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Sunday, July 11, 2010

Northern Republican Mayors back Democrat Harry Reid for Senate

The mayors of Reno and Sparks, both Northern Nevada Republicans, are going to the Southern Nevada Democratic candidate for US Senate, over fellow Northern Nevada Republican Sharon Angle. Both have come out in support of Senator Harry Reid, as has the National Conservative Caucus (based on his overall voting history, not slogans or slaps as "liberal" an "socialist". Meanwhile Angle, whose posters often simply say "Conservative", has softened many of her stands, yet insists that she is not changing simply clarifying her beliefs in what is shaping up as Tea Party vs. Establishment battle unseat the US Senate Majority leader. Many millions of dollars from out of state has been piling in to purchase advertising to undermine Reid, without mentioning Angle. Meanwhile as a candidate Reid's funds far outnumber Angels.
This could boil down to how effective the conservative, big business and Republican Political Action Committees and corporate donors are at getting voters to ride the "toss the incumbents out" international wave in our Great Recession era.

The mayor of Reno is former Nevada Lt. Governor and Wolf Pack backer Bob Cashell.

People love Bread and Circus's

Ever notice how so called TV news channels and network programs keep asking back the pundits who shout the loudest, talk over others, and keep saying the same things over and over? The truth is that in a world where six minute ratings counts and advertising dollars count more than truth and accuracy, these are the people who get viewers excited, keep their interests, get people angry and riled up and therefore increase viewers and time watched. With very rare exceptions the pundits and guests on these so called news shows are selected for how well they attrack and keep viewers, not for their knowledge or other reasons of true news value.

Are we losing our free press to "bread and circus's"?

Will we, as other other societies have it the past, lose our true democracy because of our lack of making reasoned, balanced and informed decisions?

Will fighting, arguing, slogans and a polarized society lead to the end of an effective functional government "for the people, of the people and by the people?"

The founding fathers did fear the direction we may be going today. They warned that the citizenship should be educated, that voters needed to be informed and that information needs to be uncensored.

It's in the First Amendment.

For a different view of cable and network coverage try this blog link:

Sunday Morning News and Views

Today is the 50th anniversary of the publishing of “To Kill A Mockingbird”.  Fans are gathering in the real town upon which the book is based. They will not meet the author, Harper Lee, who has not given an interview since 1964. She did not bother to write another book, saying that anything she wrote would be “downhill” and an “afterthought”. She is a part of the community, but not of the public promotion around “Mockingbird”, still thanks to schools, one of the most read books in America.

Today is also the 50th anniversary of the launch of the Hollywood Walk of Fame. Today’s ceremony will be a prelude to the official cerimonies beginning July 25th, which will include adding a star for late Big Band leader Louie Prima. Numerous free and discounted events are planned around Walk of Fame celebrations.

July 11,1931 Tab Hunter was born. Arthur Andrew Gallen was shaped by a manger to change his name and audition for the “Island of Desire, ” which made him a star. Teen heartthrob at 20 years of age his on screen and tabloid “romances” were all studio hype. Tab was gay, with stellar romantic interests of the male gender. His 1956 record debut, “Young Love,” hit #1 on charts. His fame faded in 1960’s but rebooted in 1981 when he co-stared in “Polyester.” Tab Hunter is alive, turning 79 today, and very healthy.

Mick Jagger says the age of rock stars and superstar musicians growing wealthy with relatively little work. People made money off records for “a very very small time” says Mick Jagger, because record companies found ways not to pay the royalties or to charge musicians. A “small period between 1970 and 1997” artist did get paid, and “paid very well” but that was a very small period of time. Free downloads, a shift from albums, record company and record station monopolies to individual downloads at far less per unit (adjusted for inflation) and highly skilled centralized marketing systems to self marketing have made it so even “successful” musicians find the are spending more time and effort as business people and struggling or selling, than performing and being the creative individuals that drove them to enter music as a profession in the first place.

Promotional investment is down, while venues and distribution methods are proliferating, piracy is rampant, and the Internet broke the control structure that use to exist, all changing the model of how music is distributed. The world has shifted from recorded music to full packaging from concerts, to subscription internet, to photos and books, reissues and box sets, web links and publishing. While the number of ways to make money has increased, the complexity and therefore the amount individual artists make, has increased while revenue per sale are way down.

People do not enter music to make money, not if they are musicians. It is a calling. Most musicians never made money, or struggle by. The old adage is the difference between a musician and a pizza, is that a pizza can feed a family of four.

Concert tours are being cancelled, or at least venues that do not sell out.

