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    A Special New Year 2003 Message-To All Readers of HawaiiReporter.com and Supporters of Grassroot Institute of Hawaii

    0

    “Dick Rowland Image”

    We hope for you to work hard to assure that you enjoy the best year you ever had. For our part, we certainly plan to do that.

    Our point is this: you are in charge of your attitude, your efforts, not
    the year 2003. To say “Have a good year” implies you are helplessly at the mercy of whatever the year may bring — as if the year to come was your boss or controller. Not so; you react to events and circumstances, the year does not. So, make it a great year and let us know if we can help you along the way.

    Our fellow think tank, the Mackinac Center for Public Policy, Midland,
    Michigan, asked its staff of 30 or so to answer what they hope for in
    2003. Below are some of their remarks which we found meaningful. See https://www.Mackinac.org

    Hope you get inspired.

    “I hope that we will make great strides in helping people realize that the state doesn’t have a legitimate right to exercise moral authority over their children by forcing them to attend failing
    government-assigned schools and that parents will begin demanding the power to choose their own schools. I hope that parents are given more control over the schools their children attend and the money to make it happen through programs such as vouchers or tax credits. Who knows the needs of and cares more for a child than his/her loving parent?”

    “I hope that the new governors and legislators across the country will understand that entrepreneurs and free enterprise is what makes everything else possible; that they are easily crushed by high taxes, over-regulation and infringements on property rights; and that those destructive policies can’t be mitigated by handouts or “incentives” for certain favored firms and industries.”

    “I hope people more fully realize how much government takes from them, which if left in their own hands, they could use to more directly, efficiently and effectively to help each other.”

    “I hope people realize that reforming the world begins by reforming ourselves, each and every one of us, one at a time, on a very personal level. Too many people want to meddle in the affairs of others and run their lives for them, even though their own lives are in need of vast self-improvement.”

    “I hope more people come to realize that anything government gives, it first took from someone by threat of force. Government robs Peter to pay Paul.”

    “I hope education improves for everyone. I enjoy learning and thinking. And more thinking and learning can happen if people embrace openness, competition and choice.”

    “I hope that everyone involved in supporting political campaigns will
    realize that even the best politicians act only within the confines of
    acceptable policy that have been determined by visionary advocates of new ways of doing things. When you give to a politician, you help
    somebody move around on a road no farther than the end of that road — not necessarily to your destination. When you give to a think tank like the Mackinac Center, you help somebody build a new road that extends to policies that were previously unreachable by mere politicians.”

    “I hope that America adopts a flatter tax system. The U.S. tax system is an embarrassment. We should follow the leads of nations like the former Soviet Union and Estonia and flatten and lower our tax codes to help create more overall economic growth for the nation.”

    “I hope the U.S. adopts genuine Social Security Reform through allowing citizens more private options. The U.S. should join other nations and reform their pension systems, just as other nations around the world have. Other countries with private retirement accounts include, Chile, Denmark, the Netherlands, Argentina, Colombia, Peru, Bolivia, Mexico, Uruguay, Australia, Hungary, Kazakhstan, Poland, Latvia, Sweden, Hong Kong, El Salvador and Croatia (and coming soon) China.”

    “As a homeschooler, I really do hope states like Michigan start moving toward education tax credits this next year! I can hardly imagine how much richer of an educational experience my child could have if we spent even half of what our state spends on each child.”

    ”’Make it the best year of your life …”’

    ”’Richard O. Rowland is president of the Grassroot Institute of Hawaii. He can be reached via email at mailto:grassroot@hawaii.rr.com or by phone at (808) 487-4959. More information about the Grassroot Institute of Hawaii can be found at its Web site at”’ https://www.grassrootinstitute.org

    Open Letter from Striking Nurses at Queens

    Do you want to know what’s keeping us apart from Queen’s? *The hospital’s refusal to address the issues of short staffing and mandatory overtime indicates it is not putting patients first *If the hospital truly valued us, it would have negotiated a fair contract and we would not be out on strike *The hospital is offering us ”worse” benefits than what we already have, but repackaging it to make it look as if it is offering us more *The hospital’s proposed reduction in our retirement package will ultimately penalize us with lower pensions, while putting billions into its pockets *The Paid Time Off (PTO) system makes us use earned vacation time when we are sick, while the hospital saves money. It also creates incentives for us to come to work when we are sick and can make patients and co-workers sick These are the things that Queen’s can and must do to bring us together: *Have fewer patients per nurse so we can do a good and safe job *Get rid of mandatory overtime, as it is proven to cause patient deaths *Bring all of its negotiators (not just 2 or 3) to bargaining, including front-line nurse managers to negotiate a fair contract *Stop combining issues we agreed upon with others we rejected. Take-it-or-leave-it packages leave no room for honest negotiations *Stop thinking with a “corporate mentality” and ”listen” to your “valued” nurses’ suggestions for patient care *Stop short staffing. This is short-sighted and has been proven to lead to longer patient stays, increased patient ”deaths,” and increased numbers of lawsuits To the Queen’s management, as we informed you at the December 16th negotiations, we had ”no” problem with your wage proposal. ”You” refused to honor this proposal! If the Directors of the Queen’s Medical Center are so interested in their corporate bottom line, perhaps they need to review their own salaries. These salaries range from $149,500 for working 40 hours a week in the case of the V.P. of Patient Care to $441,000 for working ”one hour” a week in the case of a Trustee (taken from the Queen’s 2000 Federal Form 990). We are asking the hospital to give nurses a chance to be there for our patients. Hospitals will save money in the long run if they invest in quality nursing care. Nurses are the best asset the hospital can have to ensure quality patient care. Stop pushing us onto the picket lines, into permanent jobs at other facilities, and out of the nursing profession altogether with your bad policy decisions.

