With Memorial Day, Grumpy Editor is taking a break --- and will return on Monday, June 1.
ABC News’ chief anchor George Stephanopoulos --- former communications director and senior adviser for policy and strategy for former President Bill Clinton --- faces a credibility crisis in political coverage even after apologizing to viewers Friday for failing to disclose donating $75,000 to the Clinton Foundation, observed Grumpy Editor.
In 2012, 2013 and 2014, Stephanopoulos made $25,000 donations each year to the charitable organization headed by Bill and Hillary Clinton, and daughter, Chelsea.
In an interview last month with author Peter Schweizer about his book "Clinton Cash,” Stephanopoulos did not disclosed that Clinton link to viewers.
In addition to being chief anchor and chief political correspondent for ABC News, Stephanopoulos is co-anchor of ABC's "Good Morning America" and host of Sunday’s "This Week."
Like many others working these days in broadcast and print news, Stephanopoulos was a political science graduate (from Columbia University, New York), rather than holding a degree in journalism, thus lacking solid education/basic training in the specialized news-gathering field. It’s much like allowing an unqualified “dentist,” without a doctor of dental surgery degree, to drill on teeth or going to a fake certified public accountant, who doesn’t hold an accounting degree, to tackle figures for taxes.
Mark Levin, on his Friday talk show, called Stephanopoulos a “phony journalist.”
Jeremy W. Peters and John Koblin in the New York Times on Thursday said, “Even after more than a decade as an analyst, anchor and public face for ABC News, George Stephanopoulos has never been able to shake the image that many Republicans have of him: Clinton hatchet man.”
AP television writer David Bauder on Friday pointed out “ABC News' rules permit charitable donations, but reporters are required to inform management before covering a story related to the organization.”
Bauder added, “The story is a threat to Stephanopoulos' ability to cover politics for ABC, said Mark Feldstein, a veteran broadcast journalist now a professor at the University of Maryland” and “he couldn't have given the Republican Party a greater sword to decapitate him.”
Meanwhile, Free Beacon on Friday reported Heather Riley, spokeswoman for ABC News programs “Good Morning America” and “This Week,” worked in the White House press office from 1997 to 2000.
FYI, IN CASE YOUR FAVORITE EDITORS MISSED THESE…
Among federal agencies missing from current news stories: Anyone read or hear about Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) coming to the rescue of tornado victims in many states this month, or over the weekend? However, FEMA has been busy concentrating on states that must, as of next March, properly address climate change to be eligible for grant funding…Industrial output fell for the fifth straight month in April, triggered by a drop in energy-related drilling and sluggish manufacturing, reported the Federal Reserve on Friday…So does this mean sending more jobs overseas? Manufacturing jobs in the U.S. declined by 7,231,000 (or 37 percent), since employment in that category peaked 36 years ago, according to Bureau of Labor Statistics data…Among government waste items in the "2015 Pig Book": $120 million for the continued upgrade of the M1 Abrams tank --- despite objections by senior Defense Department officials…Comcast, largest U.S. cable provider, in efforts to repair its poor relations with customers, said it plans to hire 5,500 workers over the next three years to handle customer service…The $4.4 billion deal by Verizon Communications Inc. to acquire AOL Inc., includes the Huffington Post.
Gee! In the no-kidding department:
Grumpy Editor noted this front-page headline ---
ACLU: Tough-on-crime bills will lead to more inmates.
While other news outlets covered in some detail the Washington, D.C. flyover involving a rare sight of 56 vintage aircraft marking the 70th anniversary of Victory in Europe (V-E Day), ABC World News Tonight with David Muir on Friday devoted a scant eight seconds (in a negative way) to the event, observed Grumpy Editor.
Since TV emphasizes visual events, the anniversary was tailor made as World War II aircraft flew at about 1,000 feet on a route that took them above the Potomac River, to the Lincoln Memorial and Independence Ave. and on to the House office buildings.
Among aircraft in the flyover was a Boeing B-29 Superfortress, the only known model still flying, similar to the one that dropped atomic bombs on Japan, spurring the end of World War II.
Thousands of spectators cheered along the National Mall, from rooftops and balconies.
Other aircraft in the sky parade included P-47 Thunderbolts, P-38 Lightnings, P-40 Warhawks, P-39 Aircobras and bombers: B-24 Liberators, B-25 Mitchell and B-17 Flying Fortress.
So what did ABC News focus on for its mighty eight seconds of coverage?
Footage solely of a single engine Grumman Avenger with a sputtering engine that was forced to break away from the formation. (It made an emergency landing without incident at Reagan National Airport.)
Considering the great national interest and the rarity of getting almost five dozen vintage aircraft from World War II days in the sky at the same time, it was a solid example of bad news judgment by ABC news editors.
Earlier in the day at the World War II Memorial on the Mall, dozens of veterans placed wreaths in memory of 400,000 Americans and 60 million people worldwide killed during the war.
With a dwindling number of WW II fliers on hand, news media that recognized the significance of the rare event interviewed some of the veterans.
FYI, IN CASE YOUR FAVORITE EDITORS MISSED THESE…
Investors on Friday cheered word from the Labor Department that the U.S. economy created 223,000 jobs in April after a sluggish first quarter this year. That sent the Dow Jones Industrial Average up 267.05 points to 18191.11 --- with some calling that move a Goldilocks market…With indications of an improved job market leading to more money in pockets, the American Automobile Association predicted more than 37 million Americans will travel for Memorial Day, the most since 2005. AAA expected those taking a trip of 50 miles or more will rise 4.7 percent to 37.2 million…Media Research Center president Brent Bozell, on Friday’s Fox News’ Neil Cavuto program, said news media, in losing the trust of the American public, have become more "marginalized" and "radicalized" during the Obama years, deliberately ignoring news "if it harms the narrative of the left”…The Wall Street Journal continues as the nation’s most influential financial news organization, according to a survey of more than 400 financial journalists by two DePaul University professors. Bloomberg News came in second, followed by The New York Times, The Financial Times, CNBC and Reuters…Tribune Publishing Co., parent of the Chicago Tribune, Los Angeles Times, Hartford Courant, The Baltimore Sun, among others, entered into an agreement to purchase the almost 147-year-old U-T San Diego (better known over the years as Union-Tribune) as well as nine community weeklies and related digital properties in San Diego County for $85 million…In a fresh show of force to the U.S. and others, North Korea on Saturday claimed it successfully test-fired a newly developed ballistic missile from a submarine. Later, came a report that North Korea fired three anti-ship cruise missiles into the sea off its east coast…Keeping Air Force One busy: Landing in South Dakota on Friday marked President Barack Obama’s visits to all 50 states.
Now about global warming --- with snowballs followed by baseballs on Mother’s Day: Up to five inches of wet, heavy snow fell in Denver early yesterday. But Coors Field was cleared in time for the baseball game between the Los Angeles Dodgers and Colorado Rockies.
Strange that no official financial eyebrows are being raised (publicly, at least) with the lengthy “yo-yo” stock market, generally up one day, down the next, observed Grumpy Editor, as the Dow Jones Industrial Average has been bouncing like a ping-pong ball above and below 18000 points since February.
Soft economic data was blamed for Thursday’s D J drop of 195.01 points to 17840.52.
But on Friday, without any earth-shaking news, the market recouped most of the previous day’s drop, gaining 183.54 points to again cross the 18000 line to 18024.06.
"The last four months have been quite a roller coaster,” Richard Yoken, founder of the Portfolio Strategy Group, White Plains, N.Y., informed The Wall Street Journal, adding when clients ask about a 150-point fall in the market, he tells them “not to worry since the Dow would probably be back up 150 points the next day.”
Update on last Monday's 'sinking' Santa Catalina
Mention here last Monday about a Los Angeles Times story, based on word from a Stanford graduate student researcher that Santa Catalina island, a tourist destination off the Southern California Coast, is sinking --- an average of one millimeter every five years --- turns out to be nothing new.
Grumpy Editor uncovered an earlier warning about Santa Catalina island “sinking” in a story that appeared in Popular Science News --- more than a century ago.
Under the headline, “Catalina Island Slowly Sinking,” in the November, 1902 issue, J. Mayne Baltimore wrote that University of California professor William E. Ritter “made a most scientific discovery in regard to Santa Catalina island.”
Baltimore added, “In his opinion, and also in the opinion of other scientists of the university, that island is slowly sinking into the Pacific Ocean. The rate is not rapid, but it is considered certain that unless some great geological change takes place, Santa Catalina island will eventually disappear from the face of the sea.”
(NOTE: Mount Orizaba remains Santa Catalina’s highest point, holding at a steady 2,097 feet above sea level.)
FYI, IN CASE YOUR FAVORITE EDITORS MISSED THESE…
No global warming effect. Abundance of snow has extended New England’s snow resorts season into May…While some in Washington are deeply focused on climate change/global warming among other distractions, China is building a stronger navy. Bloomberg Businessweek revealed the Chinese navy is shifting from small, short-range submarines used in Cold War days, now has at least 70 subs and “over the next decade it’s looking to add as many as 20 boats capable of traveling long distances submerged in deep water for days at a stretch”…Sports writers missed an angle with last Wednesday’s empty house (first of its kind in the major leagues) in tense Baltimore for the Orioles-White Sox game. All the action was wrapped up in a swift two hours and three minutes, well below the usual three hours-plus. Incidentally, while attendance was in the books at zero, a Getty Images photo showed two people sitting in the sixth row behind home plate…More PR work ahead for Bank of America. A J.D. Power survey ranked the nation’s second biggest lender worst among its peers in retail customer satisfaction in states where it has the most branches…A Harvard University Institute of Politics poll of more than 3,000 18-to-29 year olds found only 2 percent said they trusted the media to do the right thing "all of the time”…Allied with this was a survey reported in AdvertisingAge that only 4 percent of Americans think the marketing industry behaves with integrity while nearly half of consumers surveyed say they don't trust any news source…The New York Times Co. posted a $14 million net loss for the first quarter. A key factor was a drop in print advertising…Latest guideline issued to Wall Street Journal copy editors: Avoid using “Hillary” alone in a headline. It added that Clinton is fine for most headlines with a reminder that she is Mrs. Clinton, by her preference, not Ms. Clinton…"State of the News Media,” Pew Research Center's Journalism Project, found cable news prime-time viewership in 2014 dropped by 8 percent and newspaper circulation fell by 3 percent.
This just in:
A top-of-the-page headline in a major daily in the West: Imported furniture can be found in local shops.
The Los Angeles Times, which likes to shake up readers periodically with earthquake stories, came up with a slightly different version over the weekend, with word from a researcher that sinking Santa Catalina island, a tourist destination off the Southern California coast, could pose a tsunami threat, observed Grumpy Editor.
And when is this likely to happen?
Times writer Rong-Gong Lin II, in the 13th paragraph of the story, indicated the researcher, Stanford graduate student Chris Castillo who presented his study at the Seismological Society of America meeting in Pasadena last week, estimated Santa Catalina is sinking an average of one millimeter every five years.
Translation: one inch in 127 years.
Underwater imaging, according to the researcher, suggested Santa Catalina could be fully submerged and the movement could pose a tsunami risk for Los Angeles and Orange counties --- in three million years.
