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Showing posts from May, 2010

American Journalism

I attended a lecture last night at our local public library. It was “The Death and Life of American Journalism”. The lecturer was Robert McChesney, a professor at Illinois – Champaign-Urbana. His research indicates there are about 60,000 paid journalists in the United States (down from about 130,000 about 5 years ago). About 1,000 are getting fired every month, and he thinks that number will only accelerate as advertising dollars shift to other media and the newsrooms of America become even less economically viable. You do the math: in about 5 years that could mean we have no more free press in the United States.A couple more interesting numbers: according to his research, newspapers today print 70% less ORIGINAL stories than they did 20 years ago. And, out of the stories they do print, 86% were written by PR people, not news reporters. And most of those PR pieces are published unedited, not fact checked. So, the vast majority of our “news” is written by people who are paid to spin in…

Road Trip

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I took a little road trip last week. I intended to go to the Air Force Museum in Dayton, OH, which I try to visit every few years. But, it turned out that wasn’t really the highlight of the trip.TOMMy first stop was Edgewood, Kentucky to visit my friend Tom. Tom has cancer and recently finished 7 weeks of radiation therapy. He looks good and the doctors say the prognosis is good. He finds out June 8th if the radiation worked. There are a couple of things he’ll have to deal with the rest of his life due to the radiation. If the radiation therapy worked, he felt the tradeoff was acceptable. We had dinner with friends from former jobs (Michelle, Garry, and Gene), laughed a lot, and it was fun. Further observation: The Ohio River is pretty impressive. That area may be another road trip candidate.THE AIR FORCE MUSEUMI always enjoy this museum. There was nothing new this year; they had just moved the planes around. A few of my favorites were not available as they are getting ready for the 6…

Speed Kills

I want it now. I deserve it now. God wants me to have it now. We’re in such a hurry and so impatient. I think this is part of the cause of our recent financial troubles. Both the get-rich-quick financial players and home-buyers-that-should-have-waited participated in the debacle. But beneath it all is an impatience to have it all. The recent 1000 point drop in the Dow 30 Industrials is partially the fault of computer trading. Apparently “investors” (can we really call them that?) trade via computers in 1,000,000 share blocks, making substantial money on a penny or two change in the stock price – trading many times per day, often “owning” the shares for seconds. How does this activity benefit American industry, or society? I know it’s an unfashionable question to ask – how does something benefit the common good is not a popular concept anymore. It’s all about “me” now – what’s in it for me seems to have become the only relevant question. And, if I can’t make my fortune NOW, well there …

Water

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What is it about water that makes it so calming? I don’t feel comfortable in water – I can’t swim and I get scared when I’m in too deep. But, I love being around it. The sound, the beautiful colors, and the smells all make me feel better.