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, March 31, 2008

When They Give Up, We'll Stand In

Interesting news from Iraq...

Excerpted from this story in the Christian Science Monitor.

In August 2004, US and Iraqi forces battled Sadr's militias in Najaf, Iraq. It was billed as a crucial test of then-Prime Minister Iyad Allawi's ability to extend authority over a key city in Iraq that was controlled by armed militias. The Najaf showdown ended in much the same way this one did: a Sadr negotiated truce.

But this time, analysts say, the widespread instances of surrender among the Iraqi forces and the seizure of their equipment and vehicles by the Mahdi Army shows that despite all the funding and training from the US, Iraq's soldiers remain greatly swayed by their sectarian and party loyalties and are incapable of standing up in a fight without US backing...

...Militiamen also paraded in newly issued Humvees, which were taken from the Army in several neighborhoods, according to witnesses.

There ya go. A surge that works for BOTH sides! The Diem government of South Viet Nam couldn't have handled it any better.

I wonder how tempting it is for John McCain to think that he's the guy who can re-fight his war and FINALLY get it right. That's a pretty sad thought really. This is a man who's defining moment in life involves bailing out during a combat mission to face injury, capture, and torture. Don't tell me he doesn't still wake up screaming. I still freakin' dream I'm a DJ.

How tempting will it be for Senator McCain to use our army in Iraq to exorcise his personal demons? How tempting will it be for him to believe that he can finally redeem what was lost at such a painful price?


I use Google Analytics to monitor traffic on this blog. It's free and it easy to use. Thanks again to those 1000 or so who have visited in the last few weeks, especially including our friends in the UK, Canada, the EU and Australia/NZ for stopping in. You're welcome to comment on the election and add your prospective.

Contributor Ray McInnis Adds:

YouTube reveals video analytics tool for all users
News release: "...we're releasing YouTube Insight, a free tool that enables anyone with a YouTube account to view detailed statistics about the videos that they upload to the site. (You can see this...announcement on the Google blog and on the YouTube blog...) This tool will help anyone who uploads videos to YouTube better understand and serve their audiences. For example, users might use Insight to tailor upload strategies to increase their videos' view counts and improve their popularity on the site. And partners who increase their videos' popularity also increase the number of monetizable views their videos get, and as a result, generate more revenue."
Topic(s): E-Commerce, Blogs, Search Engines

Today's blogging included a post on my other blog site:

Dunn Creek Organic Farm PEI, Canada

Stop in for a look.

Saturday, March 29, 2008

Super Sunday Blog Post

There's a lot here for Sunday reading, so grab a cup of whatever soothes your mind and spend a few minutes here in review.

This post contains links from contributor Ray McInnis, a few words about the Egg McMuffin and a Sunday funny from Bob Henderson.

Also an essay from yours truly plus a note from Paul McGowan at PS Audio and a listen to the first sound recording, made in 1860!

So lets dig in!

* * * *

First - The Election

This is what awaits Barack Obama.
I don't know where this comes from but be sure to guess that this kind of stuff will find its way to the MSM if Obama gets the nod.

Nativists whose mono-brow, mono-cultutural, anti-immigrant hairs are already raised are going to pounce on this stuff. Gee, I remember when it was only Mexicans and people from Eastern Europe who got this kind of treatment in America.

* * * *

Reuters Fudging -

The Original Headline on this link from Reuters:

"Obama:Clinton Welcome to stay in race"

is now, "Clinton says no intention of dropping out:report"

Who requested THAT distinction?

* * * *


Here is a link to an easily found video clip from two pastors who spoke on camera after 911 to tell us that God was giving us exactly what we deserved. I don't claim divine insight so I'll have to guess that Jerry Falwell got the same message from God that Jeremiah Wright got.

* * * *

Why didn't Obama leave his church?

This isn't a question. It's an attack on the ambivalent American. Obama didn't leave. I didn't leave. You didn't leave. We have evidence from left and right, black and white that America is not God's little innocent in the world. So why do we stay true to a country so full of sin as to be Righteously punished by God? Why do we not flee our country even when our President demands we fight a war on questionable terms?

I know what preaching in America is about. I am descended from generations of Protestant ministers. It was our family business from the early 1800's until the 1970's when my grandfather passed away.

In the 1930's, my Grandfather was Pastor to Pennsylvania coal miners and unemployed factory workers in tiny towns throughout the Southeastern corner of the state. The Reverend Chester Warren Quimby was sent to minister to men and women and children left destitute by the Great Depression. His own family depended on the value of his service to the people. And he was often called at late hours to serve. He met the untimely death of a wife, the tragic loss of a father, a family disrupted by drunken violence, or the parents who felt they could not go on raising children in poverty.

He was man who was asked over and over again, "Why?".

I knew the Reverend Dr. Quimby and I know the strength that came from his faith.
He may not have "Damned" America but he knew America's shortcomings and he knew the suffering of his people. He knew that his own life depended on offering faith and hope and healing to his people and he labored for years to bring the people to his church for the mercy he believed was theirs.

When your life depends on filling the church in your charge, you must preach to the people in ways that will bring them to God. If you are the pastor of a Church in a Chicago ghetto, how will you preach to them?

Reverend Jeremiah Wright wasn't trying to save me. He wasn't trying to show me the way to Christ from my million dollar home or to bring me to salvation from the senseless poverty of wealth. He wasn't trying to build his church in the comfortable American suburb I inhabit.

