Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Newspaper Buckles!

Let me begin by telling you my story. I was laid off from AT&T Cable Advertising in South Bend Indiana in 2001, when they sold my Photo Clasified Channel to the Warner Brothers Network. The sale was a deal sweetener to sell the entire South Bend cable operation to Comcast.

Six years later I make a phone call to the old office, checking up on my employment references. To my astonishment, the only person left at the South Bend Cable Advertising office was the office manager. No, not the General Manager, the office administration manager!

Comcast completely cleared the slate when they bought the cable operation, I was only the proverbial "canary in the coal mine." Now everything at South Bend is controlled out of Indianapolis.

Now, Back to SPFLD and the State Journal Register.

BlogFreeSpringfield.com reports that some top managers have resigned. My guess is that editorial control is going completely electronic and remote. The local material will probably come from some "good" local freelance writers.

Local divisions such as the Business and Food section appear to already be using more nationally syndicated material from outside the community, and local artists, writers and photographers appear to be utilized less.

The shift in ad space toward the big multinational clients, especially pharmaceuticals, is attempting to appeal to an older audience of newspaper subscribers. There might even be a shift in the types of investments that get more attention in the business section. More like television these days, daily and weekly print media outlets serve only themselves.

At the cable company, I found out my channel was going to be sold by reading about it in the newspaper, over a month before I was supposed to get my two-week termination notice. Out of kindness I stayed and kept the operation going until the very end. My boss told me I helped bring in $500,000.00 in annual revenues.

The only benefit was a mild severance package and unemployment insurance. If I had resigned, I would not be in a position to bargain for anything. And I'm sure neither was anyone at Michiana Cable Advertising when the Comcast tsunami hit.

Everyone I knew there is gone. They were pretty good friends and I miss them, but when I was laid off, they treated me like a Leper. I’m sure they regret it now that they realize the precariousness of their own employment security. How is your job security, my media friends?

Now I extend an open invitation to those emancipated from the Illinois State Journal Register: Come hither and build SPFLD.net, we the media outcasts shall take the Internet, and overcome the mainstream corporate behemoths!

Sunday, October 28, 2007

Winds of Change

The Illinois State Journal Register is now under the command of Gatehouse Media. They consolidated and compressed sections of the newspaper in order to either make it difficult for more than one person to read different sections from the same paper at the same time, or at the very least, save more trees. It would not be a far stretch to guess that somehow they think it will motivate multiple subscriptions per household.

However, they also have caved to the giant pharmaceutical industry and allowed full page advertising for a single product. This Sunday it was Lipitor, endorsed by Dr. Jarvik, inventor of the artificial heart. If Lipitor is so great for you heart, are you sure that someone who invented an artificial heart is a good endorsement?

That’s almost as bad as Chrysler boasting about its Five Star Service. Would you want a product that might need five star service? I like the idea of having the guy who invented prosthetic legs as an endorsement for landmines.

Gatehouse is as blatant about their ideology as Hardees is about the health of its customers. The customer gets what he or she wants, no matter what the long term consequences. I wrote a response to a preacher’s letter that as of almost a week later remains unpublished. Following is my response:

In his letter to the editor, Reverend Weitzel of Beardstown wrote that prescribing Plan B is an “evil act,” and “Conscience is the judgment one makes concerning the ethical rightness or wrongness of a human act he is considering performing.” The Conscience of the physician who wrote the prescription is entirely different from the pharmacist who must fill the prescription, one of them knows more about the patient than the other; can you guess which one?

The reverend wrote “no one, no matter what his reason might be, may force a person to do something that he considers ethically wrong...” A thoroughly trained pharmacist is well-aware of the potential for getting into such situations. A pharmacist, who interferes with the health of a patient, should not be fired; but jailed.

The Reverend wrote “The Morning After pill has no other purpose than to cause abortion.” According to Barr Pharmaceuticals, Plan B prevents pregnancy, it does not end it. Barr’s website www.go2planb.com states “Plan B will not affect a fertilized egg already attached to the uterus; it will not affect an existing pregnancy.”

Finally, the Rev. Dr. Eugene J. Weitzel wrote “No woman needs the pill for health reasons, she only needs it to undo what she and her accomplice did the night before in a selfish moment for fun and frolic.” Unfortunately, not every situation that results in a pregnancy is a “selfish moment for fun and frolic.” I don’t know what to think about someone who characterizes men as mere accomplices in such situations, nor do I care to ever find out what other outlandish unsubstantiated claims echo across the pews in Beardstown.

