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Sunday, August 24, 2014

Silicon Valley tech bro is not anti-gay marriage

Bloomberg BusinessWeek, Aug. 11-24, 2014, cover

PHOTO: magazine cover illustrating a Silicon Valley "tech bro" for a cover story on the culture of young high-tech computer designers in Silicon Valley, California who are so "politically correct" they forced an executive to resign after it was revealed that he contributed money in support of an anti-gay marriage measure on the ballot in California. See p. 52 of the print edition article by Joel Stein, "In Defense of the Silicon Valley Tech Bro. Arrogant, Entitled and annoyingly indispensable," Bloomberg BusinessWeek, Aug. 11-24, 2014, cover, p. 46-52, published online as "Arrogance Is Good: In Defense of Silicon Valley," posted Aug. 7, 2014

"Silicon Valley has its own politics, too. Call it liberalitarian (sic). The fact that liberal and libertarian positions sometimes conflict -- smaller government and gun control, helping the poor, deregulating industries --doesn't bother most, since they think about politics so rarely. When they do, it's generally to prove who is the more politically correct. Mozilla co-founder and Chief Executive Officer Brendan Eich was discovered in April to have given $1,000 to support California's anti-gay marriage proposition back in 2008. He was forced to resign. That doesn't happen in the fast-food chicken industry." (Quoted from Joel Stein, "In Defense of the Silicon Valley Tech Bro. Arrogant, Entitled and annoyingly indispensable," Bloomberg BusinessWeek, Aug. 11-24, 2014, cover, p. 46-52, published online as "Arrogance Is Good: In Defense of Silicon Valley," posted Aug. 7, 2014)

Bill & Dave by Michael S. Malone book cover PHOTO: The native California granddaddies of Silicon Valley, who hated the stuffy and formal back east companies they had known, cultivated a casual dress culture in the company they formed. Dave Packard loved wearing a Western bolo tie and he aped the Colorado Western cowboy spirit. See the book by Michael S. Malone, "Bill & Dave: How Hewlett and Packard Built the World's Greatest Company," Portfolio Penguin Group, 2007 about Hwelett-Packard compnay founders William Hewlett and David Packard.(Note: Bill Hewlett lived 1913-2001 and Dave Packard lived 1912-1996). See previous post Bill & Dave by Michael S. Malone (5/22/07)

As someone who spent three years working in Silicon Valley, I became acquainted with the casual California culture, which is in stark contrast to the formal suit-and-tie dress codes I encountered working for companies "Back East," which is a phrase West Coasters often use to refer to people east of the Rocky Mountains. (Note: rightwing politicians love to call Californians and Oregonians the "Left Coast" as a derisive reference to libertarian or liberal politics. Of course, I always like to remind them Oregon voters banned gay marriage and also remind them where Republican President Ronald Reagan started his career, amongst all those Hollywood liberals in California.

When I was working in Silicon Valley two decades ago, it was still dominated by the hardware integrated chip and computer guys who were designing the computers we use today. Software designers had an important role, but they were not in charge and often had no background in engineering or science as did most all silicon chip designers. In fact, many software people had only liberal arts degrees and considered themselves artists and not engineers. After the dot com bubble occurred a decade ago, the young, arrogant and so-called "dot snots" who had taken over in Silicon Valley, experienced their first big failure and humbling before they rose up from the ashes and created the current Silicon Valley cloud computing technology that has been embraced by everyone world-wide and is best epitomized by Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg who popularized social networking -- something that a stereotypical anti-social computer nerd and hardware engineer would have never done.

It is interesting how the debate between liberal vs. conservative vs. libertarian is an old one -- the former Oregon State University Professor W. Dorr Legg considered himself a conservative, and even founded the present day gay Log Cabin Republicans, but many people labeled him as more a libertarian because he was a pioneering co-founder of the gay homophile movement that pre-dated Stonewall in 1969. See previous post "Gay marriage discussion in 1953 vs. 1963 and today" (12/16/13).

