Flap’s California Morning Collection: June 27, 2011

Posted Posted in California, California Economy, Flap's California Morning Collection, Freedom of Speech, Los Angeles Dodgers, Texas

A morning collection of links and comments about my home, California.

Tabulations From a Survey of California Registered Voters about their Attentiveness to Government and Politics and the Media Sources They Use to Obtain This Information

A new Field Poll says there’s an uptick in the number of those who aren’t following government and political news.

The poll, out today, says about 25 percent of California voters say they pay attention to such news “only now and then” or “hardly at all.”

That’s up from 16 percent who said so in 1979 and 20 percent in 1999.

What do voters list as a main source of public affairs news? A majority, 56 percent, said television, while 44 percent said the Internet and 33 percent read newspapers.

And where are they getting that television news? Twenty eight percent said CNN, 22 percent said Fox, and 8 percent said Comedy Central’s The Daily Show.

Dan Walters: California vs. Texas provides very stark job comparison

On June 17, the California Employment Development Department reported a tiny decline – just two-tenths of 1 percent – in the state’s unemployment rate to 11.7 percent in May.

It was, to put it mildly, underwhelming, since a deeper look at the data reveals that the decline was not because payrolls had expanded markedly, but rather because the state’s labor force had shrunk as jobless workers gave up looking for work.

California’s “seasonally adjusted” non-agricultural employment had increased by a minuscule 2,000 in the preceding year while the “unadjusted data” showed a decline of 40,000 employed people from a year earlier.

The Texas Workforce Commission released a similar report on June 17 – similar in form, but decidedly dissimilar in tone.

Texas’ unemployment rate was 8 percent, two-thirds of California’s jobless rate, and its seasonally adjusted year-to-year job growth was a robust 2 percent (2.7 percent in private employment).

“We’ve added 92,300 jobs in Texas so far in 2011,” said TWC Commissioner Ronny Congleton. “That is a trend that we hope to continue until all Texans have good jobs earning good wages.”

Texas had fewer than a million unemployed workers in May while California had more than 2 million. Texas’ jobless rate was under the national average, while California’s was the second highest in the nation. Texas has accounted for nearly half of the nation’s job creation since 2009.

“Growth in the Texas economy is gaining steam,” says a recent analysis by the Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas. Clearly, Texas and other states are emerging from recession while California’s recovery, if it exists, is decidedly weak, as several new economic reports note.

Court overturns ban on video game sales to kids

The Supreme Court ruled Monday that it is unconstitutional to bar children from buying or renting violent video games, saying government doesn’t have the authority to “restrict the ideas to which children may be exposed” despite complaints that the popular and fast-changing technology allows the young to simulate acts of brutality.

On a 7-2 vote, the high court upheld a federal appeals court decision to throw out California’s ban on the sale or rental of violent video games to minors. The 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Sacramento had ruled that the law violated minors’ rights under the First Amendment, and the high court agreed.

“No doubt a state possesses legitimate power to protect children from harm,” said Justice Antonin Scalia, who wrote the majority opinion. “But that does not include a free-floating power to restrict the ideas to which children may be exposed.”

Video game makers and sellers celebrated their victory, saying the decision puts them on the same legal footing as other forms of entertainment. “There now can be no argument whether video games are entitled to the same protection as books, movies, music, and other expressive entertainment,” said Bo Andersen, president and CEO of the Entertainment Merchants Association.

Dodgers file for bankruptcy protection

The Los Angeles Dodgers filed for bankruptcy protection in a Delaware court Monday, blaming Major League Baseball for refusing to approve a multibillion-dollar TV deal that owner Frank McCourt was counting on to keep the troubled team afloat.

The Chapter 11 financing permits the Dodgers to use $150 million for daily operations and buys time for the team to seek a media deal and ensure the team’s long-term financial stability, the Dodgers said in a news release.

“There will be no disruption to the Dodgers’ day-to-day business, the baseball team, or to the Dodger fans,” the statement said.

Dodgers players will be paid on Thursday, a source confirmed to ESPN’s Tim Kurkjian.

Baseball commissioner Bud Selig announced last week that he wouldn’t approve a Dodgers television deal with Fox Sports that reportedly was worth up to $3 billion. That left McCourt cash-starved and facing the prospect of missing the team payroll this Thursday, leading to an MLB takeover.

McCourt defended his running of the team, saying he had made it profitable and successful. He also said the Dodgers have tried for almost a year to get Selig to approve the Fox transaction.

