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Sunday, May 29, 2011

Remember what tomorrow is for

Memorial Day Hearing for Film Incentive Bill

Sunday Morning News and Views, Part IV

Scott Pelly takes on June 6th in Walter Cronkite's historic anchor seat at CBS. You could think that it is more show business hype as usual, but according to Variety it more likely represents a shift back to news credibility
by all three networks. As much as coverage talks about the 24/7 cable news channels, including CNN,
FOX and MSNBC, the reality is that more Americans get their news from network television than any
other source, unless you count the highly segmented cumulative Internet. No single Internet source
comes anywhere near close. Starting with a commitment from NBC,  the other two major networks
have joined in a pledge to offer less "fluff" and "packaged news" and more current news coverage during
their increasingly limited network newscast air time. Those filling the seats are less to be politically correct or
youth image centered and more to show mature news gathering experience and confidence. Still, with all
the hype, the days of Edward R Murrow, Walter Cronkite, Huntly-Brinkly and even Ted Koppel are
behind us, as budget cuts, increased work load and job definition expansion for reporters to anchors,
and an increasingly wide range of news sources have forever changed the scope and even definition of

"Balanced and fair" has become slogan for a slanted politically one sided cable TV network while "all the
news that is fit to print" still sits on the banner of the nations most influential newspaper despite shrinking
staff, content, pages and readership. The broadcast fairness doctrine has been gone longer than Millenials and
Gen X have been on this earth. The ideal of people being increasingly informed by a wide range of diverse
sources has proven to be a formula for polarization as audiences instead seek out only sources they already
agree with and that reinforce what they want to be true, rather than balance or to discover both sides for
themselves. Audiences and readership for the common publications programming that use to bind us together, as Cronkite or other high Ethos anchors spoke, have shrunk to the point that most conversations star with
"who" when you mention an anchor or high profile writer's name.

Thomas Jefferson's vision of an informed electorate needed for a democracy to work, much less flourish, may be fading from this earth.

The Associated Press and broadcast news stations are reporting one of those "believe it or not" events.
An elderly Brazilian man shot in the face escaped death when his dentures deflected a bullet headed for
his brain. A hospital official says that 81-year-old Zacarias Pacheco de Moraes was shot Thursday while
working in a bar he owns in the small western city of Alta Floresta. Jose Marcos da Silva was quoted by
Globo TV's G1 website Saturday as saying that the bullet probably would have pierced Moraes' brain if
it hadn't first hit his dentures before lodging in his throat. The official said the bullet will not be removed
immediately because surgery right now would be too risky. Silva said the patient was in stable condition
but in danger of losing part of his eyesight because of the bullet's trajectory. He did not elaborate.

Believe it or not, this week, the first ever digital controls and monitoring will be installed in a US Nuclear
Plant. Tight standards have kept digital technology from bringing America's nuclear plants into the digital
age. A plant in South Carolina will be the first.

A major defense contractor says it sustained a "significant and tenacious" cyber attack but kept its secrets
safe. Lockheed Martin and the Department of Homeland Security confirmed Saturday night that the
contractor had come under a cyber attack. Chris Ortman, speaking for Homeland Security, says his
agency and the Defense Department are trying to determine the extent of the data breach. He says the
Lockheed Martin said in a late evening statement that the agencies are analyzing data and working to recommend ways to address the attack and mitigate the problems. Company's security team detected the threat
quickly and no customer, program or employee personal data had been compromised. The Pentagon
said the impact on its operations is "minimal."

Sunday Morning News and Views, Part III

Fifty years ago this week President John F Kennedy promised the US would put a man on the moon by
the end of the decade. Also on Wednesday of this week another Space Shuttle will be mothballed for a museum, leaving only one more flight of one more shuttle. Then...not US way to put a man in space or shuttle our astronauts up to the International Space Station we were key in building. The shuttle lasted 35 years and 135 flights,
which is remarkable considering that the vehicle is to this day experimental and that many commercial jets
have lifetimes of use shorter than the shuttle program. Two major disasters put a shadow over the
shuttle, which was intended to fly many more missions as a "bus" to the space station and orbital
research, repair and exploration.

The crews of space shuttle Endeavour and the International Space Station said goodbye to one another Sunday morning. Shuttle commander Mark Kelly says their  one-and-a-half weeks together went well. But now he and his crew are looking forward to getting home, and leaving the station crew "to some peace and quiet." Kelly was the last one to leave the space station. The hatches were closed behind him. Endeavour will undock from the space station late Sunday night.

When Kennedy launched all the "space race" excitement his heart many not have been behind it. The
decision and the speech had more to do with gaining political points than going into space. Candidate Kennedy was  focused on domestic issues and improving relations with Russia, thawing out the Cold War, but once in
office he was faced with Russia putting the first man in space and the failure of the Bay of Pigs invasion.
Despite his intentions for an international space program with the Russians, going into space became a
matter of national pride and of survival for his administration. That said, a sign of how important NASA
and the space race was to President Kennedy can be found in how he handed responsibility over to his
Vice President, a rival compromised into the VP position as a way to defeat incumbent Vice President
Ricard Nixon's Republican bid for the presidency.