FYI, IN CASE YOUR FAVORITE EDITORS MISSED THESE…
Relax, folks, world peace prevails. In an interview with MSNBC’s Chris Matthews, President Barack Obama said, “I remind people that, you know, there actually is probably less war and less violence around the world today than there might have been 30, 40 years ago. It doesn’t make it any less painful but things can get better”…Meanwhile, as Obama spoke about the dire threat of climate change/global warming Wednesday at the Everglades in south Florida, China’s top nuclear experts warned that North Korea may have 20 nuclear warheads and could double its arsenal by next year. Range of its nuclear bomb on a ballistic missile could reach the western United States…For those seeking to know the names of the 10 Senate Republicans who, despite being urged by conservative groups and others to vote against confirmation of Loretta Lynch as attorney general, voted along with Democrats for her: joining Senate majority leader Mitch McConnell, Ky., were Orrin Hatch, Utah; Lindsey Graham, S.C., Jeff Flake, Ariz.; Thad Cochran, Miss.; Susan Collins, Maine; Mark Kirk, Ill.; Kelly Ayotte, N.H.; Ron Johnson, Wis., and Rob Portman, Ohio…Investigation continued on reports members of the University of Florida’s chapter of the Zeta Beta Tau fraternity spit on disabled wounded veterans and their service dogs and urinated on American flags while both groups were at a Panama City Beach resort. An attorney said the incident could qualify as a hate crime with additional battery charges for the students involved…U.S. media, in reporting ousted Egyptian President Mohammed Morsi sentenced by an Egyptian court to 20 years in jail for his role during protests in 2012, overlooked mention of his stay in the U.S. when he became a lecturer at California State University, Northridge, in the San Fernando Valley, and later an assistant professor from 1982 to 1985. He also worked for NASA in the early 1980s…CNN hired 40 political reporters to beef up coverage of campaigns leading to next year’s elections…While a ticket for the Floyd Mayweather Jr.-Manny Pacquiao megafight May 2 in Las Vegas went into thousands of dollars, watching the action via 50,000 closed circuit TV sets at 10 MGM Resorts International properties on the Las Vegas Strip sold out when offered Thursday. Charge per TV set: $150 plus a handling fee.
Reporters covering Hillary Clinton in her presidential campaign will be busy dodging traffic in Los Angeles on May 7 where three back-to-back fund raisers are planned.
With Earth Day on Wednesday, look for much chatter on climate change/global warming, but overlooked by many (including U.S. media) is something else zooming in from beyond the atmosphere --- an asteroid which some claim is on a collision course headed for our planet, observed Grumpy Editor.
President Barack Obama on Earth Day will be on scene at southern Florida’s Everglades --- the tropical wetlands home of snapping alligators --- to amplify his Saturday radio address in which he warned, "there's no greater threat to our planet than climate change.”
Earlier this month he said climate change is a primary national threat.
Look for the president on Earth Day to again repeat those lines along with how global warming threatens the U.S. economy.
Obama, at a Washington event in early April, also linked climate change to health problems such as allergies and asthma.
Meanwhile, from outer pace, Asteroid 2012 TC4, as it was labeled, is heading our way.
The UK’s London Daily Mail carried the story late last week while U.S. print/broadcast newsrooms were focused on other matters.
Mail writer Alix Culbertson reported the asteroid is about the size of the Statue of Liberty, twice as big as the meteor that exploded over the Russian city of Chelyabinsk in February 2013, injuring 1,500 people and damaging more than 7,000 buildings.
“The impact of the larger 2012 TC4 asteroid, predicted to near Earth on October 12, 2017, could be even more devastating,” Culbertson pointed out. “And, worryingly, experts cannot yet predict where in the world it will strike.”
FYI, IN CASE YOUR FAVORITE EDITORS MISSED THESE…
Columbia University today at 3 p.m. (Eastern) will announce 99th Pulitzer Prizes winners…Worst job of 2015? Newspaper reporter ranked at the bottom of a list of 200 jobs tallied by Carlsbad, Calif.-based CareerCast. That profession displaced lumberjack, now at the 199th spot. Meanwhile, broadcaster ranked 196th on the list while photojournalist was 195th. Top position: actuary…NewsBusters caught it, pointing out that "a blaring red headline" flashed across the TV screen that read "Breaking News; NBC News Exclusive Interview With Hillary Clinton." Length of last Tuesday’s “exclusive interview” was a brief eight seconds…Despite several days of heavy coverage of Doug Hughes, the postal worker who landed his gyrocopter on U.S. Capitol grounds, media failed to note that the attention-getting, putt-putt flying machine flew to Washington from Gettysburg, Pa. That’s 65 miles through protected air space.…Another example how taxpayer funds are spent: The U.S. Labor Department will target $13 million to promote employment among at-risk youth, ages 14 to 17 --- in El Salvador and Honduras…Through the end of fiscal year 2014, Social Security numbers were issued to 541,000 illegals authorized to work under the 2012 Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals policy…Cheers to Torrance, Calif.-based Daily Breeze reporters Rob Kuznia and Rebecca Kimitch plus project editor Frank Suraci in winning the prestigious National Headliner Award for Investigative Journalism for exposing a school district superintendent’s excessive salary with unusual perks along with other serious issues within the district…Good PR with readers: The Des Moines Register provides tours of its downtown offices, showing how staffers work.
Tough going in the field:
A reporting team from Seattle TV station KIRO, covering a massive bee spill from an overturned semi truck, were stung numerous times.
School budget cuts are curbing journalism interest in high schools across the nation, an unfortunate development, observed Grumpy Editor, who, incidentally, developed early interest in the field as an assistant editor on a Los Angeles high school newspaper.
Chicago Tribune writer Vikki Ortiz Healy on Thursday noted many high school journalism programs in Illinois and the U.S. “are struggling to stay afloat.”
She added, “In an era of tight school budgets, high-stakes testing and changing news consumption habits, the once time-honored tradition of offering students the chance to be newspaper reporters has joined the list of school activities becoming obsolete for today's students.
"Yet with public school funding shortfalls --- and school days often structured to focus on subjects covered on standardized tests --- school administrators say they are forced to make tough decisions, and journalism programs are another casualty of tight economic times."
That’s why there is a growing trend of college graduates with degrees in political science, history and law, as examples, entering print and broadcast news. For those, basic training in journalism is lacking.
A veteran journalist said that’s like having a physician, holding a geography degree, for example, diagnose an ailment.
But there’s hope.
WNEP-TV, Scranton, Pa., reported Friday that about 200 high school students in the area attended the 15th Tom Bigler Journalism Conference at Wilkes University in Wilkes-Barre. (Bigler, a former TV newsman, became a professor at the university.)
With input from those working in the field, the aspiring journalists attended workshops, lectures and seminars on the changing face of journalism, with a focus on globalism and international communities.
FYI, IN CASE YOUR FAVORITE EDITORS MISSED THESE…
President Barack Obama said it again last week: Climate change is a primary national threat…Allied with that, a two-page global warming story, “ A Glimpse at 2115,” in The Sunday, a Greenspun Media Group weekly publication, contained the word “could” 35 times, as with “maple trees could disappear” and “changes in wet and dry periods could increase flooding and fires” a century from now…Another word that brought reaction --- treason. Maj. Gen. James Post III, who was Air Combat Command vice commander, used that word in a bid to block retirement of the low-flying A-10 Warthog aircraft, highly regarded by ground troops in providing close air support. Result: Post was reprimanded and removed from his job…Said Republican presidential hopeful Sen. Ted Cruz in a CNBC interview: "Historically the media's had two caricatures for Republicans --- that we are either stupid or evil. They’ve to some extent invented a third caricature for me, which is crazy. I get portrayed in a lot of outlets as a wild-eyed lunatic with dynamite around my chest”…CBS radio news on Wednesday was overly excited, trumpeting four words heralding the lead item on the trial of Boston marathon bomber Dzhokhar Tsarnaev: “The verdict is in.” But the 2 p.m. (Eastern) top-of-the-hour news had no decision to announce on the newscast. Nevertheless, the segment ended repeating “The verdict is in.” Stay tuned…In the wake of some faulty reporting in Rolling Stone, Mike Smith, whose editorial cartoons are distributed nationally, developed one depicting an editor addressing three staffers with: “We’ve decided to add some new elements to our reporting…they’re called facts”…In connection with U.S. Defense Secretary Ash Carter ‘s visit to South Korea last week to discuss North Korea’s growing missile and nuclear threat, North Korea, flexing its muscles in a "greeting," fired six short-range missiles.
Some baseball humor from New York Yankees slugger Alex Rodriguez :
Sidelined via a year-long drug suspension, the veteran player hit his first home run in nearly 19 months and commented, “I felt like I needed a Google map to run the bases, it’s been so long.”
With the focus lately on Iran, Russia, terrorists and likely U.S. presidential candidates, most print/broadcast media missed eyebrow-raising developments concerning U.S. military that turned up last week, notes Grumpy Editor.
As saber-rattling around the world grows, Army Chief of Staff Gen. Ray Odierno warned, “The unrelenting budget impasse has compelled us to degrade readiness to historically low levels." Only a third of the Army’s brigades are ready, due to budget cuts, he added.
Gen. Odierno explained that the Army’s active force has seen a reduction of 80,000 soldiers while 13 brigade combat teams and three aviation brigades have been slashed and reorganized.
“Even today,” continued the general, “we only have 33 percent of our brigades ready, when our sustained rate should be closer to 70 percent. We are unable to generate readiness for unknown contingencies and under our current budget, Army readiness will at best be flatline over the next three to four years.”
But --- and shocking to former military personnel --- a change in long-frowned-on tattoos is seen as yielding more recruits.
Gen. Odierno said, "Society is changing its view of tattoos and we have to change along with that." Thus, he indicated a revision in the number and size of soldiers' tattoos is coming soon. New rules still will prohibit tattoos on necks and tattoos that are extremist, racist or sexist.
Meanwhile, Defense Secretary Ash Carter, in a speech at his former high school in Abington, Pa., said the U.S. military faces another challenge: signing up recruits with high-tech skills.
Carter pointed out the military has to attract about 250,000 people a year to replace those who leave the service.
Only about a third of the 21 million Americans age 17 to 21 are eligible to join the military, he revealed, and half are unable to pass the entry examination while the remainder are ineligible, unable to meet physical fitness or character standards.
FYI, IN CASE YOUR FAVORITE EDITORS MISSED THESE…
Fuzzy framework? While Iranian leaders and followers were shouting “Death to America,” some Washington politicians and political writers were high fiving over agreement to a "framework" on Tehran’s development of nuclear weapons --- with another meeting (after a long list of prior meetings) slated in June. Meanwhile, FreeBeacon.com reported just hours after that announcement, “Iranian Foreign Minister Javad Zarif accused the Obama administration of misleading the American people and Congress in a fact sheet released following the culmination of negotiations with the Islamic Republic”…A Washington ceremony at the National World War II Memorial marking the 70th anniversary of the battle of Okinawa received scant coverage by media. A wreath was presented to honor the 183,000 allied service members who fought in the 82-day struggle on Okinawa that began April 1, 1945, leaving more than 12,500 U.S. service members killed and 38,000 wounded in combat…Although major media covered President Barack Obama’s remarks at last week’s opening of the Edward M. Kennedy Institute in Boston, all was mum about his participation two hours later in a DNC fundraiser in Bean Town…With cries of drought bouncing around California, Dublin --- with about 50,000 population in the East Bay region of Alameda County --- was moving ahead with construction of a $35 million water park, after 10 years of planning…Circle April 24. That’s Tax Freedom Day --- 114 days into the year, longest yet --- "when the nation as a whole has earned enough money to pay federal, state and local taxes for the year,” said the Tax Foundation…In the “dah” department, guess how a Republican answers this --- Among questions sent to GOP supporters by the Republican National Committee, seeking a yes, no or no opinion response: "Do you think our Republican leaders in Congress should be aggressive in forcing the Obama White House to work with them to create jobs, cut taxes and regulations, end economic uncertainty and make American more competitive?"...Not so “smart”? Exploding smart meters were reported in Stockton, Calif., with a power surge that left more than 5,000 homes without electricity.
Talk about multitasking ---
A Reno radio station is searching for an experienced full-time talk show producer and on-air operator. Does that sound interesting? But wait: skills sought include running the studio, screening calls, scheduling guests, researching topics, locating/editing audio, posting content to social media, updating the website, maintaining podcasts, creating promos and working with the team.
And, oh, yes, handling stress, deadlines --- and “crazy hours.”
Is global warming, a hot issue with media and politicians, generally exaggerated?
Saying yes to that: 74 percent of college graduates who are Republicans and only 15 percent of college graduates who are Democrats, finds a Gallup poll.
