The Production Room was founded in 1995 as one of the first full time digital commercial recording facilties on the central coast of California. We started with 4 stereo tracks, 16 mb of ram and a 250 mb hard drive. A lot has happened since then. Today we're focusing on ways to serve clients who are creating web based media content. This includes strategic planning to integrate the benefits of traditional media, web design and IT solutions into new programs produced especially for on-line consumers. Join in the conversation. Throw rocks at glass houses. Share your vision of the future. This is the most progressive time in the media arts since Johannes Gutenburg invented movable type!

Monday, December 15, 2008

Bail Out or Re-Program - Obama's Plan For Detroit

You might have missed this speech.

President Elect Obama gave it back in May of '07 in Detroit in front of Auto Industry execs. and city leaders when he wasn't considered a serious hope for the White House.

If you want to know what he said he will do with the auto industry as president, check out the speech linked below.

You'll notice that there is silence and reserve and discomfort in the room as this man, our new president, says exactly what he thinks is wrong with Detroit.

Keep in mind how far ahead of the time he was.

Watch and smile!

Please note Obama's use of the phrase, "Tyranny of Oil" and compare that with his current nominations for cabinet positions.

UPDATE 1.15.09

Please notice Obama's use of the phrase, "Tyranny of oil" in this speech, and compare that with his current cabinet nominees in energy and the environment.

Thursday, November 20, 2008

The Last Debreifing of Bill Boyd

I took this job for love. There was no money.

A woman I know, a talented producer and director I have worked with over the the past several years, needed a favor.

Her father, Bill Boyd, is getting up in years. He's 86 years old now.
As a young man of 22 he was a bombardier in a B-17 with the 8th Air Force flying missions in World War II over Germany. On his 18th mission, he was shot down, wounded by flack and captured on the ground. He spent the rest of the war in a German POW camp. And after years of keeping his story to himself, telling bits and pieces of it to family and other veterans of the war, he was ready to tell his war story on camera. His daughter said to me, "Dads still real sharp, but now is the time." Knowing my love of history, she asked me if I would interview him.

How could I say no?

I know my American History pretty well. I knew I could help him tell his narrative. But we wanted something more personal. We wanted to look inside the man who went to war, came home and raised his family. We wanted a document that included background and details that would help future generations and historians put a face on the dry text of history. And I wanted the details that are often not recorded. Details so ordinary in the moment, that they become lost in later interpretation. Anyone who has talked to veterans of that war know those details and inside looks are hard to get. But Bill was ready to tell it and I wanted to help him.

We talked for almost 10 hours over two days and the whole of our conversation was recorded on HD video at Brent Sumner's studio in Santa Barbara. What came out was what historians would call an "excellent primary source". What I heard was a remarkable story told by an honorable and humble man.

Even after all the years that have passed, Bill has an amazing memory for dates, places, people and names. For his own reasons he memorized an incredibly detailed record of his life. As I probed for memories, emotions, background details and stories, more would come pouring out.

The hours of Bill's last debriefing will one day be edited and produced into a documentary film. Some will remain as a priceless record for genealogists to come. Some will help tell the story of the American Air Force in Europe. And some will help us understand who we were as a people in 1944, and after the war.

I scratched notes as we talked, questions to ask that would illuminate the man and the record. As the son of a WWII veteran, I probed for insights into the man who raised his children after the war. And as the product of the modern era, I looked for reasons to label his actions in ways I could understand and relate to my own contemporary understanding. What I found went beyond those meanings to the truth I sensed he was telling about himself, about his war and about how it had affected him.

I won't relate all of his adventures here. They're exciting alright, but the deeper message moved me more.

Several times I asked him about his feelings. About his duty, about the missions, about bailing out of a dying B-17 near the Swiss border. He answered honestly each time. But at one point he began to talk about fear. He said he was afraid on every mission. But what he was most afraid of was failing. He was most afraid of letting down the men who depended on him to do his job. And in that emotion was a key to what I've heard so many times. "I'm not a hero. I was just doing the best I could to do my job. There were a lot of other guys over there doing the same thing."

Nothing special. Just a guy doing his job.

On a day in the summer of 1944 over Germany that job got pretty tough. In five minutes, flack bursts turned the aluminum hull of the "Strictly From Hunger" into a sieve. Off target, leaking gas and with engines dying, Bill found his bomb sight blown to pieces, he snuffed smoldering electrical wiring with his fingers and realized that a bit of red hot shrapnel had pierced through his shoulder.

The ball turret gunner came forward, cut open Bill's flight suit, gave him a shot of morphine and bandaged his wound. Then, because his right arm was numb, the gunner strapped Bill's parachute upside down on him so he could pull the cord with his left arm. Bill exited the plane from the forward escape hatch and he fell as far as he could before pulling the ripcord. The whole crew got out. Half didn't survive on the ground.

Just a guy doing his job.

Modern people are so complicated. We look so deep for answers and examine every detail. A difficult time called for simpler answers.

In the POW camp, Bill said, "You got to tell your horror story once. Then nobody wanted to hear it anymore. Everbody had one. You got to tell yours once."

This week Bill got to tell it again. In the studio we asked him to please tell it all. Because we all need to hear it.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Zawahiri Appoints House Negro


Al-Qaida No. 2 Ayman al-Zawahri has criticized President-elect Barack Obama, calling him a demeaning racial term implying that Obama is a black American who does the bidding of whites.

In an audio message which appeared on militant Web sites Wednesday, al-Zawahri said that Obama is “the direct opposite of honorable black Americans” like Malcolm X. He called Obama a “house negro.”

With all the excitement and speculation about the new administration and Obama's picks for the cabinet it's understandable that Mr. al-Zawahiri would get carried away and make his predictions too.

But on November 4th, the American people elected Barack Obama to be master of the house. And as it looks today, either Hillary Clinton or Bill Richardson will be the house negro.

While al-Zawahiri's pick may have been off the mark and displayed a lack of understanding of American politics and government, he does have the distinction of making a remarkably original point.

Not even in the heat of the contest did evil terrorist Sean Hannity suggest that Barack Obama did the bidding of white people. Perhaps his eyes are open now!


So Long Don. See You on the Internets

Don Frederick has left the building.

He's been downsized over at the LA Times political blog, "Top of the Ticket"

Top of the ticket was one of my favorite places to read political comment starting late last winter. Don Frederick worked out of the LA Times Washington Bureau and fellow blogger Andrew Malcolm worked form an undisclosed location.

Both wrote brilliant coverage during the Democratic primary season. After the general election, they continued to lead the news with commentary, though I began to read them in terms of left and right. Don always seemed to "get it" in my view; a sure sign that he is in fact a biased news source with a left wing radical kinda guy!

Andrew Malcom, whom I respect, once earned my wrath for publishing a totally bogus conservative hit piece on Canadian abortion policy. It was retracted by the Times and corrected on the blog, which I thanked them for.

Now the election is over and the recession has pulled up to the front door. The Times are cutting staff. Mr. Frederick has taken a buy out and is moving on. But you know, when a radio station I worked for was automated so that the air staff could be fired a friend of mine said, "You can't replace somebody with nobody." Since nobody at the newspaper could figure out how to monetize Don Frederick with ads from the strip clubs near LAX, cuts had to be made.

And so, Andrew Malcolm and Top of the Ticket - you have my best wishes. But this would seem to be the wrong year to have your political blog equal the sound of one hand clapping. In a year when the political tide has clearly turned do I want only the perspective of an establishment conservative in exile? Or do I want to know what the government is actually doing.

Good luck Don, let us know where you land.

Awful Good to be Home

Born and raised in the San Roque neighborhood of Santa Barbara, product of northside public schools (Peabody and La Colina) and Bishop Diego High School, I've seen a lot of things change.

The fire this week sort of brought me back home again. Sometimes I need to touch base with the comforts of home to know who I am and where I belong.

I was trying to write a script this morning but I couldn't seem to focus. So I got in the car, drove down to State Street and went to the post office to check the mail. I ran into local vaquero and Jedlicka's store owner Si Jenkins. "How's your house Si?" I asked. "Oh, fine" he said.

I Happened to know that the fire was right up the road from his home.

"Josiah came over and sprayed water on the roof and the yard to knock down the embers that were blowing around."

"Did you get your horses out?"

"Oh yeah, yeah."

He made it sound like they'd moved away a month ago and he was forwarding their mail. The fact is he must have moved his horses before doing anything else that night because it was only a matter of an hour or two after the first alarm that the fire was racing his way. Catherine Remak reported on the radio that traffic was stopped on Foothill near mission canyon that night by a woman riding her horse out of the hills to safety. Losing a horse in a fire would truly be awful.

