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2014 February

FCC and the Media

On February 21, 2014, in Politics, Uncategorized, by admin

Heard today on the radio an interesting thing the FCC was considering as we enter into election season.  Seems they are considering a study, performed by their own personnel, of going to radio stations to query about their programming, to understand their decisions on what gets programmed on a daily basis. Interesting. Not sure who or how this would be funded, and it appears that this has no independence of 3rd parties, as much as we can trust them anyhow. As we enter into the tip of election mania, the agenda of this cannot be ignored. Part of the discussion is the intent. There have been many circumstances where democrats have felt that the media favors the other party. If you tally the total of outlets in the media, it would seem to favor the republicans, and beyond, namely the Tea Party and all the other far right who have lost touch with society based upon some belief or media outlet that feeds them what they wish to hear.  But that is the point, isn’t it?  While I personal abhor the right and conservative, I cannot, in good conscious, control the amount of media content based upon what I wish to hear.  Sure.  I would hope that it would be equalized… but in the end, it is wrong to attempt to control the media to an extent that would assure some sort of equalization. I cannot help the fact that many of the  conservatives buy into their agendas.  Hell, the liberals do the same through whatever outlet they have available to them. So what.  If you believe in the open market overall, it is difficult to justify. The media will be the media, and our constitution protects them to publish whatever they feel.  I cannot control what content they deliver, nor do I wish to.  I will be the first to say that it would seem that the right is much more represented in the media than the left (remember, I hate these tags, but it is the political world as we know  it today). On the surface, I do not like this, but in the end, it is what it is.

Apparently in the Reagan era, there was a law that has since been repealed that tried to provide fairness between the parties based upon content published.  OK. But back then there were much fewer media outlets from which to derive news from. Today, we have a plethora of outlets.  I would be the first to admit that more of them favor one party over the other.  So what.  I am not of that party, nor close to it, but in the end, in today’s world, I am convinced that people are only going to hear what they wish to hear or support.  No question, for those, there is a media outlet for them to deed their opinion.  No government survey, at the cost of the taxpayers is going to change this. Give it up FCC. It just not in your agenda to waste tax payer money to perform such a study, especially since there is not a clear intended use of this data.

I do not agree with the results of this, in that I believe that there are much more conservative outlets int he media than liberal.  I do not care, again, I disdain the tags, but they are there and part of the reality of our world. The fact that there appear to be more outlets that I am opposed to means nothing.  It is the market.  I focus more on the fact that people hear and believe what they wish to believe, and they will find whatever outlet that satisfies there thirst to justify their opinion. I cannot control that, and neither should the government. Take a look at the constitution people, read it…government most of all.

I do not necessarily like the situation, as I think people are way to impressionable by what they hear and see….but it is the way the country is formed. Just because I am not agreement with the media and masses means nothing, this is how our country was based, and it is all of our collective responsibility to adhere to our country principles, even if they conflict with our personal opinions

Give it up FCC. Save some taxpayer dollars



The Demise of the American Worker

On February 11, 2014, in Employment, by admin

I have never been a fan of unions, with good reason. Their over the top policies are very destructive to the overall business environment. They started out to protect workers, but as their power grew, they became their own worst enemy, business wise. In today’s business environment, and especially in the south U.S., unions remain a weak force as most states are open shops states.  Further, most of these states laws concerning employment are what is called “at will”. Simply stated, the worker wills to work for the employer, and the employer wills you to work for them.  The American way. Nothing  more.  Great.  This follows our formula for pro-business and freedom overall.  Only something went wrong along the way. The evolution of the new economy dictated change in the way companies handle, and apply this ‘at will’ standard. The expectations of Wall Street have evolved into a ‘what have you done for me lately’ attitude, fueled by technology that allows trading large amount of shares in a nano-second.  So if you are a CEO of a publicly traded company, by definition your mantra is to maximize share holder wealth.

Here is where we run into a conundrum. In order to feed this insatiable short term thirst of Wall Street, companies are making snap decisions every day involving the you and I’s of the working world. If a company is not going to meet analyst’s expectations, or worse, report a loss, well, just announce a “x” percent layoff.  Business model or customer be damned. We are seeing this today as well; and  in the fact that hiring is seriously lagging considering the growth potential of the economy. All of this leads to an American worker is void of any loyalty, and for good reason. Again, this is all good, only one major problem, there are not a lot of choices for the American worker out there. So many workers; me included, are in jobs that pay substantially less….but we feel we must take them to survive. We are not happy, the company is not happy if they were thinking of something other than their bottom line, you get the picture.  Never has the American worker been in more perilous employment in history.  So what is the answer?

There is not an easy answer.  In a recent trip to South Korea, I became friends with a manager of a major Seoul hotel that employs in excess of 300 people.  Yes they have unions. When I inquired about the power of the unions, he indicated that much of their power comes from the employment laws in Korea. He further said that the only way he can lay off workers is to show three years, count them, three years of operational loss before he can let employees go via work force reduction. This is very excessive indeed, but it got me thinking….if companies were force to not reduce their workforce until after “x” quarters of operational losses, maybe there would be some protection for American workers who just want to be productive.  Business environments change, and  as some of you go crazy reading this, thinking how horrible this is to the business environment, let me give you some statistics about South Korean economy. The unemployment rate stands between 2.3-2.7 percent.  In America, that is defined as better than full employment. Average household income is north of $46,000 USD per year.  And by the way, I have never had better customer service than in Korea in my many travels abroad.

