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Monday, January 31, 2011

State of the Union: Everyone has a reponse....

Conservative Swing in Hollywood and Television?

It might be time for Comcast Corp. to rewrite some of its code of conduct, now that it owns NBC Universal.
Among the actions that can create a hostile work environment, the Comcast guide sites "displaying sexually suggestive materials in the workplace or on Company computers or mobile devices."

But it is ironic how big media companies have these very specific rules about how employees are supposed to conduct themselves while at the same time making TV shows that often violate those very rules.

On Forgiveness

Communication efforts often result in unintended harm, hurt or insult. If you are constantly worried about it, then nothing gets said of done. So for a moment let's just look at the subject of moving on, forgiving any tresspass. I just wanted to share the following words, penned by Abraham Lincoln, on the subject of forgiveness...

"I will greet this day with a forgiving spirit. For too long, every ounce of forgiveness I owned was locked away, hidden from view, waiting for me to bestow its precious presence upon some worthy person. Alas, I found most people to be singularly unworthy of my valuable forgiveness, and since they never asked for any, I kept it all for myself. Now, the forgiveness that I hoarded has sprouted inside my heart like a crippled seed yielding bitter fruit. No more. At this moment, my life has taken on new hope and assurance. Of all the world’s population, I am one of the few possessors of the secret to dissipating anger and resentment. I now understand that forgiveness has value only when it is given away. By the simple act of granting forgiveness, I release the demons of the past about which I can do nothing, and I create in myself a new heart, a new beginning. I will greet this day with a forgiving spirit.

"I will forgive even those who do not ask for forgiveness. Many are the times when I have seethed in anger at a word or deed thrown into my life by an unthinking or uncaring person. I have wasted valuable hours imagining revenge or confusion. Now I see the truth revealed about this psychological rock inside my shoe. The rage I nurture is often one-sided, for my offender seldom gives thought to his offense. I will now and forevermore silently offer my forgiveness even to those who do not see that they need it. By the act of forgiving, I am no longer consumed by unproductive thoughts. I give up my bitterness. I am content in my soul and effective again with my fellow man.

"I will greet this day with a forgiving spirit. I will forgive those who criticize me unjustly. Knowing that slavery in any form is wrong, I also know that the person who lives a life according to the opinion of others is a slave. I am not a slave. I have chosen my counsel.

"I know the difference between right and wrong. I know what is best for the future of my family, and neither misguided opinion nor unjust criticism will alter my course. Those who are critical of my goals and dreams simply do not understand the higher purpose to which I have been called. Therefore, their scorn does not affect my attitude or action. I forgive their lack of vision, and I forge ahead. I now know that criticism is part of the price paid for leaping past mediocrity.

"I will greet this day with a forgiving spirit. I will forgive myself. For many years, my greatest enemy has been myself. Every mistake, every miscalculation, every stumble I made has been replayed again and again in my mind. Every broken promise, every day wasted, every goal not reached has compounded the disgust I feel for the lack of achievement in my life.

"My dismay has developed a paralyzing grip. When I disappoint myself, I respond with inaction and become more disappointed. I realize today that it is impossible to fight an enemy living in my head. By forgiving myself, I erase the doubts, fears, and frustration that have kept my past in the present. From this day forward, my history will cease to control my destiny.

"I have forgiven myself.

"My life has just begun.

"I will forgive even those who do not ask for forgiveness.

"I will forgive those who criticize me unjustly.

"I will forgive myself.

"I will greet this day with a forgiving spirit."

-- Abraham Lincoln 

Arts Factory Story Fest: Talky Trees V

Location: Bar + Bistro @ The Arts Factory
Time: 4:00PM Saturday, February 5th
Click on "read more" below for additional details.

Sunday, January 30, 2011

SAG After-Party

Betty White and Ernest Borgnine, the night's elder statesmen honorees, stopped in and settled into one of the designated VIP couch pits, while nearby the trophy-winning "Modern Family" kids - Ariel Winter, Rico Rodriguez and Nolan Gould - danced up a storm to the music of Impulse.

