November 8, 2007

2007 Weblog Awards Near-Final Results

Filed under: General — Tom @ 5:58 pm

Here’s where it stands; I expect little change, and won’t post on this again unless there is a change:

WLA2007bizCategoryResults

Yours truly finished 8th, but within striking distance of 5th. Darn — this is where the “it’s an honor to be nominated” line (especially three years in a row) is appropriate. Thanks to all who voted for BizzyBlog.

Also, congrats to Weapons of Mass Discussion for finishing sixth in its category, giving Matt and Mark the right to razz me (within reason) for the next year about their superior placement. If they get too annoying, I’ll remind them of my higher vote percentage and higher vote total.

USA Today and WSJ Mask Serious Circulation Problems at Most Other Major Papers

Filed under: Business Moves,Economy,MSM Biz/Other Ignorance — Tom @ 5:20 pm

It is understandable, but not forgivable, that business reporters at Old Media newspapers might think that the economy is in bad shape. They first have to get past how poorly most of their employers are doing. The industry as a whole has not been doing well, and it’s been that way for quite some time.

This table illustrates that point (September 30, 2007 figures are at this post, which originally came from this Editor & Publisher article, which will soon disappear behind its firewall; March 31, 2005 figures were estimated in reverse using annual percentage changes reported as of March 31, 2006, because older data I thought would remain available no longer is):

NewspCirc033105and093007

Daily circulation at the top 20 US newspapers as of September 30 is down 7.6% from 2-1/2 years ago. USA Today is the only paper that has increased its circulation. Excluding USA Today and the Wall Street Journal, which have mostly held their own, the remaining 18 in the top 20 have dropped by 10.6%. I believe that there’s less than meets to the eye to the drop at the WSJ, because the publication has many online subscribers who do not receive the print edition.

I did not do a Sunday comparison, but the situation appears to be just as bad, if not worse. For example, the New York Times’s Sunday circulation declined over 7% in just the past year.

The one near-exception to the carnage in the non-WSJ-USAT 18 is the New York Post, which has dropped less than 2% in the past 2-1/2 years, and actually has has several periods of increasing circulation during that time.

Please don’t tell me that bias, errors of omission, and errors of commission have nothing to do with the steep declines at the other 17, and that it’s all because of the Internet — especially at the papers having percentage declines that go well into double digits.

Cross-posted at NewsBusters.org.

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UPDATE: Welcome, Instapundit readers! Some fun with numbers — the 10.6% decline in the past two years for the non-USAT-WSJ 18 noted above is 4.4% a year, compounded. That may not seem right, but .956 to the 2.5 power is .894, or a 10.6% reduction. That’s pretty steep.

UPDATE 2: The WSJ’s print vs. online situation makes it clear that the paper, despite flat print numbers, has in reality grown significantly since the dawn of the Internet. This New York Times (ahem) correction lays it out:

An article in Business Day on Tuesday about circulation declines in the newspaper industry misstated the number of subscribers to The Wall Street Journal Online who are counted in the newspaper’s print circulation. About 350,000 online customers — not all 1 million — also pay for a print subscription and are counted in the weekday print circulation of 2 million.

So the WSJ has 650,000 paying subscribers (1 million minus 350,000) who are online-only, including yours truly. Add that 650,000 to the paid print base of just over 2 million, and you have what is by far the largest group of paying daily news publication subscribers in the country.

Saved for Future Reference: Daily and Sunday Newspaper Circulations as of Sept. 30, 2007 and 2006

Filed under: Business Moves,MSM Biz/Other Ignorance — Tom @ 3:36 pm

Since the data will disappear shortly behind the subscription firewall of Editor & Publisher and is no longer publicly accessible at the the Audit Board of Circulations (they didn’t start doing that until a couple of years ago; I wonder why?), I have posted and am saving the data below for fair use and discussion purposes.

An analysis post is going up shortly (Update: Here it is). My November 1 post reacting to Editor & Publisher’s pre-announcement article is here. Also see previous newspaper circulation-related posts for March 31, 2007; September 30, 2006; and March 31, 2006.

Total Paid Daily Circulation, Monday through Friday average

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2007 Weblog Awards Final Update (110807); Polls Close at 5PM ET

Filed under: General — Tom @ 2:17 pm

The Best Business Blog Ballot is here. An index to all blog category ballots is here. You have one more chance to vote before 5 PM ET today. Every vote for yours truly is greatly appreciated. Complete voting rules are here.

You also have one more chance to vote for fellow SOBer Weapons of Mass Discussion; Michelle Malkin; NewsBusters; Doug Ross @ Journal; Betsy’s Page; EU Referendum; Brussels Journal; Pundit Review; Michael Yon; Little Green Footballs; Day by Day; DUmmie FUnnies.

Positivity: Michael Yon Reports It Again

YonPic1107

The story is here.

