Posted by: johnhourihan | November 25, 2015

Why it is wrong to blame the media

Blaming the media is like Dr. Frankenstein blaming the monster.
Let me explain.
I have so many friends and relations who blame the main stream media for everything from taxes to poor health. I want very much for you to understand, but something we found out in the media long ago is I had better keep it short. One of the most shocking things I found when I began working on a newspaper was that studies showed the American public had the reading level of a 5th grader and their attention span only allowed them to read about 14 to 19 column inches in one sitting. We in the media thought that was bad, but then the rest happened.
The beginning of the rest was portrayed in “The Shipping News,” a book of fiction about the state of journalism. In it the editor tells the new reporter he should put a car crash on the front page every day, and if there was no crash that day to use the one from yesterday.
That’s right, long before you began blaming the media for everything, the media knew you would only buy the paper if it had certain stuff on the front page. And that stuff had nothing to do with the in-depth informative and investigative stories we were trying to feed you. If we wanted you to buy the paper we had to tuck that stuff inside.
Many of my friends remember a paper called the Milford Daily News. Everyone in my town complained about it, and now they have a paper of the same name but from all sources it has nothing on its pages but “sensationalist nonsense,” if that.
It seems that even though the paper’s circulation remained at about 14,000 for nearly a hundred years, the population of the town went from 3,000 to about 20,000. New people were getting their “News” elsewhere, if anywhere at all.
Then people stopped buying the paper and publishers scurried to find people who could cost them less but produce more stuff that would make people plunk out a quarter for the news of the day.
But the owners decided enough was enough and sold the paper to a conglomerate. This is a microcosm of what happening all over the country. The conglomerates did a lot of studies and found out that the reader didn’t matter at all.
It was the advertisers they had to pander to. So they did.
But the advertisers wanted high circulation for their ads, so the conglomerates did what they knew would work. They jettisoned the real news and began pumping out just the nonsense you, the general public, would buy, what you demanded.
They dumped most of the top level people in newspapers across the country ( and with them their salaries) and replaced them with reporters like Sparkle Plenty and Joe Just-got-out-of-College.
Quality was no longer a prerequisite for entering the field of journalism, and the big businesses took full advantage of it. They had a model to work from, public education.
To make matters worse, the general public decided why pay anything for news, let’s just get it off the web and from TV.
In its infinite wisdom, the general public began to cancel subscriptions to newspapers because they could get more guts, grief and mayhem on the internet and on the television news.
So, to keep things short so you can read it, now we have this day’s answer to Walter Cronkite – Wolf Blitzer – who recently depicted the work of a fool vandal who threw some green paint at the foot of the Lincoln Memorial as major national news, calling it “An Attack on The Lincoln Memorial.”
Then the fools who turned their backs on the real media years ago have the temerity to blame the media for all the ills of the world.
The ills of the world have multiplied because you were stupid enough to turn your backs on one of the checks and balances of the government so you could save a few bucks and a few hours of time each week.
So something you don’t know as you spout your uninformed nonsense is, you have no idea what is going on in government now and it will get worse, since no one is watching, unless there was a crash.
And your blaming of the media is like Dr. Frankenstein blaming his monster.
Good job you incredibly short sighted people.
You killed real journalism to save a buck. Now you have a monster.
You created it, now deal with it

Posted by: johnhourihan | November 25, 2015

The new book is published

For those of you who asked me to let you know when the new book is published, the one Mandy and I wrote together, here it is. I hope you enjoy it.

Posted by: johnhourihan | July 29, 2015

Thank you

I would like to thank all of you who have ordered one or all of my books to be read on your kindle or kindle app. For those of you who didn’t know about them three of my books Play Fair and Win, Parables for a New Age and Parables for a New Age II are available on to be read on Kindle. They only cost $5.99. I feel funny telling people about this but a lot of people asked about them and I think this is the best way to let you know they are available. Thanks again.

