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October 2008

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Vol. 2008-2009 No. 3

DTV and me: decoding the acronym

On Feb. 17, 2009, Congress has decreed, all television stations must turn off their analog signals and broadcast digitally. What does this mean, and what are the implications for the consumer? What’s the difference between DTV and HDTV? Do I need to buy a new TV set? Perry Metz, executive director of IU radio/TV services, will unscramble this complicated subject when the IU Association of Retired Faculty and Staff meets at 2 p.m. Wednesday, Nov. 12. The meeting will be at the IU Foundation’s Showalter House, Peterson Room.

Metz, also an adjunct associate professor of journalism, became executive director of radio/TV services in 2003. Before that, he spent 25 years in campus administration, most recently as associate vice president. Metz was president of the Indiana Public Broadcasting Stations for eight years. He is a Phi Beta Kappa graduate of IU and holds a master’s in communication management.

"I’ll be giving the basics of the analog shutoff, why the government has mandated the switch, and what families need to do to get ready,” Metz says. "Both cheap and expensive options are available. Digital and high-definition TV offer exciting improvements, but you can take advantage of only as many of these as you wish.”

Election 2008: October reprise

Expect the unexpected. That was the message brought to the Oct. 8 meeting of the Retirees Association by Edward G. Carmines, Warner O. Chapman professor of political science.

First of all, the candidates are not the expected ones. Most saw Barack Obama’s bid as a means to establish himself as a vice presidential nominee because he was relatively unknown and had been in the Senate only a short time. But his strategy and tactics led to his win. Hillary Clinton, the odds-on favorite, ran a good campaign but an incomplete one. She banked on Super Tuesday and didn’t plan beyond that. When she and Obama split the states that day and he went on to win 11 more in February, she was in trouble.

John McCain’s success was also unexpected. His popularity declined all through 2007, and his campaign came apart that summer. He fired his staff and reorganized. Although he alienated his base and non-base, he stayed in against all odds. On Super Tuesday Romney and Huckabee split the conservative vote and McCain won a plurality. Had he run against only Romney or Huckabee, he probably would have lost.

As for the vice presidential nominees, Joe Biden was expected because of his foreign policy experience and his ties to working-class white voters. Sarah Palin was only on a long short list and no one thought she would be chosen. McCain wanted Sen. Joe Lieberman, but, because of Lieberman’s views on abortion, McCain’s campaign manager threatened to resign if he were chosen. Besides, he was just another old white guy. Palin was chosen because she could solidify the base, arouse enthusiasm, and perhaps get some of Hillary’s supporters, even though her ideology is different. Her selection generated a great deal of publicity. In the first two weeks she got more press than Obama and McCain. But unraveling began quickly, and half the electorate do not consider her qualified to be vice president.

The economy has become the most important issue to the voters, sucking out the oxygen from other issues. Seventy percent of voters say the economy is the most important issue, and that’s bad news for McCain. The economy will get worse before it gets better, Carmines said, and McCain’s recovery plan is incoherent. He’s also hurt by being from the same party as the incumbent president.

Finally, there is the issue of race. Earlier polls have indicated that about 6 percent of Americans indicate that race may affect their vote. If you win by 6 percent in America, Carmines said, it’s a landslide.

To open the meeting Jim Weigand introduced Gene Tempel, the new president of the IUF. Gene extended his greetings to the group and pointed out that he had started his career at IU with the IUB College of Arts and Sciences and had worked with the IU Foundation while he was director of IUPUI’s Center on Philanthropy.

Harriet Pfister introduced Brad Wilhelm, who has been the director of Rhino’s Youth Agency for 16 years. Rhino’s has been a United Way agency since 1996. Its purpose is to provide entertainment for teens in an environment where alcohol, drugs, and tobacco are absent. There has never been an arrest at Rhino’s in 16 years, compared to 20 arrests at a recent North-South football game. Rhino’s also offers four after-school programs and provides a monthly newsletter, a monthly television show, a weekly radio show, and an art project involving public murals.

The IU Retirees United Way campaign, Harriet announced, is off to a good start with nearly
$16,000 pledged toward the $90,000 goal. Of the 44 pledges to date, she said, 10 are at the Vanguard level of $1,000 or more.

Refreshments were provided by Judy Granbois, John Harrell, Phyllis Perkins, and Eileen Schellhammer.

—Doris Burton

Directory coming in December

Those who pay their 2008-2009 dues by Nov. 15 will appear in this year’s membership directory, which will be mailed with the December newsletter. Send your check ($10 single, $15 per couple) to Treasurer Don Weaver, IU Retirees Association, P.O. Box 8393, Bloomington, IN 47407. Please include your name, address, and telephone number as you wish them to appear in the directory. Only one e-mail address can be included per entry. Questions about the directory should be addressed to database manager Gerald Marker,, 339-0685.

Late arrival

If your newsletter didn’t arrive in October, don’t blame ghosts, goblins, or even the election. Your editor was out of the country for several weeks, and thus the newsletter was delayed. We’ll do better in November, but please put Dec. 3 on your calendar right now for the annual Retirees Association holiday luncheon.