Jeremiah Wright was like my Grandfather. He gave himself to a barren land in our country. He reached out for the lost, the poor, the dis-oriented, the cast off, the denied, the weak, the hopeless and those struggling to save their families from economic destruction. He spoke to them and they came to worship.

More in a link From Contributor Ray McInnis

And more from Ray with comments from a supportiveCondi Rice - deflected by a blogger from the right.

Ray Adds:

for me, anyone can rattle on like this, endlessly, i suppose, but still miss one point: that for rice to talk about race is the same as nixon going to china, and validating it as a nation worthy of america having relations with, or -- and this is of lesser import -- reagan talking with gorbachev.

in effect, rice's words make the imbroglio of wright-obama of much less consequence, meaning that when whites who might be driven from voting for obama over the wright issue, could reconsider, because a black america, conservative, is making it sound more legit.

OK, wading through these waters is tricky, but after teaching american cultural studies course for several years, discovered that it is part of the solution.

ideally, if you want people to change from thinking that blacks are not the victims they claim to be to thoughts more sympathetic to the idea that they do in fact suffer as "victims", here's how it works -- and it has to be through the heart, one person at a time -- you do it by having that person actually conduct his/her own research on a topic in cultural studies -- like the origin of the "one drop" rule -- filtering these things through their minds, and -- voila! -- the change in heart occurs, because they finally understand what oppression means.

ledeen may be correct about the change that has occurred already, but it is going to take a few more generations to give us the social conditions that level the playing field to the point wheree conservatives claim it is now.

* * * *


Herb Peterson died this week. Herb took credit for the invention of the Egg McMuffin at his McDonald's Restaurant on upper State Street in Santa Barbara, Ca.

While I have no doubt that Mr. Peterson conceived and introduced said McMuffin to his friend and mentor Ray Kroc, I know some urban lore on the subject from having worked in that restaurant from 1976 to 1979. Store Manager, Garth Bench, once told me that it was McDonald's crew members who came in each morning to warm up the grills for the lunch time burger menu who innovated the McMuffin by cooking their own breakfast sandwiches in the McDonald's kitchen. Garth said he was one of those young workers who inspired Mr. Peterson. I was told that in 1978.

Having done much the same to create my own sandwiches at the same restaurant, I can understand how this might have been the case. We were once told in a crew meeting, "You guys should put as much care into the burgers you serve the customers as the stuff I see you creating for yourselves on break!"

McDonald's President, Ray Kroc, had a ranch just north of us in the Santa Ynez Valley. He actually showed up at our restaurant in his limo. And secret boxes of frozen test items were sometimes stored in our freezer. That and a whole lot of after hours nonsense, plus a late night visit from Fleetwood Mac made working for McDonald's pretty interesting in our little town.

I enjoyed knowing and working for Mr. Peterson at McDonald's. And I will forever be grateful for the training I received as a young employee at the Golden Arches.

And as a final note, Mr. Peterson was a guest in my studio several years ago as we created some local radio commercials for his local McDonald's restaurants. What a pleasure to welcome this man into my own small business. I credit him to starting me on my my way to success

* * * *

Paul McGowan at PS Audio sent me some news this week. Paul was an entrepreneur/amateur engineer at 99.1 KXFM in Santa Maria, Ca. a few years before I became a DJ there in 1981. I still have one of the first hand built PS Audio phono pre-amps that was installed at the radio station.

He sends story about the recent recovery of the first recorded audio from 1860!

Much of this month's newsletter will focus on the state of digital media in our high end systems. It seems appropriate, therefore, that we start this newsletter off with news of the discovery of the world's first optical recording (like a CD) that predates Edison's first recording by nearly 20 years!

This is the link to a New York Times article about the Phonautogram, an optical voice recorder invented in 1853 (17 years before Edisons patent of the phonograph) by douard-Lon Scott de Martinville of Paris.

Edison's system was entirely mechanical and used a stylus (needle) that was moved by the power of your voice, to cut a pattern into a wax cylinder. In our free DVD From Coal to Coltrane we show a later version of Edison's machine and describe how it works.

Martinville's Phonautogram worked in a very similar fashion, only instead of cutting a pattern into a wax cylinder the French inventor used the moving stylus to write on a piece of paper. He had no clue how this would be played back but he wanted to design a piece of equipment that could capture and archive the human voice and he succeeded!

The article has a link so you can hear the reproduction of his first work, now decoded after sitting in storage for 155 years. Amazing.

* * * *

Contributor Bob Henderson sends us Today's Funny:

Thursday, March 27, 2008

Senator Obama Speaks on the Economy

The Senator at Cooper Union once again takes us from the past to the future.

"But you say you are conservative - eminently conservative - while we are revolutionary, destructive, or something of the sort. What is conservatism? Is it not adherence to the old and tried, against the new and untried? We stick to, contend for, the identical old policy on the point in controversy which was adopted by "our fathers who framed the Government under which we live;" while you with one accord reject, and scout, and spit upon that old policy, and insist upon substituting something new. True, you disagree among yourselves as to what that substitute shall be. You are divided on new propositions and plans, but you are unanimous in rejecting and denouncing the old policy of the fathers."

- Abraham Lincoln, Cooper Union Address, Feb. 27, 1860

NPR Brings Tibet Connection to Prod Room

Terry Gross and NPR's Fresh Air called on the Production Room for an ISDN connection to WHYY in Philadelphia. Pico Ayer was the Guest in Santa Barbara on Tuesday's program about current issues in Tibet. Wonderful insights and information on China policy and the Dalai Lama. Check out "Open Road" Recounts Dalai Lama's Global Journey

Also, thanks to Sam Briger at WHYY for permission to post a link

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Don't Take My Word For It...

