Friday, January 28, 2011

Tehran or Tiananmen Square: Which Way Egypt?

Egypt is at a crossroad

Israel faces its greatest threat in decades

The United States is a befuddled bystander

The fall of Tunisia’s corrupt dictator Ben Ali led to predictions that Egypt and Yemen might be next. The self-immolation and student riots have in fact spread to Egypt. Riot police, curfews, the cutoff of the internet, and the presence of the army have not chilled the riots. The students smell blood – that of the Mubarak regime. President Mubarak addressed the nation and announced the termination of his Cabinet, but not his Presidency. The riots continue.

Three options appear for Egypt. First, the military can go along with a brutal suppression of the demonstrations. China used this approach in Tiananmen Square on June 4, 1989 and Mexico on October 2, 1968 in Mexico City’s Tlatelolco’s Square. More recently Iran used brutal force with various levels of secret police to suppress student demonstrations protesting the fraudulent elections two years ago.

The Soviet Union, having emerged from a coup and a brutal Civil War, was determined not to lose to a domestic revolution in the future. It stationed military divisions in Moscow. These soldiers though were not Slavs from the area, but units from the Asia, such as Mongols, who presumably would not hesitate to shoot at Russians.

The Shah of Iran in 1978 had little spine, and was undergoing chemotherapy for cancer. He fled. President Mubarak presumably has more determination. Neither the Shah nor Mubarak are the brutal dictators of Nazi and Soviet days and the Ayatollah.

The second alternative would be for Mubarak to flee, joining Ben Ali in exile. The history of many violent revolutions is that moderates may immediately assume power, but are soon pushed out by extremists, such as in the French Revolution, Bolsheviks in 1919 Russia, and the Ayatollah Khomeini in Iran in 1979.

The history of the Mideast, except for Israel, is not one of democracy as we know it. The students seeking freedom today may well find themselves as oppressed tomorrow as the Iranian students of 1978.

The United States finds itself in an all-too-common quandary. Does it continue to support a loyal dictator who has served America’s needs, or does it toss him overboard and pray for the best?

The United States tried both approaches in Iran. It supported the overthrow of Iran’s populist Prime Minister Mohammed Mossadegh, in 1953. However, President Carter helped push the Shah of Iran out in 1979. The United States, Western Europe and Israel are paying a stiff price for President Carter’s incompetence and naiveté.

If President Obama pulls a Carter, the consequences for the world and civilization will be far worse as the Mideast turns to Islamic radicals.

The omens are not good. The President in a speech earlier today admonished the Egyptian government not to use force against the demonstrators. The Administration earlier threatened to cut off our foreign aid to Egypt if force is used. This is the same President who turned a blind eye early in his Administration as the Ayatollahs crushed their students.

A Carter Redux is foreseeable.

The third alternative is if with the use of moderate force, President Mubarak can outlast the demonstrators as he has in the past. Even if he does, absent meaningful reform and a booming economy, the pressure cooker in Egypt will blow some day, just as Russia’s suppressed 1905 revolution became the Russian Revolution.

Israel needs a stable, peaceful Egypt on its borders. The peace has held between Egypt and Israel since the 1979 peace treaty. Egypt has cut off much of the arms supplies to Hamas in Gaza, and has cooperated, often secretly, with Israel.

If Mubarak falls, and the Islamicists take over, Jordan would be next.

An Israel, surrounded by Islamic fanatics in Egypt, Syria, Jordan, the West Bank and Gaza, all supplied by the militant Iran, will be threatened constantly, as it has not been threatened in decades.

The West will face not only a militant Mideast, but a cutoff of the vital Suez Canal, and perhaps of Mideast oil. Even without a military war, the resulting economic chaos could imperil Western Civilization as we know it.

This is the foreign policy crisis of the Obama Administration. President Obama needs to show more decisiveness and leadership than he has ever displayed.