    A Special New Year 2003 Message-To All Readers of HawaiiReporter.com and Supporters of Grassroot Institute of Hawaii

    0

    Dick Rowland Image We hope for you to work hard to assure that you enjoy the best year you ever had. For our part, we certainly plan to do that. Our point is this: you are in charge of your attitude, your efforts, not the year 2003. To say “Have a good year” implies you are helplessly at the mercy of whatever the year may bring — as if the year to come was your boss or controller. Not so; you react to events and circumstances, the year does not. So, make it a great year and let us know if we can help you along the way. Our fellow think tank, the Mackinac Center for Public Policy, Midland, Michigan, asked its staff of 30 or so to answer what they hope for in 2003. Below are some of their remarks which we found meaningful. See https://www.Mackinac.org Hope you get inspired. “I hope that we will make great strides in helping people realize that the state doesn’t have a legitimate right to exercise moral authority over their children by forcing them to attend failing government-assigned schools and that parents will begin demanding the power to choose their own schools. I hope that parents are given more control over the schools their children attend and the money to make it happen through programs such as vouchers or tax credits. Who knows the needs of and cares more for a child than his/her loving parent?” “I hope that the new governors and legislators across the country will understand that entrepreneurs and free enterprise is what makes everything else possible; that they are easily crushed by high taxes, over-regulation and infringements on property rights; and that those destructive policies can’t be mitigated by handouts or “incentives” for certain favored firms and industries.” “I hope people more fully realize how much government takes from them, which if left in their own hands, they could use to more directly, efficiently and effectively to help each other.” “I hope people realize that reforming the world begins by reforming ourselves, each and every one of us, one at a time, on a very personal level. Too many people want to meddle in the affairs of others and run their lives for them, even though their own lives are in need of vast self-improvement.” “I hope more people come to realize that anything government gives, it first took from someone by threat of force. Government robs Peter to pay Paul.” “I hope education improves for everyone. I enjoy learning and thinking. And more thinking and learning can happen if people embrace openness, competition and choice.” “I hope that everyone involved in supporting political campaigns will realize that even the best politicians act only within the confines of acceptable policy that have been determined by visionary advocates of new ways of doing things. When you give to a politician, you help somebody move around on a road no farther than the end of that road — not necessarily to your destination. When you give to a think tank like the Mackinac Center, you help somebody build a new road that extends to policies that were previously unreachable by mere politicians.” “I hope that America adopts a flatter tax system. The U.S. tax system is an embarrassment. We should follow the leads of nations like the former Soviet Union and Estonia and flatten and lower our tax codes to help create more overall economic growth for the nation.” “I hope the U.S. adopts genuine Social Security Reform through allowing citizens more private options. The U.S. should join other nations and reform their pension systems, just as other nations around the world have. Other countries with private retirement accounts include, Chile, Denmark, the Netherlands, Argentina, Colombia, Peru, Bolivia, Mexico, Uruguay, Australia, Hungary, Kazakhstan, Poland, Latvia, Sweden, Hong Kong, El Salvador and Croatia (and coming soon) China.” “As a homeschooler, I really do hope states like Michigan start moving toward education tax credits this next year! I can hardly imagine how much richer of an educational experience my child could have if we spent even half of what our state spends on each child.” ”Make it the best year of your life …” ”Richard O. Rowland is president of the Grassroot Institute of Hawaii. He can be reached via email at mailto:grassroot@hawaii.rr.com or by phone at (808) 487-4959. More information about the Grassroot Institute of Hawaii can be found at its Web site at” https://www.grassrootinstitute.org

    Cathy's World: Media Moments, 2002

    0

    LOS ANGELES, Jan. 1 (UPI) — Here are my favorite media moments of last year, although I admit I enjoyed most of them only in the deeply cynical way I used to watch “The Partridge Family” back in the olden days.

