Wednesday, April 2, 2014

After beating story into ground, news organizations need to move on from Malaysia Airlines Flight 370 story

Let's face it, Malaysia Airlines Flight 370 is a tragedy for all of the families.   

Understandably, there will be  likely no completed closure for the family members of the likely deceased passengers until the passengers' bodies or at the least airplane wreckage has been retrieved.   

After photos of showing the public dots in the ocean and news reporters going to Australia to "assist," in the recovery,  this story does not warrant top news billing every day particularly on CNN.

Most Famous Piece of Ocean Trash 

CNN has a tendency to drive stories into the ground by their cast of pundits as Nancy Grace, Dr. Drew, and  lesbian vegan what's her name --- oh yes, Jane Velez-Mitchell.  

CNN pundit lesbian, animal activist, crime show host, what's her name? 

And after catching a glimpse of Wolf Blitzer fielding questions from listeners to his panel of experts on the flight, this viewer shouted out to the television, "Enough is enough."  

There are many more pressing newsworthy stories that now deserve more top billing as:

  • Russia amassing troops on the border of the Ukraine as Putin lifts his middle finger to a failed American foreign policy 
  • General Motors Co comes under attack for its policy of failure to notify public about defective parts linked to fatal crashes
  • Landslide disaster in Oso, Washington State (should have been given more news coverage than the flight) 
  • Earthquakes in Chile and California 
  • Trash in the world's oceans---which the Malaysia Airlines Flight 370 Recovery fortunately has made the world most aware of 
Initially, the flight disappearance was newsworthy at least for the intrigue which surrounds the story ---but until plane parts remnants are actually found---time to move on CNN. 

Monday, March 31, 2014

P.T. Barnum Would Have Felt Right At Home With Todd Chrisley and Dr. Phil McGraw

Reality television supposedly documents unscripted situations and actual occurrences for the viewers to watch.   And there are many genres of reality television which have become popular over the past two decades.

In the blog Edictive, the author has listed 7 types of reality television shows and there are other sources which offer further breakdowns on types of reality television.  All television shows have to be edited to fit in a time frame, however some so-called reality television shows have been staged and restaged for best entertainment value.  

The worst type of reality television are those programs which have story lines created by the producer to humiliate participants and as in the case of the Kardashians have made untalented people into celebrities who really don't deserve their fame.  

Regardless, reality television is often times less costly to produce than scripted television shows and can be quite profitable for the  networks which have produced them. 

Reality shows by Jerry Springer, Maury Povich and Steve Wilkos (former bald guy bouncer for Jerry Springer) are staged to make overweight, toothless, tattooed men and women appear as social misfits.  

These men have created reality shows which consist of  plenty of yelling between the guests,  stories by guests of alleged  sexual in-breeding with family relatives,  friends, and farm animals, and a ton of paternity and lie-detector tests to rat out the creepiest of their creepy guests. 

The emcees of these shows have been laughing all the way to the bank as Americans have tuned into some of the most off the wall characters on  television. 

Dr. Phil McGraw tries to portray himself as a caring professional.   Why in the hell would anyone wish to appear on the doctor's show to be emotionally stripped naked and then humiliated in front of a live studio audience and American viewers?  

Dr. Phil  understands the need for his followers to feel better than the dysfunctional men and women being interrogated by him on the stage. . 

Another piece of media trash has been loaded on the American public by NBCUniversal which is a subsidiary of Comcast. , the largest mass media corporation in the world.   The new reality show is Chrisley Knows Best. 

Todd Chrisley a narcissistic southern millionaire whores his entire family out for his  supposed comedic reality television about his overbearing parenting skills.

NBC Universal believe that Americans will tune into to watch this flamboyant "straight guy?" raising his five children in Atlanta.  But as Tom Conroy so eloquently noted  in Media Life Magazine, Chrisley has so much crap going on his life that well he just is not funny. 

So much of Chrisley Knows Best  is blatantly staged and they would have been better off casting Todd Chrisley as a character actor in a scripted television show versus a psuedo reality show. 

As for Chrisley's  children, well they are most definitely not fun to watch and their sexuality is played up over and over again by their parents and those who have staged their performances. 

And though I am most definitely not in the upper 1% of the wealthy bracket in the United States, the Chrisley family demonstrates why Americans have learned to love to hate wealthy Americans portrayed by this clod and his spawn.  And with the likes of Jerry Springer, one understands why the upper 1% looks down with such contempt at the rest of us in the lower 99%! 

In the mid 1800's, David Hannum criticized showman P.T. Barnum for catering to the most gullible of people who came to pay to see  the showman's circus and sideshows.  Hannum said that Barnum's business philosophy was "There's a sucker born every minute." 