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Any Political System Evenly Divided

Any political system that is evenly divided between opposing or competing parties is an well-manipulated political system.

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Grover Norquist

Grover Norquist's visit to the Illinois Policy Institute appears to have been a $100 plate anti Clinton campaign. The so-called "leave us alone coalition" against taxation and government intrusion apparently never cracked open any books by John Steinbeck or Upton Sinclair. If they somehow were prompted to remember that government regulations were created because people actually died, they would flee such an organization like rats from a sinking ship.

The State Journal Register's new owner, Gatehouse Media may be gradually adjusting the tone of the entire paper more to the right each day. I would like to believe that it's Gatehouse and not local editors that are responsible for it because this gradual shift also appears to be occurring in religious institutions.

The Pope and other competing religious interests have all suddenly become more conservative, almost pre-industrial tribalistic in their rhetoric. Just before his death this year, Dr. D. James Kennedy compared those who believe in evolution to Stalin, Hitler, and the mad scientists of Eugenics.

All the conservative institutions are showing their ire like the last surge of speed from a lawnmower before it runs out of gas.

Friday, August 10, 2007

Web misinformation article misleading.

SPFLD 200708100620 (Friday, August 10, 2007 at 620 a.m.)

Friday’s Heartland Magazine inserted in the Illinois State Journal Register presents a syndicated article by Bill Husted of Cox News Service titled “Avoid a Web of misinformation” which offers tips on where to find credible information on the Internet, an appallingly simplistic, misguided message.

The message is couched or framed in paranoia and assumed audience ignorance. The author first begins by describing the Internet being filled with disinformation that is prettied-up by nice looking Web pages where “they can say what they want.” Now the tension is set. We all should be more wary of the Internet than usual at this moment.

Then the author uses only one arcane and wild example of a Web site that implies that the Freemasons have found and use secret “Free energy” to fly UFOs around the planet. He finishes off with “There are plenty of sites like that.” Very plausible, but plenty does not make a majority. (Of course he didn’t say it, but it’s easily inferred by the audience, so why not imply it?)

Now for the meat of the message, the instructions.

“First, stick to brand names. Sites run by large professional organizations are more likely to have the resources to do good research” writes Husted, but we must remember that large professional organizations have what we call “Sacred Cows,” their advertisers and investors whom you will never read about.

Barry Diller created Fox Broadcasting and ran some of the world's media giants: ABC Entertainment, Paramount, Vivendi Universal. And is even now chairman and CEO of USA Interactive, itself an empire of informational services from the Home Shopping Network to Ticketmaster. Barry Diller now owns www.Ask.com, one of the major search engines of the Internet. Although not Google, it’s still used by millions of people every day. How many search results at Ask.com would result in anything outside of Berry Diller’s empire?

Bill Husted doesn’t mention Ask.com, he mentions CNet, CNN, WebMB, Microsoft (MSN) and “…most newspaper sites.” Every one of which is supported by large interest groups, advertisers, and investors who can pull on the purse-strings that dictate what information gets the research and publication.

I used the Columbia Journalism Review to discover the parent companies of those mentioned by Husted. http://www.cjr.org/resources/

CNN’s parent company is Time Warner. Time Warner also owns AOL, Mapquest, Spinner, Netscape, Amazon.com, and thousands of media outlets including Turner Cable networks, enough media coverage to satisfy the perception of variety.

CNet is its own entity, but it has plenty of it’s own problems, On October 11, 2006, Shelby Bonnie resigned as chairman and CEO as a result of stock options backdating that occurred between 1996 and 2003. Neil Ashe was named as the new CEO.[Reuters]; NEW YORK, Aug 2 () - The U.S. securities regulator has turned a probe into stock options granting practices at CNET Networks Inc. into a formal investigation, the company said. [http://www.reuters.com/article/technology-media-telco-SP/idUSN0240472120070802]

WebMD is owned by Emdeon Corporation which has recently changed its name to HLTH Corporation. HLTH owns ViPS which handles medical information for “services to governmental, Blue Cross Blue Shield and commercial healthcare payers.” When you use WebMD, can you truly count on your information being private?

Finally, Bull Husted ends his article by reminding us “There are times when you need absolute certainty. Maybe the future of your business depends on a correct answer, and you can’t afford a gotcha.”

Links like those offered at www.sageofspringfield.com can help prevent being trapped within the large vertically integrated empires like those suggested.

