Thursday, December 29, 2011

The Price of Gold and the GDP of India..

There are a lot of factors which affect the price of gold.  Political turmoil, inflation, currency woes, economic growth, and investor speculation to name a few.  Mining increases the world's gold reserves by about 2500 tonnes or 1.8% of total reserves per year, so for the price of gold to just stay constant there needs to be a steady influx of new cash buying into the gold market, otherwise the additional supply of mined gold would lead to a glut and price reductions. 

An interesting bit of trivia about gold is that India buys more gold than any other nation, but not for bank reserves, rather, the purchased gold is used primarily for jewelry.  Wikipedia: Gold. 
India is the world's largest single consumer of gold, as Indians buy about 25% of the world's gold, purchasing approximately 800 tonnes of gold every year, mostly for jewelry. India is also the largest importer of gold; in 2008, India imported around 400 tonnes of gold. Indian households hold 18,000 tonnes of gold which represents 11 per cent of the global stock and worth more than $950 billion. 

So I thought it would be interesting to point out how the trend of the price of gold over the last 30 years would coincide with the trend of the GDP for India for the same time frame.  hmm.   Both trends are relatively flat for the first 20 years, and then around 2002, both trends climb in near unison, each more than tripling in value in less than a decade. 
30 Year Gold Price Trend: Source.

30 Year India GDP Trend: Source:World Bank Development Data
At $1,500 per ounce, it would require about $125 billion just to purchase the newly mined gold for a year.  Its not going to come from India.  The GDP of India has not increased enough to absorb the increased cost of their traditional share of the new gold production.  And once there is a glut in the market, the price doesn't just decrease, it falls off the table.

I wouldn't be at all surprised to see gold fall quite a bit from the current level.  The gold proponents like to talk about gold's inherent value as compared to currency because Governments can not just make more gold like they can make more currency. Gold's supply is limited and rare.  But don't overlook the fact that the supply does increase every year and if there aren't buyers willing to pay the current price for the newly mined gold, then the price will drop and continue to drop.

It is a market based on momentum and once the market picks up momentum one way or the other, it takes a significant event to change the direction.  India's meteoric rise in GDP over the last decade was the primary driver of the price of gold.  As that trend starts to flatten out, it will dry up the pool of buyers willing to continually buy newly mined gold and the price will fall.

Cool Christmas Present, Guitar Pick Punch

Thanks to my Sister-in-law Cherie for the very cool guitar pick punch.  You take an old credit card or hotel room key card or AARP membership card and insert it into the punch, press the handle together and voila, a new guitar pick.   How cool is that?

For a guy who has lost a gazillion guitar picks over the years and has also tossed out hundreds of potential guitar pick raw material sheets of plastic, this was a perfect gift.


Thursday, December 22, 2011

Tea Party calls it quits on payroll tax chicken game

John Boehner (R-Ohio) finally realized that he and his party had taken a really stupid position (even for them) regarding the payroll tax increase so he gave up the bluff at the last second and wants to cut a deal quick.   House GOP leaders yield on payroll tax
House Republican leaders, bowing to pressure from both the White House and their Senate colleagues, agreed to a stopgap measure that will forestall a tax increase on American workers that was scheduled to take effect Jan. 1. 
The deal is expected to come to a vote Friday under procedures that would require all members in both chambers to agree.
Given their penchant for high drama its not hard to see how the Tea-Party led House GOP let it come to this.  They love to make bold threats and make folks run to stock the cellar with food and batteries.  But getting this close to sticking every working American with higher payroll taxes in the name of fiscal responsibility with the news dropping just as the House hightailed it out of town for Christmas?  Pure genius of a strategy there, fellas. 

But now suppose hypothetically if the deal falls through tomorrow...
If any members object, Speaker John A. Boehner (R-Ohio) would call the House back into full session next week for a vote, he told reporters Thursday.
OK, I wonder how much it will cost the US taxpayers to fly or otherwise transport all 435 members of the House back to Washington for a special session over the Christmas holiday to handle business that would have already been handled if there was rational and competent leadership by both parties in Washington?  However many million dollars that might add up to, it pales in comparison to the political value it would provide the Obama reelection campaign and the DNC in general, keeping  in mind the most important background detail in this story.
The impasse largely concerned how to pay for extending the tax cut for a full year. The House had rejected the Democrats' idea to increase the income tax on millionaires...
Protecting millionaires at the expense of average working Americans.  For as long as I can remember, that was the precise summation that the Democratic Party made of the GOP economic strategy and I always scoffed at it.  But now it seems that Boehner and his Tea Party cronies who steer the GOP have proven the point. 

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Did the NDAA really allow for detaining US citizens?

There are plenty of hyperventilating pundits bemoaning about how buried deep in the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) of 2012 there is allegedly a provision that grants authority to the US military to permanently detain American citizens for whatever they feel like.  All the usual bloviators  are piping up in condemnation.

I recommend that people actually read the bill for themselves and not just rely on other people to tell them what to think.  Here is the bill in pdf form.   The part in question about detainee maters starts at page 418.  You will see that there is nothing in this bill that authorizes the military any new powers to detain American citizens.  The entire reaction to this bill is just more proof that to convince the American contrarians you don't need to be correct, you just need to be loud. 

 The National Defense Authorization Act of 2012

Sunday, December 11, 2011

Road Warriors: Wayne State headed to Div 2 National Championship

The Wayne State University football team won their 4th road playoff game in a row yesterday, earning a trip to the Division II National Championship game in Florence Alabama next Saturday.  Congratulations to the team from my Alma Mater in Detroit.  Road Warriors: Wayne State headed to Division II National Championship

This year was the first time Wayne State has reached the playoffs, voted in as the GLIAC entrant, even though Hillsdale won the conference title.  They were on the road and underdogs in all four playoff games so far.  It has been an amazing run and it is almost unbelievable we are one game away from a National Championship.