I asked Si to say hello to Karen and stepped out of the Post Office. I remembered when Irene Davis Bakery was next door and my mother would sometimes stop inside. I remember the smell of baking bread and cinnamon in the air outside. Stepping inside we were greeted by the smell of fresh coffee. I used to ask my mother for one of the free donut holes that sat on a little white china plate next to the big silver coffee urn.

"Only One".

I tucked the approximately 80 catalogs in the mail under my arm and walked from the post office down along the little row of shops. I passed where Jim Rankin's Toy Store used to be. When I was a kid that was where you got all the toys baby boomers remember from Mattel and Whammo. Remember "Creeple People?" I really wanted a Thing Maker.

Just down at the end of the arcade of shops I walked in to the Farmer Boy Restaurant.

One of the original tenants in what used to be the a little shopping center at the edge of town, the Farmer Boy is a 50 year old coffee shop. Nothing fancy. Don't look for any nouveau cuisine. (hit the link for pictures, details and customer comments). "Awful Good Food" is the slogan painted on the side of the building.
You can't get a latte. On the other hand, you can get a cinnamon roll instead of toast with your bacon and eggs.

This is a locals hangout. Last December 7, I sat at the counter and had breakfast with Danny Ramirez of "Danny's Custom Styling". Danny lived just 2 doors down from us when he opened his barber shop in 1960. Both he and my dad were WWII Vets raising young kids in the suburbs.

I said, "Happy Pearl Harbor Day Danny."

He told me that just after Pearl Harbor he'd gone with friends in Santa Barbara to enlist in the Navy. He served on a destroyer in the Pacific and that's where he learned to cut hair. Guys were lined up for haircuts from the ships barber so they could pass inspection. Danny set up shop with scissors so that his shipmates could get cleaned up in time for inspection.

We talked about my brothers and his kids and grand kids and then shook hands and went off to work.

Now I'm back home. And it's time to get back to work.

* * * * * *

Quote of the day:

"I have a lot of depth, a lot of layers."
Ashley Dupre - Eliot Spitzer Prostitute

A lot of layers? Priceless!

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Thanksgiving - We Owe Thanks To So Many

Just a quick post this morning, I'll update later.

First things first, last night was quiet. The winds died down and the emergency officials began letting residents into the burn area late yesterday. One of our friends found that her home on Mountain Drive was completely destroyed. Located at the bottom of the canyon along a creek bank, there was no way for fire crews to save it.



Mayor Blum, County Supervisors - especially Salud Carbajal, SB City Council, State Assembly member Pedro Nava and Representative Lois Capps. Thanks for standing with us. Your work is only beginning.

Also a special note of thanks to everyone at Rincon Broadcasting in Santa Barbara for bringing Santa Barbara REAL RADIO that made a BIG difference. You were a crucial factor in protecting lives. That, folks, is what a broadcast license is for. Thank you all.

Friday, November 14, 2008

Santa Barbara Tea Fire - Night Terrors

I stood on the roof of our house at 11:30 last night and watched the western edge of the fire as it ran up the canyon toward Gibralter. I saw the top of Sycamore
canyon explode in towers of wind driven flame 100 feet high. At the same time I could see the glow of the fire on the eastern edge of the Riviera.

We are safe and sound this morning. The menacing orange rampage of last night is replaced by an ashen and edgy calm here this morning.

We're in shock. Like waking from a nightmare that continues to haunt you.

Last night at about 5:45 the fire started. In less than an hour it was tearing through the brush and homes were literally exploding. I know that when the stories are told we'll be hearing about people literally running out the door of their homes with the smoke and flames chasing them down the street. This has been an extremely agressive and fast moving fire.

No cause reported yet, but rumor and speculation?

One friend who lives near ground zero says the Tea House area is popular with people who like to enjoy the view at sunset...with perhaps a smoke of one kind or another.

The damage could be half a billion dollars.

That's a lot of dreams in ashes this morning.

UPDATE - Fire Map Link

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Tea Fire - Santa Barbara is Burning Tonight

I took these photos during the 7:00 PM hour from the roof of my home in Santa Barbara. The sundowner winds are driving a the flames at up to 70 miles per hour.
Wind gusts and warm, dry conditions are forecast to continue through tonight.
The helicopters are in the air...we are told that a water dropping copter from LA is here and a chopper from SB County. The rest are media choppers

I saw SB County fire crews and engines surrounded by burning homes from an aerial picture on KCAL9 TV from LA. Fire started in the area above Sycamore Canyon/western Montecito.

AT 10:00 PM

Fire is totally out of control in suburban foothills. Areas below HWY 192 East Valley Road / Stanwood Dr / Hot Springs Rd. ordered evacuated. More current news

Dozens of homes burned so far. The Riviera is burning. Fire crews are rushing in but they can't begin to stop the fire.

people are being cautioned to be ready to leave. We're asked to turn off the gas main before evacuating because homes are exploding.

We are safe at this time. But winds and fire will make the next several days very long. The same area burned in 1977 in the Sycamore Canyon Fire.

Before that, the area burned in the Coyote Firein September 1964. I sat on the couch in our living room as my family waited for the evacuation order which was delivered by a police officer who came to the door and told us to leave.

A night like tonight brings that all back.

Special thanks to Rincon broadcasting of Santa Barbara and KEYT Channel 3 for their excellent work tonight.

I happened to be listening to the radio when my old friend Peter Bie cut in with the first live report about 40 minutes after the fire took off. Great work Peter!

UPDATE 10:30

National Guard troops are ordering evacuation of homes on upper Gutierrez Street just below the Riviera neighborhood. Caller says portions of Botanic Garden (Mission Canyon) are burning.

UPDATE 11:50

Link to KTYD Live coverage

Link was busy on my last attempt but good local content

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Prodroom delivers to NPR's Robert Krulwich

New Santa Barbarian Jade Blackwater was our guest in The Production Room studio for an ISDN connection with National Public Radio science reporter Robert Krulwich.

So how many trees are there for each person on the planet?
NASA knows.

And what are we doing with all those trees?
Find out by listening to this story that aired today on Morning Edition.

As a side note, Some mornings when Susan and I wake up on the farm one of us will look out of our bedroom window and say, "See those trees? They're mine." This picture was taken in September at the farm.

For more please click on this link to Dunn Creek Farm

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

NAFTA: Revised or Reinterpreted?

What will President Obama mean to Canadians? Ask most Canadians and after polite expressions off relief you'll likely hear speculation about NAFTA.

Former Canadian UN Ambassador Paul Heinbecker is interviewd in this link to a Q and A with Doug Fisher of Canwest News Service published Saturday,November 8th in the Ottawa Citizen.

Q. But what about Obama's vow to reopen NAFTA?

A. Obama and a Democratic Congress might very well open up those labour and environmental provisions of the trade agreement that Obama talked about during the primaries, but there are a lot of Canadians who wouldn't mind that at all. So long as the Americans come at it recognizing that the closest they are ever going to come to energy independence is by co-operating with Canada, I think we could negotiate a pretty good outcome. It's been a long time, nearly 20 years, since the treaty was on the table, and there are plenty of items that could be added or adjusted. None of that really terrifies me.

This is exactly what I heard from Canadians on the East Coast. Ambassador Heinbecker is correct about the benefits for both sides in re-examining NAFTA and there are several other reasons why a reinterpretation of NAFTA will reveal the abuse of the treaty terms by the Bush administration and could restore the intent of the treaty.

There have been times during the last few years when CBC reported mumblings about a withdrawal from NAFTA after US intransigence on trade issues. The softwood lumber fight and a series of border closings related to beef and potatoes left Canada pissed off. Endless US appeals of legal decisions favoring Canada's trade position made some ready to quit. A reinterpretation of NAFTA in Washington could solve some of the problems immediately.

And the US electorate (and our media) should take note of the following comment:

"Canada is the Americans' largest supplier of oil, petroleum products, gas electricity and uranium. And I think significant markets could be found for those elsewhere, if necessary. The Americans know that. So it doesn't make economic sense. Nor does it make sense strategically for the U.S. to force Canada to seek other markets, like China, for resources."

Ummm yeah. We import more energy from Canada than we do from Saudi Arabia. And we get a pretty good deal on energy under NAFTA.

Sunday, November 9, 2008

Did I Mention Change in Iran?

It was only yesterday that I suggested change could be brought about by soft power as a result of the US election.

While it's still early and dangerous to suggest that a major shift is already under way, I found this interesting story from Borzou Daragahi in today's LA Times online linked to the Huffington Post:

Iran Economists Denounce Ahmedinejad's Policies

Seems that the Iranian President is taking more domestic flack from nascent opposition to his government's standard of bellicose nationalism.

Now, to be fair, Iran has unhappily found itself centered between hostile forces in destabilized countries on two of it's borders. It's only natural for the Iranian government to focus on nationalist themes in the face of a serious threat.