Tuesday, August 07, 2007

Federal Legislators on Summer Break

Our U.S. Senators and Congressmen are on their August break. You might see them around your district. We, the people expected change after the 2006 election, and the rumors going around are that the Democrats have rolled over and have not been effective since they have become a majority.

But, we, the people rolled over. We only gave the Democrats a simple majority, not an overriding majority. For the Democrats to be effective against the onslaught of warmongering predatory capitalists, an overriding majority is needed, a better than two-thirds majority that can override a Presidential veto or some other arcane parliamentary procedure.

So we have nothing to complain about but our own inability to elect an effective majority of legislators different from those who dominated our government for the last six years.

Friday, August 03, 2007

O'Rielly blasts Daily Kos - Dodd Steps Up.

Blather


Thursday night, Chris Dodd took Bill O'Reilly to task for his unfair attacks against Daily Kos and the netroots. Watch the full interview here:

http://www.chrisdodd.com/oreilly

Wednesday, July 25, 2007

Friday, July 20, 2007

Changes

The Adobe Acrobat documents and other economic related material previously parked at the bottom of the menu page at www.spfld.net are being migrated over to www.iicc-iesi.org and will be temporarily unavailable.

Tuesday, June 26, 2007

Sunday, June 17, 2007

Face Recognition Experiment


Do the eyes have it? Does the rest of the face matter in face recognition?

The two faces belong to Aishwarya Rai, a famous actress from India, and Audrey Tatou of Amile and The Davinci Code. The eyes of the first of their frames belong to them as well, but each frame that follows has eyes of other famous people.

This experiment is part of a process of determining the boundary between visual illusions that are neurological, and those that are psychological.

So, does changing only the eyes make a big difference?

Wednesday, May 16, 2007

Sacred Cow, part II

Well they did it. The Illinois State Journal register printed my letter about not cooking and instead, eating only fresh fruits and vegetables.

I’m not going to imagine that it was my blog that motivated them, only the huge stack of letters on top of mine.

I am a little disappointed that my telling readers to stop cooking or buying processed foods didn't give them reservations about the letter's publication.

I was at Aldi's getting Broccoli, Bell Peppers, Cucumbers, Lettuce, Garlic, and Tomatoes when I saw this Trail Mix from a company called Southern Grove. I'll admit it is packaged but some of the vegetabes are too and that's unavoidable. I tried it and it was quite good.

Trail mix has dehydrated fruit and the drying process may or may not be natural. It seemed harmless enough, but a closer inspection revealed such things as "Sulfer Dioxide to preserve color" and "colored with Titanium Oxide"

It was pretty good despite having a material component commonly found in farts. (1)

The Sacred Cow is very real however. What else is sacrosanct? How about these gems:

• Stop driving cars. Ride bicycles instead. Got a problem with that? Read on.

• Live near where you work. People who live in Springfield and work in Springfield should get special parking stickers that give them privileges. Everyone else should pay extra (besides what they pay at the gas pump. Better yet, they should pay the city exactly the same amount of money they spend on gas commuting to and from Springfield for work every day.)

-----------
(1) Sulfur Dioxide (http://www.nealhendrickson.com/mcdougall/020800pubadfarts.htm) see the paragraph on "Gas Solutions."

Tuesday, May 15, 2007

What is a “Sacred Cow?”

A Sacred Cow is a term used to describe a topic that the news media does not want to touch. Reporters don’t dare report on it, editors get angry and most importantly, the financial support of the media outlet from advertisers, subscribers, or in some rare cases, contributing writers, can be shaken to the core.

For example, a newspaper editor might write an editorial that holds a specific political position that the readers might very well appreciate, but that his advertisers absolutely despise. The editor then faces a dilemma. Does he want to risk losing his financial support by offending his advertisers and make an appeal to an audience that is slipping away, or would he rather make an appeal to his advertisers and not mention the fact that he’s losing subscribers?

If he makes an appeal to his audience he will lose his financial support. If he makes his appeal to his advertisers, regardless of how true or false that appeal might be, he will keep his advertisers, and not mention that his advertisers are perhaps the only subscribers he has left.

Recently there have been some publications that contain nothing more than advertising and articles about advertisers. These represent the future of print. The only audience are the advertisers, they only read about each other, and ultimately a subculture of elites is lulled into a false sense of security because they no longer have access to information about the wider world.

I stumbled onto one such sacred cow when I wrote a letter to the editor of the State Journal Register several days ago. It was very short and to the point, and a direct threat to their second biggest block of advertising revenue. Here’s what I wrote.

