Monday, 12/3/12, Public Square



Filed under The Public Square

29 responses to “Monday, 12/3/12, Public Square

  1. The Big Budget Mumble

    (from the link): In the ongoing battle of the budget, President Obama has done something very cruel. Declaring that this time he won’t negotiate with himself, he has refused to lay out a proposal reflecting what he thinks Republicans want. Instead, he has demanded that Republicans themselves say, explicitly, what they want. And guess what: They can’t or won’t do it.

    And there’s a reason for this reticence. The fact is that Republican posturing on the deficit has always been a con game, a play on the innumeracy of voters and reporters. Now Mr. Obama has demanded that the G.O.P. put up or shut up — and the response is an aggrieved mumble.

    Now Republicans find themselves boxed in. With taxes scheduled to rise on Jan. 1 in the absence of an agreement, they can’t play their usual game of just saying no to tax increases and pretending that they have a deficit reduction plan. And the president, by refusing to help them out by proposing G.O.P.-friendly spending cuts, has deprived them of political cover. If Republicans really want to slash popular programs, they will have to propose those cuts themselves.

  2. A discussion of Leonard Cohen’s “Hallelujah,” and how it did, finally, endure. The comments tell you a disagreement continues today.


    (from the link): There are songs, and then there are anthems.

    One of those anthems is the subject of music journalist Alan Light’s new book, The Holy Or The Broken.

    The anthem itself, Leonard Cohen’s “Hallelujah,” is one you’ve probably heard before, but most likely it’s been one of the many covers sung by the likes of Rufus Wainwright, Willie Nelson, Susan Boyle, k.d. lang and even Michael Bolton. You may have also heard one of its many appearances in film and television.

    As Light tells Weekend Edition Sunday host Rachel Martin, the “bassy and kind of droning” song almost didn’t see the light of day.

    “Columbia Records, which was Leonard’s label then and remains so today, listened to the record and rejected it,” Light says.

    Continue reading —

    • prairie pond

      I love that song and especially loved k.d. lang’s rendition at the Olympics. She’s an awesome singer and a brave woman. Leonard used to play a couple of times a year at Austin’s Paramount Theater. I loved watching him, too. There’s not a bad seat at the Paramount. I wonder what the ticket prices are now. Probably out of my reach.

  3. wicked

    I guess I’ll be looking for my news elsewhere.

    Thank you for visiting The Wichita Eagle. To access this article, please sign in with your Eagle+ account below.

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    Membership options start as low as $0.99. Click next to learn more.

    I got more information about the article I wanted to read from the crawl at the bottom of the TV screen during the K-State/UT game Saturday night.

    • That $0.99 is an introductory offer which increases when and to how much? If reading something in the Eagle might be worth .99, is it worth $2? “Is there value,” will be the question each reader answers for themselves. I can usually go to the websites of the local television stations and get local news, the local newspaper was never the place I found national news done well.

      I feel sad that I won’t be reading the local newspaper, but I’ve made my decision. It’s been quite awhile since I cancelled my subscription. I told them back then that if I could get the paper regularly at a reasonable time I would pay for it, but the truth was the carrier missed my driveway often and the rigamarole I had to go through to maybe receive the paper later in the day didn’t add value to my life. Now they’ve made the next decision for me — paying to read online at The Eagle isn’t going to happen. If I pay to read something online, it will be something that adds value, the Eagle doesn’t.

      Back in March of 2009 Steven saw the demise of the local paper coming and began this blog so he would always have a place to stay in touch, talk ‘whatever’ over… He left that for us. It says in the ‘stats’ that we’re currently using 11% of the space available.

    • wicked

      I was getting two emails a day for morning headlines and afternoon headlines. I’d skim through those to see if there was anything of interest. Sometimes yes, sometimes no. I’ve now unsubscribed to them.


    • prairie pond

      Wicked, I’ve been getting that message now for over a week. I read the headlines on the front page, which is free, then google other newspapers and sources to read the story. Sometimes I can find them if it is state or national news, but not local news. Hutch News does this too, and there is talk the Hays Daily and the Salina Journal will soon follow.

