Soon To Be Classics

Saturday, February 07, 2009

New Trek Commercial

In case you missed it, the new commercial for Star Trek shows a little bit more.

Thursday, February 05, 2009

Step #1 : Silence Your Critics

The first step to complete and absolute power is silencing your critics. It goes beyond just outright censorship. It comes in many forms.

First, it comes as impassioned pleas to "come together" and "finally stop the hate and rhetoric ". That generally happens only AFTER your guy gets elected. Before that point, it was perfectly acceptable to spew bile and hatred on TV, in the classroom, and on the street corner.

It also happens in the form of violent removal of legal rights. We're not quite there yet, but I certainly wouldn't put it past some.

And, it comes in a more subtle form as well. It's an age old argument that we all learn on the playground when we're young. Fairness. We have to be fair, right? We share the ball. We take turns on the slide. We break the cookie in half to share it. That's fair? Right? Everything should be 50/50. Split. Equal. Dare I say, social?

My biggest beef with the new political makeup of our country, is this policy of "spreading the wealth". But I'm not talking about money, or food, or jobs. I'm talking about free speech, the free market system and the abomination known as the "Fairness Doctrine".

The long and short of the Fairness Doctrine, is that Talk Radio leans disproportionately to the conservative side. Host like Rush Limbaugh (who I don't listen to), Sean Hannity (ditto), Dennis Prager (who I very much enjoy) and others have the lion's share of the market. Democratic "leadership" in Congress like Nancy Pelosi and Harry Reid, John Kerry, Dick Durbin and of late Senator Debbie Stabenow (D. from Michigan and not-so-coincidentally married to a liberal talk radio host) are pushing to reintroduce the Fairness Doctrine. This doctrine, if passed and reinstated (it was in effect from 1949 to 1987), would force Radio stations to split their airtime equally over competing messaging.

As it has been mentioned by the politicians above in various forms, it would ONLY affect Radio. Not television. Not movies. And not newspapers. I guess if you have a monopoly on the television news and the theaters are filled with hack job movies for your cause, there's no reason to be fair there. But on Radio, where conservative talk beats liberal talk by a 1000 to one, well, there's suddenly a problem.

This leads us to discuss why that is. It's not that conservative talk radio gets any advantage. There are no grants or funding. (Note that our tax dollars pay for NPR which is highly biased the other way.) Radio is supported by advertisers. Advertisers generally support messages they approve of or are at least savvy enough business people to buy ads where people are listening. For some reason, more people like to listen to conservative talk radio than liberal talk radio. I was in radio when Air America went live. Air America was a liberal talk radio network that had hundreds of millions of dollars in private investment behind it. I received numerous calls (as Program Director of an AM station) trying to get me to pick up the feeds. I had built a conservative / slightly moral lineup for my station and politely refused, but said I would watch the ratings and consider adding shows if I needed filler (154 hours to fill each week was a lot!). So what happened? Air America pretty much went to crap. No one listened, ad support and sponsorship dried up. It declared bankruptcy, left a lot of debt, was sold and is sputtering along. It still exists in some form but the fact is, no one wanted to hear that message or didn't want to hear it the way it was presented. That's called the free market system. The market determines what it wants and rejects what it doesn't. It's economic Darwinism. It reminds me of when Bill Maher made the idiotic comment on his show that the 9/11 hijackers were "the real patriots". After his show was canceled, he screamed "censorship!" It wasn't censorship at all. His advertisers, Sears being one of the biggest, was smart enough to realize that America didn't want to hear that garbage and they pulled their ad spend. The network saw the writing on the wall, realized that they were not going to be able to fill the spots in that show and canceled it. Censorship? No, the free market system in action.

So the intention of the Fairness Doctrine is essentially designed to force Air America or whatever gets set up to fill this gap down the throats of American's who rejected it the first time. If a conservative host talks for 4 hours, then under the Fairness Doctrine, a liberal host gets to talk for four hours. Right there, you have a radio station who just lost half of their TSL or time spent listening.

Now, I don't think for one minute that the Fairness Doctrine will pass. There are democrats in Congress that have openly said they wouldn't support this. I'm sure there are a lot of people who want it to pass, but I think just like this moronic, pork-bloated "stimulus package", people will see the legislation for what it truly is. Control. Silencing. Socialism.

