Monday, August 30, 2004

Issue Swiftly Disappearing


The swift boat issue and the way the media is engulfed by it - is really starting to make me sick. Let's face it, Kerry was involved in the same kind of brutal, murderous behavior that many others were in Vietnam. An Ohio paper -
The Toledo Blade - did an award winning series on some of the atrocities that happened.

Kerry, for some reason, has become a viable 'anti' war candidate. Realistically, he has even more hawkish tendencies than the sitting president. His Wilsonian like views on world alliances and on-going, never ending conflict against ideas have not been reported, much less emphasized, by the media. At least Bush finally came out today and spilled the beans on what everyone knew was a
war with no end.

Buchanan, Nader, et al. have been part of the small contingent that has articulated (not in the mainstream press) the opposition to nation building, and an isolationist policy that would create a true defense of American soil, minus the entangling alliances (i.e. Israel, NATO, UN, etc.).

‘Stick with the Devil you know’

Bush may be the better of the two, specifically because his repeated blunders have put a relative restraint on his military conquests. Whereas Kerry, may have a ‘clean slate’ in the eyes of the establishment, one that may allow him to put us into another Iraq situation elsewhere in the world (i.e. Iran, Korea, Sudan). Sudan is the most likely answer because the conflict is seen as the most ‘humanitarian’ war right now (one that even the Michael Moore crowd would eat up), which differs very little from the wars Clinton justified with little resistance from the press.

Job-less Recovery

I, like many other recent journalism and communications degree graduates my age, have had different media and writing related jobs on the eastern side of Kansas (all of them of the temporary, part-time variety with no capacity to transform into future, full-time employment).

The concentration of media ownership in the state of Kansas (when I say Kansas I always refer to the eastern border of the state - where about 99% of the state's population resides) is creating a uniquely, negative situation for would be workers. The World Company alone controls newspaper (LJ World, De Soto Explorer, Eudora News, etc.), cable (Sunflower), telephone, internet connections, local television news and programming (Lawrence), and coordinates a multitude of media services with the University (kusports.com, etc.). They've even produced a number of hugely successful calendars featuring KU coeds ("Girls of KU" will google you to these sophisticated products). They have effectively shut out any media competition from this college town.

Print publications, not just in Lawrence but in the greater Kansas City area in general, are awful about compensating reporters with a livable wage. A handful of my contemporaries have been forced to work substantial hours for blue collar operations on the side of their media jobs just to make ends meet. I have been able in some instances (unfortunately) to gather greater fees as a freelance writer/photographer than people my age receive for standard 40 hour work weeks in Topeka or Lawrence (You can’t even consider asking for a traditional salary or benefits at these operations).

Other indications from recent job interviews have furthered my belief that the economic climate for workers in this industry is going nowhere but straight to the bottom (not to be mistaken with ‘the bottoms’ by Kemper Arena in KC). Over the past year, I have perfected the art of the ‘return interview’ or what some might call the ‘runner-up candidate.’ A copywriter position at a Kansas City based yearbook publishing company, along with a media relations (PR) post at UMKC, were both recent examples of this phenomenon. While finishing second place in both instances (…apparently there’s no silver medal awarded anymore? So much for the Olympic spirit this time of year, eh?), what really disturbed me was the fact that both positions (entry-level by all accounts) were ultimately filled with vastly experienced practitioners of their respective industries. It’s a puzzling catch-22. I cannot match the level of experience of these alternative candidates, while my available options (continuing with hourly positions that pay less than the workers at fast food establishments) remain less than appealing.

More Great News for UMKC

A former UMKC student - Jonas Hughes – is running uncontested at this point for a Missouri House Congressional seat. Here's the kicker: this seven year UMKC student apparently did not know that he had NOT graduated last year, something he told the KC Star earlier this summer. This information came out prior to the election, nonetheless, he edged out the more experienced democratic challenger. He was jobless, much like many fellow UMKC grads and non-grads, so at least he has a government position for the next two years. We probably won't hear more about this story until another 'alleged' UMKC graduate pops up to run in opposition.

After seeing the 'dorm' my brother has at Nebraska, coupled with the new, modern looking structure at UMKC, I begin to wonder if a four year stay at UMKC wouldn't have been a lot more pleasant if such living accommodations had been around. There's still over a hundred poor souls in that dump on 5050 Cherry St.

Royals Break Out New 1/2 Week Legend

Sheesh, you'd think that Calvin Pickering's hot streak could have lasted at least a week. Alas, that is the reality of Royals fans: the only bright spot of the season lasted a grand total of three days. In that time, Pickering homered twice, tripled, and drove in a total of 11 runs. An offensive performance to make him a shoe-in for spring training next year, right? Wrong. After 72 hours, pitchers figured out that the 6'5", 270 lb. slugger couldn't reach the low, outside strike. To make matters worse, he has a tendency still to go for the high cheese. All of this won't help the soon-to-be 28 year old rookie in his quest to become an everyday big league player. There's always a reason why players like Pickering, Phil Hiatt, Bob Hamelin, Joe Vitiello, Sal Fasano, or Ozzie Canseco earn the title of 'minor league legend'.

Tomorrow... My visit with Ralph Nader.


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