P.T. Barnum 

Much like P.T. Barnum, American networks hope that gullible American viewers  will continue to  tune into their extreme shows  which they continue to spew out.  

Wednesday, March 12, 2014

Civil disobedience threatens the Washington dysfunctional normalcy

Let's face the fact that the people of the Ukraine were sold out by ousted Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych.  By all news accounts, Yanukovych was corrupt and he and his entourage made millions while in office.   Yanukovych was just continuing a practice of corruption which is systemic of many countries in the world.  

The difference is that finally people were awaken to the fact that their personal aspirations were being trampled upon and this most corrupt man was violently thrown out after he started imprisoning and murdering his own citizens and impeding his citizens' prosperity. 

But Yanukovch is not alone in walking away with millions in his pocket while in power and Ukraine is not even listed on the Top 20 for being most corrupt. According to Berlin based Transparency International: Somalia and North Korea share top honors for corruption and you guessed it Afghanistan, Iraq, and Syria are on that list along with Venezuela and Haiti.  And other than North Korea, most, but not all of nations on that list have had or are having some forms of citizen uprising against their abusive governments. 

And perhaps giving this American some hope, Transparency International composed a list of the least corrupted nations.  Denmark and New Zealand topped the list. Fortunately, Canada, the United States, the United Kingdom, Germany, and Japan appeared on the list---albeit not with perfect ratings. 

But how much money American and western national leaders walk away with money in their pocket after being in power can be a bit alarming.   Billionaire politician  Michael Bloomberg made his wealth before he was NYC mayor.   However, there are many world leaders, including Russian President Vladimir Putin, who  made their money after  they came to power.  As for American and European backed Middle East leaders---well they and  their families are poster children for corruption and abuse of human rights.  World governments have allowed these thugs to  run their own nations as their personal piggy banks.  

In the United States, politicians of both parties continue to walk away wealthier then when they came to office.   Judicial Watch has published its list of the 10 Most Corrupted Politicians for 2012.  Americans should be very alarmed that people as Senator Harry Reid of Nevada and his family have become wealthier while in public office. 

Source of Photograph:  New York Daily News

One politician who is the most recent poster child for corruption is former New Orleans Mayor Ray Nagan who was recently convicted of bribery and money laundering from the hurricane Katrina relief funds to save New Orleans. 

As for states with most convictions for political corruption, Florida leads the pack.  The sunshine state is  followed by New York, Texas, Pennsylvania, California, Ohio (my state), Illinois, New Jersey, Washington D.C., and Louisiana.    

So what's the point.   

The people of the Ukraine threw out a corrupt leader and many politicians want United States intervention.   But, if the new people in charge of the Ukraine turnout to be as corrupted as the ones that they may replace, then what a waste in United States resources. 

The tragedy is that in the nations of Iraq and Afghanistan, American soldiers gave their lives to establish new regimes which may not be as violent as their predecessors, but have made the list as being corrupt.  

Source of Photograph: The Guardian. 

While Senator John McCaine wants to intervene everywhere in the world when a government becomes violent against its citizenry,  perhaps it is time that Americans first  start demanding cleanup of government corruption in our own nation.  

Source of Photograph: Bio True Story

The past decade the United States  has been held in a political grid lock.   Lies got the United States to intervene into Iraq.   National honor has kept us in the travesty called Afghanistan.   Wall Street and the resultant economic recession was caused by businesses going wild with Congressional approval.  Today parties on both sides of the aisle block each other from any meaningful legislation.  

Politicians should not be surprised when there is a national unrest due to their actions.  As the following actions have demonstrated:    

  • Many who advocate gun ownership do so believing in the event of a government threatening  citizens' rights. 
  • The Tea Party came into existence because of the fear of a corrupted big government directing all our lives.   
  •  Occupy Wall Street movement was a protest about a government favoring big business over the little guy.   
  • Whistle blowers as Edward Snowden are attacked by  government and politicians because he exposed blatant government misuse of power to fight terrorism.

Yes, the world needs to prevent Russian expansion into the Ukraine. 

If not addressed,  Putin and his band of thugs will swallow up the entire nation and replace it with another corrupt government as the previous Yanukovych regime. Yet,  the world should be aghast as to what is occurring in Syria, while China and Russia remain steadfast against intervention. (Perhaps it is time for the disbanding of the United Nations due to the crippling permanent veto powers of Great Britain, United States, France, China, and Russia.) 

But it is time American national leaders start taking care of the problems which are occurring in our own nation.  

Politicians don't like civil disobedience in any country including our own.  Today's politicians have a vested interest to maintain the status quo. Civil disobedience threatens the Washington dysfunctional normalcy. 

Perhaps as during the protests of the 1960-1970's Vietnam War and Civil Rights era, the nation might be ripe for some forms of civil disobedience to awaken the Washington power brokers of politicians and their business puppeteers.  

