Sunday, October 26, 2008

So you've heard the truth?

I thought I'd be thankful that the election is now only a few days away. Because I have had my fill of the bull that our news media has immersed us in for so long, incessantly, and it would come to an end.

Has it been the truth? Ahh, yes, it has. Has it been the "whole truth, nothing but the truth, so help you?" No. It's been shredded little tidbits and twisted strands and it hasn't been "so help me God," it's been "so help me ratings."

We have been bombarded by the media -- especially the television media -- with mediocre pieces, the fringe aspects of campaigns and candidates, and little focus on the core information that we, as voters, should be learning and digesting in order to make some kind of intelligent decision.

The campaign people haven't sewn all these little seeds of crap. The media itself has created some, chewed them and spit them out and failed to let go and get on with the issues.

It's been a game of horse racing. Who is winning today? Will they continue to win? How can the underdog run by the front runner? Wow, what a day. Next race is tomorrow. And then the next, and the next.

The so-called j0urnalists who are more like pretty-people actors would rather make sure their hair is perfect and their make-up is just right than to check the accuracy or fairness of what they are about to talk about and where it ranks in importance as it relates to upcoming events in the world.

Even the delivery of the news has been altered. No one reports it anymore without adding color or commentary to it. Stuff that used to be reserved to a newspaper's editorial opinion page or in a flippant "news" magazine. Everybody in the media thinks they are the gift, the ultimate, the top of the people of forecasting the future. In fact, none of them amount to a hill of beans.

They are talking heads, paid to deliver flip and flamboyance better than their competitor. It's not the truth they're after. It's ratings. The elections has only been a vehicle for them to play the ratings race. That's their ultimate race. Who cares how Barack Obama, or John McCain, or anyone else makes out? That's today's ratings and tomorrow's trash.

What headlines the electronic media? Let's see. How did the candidate feel about the other person saying something crude about them. Is the candiddate going to repent of some misdeed he/she did years ago? Oh my, how much money was spent to get a candidate some clothes.

Boy, these are hot issues of the day, aren't they. Who cares about Iraq, Afghanistan, North Korea, Iran, oil prices, the collapse of the economy as top issue of the day, huh? Who cares we are losing jobs, homes, and maybe just steps away from being in a bread line?

Not one part of the television/cable media is objective or focused on the real issues that affect you and me. We all knew Fox News was biased from the start. We eventually learned how "liberal" MSNBC became. The saddest part is how CNN, which at one time could have had the crown of being neutral and objective, has run into the muck. And when did Headline News become talking head shows instead of headline news?

Thank goodness the elections are just days away now. The stupid, idiotic babble will stop.

Stop? Oh no, it can't stop. The media business has to go on. That's the bad news. After the elections, expect to be endlessly deluged with meaningless, hypocritical babble about why the election turned out the way it did, and what would have happened if the opposition had tried a different tactic -- okay, to keep the babble going longer, what would have happened if the opposition had tried dozens of different tactics?

Hidden in all this is they they think (giving them the benefit of the doubt) they need to offer colorful commentary and opinion to the information they disseminate so you and I can understand it and how we should respond to it. Oh what the hell, they want to feed you the reaction they think you should have. And then, of course, that generates a new news story for them ... how the people are reacting.

I'll bet you a week's pay they can't stop and drop it and move on with the pressing issues of the day and tell us, without bias or colorful commentary, what our government and its officials are doing to solve or worsen the problems. They just can't let go. There in full mob stampede mode. Where one network goes, all will follow.

You, see, they just HAVE to get those ratings. It means money. Which is greed, Isn't greed what got us where we are today?

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

China did a nice job, but NBC didn't

There was no question that China went all out to provide a grand opening and closing to the 2008 Summer Olympics games at Beijing, providing a memorable experience for everyone.

For the U.S. television audience, though, China's efforts were actually somewhat muffled rather than enhanced.

I don't know who was the director of the opening ceremonies coverage for NBC, but I'll bet you one of two things ... it was the same director for the closing, or someone who went through the same robotic training program for television show directors.

One thing is clear. Either the director(s) were somewhat autistic, or the entire U.S. audience is autistic. Perhaps they wanted to make the U.S. viewers become autistic.

