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Sunday, August 8, 2010

Communication works for those who work at it.

Sunday Morning News and Views

Garrison Keeler has my birthday, August 7th. It explains a lot about what I have read about his non-public persona. My birthday, thanks to my sore hip and leg, was spent teaching at Everest College, then relaxing at home with Laura. I am very grateful for the cards, Facebook wishes, e-mails and phone calls wishing me a happy birthday. Thank you to all my friends, Facebook friends and associates. It is appreciated.

Of course today in Sunday August 8th…the morning after (literally).  August 8, 1750 was a career ender for the most feared man in Europe. On this date the deposed dictator Napoleon Bonaparte was sent into exile on the island of St Helena, with convicts, lepers and the insane. The US has Napoleon to thank for the Louisiana Purchase, which raised money for Napoleon’s war efforts. He also provided French support against “the British threat,” a mutual enemy.

Casinos and the Future

Foxwoods’ Casino, the largest tribal casino, has been unionized by the Food and Beverage Workers union. The tribe will challenge the results, maintaining that the casino should be governed under tribal and not US labor laws.

There is some concern that the boom in Native American Casino’s and loosening of laws in many states may create a situation where gambling (or gaming as we call it here in Nevada) may be leading to oversaturation, putting at risk the large investments corporations and even governments have made in the industry.

Casinos have not proven to be the cash cows tribes, states and municipalities counted on. Even here in Nevada the casino industry broke the long established belief that we are recession proof, with casino revenue plummeting and major corporations reorganizing under bankruptcy, the most recent being Station Casino’s.

Can little Reno, small town Nevada and the glittering keystone, Las Vegas, recover? Or is gaming too prevalent and too available on-line, internationally and within a short drive of most metropolitan areas?

Is the Golden Goose dying?

Political lies, half truths and manipulation: Let the Games Begin!

Beware the simplistic platitudes and base humor of political campaign advertising. Nevada may see more dollars spent per capita and more ads run than any other state this year, as strong efforts to defeat US Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid escalate, and to a lesser extent to “return” Congressional District 3 to the Republicans (the first person to hold the seat and only one prior to Titus, was a Republican).

The amount of out of state funded anti-Reid advertising is almost overwhelming I its frequency and will pick in the months ahead. All of it ignores the Republican alternative, Sharon Angle, and uses the same false slogans over and over again. In state generated ads look less professional, but tend to get closer to true political discourse, with half truths just as Reids camp uses against Republicans. At least there is some truth in the claims. These out of state ads are simply false. For example the cuts in Medicare are offset by increases in other benefits, and represent the end of false handout that the Bush Administration gave insurance agencies in supplemental plan assistance (rather then have Medicare cover the problem itself.

Misinformation, reinforcement of negative stereotypes and pure deep political gain motives will poison the airwaves this election season, and probably again in 2012.

As we roll into the 2010 elections, or steamroll, pundits are already talking about 2010. Of course they are lining up Republicans for the presidential and vice presidential slots. A few are also floating the balloon of “will Obama keep Biden or replace him with Hillary?”

Of course there are those who see her running in 2016. She denies any plans to run for president, but her personality and history would indicate she will enter the race again, either partnered with Obama or on her own in six years. Meanwhile the Clinton’s are ageing and have other interests in life. The presidential run could well be a “been there, done that” for the Clintons (two times Bill and this last time Hillary).

Chelsea Clinton was married last Saturday night in a Methodist-Jewish joint service. Reports are romance, perfect weather and tight security.


The National Education Association has three million members, making it the largest union of middle class voters (according to Maria of the Wall Street Journal Report, who must not be up to the pay levels teacher get today). Forty states are cutting back on education, some very deeply. They are blaming teachers, but according to the president of the NEA the reason is class size and declining funding, couples with a decrease in parent time (due to economic driven two income families and even multiple job mothers). The average entry-level teacher earns only $30,000 a year, and spends more than that on their college education just to land the job. Plus teachers need to have ongoing in service learning, education and assessments, which most other workers would find difficult added stress and time.

Education is the foundation of a society. Our founding fathers envisioned a nation where even the working man would be educated and open to discourse that is balanced and honest, therefore able to make decisions in a true democracy. The more education, K to 12 and college, suffer at the hands of budget cuts, the greater the threat to our Democratic discourse and our ability to govern in what historically remains an experience of less than 230 years (a blink of an eye compared to the overall history of man.

If we, as a people, sit by and willingly see education cut, corporate dollars buy elections and slogans and hate overtake civil discussion and compromise, then we deserve to see the experiment fail. Remember that the Roman Republic lasted only 230 before it became the tool of pupet dictators and Ceasars.

Deadly News Stories

A competition in Finland to see who could sit the longest in a sauna turned deadly. A Finish finalist was rushed to the hospital with severe burns and his Russian rival died from staying too long in the 230-degree heat. Organizers of the Sauna world Championship say all safety precautions were followed but they will never hold the competition again.

The Mediterranean tradition of shooting firearms into the air in celebration turned deadly at a Turkish wedding. The groom lost control of the weapon and accidently killed his father and two aunts, injuring 8 other guests.

August 1,1941 roll out day for the Army Jeep.