Posted by: johnhourihan | July 21, 2015

New books on kindle

For those of my friends who have access to kindle, I have three books available. Parables for a New Age, Parables for a New Age II, and Play Fair and Win. All you have to do is search for my name or any of those titles and you can get them. Another will soon be available named Beyond the Fence, and a fifth will be available by April or May.Thanks to all of you who have already put down the six bucks and read a book and thanks to all of yo who will do it in the future.

Posted by: johnhourihan | June 14, 2015

Santorum shows his stuff once again

Rick Santorum, GOP presidential hopeful, has done it again. The pope is about to issue a statement on global warming and our treatment of the planet. The prominent Republican, Santorum, said the pope should “leave science to the scientists.”
The pope majored in chemistry in college and worked as a chemist for many years and is, in fact, a scientist.

Posted by: johnhourihan | June 12, 2015

how do you fix the Red Sox?

The Red Sox? I think the problem is coaching.
First, it seems the infielders and outfielders are most often in the wrong alignment and routine fly balls and ground balls turn into base hits for the opposition. Next, too many hitters take too many pitches for this not to be a pre-planned strategy. And it is very difficult for even good hitters to hit with two strikes on them. What good is “Getting rid of the starting pitchers” when you can’t hit the relief pitchers? Also, in a one run game with runner on third with no outs, there is no coachng other than swing away after you take a couple pitches. What has happened to bunt, steal, hitto right? When Ramirez on second base with fewer than two outs runs directly into the third baseman who has just fielded a ground ball you know no one has taught him when he is supposed to go to third in this situation. When David Ortiz hasn’t hit anything but an off speed pitch in months and Napoli is hitting somewhere south of 200 and they are both still playing, and when Castillo is even in the major leagues, something is wrong with the man or men in charge. There is a division on the bench and there is little respect for the coaching staff by the players. For example, Wade Miley losing it with Farrell right on the bench in the dugout in full view of the TV cameras. And when Hanley Ramirez doesn’t charge a base hit with a man on second in a one run game, and then he walks to first base without being benched , you know there is something wrong with the staff. And when the prima donnas continue to bail out and swing for the fences in situations that require a base hit, players such as Holt, Betts, Pedroia, and Swihart who run everything out, run into walls, dive after ground balls and into the stands for fouls must be getting pretty fed up with “the veterans” and the coaching staff that can’t make all the players on the team play to the best of their ability.
Fire Farrell, bench Ortiz and Napoli, trade Ramirez, Sandoval and Kelley or the team will lose an already fed up fan base.