I love Radio. It was the most rewarding job of my life and every day a small part of me is sorry I left. But I saw what government intervention has done to an industry that used to be the major source of information and entertainment in the world. Think radio sucks? Think all the stations sound the same? You can thank Bill Clinton for that. Tucked away inside the 1996 Tele-Comm Bill (remember that one? It was guaranteed to lower your cable bill. Did that EVER happen?) there was a provision that loosened ownership restrictions on radio station buyers. This allowed corporate vampires like Clear Channel and CBS to buy up thousands of radio stations, site-unseen, fire over 20,000 personnel, and homogenize the entire industry. Why does every radio station sound alike? Because every 5 stations have the same jocks, liners and music lists. The only real plus here is that these large radio groups are now tanking. The free market system at work, again.

I suppose we'll all see what happens together. But this is certainly an issue I'll watch with great interest. Like I said, this is the first step and a number of the most powerful lawmakers and gleefully waiting to make it happen.

Monday, January 05, 2009

I'm Really Torn Here

I just don't know what to do.

It dawned on me today that there was a Democrat in the White House for the majority of my Radio career which was certainly helpful in formulating my online personae. It certainly helped that said Democrat was Bill Clinton, which offered a great deal of material with which to build a day's discussion.

I left Radio about a year and a half or so after 9-11 and those last 18 months really didn't involve blue dresses, the definition of the word "is" or anything like that. I was probably doing less opinion and more reporting of the events in the world which seemed uncertain and shaky and oftentimes not very funny.

Now, I no longer have a radio show and it's killing me. The parade of insanity leading up to inauguration day is staggering. I've started and stopped a half dozen blog posts because I myself don't like reading political posts. I had started a lengthy one about today's mind-numbing announcement about Obama's choice for CIA Director. (Please note that this is an issue that Nancy Pelosi and I agree on. That's enough to drop me in a grave already...) I stopped and thought, "Would anyone care to read this?" I'm not sure. The one thing that I noticed years ago, is that no one ever really changes their minds about politics. If you lock 10 people in a room with 5 being Republicans and 5 being Democrats they will emerge in the same numbers no matter how long the door is closed. Hence, why bother?

So, should I post? Or not? If not, I'll continue to (and try to be better at) blogging about important things to me like this note that I saw on NONE of my typical genre sites. Majel Barrett Rodenberry, the "first lady" of Star Trek, passed away in December. I met her in 1993 and she was positively lovely to me. Her last work will be in the upcoming Star Trek film as the voice of the Enterprise computer, a role she played on the original show and several of the movies.

Thursday, January 01, 2009

I'm Sure It's Our Fault Too

If you haven't followed the other side of global warming (the fact that this is one of the coldest years on record) you might have missed that scientists have been tracking the reduction of sunspot activity on the sun. You can read the assessment for 2008 here.

Now I'm sure that somewhere, someone is going to state that the lack of sunspots in 2008 is because I drive a mini-van. Because really, mankind is so powerful that we can affect said activity on an astronomical body millions of times the Earth's mass and 93 million miles away. Isn't the Earth still the center of the Universe?

Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Happy New Year (and good riddance 2008)

Whoops. Been a while.

It's New Year's Eve and we officially say goodbye to 2008. It's a silly tradition as very little actually changes aside from the calendar.

Happy New Year all!

Wednesday, November 05, 2008

And There You Have It

Sunday, October 26, 2008

And So I Face The Final Curtain...

The End is Near...

On Tuesday, I fly back to Seattle to pack up the rest of the house, close on it with the new buyers, put the family on a plane and hit the highway with the van and the cat. 8 months and 4 days after I left there for Denver, it's finally over.

I'll spend two days driving through three mountain ranges (in late October...can't wait) to get to Denver. I hope the title of this post isn't too prophetic.

My hope is to be here in Denver with them for trick or treat. I'll have to make good time to do it. Wish me luck.

In 8 days we close on the house down here. I probably shouldn't have purchased a house with the uncertainty in EVERYTHING these days but what the hell. There has been no stability in my family for almost a year now. I had to give them something.

Thanks to all of you who have supported me over the last 8 months. I think I'm only coming to terms with how depressed I have really been and hope that it's going to be easy to pull out of.

More details as they become available.