Saturday, January 22, 2011

Father Times Drops By

My parents met during World War II, fell madly in love, married, conceived me, and then split like atoms.

6 ½ decades later Father Time has come forward to provide the paternal care I missed. He’s not the surrogate father I would have chosen. I'll rather be touched by an angel.

Father Time has the wisdom of ages. He approaches slowly, like a stealth bomber, and gently embraces you as the initial embrace becomes that of a boa constrictor. You don’t even recognize the initial embrace. A pound here, a pound there, a few kidney stones, you don't even realize it's father Time.

He will never let go – no divorce in this relationship; it’s for life. He grows on you.

Father Time has no respect for time since time is timeless. He visits 24/7, day, night, spring, summer, fall, and winter.

He’s clever all right. Some of his initial embraces mask other touchings, like those of a pickpocket.

He’s a doting father; he envelopes you, poking and probing, expressing interest in all your organs and muscles. Father Time has taken an especial interest in my legs and lungs. He’s left calling cards for the eyes and ears.

He doesn’t fool the doctors for long, but he has millions of tricks in his bag. And he mutates as quickly as insects. He’s clever all right. He grasps you, but you can’t get a handle on him.

You can accommodate him, but not forever for his grasp always tightens and expands.
I’m on a first name basis with Kaiser’s doctors and nurses, but Father Time has no first name.

Think of that; Father Time is known by no first name, or indeed, any other name.
Santa Claus is Saint Nicholas, St. Nick, Kris Kringle, Santa, and Father Christmas.
The devil is Satan, the demon, Lucifer, and the Dark Lord.

The man whose name shall not be mentioned is Tom Riddle, Lord Voldemort, the Dark Lord, and “He-who-must-not-be-named.”

But Father Time is simply Father Time.

Not even Fr. Time, for he is far from being the friendly, genial, helpful parish priest.

We allude to “senior moments,” but not all senior moments are related to Father Time.

Oh, he’s crafty. The greatest doctors and hospitals cannot defeat him; he toys with them on his time. Even the doctors ultimately meet him face to face.

No more rushing to the front, or exiting quickly, for Father Time marches to his own time.

He loves Medicare and Medicaid for they feed him.

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Camelot Finally Ends With the Death of R. Sargent Shriver

Camelot, the great musical, premiered on Broadway in 1960. Senator John Fitzgerald Kennedy was elected President in 1960. “Camelot” characterized the new Kennedy Administration. The charismatic President Kennedy and his glamorous, classy First Lady Jacqueline Bouvier Kennedy, were a spirited contrast to the staid Eisenhower Administration and the 1950’s. Camelot and Kennedy uplifted America. Magic was in the air.

Politicians claim to have been inspired to become politicians because of JFK.

Optimism, American greatness and exceptionalism, belief in the goodness of man, and in the government , Governors Pat Brown and Nelson Rockefeller, civil rights progress, patriotism, of motherhood, apple pie, and the American flag, $.39 gasoline and $.19 heating oil, nickel beer, Broadway, downtown, California, Notre Dame football, the Great Books, Chevy, Ford and Plymouth, infrastructure, plastics as the future, Ozzie and Harriett, The Beach Boys, Folk Music, and Berkeley as the greatest university in the world, marked Camelot. Everything was possible.

President Kennedy embraced the compassionate, idealistic American spirit by creating the Peace Corps, with his brother-in-law, R. Sargent Shriver as its first director.

President Kennedy was assassinated on November 22, 1963 in Dallas, Texas, but Camelot, the mystique and myth, survived.

Sargent Shriver died on Monday. The last of the inner circle is gone. Camelot is over.

The death of Senator Ted Kennedy in 2009 and more recently the consigliore Ted Sorenson essentially signaled the end of Camelot. Others, Stephen Smith, Lem Billings, and Arthur Schlesinger, Jr. the family historian and biographer preceded them. Richard Goodwin and Ben Bradlee remain, but Camelot is over.