Anticipating America’s entry into WWII the military ordered a sturdy battle ready car. The name Jeep may have come from the first letters of General Purpose, or it could be from a character in Pop-eye. The true roots of the vehicles are not known. More recently Jeeps beat Hummers in military tests in Texas, but the Hummer won out and took away the contract because Hummers could carry more troops and armaments, and had a wide wheelbase, which minimized roll over. New technology such as self-inflating tires, redundant shocks and watertight technology at lower weights were added to the Hummer advantage. But the jeep remains lower in cost and still popular as a statement by civilians who off road, love adventure or just want to look cool.
More News

Protesters in China are facing police batons and tear gas demanding that Cantonese no longer be discriminated against in favor of Mandarin. Recently Cantonese broadcasts were shut down by the government and replaced with broadcast in Mandarin.

Social Security Going Broke, but not or the reason you think.

The recession is having yet another impact on our government. An increase in the number of people who choose to Social Security early has contributed to the agency’s first ever shortfall. More people filed for Social Security last year than ever before, with a marked increase in the number receiving reduced level benefits because the opted to collect early. While people losing jobs may be the primary contributor, a change last year raising the retirement age from 65 to 66 may have also led those who planed an age 65 retirement to do so with decreased benefits.

USA.GOV is the site to go to to find ways to get government answers in areas you may not think about asking. New applications on the site, for your mobile devices, can help you check line times and delays at airports, fees for services or licenses, search government cemeteries to find loved ones burial plots, research American history or government statistics and more. Applications are being developed every day to place on the site, if they meet the criteria of making like easier for the citizen and working well and quickly on portable devices, such as smart phones.

Centurian Doctor

Dr. Walter Watson of Augusta, Georgia is chief of Genecology at the University Hospital. He is practicing, seeing four to ten patients a day, at the age of 100. He has delivered 18,000 babies since he started in 1945. Of course he is consulting now and practicing baby pediatrician. His wife of 51 years is 85. He is still accepting new patients. His trick is he treats everyone as if they were his only patient.  Of course, like a certain doctor in BC, he can honestly claim to have delivered three generations of children in relatively small Augusta.

And More News

The Sunday Times of London has obtained an internal audit from British Petroleum that details warning of “severe safety flaws” aboard Deep Water Horizon long before the explosion and disastrous oil spill.  The report details how the rig, owned by Transocean, did not comply with BP’s standards. Auditors found 390 maintenance tasks that were more than a month overdue, including maintenance on the blowout preventer, which failed the day of the explosion.

North Korea has seized a South Korean fishing boat, saying the boat had violated North Korea’s self-proclaimed economic zone. Tensions continue to rise over the March sinking of a South Korean warship by a North Korean submarine.

Iran is gearing up for what they say will be future air and sea attacks against their country, by building their own planes and ships. This morning four submarines were delivered to the Navy. The say the submarines are built to fire missiles and torpedoes at the same time and operate in shallow Persian Gulf Waters. Iran already has three Russian built modern submarines as well as Sha-era British and US diesel subs.

At least 53 people are dead in northern Pakistan from Monsoon flooding. Meanwhile in northeastern China a landslide has taken at least 83 lives.

The commander of US forces in Iraq says that tat country is ready to take over as the US combat forces withdraw. General Ray Odierno says the US military has stepped up to challenge Iraq to be ready. When the withdrawal is over at the end of the month, 50,000 US troops will remain in Iraq in a support capacity.

Medics are no longer exempt as a war target. 10 Medical workers who work for a Christian charity were killed by the Taliban just north of Kabul this morning. They were gunned down despite clear Red Cross labeling. Taliban stories vary from “they were spies for America” to “they did not stop at the roadblock as ordered”


CBS Sunday Morning’s featured “a fighting man’ best friend”, a story on the use of dogs in Afghanistan. These include bomb sniffers, rescue dogs, medical dogs and dogs who are part of the public relations efforts with locals.

They bond with their masters, the soldiers. Trust and faith are important in any relationship, but even more so with dogs. Bomb sniffers are being used to cut down on the cause of two thirds of US Marine fatalities…hidden explosive devices. It’s hardest when a dog washes out, due to lack of ability to smell certain explosives or react certain ways to stimulus.

Dogs have 220 million smelling receptors in their nose, 40 times humans.

When a dog is lost, the men mourn as they would a fellow human marine. Handlers are closest, but they point out that when a dog is lost it saves lives, because it alerts marines to the danger without human loss.

The RJ had a story this past week on a military bomb-sniffing dog that was diagnosed with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). She was afraid to go into buildings, jumped at a car backfiring, walked away from cans and debris on the roadways and behaved in many ways the same as her human bothers and sisters. While no longer the happy young dog that joined the military (drafted I assume), rehabilitation has at least made her more comfortable in the “real” world. It is not certain, but just as they do with human patients, she may end up returning to duty in Afghanistan.


Ten Reasons why I write my blogs…

1.     I like helping others.

2.     I found holes in both communication and arts resources available.

3.     I felt that Nevada needed a single place to gather news and information for actors and those who enjoy theater, film and television.

4.     Students at CSN and my private acting students benefit from a site with links to resources they can use, and reviews of material they study.

5.     I have a strong background as a journalist with no current journalistic outlet.

6.     I believe in education.

7.     I believe people want to learn and grow as individuals.

8.     I believe in helping others to learn and grow in their own best interests.

9.     It is in my interests to stay on top of news, issues, events and features as a teacher, grandparent, writer and citizen.

10. It helps me to offer products through “new media” (not so new anymore) in an age where new media use is essential for personal and professional advancement.

O  Of course there are other be left for future musings.