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Wednesday, October 31, 2012

It's Halloween!

Halloween Politics

Scare tactics. Fear. Anger. Myths and Monsters...

Am I noticing a difference between the political parties this election season? Empathy? Those who put themselves in other people's shoes and show concern or care for their fellow man/woman seem diametrically opposed to those who are out for themselves or number one.

Now add huge amounts of corporate special interest funds to convince people that there are things to fear, create Halloween Ghosts out of every possible issue, and you have an election based on hate, fear and lies rather than fact, faith and the public good.

OBAMA On Daily Show

Actual President of United States Actually on The Daily Show in Actuality

Alright, move along, move along. Nothing to see here, people. Just President Barack Obama in an episode-long interview with Jon Stewart. Move along…

First published 10/31/2012

Election Night on KNPR 

Election Night 2012 begins Tuesday at 5 p.m. on News 88.9 KNPR. NPR's Robert Siegel, Melissa Block, Guy Raz and Audie Cornish will host, and they'll be joined throughout the evening by Washington editor Ron Elving, National Political Correspondent Mara Liasson, Political Junkie Ken Rudin, and contributors E.J. Dionne and Matt Continetti. They'll also have exit poll analysis, live coverage from the campaign headquarters of both President Obama and Governor Romney, and updates on Nevada's election races throughout the evening. Join us.

Michael Jackson - Thriller

Communciation Link of Interest

Communication, Plagiarism and other Topics (University of Hawaii)

Why N.Y. Cab Drivers Honk

A New York commission has sent out a wave of text messages to its taxi cab drivers reminding them that unnecessary honking will incur a $350 fine. Cabbie Mike Castillo speaks with host Scott Simon about the importance of the horn.

Walt Disney Co. To Buy George Lucas Film Studio

Are you ready for STAR WARS VI, VII and IX?

Disney purchased Lucas films and now owns all of Star Wars, Indianna Jones and others. The first Star Wars film belong to FOX. The purchase includes Industrial Light and Magic, Lucas Sound and all the merchandising. It will fit into PIXAR, Marvel,the Muppets and other equations in the now buy someone elses' successful franchise and ruin them.   

George Lucas wrote the treatments for up to six more films but will have nothing to do with the films. Disney has said it will hire "young" "fresh" and "energetic" (translates to cheep or affordable) to keep the franchise alive.  Star Wars will become a major part of the Disney theme parks, although Indianna Jones is liscenced to rival Universal.

The Walt Disney Co. has announced that it is buying Lucasfilm, reportedly paying more than $4 billion in stock and cash for the studio founded and owned by George Lucas. Disney says it will release a new Star Wars movie in 2015.

