Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Three People Who Should be Ignored by the Media

1. Harold Camping. (and anyone who continues to follow this wackaloon and expects anyone to have any pity for them when October runs into November.)

2. Andrew Breitbart.

3. Sarah I'm on a family Vacation Half-Governor Palin.

Stop talking about these people. Stop talking to these people. Stop following the buses around. Newsmedia. You're embarrassing yourself.

Sunday, May 29, 2011

Welcome New Members

Bethany Church received new members this morning. Three of those new members came to us from Freemont Church. Freemont recently voted (for a second time) to withdraw from the ELCA and join another Lutheran Church body.

I suspect that the pattern of people, good solid workers, leaving the congregations that leave the ELCA is being repeated all over the country. It's too bad.

I'm sorry that Freemont left the ELCA. I'm sorry these three members left Freemont. The reason for leaving the ELCA seems to me to be more cultural than biblical, and seems to me to be something that will have/would have had zero effect on the church at Freemont. What's ahead for that congregation is a long decline, through isolation, lack of service and neglect by leadership in their new hierarchy.

It's all unfortunate and a case where emotions and fear have triumphed.

Something About Clark Schultz

So, you know I'm not a Republican, right. Couldn't be. Couldn't ever be a Republican.

I am a Democrat and I'm proud of my commitment to the Democratic Party, even though it looks as if we have no chance of winning much of anything in Kansas. But maybe the Republicans are going to help us Democrats.

Even the Republicans seem to be turning against the radical elements of their own party. Clark Schultz gave evidence of this at the recent Rotary Club meeting.

Schultz cited Kobach's "Show us your ID, Grandma," bill. It's touted as a way to stop voter fraud, which, as many Democrats can tell you, isn't actually a problem. Not even in Chicago, notorious for people voting from Wrigley Field.

Kobach's citing a case out of Kansas City in which, he alleges, the election was swung by 50 Somalis who voted illegally after being illegally coached to vote for the winner - who won by only one vote.

Schultz did his homework on the case, and it turns out to be another case of nothing there. There were Somalis, though I'm not sure that there were 50. They were coached. But they had a right to vote and they voted the way they wanted to. The case has been adjudicated, and appealed and fraud was not found.

Those who assert that there was/is massive fraud in states with large illegal populations - show it. One of the outcomes of the Attorney Generals scandal of the last administration was a demonstration that the irregularities in the southwestern states did not rise to the level to warrant fraud cases - a fact that drove the Republicans in power to fire their own appointees.

And Schultz is standing on the side of greater voter participation. Greater voter participation generally favors Democrats. So maybe he's actually doing something that will help the Democratic party, even in Kansas. Or maybe voters will get tired of the efforts to suppress votes - for the benefit of the richest of the rich. Or maybe not.

But I'm glad that Schultz is standing with the people's right to particpate in this case. Maybe he could take a look at John Marshall's editorial and actually stand with the right of the local government to control its own future.


Anything can become an obsession.

I'm not one who suffers from obsessive compulsive disorder, but I know that I can make anything into an obsession. Right now my obsession revolves around my upcoming Summer Session I intro to Human Communication course.

I put off getting the course schedule reworked for the summer until the last minute was upon me. I've tried four different video streaming sites for methods of delivering content. I've rearranged the chairs on the deck of cruise ship communication. I've jiggled the handle to keep the tank filling up. I've touched every base at least twice. I've tried to get ready.

And I'm not feeling ready.

And I don't have anything to say about the introduction to Human Communication. Maybe, if I turn the camera on, I'll have something to say.

But this post, to my new Justin.tv site doesn't leave me feeling sanguine about content.

Watch live video from kalleoskar1 on Justin.tv

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Kudos to LNR

John Marshall has done something great. He has created a strong, convincing argument against the current Rethuglican "can't."

Of course, he was more polite about it than I am. He doesn't take on all the issues that our current one party system has created, but he argues forcefully against celebrating the recently passed budget as a "victory."

John argues that the budget was built on crippling schools and cities. Further he argues that the legislature has made it impossible for cities and schools to gain the resources they need to do the job they are charged to do. This makes our schools and our towns less attractive, driving people out of our state and further degrading life in our state.

I don't know about John's logic. I find it appealing, but I don't know that the logic is flawless.

The most amazing thing about this editorial is John's use of the word "progressive."

The American right has, for years, villified the terms "left," "liberal," and "progressive." Kudos to John and the LNR for daring to use the term!

It was a great editorial. I hope we'll see more like it. Even more, I hope that our local representatives give thought to John's words and the rest of us ask why the current Rethuglicans refuse to let towns like ours control our own destiny.

Monday, May 9, 2011

BOHICA from the bank

BOHICA was an acronym I learned in Graduate School. We used it to describe our lot as graduate students, expected to do all the grunt work that the full professors didn't want to do, and expected to pass through the various rites of passage (developing annotated bibliographies of sections of the library having nothing to do with our discipline, for example.) The acronym stands for "Bend Over, Here it Comes Again." I had reason to think of this wonderous little phrase when I opened mail from my bank.

