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Sunday, February 12, 2012

“A house divided against itself cannot stand… I do not expect the Union to be dissolved, I do not expect the house to fall but I do expect it will cease to be divided. “

Abraham Lincoln

What about today's polarized government?

Public Speaking Help Sites

How to improve your public speaking

The only way to improve is to do it, but there are plenty of pages out there in the Internet and books in the library to help.

From Lauriann Bradform in the CSN Public Speaking course:

BAFTA 2012 Winners; British "Academy" Awards

Black-and-white turned to gold for silent movie “The Artist” at the British Academy of Film and Television Arts (BAFTA) awards on Sunday with wins for best film, director and leading actor, while Meryl Streep walked off with the prize for leading actress.

Following is a list of winners of the main awards, handed out during a televised ceremony. The BAFTAs are Britain’s top movie honours and the most prestigious industry awards outside of the United States.

BEST FILM: “The Artist”

OUTSTANDING BRITISH FILM: “Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy”

DIRECTOR: Michel Hazanavicius for "The Artist"

LEADING ACTOR: Jean Dujardin in "The Artist"

LEADING ACTRESS: Meryl Streep in “The Iron Lady”

SUPPORTING ACTOR: Christopher Plummer in “Beginners”

SUPPORTING ACTRESS: Octavia Spencer in “The Help”



ORIGINAL SCREENPLAY: Michel Hazanavicius for "The Artist"

ADAPTED SCREENPLAY: "Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy"



For the sixth year running the historic Royal Opera House in Covent Garden will play host to the BAFTA Film Awards.

The Royal Opera House is today an internationally recognised centre of opera and a worthy host of the Film Awards ceremony. The latest renovation project was completed in December 1999 at a cost of £178m and the glamorous Main Hall holds up to 2,000 people.

Is our message getting through?

First posted 8-29-09 (dated contend still valid as examples)

Listening is the most difficult communication skill.

Concentration levels are under assault by an ever-increasing barrage of messages.

Attention spans have decreased.

And we have cultural difference by age, gender, income level, education level, geography, religion, language, country, and region of the world.

In Communication Studies this is referred to as noise, interference, screens, filters or barriers.
Americans tend to look upon the world as an extension of our country.

We all tend to look upon America as an extension of our neighborhood, city or social class. Yet the differences coast to coast and across the world on how and why people listen, how they interpret messages and their responses vary greatly, are almost literally day and night.

When understanding, for example, locals in Afghanistan you cannot lump them in with Iraqi's, who are much different than Iranians or Saudis, and very much different in communication criteria and interpretation than Americans.

The following discusses America’s communication campaign in the Middle East and why it may not be working as intended.

Admittedly the story attached does come from a source I take with a grain of salt (FOX news) and goes much broader than just words or images, but it ties credibility (Ethos) and belief to whether a message is being received as it is intended.

Why are we mistrusted? Why is our form of Democracy or capitalism so foreign? Why can't they join us on our page? Who are we to tell them how to govern or what to believe? How can we improve upon our message or build our credibility in Afghanistan? Around the world? At home?

Why is the US Congress so polarized?

Why are health care forums shouting matches of "us vs them" (dichotomies)?

How can we, as individuals or groups, improve communication and enhance listening skills?

First published 10-12-10

Actors and Unionism

RSA Animate - Language as a Window into Human Nature

e-Street Band / Soprano's vet takeson Lillyhammer

Lillyhammer is a big bet for Netflix

Steven Van Zandt stars in "Lillyhammer." Credit: Netflix.

Big bet on small screen. When Netflix launched, its primary goal was to eliminate drives to the video store and offer a new way to rent movies. Now though the company is putting its money behind television. Not only has it been buying up reruns of shows old ("Star Trek") and new ("Mad Men"), it is also getting into the original programming business. A look at Netflix's gamble and what is motivating it from the Los Angeles Times. Meanwhile, Verizon is moving ahead with its plans to challenge Netflix and it is bring Red Box along for the ride.

Sunday Morning News and Views, Part II

When it comes to athletics, even the fittest baby boomers are finding aging bodies aren't as nimble as young ones, and they're more prone to minor damage that can turn serious if ignored. Knee replacements have more than tripled in people aged 45-64 in recent years, and a study released last week found nearly 1 in 20 Americans older than 50 have the artificial joints. Dr. Steven Haas of the Hospital for Special Surgery in New York City says people shouldn't abandon exercise because it has many health benefits. But, they should make sure they're well-conditioned and listen to their bodies. Hans says switching to less rigorous activities is sometimes the answer: "If your knee is killing you every day after you run, you're probably not doing the right sport."

