For the last post of the year, we present The Future . . . or, what we were supposed to have 10 years ago.
Where the hell is my air car?
But they'll have to wait a day or two for the Omaha World-Herald's wall-to-wall coverage of everybody's all-Americans.
THAT'S BECAUSE the state's largest newspaper has decided them folks up in the Sandhills kin jes' go on ahead and become part of Wyoming, as has been threatened by some from time to time. In a state where folks past Grand Island have felt less and less connected to their more-numerous eastern Nebraska brethren, they are just about to have one less thing in common -- their formerly statewide newspaper:
Effective Feb. 2, The World-Herald is changing the way it delivers the news and provides advertising services across the state of Nebraska.AHEM. Will the World-Herald Co. be vastly expanding the newshole of the North Platte Telegraph and Scottsbluff Star-Herald so they might somehow shoehorn in all that World-Herald News Service wonderfulness each day?
The newspaper will end its Midlands edition, which is distributed across much of the western half of the state. Instead of providing same-day printed newspaper delivery to that part of the state, The World-Herald will provide subscriptions to a replica electronic edition (e-Edition) for each day's paper. It also will offer delivery of the paper by U.S. mail.
In a significant related move, The World-Herald will expand distribution of its Nebraska edition, pushing delivery of this edition as far west as the Kearney and Holdrege areas. The Nebraska edition goes to press nearly five hours later than the Midlands edition that these areas currently receive, providing more up-to-date news.
The World-Herald News Service, created last year, makes available all World-Herald content to its family of daily and weekly papers across the state. Over the past two decades, The World-Herald has ensured quality news and advertising services throughout Nebraska by acquiring and improving newspapers and their related Web sites in Scottsbluff, North Platte, Kearney, Grand Island and York, as well as 11 weekly newspapers. The Norfolk Daily News also participates in the World-Herald News Service.
Four Iowa daily papers and 12 nondaily papers owned by The World-Herald also are part of the World-Herald News Service.
Omaha.com also provides World-Herald content 24/7 online and by mobile phone.
And what about all the World-Herald's coverage of Husker football on Sundays? Exactly how many of the Telegraph's or Star-Herald's Sunday sports sections could be fit into the World-Herald's college-football section?
Listen, I realize the newspaper industry is in for drastic changes, and that print editions will be less and less of the equation from here on out. What offends me is the newspaper peeing down western Nebraska readers' legs, then telling them it's a beneficial rain.
What we are talking here is a diminution of service to an overwhelmingly rural area of the state. What we also are talking here, in the socio-political sphere, is an unintended but not-so-subtle message to those folks that they do not matter in the grand scheme of Nebraska.
I UNDERSTAND the economic reasoning behind the World-Herald's move. What I don't understand is how the paper is allowing its brand to be diminished by so blatantly throwing in the towel and leaving so much of the state unserved by anything but the smallest of small-town newspapers.
The newspaper crisis has been building since the birth of the World Wide Web, and now the World-Herald reacts? Worse, the long-delayed reaction isn't a proactive one but, instead, comes in the form of a barely organized retreat.
And it's outstate World-Herald subscribers and single-copy buyers who've been left bleeding on the battlefield.
So now the paper's soon-to-be-erstwhile readers are expected to subscribe to the "e-Edition" available on the paper's woeful, truncated website? Good luck with that one, guys. Really, the "e-Edition" should be a joy to read in areas where broadband Internet service isn't nearly so ubiquitous as in the big city.
It seems to me many of the World-Herald's cost-saving objectives could have been met by either having its outstate editions printed in Grand Island, North Platte and Scottsbluff, then distributed from those hubs.
OR, BETTER YET, why not expand the circulation areas of those World-Herald Co. newspapers somewhat, and then offer an outstate edition of the World-Herald as a wrap-around to them, while raising the cover price of the papers, say, a dime? Would it really have been impossible -- and economically unfeasible -- to achieve cost savings while enhancing value to the customer?
