The Most Important People in Cable News…

2016-03-26_11-33-18It seems I have been hearing a lot of background talk about the cable news anchors. Many seem to be troubled by all the young females who are now figureheads in that media. I don’t have a poll to prove it but I hear most of these comments coming from women.  They just seem to be the most disgusted. Maybe its because too many guys just like watching the eye-candy instead of trying to listen to a knowledgeable source.

I personally have never been that very impressed with any of the talking heads of news, even the network variety. The main skill for that job position has always seemed to be to look good and to be able to read a teleprompter.  But, even I have noticed the drastically lowered bar in this area.  The graphic to the right show I am not the only one, especially but not exclusively for Fox News.

I am old enough to remember when most news organizations both print and video attempted to remain unbiased in their reporting. It was a shock to hear ABC’s David Brinkley say to what he thought was an off mic how little he thought of President Clinton.  It sent shock waves throughout the industry.  But then Fox News, owned by a very conservative Rupert Murdock came upon the scene and changed everything.  They aggressively fought to become the news rather than just report it. Since their ratings went up because of their bias others quickly followed. Now it is rare indeed to NOT hear a Brinkley type comment come from every “reporters” lips.

Things have changed drastically of the last couple of decades in how and what we receive as news.  The cable news networks now seem to be more of a beauty contest than anything else.  Every anchor and most reporters are young and mostly attractive women who have probably had little or no experience in investigative journalism or any journalism for that matter.

Maybe all of this is what has been driving so many to the Web for their daily news. I admit that I spend probably an hour a day perusing my pre-chosen websites to see what is happening. I just can’t stomach the video version much any more. That is except for the PBS Newshours.  I just prefer my news without all the eye-candy.

Now to get to the opening question of this post, who is the most important person in cable news today?  The answer seems to be the makeup artists for the talking heads and all those young blond reporters.

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Meet the new workers’ movement that is terrifying the wealthy and the powerful

2015-03-30_09-35-17They aren’t actually anything new, just a variation on long-standing labor-organizing practices that have come back into prominence. “Micro union” is a recently coined term of art for bargaining units that encompass one category of workers at a business — the cosmetics workers at a Macy’s, for example — instead of the more traditional model of organizing all the workers for the business into one single bargaining unit. In 2011, the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) decided a group of certified nursing assistants at a nursing home constituted an appropriate bargaining unit in themselves, in a decision called Specialty Healthcare. In 2013, that decision got the stamp of approval from the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit. In 2014, the NLRB applied its logic to the aforementioned Macy’s cosmetics workers. Since then, union critics and business interests have been scrambling to respond. Retail industry groups told The Hill that the NLRB’s Macy’s decision would “pave the way for micro unions at thousands of retail stores around the country.” Isakson has made multiple attempts to pass his bill rolling back NLRB’s decisions, with the backing of GOP heavy-hitters like Sens. Lamar Alexander (R-Tenn.), Orrin Hatch (R-Utah), and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.).

SOURCE: Meet the new workers’ movement that is terrifying the wealthy and the powerful.

Micro-breweries are quite the rage right now and I admit I am one of their fans.  When we travel I often order local beers when I come across them. It is nice to see these types of cottage-industries rising up again. It is even nicer to see the micro trends more to work unions. One of the big problems with unions in the last half century or so is that they just grew too powerful for their own good.  They quit looking out for the workers and instead become just anti-owner organizations.

You don’t need giant unions to help you get your fair share from an employer. micro-unions seem to be a natural evolution in employee-employer relationships. But the thing that will make micro-unions effective is that all workers in an indirect way support the right of an employee to address grievances with their employer. They do that by not frequenting establishments that lord it over their workers. They do it by not rushing in to snap up a job after a worker has been fired.  Money talks…

The sad thing in the last few decades is that American business have been thriving with increased sales but not sharing their prosperity with the ones who generate it. We seem to be a owner-society now. Those with the money demand more and more of the pie. I hope micro-unions will reverse this trend…

Fashion is Out….

High Heels 1This is no longer a trend – it is now a lifestyle that is too comfortable, for consumers of all ages, for it to go away anytime soon,” he said. Millennials’ tendency to rent instead of buy is also turning the retail industry upside down.

SOURCE: Rebellious millennials are turning into a huge problem for retailers – Yahoo Finance.

