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Monday, June 30, 2014

Productivity Vacuum

The only evidence I have is anecdotal, but I do have a lot of experience.

The way I see it, there are two weeks out of the year where American productivity disappears.  One is the week between Christmas and New Year's.

The other is the week where Independence Day falls.  If I have to guess, it's the peak summer vacation week.  Call someone's office this week.  There's a good chance he or she isn't there.

It makes sense.  It's a holiday week.  The weather is usually nice.  Kids are out of school, even the ones who had to endure teacher strikes.  There's plenty to do, and if you schedule things right, you can see fireworks several nights in a row.

Relax and enjoy.

Me?  I'm working.  My next vacation week is at the end of the month.

Sunday, June 29, 2014

Andy's Angles: C of C

I love it when old buildings are given a second chance at life.

Above is the old Chamber of Commerce Building at Mulberry and North Washington in Scranton.  The C of C and all the other offices here moved out years ago.  The building now houses retail on the first floor and apartments above.  I saw a tour on WNEP's Home & Backyard program several months ago.  The apartments are spectacular.

Trivia:  Scranton City Hall is directly across the street, and WNEP had a newsroom on one of the upper floors of the Chamber of Commerce Building  back in the 80's.

Saturday, June 28, 2014

Andy's Angles: Another From Callicoon

During my quick trip to Callicoon, New York last week, this building emerged as one of my favorites.

Retail on the bottom.  Rooms above.

If you watch "Gunsmoke" reruns, you know what I'm talking about.  This looks like one of those old western buildings that has Miss Kitty's saloon on the first floor, and sleeping rooms above.

It's one of the Callicoon treasures.

Friday, June 27, 2014

Friday Scrapple

I'm so tired of the over-use of the word "iconic."  Come on, news writers.  You have to be more creative and thoughtful than that.

I've been looking at the new shows slated for fall debuts.  Nothing jumps out at me.

I still have no desire to eat sushi.

Is the World Cup over yet?  It was on at the barber shop where I got my hair cut Tuesday afternoon.  I just don't get it.  Congratulations if you do.

Have they found the Malaysian jet yet?

A few states had primaries Tuesday, and there was plenty of coverage on cable TV.  Eric Cantor's loss in Virginia has forced the networks to start looking at politics a little early.

Speaking of cable news, I find it hilarious that they take Jon Stewart and Stephen Colbert so seriously.  Hello!  Comedy.  Satire.  Get it?

Michael Jackson died five years ago this week.  I respect his popularity, but his music was not my thing.  Maybe it's the reason that the first thing I think of when I hear his name is how he spiraled out of control, with so many enablers, rather than his body of work.

Doesn't it seem like Melissa McCarthy has fallen into that Hollywood trap of playing the same character in every movie in which she appears?

Maybe it's because it's summer, but America's fascination with salted caramel, thankfully, seems to have slowed.

Thursday, June 26, 2014

First Person: TrafficWatch

The assignment was supposed to go to someone else, but last minute breaking news forced a juggling of the schedule.

A contractor was setting beams for the bridge that takes Interstate 81 over Route 315, on the approach to Wilkes-Barre Scranton International Airport.  Not only was it tying up traffic on the interstate, getting to the airport was an absolute nightmare.  Beam setting is a delicate process, and traffic has to come to a halt as the giant concrete beams are dropped in to place.


Before continuing, I have to point out there is no "good time" for construction.  Working at night is dangerous for the construction people, no matter how good the lighting.  Daytime work causes massive traffic back ups.

I should also note that this is not one of my favorite projects.  While the acceleration and deceleration ramps here needed to be lengthened and widened, the interchange itself was functioning nicely.  For some reason, Penndot felt the need to add traffic circles, which no one likes.

Okay, back on track.

Often, to get to the scene of a traffic jam, you have to get stuck in the traffic jam.  That was the case as the minutes ticked away late Tuesday morning.  Our noon broadcast was approaching.  We were looking for that perfect location, where you could see the bridge construction and the traffic tie ups.  It didn't exist.  We found a nice, safe place-- high above the interstate, in the parking lot of a closed restaurant.  Trees blocked the view of the bridge, but you could see stopped cars and trucks on the interstate.  Most importantly, we were out of harm's way.  State Police frown on live trucks parked along interstates.  We didn't want to mess up what the construction workers were doing.  That limited our options, but safety first.