Even if you are retrenching somewhat, isn't it always better to do it in a way that plausibly can be spun as a plus for your readership while positioning you as an industry innovator? Wouldn't it be smart journalism to add state- and national-coverage value to three of your western Nebraska publications while freeing up space in -- and the staff of -- those papers for more, and more thorough, regional and local coverage?
What the newspaper industry needs today is imagination and innovation. What it gets is slapdash haphazardry and sheer panic.
NEWSPAPERS LIKE the Omaha World-Herald could be intelligently organizing a graceful retreat from the business of publishing dead-tree newspapers and an entry into the world of multimedia news dissemination. A measured, thoughtful transition would give editors and publishers time to develop a game plan.
It also would give areas like western Nebraska time to more completely integrate into the broadband world so that no reader -- no citizen -- is left behind.
The World-Herald could have done that. Could have.
As in "coulda, woulda . . . shoulda."
When Tivoli Audio CEO Tom DeVesto and his team of engineers set out to create the next generation of home audio, they began with a simple question: What would the ideal radio do? The new Tivoli Audio NetWorks radio is the answer to that question. Taking advantage of broadcasting over the Internet, NetWorks delivers crystal-clear reception of any radio station, near or far, with no need for a computer. NetWorks allows listeners to tune in to Italian Opera from Milan, rock music from New York City, or any specialty, niche radio station from any location in the world in its native language, and in real time.BETTER YET, watch:
What is wrong with this picture? Probably the same thing that caused someone on the SaveTheBonfire blog to think it necessary to post this on it:
I don't speak on behalf of anyone other than myself, but if you wish to see the bonfire continue:
* Do not throw fireworks or other foreign matter into the fire.
* Respect the directions of fire fighters and police, and identified bonfire marshals.
* Keep your clothes on (this is a family event; we bring our kids)
Do not get dangerously close to the fire, and respect any barricades that may be erected.
FIVE DECADES and change ago, CBS newsman Edward R. Murrow closed a landmark See It Now broadcast taking on Sen. Joseph McCarthy by quoting from William Shakespeare's "Julius Caesar." If you replaced the words "senator from Wisconsin" with "mayor of New Orleans," you'd have a pretty damn good epitaph for New Orleans:
The actions of the junior Senator from Wisconsin have caused alarm and dismay amongst our allies abroad, and given considerable comfort to our enemies. And whose fault is that? Not really his. He didn't create this situation of fear; he merely exploited it -- and rather successfully. Cassius was right. "The fault, dear Brutus, is not in our stars, but in ourselves."
Good night, and good luck.
I always was kind of fond of the Doris Day Show, which I hadn't seen in decades. Until now, with this sweet Christmas episode from, I think, the 1970-71 season.
Call me a sap, I don't care. It's Christmas, and Christmas is a powerful thing.
The people who walked in darkness
have seen a great light;
upon those who dwelt in the land of gloom
a light has shone.
You have brought them abundant joy
and great rejoicing,
as they rejoice before you as at the harvest,
as people make merry when dividing spoils.
For the yoke that burdened them,
the pole on their shoulder,
and the rod of their taskmaster
you have smashed, as on the day of Midian.
For every boot that tramped in battle,
every cloak rolled in blood,
will be burned as fuel for flames.
For a child is born to us, a son is given us;
upon his shoulder dominion rests.
They name him Wonder-Counselor, God-Hero,
Father-Forever, Prince of Peace.
His dominion is vast
and forever peaceful,
from David’s throne, and over his kingdom,
which he confirms and sustains
by judgment and justice,
both now and forever.
The zeal of the LORD of hosts will do this!
Do a search for Christmas videos on Google, and you'll find the most fascinating things.
For instance, did you know there's a Web site with nothing but home movies on it? There is. It's run by a film-transfer business called Home Movie Depot.
And there we find some old Super 8 movies belonging to a user, handle of Fabian. Fabian's family was in sunny Southern California in the 1960s, it seems. The web page guesses this home movie was from 1965.
The women's clothes are off for '65. For one thing, miniskirts weren't widespread in this country in 1965, if they had gotten here at all.