But when your own economists contradict your leadership in an international forum and you start reading this:

In a 30-page letter quoted by several newspapers and state-run television and published on the website of the independent Iranian Labor News Agency, the economists say Iran is in dire economic straits and must drastically change course. The letter also says Ahmadinejad's "tension-creating" foreign policy has "scared off foreign investment and inflicted heavy damage" on the economy.

"Meager economic growth, widespread jobless rate, chronic and double-digit inflation, crisis in capital markets, government's expansionary budget, disturbed interaction with the world, inequity and poverty have combined with the global economic downturn to leave undeniably big impacts on exports and imports," the letter says.

Ahmadinejad immediately blasted back, contending at a seminar on economic development that Iran has been "least affected by this international financial crisis" and urging economists to design "an independent economic system and model based on justice," according to the official Islamic Republic News Agency.

A man like President Ahmedinejad has got to be a little concerned about his fellow conservative ideologues and their ability to hold on to power. He knows that his people realize that America has peacefully overthrown it's own hard liners.

The president of Iran and many in his government are veterans of the Iranian revolution and no doubt command respect among older and conservative people. I wonder what the feeling is among young Iranians who don't remember the revolution but do like democracy.

More from the LA Times:

The letter and its publication suggest that Ahmadinejad and his clique face growing discontent among Tehran's elite political circles ahead of the presidential election in June.

The negative assessment flies in the face of recent bragging about Iran's economy by religious leaders, some of whom have described the West's economic downturn as God's revenge.

Sound familiar? Religious fundamentalists are the same in any language.

In America, we've just passed through our own democratic process - 22 months of fear against hope.

Now I wonder what the Iranian people hope for this June?

Saturday, November 8, 2008

President Obama and the Return of Soft Power

I'm not the first to notice this factor and I'll post some links below which we can examine together since I have not yet read other articles on this topic.

It's a good think piece for this first Sunday after the election.

I'll keep my comments focused on one example so we can move on to what the real thinkers think and you can compare my take with theirs.

Imagine for a moment that you are a citizen of Tehran, Iran. You may not have been out dancing in the streets last Tuesday night but you certainly know who Barack Obama is and you know that he has peacefully overthrown the American government by winning a decisive democratic vote of confidence from the American people.

You know that Obama risked his candidacy by expressing his willingness to resolve conflicts in the interest of peace.

Consider what this means to Iran's president Ahmadinijad, whose own government has been recently been rocked by scandal. Consider the superficially gracious and yet slightly pointed letter he sent to president elect Obama regarding future discussions.

President Ahmadinijad now faces the problem of appearing belligerent in the face of democratic principle and reason. He faces the risk of placing his tenuous hold on government against a world leader who is probably now more popular in his own country (especially among young people) than he is. He and others in the establishment could face a newly energized electorate chanting "Yes We Can" on the streets as they work to further their own Democracy.

This is how President Barack Obama can win the peace we all seek with soft power.

George Bush attempted to impose American will with military might. But ironically Barack Obama and America, with new democratic allies everywhere, are in a position to use this election to drive the change that doesn't come from a gun.

America has shown that all of us are free to rise up and shout, "YES WE CAN".


Joseph Nye - Barack Obama and Soft Power

Joseph Nye II

Galen Fox - Capitalism + Democracy = Peace

Thursday, November 6, 2008

The Year of Jubilo

Kingdom Coming
(Henry Clay Work)

Say, darkeys, hab you seen de massa,
Wid de muff-stash on his face,
Go long the road some time dis mornin'
Like he gwine to leab de place?
He seen a smoke, 'way up the ribber
Whar the Linkum gunboats lay;
He took his hat an' lef' berry sudden
An' I spec he's run away!

cho: De massa run? Ha ha!
De darkeys stay? Ho ho!
It mus' be now de kingdom comin'
An' de year ob Jubilo!

Henry Clay Work was a white abolitionist from Connecticut. The song is based on a published parody of runaway slave ads which were widely published in all of the states before the Civil War. The joke here is that "massa" ran away from the Federal Army and the slaves he left behind are offering to take him back.

Headlines from "The Change"
Here are some of the latest dispatches from the front:

Sarah We Hardly Knew Ye
The long knives are already out...

The battle is on for control of what's left of the Conservative coalition. Obviously there are some who don't want Sarah Palin to be the face of the party in 2012.

Man The Lifeboats!

Nice summary of Rush Limbaugh comments yesterday

"The conservative movement does not need to be rebuilt," he said. "We had some people abandon the conservative movement, and they need to be abandoned."

Someone might mention to Rush that he could be the one cut loose in the purge that is surely underway. Rush flogged for McCain (after trying to destroy him in the primaries). He lobbied hard for Palin and now wants no responsibility for damaging the coalition that won elections. He labored mightily for conservatism and failed. So why does he have a new contract? Stay tuned while you can. There are going to be stations leaving the EIB.

Where Does This Leave The Christian Coalition?
They really should have seen this coming. They were patronized by the Republicans in exchange for political influence. And they sure don't like anyone being critical of their political activism as Michelle Goldberg found out when she published:

Kingdom Coming - The Rise of Christian Nationalism

Apparently large numbers have found Jesus again and are done rendering elections to a Caesar who never delivered on their agenda.

CALIFORNIA'S PROP 8 - Legalized Discrimination

The Christians and Catholics and Mormons (you'll notice that Christians even discriminate against each other) poured millions of out of state dollars into a vote on a constitutional amendment in my home state of California. How's that grab you? Not since the Supreme Court nullified free state constitutions(Dred Scott)has their been such an abuse of States Rights.

The battle will go back to the court and this amendment will not pass a civil liberties test. It will wind up in the US Supreme Court which has jurisdiction over individual rights under Federal Law. The conservatives may have created the unintended consequence of taking this issue out of the hands of the states and putting it squarely into the hands of Federal courts who will have to rule on this in the context of human rights.

De oberseer he make us trouble, an' he dribe us round a spell;
We lock him up in de smoke house cellar, wid de key t'rown in de well.
De whip is lost, de han'-cuff broken, but de massa'll hab his pay;
He's ole enough, big enough, ought to known better, dan to went, an' run away.
De massa run? ha, ha! De darkey stay? ho, ho!
It mus' be now de kingdom comin', an' de year ob Jubilo!

Monday, November 3, 2008

A New Reality is Coming

A senior Republican Adviser to President George W. Bush was interviewed by Ron Suskind. This excerpt from Suskind's report tells us a great deal about the people and the mindset of the out-going American President and his administration. It also may be key to understanding why Americans will break the Republican hold on government tomorrow.

In the summer of 2002, after I had written an article in Esquire that the White House didn't like about Bush's former communications director, Karen Hughes, I had a meeting with a senior adviser to Bush. He expressed the White House's displeasure, and then he told me something that at the time I didn't fully comprehend -- but which I now believe gets to the very heart of the Bush presidency.

The aide said that guys like me were ''in what we call the reality-based community,'' which he defined as people who ''believe that solutions emerge from your judicious study of discernible reality.'' I nodded and murmured something about enlightenment principles and empiricism. He cut me off. ''That's not the way the world really works anymore,'' he continued. ''We're an empire now, and when we act, we create our own reality. And while you're studying that reality -- judiciously, as you will -- we'll act again, creating other new realities, which you can study too, and that's how things will sort out. We're history's actors . . . and you, all of you, will be left to just study what we do.''

Excerpt from:
Faith, Certainty and the Presidency of George W. Bush

Published: October 17, 2004

Amazingly, this report explains so much about where we are on the eve of this election.

Why are we so hungry for change?
Why was a faith based know-nothing picked for VP?

Read this article and then vote.

If you're not American, read this article and then watch the election returns tomorrow. I promise it will make viewing more interesting.

The terms of political discussion in America have changed. The framing of political issues and American foreign policy are about to be re-modeled.

America's conservatives find themselves unable to persuade the populace with the language and ideology they have become addicted to.

Barack Obama is a master of modern political campaigning.

I read this article when it was first published and have seen it quoted and misquoted repeatedly. I post it here, in hopes that it will help make this touchstone bit of reporting on the George W. Bush Presidency more readily available.

Thursday, October 30, 2008

Barack Obama 30 Minute Advert

More today from Tom Shales in the Washington Post Online

John McCain - Now with 50% More Negatives!

The big picture rhetoric of this campaign has been remarkably consistent.
Barack Obama has been driving his message of hope and change since the last Democratic Party Convention in 2004. He has been defining the political conversation in this country ever since.

He never surrendered this position against Hillary Clinton and he's forced the Republican Party off of it's own message so many times that it has had to re-tool it's campaign and relaunch it's strategy almost every week since August.

