We have had a solid winter these two months. The atlantic seaboard has seen much snow. The middle west was to have been pounded, to-day and yesterday. The local television news channels are gung-ho and intensely excited whenever they can bring out Storm-master 2000 or equivalent. They send out an handful of 'reporters' to photograph, analyse and bravely investigate precipitation. Here in northeast Ohio on the south shore of Erie, we had some snow and some ice. We have had many greater visitations.
With winter storms, the advance publicity is two, three, four days. This promotes a rush to the food stores and the gas stations, although, if it really comes down, you are not driving anywhere. Rarely have we seen closed gasolineras.
Anxiety, and especially fear is played on. It attracts viewers, that increases advertising rates, and that brings in coin; and coin is the object of desire. And it is so much easier than doing journalism. Too much dogged attention and pursuit of actual journalism can be dangerous to employment and, in some countries, life.
Now, we have channels that have two hour blocks of air time. Especially, during morning programmes the time is filled by fashion, food, health, the fools gold glitterati of Hollywood, and other trivialities. Sports has been reduced [in Cleveland the exceptions are game day for the Browns, and the nauseating soap opera over a particular basketballer], perhaps ESPN has a near monopoly? Weather has expanded. Sometimes, there is a 'meteorologist' inside the studio, and one on the outside. Do you need a weatherman to tell you which way the wind blows?
Now, in the real world: from the Maghreb a movement for democracy has spread to the middle east, centering in Egypt. Is it a khamaseen or a samoom wind that will topple walls? Egypt which has entered its sixth millenia is again the focus of the world. China is displeased, or rather its government. The US has had Egypt do much dirty work for it in the last few years, the lion's share under bushjrcheney; but against the fears of rabid republicans, and against real democrats' desire, Obama has done little to end such arrangements. Whoever heads the US government does not change much government activity. The world was so happy, when bushjr left government, it granted Barack Obama a peace prize.
Now an earlier Nobel peace winner, Mohamed el-Baradei, is becoming a voice for freedom in Egypt. He as chief of the UN's International Atomic Energy Agency frustrated the busheviks in not supporting their false claims against Iraq. Certain americans will never stomach him for being in the UN, or in his stance for reality and truthfulness, and attempt to prevent an unnecessary war.
The US foreign minister, Hillary Clinton, is dancing around this egyptian question. There is an air of inevitability -- kismet. Mubarak was good for business. Mr. Obama is making a mild commitment toward peace and democracy; this is counter to GHW Bush's extreme slowness to support those nations that brought down communism in eastern europe. Empires prefer stability over the exercise of popular sovereignty, or the voice of the populace.
To-day there is a report that has WikiLeaks (founder Julian Assange) nominated for the Nobel. Assange has angered Washington. He let loose 'secrets' that most of the world knew, he confirmed reality. WikiLeaks is against unnecessary government secrecy. An american soldier, Bradley Manning, is now a political prisoner in solitary confinement for his help to WikiLeaks. When one does nasty things, one prefers no spotlight, and the powerful lashes out at such people as not to encourage others.
Local news advises you to button up your overcoat.