Perhaps that explains why California Gov. Jerry Brown, a Democrat, declared Republican Sen. Ted Cruz, now in a presidential run, has “rendered himself absolutely unfit to be running for office," let alone president, by insisting that humans aren't to blame for global warming.
"Over 90 percent of the scientists who deal with climate are absolutely convinced that the humans' activity, industrial activity...are building up in the atmosphere, they're heat trapping, and they're causing not just one drought in California but severe storms and cold on the East Coast,” added Brown who has irritated some northern Californians by pushing water for smelt, a tiny fish, while holding back water for farmers and others.
Cruz argued that there has been “no significant warming” and over the years the strategy from “alarmists” has been to shout down skeptics and call for massive government control. “Global warming alarmists are the equivalent of the flat-earthers,” he continued, pointing out Galileo was called a “denier” once upon a time.
Meanwhile, in other global warming development, Breitbart.com reported Barbara Lee (D-Calif.) “proposed a resolution in the House of Representatives that claims women will eventually be forced into prostitution in order to obtain life-sustaining food and water for their families.” Why? Because global warming will create “conflict and instability” in the world.
FYI, IN CASE YOUR FAVORITE EDITORS MISSED THESE…
Despite the huge media coverage on U.S. soldier Bowe Bergdahl, exchanged last May for five top Taliban prisoners, being charged with desertion, Grumpy Editor noticed no news person asked how the 28-year-old rose two levels in rank to sergeant from private first class after leaving his post in 2009…In an almost 20-minute speech at the Toner Prize for Excellence in Political Reporting ceremony in a room full of political reporters in Washington, Hillary Clinton quipped about new beginnings and “why not a new relationship with the press.” Then --- she did not take questions from the note takers on hand…No more committed suicides. That’s now suggested by Associated Press in an updated AP Stylebook. New terminology: killed himself/herself, took his/her own life or died by suicide…Another example of baseball being more lucrative than directing a major U.S. corporation as CEO: Hector Olivera, 29-year-old second baseman from Cuba, last week got a six year, $62.5 million deal --- including a $28 million signing bonus --- from the Los Angeles Dodgers…The Wall Street Journal on Tuesday ran a front page ad above the masthead. The one and three-quarters inches message, with white type against a green background across the page, was for Northern Trust…In another print ad, for Air France, rather than tout the airline’s key features, such as seating, comfort, food or wine while flying above the clouds from distant cities around the world, the full-page ad in Bloomberg Businessweek showed a feather dancer, complete with top hat, to promote “Rendez-vous in Paris.” (Incidentally, U.S. copy editors will point out rendezvous carries no hyphen.)
A job pitch aimed at that rare individual with a no-nonsense newspaper background?
A media centric business seeks “a first class business writer who has a corporate grade American English proficiency including great mastery in sentence structuring, grammar, and corporate vocabulary. Your writing style is CONCISE, no verbiage, no wordiness, no useless style effect and straight to the point.”
While U.S. print and broadcast media continued to highlight nuclear talks with Iran (where its supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei on Saturday called for “death to America”) and the White House placed the perils of climate change (aka global warming) at the top of its concerned list, other dangers --- with scant reporting --- were lurking from North Korea and Russia, finds Grumpy Editor.
North Korea ambassador to the United Kingdom Hyun Hak-bong came right out and bragged to Britain’s Sky News defense correspondent Alistair Bunkall that the communist nation has a nuclear capability and can use it at “any time” and is ready to launch a nuclear war if it feels threatened.
"We don't say empty words,” the ambassador added. “We mean what we mean. It is not the United States that has a monopoly on nuclear weapons strikes."
Meanwhile, Washington Free Beacon’s Bill Gertz revealed, in input from a U.S. defense commander, that Russia is developing a long-range cruise missile that poses a new threat to the U.S.
Gertz said Adm. William Gortney, Northcom chief who heads the U.S.-Canadian North American Aerospace Defense Command (NORAD) warned: “Russia is progressing toward its goal of deploying long-range, conventionally-armed cruise missiles with ever increasing stand-off launch distances on its heavy bombers, submarines, and surface combatants, augmenting the Kremlin’s toolkit of flexible deterrent options short of the nuclear threshold.”
The admiral added, “Should these trends continue, over time NORAD will face increased risk in our ability to defend North America against Russian cruise missile threats.”
Despite this activity from opposite sides of the world, plus recent threats from terrorists, the White House --- while looking skyward --- sees natural changes in atmospheric conditions as the evil thing to watch.
Along with declaring, “No challenge, no challenge, poses a greater threat to future generations than climate change” in his State of the Union address in January, President Barack Obama told West Point graduates last year to get ready to combat climate change which he termed “a creeping national security crisis.”
FYI, IN CASE YOUR FAVORITE EDITORS MISSED THESE…
Joining in the global warming chorus last week was New York Times op-ed columnist Gail Collins, who wrote: “Now climate change is perhaps the most important long-term issue the next American president will have to deal with”…Attorneys in a proposed legal action claim unacceptable levels of arsenic are in California wines from about 30 makers. (Tip to an aggressive fact-finding newspaper: With professional analysis of the wines, get the facts, see if wine poses a danger --- and compare findings with arsenic levels in drinking water)…Snappy reporting: A story in a daily (largest newspaper in its state) on a shopping center robbery pair sought by police ran nine days after the incident. Despite mention that police released surveillance photos, the newspaper did not run any art but gave this full description of the bad guys --- “The men were described to be in their late 30s or 40s.” (That’ll help nab ‘em)…Also unusually slow is the continued review of the proposed Keystone XL pipeline. A White House senior adviser on Thursday said the State Department is still reviewing the project --- announced seven years ago…Blaming the dry spell in California, the State Water Resources Control Board adopted restrictions that require restaurants to serve water only on request and hotels/motels to offer guests the option of not having linens washed daily.
Repo-by-remote: Busy Nevada lawmakers were working on a bill that involved a “starter interrupt device" designed to make it easier for car loan issuers to disable vehicles of those who are behind in payments.
With animal welfare groups succeeding in halting use of elephants, featured performers for decades in Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus acts, next jobs for the pachyderms --- since some live up to 70 years and are not yet ready for retirement --- could be in sniffing out explosives, notes Grumpy Editor.
But animal rights groups, for years accusing the circus of mistreating elephants, might not like that either.
New research, involving the U.S. military, conducted in South Africa indicated elephants excel at identifying explosives by smell. In tests involving TNT, the large mammals were trained to raise a front leg.
Watching elephants lift legs in circus acts in “The Greatest Show on Earth” has been going on for 145 years as children and adults applauded.
By 2018 the company will retire its 13 traveling Asian elephants to its conservation center in central Florida.
An Associated Press story from Johannesburg, South Africa, cited another benefit in using bomb-sniffing elephants: they remember their training longer than dogs, according to Stephen Lee, head scientist at the U.S. Army Research Office, a major provider of funds for the study.
FYI, IN CASE YOUR FAVORITE EDITORS MISSED THESE…
An up-and-down stock market in recent days (with the Dow Jones Industrial Average closing Friday down 145.91 points to 17749.31) was blamed mainly on a strong dollar, with the thinking being that a strong dollar, making goods more expensive and less competitive overseas, will smack profits of U.S. multinational companies. But look for another (and constant) reaction at the conclusion of a two-day Federal Reserve meeting on Wednesday with mention of “an increase in interest rates” as soon as June…Much chatter during the week about a New York Times front page photo showing President Barack Obama leading hundreds of marchers on a street in Selma on the 50th anniversary of Bloody Sunday, the landmark civil rights event. But missing from the printed picture were George W. Bush and wife Laura, also in the front line. Although both Bushes were to the right of the street’s center yellow double line, both could have been included with proper cropping, thus showing current and past presidents participating…A week-full of “vanished” Russian President Vladimir Putin stories cluttered print and broadcast with headlines such as: Questions persist on Putin’s whereabouts. Putnin drops out of sight. Moscow mystery. Unseen Putin prompts speculation about health. All simmered down after a Saturday photo appeared in some media showing the Russian leader back in action…Retired veteran NBC News reporter Lisa Myers, in Des Moines for a speech, noted “the deterioration in the quality of journalism you see on TV,” adding, “there is less and less interest in network television today holding the White House or any other part of government accountable. I fear there is a calculation that the audiences they are trying to reach don’t care that much about the serious news”…U.S. intelligence on vacation? A headline over an Associated Press story Sunday with a Washington dateline: U.S. unsure whether bombing has hurt al-Qaida group in Syria...Media continue to shake up Californians with earthquake forecasts. Latest came via a report from the U.S. Geological Survey which warned the risk of a significant Golden State shaker of at least magnitude 8.0 has increased to 7 percent from a prior estimate of 4.7 percent --- with possible multi-fault ruptures. The USGS also predicted the state is almost certain to experience a 6.7 magnitude quake within the next 30 years…Say that again? On the climate change front, a study by researchers at the University of Potsdam in Germany claimed a weaker jet stream and atmospheric circulation in the summer, caused by a reduced differential in temperature between the equator and the North Pole as the Arctic warms faster than the mid-latitudes, “has made weather more persistent and hence favored the occurrence of prolonged heat extremes”…Yummy TV viewing. “iZombie,” airing tomorrow night on CW, has a medical worker turning into a zombie, quitting the hospital to work in a morgue --- where she munches on brains, with noodles and hot sauce.
Movie attendance by 18-to-39 year olds last year fell to the lowest level in five years, reported the Motion Picture Association of America. (Maybe more zombie flicks are the solution.)
While President Barack Obama stays behind, wife Michelle and daughters Malia and Sasha are quietly scheduled for another trip to the Far East next week, finds Grumpy Editor.
The First Lady and teenage daughters are taking a spring break trip to Japan, March 18 to 20, and Cambodia, March 21 and 22.
Going overseas is an annual ritual.
Last March, Mrs. Obama, her mother and the girls visited China. Earlier trips took the First Lady and daughters to Ireland, Germany and South Africa.
The likely aircraft that will be used in the upcoming trip is a C-32A, a specially configured military version of the Boeing 757-200 extended range aircraft, that usually provides transportation for the nation’s leaders.
(A typical 757-200 accommodates between 178 and 214 passengers.)
In the past, the Obama daughters were listed as “senior staff.”
Others on board, aside from regular staffers, have included Mrs. Obama's mother, Marian Robinson; niece and nephew, Leslie and Avery Robinson, along with the First Lady’s makeup and hair stylist.
FYI, IN CASE YOUR FAVORITE EDITORS MISSED THESE…
Tired of this reasoning from Wall Street? Stocks tumbled 278.94 to 17856.78 on Friday, with media again reporting --- as investors brace for higher interest rates…Poof! An older weather satellite --- technically known as Meteorological Satellite Program Flight 13, DMSP-F13 --- used by the U.S. military, encountered some problems, causing it to lose altitude and disintegrate into 43 pieces…Time magazine marked its 92nd year on March 3…After Benjamin Netanyahu spoke to a joint meeting of Congress, House Speaker John Boehner gifted the Israeli prime minister with a bust of Winston Churchill because Netanyahu and Churchill were the only foreign leaders who addressed Congress three times. Presentation of a Churchill bust may also carry a subtext --- President Obama’s return of a Churchill bust from the White House to the British Embassy shortly after he took office…The Wall Street Journal hired a “financial enforcement correspondent.” Sounds sinister. But Chris Roush, senior associate dean at UNC-Chapel Hill’s School of Journalism and Mass Communication explained it: “It is a person who covers federal government agencies that regulate businesses”…While the U.S. reduces its military ranks and equipment, China, home to the world's largest standing military, will increase its military budget by about 10 percent this year…A Columbia Journalism Review study found the current White House-press relationship is the least open in history…Contrasting headlines. From the Las Vegas Review-Journal March 5 (based on information from California research firm RealtyTrac): With rising foreclosures, it’s not looking good for Nevada homeowners. Meanwhile, from Las Vegas TV station KLAV, same day (with input from California real estate analytics company CoreLogic): Las Vegas foreclosure rate continues to fall.