The retirement of Congressman Patrick Kennedy (D. R.I.) is the first time in 63 years that a Kennedy is not serving in an elective position in Congress or the Presidency. Indeed, only one Kennedy serves in elective office today, Robert Sargent “Bobby” Shriver III, the Mayor of Santa Monica.

The Massachusetts Kennedy Senate Seat is held by a Republican, Scott Brown.

Camelot is a Kennedy, not a Brown.

Perhaps one of America’s great political dynasties is over. Camelot is.

President Kennedy was a Cold War warrior, who cut taxes. His politics do not fit into the modern Democratic Party. The political Camelot died with Vietnam.

JFK's great line from his inaugural speech 50 years ago: "Ask not what your country can do for you, but what you can do for your country."

Today's Democratic Party is "We will give to all we can, and take taxes from the rest."

Early on in the Obama Administration, the media attempted to create a new Camelot with Michelle as Jackie. It didn’t work because Michelle is Michelle and Jackie Jackie. Both are unique personas in their own right, but Camelot is confined to the Kennedys.

The Kennedy Center, JFK Airport, JFK Parkway, the Kennedy School of Government, the Kennedy Space Center, the Kennedy Library, numerous Kennedy Schools, remain, but Camelot is metaphysical - not physical.

The image of the young, vigorous Kennedys is eternal, but Camelot is no more. It was but a dream.

Kennedy legalized the unionization of the federal work force, planting many seeds of today's budgetary problems.

"Camelot! Camelot!" The lyrics ring in my ears, but "Those were the days, my friends, those were the days."

The musical is periodically revised, but our Camelot is history.

Monday, January 17, 2011

Perspectives on the Tucson Shoorings

The shooting of a member of Congress is a direct attack upon our democracy.

The assassination of a judge is a direct attack upon the rule of law.

The killing of a nine year old child is a barbaric act which is a direct attack upon civilization.

The act of those seeking a political advantage from these horrific crimes, without even ascertaining the facts, is despicable.

Arizona is no more responsible for these shootings than Dallas for the assassination of President Kennedy.

Personal responsibility, even if clinically or legally insane, is the cause of these tragedies.

Sadly, the Tucson shootings would have happened sooner or later in a country where the phrase “Going Postal” has acquired an unfortunate meaning.

Random acts of violence by nutcases are all too common, starting with the University of Texas Library Tower in 1966, including Columbine, Virginia tech, Northern Illinois, and an Amish schoolhouse. Just a few weeks ago a high school student killed a teacher who had disciplined him.

The following establishments have witnessed murderous attacks: Congress, Fort Hood, McDonald’s, Denny’s, the El Al check in counter at LAX, Vegas casinos, churches, city halls, law firms, and an Albertson’s Supermarket. Sane people do not shoot up a North Hollywood, Jewish day care center, a Jewish community center in Seattle, or drive a large Cadillac into a Costa Mesa pre-school. The D.C. Sniper(s) paralyzed the Greater D.C. area in 2002.

Political assassinations are an unfortunate part of American history. President Kennedy, Senator Kennedy, Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., and Mayor Michael Moscone have been killed in my lifetime. Presidents Truman, Ford and Reagan, Governor George Wallace, and Larry Flynt survived assassination attempts, and only the Secret Service knows how many threats it has thwarted against Presidents Bush and Obama.

Increased security for members of Congress is necessary, but do not expect it to prevent all future incidents. Currently the Speaker of the house has security, but the Speaker is third in line for the Presidency.

Security will not prevent all attacks. A police officer was on duty at Columbine when Eric Harris and Dylan Klebold commenced their murderous rampage.

A student at Red lake High School in Minnesota in 2005 killed his grandparents one night. Grandfather was a tribal police officer. He then stole his grandfather’s guns, and then the next morning killed the security guard on duty at the high school metal detector, before killing others in the school.

A gunman shot to death a police officer outside the Kirkwood City Center, stole the officer’s revolver, and then killed others inside the City center in 2008.

