18 October 2014

NOT THE MARIETTA TIMES

0500 by Jeff Hess

TODAY’S MARIETTA TIMES FRONT PAGE

Today’s headlines include:

Local News

Food safety
Local Democrats rally at dinner
Woman awaits sentencing for drug trafficking
Call of duty in Marietta
130 years in city; roots in Harmar

Top Headlines Poll: What’s your level of confidence in the government’s response to Ebola?

My confidence is high that we are running around like little school children terrified by the boogie man. How many people died in the last 12 months from the flu? How many died from Malaria? (hint: a fecking lot more than those who have died from Ebola). I have a personal and disturbing theory regarding our current silliness: people associate Ebola with the other Ebo word they know: Ebonics. Now why would that be distributing? JH

Great pictures of Marietta

What’s going on here

Previously

17 October 2014

OHIO COAL THRIVES UNDER PRESIDENT OBAMA…

0700 by Jeff Hess

ohio coal jobs callahan

As angry bipartisan crowds of Ohio politicians gather to defend “our coal jobs” from the US EPA’s proposed new rules for coal power plants, it’s worth noting just how many jobs we’re talking about.

Yes, those are the actual numbers—no zeros have been omitted.

(It’s off topic, but note the increase in Ohio coal employment during the “Obama war on coal” years.)

Another 4,000-5,000 Ohioans work at fossil-fueled power plants, mostly operated by the utilities. Can’t tell from the LMI figures how many of those jobs are at coal-fired plants, but the state has almost as many utility generating sites fueled by natural gas as by coal these days.

So estimating generously, Ohio might have as many as 7,000 actual “coal jobs”.

(For perspective: Total jobs in the state—about 5.4 million. Total unemployed in the state as of April—328,000. At least 46 individual companies—retailers, banks, health systems, manufacturers, universities—had more than 7,000 Ohioans on their payrolls in 2013.)

Bill Callahan writing in Ohio coal: How many jobs? for Callahan’s Cleveland Diary

See also, Cleveland Diary: The Lost Years

17 October 2014

JONNY JOO’S HAUNTING HOMES…

0630 by Jeff Hess

haunting houses 141017

17 October 2014

HAVEL ON THE POWERLESS: PART III B…

0600 by Jeff Hess

Let us take note: if the greengrocer had been instructed to display the slogan “I am afraid and therefore unquestioningly obedient,” he would not be nearly as indifferent to its semantics, even though the statement would reflect the truth. The greengrocer would be embarrassed and ashamed to put such an unequivocal statement of his own degradation in the shop window, and quite naturally so, for he is a human being and thus has a sense of his own dignity. To overcome this complication, his expression of loyalty must take the form of a sign which, at least on its textual surface, indicates a level of disinterested conviction. It must allow the greengrocer to say, “What’s wrong with the workers of the world uniting?” Thus the sign helps the greengrocer to conceal from himself the low foundations of his obedience, at the same time concealing the low foundations of power. It hides them behind the facade of something high. And that something is ideology.

From The Power of the Powerless by Vaclav Havel, 1978

Previously…

17 October 2014

KEEP CALM AND CARRY ON READING…

0530 by Jeff Hess

bookstore 141017
Barter Books, Alnwick, England: “With lines of poetry written along its shelves, and model trains running along the top of the bookcases, this is a bit of a booklover’s dream”, says Campbell. This giant shop is also where the second world war poster campaign that nobody ever saw, Keep Calm and Carry On, was uncovered.

17 October 2014

NOT THE MARIETTA TIMES

0500 by Jeff Hess

TODAY’S MARIETTA TIMES FRONT PAGE

(Note: Newseum doesn’t usually update the front pages until 0630 or so)

Today’s headlines include:

Local News

Breast cancer
Marietta firm helps famed QB
Custodian foils school break-in
No Ebola screening at local airport
Council opts for hearing on oil, gas lease

Top Headlines Poll: How would you react if you found out later you were on a plane with an Ebola patient?

Great pictures of Marietta

What’s going on here

Previously

16 October 2014

EBOLA COULD TAKE US ALL BEFORE 2016…!

