Archive for April, 2008

Virtual Bubble Wrap

No time for real a post today. I’m going to have to stay up late just to catch up with what’s been going on in the world.  Before I do that, I’m going to take a wild guess that I’ll find that most of the major media have foregone analysis of McCain’s health care proposal and what it would mean to the average person in favor of wall to wall coverage of Jeremiah Wright. Am I close?

In case I was, here’s something to do while you’re trying to keep your head from exploding:
Virtual Bubble Wrap


Obama Strikes Back

I’ve been out of the loop, I guess. I heard vague buzzing about Jeremiah Wright’s appearances, but I haven’t been paying as close attention as usual. Frankly, when the talking heads start braying about something like the Wright issue, it just seems like a more attractive option to opt out. Reverend Wright hasn’t bothered me much, in and of himself. I mean, he seems like a very familiar type and Obama seems like a totally different sort of person. End of story. For some of us. Not for the chattering classes and apparently not for a considerable number of Americans who seem to be spending way too much time worrying about some prototypical Angry Black Man. Now I’m caught up and I have to agree with those who say that Jeremiah Wright has been inclined to derail Obama right from the start.

Thanks to Roadkill Refugee for posting the video from Obama’s press conference today. Obama left no doubt about where he stands regarding Wright’s recent statements and behavior. It’s clear to him, too, I think that he now has to contend with both Clintons, McCain and the RNC and Reverend Wright. I sure hope that he can overcome this. Because if he can, he’ll be able to handle anything that he comes up against when he’s President Obama.

McHealth No Care Plan

Bush, McCain - BFFOK, so McCain has come out with his health care plan and the verdict is – Won’t help, might hurt. Surprised? Me either.  If I recall correctly it’s similar to an idea that McCain’s BFF, Bush proposed only worse in some ways. Worse than Bush. Chew on that for a while.

He’s talking about a tax credit of $2,500 a year for individuals and $5,000 for families, and maybe – just maybe – working with the states to arrange for people who would currently be denied coverage due to health problem to be allowed to purchase coverage. If they can afford it, of course. Tax breaks currently afforded to business for the provision of health insurance to employees would be ended. Of course, for a lot of people employer tax breaks are moot because either their employers have stopped offering coverage or their employers have stopped employing them. We are having a recession, after all.

The organization I work for pays an average of  $15,600 a year per employee for a family plan and approximately $6,000 for individual coverage. McCain’s plan would leave a family with over 10 grand a year to pay. That’s not going to cut it. What is there about people not being able to afford things that  Republicans find so very hard to understand?

Bloggers – Opinionated. Moi?

“Are bloggers opinionated?”, asks Chris Garrett on Performancing. He’s asking for opinions. Well, yes, but more so than the next guy – I’m not so sure. Most people are pretty opinionated about some things. Some people are very opinionated about most things. Maybe it’s because I live in the NY metro area, but almost everyone I know expresses a couple of passionate opinions per conversation. Often with gratuitous expletives. And they don’t have to be about real important things. New Yorkers can get pretty animated about almost anything.

I recall that one day at work there was a group of women talking and one of them said very heatedly, “It was terrible! Totally wrong and it was unfair! Disgusting. I’m going to write to Fox right away!” and on and on. I’m thinking, Hoo boy, what outrage has Fox News committed  now. I was just about to ask and to give a big “Right on!”, when it became clear that they were talking about American Idol. I don’t have opinions about that, but they sure did. Very, very strong ones. I don’t think any of them have blogs. Wouldn’t even consider having one. I wish they’d all start one. Then they might have less time to send out e-mail forwards that won’t have the desired effect unless the recipient sends it on to five or ten of more victims friends.

I’d be willing to be that for most bloggers over thirty, newsgroups and messageboards were the gateway drugs. I know they were for me and I was way over thirty even then. How many hours and how much bandwidth has been spent battling over the merits of Microsoft vs Apple, PC vs Mac vs Linux, Netscape (remember Netscape?) vs IE vs Mozilla products in general vs Opera, POP vs MAP, tables vs divs and of course whose HTML editor sucks the most?

Then there was music – Your favorite band sucks. And religion. You’re worshiping wrong. Or too much. Or not enough. Or, most likely, the wrong God. I don’t know for sure, but I bet there are some spicy discussions on foodie boards somewhere on the interwebs.

