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Sunday, November 14, 2010

Sunday Morning News and Views, Part III

This may seem early, but in reality is is not. Campaign 2012 is underway, just when we thought we would have a breather from a very dirty and dangerous election earlier this month.

If the presidential election were run today, Obama would be down 18 points in six major states he carried two years ago, to an unnamed Republican candidate. It may seem early, but potential presidential candidates are seeking our key financiers, key campaign managers and to plan their mid 2011 for fall 2012 presidential run. Policy teams and pollsters are also engaged by candidates who have yet to announce publicly. Republicans will have problems overcoming their party's swing to the right and conflicts between social conservatives and fiscal conservatives, the Tea Party and traditional conservative Republicans. Meanwhile the Democrats have lost their moderates and conservatives and now have a disproportionate number of liberal and progressive leaders in their party. Whomever wins, particularly if Republicans hope to unseat Obama, must appeal to the middle of the road moderates and those who identify as the middle class.

Republicans now have Tea Party, neo-conservatives, evangelicals, blue collar workers upset with the state of the economy, fiscal conservatives, flamboyant celebrities and very few legislators or leaders with true histories of bipartisan cooperation and the compromise needed to govern. Republican moderates were defeated in their own primaries, with more slated for attack within their own party in 2012.

Democrats face the large dollars being spent against them by non-disclosed donors through benevolent sounding .orgs with no real or official public functions other than to kick Democrats out of office. As mentioned above, a shift to the progressive has alienated many moderate and conservatives within the Democratic Tent. An economy and recession actually begun under a Republican administration haunts Democrats, as does TARP, bank bail outs and other programs begun under Republican President Bush. A combination of misinformation and less than palatable side effects of what was really a bipartisan health care plan (mostly Democrat granted) has Democrats on the defensive.

Obama faces constituents who expected too much over too quick a period of time, due to the recession and today's instant gratification Internet society. Gays, progressives, anti-war activist are all upset with the president on their issues, as are fiscal conservative Democrats and many traditional core groups. As an example, unions are not pleased that their pension and health plans are, under the health care package, treated the same as for profit large corporations, despite the nature oft he plans which often are negotiated with management in place of pay or other benefits. Laws limit the use of such funds, where for profits can invest and use the funds in a much freer marketplace.The election in 2012 should draw the minorities who voted for the president, but Republicans are looking at Hispanic, female and African American candidates of their own, plus many "people of color" feel they have received the attention Obama promised them, or the perceive he promised, when he ran for office i 2008.

Then too there is a natural tendency within this country to always prefer a split legislative structure. The House, which is up for election every two years, most often shifts away from the party in the White House, with a gradual shift over time in the Senate. Unfortunately the neutrality of the third branch of our government, the courts, has become increasingly political and now may be legislating conservative from the bench.

Terrorism in the US, not what you think

From Fark.com

Who is committing the most acts of terrorism? According to the FBI, Muslim extremists have a lot of catching up to do if they want to be in league with animal rights and environmental movements  (fbi.gov)

Sunday Morning News And Views, Part II

"A sunny place for shady people" is what LeAnn Hanson, host of NPR's Weekend Edition Sunday said was her impression of Las Vegas on her week long visit, she reported on this morning, heard locally on KNPR 88.9 FM. Her report spoke of tough times here with high unemployment, top heavy homes, a loss of both educated and manual labor work forces and a massive debt. She did meet with Mayor Oscar Goodman, who painted a much brighter picture of his city, including near 100% hotel occupancy on the weekends, and 70% weekdays. The city itself is over 650,000 in population in a metro of over 1.7 million (estimate after recession exodus). the Las Vegas metro led the nation in population, home sales, job growth for well over a decade before the recession, only briefly impacted by 9-11's travel restrictions and paranoia. With official unemployment at 15%, the reality is that over one in three in Las Vegas is unemployed or earning less than their person overhead, already cut to the bone from what is was when times were flush.


6.2 million Americans have been unemployed for six months or more. They are not "derelicts" or "deadbeats". Most of these long term unemployed have never been without work before. An estimated 5.6 million of these are skilled workers, many white collar, whose skills are not the sort hired by lower paying or temporary jobs. Added to their peril is the reality that in this fast moving technology driven world, every month you are off you may fall behind on programs, practices or other technological skills. Employers seldom look at anyone who is unemployed for more than a few months, and most employers who are seeking skilled workers prefer to recruit those who already have jobs.Paying for relocation and other perks in taking a new job are no longer being offered by employers, making it difficult for many unemployed to consider jobs they are qualified for because they cannot sell their homes or afford the move.