We were live at noon, giving people a fairly good idea of what was happening on the highway, and what they could expect for the rest of the afternoon.

Luckily, we didn't hit traffic on the way back to the office to end our shift.

Wednesday, June 25, 2014

First Person: Gabe's

It was a story that combined two things that make me happy-- the re-use of old buildings, and people getting jobs.

Gabe's is a West Virginia based clothing discount store, similar to Marshall's and TJ Maxx.  It has about 40 stores and is embarking on an expansion.  Luckily, that includes our area.  Gabe's is opening a new store at the end of July.  You can find it in the East End Centre in Wilkes-Barre Township.  It'll be in the building Price Chopper vacated several years ago.  Work is underway to renovate it, and looks on schedule for a July 26th opening.
Gabe's held a two day job fair, beginning Monday morning, and I was assigned to take a look.

Don Hewitt of "60 Minutes" preached "tell me a story."  Our former assistant director always said "Introduce me to someone."  It's what I always set out to do on job fair stories.  We found two good stories-- a woman who lost her job as a fork lift operator last week, and a young woman, entering the job market for the first time.

Let me back up a moment.  The job fair started at 9 AM Monday.  People started lining up at the hotel that hosted it two hours early.  It's clear that times are tough.We got the standard line from the company.  Wages will be "competitive."  They'll be based upon the position and the experience.  Hey, if you need a job, any job is a good job. I've worked for some lousy wages in my life, but I was just happy to be working and getting something.

Anyway, the former fork lift operator will have to wait and see.  The young job seeker was hired on the spot.  I think I was just as happy as she was.  She seemed like a nice kid and she'll do just fine.

Photographer Joe and I put together a good story for our Monday noon broadcast

Let me branch off on to another topic before I hit the "publish" button.  Think about this before you park your arse under the tattoo needle.  Gabe's has a policy that tatts have to be covered up on the job.  I'm not taking a pro or anti tattoo stand.  Young people entering the job market have to be aware that not everyone wants to see your ink, no matter how well done.

Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Eye on the Ball

As a candidate for Pennsylvania's Attorney General, Kathleen Kane made allegations then-AG Tom Corbett slowed the Jerry Sandusky sex abuse investigation for political gain.  Kane theorized it would be politically unpopular for gubernatorial candidate Corbett to go after Sandusky and the revered and feared Penn State football program.

An investigation, commissioned by Kane and released yesterday, showed there is no smoking gun and nothing to indicate Corbett played "hands off Penn State."

Kane faulted Corbett for not going after Sandusky quickly enough.  That's all.

A former chief investigator under Corbett denies it all.  He, and Corbett point to the fact that Sandusky is likely in jail for the rest of his life, and the victims received the justice they deserved.

Could the investigation have moved faster?  Likely.  Were mistakes and blunders made?  Absolutely.

However, one cannot escape the fact that Kane made allegations that simply were not true.

Monday, June 23, 2014

Summer

I dread summer weekends.  If you sleep all day and work all night, as I do, the weekends are far too hot, too bright, and too noisy.

The biggest reason, however, is the danger.  It's tough in the news business.  Summer weekends are prime time for drownings, fireworks accidents, and my biggest fear of all-- crashes.

We had a few this past weekend-- crashes involving young people.  One was just a few minutes after a high school graduation in Monroe County.  Any time you hear a crash, and multiple victims in just one or two vehicles, your stomach sinks.  Especially late at night and early in the morning.  It usually involves young people, and it's always bad.

I can understand it.  Even though I went home to watch a baseball game after high school graduation, and home to take a nap because I had to work at midnight after college graduation, I can remember having that young person's feeling of invincibility.  You can lecture all you want.  You can't get rid of it.  You can only help to control it.

Make my life easier, and make your life longer.  Please, be careful.


Sunday, June 22, 2014

Andy's Angles: The Western Hotel

Another Callicoon shot this morning.  This is the Western Hotel, on upper Main Street.

I lifted the paragraph you see below from www.visitcallicoon.com.