The American worker is in peril.  Yes, many of our workers do not understand that a pay check is not automatic, that there is value to your employer behind the service you are supplying for that paycheck. These are not the type of workers any company needs.

But maybe, just maybe, employers need to take a hard look at themselves. Employees should be assets to the company. Figure out ways to embrace them. Do not let our government dictate how they should be treated. But if you cannot get your act together in this regard, Mr. Company “XYZ”, I am happy for the government or someone else to step in and force you think beyond your little short term Wall Street attitudes. Citizens of the U.S. pay for good products and services…..but corporate America has given us little reason to go beyond finding the best bargain and paying as little as you can.  American workers deserve better, please do not push them to a point of regression thinking or wishing they had a union or someone else to look after their interests.

Corporate America, these people feed you. Try to get it. It is not difficult. This is why I tend to support private companies, small business, and companies with known positive corporate cultures.  I believe in the American worker, and you, and companies, should also.


MxPx’s Mike Herrerra in Denver

On February 7, 2014, in Travel, Uncategorized, by admin

Our extended team at Reddgranite, as you know, includes content providers with a different view, eyes on a different world and a knack for recording such events.  Here our roving travel guy Jason Thomas Hockney Zeimet has provided this video of Mike Herrera, of the punk band MxPx. The video is brought to you by Travelogue.net. Have a look as Mike visits Denver for the first time in a while.  Also of note, the first time Mike has visited Denver since pot was legal in the state……a few clues for those stoners traveling to CO to go smoke pot……

And once again, as all videos on this site, it is below the advertising cause some dumb ass cannot figure out how to size it in HTML……while you are there though, go ahead and click the ads….I dare you.



Travelogue: Kentucky

On February 5, 2014, in Uncategorized, by admin

So our roving nutbag with the video camera has visited yet another interesting place and captured once again the strangeness that can be this country,  In this jaunt, he captures a museum of ventriloquist dolls……like clowns, they always kind of freaked me out.  But here it is for your viewing pleasure.

See below…..way below………..


Review of Mt Gay Black Barrel Rum

On February 4, 2014, in Rum Reviews, by admin

Our Rum Guy has been drowning his sorrows once again based upon all of the sports book bets he has lost in the last few months.  Well at least when he hits the bottle to bury his sorrows, he opens an new bottle of rum and passes on his observations.  And here is yet another. He is up to over thirty such reviews, so if he is not an expert in the normal sense, he at  least has to be revered for his motto of taste, taste and taste again.  And now from the bottom of the gutter, his review of Mt. Gay Rum.


“We Are Family” sang Sister Sledge back in the 1970’s.  “ah,ah,ah, my sisters and me”. OK. I know this dates me, but who cares, it is what it is, so just go with it. Today we review The Mount Gay Black Barrel rum, part of the Mount Gay “family” of rums which include the Extra Old which was previously reviewed.  Mount Gay Distilleries began back in 1703 on the Caribbean island of Barbados.  Rum’s origins, while murky, are forever linked with sailors.  With voyagers trading around the world, Barbadian rums and  the island’s sugar cane became known for their superior flavor and textures.  The Mount Gay rums continue that tradition.  The Distillery uses deep underground water that was naturally filtered through coral limestone, then distilled further.  Their famous sugar cane is then turned into molasses and then, according to their website, they still use the traditional double copper pot stills for distillation.  Usually, the rum is then aged, which they prefer to use the term, “maturing” in charred white oak barrels that were first used for American Whiskey as well as blended.   The Black Barrel is said to be a small batch, handcrafted blended in heavily charred oak , hence the “black barrel’ name.

 Pictured Left:   Mount Gay Rum Black Barrel

The bottle itself is clear glass, with a black and yellow label with the name quite prominently displayed and a hand-drawn map of the island of Barbados.  While the label is busy, it also advises of the source of the spring water used and the name of the Master blender as well as the type of barrels and how blended.  I felt knew what I was buying.

Removing the cork releases the aromas of the Caribbean, soft sand, palm trees swaying in the breeze, warm sun and easy nights.  This is a nice gold coloring as it slides into the glass.  First taste on the tongue is bold, and can be overpowering if not prepared.  There is a hint of spice, and vanilla, with a touch of fruit and caramel.   The finish burns a little due to the high alcohol content.  This could be a good sipping rum if you like strong rums and add a slice of lime on the side.   The  86 proof is stronger than most rums, and for some that takes some getting used to.  This rum slips smoothly into both regular and diet cola.  It works well with frozen Boat Drinks.

At approximately $30 a bottle, this is not a cheap rum, but it is a good rum for the upper-middle edge of the price range.   It is not as pricey as the Mount Gay Extra Old” but worth the cost. This rum gets a firm 7  corks out of 10 and is a welcome addition to the Mount Gay family, .”,,,come on everybody and dance…”

 Widely distributed, pick up a bottle on your own and compare…..I believe you will think the 7 corks is at least the minimum that this fine rum should fetch. Just do not let the higher proof creep up on you, especially if you are not on the couch firmly embedded in your home. Mixing can sneak up up on you.  But I highly encourage to try sipping first.  Take a long look at the depth of color and aroma….this is a good value for a rum

The Rum Quest continues…..

The Rum Guy

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