Archive for April, 2009

The Trib

April 12, 2009

Just back in Chicago to visit the family and picked up the Chicago Tribune.  Wow.  What a rag it has become. The front section reads like the Tempo section (in other papers “Lifestyle”, “Family” etc) – comics and “Ask Amy” where you expect to find the Op-Eds, television and concerts news before that.  The front page itself has religion stories and heart warming family dramas.  I commented to my sister that it had become like my wife’s hometown paper in Binghamton, NY paper.  I have since reconsidered – it is not fair to Binghamton.  Because despite being, what? 1/50th the size of the Chicago metropolitan area, that paper now has more hard news than the Trib. I’m not being sarcastic here, I think it is literally true.

The paper has failed, although I’m sure the owners have succeeded in their goals – parasitize and suck all the money from the paper and  put it in their own pockets, then leave the carcass for someone else to deal with. With the Trib’s debt load and the paper in such a crippled state, I don’t see why anyone would buy it.  There is now a ready made market for serious news.  Perhaps the NY Times can step in, but a hard hitting on-line only paper could start up here with virtually no competition from the print world.

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Telephone Wires

April 8, 2009

People always seem to be fighting cell phone towers.  Everyone wants good service, but a significant number of people really, really don’t want to see a cell tower on their skyline.  Me, I’d rather have the good service. If I could get rid of anything it would be the telephone and power wires strung along every road in America.  Most people don’t even see them anymore, but take a look outside your house.  Mangy looking poles, blackened and scarred with literally tons of sagging wires running every which way throughout the neighborhood.  Why doesn’t anyone object to that truly hideous sight?

Will Tragedy change GOP’s tune?

April 5, 2009

Romulus had a post in March (Oklahoma City Redux) about the risks of the latest Republican strategy stoking up the wingnuts in their party. It took less than a month since that post for us to see the first example of what comes of this approach. The murder of three police officers in Pittsburgh (http://www.post-gazette.com/pg/09094/960660-100.stm) was a terrible tragedy. Perhaps this disturbed man would have done this anyway but with many Republicans feeding his paranoia and using inflammatory language they certainly must be taken to task for what they’ve done. With the recent column by Charles Blow in the NYT about this very topic maybe the media will confront Republicans with this issue rather than ignoring it (for the most part) as they did in the ’90s. Hopefully aggressive media coverage will prevent further tragedy.

Hummer Man

April 1, 2009

I’m sorry, but this idea that the Administration is treating Wagoner (ex-CEO of GM) as a scapegoat is ridiculous.  The company went bankrupt under his watch.  OK, not technically bankrupt yet, but only because the US Government is keeping them running.  And not only that, but Wagoner was made CEO because of his “success” in bringing the first new badge to GM since Saturn: Hummer.  GM marshalled its tremendous resources to do two things over the last decade and a half: fight fuel economy standards with everything it had, and bring an 8 mpg, 3 ton boy-toy to market . Hummer is now the posterboy of American automaker idiocy and the whole division is being sold at garage sale prices (and still not a taker in sight).  The fact that the Administation is calling for his ouster is step #1, and as far from scapegoating as you can get.  Everything he championed at GM is exactly what go them into the mess in the first place.  Good riddance.