Tuesday, March 17, 2009 Michael_Jackson_Talk_RadioMichael_Jackson_Talk_Radio
Michael_Jackson_Talk_Radiocapitalhe near-miss last week at the space station, added to the February collision between a Russian and a US satellite have really become a wake-up call. There is so much "detritus" orbiting the Earth. Currently, the US Air Force Command is tracking something like 19,000 objects over the size of 4 inches that are orbiting in space. I don't know how encouraging this is but, it is reported that for all the junk out there, there have been only 8 known collisions between traceable space debris and satellites since 1991. Hence or thus, I have decided to stay earthbound where a rear-ender on the LA freeways is much more likely, and potentially disastrous.

Michael_Jackson_Talk_Radiocapitalhere is absolutely no doubt that this is an awful time for the newspaper industry. I cannot see the answer to an escalation of their troubles in this time of recession. They, in growing numbers, in cities great and small, are seeking new revenue streams, but solutions, whatever they may be, aren't likely to come in time to save newspapers from closing up. On Monday the organization "The Project for Excellence in Journalism," link in its bleakest assessment yet on the state of journalism and the media, claims that the industry must expand its search for solutions, but there is no magic bullet. Circulations are, almost universally, down and revenue, from advertising, is in decline. Newspapers may well survive this current recession, but even when the recession is behind us, they are still going to need additional revenue streams. I will find it very difficult to adapt to getting my news from the internet, but then I am from a different age. How about you?

In the St.Patrick's day edition of the pink-papered newspaper, The Financial Times, there was a story headlined "When Papers Fold". Written by Andrew Edgecliffe-Johnson and it speaks to the death of a modern newspaper; a real-time multimedia event. When journalists on the Rocky Mountain news were summoned to their Denver newsroom they were told they were working on their final edition, they relayed the announcement through live blogs, onliine videos, slide shows of tearful colleagues and a minute-by-minute stream of updates on Twitter. Obituaries for the news business are being written in newsrooms around the world. The story by Edgecliffe-Johnson contained the following obituary.

IN LOVING MEMORY. 1764 - 2009:

The newspaper business as we knew it has passed away after a long battle with falling advertising revenues, an ageing readership, internet-based competitors, inappropriate levels of debt, inflexible structures, over lofty ambitions, the complacency that comes of monopoly positions, and a loss of nerve about putting a price on its content on line.

It is survived by the news business, a leaner, less indebted, more locally focused group of blogs, online newsrooms and a surprising number of newspapers - in print and online - whose expanding readership is demonstrating a continuing appetite for the journalism the newspaper business pioneered.

Thank you Financial Times, long may you print on your pink paper; it is so much easier on the eyes.

Michael_Jackson_Talk_Radiocapitaleing a resident of California we'll be facing yet another election as soon as May 19th. Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger is attempting to get state voters to adopt his vision of budget reform. The half a dozen ballot measures address a new $8 billion revenue shortfall, temporary tax hikes as well as cuts in government spending. sIt is easy to criticize the Republican governor in this overwhelmingly Democrat state, but if you peruse his record over the past five years, this is probably the best he has done. He no longer is playing Hollywood. When he makes personal appearances he's serious about his task. The governor took a drubbing the last time he asked voters to approve his ideas for reforming state government. In November of 2005 Californians rejected 4 ballot initiatives the governor had backed. What if Schwarzenegger is not able to persuade voters to pass the measures? It is possible, some would say, likely, that the state might emulate New York in the 1970s and file for bankruptcy. The other thought is, voter turnout might be embarrassingly low.

Michael_Jackson_Talk_Radiocapitalhe current Newsweek cover story features an article by Daniel Gross with the intriguing title "Stop Saving Now." Read on; as consumers hibernate and investors hoard cash, the economy is withering. This new age of thrift is understandable. But, as he points out, for a recovery to take hold, Americans will have to start taking risks again. For a generation, risk has been the adrenaline of the nation's economy.

Now we have the economy in its 16th month of recession and the markets have been cut in half. I wonder whether it is possible that what we need is another bout of enthusiasm to jolt the nation out of its stupor? The satirical magazine, "The Onion", recently ran the headline "Recession-plagued nation demands new bubble to invest in." Lest we forget, the entire economic crisis is connected to the problems of the baking industry.

Warren Buffett is correct when he claims that the president needs to be clearer on the subject of banks. Obama told a group of CEOs, recently,that after "stress-testing" the banks (which I gather simply means learning the extent of their insolvency), the government will then provide the support needed to clean up their balance sheets. We don't yet know precisely what that means, but it sounds good.

Our president appears to be an amazingly adept multi-tasker with more challenges by the moment. My prayer would be that the Chief Executive is up to the tasks ahead.

Michael_Jackson_Talk_Radiocapitaln the past two years something approaching 9,000 lives have been taken in the Mexican drug wars. Mostly the victims are cartel soldiers killing other carrtel men. Border cities have been turned into virtual no-go places. Mexicos drug problems are nothing new, but the world is only now beginning to be aware of the ferocity of the violence connected with it, because the country has, at last, a president, Filipe Calderon, who has broken with his predecessors policy of ignoring the drug trade.

Mexico's complacency and corruption are the real problem along with the country's record of corrupt and incompetent government.

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