"When I recruited a lot of these guys, I told them that we would compete for a national championship," said coach Paul Winters. "Now they can see that everything has come together. We're going to play for a national championship."

Wayne was never very good in football as far back as I can remember.   Oddly enough there was a fellow engineering student and lab partner of mine from back in 1983, a guy named Paul Butcher, turned out to be a good pro football player, (maybe the only one from Wayne?) for the Raiders and Lions but year after year our teams were mediocre at best in the very tough GLIAC conference.  However under coach Paul Winters, the football program has really flourished and Wayne has started to attract some great talent primarily from Michigan and Ohio high schools.

I think the 24 team tournament system in Division II is superior to the BCS system for determining the Div IA National Championship.   Especially when a 6 seed goes on the road to beat a 3,2,1 and another 1 seed on their way to the final game.   Imagine the excitement that would build if the big schools could figure out a way to use a system like this.  Holy cow it would be incredible.

Go Tartars! Warriors!  Detroit loves a parade..

Thursday, December 8, 2011

The most precious commodity is confidence

Some would say that gold is the most precious commodity.  Others would say it is oil.  Many would say that corn and rice are more important than either gold or oil.  And still others would say fresh water trumps all the others.  Strong arguments can be made for any of them.

But I disagree and say that confidence in currency is the most precious commodity.  If that is lost, then the economy and our entire civilization whithers and dies.  There are 7 billion people on Earth, far more than could possibly exist on this planet if humanity had not come up with and refined the concept of money. If there is an Armageddon event in mankind's future, it will coincide with the end of the currency era.   I'd throw a round number out there and say a billion people would die within a year if the world's financial markets failed and quit functioning.   And it wouldn't stop there.

Money is a means for people with varying talents, resources, effort, and luck to all take part and contribute to the same economy.  Some grow food, some design machines, some mine for resources,  some take care of the sick and research cures for diseases, some perform menial labor, some keep law and order, we all contribute in some small way to the beehive of activity that is our society.  Not because we are programmed from birth like drones in a hive to fulfill a task, but because we need to trade our time, talent and effort for money so that we can trade the money we earned for things we need to help our families survive and maybe even thrive.  How much money our efforts are worth may not seem fair, but in the aggregate the system works, given the rampant population explosion of humans around the globe these last few centuries.

That is why I don't understand the conservatives who aim to demolish our system of currency in order to start from scratch with something new that works better in theory.  It all sounds so simple to the simple mind but the plan to put the dollar on a diet and truncate spending won't work as intended because it will kill any remaining confidence in the economy which will set in motion of chain of events resulting in economic collapse and failure of the currency system.  When that happens, civilization ends and society goes backward a couple hundred years at least.  I hope you have some chickens in the yard and a well for fresh water if that dream comes true.  If you have a job now, you won't have it then.

Yeah I suppose you could say that it sucks how complicated and unfair and out of control our monetary system has become and you would be right.  But to do away with it now and start over would end our civilization, so be careful what you wish for.  We need to find a way to keep the system of money viable for the near and long term future and to do this we need to grow the economy, not shrink it, to pull us out of this great recession.

And the first ingredient for economic recovery is confidence.  And that is why I can not support any GOP nominee other than Jon Huntsman.  The rest of them don't want to restore American confidence.   They prefer to drag down consumer confidence and instill fear in order to increase their own chance of winning an election.


Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Searching for signs of intelligent life.

The GOP base has apparently realized that they can't beat Obama with a tea-party whacko or simpleton, so all of a sudden it has become Newt vs Mitt for the ticket.   The party has 3+ years to figure out who to run and we get these two retreads to pick from?  Neither of them will beat Obama.  Jon Huntsman is the only GOP candidate that could possibly gain enough support from the middle to win the general election but time is running short for the GOP voters to face up to that and support Huntsman.

Anyways, while I search for signs of intelligence in the GOP, there are some other folks out there who have an even more daunting task.  Listening for AM radio signals from planets hundreds of light years away to look for evidence of life out there.    

Search Resumes for Evidence of Life Out There   
Astronomers announced Monday that they had taken E.T. off hold and resumed searching for radio signals from extraterrestrial civilizations with a set of radio telescopes in Hat Creek, Calif. The project, part of the Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence, or SETI, was suspended in April when the University of California’s Hat Creek Observatory ran out of money...
“We are going to need public support,” she said.

Apparently, now that we have evidence from NASA's Kepler satellite that there are other planets out there that likely have surface temperatures where liquid water could exist it has rejuvenated hope that the aliens will be swimming around in the water and listening to tunes on the AM radio.

I think it is more likely that we will hear alien radio signals than the GOP base will get smart all of a sudden and start to support Jon Huntsman and turn the race.  I could be wrong though.  Stranger things have happened.


Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Wall Street Journal occupied by ignorant climate denier.

This is the dumbest written example of climate denial on record.  And before you say "Napoleon, like anyone could know that.." read it yourself.  Hoo-boy..

WSJ: The Great Global Warming Fizzle: The climate religion fades in spasms of anger and twitches of boredom.

First Stephens makes a case that climate science is actually a religion.  The flavor is a mix of weak tea and Kool Aid.
Consider the case of global warming, another system of doomsaying prophecy and faith in things unseen. 
As with religion, it is presided over by a caste of spectacularly unattractive people pretending to an obscure form of knowledge that promises to make the seas retreat and the winds abate. As with religion, it comes with an elaborate list of virtues, vices and indulgences. As with religion, its claims are often non-falsifiable, hence the convenience of the term "climate change" when thermometers don't oblige the expected trend lines. As with religion, it is harsh toward skeptics, heretics and other "deniers." And as with religion, it is susceptible to the earthly temptations of money, power, politics, arrogance and deceit.