It appears from the above article that millennials (19 -35 years olds) are turning away from “fashion” and its annual almost dictated changes. They are giving up the high heels, yes especially the seven-inch ones, for more comfortable athletic shoes.  They insist on not be dictated to as to what they wear or own.  And to that I say “Good for you”.

I have read elsewhere that the suit and tie standards are dropping rather dramatically across the business world. Marketing is a very powerful force in any capitalistic society. What will happen when most of us become immune to their dictates?

Special courts…

Around the country, special courts are set up for former military members who have been charged with crimes after returning to civilian life, and who may be struggling with PTSD. Judges, lawyers, probation officers and others work together to treat or punish each defendant. Special correspondent Spencer Michels reports on how the new approach can offer troubled veterans a path forward…. JUDGE JEFFREY ROSS: Our goal is to find an outcome which will both prevent recidivism, keep the public safe, keep the victims from being re-victimized, but also deal with the person’s background and the reasons he that he committed the violent conduct that we were just addressing. SPENCER MICHELS: Using federal grants, as well a local funds, courts rely on the VA to coordinate physical and mental care, plus weekly court dates for vets in trouble. It’s up to the vet to comply. KYONG YI, Department of Veterans Affairs: We often meet with the veteran when they’re in custody, develop a plan for where they’re going to go when they’re coming out, especially if they’re homeless.

SOURCE:  Special courts take on criminal cases of troubled veterans.

It is about time our criminal justice system returned to treating those who break the law because of circumstances some say are beyond their control differently.  It is good to hear that many veterans are being treated instead of incarcerated. I’m sure PSTD has deadly effects of some of our returning soldiers. But are the vets the only ones who could benefit from this special judicial attention?

Couldn’t these same sets of parameters apply who those who grew up in abusive families, or those due who live are in areas with destructive gangs. Couldn’t taking into account these conditions also result in less recidivism? Wouldn’t it be great if this new way of looking at returning soldiers’ crimes could be applied to others.

Just giving special attention to someone, rather than just shoveling them through the system, almost always has positive effects.  This phenomenon is known as the “Hawthorn Effect” was discovered almost a hundred years ago in a Western Electric plant near Chicago. Here is a little about that from Wiki:

The Hawthorne effect (also referred to as the observer effect) is a type of reactivity in which individuals improve an aspect of their behavior in response to their awareness of being observed

The crux of the message is that if you pay special attention to people they will usually react positively. I am very glad to see special attention given to our very distressed returning vets and would like to see that applied to a much wider variety of our citizens….

Free-Range Kids??

2015-03-30_08-52-18Peanut allergies are one of the most common forms of food allergy among American children. And the last two decades have seen a dramatic rise in the number of cases. It’s estimated that today 2 percent of all children are allergic to peanuts, four times the number as recently as 1997. And it’s the leading cause of death from food allergies. For parents, of course, a key question, how to avoid the risk to their children. And now comes a new twist. A study published in “The New England Journal of Medicine,” it finds that exposing higher-risk infants to peanut products greatly reduced the risk of developing an allergy later on.

SOURCE:  Feeding infants peanuts could reverse dramatic allergy rise.

I think that when the first two decades of the 21st century goes down into the annals of American history it will be know as the “Age of Fear”. They will describe it as a time when we let fear drive us to a higher degree than any time before (and hopefully since).  Of course that probably started with 9/11. After all it was the first time that so many of our citizens were killed in a single day by someone from beyond our shores.

It seems kind of ironic that our fear that our children might be allergic to peanuts is the reason that so many of them are allergic to peanuts. I’m sure that I, like probably everyone in my generation, was given my first taste of peanut butter as an infant. And I’m  pretty sure that I loved it and ate many PB&J sandwiches before I reached puberty.

Is it now impossible for parents to raise “free-range” kids? Must we protect them from every possible danger out there? I was a free-range kid. I often spent my days roaming the neighborhood seeing what kind of trouble I could get into.:)  I can’t image kids being so sheltered today that they can’t do the same.  It is ironic that what we fear from peanuts we may actually make happen because of our fear.  That is kind of like those folks who refuse to get immunizations for their kids because they fear that it causes other problems.

Fear is a very powerful thing for many I guess.