    THIS JUST IN: POLITICAL TENSIONS HIJACK AIRPLANE: Blogger and former San Jose Mercury News columnist Joanne Jacobs noticed a ridiculous headline in her old paper in March, after a Muslim mob attacked a train full of Hindu passengers: “Religious Tensions Kill 57 In India.” Running with the absurdity of the Merc’s blame-avoidance, National Post columnist Mark Steyn wrote: “Ah, those religious tensions’ll kill you every time. Is there an Ex-Lax you can take for religious tension? Or an extra-strength Tylenol, in case you feel a sudden attack coming on? I haven’t looked at the Mercury News for September 12th, but I’m assuming the front page read ‘Religious Tensions Kill 3,000 in New York,’ a particularly bad outbreak. If I were an Islamic fundamentalist, I’d be wondering what I had to do to get a bad press …”

    SPEEDY, WE HARDLY KNEW YE: Fans began clamoring last April to bring back the Looney Tunes south-of-the-border mouse to Cartoon Network, which had banished the Speedy Gonzales character because of ethnic sensitivities. Jon Stewart noted on “The Daily Show” about Cartoon Network’s Speedyless programming: “They needed to make room for ‘The Pepe Le Pew “No Means Yes” Hour.'”

    GET READY FOR “THE BACHELOR” MEETS “BLUE’S CLUES:” In May, Nick Jr.’s “Blue’s Clues” introduced its pre-school audience to the cartoon dog’s new best pal, Joe, played by actor Donovan Patton. (Tots were told that Joe’s older brother, Steve, played by the departing Steve Burns, went off to college.) Nickelodeon execs were very excited about the hottie-factor of the new “Blue’s Clues” guy — maybe a little too excited. “Our teenage moms are gonna LOVE Donavan,” gushed one at the press conference. Well, that’s always a socially valuable demographic to keep in mind.

    DEPARTMENT OF DESPERATION: NBC President and Democratic Hollywood honcho Ted Harbert sent out a weirdly capitalized invitation to attend a June fundraising dinner for House Minority Leader Dick Gephardt, and also “to stop the Republicans from destroying the Environment, the Economy and our Education system and 38 other things … $500 for you Young Professionals.” This was followed a short time later by another, rather frantic notice: “You can come to the June 9 Gephardt Event AND Still Be Home In Time for the Lakers Game.” Plus: “The REVISED COST for a “Young Professional” contribution … is $250 per person.”

    INK-STAINED, MAYBE; SELF-RIGHTEOUS, ALWAYS: Some reporters at the PBS press conference in July were outraged at the news that “Sesame Street” had decided not to add an HIV-positive Muppet to the cast after all, even though the South African version of “Sesame Street” has one.

    THERE’S LOW RATINGS. THERE’S CRASHING-THROUGH-THE-FLOOR RATINGS. AND THEN THERE’S PHIL DONAHUE ON MSNBC: “Well, I feel like a very lucky duck and not too many folks get this chance,” the talk show host said at an MSNBC press conference, just before his much-hyped but (as it turned out) little-watched new cable show premiered last summer. “All throughout my career when I failed, when other people failed, it was predictable. They would say, ‘Well, they didn’t promote me.’ I can’t make that argument at MSNBC. I’m on the side of every other bus in New York City. The promotional has been sensational. And I really couldn’t ask for more support.” No, but a few more viewers would have been nice.

    THE UNBELIEVABLE BOFFONESS OF “AMERICAN IDOL”: Robert Thompson, head of Syracuse University’s Center for the Study of Popular Television, told CNN in August that the talent show is much, much greater than anything that had come before: “This is to ‘Star Search’ what modern quantum physics is to Newtonian gravitational equations.” NOW LISTEN TO THE STORY OF A MAN NAMED JED, A POOR MOUNTAINEER TRYIN’ TO KEEP HIS FAMILY ON TV 24 HOURS A DAY, EVEN IN THE BATHROOM: CBS announced in August it plans to resurrect “The Beverly Hillbillies” as a reality series.

    THEY NEVER SAID YOU WAS HIGH CLASS: In a deal being investigated by Department of Justice anti-trust lawyers, the nation’s two largest alternative weekly chains — Village Voice Media and New Times — agreed in October to shut down New Times in Los Angeles, leaving a market monopoly for the Village Voice-owned L.A. Weekly, in return for the Village Voice closing its Cleveland paper and leaving the market clear in that city for the New Times-owned Cleveland paper.

    Of course, L.A. is much bigger than Cleveland, so the Village Voice also agreed to paid New Times $8 million. When a reporter from the L.A. Weekly working on a story about the closures called New Times founder and executive editor Michael Lacey for a comment, Lacey yelled “Go f— yourself” and slammed down the phone.

    SNARKORAMA! This is the year that the indispensable website TelevisionWithoutPity.com came into its own, complete with a big respectful article in the New York Times magazine in October about how showrunners increasingly pay attention to what these online kibitzers think. I became a fan of TVw/oP.com during “American Idol,” when one of the site’s episode recappers noted that Justin made Paula Abdul’s uterus fall out.

