Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Commentary: Bankruptcy, not bailout, is the right answer - CNN.com

I think I'm beginning to feel like the economist, who wrote the following:

Commentary: Bankruptcy, not bailout, is the right answer - CNN.com

Government-chartered institutions like Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac are part of the problem. Why now should government bail others out?

And what happened to market economics? If a small businessman gets in over his head, no one bails him out. Maybe some of these big finance companies should go bankrupt.

Let me be clear, I don't want people to lose their homes or jobs. That stinks.

But for companies that took risks, what's the risk if the government bails them out? Maybe they should have to look at bankruptcy.

From the article:
Bankruptcy punishes those who took excessive risks while preserving those aspects of a businesses that remain profitable.

Instead, it looks like taxpayers will be punished.

Finally from the article:
The right view of the financial mess is that an enormous fraction of subprime lending should never have occurred in the first place. Someone has to pay for that. That someone should not be, and does not need to be, the U.S. taxpayer.

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Packing Plant Protest

Packing Plant Protest, originally uploaded by echobase_2000.

There are weeks when a proposed $70 million dollar plant coming to town, creating 300 jobs will lead the news.

Other weeks, a story about 600 goats mowing down weeds alongside the interstate might be as good as it gets.

And then there was last week.

An estimated 500 Muslim employees of JBS Swift & Co., a beef packing plant, walked off the line, asking to pray during the Muslim observance of Ramadan.

After two days of protests, the union and plant agreed to move the evening meal break closer to sundown.

That brought on two days of counter protests from White, Hispanic, and Sudanese employees, mostly Christian.

There was plenty of shouting, strange for a situation about prayer. But it's not all about prayer; to the employees at the plant it's about what they see as special treatment.

By Friday the police stepped up their presence, with dozens of cops posted around the plant.

Now Somali leaders threaten to sue.

Instead of arguing about prayer, I think people need to go to prayer. Certainly sounds better than shouting.

Saturday, September 13, 2008

Case IH Combine

Case IH Combine, originally uploaded by echobase_2000.

I got to ride in a combine this week, during Husker Harvest Days, billed as the world's largest working irrigated farm show.

It's a big farm show, although I'm not sure how many working irrigated farm shows there are in the world. At any rate, they show off all the combines and tractors in the field. It's kind of fun to jump in the cab of a $350,000 machine.

Saturday, September 06, 2008

New Surrender

Anberlin, originally uploaded by echobase_2000.

I'm getting excited to hear the new Anberlin.

I see they've re-recorded "Feel Good Drag" and are releasing it to radio.

I hope it hear it there.

And don't forget to check out New Surrender, coming Sept. 20th from Anberlin!

(photo taken at Cornerstone this year)

Don't mess with guys with badges

As I've said before, I always feel like I'm doing something noble when I have to defend my First Amendment rights.

In this case, it was hardly worth having to defend.

Our small town airport now has direct flights to Vegas. And with 150 seat planes, it's a real flight on a real plane, not some puddle jumper.

So when the first flight was leaving, I made sure to shoot generous amounts of what we in the business call b-roll. A-roll is your interviews, and primary stuff. B-roll is what fills in a TV news story. And who knows when I'll be able to see this many people getting on a plane here again.

So I needed it for file video.

I walked right up to the counter, as I've done before, and got shots of people checking their bags. I should point out, when you walk in the door to the airport, you're basically at the counter. It'[s not big.

I made some small talk with the TSA agents about the fact that it was a busy day for them, considering we haven't even had an airline here in months. I grabbed about a 10 second shot of them picking up a suitcase, and went on with the people in line.

At this point, some TSA guy came me the business about that was private property and I couldn't be there. When I had to remind him it's a taxpayer funded airport, and I sure could. He wanted me to "erase" my tape, whatever that meant. So I told him I'd back off and went back to the passengers in line.

At which point some guy whips a badge out of his pocket and asks me to come with him. He told me it could be a threat to national security to show the TSA screeners on TV.

It was so blown out of proportion. The screeners stand at the counter in plain sight. There's no screen, no visual deterant. And I got one 10 second shot just to cover my bases, that would probably never even been shown.

Maybe I was just charged up because of the reporters arrested in Denver and St. Paul, but I don't appreciate being lectured by government types. If they're really worried about terorrists finding out how they screen luggage, why wouldn't they do it behind a wall?

Is there really a need to flash a badge? Just ask me not to do it. Local cops do that all the time. They'll explain why they don't want something shown, and I won't show it. Often that's something like an undercover cop attending an awards ceremony. They don't want his face getting on TV because it could compromise his safety. I get that.

So that's my rant for today. I'm not a pushy reporter. Not by a long shot. But I will defend my rights.