There was something to get anyone’s blood pressure up, but the discussions move pretty fast. You go away and come back and on a busy board you might not even be able to find the dead horse you wanted to beat. With blogs, you can post an article and if people want to show up and flog it they can continue to do so for days if they so desire. Or longer. They’re made for it.

For myself, I don’t think I ever started a single blog with the purpose of expressing a lot of opinions. The opinions just show up and insert themselves, or so it seems. They kind of bubble over. OK – that might indicate an opinionated person, but that brings me back to the question – who isn’t? Really, I just found that I like the process. I like having a place to kick a thought around and if what I’m saying doesn’t resonate with anyone, that’s OK. They can move on and maybe come back another day. I like having conversations with people, too. I’ve just been doing this blog for a little over a month and have “met” some real great people. I Also, I like having a website of sorts and I don’t have a reason in the world to have my own. Running others doesn’t count the same way. A blog can be a good way to scratch that itch.

You know what, though? I’ve found since I’ve been expressing my opinons to strangers on the interwebs I have fewer pointless arguments with folks offline. Maybe bloggers are pretty opinionated after all and blogs serve as a safety valve so we can be less obnoxious to friends and family. What do you think?

Homeland Security – Long Island Style

There was a bi-county dirty bomb drill out here on Long Island today as reported in Newsday. It all went smoothly according to officials, other than the two hour delay caused by an accident on the Long Island Expressway. Potential terrorists are taking notes, I’m sure.

Convention Tension

Who knew Rush Limbaugh was so sentimental? He’s dreaming of riots at the Democratic convention this summer. He thinks it would be good for the country.

“We do, hopefully, the right thing for the sake of this country. We’re the only one in charge of our affairs. We don’t farm out our defense if we elect Democrats … and riots in Denver, at the Democratic Convention will see to it we don’t elect Democrats. And that’s the best damn thing that can happen to this country, as far as I can think,” Limbaugh said.

Sounds like inciting to riot to me. I’m sure it’s because it’s 40 years since the 1968 convention in Chicago. It’s another special anniversary. And what riots those were! We who weren’t there could watch it on the TV.

Chicago Police Riot, 1968

That’s the way I saw it. In grainy black and white. Mr. Yenta was there, but not as a protester. He was in the Navy, at Waukegan, and somehow found himself in Chicago right when things got interesting. He didn’t riot. He didn’t do any riot quelling either. As he remembers it, he met some interesting people who were there for the demonstrations and hung out and had a pretty good time. Wherever the action is, there’s always a world of things going on that don’t make for interesting television.

After it was all over there was the trial of the Chicago Eight Seven on conspiracy charges, which went on for what seemed like a very long time. Kind of like the primaries this year. If it turns out that we end up with a Denver Seven (or whatever number is called for) I think that Rush should get to be Defendant Number 1. He’d probably get off, but it would be kind of fun to see him tied to a chair and gagged for a while, just for giggles.

Murdoch hasn’t won yet

The reports of Rupert Murdoch’s success in his quest to buy Newsday might be premature. I’m afraid that’s all they are, but at least it’s not a done deal yet. LI Biz Blog reports that there are other offers and that the Senate Commerce Committee has sent a resolution to the floor reimposing the ban on a newspaper and broadcast station in the same market. Bush, of course, would veto it, so just getting it passed would not be enough.  Of course.

When I wrote about this before, I was doing so mostly from the local perspective. Well, how would you feel  if you woke up one day out found out that Rupert Murdoch wanted a presence at the end of your driveway every morning? Not good, I bet. What really matters is what “local” really means. The two county area served by Newsday has a population similar to a good sized city. For Murdoch to be able to deliver that much misinformation to that many more people is something for everyone in the country to worry about. How long before they just go ahead and rename News Corp. “Big Brother”?

While I hope that the Commerce Committee prevails, or that one of the other players in this is successful, I’m not holding my breath. Murdoch tends to get what he wants. That happens when you’ve got money to burn, which apparently News Corp. does. The NY Post doesn’t make a profit. Murdoch doesn’t seem to care. My fallback hope is the Daily News decides if it can’t buy Newday, it can at least compete with it. It’s on our newstands now and always has been, but it would need a real Long Island edition to be the paper of choice for a majority here. It doesn’t sound totally impossible for an established paper in an adjacent market to accomplish if the will was there.

What makes this all such a problem is that newspapers are doing so badly financially, on the whole. Jaci Clement at Media Savvy has some ideas about not-for-profit news. It’s something to consider, since news-for-profit so often fails to rise to the challenge of informing the public.