Funny how the rest of the world looks upon our financial difficulties here in Las Vegas. It's our own fault, as the city was build on an image of gambling, the mob and "Sin City." So they look upon our high unemployment, much higher under employment, crumbling education system, overly top heavy home debt and see us as spending out spare time and money gambling in glamorous casinos. While President Obama's mortgage settlement will pump money into the state and help some of those most victimized by predatory lending, most Nevadans, who purchased homes to live in and raise their families will not see relief. Unfortunately the front runners in the Republican presidential race are even less understanding of the state and sympathetic to our form of being victimized, pointing to the same marketplace that put us underwater and unable to retire as our salvation, and suggesting change that may benefit those in less harder hit areas but that will do little or nothing for Nevadans.

From the start, it's been a roller-coaster race for the Republican presidential nomination. GOP primary voters can catch their collective breath for the next two weeks. Romney narrowly edged Ron Paul in Maine's Republican caucuses yesterday, giving his presidential campaign a much-needed boost after humbling losses in Colorado, Minnesota and Missouri earlier in the week. No delegates were at stake, as delegates are distributed through the state party later in the nomination process. Despite the lack of teeth in the highly local centered caucus process, Romney captured 39 percent of the vote to Ron Paul's 36 percent. The next contests, in Arizona and Michigan, aren't until Feb. 28. The party with a reputation for order may have it sorted out after March 6, when 10 states get their say. But that would break sharply with this race's tendency toward uncertainty. With nine contests down, Mitt Romney leads the delegate hunt, and has both the money and the organization to compete deep into the state-by-state nomination calendar. But his two main rivals have scored decisive victories, putting into doubt the strength of the former Massachusetts governor's front-running candidacy.

President Barack Obama is pressing for investments in infrastructure while relying on tax increases on the wealthy and corporations to claim progress on the federal deficit in his upcoming budget. Obama's 2013 blueprint marks the start of an election-year budget battle over taxes and spending. The plan is already getting chilly reviews from Republicans who say Obama isn't doing enough to tame the deficit and curb the growth of programs like Medicare. Obama's budget includes stimulus-style initiatives, like increases for highways, school modernization, and a new tax credit for businesses that add jobs. The budget also calls for a "Buffett Rule" - named after billionaire Warren Buffett. It would guarantee that households making more than $1 million a year pay at least 30 percent of their income in taxes.

Greek lawmakers are poised to begin debate on legislation introducing the severe austerity measures necessary for the country to secure another multi-billion dollar bailout and stave off bankruptcy. The legislation also contains a bond-swapping deal with private creditors that will allow Greece to shave off at more than $100 billion in debt. Unions have called for a large protest outside Parliament. The two parties backing the coalition government have 236 deputies in the 300-member parliament. But at least 13 conservative and seven socialist lawmakers have declared they will vote no today, defying their leaders' threats of sanctions. Early Sunday, a conservative lawmaker resigned, joining three socialists who did the same earlier this week. All have been replaced.

A Yemeni security official says al-Qaida-linked militants have publicly executed two Yemenis suspected of collaborating with the United States. The official says one of Sunday's executions took place in the town of Azan in Shabwa province and the other in the town of Jaar in neighboring Abyan province. Both towns are in southern Yemen, where militants have seized large swaths of territory in the past year as security has collapsed across the country. The official says the men were suspected of planting electronic devices that help U.S. drones strike militant positions. The official spoke on condition of anonymity in line with security rules. In September, a U.S. drone strike killed U.S.-born militant cleric Anwar al-Awlaki and a second American, Samir Khan, who edited al-Qaida's Internet magazine.

Iran's supreme leader has urged the Hamas prime minister of Gaza to continue the Islamist militant group's resistance against Israel. Iranian state TV quoted Ayatollah Ali Khamenei as telling Ismail Haniyeh on Sunday that people expect Hamas to continue its fight against Israel. Khamenei said that late Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat lost his popularity because he distanced himself from resistance. Haniyeh said that liberating all of Palestine, rejecting peace talks and considering the Palestinian issue an Islamic one are his main strategies. InflamatoryKhaled Mashaal, has been leading a shift, seeking reconciliation with Palestinian rival Mahmoud Abbas, a proponent of negotiations, and endorsing nonviolence as an important tool.