For those who may have recorded the ceremonies, replay them and take an objective look at them. Notice the constant fast-paced switching between cameras and angles, constantly switching before you could relax from one point of view. And each camera was never still (perhaps a couple of times in the entire presentation!). They were panning from side to side, dollying or zooming in and out, running/walking with someone or some group. Panning up. Panning down.

And the director was calling the shots on late cues, as if he/she had no idea what was coming next.

And the gawd-awful constant gabbing and yapping by the announcers giving some valuable background information and then repeating it in about 10 variances instead of allowing us to soak up the event for ourselves.

I hate being spoon-fed by so-called expert announcers. They have their own agenda. They should just shut up and let us make our own judgments of the events.

Perhaps, someday, our American television "experts" may finally learn a lesson from, say, British television. Where the announcers give you needed background short and sweet, and let you actually watch and hear the event unfolding before you. They have respect for what is happening and allow the viewer to enjoy it, and give it dignity.

American TV has no respect, correspondents love to hear themselves talk, and they couldn't dignify the most important event of any theme with their method of coverage.

It's just awful. And the Olympics openings/closings coverage looked like it was handle by a bunch of amateurs.

P.S. If you really want to see how British television and American television handle an important event so differently, get your hands on recordings of the Princess Diana funeral coverage from both NBC and the BBC. Then you'll know just how much dignity the BBC can give an event compared to our outrageous pompous bullshit.

Friday, June 13, 2008

Tim Russert dies

Veteran newsman, chief of NBC's Washington Bureau, and host of NBC-TV's "Meet the Press" collapsed and died of an apparent heart attack in the news bureau as he was preparing for the next edition of "Meet the Press."

Tim Russert was one of very, very few remaining broadcast journalists/analysts who have maintained neutrality and objectiveness in the world of politics. He was the perfect choice to host a show like "Meet the Press."

For NBC, this has got to be a colossal loss, because the network doesn't have a single person in its upper broadcast journalism that has such a neutral and unbiased view in the dirty world of politics. There are plenty of big names, but none that match his level of professionalism and dedication, and analytical knack.

That is why Russert will be sorely missed, in addition to his love for journalism, love for his family, for others, and a strong faith in his church.

I join everyone else that mourns the loss of such a news veteran. Rest in peace, Tim Russert.

Monday, April 21, 2008

And we are to believe the media "pretty boys?"

We all know how much Fox News Channel lies ... But they keep trying to drill it into your heads... You know the slogan. "Fair and Balanced." At Fox there is no such thing.

And now here comes CNN with their constant repetition of "The best election news team in television."

Well, they're closer to the truth. They might be, or might have, the best election news team in television, but that's in television. They are nowhere near being the best election news team overall. That just shows you how low television news is.

And take a look at this photo! Taken at a recent Hillary Clinton campgin stop in Pennsylvania, over by the huddle of the television cameras is this newscaster. Well, let's see, the rally is behind him. He's facing the door of a banl building to see a reflection of himself as he applies makeup to his face -- yep, that's the pad of makeup in his hand.

And we are expected to put our faith and trust in these egomaniacal narcissists???? Oh my God.

Now, the Pennsylvania primary is about to come down. The vote is tomorrow. And what do these kind of people do? They call themselves experts and analysts and then try to forecast what is going to happen. It's like the TV media is trying to plant the idea in the ehads of its viewers to swing the vote the way they feel it will go.

That's your television news media for you. No such thing as fair, balanced, or even the best. Far from it.

Saturday, April 19, 2008

Where have the cable news networks gone?

I am getting both a kick and depressed at the same time over the changes cable "news" networks have undergone in the last couple of years.

If you want to report the news, then report the news as news. CNN used to do that pretty good years ago. But then something went awry. Somebody else bought the company and things have not been news since.

One thing you have to give credit to newspapers -- at least the responsible papers. They present the news without fear or favor, bias or prejudice, and let you draw your own opinions and conclusions. When they print opinions, they are labeled opinions or editorials and "op-ed." When they print an analysis, it is labeled as an analysis. There is no hiding the slant behind the veil of the term "news." You know where they are coming from.

