Saturday, June 26, 2010

New Orleanean Sunrise Presented by @tjholmescnn

Sunrise in New Orleans.  on Twitpic
CNN anchor TJ Holmes is anchoring his weekend mornings show from New Orleans. He shares a beautiful sunrise with his audience.

Thursday, June 17, 2010

FTC Policy Recommendations for Improving Journalism

FTC STAFF DISCUSSION DRAFT FEDERAL TRADE COMMISSION STAFF DISCUSSION DRAFT: POTENTIAL POLICY RECOMMENDATION

I like most of these recommendations. Let us go back to the development of the community newspaper. Not only will it promote literacy but the discrepancy between who gets vital information and who does not will narrow.

I caution the FTC to not be anxious to throw money at the problem. New publications should have help becoming established in the community. There are many people who think being a reporter is glamorous and easy and it is not. It can be dangerous, tedious and no fun at all. I would hate to see people who want to be committed to journalistic integrity take precious funding and squander it when the going gets tough or to use a newspaper as their personal platform.

I have felt for years that there should be some non-profit newspapers available to the community so that they can get vital information offered by government agencies. As long as the reader understands the source of the information, it will read about the same as a newspaper in mainstream. They get funding from businesses-national, regional and local.
They bend and sway under the weight of editorial sacrifices as well.
However, public affairs reporting could make a comeback. It is why I wanted to become a reporter in the first place but by the time I graduated with a degree in Journalism, those positions had been eliminated.

There seems to be some opposition to these suggestions by the FTC. I wonder if it is due to not wanting to compete for readership? Once fiduciary concerns are satisfied--news is news. Either the reader is being served news that is vital or they are being fed a diet of fluff.

I hope the FTC moves forward with these recommendations. The Gulf Oil Spill would not have happened. Enron would not have happened. You get the picture.

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

What I learned about the Gulf Coast Oil Spill

While writing an article for Demand Studios on Kirkuk oil, I learned a few things that relate to the current Gulf Coast Oil Spill.
I learned that oil companies and government fight all of the time over how to balance oil field management and not polluting the environment or damaging the oil well. (This degrades the oil quality.)
Sometimes, these fights stem from the oil industry's internal strife.
I also learned that all industry everywhere have this problem.
There is a rift often between college degreed workers and those who learned on the job and opt not to earn a degree. Sometimes people, who don't really know any better, challenge management and those people whom management place in important positions. You know the type. They can always do something better than you but they don't have a degree, did not want to go get one and consider education unnecessary.
It never occurred to me that this fight could extend to the oil industry and that simple rules put in place to protect the oil well, the environment, and the people–due to false pride– are undermined.
Not everyone is up for the fight and sometimes cave to pressure either to keep the peace or keep the job they have or both.
During research an article, I had to read many reports regarding routine problems on oil rigs and how they are managed. Corners are cut unofficially to increase profit--even though I know there is some engineer standing in corner shaking his or her head about how they should listen to him or her and not do the thing that they are doing. Rifts form between management and workers. People are afraid to step up because they want to keep their job.
False pride and greed are why there is a large amount of oil in the Gulf.
All of the oil companies have this problem with staff. It is when it becomes unmanageable and a situation occurs that we stop and examine our behavior.
Now everyone is running around with his or her hands up in the air complaining, worried and blaming the president.
What a mess.
Individual responsibility and the willingness to do the right thing within reason, is the way to prevent catastrophes that are difficult to solve.
I also learned that a major oil well in Iraq is running out of oil. The next 50 or so years will be crucial for America to turn around its obsession with fossil fuels, improve the electrical grid and start seriously building windmills. In 50 years, if I’m around, I will be too damn old and grouchy to deal with all of this crap.
Okay. BP just announced they will not be paying shareholder dividends. Any finance majors out there willing to expound on this revelation?
They did not say if this is a permanent situation or temporary.

Sunday, June 13, 2010

The Presidential "Emote" is Classified!