    Here, just for a taste, is the TVw/oP.com recap of a November episode of “Everwood”: “As the writers scratch off #476 in their Handy-Dandy Handbook of On-Screen clich

    Cathy’s World: Media Moments, 2002

    0

    LOS ANGELES, Jan. 1 (UPI) — Here are my favorite media moments of last year, although I admit I enjoyed most of them only in the deeply cynical way I used to watch “The Partridge Family” back in the olden days.

    THIS JUST IN: POLITICAL TENSIONS HIJACK AIRPLANE: Blogger and former San Jose Mercury News columnist Joanne Jacobs noticed a ridiculous headline in her old paper in March, after a Muslim mob attacked a train full of Hindu passengers: “Religious Tensions Kill 57 In India.” Running with the absurdity of the Merc’s blame-avoidance, National Post columnist Mark Steyn wrote: “Ah, those religious tensions’ll kill you every time. Is there an Ex-Lax you can take for religious tension? Or an extra-strength Tylenol, in case you feel a sudden attack coming on? I haven’t looked at the Mercury News for September 12th, but I’m assuming the front page read ‘Religious Tensions Kill 3,000 in New York,’ a particularly bad outbreak. If I were an Islamic fundamentalist, I’d be wondering what I had to do to get a bad press …”

    SPEEDY, WE HARDLY KNEW YE: Fans began clamoring last April to bring back the Looney Tunes south-of-the-border mouse to Cartoon Network, which had banished the Speedy Gonzales character because of ethnic sensitivities. Jon Stewart noted on “The Daily Show” about Cartoon Network’s Speedyless programming: “They needed to make room for ‘The Pepe Le Pew “No Means Yes” Hour.'”

    GET READY FOR “THE BACHELOR” MEETS “BLUE’S CLUES:” In May, Nick Jr.’s “Blue’s Clues” introduced its pre-school audience to the cartoon dog’s new best pal, Joe, played by actor Donovan Patton. (Tots were told that Joe’s older brother, Steve, played by the departing Steve Burns, went off to college.) Nickelodeon execs were very excited about the hottie-factor of the new “Blue’s Clues” guy — maybe a little too excited. “Our teenage moms are gonna LOVE Donavan,” gushed one at the press conference. Well, that’s always a socially valuable demographic to keep in mind.

    DEPARTMENT OF DESPERATION: NBC President and Democratic Hollywood honcho Ted Harbert sent out a weirdly capitalized invitation to attend a June fundraising dinner for House Minority Leader Dick Gephardt, and also “to stop the Republicans from destroying the Environment, the Economy and our Education system and 38 other things … $500 for you Young Professionals.” This was followed a short time later by another, rather frantic notice: “You can come to the June 9 Gephardt Event AND Still Be Home In Time for the Lakers Game.” Plus: “The REVISED COST for a “Young Professional” contribution … is $250 per person.”

    INK-STAINED, MAYBE; SELF-RIGHTEOUS, ALWAYS: Some reporters at the PBS press conference in July were outraged at the news that “Sesame Street” had decided not to add an HIV-positive Muppet to the cast after all, even though the South African version of “Sesame Street” has one.

    THERE’S LOW RATINGS. THERE’S CRASHING-THROUGH-THE-FLOOR RATINGS. AND THEN THERE’S PHIL DONAHUE ON MSNBC: “Well, I feel like a very lucky duck and not too many folks get this chance,” the talk show host said at an MSNBC press conference, just before his much-hyped but (as it turned out) little-watched new cable show premiered last summer. “All throughout my career when I failed, when other people failed, it was predictable. They would say, ‘Well, they didn’t promote me.’ I can’t make that argument at MSNBC. I’m on the side of every other bus in New York City. The promotional has been sensational. And I really couldn’t ask for more support.” No, but a few more viewers would have been nice.

    THE UNBELIEVABLE BOFFONESS OF “AMERICAN IDOL”: Robert Thompson, head of Syracuse University’s Center for the Study of Popular Television, told CNN in August that the talent show is much, much greater than anything that had come before: “This is to ‘Star Search’ what modern quantum physics is to Newtonian gravitational equations.” NOW LISTEN TO THE STORY OF A MAN NAMED JED, A POOR MOUNTAINEER TRYIN’ TO KEEP HIS FAMILY ON TV 24 HOURS A DAY, EVEN IN THE BATHROOM: CBS announced in August it plans to resurrect “The Beverly Hillbillies” as a reality series.

    THEY NEVER SAID YOU WAS HIGH CLASS: In a deal being investigated by Department of Justice anti-trust lawyers, the nation’s two largest alternative weekly chains — Village Voice Media and New Times — agreed in October to shut down New Times in Los Angeles, leaving a market monopoly for the Village Voice-owned L.A. Weekly, in return for the Village Voice closing its Cleveland paper and leaving the market clear in that city for the New Times-owned Cleveland paper.