But what you have in television "news" now, is nothing but slant and bias. Even when the news networks -- even the news departments of the public networks -- present the news, it is slanted by the comments of the anchor people and/or the correspondents and the so-called experts they present to you.

But look at prime time on the news networks. It isn't news. It is comedy. "Countdown With Keith Olderman," as example, is nothing but slant, bias and poking fun at issues of the day -- only it's done with the purpose of convincing you to see a certain point of view. And it's not labeled as opinion. Or comedy. Or analysis. It is entertainment with the purpose of changing your opinions. It is presented as news. Who do they have hosting the show? A has-been sports commentator who has a sarcastic slant on things. Granted, Olderman is sharp-witted. But he is also dim-witted. And we all know you can stretch and twist the truth and poke fun at sports events, because sports itself isn't real news.

"Countdown" is just one example. Every network has the series of "commentators" and they are all despicable. You have Nancy Grace on Headline News that even caused the suicide of a person she verbally attacked on her show. And then there is CNN's Glenn Beck spewing his opinions, the MSNBC program "Hardball" with a autistic screaming idiot Chris Matthews as commentator, or "Verdict" with Dan Abrams who thinks he is old and smart ebough to be able to pass judgment on everybody else while looking like a snot-licking little brat that only wants to stir up trouble. And, of course, there is Fox's Bill O'Reilly, the vilest person of them all. Despicable. Hateful.

And all these shows have their favorite "experts," who are experts in their fields, which are narrow fields. You can present an expert from one field of view and ignore the experts of opposing fields of view and try to present them as experts of the overall opinion. It is just happy bull shit.

All to get ratings. Which means their company gets more money for commercials. That's all. It's not about fairness or real dedication to presenting the news.

They are pandering to you and me, who are looking for serious presentations of the news in order to form our own opinions and make our own comments.

Unfortunately, as the old saying goes, television remains the opiate of the masses, and continues weilding it's psychic powers over most of the population. Sooner or later, people will wake up and see just how well they were being duped.

I hope it is before I die. I'd love to see it. I'd love to see it made right and that we all are treated with the respect we should have as people of intelligence.

Thursday, February 21, 2008

CNN, Fox News, MSNBC all on a slippery slope

I don't know about you, my reader, but I am about "politicked out" from watching daily news reports on Headline News, CNN, MSNBC and Fox News.

With everything that is going on around the world, we are being fed a constant barrage of political garbage about the presidential primaries.

One candidate hiccups, you hear about it from every source, every angle, for hours and hours. Each of the commentators take his/her turn to offer his/her view of the hiccup. Was the hiccup deliberate? Was it to make fun of the other candidate? Is the candidate getting ill? Blah blah blah and blah blah blah.

Oh, then they take a quick break for "other" news and give you a brief rundown of other things happening in the world. A few moments to tell us stocks have tanked, an embassy is attacked, etc. etc.

Here's the problem. These "news" channels are promoting themselves as "news" channels. Yet, they act like the radio pundits. It's like hearing the skewed view of someone like Rush Limbaugh and other similar personalities. It is mostly hype. But, more importantly and very seriously, it is mostly opinions, not news, they are reporting. Every commentator offers an opinion. Some think they are funny. Some think they are cute.

They are not reporters. They are mostly stupid. We don't even know how they qualify to be the expert on the politics of the time. Few times are we given the source of their information to corroborate it. Keith Olberman of MSNBC, for example, was a sports commentator, for crying out loud. We in the news business know that sports writers and commentators are granted a loose license to play with the facts and opinions, because it is sports. Not news. Olberman thinks he is witty. So give him a comedy show. Don't make him look like a trusted news reporter, because he is not.

You don't do that with news. Why are they throwing opinions out to the voters who have yet to vote? They are supposed to report a candidate's stance, background, and activity, not the odds of who is going to win. That's like sports commentators telling the basketball players, while they are still playing, what they will probably do and whether they will win or fail. You don't do that.

But we allow them to mess with it on the news side, the most serious side of all.