So on the day that Barack Obama stood on top of his winning position, John McCain tried to gain ground in typical fashion:

"Barack Obama's ideologically-driven plans to redistribute income will impose higher taxes on families, small businesses, and investors; expensive, rigid, job-killing health mandates on employers; energy policies that fail to promote domestic oil, natural gas, and coal, and will impose a massive Washington-driven regulation of everything from home furnaces to factories; isolationist trade policies that endanger one out of every five jobs; and massive new spending plans that that will burden the economy and saddle our children with debt. Barack Obama is change Americans cannot afford."

Does anybody else see that when McCain reflexively goes negative on his opponent he cuts his forward momentum in half? He has consistently reduced his ability to lead this election by actually presenting himself as an "alternative". Being alternative to the mainstream makes you number 2.

John McCain has falied to make this election about John McCain. He has made it a referendum on one issue:

Barack Obama for President, yes or no.

Thursday, October 23, 2008

The Sound of Hope

Barack Obama in Richmond Virginia yesterday.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Choosing our Future President

The future is what this election is about. Here are a few thoughts about that.

If John McCain becomes president, he will take office at the age of 72. The oldest man to be elected president. His father and grandfather were distinguished US Navy admirals in WWII. John McCain himself served and did hard time in a POW camp in Viet Nam. That was a very long time ago. The America that greeted John McCain when he returned from Viet Nam must have seemed quite different from the country he left to serve. The Viet Nam war ended in 1975. Just think how different our world has become since then.

Now consider this:

If elected, Barack Obama will become our first post Cold War president.
He will be the first American President to mature in the the modern
post WWII/post Cold War era. That post war era may not have ended on Sept 11, 2001,
but a new era certainly began on that day and the fact that Barack Obama is not bound to the previous era but embarks in the new era is a decided plus. We can no more go back to calling on our post war success in this day and age than we can re-unite the Beatles.

I watched Senator Obama's speech, "A More Perfect Union" or, the "Race Speech" again last night online. If you have time, review John Kennedy's First Inaugural Address and see where Senator Obama's political roots are. Watch John Kennedy be the first President to address the people of the world live on television. His understanding and mastery of TV gave him command of the election and his message reached to the far corners of the world. (My first online search for a link to this speech hit on a Chinese server.) Senator Obama has internet skills John McCain doesn't even comprehend and Barack Obama already speaks to the world.

If he is elected, Barack Obama will be the first president who understands the internet the way Kennedy understood TV. He has built a solid campaign on the internet and has become the first candidate to figure out how to fully integrate his message across all new media.

If he is elected, Barack Obama will be the first African American president. He will be in the unique position of Rosa Parks and Jackie Robinson. Americans who responded to "no you can't" with "yes we can". And as such, he will be the first American president with the moral authority to face down the racist past of white America and the opportunistic bullying of soon to be irrelevant black nationalists.

If he is elected, Barack Obama will be the first modern liberal in America. He will be free from the cynical calculations of Democrats from the last generation. In a day when the word liberal no longer holds enough venom, and socialist or communist or anti American or terrorist must be used in it's stead, this will be no small victory for middle America.

If he is elected, he will be the first global citizen to be elected president.
James Garfield (1831 - Orange, Cayuhoga County, Ohio) was the last president to claim birth in a log cabin. Bu we've held fast to the myth of humble frontier beginnings ever since. Barack Obama has humble roots and humble beginnings that span America's modern frontier to the West - in the Pacific. Born in Hawaii and raised in Indonesia before coming to Kansas, Cambridge Massachusetts and finally Chicago Illinois. He has already seen the world Americans inhabit.

He will be the first visionary president since Reagan.

He will be the first "philosopher king" since Kennedy.

He will be the first president who sees the future in our time.

Monday, October 13, 2008

Food Is a National Security Issue

I've been learning organic farming for over 10 years. When my wife and I bought a 123 acre farm my life became an episode of Green Acres.

It was a romantic decision. Move to the country. Live on the land. Commune with nature and build a dream. Some people we know had the same dream about leaving the city and having a nice quiet B&B in New England. Or a coastal winery in California.

Well, long story short, I've earned a few blisters, watched the weeds take over the fields and tossed a lot of blemished or unsold fruit and vegetables into the compost. I've been learning first hand about the farm economy and market gardening.

For us, the magic has faded some. Not because we don't love our farm or the community or the work. The magic has faded because we see the cold reality of what farming in North America has become and the difficult choices facing all of us.

*We are now living in a country that must import energy to grow food.

*We are now living in a country that is rapidly losing the ability to feed itself.

*We are now dependent on foreign markets for the energy and food we consume.

*Farmers don't make profit, they service debt and manage cash flow.

*Small family farms are unwanted by government planners and agribusiness marketers.

*The average age of the American farmer is 57.

*We know our imported food supply isn't safe from tampering or poor practices.

*We know that cheap, high fat, low nutrition processed food that sits on store shelves for months creates dietary health problems.

What we don't know is who is going to grow American food 10 years from now.

Michael Abelman showed my wife and I the way forward. A personal friend, Michael encouraged us to go for it. A few years later, we saw him at Fairview Gardens Farm in Santa Barbara. He was reading selections from his book, "Fields of Plenty". Michael discussed his experience traveling across America to meet organic farmers and discuss modern agri-culture.

He finished by saying, "If you want to eat in the future, you'd better make friends with a farmer."


If you want a longer explanation of what's happening you must read this:
"Farmer in Chief" by Michael Pollan in the New York Times online.

The free ride on cheap food is about to end. This article explains why. And I'm here to tell you, Pollan has it right.

Friday, October 10, 2008

Welcome to the New Deal!

Doing Our Part to help YOU!

Re-organization is a pain in the butt. It's just so much easier to keep cruising along the same old way. But when times change, you've got to change with the times.
If your marketing budget has been "revised" you may find that you can't do business the way you used to. You may also find that you need to revise your marketing mission. You may need help negotiating your own New Deal in media production.

The Production Room provides voice over and commercial recording services that can be customized for TV, Video online, Podcasts and radio. We work with experts in video production, graphic design, animation, web design and marketing. We can be a seamless part of your production team - wherever you are. We work directly with independent media producers, web designers, advertising agencies and marketing companies to create media projects that work across all media platforms.

We also offer ISDN service for broadcast networks, content producers, and advertising agencies around the world.

When you're ready to move ahead with your marketing, we'll be ready to help you.

Thursday, October 9, 2008

The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Economy - Don't Panic!

I feel like Arthur Dent from the Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy.

Today it seems that everything I know is wrong. So Besides recommending that you read Douglas Adams book (and suggesting that you always keep your towel with you) there are several things to keep in mind.

The first is: Don't Panic.

There are a lot of things I could worry about right now but unless time starts running backward we're not going to return to the way things were last October. We're in the midst of a moment of historic and permanent change.

So we'll have to move forward, knowing that change always creates opportunity.

Have a Coke and I'll tell you what I think.

Radio was relatively new in 1929. Talking pictures were also new. Long distance telephone was still expensive and communication in general was still limited.

During the Depression, radio boomed. After the initial crash, businesses that needed to get back on their feet discovered advertising on the radio to reach a mass market. If you were selling champagne and caviar this probably didn't help you.
But if you were selling floor wax and toothpaste you did pretty well. My point is, consumer spending will continue. Marketers will continue to advertise products that consumers need because market share just became a matter of survival. It was during the depression that advertising dollars built a new communications medium and launched a thousand new media stars.

The internet is about to come of age and this is going to have a major impact on what the economy does and how business re-organizes. In a medium that is already showing its ability to create and deliver content on demand it's only a matter of time before ad dollars follow.

Here's the reason this is true. Cost. I don't have to buy air time or print space to tell you who I am or what I do or how I can help you save a ton of money on car insurance. As we reorganize business, this is going to be a huge factor in how we move ahead.

So. Don't Panic.

We all need to re-fit and reorganize around the new technology and new media that is still lagging behind in actual implementation in the United States.

It won't be long until we see "Geico Comedy Theater" and "Microsoft Music Parade"as regular features of online entertainment. And we'll see more websites add content to generate traffic because it costs nothing to distribute online and you can own your brand forever. We'll see more ads - both conventional and online that direct traffic to entertainment sites where branding is part of the product.

A few years ago, Michael Huffington ran the most expensive Senate race in history. After he lost, he left his wife and announced he was gay. That made news, but nobody really remembers him. Nobody would remember who the unfortunate ex-wife was either except that she started a website. You may have heard of, "The Huffington Post".

Arianna Huffington didn't panic. Why should you?

In the next few blog posts, I'm going to describe how I'm re-organizing my business, how I plan to save my customers money and how I'm going to help them create the new, lower cost marketing messages and content they'll need to compete in a tougher market.

I'm also going to describe ways that creative producers can work together to create new products that meet the needs of clients who want to move ahead.

I'm optimistic that we can find the opportunity that this change is going to create.