“Want to go green? Want to save energy, cut back on trash, lose weight and get healthy all at the same time? Stop cooking or eating processed foods! Eat only fresh fruits and vegetables! You will save on your cooling bills too!”

There second biggest block of advertising revenue behind car dealerships is food. Imagine what would happen if nobody cooked anything and ate only fresh fruits and vegetables!

Friday, May 11, 2007

Impatient Parking


The McDonalds on Chatham road just north of Wabash is a usual stop for breakfast for many people, and there are some who prefer to park and walk in for their food rather than gamble with the “Drive-Thru.”

There is plenty of parking on the west side of the building (where the above photo was taken), but some people have very little patience and think they are saving time by parking in the traffic lane, leaving their vehicles running, and walking the same distance to the same entrance used by people who park legally.

These vehicles are parking illegally, and by doing so leave themselves vulnerable to such consequences as losing their insurance, their jobs, their savings, or even their vehicles if they leave them unlocked with the keys in the ignition .

A McDonalds employee said there were a few who parked in the traffic lane just north of the building including government vehicles. There are police cars parked at the gas station on the corner of Chatham and Wabash, but not on the day the photo was taken.

The minivan in the photo was almost rear-ended by the sedan in the photo next to it, and two weeks earlier, I almost rear-ended the same vehicle.

Wednesday, May 09, 2007

American food crops to be decimated - Local Farmers Under Attack Again

Food crops will be decimated for lack of pollination by bees.

Worldwide bee populations have been reduced enough to threaten local small farmers. according to the BBC, "Beekeepers in London say 50 to 75 per cent of their bees have died and in the US 24 states are affected and 50 to 90 per cent of hives there have gone."

The French have identified a pesticide "Gaucho" as the culprit, and have banned its use. "Honey producers say Gaucho has damaged bee swarms by making plants toxic. Keepers say bees have become disoriented and unable to return to their hives."

Gaucho is manufactured by Bayer and sold in 70 countries.

Politicians are diverting the blame away from the chemical industry and toward the communication industry. Cellular telephone electronics and their communication towers. If that were true, this would have happened a decade ago.

Local farmers have been under attack now by fuel prices, patented plant genome pollin infiltrating their crops, poisoned imported animal feed (NOW FOUND IN FISH) , and now by the destruction of bee populations.

This can only bolster the profits of companies that have the resources to import food from South America, and it looks like a big fat secret trust between Chemistry and Agriculture multinational corporations.

Thursday, May 03, 2007

First Pet Food, Now Livestock Feed!

On Wednesday, May 2, 2007 Senator Durbin presented on the floor of the Senate, an amendment to food safety legislation that would require prompt reporting of any contamination, among many other new requirements. He said that it took three weeks for the contamination of Wheat Gluten by Melamine to be reported, and not until after there was a rash of cat and dog deaths that provoked veterinarians to start testing the food.

Senator Durbin said that Melamine was deliberately introduced into the wheat gluten to artificially increase it’s value. What they do, he said (I’m paraphrasing), is test the shipment for levels of Nitrogen. The higher the Nitrogen, the higher the price. Melamine tests positive for high levels of Nitrogen in small doses. The Chinese (or the company responsible for shipping the contaminated product) deliberately contaminated the product to make a profit.

In addition to pet food, livestock feed is contaminated as well. Pigs and Chicken were fed contaminated feed. The government says that the Melamine is so diluted that it would pose little or no risk to humans who consume chicken or pork.

Nobody mentioned anything about cattle, dairy or otherwise.

For a recap, visit my previos post from April 15

http://spfldnet.blogspot.com/2007/04/pet-food-wheat-gluten-mostly-imported.html

(UPDATE)

SHANGHAI: The general manager of one of the companies accused of selling
contaminated wheat gluten to U.S. pet-food suppliers has been detained by the
Chinese authorities, according to police officials here and a person who was
briefed on the investigation.
(International Herald Tribune)



(Instant kidney stones)

Pet Food Poisoning Mystery May Be Solved : Finding Comes As Menu Foods
Expands Its Recall And Senate OKs Regulation Of Pet Food Labels
(CBS News)

Tuesday, April 24, 2007

Kaboom! An unintended consequence of leash laws.

Today was very special. There was a nice cool breeze blowing the shade away from the inside of my bedroom window which is right on the front porch of our single story condominium. The architect was probably either a voyeur as a paper delivery person, or loved to wake up long before the roosters at dawn to the sound of a newspaper smacking against the glass.