Copyright © 2012 National Public Radio. For personal, noncommercial use only. See Terms of Use. For other uses, prior permission required.
Oh my gosh. You create the social equivalent of nuclear fusion when you combine the people who are obsessed with Star Wars and the people obsessed with Disney. The Walt Disney Company is apparently willing to take that risk. In a move that surprised industry observers, Disney announced, yesterday, it is buying Lucasfilm, the studio founded by George Lucas and home to the Star Wars franchise. NPR's Mandalit del Barco reports there are already plans for a new "Star Wars" movie.
MANDALIT DEL BARCO, BYLINE: Disney will pay more than $4 billion in stock and cash for the studio founded and solely owned by George Lucas.
BOB IGER: George Lucas is a true visionary and an innovative epic storyteller, who has defined modern filmmaking with unforgettable characters and amazing stories.
BARCO: Disney chief executive Bob Iger in a taped statement on the Disney website.
IGER: The Star Wars universe now has more than 17,000 characters inhabiting several thousand planets and spanning 20,000 years. And this gives Disney infinite inspiration and opportunities to continue the epic Star Wars saga.
HARRISON FORD: (As Han Solo) I've got a bad feeling about this.
BARCO: The saga continues with a new Star Wars movie - episode seven, for release in 2015. Iger also said Disney will expand the presence of the franchise at its theme parks and with even more merchandise, games, and TV.
BRIAN LOWRY: This certainly came out of the blue. And I think actually once they get past the modest shock of it, I think people who are fans of Star Wars should have a pretty good feeling about this.
BARCO: Brian Lowry is a columnist and critic for Variety.
LOWRY: There was certainly no talk that Lucasfilm was eager to sell or had been shopping the assets. So this came as, kind of, a wow moment for everybody. I think once you read about the deal, it made all the sense in the world. You know, George Lucas wasn't getting any younger, but he certainly wasn't in any position where he had to sell or there was any pressure to do this.
BARCO: Lowry says Disney is making a shrewd investment, and he notes the company paid similar amounts to buy both Pixar and Marvel. That comic book imprint's characters grossed $1.5 billion for Disney through last summer's hit "The Avengers."
Disney will have to negotiate with Paramount to release future Indiana Jones sequels. But the Mouse House will put a roof over Industrial Light and Magic and Skywalker Sound. They created the distinctive look and sound of the Star Wars movies and have done similar work on a number of other films outside the Lucas empire. Disney will also get the mythical complex that houses the Lucasfilm's operations: Skywalker Ranch in Northern California.
GEORGE LUCAS: I've been a big fan of Disney all my life.
BARCO: George Lucas also taped a statement for the announcement. In it he explained that he's retiring to make more experimental films.
LUCAS: The match of what our two companies are is just perfect, because we're like a mini Disney. It'll give me a chance to go off and explore my own interests, at the same time feel completely confident that Disney will take good care of the franchise I've built.
BARCO: Having said, in the past, he was disenchanted with the film industry, Lucas now says it's time for him to pass Star Wars on to a new generation of filmmakers. That includes Kathleen Kennedy, who he handpicked to replace him as president and who will continue under Disney. They've worked together for four decades on the Star Wars and Indiana Jones movies.
LUCAS: The main reason I brought Kathy on is I needed somebody I trusted who could take that franchise and make it work the way I intended it to.
BARCO: Lucas says they've already started working with writers for a new Star Wars trilogy, starting with the release of the next film in 2015.
LUCAS: We could go on making Star Wars for the next 100 years.
ALEC GUINNESS: (As Obi-Wan Kenobi) I feel a great disturbance in the Force, as if millions of voices suddenly cried out in terror.
INSKEEP: Mandalit del Barco on NPR News.

Monday, October 29, 2012

Sage Political Advice from Shakespeare's Plays

Political Advice From Shakespeare
1 of 7
1. "Give every man thy ear, but few thy voice" and "Give thy thoughts no tongue." -- Hamlet
Modern-day translation: Listen up, and think before you speak.

Politicians tend to suffer from foot-in-mouth disease, whether it's fulminating over flimsy facts or saying something doltish during a televised debate. Heed the Bard's advice and you just might avoid the kind of verbal slip-up that turns into the sound bite of the century. (The "47 percent" can probably all agree on this one.)

Kim Askew and Amy Helmes are authors of the Shakespeare-inspired YA series Twisted Lit, featuring Tempestuous and Exposure

Sunday, October 28, 2012

Why Obama Now

An animated short about the big choice in 2012's presidential election, by Simpsons / Family Guy animator Lucas Gray. Get registered and ready at

The Year of the Woman?

High profile Women in current political positions are the exception rather than the rule, and often do not reflect women as much as male dominated money.

A few facts:

17% of Congress are women.

6 women governors out of 52 (includes territories).

Less then 25% of all state legislatures are women.

Democratic non-incumbent women won 48% of their primaries, the highest on record. Democrats support and often are women. The Democratic party is majority women.

Republican non-incumbent women won just  28% of their primaries, the lowest in decades. Republicans support men. The Republican Party is majority male.

Men outnumber women in the Republican party. The issues tend to be less empathetic and less considerate of women and minorities.

Women tend to be more moderate and even liberal than men, including within the Republican party.

Conservatives won primaries and may win general elections, but these are a new generation of conservative set on disrupting and shutting down government rather than making it work. A few high profile candidates are women, but more women went down in flames to the conservative backlash.

So, for the next two years or so expect nothing to happen.