Reno police are pressing for a new ordinance that would make it a crime to sit or lie down on public sidewalks in the downtown area. Deputy Chief Bill Rulla says homeless people camping on sidewalks pose a threat to public safety. Rebecca Gasca of the American Civil Liberties Union says arrests could only be made if there was open space at the homeless shelter. Other cities have indicated the problem also includes teenagers and gangs that handout of sidewalks, not just homeless individuals.


Studies show that the Pfizer drug Inspra and an implanted device from Medtronic can boost survival rates those with slight or moderate heart failure, and cut down on trips to the hospital. But another drug that has been used for nearly a decade, Johnson & Johnson's Natrecor, did little to help people with severe heart failure. The studies are being presented today at an American Heart Association conference in Chicago.


Soap and water works better than a hand bacteria rub, but not much better. Soap and water is what is recommended by the Center for Disease Control (CDC) with a Purel like alcahol rub if you cannot wash your hands.There is an argument that dirt is good and that we may be too paranoid. Our immune system builds over time. If we do not get exposed to "bugs" we do not build up immunities against that bug and others that are stronger. Children should be allowed to get dirty and have fun, not be isolated, according to these "counter-experts".


Former U.S. Interior Secretary Bruce Babbitt is among environmental leaders gathering in Las Vegas to emphasize protection of wildlife habitat. The Bureau of Land Management is planning a national summit for tomorrow to chart plans for solar and wind energy projects across the West. Babbitt tells the Las Vegas Review-Journal the BLM needs to adopt better policies to tap new energy while preserving wildlife.


The death toll from a volcanic eruption in Indonesia has risen to at least 250, after nine more bodies were found today. Mount Merapi has been letting off blasts of hot gas clouds continuously since it roared to life Oct. 26.


On this date, November 15,1948, 62 years ago today, Princess Elizabeth gave birth to her first son Charles Phillip Arthur George. In 1952 Elizabeth became queen. In 1969 he formally became the Prince of Wales. In 1991 married princess Diana and rest is now storied history, of love, marital problems and tragedy. He remains first in line for the throne of England.

Xtra Credit for CSN Com 101 and 102


EXTRA CREDIT: Occasionally, the opportunity to earn a few points of extra credit may arise.  Please note that extra credit opportunities are scarce and are provided at the discretion of the instructor.  There is a cap on extra credit points that any one student may earn, up to a maximum of 50 points during the semester. Any extra credit points you earn will be added into your final grade at the end of the semester in a manner explained by the instructor.
Standard college paper requirements apply: double spaced, headers and footers, 12 point professionally acceptable font, spell corrected, grammar and other guidelines. Feel free to take advantage of the services in the writing center and communication lab in proofing your work.
There is no length or number of references requirement.
Grading will be based on the work you put in, the quality of the work, and the ability to identify and use the terminology of the course accurately and effectively. There is no page minimum or limit. A grade of 10 out of 50 is not a failing grade. It would reflect ten points worth of work.
You may submit multiple Extra Credit assignments during the term or on the last day of the term and each will be graded separately.
While a maximum of 50 points can be awarded, based on our 1,000-point scale, additional work will count, along with participation (including the blogs), to borderline or qualitative decisions by the instructor at the end of the term.

Opportunity One:
There are many issues this election year, some of which rocked or shattered the vote. Lots of truths, falsehoods, techniques and debate over the implications of how the election was waged and the issues presented. Pick one issue or observation and present it though the prism of this course and its content. For example the current health care debate is historic in its scope and implications.  You may look at the entire debate, the evolution of the debate or at a specific speech and do the following:
1.    Use as many of the concepts of the course as apply (including persuasive and argumentation chapters) to review the rhetoric of the debate.
2.    View the debate from the perspective of other social sciences, again using the concepts of this and the other study area in doing so.
3.    Do a detailed study of the methods of persuasion used by either side in the debate (there are multiple sides once you start to look into it, so pick one and focus on that group or viewpoint). This study should use the terms and concepts of the course.
You must have references and links. Submit your paper electronically. You are also giving implied permission for the material to be posted on the blog or distributed to my three current COM 101 course sections.
Due date is open, however preferred while the issue remains topical and near the top of mind of fellow students and the media.