The Age of Disbelief

My wife is one of those people who if something doesn’t sound logical it must not be true. For example she absolutely refuses to believe in statistics of any form. I on the other hand have a very scientific nature. I am always trying to look at things for different angles. That is a basic difference between us and a very basic difference between many of us in the U.S.  It is nothing new.. Below is an excerpt from an article from National Geographic about this phenomenon.

2015-03-21_13-57-06The world crackles with real and imaginary hazards, and distinguishing the former from the latter isn’t easy. Should we be afraid that the Ebola virus, which is spread only by direct contact with bodily fluids, will mutate into an airborne superplague? The scientific consensus says that’s extremely unlikely: No virus has ever been observed to completely change its mode of transmission in humans, and there’s zero evidence that the latest strain of Ebola is any different. But type “airborne Ebola” into an Internet search engine, and you’ll enter a dystopia where this virus has almost supernatural powers, including the power to kill us all. In this bewildering world we have to decide what to believe and how to act on that. In principle that’s what science is for. “Science is not a body of facts,” says geophysicist Marcia McNutt, who once headed the U.S. Geological Survey and is now editor of Science,the prestigious journal. “Science is a method for deciding whether what we choose to believe has a basis in the laws of nature or not.” But that method doesn’t come naturally to most of us. And so we run into trouble, again and again…. The trouble goes way back, of course. The scientific method leads us to truths that are less than self-evident, often mind-blowing, and sometimes hard to swallow. In the early 17th century, when Galileo claimed that the Earth spins on its axis and orbits the sun, he wasn’t just rejecting church doctrine. He was asking people to believe something that defied common sense—because it sure looks like the sun’s going around the Earth, and you can’t feel the Earth spinning. Galileo was put on trial and forced to recant.

SOURCE: Why Do Many Reasonable People Doubt Science? – National Geographic Magazine.

Accepting things that don’t seem logical is difficult for many of us. Who would have believed even twenty years ago that we could put the entire Christian Bible on something smaller than the head of a pin? But that is commonly accepted fact, even though not really understood, today. I am a very techie type person but the things I have seen in my lifetime even astounds me.  Being a scientist I thoroughly appreciate scientific method as being a process and not a body of facts. It is a way to get at the truth and not the truth itself.

There are many around today that doubt almost everything about science but have no problem using the things that science has provided them. I believe a big part of this doubt come from those who cling to a literal interpretations of the religious documents. Much of what they see in those documents has been discounted by science. That is a direct threat to them so they stubbornly refuse to believe anything science shows.

Another big problem for many is that they don’t take the time to learn much of the “scientific discovery” they see is just our 24 hour media outlets trying to find something to report.  They find a small article income obscure place that come to an outrageous conclusion and then report it as fact. It takes work to determine what is valid science and what is bogus. Neither the news media nor many of us bother to discern the difference.

I Am Ashamed Of My Native State…

2015-04-03_08-24-43I am ashamed of the State of my birth and where I have lived most of my life. But, this isn’t the first time. Indiana for most of my life has been a very conservative red State who embarrasses me on a regular basis.  The Republicans now have total power and they are wielding it. The latest “religious freedom” law is just one example. It sounds like we are now going to have placards placed on business doors saying which potential customers are not allowed to enter their business.  It reminds me kind of like my youth when I saw signs saying “No Negroes” when we traveled in the south. That embarrassed me even at that young age but at least I could say that didn’t happen in “my” State.

I don’t know how big Salesforce company it but once again Indiana is pushing people out by their actions.

Salesforce CEO Marc Benioff said Wednesday that he is helping employees who are uncomfortable with Indiana’s controversial religious freedom law to transfer out of the state….

“I just got an email on the way to studio from another employee who said, ‘look I don’t feel comfortable living in this state anymore, you have to move me out,’ and I gave him a $50,000 relocation package and said, ‘great, you’re clear to go.’ “

SOURCE:Salesforce CEO: We’re helping employees move out of Indiana – Yahoo Finance.

Eli Lilly which practically owns Indianapolis is also stating concerns. I don’t know if Governor Pense and his GOP congress will get the message or not. They just might change the law but that doesn’t mean they will change their attitudes towards those who are different from them.

Maybe I need to consider if I am going to spend my final years in the State of my birth. I know my leaving would not make much of a difference but it might symbolically mean something to me….

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