SAG Awards, and the winners are...

Outstanding Performance by a Cast in a Motion Picture
The King’s Speech
Outstanding Performance by a Male Actor in a Leading RoleColin Firth, The King’s Speech
Outstanding Performance by a Female Actor in a Leading RoleNatalie Portman, Black Swan
Outstanding Performance by a Male Actor in a Supporting RoleChristian Bale, The Fighter
Outstanding Performance by a Female Actor in a Television Movie or MiniseriesClaire Danes, Temple Grandin
Outstanding Performance by a Male Actor in a Television Movie or MiniseriesAl Pacino, You Don’t Know Jack
Screen Actors Guild Awards 47th Annual Life Achievement AwardErnest Borgnine
Outstanding Performance by an Ensemble in a Comedy SeriesModern Family
Outstanding Performance by a Female Actor in a Comedy SeriesBetty White, Hot in Cleveland
Outstanding Performance by a Male Actor in a Comedy SeriesAlec Baldwin, 30 Rock
Outstanding Performance by a Female Actor in a Supporting Role
Melissa Leo, 
The Fighter
Outstanding Performance by an Ensemble in a Drama SeriesBoardwalk Empire
Outstanding Performance by a Female Actor in a Drama SeriesJulianna Margulies, The Good Wife
Outstanding Performance by a Male Actor in a Drama SeriesSteve Buscemi, Boardwalk Empire

Cost of Education

Nevada's governor is hitting higher education harder than any other part of the state's budget cuts. After losing well over half of the budget levels of just four years ago, while increasing student populations by over fifty percent, cuts of 27% are planned (almost a third of current budgets). He is against any new fees or taxes, but does not consider tuition a fee, so sizable increases in the cost passed on to students may be possible while at the same time reducing staff, cutting programs and slashing classes.

What are your thoughts?  Any ideas on how else to balance the budget?

Sunday Morning News and Views, Part IV

Global food prices are at an time high, with riots in many countries and political unrest where prices are up as much as 30%. Droughts, flooding, population growth, increased demand for bigger and better meals, increased demand for American type food, increased fuel costs, increased use of grain for fuel instead of food and wars or limitations on trade are among the causes.

US food prices rose less than 1% over the last year, with near record prices in the US for basic foods. We pay for packaging and other costs, but the price of basic food is low, This coming year US prices will go up by about 3% and could go up as much as ten percent over the next few years.

Health Care reform is working, but in the short run insurance companies and medicare have raised prices or lowered coverage, changes planned and scheduled well in advance of the reform passing. The result is a wave of using those rises as "proof" of its failure. In addition, there has been some profiteering and some cost related to changes that are being passed on in the short term, before caps and controls are in place. There is a legitimate argument that the costs of health care reform coming at the same time as the recession and its impact on national, state, local and personal finances has amplified what cost there are in their impact on society.The cost of reversing the reforms is higher than allowing them to go through and then adjusting or fine tuning them to correct any problems or perceived errors that occur. The Congressional Budget office and three independent auditors have all come to the same conclusion...the health care reform as passed will save Taxpayers and those who pay for insurance large amounts of money over the next decade, despite temporary increases or perceived problems caused by the tiered implementation as passed in the Congressional compromise. False information and exaggeration were already printed and ready for use before any actual costs or implementation took place, designed to inflame voters to vote Republican and for overturning the bill during the last election. There never were death panels, dictates as to what a doctor can do or your choice of doctors, at least no more than exist under existing insurance and HMO's.

Haiti is setting up mobile cell phone money credits as a way of getting money quickly to those who need it, despite their devastated infrastructure. It has saved many businesses and could allow for Haiti to recover from the ground up. The government is even providing free cell phones and e-phone services for funds and communication. Food rations are sent to the phones in rural Haiti, encouraging people to migrate out of the city.The system will provide banking type services to the millions who do not have banks or ways to collect cash due to them. Even poor Haitians are use to cell phone minutes, due to poor phone and postal services even before the earthquakes and storms. The phone companies make about a tenth of a cent per transaction. One problem is that there are two incompatible cellular systems in the island country.

Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton is flying to Haiti to mediate in a political crisis there while other administration officials are keeping watch on violent protests
halfway across the world in Egypt. Clinton will meet Sunday with President Rene Preval and the three candidates vying to succeed him during her visit. She will also see a treatment center for the cholera epidemic that has killed almost 4,000 people. Haiti's political crisis stems from a first-round presidential
election in November that was marred by fraud. The U.S. wants Preval's preferred candidate, Jude Celestin, to bow out because the Organization of American States says he had the least support. The U.S warns that continued aid for Haiti's reconstruction from last year's earthquake is at stake. Haiti's presidential run-off is in March.

Clinton is refusing to speculate on what will happen to Egypt's Hosni Mubarak and his teetering government. But she says the U.S. doesn't want to see "radical ideologies" take control in a key Arab ally of the United States. There's a growing fear that a government hostile to the U.S. could take power there.Clinton urges Egyptian security forces to show restraint and not to respond through violence or intimidation toward protesters. Jets are buzzing close to the crowds but as of 8 AM Pacific time the military has been involved only in replacing the civilian police in civil protection and enforcement.The US would like to see regular Democratic elections in Egypt with the support of and  respect for the people.

On the ground word is that a modern country like Egypt has been kept together through military might, but also through torture, hard handed tactics and the threat of danger form other countries. 85 million Egyptians are ready for a change after 30 years under one dictatorial government. There has always been unrest and terrorism in Egypt, mostly in the southern portions of the country, with various factions fighting and two separatist movements, but the overall nation has functioned. In recent years the stronghold has gotten worse, with restrictions that have kept the country from moving further forward in a modern world and International economy.

Israel's prime minister says his government is "anxiously monitoring" the political unrest in Egypt. It's Benjamin Netanyahu's first comment on the crisis -- which threatens a regime that has been one of Israel's key allies for more than 30 years.

Chief Washington Post Foreign Correspondent for the New York Times told CBS Face the Nation the administration fears a power vacuum that could create an opening for Islamist

The Myanmar opposition group led by Nobel laureate Aung San Suu Kyi has launched its first official website. Suu Kyi says she believes the National League for Democracy's site will help achieve the group's goal of democracy for Myanmar at a faster pace. The website, in English and Burmese, was launched a day before the opening of Myanmar's first parliament in 22 years. The NLD boycotted last year's general elections, saying they were held under unfair conditions to perpetuate military rule. It was not immediately clear if the government, which exercises tight control over the Internet and other media, would try to block the site, which is meant for party members at home as well as supporters abroad.

Sunday Morning News and Views, Part III

Internet and political and social change

Does stationary still have a place in a mobile society? Has the Internet made hand written invitations, thank you notes and just communication by personal letters obsolete?  What do you think? Do you hand write notes? Has our civility been lost to the faster then ever, need to know now, easy to hit a transmit key world of the Internet and text messaging?

The Internet is the new cell phone, which replaced the fax machine of the Tienanmen Square protests. Today tweets, Facebook and text messaging fed movements in the Sudan, Tunisia and now Egypt. The government blocking of these services fueled people flooding angrily into the streets in Tunisia and Egypt. However the democracy of social networks also get protesters arrested or hanged, as happens in Iran where just this week two protester who used Facebook were hung for treason. Nothing is private on the Internet or over cellular transmissions.

In 2010 US aid to Egypt exceeded 1.6 billion dollars, with 1.3 billion of that slated for the military, seen as a stabilizing force in the middle east and northeastern Africa. So far the Army has been used only to keep the peace.

Al Jazeeera has been ordered to close its Egyptian News Bureau as Egypt de-credentialed its reporters for "bias" coverage of the protest and the government's responses. They vowed to continue coverage using cell phones and reports from citizens and other news organizations delivered over the Internet.

Wealthy Egyptians and Arabs are fleeing Egypt, as are the middle class who can afford to.