1130 by Jeff Hess

Twin Peaks returns: will it answer all our questions?

16 October 2014

OUR FANTASIES SAP OUR MOTIVATION…

1100 by Jeff Hess

[P]icturing an imaginary glass of water might make people less motivated to get up and head to the watercooler or the tap in order to quench their real, non-imaginary thirst.

This conclusion is precisely the reverse of one of the central tenets of pop psychology: the idea that picturing the future you desire makes it more likely you’ll attain it. Again and again, in her research, Oettingen has shown that making a fantasy of something you want can make it harder to achieve in reality. Imagine yourself having a productive week, and you’ll accomplish less. Imagine receiving a windfall of cash, and you’ll be less motivated to engage in the kinds of activities that might bring you money. Intriguingly—though admittedly the link may not be causal—there’s even a relationship between how much “positive thinking” language American presidents use in their inaugural speeches, and how much unemployment rates change by the end of their presidential terms. The more positive the fantasy about the future, the fewer jobs in real life.

Fist-pumping motivational gurus have long claimed that your brain “can’t distinguish between reality and imagination”. Ironically, Oettingen’s experiments show they’re right about that – but also that the conclusion they draw is spectacularly wrong. Attempting to “experience your success as if it had already materialized” is a fast-track to disappointment.

Oliver Burkeman writing in How to be fitter, happier and more successful: stop dreaming and start getting real for The Guardian.

16 October 2014

A BOOKMOBILE FOR THE MASSES…

1030 by Jeff Hess

bookstore 141016
Tell a Story, Portugal: The concept of Tell A Story is as simple as it is effective: a bookshop in a van. The project aims to promote Portuguese literature, in English, to tourists. The team travels around the country and also sells pens and postcards so people can write stories for their friends and so start a chain-reaction of story-telling.

16 October 2014

VISITING THE WHITENESS PROJECT

0900 by Jeff Hess

The Whiteness Project is a multiplatform investigation into how Americans who identify as “white” experience their ethnicity.

The project is conducting 1,000 interviews with white people from all walks of life and localities in which they are asked about their relationship to, and their understanding of, their own whiteness. It also includes data drawn from a variety of sources that highlights some quantitative aspects of what it means to be a white American.

This project is not what you might first assume. Take a look.

While many media projects have investigated the history, culture, and experiences of various American ethnic minorities, there has been much less examination of how white Americans think about and experience their whiteness and how white culture shapes our society. Most people take for granted that there is a “white” race in America, but rarely is the concept of whiteness itself investigated. What does it mean to be a “white”? Can it be genetically defined? Is it a cultural construct? A state of mind? How does one come to be deemed “white” in America and what privileges does being perceived as white bestow? The Whiteness Project is a multi-platform media project that examines both the concept of whiteness itself and how those who identify as “white” process their ethnic identity. The project’s goal is to engender debate about the role of whiteness in American society and encourage white Americans to become fully vested participants in the ongoing debate about the role of race in American society.

After almost two decades of making films with my black producing partner, Marco Williams, I have come to believe that most whites see themselves as outside the American racial paradigm and their race as a passive attribute. Subsequently, they feel that they do not have the same right to speak about race as non-whites. The Whiteness Project hopes to bring everyday white Americans, especially those who would not normally engage in a project about race, into the racial discussion—to help them understand the active role their race Continue Reading »

16 October 2014

HAVEL ON THE POWERLESS: PART III A…

0600 by Jeff Hess

THE MANAGER of a fruit-and-vegetable shop places in his window, among the onions and carrots, the slogan: “Workers of the world, unite!” Why does he do it? What is he trying to communicate to the world? Is he genuinely enthusiastic about the idea of unity among the workers of the world? Is his enthusiasm so great that he feels an irrepressible impulse to acquaint the public with his ideals? Has he really given more than a moment’s thought to how such a unification might occur and what it would mean?