Power of the press.
President Obama said he learned about former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s use of a private email account only after "reading news reports."
A blue and black dress (or was it white and gold) went viral on Friday, boosting interest in the garment, resulting in a fast sellout for British firm Roman Originals, leading Grumpy Editor to wonder if a sharp PR person was quietly involved with the startling overnight worldwide interest.
The big question that was debated in length on the Web, TV, radio and in print was the color of the dress. Roman Originals’ website showed it clearly to be blue and black. But some Web viewers saw white and gold.
It all started when Scottish singer Caitlin McNeil posted a picture of the dress on her Tumblr page and asked people if they thought it was black and blue or white and gold.
That led to a brisk debate on Twitter, Facebook, Tumblr and others. Even scientific experts on color perception were brought in by print and broadcast media to discuss how visual information is processed.
All the chatter brought huge attention to Roman Originals. The Birmingham, England firm started selling the blue and black dress three months ago.
Ian Johnson, the firm’s creative director, said sales averaged about 100 a week online and through stores. Then on Friday morning, after the color chatter hit the Web, 300 dresses were sold in a half hour.
For those who view the dress as white and gold, the UK retailer was busy over the weekend working on that version.
Or will that be seen as green and gray?
FYI, IN CASE YOUR FAVORITE EDITORS MISSED THESE…
Climate change chatter subdued. New York City experienced its coldest February in 81 years. Other parts of the country felt the chilliest month in decades…Allied with this, Sen. Jim Inhofe (R-Okla.), chairman of the Environment and Public Works Committee, tossed a snowball on the Senate floor as part of a speech expressing climate change skepticism. He then went on to whack the Obama administration for focusing on global warming instead of terrorism…The 87th Academy Awards on ABC brought an 16 percent drop in TV ratings from the prior year. Variety TV columnist Brian Lowry said: “seldom has an Academy Awards presentation broken down so transparently over one significant shortcoming --- namely, the writing”…An online Stars and Stripes poll seeking the best all-time war movie picked Steven Spielberg's World War II "Saving Private Ryan”…California issued 110,000 driver's licenses to illegal immigrants since January…Veterans Affairs Secretary Robert McDonald apologized for misstating he served in the military's special forces, although he was a member of the 82nd Airborne Division…Former San Diego mayor Roger Hedgecock, saying he “reached a transition point in my life,” on Friday hosted his last nationwide radio talk show, on air for 29 years…The Army could be forced to cut thousands of its forces in Alaska, mandated under the Budget Control Act of 2011.
Think you are not getting paid enough?
Try baseball. Yoan Moncada, a 19-year old infielder who left Cuba in June, signed with the Boston Red Sox in a deal that included a record $31.5 million signing bonus.
With last Thursday’s Washington tip-off-to-the-bad-guys release of an upcoming U.S. battle plan to regain control of Mosul, Iraq’s second largest city, Grumpy Editor recalls the heavily-guarded secret leading up to the massive invasion of Normandy --- D-Day --- on June 6, 1944 without one word leaking out, even via media.
“Loose lips sink ships,” was a top wartime phrase at the time.
Led by Gen. Dwight D. Eisenhower, the giant military undertaking --- on the road to victory in Europe in World War II --- involved transporting 150,000 soldiers plus weapons, tanks and other equipment on more than 6,900 naval vessels, including 1,200 warships 100 miles across the English Channel to French beaches. Hundreds of aircraft were involved transporting parachute regiments and dropping bombs.
So today’s military veterans and others were surprised to learn “a senior military official” outline a broad plan at a Washington news briefing that up to 25,000 U.S.-trained Iraq and Kurdish forces were preparing to launch an assault to retake Mosul in April or May.
Five Iraqi brigades as the main attack force also was mentioned along with a reserve force of three Iraqi brigades plus three brigades of Kurdish Peshmerga fighters on the north and west.
Retired Air Force Lt. Gen. Tom McInerney, appearing on Fox News, said revealing potential plans to regain control of Mosul is “absolutely bewildering. We are aiding and abetting the enemy."
Washington’s thinking on this: Telegraphing details of the upcoming battle serves to weaken the resolve of Islamic fighters by indicating the military force they will face.
The Islamic fighters now have two or three months to gear up for the battle.
FYI, IN CASE YOUR FAVORITE EDITORS MISSED THESE…
Snow in Las Vegas? Residents on the west side of Sin City woke up today to about three inches of snow on the ground. Unlike Washington, no government offices were shuttered. That compared with a storm, leaving 4.7 inches of snow, that closed government offices in Washington on Tuesday, giving federal workers four straight days off including President’s Day. But Tuesday turned out to be clear under a bright blue sky…Meanwhile, frigid weather in the East resulted in most of Niagara Falls being frozen over --- and a temporary halt to mention of global warming/climate change…Some newspapers over the weekend tired of running photos of U.S. cities under snow. So they jumped on a Reuters photo of a man sketching a large heart in the snow --- in far-off Amman, Jordan. It was from a storm that hit the Middle East, bringing 10 inches of snow in Jerusalem…A half-day story? The New York Daily News was one of a few news outlets (along with Britain’s BBC) to report ISIS burned 45 people to death in the western Iraqi town of al-Baghdadi, according to the police chief . Silence after that…Gotta watch those Tea Party folks. The Washington Times reported a new Department of Homeland Security intelligence assessment circulated this month focuses on the threat of right-wing sovereign citizen extremist groups in the U.S., adding that “some law enforcement groups say the threat is equal to, and occasionally greater than, the threat from Islamic extremist groups"…With more journalists looking for jobs, as newsroom staffs dwindle, the Los Angeles Times hired an illegal immigrant writer to create a section of its web site devoted to race, immigration and multiculturalism…State Department spokesperson Jen Psaki, who has raised some Washington reporters’ eyebrows, was named White House communications director…In another Gannett Co. newsroom reshuffling, The Courier-Journal, Louisville, said the newspaper's reporters must apply for new positions to “revamp” coverage and ultimately put fewer resources into production…Smart move? As their plan to “counterbalance” a drop in viewership, cable TV executives --- in seeking more advertising dollars --- came up with compression technology (speeding up fare such as movies) that allows squeezing in additional commercials --- which should send more viewers elsewhere.
Gearing up for a media tour is bouncy Miss P, from Vancouver, British Columbia. A sexy newly-discovered Hollywood babe? Nope. Miss P is a beagle that won the Best in Show award at the 139th Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show in New York.
In getting readers/viewers minds off glum news such as blizzards, terrorists and taxes, most media missed a heart-warming story of Sissy the miniature schnauzer which, amazingly, trotted 20 blocks of city streets at night from her Cedar Rapids, Iowa home in a successful effort to visit her hospitalized owner, notes Grumpy Editor.
How the dog did it, including walking through two automatic doors and along corridors at Mercy Medical Center, had the town talking.
Security cameras caught it all. Cedar Rapids TV station KCRG broke the story.
Nancy Franck, in the hospital after surgery, and her husband, Dale, were concerned when Sissy unexpectedly disappeared from home.
But later a surprised Mercy security officer “looked up and there was this dog that was just running across the lobby.”
The security guard used the dog’s tags to call Dale Franck at home. This led to information that the dog's owner was in the medical center.
Happy dog and surprised patient were reunited.
For more details, likely route and video of Sissy trotting through medical center’s automatic doors and along corridors, go here.
FYI, IN CASE YOUR FAVORITE EDITORS MISSED THESE…
Proposed White House regulation of the Internet “mimics ObamaCare” in process and substance, and would lead to “billions of dollars in new taxes,” warned Ajit Pai, a Republican commissioner on the Federal Communications Commission…U.S. Marines, departing Yemen last week, boarded contracted aircraft, not U.S. military planes…Yale University students concerned about global warming postponed a planned protest slated for the weekend because of “unfavorable weather conditions.” Translation: frigid, snowy weather…With China now one of the world’s top two economies, a U.S. State Department program provided most of $12.3 million in foreign aid for China last year with $6.8 million more slated this year…A proposed tax-hike surprise in a state noted for low taxes: In connection with the ignoring of a reelection campaign pledge by Nevada Republican Gov. Brian Sandoval to keep hands off more taxes, three Republican state senators, including the majority leader, in a Wall Street Journal letter to the editor on Feb. 12, defended Sandoval’s proposal to hike taxes to increase funding for education…Also involving Nevada: Under a $20.2 million contract, the Silver State went to far-off Ohio to select a firm to market Nevada to tourists…In another visit to the dentist, Boris, a 29-year-old polar bear at the Point Defiance Zoo and Aquarium in Tacoma, Wash. underwent three-hours of surgery Friday to extract an abscessed tooth. Boris, one of the oldest polar bears in North America, in the past underwent multiple root canals…A Rasmussen Reports survey found that while 60 percent of Americans termed news reported by media as at least somewhat trustworthy (including seven percent who think it is very trustworthy) 38 percent did not trust the news media…Southern California Edison Co. expected to lay off hundreds of employees and hire less-costly foreign workers. Sen. Jeff Sessions (R-Ala.) said the Edison layoffs are part of a growing trend of companies that use H-1B visas to bring in foreign workers for jobs that could be filled by Americans…In another case of a San Francisco TV news crew being attacked, a KTVU female reporter and a cameraman were assaulted by two masked men. Gear was taken just after a live report in Hayward. The news crew was shaken up but uninjured.
EARTH-SHAKING NEWS. Among the top dozen What’s News items on the front page of The Wall Street Journal on Feb. 11: “Jon Stewart will retire as host of ‘The Daily Show,’ Comedy Central said.”
“The official unemployment rate, as reported by the U.S. Department of Labor, is extremely misleading,” declared Jim Clifton, chairman and CEO of Gallup Inc. in an opinion piece on the company’s website, observed Grumpy Editor.
That statement didn’t rattle major media, despite the fact it came from the head of an 80-year-old research-based, global performance-management consulting company, noted for its Gallup Poll, with 30 offices in almost two dozen countries.
“Right now,” continued Clifton, “we're hearing much celebrating from the media, the White House and Wall Street about how unemployment is ‘down’ to 5.6 percent. The cheerleading for this number is deafening. The media love a comeback story, the White House wants to score political points and Wall Street would like you to stay in the market.”
Clifton pointed out, “If you, a family member or anyone is unemployed and has subsequently given up on finding a job --- if you are so hopelessly out of work that you've stopped looking over the past four weeks --- the Department of Labor doesn't count you as unemployed.” Currently, he added, “as many as 30 million Americans are either out of work or severely underemployed.”
He said few Americans know that an unemployed person performing one hour of work per week and paid at least $20 is “not officially counted as unemployed in the much-reported 5.6 percent.” Also, those with degrees working 10 hours part time but wanting full-time work are termed severely underemployed --- and also not counted in the 5.6 percent, he explained.
“Gallup defines a good job as 30+ hours per week for an organization that provides a regular paycheck,” said Clifton. “Right now, the U.S. is delivering at a staggeringly low rate of 44 percent, which is the number of full-time jobs as a percent of the adult population, 18 years and older.”