Promoters say that when tours were planned, they were overly optimistic about the economy recovering and the need for fans to blow off steam and recreate. Many fans say that ticket prices, while down slightly from last year, are far too high for a recession, and with so many acts on tour they can pick and choose their favorites or acts that they feel are less likely to come by in a future tour.  Tour promoters blame increased cost and the audience’s demand for spectacle and labor intensive staging for higher prices, while fans believe it is greed and profit margins at work. Both may be true, depending on the tour. Another factor is work may be declining revenue from the sale of music in this file sharing, single oriented world.

Dynamic placement is the new marketing term to refer to the ability to place products into television and movie content after the project has already been completed. The technology is similar to how the scrimmage line is placed on television during football games, or the ever-changing billboard behind home plate at baseball games. Neither exists in the real world. The line and the ads on those changing billboard are placed into the image live during the broadcast. The technology allows the advertisement on top of the cab that picks up the lead character to be altered by market, including in digital cinema projections. Fox televisions “How I Met Your Mother” is breaking ground by being the first to offer this new form of advertising as a regular part of content, starting with a calendar where local advertisers can “insert” their national product promotion on the calendar.

The “toss out the incumbents” recessionary trend continues as the previously dominant Japanese ruling party Democrats are reported to have lost seats in the upper house and with it their political lock.

CBS poll results on questions on what will the world be like between now and 2050, only 40 years from now...

64% are optimistic about the future for themselves and their children, while 31% are pessimistic.

53 % see the US declining from its dominant position in the world, while 40 % say we will continue to be the world leader

58% of Americans feel we will see another word war, 52% a nuclear terrorist attack.

57% say that the US should pull out of Afghanistan and operate only in a support capacity, while 40% feel we need to increase efforts and "win".

The number of female homeless vets has more than doubled. For the first time since World War II there is a large influx of vets returning without jobs, since many were not employed elsewhere when they entered the military and therefore do not have the job preference the GI bill stipulates. More than 33,500 women are now classified as returning war vets. According to the Department of Veterans Affairs, women are almost four times as likely to be homeless than returning male vets. The depth of all returning vets is also, in this recession, at an all time high. The question is in a nation that allegedly supports its military, how can good voting business people not step up to support vets, and with recession budget cuts, can the VA and other government entities step up and provide the needed additional help or our veterans? The army alone is said to be hiring large numbers of medical and social service professionals in preparation for assisting solders who return from conflicts, whether or not they are technically "vets". The VA is seeking additional resources as well.

On the opposite side of the coin, will those who did not serve face the same sort of discrimination and disadvantage as men who did not serve in Viet Nam faced as vets return and take the jobs during a recessed economy? Is there a penalty attached to not being a part of the "volunteer" military? Unlike Viet Nam, Korea and World War II, there has been no draft and the actual needed manpower is far lower due to technological advances in our ability to wage war. Also the nature of a "terrorist" enemy has civilians from the CIA to FBI to local law enforcement serving in the "war" in capacities a more conventional war might have put in military hands. Plus, thanks to the 8 years of the Bush Administration, we now have the highest percentage of civilian contractors both in Pentagon and serving in war zones in the history of the US Military.

For those who think that the US is in the business of baby-killing and who buy into the inflated, yet true, stories of “collateral damage” as civilians are killed during military campaign in Afghanistan, it is time for you to put things in perspective. Any death is unfortunate and touches families and lies. But in the larger picture under the US Afghanistan has the lowest level of violence in over 30 years.  Millions of civilians died under Russians, hundred thousands of civilians under Taliban, yet under 16,000 under NATO/US occupation, most of whom were at the hands of the Taliban and their allies. We are at war, but we are not the baby-killing monsters our enemy paints us to be. That does not mean that there have not been deliberate killing of civilians by Americans. Currently there are several cases being prosecuted, and every reported case is investigated, or so the military reports.

However, one reason we all take the low figures with a grain of salt, and fail to believe the eyewitness journalist and others who collaborate it, is that we do not true the Pentagon. The underlying reason is that there is a difference between public information and public affairs. Much of the information comes form professional propagandists, while media affairs are handled by trained journalist whose main restriction is not being able to release information that may endanger troops or their mission. “Information” from the pentagon therefore means both true and spun material, with little effort made to make sure the public understands the difference. So where is and what is the truth? And are we entitled to it if it may tip the enemy on our strength, positions, movements or strategies?

All of the children of the Russian spies repatriated this past week were returned to Russia with their parents, despite voiced wishes by some to remain Americans. Parental law left the US Attorney General’s Office no choice.