Letters

Letters 07-25-2016

Remember Bush-Cheney Does anyone remember George W. Bush and Dick Cheney? They were president and vice president a mere eight years ago. Does anyone out there remember the way things were at the end of their duo? It was terrible...

Mass Shootings And Gun Control The largest mass shooting in U.S. history occurred December 29,1890, when 297 Sioux Indians at Wounded Knee in South Dakota were murdered by federal agents and members of the 7th Cavalry who had come to confiscate their firearms “for their own safety and protection.” The slaughter began after the majority of the Sioux had peacefully turned in their firearms...

Families Need Representation When one party dominates the Michigan administration and legislature, half of Michigan families are not represented on the important issues that face our state. When a policy affects the non-voting K-12 students, they too are left out, especially when it comes to graduation requirements...

Raise The Minimum Wage I wanted to offer a different perspective on the issue of raising the minimum wage. The argument that raising the minimum wage will result in job loss is a bogus scare tactic. The need for labor will not change, just the cost of it, which will be passed on to the consumer, as it always has...

Make Cherryland Respect Renewable Cherryland Electric is about to change their net metering policy. In a nutshell, they want to buy the electricity from those of us who produce clean renewable electric at a rate far below the rate they buy electricity from other sources. They believe very few people have an interest in renewable energy...

Settled Science Climate change science is based on the accumulated evidence gained from studying the greenhouse effect for 200 years. The greenhouse effect keeps our planet 50 degrees warmer due to heat-trapping gases in our atmosphere. Basic principles of physics and chemistry dictate that Earth will warm as concentrations of greenhouse gases increase...

Home · Articles · News · Random Thoughts · A Brave Experiment
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A Brave Experiment

Robert Downes - December 29th, 2008
Got a lump in my throat recently, reading the plans of the Detroit Free Press and News to go digital four days a week. Starting in March, the papers will end home delivery Monday-Thursday and begin offering an “electronic edition“ to subscribers for $12 per month.
Having had my first serious job as a paperboy with the Free Press at the age of 15, and then writing for the paper as a freelancer, it was a bit surreal to read the news of the online switch and come to grips with the “end of an era.“
But, considering the flight of readers to online sources for their news, it seems like a good plan. The key to its success will most likely be having an exact duplicate of the print version of the paper delivered online.
The electronic facsimile is a good way to go because current newspaper websites offer little or nothing for advertisers who pay the salaries of the reporters and editors who bring us the news.
Newspaper websites make it easy for readers to ditch their subscriptions. They‘re like candy stores giving away free lollipops out the back door and then wondering why there‘s no business up front.
So, perhaps the only way newspapers will survive will be by offering an exact duplicate of their publications online, complete with the ads that pay for the news.
If it succeeds, the brave experiment of the Free Press and the News will be emulated by every newspaper in the country. So good luck, old friends.
But there‘s a larger issue here that begs exploration: the disastrous loss of jobs incurred by “going digital.“
Consider this: If and when the world‘s newspapers go online (not to mention books), it will result in the elimination of millions of jobs.
Jobs in forestry, lumbering, paper mills, printing, trucking, distribution, recycling -- even lowly paperboys -- will be lost forever. If the Free Press/News experiment succeeds, we can expect millions of jobs to disappear from North America within a decade.
True, the end of the printed newspaper will do wonders for the environment, but where will those millions of unemployed lumberjacks, printers and mill operators find work?
Look to Somalia for examples of what angry, idle people do when there‘s no job in sight.

Trendy...
Some predictions for the New Year:

Gosh Darn It: I was tossing out some socks with holes in their heels when it occurred to me that good wool socks run around $15-$25 these days. Resolution: learn to darn socks. Other lost arts set for a comeback in the recession: canning your own tomatos, planting Victory Gardens, rationing, berry picking, whittling toys for the kids next Christmas... “Here son, enjoy this wooden iPod I carved ya.“

Blogging Burnout will be the new pop psychology illness of 2009.
Check out the blogosphere and you’ll find an increasing number of bloggers who say they can’t take it anymore, slaving in a cyber sweatshop at zero pay and few positive strokes.
Sample complaint from a former blogger at wordpress.com: “I’m closing the site i never have enough time anymore and im a bit UPSET today reason 1: not enough coming to my blog (sic).”
It’s a bitch. Some say that blogging has been strangled in its crib by Twitter and Facebook, where literally everyone has become a blogger. And no wonder, because there are three million keyboard tappers out there in Blogville... How do you choose?

More Outsourcing: The latest outrage: a publisher in Pasadena has outsourced all of the reporting for his newspaper to India. He fired his staff of seven and replaced them with reporters in India who cover Pasadena via email, the telephone and public access cable. The reporters in India work for pennies, compared to the $600-$800 per week he paid his staff, according to New York Times columnist Maureen Dowd.

It’s Raining Vampires. Have you noticed? Seven of the current top-20 paperback novels are about vampires. The film, Twilight is a tween sensation; meanwhile Let the Right One In, a Swedish import film, offers a highbrow art film take on the genre, while the cable series, True Blood offers a soap opera satire on homophobia, racism, sex and AIDS.
Psychologists claim that vampires are a manifestation of the sexual anxieties of teenagers, the audience that’s most obsessed with the undead. But perhaps the current overload is a sign of anxiety over how the world is going in general.
Back in the days of Nosferatu, Dracula and the Lost Boys, vampires were an evil bunch. Today they tend to be helpful heroes, eager to assist their human friends.
But if that’s true, then the new paradigm means that sucking the life out of someone is admirable behavior in our most popular films and books. Does this mean that Bernard Madoff, the hedge fund vampire whose Ponzi scheme sucked $50 billion out of his trusting customers is a role model? How about political vampire Rod Blagojevich?

Yo, Ho, Ho! Those colorful pirates in Somalia will soon be stealing money out of your wallet at the gas pump.
Reason: Check your GoogleEarth. They‘re just an RPG away from sinking a supertanker in the Gulf of Aden and diverting ships from the easy route through the Suez Canal to the long, expensive haul around Africa.

The Electric Car will save Michigan and the Big 3 (or what‘s left of them).
Reason: millions of us are hanging onto our old cars and coaxing extra miles out of them in the belief that better, more fuel-efficient cars are on the way. By the time the Chevy Volt and its electric cousins arrive in 2010, many of us will be desperate to unload our gas guzzlers, which will be well over the hill.

 
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