I think it can safely be assumed that the overwhelming majority of shopkeepers never think about the slogans they put in their windows, nor do they use them to express their real opinions. That poster was delivered to our greengrocer from the enterprise headquarters along with the onions and carrots. He put them all into the window simply because it has been done that way for years, because everyone does it, and because that is the way it has to be. If he were to refuse, there could be trouble. He could be reproached for not having the proper decoration in his window; someone might even accuse him of disloyalty. He does it because these things must be done if one is to get along in life. It is one of the thousands of details that guarantee him a relatively tranquil life “in harmony with society,” as they say.

Obviously the greengrocer is indifferent to the semantic content of the slogan on exhibit; he does not put the slogan in his window from any personal desire to acquaint the public with the ideal it expresses. This, of course, does not mean that his action has no motive or significance at all, or that the slogan communicates nothing to anyone. The slogan is really a sign, and as such it contains a subliminal but very definite message. Verbally, it might be expressed this way: “I, the greengrocer XY, live here and I know what I must do. I behave in the manner expected of me. I can be depended upon and am beyond reproach. I am obedient and therefore I have the right to be left in peace.” This message, of course, has an addressee: it is directed above, to the greengrocer’s superior, and at the same time it is a shield that protects the greengrocer from potential informers. The slogan’s real meaning, therefore, is rooted firmly in the greengrocer’s existence. It reflects his vital interests. But what are those vital interests?

From The Power of the Powerless by Vaclav Havel, 1978

Previously…

16 October 2014

NOT THE MARIETTA TIMES

0500 by Jeff Hess

TODAY’S MARIETTA TIMES FRONT PAGE

Today’s headlines include:

Local News

Hearing in murder-for-hire case
A place in history
Traffic delays likely for a week at Pike, Seventh, Greene
Business impact of legal pot is discussed
Zombies invading Harmar

Top Headlines Poll: Should marijuana laws be loosened in Ohio?

Great pictures of Marietta

What’s going on here

Previously

15 October 2014

ROLDO RIGHTS ON SERIOUSLY PLAIN DEALER…?

0700 by Jeff Hess

roldo 140117

Just how often do you get really angry with the Plain Dealer?

I guess I’ve made an obsession with it over the years.

Last Sunday provided another example of why.

I’m talking about the sports section of the Sunday PD.

Twenty page of sports in a town that so badly needs space for real news coverage. This is a town that gravely needs serious examination of its problems. Not just its hyped progress.

We ignore what’s happening in St. Louis to our peril.

This wasted space from a newspaper cutting, slicing, dumping news gatherers. It seems odd that it can afford to give away so much space to sports.

The 20 pages represent 2,400 inches of space. Space that, in my opinion, didn’t go to real news—information of importance to a supposed democratic public. What’s most disturbing is that the 20 pages had only 109 inches of advertising! That’s .09 percent of the content as paid advertising. A major give-away of resources. The only sports ad was a single 10-inch, 3-column ad from the Cleveland Cavaliers.

A newspaper dumping editorial content gives away space using scarce personnel to do it. We, the public, have to pay for this free advertising for sports moguls. At the cost of real news that has value to community.

Newspapers have made Sports the new opiate of the masses, taking the public’s mind from what’s important to community.

One looks at the newest poverty rates in Cleveland and they should shout for a 20-page review, a team of reporters scurrying Continue Reading »

15 October 2014

HAVEL ON THE POWERLESS: PART II G…

0600 by Jeff Hess

The profound difference between our system—in terms of the nature of power—and what we traditionally understand by dictatorship, a difference I hope is clear even from this quite superficial comparison, has caused me to search for some term appropriate for our system, purely for the purposes of this essay. If I refer to it henceforth as a “post-totalitarian” system, I am fully aware that this is perhaps not the most precise term, but I am unable to think of a better one. I do not wish to imply by the prefix “post” that the system is no longer totalitarian; on the contrary, I mean that it is totalitarian in a way fundamentally different from classical dictatorships, different from totalitarianism as we usually understand it.

The circumstances I have mentioned, however, form only a circle of conditional factors and a kind of phenomenal framework for the actual composition of power in the post-totalitarian system, several aspects of which I shall now attempt to identify.