    Of course, L.A. is much bigger than Cleveland, so the Village Voice also agreed to paid New Times $8 million. When a reporter from the L.A. Weekly working on a story about the closures called New Times founder and executive editor Michael Lacey for a comment, Lacey yelled “Go f— yourself” and slammed down the phone.

    SNARKORAMA! This is the year that the indispensable website TelevisionWithoutPity.com came into its own, complete with a big respectful article in the New York Times magazine in October about how showrunners increasingly pay attention to what these online kibitzers think. I became a fan of TVw/oP.com during “American Idol,” when one of the site’s episode recappers noted that Justin made Paula Abdul’s uterus fall out.

    Here, just for a taste, is the TVw/oP.com recap of a November episode of “Everwood”: “As the writers scratch off #476 in their Handy-Dandy Handbook of On-Screen clich

    Cathy's World: Media Moments, 2002

    0

    LOS ANGELES, Jan. 1 (UPI) — Here are my favorite media moments of last year, although I admit I enjoyed most of them only in the deeply cynical way I used to watch “The Partridge Family” back in the olden days. THIS JUST IN: POLITICAL TENSIONS HIJACK AIRPLANE: Blogger and former San Jose Mercury News columnist Joanne Jacobs noticed a ridiculous headline in her old paper in March, after a Muslim mob attacked a train full of Hindu passengers: “Religious Tensions Kill 57 In India.” Running with the absurdity of the Merc’s blame-avoidance, National Post columnist Mark Steyn wrote: “Ah, those religious tensions’ll kill you every time. Is there an Ex-Lax you can take for religious tension? Or an extra-strength Tylenol, in case you feel a sudden attack coming on? I haven’t looked at the Mercury News for September 12th, but I’m assuming the front page read ‘Religious Tensions Kill 3,000 in New York,’ a particularly bad outbreak. If I were an Islamic fundamentalist, I’d be wondering what I had to do to get a bad press …” SPEEDY, WE HARDLY KNEW YE: Fans began clamoring last April to bring back the Looney Tunes south-of-the-border mouse to Cartoon Network, which had banished the Speedy Gonzales character because of ethnic sensitivities. Jon Stewart noted on “The Daily Show” about Cartoon Network’s Speedyless programming: “They needed to make room for ‘The Pepe Le Pew “No Means Yes” Hour.'” GET READY FOR “THE BACHELOR” MEETS “BLUE’S CLUES:” In May, Nick Jr.’s “Blue’s Clues” introduced its pre-school audience to the cartoon dog’s new best pal, Joe, played by actor Donovan Patton. (Tots were told that Joe’s older brother, Steve, played by the departing Steve Burns, went off to college.) Nickelodeon execs were very excited about the hottie-factor of the new “Blue’s Clues” guy — maybe a little too excited. “Our teenage moms are gonna LOVE Donavan,” gushed one at the press conference. Well, that’s always a socially valuable demographic to keep in mind. DEPARTMENT OF DESPERATION: NBC President and Democratic Hollywood honcho Ted Harbert sent out a weirdly capitalized invitation to attend a June fundraising dinner for House Minority Leader Dick Gephardt, and also “to stop the Republicans from destroying the Environment, the Economy and our Education system and 38 other things … $500 for you Young Professionals.” This was followed a short time later by another, rather frantic notice: “You can come to the June 9 Gephardt Event AND Still Be Home In Time for the Lakers Game.” Plus: “The REVISED COST for a “Young Professional” contribution … is $250 per person.” INK-STAINED, MAYBE; SELF-RIGHTEOUS, ALWAYS: Some reporters at the PBS press conference in July were outraged at the news that “Sesame Street” had decided not to add an HIV-positive Muppet to the cast after all, even though the South African version of “Sesame Street” has one. THERE’S LOW RATINGS. THERE’S CRASHING-THROUGH-THE-FLOOR RATINGS. AND THEN THERE’S PHIL DONAHUE ON MSNBC: “Well, I feel like a very lucky duck and not too many folks get this chance,” the talk show host said at an MSNBC press conference, just before his much-hyped but (as it turned out) little-watched new cable show premiered last summer. “All throughout my career when I failed, when other people failed, it was predictable. They would say, ‘Well, they didn’t promote me.’ I can’t make that argument at MSNBC. I’m on the side of every other bus in New York City. The promotional has been sensational. And I really couldn’t ask for more support.” No, but a few more viewers would have been nice. THE UNBELIEVABLE BOFFONESS OF “AMERICAN IDOL”: Robert Thompson, head of Syracuse University’s Center for the Study of Popular Television, told CNN in August that the talent show is much, much greater than anything that had come before: “This is to ‘Star Search’ what modern quantum physics is to Newtonian gravitational equations.” NOW LISTEN TO THE STORY OF A MAN NAMED JED, A POOR MOUNTAINEER TRYIN’ TO KEEP HIS FAMILY ON TV 24 HOURS A DAY, EVEN IN THE BATHROOM: CBS announced in August it plans to resurrect “The Beverly Hillbillies” as a reality series. THEY NEVER SAID YOU WAS HIGH CLASS: In a deal being investigated by Department of Justice anti-trust lawyers, the nation’s two largest alternative weekly chains — Village Voice Media and New Times — agreed in October to shut down New Times in Los Angeles, leaving a market monopoly for the Village Voice-owned L.A. Weekly, in return for the Village Voice closing its Cleveland paper and leaving the market clear in that city for the New Times-owned Cleveland paper. Of course, L.A. is much bigger than Cleveland, so the Village Voice also agreed to paid New Times $8 million. When a reporter from the L.A. Weekly working on a story about the closures called New Times founder and executive editor Michael Lacey for a comment, Lacey yelled “Go f— yourself” and slammed down the phone. SNARKORAMA! This is the year that the indispensable website TelevisionWithoutPity.com came into its own, complete with a big respectful article in the New York Times magazine in October about how showrunners increasingly pay attention to what these online kibitzers think. I became a fan of TVw/oP.com during “American Idol,” when one of the site’s episode recappers noted that Justin made Paula Abdul’s uterus fall out. Here, just for a taste, is the TVw/oP.com recap of a November episode of “Everwood”: “As the writers scratch off #476 in their Handy-Dandy Handbook of On-Screen clich