My window was open all night and I slept through the paper delivery. It was supposed to be a good day. Once again, our architect in his infinite wisdom designed the baths toward the inside of the building with no possibility of adding any windows. When the lights went out I was in the middle of my shower. Total darkness. The outage was preceded immediately by a loud explosion.

Squirrels were chasing each other around transformers and power lines. Inevitably a squirrel closed a circuit where the wires come together at a transformer, and the immense heat generated by the high voltage created an artificial thunder clap. In my 42 years I have yet to see the resulting spark and flying tufts of fur trailing smoke, but occasionally on our walk, the dog will appear to be obsessed about the base of a particular power pole.

Lately the incidents of squirrel and utility encounters have increased dramatically. Perhaps as a delayed unintentional consequence of pet leash laws. The squirrel population is growing out of control because they have no predators.

I miss the good old days when dogs and cats came home on their own at the end of the day and weren’t so hungry, and squirrels were rarely seen.

Tuesday, April 17, 2007

Political Poll Fraud?

I don’t want to give out any phone numbers, but I have one from a someone who called me today from the Davlin for Mayor campaign, or so he said.

While I was working today at 2:17 p.m. my cell phone rang. I picked it up and someone said “Hello, I’m ___ working in support of Tim Davlin, Have you voted yet today?”

I said “Not yet,” and the signal started to break up. I heard him say “Well, let me put you down for….” then the signal cut off.

Put me down for what?

I kept wondering most of the afternoon. I wonder if the caller was just checking off people as supporters of Tim Davlin regardless of whether they really are or not? He had to put me down for something. It couldn’t have been that I didn’t vote yet that day, that question is irrelevant so early in the afternoon.

He never got a chance to ask me that, he just said he was going to put me down for something.

That for which I was to be written down, checked off, or whatever, is now a mark among many that represents some kind of statistic for Mayor Tim Davlin’s campaign. Whatever it was, its inaccurate and misrepresentative of me.

Sunday, April 15, 2007

Pet Food Wheat Gluten Mostly Imported.

C-SPAN Thursday April 12, Senate Appropriations Subcommittee Hearing on Pet Food Regulations:

A panelist representing the Food and Drug Administration said that two-thirds of America's Wheat Gluten is imported from China and Northern Europe. Wheat Gluten is a product of wheat that had its starch removed. It’s normally used for thickening and binding food.

A contaminated shipment containing Melamine was added to pet food, sickening and sometimes killing dogs and cats. Melamine is an industrial product used as a binding agent and so also is wheat gluten. Oh, the irony.

The contaminated shipment of wheat gluten came from Xuzhou Anying Biologic Technology, of China, according to the Food and Drug Administration, but they also say their investigation continues.

Senator Durbin asked one panelist, Stephen Sundlof of the F.D.A., if he was aware that contamination was found in wheat gluten used to produce products for human consumption. Sundlof replied that he was aware that there were products manufactured but not sold. The FDA website states that there is no record of human food contamination.

While the wheat gluten under scrutiny by the government is a processed product, there are other foods that contain wheat gluten that are normally not harmful to most people. I stopped eating wheat products myself because I have difficulty digesting it (celiac or coeliac), and I feel better than ever!

The Vegetarian Society has a chart that will help us avoid wheat gluten at http://www.vegsoc.org/info/gluten.html.

A search at the website http://www.foodingredientsonline.com returned 58 types of processed products that contain wheat gluten.

http://www.foodnavigator.com was also searched and revealed 88 articles about wheat gluten. The first article noted that wheat gluten could be used as an organic polymer, which is ironic considering that Melamine is also used in the production of plastic.

According to Wikipedia, “Melamine is used combined with formaldehyde to produce melamine resin, a very durable thermosetting plastic, and of melamine foam, a polymeric cleaning product. The end products include countertops, fabrics, glues and flame retardants. Melamine is one of major components in Pigment Yellow 150 that is a colorant in inks and plastics.” http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Melamine

Sunday, April 01, 2007

The British-Iranian situation

Several British sailors are in Iranian custody because the Iranians claimed the British ship was in Iranian waters, but the Brits claim they were 2000 yards into Iraqi waters.

It does not matter. "Intent To Cross" can be rightfully assumed within a range of yards calculated from the boundary based on the height of your ships radar from sea level. The Brits should have been at least 4000 yards from the boundary (about half the distance to the visible horizon from the height of the ship's bridge.

The opposing claims should be set aside, the Brits should concede they at least were too close, and negotiations of a neutral zone on sea borders should be established (four thousand yards wide). Understanding of visual and electronic boundaries should be established. This would mean that skirmishes within the newly established neutral zone remain in the neutral zone and can be construed independently of any official declaration of war.

