Investment guru Warren Buffett’s outlook on newspapers is dismal

In fact, Warren Buffett has said don’t buy newspaper stock at any price. The days of the monopoly newspapers huge readership and advertising revenue are long gone.

What happened? Take a look at this modest blog’s stats: The 7-day traffic average is now passing hundreds of thousands of hits.  The majority are college graduates and in their peek buying years ages 25-55.
I predict the Boston Globe will go online with just a Friday/Sunday printed and delivered paper. 

Another 50 thrown under the bus at the Columbus Dispatch

The Columbus (Ohio) Dispatch is reducing the size of its newsroom, laying off more than 45 people effective on April 3, management of the newspaper announced today. No foolin’. 

“These are challenging times for many industries, including the newspaper industry,” said John F. Wolfe, publisher and CEO, who explained the changes to the staff. He’s the one who owns five suits. 

“We avoided staff reductions as long as possible long after many other news organizations took such action.”

While the newspaper readership remains strong and stable, Wolfe said the economy and market forces have pushed advertising revenue steadily downward. And advertising revenue provides the majority of funds needed to pay salaries and buy paper and ink.

Editor Benjamin J. Marrison said the newsroom staff reductions will hasten a restructuring of the newsroom to put a sharper focus on local news, local sports, enterprise reporting, and building a more robust online presence at Dispatch.com. Haven’t we heard that before? 

He said the reductions will result in some changes in the news pages in the coming months, which he will explain to readers in his “Inside Story” column as plans for those changes are mapped out.

“We will have a smaller but no less dedicated staff working each day to bring our readers the news of central Ohio,” Marrison said. “Our mission remains the same: to provide compelling, relevant, timely and accurate reports about this community. We’ll be working even harder now to make that happen.”

Maybe there is time for “senior editors” with two suits to get hired on at the Obama comunications/propaganda center for “Fairness.” 

Journalists can feel better knowing that soon, the Dispatch won’t be contributing to global warming. 

Maybe it can be called a hate crime to layoff reporters? 

On another front–the biggest losers in the media game–McClatchy News can’t even get pennies on the dollar for some of the papers they spun off from their horrible investment in Knight-Ridder.

A McClatchy spokesman said the company may not be able to recover $5.3 million owed by newspapers it had sold to companies that have recently filed for Chapter 11. That’s putting it mildly. 

The write-off pushes McClatchy’s fourth-quarter loss to $27 million, or 33 cents per share, up from the $21.7 million loss the company reported in February, according to a regulatory filing late Monday.

The company declined to say which papers still owed it money, but three former McClatchy properties filed for bankruptcy protection this year: The Philadelphia Inquirer and the Philadelphia Daily News, owned by Brian Tierney’s Philadelphia Media Holdings, and the Star Tribune of Minneapolis, controlled by the private-equity firm Avista Capital Partners.

The McClatchy stock teeters on the prospect of being delisted by the New York Stock Exchange. You can smell death in the boardroom. 

Has the earth been visited by space aliens? Kucinich and Pelosi think so. Do the math.

The idea of space travel is fun and provides great entertainment. I’m sure there are many forms of life similar to earth in the universe. But if you do the math, you will see that it doesn’t matter. The space aliens are not going to visit earth and probe Democrat House representatives’ rectums in Cleveland Ohio, or San Francisco like Democrat Dennis Kucinich insists happened to him and friends of his in Hollywood. Nancy Pelosi who like her friend Kucinich, may look like an alien from another galaxy, that’s a fact, but her basic math skills are lacking. 

 

Kucinich is currently the chairman of theDomestic Policy Subcommittee of the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform. He is also a member of theEducation and Labor Committee.

Kucinich heads committees on education? That should be against the law.

We need to increase teaching math, science and economics in our schools. That’s a fact.

Meanwhile the stock market continues to crash today. Investors understand economics and simple math and that spending billions on more government programs is not what drives an economy. 
A team led by Jochen Greiner of Germany’s Max Planck Institute for Extraterrestrial Physics determined that the huge gamma-ray burst occurred 12.2 billion light years away. Pluto is 12 light hours away.

Can you imagine man travelling in a vehicle that is 1,000 times slower than the speed of light? It would take 12.2 million years to visit a neighboring  solar system.  That’s the time equivalent to going back to the days dinosaurs roamed the earth. Planet of the Apes, it would not be. Planet of the volvox colonies. 

The concept that a rocket or space craft could ever travel at the speed of light are comic book science, much like man-made global warming. Let’s say man ever could achieve the speed of light of a space craft? Think about the speed and distance.

Truth Commission headed by Democrat Patrick Leahy to start Soviet-style show trials

Mirroring the former Soviet Union’s Communist Party of the 1950s, today’s one party government in the USA (totally in the hands of the Democrat Party) are on a power grab.

Get ready for show trials! Democrat Patrick “Leaky” Leahy, Chairman of the Judiciary Committee, urged a commission as a way to heal what he called sharp political divides under former President George W. Bush and to prevent future abuses.

How about the abuses of Congressional Democrat Party hacks like Leahy?

And what’s with that permenant forced smile, it’s like the Dali Lama’s?

Leahy is an example of the “change” Obama promised? That hack has been around for 40 years.

He compared it to other truth commissions, such as one in South Africa that investigated the apartheid era of tribes hacking each other to death. 

Is this a free country? Next, the Fairness Doctrine will be pushed through. 

“We need to come to a shared understanding of the failures of the recent past,” Leahy said in a speech at Georgetown University.

Be afraid, but what can we do about it? Next “the Fairness Doctrine.”

Bill Clinton said that there needs to be either “more balance in the programs or have some opportunity for people to offer  countervailing opinions.” Clinton added that he didn’t support repealing the Fairness Doctrine, an act done under Reagan’s FCC. 

In the past week, a couple Democratic Senators, Debbie Stabenow and Tom Harkin, have both spoken favorably about the Fairness Doctrine, or holding hearings on radio “accountability.” What you don’t know is that Stabenow’s hubby is a big investor in Air America.

Stephanopoulos and Obama Chief of Staff on daily phone briefings from the White House

No wonder why trust in the media is at record lows, like temperatures. 