“The Dodgers have delivered time and again since I became owner, and that’s been good for baseball,” McCourt said. “We turned the team around financially after years of annual losses before I purchased the team. We invested $150 million in the stadium. We’ve had excellent on-field performance, including playoff appearances four times in seven years.

“And we brought the Commissioner a media rights deal that would have solved the cash flow challenge I presented to him a year ago, when his leadership team called us a ‘model franchise.’ Yet he’s turned his back on the Dodgers, treated us differently, and forced us to the point we find ourselves in today. I simply cannot allow the Commissioner to knowingly and intentionally be in a position to expose the Dodgers to financial risk any longer. It is my hope that the Chapter 11 process will create a fair and constructive environment to get done what we couldn’t achieve with the Commissioner directly.”

Enjoy your morning!

Video: Obama Administration Punishes San Francisco Chronicle Reporter Carla Marinucci for Using Her Flip Video Camera

Posted 1 CommentPosted in Barack Obama, Carla Marinucci, Freedom of Press, Freedom of Speech


$76,000 protest disrupts swank Obama SF fundraiser: “We paid our dues..where’s our ‘change”?

Some transparent President, Obama is not…..
The hip, transparent and social media-loving Obama administration is showing its analog roots. And maybe even some hypocrisy highlights.

White House officials have banished one of the best political reporters in the country from the approved pool of journalists covering presidential visits to the Bay Area for using now-standard multimedia tools to gather the news.

The Chronicle’s Carla Marinucci – who, like many contemporary reporters, has a phone with video capabilities on her at all times – pulled out a small video camera last week and shot some protesters interrupting an Obama fundraiser at the St. Regis Hotel.

She was part of a “print pool” – a limited number of journalists at an event who represent their bigger hoard colleagues – which White House press officials still refer to quaintly as “pen and pad” reporting.

But that’s a pretty Flintstones concept of journalism for an administration that presents itself as the Jetsons. Video is every bit a part of any journalist’s tool kit these days as a functioning pen that doesn’t leak through your pocket.

In fact, Carla and her reporting colleague, Joe Garofoli, founded something called “Shaky Hand Productions” – the semi-pro, sometimes vertiginous use of a Flip or phone camera by Hearst reporters to catch more impromptu or urgent moments during last year’s California gubernatorial race that might otherwise be missed by TV.

The name has become its own brand; often politicians even ask if anyone from Shaky Hand will show at their event. For Carla, Joe and reporters at other Hearst newsrooms where Shaky Hand has taken hold, this was an appropriate dive into use of other media by traditional journalists catering to audiences who expect their news delivered in all modes and manners.

That’s the world we live in and the President of the United States claims to be one of its biggest advocates.

Well, this is just B.S..

By the way, I usually have my digital audio recorder and my Bloggie High Def Video camera in my pocket while at political functions. You never know when something MIGHT happen – as in this case.

But, you know, if the President wants to have a closed press fundraiser, then do not expect the press that are invited NOT to report. How stupid is this? And, then punish the reporter and then her newspaper after the fact.

Remember the saying about people who buy their electrons by the barrel or was it ink?

So what’s up with the White House? We can’t say because neither Press Secretary Jay Carney nor anyone from his staff would speak on the record.

Other sources confirmed that Carla was vanquished, including Chronicle editor Ward Bushee, who said he was “informed that Carla was removed as a pool reporter.” Which shouldn’t be a secret in any case because it’s a fact that affects the newsgathering of our largest regional paper (and sfgate)and how local citizens get their information.

What’s worse: more than a few journalists familiar with this story are aware of some implied threats from the White House of additional and wider punishment if Carla’s spanking became public. Really? That’s a heavy hand usually reserved for places other than the land of the free.

But bravery is a challenge, in particular for White House correspondents, most of whom are seasoned and capable journalists. They live a little bit in a gilded cage where they have access to the most powerful man in the world but must obey the rules whether they make sense or not.

CBS News reporter, Mark Knoller, has publicly protested the limited press access to Obama fundraisers, calling the policy “inconsistent.” “It’s no way to do business,” wrote Politico’s Julie Mason, “especially [for] a candidate who prides himself on transparency.”

A 2009 blog by the White House Director of New Media states that “President Obama is committed to making his administration the most open and transparent in history.”

Not last week.