Meanwhile the unofficial results of a two week long ballot on succession, indicates that Southern Sudan will soon become its own country. Citizens there are celebrating in the streets!

The Kings Speech and Stuttering

3 million Americans have major stuttering problems, as do over 65 million others world wide. but the King's Speech has given hope and spurred major thrust by those who work with and help mediate the condition. "CBS Sunday Morning" included a feature on stuttering. It is available on-line as a segment. In the segment they also tell the story of the author of "The King's Speech" and how he stuttered as a youth and was fascinated how King George the VI was thought as "feeble minded" when he was prince because of his stuttering. The speech in the movie was a turning point for the new King, for those who stutter and for the nation. Researchers say that the problem is neurological, not psychological or behavioral as had been thought. The body can be trained, but the problem never goes away. It is also true that teasing, events and trauma can exacerbate the problem.

Sunday Morning News and Views, Part II

Bill Clinton says that it will take six to ten years to recover the jobs we lost in the US, not counting the jobs to keep up with inflation and the world market, and without recovering from replacing higher paying manufacturing jobs with lower paying service and technology jobs. Unemployment is far above the numbers, because so many people have given up looking. Some states are hit harder than the national news may indicate, and may not recover to pre-recession levels. The stimulus was not money spent on jobs, less than a third was. One third were tax cuts that were intended to be temporary and a third to help keep state and local government operational for the short run. He sees defaults possible for local, state and parts of the Federal Government. A new wave of unemployment from government related jobs, and contractors to the government, will caused another swell in umemployment that could make recovery as far off as twenty years for most of the US. That said he says that there is enormous potential in America, where we can increase growth, and this time around the recession did not devastate the poor so much as lower the bar for the middle class, which means there is a strong base to build on without driving up government costs in the process.Clinton believes Americans are resilient and will live through this and prosper again, beyond the wealthy. He also believes taxes on his income level are unrealistically low.

Across the country, governors and state legislators are haggling over budget proposals for the next fiscal year. Many states are facing budget shortfalls this year. But California is facing the largest one -- more than $25 billion. In Georgia, more across-the-board state budget cuts are coming. Overall budget cuts are not as big as in previous years, but some suggest there is a kind of "budget fatigue" because Georgia has continued to cut for several years. The 2012 budget is $3 billion less than in 2009. 

Law professor David Skeel wrote about a proposal that would allow states to declare bankruptcy as a way to handle overwhelming debt. Skeel, who teaches corporate law at the University of Pennsylvania Law School, wrote an op-ed for "The Weekly Standard," titled, "Give States a Way to Go Bankrupt."

Ignoring a government curfew, thousands of protesters remained in the streets and squares of Cairo through the night. The army has been deployed but is allowing peaceful demonstrations to proceed. Many soldiers and officers have expressed solidarity with the protesters. The police who clashed with protesters in the early days have disappeared, though there are reports that some of them may be provoking fear and chaos, disguised as thieves.

Residents in Egypt set up self-styled checkpoints and barricades at street corners and intersections of their neighborhoods overnight trying to protect their homes as police disappeared from view. Cairo, the capital, was eerily quiet at dawn, with fires still burning and armored military vehicles encircling main government buildings in the downtown.

The U.S. Embassy in Cairo has told its citizens in Egypt to consider leaving the country as soon as possible in a display of Washington's escalating concern about the stability of its closest Arab ally. Gangs of armed men attacked at least four jails across Egypt before dawn, helping to free hundreds of Muslim militants and thousands of other inmates. The army increased its presence as police vanished from city streets.

While corporate leaders in Davos are mostly pondering ways to boost profits and smooth out financial markets, a huge problem is bubbling up. Billions of people can't afford food. If these spiraling prices start to hit the U.S. this year, they could derail the U.S. recovery. Increase in food prices has already impacted McDonald's here and world wide, along with other international and national retailers. Soon it will hit all of our pocketbooks, driven up by fuel costs, international drought and rapid increases in income in some key emerging economies, with billions of mouths to feed.