John McCain Speaks on Foreign Policy:

And then...

UCLA Chancellor Reacts to McCain Speech:

* * * * *

What Do California Voters Think?

New Results

* * * * *

New Link From Ray McInnis

* * * * *

But enough about Politics, lets talk about Sex on the road in Santa Barbara

Sex on the Road #2- Santa Barbara - Funny video clips are a click away

And...Today's Funny!

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Drowning Woman Reaches for Point of Sword

Having been rebuffed by Barack Obama, it's only a matter of time before Hillary Clinton offers John McCain the number 2 spot on her "Dream" ticket. She and Bill have already endorsed him over Obama so why not seal the deal with a big wet sloppy kiss?

And the latest from Senator Clinton:

"Clinton Says She Would Have Walked Out On Wright"

She finds moral outrage in the weirdest places. Has the Weekly Standard endorsed her yet?

* * * *


She knows that Senator McCain is vulnerable and she can beat him in the center by capturing white independents - voters who aren't coming to Obama in the numbers Democrats need to see for a run in the fall. She's aiming to prove to Super Delegates that she can win.

Her attacks on Obama are playing weirdly well in the Conservative media, but will they generate real support for someone that Conservatives love to despise? Or will they only fuel their ultimate goal - to burn their beloved Liberal witch at the stake in November?

It's either a brave and smart strategy, or a deceptive and unprincipled sellout. Either way this strategy could work if things were to stay static. But they won't.

Senator Obama probably couldn't win if the general election were held in April. A close second would be impressive but hardly satisfactory.

Senator Obama has made his campaign to the left and kept it there in all 50 states, raising millions of dollars and registering new voters in huge numbers. For Democrats, Senator Obama's strategy is just as risky as running to the right. His campaign depends entirely on convincing a huge number of people to vote.

In the mean time, the tar and feathers are ready. Tar to blacken Obama, and feathers to paint a big Liberal "L" on him.

* * * *

FCC likely to approve Sirius-XM deal, analysts say

Did anybody ask for 2 satellite radio channels in the first place? How about 1?

* * * *

Obama Word Game

Ray and I had a few laughs today using Google Search to play a fun new game.We entered "Barack Obama" plus any words we could think of.

Some examples that returned pages:

Bar Fight
Cream Rinse

We never had a miss.

* * * *

Blogging to Stardom
Imagine being able to read the daily writing of Charles Dickens.

* * * *

Today's Funny:

"Role Models" from

From Crackle: Role Models

Sunday, March 23, 2008

Will America's Left Answer the Call?

In the dark days of 1863, the carnage and bloodletting of America's Civil War was at it's height. Neither side could see victory but every soldier knew that death was stalking him personally. There was a tremendous Christian revival in both armies that winter which swept many men into religious fervor and a surrender to God's will.
Historians call it, "The Great Awakening". With no understanding of "post traumatic stress syndrome", faith became the only positive means to cope with the horror of the first modern war.

Both armies, North and South sought to get right with God, not just for their immortal souls but for the justice of their cause and the meaning of their deaths.

In his Second Inaugural address, President Lincoln summarized the cause of the war for Union and illuminated the emotions that brought the entire nation to its knees before God:

"One-eighth of the whole population were colored slaves, not distributed generally over the Union, but localized in the southern part of it. These slaves constituted a peculiar and powerful interest. All knew that this interest was somehow the cause of the war. To strengthen, perpetuate, and extend this interest was the object for which the insurgents would rend the Union even by war, while the Government claimed no right to do more than to restrict the territorial enlargement of it. Neither party expected for the war the magnitude or the duration which it has already attained. Neither anticipated that the cause of the conflict might cease with or even before the conflict itself should cease. Each looked for an easier triumph, and a result less fundamental and astounding. Both read the same Bible and pray to the same God, and each invokes His aid against the other. It may seem strange that any men should dare to ask a just God's assistance in wringing their bread from the sweat of other men's faces, but let us judge not, that we be not judged. The prayers of both could not be answered. That of neither has been answered fully. The Almighty has His own purposes. 'Woe unto the world because of offenses; for it must needs be that offenses come, but woe to that man by whom the offense cometh.' If we shall suppose that American slavery is one of those offenses which, in the providence of God, must needs come, but which, having continued through His appointed time, He now wills to remove, and that He gives to both North and South this terrible war as the woe due to those by whom the offense came, shall we discern therein any departure from those divine attributes which the believers in a living God always ascribe to Him? Fondly do we hope, fervently do we pray, that this mighty scourge of war may speedily pass away. Yet, if God wills that it continue until all the wealth piled by the bondsman's two hundred and fifty years of unrequited toil shall be sunk, and until every drop of blood drawn with the lash shall be paid by another drawn with the sword, as was said three thousand years ago, so still it must be said 'the judgments of the Lord are true and righteous altogether'."

In past years the political left has decried the Christian mantle which the "Divine" right assumed by co-opting conservative Christians into the cause of Republican politics. These Christians made a political deal with the GOP to gain the prize of political power in America.

The answer I've most often heard concocted in response from the left is one of cynical political if there could be no Liberal Christian faith community to enlist in the cause of social change, merely a "format" that could be duplicated to persuade the faithful to change their hearts and minds to vote for Democratic victory. This manipulation insults good people of faith and is seen for the shallow attempt at exploitation that it is.