ABC News’ anchorman of the news and host of This Week with 
George Stephanopoulos, is on a daily morning conference call with Rahm Emanuel and others from the old Clinton administration, now in the media
.  Web site Politico broke the news that
Stephanopoulos is currently conducting private, daily
phone briefings with Obama chief of staff Rahm Emanuel

This is unethical  journalism and a clear
conflict of interest.   How can Stephanopoulos participate
in daily briefings about the administration’s strategy and
message and then be charged with reporting on them?

Update: Feb. 4: A White House reporter, so infatuated with the new president, jumped out of line and begged for Obama’s autograph today. At the end of the SCHIP signing, a member of the press corps jumped the rope penning off reporters to get an autograph from POTUS. Secret Service swooped in and stopped him. An Obama aide said the man is still being held by Secret Service. No details yet on the reporter’s name or publication. — Carol E. Lee 

The individual in question, whose name I don’t know, showed up in the press briefing room basement under escort of a White House press aide (not the Service at that point) apparently to retrieve personal belongings and make his way out of the complex. — Josh Gerstein 

 

How about tapes of those conversations with major media and the White House? Shouldn’t the public get in on that? It’s our White House, not the Democrat party’s central command for propaganda. 

The Media Research Center (MRC) Action Team thas started a campaign to call
ABC News and demand that he Stepanopoulos (Stephy)  recuse himself
from reporting on any issues involving the Obama Administration,
thousands of citizens took immediate action!

         In fact, the MRC reports  that ABC News switchboard
         personnel were completely swamped, and couldn’t keep up
         with the heavy volume of angry calls.

Don’t Stop Calling!

We are expanding this effort, and have added Stephanopoulos’s boss,
David Westin, President of ABC News and Westin’s boss, Anne Sweeney,
Co-Chairman at Disney. They all need to hear from us.

Here are the numbers to call:

George Stephanopoulos, Washington Chief Correspondent, ABC News
202-222-7700

David Westin, President ABC News 212-456-6200

Anne Sweeney, Co-Chairman, Disney Media Networks 818-569-7700

Click here to send emails:

http://www.mrcaction.org/r.asp?U=15953&CID=517&RID=11817738

The Rod Blagojevich tapes started on Oct. 22, more than a year after the investigations started. Yet, no mention from the media until weeks after the election

Breaking news. 

Governor Rod Blagojevich gave a press confernence Dec. 19, at 2 p.m. announcing his side of the story for the first time.

“I’m hear to tell you right off the bat that I am not guilty of any criminal wrongdoing and that I intend to stay on the job and that I will fight this thing every step of the way,” said Gov. Rod Blagojevich (D-Ill.) proclaimed his innocence in the opening volley of a statement delivered at the John R. Thompson Center in downtown Chicago this afternoon.

“I will fight, I will fight, I will fight, until I take my last breath,” he continued.  “I have done nothing wrong.”

I believe him. I don’t think he did anything wrong. What about Obama’s chief of staff? 

President-elect Barack Obama’s incoming chief of staff Rahm Emanuel had a deeper involvement in pressing for a U.S. Senate seat appointment than previously reported, the Sun-Times has learned. Emanuel had direct discussions about the seat with Gov. Blagojevich, who is is accused of trying to auction it to the highest bidder. — Reported by the Chicago Sun-Times (not the Tribune).  

We know now that hundreds of hours of conversations involving Rod Blagojevich and the top levels of the Democrat Party, were secretly recorded by the FBI since Oct. 22, and Tribune jounalists didn’t mention it — not until after the election of course. Wouldn’t the citizens of America have been better served if they knew about the investigation before the election? 

But it gets more interesting. 

It appears there was a marathon conference call on Nov. 10, with Blago getting all kinds action from the Obama and Chicago Democrat machine. This must have been big. Really big. Because someone tipped off the Tribune to announce to the world about the wire tap and the Obama lock down began. But this was before Blagojevich and Obama’s team exchanged favors, so no crime was committed. The Tribune got a call, from who? Could it be Tony Rezco (the former Tribune editor) to expose the wire tap before Obama’s team made the payoff? Who gave the Tribune the call to spill the beans? 

A WSJ report on Dec. 14 states that the Tribune knew about the wire in October and was working with Pat Fitzgerald’s office on withholding the story.

All is well in Crook County, Ill. 

Thousands of Avis customers are being billed for “unpaid” Ill tollroad fees that were supposed to be charged to the EZ toll devices. Millions of dollars are going to the corrupt Democrat Chicago machine. That’s chump change. This is Chicago! 

Tell us your Chicago stories. 

Buyouts, layoffs, big declines in readership and ads — it is a bleak Christmas for newspapers

The decline of the newspaper media monopoly never slows. If you have any stock in newspaper-heavy media, it’s too late to get out. As of the end of 2008, 30 daily newspapers are for sale. Buyouts were the good old days. Now there are brutal Christmans-time layoffs. Google the Gannett Blog and find a running count by an ex-Gannetter. 

The layoffs and firings that started this week at newspapers owned by Gannett, including at the flagship USA Today, have been especially ruthless,  in addition to being timed just weeks before Christmas, they number in the thousdands.  But why not? These are mainly socialists and athiests who mock families and call moms breeders. 

It’s bloody news for newspaper journalists. Even the sill profitable Gannett newspapers (many still have profit margins at 20 percent) are shedding employees at a breathtaking rate. 

This week  a Gannett spokesperson said the cuts are being managed locally, at each newspaper, which is why as a company they’ve not released figures on specific jobs other than to say it’s a 10 percent cut companywide. While early figures compiled paper-by-paper totaled 1,700 Gannett jobs cut, it looks like that number may well pass 2,000 by next week.

In just the past week several thousand newspaper employees in America have lost their jobs, Cox Newspapers announced the closing of their Washington, DC, bureau, and the Tribune Co. will lay off more people at their flagship paper in Chicago.

In Chicago the credit analyst Fitch Ratings predicted that the continued decline in advertising revenues will cause some newspapers to default on their debt in 2009, and rated the debt of two huge newspaper companies – The McClatchy Co. and Tribune Co. – ask “junk.” Fitch also predicted that several cities could find themselves without daily print newspapers by 2010.