It's not what flood-ravaged northeast Australia wants to hear. A hurricane/ cyclone is headed that way tomorrow and another storm could move in later in the week. The region has already suffered billions of dollars worth of damage from a months long flood crisis. Cyclone Anthony intensified to a Category 2 storm today with winds of 80 miles an hour.

Five Somali pirates could face up to life imprisonment if they are convicted at trial in South Korea. The pirates, captured during a raid on a hijacked cargo ship in the Arabian Sea, were brought to South Korea today by the coast guard. Commandos rescued all crew members during the raid and killed eight Somali pirates.

A new U.S. report warns that without more help.Iraqi security forces may not be able to protect the fragile nation from insurgents after American troops leave. Sunday's report by the special inspector general for Iraq reconstruction also cites data by the U.S. Embassy in Baghdad that shows the nation's government, economy, legal systems and basic services like electricity and water remain unstable. Under a security agreement between Washington and Baghdad, U.S. troops will leave Iraq by the end of the year.The report says corruption in Iraq's military and army and police forces has led to wasted resources and bad planning. Congress is deciding how much money to give Iraqi forces this year.

Sunday Morning News and Views, part I

Egypt dominates the news.

The BBC spent their entire 4 AM Pacific time hour on the subject save for news headlines and three minutes of very British sports).

NPR and CBS news spent much of their time on the subject and its importance to the US, including the future of Middle East peace, such as it is, and the existence of Israel. The US take looks at how no matter how this "popuular uprising" goes, we cannot afford to lose Egypt as an ally.

BBC news has feet on the ground, reporting on looters, among whom credentialed undercover police have been reported to be instigators. The famed Cairo Museum was broken into with the gift shop looted and some of the exhibits. The curator said that damage was minimal and the looters did not seem to know that the real valuables and gold of the museum were not in or near the gift shop, or were kept from going near exhibits by someone among them. The Army has now secured the museum.

The story is one that is happening too quickly for a blog like this one. I suggest keeping on top the story using tV news, radio news and the Internet.

The US economy did pick up steam this past quarter, but not as much as expected. The economy grew 2.9%, must under three percent, the largest since the recession hit in 2009 (officially), but not at normal healthy rates.

A year ago the world expected a Great Depression, but at the World Economic Summit the feeling is optimistic, with "I am making money, a lot of money," and little concern, according to academic participants, for the continued recession for American and European workers and consumers. Emerging markets are going well, and investment is in those markets. This is a recovery but it is not a great recovery. We are growing but only now near where we started. The budget deficit in America will hit one and a half trillion dollars this year. The Congressional Budget office says that to stabilize the debt ratio all federal taxes will need to be raised 12% or cut that much. The US is in the middle of multiple wars, an aging infrastructure, the drain of jobs to other countries and real crisis in education, health and average consume spending power. Meanwhile the rich get richer, the markets rally and optimism is high among the business sector. Housing may take ten to thirty years to recover to pre-recession levels, with some markets far behind (including Las Vegas).

At the World Ecconomic Summit the feelings toward President Obama and his policies did work in reversing not only the US but the world recession. They feel greater stimulus is needed, but admit that conservatives in the US have made that unlikely, so increased taxes or cuts that could push the US into second rate power status may be needed for America and the world economy.

Across the country, governors and state legislators are haggling over budget proposals for the next fiscal year. In Georgia, more across-the-board state budget cuts are coming. Overall budget cuts are not as big as in previous years, but some suggest there is a kind of "budget fatigue" because Georgia has continued to cut for several years. The 2012 budget is $3 billion less than in 2009.

