Friday Reads: NOLA Daily No More and Elusive Escaped Penguin is Caught

Good Morning!

JJ here, while Dakinikat is off seeing her oldest daughter get married, I’ve got the honor of taking her place on this morning’s reads!

Over the past few weeks you have seen that I have a fondness for cartoons. Not just the political/editorial ones, but all cartoons. I have hundreds of yellowed and crinkled newsprint cartoons stashed away in drawers, boxes, plastic bags and the few that are very special, I still have taped to my fridge. Some have little messages scribbled on them, maybe an extra doodle drawn to represent something specifically funny, like an inside joke within the family.

I did not limit it to cartoons, there were many times an article would pop out at me, begging for it to be clipped. Of course, I would make my little editorial comments in the borders…And it wasn’t just me who would do this, my mom would do it too. Sometimes I would get a surprise letter in the mail, and in it would be a newspaper clipping of a cartoon or an article that she thought I would laugh like hell at, for example say….about some group of midgets in drag, robbing a Burger King….I am not kidding on that one!

And lets not forget clipping obituaries or recipes…or historic moments. (The attic of our hundred year old house in Newtown, Connecticut had a newspaper from when the Titanic sunk, when FDR was elected for his first term, and when FDR died.)

So when I moved nine years ago from the big city to Banjoville, I expected to have our newspaper, the “legal organ” of Union County published once a week, on Tuesdays. Except for Election Day…that always means a Wednesday delivery.

Since then I have been able to print out a cartoon here or there, but is isn’t the same thing. There is something magical in the feel and look of newsprint, am I right? If you are “lucky” it will smudge your fingers a bit, and as the time goes by, the edges start to curl up…and the dirt and grease marks get darker and darker…the paper gets yellower and yellower. It is a way to mark the passage of time.

The reason I am waxing romantic about newspapers is they are becoming a thing of the past. Like the big dinosaurs, one day they will all become extinct. Yes, in small towns, the weekly is the main form of local news, but in huge cities, residents are finding that they will no longer receive that daily pile of newsprint.

New Orleans is now possibly the only major city in the US without a daily newspaper. The Times/Picayune has stopped its daily print news…opting for the “digital” version. (You can still get a print paper a few days a week, but there is no guarantee it won’t disappear all together.)

Late Night: The Latest Casualty

Another newspaper died today.  Not just any paper; the New Orleans Times-Picayune, which has been publishing since 1837.  Officially, it is merely cutting daily print editions to Wednesdays, Fridays, and Sundays, but what with letting over a third of the staff go,  NOLA.com will be something, but it won’t be a newspaper, despite the absurd claims from its publisher that this was some sort of “adaption to the digital era.”  Really?  In the digital era I know, the only thing lame about papers is that they only come out once a day; will letting them sit in the box for three days make them somehow more appealing, as keepsakes, perhaps?

If the newspaper industry were serious about going digital, rather than just reaping larger profits and putting yet another squeeze on its long-suffering employees, it would not be leaving in place any of the absurdly costly and wasteful process of printing and delivery, which will continue to be massive and now underutilized investments.  No, what the bloated and mismanaged conglomerates that now own our newspapers want is slow death and golden parachutes for all concerned, and the less any actual journalism gets involved, the better.

The parent company of the Times-Picayune is Newhouse, and they have decided to forgo the paper’s paper, and of course, a number of their employees…

As revenue began to dry up from all three of these previously reliable sources, the corporate leadership of virtually every major daily decided to tackle the problem the same, self-defeating way: cutting staff, eliminating departments, and turning once-useful functions over to the sales side; most notably car reviews.  Each false economy eroded the only intrinsic value of the legacy newspaper: its credibility, stability, and connection to the community.  To maximize “shareholder value” in the short term, newspapers casually threw away the very things that readers actually valued.  To no one’s surprise, a decade or two of essentially selling pink slime and calling it hamburger did end up causing plummeting circulation, which is now used to justify yet further cuts in the product quality.  What, pray tell, is worse than pink slime?