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Out gay Rachel Maddow Tops men in cable TV salary

TV Guide Magazine, Aug. 25-31, 2014, p. 27 PHOTO: the out gay lesbian woman Rachel Maddow earns $7,000,000 per year for doing her MSNBC cable TV "The Rachel Maddow Show," which tops the salaries of some closeted straight men (i.e. heterosexual men who are presumably straight and have never come out as being heterosexual, such as Shepard Smith) in cable TV news, but not the salary of the Republicans' favorite rightwing conservative Bill O'Reilly, who makes $18,000,000 per year for doing "The O'Reilly Factor" on the Republican's favorite rightwing Fox News Channel on cable TV and talk radio. Note that the bigger cable TV network CNN pays the out and gay Anderson Cooper $11,000,000,000 per year -- is this due to sexism or just business reasons? (Source: TV Guide Magazine, Aug. 25-31, 2014, p. 27)

Less than 10 years ago, the only political opinion shows on talk radio and cable TV were rightwing Republican, "every man for himself" types who blindly supported the Bush Administration's policies of anti-gay marriage, big spending on waging wars and eliminating government regulations, which allowed Wall Street to cause a banking collapse and the Great Recession, which Republicans are now trying to blame on President Obama.

During the 2004 election year, when President George W. Bush was reelected, a few Democrats bankrolled the now defunct "Air America Radio" in an attempt to counter Bill O'Reilly and other successful talk shows that spread the conservative ideas of smaller government and individual liberty. Air America Radio had only a shoestring budget and so two of the hosts hired for cheap were the unknown Rachel Maddow and an unemployed "Saturday Night Live" TV show cast member and writer, Al Franken, and both of them did a heroic job countering Republican propaganda prior to the election of President Barack Obama.

Unfortunately, Air America Radio was unable to pay their bills and some its talent moved on to MSNBC TV on cable and local stations, but Al Franken took action and got himself elected as a Democratic Senator from the State of Minnesota. Rachel Maddow moved on to the then new and fledgling MSNBC (originally created by Microsoft and NBC TV network) and she has clearly become a success as an opinion leader in liberal Democratic circles.

It is amazing to think that less than 50 years ago it was forbidden to even mention the word homosexual, except in the context of a criminal investigation against suspected un-American homosexuals and Communists, and here we are today where both a gay woman lesbian can compete successfully against men who would have dismissed her just a generation ago.

This should give everyone hope that no matter how oppressive things are politically, there is always the hope and possibility that things can change for the better in terms of justice and equality for humans who are created equally in the eyes of the U.S. Constitution and law.

One final unrelated comment about the "new" design for the print edition of the TV Guide Magazine, which I hope to blog on later -- print publications are declining in circulation as the internet takes over, but older people are still reading printed magazines, therefore I was shocked to hear that the TV Guide decided to save money by shrinking its page size and type size, making it harder for their best customers to read. Other print magazines are also making this same mistake, which will only accelerate their demise. It reminds me of how shopping malls destroyed city downtown retail stores and now these same shopping malls are being destroyed by internet shopping, but the retail survivors have figured out how to cater to their best customers and stay in business.

Thursday, August 7, 2014

OSU topped by University of Oregon in 'party school' ranking

I've mentioned before the idea that Oregon State University Students tend to be from rural, religious and conservative backgrounds and they will often stereotype the nearby and more liberal University of Oregon students as being hippie marijuana smokers who go to a "party school" in my gay history: Thomas Kraemer, "Corvallis, Oregon State University gay activism 1969-2004," p. 1 printed to PDF from in 2010 permanently stored by the OSU Scholars Archives @ OSU.

I finally have some good evidence to cite that confirms the U of O's party school reputation, which was reported in the Eugene, Oregon newspaper article by Jeff Wright, "UO in top 20 -- for parties. The Princeton Review publication also ranks Oregon at No. 7 in the "Reefer Madness" category," The Register-Guard, posted Aug. 5, 2014, which was reprinted in the Oregon State University student newspaper as "University of Oregon among top 20 party schools," Barometer, Aug. 6, 2014, p. 2. Below are some selected quotes from the article:

IThe UO was 19th on the list of top 20 party schools -- the only Pac-12 school to make the list, but far behind Syracuse.

Stanford, meanwhile, claimed its own bragging rights: The Pac-12 rival ranked No. 1 in the country for being lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender-friendly. . .

For better and for worse, Oregon State University did not rank in the top 20 in any category.

Rounding out the top five party schools were: the University of Iowa (last year's winner), the University of California-Santa Barbara, West Virginia University and the University of Illinois at Urbana--Champaign.

Repeating at the top of the "stone-cold sober" schools was Brigham Young University in Provo, Utah.