Then he makes a case that climate change stopped being a priority because of the financial crisis.
Yet a funny thing happened on the way to the climate apocalypse. Namely, the financial apocalypse.
The U.S., Russia, Japan, Canada and the EU have all but confirmed they won't be signing on to a new Kyoto. The Chinese and Indians won't make a move unless the West does. The notion that rich (or formerly rich) countries are going to ship $100 billion every year to the Micronesias of the world is risible, especially after they've spent it all on Greece. 
I'm not sure how that undermines climate science or makes it a religion. What we decide to do or not do politically to address climate change is a whole other question than is the science itself legitimate. Go ahead and hate Kyoto all you want, I do.  But when you attack the science in order to oppose Kyoto or any other policy you just come off looking like one more loudmouth dumbass.

Then he dives right into the denier playbook by citing the dreaded climategate emails.  His Uncle Paul must have sent him some e-mails to bring him up to speed on the mother of all non-troversies.. 
That's where the Climategate emails come in.
Climategate  is nothing but trumped up nonsense that climate deniers use to try to discredit all the data and science that point to the warming trend. But the truth does not depend on anyone's opinion of it.   Whatever it was scientist X e-mailed to scientist Y does not change the fact that every day 7 billion people use energy and create more waste heat and carbon dioxide.  The oceans are warming, the air is warming, and the permafrost in the Arctic is melting.  We are on a slippery slope already.  Climategate does not change that. 

Then this final bit of wisdom from Stephens..
On Sunday, 2,232 days will have elapsed since a category 3 hurricane made landfall in the U.S., the longest period in more than a century that the U.S. has been spared a devastating storm.
As if the only proof that climate change is genuine is the quantity of category 3 hurricanes that make landfall in the USA.  I am not sure if he is actually that stupid or if he thinks his readers are.   Here is a site that explains how climate change will and is affecting weather patterns in the world.  NRDC: The Consequences of Global Warming 

Stephens is a shining example of the willful ignorance of the modern GOP and right wing.  They oppose the political solutions for how to address human impact on the environment not by providing alternative solutions or ideas, but rather by attacking the science and scientists.  The whole article is one long ad hominen attack. Stephens never provides a shred of evidence to support his claims, he just tries to discredit the other side.

Good thing for him his target audience is even dumber than he is.

Sunday, November 27, 2011

Corporate greed blamed for everything bad in the world

Whatever corporate greed is, it sure does get blamed for a lot of the bad stuff that happens in the world.

If you see an injustice, you can rest assured that someone else out there with a Twitter Account has already witnessed this same injustice and in 160 characters or less has indicted "corporate greed" for bringing such calamitous repercussions to society, including but not limited to the displays of bad behavior by shoppers on Black Friday.  For perspective, here are some videos..

Now tell me, is this really corporate greed on display or is it consumer greed or perhaps just just extreme rudeness.

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Thanksgiving Parade in Detroit

Happy Thanksgiving to everyone.  It is a tradition around here to head downtown early for the Thanksgiving Parade on Woodward.  Stake out a spot and enjoy the parade, then hustle back home to watch the first half of the Lion's game on TV, then a short drive during halftime to meet up with the family to watch the rest of the game and have dinner. All followed by a three-day weekend of more  football, family and food. 

For those who haven't been to the parade in Detroit, here are some scenes from this morning.

And here is a picture of the only thing I want for Christmas.  A motorized Lazyboy chair.

Monday, November 21, 2011

Super Committee FAIL

OK, first I move to officially change the name from Super Committee to Typical Committee.  They had so much power to effect real change and all they did was sit there in their pee pants and give up.  So instead we get some kind of random number generator to figure out how to cut the deficit.  All this highly paid elected brainpower and a staff of thousands more highly paid assistants and this is all we get?  "We give up.  Let HAL figure it out ".   

We might as well replace all of Congress with a room full of interns at Google to use game software like Sim City to figure out budget decisions for the USA.  The algorithm will run a kazillion separate simulation runs testing every potential decision and determine the eventual impact on society and then we will just agree to go with the decisions that should screw things up the least.  And save a shit ton of cash for taxpayers.

Oh enough of me ranting.  Lonely Island's turn.    

Saturday, November 19, 2011

Another Happy Day in NYC

We road tripped to NYC so we could see Another Happy Day on the big screen at Village East Cinema yesterday night. It is a dark compelling movie with an all star cast featuring stellar performances by Ellen Barkin, Ellen Bursytn, Ezra Miller, Kate Bosworth and George Kennedy (my order..) And I would also include Jeffrey DeMunn who had the whole theater laughing out loud several times with some much needed comic relief from the disturbing storylines that weaved through the film.

The movie is allegedly about a wedding, but the wedding is just the excuse for this highly dysfunctional family to get together in close quarters where the sport is to tear down Lynn (Ellen Barkin) and gossip about her son Elliot (Ezra Miller). Everyone is shitty to her but Lynn just soldiers on through it all. Themes include drug addiction, asperger's syndrome, domestic abuse, self mutilation, alzheimers disease, alcoholism, nudism, catfights, and explicit profanity. The film is unrated and probably not destined for mass distribution at the box office but I recommend seeing it when it arrives. Oh, and take some eye bleach. You'll thank me later for that. Cudos to director Sam Levinson for such a memorable and provocative first film. I hope Ellen Barkin is recognized with an Oscar nomination for her role. 

As an extra bonus for our trip, Sam Levinson and Ellen Barkin made an appearance and answered questions from the opening night crowd after the movie was finished. Then we got to hang out at have some words with them in the lobby of the Village East Cinema. We haven't seen Ellen or Sam since the movie was filmed in MI last September.   Also, actor Daniel Yelsky who played Barken's son Ben in the film was there looking quite the handsome young man.   Ellen seemed really happy to see Molly show up from out of the blue. 

Here are a few pictures..

And here is a clip of Sam answering a question about an unflattering review in the NY Post.  He is not interested in making comfortable films.  Mission accomplished.