FOR ANOTHER THING, the kids are playing with the Hot Wheels they got for Christmas. Hot Wheels didn't appear on the scene until 1968. Note to self: Retrieve old Hot Wheels and Hot Wheels track when you go back to Louisiana next summer.
Merry Christmas from the family.
Carve the turkey turn the ballgame on
Make Bloody Marys cause we all want one
Send somebody to the Stop 'n Go
We need some celery and a can of fake snow
A bag of lemons and some Diet Sprite
A box of tampons and some Salem Lights
Hallelujah everybody say cheese
Merry Christmas from the family
Rep. Barney Frank (D-Mass.) thinks that President-elect Obama picked same-sex marriage opponent Rick Warren to give the inauguration invocation because Obama "overestimates" his ability to unify people.FRANKLY, FRANK underestimates his ability to annoy the s*** out of people.
"Oh, I believe that he overestimates his ability to get people to put aside fundamental differences," said Frank, the first House member to come out of the closet voluntarily.
Frank, on MSNBC on Monday, said that he's delighted Obama was elected and that the country is headed into the "best time" for public policy since the New Deal.
"But my one question is, I think he overestimates his ability to take people, particularly our colleagues on the right, and, sort of, charm them into being nice," Frank said. "I know he talks about being post-partisan. But I've worked, frankly, with Newt Gingrich and Tom DeLay, the current Republican leadership. The current Republican leadership in the House repudiated George Bush. I don't know why Mr. Obama thinks he's going to have them better than George Bush."
Before Monty Python, there was Jack Benny. Warped and absurd doesn't just come from nowhere, you know.
And sometimes, prime-time television in White Bread America (which is what we, today, assume what all of America must have been in December 1960, when the episode of The Jack Benny Program aired) was just downright twisted. So twisted there would be hell to pay if it aired today.
I'D TELL YOU how twisted, but that would give away the plot. And the jokes.
No, in the New Edgy Millennium, you can rhapsodize about giving your baby "D*** in a Box," but you can't show this.
In 2008, you can go just so far. We have standards of decency, you know. Some things still are offensive.
But if you can't be offensive at Christmastime, though, when can you in the New Edgy Millennium?
Strike a blow for freedom of expression. Watch.
In Louisiana, you're OK, I guess, so long as you're posting stuff critical of the gay-rights movement.
A commenter on my last post had this advice for me: "Please post more like this rather than the anti-Louisiana stuff, okay?"
Not a chance.
Not when there's so much "anti-Louisiana stuff" to choose from. Not when it's so factually irrefutable. Not when the "anti-Louisiana stuff" usually is about things so egregious they take Nebraskans' breath away -- just as they do others unfamiliar with the state's certain reductio ad absurdum je ne sais quoi.
THERE'S NOT a chance in hell I'll quit posting the "anti-Louisiana stuff" so long as, for example, Louisiana vigilantes can kill a man just for being black . . . and Louisianians are OK with that. Naturally, the latest "anti-Louisiana stuff" -- the latest "anti-Louisiana" horror, actually -- has bubbled up from New Orleans like so much swamp gas . . . straight into the pages of the latest edition of The Nation:
The way Donnell Herrington tells it, there was no warning. One second he was trudging through the heat. The next he was lying prostrate on the pavement, his life spilling out of a hole in his throat, his body racked with pain, his vision blurred and distorted.IN MUCH of this country after a natural disaster, sworn law officers wait to see evidence of looting, take the looters into custody and then read them their Miranda rights.
It was September 1, 2005, some three days after Hurricane Katrina crashed into New Orleans, and somebody had just blasted Herrington, who is African-American, with a shotgun. "I just hit the ground. I didn't even know what happened," recalls Herrington, a burly 32-year-old with a soft drawl.
The sudden eruption of gunfire horrified Herrington's companions--his cousin Marcel Alexander, then 17, and friend Chris Collins, then 18, who are also black. "I looked at Donnell and he had this big old hole in his neck," Alexander recalls. "I tried to help him up, and they started shooting again." Herrington says he was staggering to his feet when a second shotgun blast struck him from behind; the spray of lead pellets also caught Collins and Alexander. The buckshot peppered Alexander's back, arm and buttocks.