Now we have a candidate who knows by heart a fiery gospel of change and social justice. A gospel that includes Jesus, Lincoln and Martin Luther King in various measures. And this candidate speaks his faith out loud to the people in ways that Liberals have not since Lyndon Johnson and Jimmy Carter.

I remember how Carter was made to be a fool for his simple faith and generous humanity. And white Liberals, who felt foolish endorsing Carter's simple goodness, walked away from the moral high ground.

But the Black church in America didn't walk away. And it has produced a man who has blown away any questioning of his Christian faith. He touched the painful truth so squarely last Tuesday that he made America cry. And the thinking public has debated his every spoken word for nearly a week that has followed. I can't recall a speech in the last 40 years on an issue of conscience that sent the entire nation into reflection.

Now the question is, can this emotionally beaten and divided country hear the call for unity and find the strength to answer?

Will the left answer this call and find itself morally right again tonight?

Friday, March 21, 2008

Dead Presidents

It's All About The Benjamins:

"Benjamin Franklin: the only President of the United States
who was never President of the United States."
- Firesign Theater

Boston Globe: Political Intelligence Obama Winning Cash Contest

* * * * *

Charles Krauthammer says: The Speech: A Brilliant Fraud.

Hillary Partisans and Conservatives are now united in common cause.
As Susan Estrich has also pointed out, the "fraud" is that Obama didn't leave his church when his spiritual leader said things that were false and divisive. By that logic a lot more of us should be living in Canada.

* * * * *


The Obama campaign went low with an opposition researched photo of Jeremiah Wright shaking hands with President Bill Clinton at a White House Prayer Breakfast.

That's not new politics Senator. It isn't smart and it isn't right.

* * * * *

Osama bin Laden sees shadow - Predicts 6 more years of Jihad

When bin Laden speaks we have to listen and take him at his word.

* * * * *

How to make money on the internet

I'm providing this link to Jeffrey Hedquist so you can see what I think is a really smart way to use the strength of the internet to establish professional credentials and build broad client support that isn't reliant on local retail.

* * * * *


Thursday, March 20, 2008

...And Everything Else

There's a lot of news out there these days.

That's why I enjoyed Craig Smith's take on our own local newspaper and it's recent story choices. The recent front page headline, "Pet bird found after incredible journey" triggered some laughs.

We're wondering if the News Press was quoting the bird.

UPDATE 3/27/08: "Lost Macaw Flew From Eagle Rock, Not Carpinteria"

Guess the bird was misquoted. Certain facts were taken out of context...blah blah blah.

* * * *

Has anyone else noted the collapse of some of the world's largest financial institutions? It's probably not important or we would be hearing how it will affect everyone besides Wall Street brokers. I'm sure no one could have seen it coming either. A few months ago, I participated in a heated discussion on Blogabarbara where strenuous writers strenuously asserted that everything was swell in the mortgage biz and that the genius of the free market would solve all the ills we weren't suffering.

That argument died at the instant when our central bank bailed out people who speculated and lost in the free market. That of course is now all that stands between us and a global panic. Hope it works.

* * * *

Logical Divide

"The Speech" continues to drive media commentary. The racial divide is deep and wide and Obama hit the truth so squarely that he made people cry.

The logical divide is also deep. The persistent objection voiced very well by the brilliant Susan Estrich (Thanks to Ray McInnis for the link) is the assumption that Senator Obama should have left the church as soon as he heard Reverend Wright say something objectionable. By that logic, Ms. Estrich and I should have left America when Bush argued us into war. The failure of some, mostly in the Hillary Campaign to understand Obama's argument is a passive agressive tactic.

So if Obama didn't make it clear to you why he stayed in his faith community,let me take a stab at it.

I love my country even when my President is wrong.

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

"The Speech" Animates All Media

The reviews of "The Speech" came in today. It was the subject of every news outlet and talk show.

I heard Rush today.

I heard Hannity today.

Do you want to know if Obama's "A More Perfect Union" Speech connected with voters? Just watch, listen to and read the Conservative media.

Rush was spinning so hard today he ended up in circular logic as twisted as it was funny. He played it mostly straight on ideological grounds, right after reaching for the big black "Candidate of Race" brush. Rush claimed the real problem is that Obama is a liberal and he's trying to trick you into thinking only he can solve your problems. But you see, Rush goes on, that you can't trust him because he's a fraud and liberals just want to control everything and force Conservatives to surrender their principles.

Uhhmmm, yeah.

The problem, Rush, is that our Republican President has the lowest approval rating since just before Nixon resigned. We know who the fraud is and we know about the endless war and the broken military. We know about the bankrupt economy and we know the Conservative party has created and dumped a colossal mess on Main Street. And we know who is going to get the bill for cleaning it up.

Rush has a problem. He can't credibly support McCain (he already tried to destroy him) and he knows how weak McCain is if he has to run on Bush's record. That leaves Rush and all the ideologues with nothing to do but savagely attack anyone who looks like the opposition. Obama shouldn't feel special. If Hillary were in the lead she would be getting hit instead.

And then there's Hannity.

Sean Hannity is walking a dangerous line. In broadcasting there is a very fine line between political opinion and liability. If stations drop his show or sponsors pull out over the remarks he is making, the business of broadcasting won't support him for very long.

Today, Hannity sounded like his head was going to explode and I feel sorry for him. This issue has become personally identified with him and he obviously has internalized it to a high degree. He's becoming emotionally unbalanced and teetering on a very high wire. He is calling for a white racist backlash against Obama using guilt by association and the remarks of Louis Farrakhan and the Reverend Wright. The irony is sickening. This is how lynching usually starts which is why we have laws against hate speech and hate crime.