Monday, November 14, 2011

Jerry Sandusky picks up a shovel and starts digging.

What the hell is this disgusting creepazoid talking about?  Are you freaking kidding me?
Sandusky: He 'horsed around' but insists he's no pedophile
"I could say that I have done some of those things. I have horsed around with kids I have showered after workouts. I have hugged them and I have touched their legs without intent of sexual contact," Sandusky said in the interview being aired on NBC News' Rock Center, according to the program's website.

"I shouldn't have showered with those kids,'' Sandusky added.
Is Sandusky setting himself up for an insanity plea? Does he think any reasonable people will agree with him that showering with kids and touching their legs amounted to "horseplay" and not pedophilia. And why the heck would any lawyer allow his client to get interviewed in public prior to the trial, especially when the client is creeper pedophile whose proclivities are enough to make a reasonable person sick to their stomach. Maybe Sandusky is going all-in using the media to pollute the jury pool with haters so that his lawyers can try to have the trial moved to another jurisdiction where he might find a more sympathetic jury? good luck with that Coach.

As for Joe Pa and all the rest of the Penn State officials who have been sacked so far, I say good riddance. Joe Pa can go to hell in a bucket for all I care and to all his loyalists who think the 84 year old coach got the shaft I would just point out that it was actually just "horseplay".

If there was justice every person at Penn State, the 2nd Mile charity or in law enforcement who knew or heard of Sandusky's abuse but didn't care enough to stop it would have to make the perp walk in cuffs to their arraignment.   But since that isn't in the cards, then the court of public opinion will have to step in and squash all of these people like bugs.

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Work accident at Iranian munitions depot.. or was it?

Interesting series of stories..
17 killed in massive explosions at munitions depot near Tehran
TEHRAN – Seventeen personnel of the Islamic Revolution Guards Corps were killed by two huge explosions that occurred on Saturday at an IRGC munitions depot near the town of Malard in Alborz Province, about 30 kilometers west of Tehran.

“Seventeen official servicemen of the Sepah (IRGC) were martyred due to explosions which occurred during the transportation of ammunition,” the director of the IRGC public relations office told the Mehr News Agency. 
Sounds like a really high death toll for explosions that ocurred during the transportation of ammunition.  The Iranian dissident group MEK is claiming that the depot was actually a missile site.   Iran exile group claims blast near Tehran hit closely guarded missile base
Former MEK spokesman Alireza Jafarzadeh, citing what he called reliable sources inside Iran, said that the explosion hit the Modarres Garrison of the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps west of Tehran.

Jafarzadeh said in an email that the Modarres Garrison belongs to the IGRC’s missile unit and the blasts “resulted from the explosion of IRGC missiles.” He did not say what he believes triggered the explosion.
Just a couple days ago Iran was making threats to Israel about how far their missiles could reach into Israeli territory.    Senior Commander: Israel's Dimona N. Center within Iran's Missile Range 
Responding to a question about Iran's capability to target Dimona nuclear facility in the occupied Palestinian territories, Iranian Armed Forces Deputy Chief of Staff for Cultural Affairs and Defense Publicity Brigadier General Massoud Jazayeri told Al Alam News Network that the center "is the most accessible center to Iran", and stressed that Iran enjoys the capability even to target areas farther the nuclear plant.
And there have been stories about how the Iranians have been getting some help with their nuclear and missile programs  from the North Koreans so its not out of the question that they would either have or be close to that technology.  Source: Hundreds of NK nuclear and missile experts working in Iran   
Hundreds of North Korean nuclear and missile experts have been collaborating with their Iranian counterparts in more than 10 locations across the Islamic state, a diplomatic source said Sunday.

The revelation lends credence to long-held suspicions that North Korea was helping Iran with a secret nuclear and missile program.
I doubt that this was just a work accident at a munitions depot. I also doubt that the Iranians would ever admit that their prized missile installation was successfully attacked.  I think it just could be a quiet demonstration of terrorizing the terrorists.

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Another Happy Day trailer..

I wrote before about how my daughter landed a supporting role as a daughter of Demi Moore and Thomas Haden Church in "Another Happy Day" a movie that was filmed in Michigan last September.  Here were some of my impressions from hanging around the set for a week or so.     Pathteacher: From the set of Another Happy Day..

The movie premieres in NY and LA only on November 18th.  It will probably be released in more cities after that but it will depend on how much buzz it generates initially.

Here is the trailer..

I think it will be a great film.  We're planning on a NYC road trip next week to see the film at the premiere.  You only get one chance to take your daughter to her very first movie premiere.  

And here is a cool picture I snapped of Molly and Demi right after their picture wrap.  If you look close, you will see the brim of Ashton's Chicago Bear's cap.  But it's barely in the picture.  And here a year or so later by the time the movie finally comes out,  he's totally out of the picture.  ha.  

Rick Perry Memory Lapse. Bravo!

I have been truly and profoundly disinterested in politics lately.  The GOP primaries have not attracted my attention at all.  The Democrats already have their 2012 nominee so they don't have anything to debate about.

Tonight while the GOP candidates were having a very important debate at nearby Oakland University, I was having a McRib sandwich and fries at McDonalds.  These jokers will keep coming back, but the McRib is available for a limited time only. 

Here is classic case of a politician who is not ready for prime time.  Rick Perry had 3 government agencies in mind for the chopping block, but in the heat of the moment, he could only remember 2 of them. 

To me it is proof he is a phony.  When a leader is truly passionate about his goals for those he leads, he doesn't have to memorize the to-do list. 

Sunday, November 6, 2011

Amy Lavere heading to Europe

Congrats to Amy LaVere for reaching her goal of raising enough money on Kickstarter to help lauch her and her band's European tour.  I was honored to help kick in a bit.  She is an amazing talent and I know she will make more new fans whenever people hear her sing and play the bass.  There are a lot of great performers out there, but Amy is unmistakably unique and set apart from all the rest. 