      This is going to be more of a trend. It’s the way the newspaper industry is going. I don’t like it, and I think newspapers are shooting themselves in the foot by doing it. But then… I’m just a lowly writer, so what do I know.

      • They always used circulation numbers to convince advertisers to buy space. How is that gonna work?

      • Freedomwriter

        They have steadily been losing readers and they are shooting themselves in the foot and so are the TV stations, but in a different way. Recently one of our local channels was planning to run a story on the numbers of local citizens impacted by problem gambling since the casino came to town. The powers at be, nixed the story after their advertiser (the casino) nixed the idea. Once journalists and news departments only write or air what their advertisers want us to hear, they have ceased to be journalists and news departments. They have become marketers. Who wants to just read or watch commercials? Not this inquiring mind! Journalistic ethics have left the building.

      • prairie pond

        In truth, it is a conundrum. It takes money to pay people and provide resources for independent investigative journalism. Most of that money comes from advertisers. Subscriptions mostly just pay the cost of printing and distribution. But, as Fnord pointed out, it is subscriptions, or, as we say, “eyeballs on the page” that draw advertisers. And advertising and advertisers pay for the “independent” investigative journalism. It ain’t free.

        The biggest problem newspapers face is competition, something they historically have not had to worry about. And competition has been reduced by media consolidation. For example, the merger of the Eagle and the Beacon. You can go on and on with examples of media merger, and it isn’t limited to print news, but includes television, radio, etc.

        Newspapers now face competition for advertising from multitudes of sources, and not just tv and radio. Apps, blogs, etc. and the post office, now in its own competitive mode, is pushing direct mail so aggressively it would make Rupert Murdock blush. Newspapers have never quite figured out how to handle competition and the changing world of cyber media.

        Newspapers need to remember that people have multiple channels for news, and advertisers have multiple channels for marketing. The days of being the only game in town are over. They just don’t seem to be adapting well to change, and so nickle and dime their subscribers and sell their souls regarding independent journalism. That’s not a winning strategy, but they have yet to figure out what is.

        As Fnord put it so well, the question is what is their value and what will the marketplace pay them for that value?


        I get zero percent of my news from print, even though that’s where I make my living. But then, my isolated location kind of dictates that. The real question isn’t whether or not newspapers survive. The real question is if real, independent, journalism will survive in any format if no one is willing to pay for it in any format.

      • The fact is I wanted to pay to have the Wichita Eagle someplace near my property every morning. I got over having to walk out to the end of the driveway, getting down on my knees to search under any car that might have been parked in the driveway, looking in the bushes and in the street the minute I found the newspaper. When at least once a week there was no paper to be found I began a battle that ended in nothing more than my blood pressure being raised. After all those years they couldn’t assure the person who paid the office in advance (no carrier needed to ever ‘collect’) a newspaper. I would have continued paying for it whether it was two pages, was full of not much or something, if only they could have gotten it to me.

        Their problems seem to be more than the cost of investigative journalism, advertisers demands, etc. They weren’t able to be competent at the basics let alone the parts that required some skills.

      • prairie pond

        Indy, and Fnord, I offer no excuses on the delivery problems. You are correct in saying that should be one of the core competencies of their business and they are not competent in that regard.

        I will say that trying to squeeze every drop of profit from both subscribers and advertisers, as 617 will say is their duty, means they cut corners wherever possible, and clearly, they have cut corners in their circulation dept.

        Many newspapers welcome the move to on-line editions because printing is a dying art, paper and labor increasingly expensive, not to mention the many presses that are aging and need to be replaced with expensive new technology. For example, ALL of the Harris chain newspapers are printed in Salina, and then trucked to their destinations, including Iowa. Supposedly, it’s cheaper for them to do that. They invested in more press capacity in Salina and believe they can print and deliver cheaper by centralizing that function. It’s a joke, because they can’t get out the weeklies that they contract print, and every damn day there is a notice on the front page of the on-line edition that delivery will be delayed because of printing problems. Or transportation problems. Or any damn problem at all. They are NOW failing at that core competency too.