This past two weeks I've gotten notice from all my credit card companies. If a payment is late they'll charge usurious rates on everything I purchase using this card. The answer to that charge is don't use that card (or any card). Of course, given my purchasing habits - I live in a small town and I purchase many items online.

Today I got notice from the Bank of America. They hold our mortgage. They are our bank for savings and checking. All of our bills to BofA are paid by automatic deductions, directly from the bank to the bank.

Yet they sent me notice that if I ever have a late payment they will raise my rates to 29.99 percent. Thirty percent! What?

Two questions - does the consumer protection agency get a chance to beat these rates to a reasonable level?


Didn't we bail BofA's ass out just two years ago? What's going on?

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Fox affiliate: Is "Glee" turning our kids gay?

Fox affiliate: Is "Glee" turning our kids gay?

The commentators miss several important points about how tv influence actually works. Two great theoretical insights might help straighten the nonsense out.

First, the theory of influence has to take into account the polysemy of television. Because there are many messengers and many channels, there is no single message. You'll notice that smart advertisers don't limit themselves to one channel, one show. Tax Masters appears on afternoon TV, Judge Judy - and on Glen Beck and on History Channel and on and on and on. If you want to have a message be transmitted across audiences, you have to follow the lead of "Tax Masters" (or Geico or Progressive). Otherwise, expect that the message will be either contradicted or in conflict with other messages.

Second, they seem to have a vague idea of cultivation theory, but they don't get that right either.

Gerbner's work studied attitude arising out of news viewing. He found that heavy news viewers tended toward a "mean world" idea of the place where they lived. He did not find (nor has any other reliable study ever found) that viewers of news violence tended to become violent.

If Gerbner's idea is applied to gayness on television (not just one show, but the whole of television), one might expect to find that heavy viewers of situation comedy might have more positive attitudes toward gayness, i.e., they do not fear it or see it as being somehow threateningly abnormal. From "Hey faggot" on Soap to the kiss on Glee is a long trip, and one that's been thirty years in the travelling. Where we've come is from a position of fear, humiliation and degradation of anyone who is gay, to acceptance of gayness as no big deal.

One of my favorite stories is Josh's story. During his Senior chapel talk he spoke of coming out. His friends told him that they already knew, and that it was no big deal. If there is anything that has been cultivated by television portrayals of gayness it's that it's no big deal. Thinking that will not make you catch the gay.

I have to wonder if that isn't the problem for conservative commentators. If the youth of America come to believe that being gay is no big deal; that smoking marijuana is no big deal; that dancing naked is no big deal; that being religious or non-religious is no big deal - what will the conservatives use to keep the youth of America aligned to the conservative point of view? They are losing the youth of America because many young Americans just think that the positions of their elders are out of touch with reality.

Of course, the Fox commentators, even if they acknowledged the idea that this is about keeping power, couldn't very well say that out loud. Could they?

More Thoughts on Bin Laden

Rachel Maddow had some intelligent and painful commentary last night. If she's right, and she certainly seems to be, we're still following Bin Laden's plan - and the results are exactly what he wanted them to be:

Visit msnbc.com for breaking news, world news, and news about the economy

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Bin Laden's Dead - Will We Change (Again)?

Ezra Klein of the WaPo had this thoughtful comment in his policy blog:

Most of what changed in this country after 9/11 was our choice, not his. And his death is a reminder that changing it back -- or revising it to better fit our future -- is, similarly, our choice, not his. We’ve killed him, but we haven’t revisited the ways in which he changed us, or the ways in which wechanged us in response to his attack. Maybe it’s time we did.
Yes, we need to revisit our fears and the consequences of those fears.

It's the consequences at the airport that are most apparent. Long lines submitting to searches that a decade ago would have been unthinkable for Americans. Shoe removal. Full body scans. Nonsense!

It's time we left our shoes on and refused to stand with our hands above our heads just to board an airplane. It's time we allowed people to carry five ounces, six ounces of hair product in their carry on luggage. It's time we stopped being fearful sheep.

Our sheepishness, it seems to me, is revealed in the ease with which we're stampeded into voting against our own interests.

Our sheepishness is displayed by our unwavering allegiance to brands.

Our sheepishness is shown by the repetitive nature of our hit films, tv shows, recording artists. They all have to sound alike, look alike, be alike. I know that this isn't a post 9/11 feature - but maybe if we lose our fears with the death of the chief boogey-man we'll rediscover the joy of being wrong in our choices, taking a risk with our time and our selves.

I wish we could stop being such sheep. But I'm afraid we'll still stand in line and bleat.

Monday, May 2, 2011

Live Stream vBlog

I'm working on learning how to use Livestream, and how it compares with ustream. I suspect that they are fairly similar, but KCAC uses Livestream, through VSN sports. So I need to pay attention to how that works. Right now, VSN sports is streaming a webinar on eligibility.

Here's my Livestream player - I hope:

Watch live streaming video from oskarstream at livestream.com