Shanghai, new and old..

A pair of cool photos taken by my pal Dean who is currently working in Shanghai.   Amazing contrast of old and new.


Thursday, November 3, 2011

How big is that iceberg??

Competing stories on Yahoo News..  One says that there is a giant iceberg as big as New York City that is soon going to break free from Antarctica.   Giant crack growing in Antarctica
WASHINGTON (AP) — NASA scientists are watching a giant crack forming over a vulnerable Antarctic glacier and they think it will soon break off into an iceberg the size of New York City.

And then there is another story that says the iceberg is the size of Brazil. Giant crack glimpsed in Antarctica.
WASHINGTON — A massive crack is growing wider in the Antarctic ice sheet and could break apart in the coming months, forming an iceberg the size of Brazil, NASA scientists warned Thursday. 

For reference..

Land area of New York City:             305 square miles
Land area of Brazil:                 3,300,000 square miles

BTW, the NYC comparison was the closer one.  How the AFP let the Brazil comparison slip through is pretty darn funny to me. In math you learn the technique of looking at your answer and asking   hmm is that even plausible?  Like if your answer was that the object had negative mass you would know you must have made a math mistake along the way.

I mean really? Someone actually thought there could possibly be an iceberg the size of Brazil getting set to break free and just float around?  And how many other dolts will read the Brazil comparison and run with it without even stopping to ask if that is even plausible?

Huge increase in greenhouse gas emissions worldwide in 2010

This isn't good.  "Monster" greenhouse gas levels seen ''
(AP) WASHINGTON - The global output of heat-trapping carbon dioxide jumped by the biggest amount on record, the U.S. Department of Energy calculated, a sign of how feeble the world's efforts are at slowing man-made global warming. 

The new figures for 2010 mean that levels of greenhouse gases are higher than the worst case scenario outlined by climate experts just four years ago...

The world pumped about 564 million more tons of carbon into the air in 2010 than it did in 2009. That's an increase of 6 percent. That amount of extra pollution eclipses the individual emissions of all but three countries - China, the United States and India, the world's top producers of greenhouse gases. 

It is a "monster" increase that is unheard of, said Gregg Marland, a professor of geology at Appalachian State University, who has helped calculate Department of Energy figures in the past.
Its past the time for debating whether or not human activity is affecting the climate.  Its time to focus on ways to stem the rising tide of greenhouse gas emissions and lay the groundwork for significant reductions.  We owe it to our children and grandchildren and beyond to leave this campsite we call Earth cleaner than we found it.  This is a horrible legacy we are leaving for future generations.   Someday they will wonder how it was we were so advanced yet so dumb.  Hopefully someone will be around to wonder anyway.     

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Hank Williams: Lovesick Blues

Hank Williams in 1949 singing Lovesick Blues.   America's first rock star singing a country song about having the blues.  That's why I say Hank is when it all came together.  Everyone knows who came next.  Not everyone knows who was there first.        

Sunday, October 30, 2011

Adele to undergoe surgery on her throat, cancels 2011 shows

This is a real bummer.  I hope the surgery is successful and Adele makes a full recovery.    Adele to have surgery to treat vocal cord hemorrhage. What is it?  

“It is with deep regret that Adele has been forced to cancel her remaining live dates and promotional appearances in 2011,” reads the statement on her website. “She is to undergo surgery to alleviate the current issues with her throat and a full recovery is expected. As a result, doctors have ordered her to rest her voice and completely recuperate before looking to schedule any work commitments.”

I am a big fan of Adele.  I was captivated from the first time I heard her sing.  I think she is the greatest singer of this era, such a distinct delicate voice but with so much range and power. wow.            

On a distantly related note I have been a singer/guitar player in rock bands since I was a teenager and I am too familiar with the specter of nagging laryngitis and the long term hoarse voice that comes from too much singing/screaming.   And from the first time I heard Adele, I have been amazed that anyone could sing with that much raw power on the regular basis required on extended tours.  When I hear her singing, I figure maybe once a week she could pull that off, but no way could she perform day after day and have any kind of voice left.  It looks like Adele was performing 4 shows per week and I think that is too much for someone  who puts as much energy and power into their singing as Adele does.

I do think Adele will make a full recovery and be able to hit all the notes and sing with just as much soul and power as ever.  But she won't be able to perform 4 shows a week for weeks on end across the world.  Her promoters, agents, and record label needs to face that.  Otherwise they kill the golden goose and we all lose Adele's talent.

When Adele does return I think she should only schedule occasional live shows for the fans who want to see her enough to pay a premium. Everyone else should just buy the CD. Her managers shouldn't risk permanent damage to Adele's voice by making her perform night after night all over God's green earth. The power that sets Adele's voice apart from the others should be used sparingly so we can continue to enjoy new music from her for a long time. From what I have heard from her so far I look forward to hearing what she has to sing about for a long time.

Get well soon Adele...

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Dearborn Heights Garage Band

No one can ever question our status as a genuine garage band.  Ha.

This one will get better with a few more practices..  Kinda rough, but its a fun song to get up and belt out.

Monday, October 24, 2011

The incredible Amy LeVere

So this really cool guy from work Charlie sends out an e-mail a while back inviting his co-workers to go to a bar in Pontiac to see his daughter and her band play.  I had something going on that night, like pretty much every other night so I couldn't go, but I thought it was pretty cool that Charlie had a daughter who toured as a musician. I figured I would search her name on google and see what might be out there.

Turns out, she is an incredible talent. Beautiful and mysterious with a voice that she plays like an instrument in company with her acoustic stand-up bass. Throw in a bluesy Les Paul and some drums and get down.  How cool is that?   I like a lot of her music out there on YouTube, here is just one of them.   "That Beat (Keeps Disturbing My Sleep)"

I know I won't miss out the next time Amy comes to town. Good luck on the European tour..