Sadly, a lot.  Fox News viewers have once again been found to be less informed than the comatose, and back in the days after Hurricane Katrina, the Times-Picayune heroically countered their malevolent misinformation even when its presses were literally underwater.  When I was in New Orleans a year later,  the local reverence for the paper was still apparent; until dark, papers littered the tables of every corner pub and coffeehouse.  But all the Newhouse executives could see in this improbable renaissance was declining margins, grabby unions, and a daily torrent of comment abuse from the (white) readers outside the city.   So they canned it, but just partly, for show.

Yeah…what about that. I know lots of people who do not have internet, or iPads or SmartPhones…or e-readers. WTF (where the fuck) will they get their news?

I will quote the last paragraph of this excellent post on FDL:

The death of the Times-Picayune is unremarkable, I suppose, given the recent deaths of papers from Seattle, Denver, and elsewhere.  But those papers left at least one daily community voice in their wake.  New Orleans is now the only major American city that I can think of that’s lost its only daily paper.  Journalism is dying in America, by a thousand cuts of Bain-style “creative destruction,” and it’s no great leap to think that on some level it’s being done deliberately.  I think it was Jefferson who said he’d rather have newspapers without a government than a government without newspapers, but it seems our corporate overlords have decided they’d like to try it the other way around.

And sadly, NOLA is not the only city losing a print paper. Alabama Media Group, a new digitally focused company, will launch this fall with expanded online coverage and enhanced three-day-a-week newspapers

Wow, it’s an epidemic!

A new digitally focused media company — the Alabama Media Group, which will include The Birmingham News, the Press-Register of Mobile, The Huntsville Times and al.com — will launch this fall to serve readers and advertisers across the state, according to Cindy Martin, who will become president of the new organization.

The change is designed to reshape how Alabama’s leading media companies deliver award-winning local news, sports and entertainment coverage in an increasingly digital age. The Alabama Media Group will dramatically expand its news-gathering efforts around the clock, seven days a week, while offering enhanced printed newspapers on a schedule of three days a week. The newspapers will be home-delivered and sold in stores on Wednesdays, Fridays and Sundays only.

(You see what is happening, no more newspapers, post office or social security, don’t laugh, it is coming!)

A second company, Advance Central Services Alabama, will handle production, distribution, technology, finance and human resources, and will be led by current Birmingham News President and Publisher Pam Siddall. Both companies are owned by Advance Publications, Inc.

Driving these changes are rapid advances in how readers engage with news content across all platforms, print and digital, said Martin, who is currently the President and CEO of al.com.

Eventually the only form of “news” will be the kind of crap we see on the “cable networks” or online, which will be bought and paid for by corporations…aka people…who will put their own spin on things. No…wait a moment, that is the way it is now!

(emphasis mine BTW)

The change in organizational structures across all departments will lead to a reduction in the overall size of the workforce. Details are still being worked out, Martin said.

There are always painful choices when you begin a process that will lead to people losing their jobs,” Martin said. “But at the same time, we must position ourselves to be sustainable businesses going forward. The new companies we launch in the fall, we believe, not only achieve that, but will serve our growing audiences and advertisers better than ever before.”

Yup, you bet your ass it will…serve up the latest news, in style! (Or cloaked in whatever shade your advertisers prefer.)

Tailor your news to fit your audience, right: Daily Caller Doling Out Guns To Its Readers Now Through Election Day

The Daily Caller, the proudly racist and rabidly right-wing website of adult Pee-Wee Herman doll and epic media failure Tucker Carlson, is no longer going to pretend that it cares about decency and decorum. The website that set of many alarms following the Trayvon Martin murder and the racist responses that its users plastered all over the place, is now offering one handgun per week from now until election day.

Here’s the actual announcement:
The Daily Caller will be giving away one gun per week until Election Day – November 6, 2012. The FMK9C1 is an American-made high capacity 9mm designed by Jim Pontillo and manufactured in California. Each gun is engraved with the Bill of Rights and comes in one of three colors.

To enter this week’s contest, simply sign up below to receive updates from The Daily Caller. Our DC
Morning emails are an informative and amusing way to keep up with the latest news. To enter the giveaway you must complete the form below agreeing to all terms and conditions associated with the contest.

I swear, the country is going to hell in a big ass hand-basket. Actually, that is not true anymore, who the hell carries a hand-basket now a days? The country is going to hell in a touch screen…made in China…and brought to you by the Koch Brothers.