Barack Obama raised the stakes and poor Sean Hannity has to go all in or fold. You'd better believe he's sweating this. And since he too tried to stop John McCain from getting the Republican candidacy, he's got nowhere else to go.

That high pitched, sweat drenched, desperately angry Irish American voice on the radio may be trying to bluff. But it's too late. Barack Obama won't fold. Hannity knows he has to play his cards and he knows he isn't holding a pat hand.

Yup, that was some speech.

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Obama Speaks for Himself

This was an historic moment.
If you can't see the whole speech, please read this transcript from the NY Times.

The Obama Campaign forwarded this link to video of the speech

Saturday, March 15, 2008

The Quantum Leap

Race is the issue America may not be able to hurdle. Certainly not in a 48 hour news cycle. Possibly not before the Democratic Convention. Maybe not by by the Fall of '08.

The AP has a pretty good look at where we are today.

If "Post Racial" politics is going to come, somebody has to take us there. When that happens, the old dinosaurs of racial politics can finally shuffle off into history where they belong.

But first, we have to have the parting shots from the old guard.

The Rev. Wright threw a highly emotional shot at the heart of traditional white protestant America and hit Barack Obama. Reverend Wright does not need to "clarify" his remarks. He doesn't need to explain or justify his emotions. Not to me.

But he does owe me an apology. Because his smear on white America slops over onto me and millions like me and cripples the person who is leading a campaign in America that is long overdue. If you want social change and the scales of justice to balance, then the time has come for all people in America to be accountable for what they say in public, not just cranky old white women.

Reverend, your remarks hurt me.

UPDATE 3.16.08

Obama Denounces Controversial Remarks

Friday, March 14, 2008

Cruisin' Home

My son in law made it home from Iraq.

Another deployment completed and our US Air Force Officer is home safe.

The fact that he left Iraq during a week when the killing is increasing, the Iraqi government is still dysfunctional the theater commander has stepped down and there is no end in sight means that our joy at his return is marred by the fact that this horrible situation has no end.

I won't share the details on a public blog, but this deployment was the hardest on his wife and family. This career professional has done everything that he has been asked and he has the decorations and citations to prove that he is the kind of man we all want to serve our country. What a sorry waste that he was asked to serve such misguided policy. All I can do now is take a deep breath and remember to be grateful.

He and his wife are doing what they do whenever he comes comes home.
They're on a cruise!

Thursday, March 13, 2008

Postcards from the Bleeding Edge: More Livin in the 00ze

Postcards from the Bleeding Edge: More Livin in the 00ze

I was raised Unitarian and found it funny in Catholic High School that my Unitarian Sunday School training included modeling clay as a way to worship the Creator.

Now it's not as funny.

What do you choose to create from what God gives you?

It's a Rocket, Man.

I thought it was an earthquake.

The same thing happened when the Northridge earthquake woke me.

Just after 3:00 AM today, a rushing noise like a wave of air, moving fast from a great distance rushed past the house. Then an ultra low sub base chord struck a sustained note - as if one of those low rider car stereos were stuck on a low bass beat. A note too low to hear that is only felt.

I waited for the room to rock and the bed to bounce. Nothing moved. But different things in the room "buzzed" in sympathetic vibration. My sense of direction told me that this wave came from the north and east - perhaps a fault under the Santa Barbara Channel had slipped.

It was not an earthquake but it was ominous.

What it was, was the first launch of an Atlas V rocket from Vandengerg Air Force Base near Lompoc, in Santa Barbara County, California.

Carrying a secret payload, the rocket had left Earth with thunder that was heard and felt - by me - some 40 miles away as the crow flies.

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

A Change is Gonna Come

Theme Music for this post from, The Last FM, is Sam Cooke's, "A Change is Gonna Come".

Geraldine Ferraro resigned from the Clinton campaign today over comments she made to a newspaper reporter. I'm in the minority of Americans who gave Ms. Ferraro my vote when she ran with Walter Mondale in 1984.

Barack Obama deflected the comment citing "divisiveness" without making any explicit accusation of racism. Ferraro wasn't having any of it. She angrily declared she was falsely accused and then listed her liberal credentials on race, class and gender. Perhaps she was prodded by the cub-pack press which cares little for subtle distinction. Perhaps it was a shout out to the so called "Angry White Voter." If so, it was pretty well scripted.

This story isn't about Geraldine Ferraro. This story is about the change that is coming and the speed at which it is coming. The fact that we Americans aren't prepared for a national debate about race indicates how awkward and difficult change can be and how far we still have to go.

Ferraro is an experienced pol who supports her candidate. I don't think she is a racist. I suspect her intention was to help her candidate in a way that ought to be as outdated as the comments that nagged her run with Mondale. Perhaps she meant to play to the sympathetic emotions of older women who experienced change in the 60's and 70's. Perhaps she meant to make choosing Obama more difficult for whites - the way that some men made it difficult for other men to vote for a woman in 1984.

Her comment reminds me of the old guys I knew who objected to working with women on the basis that the "girls" were getting special treatment.

Ms. Ferraro, I wonder if you remember those days a little too well.

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

In the News -

Just a few headlines and a tribute to Christopher Glenn, the CBS news voice who anchored "In The News" on Saturday kids programming from 1971 to 1986.

* * * * *

Obama Wins Mississippi: (Thank you God for the Boston Globe!)

