RIP Rocky Mountain News

Alas, another one bites the dust.

It’s not getting any better for newspapers and now Denver is yet another one-newspaper town. San Francisco threatens to be next.

This, of course, comes as no surprise to anyone who’s astute enough to notice that, hey, things are kinda tough right now.

goodbyermn

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The uh-oh moment

Maybe you’ve experienced a moment like this.

doonesburyuh-oh

This is where you learn that you’re not so indispensable after all. And if you’ve worked in news media in the past decade, chances are you’ve seen a lot of this. Ouch.

And then you end up writing bitter blogs about your experience and laughing (bitterly) at Doonesbury comic strips.

This just in …

How about a bailout for mainstream media?

Once again, MSM have been pronounced dead, and this time the doctor is one of us.

http://www.tnr.com/politics/story.html?id=a99bf9c2-ea49-4acd-a06a-8ed7415311e5

To those of us who once made news our bread and butter, this is no surprise. To see McClatchy shares flirt with penny stock prices (I sold some shares of McClatchy’s predecessor, Knight Ridder, for $80 per share just a few years ago, and I got the tax bill to prove it – Just before it started to tank) is sad. True, the transaction led my demise as a Beacon Journal editor after 18 years with Knight Ridder, but it was merely a step toward the inevitable. So hate the process, remain deeply ambiguous toward McClatchy and its offspring/survivors.

But wait! There’s more!

I’ve told folks before, though I might not have committed it to etherprint:  As the so-called MSM – which at their best shine the light on bad actors – continue to wither on the media vine, something will have to replace them and cut through the noise of bloggers and shouting heads on CNN, Fox, etc. But first, we will have to travel through a wilderness of disinformation, lies and statistics (you pick the greater evil!).

The New Republic’s take follows:

http://www.tnr.com/politics/story.html?id=a4e2aafc-cc92-4e79-90d1-db3946a6d119

BNet’s take:

http://industry.bnet.com/media/1000980/the-new-republic-to-msm-its-over/

Afghanistan hills

Well, it only took seven and a half years but we’re sending in more troops to deal with the Afghanistan situation.

Still boggles the mind to think this nation’s leaders wasted so many billions of dollars and thousands upon thousands of human lives in Iraq, leaving Afghanistan with inadequate forces to deal with the festering cesspool created by the Taliban and Al Qaida.

Try to imagine if instead of sending those troops to Iraq, the United States had sent maybe 100,000 of them to Afghanistan, sealed the borders – especially along the borders of our steadfast friends Pakistan – and killed off the Taliban and Al Qaida dead. Any of them left alive wouldn’t dare breathe a word about their old ways. They’d spend their remaining days hoping nobody ratted ’em out.

Let those cockroaches live in fear. If we must let them live at all.

I’m not normally one to advocate violent resolution to conflicts (See War: Iraq), but for them critters in Afghanistan I’ll make an exception.

Too kind

The Old Gray Lady reports that the stimulus bill that just squeaked through Congress puts a squeeze on executive pay for bailed out banks. This apparently was done in the Senate over the “objection” of the Obama administration.

My main objection to all this is that there aren’t a bunch of bank executives being prosecuted and their huge bank accounts being dunned for the wreckage they caused.

While thousands of homeowners and small-business owners are losing everything in large part because of the credit squeeze on top of (or the cause of) the tanking economy, a few fat cats have slinked off the scene with bazillions of dollars in bonuses and severance packages that could support several national economies for years.

See the Times HERE.

Mess-o-Potamia

The traditional gifts for sixth anniversaries are candy or iron.

The incursion into Iraq will soon mark its sixth anniversary.

The modern gift for sixth anniversary is wood. Gonzo writer P.J. O’Rourke wrote some 20 years ago (back when Saddam Hussein was Our Man) about the Iran-Iraq war, which coincidentally had entered its “Wooden Anniversary” year. He delicately suggested “Here’s a gift suggestion: a big stick to beat some @#$damned sense into their heads.” (Rolling Stone 1985 year-end review — how do I remember this stuff?)

What was that saying – something about those who don’t learn from history?

The author of Fiasco, Thomas Ricks, has a new book about more recent developments in Iraq, and for the anti-war crowd, the news ain’t good.

In The Gamble, Ricks writes about how Gen. David Petraeus (whom some of the more shrill anti-Bushies called “Betray-Us” in a really embarrassing outburst of misplaced anger) saw that something had to change about how the war in Iraq was being conducted because, to put it kindly, things could have gone better.

In my humble opinion, some of the architects of the war plan in Iraq (If, by architects, you mean ham-fisted dolts equipped with crayons and blunt-ended scissors) belong in prison, but what do I know? Even if you don’t care about the 100,000 innocent Iraqis, give or take 100,000, who perished as “collateral damage” in the initial invasion and ensuing insurgency and resulting efforts to suppress the insurgencies, the death toll of Americans in Iraq has now exceeded the death of 9/11, the supposed reason for us being there (again, on false pretenses) in the first place.

That is something to be angry about.

At the risk of sounding like a know-it-all blowhard (no, I have NEVER been accused of that!), I was very much against going to war in Iraq because 1) the pretense of Saddam being a real threat was a sham, 2) there were no viable — that being the key word, viable — weapons of mass destruction 3) the real threat was over in Afghanistan and the job was only half-done and we now see what that got us and 4) I just plain did not trust the Bush crowd. I said then that the war would unleash unintended consequences; I passed around a “Vietnam II pre-flight checklist” that enumerated with eerie accuracy how screwed-up things would get; I said that once we toppled Saddam, all sorts of insanity would pop loose; and I believed that we’d be stuck for a long, long time.

Dang, I hate when I’m right all the time.

But it’s not all about me.

See the book news HERE.

Commencing meltdown, engines on

It’s time for the February thaw, and on Lake Erie that means stranded icefishermen. Because this year was a colder-than-usual-of-late winter (let the global warming name-calling begin anew), the ice shanties did proliferate upon the frozen top of Erie, which meant that knuckleheads who had no business being out there were out there. And some who should have known better too.

Saturday, as things warmed up, a big crack appeared under their feet. They slipped out their depth and out of their minds, with their fears flowing out behind them, as they clawed the thin ice …    oh, heh-heh, slipping into Pink Floyd mode there. Sorry.

airboatAs one clearly annoyed sheriff told the media (media is plural, please!), this was just stupid. Somebody threw wooden pallets over the crack as a makeshift bridge, which worked “fine” until the ice shifted. Duh. One guy fell into the water, had a heart attack and died. So, this is not a laughing matter.

Helicopters and air boats (we usually see them in the Florida Everglades) were on the scene to pluck out more than 100 stranded human popsicles.

I would not characterize myself as an “experienced” icefisherman. I’ve fished most of my life, but dragging a shed and snowmobile/car out on a temporarily solid surface to drop a hook in the water and freeze seems like the ultimate waste of time. But I have enough sense to stay off ice that HAS CRACKS in it.

Meanwhile, back on terra firma, concerns about melting snow leading to massive flooding have passed for the time being.

Stay tuned.