An "Enter at your own risk," would apply and we could call it the Thunderdome Nautical Law.

For more information about calculating how far you can see depending on how high your eyes are from sea level, visit:
http://www.slc.ca.gov/Division_Pages/DEPM/DEPM_Programs_and_Reports/BHP_Deep_Water_Port/RevisedDraftEIR/1aCabTransport/Appendices/F_Appendix%20F_Aesthetics.pdf

For Wiki-Territorial Waters info:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Territorial_waters

Saturday, March 31, 2007

Sinister Classifieds

I saw a highlighted Classified ad in the Illinois State Journal Register this morning. I didn't take a highlighter out of the drawer and mark it myself, so what the heck is going on? Is there a ghost in the house?

Looking closer I noticed that the yellow highlight was perfectly within the lines. I was furious. Someone has taken what was once an even playing field of black and white text ads, and destroyed it with color.

When I worked at the South Bend Tribune back in the early 1990's someone had such an idea, and it was shot down with a force unseen in management. "That would be a SIN! It would infuriate and confuse the readers! It would render the popular yellow highlighter totally useless."

The yellow on the classified ad was actually printed. I separated out the yellow tint with Adobe Photoshop, and it turned out to be Offset printed! This means that the yellow color does not cover the letters, it goes around the outside of each letter! A feat almost humanly improbable (but not impossible) without patience, steady hand, or stamina.



For those of you who have lots of family members around, your probably by now asking them "Was it you who highlighted this ad? Don't lie to me! You're the only other person here and I didn't do this!"

I have a feeling the police will be called on many more Domestic Disturbances because of people's misconstrued assumptions about the yellow ink on one tiny classified ad.

Then, there will be lots of lawyers. Like the Army of the Damned out of the gates of Hell.

Saturday, March 24, 2007

Wage Calculator


I've added a new interactive form to www.spfld.net. It colorfully calclulates your living expenses, and such things as how hard you work for car insurace. You'll find it at the top of the menu items on the page following the main splash page.

Called "Wage Calculator" It's a 177K Adobe PDF file that you can save after you make changes. I recommend that you fill it out, save it to your desktop, then email it to your Congressional Representative.

The inspiration behind creating this form was from watching a session of the U.S. Congress on C-SPAN. I heard several arguments that "Americans are not saving their money" and the use of such arcane terms as "Savings Rate" of Americans compared to other countries.

Just one of many arbitrary terms coined by Congress. Another rediculous term is the "Skills Gap" which is a comparison of multitasking between foreign countries and the United States. What they don't tell you is that multitasking and working harder is easier in those other countries because the workers have no rights and no choices.

Any congressmen who uses the term "Skills Gap" is in favor of complete elimination of rights for workers and should be permanently voted out of political office.

Wednesday, March 21, 2007

AT&T Logo is the Death Star

What happens when a powerful utility like AT&T wants its way? It joins forces with competitors and uses lobbyists to change the rules of the game. That is what is happening to cable and video in the Legislature.

Read Rebuff Cable Legislation
By Bob Chernow
From Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, March 18, 2007

John Edwards - one down.

One down - too early to count the rest.

Wednesday, March 14, 2007

Substantive Speaking

Or How substance will catch up to your speech and bite it really, really hard.

U.S. Attorney General Alberto Gonzales and Former Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld both used the same speech tactic for similar situations. In Rumsfeld’s situation it was the expose of photos at AbuGraihb prison. With Gonzales it was the firing of eight U.S. Attorneys allegedly to make way for more politically loyal servants.

Essentially they both said that they were upset about the situation and were going to get to the bottom of it and find out what happened.

Some people would be glad to hear that Secretary Rumsfeld was upset about the treatment of prisoners, and that Attorney General Gonzales was upset about the U.S. Attorneys getting fired. But evidence and other statements preceding and following the event in question reflect more substance about what they said that they would appreciate.

That Rumsfeld and Gonzales were only upset about getting caught. They would have gotten away with it too, had it not been for the Internet. They forgot to include the New Media in their calculations. They were counting on the very short life span of their exposed foibles in an old machine of mass media.

Newspapers only have space to report on the basic overall position, and television has very little time to risk repeating speeches before the viewer changes the channel.

Newspapers get buried by the following day’s newspapers, and television video segments get taped over or forgotten by viewers, but he Internet collects and holds information for years, and we can go back and search for everything we need.