Western Hotel with its mansard roof and its Harmonie Hall, a 19th century home to Chautauqua lectures, melodramas, concerts and roller skating. The hotel is also the site of the storied murder of Laura Darling by her bartender husband. 

Saturday, June 21, 2014

Andy's Angles: Callicoon

Unfortunately, a tragedy brought me to Callicoon, New York this week.

I had a small amount of down time, and it gave me an opportunity to pull my spare camera out of my bag and snap off a few.

This is the train station.  According to www.visitcallicoon.com, the station dates back to 1899.  It replaced a building that was destroyed in a fire.

The Callicoon area was first settled in the 1600's.  It's been home to many induystries over the years-- including lumber, leather, and now tourism.  It's a fascinating place, and I'll share a few more photos here in the days to come.

Friday, June 20, 2014

PS Friday

Revisiting some recent topics...

A New York Times writer blamed the now departed Casey Kasem for the homogenization of radio.  Please!  Kasem did a weekend three hour (eventually four hour) radio show beginning in 1970.  It gave stations easy and fresh programming on weekends.  That's all.  Why pay an announcer/DJ when you can find a college kid to spin American Top 40 (it was on vinyl discs for the early decades) for minimum wage?  The Telecommunications Act of 1996 is the major reason you can get the same stuff, up and down the dial, from coast to coast.

The state legislature is tinkering with the law that puts municipalities under "distrissed" status.  Scranton has lived there for decades.  It looks like the bill establishes a definite timetable and framework, and that appears to be a good thing.  I do watch council meetings on TV.  New mayor.  New council.  Same old problems.  There is no magic wand.  Fixing Scranton is going to hurt.

I slam bad TV when I see it.  I praise good TV when I see it.  Watch "The Sixties" on CNN, and past episodes are available "On Demand."  It's really well done.

Technology:  Amazon is out with a smart phone on the AT&T system.  I'm an Amazon fan and a Kindle owner.  I still don't own a smart phone, and this isn't going to change my mind.  I had a Blackberry years ago, and realized the only function I was using was the telephone, so I disabled it.

USA Today reports McDonald's is dead last in a consumer satisfaction survey of fast food restaurants.  It's been a while since I've been under the golden arches, so I don't know what the problems are.

Keith Olbermann has it figured out.  Washington Redskins owner Dan Snyder says HE will never change the name of the team.  It gives Snyder an out.  The name can change, and Snyder can blame it on congress and the NFL.

Have a great weekend.

Thursday, June 19, 2014

World Cup Half Empty

Soccer is the world's game, and I'm sure the currently underway World Cup is a spectacular event.  Pardon me if I don't care.

We've been hearing about the impending soccer revolution for decades.  It's never materialized.

No one has ever given me a reason as to how so many little kids can be involved in weekend soccer leagues, yet, the game has never caught on with adults.

Yes, there are pockets of soccer fandom.  They're underwhelming.

ESPN has the rights to World Cup 2014.  It's treating the event like it's the Super Bowl, World Series, and Mardi Gras, all rolled in to one.  Of course.  It has a financial interest.  Hence, the hype.

Go, USA!

Wednesday, June 18, 2014

First Person: Explosion

Like most stories, it started with a text.  My phone pinged late Sunday night.  Acting morning producer mike informed me two people were missing after a home exploded in Damascus Township, and I would be headed to Wayne County for Newswatch 16 This Morning.

I jumped out of bed, hit the shower, and arrived at the station shortly before 1:00 AM.  We had two photographers and a satellite truck on scene.  I was to take a car and meet the photographers there, just across the river from Callicoon, New York.  I'm not familiar with the area, so I took a look at an internet map, got my bearings, and headed for the door.

It was just my luck.  I grabbed the only news car without a GPS, which I didn't notice at first, because I had intended to plug it in when I got to Honesdale.  I still had the printed map, and some knowledge of my general destination.   It turns out I took the long way, but I made it to Damascus Township in plenty of time.

This might be too "inside baseball" for most of you, but let me explain one of our major Monday morning issues.  We were going to be live near the blast scene using one of our satellite trucks.  It's not simply of matter of deploying the dish on top of the truck and pressing a button.  You have to communicate with the people who control the satellites, and we do that via cell phone.  Unfortunately, cellular coverage in the Damascus area is almost non existent.    It was time to consider our options.