As many as 1,700 Gannett jobs were cut this week, from assistant managing editors on down, including reductions of up to 31 percent of the staff at one newspaper, The Salinas Californian, according to a reader tally on a blog published by a former Gannett worker, Jim Hopkins.

 

The most recent E&P (an online Web site on newspapers that ironically ended its print edtions a decade ago) reports that recruitment advertising declined in May. The Newspaper Conference Board, which measures job ads in 51 print newspapers across the country, said its Help-Wanted Advertising Index is 33. It was 38 one year ago.

“This is certainly a more negative picture going into the second half of the year, compared to the beginning of the year,” Ken Goldstein, a labor economist at the Conference Board, said in a statement.

In the last three months, help-wanted advertising fell in all nine U.S. regions.

 


The Dallas Morning News (a monopoly) said today it’s going to offer buyouts to the newsroom. That means waving a modest proposal of a few extra weeks of severance pay in front of the noses of older employees. Reality check: the UAW buyouts give auto workers 90 percent of their pay and free health care for life.

 

I was walking my dog this morning at 5:30 a.m. and watched a newspaper carrier in a junk car speeding around my neighborhood to drop a paper at every 20th house or so. Just a few years ago, 40 percent of the homes subscribed to the paper. 

Imagine the carbon footprint of that old smokestack medium. 


PBS Democratic Party propaganda exposed by viewers — one sided poll is a laugher

Taxpayer supported PBS should at least try and show some restraint during the runup to a national election. But the programing executives do all they can to get Obama/Biden in the White House and complete the project of one party rule in the United States.

The media executives at PBS published a survey asking if Sarah Palin was qualified to be Vice President.

But there were no such surveys about Obama, Biden or Hillary were there?

Here are some examples of citizen journalists remarks buried on the PBS ombudsman Web page.

WIll you see this in your daily newspaper? Nah. And the Democratic Party promises to bring back the Fairness Doctrine after they take over the White House. Why do they have to go that far?

I am once again aghast and stunned that the PBS would be so involved in politics that they actually circulated the “is Sarah Palin qualified to be Vice President” poll. How dare you use federally subsidized taxpayer platform for your own political ambitions: have you know shame?

You code of ethics mentions a “neutral platform” and that means you do not have the right to back a candidate. The poll regarding the qualifications of Sarah Palin would only be put out by a biased, liberal attack apparatus: Everybody else knows that she is well enough qualified to be President, far far more than Obama. It is a moot point and undebateable fact that Obama is not qualified by experience, background or character to be President; yet you have the audacity to question whether the sitting governor of the State of Alaska is qualified.

The mere asking of the question is an unethical violation of your own “neutrality” status. As for me; Every night I pray to God that Obama does not reside at the White House.

James Steven Slater, Fort Worth, TX

Continue reading

Why didn’t Al Gore speak in prime time at the DNC convention?

Funny? I thought Albert Gore was the guru of USA caused global warming? WTF?

Wasn’t that the mandate of the Democrat party when the war in Iraq calmed down? Why hasn’t Gore been on air as much as the Clinton machine? Didn’t liberals state that Al Gore was going to introduce Obama tonight? Oh sure, if you were staying home on “disability,” then you got to see Gore.

Maybe this is why:

Al “Unabomber” Gore Wacko environmental extremist

Al Gore wrote the book Earth in the Balance: Ecology and the Human Spirit, which is the wacko socialist manifesto to regulate everything based on junk science. He parroted the extremist EARTH FIRSTers terrorist party line with a straight face. It is probably the most ignorant book ever written about the environment. In it he wrote the scary totalitarian prescription “we must make the rescue of the environment the central organizing principle for civilization.”

The following are highlights from a 1992 Democratic National Committee (DNC) memo by Jonathan Sallet to the Clinton-Gore campaign that highlighted Gore vulnerabilities from his extremist manifestoEarth in the Balance. The memo was obtained by the Wall Street Journal, which published it in August of 1992. Among the DNC’s findings:

  • Al is a radical environmentalist who wants to change the very fabric of America.”
  • “He (Gore) criticizes America for being America — a place where people enjoy the benefits of an advanced standard of living.”
  • “He (Gore) has no sense of proportion: He equates the failure to recycle aluminum cans with the Holocaust.”
  • “He (Gore) believes that our civilization, itself, is evil (because it is, in his words, ‘addicted to the consumption of the earth.’)”

Recently Gore was asked by Gannett News if his opinions have changed since writing Earth in the Balance. Gore said:

“There is not a single passage in that book that I disagree with or would change.”

(Gannett News Service, 3/23/99)

Gore called the internal combustion engine the greatest enemy of mankind, see -

Al Gore vs. the Automobile

Gore wrote in EARTH IN THE BALANCE pp 325-326, “It ought to be possible to establish a coordinated global program to accomplish the strategic goal of completely eliminating the internal combustion engine (by government fiat) over, say, a 25 year period.” “I wrote in this book Earth in the Balance that we should set as a strategic goal the phasing out of the internal-combustion engine over a 25-year period. I accept now that was a mistake. Twenty-five years is far too long for a goal like that. I think we can do it quicker.” (Ramesh Ponnuru, “The Attack Man,” National Review, February 21, 2000)

GORE ON GAS

PAUL EHRLICH’S BOOK, ON GAS PRICES: “The United States could start by gradually imposing a higher gasoline tax-hiking it by one or two cents per month until gasoline costs $2.50 to $3.00 per gallon, comparable to prices in Europe and Japan.” (Paul R. Ehrlich and Anne H. Ehrlich, The Population Explosion, 1990, pp. 219-220) On the dustcover of the book, Gore said, “The time for action is due, and past due. Ehrlich has written the prescription.” “Higher taxes on fossil fuels. . . is one of the logical first steps in changing our policies in a manner consistent with a more responsible approach to the environment.” (Al Gore, Earth in the Balance, 1993, p. 173)

