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Monday, December 6, 2010

How dare FCC Chair criticize free enterprise...New is not dead (?)

Rep. Barton criticizes FCC Commissioner Copps over speech on medi

See also Is Journalism in Peril (linked here).

From LA Times Company Town Blog: 

Rep. Joe Barton (R-Texas), an influential member of the House Commerce Committee, is upset with Federal Communications Commissioner Michael Copps over a speech the regulator gave last week at Columbia University's School of Journalism and an interview he did with the BBC America.

In the speech, Copps was heavily critical of both the media industry's coverage of news and public affairs and of his own agency's role in media regulation.

The media giants are not "producing the body of news and information that democracy needs to conduct its civic dialogue," Copps told the BBC's Katty Kay. If that trend continues, he added, "we are going to be pretty close to denying our citizens the essential news and information that they need to have in order to make intelligent decisions about the future direction of their country.” As for the Internet being a savior, Copps warned that "increasingly, the private interests who design and control our 21st century information infrastructure resemble those who seized the master switch of the last century’s communications networks."

Possible solutions, Copps said, could be new public interest regulations and toughening up the process by which broadcasters renew their licenses to operate TV and radio stations.

In a letter sent to Copps on Monday, Barton said he was "troubled" by the remarks and said he does not believe that the "subjective opinions of five unelected officials should hold sway over the content broadcasters air or the licenses they hold to air it."

While Barton said he has no issue with Copps' views, he said he hopes that the commissioner does not "mean to suggest that it is the job of the federal government, through the Federal Communications Commission, to determine the content that is available for Americans to consume."

-- Joe Flint

TRON: Legacy Soundtrack

The soundtrack, and the making of a soundtrack, are the subject of a KCRW print, audio and video feature. Click here for a link.

Can we compete?

Americans are competing against two billion more people for jobs, yet one educated American workers can do the job of five to ten Chinese at less money for work done. For that to be true we need to invest in education, in keeping corporations investing in America, on positioning ourselves using the real world of the new post Great Recession economy instead of the “good old days” when America led the world during the second half of the twentieth, now last, century. These views were voiced on many Sunday morning talk shows, on the BBC and on NPR this morning, from economist, politicians, pundits, historians and sociologists.

No country will overtake the US as the world superpower, but that role will decrease in power and value as the world flounders and eventually finds its legs in a new international economy, no matter how much conservatives and even the progressive left want to admit.

The people want to see a plan to make American Great Again, when the role of and nature of “great” has shifted beyond his or any other individuals’ control.

Join a tide that raises all boats, not just American boats, argue the economists, even those who are thought to be conservative.

The great fights will come over how, and in a polarized political environment compromise and true movement forward may leave us dragging in the mud as the world passes us by.

Just a thought.

Somewhere Over the Rainbow


The late Hawaiian musician Israel Kamakawiwo'ole (Kah-MAH-kah-VEE-voh-OH-lay), did something rare in music. He redefined a beloved classic.
Israel's body lay in state at Hawaii's Capitol building, a rare honor.His version of "Over the Rainbow" has the poignancy of Judy Garland's and the shimmering vulnerability, but these days it's heard so often on TV and in the movies, a younger generation may only know Israel's version. It's become so popular, it is now the most requested version of the song by far, according to music publishing house EMI. That's quite remarkable for a rendition with one voice, accompanied only by ukulele.In the summer of 1997, Israel Kamakawiwo'ole , by then one of the most beloved singers in the history of Hawaiian music, died of respiratory failure.  He was 38 — and just beginning to see the huge success of "Over the Rainbow."
Days later, he was cremated, along with his vintage Martin ukulele — the one he used to record "Over the Rainbow." The ashes were carried on a traditional Hawaiian voyaging canoe.
His longtime friend Del Beazley and producer Jon de Mello were among those onboard.
"And going down the coastline," says de Mello, "all the big semi-trucks on the island of Oahu had their air horns blowing. And from the ocean we could hear the echo, the bounce off the mountain ranges."
"In the old days," says Beazley, "people would wail when the mo'i or 'king' passed away — and cry. And that's really what it was. This whole island came together just to say goodbye to this one Hawaiian. But I tell you, he would have been laughing."
Photo: Courtesy of Mountain Apple Company

Disrespect the holidays

Is is me or are commercials losing the charm, warmth and "hearth and home" of the holidays in place of comedy, competition and disrespect. Playing on the positive warm historic ad of Santa drinking a Coke, this hoiday season Santa Claus gently shaking a snow globe results in a store clerk losing his footing and having to fight his way home. A mom best here kids at Wii, forcing the kids to do the dishes. A snowman sings off key and is told to stop by Radio Shack Elves.

What happened to Christmas?

Marriage on the decline, except in college educated households


Unmarried Women Having Children On The Rise


Increasingly couples are waiting later to get married, those without or with only a high school education are less likely to see marriage as "sacred"or "needed", and those who earn "working class" incomes, as redefined in our post-recession, anti-union, declining wage age....do not stay married.


From the Executive Summary of a Pew Trust Long Term Study on Marriage and the Rise of New Families (click here for the full summary of the study):

"The transformative trends of the past 50 years that have led to a sharp decline in marriage and a rise of new family forms have been shaped by attitudes and behaviors that differ by class, age and race, according to a new Pew Research Centernationwide survey, conducted in association with TIME magazine, and complemented by an analysis of demographic and economic data from the U.S. Census Bureau.


A new "marriage gap" in the United States is increasingly aligned with a growing income gap.
Marriage, while declining among all groups, remains the norm for adults with a college education and good income but is now markedly less prevalent among those on the lower rungs of the socio-economic ladder."


How Marriage Is Changing (source The National Marriage Project):

The National Marriage Project's State of Our Unions report compares the health of marriages today with those of the 1970s. It finds a widening marriage gap between the working class and the college educated:
Divorce. Divorce rates are up slightly (from 36 percent to 37 percent) among those with only a high school diploma, but have dropped (from 15 percent to 11 percent) for the college educated.
Marital happiness. College-educated spouses are just as likely to say they are "very happy" in their marriages (69 percent), but the share among the high-school educated has dropped sharply (from 69 percent to 57 percent).
Nonmarital births. The number of nonmarital births is up sharply for both groups. It's only a sliver among the college educated (from 2 percent to 6 percent) but a large share among those with a high school diploma only (from 13 percent to 44 percent).
Chart: Source: National Surveys of Family Growth / National Marriage Project
Credit: Nelson Hsu/NPR

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