Much of the opinions expressed are included in very deep background information which is useful to those people deeply involved in campaigns, not to the general public.

I would have to believe that the viewers watching this garbage have got to be getting really bored, when we in the news business already are.

The "news" channels have created a circus out of what should have been the most serious institutions of our democracy. They are not producing freedom of speech. They are skewing it. And we all know these channels, as is with all media channels, money is the bottom line of business, and those opinions will be skewed to whoever controls their income.

None of these commentators is a valid reporter. Even Anderson Cooper, who I had a lot of respect for when he was in the field, has succumbed to the circus atmosphere and no longer trustworthy. They are commentators ... opinion creators ... prejudiced and biased by their own skewed view, and should not being reporting to you or me on the premise this is all legitimate news. If they want to offer opinions, fine. But label it and balance it with legitimate news reports.

Hopefully, most people of this land will soon see them for what they are. I am sure, however, that the presidential vote this time around has already been tainted by they choices of reports made by the media executives. There is a lot of power of information placed in the hands of just a very few of the media companies. You, my dear reader, have no say except to refuse to watch it and force their numbers down and have to alter their methods of reporting to regain a valid audience.

For me, I'm done watching these "news" channels as regularly as I have. Of course, I seldom watch Fox News because of their biased "fair and balanced" reporting, I won't shun them altogether, but I don't need the constant barrage of misinformation they spew constantly trying to convince me which way to vote --- which they claim they are not, but it is obvious they are.

Friday, February 8, 2008

With attacks on each other, could the news channels implode?

The news channels -- such as Fox News, MSNBC and CNN, have jumped into the election politics much, much deeper than they ever had in earlier election cycles. So much so, it is almost consuming them inside out.

Teasing promos that sound like a promotion for a soap opera, repeating the opinions over and over and over again. The hype is overwhelming. It's a bet that, by the time the real election rolls around the voters are going to be tuned out.

The frenzy is so bad already that the channels have turned on each other. Bill O'Reilly, a blowhole I'd rather never mention, took on NBC Thursday evening in his telecast, talking about how NBC News has slanted its coverage to promote Barack Obama above everyone else -- and then proceeded to give verbatim examples from some of the NBC celebrities.

(Notice I said celebrities. Have the networks ever posted the true credentials of their so-called "experts" for us to judge as to whether we really should listen to what they say or take it with a grain of salt?)

Not to be undone, in the same evening -- actually within the same hour -- MSNBC celebrity Keith Oberman took Fox News to task ... of course using Kindergarten name calling of the network, referring to it as "Fix News" and "Fox Noise". And, to expand the universe of self- destruction, Oberman then calls Lou Dobbs, a CNN celebrity, "the worst person in the world" for the night.

Any news organization that must remind you every five minutes it is "fair and balanced" certainly is not, but it is trying to make you think it is. It's a form of brain-washing.

This could really be funny, watching these news "giants" fight among themselves and eventually destroy everyone's credibility in the process. They eventually will destroy each other in the eyes of the viewers.

But funny it is not. For eventually, finally, viewers may come to the sad realization that they have been duped by hype from the "opiate of the masses," the giant electronic whiz-screen, for years, and were led to the voting booths after being casually, slowly, smoothly brain-washed by "celebrities" who called themselves experts and who were merely conveying the wishes of a few giant, behind-the-scenes corporations that have one sole purpose of being in the media -- to preserve their niche of financial security at the expense of everyone else.

My friends, don't believe anything the media moguls and their anchor personalities convey to you until you verify the source of their information (which will more-than-likely remove the weight the information originally carried) or the purpose for which it was disseminated.

They all have an agenda. Believe me, informing you with the truth is not part of it.

Sunday, February 3, 2008

Fairness isn't a rule with York Sunday News or AP

It didn't come as a surprise when a question of fairness arose in the Feb. 3, '08 edition of The York Sunday News. But, it was a surprise to see that the blame for this opinion piece lies on the Associated Press. However, shame on the York Sunday News for not questioning -- or at least not mentioning they questioned -- the Associated Press on the fairness of its political analysis piece on the presidential nominee candidates (Pages 1A and 6A).