In the mean time, So Long, and Thanks for all the Fish.

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

What The World Knows About US

Sarah Palin and several others are claiming that Barack Obama is unpatriotic or un-American for suggesting that US forces are (in her words) 'air raiding civilians' in Afghanistan.

The problem is that US forces are in fact, "air raiding civilians" in Afghanistan.

Everybody on the ground there from the president of Afghanistan to our NATO allies knows this is true and they are complaining loudly about it. Especially since US planes murdered a wedding party last summer and US commanders tried to deny that it happened.

How do I know?

Because our Canadian allies were reporting this story in August and September. Seems the ungrateful Afghanis don't appreciate being murdered at family gatherings.

Why do these air strikes happen?

According to allied commanders it's because US forces operate under different rules of engagement in Afghanistan than NATO forces. NATO rules are more conservative with the result that there have been far fewer civilian or friendly fire casualties inflicted by NATO than by the US.

Barack Obama was speaking about facts that are well understood by everyone.

Everyone but John McCain, Sarah Palin and the red-meat loving right.

Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Bruce Brown's Endless Support for Surfrider

In 1963 and 1964, Bruce Brown created the first surf movie that the general public would see and that surfers would worship even to this day. He shot 9 miles of silent 16mm film on a world tour with two young American surfers, then spent the next several years editing and re-arranging and working out his simple narrative in front of a live audience.

In the process he created a film genre - the surf movie - and a style which is the forerunner of the modern "reality" video.

I was pleased to have the opportunity to meet Bruce Brown in the studio yesterday as we recorded sound for new Public Service Announcements sponsored by the Surfrider Foundation.

The session was directed by K.C. Cagle of NewBreed Media Arts of Dana Point California - a legendary surfing area that was once home to Mr. Brown. Mr. Cagle joined us in Santa Barbara for the session.

Bruce Brown has been dedicated to preserving public access to our coastlines for surfing and recreational use and surfrider has for many years worked within the community of watersport enthusiasts to support beach and water clean up.

At a time when most of us would be comfortably retired and proud of our accomplishments, Mr. Brown continues his work with Surfrider saying, "It's the least I can do."

(The Sandals - Theme from Endless Summer)

Friday, September 26, 2008

Popcorn Politics

The presidential debate will be fun to watch.
But unless McCain rips off his clothes and screams "They're after me!"
Nothing much will change.

Obama has been campaigning too long to screw this up.
He's been sure footed all week. All he has to do is show that he comprehends what's going on and he will look more presidential than the trapeze artist he's running against.

For his part, all McCain has to do is look he might kill somebody and the right wing will eat it up.

The big news from the McCain camp will come when Palin tearfully resigns next week.

* * * *

Update: 9/30/08

Well, I thought Obama didn't hit very hard on Firday night. Not hard enough to score a knock out. But he apparently won on polling points. He's finally up about 5 points overall which puts him beyond the margin of error, And the swing states have swung his way.

Mean time the angry, divided and increasingly shrill McCain Campaign is spinning into the ground. The problem is certainly bigger than John McCain or the Republican party. All the more reason for him to stand back and avoind getting crushed by the fallout.

But the real deal is this:

George Bush - the head of the Republican party - is nothing but a ghost.
John McCain couldn't unify or lead his party to deliver a win in the House AFTER banking his prestige on it.
AND the Republicans have lost control of the government.

Now its up to the Democrats. They are free to write and pass any bill they want.
But first, they're going to let the Republicans sit and spin.

The Live Web

This is a great thread that is currently (9/26/08) running on Doc Searls Blog called,
"The Live Web"

The conversation is linked here because it discusses what companies are failing to understand about designing and building their online presence.

The comments are from people who are very forward in the online community, meaning that they are "early adopters" who use cutting edge applications to explore the edges of cyberspace. OK, that might be a little hype-ey but I noticed several important ideas here that more business people should read and understand.

Thursday, September 25, 2008

ISDN - From Santa Barbara to Anywhere!

What's ISDN?

"High-speed digital network that can send voice, data and video over the same line simultaneously. This network uses traditional telephone networks but requires specialized equipment that allows travel at a higher speed." -

More important is what you can do with ISDN.

For example, The Production Room regularly hosts guests of programs on NPR, BBC, CBC and recently - Radio Netherlands.

The guest arrives at our studio in Santa Barbara and we are linked by ISDN to the recording studio where the program is produced. The host and the guest sound as though they are in the same room at the same time and the result is very high quality interview delivered in real time. In fact, some of our guests have been interviewed and broadcast live on national networks.

I'll have more information about ISDN in the weeks ahead.

New Narration for Channel Islands National Park

I'm very proud of the work I've done on environmental documentary productions over the years. I've been associated with Jean Michel Cousteau and Ocean Futures, The Save our Seas Foundation, the Nature Conservancy and now, thanks to Michael Hanrahan at the Ocean Channel, I also have the privilege of being selected to voice media for Channel Islands National Park.

As someone who has for years been captivated by the National Park System and it's mission to make our nation's natural and cultural resources available to everyone, It's my honor to be part of the media presented to visitors of one of our newer parks. Also, as a proud native of Santa Barbara County, I'm pleased that a local talent has been asked to tell the story of this national park.

For an online example of the work I've done with the Ocean Channel, please watch,
"Santa Cruz Island - Restoring the Balance".

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

...And We're Back!

Back in the dim past (I think it was spring) I kind of blew up my business blog to comment on politics and the rhetoric of the Democratic Primary season. Hard to resist since we had two powerful and well coached contenders fighting for control of the Democratic Party as a preliminary to the general election.

But this general election is less about the dexterity of candidates or their skills as campaigners and more about who can find a life boat that will float until we're all rescued in November. So I'm not that interested in what they say because it's mostly obsolete now. (UPDATE: McCain has just suspended his campaign due to the financial crisis. Translation: "The script is out the window!")

I did notice that the Bush appointed Treasury Secretary is lobbying on behalf of his former employer for an industry wide bailout. The final act of this President could be to saddle the next administration with unspeakable debt. Wow. Great idea.

At least there is FINALLY some bi-partisan outrage on Capitol Hill.

* * * * *

In OTHER News!

While you were rapidly sliding into 3rd world status as a citizen of the largest debtor nation in history, I was actually producing hilarious media and serious voice over projects. And beans. I grew a lot of beans.

Fun to mention this item on a day when McCain campaigners continue to stamp their feet and fret over partisanship in the media. (Isn't it ironic that John McCain also chairs the Commerce Committee which oversees the FCC.) UPDATE: McCain also voted to block a re-introduction of the Fairness Doctrine*.
See our take on cable news journalism since the de-regulation of broadcast:

Ooops! And I was trying so hard to stay off of politics!

*McCain co-sponsored Broadcaster Freedom Act

He co-sponsored S. 1742:

Broadcaster Freedom Act of 2007
A bill to prevent the Federal Communications Commission from repromulgating the fairness doctrine.

Cosponsor: Sen. John MCain [R-AZ]

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Autumn Leaves

The following is a post from my other blog page, Dunn Creek Organic Farm. It's kind of like that essay we all had to write in September, "What I did this summer".

Each summer, our family lives and works on our organic farm on Prince Edward Island in Atlantic Canada. This year I related some of our story in text and pictures. I hope you'll check it out!

This summer on PEI was all too short as usual and a quite bit wetter than normal! After the basement flooded, Post Tropical Storm Hannah dumped another 3 inches of rain on our farm in Eastern PEI.

So, when the weather cleared and the fields dried enough for me to slog through, I found soggy potatoes but glorious beet greens and swiss chard! Lots of our yellow beans went un-picked until it was too late for me to bring in a top quality product. The beans showed rust, and other effects of too much water. Letting them hold too long on the plant also meant they were past their tender best. So out to the compost they go!

Sweet corn finally came in - but too late in the season to do much good. We had an acceptable level of corn worm damage and nice size ears from plants otherwise stunted earlier in the season by lack of rain and some fertility/rotation issues I need to solve.

My last few days of work on the farm have focused on cleaning up the rows that were fallowed this year and the crops that were finished for the season. I take up a lot of this material by hand (weeds, plants, etc.) and mix it into compost. The compost works for two years and is then applied to planting rows.

It was beautiful on Friday morning when I went to the shore to pick up a manure spreader load of sea kelp for the compost pile. This rich source of micro-nutrients and biological energy mixes well with the horse manure we collected over the summer and the fresh green waste (the old bean plants, cukes, summer squashes, windfall apples and weeds). All are combined in layers with spoiled hay and then the fun begins!

Nothing better than coming out on a frosty Autumn morning to see steam rising off the compost pile! It's tremendous to be able to watch the process that creates fertility as bacteria, water and oxygen become a bio-engine that sterilizes and breaks down the mixture into healthy soil ammendment!