Now, since I wrote so much about the end of an era…let us have the rest of today’s links in a news dump…

Chen Guangchen is talking about his horrific ordeal: Chen Guangcheng Sits Down With Anderson Cooper: ‘My Suffering Was Beyond Imagination’

And, another former house arrest activist is finally giving her acceptance speech for the Nobel Peace Prize she won, over two decades ago: Suu Kyi to give Nobel speech, 21 years late

On the war on women front: Senate Armed Services Committee Votes to End Military Ban on Insurance Coverage of Abortion Care for Rape and Incest

The amendment was introduced by Senator Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH). In November 2011, anti-choice senators refused to allow the Shaheen amendment to come to the floor, so the 2012 NDAA was signed into law with the ban in place. Today’s vote affects the FY 2013 NDAA.

There are some 400,000 women in the United States Armed Forces; they and their families receive health care and insurance through the Department of Defense’s Military Health System. The department currently denies coverage for abortion care except when a pregnant woman’s life is endangered. Unlike other federal bans on abortion coverage, the military ban provides no exception for cases of rape and incest.

Grrrrrgh…

As a result, those seeking safe abortion care after rape or incest must pay out-of-pocket for such care at a military facility. But because physicians on military bases are prohibited from providing abortion care, it is not actually available to military women in need even under the narrow conditions technically allowed. As a result, servicewomen are often forced to choose between taking leave and traveling far distances to an American provider, seeking services from a local, unfamiliar health care facility (if abortion is legal and they are not in a combat zone), having an unsafe procedure, or attempting to self-induce an abortion.

The Shaheen Amendment, if passed by Congress and signed by the President, would address one of these issues by bringing the military’s health insurance policy in line with the policy that governs other federal programs, such as Medicaid and the Federal Employees Health Benefit Program and as a result enable  servicewomen to receive insurance coverage for abortion care.

The amendment is strongly supported by military leaders, physicians, and servicewomen themselves.

“Women who put their lives on the line fighting for our freedom shouldn’t be denied reproductive health care services,” said Gale Pollock, Major General, US Army (Ret.).

Well, lets see what those Conservative Women do to support their fellow women…place your bets!

(And I said the rest of this post was going to be a link dump.)

Waterboarding got another pass this week, state secrets must be protected: A Court Covers Up – NYTimes.com

Secretary of State had some words about Iran: Clinton: Significant Differences Remain Over Iran’s Nuclear Program–  VOA

Some guy is taking the flea circus to another dimension, well it is actually not fleas, but ants. BBC News – Artist Ollie Palmer on staging an ‘ant ballet’

Some other guy in South Dakota is running for office, and his credentials are quite extensive: ‘I’ve Ridden An Ostrich. I’ve Done Lots Of Stuff.’: SD Congressional Candidate’s Amazingly Bizarre Campaign Ad | Mediaite

Jeff Barth’s ad:

…features Barth talking to the camera as he walks down a long path. The first thing you’ll notice is that the way the camera backs away from him makes the whole thing seem like the viewer is desperately trying to get out of a conversation with a crazy person. The second thing you’ll notice is that Barth has done a lot of weird stuff in his life. As he walks, he lists such accomplishments as having “learned chess in Iceland,” being in Germany to watch the Berlin Wall get built, and having daughters with “straight teeth and husbands.”

And lastly, remember that penguin that escaped from its cell? (No this is not a nun story.) BBC News – Tokyo keepers catch fugitive Penguin 337

Still from footage reportedly showing the one-year-old Humboldt penguin in Tokyo Bay. Photo: 7 May 2012
Penguin 337 spent several weeks swimming in rivers in the Tokyo Bay area

A young penguin which escaped from a Tokyo aquarium has been caught after more than two months on the loose in the Japanese capital.

The Humboldt penguin scaled a wall and slipped though a fence at the Tokyo Sea Life Park in March.

It has since been spotted several times swimming in a rivers running into Tokyo Bay, but had eluded keepers.

The one-year-old fugitive was finally recaptured on Thursday evening.

