Aug 29, 2016

How Nazi Verner Became an American Rocket Scientist.

     The NPR program This American Life includes a segment this past weekend on the American military personnel who debriefed hundreds of German scientists brought to the U.S. after WWII.

     One of those scientists is famous in Alabama. Wernher Von Braun. There's a civic center in Huntsville named for him. A couple of years ago Al Jazera in America broadcast a report about him, before the network went broke. It goes into his Nazi past the his then Alabama future.

     The U.S. wanted Von Braun and the other German scientists to help America develop its own rocket program. They did the recruiting in a top secret base in Illinois. It was code named P.O. Box 1142

     The blog audio covers the show's entire topic....several loosely connected stories of people "in over their heads". 

     The part I found most interesting starts in the second part of the program at 36:24, but it you are in a huge hurry to hear the Vernor Von Braun part, skip to 49:47. And a warning: there's some foul language in it, being an online version of the story, not a broadcast where cussing is bleeped out.


MMMM #550 Olympic Audience Down---& Photography.

Olympics Down

In TV viewership,
"...the 18-to-49-year-old age group coveted by advertisers...the...audience has been 25 percent smaller, according to Bloomberg Intelligence."
 ...and you can blame..Millennials! Again, that age group is confounding traditional business beliefs, from Uber (they love it) to homebuying (not so much). And they're believed to be the reason for the reduced size of the Summer Olympics.



I was talking with a newspaper photographer at the scene of a story recently, and we were discussing the death of photography as a lucrative career. Blame digital. People who used to make a living taking photos of weddings and for Real Estate and  to some extent for newspapers, are out of work.

Digital photography has made amateurs like myself look much better than we may deserve. Take the beautiful shots below...yes, they show the latest night blooming cerus bloom on my deck. If I had been trying to take those photos pre-digital they would have been a mess...and I would not have known it till the film was developed. With digital I take as many shots as I want and see them instantly, re-shooting the bad ones.

     And speaking of photography, today is the day the FAA drone rules go into effect. There are restrictions, but you'll see lot of digital shots in TV news. Forbes reports

The drone must be of a certain size (no heavier than 55 pounds). The drone can’t fly higher than 400 feet. And crowd shots are forbidden – it can’t be used over large groups of people.
Watch Alabama News Network in Montgomery for drones covering news soon...with restrictions.

ALSO: Remember the five police officers shot and killed in Dallas? Well, the Washington Post reports the PD there is being less than forthcoming about releasing information:

Authorities have also refused to release even the most basic information about the slayings, including any details about the weapons used, the autopsy findings and ballistics tests that could establish whether any officers were hit by friendly fire. Police have indicated that such information could be withheld almost indefinitely.


ALSO: Duke Energy--the power company in the Carolinas, wants a judge to hold a hearing to determine the source of a story about coal ash. WNCN TV, a CBS Afilliate, reports:
Such a request is entirely legal but does raise First Amendment question about the freedom of the press, according to Jonathan Jones, an attorney and executive director of the North Carolina Sunshine Center.
“Are they trying to use the court as a tool or a bludgeon to ferret out who the source is?” Jones asked.
Jones said a court inquiry into the AP’s source would be time consuming and could be counter-productive but is allowed under the law since there is no federal shield law protecting reporters from being forced to divulge information about sources and reporting methods.

 [The Monday Morning Media Memo is a regular longstanding feature of] 

Aug 27, 2016

A Pledge Too Far?

The NFL regarding San Francisco QB Colin Kapernick's decision not to stand up for the National Anthem to protest police shootings.

“The national anthem is and always will be a special part of the pre-game ceremony. It is an opportunity to honor our country and reflect on the great liberties we are afforded as its citizens,” the statement (via reads. “In respecting such American principles as freedom of religion and freedom of expression, we recognize the right of an individual to choose and participate, or not, in our celebration of the national anthem.”

Kapernick told the media:

“I am not going to stand up to show pride in a flag for a country that oppresses black people and people of color,” Kaepernick told NFL Media in an exclusive interview after the game that the 49ers lost, 17-3. “To me, this is bigger than football and it would be selfish on my part to look the other way. There are bodies in the street and people getting paid leave and getting away with murder.”

Mandatory Binding Arbitration

The Montgomery-Based Southern Poverty Law Center and a few hundreds other consumer type groups have joined forces to end it.

The SPLC says:

“Forced arbitration leaves consumers with virtually no legal recourse to stand up to abusive lenders,” said Sara Zampierin, SPLC senior staff attorney. “It’s why we see these clauses in most lending agreements, including payday and car title loans. The CFPB rule will help ensure consumers can defend their legal rights. It gives them access to the courts and the ability to bring class action suits that can help eliminate the financial industry’s abusive practices.”

     If you have made almost any large purchase of goods or services, chances are you have signed one of these agreements. The new federal Consumer Financial Protection Bureau wants to strictly restrict their use.

     Rep. Terri Sewell (D-Selma) was the only Alabama member of The U.S. House signing a letter supporting the proposed regulations. Neither of Alabama's U.S. Senators signed the Senate version.
   By the way, banks are towards the top of the list in imposing mandatory binding arbitration, according to one report


[Saturday Data is a regular feature of]

Aug 25, 2016

Millennials at the Mom&Dad Hotel.

  Almost 44% or New Jersey Millennials live with their parents. 44%!!!

     And in Alabama: Not all that much better---33.5%. 

     The report comes from the folks at PEW, and you can see the exact rate for your state there:

 "Multiple reasons are behind the trend, lingering effects of the Great Recession, high housing costs and student debt among them. Whatever the causes, millennials in some states are living with their parents in far greater numbers than in others."
     It is already well established that Millennials aren't as attached to owning cars as previous generations.

     Could all of this be because they are having less sex?
     Which came first, living at home or being less sexually active?...and you can't exactly call Uber to go park and make out (though perhaps there is a new branch of the car-sharing "industry" that is just for that purpose: "Oooober", anyone?