'King's Speech' Director Tom Hooper Tops 2011 DGA Awards

Tom Hooper

Tom HooperThe King's Speech (The Weinstein Co.)
Production manager: Erica Bensly
First Assistant Director: Martin Harrison
Second Assistant Director: Chris Stoaling

Mick JacksonTemple Grandin (HBO)
Unit Production Manager: Scott Ferguson
First Assistant Director: Philip Hardage
Second Assistant Director: Shawn Pipkin
Second Second Assistant Directors: Kayse Goodell, Richard E. Chapla Jr., Robbie Friedmann
Additional Second Second Assistant Director: Glen Moorman
Martin ScorseseBoardwalk Empire (HBO)
Unit Production Manager: Harvey Waldman
First Assistant Director: Chris Surgent
Second Assistant Director: Takahide Kawakami
Second Second Assistant Director: Patrick McDonald
Additional Second Assistant Director: Sal Sutera
Second Assistant Director/Location Managers: April Taylor, Regina Heyman
DGA Trainee: Jamiyl Ihsaan Campbell
Michael SpillerModern Family (ABC)
Unit Production Manager: Sally Young
First Assistant Director: Alisa Statman
Second Assistant Director: Helena Lamb
Second Second Assistant Director: Matthew Heffernan
Charles FergusonInside job (Representational Pictures, Sony Pictures Classics)
Glenn Weiss, 64th Annual Tony Awards (CBS)
Associate Directors: Gregg Gelfand, Robin Abrams, Ricky Kirshner
Stage Managers: Garry Hood, Peter Epstein, Andrew Feigin, Lynn Finkel, Doug Fogel, Jeffrey Gitter, Dean Gordon, Phyllis Digilio Kent, Arthur Lewis, Joey Meade, Tony Mirante, Cyndi Owgang, Jeff Pearl, Elise Reaves, Lauren Class Schneider
Larry CarpenterOne Life to Live, "Episode #10,687"
Associate Directors: Teresa Anne Cicala, Tracy Casper Lang, Paul S. Glass, Mary Ryan, Jen Pepperman, Barry Gingold
Stage Managers: Alan Needleman, Keith Greer, Brendan Higgins
Production Associates: Kevin Brush, Nathalie Rodriguez
Eytan KellerThe Next Iron Chef, "Episode #301" (Food Network)
Segment Director: Stephen Kroopnick
Stage Managers: Tom Borgnine, Seth Mellman
Stacy Wall (Imperial Woodpecker)

"Rise," Nike - Wieden & Kennedy/Portland
First Assistant Director: Bac DeLorme
Second Assistant Director: Steve Del Prete
Second Second Assistant Director: Kenny Hanson
"Really?," Microsoft - Crispin Porter & Bogusky/Boulder
First Assistant Directors: Miles Johnstone, Doug Halbert
Second Assistant Director: Michael Brawer
"Slim Chin & D Rose," Adidas - 180LA
First Assistant Director: Dave Dean
Second Assistant Director: Carl Jackson
"Handshake," Nike - Wieden & Kennedy/Portland
First Assistant Directors: Miles Johnstone, Scott Metcalfe
Second Assistant Director: Michael Brawer
Eric BrossThe Boy Who Cried Werewolf (Nickelodeon)

Saturday, January 29, 2011

NBC News and Sports draw full COMCAST Support

Prior to the COMCAST take over of NBC Universal, it was anticipated that NBC would shore up it's news and sports operations to compete with Time Warner/HBO/CNN, FOX and ABC/ESPN. Now it appears that that is the direction COMCAST plans to take NBC.

Variety reports:
Brian Roberts has called it "the single most awesome asset" of NBC Universal. Comcast has vowed to protect and grow its operations.

Throughout the yearlong quest to secure regulatory approval for the Comcast-NBC U merger, Comcast execs cited their commitment to supporting the journalistic mission of NBC News as a key reason why the public interest would be served by the union of the Peacock and the nation's largest cable operator.
As such, NBC News has now been put on a pedestal in the enlarged NBC U operation. The division is expected to undergo something of a renaissance as the company's new corporate stewards try to live up to the high-minded promises made in the halls of Congress and the FCC. That dynamic puts NBC News in a unique position among its TV counterparts, almost all of which have been under pressure to rein in costs for years. Certainly the news wings of the Big Three networks have faced the challenge of becoming profit centers -- or at least not money losers -- since the late 1980s.
But NBC News, unlike CBS and ABC, is in hiring mode and is on top of the ratings.
For the rest of the story and complete coverage, clock here to go to Vareity,com.