FYI, IN CASE YOUR FAVORITE EDITOR MISSED THESE…
At the annual National Prayer Breakfast in Washington, President Barack Obama greeted the Dalai Lama as “a good friend” and “a powerful example of what it means to practice compassion and inspires us to speak up for the freedom and dignity of all human beings.” In reporting that, the Washington press corps overlooked the Tibetan spiritual leader’s departure from the White House five years ago when he was ushered out a side door (some referred to it as back door), walking past big piles of bagged trash in the snow…NBC Nightly News anchor Brian Williams’ false claim of being on a helicopter forced down by Iraqi rocket fire in 2003 was broken by Travis Tritten, Stars and Stripes reporter in Washington, D.C…With saber rattling in Washington, the U.S. Army has fewer than 500,000 active-duty soldiers for the first time in 10 years…The Washington Post reported 64 percent of investigative journalists surveyed by Pew Research Center and Columbia's Tow Center for Digital Journalism believe the U.S. government has "probably collected data" on their communications with the number rising to 71 percent from investigative reporters who cover national security, foreign affairs or the federal government…In response to the previous day’s move by Washington to revive long-stalled six-nation talks on denuclearization, North Korea on Wednesday ruled out resuming dialogue with the "gangster-like" U.S. and vowed to respond to any U.S. aggression with nuclear strikes and cyber warfare. That follows similar lines heard since the mid 1950s…Dramatic footage of the low-flying TransAsia aircraft that hit a highway barrier and crashed into a river in Taiwan, killing at least 40, was captured on a dashboard video camera --- with no print or broadcast media crediting the vehicle’s driver…The 113-year-old Waurika News-Democrat, one of Oklahoma’s oldest newspapers, printed its final edition Wednesday. The weekly’s management cited "difficult economic conditions"…TV news anchor gets an exclusive. Savannah, Ga. WSAV’s Russ Riesinger was shopping at a PetSmart when a man walked in, announced he was robbing the store, grabbed cash from the registers and took off. But not far. Riesinger chased the man and held him until police arrived…Ouch! The University of California will require incoming students in 2017 to be screened for tuberculosis and vaccinated for measles, mumps, rubella, chicken pox, meningococcus, tetanus and whooping cough…The Internal Revenue Service said budget cuts this tax season resulted in a limited amount of federal tax forms and instruction booklets usually placed in libraries and post offices…Eastman Kodak Co. said it will continue to manufacture motion picture film.
Oops! A front page Wall Street Journal story on license plate tracking placed Nevada among states that border Mexico.
As another blizzard smacks the freezing Northeast today after dumping up to a foot of snow in the Midwest, Grumpy Editor reminds that while the focus of many --- from Al Gore to the White House --- continues to be on global warming (climate change), overlooked by most media is last week’s mountainous asteroid that made what was considered a close pass to Earth.
Asteroid BL86 (so labeled by sky watchers), about five football fields wide, zoomed within 745,000 miles of Earth at 35,000 m.p.h. last Monday.
What most folks forget is that a key theory holds that an asteroid killed the dinosaurs.
“The dinosaurs probably broiled to death” following impact of an asteroid --- probably seven or eight miles wide --- that ejected a dust plume that spread around Earth and ignited forests, says Jay Melosh, a planetary physicist at Purdue University, in a story on meteorites in the February issue of Popular Science magazine.
(A meteorite is a solid piece of space rock or iron that originally was an asteroid or a comet.)
Popular Science points out if a collision (a meteorite impact on Earth) exceeds 100,000 million tons, it means “a catastrophe larger than any in human history,” adding, “a meteorite a mile in diameter might send enough pulverized rock into the stratosphere to block out sunlight and cause global cooling.”
Meanwhile, among global warming alarms over the past few days:
Less ice triggers volcanoes. Melting of Icelandic ice caps causes decreased pressure on underlying rocks, thus increasing the chance of volcanic activity, finds a new study.
Aspen’s climate could be a lot like that of Amarillo by 2100. So warns Gina McCarthy, Environmental Protection Agency administrator who was in the Colorado city last month.
Noting this, The Weekly Standard calculates: “For the climate of Aspen to resemble that of Amarillo, a temperature swing of 15 degrees and a 13-foot drop in annual snowfall would need to take place over the next 85 years. Even the most catastrophic models of global temperature change in the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change do not predict a temperature increase of 15 degrees.”
FYI, IN CASE YOUR FAVORITE EDITORS MISSED THESE…
Editorial-advertising partition drops. Condé Nast, which publishes Vogue, Vanity Fair, Golf and Wired, among others, says its editors would be available through 23 Stories, its new advertising arm, to consult with advertisers and help them create articles and images…Marking India’s Republic Day in New Delhi last week, President Barack Obama refers to himself 118 times in a 33-minute speech, tallies Paula Bolyard at PJ Media…California’s new regulation calling for larger room for egg-laying chickens results in average price for a dozen jumbo eggs jumping to $3.16 from $1.18 a year ago…Among pitching tactics at the Feb. 10 PRNews Writing Workshop: When writing news releases, “think like the journalist and bloggers you are pitching”--- which may be difficult for some who do not have newsroom experience…Breaking news: CBS News anchor Scott Pelley, in interviewing House Speaker John Boehner, asks: “Do you practice that scowl?”…With an eye on cutting costs, Sears Holdings lays off 115 corporate workers, including 100 at its headquarters in Hoffman Estates, Ill…The Washington Times reports 1,000 of the 36,000 illegal immigrant criminals the government released in 2013 have gone on to commit other crimes.
Good idea. The Wausau (Wis.) Daily Herald, a Gannett publication, through public meetings is seeking area residents’ input for “something that needs investigation, a story worth telling” or sharing insight on the state of the community. Nora Hertel, watchdog reporter, is searching for problems and solutions.
Forget Islamist extremism, nuclear threats from North Korea and Iran, and U.S. challenges needing prompt attention such as swelling national debt, growing federal welfare programs, reversing scaled-down U.S. military forces along with efforts to boost the American economy and jobs…the biggest threat facing the U.S. is --- climate change, according to President Barack Obama, notes Grumpy Editor.
The president continued to beat drums for climate change (formerly global warming), which many top media continue to report without raising eyebrows.
"No challenge, no challenge, poses a greater threat to future generations than climate change," the president declared in his State of the Union Address to Congress.
This contrasted with top priorities cited by Americans that appeared in The Wall Street Journal on Tuesday, prior to the president’s address that evening.
A WSJ/NBC News poll put creating jobs at the top of the list, followed by defeating/dismantling Islamic State, reducing the federal deficit, securing the border with Mexico, and addressing Iran’s nuclear program, among others. Climate change/global warming doesn’t appear on the list.
Obama delivered a similar message four months earlier at the United Nations Climate Summit in New York City: “For all the immediate challenges that we gather to address this week --- terrorism, instability, inequality, disease --- there’s one issue that will define the contours of this century more dramatically than any other, and that is the urgent and growing threat of a changing climate.”
In last week’s address, he pointed out that “if we do not act forcefully, we’ll continue to see rising oceans, longer, hotter heat waves, dangerous droughts and floods, and massive disruptions that can trigger greater migration, conflict, and hunger around the globe."
Meanwhile, continuing in the “climate change” category, a Washington Post story last week went into detail on “an Arctic ice cap appears to be sliding into the sea.”
(Keep in mind that for years, going back to black-and-white newsreel days, there were periodic attention getters that showed glaciers sliding, with great splashes, into the sea.)
The Post story mentioned ice is disappearing in Austfonna, north of the Arctic Circle in Norway territory, which is the longest glacier front in the Northern Hemisphere. Since 2012, the story pointed out, the ice cap covering an island has fallen by 160 feet, based on satellite (not human) measurements.
The material said rapid melting of glaciers and ice sheets “could swamp coastal cities around the world.”
But a line at the end of the feature cautioned: “Still, researchers can’t definitively say the shrinking of the Austfonna ice cap is due to global warming.”
FYI, IN CASE YOUR FAVORITE EDITORS MISSED THESE…
The Santa Barbara News-Press continues to use “illegals” when describing people living illegally in the United States, prompting protests and counter-protests in the community. Explains the daily: “It has been the practice for nearly 10 years at the Santa Barbara News-Press to describe people living in this country illegally as 'illegals' regardless of their country of origin. This practice is under fire by some immigration groups who believe that this term is demeaning and does not accurately reflect the status of ‘undocumented immigrants,’ one of several terms other media use to describe people in the United States illegally --- it is an appropriate term in describing someone as ‘illegal’ if they are in this country illegally"…Stars and Stripes reports the much acclaimed film, American Sniper, is “also a big hit at Army and Air Force Exchange Service theaters, with the average attendance for the Iraq war film almost three times higher than attendance for other films being shown”…Carson (Calif.) city council members are grumpy over coverage the Daily Breeze in Torrance is giving their city. So they are mulling whether Carson, 12 miles south of downtown Los Angeles and four miles east of Torrance, should cancel subscriptions to the Breeze --- along with urging residents and businesses to boycott the newspaper --- claiming it published several “accounts of homicides, other crimes and negative stories” that were reported as “misleadingly located near Carson.” The Breeze’s executive editor explained his newspaper “has consistently referred to the unnamed unincorporated area of Los Angeles County near Carson as just that”…After five years without one, J.C. Penney Co. is bringing back its catalog with a 120-page version to select customers in March…In a $300 million deal, up from $275 million for TV rights, CBS Corp. and the National Football League renew their partnership for another season…Speaking of football, a 30-seconds TV spot on NBC’s Super Bowl coverage next Sunday costs about $4.5 million…U.K.-based The Economist names Zanny Minton Beddoes as its first female editor…Blaming “economic circumstances,” Sports Illustrated lays off all six staff photographers. However, they will be allowed to freelance for SI, a weekly magazine owned by Time Inc. which was spun off from Time Warner Inc. last year.
Giving a Crookston (Minn.) High School senior a taste of a newsroom:
The Crookston Daily Times will see Allison Reinhart as a writer-photographer during the spring semester. A position on the staff is part of an independent study curriculum in which she will earn academic credit while spending two hours in the newsroom each morning. She will be attending the University of North Dakota in the fall.
The mystery of a heavy black smoke-filled subway train in Washington, D.C. that resulted in one fatality while 86 Metro passengers, including three in critical condition, were sent to hospitals as more than 200 others were evaluated, was a major underplayed story last week --- with vital questions remaining unanswered, notes Grumpy Editor.
It occurred on the nation’s second busiest subway system. The train was headed toward the Pentagon.
If such an event took place in far-off France, Italy, Japan or Australia it would have nade front-page news in U.S. newspapers.
Initial story on the Monday afternoon incident in the nation’s capital ran only two sentences in some newspapers. (Two Reuters reporters extended their report to six sentences.)
Then during the week, through the weekend, news reports became longer and more detailed. (On Tuesday, two Associated Press writers produced a lengthy story.)
Among some lingering questions:
Why it took emergency workers more than a half-hour to arrive on the scene.
Exact cause of the heavy black smoke. Initial reports said “arcing” on the third rail damaged electrical cables.
Smoke-choking passengers wondered why they weren’t allowed to leave the train sooner for the one or two-minute walk back to a station platform. Instead, they were told to sit and wait.
An early report on the death of the female passenger, 61, was attributed to acute respiratory failure due to smoke exposure. Fellow passengers performed CPR on her before emergency medical workers arrived but she wasn't taken to a hospital until more than an hour after the train began filling with smoke.
The National Transportation Safety Board was reviewing records on maintenance and previous events with smoke, employee training records and Metro's emergency response and evacuation plans.
NTSB said the investigation could take six to 12 months.
FYI, IN CASE YOUR FAVORITE EDITORS MISSED THESE…
Skipping the White House press corps: President Barack Obama, following tomorrow’s State of the Union address, on Thursday will be interviewed by three young YouTube personalities on issues they care most about…When five Yemenis departed Guantanamo prison (four sent to Oman, one to Estonia), the Pentagon called the departure a transfer rather than a release. Their farewell leaves 122 others in Guantanamo as President Obama has promised to shutter the detention center in Cuba that opened in 2002 to house al-Qaeda bad guys…Dry outlook for the Golden State: The U.S. Climate Prediction Center said most of California still will be in a drought through April, even with improving conditions in the southern part of the state…Politico Magazine was nominated for the 2015 National Magazine Awards in the categories of general excellence, general interest and Website…East-west humor from New York --- where today's high temperature was predicted to be about 41 degrees while Los Angeles was expected to reach a balmy 73 --- accompanied a Bloomberg Businessweek “well being” feature in the Jan. 12 issue that pointed out, “You’ve heard of SAD, seasonal affective disorder, a condition causing intense irritability, lack of energy and an unceasing craving for carbs. You probably don’t have it, but that doesn’t mean your winter blues aren’t real: Each year, about half of Americans report feeling down once it gets cold. (The rest moved to L.A.)…Mexican billionaire Carlos Slim has become the New York Times Co. largest individual shareholder, accounting for 16.8 percent of the company…Audrey Cooper, 37, was named first female editor in chief at the San Francisco Chronicle in its 150-year history
More than just a reporter these days ---
Editors advertising for staffers last week used these terms: Slick city reporter needed at Temple, Texas, Daily Telegram; seeking aggressive reporter, Wisconsin Law Journal; seeking hard-working writer, Kinston (N.C.) Free Press.