We decided to try across the river in Callicoon.  It was higher, and we stood a better chance of getting cell service.  Success!  We landed in the parking lot of Catskill Regional Medical Center along Route 97.  More about them later.  We grabbed a spot in the hospital's parking lot, and were live with the latest all morning on Newswatch 16.

After our last "hit" at 6:30, we went back to the scene to do more interviews, get more video, acquire more information, etc.  It was them time to start putting something together for Newswatch 16 at Noon.  The hospital was kind enough to let me use their internet connection to send a script back to the office, and our web people here made sure it got on WNEP.com quickly.  The noon story was edited in the truck, and video was sent back to the station, and I was live with the very latest at noon.

After 12:00 PM, I went back to the office.  Our satellite truck uperator handed off the vehicle to the afternoon crew, and he was done for the day.

The staff at Catskill Regional Medical Center could not have been nicer and more professional.  In addition to offering the internet connection, they provided a bathroom and refreshments.  I used the porcelean conveniences, but I'm not a coffee drinker.  I bought a big soda in town.  Thank you to the hospital staff.  You made my day so much easier.

I'm sorry that I had to hit the area for such a sad story.  I hadn't been up that way in ages, and I forgot how beautiful it is.  I'll have to make it a point to get out there with my camera someday soon.

Tuesday, June 17, 2014

16 @ 16

There are many days here I'm as terrified as I was on my first.

Today is my 16th anniversary at WNEP.  Even after all these years, I try not to take the gig for granted.  I'm lucky to be here.  It's a cliche, but I really do learn something new every day.

I am happy I did not destroy what my predecessors built.

I am happy every day is an adventure.

I am happy I've been able to distribute some journalistic knowledge to the younger people here, and they've taught me about new technology.

I am happy that I have not become jaded.  There is still joy over happy stories, still sorrow when I witness tragedy, still satisfaction when a plan and a story come together.

Thanks to my co-workers, for putting up with me so long, and special thanks to the people who tune in every day.

Monday, June 16, 2014

OJ, Chuck, and Casey

Tomorrow is the 20th anniversary of the arrest of OJ Simpson for the Brown and Goldman murders in California.  You remember how the day ended-- a slow speed white Ford Bronco chase, with Simpson being taken in to custody.

A lot of people remember the chase and the arrest as the signature moment of the crime, investigation, arrest, and trial.

For me, it was the acquittal in October of '95.  It was a total misfire of the American justice system.  Defense attorneys couldn't behave.  Prosecutors were incompetent, and an unfit judge lost control of his courtroom.

Simpson was later found liable, at a civil trial, for the killings.  He's now doing time for a Las Vegas robbery.  If everything goes OJ's way, he could be out in a few years.

Former Pittsburgh Steelers coach Chuck Noll died Friday night at the age of 82.  He quietly built the Steelers into winners.  Four Super Bowls in six years.  Noll was never bigger than the game, never bigger than the team.  Old school.  Dignity.  He should be on the short list of great coaches in NFL history.

If there's ever going to be a Mount Rushmore of radio, Casey Kasem deserves a spot.  The former American Top 40 host died Sunday.  It was a sorry end.  Mother and daughter battled over his care.  It was clear the man was suffering, and it was awful.

AT40 was on hundreds of stations at its peak.  Around here, WILK carried the show on Sunday afternoons.  I was a WARM guy, even as a little kid, so I wasn't a regular listener.  However, I became a huge fan after old AT40's began popping up on satellite radio and oldies stations.   From what I read, Casey waltzed in, cut the voice track, and boogied.  Producers and technicians did the rest, and they did a marvelous job.  Now that I'm older and I've been in the biz for a while, I can appreciate how well those shows were put together.  They were solid, slick, and smooth.  I don't think there was anything better before or after.

Casey Kasem was 82.  He deserved better at the end.

Sunday, June 15, 2014

Andy's Angles: The Bicentennial Building

A while back, I referred to the former Sheraton Crossgates, on Public Square, as one of the major symbols of post flood Wilkes-Barre.