(Quoted from Jeff Wright, "West: UO in top 20 -- for parties. The Princeton Review publication also ranks Oregon at No. 7 in the "Reefer Madness" category," The Register-Guard, posted Aug. 5, 2014)

OSU students do party, based on the complaints made to local City of Corvallis Police officials concerning noise, etc. However, in my opinion the partying done by OSU Students is colored by the prevalence of so-called "square" science, engineering and agricultural students who have a different style of partying that seems square to the "normies" on campus. For example, science and engineering students have been known to calculate the amount of alcohol required to achieve certain safe blood concentration levels of intoxication to prevent many of the problems these career-minded students may have with their future employers' background checks. Also, of course, the Agricultural students are often from conservative rural backgrounds where everyone is polite and looks the other way when you whoop it up, as long as you meet certain country ethical standards of decorum, which would not get you a party school reputation. The sociology of college partying would make for a good Ph.D. thesis.

UPDATE 8/24/2014 - With a misspelled headline, the Sunday print edition of the main Portland, Oregon newspaper mentioned Oregon State University as being "welcoming and supporting students who are gay, lesbian, bisexual or transgender," according to the Campus Pride Group -- Betsy Hammond, "Schools: Oregon colleges praised for LBGT (sic) support, services," Sunday Oregonian, Aug. 24, 2014, p. A6 published online as "Oregon's three big public universities among nation's most gay-friendly," posted August 15, 2014. The article quoted "Portland State officials (who) said they strive to provide an inclusive environment for students across the gender and sexuality spectrum. PSU attracts LGBT students because of its strong academics and services -- and has the additional lure of being located in Portland, versus a Corvallis" -- OUCH, but I like s small college town. such as Corvallis, Oregon home of Oregon State University, better than any big city because you can walk or bike everywhere. It is only a short drive to Portland, if you want more gay entertainment, but hey, you have to study sometime!

Saturday, August 2, 2014

First gay wedding 1971 shown on WCCO TV 1973 aroused disgusted viewer reactions

VIDEO: Brandon Wolf, "First Gay Wedding in Minnesota - Jack Baker & Mike McConnell, 1971," posted Aug 6, 2013 (1:25) Jack Baker and Mike McConnell first applied for a marriage license in Minneapolis on May 18, 1970. They were married by the Rev. Roger Lynn on September 3, 1971. This video of the wedding was made by Leonard D. Bart, now deceased, a contractor for WCCO TV channel 4 of Minneapolis, Minnesota, which at the time was a CBS television network affiliate. This copy of the tape was provided by Baker and McConnell to Tim Campbell, retired publisher of the GLC Voice Newspaper, which was published in Minneapolis from 1979 -1992.

VIDEO contains footage of the marriage of Jack Baker and Mike McConnell, on September 3, 1971 at (4:23) - A news special by Minneapolis, Minnesota WCCO-TV news anchor Dave Moore "On Sunday." from Brandon Wolf, video of Ken Kurtenbach, Gotebo High School, "University of Minnesota Student Video Project - Part 1," posted Aug 7, 2013 (14:09). The TV news anchor Dave Moore started working as a TV news anchor in the 1950's when most TV stations were only a few years old. Dave Moore lived in the neighborhood I grew up in and had a son, Charlie Moore, who was the same age as me and attended the same grade school through high school classes with me, and so I got to know Dave Moore as both a TV star and as the father of a large Catholic family that was very traditional, but also very liberal on the civil rights issues of the era. This video project was produced by students at the University of Minnesota and first aired on WCCO TV Minneapolis, Minnesota September 30, 1973. It was updated July, 1974. The TV news anchor Dave Moore starts his report by stating "homosexuals" are an oppressed minority in America. A gay activist later responds in the update by saying he is offended by Moore's use of the term "homosexual" and says he wants to be called gay, adding that some women want to be called lesbians.

VIDEO: Brandon Wolf, "University of Minnesota Student Video Project - Part 2," posted Aug 7, 2013 (11:37) WCCO TV news anchor Dave Moore notes that the large Minneapolis company Honeywell had told WCCO "a few years ago it would not hire a homosexual, but this time they said yes" and Moore added that only two Minneapolis employers still said outright they would not hire any homosexual, Northwestern Bell and the U.S. Selective Service military draft. However, other employers told WCCO that being a homosexual would be a factor or they had a fuzzy answer. At (7:32) Dave Moore goes over the feedback he received from viewers since this show aired the previous week. He he notes there were 200 phone calls running 10 to 1 against doing the show and many of the callers said they were sickened, shocked and disgusted by the show.

