A Tiny Taste of "The Day After"

Sunday, September 28, 2014
A three-hour power outage triggered thoughts of a post-apocalyptic world (graphic courtesy of Christophe Dessaigne)

As someone who has worked in the national security and defense business, it isn't something that I dwell upon very often; however, I recently had a small glimpse into a world minus all of the things our society has grown accustomed to in the 21st century during a short power outage a week ago today. Last Sunday morning, in an event that was not forecast by severe weather or by homeland security notices, we lost electrical service in our and a neighboring subdivision. While it came at an inconvenient time (Sunday is my "laundry" day and we are well into the 2014-15 NFL regular season), its intrusion into my family's lives triggered dystopian thoughts that seem to be a lot more plausible than I care to admit.

A/V: Statewide Dem Candidates Stop in Springfield

Tuesday, September 23, 2014
From left to right, David Pepper, John Carney, Nina Turner, Tom Letson, Ed FitzGerald, Sharen Neuhardt and Connie Pillich stand outside a Transport Workers Union bus at a Tour to Restore stop in Springfield, Ohio on Tuesday afternoon.

On the final day of a five-day Tour to Restore Ohio bus tour across the state, seven of the eight Democratic Party candidates for statewide elected office stopped this afternoon at a "Get Out the Vote" event in Springfield, Ohio. In a nearly hour-long visit, Ed FitzGerald, Sharen Neuhardt, David Pepper, Nina Turner, Connie Pillich and John Carney (candidates for governor, lieutenant governor, attorney general, secretary of state, treasurer and auditor, respectively) along with Tom Letson, one of two Democrats seeking seats on the Ohio Supreme Court, were guests of the Clark County Democratic Women's Issues Group at the United Auto Workers Local 402 on Urbana Road. According to the event announcement, members of that group were gathering at that location to write postcards to send to women voters reminding them of what's at stake in the upcoming general election. This activity coincided with National Voter Registration Day, a day where over 2,000 partner organizations across the country promote eligible voters to sign up to be eligible for the November election.

My "Journo-less" Summer...So Far (Part 8 of 8)

Saturday, September 20, 2014
This is the eight installment for my personal journalism-related observations of the current summer season...as promised, one of the best ever in his trade becomes the subject of an odd documentary film.

8. Herblock: The Black & The White

I must admit that this one came completely out of the blue back in July when I was scrolling through my HBO GO app for my Roku streaming player. Seeing this documentary about his one-panel cartoon takes on politics, domestic issues, international affairs and social injustice takes me back to my childhood when I would view his syndicated works during his 72-year career that spanned 13 US presidents. Unfortunately, what tarnished what would have been an outstanding film for me was the odd decision of casting of an actor to play the deceased subject.

"The Sunday Rundown"

Sunday, September 14, 2014
NBC "rebooted" its 66-year old flagship Sunday talk program with its 12th host last weekend

Although it took me about 36 hours to do (thanks to a very late-night airing on MSNBC and an aging DVR in our bedroom), I finally got to watch last Sunday's much-anticipated "reboot" of NBC's Meet the Press (MTP) early Monday afternoon. The longest running show on broadcast television history (it will be celebrating its 67th anniversary in early November) has recently been mired in a ratings slump in the years following long-time host Tim Russert's death in 2008. NBC announced last month that they would be replacing host David Gregory with MSNBC's Chuck Todd and that news put the media critics into overdrive in postulating how this change would affect this flagship Sunday talk program. While not a regular viewer of the show, I must admit that I thought that I was watching a weekend edition of Todd's former gig, The Daily Rundown (TDR), instead of the legacy of Martha Roundtree, Lawrence E. Spivak and Russert which, in the short term, might be a very bold move on the network's part.

My "Journo-less" Summer...So Far (Part 7 of 8)

Thursday, September 11, 2014
This is the seventh installment for my personal journalism-related observations of the current summer season...as promised, the passing of a conservative publishing icon with whom I actually shared a core commonality.