The farm business was slow this year. Despite our success at Dundas and at our periodic market table in Murray River, the number of visitors to eastern PEI and customers at our gate lane was well below what it has been in former years. I'll let tourism PEI determine why, but I think it's fair to guess that the high cost of fuel, parity of the US dollar and confusion about border crossings etc. made it tough for Americans to make the trip.

The number of visitors from Quebec, who often exclaim their appreciation at finding an organic farm on their island tour, also seemed to be fewer this past year. Though the visitors we did receive from Quebec were lovely and enthusiastic and made me aware that I really need to learn to at least name our produce varieties in French.

Even so, we did have some success in ways that are important to our business. We used our logo and the PEI organic producers co-op label on our bagged products and were rewarded by repeat business from people who recognized our branding.

We also found new ways (for us) to use machines for planting, how crop rotations can be improved and how companion planting can improve resistance to pests and improve yield.

So, all in all we made progress on the land and kept things moving ahead.

Tuesday, June 3, 2008

Hillary's Choice

Barack Obama gained enough delegates tonight to claim his party nomination for President today. As historic as this day is - the day a black American was raised to the highest level ever achieved by the historic American slave race - the much vilified media made this Hillary's night. Another impossible moment in an impossible year. What now?

I'm trying hard to see where we go from here.

What I'm seeing is that some think Hillary was robbed and should fight on to the convention for a do-over of the primary process on the convention floor.

On the other hand, there is an emotional attraction to offering a joint ticket - which might be smart politics but it contains real problems for Obama.

As much as some may dislike the idea, Hillary has already lost the delegate count and her situation isn't likely to get better if she insists on continuing her campaign. This is clearly not what the majority of pledged delegates and super delegates want. She fought hard but finished the race behind and bankrupt.

The VP question is open - but remember that she declined that possibility tonight. There are days ahead when that could change but Hillary supporters won't like what she'll have to do to earn it.

Before she can even be considered for VP, she will have to publicly concede to Senator Obama and retire from the race. She will have to offer her unqualified support from now until the convention and she will have to refuse the calls from her supporters to contest against Obama at the convention. She will have to agree to support his campaign for president in November and recognize him as the leader of their campaign. This is not humiliation based on gender. The same would be true of any competitor.

I think Hillary can be a strong compliment to Barack, but that is entirely up to her and she's not ready to bow to him just yet.

Perhaps that is right. She won another primary that her campaign worked hard to earn so why cheapen it by waving the white flag on a victory?

Now the question is: will she take a reasonable amount of time for things to cool and then accept an honorable defeat and a change in direction? She's pretty smart. And this may be the only road left to a sure thing.

If she yields completely at the right moment, she'll probably be offered a place on the ticket. If not, things only look worse from here.

Saturday, May 31, 2008

Are We A Post Racial, Post Feminist Party?

The pictures from the Democratic Rules Committee hearing were worth a thousand words.

The faces in the room were white and black and many hues in between. They were male and female and fiercely committed - to candidates, to party and to principle. It was good. It was good because everyone knew this was a historic moment that will change our politics and could change our nation. We're serious about this election and the change we're making. There is no apathy in the party. We are mobilized and ready to march. We just need to choose our leaders.

Hillary Clinton doesn't need me to suck up to her and her supporters won't find me useful either. So I figure that leaves me free to speak.

There have been bitter fights in the party before and there will be again. As much as I'd like it to be, I'm not convinced this fight is over. Not until the convention meets in Denver and confirms Senator Obama. The Primaries may be all but over. But the back room arm twisting and potential for a floor fight are a long way from being gone. There are a lot of strong women and men supporting Senator Clinton and they will be heard from. So we'll see how it plays out.

Meanwhile, I sense that our political process and our party has changed forever.

Back in 2000 the GOP Convention was stage managed to present the "Big Tent" view of itself to America. That big tent was supposed to include all Americans. But it still looked like Anita Bryant, The Miss America Pageant and "Up With People" were in charge of the mostly white male dominated process.

Barack Obama And Hillary Clinton have left the Big Tent dusty and empty. Women aren't told much anymore. They know how to keep an eye their own interests and they learned long ago not to depend on anyone else to take care of them.

America's black citizens are in a similar position.

In the Democratic Party, race and gender aren't window dressing. The party is actively struggling with these issues in the most meaningful political ways there could possible be. It's not pretty. But so what?

I just hope that the Tom Tancredo wing of the GOP keeps making it clear that brown people aren't welcome. The hunger for social justice isn't separate from Catholic Faith or the family values that people carry with them from Latin America to the United States. They too will be part of what drives change that matters.

The road to Denver will be difficult. I expect the Rules Committee verdict to be another signal to the Super Delegates that the party wants a final verdict as soon as possible. But that won't settle it entirely. There will be work to do at the convention to make a nomination official and unify the party.

Will the Obama Campaign be forced to go ugly? Will the Clinton camp decide to hold fire or retire from the contest? Possibly. But the issue won't really be decided until the delegates make it official at the Convention. And that's what keeps the door open for Senator Clinton.

Thursday, May 29, 2008

10 Things Obama Could Do Besides Go To Iraq

Aren't those GOP guys key-YOOOT!
They've started a CLOCK to show how long it's been since Senator Obama visited Iraq! Golly that's funny! Because, see, they're saying Senator Obama can't know anything about what's going on in Eye RACK unless he goes there!

That's gotta be true - 'specially since the phones don't work and the electrical is only on for a couple of hours a day.

Well, guess what? I found out - after exhaustive research - that the war is actually being managed, funded and run from Washington DC! And you know what? As a Senator from Illinois, Barack Obama has been to Washington and even voted on stuff.

So anyway, I thought I'd suggest a few things that Senator Obama could look into without going to Iraq.

1) Visit the White House and ask the President if he has any Iraq plans.

2) Ask the President if he knows who the Commander in Chief is.

3) Find out who's got our money.

4) Find out who the Secretary of Defense is and ask if he knows anything.

5) Visit the Department of Defense/Pentagon and ask around. Somebody there might have an idea of what's going on in Iraq.

6) Ask why the GOP thinks the chain of command starts with the theater of operations commander.

7) Call Gen'l Scapegoat and find out if he's got anything to add to his testimony to Congress.

8) Ask how many American soldiers are dead since Senator McCain put US troops in harms way for his stage-managed walk-about demonstrating security in Iraq.

9) Check and see if there are any high crimes or mis-demeanors someone could be charged with.

10) Ask if there's anybody still in Afghanistan.

HA HA HA! See how funny this is?

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Right Wing Roundup


Scott McClellan's new book is out. And the former White House Press Secretary has given John McCain a few dozen more reasons to put some distance between himself and President Bush. In fact, NASA may have to handle any future communication between them.

McCain has a very real problem because McClellan makes it clear that the cause for war in Iraq - a war McCain still supports - was pure bullshit and that the President was essentially delusional.

PHOENIX — President Bush “convinces himself to believe what suits his needs at the moment,” and has engaged in “self-deception” to justify his political ends, Scott McClellan, the former White House press secretary, writes in a critical new memoir about his years in the West Wing.

In addition, Mr. McClellan writes, the decision to invade Iraq was a “serious strategic blunder,” and yet, in his view, it was not the biggest mistake the Bush White House made. That, he says, was “a decision to turn away from candor and honesty when those qualities were most needed.”

Mr. McClellan’s book, “What Happened: Inside the Bush White House and Washington’s Culture of Deception,” is the first negative account by a member of the tight circle of Texans around Mr. Bush.

(Doug Mills/The New York Times)

Well OK then. I'm guessing that, "Stay The Course", a course charted by a President who was deep in "self deception", isn't going to work out too well for John McCain as the next captain of this Titanic disaster.

Good luck Senator. Your ship has just come in.

* * * *

Next, it's the Libertarian Republican versus the Republican Libertarian.

Ron Paul is an indication of just how embarrassing George Bush has been for a lot of intelligent Conservatives. Bob Barr is an indication of how hard it is for conservative Conservatives to swallow John McCain as a their candidate.

It's not like I really understand Libertarian ideology. I found Ron Paul interesting early on because I like his fundamentals. But I began to think that Ron Paul's America died at the Alamo. Or maybe in the Mexican War.

Bob Barr. Jeez dude, you were one of the guys who thought Clinton ought to be horsewhipped in public for getting a BJ. I thought Libertarians were fundamentally opposed to government sponsored morality.

It's going to be an interesting summer.

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Where Will I Find The MSM?

Remember way back when the term "Liberal Media" was new and Reagan was president? Liberal Media was a definition created by Conservatives who wanted to end the Fairness Doctrine and relax restrictions on corporate media ownership.

Today I see shorthand references to MSM or Main Stream Media all over the place.