And today, this was in my email from Barack Obama:

"Over the weekend, an aide to Senator Clinton attempted to diminish the overwhelming number of contests we've won by referring to places we've prevailed as "boutique" states and our supporters as the "latte-sipping crowd."

I'm just sippin' my latte and celebrating another win. Bet there are a lot of Starbucks in Mississippi. Just keep talking to us like we're all stupid. Hillary What's Her Name just slipped on her banana peel politics again.

* * * * *

Hillary Clinton now has more than one Democrat Alpha male supporter who likes to party with women he isn't married to. I don't care, but this seems to make a big difference here in America. Fortunately, Elliot Spitzer was wearing an American flag lapel pin as he publicly announced that he had disgraced himself. It's one thing to be immoral, quite another to be unpatriotic while you're being immoral.

* * * * *

Raymond McInnis sent me a lot of info. on Obama v. Clinton from up In Washington State today. Thanks Ray. I'm looking forward to checking it out and I'll have more on the campaign later.

* * * * *

Tom Lasorda is 80. He retired as Manager of the LA Dodgers in 1996. Today, Tommy was back on the field as the Dodger Skipper for a pre-season game against the Marlins.
Tommy will never die. And I'll have another helping of lasagna.

* * * * *

Timothy Jay is a PHD who is an expert on cursing in America. He was interviewed via ISDN for the BBC from The Production Room studio in Santa Barbara on Monday. The BBC program "Word of Mouth" interviewed Dr. Jay about the peculiar differences in regulating broadcast speech in America and in the UK. It was Fuc*in' Brilliant!
I'll post a link when I get one.

* * * * *

News From Gilligan's Island:

My friend Ed Ryba forwards the latest news from Idaho about former Gilligan's Island star, Dawn Wells (Marianne). Seems there's more than one way to live out your life on an uncharted desert isle. So how does a three hour cruise from Hawaii reach Jamaica?
Ironically, Gilligan creator Sherwood Shwartz just got his star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame. What was HE smoking ?

* * * * *

Here in Santa Burbia, some comments on "Citizen McCaw" from the LA Times and my as yet un-met colleague at I'm Not One to Blog...

Hey George, Let's do latte!

* * * * *

And Finally, an overdue nod to Craig Smith who not only covered the premiere of Citizen McCaw, he moderated the Q & A on stage at the Arlington Theater Premiere.

Bon Appetit, Con Mucho Gusto!

Monday, March 10, 2008

Play Ball!

Santa Barbara is in full springtime.

The air along my suburban driveway is sweet and heavy with the scent of orange blossoms. The winds coming down the mountain slopes are not the dry furnace blasts of late August and September. The air is the perfect temperature and carries a hint of the lingering moisture of the last rains of winter. The mustard is 4 feet tall, shocking yellow and bright green in the old horse pastures. In a few days, the California golden poppies will shout their arrival with petals wide as they dance in lazy circles.

The manicured grass is bright green. The pure white lines are perfectly chalked. The infield is reddish brown and immaculately raked. The sky is powder blue.

It's a beautiful day for baseball.

Lanky boys in uniforms that quote another century - long red stockings and lettered jerseys - leap and run, catch and throw. Cleats scratch dirt and a small white ball makes a satisfying slap as it punches into leather gloves.

Today I watched the Junior Varsity and my 15 year old son learn to play the game. These aren't the boys who hide in dark rooms after school playing killing games on electronic monitoring devices.

They are boys running free in the sun. They are learning the game of their fathers and their grandfathers. The double play, the line drive and the slide - SAFE at home are built into physical vocabulary and burned into muscle memory.

The naval oranges on the tree in our garden are heavy and ripe. I picked and washed a dozen. I carefully sliced them in 8 sections and poured them into a plastic shopping bag.

My 8 year old boy Toby and I drove around the corner to the ball field where the boys were practicing. I walked to the dugout and offered the bag of cool, juicy slices to the ball players. Hands reached for the dripping fruit and exquisite sounds followed as the ever hungry teenagers gathered the wet taste of a ripe orange into their mouths.

Their coach, a young man, newly arrived in Santa Barbara from Boston stood with the boys and joined the feast. He thanked me. I said, "I just picked them". He looked surprised. He bit into another slice and said, "This is heaven".

After the oranges, the boys went back out into the field. Toby picked up his mitt and tried to be invisible as he found a place at shortstop. His brother stood on the right field side of second base and the other high school boys took their positions. The coach hit grounders to each player. Toby fielded and threw the ball back in; an 8 year old boy taking practice with a real baseball team.

The world is confused and angry and bitter and crazed. Our children are sometimes held hostage because of fearful things that have happened. It will still be that way tomorrow. But today?

Today - was a great day for baseball.

Sunday, March 9, 2008

Caught in the Hillary Trap

I met Rush Limbaugh once, many years ago, as he started his syndicated radio program. I watched him address a gathering of less than 100 guests at the Santa Maria Hilton.I talked with him briefly at the radio station I worked for.

I don't presume to know much about him. He didn't say anything to me that was particularly memorable. My impression of him was simply that he was a smart broadcaster, a former DJ like me, who was establishing himself in the new format of talk radio. He was polite, soft spoken and even shy as he began his venture.

I've never met Hillary Clinton. But she is asking for my vote for President. On what basis should I respond to her request? Who is she?

That is the nature of the Hillary trap.