Al Gore Supported Plans For Even Higher Gas Prices By Endorsing The Kyoto Protocol. At the 1997 Kyoto Conference, Al Gore committed to reducing United States carbon emissions to less than 1990 levels by 2012. Key to discharging Al Gore’s promises at Kyoto is a carbon tax which experts have concluded will raise gas prices by 65 cents a gallon and reduce average household income by nearly $2700 even as the cost of goods and services rise in response to higher taxes. (“Global Warming: The High Cost of the Kyoto Protocol,” WEFA, Inc., 1998, p. 1) Al Gore Cast The Tie-Breaking Vote To Increase The Gas Tax By 4.3 Cents A Gallon. The Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act of 1993, a $241 billion tax increase proposed by the Clinton/Gore Administration, passed on August 6, 1993 on the tie-breaking vote cast by Gore. Included in the bill was a 4.3 cent per gallon gas tax increase. Gore was also its leading advocate in the Administration according to author Bob Woodward: “The meeting quickly turned to the gasoline tax. Vice President Gore, a strong environmentalist who advocated energy taxes as a way to reduce pollution, argued that the tax should be retained. President Clinton could be attacked on character if he dropped the gasoline tax now, Gore said emphatically and emotionally.” (Bob Woodward, “The Agenda: Inside the Clinton White House, Part 3 of 4,” The Washington Post, June 7, 1994) Al Gore Was The Chief Advocate Of The Proposed 1993 BTU Tax, Which Would Have Raised Gas Prices By Six Percent. According to George Stephanopoulos, “Gore was the chief advocate of the energy tax, arguing that it was good for both the economy and the environment.” (George Stephanopoulos, All Too Human: A Political Education, 1999, p. 206) Al Gore Has Been A “Driving Force” Behind The Increased Regulation Of Gasoline, Which Has Resulted In An Increase In Gas Prices. Al Gore has been a “driving force” behind the stricter regulation of gasoline, which has “pushed up production prices and created a patchwork of contradictory gasoline formulas in various parts of the country.” (Bill Sammon, “Gore’s Strategy Is To Vilify Oil Firms,” The Washington Times, June 22, 2000) A recent study by the bipartisan Congressional Research Service cited these factors as contributing to the massive increase in gas prices in the Midwest. (Lawrence Kumins, “Midwest Gasoline Price Increases,” Congressional Research Service, June 16, 2000)

GoreUnabomber sketch

Who said it ...
The Unabomber or Algore?


The 10 excerpts below are taken from Algore’s extremist book Earth in the Balance, or from the Unabomber’s (FC’s) Manifesto. You get to try your skill at determining who said which quote. Some are easier than others.



1. “In the speech in which I declared my candidacy, I focused on global warming, ozone depletion and the ailing global environment and declared that these issues – along with nuclear arms control – would be the principal focus of my campaign.”

Unabomber
Algore

2. “No one knows what will happen as a result of ozone depletion, the greenhouse effect and other environmental problems that cannot yet be foreseen. And, as nuclear proliferation has shown, new technology cannot be kept out of the hands of dictators and irresponsible Third World leaders.”

Unabomber
Algore

3. “Artificial needs have been created. … Advertising and marketing techniques have been developed that make many people feel they need things that their grandparents never desired or even dreamed of. … It seems for many people, maybe the majority, these artificial forms … are insufficient. A theme that appears repeatedly in the writings of the social critics of the second half of the 20th century is the sense of purposelessness that afflicts many people in modern society.”

Unabomber
Algore

4. “Whenever any technology is used to mediate our experience of the world, we gain power but we also lose something in the process. The increased productivity of assembly lines in factories, for examples, requires many employees to repeat the identical task over and over until they lose any feeling of connection to the creative process – and with it their sense of purpose.”

Unabomber
Algore

5. “Like the Sorcerer’s Apprentice, who learned how to command inanimate objects to serve his whims, we too have set in motion forces more powerful than we anticipated and that are harder to stop than start.”

Unabomber
Algore

6. “Technological progress marches in only one direction. It can never be reversed. Once a technological innovation has been introduced, people usually become dependent on it, so that they can never again do without it, unless it is replaced by some still more advanced innovation.”

Unabomber
Algore

7. “‘Oh,’ say the technophiles, ‘Science is going to fix all that!’ We will conquer famine, eliminate psychological suffering, make everybody healthy and happy!”

Unabomber
Algore

8. “Some argue that a new ultimate technology, whether nuclear energy or genetic engineering, will solve the problem. … We have also fallen victim to a kind of technological hubris, which tempts us to believe that our new powers may be unlimited. We dare to imagine that we will find technological solutions for every technologically induced problem. … Technological hubris tempts us to lose sight of our place in the natural order and believe that we can achieve whatever we want.”

Unabomber
Algore

9. “Very widespread in modern society is the search for ‘fulfillment.’ … (Yet) for the majority of people whose main goal is fulfillment, (technology) does not bring completely satisfactory fulfillment.”

Unabomber
Algore

10. “Industrial civilization’s great engines of distraction still seduce us with a promise of fulfillment. Our new power to work our will upon the world can bring with it a sudden rush of exhilaration. … But that exhilaration is fleeting. It is not true fulfillment.”

Unabomber
Algore

ANSWERS: Gore said 1,4,5,8, and 10

Source: Geocities.com

Don’t believe it? Google it!

Obama picks Hillary! Obama picks Hillary! Not!


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var bt_project_id=798;

Update: It’s Biden. Who said Democrats couldn’t keep a secret?

Obama didn’t want Hillary Clinton and the machine around him for the rest of his life. Can you blame him? Wouldn’t you rather shoot the breeze with Joe Biden? Sure.

By Mick Gregory

With McCain’s lopsided win in the debate held by Rev. Warren in California, the DNC leadership are in a panic. They will try and force Obama to pick Hillary as his running mate.

That’s my prediction. We’ll have to see if Hillary wants to chance it with this stalled campaign. Maybe there is so much worry, that Hillary will get the nomination in Denver. Obama has to nip it in the bud and name Hillary his VP before the revolt takes over the convention and makes Hillary the candidate and Obama has to settle for Veep.

Ralph Nader agrees with me.

“He just has to swallow hard and do what JFK did” in picking rival Lyndon Johnson in 1960, said the liberal activist and maverick presidential candidate.