Now is the time to address the corruption occurring in our own nation first before attempting to save the world. 

Sunday, March 2, 2014

Spike Lee Sends Mixed Messages On Urban Gentrification

Last week, movie producer, Spike Lee  went on a rant about gentrification and the impact for  those long-term residents still living in urban neighborhoods and the conflicts with their newer neighbors.  

Spike Lee was then interviewed by CNN Anderson Cooper, to clarify his position on gentrification.    Admittedly, I must be less intelligent because  most certainly I did not fully comprehend what the hell he was talking about. 

However, gentrification, as it turns out is a complex concept and has been in the social and political science vocabulary for quite awhile. 

According to Wikipedia: 

Gentrification is a shift in an urban community toward wealthier residents and/or businesses and increasing property values.Gentrification is typically the result of investment in a community by local government, community activists, or business groups, and can often spur economic development, attract business, lower crime rates, and have other benefits to a community. Despite these potential benefits, it has been suggested that urban gentrification can lead to population migration which may involve poorer residents being displaced by wealthier newcomers

Probably because I grew up in a modest white middle class neighborhood, I understood the concept of white flight in the 1960s and fair housing and resultant integration was a controversial term for many predominantly white suburbs.

For the Ohio urban areas of Akron, Barberton, Canton, Cleveland and Youngstown the deterioration of these cities was a tragedy as their industrial bases moved out of the urban areas to the south and overseas. 

Source of Photograph of City of Akron Skyline: Discover Akron/Summit (the official visitors bureau resource site)

The best and most personal example for me was the situation for my white college friend Ed.  Ed lived with his parents on a Princeton Avenue in Akron, Ohio.

Edward's mother was a stay at home house maker and his father retired from  Ohio Edison.  Practicing Catholics, Edward's parents raised three children in their home on Princeton and managed to scrape enough funds to send their two daughters and Ed to Akron's Hoban Catholic high school and onto the University of Akron. Ultimately by the time Edward was attending college,  they had both retired and owned their home. 

As the neighborhood on Princeton deteriorated due to white flight as well as the industrial base leaving the area, his parents managed to keep their house beautifully manicured.   Ed's parents liked their home, and perhaps still liked thee neighborhood.   But to sell their home would have been at a loss due to the conditions of the neighborhood. Edward’s parents home appeared as on oasis as the surrounded by run down homes occupied by lower income families and slowly creeping in criminal element. 

I lost touch with Edward but had heard his parents had died.  About a year ago, I was curious as to what happened to Edward’s family’s house.  The only thing recognizable about the house was the address as the home was now deteriorated and any good memories of the previous tenants had left a long time ago.

East Cleveland, Ohio is a classic example of how white flight destroyed a once prospering community. East Cleveland had a proud history and even had a street referred to as Millionaire’s Row that included the residence of John D. Rockefeller.

For those who grew up in East Cleveland in the 1940s-1960s, a visit to their former neighborhood now is very disconcerting.  

Like many urban cities, when poorer blacks moved into East Cleveland and other urban areas, property values dropped.

Source of Photograph:  East Cleveland, Ohio The Other Side of a Suburban Ghetto 

Let's face it, white flight was based on prejudices.   Real estate developers capitalized on those prejudices by obtaining homes for a great price to sell to minorities. As white families saw their neighborhood become integrated, they sold their homes at a loss or a break even price to either get away from their new neighbors or get out before their home values depreciated. 

East Cleveland became the poster city of declining cities much, as is Detroit Michigan. 

As the middle class tax base moved, East Cleveland became a poorer city.   With a resultant lower tax base, city services as fire and police were reduced.   And the city become somewhat legendary when the criminal element took over the city neighborhoods  in the many abandoned and low priced former family homes.   (And East Cleveland had its share of crooked politicians who took bribes while the city they managed was going down the drain.)

Source of Graph: East Cleveland, A Case Study 

Fortunately, many urban areas like East Cleveland and Cleveland itself are slowly starting to rebound due to some industries and a new industrial base moving back to northeast Ohio.

Perhaps Spike Lee can ponder the good old days in his mansion not located in the neighborhood of his childhood.    And no doubt, old urban neighborhoods have a colorful history for their former and now successful residents who also fled them.  For Spike Lee, the neighborhood provides a good source of stories and yet would the old neighborhood  actually be a place Spike would really like to move back to?  

There are many reasons why people want to relocate to urban areas.  A city could be well run and with a good tax revenue and a civic minded citizenry.  

There are many advantages to city services, which cannot be beat, which makes it desirable to move to urban areas.    And with the new influx of upper and middle class residents combined with current law-abiding lower income residents, a city could be culturally diversified and responsive to the needs of all its residents not only in the neighborhoods but also in the school systems.  