This has to be the other-- the Bicentennial Building.  The bicentennial was only four years after the water went down.  The building isn't anything architecturally unique.  It's just a white box, but it does make a strong statement.  I was never sure it fit on the square, but they were going for modern at the time, and modern is what they got.

In the 70's, it was home to a WNEP Wilkes-Barre newsroom.  A new and bigger one was established here a few years ago-- just across the lobby from the old one.  In fact, I was working out of the Wyoming Valley Newsroom when I took this photo, early on Memorial Day morning.

Saturday, June 14, 2014

Andy's Angles: Transitions

Wilkes-Barre, like most cities is going through a transition-- from office and retail to living.

This isn't the money view of the Citizens Bank Building, but you get the idea.  The better view is up on West Market Street.  This is what you see from Public Square, but you get the idea.

The bank moved out more than a year ago.  Only a few offices remain.  Most of the building is empty, but five of the upper floors are being converted into apartments.  Wilkes-Barre has some downtown living space.  Scranton has more, and it seems to be working. It could be the solutions to some of Wilkes-Barre's problems.

Friday, June 13, 2014

Flag Day

Tomorrow is Flag Day, and this is the display on the North Washington Avenue side of Courthouse Square in downtown Scranton.

It's easy to get preachy concerning patriotic observances, so I'll resist the temptation.  As I am fond of saying, "please remember what the day is all about."

Thursday, June 12, 2014

Clipped

Donald Sterling is a bad man who said bad things.  However, I'd love to see him sue the National Basketball Association, and here's why.

Sterling is being forced to sell his Los Angeles Clippers because he made racist comments.  While the NBA is a club, and it can discipline its members as it sees fit, the whole Sterling saga is based on an illegally recorded and private conversation.

Most law experts feel the league wins a Sterling suit, I'd love to see it happen because of the legal questions it raises.  It would be fascinating reading and viewing.

Sterling is an old and sick man.  It looked like he was going to let go of the team for $ 2 billion.  He backed out.  Now, there are indications his controlling wife will get to pull the trigger on the deal.

It's likely we'll never know what would have happened if the Clippers sale wound up in court.  Too bad.  It would have been a heck of a show.

Wednesday, June 11, 2014

The Sport of Kings

California Chrome co-owner Steve Coburn had an emotional moment after his horse finished fourth at Belmont Saturday afternoon.

Coburn was angry California Chrome lost to horses that hadn't run in the previous two Triple Crown races.

He had a point, but his rant, calling other owners "cowards" was way off base, and it was classless.  At least, Coburn apologized.

The last Triple Crown winner was Affirmed in 1978, and there are severe doubts we'll see another.  Three big races in a month and a half is a lot to ask of a horse, so I'm told.  I held off on a blog entry about Coburn until I had a chance to read more about race horses, and how much rest they need between events.

While I'm inclined to say the rested horses had an unfair advantage, I'll defer to an ESPN expert, who said California Chrome was just a good horse in a mediocre year for three year olds.  Belmont's 1.5 mile course was simply too much for him to handle.

Tuesday, June 10, 2014

Tuesday Scrapple

I wonder if I'll live long enough to see the size of the Pennsylvania legislature reduced.  As it stands now, it is one of the biggest and costliest in the nation.

I was watching Letterman Thursday night when they ran full credits and Paul Shaffer and the CBS Orchestra played the entire theme.  It blew me away.

The Casey Kasem situation makes me sad.  No one wants to go out that way.

Don Zimmer passed away last week.  He was the definition of what a baseball coach should be.

The Allentown area is getting a Costco and Whole Foods.  The Lehigh Valley seems to be much more affluent than most of northeastern Pennsylvania, so it gets expanding retailers first.

Here we go again-- another scandal.  This time, it's the LCTA.  First, when will people learn?  Second, this further cements our area as one of the most scandal ridden in the state.  We're giving Philadelphia a good run for its money.

Those 15 workers fired from General Motors due to inaction in the faulty ignition switch problem are lucky they only lost their jobs.  They should be in jail.  People died, and they did nothing to stop it.