Grumpy Editor cites examples of why business editors these days get premature gray hair via contrasting information and figures over the past few days such as focusing on the rise of missing auto loan payments coupled with car sales expected to grow this year, job creations topping expectations, yet most Americans are living paycheck to paycheck.
All this with Washington spotlighting 252,000 jobs created last month --- higher than expected, while job gains in the prior two months were revised upward by a total 50,000 as the nation’s unemployment rate fell more than predicted, to 5.6 percent from 5.8 percent in November.
In addition, the government said employers added an average 246,000 jobs a month last year, making 2014 the best job growth year since 1999.
Meanwhile, auto and truck sales this year are seen growing as much as three percent, said General Motors Co. CEO Mary Barra.
But as Friday’s Wall Street Journal pointed out, “borrowers who took out auto loans over the past year are missing payments at the highest level since the recession” as new car sales reached 16.5 million, best in eight years.
MarketWatch on Saturday noted, “Americans are feeling better about their job security and the economy, but most are theoretically only one paycheck away from the street,” adding about 62 percent have no emergency savings, based on a Bankrate.com survey.
Indeed, U.S. personal savings remained low. The U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis tallied personal savings dipped to 4.4 percent in November from 4.6 percent a month prior. This compared to an average 6.81 percent from 1959 until 2014, reaching an all-time high of 14.6 percent in May, 1975.
FYI, IN CASE YOUR FAVORITE EDITORS MISSED THESE…
Among the top 10 most stressful jobs of 2015, according to CareerCast.com, Carlsbad, Calif., are broadcaster (No. 7), photojournalist (No. 9) and newspaper reporter (No. 10). Rankings are based on physical danger, unpredictability and negative psychological effects…While the U.S. reduced its military force to about 11,000 in Afghanistan after 13 years there, the country set a record for growing opium poppies last year with total area under cultivation up an estimated 7 percent from 2013, according to the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC). Heroin is derived from the poppy and UNODC said opium production (5,500 tons) in Afghanistan accounts for 80 percent of worldwide opium output…In a state that relies heavily on personal vehicle transportation, Jerry Brown --- in starting an unprecedented fourth term as California governor with new environmental goals --- proposed reducing gasoline use…Wall Street Journal Sunday content that goes to 69 newspaper business sections ends Feb. 8 as the WSJ shutters that operation which started in 1999…A Rasmussen Reports survey found “more voters than ever think women are good for the U.S. military and believe even more strongly that they should be allowed to fight on the front lines."
Financial news network CNBC is opting out of Nielsen’s TV ratings that measure its daytime audience, saying the global information and measurement company underreports size and wealth of its audience.
Many, from consumers to investment firms, will be seeking clues in coming months on what lies ahead in 2015 interest rates, which are likely to be raised for the first time in nine years, notes Grumpy Editor.
The question is when.
Some Federal Open Market Committee (FOMC) followers see an increase coming as soon as April (at 2015’s third FOMC meeting. See table, below) as economists expect the economy to rise 2.9 percent in the months ahead.
Meanwhile, investors, market analysts, economists and business writers will be seeking clues, including wording in statements following some FOMC meetings.
Any change in the federal funds rate triggers a chain of events that affect short-term interest rates, long-term interest rates, foreign exchange rates, the amount of money and credit, and, ultimately, a range of economic variables.
That includes employment, output, prices of goods and services plus, of course, the stock market direction.
2015 FOMC meetings:
* Meeting associated with a Summary of Economic Projections and a press conference by chairwoman Janet Yellen.
FYI, IN CASE YOUR FAVORITE EDITORS MISSED THESE…
Former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee helmed his final weekly commentary show, “Huckabee,” on Saturday after six-and-a-half-years on Fox News Channel to explore a presidential run. “It’s been the ride of a lifetime and I have never had so much fun in my life,” he declared. He asked his fans to “stay tuned” to learn about his next move which will be determined in the spring. He previously ran for the Republican presidential nomination and won the 2008 Republican Iowa caucus before withdrawing...In wrapping up a vacation in Hawaii, President Barack Obama and wife Michelle on New Year’s Day spent three hours enjoying multi-course meals at Honolulu’s upscale Vintage Cave restaurant where dinner for two can run upwards of $1,000, tallies Honolulu Magazine…Military budget cuts a factor? Media didn't ask why missing from the 2015 Rose Parade on New Year's Day in Pasadena were Army, Navy and Air Force bands --- included in prior parades. But the Marine Corps was in the lineup…The monthly SF Evergreen, for cannabis industry and culture followers, debuts Jan. 26, free at San Francisco newsstands. “What we hope is an upper class, sort-of GQ or Vanity Fair for the marijuana scene in the Bay Area,” editor Chris Roberts told KCBS, San Francisco…In a new advertising program, beer drinkers soon will see more than 100 different messages on Bud Light bottles...Lake Superior State University’s 40th annual banished words list included polar vortex used in place of good old winter or cold snap and foodie for a person who likes food. Hey, that’s everyone…With a lot of dopey movies released in 2014, ticket sales fell 5.2 percent to $10.3 billion in the U.S., while attendance dropped an estimated 6 percent to 1.26 billion --- lowest in nearly two decades…A new California law, pushed by animal rights folks, requires farmers selling eggs in California to house their hens in larger structures. The move could see egg prices jump 40 percent in the Golden State…PR Week reported a survey found more public relations firms are offering the ability to work from home, with 90.5 percent of respondents saying they can…A mystery grenade that washed ashore on California’s Malibu beach received wide broadcast/print coverage. Media reported a sheriff’s arson/explosives detail arrived and rendered the device safe and took it away --- but no reporter asked about the device’s country of origin.
Oops! HarperCollins, in selling an atlas specifically for Middle East schools, left out Israel. The publisher last week said it regrets omission of that country and has removed the product.
Champagne bottle corks must be popping today at Sony Pictures Entertainment’s publicity department after whopping print and broadcast coverage/mentions of its comedy film, “The Interview,” before and after it played to full houses at about 300 small independent theaters over the past few days while online video orders kept Google Inc., Microsoft Corp. and Sony busy, observes Grumpy Editor.
In addition, the film, starring Seth Rogen and James Franco, saw thousands of illegal downloads. The action followed a widely covered cyber attack, including mention by President Barack Obama at last week’s White House press conference, aimed at the Sony Corp. film unit.
Not bad for a movie depicting events leading to the fictional assassination of North Korea leader Kim Jong-un that garnered a C rating from Washington Post reviewer Ann Hornaday.
Hornaday’s review of The Interview took up half a newspaper page.
Beating that, with more than half-page of text and photos was The Wall Street Journal on Friday. The story, written by three staffers, started on the Marketplace section’s opening page then jumped to an inside page. The front page included a photo of Cinema Village, New York, which screened the film while the inside page art spotlighted actor Rogen greeting attendees at a Los Angeles screening.
Variety reported more than 900,000 illegal downloads of The Interview in less than 24 hours.
Editorial cartoonists also got into the act, focusing on the event.
FYI, IN CASE YOUR FAVORITE EDITORS MISSED THESE…
Blue for blue PR. JetBlue Airways provided free flights to New York for two police officers from each city along its routes for funerals of Wenjian Liu and Rafael Ramos, New York City police officers killed in an ambush attack…Off track. In Hawaii, White House reporters in President Barack Obama’s motorcade were sidelined for about 45 minutes when their press van’s wobbly tire nearly separated from the vehicle. Vacationing Obama continued on, leaving the stranded journalists waiting for a replacement…The Los Angeles Times, in another shake-‘em-up lengthy feature aimed at already-shaky readers (from previous periodic earthquake stories) noted a major shaker could imperil Los Angeles’s water supply by destroying key sections of three major aqueducts, “cutting off the water supply for more than 22 million people in Southern California”…CNN’s Don Lemon made Columbia Journalism Review’s worst journalism of 2014 list. He grabbed that negative honor in connection with missing Malaysia Airlines Flight 370 when he asked guests if the aircraft could have been swallowed by a black hole, among other fumbles…Last issue of the Long Beach Register, offspring of Freedom Communications’ Orange County Register, was published Sunday, 16 months after its debut to compete with the Long Beach Press-Telegram…The New York Times plans to open a 100-person office in London that will become the newspaper’s digital hub in Europe and international center.
Ad agencies and their clients don’t notice this?
Major trend with TV commercials is to use tiny, hard-to-read type, usually white against a bright yellow or orange background. Among those making viewers squint or reach for their glasses (or binoculars): ExxonMobil Corp. and Liberty Mutual Insurance.
In an unusual routine, President Barack Obama at his final White House press conference of the year on Friday called only on female members of the press corps --- eight of them --- for questions, leaving their male counterparts waving their hands to no avail, notes Grumpy Editor.
White House Press Secretary Josh Earnest said the prepared list focused on “women from a variety of news organizations who day-in and day-out do the hard work of covering the president of the United States. As the questioner list started to come together, we realized that we had a unique opportunity to highlight that fact at the president’s closely watched, end-of-the-year news conference.”
Those called on during the session:
Carrie Budoff Brown, Politico, led it off, followed by ---
Cheryl Bolen, Bloomberg.
Julie Pace, Associated Press.
Lesley Clark, McClatchy.
Roberta Rampton, Reuters.
Colleen M. Nelson, The Wall Street Journal.
Juliet Eilperin, Washington Post.
April Ryan, American Urban Radio.
Getting to the podium 22 minutes beyond the scheduled start (throwing a curve to broadcast and cable TV networks regular programming) and before the questions, the president spent eight minutes recapping his accomplishments during the year “to make life better for ordinary Americans.”
Keith Koffler, award-winning journalist with 16 years experience covering Washington and noted for reporting, commentary and analysis at his whitehousedossier.com, said Obama was “relaxed, confident, completely dismissive of his opponents and bragging shamelessly about his achievements.”
While some news outlets trumpeted Obama’s remarks, Koffler commented:
“The president seems unaware that Democrats were destroyed in the last election; that the slaughter in Syria continues; that the economy has stirred to life only after five years of trying under his leadership; that the jobs being created ain’t that great, that incomes aren’t rising, and that more are simply out of the workforce than in 40 years; that the U.S. oil and gas boom occurred despite him, not because of him; that he blew Bush’s achievements in Iraq; that a whole new class of Islamists have been created for us to fight; that Iran is on the cusp of nuclear weapons; that people’s health insurance costs are on the rise and rationing is on the horizon. And on and on.”
FYI, IN CASE YOUR FAVORITE EDITORS MISSED THESE…
After a series of storms, following three years of drought, Los Angeles water officials --- noting the vast amount of rain water that surges down the Los Angeles River (which it has for years), emptying into the Pacific Ocean --- feel it would be a good idea to start collecting that runoff…That’s show biz. Fortune magazine’s Dec. 22 issue mentions, “The big question for the 2015 global economy is how dramatic China’s economic slowdown will be. Our answer? Meryl Streep dramatic.”…San Diego-based Bumble Bee Seafoods, founded in 1899 by a handful of dedicated fishermen and growing to become North America’s largest branded shelf-stable seafood company, is being acquired by Thai Union Frozen Products of Thailand…Magazine circulation directors remain busy needling subscribers. Bloomberg Businessweek sends out a “student renewal alert” to “avoid service interruption” at a $40 one-year rate --- double a prior pitch. Meanwhile, Consumer Reports, which spends a high amount on frequent printing, mailing and postage directed to subscribers, starts its “reminders to subscribers” five to six months before renewal time…Marking the end of a famous car-maker corporate name, Chrysler Group LLC changes its name to FCA US LLC linked to its parent, Fiat of Italy…The New York Times is without an advertising column following the departure of Stuart Elliott who wrote the feature for 23 years...The June 16 issue of People, with Hillary Clinton on the cover, was the magazine’s worst seller this year with 503,890 copies, reports Adweek…Debuting in Coos County, Ore. Jan. 6 will be the weekly Coquille Valley Courant with Shelby Case editor. Publisher Jeff Precourt says contrary to industry critics, newspapers are far from being a dying medium.