My impressions of Hillary Clinton have been formed over the years by what I've heard and read and seen. Much of that opinion was shaped by Rush Limbaugh and others. Knowing that, I still find myself finding common purpose with the staunch partisans who defined her - against my own political views and values. And what they say now is, Don't you see? This is who we told you she is. Negative, vindictive and driven by lust for power.

Perhaps her reflection in the media mirror has become so distorted that she herself isn't sure who she is. That's a troubling issue as she tries to reach Democrats.

This weekend, both boxers went to their corners and sat with their corner men to review the fight and decide on strategy in the next round.

I think it's obvious that her corner will advise her to keep swinging and take a shot below the belt when she can. She'll take her chances on the wobbly media referee and go for a split decision if she can.

Obama has a riskier strategy which he can't change now. He's got to score some knock out punches and show himself to be the "Gentleman Jim" fighter he can be. If he goes Mike Tyson on her, he'll bite her ear and stop the fight, but he'll lose the decision and prove he's just another pug.

As Democrats, we're all caught in the Hillary Trap.

Obama is asking, "How do you want your candidate to win?"
Hillary is asking, "How badly do you want me to win?"

Hillary looks like the class geek on the issues.
Obama looks like the Homecoming King.

But the reasons that David Gergen said he'd take the Clinton's in a knife fight may be the reason that it isn't obvious to me what Obama should do. Once again, Obama is going to have to show us that he knows who he is rather than be sucked into the Hillary Trap.

Check the New Republic Discussion.

UPDATE: 3.10.08

Just released today is Joe Gandelman's blog column:

Bill Clinton Went On Rush Limbaugh's Show
Day of Texas Primary

Listen to the audio clip

...Strange days indeed. Most peculiar mamma!

Saturday, March 8, 2008

Life of the Party? Barack Obama

I keep hearing that it's the delegate math that matters.

I am also hearing that Super Delegates will decide who gets the Democratic nomination. In this election, both statements are right - and wrong.

Obviously delegates will be the means by which Democrats ultimately record support for one candidate over the other at their convention. But a crucial factor in the decision will be an even larger issue. Money.

So while the media focused primarily on the sports analogue of racking up points,
the most important story after the Ohio, Texas, Rhode Island and Vermont contests was fund raising.

Last week, the Clnton Campaign announced a $3 million dollar bump in fund raising after her wins on Tuesday.

The Obama campaign promptly answered that it had raised $55 million dollars in February alone and qualified itself further by announcing that the majority of it's total donations were in small bills from over a million contributors.

Fund raising and spending ratios will not escape the notice of the Party.

So let's look ahead.

A general election with races for the White House, Senate, Congress and Governor seats across the country will require a prodigious effort to raise big money.

The candidate who proves they can raise the cash will be a crucial asset to the wider agenda of the party. The Super Delegates are going to pay attention to whoever can help get them re-elected or gain a major win for the party.

This is exactly how Bill Clinton got elected and how he consolidated power.

Right now, Barack Obama has the money. Unless the flood of cash dries up, he is the life of the Party and it's hopes in November.

See the Wall Street Journal for more and check out the NY Times from March 31, '07.

Friday, March 7, 2008

Death Endorses Clinton! NPR books Prodroom

Hillary Clinton offered a new slogan yesterday:

"I'm here for YOU!"

Once used effectively by DEATH, her new "Grim Reaper" persona is the answer to, "Yes We Can!" Clinton strategists feel that this truly is a battle for your soul.

For voters it's a matter of Damned if you do and Damned if you don't.

* * * * * *

Obama's campaign have adopted Hillary's former campaign strategy - called, "Oh Yeah?"

Early results prove that it's working as well for them as it did for her. Speculation is that they'll be moving to another Hillary position, "Stop picking on me" next week, which may be followed by, "Shut Up!" at a later date.

* * * * * *

NPR's, "All Things Considered" has booked ISDN studio time at The Production Room. This follows several recent bookings which were part of NPR programs, "Day to Day" and "Morning Edition".

BBC London have also booked The Production Room ISDN studio for several programs featured on the World Service.

Recent ISDN sessions also included work with advertising giants DDB, Chicago and Young and Rubicam, New York.

* * * * * *

Speaking of advertising and death, our new internet comedy short, "The Giant Go To Hell Tent Sale" is now previewing at - It's rated M for mature. Which seems really unlikely.

* * * * * *

The new film celebrating the Santa Barbara News Press fiasco, "Citizen McCaw" debuts at a sold out Arlington Theater tonight. You'll want to stand up and cheer!But it's probably safer to sit down and hide.

Wednesday, March 5, 2008

America's News Media - Ready For This Election?

Hillary Clinton "Kitchen Sinked" Obama.

That phrase, meaning she threw everything, including the kitchen sink at Obama, will now take it's place next to "Swift Boating" in the American lexicon of colorful political shorthand.

How does one "kitchen sink" an opponent? One waits until the 11th hour of a campaign. Then one flacks the press with a rapid fire combination of commercial messages, language and positioning. Insinuations and half truths are spun with opinions that would make a pit-bull dog pause for breath.

When the flack began to fill the airwaves on Monday I noticed how little journalistic work or editorial control was actually being done. The need for speed had disabled deliberation. The Clinton campaign announced it's story and the reporters of the commercial media dutifully flocked to Texas and presented it to Senator Obama in the form of questions at a news conference.

This is the sorry state of our "popular" news media during the most important Presidential election in a generation. And by the way, this isn't just about Senator Clinton. This is about how news organizations have covered national stories since before and after 911. She is merely exploiting their obvious weakness.