Philadelphia wants to host the 2016 Democratic National Convention.  Cleveland and Columbus are also in the running.  Philadelphia makes sense.  Ohio is really important to both sides, so I'm guessing Cleveland and Columbus have the edge.  Cleveland has been struggling.  Do the Democrats really want to go there, and show off a depressed city, after a Democratic president has been in office for eight years?

Monday, June 9, 2014

Courage

There was a time in my life when I was a huge Dan Rather fan.

Then, he became a major disappointment and continues to fall short of what a broadcasting elder statesman should be.

Last week, Rather said journalists have lost their guts.

Yes, Dan.  It took guts to put a flawed report on the air and flush away your career.

Rather got bounced from CBS for his role in a botched investigation of George W. Bush's National Guard service.  The report might have been right, but he couldn't prove it.  The paperwork that was supposed to be the smoking gun was forged.  The rest was based on hearsay and innuendo and rumor.  Dan Rather could have and should have known better.  If that wasn't bad enough, Dan Rather never really took responsibility for what happened and his apology was half hearted, at best.  He continues to blame conspiracies and vendettas for what happened at CBS.

Now, back to his "no guts" remark.

I guess Dan never saw Lara Logan get sexually assaulted and nearly killed in Egypt.

Dan apparently never saw those reporters ducking rocks and Molotov cocktales in Kiev.

Dan isn't watching when Jon Karl holds White House spokesman Jay Carney's feet to the fire every afternoon.

Dan didn't notice when reporters risked getting all sorts of diseases while covering tsunamis and third world earthquakes and hurricanes.

Dan was elsewhere when reporters and photographers had to race to get out of the way of rapidly advancing southern California brush fires.

Dan was nowhere to be found when I was measuring zero-point-zero inches of snow in Stroudsburg.

Well, you get the idea.

Everything Dan Rather's said after 2004 makes me sad.

Sunday, June 8, 2014

Andy's Angles: Pomeroy's

This is one of my favorite buildings in downtown Wilkes-Barre.  Pomeroy's department store used to be here.  Now, it's offices.  I love the stone and all the different window styles.

I guess it was a sign of the times, but do you remember the hideous facade Pomeroy's once had on the front of the building?  What were they thinking?  I assume it was easier, faster, and cheaper to cover up than fix up.

I was always struck by the unevenness of the floors during my visits.  It was an odd way to shop.  You were always going up or down a slope.

Pomeroy's closed during my 80's radio days.  I remembering interviewing Boscov's manager about being the only department store left downtown.  He was disappointed.  The reason?  Anything that brings people downtown, even if it's competition, helps in the long run.

Boscov's is still a block away, and the owner announced plans to renovate the last big store left downtown.

Saturday, June 7, 2014

Andy's Angles: The Crossgates

This building began life as the Sheraton Crossgates, one of the new, post flood, Public Square structures.  It switched names a couple of times, and now it switches purpose.

King's College bought the building last year.  Renovations are underway.  This photo was taken early Memorial Day morning, so the square was rather quiet.  The building is set to reopen in August.

It's strange that a city the size of Wilkes-Barre only has one downtown hotel.  There are several others near the mall and the arena.

It's another "mixed" story.  Wilkes-Barre lost some tax money when the hotel went to King's, but on the other hand, it brings jobs and students downtown-- and that has to be good for business.

By the way, I don't remember the significance of the "crossgates" part of the name.  If someone knows, I'd be interested in hearing it.

Friday, June 6, 2014

70

I've discussed this topic in this space before.  Forgive me for doing it again.  Today is the 70th anniversary of the Allied invasion of Normandy.  It was one of the gutsiest moves in military history, and I could never figure out why it's not a bigger deal in this country.  If any event is worthy of an observance, it's D Day.

I suspect it's because the invasion took part on foreign soil.  Many of those who died never came home.  There were no public funerals, no flag waving, and of course, all of this happened before modern cameras were around to record it.

The Invasion of Normandy was the turning point of World War II, and it will get a little more attention this year because it's the 70th anniversary and President Obama will be there.

That's nice.  However, we could and should do better.

Thursday, June 5, 2014

180 Degrees

I will never cease to be amazed at the speed in which things can do a complete 180 degree turn in this country.

Submitted for your approval:  the release of Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl.  He was held captive in Afghanistan for five years and released Saturday.  First, euphoria.  A hero is coming home.  No soldier left behind.  Now, allegations of circumventing law, treason, and desertion.