On this date in history, May 29, 1790, 221 years ago today, Rhode Island became the last of the 13
original states to ratify  the constitution, holding out until the bill of rights, amendments, were added
and ratified. that does does  not mean hat the state was not fully behind our revolution. Rhode Island
declared Independence two months prior to the Continental Congress  doing the same thing.

140 dead and 100 missing from the Joplin Tornado.

Crews and residents frustrated by a week of major flooding across Montana are clearing debris from
roadways and some muddied homes, even as they brace for more heavy rainfall expected over the
Memorial Day weekend. A respite in the bad weather has allowed waters to recede slightly in several
flooded communities. The National Weather Service predicts up to 3 inches of rainfall from Sunday to
Monday. Forecasters warn that would raise flood waters. And high temperatures and melting snow next
week would likely swell rivers for even longer. Authorities have already started releasing massive
volumes of water from overburdened reservoirs. The releases coupled with the floodwaters are
predicted to move downstream and cause flooding in the Dakotas, and possibly in Iowa, Nebraska,
Kansas and Missouri. In Montana, state of emergencies have been declared in 51 Montana jurisdictions.
And the governor has deployed National Guard soldiers to the Crow Reservation, one of the hardest-hit

The top Republican in the Senate says a controversial House Medicare plan is "on the table" as President
Barack Obama and his GOP rivals wrestle over budget cuts to enact this summer.  Kentucky Republican
Mitch McConnell said Sunday on NBC's "Meet The Press" that he supports the controversial plan by
Rep. Paul Ryan to transform Medicare into a voucher-like system in which future beneficiaries - those
54 and younger - would get subsidies to buy health insurance rather than have the government directly
pay their doctor and hospital bills. But McConnell noted that there's a Democrat in the White House.
That means that the Ryan plan is effectively dead for now. The measure by the Wisconsin Republican
congressman also fell well short in a Senate vote last week.Oppoents point out that vouchers or any system
where the customer/patient pays will have no effect on rising medical costs and could put the consumer
at a sizable disadvantage.

Charlie Chaplin's "City Lights"

Henderson Live hosts a screening of Charlie Chaplin’s 1931 silent classic, "City Lights" with accompaniment by the
Henderson Symphony Orchestra this Friday, June 3rd, at the Henderson Pavilion. Information and tickets at 
"Henderson Live dot com" of 267-4-T-I-X

Sunday Morning News and Views, Part II

Remembrance Day...or Memorial Day is not Veterans Day or BarBQ Day or Family Day. It's the day set
aside to remember those who gave up their lives for their country and for the world, the ultimate
sacrifice anyone can ask. At 3 PM tomorrow, Memorial Day, Boulder City and other towns across
America will blast the civil defense sirens to remind citizens to voluntarily take one minute to show their respect
for those who gave up their lives in their service.

51% of Americans do not pay income tax. The Extremely wealthy actually get rebates for their investments and other reasons rather than pay in and a much larger percentage of Americans than most of us want to admit
exist do not earn enough to pay taxes. Yet the government is funded through out income taxes. That
means that the middle class and both the wealthy and the poor who are not quite well off or poor enough
to qualify for the exemptions are carrying the full burden of the war, the operation of the Federal
Government and the deficit. Yet Americans all feel that they will someday be wealthy, or at least better
off, so they oppose doing what is needed to truly pay for the operation of the country, reduce the budget
and balance out the national checkbook. The only way to do this is for all Americans to pay their fair share.

We are almost ten years into a period of national emergency that began when the Twin Towers fall on
9-11.This is not the first emergency where there is opposition to paying our fair share, but the percentage who
ignore the need to increase revenue to the government is the highest of any emergency or war in US history. Simply put the cry to reduced government will not balance the books, as long as we continue to have a real need for
record expenses (war, poverty, a declining infrastructure, maintaining education and medical solvency
and competitiveness) unless all Americans agree to pay the price. Taxes need to go up not down,
or be redistributed in a way where the wealthy pay their fair share.

How do you make money on the stock market? Investor Mario Cabellai says it is a simple formula...find a good business, find one with a market and a solid plan with enough assets to last a while, and invest in it. He says hat China, India, Russia and Brazil are the nations that will lead the 21st century in GDP and growth. China will pass the US in most economic indicators next year, and already has in others. The economy will slow down, in the US
and world wide, including in the four major growth markets. It has to and it is natural. There is volatility,
so if you are worried about day to day "you know what, don't buy stocks", but if you want long term
stability and growth, invest now, but do so intelligently. He says the best advice he can give is to. "

Is the US on the decline? Yes and no. We are going to slide backwards and lose our dominant position in the world, but so will most everyone else. China is on the upswing but faces poverty and other domestic challenges
hidden to much of the media and the world to slow it down. That nation also has internal political battles
that they do not make easy to observe and the other pains of rapid growth. China's military and modernization
is impressive but kept in check the the US and other nations as well as its increasing need to invest domestically.

The nation that is on the decline is Japan, literally the decline of an empire that has had a strong influence for over two centuries in its part of the world.