For those who feel that nothing happened during the last two years of the "just say no" Republican "minority" (using the heavy handed weapon of threat of filibuster in the senate), look at the record:

We avoided a Great Depression.

We saved millions of jobs relate to the automotive and other industries.

We provide increased aid to the elderly, the ill and single parents.

We eliminated just being a woman from being a pre-existing condition that raised health insurance costs and put limits on life time coverage.

We guaranteed that all children have insurance.

While overall income is down, the amount women make in relation to men has risen dramatically, as women move toward equal pay for equal work.

We elevated the supreme court to the highest percentage of women in history.

The third person in line and one of the top three most powerful elected politicians in Washington is a woman.

The most powerful person next to the president representing the US in the international world is a woman.

The list goes on...

Do not believe that nothing has been accomplished over the past two years, particularly for women~!

And these Democratic women are not women who say that that a women should be in the home, that coverage for common diseases and maladies of women and children should have limits on coverage, and cut the very laws and services that are helping women to gain their rightful equal rights in our society.

First Published 10-31-10

SAG takes a stand on Net Neutrality

Variety reports that Net Neutrality will get a positive ear. The fine print should reas as long as there is a Democrat in the White House.  The FCC is made up of three Democrats, three Republicans and a chair, who is appointed by the White House.

An official joint release from SAG, DGA, AFTRA and IATSE was sent out this afternoon by the Guild. The unions are going on record with the Federal Communication Commission (FCC) as in favor of net neutrality, and of copyright protectionsClick here to read the release.

First published 1/14/2010

Friday, October 26, 2012

Persuasion: LInks to help and for final exam review

Why is Communication so difficult? Mediated Communication

From a student:

After reading your blog post entitled "Why is communication so difficult?", I thought about conversations I have had with friends before about this very topic. Mostly we talk about how it is difficult to communicate with people partly because of technology. For example, when someone emails or text messages you, you completely lose the proof of pathos, as we talked about in class today. You lose this because you aren't able to hear a tone of voice or see a person's body language when they convey a particular message to you. Also, what the person says can convey a different meaning to you than what they actually mean. Another reason why it is difficult to communicate is because a lot of people don't always say exactly what they mean. One reason why they do this is because they are so afraid that what they say will be misinterpreted or that what they are saying, whether they mean to offend or not, will not be considered "PC". I think this is because people think that they aren't entitled to their opinions and that words hurt. Honestly, if actions speak louder than words, how much can words really hurt?

Instructor notes:

Mediated communication is any communication requiring, dependent on or using any form of media. Examples are video, audio recordings, telephones, cell phones, text messaging, instant messaging, computer chat, computer video, smoke signals, flag signals or simply handwriting. With each media come advantages and disadvantages. For example on the phone you cannot see a persons face or gestures, so you are not getting the full message. Many times people misunderstand e-mail, text, or IM due to a lack of other tactile interaction or by not understanding the message without support.