See previous post Magnus Hirschfeld, Jack Baker, University of Minnesota and Oregon State University gay connection (1/21/12), which includes the cover of a newsletter story by Jean-Nickolaus Tretter, "Tretter Collection Makes Purchase of Magnus Hirschfeld Li Family Estate," Tretter Letter, Jan. 2007, p. 1,3. Also see the following links and previous posts:

Is advertiser supported or pay-per-view business model better for gay civil rights?

VIDEO: many free over-the-air broadcast TV stations are running the ad warning viewers that pay cable and satellite TV comapnies are trying to take away free TV, but the ad doesn't explain about the complex issues surrounding retransmission fees still under negotiation and the planned FCC auction of over-the-air spectrum, which will be freed up when old analog TV transmissions are finally shut off soon. The campaign is sponsored by the National Association of Broadcasters, an industry grouping of the people who broadcast free to air TV. Posted at "keep my tv - KEYT," watched Aug. 2, 2014.

As somebody old enough to remember when over-the-air broadcast television first became broadly available in the 1950's, I clearly recall how early TV stations struggled to find a business model to make money because TV technology of that era was unable to charge each viewer individually for watching programs like a movie theatre could sell admission tickets. As a result, free over-the-air TV stations were forced to become entirely advertiser supported until other revenue streams became available, including the retransmission fees paid by cable TV providers, when cable TV technology became common and Congress passes a law requiring it.

In contrast, it was easy charge each household individually for early cable TV technology because it was physically attached to each house, but it did not permit charging customers individually for each program watched, except for a few premium channels that could be optionally enabled by adding or removing a physical electronic filter. As a result, cable TV adopted a business model of selling groups of TV channels with a few premium channels that viewers could opt to subscribe to on a monthly basis. Although the technology for pay-per-view is now quite common, cable TV channel packages are still what is being commonly sold.

The internet dot com publishing businesses and the emerging internet cloud services have been facing a similar struggle to find a successful business model to make money in an environment where internet audiences are used to accessing everything for free, except for having to put up with a few sidebar or banner ads, or worse forced video ads.

The only thing that has inhibited businesses from charging interest customers for content, instead of being advertiser supported, is the hassle factor of it that drives many customers elsewhere. Of course, as billing problems are eliminated, this could change in the future.

Likewise, both television and cable TV providers are being forced to compete in this new world of the internet cloud and their reaction has been two-old: first, they are trying to embrace it by transforming themselves in to content-providers and two, they have been lobbying Congress for laws to "protect intellectual property" and either support or undermine retransmission fees for cable TV providers, which could alter the future of who pays for cloud based content.

I hope to live long enough to see where the dust settles on this dual between large content providers and the small-fry authors and creative talent who actually create content people want to consume.

Having watched these battles over the last century, I can anticipate several possible outcomes, all of which could work and be stable, but none that I see as the obvious direction.

Instead of guessing at the outcome, I found it more interesting to think about what policies Congress should be adopting to help encourage things to go in a way that would prevent a few businesses from locking up all content to make more money at the expense of democracy?

For example, the original designers of the internet architected it intentionally in a way that would be both democratic and robust enough to withstand nuclear war -- after all this research was funded by DARPA (Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency) originally for defense communications applications.

The freedom of speech issue I see in all of this is, historically, neither the advertiser supported model of content providers, nor the pay-per-view business model enable to free speech required for minority groups to stay connected.

For example, in the early days of television, show would literally include in their show title the sponsor's name, including tobacco companies before Congress outlawed their advertisements on TV, The freedom of speech issues here are clear because no TV show would dare talk about the cancer causing agents in cigarettes, for fear of losing a sponsor, and Congress is limiting free speech, although for the noble purpose of saving lives, in a manner that could be abused in the future.

These changing business models for content providers are not new. For example, in the 1960's a number of mass circulation magazines, such as "Life" magazine, essentially gave away print subscriptions for pennies an issue with the expectation that increased advertiser revenue would pay to print and mail it and provide them a bigger profit than if they charges subscribers the full cost of production. Needless to say, they failed and went out of business for this and other reasons that are still be discussed in business school books today.

My bottom line fear is that over time, America's businesses are set up reduce competition to a point where there are only a few big players, which has the positive effect of creating economies of scale that can benefit both consumers and investors, but it can also have the negative effect of being abused to lock out new ideas and oppress minority groups.

I believe that to preserve America's successes, legislators must be wary of balancing the demands of those who want the "free marketplace" to be "every man for himself" with the demands of those who want a fully "regulated marketplace" or "totalitarian nanny government" that stifles innovation and the freedom of speech of individuals.