        So.. they think if you are willing to pay for a paper paper, you would be willing to pay for an on-line edition with NO delivery problems. Funny thing, newspaper readers generally like their paper paper. Once a customer gets on-line, they have this amazing tendency to wander around the internet and get their news elsewhere, so they actually lose “eyeballs on the page” by going on-line. After all, other, sometimes better, news sources are only a click away, not a trip to the closest newsstand away. Leakage.

        They also have to fight the culture of free content on the internet. Content pretty much started out free, and we expect it for free, and if we can’t get it for free in one place, we’ll click on over to another place where we can get it free. As mentioned above, the local tv stations often have great local news content, and, it’s free, at least for now.

        Newspapers have to figure all this out soon, or they will be dinosaurs waiting for better weather that never arrives.

  4. (from the link): It’s really amazing to see political reporters dutifully passing along Republican complaints that President Obama’s opening offer in the fiscal cliff talks is just a recycled version of his old plan, when those same reporters spent the last year dutifully passing along Republican complaints that Obama had no plan. It’s even more amazing to see them pass along Republican outrage that Obama isn’t cutting Medicare enough, in the same matter-of-fact tone they used during the campaign to pass along Republican outrage that Obama was cutting Medicare.

    This isn’t just cognitive dissonance. It’s irresponsible reporting. Mainstream media outlets don’t want to look partisan, so they ignore the BS hidden in plain sight, the hypocrisy and dishonesty that defines the modern Republican Party. I’m old enough to remember when Republicans insisted that anyone who said they wanted to cut Medicare was a demagogue, because I’m more than three weeks old.

    Fiscal Cliff Fictions: Let’s All Agree to Pretend the GOP Isn’t Full of It

    Read more:

  5. I always enjoyed reading the newspaper in the morning – with a cup of tea – as this was my time to sit and relax before the day started.

    We had experienced several carrier-mishaps much like fnord described above.

    But the last straw was when my daughter’s engagement picture was in the Sunday edition and I went out to look for my paper. I found it in the ditch which was filled with water. It had been raining but this paper was not even in a plastic bag – as had been the custom.

    So – when I called and complained – of course, then it was past their cutoff time to get a replacement paper. But when I told them it was my daughter’s engagement announcement – they said – and I quote ‘you can purchasea copy of that from another department – shall I connect you?’.

    I said – OH HELL NO…..just cancel my damn subscription now.

    The least they could have done was to offer me that copy for free …..don’t you think a customer for the past 15 years deserves that much?

    They did cancel my subscription immediately but the paper kept showing up for quite awhile afterwards……..I just kept taking them in and reading them until the stupid carrier – or the person in charge of delivery – finally figured it out that they P.O.’d yet another customer.

    I used to get their marketing telephone calls ……until I finally told them I would report them for harassment – because I was on the Do Not Call List.

    Damn these corporations…..and I think we are now starting to the see the backlash against these large, unfriendly, uncaring and useless corporations.

    Speaking of large corporations….. My task today is to provide a photocopy of my BCBS health insurance card to the larboratory to verify that I have insurance because BCBS refused to pay for my last lab.

    Now ……the kicker is……I showed my BCBS card the day I went into the lab…..the lady (that I have known for the past 3 years in doing routine labs) photocopied the same BCBS card when she filled out the paperwork for this most recent lab.

    The rather unfriendly letter I received from the lab’s corporate headquarters (out of state, of course) threatened that if I do not provide this information, that the entire bill will be my responsibility.

    Hmmm….let’s review……I’ve been going to this same lab for the last 3 years and I have had the same health insurance coverage for the past 3 years ….and their own employee photocopies this card…..

    AND they are they threatening me? OH HELL NO……

    I truly hate corporations that are so huge that the right hand does not know (nor does it care) what the left hand is doing.