The American People focus on so many silly things. Fareed Zakaria GPS posed the question Sunday morning, something having to do with the President's "emotional response" to the BP Gulf Oil Spill.
"Emote?!"
A. He is a dude, not a girl
B. He is not a phony
C. Grow Up!
America has many, many serious problems that have yet to be solved (by the president) and the BP Gulf Oil Spill is only one of them.
We all care about it but I am upset in a selfish way because I love the beaches in Florida and hate the thought of the healing powers of the Atlantic Ocean being destroyed by an oil spill.
Seriously, the minerals contained within our salty and taken-for-granted ocean have the power to alleviate depression, minor aches and pains
(because of the buoyancy) and heal minor skin irritations. My eczema healed up within weeks of a daily dip in the ocean.
But I digress.
People act as if Barack Obama does not have the same natural rights to be president like any other U.S. born citizen. As if his first term is an experiment or test of our Constitution. As if to say, "if you do well on all points this time Black Man, we might let more of you help run the country." As if his presidency is contingent solely on the public whim as filtered through the news.
However, this particular president is transparent and the People cannot handle the truth. Not at all.
Most people don't pay close attention to the news if it does not affect them personally. People and their kitchen table issues like crime, local municipal gossip and how to make/spend more money are at the top of their agenda, not solving problems. We are a hedonistic group. Pleasure, entertainment and comfort are what we seek, not issues and problems--even if those issues and problems will come right around and bite us in the butt down the road.
Oil wells have been leaking into the ocean for years. If the American People could be a fly on the wall of the White House, I'm not sure they would view the president as unemotional. They would hear the voice of their father, brother, husband upset but asking the relevant, tough questions and participating in the back and forth it takes to solve a problem like educated adults.
Although, that's boring, isn't it? People want an episode of Jerry Springer or a moving speech.
What we want to hear and watch, is the president whoop and holler, threaten folks, stomp around in the sand and sling the oil around and yell and blame people and in general, act a complete uneducated, unsophisticated ass. If the president did break a bottle on the corner of the
boardwalk or pull a 9mm out and wave it around, guess what would happen?
Some of you already know.
The same damn thing. People would complain about how uncouth the president is behaving and that he isn't acting like the man who they voted for and how he should calm down because he is the leader...etc.
Geez. When will we ever be satisfied?
Instead of demanding an emotional speech that will take away from his valuable problem solving time or theatrics, why not let him quietly do his job with out the second guessing?

Sunday, June 06, 2010

Literacy Levels in the Gulf Coast

Yesterday I received in my e-mail, a message from the President of the United States offering his ideas about the Gulf Coast. President Obama basically reported what he saw there.
I am beginning to think literacy may be an issue among the Gulf Coast fishers, based on what I read in the President's letter.
They work intergenerationally, what they learn is handed down through families, so formal education may not be stressed. I hope someone in charge is addressing this issue with them. It is the least one can do while disrupting their livelihood. Literacy classes should be offered
because many people won't ask. Any training BP offers probably requires a
particular reading level.
Partner with local literacy groups and get them to help with the training so that the people affected by illiteracy won't have to ask.
This what I read which led me to my ideas about literacy in the Gulf Coast region and training.
President Obama said:
Yesterday, I visited Caminada Bay in Grand Isle, Louisiana -- one of the first places to feel the devastation wrought by the oil spill in the Gulf
of Mexico. While I was here, at Camerdelle's Live Bait shop, I met with a group of local residents and small business owners.
Folks like Floyd Lasseigne, a fourth-generation oyster fisherman. This is the time of year when he ordinarily earns a lot of his income. But his
oyster bed has likely been destroyed by the spill. Terry Vegas had a similar story. He quit the 8th grade to become a shrimper with his grandfather. Ever since, he's earned his living during shrimping season -- working long, grueling days so that he could earn enough money to support himself year-round. But today, the waters where he
has worked are closed. And every day, as the spill worsens, he loses hope
that he will be able to return to the life he built.
Here, this spill has not just damaged livelihoods. It has upended whole
communities. And the fury people feel is not just about the money they
have lost. It is about the wrenching recognition that this time their lives may never be the same.
These people work hard. They meet their responsibilities. But now because
of a man made catastrophe -- one that is not their fault and beyond their control -- their lives have been thrown into turmoil. It is brutally
unfair. And what I told these men and women is that I will stand with the people of the Gulf Coast until they are again made whole.
That is why, from the beginning, we have worked to deploy every tool at
our disposal to respond to this crisis. Today, there are more than 20,000
people working around the clock to contain and clean up this spill. I have
authorized 17,500 National Guard troops to participate in the response.
More than 1,900 vessels are aiding in the containment and cleanup effort.
We have convened hundreds of top scientists and engineers from around the
world. This is the largest response to an environmental disaster of this
kind in the history of our country.
We have also ordered BP to pay economic injury claims, and this week, the
federal government sent BP a preliminary bill for $69 million to pay back
American taxpayers for some of the costs of the response so far. In
addition, after an emergency safety review, we are putting in place
aggressive new operating standards for offshore drilling. And I have appointed a bipartisan commission to look into the causes of this spill.
If laws are inadequate, they will be changed. If oversight was lacking, it will be strengthened. And if laws were broken, those responsible will be
brought to justice.
These are hard times in Louisiana and across the Gulf Coast, an area that
has already seen more than its fair share of troubles. The people of this region have met this terrible catastrophe with seemingly boundless
strength and character in defense of their way of life. What we owe them is a commitment by our nation to match the resilience they have shown.
That is our mission. And it is one we will fulfill.

Thank you,

President Barack Obama

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