According to Nader’s logic, Obama may dislike Hillary, but will conclude he has no choice but to get over it if he hopes to leave next week’s convention in Denver with a unified party and a decent shot against John McCain in the fall: “The polls show 25 percent of her supporters have not gotten on board.”

“He’s got to be very concerned by the [neck-and-neck] polls and by what happened at Saddleback,” added Nader, referring to the recent candidates forum hosted by evangelist Rick Warren. “He got beat in Saddleback—big time.”

Nader said his own sources—and, to be blunt, they sound a bit sketchy—lead him to believe that Clinton remains in serious consideration. A friend, he said, recently saw Clinton family intimate Vernon Jordan on Martha’s Vineyard and reported the “usually very effusive” Jordan to be suspiciously “tight-lipped.”

It was only in May that Sen. Barack Obama cockily proclaimed he would debate Sen. John McCain “anywhere, anytime.” But in June, Obama said no to McCain’s challenge to have 10 one-on-one town hall meetings

– ibdeditorials.com.

After what happened at Lake Forest, Calif.’s evangelical Saddleback last Saturday evening, we may have found that debating is Obama’s Achilles’ heel. Whether or not you like the idea of such events being held in religious venues, the plain-and-simple method of questioning used by Saddleback pastor and best-selling author Rick Warren revealed fundamental differences between these two men.

“It’s one of those situations where the devil is in the details,” Obama said at one point. He could have been referring to his own oratorical shortcomings when a teleprompter is unavailable. We learned a lot more about the real Obama at Saddleback than we will next week as he delivers his acceptance speech in Denver before a massive stadium crowd.

The stark differences between the two came through the most on the question of whether there is evil in the world. Obama spoke of evil within America, “in parents who have viciously abused their children.” According to the Democrat, we can’t really erase evil in the world because “that is God’s task.” And we have to “have some humility in how we approach the issue of confronting evil.”

For McCain, with a global war on terror raging, there was no equivocating: We must “defeat” evil. If al-Qaida’s placing of suicide vests on mentally-disabled women and then blowing them up by remote control in a Baghdad market isn’t evil, he asked: “You have to tell me what is.”

Asked to name figures he would rely on for advice, Obama gave the stock answer of family members. McCain pointed to Gen. David Petraeus, Iraq’s scourge of the surge; Democratic Rep. John Lewis, who “had his skull fractured” by white racists while protesting for civil rights in the 60s; plus Internet entrepreneur Meg Whitman, the innovative former CEO of eBay.

When Warren inquired into changes of mind on big issues, Obama fretted about welfare reform; McCain unashamedly said “drilling” — for reasons of national security and economic need.

On taxes, Obama waxed political: “What I’m trying to do is create a sense of balance and fairness in our tax code.” McCain showed an understanding of what drives a free economy: “I don’t want to take any money from the rich. I want everybody to get rich. I don’t believe in class warfare or redistribution of the wealth.”

To any honest observer, the differences between John McCain and Barack Obama have been evident all along. What we saw last weekend was Obama’s shallowness juxtaposed with McCain’s depth, the product of his extraordinary life experience.

It may not have been a debate, but it was one of the most lopsided political contests in memory. — iht.com

I have to agree, this was the most lopsided debate win I’ve seen in my life.

I can’t wait to see a few debates. I know there will be only two or three now. And the Democrats will have to try and put the fix in with the “right” kind of journalists asking the questions.

Ugly racism behind the flight attendant’s lawsuit against Victoria Osteen

Victoria Osteen, the wife of Joel Osteen, best selling author and pastor of the Lakewood mega church was sued by a flight attendant. A jury returned a verdict of innocent, no incident took place.

“If I had to go through this, I could at least be an example of trying to live out what’s right, trying to stand strong and trying to just keep my faith intact,” she said. “I stood strong because I believe in the truth,” she told an AP reporter after the trial.

Victoria Osteen said she never touched Continental Airlines flight attendant Sharon Brown and a jury on Thursday believed her, deciding that the co-pastor of Houston’s Lakewood Church did not “attack” the airline employee. Here are some facts that were left out of the coverage in the mainstream media.

Sharon Brown is an African American who according to co-workers was jumping on the opportunity to embarrass the Osteens into settling out of court for six figures. Brown’s attorney was most likely working on contingency.

The frivolous lawsuit was started while the Duke lacrosse team travesty was taking place.

The dirty secret that has been kept out of the reporting, is that there is in deed racism in America; the “get whitey” brand.

After the jury’s verdict, which came following a week-long trial, Victoria Osteen began to cry and hugged her attorneys and several supporters in the courtroom as she said “thank you God” and “praise God.” The 12 jurors deliberated for just 2 hours.

Brown had testified Victoria Osteen got so upset when a spill on her first-class seat’s armrest was not quickly cleaned up that she threw the flight attendant against a bathroom door and elbowed her in the left breast while attempting to rush into the cockpit.

But Victoria Osteen testified no such incident took place, as did her husband and other first-class passengers. No body saw that dramatic attack in a crowded first class section.

Brown quickly left the courtroom without talking to reporters.

She had been seeking at least $405,000 for actual damages — physical and mental pain as a result of an attack she alleged took place before the start of a December 2005 flight from Houston to Vail, Colo.

The jury’s foreman, Gilles Labbe, said he and other jurors believed what happened on the plane was not an attack but a disagreement between a passenger and one or more flight attendants.

“This lawsuit in my opinion should not have been filed because nothing happened,” he said.

“It’s a great vindication …” he said.

In his closing argument earlier Thursday, Rusty Hardin, Victoria Osteen’s attorney, dismissed Brown’s lawsuit as a made-up story concocted to land a courtroom payday.

In his closing argument, McKamie told jurors that because of Victoria Osteen’s status as a religious leader, she felt she had “favor from God.” That led her to believe she was above reproach for humiliating and assaulting his client, he said.

Besides money for actual damages, Brown had requested punitive damages amounting to 10 percent of Victoria Osteen’s net worth as part of her lawsuit. He said it’s just the sliver of the amount of a Monet painting… That’s all.