The term Mainstream Media is as fictional as the term Liberal Media. In the world of commercially sponsored content there is only Popular Media and Un-popular media.

(Percentage of factual content and your perceptions may vary.)

Consider the major networks. Fox, ABC, MSNBC, CNN, CBS etc.
Which of them qualifies as the "MSM"?

Saturday, May 24, 2008

Clinton, RFK and "The Smoking Gun"

I was just thinking about August 5th, 1974.

It was on that day that the Nixon White House complied with a US Supreme Court ruling and released transcripts of conversation between Nixon and Haldeman 6 days after the Watergate Burglary in which Nixon orders the FBI to end it's investigation.

The tape became known as, "The Smoking Gun".

Eleven Republican members of the Judiciary Committee had voted against articles of impeachment. After "The Smoking Gun", they ended their support of President Nixon.
It was the moment that forced Nixon to resign.

I'm watching the reaction to Senator Clinton's assassination comment to see if it isn't another smoking gun. We have about two more weeks of primary voting. It is at that point the Super Delegates will likely weigh in.

Many Super Delegates have promised support for Senator Clinton. Others have yet to declare. I wonder if this moment will effectively decide the Super Delegate and force Hillary Clinton to resign.

Hillary Clinton and Tanya Harding

I'm not the first to associate these two names. How truly sad is it that Senator Clinton herself has done more than anyone else could have to make the association valid.

You remember the story. Two fierce competitors in the world of ice skating. At the 1994 US Figure Skating championships, Harding's ex-husband and a co-conspirator assaulted Nancy Kerrigan - forcing her to withdraw from competition due to injury. Harding claims she was a victim of a plot and violent abuse by her former husband.

The US Figure Skating Association came to another conclusion:

The USFSA concluded that Harding knew about the attack before it happened and displayed "a clear disregard for fairness, good sportsmanship and ethical behavior".

Harding's supporters (and she does have them) are mostly white, female, lower income...That's not a BAD thing in's just eerily familiar.

When I heard Senator Clinton mention Bobby Kennedy I was following her train of thought: that historic election contests have gone on into June. What I can't understand is why she thought it was a good idea to mention the 1968 campaign.

The reasoning didn't just occur to her. It is now central to her campaign. The fact that she didn't realize how awful that particular analogy is or how it could backfire on her is as disturbing to me as the remark itself. It was a moment of poor judgment, poorly considered strategy, and horrible reasoning blurted out in public. Seasoned journalist Daniel Schorr called her on it on NPR this morning and he's right. We can assume she knew (because she SHOULD have known - which is equally important) exactly what she was saying.

It's understandable that a long campaign could impair one's judgement or cloud one's reasoning. But if the unthinkable were to happen must be laid at her door.

The Secret Service and the FBI must now be checking all leads - including possible conspiracies from opponents.

Please, Senator Clinton. PLEASE! I never hoped to see you like this.

Friday, May 23, 2008

Desperate but not Serious

I've kept off of politics for a while.
Mainly because I just burned out on the topic.

Call it fatigue.

But a quick re-set might be in order.

It seems the closer Obama gets to claiming victory, the more we all have to wonder about the potential for self destructive behavior among Clinton Democrats who swear, as God is their witness, that they'll never EVER vote for that...that...MAN!

Losing is hard. But losing a close race that meant something very special to many people is apparently much harder.

Senator Clinton voted for the war in Iraq. That is the crucial reason I reject her candidacy for President. Her twisted argument that votes in Florida and Michigan must count is another symptom of her problem.

Hillary Clinton has shown that she will do anything to win - except tell the truth.
She is still not desperate enough to candidly explain that she wants Florida and Michigan to count against Senator Obama so that she can justify her fight to win support within the party establishment. She is in "go for broke" mode to win the White House. Nobody really thinks this is about voter rights which she happily signed away before the primaries.

Clearly, somebody or something has got to take the blame for her defeat.
The usual suspects are already being rounded up.

Thursday, May 22, 2008

Indiana Jones and the Prodroom Part 2

Yes, there was more Indiana Jones work today. And it's all about global reach.

This film is anticipated to have a huge opening release. But nobody anticipates better than Hollywood. Gotta love that "Star maker machinery". And for a PG13 rated film, they sure are aiming hard at pre-teens on all the Cable channels.

Miguel Ferrer was back today to voice several versions of a TV promo touting box office dominance in America and the World. Yikes! It's like watching a virus spread on a planetary scale (with a totally bitchin VO).

Let me be clear. Mr. Ferrer himself is a really good man. And Aspect Media in LA was a very cool ISDN hook up.

Keep in mind, we are a local, privately owned shop. We're not film driven. We're home boys. I was born in Santa Barbara, and Ray is from Inglewood, CA. We don't cater to Hollywood, it just found us. That said, we've worked hard to earn some respect for our little shop with the big players. We're happy that talent refers us to the big show in LA and New York. And we respect the professional value of the work we do for the artists and their clients. When a voice pro drops in and feels at home with us, we dig having their company and it's really nice. John Corbett likes to pick up on the vintage guitars Ray still plays on a slow Friday afternoon.

So, sometimes we do get a minute to visit. I was interested to learn that Miguel has four horses, rides English, competes in steeplechase and rides to the hounds in our western back-country. Speaking as a guy who first rode for a ranch and now rides western/pleasure...that's some STONES my friend! And you can hear them on new promos - playing on a video channel near you!

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Indiana Jones and the Production Room!

The movie opens at midnight tonight.

The marketing campaign is in high gear. And lest you think that marketing ever sleeps, consider that we were booked to reserve time for actor Miguel Ferrer to come in and do voice over for a :60 radio commercial for Indiana Jones and the Search for the Crystal Skull just hours before it opens.

The script is focused on the opening weekend - which happens to be a 3 day Memorial Day holiday here in the States.

Miguel was great to work with and it was fun to see a pro do the "Movie Promo" voice for a real summer blockbuster.

Compliments and thanks too for Suzanne and everyone at Buddha Jones Studio in Hollywood which connected with the Production Room Santa Barbara by ISDN!

Wednesday, May 7, 2008

Greetings From Canada

First things first. I'm currently blogging from Prince Edward Island, Canada. A place few in the western US have heard of. PEI is the smallest province in Canada and it casually lounges off the East Coast across from Cape Breton Island, Nova Scotia and New Brunswick. (Think Maine and go north east.)

I'm four time zones east of LA and one time zone east of New York. I don't have a TV. Just dial up internet and the CBC radio (think NPR). I also have the the local weekly newspaper (The Eastern Graphic)which doesn't have much good to say about the prospects for the island's principle industries of fishing, farming, tourism and the Liberal Provincial Government.

Why am I here? Check the Dunn Creek Farm blog. I'll be updating that after scribbling some notes on Canada and the US election.

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Coming here has made me realize just how thoroughly the media in the States have sucked the air out of the room by hyperventilating over the minutia of this election.
Wow, I can breathe again! No talk radio. No 24 hour spin channels, just news summaries on the hour and a full half hour national news broadcast at 6:00 PM.

I woke at 6 this morning to the news that Obama had crushed Clinton in North Carolina and that she had barely won a squeaker in the early hours in Indiana.

CBC had a no nonsense, "just the facts" report with some sound bites that
told me what I needed to know. Obama sounded jubilant while Clinton said, "He wins one then I win one - this election is so close!" Yeah. Except that it isn't.

To Canadians who don't live in our media bubble but are very much interested in the election there is really only one issue. The Bush Presidency is nearly over.

The locals here (think white, working class) are surprised that America has been effectively supporting a black guy named Barack Hussein Obama over Hillary Clinton. One gets the feeling that this shouldn't be possible in the America they know so much about. "Can he win?" I was asked. "He's winning." I said.

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From what little I've been able to see here, the facts already on the table are making it clear that time is running out for the plucky little non-elitest, "just like you" former First Lady and independently wealthy Senator from New York.

After news that she "lent" herself another 9 million dollars of her egg money to stay in the race (how's that feel Chelsea?) she keeps stumping for the no-win issue of Michigan and Florida and contrary delegate math that says she ought to invest in a hedge fund and get back to work in the Senate.

I can't help but gloat a bit that the candidate which smeared Obama as elitist decided she could afford to write a 9 million dollar personal check to the campaign. How'd that turn out for Mitt Romney?

Obama has now erased her delegate gain in PA, increased his popular vote margin, won another state and keeps raising more money with an effective organization. What's left for her to show us? A graceful concession would be nice.

Thursday, May 1, 2008

Screw it - I'm Moving to Canada

Yes friends, I am moving the blog to Canada.

Why? Because I can. And because free health care and cheap lobster sound good to me.
Also because I own an organic farm on Prince Edward Island and it's time for spring planting. So I'll be packing up the studio gear in California and heading for the Great White North.