Go to Memeorandum (latest; this morning at 7:40 a.m.) for links to the “biggies” who are covering this.

How fitting that the picture, and the story, are gaining wide distribution on the opening day of Blogworld. Regardless of the War on Terror’s ultimate outcome, historians chronicling this era will not be able to ignore the pivotal informational role of bloggers like Yon, or the contrast between bloggers’ on-the-ground reporting and Old Media’s dissembling.

Weather Channel Founder: It’s All Globaloney

This (HT Noel Sheppard at NewsBusters) knocks down the “consensus” argument a bit, doesn’t it?

John Coleman is the meteorologist who founded the Weather Channel. Here is his latest take on “global warming” and “climate change,” disaffectionately known around here as “globaloney”:

It is the greatest scam in history. I am amazed, appalled and highly offended by it. Global Warming; It is a SCAM. Some dastardly scientists with environmental and political motives manipulated long term scientific data to create in allusion (sic) of rapid global warming. Other scientists of the same environmental whacko type jumped into the circle to support and broaden the “research” to further enhance the totally slanted, bogus global warming claims. Their friends in government steered huge research grants their way to keep the movement going. Soon they claimed to be a consensus.

Environmental extremists, notable politicians among them, then teamed up with movie, media and other liberal, environmentalist journalists to create this wild “scientific” scenario of the civilization threatening environmental consequences from Global Warming unless we adhere to their radical agenda. Now their ridiculous manipulated science has been accepted as fact and become a cornerstone issue for CNN, CBS, NBC, the Democratic Political Party, the Governor of California, school teachers and, in many cases, well informed but very gullible environmental conscientious citizens.

….. I have read dozens of scientific papers. I have talked with numerous scientists. I have studied. I have thought about it. I know I am correct. There is no run away climate change. The impact of humans on climate is not catastrophic. Our planet is not in peril. I am incensed by the incredible media glamour, the politically correct silliness and rude dismissal of counter arguments by the high priest of Global Warming.

In time, a decade or two, the outrageous scam will be obvious. As the temperature rises, polar ice cap melting, coastal flooding and super storm pattern all fail to occur as predicted everyone will come to realize we have been duped. The sky is not falling. And, natural cycles and drifts in climate are as much if not more responsible for any climate changes underway. I strongly believe that the next twenty years are equally as likely to see a cooling trend as they are to see a warming trend.

Current Weather Channel chief climatologist and globaloney high priestess Heidi Cullen, who has advocated “that broadcast meteorologists be stripped of their scientific certification if they express skepticism about predictions of manmade catastrophic global warming,” was apparently unavailable for comment.

As I’ve been saying for so long: Consensus, conschmensus.

Jim Cramer Needs to Get a Grip on What His ‘Friend’ Is Really Up To

Filed under: Economy,MSM Biz/Other Ignorance,Taxes & Government — Tom @ 6:45 am

Jim Cramer, host of CNBC’s “Mad Money,” is a Democrat and a professed longtime personal friend of former New York Attorney General and now-Governor Eliot Spitzer.

Yesterday, Cramer went after the Empire State’s current AG:

He labeled New York Attorney General Andrew Cuomo a “communist” who “wants to shut down the mortgage market.”

“[W]itness the fact that right now, the most important man in America for the stock market – the most important man and I mean it negatively is this guy Andrew Cuomo, the New York State Attorney General,” Cramer said. “I’m getting tired of the New York State Attorney General being the most important man in America.”

Then Cramer really went on the attack, even comparing Cuomo to his politicized predecessor Eliot Spitzer. “Cuomo’s about confiscation – genuine communist,” Cramer said. “The Chinese are capitalists, we got a communist.”

….. “Can I give you the real headline?” Cramer said. “Cuomo says let’s make it harder to get a mortgage, let’s make it harder to lend. Is that really the intent of this Democrat who wants to be president of the universe?”

No, Jim, it’s the intent of “this Democrat,” and his boss, both of whom want another Democrat to be president.

Take the blinders off, pal:

  • Your buddy is Cuomo’s chief executive. The AG has his at-least tacit approval, and at most his active support.
  • Eliot Spitzer’s reign as AG was all about confiscation and winning through intimidation. Cuomo is merely imitating a mentor.
  • The current AG has an agenda that totally gets in the way of your attempts to help people make money in the stock market — and he could care less. You see, Cuomo’s goal is to dry up the credit markets in hopes of bringing on the recession that Democrats so desperately desire, because they believe a recession would improve their chances at winning the White House in 2008.

It might work.

Couldn’t Help But Notice (110807)

Filed under: Economy,Health Care,Life-Based News,Taxes & Government — Tom @ 6:33 am

If it can’t make it there, it won’t make it anywhere — Tuesday, voters in the People’s Republic of Oregon rejected (HT Michelle Malkin), and by a 60-40 margin, a “Healthy Kids Program,” which would have raised tobacco taxes 84.5 cents a pack to provide universal healthcare for children. Supporters of the defeated Measure 50 are whining about how tobacco companies outspent them. Boo freakin’ hoo.