A look at the mind set of newspaper columnists and journalists as security boxes their belongings

By Mick Gregory

After the spring break/Easter holiday retail promotions, newspapers have a long, low period of advertising drop off, followed closely by subscription and single-copy sales declines. That’s when the next big wave of head-count cuts usually hits. It’s as predictable as a 2-hour commute in So Cal. The newsrooms don’t see it coming any better than hogs at a Bakersfield slaughter house. I take that back, hogs do get the picture about five minutes before the drill.

UPDATE:
(CAN YOU IMAGINE? WRITERS COMING UP WITH THEIR OWN HEADLINES?)

Word out of the Los Angeles Daily Journal newsroom is that the legal paper lopped off its copy desk last night — the whole thing. I’ve heard it from a few sources, one of whom emails that deadlines will be pushed earlier in the day, writers are being asked to suggest their own headlines and line editors will back read each other’s edited copy. The editor staffing was already thin, with recent departures not replaced. Emails one staffer:

Honestly, how do you put out a paper without a copy desk? We’re all very shell-shocked. The lay-offs included a veteran copy-editor who had been at the paper for 15 years, and who was completly unaware she was on the chopping block. We’re all scrambling around, trying to figure out how we’re going to keep doing our jobs without copy editors. — Kevin Roderick of the LA Observer

TIP TO PUBLISHERS: TRY USING WEB-BASED CONTENT MANAGEMENT SOFTWARE AND HAVE COPY EDITORS IN PUNE, INDIA DO THE EDITING FOR 20 PERCENT OF THE EXPENSE. THOUGH, GIVE YOUR WRITERS A CHANCE. ALL THEY NEED IS ABOUT A WEEK OF PRACTICE.

Here are the latest cuts:
The Seattle Times –175 to 200.
The Dizzy Dean Singleton cuts in California — bottomless.

Here is some open grieving from what was once a real fluff position, sports columnist in Southern California. Free food in the press box, jokes about the sports stars, great seats for all the best games, somebody had to do it. Well, not any more.

I have a suggestion for your exit interview, say “Pull my finger!”
And blow one a burrito/beer fart that they will remember.


‘We’re Eliminating the Position of Sports Columnist’
It took me, oh, about three seconds to process the meaning of the call from the newsroom secretary.

“Steve wants to see you in Louise’s office.”

Steve would be Steve Lambert, editor of The Sun/Bulletin/Titanic. And Louise is Louise Kopitch, head of personnel for the same foundering entities.

These days, your editor wants to see you (in tandem with the HR boss) for one reason only. And it’s not to congratulate you on being named Employee of the Year.

It was about noon, and I was in the new, north San Bernardino offices of The Sun to do my weekly IE-oriented notes column. I was going to lead with several paragraphs on Don Markham, the mad genius of Inland Empire prep football who, at age 68, is attempting to put a maraschino cherry atop his “mad genius” credentials by starting up an intercollegiate sports program (and, more importantly, to him, a football team) at something called American Sports University (current enrollment, about 30). A school planned and created by a Korean mad-genius businessman who either is about to fill a niche in academe or lose a boatload of money.

As it turns out, American Sports University is located in downtown San Bernardino in the very same collection of buildings occupied until October of 2006 by The Sun. The same buildings I reported to for my first day of work, Aug. 16, 1976, and then spent the next three decades of my working life. Later, I found that meaningful.

When the phone rang, my colleague, Michelle Gardner, had been talking to me about Cal State San Bernardino basketball, the aspect of her beat that most interests her. As usual, she was highly animated and barely paused for breath as I took the call, said, “OK,” and hung up. Michelle resumed describing the permutations of the CCAA basketball tournament and what it meant for the Division II NCAA playoffs. She was just getting warmed up. I basically had to walk away from her to answer the summons. Michelle does love her beats, and I admire her for that.

I may have laughed aloud as I went down the stairs. Certainly, I smiled. It seemed so silly. “They come for me at a random time and a random day. A Thursday. At lunch. Huh.”

I walked down the hall, looking for the personnel department offices. All the doors were closed, so I had to glance through the glass to find one occupied. I noticed a guy sitting across the walkway, a guy whom I once had worked with on a daily basis, when he was in the plate room and I would run downstairs to build the agate page. Mark Quarles. I remember wondering if he knew what I was doing down there, Thursday afternoon, and whether he might actually call out to me. Or whether it’s politically dangerous to acknowledge a Dead Man Walking.

I pushed open the door to Kopitch’s office, was invited in, and there was Lambert, looking smaller and thinner than I recalled him. Not that I had seen him often the past year, between my doing so many L.A.-oriented columns and him doing whatever it was he does. Corporate stuff, meetings off site, whatever.

I said, brightly, “I’ve been trying to think of a scenario in which this meeting is a good thing.”

Lambert said something like, “It’s not a good thing.”

I sat on the other side of Kopitch’s desk. As did Lambert, but he was turned slightly toward me and was about six feet away. Maybe that’s the way you do these things? On the same side of the desk but a bit removed? I remember a managing editor, name of Mike Whitehead, telling me, 20-odd years ago, that you never fire someone in your own office because if they insist on talking/complaining you can’t get up and leave. It’s your own office, see? So you fire people somewhere else.

Anyway, Lambert had a bit of a preamble. Something we hate to do, forced on us by economic realities, sorry … “but we’re eliminating the position of sports columnist for the Inland group.” I remember that fairly clearly, and I recall thinking “hmm, they leave it to me to grasp that I am not just a columnist but “sports columnist for the Inland group,” a title I’d never heard, let alone used. There was a flicker of “what if I were really dim, or contentious, and made him say it more directly? Like, “you’re fired.”

