Tuesday, October 31, 2006

The Fourth Estate

Let's be clear: I think a free press is critical. I also know that the print, audio, and video media in place today still reach many more people & still have a much bigger impact on them than the internets.* I'd also say that most of the big stories the blogsphere breaks would not exist without big media--even if they choose to ignore same stories--the blogsphere still gets much of it's material from someone who is getting paid by some 'big media' outlet somewhere. Internet versions of traditional media are thriving--but with low budgets & low revenues--and though this will change (and the death of 'old media' will help it along)--it will be a long time 'till reporters are livin' large off that internet money, if ever. I suspect, far in the future, that reporter, like musician, may become more of a part time job & a labor of love--and that might not be a bad thing.

but...the main stream press is irrelevant to me in the short term. Quite possibly it will remain that way forever.

Does anybody think, based on historic or economic trends that what is happening to newspaper circulation is going to reverse? Does anybody think in this time of 500 channels that any one network or cable news show (or even fake news show!) is ever going to dominate the ratings again? If you do, you're wrong.

The balkanization of news sources is the death knell (though it may take decades) for corporate news--the best strategy most of the surviving newspapers have today is 'shrink to profitability' which most, like, business types, will tell you doesn't happen...you just keep shrinking 'till there ain't nothing left.

As their budgets continue to shrink, they will continue to cut reporters, travel budgets, until all that is left is an 8 page half-sheet with a couple of stories from the AP and a bunch of coupons.

As the newspapers die, as network news becomes more and more a tiny demographic specialty show, the institutions that are rising now on the internet will take on more and more relevance, and I really think in twenty years or less, most people who care to get the news at all will get it on-line. My hope is that by then it will be a profitable enough business that some people can make a living at it--maybe a good many people. At the same time, I hope it doesn't make so much money that cash becomes it's raison d'etra--as I suspect those of you who are savvy realize what a corrupting influence cash has on the truth in any environment--no matter how ideologically pure.

& wouldn't it be nice in the meantime (here comes my vindictive socialist self--you won't see him much, pay attention) if the existing power structures in the fourth estate were shaken to their roots, that the fat cats, and power brokers, & the viagra loving pedophiliac drug-abusing pundits, and their equally slimy congresscritters found the whole business so unprofitable that they went and found another scam to run on us marks.

It would be nice, but it's not going to happen. The form of the republic is maintained, the better to lull us to sleep. Money drives all activity of relevance--follow the money and you will find who's in charge. It's not you & it's not me.

All is not lost--I think America as a concept can be rescued, and I think a vote for the Democrats next Tuesday can be a huge step toward reigning in the culture of greed currently informing the current occupant & his handlers. We might get to impeach the bastards--if the dems show a little backbone. We can throw out the worst of the worst--we can start repairing our reputation on the world stage & undoing our current lemming like rush towards extinction.

So, on Tuesday, go out and vote for the lesser of two evils (here's a small sample of the greater of two evils, if you need motivation)--but keep Wednesday open, that's when we have to start trying to repair the broken system that allows the kind of abuses we are suffering under.

* In case you are not aware, the internets are a series of tubes.

Monday, October 30, 2006

The Chance For Peace

Today I will let Eisenhower speak for me:

What can the world, or any nation in it, hope for if no turning is found on this dread road?

The worst to be feared and the best to be expected can be simply stated.

The worst is atomic war.

The best would be this: a life of perpetual fear and tension; a burden of arms draining the wealth and the labor of all peoples; a wasting of strength that defies the American system or the Soviet system or any system to achieve true abundance and happiness for the peoples of this earth.

Every gun that is made, every warship launched, every rocket fired signifies, in the final sense, a theft from those who hunger and are not fed, those who are cold and are not clothed.

This world in arms is not spending money alone.

It is spending the sweat of its laborers, the genius of its scientists, the hopes of its children.

The cost of one modern heavy bomber is this: a modern brick school in more than 30 cities.

It is two electric power plants, each serving a town of 60,000 population. It is two fine, fully equipped hospitals.

It is some fifty miles of concrete pavement.

We pay for a single fighter plane with a half million bushels of wheat.

We pay for a single destroyer with new homes that could have housed more than 8,000 people.

This is, I repeat, the best way of life to be found on the road the world has been taking.

This is not a way of life at all, in any true sense. Under the cloud of threatening war, it is humanity hanging from a cross of iron. These plain and cruel truths define the peril and point the hope that come with this spring of 1953.

Want to see the whole thing? Go here.

You might also try Googling "Military-Industrial-Congressional Complex" as that's what the speech said when he rehearsed it--but even Eisenhower, even in this speech that burns so many bridges, wasn't willing to go that far. But it is what he thought.

Friday, October 27, 2006

Like A Rolling Stone

Alright, have you seen this?

It is a clip from the new Bob Dylan musical "The Times They Are A-changin'" and is perhaps the most god-awful piece of performance I've ever sat through.

Now...I'm having a hard time here. It is so reminiscent of "Spring Time For Hitler" or "Zoo Animals on Wheels" or something from Spinal Tap or Zoolander that I want to take it as a joke...but I don't see how that can be--that's not how these things work.

Please feel free to let me know that the choreographer was trying to be funny if you know she was...I would feel better.

Thursday, October 26, 2006


Alright. I've decided to put away childish things. I had a blog for a few months that didn't have my name on it. I did it so I could say what I thought and still have a chance of ever being hired again.

But I can't get taken seriously without my name on it--and I've got stuff to say.

This is not to say you folks will take me seriously now, but at least I've got a shot.

I fear for my country. Don’t you?

What do I mean by that? Let me put it this way: I am more likely to be struck by a meteorite* than I am to be killed in a terrorist attack & President Cheney & his pals have still managed to turn the clock on civil rights back 900 years.

I’m not joking. This is my serious face.

Unfortunately, I may have some small responsibility to stand behind what I say now. I have grown used to talking trash--this will be a challenge.

*OK, OK, this is a slight exaggeration for dramatic effect. In reality, I’m just more likely to win the lottery than I am to be killed in a terrorist attack, but it doesn’t sound as good.