From The Power of the Powerless by Vaclav Havel, 1978

Previously…

15 October 2014

SECONDHAND MEANS BOOKS WITH CHARACTER…

0530 by Jeff Hess

bookstore 141015

The Bookshop, Wigtown, Scotland: The biggest second-hand store in Scotland has a mile of shelving and over 100,000 books. It also has a lovely story: “Jessica Fox worked for NASA in LA, loved books and had always wanted to visit Scotland. She Googled ‘Secondhand bookshop, Scotland’, and this was the first to pop up. She ended up working there.”

15 October 2014

NOT THE MARIETTA TIMES

0500 by Jeff Hess

TODAY’S MARIETTA TIMES FRONT PAGE

Today’s headlines include:

Local News

True blue friends
Delta Queen may return to river
Lots of ballot issues in area counties
PUCO urges propane customers to stock up
Theater inspires filmmaker

Top Headlines Poll: Do you think fracking is responsible for many of Ohio’s recent earthquakes?

Great pictures of Marietta

What’s going on here

Previously

14 October 2014

ROLDO RIGHTS ON A SALES-TAX VACATION:
A TAX BREAK FOR THE LOWER ECONOMIC PEOPLE…

1400 by Jeff Hess

roldo 141014

If I were a politician today there are two things I would promote in Cleveland and Ohio.

First, a state-wide raise in the minimum wage. If not, a push for city-wide minimum wage hikes. Where are Cleveland politicians?

Second, I’d call for a temporary vacation or permanent decrease in the state’s sales tax. If there is money for cuts in income taxes, which benefit higher income people, there should be state resources to benefit low income people.

And the sales tax is the tax that fits the need.

It would be a way to take a poke at income inequality.

Thirteen states and 10 county & cities have raised the minimum wage—including Connecticut, Maryland, Hawaii, Vermont, San Francisco, San Diego, Richmond and Washington, D.C., according to news reports.

At a minimum and as a test, a decrease in the sales tax should be acceptable to Gov. John Kasich for the holiday season – say as a trial for November, December and January for the holidays and after-holiday sales.

An annual take for the State of Ohio in sales tax revenue would be slightly more than $9 billion, according to an expert who watches sales taxes. Continue Reading »

14 October 2014

HAVE CAT RENTALS BECOME A THING…?

0930 by Jeff Hess

bookstore 141014
Atlantis Books, Santorini, Greece In 2004, two Oxford students were on holiday in Santorini, got drunk and decided to open a bookshop. Despite niggling doubts once they sobered up, after graduating they filled up a van and drove back. They run a small printing press in the back room and have signs saying you can ‘rent a cat’ while you read.

14 October 2014

HAVEL ON THE POWERLESS: PART II F…

0600 by Jeff Hess

Finally, if an atmosphere of revolutionary excitement, heroism, dedication, and boisterous violence on all sides characterizes classical dictatorships, then the last traces of such an atmosphere have vanished from the Soviet bloc. For some time now this bloc has ceased to be a kind of enclave, isolated from the rest of the developed world and immune to processes occurring in it. To the contrary, the Soviet bloc is an integral part of that larger world, and it shares and shapes the world’s destiny. This means in concrete terms that the hierarchy of values existing in the developed countries of the West has, in essence, appeared in our society (the long period of co-existence with the West has only hastened this process). In other words, what we have here is simply another form of the consumer and industrial society, with all its concomitant social, intellectual, and psychological consequences. It is impossible to understand the nature of power in our system properly without taking this into account.

From The Power of the Powerless by Vaclav Havel, 1978

Previously…

14 October 2014

NOT THE MARIETTA TIMES

0500 by Jeff Hess

TODAY’S MARIETTA TIMES FRONT PAGE

Today’s headlines include:

Local News

Costume choices
Towns avoid Friday for Trick or Treat
Smoke alarm does its job
Oil, gas firms eye Morgan Co. site for HQ
Black bear killed after hit-skip wreck

Top Headlines Poll: What do you give trick or treaters?

Great pictures of Marietta

What’s going on here

Previously

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