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Desperation and the Economy

Crime-scene-tape Too many people in America seem to have lost their minds and it’s not even summer yet. Every couple of days we hear of a murder somewhere in America and that is very discomforting.

We’re not talking gang violence but murder-suicides, ambushing of police officers, murdering hostages and robbery-homicides.

Heck that father taking his nine year-old daughter on his robbery of a convenience store and the elderly female who’s been robbing banks are a sign of the times. It’s a shame that folks have been forced to such levels of desperation. Americans are not accustomed to such struggle and sacrifice as this economy has imposed upon us.

It is crucial that we are more attentive of the moods of our family, friends and co-workers. These are desperate times and far too many have resorted to crime because they don’t have money to pay bills and other necessities. Not being able to provide for family makes many, especially men, feel worthless.

The sad reality we are faced with is that we must be aware of the personal casualties of our economic downfall. Innocent people will become collateral damage and in some instances little can be done to prevent such actions.

We can talk gun control and other measures but there are no 100% preventive measures available now. We can and should pray this crisis is lifted soon and then pay more attention to signs of mental stress in our family and friends. Be safe and not afraid.

 

   

© 2009, Vanessa: Unplugged!, www.vanessabyers.net

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Ed Schultz's New Show Debuts Tomorrow

One of my favorite political commentators, Ed Schultz, starts his new show tomorrow at 6 PM EST on MSNBC. He strengthens the already powerhouse MSNBC line-up.

Visit msnbc.com for Breaking News, World News, and News about the Economy



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.


Rupert Murdoch's Apology

OK, media mogul Rupert Murdoch apologized for the New York Post chimpanzee editorial cartoon. Since Murdoch is infamously known for NOT apologizing and NOT succumbing to external pressure, the apology is a major coup.

I respect Murdoch for making the public apology but some civil rights activists are still keeping the pressure on Murdoch and the New York Post. 

You see, the Murdoch apology, when finally made, was several days late. It would have been more effective and better received had he apologized right away. Instead, the insulting comments by Post editor Col Allan fueled the protest fire while Murdoch did nothing to stop it.

Speaking of Allan, if Murdoch really wanted to make a statement about racial sensitivity, he’d fire Allan with the quickness but he hasn't.

Since the Murdoch apology came days after the Post’s media drubbing and their parent company’s stock dropped, perhaps the apology was empty and only driven by economics.

 

© 2009, Vanessa: Unplugged!, www.vanessabyers.net

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New York Post Chimpanzee Editorial Cartoon: Still Looking for the Humor

Sharpton-lee The furor over the New York Post chimpanzee editorial cartoon is far from over for me. You see, I was immediately angered by it for several reasons; its racist connotation being one of them.

I observed executives from the Post attempt to deflect the backlash from the cartoon to protest leader, Rev. Al Sharpton. I don’t always agree with the Reverend but that was just wrong on their part. I also heard their so-called apology and learned of the company’s internal turmoil because of the cartoon.

I tried to understand the perspective of folks, even blacks, who thought the cartoon wasn’t as bad as the publicity that exploded around it. I still wasn’t able to make that stretch. I really tired objectivity but it is what it is.

You know, even if you don’t think the cartoon was racist, there was no humor to be made of a woman tragically disfigured by a chimpanzee and the death of that chimpanzee. There was no humor in two police officers shooting an animal. Was the animal a representation of President Obama? Perhaps it was supposed represent Nancy Pelosi or even Congress. It's just wrong.

There have been calls for the firing of the Post’s editor. I support that unequivocally. I also support the demand for a real public apology from the New York Post.

It was pointed out that President Obama and New York Gov. Paterson did not make a big deal of the situation. Gov. Paterson accepted the Post’s apology. Well, my response to that is, “Did you expect them to go Eric Holder and say what they really feel? I think not.”

This situation could be over quickly. The Post’s lame attempt at an apology is far more acquiescence than they’ve offered in the past. I do hope the NAACP and other civil rights organizations will not cave under the pressure.

Rev. Sharpton’s spotlight on the media influence is an issue that definitely deserves more coverage but by which media outlet since he owns so many.