Two keepers went to a river after a sighting of the penguin was reported in the morning. They managed to catch it later that day on the river bank, a spokesman for Tokyo Sea Life Park told the BBC.

At least the little bugger is back safe. I don’t know about you, but I am curious…how the hell does a penguin scale a wall?

Please…can somebody explain that to me?


17 Comments on “Friday Reads: NOLA Daily No More and Elusive Escaped Penguin is Caught”

  1. Here are a few updates on Egypt: Egypt election headed toward runoff pitting religious vs. secular – latimes.com

    Egypt vote: Brotherhood advances to second round – USATODAY.com

    The latest on Etan Patz case: Etan Patz case goes to court on 33rd anniversary – CBS News

    And, here we go again: Women’s clinics on heightened alert  | ajc.com

    Heightened fears about a series of burglaries and fires targeting abortion and OB-GYN clinics around metro Atlanta have triggered heightened security across the country.

    The FBI, which is leading a joint investigation, , is looking at the cases as possibly domestic terrorism or civil rights violations based on federal laws against intimidation, according to ATF spokesman Richard Coes.

    Fulton County Sheriff’s Office, FB, FBI The FBI-led Joint Terrorism Task Force and the FBI Atlanta Civil Rights Squad on Wednesday night released surveillance images of a gray Mercury Marquis with tinted windows and large chrome wheels. The car belongs to a man investigators want to speak with regarding recent fires at obstetrician/gynecologist offices in Cobb and Gwinnett counties.

    “We are concerned about the escalation and activity,” said Vicki Saporta, president of National Abortion Federation, which sent out notifications to all member clinics about the Atlanta incidents twice this week, urging them to take additional precautions. “It’s not a good sign when one arson follows another, after following several burglaries. Something clearly is escalating there and we’re hoping that the strong law enforcement so far can stop it.”

    The National Abortion Federation is also sending a two-person security team of paid staffers to Atlanta on Wednesday to help law enforcement and the clinics. Each of the four clinics targeted here are linked to doctors who either visited the state Capitol or voiced concerns to lawmakers about new abortion restrictions that were signed into law this month.

    And really, if someone can tell me how a penguin can scale a wall, I’d appreciate it. I keep envisioning a penguin dressed like a swat team member or the dude from mission impossible…

    • bostonboomer says:

      I don’t know how, but the why is probably that the poor thing just wanted out of it’s prison. It was desperate to be free. And now it’s locked up again. Sad.

    • dakinikat says:

      Hi and thanks for this. I am dog tired and headed for rehearsal. Yesterday we did this blessing ceremony. I will post some photos. I feel like i am in a dream.

    • quixote says:

      About penguins scaling walls: have you seen the nature films where they jump / fly out of the water and run straight up an ice bank? A wall is easy compared to that. They have claws like pitons on their feet. That’s how they do it. Real penguins don’t need no stinkin swat drag.

  2. Pat Johnson says:

    Along with the disappearance of daily newspapers and the lack of objective journalism that signifies a free democracy, it won’t surprise me in the least to wake up one morning to find Fox News and Sean Hannity winners of the Nobel Prize in journalism.

    Could an American Pravda be far behind?

    • It frightens me Pat, and of course, history is ignored…we are treading in dangerous waters.

      • Pat Johnson says:

        “History” begins with the election of Ronald Reagan in some quarters.

        Whatever came before is best ignored since it fails to fit the narrative of the US being “exceptional” beyond all compare.

        Fewer people read like we do. Even fewer follow current events that does not carry the “celebrity factor”. Less pay attention to what is really happening but consider themselves “informed” once every 4 years when they head to the polls voting for they know not what.

        The number of voters out there could not answer even the simplest questions pertaining to how government works. How a bill makes it way to the floor of congress. Who the Koch Brothers are. What is happening in Wisconsin. Who sits on the Supreme Court and how many justices there are to begin with.

        If any actual “reading” is happening today it’s nothing beyond “The Shades of Gray” or whatever that porno book is called but important tomes revealing the drift in where this nation is heading: not so much.

        Pretty pathetic when you think about it. But it does account for the possibility of a Mitt Romney presidency and a tighter hold on the reins of governance when most people appear to not give a damn.

    • janicen says:

      Warren Buffet is on it.