Increased security can prevent some incidents, and reduce the casualty toll in others, but they will not prevent all future attacks. Members of Congress need to pound the flesh, to be visible. The Secret Service probably cringes every time the President works the rope line. Members of Congress normally fly commercial.

The people’s representatives must appear before the people. That is an inherent risk in our democracy.

Some crazed nut job, perhaps a copycat, will strike again.

Sunday, January 16, 2011

San Francisco At Long Last Has a Chinese Mayor

The City and County of San Francisco has a storied history. The Chinese have been an integral part of San Francisco since the days of the 49ers.

Urban legends tell us the Central Pacific Railroad brought the Chinese over to work on building the Transcontinental Railroad. History tells us that two Chinese men and one woman arrived in San Francisco in 1848. 54 Chinese were counted in San Francisco in 1849

Discrimination greeted the Chinese almost upon their first presence in the City. The state enacted a Foreign Miner’s Tax of $20 on all foreign miners. Another statute prohibited “Negroes and Indians” from testifying against “white men.” The word “Indian” was construed to include Chinese.

San Francisco banned the sons and daughters of the Chinese immigrants from the public schools.

Congress enacted the Chinese Exclusion Act in 1882 to bar further Chinese immigrants to the United States.

Miscegenation laws and deed restrictions were enforced against the Chinese. They were barred from entering professions, such as the law and medicine. Chinese laundries were banned in San Francisco. Aliens, i.e. Asians, were barred from land ownership throughout the West.

By 1876 about ¼ of San Francisco’s population of 116,000 was Chinese. They mostly lived in the tight confines of Chinatown.

Denis Kearney, the Irish firebrand, organized in 1878 “The Workingmen’s Party,” whose unofficial motto was “The Chinese must go.” Race riots followed in San Francisco, as well as riots and lynchings elsewhere in the West.

The city leaders had mixed views on Chinatown, at one point proposing to eliminate it and then during the plague drawing boundaries that resulted in Chinese, but not Caucasian, blocks being quarantined.

All along, the Chinese quietly persevered while avoiding politics. One by one, the legal barriers ended. Chinatown expanded into the largest Chinese population outside Asia. The residents flowed out of Chinatown into the city, especially the avenues of the Richmond and Sunset Districts.

Roughly 1/3 of San Francisco’s current population of 815,000 is Asian Americans.
Chinese Americans comprise about 150,000 of the population. The sons and daughters now constitute a majority of the student body at San Francisco’s Lowell High School, and matriculate at Berkeley, Stanford, and the Ivies.

The Chinese finally entered politics, claiming their proper place in the public life of San Francisco.

San Francisco had 42 mayors until last week. They included Germans, Greeks, Irish, Italians, Catholics, Protestants, Jews, competent, incompetent, honest, corrupt, wise, dumb, sober, alcoholics, eloquent, tongue-tied, rich, poor, male, female, adulterers, lawyers, dairymen, career politicians, and an African-American, but never a Chinese American until last week.

The San Francisco Board of Supervisors inaugurated Ed Lee as Interim Mayor on Tuesday, January 11, 2011. Mayor Lee was the city’s Administrator. He will serve until next November’s election. He promised not to stand for election in November, but two of the candidates are expected to be David Chiu, President of the Board of Supervisors, and Assemblyman Leland Lee. Four members of the Board of Supervisors are Asian Americans.

San Francisco will never be politically the same again. We are all the better for it.

Ironically, San Francisco is not the first major city to have a Chinese mayor in California. Jean Quon was elected Mayor of Oakland last November.

Sunday, January 9, 2011

The lady in red

The Lady in Red wished to be noticed.

And she was.

The Lady in Red entered the meeting a split second before it began, when everyone else was seated.

The Lady in Red exited the meeting five minutes before it ended.

If you didn’t catch her on the way in, you would have noticed on the way out.