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Here is a cool gift idea for a Scrabble fan..

We are some Scrabble playing fools in my family.  I play every other day or so with my mom and whichever if any of my sisters, nieces, nephews, brothers-in-law or whoever else happens to be visiting her and dad when I stop by to visit.  Mom doesn't get around so well in her 80's but she can still figure out how to make two words and hit a triple word at the same time.   It is a very competitive group.  The games are friendly, but none of the 20 or so people in our unofficial Scrabble club likes to lose and any one of us can beat any of the others, if they get the right letters and words to build from on the board.  It is a game of skill, but luck helps.

The personalized board is the cool gift idea.  You pick out the words that will make the theme of the board.  Maybe its all the grandkid's names like the one we made in the picture.  Or maybe it will be a list of places a person has visited, or cars they have owned, or teams in their league or whatever else will strike a chord with them.

Then go online to one of the many sites that will help you create a crossword puzzle using the words you provide.  A Scrabble board is 15 spaces wide by 15 spaces high, so the crossword puzzle has to fit inside that grid, and of course the center tile of the board must be covered.  

Then go to eBay and buy a bunch of Scrabble letters.  Chances are, the words you want to include in your personalized Scrabble board will need more letters or a different combination of letters than what comes in the box new.  You can figure it out, or just buy a whole bunch of letters like we did.  I think it worked out to about a nickel per letter when we bought them in bulk from eBay.

Then all you need is a Scrabble board, the letters, the crossword puzzle layout from the website, and some Elmers glue.  Voila!  Its a cool and unique gift idea for that Scrabble fan in your family.

I hope someone sees this and copies the idea to make someone they love happy.  If you do send me a picture and I'll post it here..

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

There is dumb and then there is really dumb

I know this guy.  He was my son's football coach.  Then this happened. What an idiot.
Coach uses racial slur to motivate team.

I criticized his behavior at that meeting pictured above and his brother's behavior too.  They are Rob and Brian.  The Beaudrie Brothers. Hd. coach and Ass. Coach.  Pete and Repeat.  Jose and Hose B.  Frick and Frack.  Heckle and Jeckle...   So right on queue, the next day at practice, these two geniuses schemed to get revenge on me for speaking unkind words about them by targeting my son at football practice.  They strategically moved him from the starting quarterback position where he had played all season to offensive guard on a Wednesday with a must-win conference game coming up in two days. 

The scrimmaging at guard caused Dan to reinjure his lower back and it ended ended his season. He had struggled all year with recurring back pain from a stress fracture suffered in a football team weightlifting contest held back in the Spring.  Once he was injured the coaches lost their fallback plan of putting him back at QB if the sure-win game against Caeser Chavez Academy wasn't going as planned. 

Long story short, Summit ended up losing the game with the new kid at quarterback who had just one practice to learn the nuances of the "hike the ball and run for your life" offense that the Beaudries employ.  So Dan misses the last games of his career and the team misses what would have been a sure trip to the State playoffs.  Coaching FAIL.

Other than being a serial cheater, a vindictive jerk, a bad motivator, a shitty game coach and a poor role model, he is also a sub-intelligent self destructive egomaniac who threw the team's season away because he hates to be criticized more than he likes to win. 

It's way past time for the clown show to end.

Update.. A few weeks after I wrote this post the school announced Beaudrie had been terminated as coach and Athletic Director.

Monday, October 17, 2011

Pathteacher exclusive.. A copy of Father Coughlin's Social Justice Magazine from December 5, 1938

Well I happened to obtain a rare copy of a magazine that was published in the 1930's called Social Justice.  The champion of the magazine was the controversial Catholic priest Father Coughlin from The Shrine of the Little Flower parish in Royal Oak Michigan.  I am in no way endorsing the viewpoints or columns in this magazine.    I just thought it was important to post them on the internet where they could be accessed by anyone who might be researching this era of American social and political turmoil.   There are 20 pages total, posted as jpg. files.  Plenty of resolution to increase the magnification enough to read.
I think this is interesting if not very pleasant to read. It gives a pretty clear view of a religious radical American mindset going into World War II.  In a nutshell, the commies were the big threat to the USA in 1938 not the Nazis and that the Jews had it coming in Germany for supporting the commies. Yikes. Knowing that millions of Jews were about to be systematically killed by the Germans when this magazine was being distributed makes it seem ghoulish to even read. The link to the whole magazine is here:

 Father Coughlin's Social Justice magazine, December 5th 1938. 

Sunday, October 9, 2011

Friday Night Lights.. Son of Pathteacher throws 85 yard TD pass.

My son plays for Romulus Summit Academy in T-H-E Charter School Conference in Michigan.  Eight teams from Public Charter Schools in the Detroit area, seven which pool their students from the Detroit Public School system and us.  Six of the teams are comprised of 100% African American athletes and another from Southwest Detroit is predominantly Mexican American.  Our school is the only racially integrated school in the conference and actually one of the few high schools in the entire Metro Detroit area in which the student body is ethnically diverse.  I like that.  I think its a strategic benefit for kids in high school to learn to coexist and befriend all kinds of other people, not just their own.  The world is like that.  High School should be too.  

But anyway, it turns out its hell playing all these teams with the athletes from Detroit.  The top dogs, Chandler Park Academy and Michigan Collegiate are in the hunt for State Championships in their respective divisions.  They and each of the other teams feature 300 pound linemen and running backs with 4.3 speed.  But we have a decent team with a lot of senior leadership and Summit has managed to go 3-3 in conference play so far this season. They've already improved on last year's 1-6 league record and there is a decent chance they'll win out and get to six victories which will give them a berth in the playoffs here in Michigan.  

Go Dragons!

