Sunday, January 25, 2009

News Nits

"All the news that's fit to reprint."

Barack Hussein Obama, the icon, became Mr. President this passed week, officially, at noon on Tuesday, January 20th. That little technicality became worth noting after the oath of office turned into a dropped fly ball between two highly paid outfielders. Although strictly speaking unnecessary, the oath was administered again later that night "out of an abundance of caution."

[Editor's note: In celebration of our nation getting a new President, my girlfriend and I enjoyed an "Obama Roll" tonight at our favorite sushi restaurant in Minneapolis: Wasabi. We passed on the "Inauguration Roll", feeling it might come out slightly messy.]

In a final act as President, George W. Bush commuted the sentence of two border patrol guards -- Ignacio Ramos and Jorge Compean -- who were convicted of shooting a Mexican drug dealer in the trasero, as he fled a van load of weed across the Rio Grande, and then covering up the shooting. Mr. Bush did not pardon the gentlemen, as he reasoned they were convicted in a fair court but did commute their sentence (they already served 2 years time) agreeing it was too harsh.

[Editor's note: Our nation is facing trillion dollar deficits for years to come, and yet we are still so concerned about van loads of weed. Why not decriminalize it like alcohol, regulate it like alcohol, tax it like alcohol, wipe the "War on Drugs" off our books and turn it into a financial positive?]

In less political news, real estate is not the only industry with depressed prices. The printed news press is getting destroyed. In a move that smacks of desperation rather than strategy, the New York Times just handed over a large amount of its stock for a reported $250 million cash infusion from the second richest man in the world, Carlos Slim. Mr. Slim, not a Mexican hip-hop artist, made his fortune in telecom and was briefly the richest man in the world. It is nice to see the free market at work, although it makes me question the legitimacy of the American press when it might soon be controlled by a super rich Mexican.

From around the world, more news is coming in concerning the Congressional computer hacking invasion of 2006. Apparently the ladies and gentlemen who run our Congress do not hire high quality computer guys. Instead, they argue over the importance of invading Iraq, Afghanistan and Pakistan. Pakistan, by the way, has the world's largest standing army. But maybe they should spend a little more time protecting our nation's secrets from the only legitimate threat to the U.S. in the world right now: China.

From around the solar system, our pals at NASA found a huge chunk of subsurface pure water on Mars. This huge chunk is roughly 100 times the size of the great lakes. Tickets anyone? We'll be water skiing on Mars in no time. Which is good, because 650 global climate change scientists declared in December that the 12,000 year warming period we've been in is over and we are heading into a 100,000 year ice age, as would be consistent with the 450,000 year ice core samples known to science. Maybe we should start working on a Kyoto version for the U.N. to enforce on Mars.

"Very little is known of the Canadian country since it is rarely visited by anyone but the Queen and illiterate sport fishermen." -- P.J. O'Rourke


Roller said...

Totally agree re: weed. Would now be a better time than ever to try to get that legislation passed? As the global economic funk may at least slightly depress the anti-weed lobbying funds? Maybe that's a pipe dream...

I read somewhere else recently that the second largest British newspaper was going down, but I have unsuccessfully tried to find the link. I do know that the Seattle P-I is up for sale, though, and that when sold it will most likely become available only online.

Here's a question, of the newspapers with the largest circulation in the US, which will be the first to go online only? I'll guess the San Francisco Chronicle. Why? San Fran is tech savvy, environmentally conscious. I think the straw that will break print's back though, is wireless broadband availablity, making the news available anywhere. San Fran is as good a bet as any to get that first.

kevin said...

more on the oath...

Ryan said...

Rollz, yeah it remains to be seen. Tons of people still like to read the physical paper. I would certainly prefer it, except that I already know the news in it before it's printed because I read it 12 minutes after it happened on the AP wire.

The writing of the NYT is no better than anywhere else, nor is their integrity. Maybe their pictures are.

Locally, I think there will be a niche for printed news. but the old days of the getting the NYT to stay in touch with the world are essentially over.

Why they can't harness printed ads into online ads is beyond me. I guess the thin veil has been lifted from the media and most people realize there is just not much information there (the NYT is a repeat of every other major city newspaper, liberal and very mainstream personal-interest based stories)