They, and others like them, are catching on. They are beginning to figure out how dangerous the Internet is for them, and they are quietly working behind the scenes to rein in public access to the Internet by making it more expensive and more difficult for the public to gain access.

The PBS Series Frontline recently created a miniseries called “The News Wars” nearly a decade after they created a miniseries called “Why America Hates the Press” Frontline producers analyze the state of the American news media and provide insight into changes that can impact the behavior of not only politicians, but corporate owners of mass media outlets, and the owners of the pipelines and cables that carry the Internet.

The danger to the Internet is only exasperated by old mass media shows that talk about it, like Frontline, and cable news networks that regularly produce news segments about the Internet.

Corporations are attempting to gain control of what goes on the Internet, and we must all work together to keep it free of such control and accessible to all. http://www.savetheinternet.com

Wednesday, March 07, 2007

Springfield under siege of disinformation

Big Radio gets Big Jab from Feds

What do I mean by Big radio? There are four companies that own the most radio stations in the United States. Clear Channel, CBS Radio, and Citadel. For years, these companies have been giving exclusive air time to record production companies that pay them cash under the counter. This is called Payola.

Because record companies paid for extra air-time, what you have been listening to is not actually popular. It’s artificially popular. Most people think it is popular because of the mere fact that it plays on the radio so often. This is one example of how your choices have been manipulated. This is called Cultural Engineering.

You think you have choices, but do you really? Most people think that the United States political system has only Democrats and Republicans, but there are also the Libertarians, Greens, Communists, and any number of political parties in the U.S. It’s the American way. But the news media has avoided covering independent presidential candidates. Who is the current Green Party Candidate for President?

The Federal Communication Commission is going to settle with Clear Channel, CBS Radio and Citadel for a $12.5 million dollar fine and a requirement that these companies allow smaller record labels to air their music. But the damage is already done. There are countless artists out there who have struggled and faded into oblivion like smoldering ash floating up from a campfire, never having had a chance to be heard by a wider audience.

Now comes to juicy part. Who really owns our local radio stations?

Click here See the table with links and contact information

Notice that Clear Channel, Saga, and Midwest Family Broadcasting own the majority of radio stations that are the most commercially popular. Popular by mandate.

So, Springfield has 3 major corporations that own 14 commercial radio stations. Who’s your favorite band? What side of the political spectrum do you hear from most on talk radio?

Whose version of life are you living?

Tuesday, February 20, 2007

Empire Dusk

www.EmpireDusk.comA Mexican Ambassador once said that most of the companies in Mexico are American companies. It was the first and last time something like that was ever again said on television.
Spfld.net introduces a new website.

Monday, February 19, 2007

Local Talk Radio is Dead

I don't listen to commercial talk radio. I only listen to NPR. You can listen to BBC broadcasts if you go to bed around 8:00 and wake up at 2:00 a.m.


Forget about AM. And now that XM and Surius Satellite Radio networks are in the process of merging, Commercial FM will also fall into the abyss. So Support your local public broadcasting networks, including NPR.

Thursday, February 08, 2007

The ebb and flow of influence

I heard on NPR that Harvard was going to trade its History curriculum for Social Studies and Religion courses.

Clearly the elite of Harvard have discovered that the public attraction to their way of life is faltering. Their Old Money influence was stolen from them by the New Money NeoCons, and now that the Internet is opening up eyes to diverse alternate lifestyles, the Harvard elites are running scared. The NeoCons face a similar situation which will be discussed momentarily.

Harvard assumes they can steal back influence over the “teaming huddled masses” from the NeoCons by adopting a cloak of religion and populist social values; the golden fleece of the Industrial Plutocracy that was taken from the Harvard elites by the Neoconservatives. There are no good intentions. Only greed for power and influence.

The NeoCons persuaded the masses to vote Republican in 2000 and 2004, and now the masses are waking up to find themselves and their government plundered by an elite pack of greedy Jackals; that diverted money to no-bid contracts, took bribes, and through political decisions, set themselves up with Golden Parachutes, but lying to the public and the congress, and ruining the reputation of the United States of America around the world.

So now Harvard wants to trade history lessons for social studies and courses on religion. Are they trying to make a course correction? To what ends? The ends they had achieved before the NeoCons arrived on the scene. The Old Money Industrial Plutocracy.

Sunday, January 28, 2007

Is pet ownership cruel?