Mark Zuckerberg's Surprise Visit on 'SNL' (Video) |

Mark Zuckerberg's Surprise Visit on 'SNL' (Video) |

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The Marketplace of Ideas, an introduction to Communication Studies

Public speaking is a deceivingly complex activity. At the heart of public speaking is communication, which we’ve all been doing since we were small. It would seem, then, public speaking is something that comes natural and is very easy to do. This, however, is not the case. Public speaking is not everyday conversation. Public speaking is much more formal and there is much more social importance of what we are speaking about. For example, Al Gore’s presentations on global warming are highly organized and highly important to the world. We do not expect that he would talk in a similar manner to his family at home. The topic or content is not the only formal aspect of public speaking; the delivery is also highly formal. We do not see any President deliver the State of the Union of Inaugural address informally. The President has practiced considerably and has the exact wording of the speech polished.
How Politiics gave birth to the study of Communication.
These examples are from the political sphere and that is not surprising given that the study of public speaking arose in the wake of some very messy politics. Around 476 B.C.E., a tyrant named Thrasybulus took the land and property of those in Syracuse who disagreed with him and gave it to the people who supported him. Naturally, the citizens quickly ousted Thrasybulus and wanted their property back, which they did by presenting their case in court. Those who appeared before the court found that the ability to speak and argue well made them successful in regaining what was rightfully theirs. On the other hand, those who could present a better argument than the original land-owner kept what Thrasybulus had given them. In contemporary society, we have lawyers who are specifically trained in the content of the law as well as the ability to present arguments in court.
Why study communications today?
Now that we know why public speaking was important in the Classical world, what is the reason for studying public speaking today? Odds are you will never have to argue your own position in court. But, like the citizens of Syracuse, you might want to address something that is worthwhile to you. You may believe strongly in fighting for social justice or that large corporations would destroy your small town community. You may believe that your school’s raising of tuition is detrimental or you may believe just the opposite. Presenting your thoughts and opinions in a clear and coherent fashion will only add to the value of your speech. This is one of the main reasons why we study public speaking today.
Typically, we speak publicly about issues that are not clear cut. Like the citizens of Syracuse, both parties had claims to the property. If you decide to speak out about the social injustices of your community; what you may legitimately believe in and speak to, someone else may legitimately believe and speak to just the opposite. By studying public speaking we are learning the means by which we can have our positions—our thoughts and opinions—accepted.
The mislabeled metaphor as a marketplace.
One way to understand this purpose of public speaking is to turn to the metaphor of the Marketplace of Ideas. The Marketplace of Ideas claims that if everyone puts out their ideas the best ideas will win out and the weak ideas will not survive. But there are problems with this idea. The Marketplace of Ideas theory assumes that some ideas are inherently better than others. But there is nothing inherent about any idea that makes it better or worse than any other idea. There are numerous examples from our national history that demonstrate this. For example, at one point, racial inequality was considered the “best idea.” However, people soon recognized that there is nothing inherent about anyone that makes them better or worse than anyone else and consequently took a stand against what they saw as an injustice and fought to overcome it.
A flaw in the marketplace model.
What this flaw of the Marketplace of Ideas tells us is that no position or evidence is self-evident. To have our position accepted we have to not only find evidence but interpret it. For example, according to the United States Department of Justice there were 60 executions in 2005, 53 in 2006, and 42 in 2007. What does this data alone tell us? Does it tell us that capital punishment is, for example, effective at deterring crime? Or does it tell us the opposite? I think the case can be made either way. We can see that there are less and less executions by year, so perhaps capital punishment is a deterrent. On the other hand, there are still executions occurring, so capital punishment may not be a complete deterrent. What this example hopefully demonstrates is that when we speak publicly about an issue and want our position accepted, we must offer a clear and convincing interpretation of our thoughts and opinions in a understandable and, hopefully, eloquent manner.

