Saturday swans

| April 11, 2009
Into the deep blue...

Into the deep blue...


ITEM: Why newspapers are dying — note the lead headline for the online version of the Denver Post:

And in other breaking news....

And in other breaking news....

ITEM: Speaking of animals, this story of a dead whale on the beach at Del Mar brings up memories of one of Dave Barry’s funniest columns and the video that inspired it.

ITEM: Y’know, articles like this one — from the Washington Post on Bush’s post-Presidency life — should be clearly marked “analysis” rather than “news” (that is, rather than just filed in the “Politics” section). The snark is so thick you can cut it with a knife:

The presidency that is remembered on Daria Place bears little resemblance to the one that most of the country continues to blame for its problems. Bush left Washington on Jan. 20 with two-thirds of Americans disapproving of his job performance — one of the worst ratings ever for an outgoing U.S. president. In his return to private life, he has maintained tranquility by adhering to a basic philosophy:

He lives squarely in the remaining 33 percent.

Yeah, that’s real journalism.

ITEM: Two years ago, the US Federal deficit for the entire year of 2007 was $162 billion. Note carefully that 2007 was the last year for which the US Federal budget was set by a Republican-controlled Congress; the Democrats took over starting with the 2008 budget.  Now the US Federal deficit just for the month of March 2009 is $192 billion. Yeah, blame that on Bush.

ITEM: And speaking of deficits, be prepared to have your state and local governments find new ways to squeeze money from you.

ITEM: Alan Reynolds points out what the mainstream media — and the G20 leaders — conveniently ignore: the rest of the world was already in deep financial trouble before the subprime crisis hit the US. In fact, the rest of the world has been counting on the US to prop up the global economy for several years now.

ITEM: Eric Alterman, recognizing that a government bailout of newspapers isn’t likely going to happen, suggests they become non-profit institutions instead (i.e., exempt from taxes). I would say that most newspapers are so far from making a profiit right now that this may be too large a step up.

ITEM: OK, it’s hard to get through this over-the-top paean to Michelle Obama with a straight face.But I will grant one thing: right now, I think that Michelle would do a more competent job as President than her husband. In all honesty, I felt the same way from time to time about Laura Bush, on occasion I felt that way about Hillary Clinton, and I definitely felt that way about Barbara Bush. Nancy Reagan, no.

ITEM: Speaking of Hillary Clinton — Iran boasts of its increased ability to enrich uranium; Clinton responds, We don’t know what to believe about the Iranian program.Well, Secretary Clinton, a good place to start would be: Iran is building a nuclear bomb and wants to use it on Israel.

ITEM: So, how’s that wind power working out?

There is no evidence that industrial wind power is likely to have a significant impact on carbon emissions. The European experience is instructive. Denmark, the world’s most wind-intensive nation, with more than 6,000 turbines generating 19% of its electricity, has yet to close a single fossil-fuel plant. It requires 50% more coal-generated electricity to cover wind power’s unpredictability, and pollution and carbon dioxide emissions have risen (by 36% in 2006 alone).

Flemming Nissen, the head of development at West Danish generating company ELSAM (one of Denmark’s largest energy utilities) tells us that “wind turbines do not reduce carbon dioxide emissions.” The German experience is no different. Der Spiegel reports that “Germany’s CO2 emissions haven’t been reduced by even a single gram,” and additional coal- and gas-fired plants have been constructed to ensure reliable delivery.

ITEM: OK, the title was so obvious — at least for anyone of a certain age — that I’m kicking myself for not thinking of it first: Barry and the Pirates.

ITEM: Why the US Marines are the world’s most effective fighting force (hat tip to the Daily Brief; emphasis mine):

“On July 21 Gustafson was manning the turret of the lead vehicle, a mine resistant ambush protected vehicle, or MRAP, during a four-vehicle mounted patrol riding through the streets of Shewan, Afghanistan…

The patrol came under heavy fire from machine guns as well as rocket-propelled grenades from hidden insurgent positions.

One of the RPGs hit Gustafson’s MRAP, piercing its armor, rendering the driver unconscious and partially amputating Gustafson’s right leg.

Despite his injuries, Gustafson remained vigilant on his M240B machine gun, locating and accurately firing on several insurgent positions, some as close as 20 meters from the vehicle.

He remained in the turret, reloading twice and firing over 600 rounds, while Lance Cpl. Cody Comstock, an Anderson, Ind. native, applied a tourniquet to his leg.

After regaining consciousness, the driver, Cpl. Geoffrey Kamp, an Indianapolis native, put the vehicle in reverse and pushed the disabled vehicle behind them out of the kill zone.

Not until both vehicles were safe from the heavy insurgent fire and all the Marines had evacuated the burning vehicle did he allow himself to be removed from the turret for medical treatment.”

Hoorah, indeed. Full disclosure: my son Jon and my nephew Darren are both Marines; Jon’s already done a tour in Iraq; Darren’s on his way to Afghanistan, and Jon may be there by year’s end.

ITEM: Courtesy of Blue Crab Boulevard comes this video of the first GM car produced under US government ownership:

Barring some major development, this is for the weekend — a peaceful Easter to all and sundry. ..bruce w..

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Category: Business, China, Climate Change, Creeping socialism, Economics, Geopolitics, Humor, Journalism, Links roundup, Main, Media, Obama Administration, Stimulus, US Politics

About the Author ()

Webster is Principal and Founder at Bruce F. Webster & Associates, as well as an Adjunct Professor of Computer Science at Brigham Young University. He works with organizations to help them with troubled or failed information technology (IT) projects. He has also worked in several dozen legal cases as a consultant and as a testifying expert, both in the United States and Japan. He can be reached at, or you can follow him on Twitter as @bfwebster.

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