7. The passing of Richard Mellon Scaife:

Richard Mellon Scaife holds up a copy of the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review's first Sunday edition in May 1974. (file photo courtesy of Trib Total Media

During this blog's run, I have done tribute pieces for two widely respected journalists (Andy Rooney and Helen Thomas) on the occasion of their passings. While Scaife was not a content producer, his activities within the overall periphery of journalism earned him at least a mention here. The 82-year old billionaire died on July 4th of an untreatable form of cancer that he announced through his own newspaper, The Pittsburgh Tribune-Review, on May 18th. Grand-nephew of Andrew W. Mellon--the renowned industrialist/philanthropist as well as a former US ambassador to the United Kingdom and US Treasury Secretary, he grew up in an affluent family and formally took control of the vast Mellon fortune when his mother died in 1972. A staunch supporter of conservative and libertarian causes, his personal views often crossed over into that newspaper and other journalistic ventures with which he associated himself--normally in a financial role.

BTS: The Tale of Two Rallies

Tuesday, September 9, 2014
Same location...same incident...two vastly different events.

It's been a little more than a week since I drove away from Beavercreek's Fairfield Crossing shopping center parking lot and the second of two rallies that was held at its Walmart Superstore, the site of the August 5th shooting of John Crawford III by that city's police department. I made a point of attending both events because I wanted to play the part of an objective reporter but it was extremely hard to equate two things that were almost completely opposite in their scope and purpose.

A/V: The 2014 Great Wright Brothers Aero Carnival

Saturday, September 6, 2014
Two attendees stand next to life-size cutouts of Orville and Wilbur Wright at the 2014 Great Wright Brothers Aero Carnival at the Dayton Aviation Heritage National Historical Park's Huffman Prairie Flying Field on Saturday afternoon.

Undeterred by threatening skies, fans of aviation, history and nature gathered on Saturday afternoon to attend the 2014 Great Wright Brothers Aero Carnival held at the Dayton Aviation Heritage National Historical Park's Huffman Prairie Flying Field near Dayton, Ohio. The event, put on by the National Park Service and the 88th Air Base Wing from nearby Wright-Patterson Air Force Base, was the fourth over the past five years intended to bring the public to that location and explore this historic site used by Orville and Wilbur Wright from 1904 through 1917 for the development and enhancement of their original Wright Flyer aircraft. Last year's carnival was cancelled due to military budget cuts due to sequestration.

My "Journo-less" Summer...So Far (Part 6 of 8)

This is the sixth installment for my personal journalism-related observations of the current summer season...as promised, Egypt wasn't the only place where governments were cracking down on journalists and their profession.

6. Government crackdown on Myanmar journalists:

Journalists protest the conviction of Unity Weekly journalists in Yangon on July 12, 2014. (photo courtesy of Reuters/Soe Zeya Tun)

While the three Al Jazeera reporters were getting most of the headlines concerning legal crackdowns on the press, the government of Myanmar (some still refer to it as Burma, its former British colonial name) sentenced four reporters and a newspaper executive to 10-year prison terms each for "disclosing state secrets" in the now closed-down Unity Weekly because of a story they wrote about an alleged chemical weapons factory back in January (their trial started the following month and their convictions and punishments were handed down on July 10th).

My "Journo-less" Summer...So Far (Part 5 of 8)

Tuesday, September 2, 2014
This is the fifth installment for my personal journalism-related observations of the current summer season...as promised, a posthumously released, thinly veiled "tell all" novel kept media tongues wagging for the early part of the summer but it also drew new attention to a career--and a life--that ended way too soon.

5. "The Last Magazine":

With all of the books I have set aside for reading and the many boxes I have stacked up in my garage, it would take a lot of hype and buzz to get me to read one that has just been released. Michael Hastings' posthumous "novelization" of world and personal events during his time working at Newsweek in the early 2000s was one of those books. Although he was killed in an auto accident in June 2013 at the age of 33, his unfinished manuscript was found in a desk drawer and was released by his widow with little editing on June 17th to a host of critical acclaim. Coming in at 299 pages in its electronic form (352 in hard cover), it wasn't a long read but it was one that required frequent referrals to my own recollections of that time period or visits to Wikipedia for refreshers on the circumstances Hastings was retelling.