Nypostchimpcartoon

 

© 2009, Vanessa: Unplugged!, www.vanessabyers.net

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Peanuts: Eat at Your Own Risk

Peanut-caution Boiled peanuts, roasted peanuts, peanut butter on saltine crackers, peanut butter cookies, and frozen Snickers bar: those are just a few ways I used to enjoy eating peanuts but not anymore.

Thanks to Peanut Corporation of America and the salmonella found in their products, it will be a long time before I eat peanut butter again. The conditions described in the plant were criminal. The company’s leaders should be jailed; no question about it.

Peanut Corporation owner Stewart Parnell, repeatedly invoked his right not to incriminate himself when questioned by the House Energy and Commerce subcommittee. In spite of the 600 people sickened and possible nine deaths linked to the salmonella contamination, Parnell defiantly refused to answer any questions; that’s unconscionable.

The sad reality is that Peanut Corp represents such a small percentage of the peanut industry. Their misdeeds has jeopardized an entire industry. As a consumer, there is nothing that leads me to believe that the conditions at Peanut Corp are different than other peanut processing plants. Perhaps the stimulus plan includes funding for more inspectors of our food supply. It may be time for meto seriously consider growing my own food.

Until this peanut situation is resolved to the satisfaction of the American people or is no longer highlighted in the media and the American people forget, the peanut industry will suffer. What's next?

 

Photo:  Bill Kennedy/The Plain Dealer

© 2009, Vanessa: Unplugged!, www.vanessabyers.net

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Will Michael Steele's Election as RNC Chair Help the GOP Attract Minority Voters? [POLL]

The Republican National Committe is attempting to upgrade its public image with the election of Michael Steele to head the GOP for the next two years. Do you think Steele will help the GOP attract minority voters?




© 2009, Vanessa: Unplugged!, www.vanessabyers.net

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

           


Michael Steele: The New Face of the New Republican Party?

Anything is possible in the United States of America. The GOP elected a black man, Michael Steele, Chair of the Republican National Committee.

  

Clearly, Michael Steele, has President Barack Obama to thank for his victory. The GOP knows that the demographics of this country are changing and they’d better get on board or be run over.  Steele’s election and the subsequent work to be done by the Party will signal whether tit lives or dies.

Some, in the GOP, will find it difficult to have Steele as a Party leader. Others fully expect Steele to be leader in name only. Let’s see how this really works out.

If Steele assumes his true leadership role, many in the GOP, may feel alienated. Like President Obama, Steele should also expect to be challenged by Republican traditionalists as he tries to reshape their Party.  My, how things have changed. The Republicans have finally opened their eyes. It only took six rounds of voting and a vote of 91-77 to do it.

 

Let’s see, Michael Steele beat out the guy who sent out those CDs with “Barack the Magic Negro” on it and  a guy who was a member of a “whites-only” club for years. Yeah, that’s change you can believe in.

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Happy Birthday, Dr. King...Is this a birthday present or what?

Mlk

Today is the day this country celebrates the birth of one of this country’s most famous leaders, the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.  This year’s King Holiday celebration is more significant as we are also in the midst of celebrating the inauguration of President-elect Barack Obama as the 44th president of the United States of America.

The Obama presidency is a tremendous gift to the legacy of Dr. King but not just because Obama is black but by virtue of the fact that Obama has re-ignited the American spirit and called for unity in working for the good for the nation. The rainbow of people who elected Barack Obama to the highest position in the free world and the people celebrating his inauguration would be pleasing to Dr. King.

Every march, sit-in, arrest and day Dr. King endured in jail has brought this country to where it is today and I am grateful for Dr. King’s commitment to fighting for the rights of black Americans and others treated unfairly.

The election of Barack Obama as president is not the fulfillment of King’s dream but it is definitely a step in the right direction. We are so very proud of this nation but there is still much to be done to achieve equality for all.

Let’s continue in the spirit of Dr. King and do our part to continue to make this nation better for our children, our children’s children and generations to come. Happy Birthday, Dr. King. Thank you.  

 
LaVinnia

 

© 2009, Vanessa: Unplugged!, www.vanessabyers.net

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