Opportunity Two:
Pick any specific speech on any topic and do the following:
1.    Use as many of the concepts of the course as apply (including persuasive and argumentation chapters) to review the rhetoric of the debate.
2.    View the debate or speech from the perspective of other social sciences, again using the concepts of this and the other study area in doing so.
3.    Do a detailed study of the methods of persuasion used in the speech or debate. This study should use the terms and concepts of the course.
4.    Show a full understanding of the speech or debate selected and of the concepts of this course.
You must have references and links. Submit your paper electronically. You are also giving implied permission for the material to be posted on the blog or distributed to my three current COM 101 course sections.
The speech may be current or historic, but I request you be able to critique the visual. There are links in the right hand column of my blog, in the textbook and in the chapter reviews located on Angel and on my blog. States of the Union speeches, TED or specific libraries are recommended. Work must be your own work.
Due date is the day of the final exam.





Sunday Morning News and Views, part I

Morning Edition began its series on Las Vegas, after LeeAnn Hanson spent the last two weeks here in town. This morning they covered three areas and an interesting feature. 1.The city's current economic state in the midst of a deep recession. 2.With casino and construction jobs disappearing in the poor economy, unemployment lines in Las Vegas are long. Old skill sets aren't as useful; and 3.) Las Vegas Mayor Oscar B. Goodman about the city's past, present and future as it struggles through the economic downturn. The feature had to do with the rarity of a man who has two coveted jobs. By day, Anthony Brown is a police officer in Las Vegas. At night, he swaps the police uniform for something more sparkly. He is a principal dancer in the Las Vegas' production "Jubilee." Host Liane Hansen spoke with Anthony "Hitman" Brown about his double life.

Myanmar's democracy icon Aung San Suu Kyi, freed from seven years of house arrest yesterday, has told thousands of wildly cheering supporters that she will continue to fight for human rights and the rule of law in the military-ruled nation. She also said she wants to work with all democratic forces and needs the support of the people. Suu Kyi spoke today to about 5,000 people who crowded around the dilapidated headquarters of her political party. Earlier, she slipped into the small compound of her National
League for Democracy as people shouted "We love Suu" amid thunderous applause. inside, she met with Yangon-based diplomats and was later scheduled to talk with the media, attend the funeral of a close friend and pay a customary visit to the city's sacred Shwedagon pagoda.In her Sunday speech, she did not sound a strident note,
speaking about working toward national reconciliation and saying she bore no grudge against those who had held her in detention for more than 15 of the last 21 years.

An interesting side not on this story...the BBC refers to the country as Burma, refusing to recognize the name invented (or resurrected) by the military junta, Myamar. US media uses Myamar instead of Burma. I grew up with Burma, so that is how I think of the country.

A British couple kidnapped from their yacht by Somali pirates more than a year ago are now free. Paul and Rachel Chandler were taken hostage off East Africa on Oct. 23, 2009. They had been pirate hostages ever since. Efforts to free the couple by the Somali diaspora, the weak Mogadishu-based government and Britain had failed - until now. The British couple boarded a plane in the Somali town of Adado and flew to Mogadishu Sunday morning. From there they are to fly out of Somalia and into Kenya. Small ceremonies celebrating the release were held in Adado and Mogadishu..

The two-day Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation forum has ended.But before the leaders of the Pacific Rim economies concluded their meeting in Japan they agreed to work toward building a region wide free trade zone they say is the linchpin for sustainable growth.The 21-member APEC forum has unanimously pledged to avoid raising more trade barriers and to roll back those they may have erected in the midst of the global economic crisis. The summit's declaration also notes a need to reduce trade imbalances and government debt. It also includes a pledge to move toward more "market-determined exchange rate systems."
    
Washington contends China's currency, the yuan  is significantly undervalued, giving Chinese exporters an artificial advantage and contributing to the huge U.S. trade deficit. But China and some other countries have slammed the U.S. for printing money to help spend itself out of recession, saying it drives the value of their own currencies higher, floods their markets with excess cash and fuels inflation.

Muslims beginning the annual Hajj pilgrimage in Saudi Arabia have a new way to avoid the crowds: an elevated light-rail that will whisk them between holy sites. The first phase of the train project, called the Mecca Metro, will transport pilgrims between Mina, Arafat and Muzdalifa. The three stops on the pilgrims' journey trace the steps of the Prophets Muhammad and Abraham. The annual Islamic pilgrimage draws some 2.5 million worshippers each year. The sheer numbers present authorities with a challenge
in preventing stampedes at holy sites, fires in pilgrim encampments and the spread of disease. Officials hope the 11-mile (18-kilometer) train, which begins operating Sunday, will alleviate crowding.

Iran is involved in major war games, showing off a new radar with an 1800 mile radius, new planes and other "defensive" weapons.