Lambert may have said he was sorry another time or two. How often he said it doesn’t matter because I don’t believe he meant it in the least. He could have said it 20 times or not at all and it wouldn’t have mattered. The guy hasn’t liked me since, oh, 2004, and I bet whacking me was the easiest call for him, of the 11 Sun newsroom people he fired that day. Dump a big salary (by Singleton standards) and a guy you don’t like at the same time? Easy. Fun, actually.
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Live from Texas: It’s Hillary Rodham Clinton with her back against the wall. Her campaign instructs supporters to ‘take the role of secretary’ in order to control the vote count and the official list of who voted in the Texas caucuses

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HOUSTON: This wasn’t the way it was to be for Queen Hillary of the Clinton Court. Obama was to be the lap dog vice president on the Hillary ticket and they should have been making peace on stage. Instead, Obama has charged ahead and is even getting support from Republicans. His campaign has erased a 20 point lead by the Hillary machine in just two weeks and now he leads in Texas and is flush with campaign donations. He’s running full page ads in the Houston Chronicle, San Antonio Express-News and Dallas Morning News. He has a big schedule of ads on cable TV and radio in Texas.

Hillary is trying to pull off another New Hampshire by taking over the Texas caucuses. Look at her instructions to supporters that was leaked to the Dallas Morning News and blasted on the Internet on Politico:
Texas caucuses — constitutional crisis
UPDATE: March 4, 2008, Hillary’s campaign admitted to darkening a photo of Obama, as a normal hue, saturation PhotoShop thechnique. In other words, the racist Clinton machine used a Nazi technique to literally paint Obama darker than he is. Next, in Hillary’s infomercial playing in Houston yesterday, she had a set-up town hall with very few if any blacks in the audience. Instead she had a mix of Latinas, apparent lesbians and elderly women.

What were her solutions? They were more spending programs including full time care givers at the homes of handicapped people. How much will that cost? The sky is the limit.

How many pantsuits does Hillary own? Is anyone keeping count?

The Dallas Morning News gets hold of Clinton caucus “training materials,” in which supporters are instructed to fight for procedural control of caucuses.

The materials say in part, “DO NOT allow the supporter of another candidate to serve in leadership roles.”

It goes on to say, “If our supporters are outnumbered, ask the Temporary Chair if one of our supporters can serve as the Secretary, in the interest of fairness.

“The control of the sign-in sheets and the announcement of the delegates allotted to each candidate are the critical functions of the Chair and Secretary. This is why it is so important that Hillary supporters hold these positions.”

Some of the moments on the ground in Nevada showed how crucial technical control can be, particularly when — there, as expected in Texas — nobody has any idea what the rules are. Really makes you love the caucus process.

It’s right out of Stalin’s playbook. “It’s not who votes; it’s who counts the votes.”

PBS Viewers Upset That a Conservative Was Allowed to Give His Opinion on the Public Station

Mick Gregory

Look at how horrified PBS fans are at the tax-payer supported “public” TV station. They actually had a conservative on the opinion segment of “New Hour.” That shows me it very rarely is allowed. Someone must have been on sabatical.

These are Progressive Democrats. The ones that strongly believe the debate is over, if you don’t agree with them. That is a good definition of narrow minded bigot.

I am an avid watcher of your program and I have not written you with my praises so it is difficult to write with my complaints, but I must. The discussion of torture in the “Shields and Lowry” segment was not acceptable and the remarks of Rich Lowry were shameful and deeply disturbing. Does your station endorse the views of Mr. Lowry? Mr. Lowry approved and defended the use of torture, an illegal activity under US and international law. Torture is in the same category as rape or murder; not an option for interrogation. I am, frankly, horrified that your show would pay someone to spread such a despicable point of view. He even brought up the subject again to expand upon his original endorsement and strengthen it. Thank you for a great program 99% of the time!

David Hennessey, Proctor, MN

You idiot, the practice isn’t water boarding, but a pschological act to have the terrorist believe he is being water boarded. No terrorists are harmed in the video!

I can’t believe that you have Rich Lowry on the show actually talking in support of water-boarding. Lowry is a poor substitute for David Brooks. I am outraged that someone would condone torture as an OK thing, and that’s a slippery slope. We are surely in moral trouble if he represents any kind of substantial constituency, and if he doesn’t then he ought not to be on your show.

MB Markham, Arlington, VA

The PBS ombudsman to his credit, states the facts, that Rich Lowry was a fill-in for the opinon segment and gave his opinion.

On Nov. 2, Ray Suarez was sitting in on the NewsHour with Jim Lehrer. He was talking with Mark Shields and a young man named Rick, as David Brooks (no relation to me) was off. The young reporter with blithe arrogance condoned torture, insisted nothing was wrong with it “when needed” and said he’d be willing to volunteer for two minutes of waterboarding. Please rethink having such a callous, offensive “reporter” on PBS again. He gives journalism an ugly face not to mention the total disregard this young man has for democracy. Ray looked embarrassed. Mark Shields was obviously disgusted. Jim Lehrer’s NewsHour is the most informed and dignified news we have in our country. Send this Rick over to Fox News and then he’ll understand torture for himself.

Jacquelyn Brooks, Gloucester, MA

I STRONGLY object to Rich Lowry as the substitute commentator. He is either ignorant or a liar or both. In the discussion on waterboarding, he says that it is not torture. That is a lie, according to the Army manual, to the Geneva Conventions, to John McCain, to countless others. Are you pandering to the Bush Administration? If you don’t have him as the substitute, will they cancel you? Give us an honest person. Where are your editorial standards?

Chapel Hill, NC

Here’s the NewsHour’s Response

This is from Executive Producer Linda Winslow: “A number of viewers wrote to complain about Rich Lowry’s endorsement of waterboarding as an interrogation tactic on Friday. In most cases, the viewers wanted to know why he was allowed to express his opinion — which they vehemently disagreed with — on The NewsHour. Here’s the answer to that question: Rich was filling in for our regular commentator, David Brooks, and participating in our regular Friday night analysis of the week’s biggest developments. Like David, Rich leans toward Republican positions but, like Mark, he isn’t expected to spout the “party line” on every event. He is encouraged to express his own opinions, which is what he did Friday. Although many prominent Republicans have denounced waterboarding, Rich is not the only person in Washington espousing the position he took. Some of them are members of the Bush administration. We think it is important that our viewers hear that argument, whether they agree with one side or the other. I think Mark Shields actively took the position held by the viewers who were offended by Rich Lowry’s opinion. And I think Ray Suarez moderated their debate even-handedly. Below is the link to our web site if you’d like to review the transcript.” http://www.pbs.org/newshour/bb/politics/july-dec07/slmukasey_11-02.html

(Ombudsman’s Note: This seems like an easy one. Lowry appeared on the weekly analysis and opinion portion of this program. Lowry gave his opinion. That’s what this is supposed to be about. They opine, you decide.)

