Thursday, May 22, 2008

Summer Plans?

I'm sure the massive increase in the price of gas is having an impact on summer travel.

WASHINGTON (AFP) - More than half of Americans will not be taking a summer holiday this year, opting instead to stay home and save money as the US economy slumps, a survey published Wednesday showed.
What about you? How has the high price of fuel affected your plans? A certain news operation wants to know.

He's Not Dead Yet

I'm sorry Sen. Ted Kennedy has brain cancer. And yes, the story IS news. But the man is NOT dead yet. So could the media please stop eulogizing him?

BOSTON - After the Boston Red Sox's 86-year span without a World Series championship, perhaps the most familiar streak in Massachusetts is the half-century that a Kennedy has represented the state in the U.S. Senate.

Now, the news that Sen. Edward M. Kennedy has a cancerous brain tumor is forcing people to contemplate the day when he will no longer be there.
It can't be helping his morale.

Blue Girl has more.

More and Better Democrats

This is just...oh, I don't know. Embarrassing is too tame. Frustrating, certainly. Disgusting? Still not strong enough. Aggravating...

WASHINGTON - The House overwhelmingly rejected President Bush's veto Wednesday of a $290 billion farm bill, but what should have been a stinging defeat for the president became an embarrassment for Democrats.

Only hours before the House's 316-108 vote, Bush had vetoed the five-year measure, saying it was too expensive and gave too much money to wealthy farmers when farm incomes are high. The Senate then was expected to follow suit quickly.

Action stalled, however, after the discovery that Congress had omitted a 34-page section of the bill when lawmakers sent the massive measure to the White House.

That means Bush vetoed a different bill from the one Congress passed, raising questions that the eventual law would be unconstitutional. Republicans objected when Democrats proposed passing the missing section separately and sending that to Bush.

Bush has only used 10 vetoes, and Congress has only once been able to override a veto. Perhaps it's time to elect some new Democrats.

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Circuit City Challenges FCC

This could prove interesting:

Big box electronics retailer, Circuit City, has filed papers with the Federal Communications Commission claiming the agency is working outside its jurisdiction over retail labeling. As part of the upcoming DTV transition next February, the FCC last May, adopted a rule requiring retailers to label TVs with only analog (NTSC) tuners as incompatible with digital television (DTV) broadcasts. Last month the FCC issued nearly $4 billion dollars in fines to various retailers across the US for failing apply the labels to their products. According to the retailer, Circuit City's share of the fines, which amount to $712,000 should be dismissed because the FCC doesn't have any jurisdiction to enforce the rule. According to the filing, "Circuit City made extensive and good faith efforts to comply with this unprecedented regulation despite lack of notice or baseline for compliance." The company claims that errors were made by regulators in assessing the fines. Circuit City also alleges the agency acted improperly by not asking for public comment prior to setting the policy, an area of law typically associated with the Federal Trade Commission. If the claims are rejected by FCC officials, the company could file a lawsuit to have the rule invalidated in federal court.
You don't suppose Circuit City didn't label those analog TVs properly on purpose, do you?

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Because We Still Have Free Time

I wonder how long before this appears somewhere in the states?

TWO Belgian beer fans have launched a video game named Place to Pee, which allows players to fly down ski slopes or kill aliens while relieving themselves at urinals.

Werner Dupont, a software developer and Bart Geraets, an electrical engineer, got the idea while drinking beers.

The Place to Pee' booth is designed for two users at a time and offers two games - blowing up aliens in outer space or skiing down a virtual slope.

Gamers hit their target by aiming at sensors positioned on either side of the urinal.

A specially designed paper cone allows women to play too, the inventors say.

Their Place to Pee logo resembles Manneken Pis, the little urinating boy fountain that is among Brussels' top sightseeing attractions.

Piano Playing

I found this several months ago. It's cute.

My Father's Eyes, Part II

My father's Parkinson's has progressed to a point where my mother can no longer take care of him by herself. An infection put him in the hospital for awhile, and then into a long-term care facility. Mrs. DocLarry and I paid a visit to him shortly after he'd been moved to the "facility." He was extremely unhappy, and I can't say as I blame him. Most of the "patients" appeared to be waiting to die. It was not a pleasant place.

My mother, having recognized her inability to care for my father alone, and not wanting to be on her own either, finally decided they should both move in with my brother for a while. He lives nearby and is very willing to take them in. But he lives in a split-level house, which means my father is limited to staying upstairs. It's certainly better than the "facility" he'd been in, but it is also not the ideal place for him.

Still, my father is happier, my mother doesn't have to go it alone, and my brother is being the good son. It's a start.

Monday, May 19, 2008

Tube of Plenty (or not)

The TV news producing bidness can be very taxing. One only has a finite amount of time in which to squeeze news of the day. The problem may be exacerbated by the finicky news goddess who seems to prefer feast or famine, but nothing in between.

Tonight is a great example of feast: a sweeps package running nearly 4 minutes, a franchise package running 2:30, a night-side reporter package also running 2:30, a city council meeting, high school graduations, two weekend stabbings, two gubernatorial candidates in town. Typically, I've got about 9 minutes for actual news content. The three packages took all of it. Sports was full, but I could steal a little from weather.

Fortunately, I've learned a bit from Mervin Block, writing and rewriting until the stories were short, sharp, and strong (I hope). The result was a packed, but informative cast. At least I hope so.