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi Asks Obama Justice Department to Help Save the San Francisco Chronicle and Other Newspapers

Posted 2 CommentsPosted in Freedom of Speech, Nancy Pelosi
save-the-newspapers

The letter House Speaker Pelosi wrote to the Justice Department was released this afternoon.

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, worried about the fate of The Chronicle and other financially struggling newspapers, urged the Justice Department Monday to consider giving Bay Area papers more leeway to merge or consolidate business operations to stay afloat.

In a letter to Attorney General Eric Holder, released by Pelosi’s office late Monday, the San Francisco Democrat asked the department to weigh the public benefit of saving The Chronicle and other papers from closure against the agency’s antitrust mission to guard against anti-competitive behavior.

“We must ensure that our policies enable our news organizations to survive and to engage in the news gathering and analysis that the American people expect,” Pelosi wrote.

The speaker said the issue of newspapers’ survival and antitrust law will be the subject of a hearing soon before the House Judiciary Subcommittee on Courts and Competition Policy, chaired by Rep. Hank Johnson, D-Ga.

Pelosi’s spokesman, Brendan Daly, said the speaker was moved by the recent announcement by the Hearst Corp., the parent company of The Chronicle, that it would be forced to sell or close the paper if it could not achieve major cost-savings quickly. Hearst has said the paper lost $50 million last year and that this year’s losses will likely be worse.

How stupid. Why should the newspaper industry which is failing in the marketplace be supported  by favorable anti-trust rules/laws set by the federal government?

Next thing you know, Pelosi will be asking for $500 Billion of taxpayer money to bail their left-wing friends in the print media businesses out.

How is that for freedom of the press?


Technorati Tags:

Brigitte Bardot on Trial Watch: CONVICTED of Inciting Hatred Against Muslims

Posted Posted in France, Freedom of Speech, Islam

No freedom of speech in France.

France’s 1960s screen icon Brigitte Bardot received a 15,000-euro (23,000 dollar) fine on Tuesday for inciting hatred against Muslims.

In December 2006, the film star-turned-animal rights activist wrote a letter to France’s then interior minister, current President Nicolas Sarkozy, arguing that Muslims should stun animals before slaughtering them during the Aid al-Kabir holiday.

She outraged anti-racist groups by saying: “I’ve had enough of being led by the nose by this whole population which is destroying us, (and) destroying our country by imposing their ways.”

Bardot, now 73 and suffering from arthritis, was absent from Tuesday’s court hearing in Paris. She wrote to the court saying: “I’m sickened by how (these organisations) are harassing me.”

She added: “I will not shut up until stunning is carried out” on animals before their ritual slaughter.

Bardot already has four convictions on similar charges. In 2004 she was fined 5,000 euros for inciting racial hatred in her book “Un Cri Dans le Silence” (A Cry in the Silence).

As Flap wrote before:

Now you know what the Founding Fathers wrote the first amendment to the United States Constitution. To think that Flap’s ass would be in court for his publication of the Mohammed Cartoons.

France has taken political correctness to the extreme of abrogating the inalienable right to speak your own mind.

Somehow Flap thinks we have not heard the end of this story.


Brigitte Bardot on Trial Watch: Freedom of Speech in France?

Posted Posted in France, Freedom of Speech, Islam

Brigitte Bardot in earlier and better times

Yeah, Flap knows that is a dated photo of Brigitte Bardot but Flap couldn’t resist – especially a free speech issue.

Brigitte Bardot is back on trial in France, facing charges of fanning discrimination and racial hatred against Muslims.

In a Paris court hearing Tuesday, prosecutors said they are seeking a two-month suspended prison sentence and a $23,900 fine against the former screen siren and animal rights campaigner.

Bardot, 73, was not present for the hearing. A verdict is expected June 3.

A leading French anti-racism group known as MRAP filed suit last year over a letter that Bardot sent to then-Interior Minister Nicolas Sarkozy, and which was published in her foundation’s quarterly journal.

In the letter to Sarkozy, now the president, Bardot accused France’s Muslim population of destroying France, and complained about the Muslim feast of Eid al-Adha.

French anti-racism laws prevent inciting hatred and discrimination on racial or religious or racial grounds. Bardot has been convicted four times for inciting racial hatred.

Now you know what the Founding Fathers wrote the first amendment to the United States Constitution. To think that Flap’s ass would be in court for his publication of the Mohammed Cartoons.

France has taken political correctness to the extreme of abrogating the inalienable right to speak your own mind.