Cuts at the profitable Houston Chronicle — the most financially successful newspaper in the country starting to feel the pressure.

Mick Gregory

Hearst’s Houston Chronicle is the flagship of the media empire, supporting the poorly managed, San Francisco Chronicle which is losing a million dollars a week.

It’s Houston’s mega newspaper where Sunday papers still weigh about 5 pounds.

This info is from a citizen jounalist with the nick name Banjo.Jones.  

We’ve received more information regarding the 5 percent personnel cutbacks at the Houston Chronicle, the only daily newspaper in the country’s fourth largest city.
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Northern California Home Sales Hit a 20-Year Low

The housing bubble has burst in Northern California.

September homes sales in Northern California sunk to their lowest level in two decades as mortgages became harder to get, a real estate research firm said Thursday.
A total of 5,014 new and resale homes and condos were sold last month in nine San Francisco Bay area counties — a 40 percent decrease from the same period a year ago, according to DataQuick Information Systems.

Sad Future for this Journalist — He Finally Sees the Future

Is it Time to Quit This Disappointing Paper? Or Is it Time to Quit The Entire Industry?

“Oh, and the pay is lousy. I made more money waiting tables.”

Mick Gregory

This is another chapter in a series of sad stories from disenchanted journalists as they look at their careers and it dawns on them, “This ain’t going to get any better, is it?”

Mr. Grimm, a Gannett editor recruiter gets these. Some of the letters, I suspect, are coming from reporters who have hopes of getting out of their personal hell hole and joining Gannett. Then they really don’t get it do they? Any Gannetters want to give the shmuck some advice?

Q. I graduated with a bachelor’s in journalism in May at 30. I had worked odd jobs and even owned two pet stores before getting married and deciding to go college.

I was editor of my college newspaper, where I was featured on Romenesko a few times. I won both the Hearst Award and a Scripps-Howard scholarship, the latter naming me one of the top-10 college journalists in the country. I graduated top of my class with all the kudos you would expect.

My future seemed bright, and the stories I wrote during this period, the ones which earned me respect, were in the form of lengthy, deeply narrative, literary journalism. I saw myself becoming the next Charlie LeDuff of New York Times fame, embedding myself into the lives of others and then telling their stories with passion and care.

Then I entered the “professional” world of journalism.

I’ve been at a daily with a circulation of 30,000 for three months, and I’m going through the toughest time of my life. My beat is enormous because the paper employs six journalists to cover nearly a third of a state, and we are expected not to have any overtime. So, I cram 60 hours worth of work into 40 hours. I’ve never been a hard-news junkie, so cops, courts, city councils and so on are new to me and bland. With my workload, it is hard to educate myself on what I now realize is typically the focus of a daily.

This week, I’ve barely eaten, and all my free head space is filled with dread and doubt. My wife is worried about me. I have student loans looming. I must earn a living, I hate this job. I feel overwhelmed at every turn, and worst of all, I worry I have painted myself into a corner by striving so hard to be good at something no one will hire me to do.

I’m thinking about going back to school to change careers.
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After Fighting to Change Upper Tier Management at the New York Times, Major Investment Bank Morgan Stanley Sells Off $183 Million in Shares

Mick Gregory

The New York Times empire is crumbling. Look out for falling debris. Stock is at a 10-year low.

Now, it is the top headline on the Drudge Report.

Morgan Stanley, the second-biggest shareholder in New York Times Co., sold its entire 7.3 percent stake today, according to a citizen journalist who knew of the transaction, sending the stock to its lowest in more than 10 years.

The Sarbanes-Oxley Act didn’t do anything for investor rights of New York Times stock.
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Che Guevara was killed by Bolivia’s police 40 years ago.

By Mick Gregory

Some background on Che Guevara, the romantic bearded figure on red T-shirts and coffee mugs at your neighborhood pipe store.

Che Guevara was one of Fidel Castro‘s henchman when they plotted to overthrow Cuba while in Mexico in the late 1950s. After they succeeded, Castro didn’t need Che’s carismatic status and good looks. So Che Guevara was guided out of Cuba (for his own good).

He tried to duplicate his left-wing overthrow of governments throughout South America. When Guevara attempted to unite miners in Bolivia to strike, he did not gain any support from the workers. The Bolivian government police killed Guevara in a shootout in 1967. The CIA doesn’t claim to have played a part.

(It was the LBJ-Democrat Party CIA, so it is possible).

Today, the fairytale leaves out the inconvenient truth, such as Fidel Castro’s hand in Che’s demise by abandoning him. The tale of the CIA behind his death is flawed in that it was the leftwing Democrat Party CIA at the time, not the Nixon, Reagan or Bush CIA.

The fable spread to suburbia. Target stores even carred book bags with Che’s image, until there was public outcry. If you have a Target Che bag, you can make a nice profit on E-Bay today.

No mention in Che’s rewritten history that Guevara’s mother was Irish and from a wealthy family. His parents even sent the young Che to medical school. Nor the gulog that his comrade Fidel filled with political prisoners for just trying to escape his socialist paradise.

Put that in your pipe and smoke it.

What’s the difference between a journalist and a reporter?

Mick Gregory

Only snobs or egomaniacs call themselves journalists. I have to admit, I like the term citizen journalist, because it has a ring of truth to it and it annoys mainstream journos.

A cub reporter in the 1950s asked his boss what the difference was between a reporter and a journalist.
He said, “a journalist had two suits, a reporter only one.”

Today, reporters don’t even bother to wear ties, let alone cheap suits. But the “executive editors” still need that differentiation or class definition of wearing a dark suit to the office. They are lords of the newsroom over scores of slobs.

Now you know why I call my blog sadbastards. I’m giving you a peek behind the curtains, before the final act of the once great print empire and the sad, egomaniacal editors scrambling to keep their status relevant.