Yes, Canada. The other first world North American Democracy that doesn't care what Stephen Harper says. Harper decided to become a Bush Conservative as Bush himself hit a new low in approval ratings.

So I'll pick up the blog in a few days - when I have a chance to hear what CBC Radio 1 has to say about American politics. That ought to be pretty good reading here.

And before you feel all cocky about being home in the States while I plant produce in the north...Canada owns more oil and natural gas than almost anybody. That means my farm is valued in petro dollars while your So Cal condo withers in a market so depleted that your hourly wage hovers just above third world status.

It's not like I'm going to get rich growing organic produce. But I will have plenty of cheap food to eat this summer. And as soon as global warming makes it possible to grow wine grapes, citrus and palm trees, or somebody decides to start another global war, I'm gone for good!

Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Iran / US Situation Should be Front and Center

Hey - Look Over There! Part 2

The rhetoric has been ramping up. Iran is shifting to attack a weak US dollar. The Cold War between the US and Iran is getting hotter and the potential for disaster is greater now than it has been in months.

But I'm getting ahead of myself.

Let's review:

From CNN.Com World Business

"The dollar has totally been removed from Iran's oil transactions," Oil Ministry official Hojjatollah Ghanimifard told state-run television Wednesday. "We have agreed with all of our crude oil customers to do our transactions in non-dollar currencies."

Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad called the depreciating dollar a "worthless piece of paper" at a rare summit last year in Saudi Arabia attended by state leaders from OPEC countries.

Gates Sends "Reminder" to Iran

MEXICO CITY — Defense Secretary Robert Gates said Tuesday that sending a second U.S. aircraft carrier to the Persian Gulf could serve as a "reminder" to Iran, but he said it's not an escalation of force.

Speaking to reporters after meeting with Mexican leaders, Gates said heightening U.S. criticism of Iran and its support for terror groups is not a signal that the administration is laying the groundwork for a strike against Tehran.

A senior US navy spokesman, however, told FOX News that the USS Lincoln already is in the gulf and is carrying out a normal rotation with the USS Truman, which will soon be heading home. The overlap is expected to be brief, the spokesman said, adding, "think hours, not days."

Gates said the number of ships in the gulf rises and falls continuously. He said he doesn't expect there to two carriers there for a long time.

Asked if the carrier move went hand in hand with the rising U.S. rhetoric against Iran, Gates said, "I don't see it as an escalation. I think it could be seen, though, as a reminder." - Fox News

So don't expect them to be there long. But as long as we're there...

Why isn't the media curious about the moves the White House is making? Why aren't they being pressed to explain what our policy is?

It seems to be, "Do what we say...or ELSE!"

Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Wright: No Longer Preaching to the Choir

I saw Rev. Wright on Bill Moyer's Journal.
I heard excerpts from his following remarks to the Press Club.

The man is currently a fish with no water. In his church he could howl out a fiery sermon, call for an AMEN - and get it every time. Now removed from his pulpit he stands at the national podium. And the AMENS aren't coming from mainstream Americans who aren't used to getting on their feet and shouting out in church. In the public forum, we're conditioned to watch passively as media delivers his message. Then we turn to one another and say, "Oh dear."

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Obama Checked.

The white queen is in play and Obama finds he must sacrifice his black bishop.
This isn't good. He has lost the offense and is losing on defense.

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The Conservative Double Standard

Remember Ted Haggrd?
You should remember him:

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. — The megachurch founded by Pastor Ted Haggard said Tuesday he has prematurely ended a "spiritual restoration" process begun when he was fired for sexual misconduct.

Haggard was fired from New Life Church and resigned as president of the National Association of Evangelicals in November 2006 after a former male prostitute alleged they had a cash-for-sex relationship. The man also said he saw Haggard use methamphetamine. (Fox News)

"President of the National Association of Evangelicals"? Can we talk about the white church?

This guy even had access to President Bush and White House Policy Decisions:

WASHINGTON - As president of the National Association of Evangelicals, the Rev. Ted Haggard has advised the White House on issues ranging from judicial appointments to steel tariffs.

But he also sought to widen the agenda of Christian evangelicals into areas the Bush administration - and many of his Christian brethren - would rather avoid.

Haggard resigned as president of the association, which says it represents about 30 million evangelical church members, and took a leave as senior pastor of the 14,000-member New Life Church in Colorado Springs amid allegations that he paid a gay former escort for sex and drugs.

Although he had been active in lobbying for conservative Christian causes before, Haggard's profile rose after he became head of the NAE early in 2003.

He made frequent visits to the White House and was included in a select group of religious leaders briefed on the administration's agenda during a weekly teleconference with White House staff, a session meant to "feel the evangelical pulse," he's said.

"We have direct access (to the White House)," Haggard told a Wall Street Journal reporter shortly before the last presidential election, adding that he could take a concern to the president through staff and get a response within 24 hours. - Rocky Mountain News

Judicial appointments and STEEL TARRIFFS? Do YOU see anything wrong with this picture?

I'm sure Haggard wore his flag lapel pin and never said, "God Damn America"
He just repeatedly hired a male prostitute and did meth.

One of these preachers ought to cost somebody an election. Kind of odd that it won't be the white guy. I guess it's because he's a good American.

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UPDATE 4/30/08

John Nichols absolutely nails it in The Nation:

Wright, Jefferson and the Wrath of God

In more ways than Republican and now Democratic critics seem prepared to admit, Wright is the embodiment of an American religious and political tradition of challenging the country's sins while calling it to the higher ground that extends from the founding of the republic. No less a figure than Thomas Jefferson -- who constructed that wall of separation between church and state but who worried a good deal about questions of the divine -- worried openly about the retribution that would befall a nation that permitted slavery.

Monday, April 28, 2008

Do it Yourself!

Yes, Corporate America's Mantra is, "Do it Yourself". We'll collect your personal data and send you the bill.

When my internet service is down, Verizon will helpfully suggest that I go on line and trouble shoot the problem.

When an airline site won't allow me to process a booking after I've spent an hour trying to find the flight I want, I'm led back to a home page that suggests that it's faster and easier to book online.

It's in that spirit that I present today's blog post, which will save you the time it takes me to read the news and comment.

Todays Headlines and Instant Analysis

Will Rev Wright Hurt Obama?

___ Yes ___ No

Is the Race Hurting the Democrats?

___ Yes ___ No

Is Race an Issue in the Race?

___ Yes ___ No

Does Rev Wright loves America as much as you do?

___ Yes ___ No

Now you can probably guess why journalists used to learn that they shouldn't ask yes or no questions. Someone please memo this over to ABC.

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When I started working in radio, we had an old AP teletype that was kept in a filthy shower stall next to a toilet. You could take a leak and watch the latest bulletins from the national wire. That was NEWS!

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Do it Yourself Blog Part 2:

Here's a link to NPR's Day to Day program that aired today. The section titled, "When Should One Retire" contains an interview with Frank Newton that was recorded via ISDN from the Production Room last week. Alex Chadwick is the host and if you want to hear how good our studio is - go listen for yourself.

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Today's Funny from Weird TV

(You'll have to click the link or get the embed code from bliptv.)

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Thanks for reading the blog. Your eyes are important to us.
If there's anything you need, don't hesitate to allow us
to encourage you to do it yourself.

Saturday, April 26, 2008

GOP Endorses Clinton

Who would Republicans rather face in November?

While Dems are wondering who will get the nod, Hillary is probably hoping that Uber Delegates won't notice that the GOP is putting it's money on her by running negative TV ads against Barack Obama.

Carl Hulse wrote the following article today for the NY Times which starts with the headline:

G.O.P. Now Sees Obama as Liability for Ticket

Clear enough but wrong.

The article states:

“There were times when Republicans reacted with just horror that he would lead the ticket,” said Stuart Rothenberg, a nonpartisan political analyst. “Now there is not the sense of him being invulnerable, the magic bullet. I think there has been a major change.”

"The growing Republican emphasis on Mr. Obama could also help Mrs. Clinton plead her case that she is more electable, bolstering her argument to superdelegates that Republicans are poised to pounce on her relatively untested opponent. Her advisers have been frustrated that some top Democrats rate Mrs. Clinton a greater liability for the party’s candidates in conservative parts of the country — a view still held by some strategists — even though she has shown a capacity to withstand Republican attacks.

At the same time, some Democrats privately said the new Republican push could be a backdoor effort to buoy Mrs. Clinton, the candidate Republicans initially saw as the Democrat who would most rally Republicans and spur fund-raising. It has not been lost on Republican strategists that they can give pause to superdelegates leaning toward endorsing Mr. Obama."

It's a twofer. Keep Obama out of a race that will enlarge the Democratic Parrty and then defeat Clinton in November with the same strategy that won in 2000 and 2004.