PBS is a Worthy Investment

paula kerger

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Paula Kerger, PBS Chief, Calls For Views To Oppose Mitt Romney’s Stance Towards TV Funding

PBS chief Paula Kerger said Wednesday that she recognizes the United States has to make tough budget decisions but defended PBS as an effective public-private partnership.

Paula Kerger, PBS Chief, Calls For Views To Oppose Mitt Romney’s Stance Towards TV Funding

Watching regular television is a depressing experience. A constant barrage of ads designed to magnify every insecurity to sell products. I tend to believe modern television viewing exacerbates psychological problems.

But we in the United States have an alternative. We can watch public broadcasting. We can be enlightened. Our children can watch television without a constant barrage of sugar cereal ads and pleas to buy the latest toys.

I use some of their shows like Frontline for my classes. They deal with subjects with a great deal of documentary skill. I enjoy the History Channel and the like but sometimes their work is more a hash of history cliches than well assembled stories.

Some of the best viewing experiences of my life have been PBS programs. That’s where I learned about Kurosawa and Goddard. I absorbed a lot of history and learned to think outside the intellectual limits of rural Oklahoma.

There are those that believe that the free market produces the best possible outcome. They haven’t watched “Two and a Half Men,” a weekly half hour about a libertine whose impulses are out of control, a neurotic brother with a son so dumb, you wish the father has satisfied his fatherly urges by getting a pet. The show features discussion of unusual sex acts, fart jokes and a parade of easy women. Thus, the free market in action; a show aimed at a horny 14 year old.

Once this is published, someone is going to write me about the poor souls who do not watch public television and argue that they shouldn’t bear a burden of taxation for what interests me.

Yes, let’s excuse people from paying property taxes for schools because they don’t have any children. or pay for roads, police, firemen, soldiers they don’t use unless there’s war, etc.

Having a country in which there is a certain degree of belief in scientific beliefs, some investigative reporting and knowledge of common cultural and historical heritage is also a worthy goal.

That there are many people who have a philosophy of “if I can’t figure out how much money it’s worth, it’s a pointless activity,” is a sign of a declining civilization gradually descending into a third world status of ignorance.

While there is art, culture and literature, there is still some hope that the experiences of Americans will be respected, the we might be able to live lives of significance, and there might be a common cultural heritage of something more than fart jokes and quotations of corporate quarterly profits.

James Pilant

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Goldman Sachs’ Value Drop – July 20th, 2010

This a news analysis of the July 20th, drop in Goldman Sachs’ shares. Forgive the commercial that opens it. I can’t get around it.

This is a PBS two part series on how Goldman Sachs’ profit. If you want to understand our economy’s problems and what is likely to continue to go wrong, this is a good place to start.

This is the second part.

Rating Agencies Were Part Of The Disaster On Wall Street

Rating Agencies Were Part Of The Disaster On Wall Street

If the rating agencies were key players in the financial mismanagement that destroyed eight million jobs and threatened the world’s economy, why are they not included in the financial reform bill now before the Senate? Alain Sherter wants to know why. So do I.

This is a report from “Now” – a PBS program. In this particular episode an insider from a credit rating agency explains what happened.

Here is Alain Sherter explaining more about this ratings disaster –

The ratings agencies business model is based on a flagrant conflict of interest — they’re paid by the firms whose credit they evaluate. That makes them vulnerable to pressure from investment banks and securities issuers, which naturally want a bullet-proof rating in order to attract investors.

In the years leading up to the housing bust, Moody’s, S&P and Fitch passed out AAA ratings like candy bars at Halloween. In mid-2007 and early 2008, with the real estate market in free-fall and mortgage delinquencies soaring, they suddenly started downgrading scads of formerly top-rated securities. In January of ‘08, for instance, S&P lowered ratings on more than 6,300 and 1,900 CDOs — in a single day. Then, the deluge. The bottom fell out of the secondary market for subprime loans, and the rest is history.

Without the credit rating industry giving triple A ratings to these risky investments, the tragedy that has engulfed and continues to damage the lives of so many Americans would not have been possible.

What are these people not being called on the carpet or prosecuted for conduct that seems to many observers to look very similar to fraud?

James Pilant