I don't plan to own any pets, primarily because pet ownership makes no sense, and secondly, because I would be worried sick about a pet while I was away at work. It's difficult enough to take care of a relative's pet while the owner is away for an extended trip. The animal would be constantly on my mind. It would negatively impact my productivity at work.

Where is the cruelty? Containing wild animals, or setting free animals that don't know how to fend for themselves? How about breeding the animals in the first place? I occasionally watch Animal Planet, and the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA) are always rescuing abused and neglected pets and stray feral pets.

I think we can ill afford to own pets, and especially those of us who can barely manage our own lives, let alone take care of our own children. Luckily, I have no children, but time and time again I hear stories of families who don't realize the expenses they incur for having a pet, and they can barely keep their kids in shoes.

Every month I imagine the Humane Society, ASPCA, and municipal animal control units around the country have no alternative but to euthanize many abandoned animals.

The solution is to break the financial incentives of breeding and selling pets from "Puppy Mills" by adopting a pet from an animal shelter and having your pet spayed or neutered.

As much as 25% of all dogs entering a shelter are pure breeds. Pure bred dogs often come with genetic defects that can cost the owner tens of thousands of dollars or more, over the life of the pet.

Ultimately, animals should be able to fend for themselves if they don't serve a useful purpose. 61% of dogs, 75% of cats entering shelters are euthanized.

See Surprising PET STATISTICS

Thursday, January 18, 2007

Microsoft Access Database

I'm getting ready to upload the employment database for Microsoft Access. It will be rough because I'm teaching myself how to use Access, but I thought you might like to have a look at it. It will be at www.spfld.net

Tuesday, January 16, 2007

Job hunting.

I’ve been looking for work. Any work. I’m a college graduate. It should be easy, right? I keep my eyes and ears to the media, hoping to find something. Then I see statistics that show more high school graduates are working than college graduates.

How is that? That's easy! College graduates are not supposed to be looking for jobs. They are supposed to be making jobs. So, why are college students complaining about not finding work?

Evidently, it’s a symptom of a bigger problem, the General Requirements Curriculum. The big picture was completely missed. A plan was never formulated. In my case it’s easy because I got an Associate degree somewhere else and transferred credits, so I couldn’t even declare a minor.

My education was fractured by circumstances engineered by a capitalist society with no vision of long-term consequences, only greed at the top.

So now we have a large number of college graduates who don’t know entrepreneurship. They just try to look for work. This has been going on for a long time in the U.S. And guess what.

We have been creating our own terrorists. We have sent far too many foreign-exchange students out into the world without the crucial information needed to actually make work instead of complaining about not finding a job.

It's far too easy for zealots with money to take advantage of so many people who know just enough to make a bomb, but not enough to start a company making better mousetraps.

Here in the U.S. it's manageable because we have such a powerful and intrusive law enforcement system, and the culture is so homogeneous that volatile social cohesion is limited to urban street gangs.

Some high school teachers have caught on to this and are teaching entrepreneurship in the K-12 levels. It's too little too late because of one major obstacle, tenure.

Gee, it took me this long to figure it out? I'm in really bad shape. But at least I can see the candle in the distant window. Now I just have to find my way around the dark fjord of capitalist influence.

Monday, January 15, 2007

Checking out the Picasaweb

Since I recently upgraded from Dialup to DSL, I've been having alot of fun. I have pictures now at Picasaweb.google.com

From spfld

Friday, January 05, 2007

The Cursed Earth

Springfield has a problem; too many ancient burial grounds with curses. There are a couple of spots in particular that may not have documented histories of actual desecration. Springfield High School was built over a cemetery, and there are reports of haunting, but a public school is immune to such things more so than the small business.

There’s the Vinegar Hill Mall curse of High Business Turnover, and the curse that recently overtook Thirsty’s, which previously overtook the Ground Round in the same spot. Chi-Chi’s stood empty for more than a decade before it was finally demolished. It was once a good place to eat. What is happening?

MacArthur and Outer Park is a huge area of cursed earth. There is also the gas station that was abandoned at the corner of Wabash and Chatham road, right next to Papa John’s Pizza, and the gas station on the south side of Stevenson Drive, right across from the Quick-n-EZ at 11th Street.

Along the south side of Wabash, there was also the ancient car wash with the green roof. Sitting there for twenty years, it was finally demolished after the tornadoes last March.

That which was ignored for so long is gradually being realized by the next generations. Springfield is cursed. Its people suffer from sheer boredom, coupled with fear of trying something new. After all, what is there to do? Knight’s Action Park? Church? Bars? Movies? The Mall?

Is that really all there is here?