And the analysis piece's accompanying comparison chart wasn't completely accurate either. And it definitely wasn't fair.

First, on the chart's accuracy. At quick glance, AP's explanation of Hillary Clinton's Iraq stance is not right. It says she doesn't have a timetable. Truthfully, she has a plan that would rid Iraq of almost all our troops before a year, and probably sooner than that, she has stated.

Now, on to the fairness.

A responsible print news media (electronic and television media never give you all the facts) would present you with all the facts of an issue or event. To eliminate any, no matter how "fair" the editors or writers may want to be, they have exercised bias and prejudice and prevented you, the reader -- who is paying top dollar to buy the newspaper -- from being able to come to an honest, truthful conclusion or decision based on what you read.

One look at the chart of "all" the candidates' stands on the issues should eliminate it from your consideration. It lacks the stands of at least one candidate who is still in the race -- Ron Paul.

It does not matter that he may be drawing only 3 percent to 5 percent of the vote. The facts is, he is still in the race and still on the ballots. Therefore, he should have been part of the comparison.

The fact that Paul is NOT on the list is the same as the Associated Press and York Sunday News telling you not to bother with Paul. Write Paul off. Paul isn't worth your consideration. So, from informative display to telling you to ignore someone is a far, far stretch for a fair news media to go. But they did it.

Nationally, the Associated Press locally, the York Sunday News owe you an apology for displaying such a skewed "informative" piece.

Wednesday, January 30, 2008

CNN fails again on Republican debate coverage

CNN "news" network blew it again. No surprise. But it makes the coverage of the presidential candidate debates nothing more than a fun media event and create more doubt in the election process itself.

Anderson Cooper, who appeared to be in charge, at the end called it a "remarkable evening has just taken place." Remarkable? Reprehensible would be a better word for it.

It was obvious in the first five minutes that the entire debate was going to be skewed toward the two media favorites, John McCain and Mitt Romney.

So, what we had in effect again,as has happened in all but two so-called "debates," was a pre-planned slant to promote the media picks.

Unfortunately for many, it remains the old adage that the power of television is used easily to persuade -- and dupe -- its viewers and trying to create authenticity to the network's slant.

Too bad we can't get a straight shake from the media. Too bad a reporter for a member of the print media, the Los Angeles Times, took part in such a slant.

Good going, news media. Good job making the news instead of trying to report and investigate it.

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

The news media tries to select your candidates

As this is being written, another debate is under way on the MSNBC "news" network between the "top three" Democratic candidates, Barack Obama, Hillary Clinton and John Edwards.

Take notice we said the "top three."

Here is another example of how the large corporate-owned "news" media try shove their choices of candidates down your throat and tell you that you like it and they know what is best for you.

This is the "news" media that has been constantly spoon-fed lies and inuendo and pass it on to us as truth ... until it became so evident to us that they are not doing their job: To question everything, verify, and know the true sources of the information.

A true and fair debate would include all candidates who are still running for nomination for President of the United States, despite their current popularity ratings.

A good example of unexpected jumps in popularity is John McCain. The "news" media declared him dead and were ready to bury him when voters in one state primary resurrected him.

The "news" media will use all sorts of excuses for their actions: Giving the "top potential" winners more time to explain their views on the issues, as an example.

But here we are, in the first phase of questions by Brian Williams and Tim Russert, and the media "news" anchors are focusing on race statements and actions of their staffs instead of focusing on the actual issues confronting this country. In fact, the three candidates on stage had to remind them that they are there to discuss the issues.

Williams' questions were more wordy than the answers in some cases. And 20 minutes into this show, the candidates were still being asked questions about how they acted and what they regret saying. So sad.

And, here we go again, specific questions to specific candidates. Questions to prod a candidate into making mistakes. This was not a debate. It's a dog and pony show to increase the stature of "news" anchors.

A true debate is one where candidates have the same question and air their presentation in equal time for a true picture of these candidates's positions.

NBC "News" once again has failed miserably to serve us truthfully and fairly.

Monday, January 14, 2008

Property tax bills start moving in state House

You probably haven't heard much about it in the media ... and you probably won't until the very last minute ... but some of the school property tax proposals are starting to move through and out of committees in the Pa. House of Representatives.