An Arab League official says the Sudanese head of the League's observer mission to Syria has resigned. The official said Gen. Mohammed Ahmed Al-Dabi stepped down this morning. Al-Dabi's resignation comes on the same day that foreign ministers from the 22-member group are to consider a proposal to send a new mission to Syria with Arab League and U.N. observers. The official said League chief Nabil Elaraby will nominate former Jordanian Foreign Minister Abdul-Illah al-Khatib as the new envoy to Syria. The League suspended its observer mission last month amid a surge in violence as President Bashar Assad's regime battles an uprising that began 11 months ago. 

"If your knee is killing you every day after you run, you're probably not doing the right sport."

Dr. Steven Haas of the Hospital for Special Surgery in New York City says people shouldn't abandon exercise because it has many health benefits. But, they should make sure they're well-conditioned and listen to their bodies.Hans says switching to less rigorous activities is sometimes the answer.

Sunday Morning News and Views, Part I

"The Phantom of the Opera" made Broadway history last night with it's 10,000th performance. Meanwhile the "Phantom of the Opera Las Vegas Spectacular" (a shortened and tweaked version of the show) will close this year as part of a marketing shift by the Venetian.

Whitney Houston's powerful voice had its roots in the church, where she began singing when she was just 11. She went on to perform in N.Y. clubs with her mother, R&B singer Cissy Houston. The younger Houston's cousin was Dionne Warwick and her godmother was Aretha Franklin. So it's not surprising that Whitney Houston went on to become one of the most popular singers in pop music history. Houston died Saturday afternoon in a Los Angeles hotel room after struggling for years with drug abuse. She was 48 years old.

Whitney Houston's death dominated the BBC overnight, a tribute to her international fame. Over one third of overnight coverage on the magazine format BBC World Service radio coverage was taken up with news of Houston, her life, her impact on tonight's Grammys, her impact on music and reactions from people ranging from backwoods tribesmen to Barbara Streisand.

Tomorrow, President Barack Obama is scheduled to release his proposed federal budget for the year that starts Oct. 1. House leaders are likely to release their version in the coming days. Neither is likely to pass. Not that it matters -- the spending level for the year was set in last summer's bill that settled the debt ceiling crisis.

There are complaints about President Obama's plans to cut military spending by 500 billion dollars over the next 10 years, but those complaining must remember the source for the mandate to make the cuts.. That figure may double to a trillion, since the penalty imposed by last fall's congressional super committee was for even deeper cuts starting in 2013.  The military has long been been planning to shift its mission and the tools of war to accommodate potential threats along the Pacific Rim, Indian Ocean and Africa, as well as technology that makes such mainstays as tanks, landing craft and even aircraft carriers highly vulnerable to single weapon attack.

The Pentagon announced last week that the military would now allow women to serve in jobs that would bring them closer to combat.While these will not be combat roles, the reality is that in urban warfare and fighting terrorism this will put women in the front lines in larger numbers than ever before in US Military History.

The tiny Central American nation of Honduras is not considered t the world's most violent place. The United Nations made this designation for the country where violence, kidnappings, people going missing and major shifts in government put it into classic third world status. A 2009 coup that toppled President Manuel Zelaya is viewed by many as a tipping point in the nation's downward spiral into violence.

The main opposition leader in Myanmar, Aung San Suu Kyi, is campaigning for a seat in parliament in her constituency outside Rangoon. It's a scene that seemed impossible only a few months ago, before the military-backed government began a process of reform aimed at ending international sanctions.

French president Nicolas Sarkozy has not even officially declared his intention to run for re-election this spring. But he seems to be campaigning. He's already gotten an endorsement from German Chancellor Angela Merkel, as the man to help her lead Europe out of its debt crisis. Sarkozy,  is trailing in the polls behind Socialist Francois Hollande.

Phantom of the Opera hits Broadway 10,000 performance Milestone

"The Phantom of the Opera" made Broadway history last night, with its 10,000th performance. The Broadway cast also set a record in 2011 of bringing in more ticket revenue than any year in its history. Meanwhile the Las Vegas production is gearing down and will go dark later this year as part of a marketing shift by the Venetian.