Much to read. With an eye toward running for president, Jeb Bush says he’s ready to release 250,000 emails from his years as Florida governor.
A public relations grinch showed up with a season’s greeting --- and more --- posted in the window of a HSBC bank office that shocked some folks, notes Grumpy Editor.
HSBC is no small-town financial institution. It's the world’s fourth largest bank
In the spirit of the season, the message conveyed thanks to London customers “who trusted us in your mortgages this year” then in smaller type warned: “Your home may be repossessed if you do not keep up repayments on your mortgage.”
At the bottom of the message was “Season’s greetings” and HSBC in larger type with its logo.
An editor at London’s The Guardian newspaper spotted the unusual greetings message and tweeted a photo.
Founded in 1865 to finance trade between Asia and the West, HSBC serves about 52 million customers via around 6,600 offices in 80 countries and territories in North America, Africa, Asia, Europe, and South America.
FYI, IN CASE YOUR FAVORITE EDITORS MISSED THESE...
In another bank PR blunder, a Florida judge orders Bank of America to pay $1,051,000 to a Tampa couple that received 700 loan collection calls --- sometimes up to five a day --- in four years. The couple’s attorneys sued B of A under the Telephone Consumer Protection Act, the Fair Debt Collections Practices Act and the Florida Consumer Collection Practices Act…Strangely, the CIA was not contacted for input in connection with the Senate Intelligence Committee’s release last week of its whopping 6,000-page report on the agency’s interrogation program (branded “torture report” by media)…No sooner did national media spotlight news that California’s three-year drought produced the worst conditions in 1,200 years (that’s going back to medieval days, or 678 years before Columbus discovered America) when the Golden State is slammed with the biggest storm in years, dumping up to 12 inches of rain --- with another storm on the way today…Latest Pew Research Center survey finds 75 percent of adults say they are “better informed” about national news stemming from daily visits to Web news sites...Forbes, now with Asian ownership and after 97 years based in New York City, this week starts editorial operations from New Jersey…For its “person of the year,” Time magazine didn’t settle on one individual for 2014. The recognition went to “the ebola fighters”…Shaking up apartment house owners, Los Angeles unveils an earthquake plan that requires vulnerable pre-1980 apartments to retrofit within five years…Seen Family Circle magazine’s staff page lately? A magnifying glass (or a visit to an ophthalmologist) is required to read names, titles and contacts.
UPS AND DOWNS. While last week’s stock market drop is attributed to a slide in oil prices, it wasn’t too far back when higher oil prices was the culprit behind a stock market drop.
In what amounts to the top economic story of the year (or decade, or century), U.S. print and broadcast media were silent as the U.S. slipped to No. 2 spot in world economy while China edged ahead as the global leader, notes Grumpy Editor.
Under the headline, It’s official: America is now No. 2, MarketWatch columnist Brett Arends on Thursday pointed out: “It just happened --- and almost nobody noticed.”
He’s right. Most editors, focusing on other attention-getting stories in recent days, overlooked the economic development that puts the U.S. in second place for the first time since 1872. That’s when the U.S. overtook Great Britain.
International Monetary Fund figures showed the Chinese economy this year is worth $17.6 trillion, compared to the U.S.’s $17.4 trillion, wrote Arends. “As recently as 2000, the U.S. produced nearly three times as much as the Chinese,” he added.
Boosted by rapid industrialization, including manufacturing a wide range of products for U.S. businesses, China’s wealth accelerated in recent years and is expected to extend its lead with the IMF estimating China’s economy will rise to about $26.98 trillion by 2019, 20 percent above the U.S. level.
Arends, in his MarketWatch piece, noted “China now accounts for 16.5 percent of the global economy when measured in real purchasing-power terms, compared with 16.3 percent for the U.S.” He added, “This latest economic earthquake follows the development last year when China surpassed the U.S. for the first time in terms of global trade.”
Actually, a red flag was hoisted on this development by Bloomberg News a little over seven months ago with: “China is poised to overtake the U.S. as the world’s biggest economy earlier than expected, possibly as soon as this year, using calculations that take purchasing power into account.”
First with the news, however, was London’s Daily Mail. It reported the same information and statistics on Oct. 6 under the headline: “America usurped: China becomes world’s largest economy --- putting USA in second place for the first time in 142 years.”
FYI, IN CASE YOU MISSED THESE…
Hotter or colder? As representatives from 190 nations attending a United Nations climate conference in Lima, Peru, heard that this year is on track to be the hottest on record, the Washington Post cited, “In 46 years of records, more snow covered the Northern Hemisphere this fall than any other time”…Gannett Co.-owned USA Weekend, distributed to more than 800 newspapers in the U.S., will close with the Dec. 28 issue, resulting in layoffs of about 30 staffers…Question of the week: Will Harry Reid (D-Nev.), as majority leader, clear the way for the Senate to vote on a House-passed bill extending tax breaks --- including deductions for state and local sales taxes that would benefit taxpayers in the state he represents…President Barack Obama proposed a three-year, $263 million spending package that includes 50,000 body-worn cameras and expanded training for law enforcement…Fast work: Sixty nine years after the end of World War II, both parties in Congress agreed that Nazis should not receive U.S. government retirement benefits. The No Social Security for Nazis Act sailed through the House and Senate last week…Anchor Candy Crowley will be departing CNN after 27 years with the cable network…The three words, “I can’t breathe,” the rallying cry for nationwide protesters during the past week, were edited out of a Walmart commercial promoting a family mobile phone plan. It involved a female’s tight hug around the neck of a man who said he can’t breathe…A CBS Radio News top-of-the hour item on Thursday mentioned cars caught in a flood from a rainstorm “in Southern California,” comparing the large territory to something like a city. Actually, Southern California is about the size of Wyoming. The site where seven vehicles were stuck: near Gilman Hot Springs in Riverside County…Restart the presses: A tractor-trailer carrying 19,000 advanced sections of Sunday’s New York Times overturned Thursday morning on a highway ramp outside Philadelphia. The destroyed papers were replaced in time for home deliveries.
SOGGY PAPERS AHEAD? While backing a landmark environmental law that bans plastic bags use by grocery stores by July 1, the Los Angeles Times doesn’t indicate what it will use to protect driveway delivery of its newspapers when there is inclement weather.
Company pay, and how much the boss gets, looms as a big deal in 2016 when the Securities and Exchange Commission is likely to require most public companies to disclose the pay ratio between chief executives and rank-and-file employees, notes Grumpy Editor.
The likely federal rule, not getting much media play, looms as another “rich” vs. “poor” action out of Washington.
Backers see the disclosures as a method to prompt management to cut CEO paychecks while raising lower-level workers’ pay.
The move is something that would be pretty much out of line a few years ago. Most workers then would say, “Who cares,” while focusing on improving their own job performances in efforts to reach higher salary levels along with new job titles.
Meanwhile, the SEC and others in Washington don’t seem to be concerned about growing lofty pay collected by most professional basketball, football and baseball players.
Latest example: Yasmany Tomas, 24, a baseball outfielder from Cuba, late last week was in the process of settling on $68.5 million in a six-year contract with the Arizona Diamondbacks.
Major league baseball’s minimum annual salary next year rises to $507,500 from $500,000.
Keep in mind that for baseball, the “year” (including pre-season training) runs about eight months.
That makes company CEOs earning $1 million to $5 million over 12 months quite a bargain for overseeing companies with far-flung operations and hundreds, perhaps thousands, on payrolls.
FYI, IN CASE YOU MISSED THESE…
Heavy shopping over the Thanksgiving holiday and into this week follows consumer sentiment that has climbed to the highest level since July, 2007, finds the Thomson Reuters/University of Michigan index. In addition, the National Retail Federation expects a 4.1 percent boost in retail sales in the November-December period…Look for TV news tomorrow to focus on footage of cars splashing through water in the Los Angeles area as the first heavy storm since February is expected to dump one to two inches of rain…Media haven’t emphasized the fact that the looting, vandalizing and torching in the Ferguson, Mo. area last week affected about 60 businesses with a dozen destroyed, ranging from storage facility to hair salon…Despite federal attempts to curb its use, demand for coal to generate electric power has been on the upswing since 2012…Getting limited media mention: The Pentagon, with White House blessing, continues to release detainees from U.S. detention in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba. Five were released late this month, leaving 143 remaining, down from almost 800 after the 9/11 terrorist attacks, reveals The Wall Street Journal. Look for more to be turned loose this month…Nothing to growl about: The “cowardly lion” costume worn by actor Bert Lahr in the classic 1939 MGM film, The Wizard of Oz, fetched $3.07 million at an auction…Oops! A Los Angeles Times story reports a crane in Hollywood removes “iconic KTLA radio tower for renovation and relocation,” forgetting that pioneer station KTLA is in TV, not radio…Digital-influenced newspaper title: With the focus on digital growth, The New York Times in February gives former NPR executive Kinsey Wilson a new title --- editor for innovation and strategy…A new Rasmussen Reports survey finds only eight percent of likely U.S. voters rate Congress’s performance as good or excellent, unchanged from the prior two months.
Farewell to lady: University of Delaware’s student newspaper is taking “lady” out of stories that mention Lady Hens, the women’s sports team. Student editors claim use of “lady” is "inherently sexist," derogatory and redundant since hens are female.
Maybe it’s time to rethink solar plants. An Associated Press story --- not getting far-reaching media attention --- finds the largest solar power-producing plant of its type in the world at the California-Nevada border "once promoted as a turning point in green energy, isn’t producing as much energy as planned,” notes Grumpy Editor.
The second paragraph of the AP story raises eyebrows. It mentions one of the reasons is that “the sun isn’t shining as much as expected.”
The Ivanpah Solar Electric Generating System facility, spanning five square miles of federal land in California, 50 miles south of Las Vegas, couldn’t be located at a better spot to capture the sun’s rays. There is ample sunshine for the operation’s 350,000 computer-controlled mirrors that reflect rays to boilers atop 459-foot towers.
Among major cities, nearby Las Vegas ties with Phoenix as top U.S. locations in average annual sunshine with a high 85 percent. That’s 3,825 hours of unblocked sun’s rays a year.
Yet, the $2.2 billion solar facility is producing only about half its expected output for this year.
What’s the hangup? The California Energy Commission blames the sluggish output on “factors such as clouds, jet contrails and weather” having “a greater impact on the plant…”
Clouds (which are few) jet contrails (which are everywhere over the country) and weather (which is mostly dry and sunny at the California-Nevada border desert location)? Hmmm.
A research firm analyst says the facility’s early production facilities “do not paint a strong picture for solar-thermal technology development.”