    Cathy’s World: Media Moments, 2002

    0

    LOS ANGELES, Jan. 1 (UPI) — Here are my favorite media moments of last year, although I admit I enjoyed most of them only in the deeply cynical way I used to watch “The Partridge Family” back in the olden days. THIS JUST IN: POLITICAL TENSIONS HIJACK AIRPLANE: Blogger and former San Jose Mercury News columnist Joanne Jacobs noticed a ridiculous headline in her old paper in March, after a Muslim mob attacked a train full of Hindu passengers: “Religious Tensions Kill 57 In India.” Running with the absurdity of the Merc’s blame-avoidance, National Post columnist Mark Steyn wrote: “Ah, those religious tensions’ll kill you every time. Is there an Ex-Lax you can take for religious tension? Or an extra-strength Tylenol, in case you feel a sudden attack coming on? I haven’t looked at the Mercury News for September 12th, but I’m assuming the front page read ‘Religious Tensions Kill 3,000 in New York,’ a particularly bad outbreak. If I were an Islamic fundamentalist, I’d be wondering what I had to do to get a bad press …” SPEEDY, WE HARDLY KNEW YE: Fans began clamoring last April to bring back the Looney Tunes south-of-the-border mouse to Cartoon Network, which had banished the Speedy Gonzales character because of ethnic sensitivities. Jon Stewart noted on “The Daily Show” about Cartoon Network’s Speedyless programming: “They needed to make room for ‘The Pepe Le Pew “No Means Yes” Hour.'” GET READY FOR “THE BACHELOR” MEETS “BLUE’S CLUES:” In May, Nick Jr.’s “Blue’s Clues” introduced its pre-school audience to the cartoon dog’s new best pal, Joe, played by actor Donovan Patton. (Tots were told that Joe’s older brother, Steve, played by the departing Steve Burns, went off to college.) Nickelodeon execs were very excited about the hottie-factor of the new “Blue’s Clues” guy — maybe a little too excited. “Our teenage moms are gonna LOVE Donavan,” gushed one at the press conference. Well, that’s always a socially valuable demographic to keep in mind. DEPARTMENT OF DESPERATION: NBC President and Democratic Hollywood honcho Ted Harbert sent out a weirdly capitalized invitation to attend a June fundraising dinner for House Minority Leader Dick Gephardt, and also “to stop the Republicans from destroying the Environment, the Economy and our Education system and 38 other things … $500 for you Young Professionals.” This was followed a short time later by another, rather frantic notice: “You can come to the June 9 Gephardt Event AND Still Be Home In Time for the Lakers Game.” Plus: “The REVISED COST for a “Young Professional” contribution … is $250 per person.” INK-STAINED, MAYBE; SELF-RIGHTEOUS, ALWAYS: Some reporters at the PBS press conference in July were outraged at the news that “Sesame Street” had decided not to add an HIV-positive Muppet to the cast after all, even though the South African version of “Sesame Street” has one. THERE’S LOW RATINGS. THERE’S CRASHING-THROUGH-THE-FLOOR RATINGS. AND THEN THERE’S PHIL DONAHUE ON MSNBC: “Well, I feel like a very lucky duck and not too many folks get this chance,” the talk show host said at an MSNBC press conference, just before his much-hyped but (as it turned out) little-watched new cable show premiered last summer. “All throughout my career when I failed, when other people failed, it was predictable. They would say, ‘Well, they didn’t promote me.’ I can’t make that argument at MSNBC. I’m on the side of every other bus in New York City. The promotional has been sensational. And I really couldn’t ask for more support.” No, but a few more viewers would have been nice. THE UNBELIEVABLE BOFFONESS OF “AMERICAN IDOL”: Robert Thompson, head of Syracuse University’s Center for the Study of Popular Television, told CNN in August that the talent show is much, much greater than anything that had come before: “This is to ‘Star Search’ what modern quantum physics is to Newtonian gravitational equations.” NOW LISTEN TO THE STORY OF A MAN NAMED JED, A POOR MOUNTAINEER TRYIN’ TO KEEP HIS FAMILY ON TV 24 HOURS A DAY, EVEN IN THE BATHROOM: CBS announced in August it plans to resurrect “The Beverly Hillbillies” as a reality series. THEY NEVER SAID YOU WAS HIGH CLASS: In a deal being investigated by Department of Justice anti-trust lawyers, the nation’s two largest alternative weekly chains — Village Voice Media and New Times — agreed in October to shut down New Times in Los Angeles, leaving a market monopoly for the Village Voice-owned L.A. Weekly, in return for the Village Voice closing its Cleveland paper and leaving the market clear in that city for the New Times-owned Cleveland paper. Of course, L.A. is much bigger than Cleveland, so the Village Voice also agreed to paid New Times $8 million. When a reporter from the L.A. Weekly working on a story about the closures called New Times founder and executive editor Michael Lacey for a comment, Lacey yelled “Go f— yourself” and slammed down the phone. SNARKORAMA! This is the year that the indispensable website TelevisionWithoutPity.com came into its own, complete with a big respectful article in the New York Times magazine in October about how showrunners increasingly pay attention to what these online kibitzers think. I became a fan of TVw/oP.com during “American Idol,” when one of the site’s episode recappers noted that Justin made Paula Abdul’s uterus fall out. Here, just for a taste, is the TVw/oP.com recap of a November episode of “Everwood”: “As the writers scratch off #476 in their Handy-Dandy Handbook of On-Screen clich

