Tuesday, March 29, 2011

March 29, 2011

A lot has happened since my last blog. 2011 has roared in with a lot of turmoil. The turmoil in my personal life so far this year includes the loss, gain, and loss of employment, health problems (involving skin infections I never had to deal with when I lived in NYC), and lost friends. I lost several friends to paranoia, one friend to Kregeritis, and another to a heart attack- at 28. Unfortunately, Jeff Braverman's surviving family is still struggling over his death, and to be honest, they need the prayers more than he does.

There's also been a lot of political turmoil. Some of it could have been predicted with the Republican wave last election day. But the current turmoil in the Middle East is what will affect world history more than any union attempts to convince public opinion to support their attempts to milk more money out of a broken and overtaxed economy. Tunisia and Egypt are free of their autocratic leaders, and there is civil unrest in Bahrain, Oman, Yemen, and Syria. The biggest news in the Middle East right now is the civil war in Libya. Muammar the wacko (I won't print his surname here because there are at least 4 conflicting Arabic-to-English spellings of it in various media sources) is fighting to keep power after losing the eastern part of Libya to insurgents inspired by the revolutions in neighboring Tunisia and Egypt. After the Arab League and EU "discovered" that Muammar was targeting civilians (I guess they forgot what his agents did over Lockerbie in 1988), they lobbied the UN to approve a "no-fly zone" over Libya. President Obama used the resolution as an excuse to supply most of the airpower to enforce the no fly zone. This has caused some weird shifts in the US political dynamic. Conservatives are split on Obama's actions, as are the various tea party contingents. Many Democrats are calling for Obama's impeachment over enforcing the UN resolution. And Obama is making a poor case as to why the US is even involved in Libya. But if anything, Obama should point out that we are finishing an action that Reagan should have completed in 1986. If Reagan had bombed Muammar the Wacko into hell during the 1986 bombings, we could have been spared the Pan Am bombings, various terrorist attacks, and the buildup of a chemical weapons program that was only stopped when Muammar saw the damage that the US Army did in Iraq in 2003.

George Soros and the wacko leftists are at it again. Soros is using his non-profit Media Matters organization to plot a "guerilla warfare and sabotage" against News Corp and Fox News Channel. While I think that one of the big 4 networks should be out of business (mainly because the FCC didn't do its job in 1993), I diasgree with the Soros war against Fox, especially since Fox is no more biased to the right than MSNBC and NPR are to the left and has certainly not done anything illegal other than tear Soros's worldview to shreds.

First of all, Fox News Channel is a cable channel. The FCC has little influence over cable, except to dictate competition and rates bargaining. While I tend to agree with news coverage on Fox News more than I would on ABC News or MSNBC, I do have some issues with Fox News's management ideas. While I know of various web sites that stream CNN, Fox has done everything in its power to shut down sites that try to stream its news. Why? Not everyone has or can afford cable. And why should any commercial network (Fox News, USA, Spike, or any of the over-the-air networks) charge to transmit their programs onto cable on the first place? What the hell are these networks doing with their advertising revenue? And are they so broke that they can't live off that? And if Fox News gave a damn about trying to have as many viewers as possible to watch their "fair and unbiased" news, they should do an end-run around cable by making Fox News and little-watched Fox Business available as subchannels on every over-the-air Fox affiliate in the country.

If Soros wanted to use his powers to destroy a network/media company that actually has violated the public interest (the modus operandi for the FCC), he should go after NBC. Soros probably won't since NBC's news divisions are closest in line to his worldview. But NBC never got punished for the most egregious violation of public interest in my lifetime- the Dateline report where producers tried to prove GM trucks were explosive by rigging explosives on a truck and passing that off as a fuel tank defect. Sure, the NBC News president (Michael Gartner) was forced to resign, but NBC News is still on the air. Dateline NBC is still on the air. And NBC received no fines or sanctions from the FCC for staging the GM story. Meanwhile, CBS got fined $550000 for an accidental nipple flash during the 2004 Super Bowl. How the hell is that a bigger violation of the public interest than anything NBC News has put on the air over the last 20 years? And I still haven't forgotten the "Syracuse Peacock" incidents from March of 1997, when a Syracuse grad employee of WNBC (NBC's low rated flagship station in New York) made threatening calls to the Brooklyn College Excelsior student newspaper concerning my articles that mentioned his pathetic excuse for an employer.

General Electric was so upset with what NBC was doing to its image (and its profits) that they sold NBC to Comcast last year. Comcast now controls the largest collection of cable systems in the country and 3 over-the-air broadcast networks (NBC, Ion, and Telemundo). Since most liberals hate media monopolies, why aren't they crying out over this illegal (under most FCC rules) media combination?

Getting slightly off the NBC tangent, I have replaced the Windows 2000 system that was installed on my Dell in favor of a Linux-based OS called Ubuntu. Trying to figure out Linux and trying to re-learn UNIX (the MS-DOS for Linux) for the first time since 1997 should be a fun challenge between job searches. This is the first blog I've composed in a completely non-Windows format- using Ubuntu 10.10, Leafpad, and Ubuntu's generic version of Firefox. But then, I have used Firefox's Windows version for most of these blogs between 2005-2010. And if I can master these new programming languages, there's another thing to add to my resume.