Posted by: johnhourihan | May 31, 2015

Here Come the Divinely Guided Presidential Hopefuls

Oh goodie.
Here we go again.
The GOP has somewhere in the neighborhood of twelve or thirteen people making a run at the presidency. That makes it either akin to the 12 apostles or a coven I believe.
Again, it is time to remember that a theocracy is established when a state is governed by immediate divine guidance or by officials who are regarded as divinely guided.
Rick Santorum, and to some extent all the other GOP presidential hopefuls, say they want our government to be run by officials who are regarded as divinely guided. By this they mean themselves I suppose. And the misguided of America shout, “Here, here” and line up to vote for these wonderfully religious men. (No serious GOP candidates are women. It’s the Republican Party for god’s sake.)
As I said last time this nonsense began, the United States is not a theocracy. It is one of the main things that made it different at a time when many of the world’s nations were ruled by one religion or another.
Many of the middle eastern countries, however, are theocracies including Iran. They are, and have for a long time, been governed by their religions.
Looking at the theocracies left in the world and comparing them to the countries that are not theocracies it becomes clear that when a country is governed by religion it stagnates. It stops progressing because laws are not allowed to change according to the times and the countries are therefore ruled by laws written thousands of years in the past. This gives rise to women wearing veils in public, essentially so the angels won‘t see how beautiful they are and want to have sex with them.
It also demands that women be subservient to their men, translating to women not being allowed to go out in public unless a “man” accompanies them (even if that “man” is their two-year-old son.) It demands that women who disgrace their families by becoming raped may be killed by their fathers for their indiscretion, “because God said so.”
So when the Republicans begin pushing religious rules as a basis for how they want the country to be run, I worry.
Believe me, you don’t want the government to be run according to the tenets of any one religion, or even by a team of holier than thou politicians who believe their religions provide the one and only true answer for all of society‘s problems..
The last theocratic state in the United States was Deseret, a Mormon state that stretched from Colorado to southern California and was ruled by religious law.
It is gone now. I hope we keep it that way.
And when Rick Santorum or any of the other religious-right politicians talk about the President of the United States being influenced by a “phony theocracy” not base on the Bible, I shudder.
They are saying they feel the United States should be a different kind of country from what it is. One governed by a theocracy based on the Bible: Based on their religion, which they believe to be the one true religion in the world, all others be damned.
The freedom of religion guaranteed in this country means you have the right to practice any religion you choose. But it also ensures that no one is allowed to force the government to adhere to a set of religious laws.
Believe me, if we begin running this country by religious laws, as some politicians say they want to do, we will stagnate and cease to be a great country.
If you don’t believe me take a look at those once-great countries ruled by religious law such as Iraq, Iran, Yemen, Afghanistan, Syria, Somalia, Sudan, Saudi Arabia, Mauritania, and Oman.
Do we want to be just like them?
Or would we rather separate church and state and live under laws that have evolved since the writing of holy scripture?
If you still want Sharia law or the ten commandments to be punishable by religious law, theocracy is the way to go. But don’t forget that if you lie, cheat, steal, kill, or think your neighbor has a hot wife you could be put to death.

Posted by: johnhourihan | May 18, 2015

Screw Tom Brady and the Patriots

If you are among those who believe the Patriots and Tom Brady are “getting what they deserve,” think about this for a second.
The NFL has been home to racist owners, players who are convicted druggies, alcoholics who continue to drive drunk get in accidents and get arrested, players convicted of assault and battery, players carrying illegal weapons, owners who pay bounties payable for injury to opposing players, and shooting incidents, and gambling incidents, players abusing their spouses, and there are even those who have been accused of murder and only getting off when the witnesses disappear.
And the heaviest penalty ever given out by the league has been for underinflated footballs, and then without even proving anything.
Seems as if there might be something wrong about that.