Herrington shouted at the other men to run and turned to face his attackers: three armed white males. Herrington says he hadn't even seen the men or their weapons before the shooting began. As Alexander and Collins fled, Herrington ran in the opposite direction, his hand pressed to the bleeding wound on his throat. Behind him, he says, the gunmen yelled, "Get him! Get that nigger!"
The attack occurred in Algiers Point. The Point, as locals call it, is a neighborhood within a neighborhood, a small cluster of ornate, immaculately maintained 150-year-old houses within the larger Algiers district. A nationally recognized historic area, Algiers Point is largely white, while the rest of Algiers is predominantly black. It's a "white enclave" whose residents have "a kind of siege mentality," says Tulane University historian Lance Hill, noting that some white New Orleanians "think of themselves as an oppressed minority."
During the summer of 2005 Herrington was working as an armored-car driver for the Brink's company and living in a rented duplex about a mile from Algiers Point. Katrina thrashed the place, blowing out windows, pitching a hefty pine tree limb through the roof and dumping rain on Herrington's possessions. On the day of the shooting, Herrington, Alexander and Collins were all trying to escape the stricken city, and set out together on foot for the Algiers Point ferry terminal in the hopes of getting on an evacuation bus.
Those hopes were dashed by a barrage of shotgun pellets. After two shots erupted, Collins and Alexander took off running and ducked into a shed behind a house to hide from the gunmen, Alexander tells me. The armed men, he says, discovered them in the shed and jammed pistols in their faces, yelling, "We got you niggers! We got you niggers!" He continues, "They said they was gonna tie us up, put us in the back of the truck and burn us. They was gonna make us suffer.... I thought I was gonna die. I thought I was gonna leave earth."
Apparently thinking they'd caught some looters, the gunmen interrogated and verbally threatened Collins and Alexander for ten to fifteen minutes, Alexander says, before one of the armed men issued an ultimatum: if Alexander and Collins left Algiers Point and told their friends not to set foot in the area, they'd be allowed to live.
Meanwhile, Herrington was staring at death. "I was bleeding pretty bad from my neck area," he recalls. When two white men drove by in a black pickup truck, he begged them for help. "I said, Help me, help me--I'm shot," Herrington recalls. The response, he tells me, was immediate and hostile. One of the men told Herrington, "Get away from this truck, nigger. We're not gonna help you. We're liable to kill you ourselves." My God, thought Herrington, what's going on out here?
He managed to stumble back to a neighbor's house, collapsing on the front porch. The neighbors, an African-American couple, wrapped him in a sheet and sped him to the nearest hospital, the West Jefferson Medical Center, where, medical records show, he was X-rayed at 3:30 pm. According to the records, a doctor who reviewed the X-rays found "metallic buckshot" scattered throughout his chest, arms, back and abdomen, as well as "at least seven [pellets] in the right neck." Within minutes, Herrington was wheeled into an operating room for emergency surgery.
"It was a close-range buckshot wound from a shotgun," says Charles Thomas, one of the doctors who operated on Herrington. "If he hadn't gotten to the hospital, he wouldn't have lived. He had a hole in his internal jugular vein, and we were able to find it and fix it."
After three days in the hospital, which lacked running water, air conditioning and functional toilets, Herrington was shuttled to a medical facility in Baton Rouge. When he returned to New Orleans months later, he paid a visit to the Fourth District police station, whose officers patrol the west bank, and learned there was no police report documenting the attack. Herrington, who now has a wide scar stretching the length of his neck, says the officers he spoke with failed to take a report or check out his story, a fact that still bothers him. "If the shoe was on the other foot, if a black guy was willing to go out shooting white guys, the police would be up there real quick," he says. "I feel these guys should definitely be held accountable. These guys had absolutely no right to do what they did."