Friday, October 7, 2011

Everyone is a Tigers fan today! Except in NY

So the Tigers finished off the Yankees 3-2 in game 5 of their Divisional Playoff series tonight in the Bronx. W00t!  As I once told the kids on a team I coached years back, and you can quote me on this, "There is no finer moment in sports than seeing the other team cry in the handshake after the game."  ha.  So, enjoy Tiger Fan and Yankee hater alike.  Ding Dong the Yankees gone.  It took some luck of course, but this was an even series that went down to the last pitch.  The Yankees ginormous payroll only buys  them a golden ticket but it doesn't mean they'll win the whole chocolate factory.  Maybe thats a pretty good analogy for the Yankees.  Veruca Salt. 

I know the Tiger's Divisional Series victory made most everyone happy around here and I am guessing they raised a few loud cheers in Boston, Cleveland, Philadelphia, Tampa, Pittsburgh, Chicago, and just about every other city in America.   All that payroll and they get bounced in the first round.  Like my buds Grip and Drae might point out... Money can't buy you love.

Monday, October 3, 2011

What did Reagan and FDR have in common?

There are some interesting points raised in this Newsweek blog post by Andrew Romano about the similarities in the Reagan and FDR styles of reconstructive politics. Just what was it about them that set them apart from the others.  Who best fits the radical mold of Reagan and FDR - and why can't we find them

"...Every reconstructive president razes the old order and forges a new one in his own way: while FDR experimented with a panoply of reforms, Reagan always stuck to a stubborn script about the causes and cures for Carter-era malaise. The important thing is that both of them blamed the crises they presided over on the failed, un-American ideology of the previous regime and relentlessly positioned their sweeping proposals as part of a grand project to undo the damage and revive real American values...
..reconstructive leaders “have never been especially adept at solving the problems that brought them into office in the first place”; both Reagan and Roosevelt failed more often than they succeeded. But the politics of reconstruction gave meaning to their victories, kept them buoyant during dry spells, and defined the opposition before the opposition could define them. The approach also assured voters that Reagan and Roosevelt shared their deep dissatisfaction with the way things were.
Both Reagan and FDR projected an undeniable sense of optimism to the weary, beat down population through their vision for America delivered in in eloquent speeches marked by home-spun character and wit.  And not to make too much of it, but they both beamed confidence and enthusiasm with their magnetic smiles.  Honest, comfortable smiles that filled up a room.  If you want to get people to follow you, the most important thing to wear is a smile.  No one wants to throw their support behind a mope or a grump or someone who seems insincere or unconfident.       

And for comparison..  These smiles don't convey quite the same sense of confidence and optimism.

Sunday, October 2, 2011

Lions beat Cowboys in biggest road comeback ever in the NFL.

It was a good day to be a sports fan in Detroit. Hells yes. The Tigers beat the Yankees in New York to tie up their Divisional series at one game apiece heading to Detroit, and the Lions pounced back from a deficit in the second half once again, this time against the Dallas Cowboys. Turns out it the biggest road comeback in NFL history. Wow.

Among the many storylines from the game is a fine example of bulletin board material, this time from the Dallas Cowboy's Defensive coordinator Rob Ryan.  We know it was used as motivational material because Lion's coach Jim Schwartz couldn't wait to bring it up in the postgame news conference.  ha.

"Indulge me for a second," the Detroit Lions coach said as he arrived at the podium for a postgame news conference, a smile spreading across his face. "I'm just glad the third-best receiver on their team is on our team."

That receiver in question is Calvin Johnson, whom Dallas defensive coordinator Rob Ryan allowed was "almost" as good as Cowboys starters Miles Austin and Dez Bryant. 

OK, here is what Ryan said .
Yeah, Ryan called Johnson "excellent" and "pretty damn good" earlier this week. But he's provided enough bulletin-board material to know how it works. The part of the quote that made it to Detroit was, "We work against better receivers with Miles Austin and Dez Bryant."
There is a slight chance that Cowboys Head Coach Jason Garrett may have some words of advice for his D-Coordinator heading into next week.   Something about how silence is golden but duct tape is silver. 

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Gibson Guitars get busted for breaking the law so they whine about the law.

Leave it to the modern GOP to rally behind a company that got in trouble with the feds for violating the law.  They are upset that Obama is actually enforcing a law they helped pass.
Gibson Guitar becomes cause celebre for conservatives
The feds were after contraband in Gibson's Tennessee factories that day — ebony and rosewood they suspected was illegally imported from India. But their actions against the company whose guitars have been strummed by B.B. King, Bob Dylan and John Lennon netted some unanticipated results: infamy on talk radio and from commentators on the right.

Weeks later, the raid has generated publicity worthy of a rock concert. Groups like the "tea party" and the GOP, and VIPs like House Speaker John A. Boehner and Rush Limbaugh, have grabbed hold of it as an extreme example of how government regulations are strangling American enterprise.

The regulations being referred to are the amendments to the Lacey Act which made it illegal to import the  wood for the fret boards because the export of the unfinished wood from India was not legal there. Gibson went ahead with the shipments anyway.  At the casino this behavior is referred to as "gambling".

As for the amendment to the Lacey Act that made the import of the Indian wood illegal, it was tucked away in the 2008 US Farm Bill that George Bush vetoed over the excessive cost to taxpayers.  In order to get enough GOP votes in Congress for an override the Democratic leadership allowed GOP House members load the bill up with pork.  In any case, the 2008 Farm Bill was passed and the Lacey Act was amended legally.

So now for the Gibson CEO to complain that the law is actually being enforced and for politicians to claim that the law is proof of environmental regulations run amok is silly.  If you don't agree with a  law, then by all means, work within the legal channels to change it.  If the corporate strategy is to just go ahead and flout the law then don't be surprised when the Feds show up to shut it down.  Imagine if Gibson had used illegal labor instead of illegal materials.  Would the same GOP cheerleaders be out front defending their right to do what it takes to compete in the marketplace?