Let's say that someone in the Obama camp were to state tomorrow morning that Hillary Clinton made a deal with a Mexican Mafia associate to deliver votes in Texas. Let's say the claim was based on a statement made by a convicted drug dealer in a Mexican jail. Shouldn't a reporter check out the source before delivering an accusatory quote and demanding a response? If the story can't be confirmed as fact shouldn't it be obvious that she need not defend herself to the press?

There is a reckless and irresponsible trend that is damaging the electoral process.

Watch dogging the candidates and their claims is what the news media should be doing. As things stand, The Clinton campaign gets away with the airy claim that they are merely "vetting" their opponent. And why shouldn't they? We don't have editors who stop rumor mongering or reporters who check facts before filing stories. What we're getting is press releases and short attention span theater.

"....John McCain is old. Senator Obama: Is he half black or half white? And Hillary Clinton is a bitch. More after this..."

America's largest news organizations have lost control of the election story. If they want it back, they're going to have to become damn good journalists.

UPDATE 3.6.08 (8:29 AM)

More information has come to light about a Canadian story picked up by US media regarding The Obama campaign and NAFTA. This new report from the Globe and Mail (Toronto) says that Stephen Harper's Chief of Staff, Ian Brodie, said the Clinton campaign, not the Obama campaign had tried to reassure the Canadian government about NAFTA.

"OTTAWA — The leak of a confidential diplomatic discussion that rocked the U.S. presidential campaign began with an offhand remark to journalists from the Prime Minister's chief of staff, Ian Brodie."

"...Mr. Brodie said that someone from Ms. Clinton's campaign called and was "telling the embassy to take it with a grain of salt."

The story was followed by CTV's Washington bureau chief, Tom Clark, who reported that the Obama campaign, not Clinton's, had reassured Canadian diplomats.

Mr. Clark cited unnamed Canadian sources in his initial report.

There was no explanation last night for why Mr. Brodie was said to have referred to the Clinton campaign but the news report was about the Obama campaign. Robert Hurst, president of CTV News, declined to comment."

UPDATE: 3.6.08 (10:30 AM)

Check this out:

From ABC NEWS.COM - Political Punch by Jake Tapper - NAFTA Confusion

"Buried in a Canadian Press story about the NAFTA controversy is the intriguing notion that all of this began, as ABC News'Jennifer Parker has reported, with the Canadian Prime Minister's chief of staff, Ian Brodie."

Read the linked Feb. 29 story by Jennifer Parker. ABC News knew the story went from Ian Brodie to CTV.

Tuesday, March 4, 2008

Clinton Endorses McCain over Obama

Is Hillary Clinton a Democrat?

Those of us who have paid attention to the platform and policy of the DLC have wondered that for a long time.

Clinton spokesperson and former Presidential candidate Dick Gephardt was a DLC founder. Hillary Clinton is listed as a current DLC Leader. Look at the DLC agenda for America and you have to ask why she leads a group that call themselves "New Democrats" while running for the Democratic Party nomination.

The answer is that Hillary Clinton left the Democratic Party years ago. Don't expect her to answer any call for unity with a party she helped to split.

Finally, there was her bizarre comment in Toledo,

“I think that I have a lifetime of experience that I will bring to the White House. Sen. John McCain has a lifetime of experience that he’d bring to the White House. And Sen. Obama has a speech he gave in 2002.”

It's not unusual for a candidate leaving the race to throw their support to a rival candidate. I just can't believe it's true that a Democrat would throw their support to a Republican DURING a campaign.

Maybe the DLC will run a third party campaign.

Maybe she can be the Republican VP.

She's done being a Democrat.

Monday, March 3, 2008

Why Obama is Ahead on Experience

Common wisdom says that time allows you to forget the bad and only remember the good. My wife assures me that this is how nature tricks us into having more than one child.

Having never been through childbirth I have to refer to other examples. Perhaps it's this selective amnesia that allows men to love again, to have just one more drink, or to bet heavily on the favorite in a playoff game - all the while going against experience that should inform better judgment.

Experience is the topic of conversation on the campaign trail on the eve of crucial Presidential Primary voting tomorrow.

John McCain has experience. He's pretty old for sure and he's been in the US Senate a long time. How does that work for him in a year when a large number of the US electorate don't remember Viet Nam, or the Moon landing or a time when nobody had steel belted radial tires and everybody had a dial telephone? McCain has never struck me as someone who was consulted a lot on domestic or foreign policy initiatives. But he will always have my thanks for working with Ben Nelson (D-Neb.) to overthrow the incompetent leadership of Bill Frist in the Senate and work with the, "Gang of 14" to end an ugly partisan stalemate. His experience also includes the Keating 5 scandal and years of relationships with special interests and lobbyists. His comments about a hundred year war were immediately distorted by his opponents but the true nature of his words may actually be worse - indicating a continuing cold war "Bulwark of Demomcracy" mentality which is now about as quaint and useful as the Maginot Line.

Senator Clinton, as she constantly reminds us, has experience. The problem is that we also have experience - with her. A lot of us just don't like her. And her politicking has not improved her. The flattering sincerity of, "I'm honored" to be running against Senator Obama, followed within hours by a public scolding, "Shame on you Barack Obama" struck me as the kind of thing you dump a lover for. It's certainly not a reason to propose marriage. Perhaps she's hoping for the, "Experienced Woman Scorned" vote.

And that leaves Barack Obama. Without much national experience, he comes off looking better than either of his rivals because he has a lot less explaining to do.

All he has to do is win.