The beautiful, blond Lady in Red pulled a Marilyn Monroe. She wanted to be noticed. If you missed her grand entrance, the Lady in Red wore a very tight, very bright, very red, red sweater, projecting every line of her perfect figure.

She wanted to be noticed.

And she was – but not necessarily for the right reasons.

Men pretended not to notice as their eyes furtively, lustily glanced at her. They could not deny their genes.

Women pretended not to notice as they tsk tsk’ed out of jealously.

And yet, the Lady in Red is a professional, a member of the world’s second oldest profession, the law.

She was noticed, but for what?

Not for her brains. Nor her charm or professionalism, much less class.

No, questions were quietly asked:

Is the Lady in Red a natural blond?

Has her face seen surgery?

Is her bosom built on a foundation of silicone?

Has she used liposuction?

How old is she really?

Does she have stretch marks?

What does her personal trainer know that we can’t see?

Can she really be that vain and shallow?

What will she do when her surface beauty fades, as it must?

Beautiful women will always be noticed, whether they dress professional, casual or frumpy. If they dress not to be noticed, but with class, they will be valued and accepted as a colleague, as a professional, as a person – not as an object.

The Lady in Red needs to understand that there will always be a much more beautiful woman in the room – a natural beauty with class.

Saturday, January 8, 2011

Reflections on Rich Rodriguez, 2007-2011

He couldn’t get the job done. His winning record of .405 (15-22) is the worse in the history of Michigan football. He lost 13-10 to Toledo. He lost three times to Ohio State, three times to Michigan State, twice to Penn State, twice to Wisconsin, got blown away by Mississippi State. You get the point.

A Michigan football coach has three responsibilities: winning, winning cleanly without violations, and a high graduation rate.

The previous athletic director, Bill Martin, hired Coach Rodriguez with the expectation he would charter a new course for the Wolverines, the spread versus the Pro-set. Rodriguez failed to understand that winning was part of the job.
Some of the criticism is misplaced, especially the claim Rich is not a “Michigan Man.” Neither was Bo, who coached under Woody and earned a Masters at Ohio State. Bo’s successor, Gary Moeller, played football at Ohio State.

Neither Fielding Yost not Fritz Chrisler were Michigan men. Yost came from West Virginia and Chrisler from Princeton.

The phrase “Michigan Man” came from Bo, as Athletic Director, in 1989 when the basketball coach Bill Frieder announced he had accepted the coaching position at Arizona State prior to the NCAA Tournament. Bo promptly fired Frieder saying he wanted a Michigan Man to coach the team. The 1989 team under interim coach Steve Fisher won six straight games to win the NCAA basketball title. That is a Michigan Man.

If Rich had won, no one would have cared that he was not a Michigan Man.

Yet, Rich wanted to be a Michigan Man. At the December 2 football bust, the annual football banquet, he cried out “I truly want to be a Michigan Man,” and then played Josh Groban’s You Raise Me Up. The purpose of the bust is a tribute to the players, not to raise the coach up.

Bo understood Michigan’s traditions when he accepted the coaching position at Michigan. His assistant coaches complained that some of the facilities at Michigan were not as good as those at Miami of Ohio, which they just left. Bo’s response was that this is Michigan and this is the hook Fritz Chrisler hang his coat on.

We anxiously waited for the unveiling of the new Wolverine football team in 2007.

The first year started out with a disappointing, but exciting loss, to Utah. Michigan trailed early, rallied, but lost. Utah was the only team to finish the year undefeated. The offense showed potential, and the sensational freshman Sam Mcguffie was as sensational as expected. Rich though was hung up on Nick Sheridan as the starting quarterback. Sheridan may have been a great practice QB in the spread, but he failed under game conditions.

The first signs of Rodriguez’s stubbornness had appeared.

The lack of an offensive line (Bowen transferred to Ohio State) resulted in Mcguffie and others receiving concussions during the season. The offensive scheme over three years resulted in a high injury rate on the skills players.

