Pat Piper has made a career learning something new. As a journalist in the news business, “something new” occurs every hour so he’s becoming an expert at understanding stuff he never thought about. Learning became a common word in “Future Talk: Conversations About Tomorrow” (Warner Books), the popular book he ghostwrote with Larry King as […]

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    Archive for March, 2014

    Blow It Up (or fix it)

    By on March 28, 2014 in See It Here

    March 28, 2014

    If you’re keeping score, House Republicans have voted 52 separate times to blow up the Affordable Care Act, get it out of here and, I guess, start over.

    That’s cool. I get it. And if House Speaker John Boehner is reading this, I’d like to add, I understood your concern after the first vote (January 19, 2011). But I guess it takes some repetition to get the idea across to America.

    As one who edits the Republican Weekly Address in search of news, the smart money is they’ll continue to waste everyone’s time telling us how horrible the Affordable Care Act really is (see the blog from way back on March 5th). Every Saturday, it’s the same tune and yeah, they’re taking bets in Vegas every Friday night at 6:27 pm as to the GOP topic and “Obama-Doesn’t-Care” is consistently at the top of possible topics. The payout is really low because it’s such a certainty. But, if 52 votes aren’t enough, then you gotta use the Republican Weekly Address to reach “the people.” Let me tell you something: “the people” really aren’t that dumb.

    Now, I’m not smart enough to be in Congress, but wouldn’t this time be better spent if Republicans would say “here’s what we’d like to do, instead”?

    Guess what? A single set of principles is being worked on as you read this. It’s expected to include allowing buyers to cross state lines to purchase health care and deal with the purchase via fewer regulations. I’m eager to see the plan…since they’ve been saying “ObamaCare Sucks” for more than three years without offering an alternative.

    Another note to Speaker Boehner:  Are you really throwing out everying in the Affordable Care Act? Am I to understand every idea in there is bad? Might you think there’s some validity in suggesting here’s what works and let’s keep it and here’s what doesn’t work and let’s replace it? In other words, take this project on with a degree of maturity instead of the tired teenage-rage-I’m-not-talking-to-you-no-more-take-that-Obama?

    Ayn Rand once said (and I’m paraphrasing here) that it’s smart to leave the guns outside the room when trying to make your case. Otherwise, you blow everything up.

    Speculation As News

    By on March 17, 2014 in See It Here

    March 17, 2014

    Where Did It Go?

    Nobody knows what happened to Malaysia Airlines Flight MH 370. We are in a moment of conversation about the government listening in on phone calls, of security cameras everywhere, numerous thesis on the fact Big Brother from 1984 is living next door (if not with us) and watching news occur live on television and radio.

    But we can’t find a Boeing 777 that measures 199 feet wing-to-wing and is almost 242 feet long. The search has become something that is part Stephen King and part Arthur Conan Doyle with some Tom Clancy mixed in.

    The result is television (and radio) hosts asking people who used to work for the National Transportation Safety Board, Homeland Security, former NSA experts and, of course, members of Congress who sit on a  committee with the word “terrorism” a single question: “How could this happen with all the surveillance out there/up there/over there?”

    NBC’s Kerry Sanders has made the most valid statement after all the hours of “breaking news/updates/new information learned just now blah blah blah” and it is this sentence: “We know that we don’t know much.”

    Former CNN anchor Frank Sesno has talked about the pressure on a TV host during moments as this: “There’s a language of live,” he says and that means the host is learning along with the viewer and, in the case of Flight 370, there’s not a lot being learned.

    Enter speculation.

    Live broadcasting requires always moving the show toward “here’s what’s new” and when “here’s what’s new” isn’t in the room, programs become “here’s what could be going on” which doesn’t teach us anything but opens the door to the viewer taking the role of a reader of one of the books by the authors mentioned above. It’s exciting to wonder where and how and why.

    I’d like to see one host start off the show with all the usual graphics and pictures of the network call letters in different color coming out of a computer-generated map of the world and say, “Welcome to the program. We have no clue what happened to the airplane so we’re not going to waste your time with more experts who have no more of a clue than you do and, instead, provide some real news today.”

    Yeah, I know.

    By on March 11, 2014 in See It Here

    March 11 2014

    Hot Air Bloviation

    28 members of the U.S. Senate talked all night about climate change, something not usually done on a Monday evening and something that had observers asking the question, “why?”

    Well, I’m talking about it. A lot of people are talking about it. Critics of this say the Senate shouldn’t waste time talking about something that doesn’t have pending legislation tied to it. They’re right, of course, and I’m thrilled we have such substantial measures in place advocating “green eggs and ham.”

    Above the finger-pointing and yelling and never-ending questioning of statistics and facts by all involved (read: you and I), here’s a pair of numbers that are often missed: The population of Earth is more than 7 billion right now. That’s more than half of what the population was 50 years ago. Those questioning climate change say the climate is always changing (read: George Will) so all of this is a lot of hooey and is part of the Earth’s natural cycle.

    To use this logic, we can double the population again, supply heating and cooling and transportation, build things and not really worry about increased heat-trapping carbon dioxide in the atmosphere because this is all a part of “the way it is.”

    You know what? That’s the kind of thinking that takes pride in ignorance and the result is we really need not do a darn thing. After all, people don’t screw up the atmosphere.

    Besides, there’s green eggs and ham available for anyone, anytime, anywhere.