Well, that is except for the one that REALLY would be the answer.

Here's what is starting to see movement:

House Bill 1600: A worthless bill authored by Levdansky and Scavello that would raise the sales tax and state income tax to finance a rebate of approximately $414. Greedy little bastards, these politicians.

House Bill 1489: This is a bill authored by blowhole William DeWeese, a bill which some refer to as the "HB 1600 Lite." It does not raise the state income tax, but it does raise the sales tax by 0.5 percent to finance a small homestead rebate of about $205. This is the bill Gov. Rendell would like to see approved. Greedy little bastards, aren't they?

Also House Bill 93: This one provides special tax provisions for first-class cities ONLY, forgiving or refunding property tax liability for certain low-income, disabled, or senior citizens. Greedy little bastards don't care about low income, disabled or senior citizens in the rest of the commonwealth.

But here's the one that really means something: House Bill 1275, also known as the "School Property Tax Elimination Act." It has been stonewalled and isn't even scheduled to be reported out of committee.

It's the only one that eventually eliminates the unfair, immoral property tax.

"This is an absolute travesty that is fueled purely by the political motives of the House majority leadership," said Warren Bulette. "This cowardly manuever will not allow a straight up or down vote on House Bill 1275 and will, again, deny true property tax reform to Pennsylvanians."

Now, I for one have e-mailed my state representative and, under no uncertain terms, expressed my dismay at what is happening and I will watch how he votes. I feel that this issue alone is worth 95 percent of my consideration of whether to vote for or against him in the next election.

Speaking of elections, amidst all the news media's horse-race, prime-time idiot coverage of elections for this year, let's not forget that, here in Pennsylvania, the next batch of legislators who participated in the pay raise scandal that had us so upset at the last election, will be on the ballot this time around.

And the property tax issue should just fuel more of that fire.

Contact your legislator quickly and express your opinion. These power-hungry and greedy politicians have got to come to terms with the fact that they are to be representing us, not themselves. The only way to do that is make your voice heard on the issues and, finally, at the ballot box.

Tuesday, January 1, 2008

Hisses to Sovereign Bank Stadium and York City

As the year 2007 comes to a close, I wish to express a few brief thoughts on recent events and conditions. (Well, I thought it would be brief!)

FIRST, though, welcome to the new blog, Media Muddle. It is here where I intend to offer opinions on events and situations, mostly local but state and national, that surface in the press, as well as take on some of the ridiculous and ludicrous efforts of what today is called the press.

Now, on to the New Year opinions to start with.

1. You didn't see me at the New Year's Eve festivities in York City this year. I am upset that the officials of this event moved the finale to Sovereign Bank Stadium, even if it is just for one year. This has become a tradition. There are festivities at locations east, west, north and south of the square. Continental Square was the hub and, when it was time to count down and bring in the New Year, everyone converged to the square for a nice show, the countdown with the White Rose, and grand finale including fireworks. This year, everyone has to trek north, out of the perimeter of the night's earlier festivities and go to the stadium. Officials act like a bunch of first-graders wanting to show off a new toy, no matter how inconvenient it could be or the hammer that could potentially smash a tradition. Just to show off a new stadium which, incidentally, should never have had a dollar of public government money in it, since it is a private, for-profit business venture. I like the stadium. I've been there to games. But this was too much.

2. My best wishes to Mayor Brenner and his police commissioner and the city council that they soon find the wisdom to clamp down and end the violence -- especially the gun violence -- that plagued the city in 2007. I have been sending a sympathy card showing a black rose to the mayor, the police commissioner and president of city council every time there has been violence involving a gun since this summer. Actually, I am in arrears. In the past week, there were three incidents, so I have three sets of cards that have to be sent out. Yes, yes. I know this is a problem with every city. But, for the sake of whoever, SOMEONE has got to be smart enough to get something to work to reverse the trend. Apparently, there are no such intelligent minds in York.