The season seemed to turn around when Michigan, down 17 points, pulled out an incredible come-back victory against Wisconsin. The season deflated when Michigan lost to Toledo 13-10, the first time Michigan ever lost to a MAC team. Michigan led at halftime, but went scoreless in the second half while Toledo scored two field goals. Michigan’s kicker misses a field goal which would have sent the game into OT. Toledo was so bad that the coach was fired at season’s end.

The Toledo game showed several problems, which plagued Rodriguez’s three years: 1) failure to make adjustments at halftime, 2) the collapse of the offense in the second half, and 3) the consistent failure of special teams.

Offensive coordinators soon recognized that Michigan had a mediocre pass defense.

The team went 3-9 for the season.

The next year, with Tate Forcier, as QB, the team went 4-0 with a dramatic victory against Notre Dame. The team then lost to Michigan State, and Michigan only won one game over the remainder of the season. Every opposing QB played like an All-American against Michigan.

This year, the team under the explosive Denard Robinson, started 5-0 with another dramatic victory over Notre Dame. Then came a large loss to Michigan State, and the team collapsed, winning only two more games, getting blown out, once again, by Ohio state. The defense deteriorated over the year, and Denard underperformed by injuries and teams watching film.

Rodriguez never learnt that one of Michigan’s traditions is defense. He also stubbornly clinged to an ineffective 3-4 line. He thought small, quick linemen could make his system work. As Wisconsin showed, with 28 running plays in the second half, large, quick linemen can beat small quick linemen.

Defenders often had trouble playing their positions and tackling. Thus, another failure was coaching the fundamentals.

He concentrated his recruiting effort on skills players from Florida, losing the Michigan recruiting battles to Michigan State.

The final problem was thus his inability to change and adapt. He obviously believed that given time and his 6 year contract he could make his system succeed at Michigan, as it had at West Virginia.

He ran out of wins, and thus time.

Michigan is a university which has proven that excellence in football is not incompatible with academic excellence. Notre Dame and USC are two other examples. Both have also fired coaches who failed. Michigan is a university of traditions. Excellence in football is part of the tradition and heritage of Michigan.

Several of us figured pre-season that a 7-5 record and a New Year’s bowl game would save his job. The consistent failure of the special teams, and a pathetic defense which lead to blow-out after blow-out including Michigan’s worse loss ever in a bowl game, sealed his fate. And he knew it.

We do not know yet who the next coach will be. We do not though that the Michigan fan base need a few years of patience. The program, especially on defense and special teams, has to be rebuilt.

Monday, January 3, 2011

Hasta la Vista, Governator

Governor Jerry Brown was sworn in as Governor of California at 11 am this morning.
Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger flew into the sunset after 7 years in office.

His 33% approval rating matched that of his predecessor, the recalled Governor Gray Davis.

Davis was a failure. He used up his goodwill when the lights went out in California.

He lost his office when the state budget tanked and he raised taxes, over and over again. The final straw was doubling the car tax.

By the end of his term in office he had forgotten what got him elected – the public desire to solve the state’s budget problems.

We can talk about all the good he accomplished, but ultimately he failed, just as Gray Davis. Many of the problems were not of his making, but he was hired by the people of California to fix them.

Instead, his legacy includes the great University of California in decline, furloughs, federal judges effectively running the prisons, abandonment of the 20:1 ratio in schools, layoffs of public employees after increasing the state payroll, infrastructure deteriorating, businesses and Californians leaving the state, the lowest bond rating of any state, and tying Michigan at 12.4% for the second highest unemployment rate in America. Even green businesses are leaving the state.

He also worsened the image of the Republican Party in California.

His initial campaign featured vows to tear up the state’s credit card, roll back the car tax increase, not to further tax the over-taxed Californians, and to encourage business to stay or move to California.