Fellow militia member Wayne Janak, 60, a carpenter and contractor, is more forthcoming with me. "Three people got shot in just one day!" he tells me, laughing. We're sitting in his home, a boxy beige-and-pink structure on a corner about five blocks from Daigle's Grocery. "Three of them got hit right here in this intersection with a riot gun," he says, motioning toward the streets outside his home. Janak tells me he assumed the shooting victims, who were African-American, were looters because they were carrying sneakers and baseball caps with them. He guessed that the property had been stolen from a nearby shopping mall. According to Janak, a neighbor "unloaded a riot gun"--a shotgun--"on them. We chased them down."THE PROBLEM with Louisiana is that Louisianians are more upset that their dirty laundry gets aired than they are that their laundry is so dirty in the first place. I don't know how you fix such a culture.
Janak, who was carrying a pistol, says he grabbed one of the suspected looters and considered killing him, but decided to be merciful. "I rolled him over in the grass and saw that he'd been hit in the back with the riot gun," he tells me. "I thought that was good enough. I said, 'Go back to your neighborhood so people will know Algiers Point is not a place you go for a vacation. We're not doing tours right now.'"
He's equally blunt in Welcome to New Orleans, an hourlong documentary produced by the Danish video team, who captured Janak, beer in hand, gloating about hunting humans. Surrounded by a crowd of sunburned white Algiers Point locals at a barbeque held not long after the hurricane, he smiles and tells the camera, "It was great! It was like pheasant season in South Dakota. If it moved, you shot it." A native of Chicago, Janak also boasts of becoming a true Southerner, saying, "I am no longer a Yankee. I earned my wings." A white woman standing next to him adds, "He understands the N-word now." In this neighborhood, she continues, "we take care of our own."
Janak, who says he'd been armed with two .38s and a shotgun, brags about keeping the bloody shirt worn by a shooting victim as a trophy. When "looters" showed up in the neighborhood, "they left full of buckshot," he brags, adding, "You know what? Algiers Point is not a pussy community."
Within that community the gunmen enjoyed wide support. In an outtake from the documentary, a group of white Algiers Point residents gathers to celebrate the arrival of military troops sent to police the area. Addressing the crowd, one local praises the vigilantes for holding the neighborhood together until the Army Humvees trundled into town, noting that some of the militia figures are present at the party. "You all know who you are," the man says. "And I'm proud of every one of you all." Cheering and applause erupts from the assembled locals.
Some of the gunmen prowling Algiers Point were out to wage a race war, says one woman whose uncle and two cousins joined the cause. A former New Orleanian, this source spoke to me anonymously because she fears her relatives could be prosecuted for their crimes. "My uncle was very excited that it was a free-for-all--white against black--that he could participate in," says the woman. "For him, the opportunity to hunt black people was a joy."
"They didn't want any of the 'ghetto niggers' coming over" from the east side of the river, she says, adding that her relatives viewed African-Americans who wandered into Algiers Point as "fair game." One of her cousins, a young man in his 20s, sent an e-mail to her and several other family members describing his adventures with the militia. He had attached a photo in which he posed next to an African-American man who'd been fatally shot. The tone of the e-mail, she says, was "gleeful" -- her cousin was happy that "they were shooting niggers."
President-elect Barack Obama on Thursday defended his choice of a popular evangelical minister to deliver the invocation at his inauguration, rejecting criticism that it slights gays.ACTUALLY, the word I heard thrown around was "bigot." That's the label you're hung with by the agents of one-way "tolerance" if you are so gauche to believe some fundamental tenets of historical Christianity.
The selection of Pastor Rick Warren brought objections from gay rights advocates, who strongly supported Obama during the election campaign. The advocates are angry over Warren's backing of a California ballot initiative banning gay marriage. That measure was approved by voters last month.
But Obama told reporters in Chicago that America needs to "come together," even when there's disagreement on social issues. "That dialogue is part of what my campaign is all about," he said.
Obama also said he's known to be a "fierce advocate for equality" for gays and lesbians, and will remain so.
Warren, a best-selling author and leader of a Southern California megachurch, is one of a new breed of evangelicals who stress the need for action on social issues such as reducing poverty and protecting the environment, alongside traditional theological themes.