Comcast-NBCU Deal Done: $30B Later, Comcast Is Proud Owner of the Peacock

From The Wrap, a Hollywood entertainment industry on-line newspaper and service. 

Comcast has completed its $30 billion acquisition of NBC Universal, ending a long corporate odyssey that gives the country's largest cable provider control of an entertainment behemoth.

Comcast announced Saturday that the merger was completed Friday. It has 51 percent control of NBCU, with General Electric keeping 49 percent.

Also read: It's Got NBCU -- Now Comcast Has a Fight for Reinvention

Both the Department of Justice and Federal Commuications Commission approved the merger last week.

The regulators included several conditions designed to ensure that Comcast doesn't discriminate against NBCU's rivals on its Internet and cable lines, and that it doesn't restrict rival cable and Internet providers' access to NBCU content.

Critics have worried about one company holding so much power over what Americans watch -- and how they watch. But federal regulators who took more than a year to approve the deal believe they have conditions in place that will protect consumers -- and the combined companies' rivals.

Click here from the rest of the story from The Wrap. Also see Hollywood Reporter, Variety and New York Times.

"Mermaid Man" and "Marty", "McHale" and the man who killed Frank Sinatra: NPR retrospect of SAG Award Lifetime Achievement Award winner Ernest Borgnine

Tomorrow night Ernest Borgnine earns a lifetime achievement award for his work, his charity and his life.

Click here for the release and blog story when the SAG Nominating Committee (on which I serve) selected Borgnine...We are always proud of those who are so much as considered for this hard to select award. At 94 and representing my parent's generation, Borgnine has a special place for me. His tough guys and common men, schemers and dreamers have been a part of the  life of four generations. He is still acting, working for charity and loving life!

Here is the story from NPR's Weekend Edition Sunday....

Click on "read more" below to continue.

Great Films February 9-12 in nearby Boulder City

Highest Ticket Prices in Movie History lead to misleading boxoffice numbers

If you thought it was getting more expensive to go the movies, your hunch was right. The average ticket price at theaters in the U.S. last year rose to an all-time annual high of $7.89,  up 5% from $7.50 in 2009, according to the National Assn. of Theatre Owners. In the fourth quarter, the average price was $8.01, up 5% from the year-ago period.
La-fi-ct-movie-tickets-gThat may seem unusually low to people in L.A., where ticket prices are typically much higher, but the figure represents a national average of theaters in big cities and small towns alike, and includes lower-priced matinees and children's prices.
NATO spokesman Patrick Corcoran attributed the increase primarily to the increase in 3-D screenings, which can add $2.50 to $4 to the ticket price. Hollywood is expected to release about 35 3-D films this year, and theater owners are rushing to add 3-D screens to handle the growth. Just this week, Regal Entertainment, the nation's largest theater operator, announced that it woulddouble its number of RealD 3-D screens.
All of which means ticket prices are likely to continue to rise. One AMC Theatres location in New York last summer raised eyebrows when it was selling $20 tickets for Imax 3-D screenings of the DreamWorks Animation movie "Shrek Forever After."
The rise in ticket prices came in a year when box office was virtually flat with the prior year, reaching $10.6 billion in revenue, while attendance dropped 5.3% compared with 2009.
Still, Corcoran downplayed the effect of ticket inflation on attendance, noting that the 2010 increase is “not way out of line” with those of the last five years and that prices are still below what they were in 1970 when inflation is factored in. Then, the average ticket price was $1.55, or $8.71 when adjusted for inflation.

Corcoran attributed the drop in attendance to fewer movies being released and to fewer hits in the latter part of the year. 
"People aren't staying away because of ticket prices,'' Corcoran said, "they are staying away because of the movies."
Post Script by Art Lynch: The true blockbusters were film such as "Wizard of Oz", "Gone with the Wind" and other "classics" released when movie prices came to an overall lower percentage of household incomes, therefore even in adjusted income modern films are showing higher per film revenue. Simply put, prices have gone up in dollars, and in percentage of an audience's ability to pay.