First world whines

One of the things that really annoys me is what I like to call ‘first world whines’. These are the complaints of people who live lives so pampered that the slightest inconvenience causes them to throw a tantrum.

Take for example, airline flight. This has become unpleasant for many reasons but the one thing that does not bother me is being asked to shut off personal electronic devices (PED) during the take off and landing stages. It seems like such a tiny price to pay in exchange for reducing the chances of the plane crashing. [Read more...]

Elegy for the Plain Dealer?

The Plain Dealer, my local newspaper, has been steadily cutting down its size and laying off reporters, with just the sports section seemingly untouched. On most days, of the six sections (main, metro, business, lifestyle, sports, classified), the sports section is easily the largest. The other sections often have just four or six pages, with a couple of those in the Metro section containing just obituaries. What this says about the priorities of the paper and our community is not complimentary. [Read more...]

David Koch and PBS

PBS (Public Broadcasting Service) and NPR (National Public Radio) are not driven by the profit motive but they do need money to function and as such do depend on donors. This makes them vulnerable to pressure by their corporate sponsors and big donors and this has been documented in the past. I long ago stopped watching The NewsHour because of its corporate friendly approach, that I suspected was influenced by the high-profile corporate sponsors it had. [Read more...]

The metamorphosis of Dylan Ratigan

Although I had never watched his show, I knew that Dylan Ratigan was one of those blustering talk show hosts who seemed to be in a state of perpetual outrage. He left his show on MSNBC to pursue a new direction in life working on an organic hydroponic farm. Al Madrigal of The Daily Show looks at his transformation, using the same techniques that these vapid cable news talk shows use: phony outrage, manufactured ‘balance’, and pointless panels. All these are staples of such shows, necessary in order to hide the lack of real news and to fill up the air time. [Read more...]

Everything done to WikiLeaks is now being done to US reporters

When the US government began its harsh crackdown on WikiLeaks, mainstream journalists and media organizations in the US did not condemn it as much as they should, partly I believe because they were resentful that WikiLeaks had exposed their own failings by exposing wrongdoing that they should have uncovered if they were doing their job. At that time, some of us warned that what the US government was doing to WikiLeaks, if unchecked, would eventually be turned against the mainstream media as well. [Read more...]

Losing civic pride

I like to have pride in the university for which I work. What that means is that I want the institution to look good and so do my best to achieve that by advocating and implementing policies that I believe advance the mission of providing a good education to students, being a good institutional citizen of the city in which it is based, and that treats its employees well. Although the university is by no means perfect, it is clear that enough people who work here share that view and so we are constantly striving to improve it. We are not trying to get the biggest salary in return for the least amount of work. [Read more...]