President Obama okayed the trade of Bergdhal for five terrorists sitting at Guantanamo.  Republicans cried foul, and now even some Democrats have joined the chorus.  If that isn't enough, there are allegations Bergdahl was AWOL.

Congress will hold hearings.  There have already been news conferences, and the cable networks are really going to town.

All I can say right now is reserve judgement because all the facts aren't in, and that likely won't happen for a while.

On a much lighter and totally unrelated note, I've really done a turn around on Keith Olbermann.  At each of his previous professional stops, he seemed like a talented, but miserable, SOB.  The MSNBC and Current shows were unwatchable.  They were personal agenda driven.  Plus, Olbermann was so overwhelmingly nasty, I couldn't imagine anyone spending any time watching him.   Any time I saw Keith Olbermann on TV, my finger couldn't hit the remote fast enough.

Several months ago, Olbermann signed on to do a late night sports show on ESPN2.  It's well produced,  and well done.  Olbermann seems relaxed and dare I say, happy.  It's not just a good sports show.  It's a good television show.  It's standard stuff-- highlights and interviews.  There's the classic Olbermann wry twist, plus he has a tremendous sense of history.  The interview segments aren't rushed, and he has the time to ask good questions and converse with his guests.

Unfortunately, Keith Olbermann has a self destruct mechanism.  I hope I'm wrong, but a big part of me worries that it's only a matter of time before it kicks in.

Wednesday, June 4, 2014

Business Wednesday

Seattle, Washington is hiking its minimum wage to $15 an hour.  Small business owners and franchise owners say they'll sue to block it.  They claim they can't afford it.

No one is arguing that it's tough to live on minimum wage, but our economy is built on supply and demand.  If a business can't fill positions, it has to raise pay to attract candidates.  If there are a lot of people who want the job, the business can get away with paying less.

I've long contended that the answer to our woes is not hiking the minimum wage.  The solution is to make higher education and job training affordable.

Dollar General plans to open 700 new stores this year.  Translation:  people want and need cheap stuff.  Not everyone can afford to hit the mall on a regular basis.  Dollar General fills a huge need in this country.  Yes, I'm an occasional visitor.

Krispy Kreme reported disappointing earnings in the first quarter.  Management blames the economy.  Remember, not so long ago, when Krispy Kreme was the hottest thing around?

USA Today reports there could be a whiskey shortage.  The reason?  Increased demand.  If that doesn't tell you about life in 2014, nothing does.

The world jumps when Apple makes a product announcement.  I yawn.

Box Office Mojo says The Lego Movie is the top grossing movie of the year, so far.  Captain America is a close second.

Tuesday, June 3, 2014

Wheels


I found myself doing a lot of court stories for Newswatch 16 This Morning, but most of the time, I'm not "in" court.  We preview and review, and due to the hours we work, someone else usually sits in on trials and hearings.

Yesterday was a rare exception.  I actually got to sit in on a little of the Neil Pal homicide jury selection at the Lackawanna County Courthouse.  I did a lot of court when I was in radio, and I was very happy to move on to other things.  Pennsylvania still has a ban on cameras and microphones in courtrooms, and most court reporting is rather limited and dry.

While in court yesterday, I was reminded how slowly the wheels of justice turn.  Prosecutors and defense attorneys spent the morning going over questionnaires submitted by potential jurors.  To say the least, it was tedious.  However, it is the cost of a fair trial, and it must be done.

After my shift ended, the work was done.  They had found 12, plus four alternates who said they will follow the judge's instructions, put aside what they heard about the case, and reach a verdict based solely on they hear and see in the courtroom.

Our system might be slow, but it works.

Monday, June 2, 2014

About the Cover

Public Square in downtown Wilkes-barre has squirrels, pigeons, benches, trees, plaques, bricks, cement, a malfunctioning fountain, and a really cool old bell.

Its story is below.

Sunday, June 1, 2014

Andy's Angles: Dawn

Yes, working overnights and early mornings can be rough, but it does have its advantages.

Dawn is a great time of day.

Above, one of our live trucks, pointed east, just as the sun was about to rise.