3. Same goes for education and the York City School District. This has been the saddest problem I have seen in my life as far as the community is concerned. I grew up in York. I went to schools in York. I graduated from York High. And look at what the hell the city school district is today. It's in shambles. But we have our school board, albeit powerful and mighty and especially willing to steal more of yoru hard-earned money to promote this program and that program and whatever program and on and on. And what has it accomplished? Not a damned thing. I was shocked, totally shocked when I heard the reports earlier this year about the schools I attended. Half of the students aren't graduating. Aren't even finishing. Over 800 -- I can barely imagine this -- over 800 students in the York City School District are HOMELESS. What has the school board done to address these issues? Damned if I know. I don't hear them publicly kicking and screaming and demanding change to other community issues that would be needed to help solve these problems. The school board's grade? A flat "F-".

4. So it boils down to this, and here are some things I think should be addressed -- and officials should publicly and loudly demand them if the problems need to be solved by another agency or level of government:

A. Make parents responsible for what their children do -- that was the reason for "under-age" anyway, wasn't it? If they are held accountable -- including financial and possibly even criminal jail time, I believe parents would much more carefully watch what the hell their kids are doing. (isn't it interesting how easy it is to play blame games and escape responsibility?) This includes the vandalism and terror that groups of middle- and high-school students cause, just for fun, among neighborhoods they walk through and the disturbances they cause -- which darn near ties up the staffs of city police and sheriff's deputies on a daily basis when schools leave out every afternoon. When a kid causes a problem, his/her parents should be responsible for it and held accountable, civil and/or criminal.. I'd bet most of it stops in a few months.

B. Track down the missing fathers. They are responsible for the child's actions as well as the mothers that many of the fathers abandoned.

C. Stop having the York City Police officers play mommy and daddy to the adults engaging in domestic disputes. For crying out loud, these people are adults and if they can't handle a confrontational crisis, guide them to a source of help other than law enforcement. If a cop has to go to a home to stop a domestic dispute, it should be a well-known rule that one, or both, of the parties are going to be arrested. If you don't want to be arrested, don't start being abusive to start with.

D. Able-bodied prisoners sent to York County Prison should be on work details to do some of the county's work. It's not a temporary hotel. I don't like the term "chain gangs," but I do believe prisoners should earn their keep. Prison, whether local or state or federal level, should be a place you don't want to go to, not a place you are proud to say to your friends later that you've been there. Along with that, when the sentence is finished and you are released, no one should hold it against you. You did the crime, you did the time and paid the price and your debt to society is paid.

E. RabbitTransit should expand and maintain better routes covering more hours to enable more people to keep their gas-guzzling cars parked and take the bus to work, play, appointments or shopping. The service they have now is nothing more than token service.

F. York's emergency services should take a real good look at how they dispatch emergency equipment. Everything is overkill. Now, there are problems recruiting volunteers as more and more volunteers quit. Why? How would you like to spend all those hours training and then be called constantly from work or other activities for a minor incident that never required your services in the first place. Frustrating, isn't it? And you know what this will lead to -- paid departments. There go your taxes again. Bet me on this one.

G. And this is a wish list on the national scale. Restore our privacy. The so-called privacy provisions which medical and other services have to annually remind you "they are out to protect you" is really a scam. Any government agency can get your information in all sorts of ways today -- and you don't even know it. If you only knew just how far your privacy -- even in your own bedroom -- is violated "to protect your rights." Yea, right.

H. And with that, my biggest wish: That politicians quit their constant lying, back-room agreements with special interests, and begin telling the truth and actually looking out for the people they are supposed to be representing. Thank God, none of them are named Pinochio, are we'd have a ton of legislators who couldn't get in the door because their nose is, well, way out of whack. The problem is, your lawmakers actually think they are representing you by the way they do business now. What a joke, If they were, there would be no more property taxes, only taxes based on fair transactions, and run-away school boards would be stripped of their arrogance and held responsible and proud of the education of the children, not in their buildings and sports facilities.

That's it for now, in my humble opinion. I might sound mean, but I feel that I am truthful. In my heart I am really, really concerned about the direction our whole nation is heading.

Disasters are coming if we continue and don't change course. I wish you all a Happy and a Prosperous New Year and pray to God that things will change for the better if we see the light and take the challenge.

Happy 2008!