FYI, IN CASE YOU MISSED THESE…
With the Thursday high temperature predicted to be 40 degrees under cloudy sky, look for shivering PETA activists at the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day parade to protest SeaWorld’s use of orcas (killer whales) by cramming several naked, black-and-white painted people into a bathtub set outside Macy’s flagship store in New York’s Herald Square…Oops! Near the end of President Barack Obama’s Friday executive action speech in Las Vegas on immigration changes, KSNV-TV, Las Vegas, interrupted his remarks, dropping in a Cox Communications commercial…By the way, a pre-Vegas speech NBC News/Wall Street Journal poll, not widely circulated, finds 48 percent oppose the president taking executive action on immigration, while 38 percent support it and 14 percent have no opinion or are unsure…And while the president spent the weekend in sunny Las Vegas, that included playing 27 holes of golf with former New York Yankees captain Derek Jeter in his foursome, Vice President Joe Biden was in the Ukraine, where he announced an increase in U.S. nonlethal aid --- including Humvees and radar equipment…As another cold spell hits a chunk of the nation, a Reuters story out of Oslo, Norway, mentions, “This year is on track to be among the warmest on record,” then reports the coldest U.S. November morning since 1976 “with subfreezing temperatures in all 50 states”…Forget the influence of usual U.S. developments such as corporate earnings and federal actions. Friday’s surprise rate cut from China's central bank coupled with dovish comments from European Central Bank’s president sent the Dow Jones Industrial Average soaring 91 points to 17810...Lowest price of the season? A mailer from Motor Trend magazine pitches a subscription deal to non-subscribers, pointing out the annual cover price is $215.64, but with a “rate adjustment” one can grab “your revised rate” of --- $9. And the magazine will toss in a free emergency flashlight…Radio station KNEB, Scottsbluff, Neb., --- 962 miles from Los Angeles --- beat by several hours the Los Angeles Times with word that 170 passengers and six crew members on board a Princess Cruises ship that docked in San Pedro (in Los Angeles Harbor) fell ill following an outbreak of norovirus…Join a state National Guard --- and see Africa? Members of National Guard battalions from California, Minnesota, Ohio, Texas, Iowa and Kansas have been ordered to mobilize for deployments to West Africa next spring to support U.S. and international efforts to stem the spread of the Ebola virus.
Netflix now accounts for more than a third of all Internet traffic during peak evening hours in North America.
Despite 13 years of U.S. troops fighting in Afghanistan, opium poppy cultivation continues to thrive, reaching a record this year, notes Grumpy Editor.
Not making headlines, a United Nations report last week indicates the opium harvest this year jumped 17 percent from last year to about 6,400 tons.
One U.N. official calculates the drug trade accounts for 20 percent of Afghanistan’s gross domestic product while the industry indirectly employs more than 400,000 people. That’s equal to the population of Minneapolis.
So much for the U.S. influence there, after spending $7.6 billion in Americans' taxpayer money over the past dozen years in efforts to eradicate poppy fields.
Few remember that before U.S. troops entered Afghanistan in 2001, Russians (known as Soviet forces at that time) were involved in an Afghanistan War between 1978 and 1992 with a military that peaked at 100,000.
U.S. involvement in Afghanistan and Iraq wars is costing American taxpayers between $4 trillion and $6 trillion, which includes wounded veterans’ medical care and other factors, based on a study last year by Linda J. Bilmes, a Harvard University public policy professor.
FYI, IN CASE YOU MISSED THESE…
Not quite on the same page. In reporting Macy’s quarterly figures, a Thursday front-page “refer” in The Wall Street Journal mentioned the department store “posted weak sales as consumers held back on spending.” The main story’s second paragraph noted, “Macy’s cut its profit and sales forecasts for the year.” But eight paragraphs later, readers saw, “Despite the sales shortfall, Macy’s profit rose 23 percent to $217 million for the period.” Then a few pages later in the “Stocks in the News” section, the WSJ placed Macy’s under “The Good News” category, illustrating the retailer’s stock, on the news, was up $2.98 (or 5.09 percent) to $61.57, pointing out the bottom line “exceeded analysts expectations” and the company was “optimistic about its current quarter”…Get those computers ready for incoming techies. In the wake of the flood of illegal “unaccompanied children” who crossed into the U.S. in recent months from Central America, the New York Times on Friday feels President Barack Obama’s overhaul of U.S. immigration policy “will provide more opportunities for immigrants with high-tech skills”…MapLight, a nonpartisan research group that delights in “revealing money’s influence on politics,” compiles a top 10 list of stocks owned by members of Congress using disclosure forms from 2013. General Electric grabbed top spot, followed by Microsoft, Procter & Gamble, Wells Fargo, Apple, IBM, AT&T, Verizon, JPMorgan Chase and Exxon Mobil…Look for the Boston Globe to debut an eight-page stand-alone business section Tuesdays through Fridays starting early next month…American Express mails a glossy pitch to some existing AmEx card holders, feeling it can lure current no annual fee users to fork over $175 a year for a Premier Rewards Gold Card…Getting in turkey-day spirit. A seller of digital hearing devices courts candidates with a free hearing test plus free turkey certificate. Yes, “this week only”…A Sydney, Australia, male TV anchor reveals no viewer noticed he wore the same blue suit for a year to prove how much tougher it is for woman to dress on television.
Headline over a story in Fortune magazine’s Nov. 17 issue: If the U.S. Economy Is So Good, Why Do We Feel So Bad?
It points out a recent Pew poll finds only 21 percent of respondents say the economy is in “good or excellent” condition.
Grumpy Editor finds the Los Angeles Times newsroom gets excited over the word “earthquake” and via its website or print version almost daily reports shakers (no matter how small), mostly in California. On Friday the newspaper came up with: Swarm of earthquakes in Nevada desert is intensifying
The swarm’s location, to be precise, is about 525 miles from the L.A. Times building at 1st and Spring Streets in Los Angeles. The report pinpointed the location in Nevada’s extreme northwest corner, 50 miles southeast of Lakeview, Ore., a sparsely-populated area.
The report, by a staff writer, pointed out “about 750 earthquakes, mostly magnitude 2.0 to 3.0, have struck the area” since July.
Deep into the story, John Vidale, director of the Pacific Northwest Seismic Network at the University of Washington, said: “It doesn't necessarily mean anything big is coming, but it does raise the risk there will be a bigger quake in the future. Ninety-nine percent of the time nothing too dramatic happens, but every now and then there is a good pop and everyone asks why we didn't predict it."
Other media picked up the report. But the Las Vegas Review-Journal, Nevada’s largest newspaper, didn’t run the swarms information until two days later. It covered the subject in nine sentences via Reuters.
CNN on Saturday mentioned, ‘The vast majority of the current Nevada swarm's quakes have been undetectable to people walking around on top of them.”
In San Francisco, where talk of earthquakes easily shakes up residents, KCBS radio’s website on Friday spotlighted the event under the headline: Ongoing Earthquake Swarm In Nevada Increasing Chances For A ‘Big One’
USA Today jumped into the shaker act on Saturday picking up, in part, information contained in the L.A. Times and CNN stories.
Most interesting, however, was the earthquake swarms story on Nov. 6 (a day before the L.A. Times version) in the Herald and News, Klamath Falls, Ore. It was written by the newspaper’s editor, Gerry O’Brien --- from a press release.
This just in: Continuing its focus on earthquakes, today’s L.A. Now section on the L.A. Times website reports a magnitude 4.1 shaker at a depth of 6.8 miles in the Pacific with the epicenter 69 miles from Newport Beach in Orange County.
IN CASE YOUR FAVORITE NEWS OUTLETS MISSED THESE…
A reminder as frigid Arctic air makes its way today to the central plains and then eastward with temperatures 20 to 40 degrees below normal: A recent Gallup poll found concern over climate change ranked last among 16 issues voters cared about in the midterm elections…In the “huh?” department. The lead to a story in the Nov. 6 Wall Street Journal: "Electric car maker Tesla Motors Inc. reported a wider third quarter loss"… Then the next day in the newspaper's “The Good News” portion of “Stocks in the News” feature: Tesla stock was up $10.25 a share stemming from, as the WSJ put it: “The electric car maker beat earnings forecasts”…A top-of-the-hour ABC News item on radio Friday focused on Home Depot announcing about 53 million customer email addresses were stolen by hackers. That was in addition to earlier reports that 56 million credit card accounts were compromised. That news was followed by a Home Depot commercial…How many times with the same “warning” over the past few months? Federal Reserve officials on Friday warned about market turbulence as the central bank prepares to raise short-term interest rates next year…Reuters decided to stop allowing readers to comment on its online stories…As Thanksgiving approaches, a reminder from the Associated Press Style Book on bread-related items: With breadbox, breadcrumb, breadstick and cornbread, keep it a single word. But not bread pudding…Operation United Assistance, the U.S. military mission to combat Ebola in West Africa, likely will last until 2016, according to Gen. Martin Dempsey, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff.
After Tuesday’s voting results, Harry Reid (D-Nev.), outgoing Senate majority leader who has shelved hundreds of House-passed bills, declared: “I look forward to working with (incoming Republican majority leader) Sen. McConnell to get things done for the middle class.”
Grumpy Editor ran across a piece by Joseph Rossell, at media watchdog NewsBusters, who cited “the media’s unwillingness to point to wasteful spending” at both the National Institutes of Health (NIH) and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) that, combined, award about 64,000 research grants annually.
“The combined budgets of the U.S. Coast Guard, U.S. Customs and Border Patrol, FBI, DEA and Secret Service came to nearly $1 billion less than the NIH and CDC combined budgets,” Russell tallied.
He listed “15 wasteful programs totaling $15,135,574,669” while “NIH and CDC are still having trouble coming up with ways to fund their fight against Ebola.”
Among the rather strange taxpayer-funded programs:
NIH spent $3.2 million getting monkeys drunk exclusively on alcohol to determine what effect the beverage has long term on their body tissue.
Then there’s $90 million that NIH awarded to Chinese researchers for various public health research projects, including $2 million to develop a vaccine for a parasite disease common in China.
Less NIH funding ---$181,406 ---went to a University of Kentucky researcher to study how cocaine enhances the sex drive of Japanese quail.
Congress in 2004 voted to give NIH $1.5 million to spend on four sex studies: Mood Arousal and Sexual Risk Taking, Study on Sexual Habits of Older Men, Study on San Francisco’s Asian Prostitutes/Masseuses and Study on American Indian Transgender Research.
CDC, via ObamaCare, received $15 billion to convince Americans to make “healthy” choices through “Community Transformation Grants.”
Read other ways NIH and CDC spend taxpayer money here.
IN CASE YOUR FAVORITE NEWS OUTLETS MISSED THESE…
USA Today Washington Bureau Chief Susan Page at a correspondents’ seminar, declared: “My big fear is that this administration has been more restrictive and more challenging to the press, more dangerous to the press, really, than any administration in American history in terms of legal investigations and so on. And I think access to the White House has just gotten worse and worse.” She added, “Decisions are made in closed-door meetings, or with the silent stroke of the president's pen, or because some lobbyist got some congressman to slip his pet project into a bill during the dead of night. We have to take the blinders off the White House. The more people know about what's going on in Washington, and how their tax dollars are being spent, and who's raising money for who, the less likely it is that major decisions will be hijacked by lobbyists and special interests.” Adding to that, in illustrating the clampdown on details, Bloomberg White House correspondent Margaret Talev noted the White House has stopped providing details on fine wines served at state dinners...With the media spotlight on tomorrow’s voting, Larry Kudlow, in his syndicated column, maintained “the vast majority of political journalists…are missing a very big story.” He called it “the beginning of a new conservative revolution,” pointing out “the Republicans are going to recapture the Senate, picking up more seats than most any forecaster expects. And the House GOP is going to add to its majority”…In other election-time news, California Gov. Jerry Brown, when asked at a campaign stop in Modesto why he hasn’t done more to lay out an agenda for a fourth term, replied: “I have communicated more completely to the people of California than any other governor in history”…In early voting, a number of voting machines in Maryland and Illinois were electronically switching Republican votes to Democrat, raising suspicions that fraud could be at the root of the malfunctions. Among those encountering the vote switch: Maryland’s Queen Anne County Sheriff Gary Hofmann. The same problem occurred in Chicago where an election official attributed it to a “calibration error”…Tipping off the bad guys: News reports over the weekend revealed the U.S. is intercepting Syria president’s communications for information on Islamic State militants…The New York Times Co. informed investors to expect a drop in fourth quarter ad spending. That sent its stock down 6 percent on Thursday. The Times, which last month announced plans to cut 100 newsroom employees, is working to transform itself into a digital newsroom with specialized stories and online subscription packages.
No stop-the-presses surprise here. Newspaper headline following Vice President Joe Biden’s appearance Saturday at a Las Vegas rally: Biden urges Latino voters to turn out for Democrats.