He rolled back the car tax increase, but committed a fatal budgetary mistake. He convinced California voters, as a one-time measure, to pass a $15 billion bond to pay the $15 billion step deficit. The legislature, of course, promptly renewed its practice of pasting over with smoke and mirrors deficit spending. It’s now up to $25-28 billion.

He signed off on those budgets.

He raised taxes two years ago by the largest amount of any state tax increase.

The voters would have approved any of his proposals the first couple of years, but he held off on structural reform until the honeymoon passed. He was too busy basking in his fame.

He tried to keep business in California, but the exodus continues dues to California’s high taxes and bureaucracy.

He achieved workers comp reform, but that wasn’t enough.

Some of his antics were funny. Since the state forbade smoking in public buildings, he put a large tent on the lawn of the Capitol, and invited guests to smoke cigars with him.

Some of his acts verged on rank hypocrisy. He got the state to pass the Global Warming Solutions Act to reduce California’s greenhouse gas emissions, but flies a private jet back and forth to Sacramento, often daily.

Yesterday he commuted the sentence of a gangbanger who knifed two persons at a fraternity party at San Diego State while an accomplish killed another guest. The favored prisoner is the son of the former Assembly Speaker.

His dumbest idea was to sell state office buildings for a quick $1.2billion infusion into the state treasury, but which will cost the state many times tax in leases and maintenance over the next 20 years.

Success went to his head, followed by arrogance. He picked fights he shouldn’t have. He picked a fight with the California Nurses Association. He said they opposed him because they were “special interests … whose butts I always kick.”

The angels of mercy responded by continuously picketing him. They won; he lost.

He referred to the legislators as “girlie men.”

He often changed positions as the wind was blowing.

He failed when he stopped manning up.

Saturday, January 1, 2011

Happy New Year KCET

Happy New Year KCET. Welcome to the new year,independence, and a rebirth. You have severed your ties with PBS. You will no longer be serving the second largest media market in the nation as a PBS station. You were married for 40 years to PBS, but now a divorce is in order. The reason: irreconcilable differences.

You’re arguing over money. PBS wants more from you and you want to pay less to PBS.

You’re willing to dump Sesame Street, Nova, Frontline, et al to run programs from Canada, Japan, and the BBC, as well as your own programs, as you become the nation’s largest independent educational station.

BP, yes that BP, and First 5 Children provided about $25 million each in grants to KCET to produce “A Place of Our Own,” and its Spanish equivalent, “Los Ninos en Su Casa.” The award winning program was picked up by several PBS states nationally. The grants stipulated that none of the funds were to be used for administrative expenses.

The problem for KCET is that the grants cost it millions in dues to PBS. The dues schedule for PBS stations to pay PBS is a form of progressive taxation. The more a station reaps, the higher the percent it pays PBS.

KCET’s dues thus jumped 40% from $4.9 million annually to almost $7 million. Three million was due in January.

PBS refused to negotiate a lower fees schedule for KCET, whose revenues were otherwise dropping.

Sit back a moment and think about this – a PBS station is objecting to progressive taxation!

Three other PBS stations exist in the Los Angeles area: KOCE in Orange County, KVCR in San Bernardino, and KLCS, which is licensed to the Los Angeles School District. KOCE will essentially carry the full PBS schedule, up from ¼ today.

Los Angeles has most of the major museums, stage productions, and other cultural activities to the disadvantage of Orange, Riverside, San Bernardino, and Ventura Counties. Orange County will now have the PBS station.

KOCE currently pays PBS about $3 million annually, or 10% of KOCE’s budget of $10 million. IT expects to fill KCET’s shoes. It will probably be carried on all the major cable networks. KCET's annual budget is $61 million.

By one measure, both KCET and KOCE are in the top ten watched PBS stations with KCET number two on the list. KOCE's challenge is to expand rapidly to meet KCET's standards.

KCET wishes to succeed as an independent.

Whether this is an anomaly or an omen for the future of PBS remains to be seen.
PBS lost its first station in a major market.

It’s going to be an interesting experiment in capitalism and free enterprise.