    Wanted Fugitive: Roger Larson

    0

    CrimeStoppers and the Honolulu Police Department want the public’s
    assistance in locating Roger Larson. Larson is wanted for a $30,000
    criminal contempt warrant. Larson is also wanted for questioning in an auto theft case that occurred in the Wahiawa area earlier this week. Larson frequents the Salt Lake area and is believe to be armed with a handgun. Larson is considered dangerous. Do not approach him.

    Anonymous calls may be made to CrimeStoppers at 955-8300, *CRIME on your cellular phone. Free cellular calls are provided by AT&T, Nextel Hawaii, Sprint PCS and Verizon Wireless Hawaii.

    Roger Larson, aka Norman Larson, Rodger Larson, Roger William Keala Larson

    *Hawaiian male, 35

    *6’1″, 195 lbs., heavy build

    *Brown hair, brown eyes

    *Mustache

    Honolulu CrimeStoppers Inc., will pay a cash reward of up to $1,000 for information which results in the arrest of a wanted person or the solving of case(s) reported to CrimeStoppers Honolulu Inc. All calls are confidential. Do not approach any suspect. All suspects and wanted fugitives should be considered armed and dangerous. All calls are confidential and anonymous. Persons who participate in the crime, or are victims of the crime are ineligible to receive CrimeStoppers rewards. Be a CrimeStopper and call the hot line at 955-8300 or *Crime on your cellular telephone.

    Access the CrimeStoppers Web site at https://www.crimestoppers-honolulu.org or the Student CrimeStoppers Web site at https://www.studentcrimestoppers.org

    Wanted Fugitive: Roger Larson

    0

    CrimeStoppers and the Honolulu Police Department want the public’s assistance in locating Roger Larson. Larson is wanted for a $30,000 criminal contempt warrant. Larson is also wanted for questioning in an auto theft case that occurred in the Wahiawa area earlier this week. Larson frequents the Salt Lake area and is believe to be armed with a handgun. Larson is considered dangerous. Do not approach him. Anonymous calls may be made to CrimeStoppers at 955-8300, *CRIME on your cellular phone. Free cellular calls are provided by AT&T, Nextel Hawaii, Sprint PCS and Verizon Wireless Hawaii. Roger Larson, aka Norman Larson, Rodger Larson, Roger William Keala Larson *Hawaiian male, 35 *6’1″, 195 lbs., heavy build *Brown hair, brown eyes *Mustache Honolulu CrimeStoppers Inc., will pay a cash reward of up to $1,000 for information which results in the arrest of a wanted person or the solving of case(s) reported to CrimeStoppers Honolulu Inc. All calls are confidential. Do not approach any suspect. All suspects and wanted fugitives should be considered armed and dangerous. All calls are confidential and anonymous. Persons who participate in the crime, or are victims of the crime are ineligible to receive CrimeStoppers rewards. Be a CrimeStopper and call the hot line at 955-8300 or *Crime on your cellular telephone. Access the CrimeStoppers Web site at https://www.crimestoppers-honolulu.org or the Student CrimeStoppers Web site at https://www.studentcrimestoppers.org