Blockbuster moves to one night rental rates

From the LA Times Company Town Blog...

The days of the multi-day movie rental are officially over.

Blockbuster Inc. is switching to single-day pricing in a bid to better challenge its fast-growing competitor Redbox. It's the first significant change at the struggling rental and retail chain since it was acquired by Dish Network in April for $320 million and a longtime executive of the satellite broadcaster was put in charge.

New releases will cost $2.99 the first day, while older films are $1.99 the first day. All movies will cost 99 cents for additional days. That's more than the 99 cents per day that Redbox charges for rentals every day, including the first.
Previously, Blockbuster charged $4.99 for a three-day rental.

By charging more for the first day, Blockbuster will be able to maintain what has been its one significant advantage over Redbox and its other, larger rival, Netflix: New releases from major studios available to rent the same day they go on sale. 20th Century Fox, Universal Pictures and Warner Bros. all restrict Redbox from renting their DVDs until 28 days after they go on sale because they believe 99 cents is too low a price for a first-night rental.

Blockbuster rental boxes, retail stores and it's mail service (patterned after Netflix) will all adopt the new
price structure and policies.

Dish Network, which purchased Blockbuster for a bargain basement discount price, has yet to announce
its plans for the brandname, Most experts predict that the intent is to go into direct competition Netflix,
On Demand, Amazon and Blockbuster in both hard copy and cyber-distribution for rental, streaming and
retail blue ray sales.

Sunday Morning News and Views, Part I

This weekend's race marks the 100th anniversary of the first running of the Indianapolis 500. 

Today, President Barack Obama visits the tornado-ravaged city of Joplin, Missouri. The death toll from last Sunday's tornado stands at over 140. It's the deadliest tornado to hit the U.S. in more than 60 years.

Medicine in America is on the verge of a great sea change. The doctor- patient relationship model no longer
works. Transcience, patient loads necessisary to meet the high cost of being a doctor, the massive
amount of time and therefore expense needed to deal with insurance companies and lawyers, the
increased infiltration of big business and medical groups as they replace traditional practices, and a generation
of doctors who are not trained or comfortable with the hands on personal types or practice Americans still
cling to (in the image of Marcus Welby or other fictional medical practitioners).

There are several possible models for what could replace the "doctor of the day" groups, which often use temporary physicians or  practitioners in place of full MD's.

One concept is the Patient Centered Medical Home, a new version of the old family practice, where doctors offices felt like houses and patients were seen when they need to be seen, instead of waiting for days or
having to go to quick care of emergency rooms when they do not feel well. Openings  are kept in the
patient scheduled visits to see patients when they need to be seen or spend  additional time with patients offering personal and human attention.  Shared physicians work as a team  or family, with patients being
introduced to all those who work at the facility and made to feel at home. Not only would doctors share records, but patients will have full access to their electronic medical records at home with extra time given to
offering easy to read explanations or "translations" when needed.

these Patience Centered Medical homes are based on a few basic beliefs and practices. Amount the:
Health is not a commodity.
Risk factors are not a disease.
Ageing is not a disease.
Quality is more important than any other business goal.
The most common condition doctors treat is unhappiness.
Health depends on being happy and a positive attitude/experience.
Doctors expect too much from data.
Friendship, conversation and hope are the foundation of medicine.

The former Bosnian Serb general Radko Mladic was arrested in Serbia this past week. He is wanted by the International Tribunal on Yugoslavia for genocide and war crimes, and he could be extradited to face
trial in The Hague as soon as tomorrow. His arrest, after a 16-year man hunt, is unpopular with Serb
nationalists, but it removes a major obstacle to Serbia starting the process of joining the European Union.
The son of war crimes suspect Ratko Mladic says his father claims he had nothing to do with the
massacre of 8,000 men and boys in the Bosnian town of Srebrenica. Darko Mladic says his father has
told him that he gave orders to evacuate the wounded, women and children and fighters during the
1992-1995 war. Mladic's son told reporters Sunday outside the jail where he was being held that
"whatever was done, was done behind his back."

A quandary for would be Republican presidential candidates: what to do about Ethanol? Federal subsidies
for ethanol have been sacrosanct in Iowa politics -- for Democrats and Republicans alike. But with
the federal deficit also a major concern, presidential candidates are feeling emboldened taking on
the issue.

A Yemeni rights activist says a unit of elite Yemeni troops has switched sides. A brigade of the
powerful Republican Guard run by the son of embattled President Ali Abdullah Saleh has defected in
a southern province. It's the first reported defection among the elite troops, which have been
the core of Saleh's hold on power despite massive protests.

Syrian activists say two towns that have seen intense protests against President Bashar Assad's regime
are under siege. Activists say communications have been cut and roads blocked. Government troops
backed by tanks are attacking the towns.

Greenpeace says three of its activists are trying to prevent a Scottish oil company from starting
deepwater drilling in arctic waters near Greenland. Greenpeace say the activists have climbed up an
oil rig and are now hanging under it in a pod with enough food and water for 10 says. Greenpeace claims
the  drillers are not taking promised extra precautions to avoid a repeat of the Gulf of Mexico oil spill.