  6. The New York Times does some investigative journalism with regard to THE BORDER WAR between Kansas and Missouri.

  7. prairie pond

    That, fnord, is why I always say economic development is the biggest hoax ever perpetrated on the American taxpayer. It’s corporate blackmail and corporate welfare at the local level, as Thomas Frank stated in “What’s the Matter with Kansas?” It’s a zero sum game where no one benefits but the corps. And the taxpayers get fleeced again. A huge shell game and a very successful con that has spawned an entire industry of “professionals” who practice the con.

    Unfortunately, it’s become a juggernaut that will be very difficult to ever stop. There is always a town or county or state that is willing to give away the farm and sell their soul for one more crappy, low paying job they can tout at the polls or in the board room of various chambers and ecodevo groups. It’s job security for the “professionals” and votes for the pols who fund it.

    America. What a country….

  8. prairie pond

    This is one of the goddamest things I’ve ever read. Is there no limit to the nuttiness of wingnuttia?

    I especially loved this from the link:

    “Host Clayton Morris was right with Venker’s program. He joked that in New York City women wait until age 50 to get married and then they “push the envelope of science” in order to have children. He asked if the “traditional idea of marriage” is “suffering because women want to go further and further into the workplace?”

    Venker said that traditional marriage is suffering for a “lot of reasons” and that she “tapped into” only one reason.

    The whole attitude toward marriage in general, for young people in particular, is such a negative one, and that’s really the premise that I’m concerned about because when you start out thinking so negatively and being taught things like ‘never depend on a man,’ and ‘postpone marriage as long as possible,’ – not that there’s anything wrong with postponing it, but with that attitude going forward, you’re probably going to end up with a self-fulfilling prophecy. We need to turn it around and say this is a good thing. Nurturing, families, marriage, it’s all good.”


    And here I thought it was the gays that were destroying “traditional” marriage. Now I find out it’s also career women? Women who want financial and career independence?

    Jesus wept!

    • And is it any wonder that these same people that believe independent, strong and career women are ruining marriage and the world (as we know it) are also big devotees of Rush Limbaugh and his Femi-Nazi crappola?

      But – you know – if these same folks want the Leave-It-Beaver lifestyle of a dad working and stay-at-home mom – THEN the wages will have to increase. But, but….then….these corporations will have to actually increase their wages…..and then their CEOs will have to go on the soup line because they might just have to part with a few dollars less than their multi-million dollar paychecks.

      This is my biggest gripe with these Pro-Life people.

      These are the folks that generally want to help their CONservative Republicans to depress wages but at the same time they are yammering about women having more babies..

      Well – how the hell are you going to house, feed, clothe and provide health care for that baby when daddy makes less money?

      Pro-Life is only Pro-Birth – and there is a very big frickin difference.

      • correction = wages will have to increase or prices will have to come down.

        And I don’t see these corporations willing to reduce their prices – do you?

  9. prairie pond

    This editorial was in the WE yesterday, but I’m providing this link from the Hays Daily in case you didn’t read it behind the paywall. This is what I mean by Googling and finding stuff elsewhere. The WE can’t hoard content. It’s just too available.

    Anyway, this is a great article about Pastor Sammy and his church ladies, why they do what they do, and how the rest of us suffer from Sammy tilting windmills, which is about all his bid to be preznit is.

  10. prairie pond

    How timely.

    New York Times Offers Buyouts To 30 Newsroom Employees, Says Layoffs May Come
    Source: Huffington Post

    The New York Times said on Monday that it will offer buyouts to some of its newsroom staff, and may lay journalists off if not enough people accept the severance package.

    Writing to staff, publisher Arthur Sulzberger said that he had asked top editors within the paper to “identify significant cost savings.” He wrote that “the advertising climate remains volatile and we don’t see this changing in the near future.”

    The paper reported that the company is offering 30 buyouts to non-union newsroom managers.

    “There is no getting around the hard news that the size of the newsroom staff must be reduced,” editor Jill Abramson wrote in her own memo, adding, “I hope the needed savings can be achieved through voluntary buyouts but if not, I will be forced to go to layoffs among the excluded staff.”

    Read more:

  11. I am not a loyal British Royal watcher – but I do think this couple is a definite step in the right direction for the British Monarchy.