    When the Government Shops Smart, the Taxpayers Benefit

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    I hope you are having a great holidays as I am. I drove by my local mall today, and thought “I am soooo done with shopping for a while.” I glanced over at my wife, and she had a look of longing. I hate to shop, she loves it. Pretty typical.

    I found myself thinking that I wish government agencies were more like my wife and less like me. This holiday season has brought a flood of stories across my desk that show how fundamental and far reaching are the benefits when government agencies embrace competition and do a little shopping for services.

    In our nation’s capital, the Office of Management and Budget broke with tradition and decided to see if private printers could beat the Government Printing Office’s deal for printing the 2004 federal budget. The result — the GPO cut its price 23 percent ($108,370) and kept the work. That is $100k a year that GPO could have saved us any time they chose, but they never chose to do so until their customer decided to shop. (read about it at https://www.govexec.com/dailyfed/1202/122702b1.htm)

    In Albuquerque, New Mexico, a study showed that the city garage cost $87.20 to change the oil and lube city vehicles, while private dealerships charge the city only $36.54 for the same service. City workers argue they should try to improve their operations before the work is sent to Jiffy Lube. But they were not saying that before their customer went shopping. (read about it at https://www.krqe.com/Global/story.asp?s=%20%201048658)

    Back in Washington, D.C., the Forest Service announced plans to compare the work currently done by thousands of its workers to bids by the private sector. The National Federation of Federal Employees Forest Service Council objects, saying “We will lose out. It will not be a real valid comparison. . . . We have no opportunity to [show we can] do better. So, if you have an inefficient organization, which I admit we have, we’re going to lose.” Hmmm. So, you know you are inefficient, you haven’t done anything about it, and in effect are saying “Well, now that you are shopping, we want to change what we offer.” (read about it at https://federaltimes.com/index.php?S=1153147)

    In California, the Indio Charter School offers mostly Hispanic students the best education in town, beating the 13 local public schools average test scores by a handsome margin. Moreover, the school offers families, many of whom visit Mexico on the weekends, a schedule of four longer days rather than the tradition five days, actually teaching for 110 extra minutes of instruction each week. Now the County is using the charter school’s schedule as an excuse to try to destroy it. Never mind that the schedule has been in place for years-the County only acted when the charter’s performance showed up the local public schools. While others whose customers have started to shop have worked to improve what they offer, Riverside County decided to try to eliminate the competition. (read about it at https://www.rppi.org/charterschoolstory.html)

    Back again to our nation’s capital, where the Post Office is learning about shopping. After September 11th, USPS was no longer allowed to ship heavy mail on commercial airlines. So they switched to FedEx, with the unexpected result of cost savings and significantly higher customer satisfaction (oddly, they couldn’t say how much they are saving-way to know your business, guys). Too bad the Post Office wasn’t really acting like a business and shopping for the best deal before September 11th. (read about it at https://federaltimes.com/index.php?S=1153150

    And last, but not least, in Philadelphia, the nation has watched the city’s controversial decision to turn over operation of many of its worst performing schools to Edison Schools Inc. It turns out Edison has a benchmark testing program that provides continuous feedback on each student’s academic weakness to teachers so they can fine tune their lessons. It took the other public schools in Philly almost no time flat to realize this is a good idea and began implementing a similar system. Too bad the public schools weren’t looking for ways to fine tune their lessons until their customer started to shop around. (read about it at https://educationweak.blogspot.com)

    I don’t want to beat a dead horse, but you have to see the same thing I do. There is a trend here. When the government shops smart, the taxpayers benefit. I’d like to see them shopping like it’s the post-Christmas sale season all year long.

    Happy New Year!

    ”’Adrian Moore is the Vice President of Research for the Reason Foundation. He can be reached by email at:”’ mailto:Adrian.Moore@reason.org

    ”’Originally published by Reason Foundation, which is a public policy think tank promoting choice, competition and a dynamic market economy as the foundation for human dignity and progress. For more information, contact Geoffrey Segal, Director of Privatization and Government Reform Policy at:”’ mailto:geoffrey.segal@reason.org ”’Visit the Reason Web site at:”’ https://www.rppi.org ”’or go to the Reason Public Policy Institute’s Privatization Center at:”’ https://www.privatization.org ”’for information on government reform, privatization, contracting out and public/private partnerships.”’