Monthly Archives: April 2008

The Rebirth Revisited

I originally published the piece below on January 19, 2007; well over a year ago. Since then I founded a mini-news network, openSermo.com, to help reboot the news broadcast and push the movement talked about in The Rebirth. More interesting however, are the glacial changes taking place all throughout the News media arena, which in essence are proving my Rebirth or Reboot, true.

In the next few days I will be publishing an updated version. But first, I wanted to republish the old version to hear your thoughts and opinions on the subject. So here it is, in it’s entirety and original form:

The Rebirth
Posted on January 19th, 2007 by Ethan Bloch

Broadcast News is dead. The three-letter News broadcasting houses that were given the right to educate and inform the public have lost, lost, lost their marbles, forgotten their roles and ran askew.

Thankfully, respectable News sources still exist, many of which do a great job delivering quality content through the print and online mediums; but in terms of a quality TV News broadcast, good luck (Clearly the sources aren’t the problem, the News agencies are doing their job quite well, it is the delivery that’s terrible ie. three-letter News broadcasts). If one combines these respectable News sources with simple News aggregation (Google News), Digg, digg-a-likes, cautious Blogosphere navigation and Blog aggregation (Technorati, Techmeme), a very healthy News diet can be achieved (the more the merrier). The issue here is the tens of millions of people who still rely on a TV News broadcast as their main, if not sole source of information (things like this help one sleep at night).

It is understandable that watching a TV News broadcast is less taxing then reading and digging – not changing anytime soon – so here lays the predicament. The solution lies in a new form of TV News broadcast. If TV News broadcasts were delivered in a similar light to Pardon the Interruption, you would have a wider viewer base that’s better informed and maybe even engaged in some self thought (not saying they’re not today, but saying they’re not today). Granted there are many topics you can only sexy up so much, and others that would be just plain wrong to sexy up, there is still plenty that could be done to create a more engaging, fulfilling and informing News broadcast. It would be very difficult however, for any three- letter News house to try and create this internally. These three-letter TV News broadcasts still draw millions of viewers and in turn don’t feel any pressure to change; they feel no sense of urgency.

Screw urgency! We need something more. This something more will be done by outsiders, from the ground up. Considering the low cost of current technology used to create and widely distribute video, now is a riper time then ever for the birth of new News broadcasting (a rebirth). Another rebirth has been full steam ahead in the text based realm of News delivery; visible in the services I previously mentioned (which are just a few). But video is the cake to eat all cakes. Intelligently delivered engaging news, in video format which is and will continue to become easily consumed on any medium one sees fit, is king!

A video podcast like Diggnation is proof of what’s to come for more mainstream audiences. Diggnation does a tremendous job of staying entertaining, getting a point across, and at times proving educational. Unfortunately Diggnation isn’t going to replace the any o’clock news anytime soon (I know), but it does give us hope. In order to rebirth broadcast News for mainstream audiences the delivery needs to spread this reenergized enthusiasm and color of opinion onto a vast array issues and world on goings, while still housing enough acceptance standard deviations to remain widely viewed (coming soon).

Help push the rebirth! We here at openSermo challenge you. Talk it up with your friends and family and get their opinions on the current state of the three-letter broadcast. Feel free to share your thoughts, opinions or ideas concerning this tragic state in our comments. Please get informed, think for yourself, tip well and hopefully one day we will have something to proudly call, our broadcast News.

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The Truth Behind Nafta

It’s a shame a lot of the Journal’s content is still subscriber only, because this opinion piece is something everyone should read and have access to. Furthermore, if it they were totally open, I wouldn’t have to copy the article here verbatim. Rather, I could just write my thoughts and then link to it.

Considering all the Nafta bashing taking place by certain presidential candidates, it is important to understand which actual goods and services are flowing so freely across our North American borders. And what goods are really casuing the United States’ Nafta deficit [highlighted in bold below].

Now I’m not sure if Mr.Engler’s calculations and assumptions are perfect, nevertheless, this piece is definitely eye opening and worth a read.

via. The Wall Street Journal

By JOHN ENGLER
April 21, 2008; Page A15

It is amazing how some presidential candidates are blaming the North American Free Trade Agreement for U.S. job losses. They seem to believe that a substantial part of the three million manufacturing jobs lost since 2000 resulted from Nafta, and that outsourcing of manufacturing production to Mexico and Canada resulted in a huge trade deficit.

Too bad they don’t know that the growth in the deficit isn’t due to manufactured goods, but to oil and gas imports.

There is no question that the imbalance of trade within Nafta has soared since 2000. That deficit has almost doubled to nearly $140 billion in 2007, from $77 billion in 2000. But the deficit in manufactured goods did not displace U.S. factory production.

What the antitrade advocates have been hiding from the candidates (or maybe don’t know themselves) is that almost all of the increase in our Nafta deficit since 2000 has been in increased U.S. imports of energy from Canada and Mexico. In fact, $58 billion of the $62 billion increase in our Nafta deficit has been in energy imports. That’s 95% of the total increase.

We need that oil and gas, and we would rather get it from our friendly neighbors. Surely no one seeks to argue that America would be better off saying no to Mexican and Canadian oil and gas, advocating that we instead import that energy from less secure sources farther from our borders.

Except for energy, though, our trade deficit within Nafta has hardly grown at all – only $3.5 billion from 2000-2007. Our agricultural and manufactured goods sales to Nafta countries have just about kept pace with our imports. That’s a lot more than one can say about the rest of our foreign trade.

While the nonenergy deficit within Nafta has grown less than $4 billion since the job loss started, with the rest of the world it grew over $150 billion. Put another way, the increase in our nonenergy deficit within Nafta has accounted for only 2% of the increase in our global nonenergy deficit since 2000.

Why are the candidates so focused on 2% of our trade problem rather than on the other 98%? Our nonenergy deficit with the high-wage, high-environmental-standard European Union (with whom we have no free trade agreement) grew 10 times as much as it did with Nafta. And of course, with China the deficit grew even more.

None of this is to say that some U.S. factories haven’t closed and their production moved to Canada or Mexico. Certainly that has happened. But in the case of Nafta, that job impact has been almost exactly balanced by increased U.S. production and exports of farm and factory goods.

Suppose our trade with the rest of the world had performed as it did within Nafta. Instead of seeing our nonenergy trade deficit grow over $155 billion, it would have grown only by $25 billion. That would have put us ahead by $130 billion, which sounds pretty good to me.

Nafta has been part of the solution, not the problem. We can do even better if we focus on how to make American manufacturing more competitive than it is.

I’m A Huge Metal Fan, Threadless Steez

Caught wind of this tee from Laughing Squid. At one point of time, 1.5 years ago, I contracted the threadless bug and now I own about 30 of the friggin things. Anyways, this is the one of the cleverest threadless tee’s I’ve seen in a long time. I would make a purchase, but it’s 20 bones and I’m headed a short vaca tomorrow, so every buck counts. Oh yeah… and I’m poor 🙂
Im a huge metal fan