The Human Rights Campaign, the nation's largest gay rights organization, said Warren's opposition to gay marriage is a sign of intolerance.
"The matrimonial covenant, by which a man and a woman establish between themselves a partnership of the whole of life, is by its nature ordered toward the good of the spouses and the procreation and education of offspring; this covenant between baptized persons has been raised by Christ the Lord to the dignity of a sacrament."THE SECULAR notion of marriage hews pretty closely to this view, not because the state is in the religion business, but because the state -- historically -- has recognized fundamental realities when it is confronted with them. To ignore fundamental realities, and basic biology and sociology, is to reap the whirlwind.
Being in radio today means never having the right answer to "What have you done for me lately?"
Even if you're a certified broadcasting giant.
ABOUT six years ago, a non-commercial station's production director and program director found themselves -- for some amorphous reason or another -- visiting the studios of Waitt Radio's Omaha operations for talks with the top brass there. I think they were supposed to get acquainted with the folks there as part of some strategic alliance.
Perhaps they were even supposed to learn something as they got the nickel tour.
As the two waited in the lobby, local radio fixture Steve Brown came breezing into the studios for his midmorning "Talk of the Town" show on news-talk KKAR. I think it would be fair to describe Brown that day as "ruddy" and a little bit rumpled.
The non-comm program director was new to town. Wouldn't have known Steve Brown if the man had run over him with a busload of KOIL "Good Guys." Didn't care who Steve Brown was.
IT DIDN'T MATTER that Steve Brown had forgotten more about radio broadcasting than this guy would ever know. No, he had his verdict, and he was sticking to it:
"How'd you like to end up like that guy?"
Interesting question. Let's see . . . end up as a legendary programmer? As an architect of some of the most successful Top-40 radio stations of the 1960s? As someone who'd recruited and mentored air personalities who went on to become household names across the nation?
Then end up as a successful local talk-show host and voiceover talent?
"That's Steve Brown," the production guy ended up telling his boss. "The guy's a legend. You could do a hell of a lot worse than ending up like him."
But that's radio for you nowadays. "Casting pearls before swine" is what legends do until they retire or die. Sadly, Steve Brown -- legend -- died Saturday at 68 while prepping for his talk show in the weekend wilderness of KFAB's program schedule, according to Radio Ink:
Brown, says radio commentator and consultant John Rook at johnrook.com, "played a major role in the early history of Top 40 radio." KOIL under his purview served as a launching pad for Top 40 stars including Gary Owens, Dave Dean, Dr. Don Rose, and The Real Don Steele (a name Brown came up with). Brown also helped in the push to get the music of The Beatles and The Beach Boys on the air.THAT DAY AT KKAR, Brown popped out during a commercial break to excitedly show the operations manager a ratings demographic where he thought he'd registered unexpected -- and surprising -- growth. The manager nodded, and Steve got back to his show.
"Steve Brown is . . . interesting," the OM told his guests, before excusing himself to put more Christmas music into the AudioVAULT computer system.
No, Steve Brown was interested. Enthusiastic. Still . . . after four and a half decades in the business. If the visitors were there to pick the brains of the "big boys," they had gotten a hold of the wrong brains.
Brownie was the guy at whose feet you wanted to be sitting. That's not going to happen now. Steve Brown is dead.
And so, pretty much, is the industry that forgot how to appreciate his kind.
There stands the glass
That will ease all my pain,
That will settle my brain,
It's my first one too-tay. . . .-- Webb Pierce, 1953
pootypants1 says...HELLO, HOUMA COURIER? I'd like to report a post on one of your news stories.
January 26, 2008 8:36:15 am
Even public school can be rediculuse. I pulled my son out and he is home schooled now. He wasn't allowed to have a jacket cause it had one white stripe down one sleeve(rules say solid colors) Then on top of that he is diabetic and takes 9 to 12 shots a day. If his blood sugar happen to drop to low he couldn't eat his candy in class(even with doctors written oders) he was expected to walk down the hall,down the steps, and to the office where they kept his emergency pack. By the time he would get there he could be in a comma. I have home schooled him for 3 yrs now. Works for Us.
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