      Warren Buffett’s company Berkshire Hathaway announced a deal on Thursday to purchase 63 newspapers from Media General — an industry that Buffett recently referred to as “declining.”

      “In towns and cities where there is a strong sense of community, there is no more important institution than the local paper,” said Buffett, a former paper boy who owns Omaha World Tribune and other publications.

      http://money.cnn.com/2012/05/17/news/companies/buffett-newspapers/index.htm

      The buy includes our local rag, The Richmond Times Dispatch which is such a ridiculously conservative paper it is referred to as “The Times Disgrace” in some circles. We happened to be out conducting some business last week and one of the people we talked to puffed out his chest and proudly stated that he canceled his subscription to the paper. I said, “So you’re just going to stop reading the paper?” and he said, “I’ll read it online. I just don’t want to give ‘him’ my money.” Apparently, the right wingers hate Warren Buffet. Why would they hate a “job creator”? 😉

  3. ANonOMouse says:

    Good Morning JJ and good lineup of news.

    To your question What will Conservative women do concerning the war on women, the answer is,

    THEY WON’T DO THIS

    Yesterday a woman was kept off an American Airlines plane because she was wearing that T-shirt

    http://dcist.com/2012/05/american_airlines_boots_pro-choice.php

    • NW Luna says:

      Love that line! But I also think that wearing a shirt with the f-word on it in big type, regardless of message, is not the best choice for travel. She should just have been offered a vest or shawl or scarf strategically draped until she was off the plane.

  4. bostonboomer says:

    I used to like to read the paper in the morning, but frankly I get much more out of reading the news on-line. Objective journalism was never the reality. At least now I can read lots of sources, including blogs and foreign news, and make up my own mind.

    My mom still reads her daily paper, and she sends me cartoons, which I really enjoy reading. Two of my favorites are “Pickles” and “Mutts.”

    If the P.O. and S.S. really end, then I’ll have to take leave of the world too. Those are my main sources of income right now. So I guess I’ll just continue to enjoy each day I have left. I’m not going to live in fear.

    • I saw an old short on TCM that focused on the importance of the post office…I don’t know. Maybe Postal Service and Social Security won’t be affected by all the “budget cuts” but with the GOP now threatening to renge on their budget agreement, it all just makes me angry. I’ve reached the point where I trust no one.

      I know that many get their news online from the web but there are still lots of people who don’t have internet. These are the same folks being disenfranchised by groups like ALEC who are behind the voter id laws.

      To me the newspapers going to “digital” media is symbolic of what we are losing/have lost in terms of journalistic integrity, investigative reporting and accountability.

      • bostonboomer says:

        Unfortunately newspapers have been slow to understand the changes that have been happening, and thus they’re getting left behind. Even now they’re reacting by trying to force people to pay for content instead of getting the funding from advertisers as they did in the past. Papers like the NYT and Boston Globe don’t seem to understand that it’s easy to get around their pay walls, and if they keep fighting change they’ll just become irrelevant.

        I don’t think the internet will kill investigative reporting. There is much more investigative reporting going on now instead of it being limited to the big newspapers which all have establishment viewpoints.

        It’s true that newspapers going digital is going to disadvantage a lot of people who can’t afford computers or who can’t get broadband. But my bigger fear is that the elites will win the battle to kill internet freedom.

    • NW Luna says:

      The P.O. is vital in rural areas. Shave a couple percentage points off the taxes that Exxon doesn’t pay and we could fund the P.O.

      Journalism whether print or on-line has in the main been under the thumb of editors under the thumb of corporate owners for some time. Yet I want to read good investigative journalism, whether I see it printed on paper or posted on a web page.

  5. RalphB says:

    I hope Richard Carmona can pull it off. He’d probably make a very good senator and his bio is absolutely amazing.

    ‘Political Greek God’: Even Republicans Think Carmona Has a Chance In Arizona

    “Political Greek god,” “amazing” and “tremendous” are all words used to describe Arizona Democratic Senate candidate Richard Carmona — by Republicans.

    Many Arizona Republicans think the Democrat who was personally tapped by President Obama to run could be the first Democrat Arizonans send to the Senate in 22 years.

    His compelling biography is a big reason why.