Posted by: johnhourihan | May 15, 2015

Poverty, Pride and BaltimoreB

The problem with poverty, as it is with racism, is pride.
No matter who we are, on some level as we get older, we become increasingly proud of it. By the time we are adults we are proud of who we are, and that is why it is so difficult to change the mind of a racist. He is proud of his racism and doesn’t want to give it up. It is why some police treat Americans of color so poorly. They are proud of their racism and shouldn’t be police. They can’t be changed. They can’t be educated. They are too proud, and we should get them off our police forces.
It is also why adults living in poverty do no better when they are taken from the inner cities and put in a better neighborhood. By that time they are too proud of their poverty to change. I don’t mean poor people want to stay poor. I mean they want to be out of poverty but without changing who they are.
I think of the working man who brings his family to a restaurant and proceeds to be loud, messy, demanding and then as he walks out very obviously picks his teeth with his thumbnail while staring defiantly at anyone who notices. It isn’t how he acts at home, but he is proud that he is not part of the social strata who frequents restaurants and he is determined to show that pride to the point of violence.
When you have a choice of admitting you are an underling or being proud of who you are which would you choose?
I remember the mantra of my own poor family, “I’m poor, but I’m proud.”
I don’t see this as a good thing. In order to walk like everyone else you first have to throw away the crutches that hold you back.
In the 1990’s there was an anti-poverty experiment called Moving to Opportunity. It helped people move from inner city poverty into homes in the suburbs. It was found that the people did no better financially in the new situations.
As sad as that was, new studies show now that there is hope for finding our way out of poverty. The new studies show that children who are moved from poverty situations early on in life, nine or 10 years old, have a much better chance of moving up the social ladder. Teenage siblings however, as well as adults in the family don’t fare as well as the younger children.
The study doesn’t say.
Let me say it for them.
Children at nine or 10 years old have not yet been taught to be proud of their poverty, proud of their underling status. They are more susceptible to change, meaning the pride of being poor and an underling has not taken hold yet, and they are not resistant to moving up in status. They do not adhere to the “us versus them” mantra of their older siblings and parents.
Baltimore as a city , after its riots, said, “We a re a great city. The people are wonderful people. We will police ourselves. We have come together.”
I say, “No you are not a great city. Your teenage children were in the streets throwing rocks at cops and burning people’s cars , property and buildings. You are poor and angry people who complain when the police are too forceful and complain when the police are not forceful enough. And you are proud of who you are.
“ You have not come together, there is not a more divided place on earth right now.
“ What you are is proud. You say you want justice, but what you really want is for a conviction of some cops, any cops – pay back for how you have been treated for years by some cops. You want people to be convicted without a trial or you say you will burn the city.”
How proud.
What Baltimore is missing is what the studies show are conducive to allowing young poor children to get out of poverty and live a less hassled and more productive life. There are a number of things that the studies say are needed: two-parent families, religious or community influence, multi-levels of people in your neighborhoods – rich , middle class and poor people, better education, and less pride in being poor, angry and unproductive.
Baltimore, and other inner cities, need to demand that those fathers who have been taken from the city for minor drug offenses be rehabbed and be brought back to help their children grow up. These cities need to partner with the police to make the neighborhoods safe from gangs and other criminals so those who can afford to buy houses will buy them in the cities. Religion needs to become more of a force than gangs. And parents need to teach their children it isn’t a good thing to be proud of being an angry underling.

Posted by: johnhourihan | April 18, 2015

Treatment of our pets shows true love

I saw a bumper sticker today that made me think. It said “I love my Irish Setter.”
It reminded me of all the millions of people in this country who love their pets for no apparent reason, just because they decided to love their dogs, cats , hamsters, rabbits, Vietnamese pigs, all of our beloved pets.
There is no real reason for us to do this. Dogs and cats don’t bring in money, they don’t usually work at all. Mostly they sit around and wait to be fed or walked, but we love them anyway. It seems to be just a wonderful human trait to love our pets.
We feed them, kill their fleas and ticks, protect them from adversaries, buy them expensive medicine, and, when needed ,we even take them to the vet for wallet-busting medical procedures.
I was thinking how wonderful human beings are to care for our animals with the love usually saved for members of our families. And when we find them homeless we take them in and search for a good home for them.
Seldom do we hear, “They are just lazy stupid animals. Why should I feed them and make sure they are healthy?”
Seldom do we hear, “It isn’t my fault they have no place to live and have to run around the streets at night eating out of garbage cans.”
Seldom do we hear “I’ll let him eat basic cheap food but not the good stuff. The good stuff should be saved for working animals.”
Seldom do we hear, “We ought to drug test them all before we feed them.”
No. We save that stuff for fellow human beings.
I wondered why it is that we can’t seem to treat our fellow humans with the same love and respect that we show to our animals.
It occurred to me that if anyone who owns a pet compared the amount of money spend on food, health care and shelter for a pets in a year with how much of our taxes go to provide the same service for human beings, it would become obvious which we treat better. (Spoiler alert: The animals make out much, much, much better)
Why is it I never see a bumper sticker that says “I love my brothers and sisters?” and display it with as much pride as we display the ones about loving our Irish setters, German shepherds, cocker spaniels and pit bulls.
I have a question. If you have a pet for whom you provide food, shelter and health care, how inhumane is it that you complain about a miniscule amount of your taxes going to do the same for a human being?

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