New York Times joins FaceBook and others blocked from access in China

Family Of China's Premier Is 

Really, Really Rich 

- China Doesn't Want 

People To Know

An explosive report from the New York Times today spelled 
out just how wealthy the relatives of Chinese prime minister 
Wen Jiabao are.Try $2.7 billion dollars in assets. This 
startling news so angered Chinese officials that the Times
website was quickly shut down in China.
Chinese premier Wen Jiabao.
Chinese premier Wen Jiabao.
Andy Wong/AP
The lengthy report says Wen's 
children, brother, brother-in-law, 
wife and mother became 
"extraordinarily wealthy" after 
he ascended to top levels of power, 
starting in 1998. Some family assets 
include real estate developments, 
factories, an insurance service 
corporation and a private equity firm.
There are family interests described
in banks, resorts, telecommunications firms and even jewelers. Wen's 
relatives appear to be trading on their connections, especially 
the premier's enormous power over big industries they've 
invested in, such as energy.
The portrait of the premier's relatives is very different from 
the one Wen has projected of himself over the past decade, 
NPR's Louisa Lim told Newscasts: "Premier Wen Jiabao 
is known as Grandpa Wen, the leader with the common touch 
who visits disaster sites and who caused a sensation by 
wearing the same down jacket over a ten year-period."
The report looks closely at Wen's wife, Zhang Beili, perhaps 
one of the most influential people in China's diamond and 
gem industry. A skilled businesswoman, she accumulated 
wealth and power, and helped family members do the same. 
There's no evidence Wen did anything to bolster her work 
but the story says part of the family's success came from 
investors who most wanted to please the premier.
Wen has cast himself as a reformer who's against 
government corruption, and has called for stronger financial 
disclosure rules for public officials. The Times notes in 2007, 
Wen repeated a call for senior government officials to fight 
graft: "They should strictly ensure that their family members, 
friends and close subordinates do not abuse government 
But there don't seem to be any financial disclosures from Wen himself. The Times says most of the $2.7 billion dollar 
investments it found were held by in-laws, his mother, his 
brother, and the parents of his daughter-in-law. These 
investments don't have to be publically identified, according to Communist party rules.
China's censors quickly squelched the Times story within 
a couple of hours after its publication. The Washington Post 
notes any media outlet, such as the BBC, that referred to 
the 'New York Times' was also quickly blocked in China. 
There's heightened sensitivity over Wen's image, because 
Chinese leaders will transfer power to a new generation of 
There's already been embarrassing controversy over senior 
Chinese government leader Bo Xilai, whose wife was 
convicted in the murder of a British businessman. Bo, who's 
been forced out of governmentand out of the Communist 
party, is himself accused of corruption, taking bribes and 
abusing power. Bo had once been a candidate for top office.

AY, OCTOBER 26, 2012

SAG-AFTRA Business this weekend

I am in Los Angeles for committee meetings, the Committee of Locals meeting and the National Board of Directors Plenary this Friday to Sunday.

I will do my best to keep this blog up to date, but remember I cannot release most of the information discussed due to confidentiality legal rulings.

I will not be teaching at Casting Call tonight, or on the air at KNPR this Sunday.

Back next week!


Thursday, October 25, 2012

Newspaper Endorsements: Prized, But Often Ignored

The power of newspaper endorsements has faded, but candidates still compete for them.
EnlargeJustin Sullivan/Getty Images
The power of newspaper endorsements has faded, but candidates still compete for them.

