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March 2009

Arianna's Latest Move

I like Arianna Huffington. Well, let me be more specific: I like the way she thinks. Rather than go the whine and cheese route about the ever dwindling revenues in the media, she's come up with another way to insure that investigative journalism doesn't go the way of the dinosaur.

Mainstream Media, Bloggers and Losing Local Newspapers

I live in Miami, Florida USA where the main daily newspaper is the Miami Herald. There are several other newspapers, most of them weeklies, but I do remember reading The Miami News, until it ceased publication on December 31, 1988.

Needless to say, the Herald has rolled out employee layoffs with possibly more on the horizon. There is an ever-increasing crescendo of voices concerned about the Miami Herald closing shop…folding…ceasing to exist.

Unfortunately, The Herald and many mainstream newspapers find themselves in a position similar to that of Ford, Chrysler and General Motors. They didn't change with the times either.

Rather than strategizing on how to weave the internet and bloggers into its business operations, it seems as though the paper's management chose to ignore the trend of the impact of the internet on the media. Even more non-productive has been an animosity towards bloggers.

Bloggers didn't destroy newspapers. On the contrary, when partnerships are formed with bloggers, key stories are circulated and linked back to the media outlet. Bloggers have helped expose many stories to the mainstream media who in turn, investigate and report on these important issues.

A newspaper is a business but I can't imagine Miami without The Miami Herald. That day may come but if it does, our community would be left to obtain news through weekly newspapers, radio, television and the internet. That would likely mean an end to hard-hitting, informative, investigative reports that only a newspaper can produce.

Interestingly, not much is reported about the impact of the economic downturn on the newspapers that target Miami's black community: The Westside Gazette, The Miami Times and The South Florida Times. There are other black newspapers here but these are some of the main offerings.

I'm sure the economy has likely taken its toll on their bottom-line but I would venture to guess that the readers don't hear much about it because there was so little advertisement income directed their way in the first place.

Much like the auto industry, I believe the media industry will right-size itself. The playing field on reporting has already shifted with the inclusion of black media at the President's press conferences. That's something I'd never particularly thought about but when it was brought to my attention, I admit that I was disappointed that legitimate, well-known publications had been denied access of the same level as mainstream media.

While the auto industry is being revamped, let's do the same with the media. Prayerfully, the country will be able to sustain a daily newspaper in metropolitan areas and all media will be afforded access to report on governmental issues. Also let's hope a happy medium is realized that will allow mainstream media to work collaboratively with bloggers in keeping readers informed throughout the world.

Obama’s Smackdown of CNN’s Ed Henry

You know, I'm leery of folks who are too nice, too sweet or too cool. I think they're volcanoes that may erupt at any moment and are difficult to calm down. I'm not saying they're crazy or anything like that just that they may not be able to control their anger once their button is pushed.

I've had those concerns about our nation's president. It seemed all too unreal that he didn't go off on someone --- pick any of a number of folks --- who tried to anger him during the campaign. There were some times when a couple of Democrats and a few Republicans seemed to deserve a pimp slap, if you ask me. But our President played it cool. He also stayed on message and his strategy was successful.

There were a couple of moments during debates when it was obvious that he's no pushover but he still seemed too reserved to me. I understand the rationale. I get it. He couldn't play the angry black man role and he didn't. I think some folks got that twisted.

Enter one CNN reporter Ed Henry who felt the obviously controlled wrath of President Barack Hussein Obama, Jr. I shudder every time I hear/see that exchange and the President's response. President Obama gave one of those looks that your mama gave you when you were a little kid in church and you're moving around too much or talking too much or heaven forbid, chewing gum.

Some folks in mainstream media have tried to paint the President having lost his cool during the press conference; I think not. He was so cool that he was borderline frozen. Do you need to see that look again?

If anyone doubted that the president was tough enough; last night should have sent a different message. I don't think we would want to be on the receiving end of when and if he does lose his cool.

In the meantime; I'm glad the exchange occurred between and Ed Henry. Let that be a lesson for the next press conference. You know Ed Henry has taken some ribbing from his colleagues and probably got chewed out by his bosses. What's done is done. Now, don't try any of that shoe-throwing business with this President, OK?

© 2009, Vanessa: Unplugged!,

Vote for this blog for Best Political Blog and for Best Blog Design in the 2009 Bloggers Choice Awards.


Should Lovelle Mixon Have Been Out On Parole?

Even as they grapple with budget cuts, California state leaders will surely be compelled to strengthen parole laws and not reduce corrections staff by as much as originally expected because of four police officers shot dead by a man on parole. Lovelle Mixon had been incarcerated on weapons charges and was stopped Saturday for a routine traffic violation.

The intense desperation that would drive a person to such murder and mayhem is all so unbelievably tragic. It's understood that being a cop is dangerous but for all four to be shot because of one situation is unimaginable.

With the drama Bay Area police have to deal with because of the Oscar Grant shooting, it must be difficult for the community to deal with this situation also. My heart goes out to all of the families left to pick up the pieces after this latest devastation.

The officers killed were: Sgt. Mark Dunakin, 40; Sgt. Ervin Romans, 43; and Sgt. Daniel Sakai, 35 and Officer John Hege.

Mixon is reported to have an extensive criminal record. One can only wonder whether perceived liberal incarceration laws could have prevented this tragedy. Legislators will find it difficult to oppose measures that could have prevented this tragedy.

© 2009, Vanessa: Unplugged!,


South Carolina’s Corridor of Shame

South Carolina teen Ty'Sheoma Bethea made history because she wrote a letter to lawmakers regarding the deplorable condition of her school. Writing the letter was basically a challenge by her principal, Amanda Burnette and Ty'Sheoma asked for 41 cents to mail her letter. Burnette faxed the letter to President Obama and the rest is history.

