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 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.

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?