The result is as close as we’ll get to proving that the NPR and CBS polls rushed out a few weeks ago in an attempt to cause an override President Bush’s veto of legislation that would have greatly expanded the State Children’s Health Insurance Plan (SCHIP) were so much Bull-SCHIP. Arguing that the universal nature of Oregon’s initiative went further than SCHIP doesn’t explain a 64-point swing from the NPR poll’s 44-point in-favor margin (70-26) to Measure 50′s 20-point defeat.

I should stay on universal health care long enough to remind readers that uber-liberal Oregon also voted down statewide universal health care in 2002 — by a margin of 79-21 (scroll down to Measure 23 at link).

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The Bureau of Labor Statistics reported third-quarter productivity results yesterday that were so good, even the Associated Press’s resident gloom-and-doom artist went positive for a bit:

Worker productivity surged in the summer at the fastest pace in four years while wage pressures eased.

The Labor Department reported that productivity—the amount of output per hour of work—jumped at an annual rate of 4.9 percent in the July-September quarter. That was double the 2.2 percent rise in the second quarter and represented the fastest surge in worker efficiency since 2003.

At the same time, wage pressures eased with unit labor costs dropping at an annual rate of 0.2 percent, the best showing in more than a year.

Both outcomes were far better than had been expected …..

The slight drop in wage pressures was especially welcome after hefty increases over the past four quarters. Rising wages are good for workers but if they are not accompanied by strong productivity gains, they raise concerns among Fed policymakers about inflation.

But alas, Crutsinger reverted to form within a few paragraphs. Digest all the bolded words, and you can almost see him rooting for a recession:

Analysts said that the improvement in productivity probably will not last, given the expectations that output growth will slow sharply in the current quarter and into next year as the economy battles against a steep slump in housing and a severe credit crunch.

As I noted Monday, “things are so bad” that the Institute for Supply Management’s October reports on manufacturing and non-manufacturing both came in with readings of expansion that were, on a weighted-average basis, better than September.

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This is good news, but not as good as prolifers would like to believe:

New Jersey Rejects Stem-Cell Bonds in ‘Big Defeat’

New Jersey voters rejected a $450 million bond measure to fund stem-cell research in a defeat for Democratic Governor Jon Corzine, who backed the proposal with his own money.

The ballot question was defeated by 53 percent to 47 percent, according to the state elections division. The measure would have authorized New Jersey to borrow as much as $45 million annually for 10 years to fund scientists’ work in the field.

Corzine said low election turnout, about a quarter of eligible voters, and backlash over the state’s fiscal position contributed to the question’s rejection.

Somewhat unfortunately, as Corzine noted, this defeat was more about voter backlash against the Garden State’s tax-and-spend political culture than it is about any sort of voter recognition that embryonic stem-cell research destroys human life. In mid-2006, a brief government shutdown ended with (what else?) yet another tax increase and 10% spending hike.

Consistent with the years-old pattern of disgraceful media coverage in this area, Bloomberg’s report avoided using the word “embryonic” until the thirteenth paragraph, when that’s what the entire measure was about.

Positivity: Dog credited with saving homeowner’s life

Filed under: Positivity — Tom @ 5:56 am

From Woodstock, Maine:

Sunday, November 4, 2007

WOODSTOCK – A Woodstock man’s dog saved his life Friday night when fire began to engulf his home on Route 26, fire Chief Geffrey Inman said.

Robert Springer was asleep in his residence at 1099 South Main St. about 8:20 p.m. when he was alerted to the danger, Inman said early Saturday morning as he cleaned up at the fire station.

“His dog woke him up by licking his face,” he said.

Springer, his dog and cat all got out safely.

There were no injuries.

“That’s the No. 1 priority,” the chief emphasized.

The cause of the fire is undetermined, and the State Fire Marshal’s Office is investigating, he said.

Springer called the Oxford County Regional Communications Center in Paris for help at 8:23 p.m.

About three dozen firefighters from four towns battled the flames that engulfed the one-story wood-framed residence, which is a short distance from Mollyockett Motel. Springer’s nearby garage had caught fire by the time firefighters arrived, the chief said, and they put that fire out immediately.

“We saved the garage,” Inman said, but not the house.

The property is insured, Inman said.

Springer’s wife, whose name was not available early Saturday morning, arrived at the scene during the evening, along with other family members, he said.

The American Red Cross put the couple up in the nearby motel.

Fire departments from West Paris, Greenwood, Bethel and Paris assisted Woodstock, along with Oxford fire police, Tri-Town Rescue and Med-Care ambulance services.

“They all did a fantastic job. Well trained all of them, and great teamwork,” Inman said.

Go here for the rest of the story.