At the heart of Mitt Romney Mormon Country the Salt Lake City Tribune, owned by Mormons, endorsed Barack Obama. Elsewhere the bulk of endorsements, even in conservative publications, came down for Barack Obama as well, but will that make any difference in the election?
The theory is that a reasoned editorial board takes in the facts, fact checks, looks at the qualifications needed, understands its market and its readers, and makes a decision based on their experience, expertise and knowledge. It is an informed decision, and this year often against the basic political intersts of the publlisher. But in an age of short video clips, attack ads, and negative slogans will reasoned research and the endorsement of publications, or any media for that matter, make any difference?
This weekend, a slew of newspapers in key swing states including Ohio are expected to release their endorsements for the presidency and other elected positions.
Such external validation is highly prized by candidates, but it's no longer entirely clear why.
The Columbus Dispatch gave a strong endorsement of GOP presidential nominee Mitt Romney last week, saying President Obama had failed: "Romney brings a wealth of executive experience in the private sector and the public sector that dwarfs that of Obama."
The Dispatch is the dominant paper in central Ohio, a swing region in one of the most vital swing states for this presidential field.
Voters Not Swayed
Yet even those voters who read the paper say they could have guessed who won its endorsement blindfolded.
"The Dispatch is traditionally a very conservative newspaper," said Matthew Burton, a 41-year-old stay-at-home father and Obama fan who lives just outside Columbus with his family. "There's the saying they've always endorsed every Republican since Woodrow Wilson. I'd be more surprised if they endorsed a national Democrat."
In interviews, a dozen voters suggested they put little to no stock in the editorials, even when they read the papers, and even when they fervently agree with those endorsements.
"Honestly, it doesn't influence me at all. There's definitely an underlying mistrust in the media from my perspective," said restaurant manager Mark Piscionari, a Romney supporter who said he preferred "doing my own research and doing my own homework."
"The endorsement really has no impact on my thought — or who I will vote for," said computer consultant Chris Malloy, who said he remained unsure of how he will vote. "My opinion is as valid as the editor of the newspaper, and it's my vote, so I will decide for myself."
"I think the people should be the ones to make the decisions — as opposed to these newspapers," said Himie-Budu Shannon, a deacon at an Episcopalian church. He said he will drive a bus from his church to voting stations on Election Day, a tacit move to get out the vote for his preferred candidate, Obama.
He said it did not influence him for a moment that his hometown Cleveland Plain Dealer strongly supported Obama for a second term. Asked if he remembered when he last relied on newspapers for guidance, Shannon responded: "As a child. Not since I became mature."
Newspapers' Decline
It's not that these Ohioans — and others like them — are not plugged in. They said they follow politics closely through the Drudge Report, NPR, cable news, PBS NewsHour to the Economist and the Guardian. All cited online aggregators such as Google News and Yahoo News.
That's reflective of newspapers' status in many markets: fading print monopolies struggling with sharply reduced paid circulation compared with a decade ago.
Newspapers in some smaller cities dotted across the country still bear names that betray (or honor, take your pick) their partisan roots, such as Foster's Daily Democrat in New Hampshire and the Waterbury Republican-American in Connecticut.
The move toward objectivity as a journalistic aim in reporting mirrored the decline of vibrant multi-newspaper towns, as surviving newspapers wanted to capture readers, not alienate them.
Some major papers, including the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, the St. Paul Pioneer Press and the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, no longer make presidential endorsements. USA Today never did. And yet campaigns fixate over which candidate has won more, as the Washington Post recently wrote.
On Wednesday, Obama yielded to criticism from the Des Moines Register, the largest paper in the swing state of Iowa, and allowed publication of the full text of his off-the-record interview with the newspaper's executives.
David Holthaus. the new editorial page editor of the Cincinnati Enquirer, set modest goals for the paper's endorsement. He said it's a civic duty to give readers the benefits of the paper's research.The Enquirer is set to announce its choice this weekend.
"What we would like to see is our voice added to the voices across the country," Holthaus said, "and, in that way, present what's important for our community and our readers and have a way to speak directly to the campaigns."
Paul Beck, political science professor emeritus at Ohio State, said such editorials now only really matter for local races — like judgeships.
"People who pay any attention to presidential politics have all this information about it," said Beck, who has tracked elections for more than 40 years. "They've seen the candidates in the debates. They have seen ... countless ads on television — so many that they are probably tuning them out as well. The newspaper endorsements are, I suspect, minor elements, if at all."
Some polling from Pew Research Center and others offers some support for that conclusion.
Can Newspapers Sway Undecided Voters?
One veteran of four Republican presidential campaigns, Dan Schnur, cited two factors: a shift in political strategy and a rise in polarization reflected both in the tone of new media outlets, such as Fox News and the Huffington Post, and the outlook of voters themselves.
"The primary goal of a presidential campaign in the 21st century is no longer to persuade a dwindling number of undecided voters — but rather to find a way to inspire and excite and motivate your strongest supporters," said Schnur, the director of the Unruh Institute of Politics at the University of Southern California. "A newspaper endorsement is much more effective at persuading someone who hasn't made up their minds."
And yet — for all that — Schnur, who was the communications director for Republican John McCain's presidential bid in 2000, disagreed with what has become the new conventional wisdom outside political circles.
"If you are the newspaper in the most important swing market in the most important swing state in a very close presidential election, you still matter a lot," Schnur said. "And the Columbus Dispatchendorsement really does matter."
(Dispatch editorial page editor Glenn Sheller declined to be interviewed for this story, writing in an email that he did not trust NPR to treat Republicans or conservatives fairly.)
Schnur said that Republicans could ensure that people far beyond the Dispatch's readership would learn of its endorsement, by incorporating it into TV advertisements, social media updates, radio commercials and direct mailings to convey momentum toward the White House and rally the faithful.
So in this case, Schnur said, limited to a vital battleground region, Buckeye newspaper editorialists might well help stimulate a few more Romney voters to hustle to the polls, and help pick a president.