That simple act snowballed into a refocusing on the United States' unequal public education system and Ty'Sheoma's moments in the spotlight with First Lady Michelle Obama and many top reporters and journalists. She also refocused the nation's attention on South Carolina's 'Corridor of Shame'.

Upon initially hearing this young lady's story, I did not realize that I could relate it to one of my favorite Jon Voight movies, Conrack, based on the experiences of a white teacher in a rural black school isolated from much of society. Since my mother's family is from the Carolinas --- (yes, I am Geechee and proud) --- I often wondered if any of the people depicted in the film were my relatives.

Not much has changed since Pat Conroy documented his South Carolina teaching experience in his book, The Water Is Wide: A Memoir [1972], and it was made into the movie, Conrack in 1974.

Please see the trailer of the documentary 'Corridor of Shame' and then ask yourself how South Carolina Governor Mark Stanford can refuse economic stimulus money to help repair his state's schools. This is really happening in America. Now. It's South Carolina's shame and the shame of America.


© 2009, Vanessa: Unplugged!,

Vote for this blog for Best Political Blog and for Best Blog Design in the 2009 Bloggers Choice Awards.


Howard Dean on Michael Steele and the RNC

Former DNC Chair Howard Dean comments on Michael Steele's bumpy start as chair of the RNC. Steele should listen and so should the influential Party members unless they choose to go the way of the Titanic.


© 2009, Vanessa: Unplugged!,

Vote for this blog for Best Political Blog and for Best Blog Design in the 2009 Bloggers Choice Awards.


FL Senator Kicks-Off Campaign for Congress


Senator Frederica Wilson, popular politician in South Florida, has thrown her trademark hat in the ring to replace U.S. Congressman Kendrick Meek as he is running for the U.S. Senate. 

Wilson is well-known and well-liked in the community. A former teacher, principal and school board member, her signature 5000 Role Models Program and fighting spirit have endeared her to many throughout the state. Wilson served in the Florida House and has been served as one of few blacks in the Florida Senate.

Other candidates for the seat include Miami Gardens Mayor Shirley Gibson; House Representative Yolly Roberson; Haitian activist Marlene Bastien and forrmer Florida House Representative Philip Brutus. This will indeed be an intersting race but Wilson is definitely the frontrunner.

Madoff Goes to Jail...and?

Okay, so super-thug Bernie Madoff admitted that he conned several folks out of billions of dollars. Madoff ripped off some of the wealthiest people in the world. He may be sentenced to 150 years.

It's still mind-boggling that he was able to keep the scheme going for such a long time. Madoff ruined the net worth of a lot of people and several charities. Some folks accustomed to living the high life are now broke and highly ticked off. Madoff may be safer in jail.

To the best of his recollection, Madoff started this scam in the 1990's. He fooled a lot of people for a long time but he couldn't have kept the lies going by himself.

Bernie may have been the mastermind of this ginormous scheme but he wasn't alone. He should have been walking hand in handcuffed hand with the rest of his co-conspirators.

To keep the scam going, Madoff also had to rely on the folks charged with oversight: SEC, auditors, etc. to NOT do their job.

Investors should be angry with Bernie Madoff but there are a number of other folks who deserve their wrath also.

Sent via BlackBerry by AT&T

First Lady Michelle Obama Helps Needy in DC


Whether you agree with their politics or not, you must admit that, the Obamas have changed the flavor of America. They really are the leaving, breathing version of the Huxtables they just have fewer kids.

It's not likely that their desire to serve the public and help those in need is fabricated. Neither Barack or Michelle Obama were born with a silver spoon in their mouth. They are hard-working, accomplished Americans who still remember their roots and that's refreshing.

It's almost unbelievable that the First Family is so much like many of the families I know. They still don't seem to have bought into the isolation of the presidency and restraint of constant security. They are the family that this country needs during this time.

While Michelle Obama's wardrobe may include more designer fashions than usual for her, she is still very much every woman. It was great to see her helping at Miriam's Kitchen in DC. I just can't imagine Cindy McCain doing the same thing without somehow seeming out of place.

Don't get twisted, I'm not implying that Cindy McCain's a bad person just that it would be difficult for her to relate to the financial issues many Americans are facing since she comes from American wealth.

Until our country's economic situation bottoms and then balances itself out, we need the encouragement and assurance of the Obama Family to help see us through.

Photo: Sloan/Getty


© 2009, Vanessa: Unplugged!,

Vote for this blog for Best Political Blog and for Best Blog Design in the 2009 Bloggers Choice Awards.


Who is the leader of the GOP?

Limbaugh-steele Conservative radio talk show host Rush Limbaugh whipped the crowd to frenzy at CPAC (Conservative Political Action Conference) yesterday in Washington, DC. He continued his angry, treasonous line of attack on the President, liberals and Democrats. Yeas, he wants President Obama to fail. Don't ask about that anymore; he's been quite clear. He's entitled to his position so let's just let it go and stop giving this guy a platform to pollute our airwaves.

Anyhoo, it's far too early to really talk about the 2012 presidential election but one thing is certain, anyone who really wants to be the GOP nominee must distance his or herself from this guy.

There's also doubt about what in the world the GOP is thinking. Between GOP chair Michael "Da Man" Steele and his attempt to bring hip hop to the GOP and Rush Limbaugh's hate and anger, who is really in charge of the GOP? Does the GOP have a death wish?

There is still no real attempt of the GOP base to bring ethnic diversity to its ranks; they are killing themselves. It's a long way away from 2012, let's see if the GOP gets its act together.


© 2009, Vanessa: Unplugged!,

Vote for this blog for Best Political Blog and for Best Blog Design in the 2009 Bloggers Choice Awards.