It is a tragedy that urban residents are being displaced, largely due to poverty caused by a very bad economy.  But it is great that urban areas are becoming revitalized again and if gentrification is what it is needed then it is a good thing.

Perhaps Spike Lee needed to articulate more clearly that today's cities need more financial allowances  to assure that lower income law-abiding residents should not compelled to move out of their neighborhoods.

Additional Reading: 

Thursday, February 27, 2014

Posing of Russian Troops On Ukraine Border Is World History Repeating Itself

Often times, history has a tendency to repeat itself.  The similarities between Hitler's Germany and Putin's Russia are frightening and a good example as to why history should be studied and appreciated.  
The ominous similarities between Hitler's Germany and Putin's Russia are: 

  • Adolf Hitler showcased the post WW1 with the Nazi theme 1936 Summer Olympics.  Russian President Vladimir Putin showcased the new Russia with the Sochi 2014 Winter Olympics games.

  • Hitler's Germany started to persecute Jews, homosexuals, and those opposed to the Nazi regime.  Putin's Russia now has laws against homosexuals, has been cracking down on dissidents, and corruption among Russian  power brokers runs rampant in the nation. 

  • Hitler used his sheer personality to drive the direction of Germany as he  eliminated all potential political competition.   Putin has a media blitz presenting himself as a virile athletic man and has succeeded to amend the Russian constitution to assure he could be elected President for his current 6-year term. 

  • Hitler used the excuses to invade Czechoslovakia and Poland to "rescue” the German speaking minorities in those countries. Today Russia has 140, 000 soldiers on its shared border with the Ukraine almost poised to intervene in the country which has a large ethnic Russian population which has remained sympathetic to Russia.   

When Hitler invaded Czechoslovakia and other territories, the war weary west caved in with assurances from the Fuhrer to British PM Neville Chamberlain that he would quit taking more territory.  

And today, should Putin invade the Ukraine, there is very little the western powers will be able or willing to do.   

There are some major  difference between Hitler's Germany and Putin's Russia.  The Russians have an A-bomb and very valuable natural resources and it would be suicidal for nations to take them on. 

Saturday, February 22, 2014

Don Lemon Should Join MSNBC Where Objective News Reporting Does Not Matter

CNN has a dilemma with Don Lemon. The guy just can't shut up and listen to other people's opinions. Lemon is unabashedly not objective in how he presents the news---and really never has been.

                            Source of Picture: Ebony News and Views 

We are all entitled to an opinion, including Lemon, however his role when asking for personal opinions from people he interviews should be an attempt to listen and not interrupt.    Perhaps CNN has plans for him.   Maybe he is being prepped by CNN to join the ranks of loud mouths Nancy Grace, Chris Matthews, and Bill O' Reilly who confront and interrupt.      

When Lemon temporarily hosted the Erin Burnett OutFront Show he continued to be that pompous know-it-all.   Rather than become annoyed,  my solution, was to quit watching the show  until Ms. Burnett returned. 

But CNN has apparently decided that Don Lemon is the new self-appointed guru on black relations.  And of course, his "insightful expertise"was  called upon to weigh in on the Michael Dunn murder case.

Lemon, not atypical of many Americans, felt he knew all about the Michael Dunn case and the guy should have been convicted of murder. Again his attitude and other pundits like him would be to forget trials and have the defendant tried in the court of public opinion. (Hell, with an attitude like that, let's just forget trials.) 

For Lemon, the jury should have convicted Dunn because he appeared to be a white racist. 

All of Lemon's credibility  was really cooked when  he dismissed  Dunn Juror #8,  twenty one-year-old  African American Creshuna Miles' opinion that the trial was not about race.  According to Lemon and many of his guests,  Miles did not understand the significance of the case  due to her age and lack of life experiences.  

                            Source of Photograph: Legal Insurrection 
Any idiot knew that it was a trial about anyone  being black, white, Asian, male,  female, gay or straight confronting  a person because the music was too loud and in a moment of a perceived threat killing a young man.  That was the essence of the trail and Ms. Miles and the jury got it right that the trial was not about race.

Suddenly television legal "experts"  like Lemon had to add their spin and the trial was racial.  

The supposedly too young and inexperienced Ms. Miles attempted to be an objective juror which speaks more to her abilities than Don Lemon who at age 46 has decided he has the life experiences necessary to be a better juror. 

Lemon has summarily dismissed the opinions of young men and women who serve on a jury.   They can go off to war, but they are incapable of being good jurors. And Lemon is trying to portray that young African Americans are victims of a justice system that is skewed against them. 

The wise solution for CNN is to send Lemon over to MSNBC where objectivity is not considered a good trait to have.  And should Americans have to go to court---particularly those who are white--- had best hope Lemon never serves on their jury.