, mass statements, mass interpretation of views and ideas and very little if any reasoned discourse and true communication.



Muppet Star
The Muppets will get a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame. The Hollywood Chamber of Commerce announced the decision last Thursday. Miss Piggy is rumored to be jockeying for first position over her love, Kermit the Frog, at the ceremony. Too bad Jim Henson could not have lived to see this day!

The national Puppetry Conference is this week on Connecticut, including many of the puppeteers who run or voice Muppets and their Sesame Street cousins.

Day in Las Vegas History
June 20, 1947, a gunman fired through a Beverly Hills window and killed Bugsy Siegel.  The Flamingo was to be the largest resort, losing his backers millions of dollars. The show used a highly fictional “Bugsy” movie to support its claims.

After Bugsy Siegel's death, the Flamingo came into the hands of a new crop of wiseguys. Poolside at the Flamingo, left to right, are Israel "Icepick Willie" Alderman, Joe Rosenberg and Gus Greenbaum. Greenbaum presumably ran afoul of mob mavens ; he was murdered along with his wife in Phoenix. (Las Vegas News Bureau/LVCVA) 

CBS Sunday Morning continued to propagate the myth that Bugsy Siegel was the father of Las Vegas and launched the city’s growth. The truth is that World War II, with military bases and the Basic Materials industry, helped make the city the gambling capital it is today. The Boulder Dam went unmentioned, as did the corporate investments and improved transportation that led to the Vegas booms in the 60’s, 70’s, 80’s ad 90’s. The feature even mentioned the now well out of date “remaking” of Las Vegas as a family destination as “recent.” That was so 90’s!


War in Afghanistan
Defense Secretary Robert Gates says people are too quick to say that the war is going badly. He believes that the momentum is shifting toward the US and its allies, however he acknowledges that corruption among Afghan forces has slowed efforts in the Taliban heartland. The people do not want the Taliban there but do not have the resources to battle the Taliban as invaders. The Taliban themselves are more of a drug financing arm for terrorism and anti-government insurgency than an idealistic religious force, as they once may have been.

Civil War
You might as well call what is happening in Mexico a civil war. In Juarez along over 200 people are murdered, another 200 go missing per month. This is not new; it started in 2008 with a large jump in what was already a major murder center. Multiply by what is happening in other Mexican cities and rural areas and you could easily call their war on drugs a full-blown war. Automatic weapons and military style combat between sides, the murder of police and public officials, rampant kidnapping of foreigners and those perceived to have money in Mexico itself, and chemical vats where missing persons are dissolved into nothing, so as to never become official homicides. Now add the violence, drugs, illegal immigration, gun running and other crime that has seeped over the boarder to as far north as the Canadian boarder and just about every major US City.

The Mexican government says, “90% of the people killed are criminals killed by other criminals”, yet the killings range from children to senior citizens, shop clerks to police officers, garbage collectors to journalists.  There is evidence of police killing civilians; gunfights with “collateral damage”, and of course, gang intimidation killings of innocent civilians. Yet the Mexican government denies it.

Anti Immigration Initiative Opposed
The ACLU of Nevada and a prominent Nevada business association have sued to bock a ballot initiative that would ask voters to approve tough anti-illegal immigration laws in Nevada similar to those in neighboring Arizona. The groups maintain that the measure violates state law requiring temptation contain only one subject. They say it violates laws against racial profiling and would hurt the state’s economy.

Work Cards
Despite the added security and protection work cards provide for employers, most work card requirements for Clark County may be eliminated. The reason is to fight budget not crime. Today, in what has been called the Great Recession, work cards are considered an obstacle to returning Nevadans to work.

Skipping School
One key element in low test scores, low graduation rates and other measures of Nevada’s education level, may have nothing to do with deep budget cuts or lack of parental responsibility. Simply out, we lead the nation in time lost per student by student’s simply skipping class or skipping school. It has become acceptable and even demanded socially within the schools student culture.

Cutting School
The BBC provided brutal attack on the potential impact of cuts in education, social services, medical and state infrastructure employment in California and Nevada. The bottom line is that the high tech California depends on, gaming Nevada depends on and the diversification both states claim they are seeking to avoid the depth of the recession currently impacting services and lifestyles. Nevada ranks highest it the nation in percentage official unemployment and in estimated underemployment and real unemployment. Michigan is second and California third.

The BBC focused on deep cuts in both California and Nevada education, from K to 12 and the storied higher education of California. Many UC locations risk losing world-class status, while Cal State will be much more restrictive in admissions (at one tine it was guaranteed and all but free, considered a right and a necessity for the future of the state).  Nevada has administrator jobs cut, or forced back into the classroom, and entire college programs cuts with talk of closed or limited admission.

Day 62
It’s Day 62 of the massive Oil Spill in the Gulf of Mexico. BP, formerly known as British Petroleum, has been revealed to openly take the more risky “single straw” technique only used by one quarter of all rigs and not used in any other companies “deep water” sites.  The single straw is one of many reasons that the BP spill became possible as a one in several million “accident” and the worst environmental disaster in US history.

On the other side of the “pond” the BBC is critical of President Obama for saying British Petroleum instead of the proper name of BP, of amplifying this as the “worst” disaster, of being critical of common drilling practices and for being hypocritical as leader of the world’s largest oil consumer.

The Brits are taking this personally as an insult to their nation.

The end of Polaroid
With the auctioning off of more than 1,000 Polaroid photographs taken by the words most famous photographers and artist takes place this week at Sotheby’s. It represents not only the end of the Polaroid name, an age in photography and the arts. Polaroid’s founder Edwin land, to showcase the potential of his “instant” print film, began the collection. The collection includes more than 100 photographs by Ansell Adams, plus others by such luminaries as Andy Warhol, William Wegman, Robert Mapplethorp, Edward Weston, Dorthea Loange and Lucas Samaras.  It is the first time Sotheby’s has had an auction based on a technology rather than artists. Meanwhile artists and former Polaroid employees are upset that what is really a major part of American history and technology is being sold into the hands of private collectors.

Jennifer Lawrence in the independent film "Winter's Bone."  (Roadside Attractions) 
Three Recommended Indy Films
“Please Give”, “The Kids are Alright, and “winter’s Bone” are three Indy films, all from women, opening this summer. CBS recommends all three, with the second film being a comedy, the first a realistic warm dramady and the third a compelling drama about a vulnerable 17 year old. The reviewer, David Edelstein, picks “Winter’s Bone” as the movie of the year (at least so far).

Toughest news story I ever saw.
CBS News had a very sad story about a reporter who was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s at the age of 52, four years ago. She was married to a major CBS news correspondent. He interviewed her for the story this morning, and she talked about her husband of 25 years in the third person, not recognizing he was the man interviewing her. She could not even get his name right. He talked openly about his life after he met a new woman who is a widow, and how he can live with her but cannot get himself to divorce his now institutionalized wife, Jan. 



Alzheimer’s is expected to triple by mid-century.