And another note to GOP members of Congress.  The next time the other side gives you the green light to load up a bill with pork to buy your support, you just might want to actually read whats in the Bill that you agree to vote "Aye" on.  That way you won't look stupid a few years later complaining about what was in the fine print.

My own Gibson guitar was made in Kalamazoo Michigan. It has the now illegal fretboard wood.
It's not for sale.

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

At the speed of Nuetrinos?

GeekDad clearly understands this topic very well because he makes the concepts seem almost understandable.  An expert is someone who can explain it to anyone.  
Neutrinos and the Speed of Light — A Primer on the CERN Study
This is the group of physicists, together, stating that they don’t know how they came to a result that shows neutrinos apparently exceeding the speed of light. They are not drawing any conclusions in this article and are simply providing the finding and the methods used to obtain the finding. They are trying to find where there could be errors in their measurements. They do not claim that the neutrinos are actually exceeding the speed of light, only that the measurements to date show something unexpected. They are reaching out to the high-energy physics community to improve the experiment and data analysis. They are not looking to fundamentally change physics but to ensure that they are producing sound data. We may find that nothing comes of this. We may find that there is an effect known in physics that accounts for the difference. We may find that neutrinos are capable of moving slightly faster than the speed of light. It is simply too early to make definitive, wide-reaching conclusions.

OK, the experts won't propose any explanations, but what the hey, here's my $0.02 theory.  For the record I got an "A" in Honors Physics freshman year at the Illinois Institute of Technology from Professor Ernst and he was so smart they named an equation after him.  And I can spell Wikipedia.  So here is perhaps how a neutrino can be faster than the speed of light.
A neutrino is an electrically neutral, weakly interacting elementary subatomic particle with a small but non-zero mass. Being electrically neutral, it is able to pass through ordinary matter almost unaffected, "like a bullet passing through a bank of fog".
And this..

The photon is currently understood to be strictly massless, but this is an experimental question. If the photon is not a strictly massless particle, it would not move at the exact speed of light in vacuum, c. Its speed would be lower and depend on its frequency. Relativity would be unaffected by this; the so-called speed of light, c, would then not be the actual speed at which light moves, but a constant of nature which is the maximum speed that any object could theoretically attain in space-time. 
So here's my hypothesis.  The measurements from Cern are correct. By showing the neutrinos are slightly faster than photons it demonstrates that neutrinos have ever so slightly less mass than photons even though both of these quantities approach zero.  By making instruments precise and accurate enough we have determined which massless particle is less massless than the other.     

Monday, September 26, 2011

Mitt Romney won't carry Michigan in 2012

Mitt Romney is in lala land when it comes to his analysis of the federal bailouts of GM and Chrysler in 2009.  If he does go on to win the GOP nomination, the following quote from him earlier this year will haunt his Presidential campaign here in Michigan and beyond.  I can see this quote on a billboard paid for by the DNC.  Mitt is just plain wrong.  I can't decide if he's just pandering to the far right for support or if he's actually dumb enough to think this way.
"It would have been best had the auto companies gone through the bankruptcy process without having taken $17 billion from government."
I have written on this subject before and explain and reference things more fully here.  Blinfolded law professor swings and misses at the auto bailout pinata.

In short, there was no private financing available and/or willing at that time and both companies would have been tossed into liquidation where lawyers would have fought over the scraps for years and by the time they were done none of it would matter.  Yes it was unprecedented and legally questionable. But the alternative was utter economic chaos. 

GM and Chrysler would have been joined in bankruptcy by many other struggling automotive suppliers due to the loss of business and the turmoil would have disrupted all the other domestic automobile companies as well, sending hundreds of thousands if not millions of people into sudden unemployment in an already staggering economy.  The shock waves would have decimated cities and entire States and eventually the entire American economy.   Kaput. Instant Depression. 

So for Romney to look back now and compare the $17 billion cost to some Utopian alternative reality he dreamt up that had zero chance of happening in order to criticize the Obama administration is just silly.   It shows how it doesn't take a very sophisticated message or even a coherent one to impress the GOP base these days.  The rage and anger have diminished the cognitive skills.

I voted for Mitt in the 2008 GOP primary in Michigan.  But based on his analysis regarding the auto bailouts, I don't think he's smart enough to be President.  

Sunday, September 25, 2011

Court smacks down lawyer for writing unintelligible gibberish.

Wow, how convoluted and unintelligible must a legal document be to actually get the lawyer who wrote it in trouble with the judges who had to read it.  I mean, its so bad the Court might just take away the guy's license.    
7th Circuit Slaps Lawyer for 345-Word Sentence and Briefs Full of ‘Gibberish’
Lawyer Walter Maksym was “unable to file an intelligible complaint,” despite three tries given him by the trial court, according to the opinion by the Chicago-based 7th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals. “Each iteration of the complaint was generally incomprehensible and riddled with errors, making it impossible for the defendants to know what wrongs they were accused of committing,” the appeals court said. In addition, “Maksym’s appellate briefing is woefully deficient, raising serious concerns about his competence to practice before this court,” the court added...

Here is one example of Maksym's writing provided by the court: 
The plaintiff and concert goers "were stunned on the day of the family-oriented event, when an even more menacing law enforcement presence was created when [the sheriff's] armed deputies, without prior consent or permission, warrant or probable cause, arrived, not a part of any agreement and a surprise and upset when it arrive, uninvited, on and entered and trespassed on Plaintiff property with drug-sniffing ‘K-9’ dogs, obviously and unfortunate that Defendants were ‘looking for trouble’ where there was none as distinct from 'looking to serve.' "
Wow, it sounds like someone was taking dictation of a drunk, angry person rambling. I can't wait to read his response to the Court.

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

So what's it like working in a factory?

I've been working as an engineer in and around factories and assembly lines for about 27 years now.  Oh the crazy sh*t I have seen.  Maybe that's why I think this scene from the 1936 film "Modern Times" starring Charlie Chaplain as an overworked and stressed out factory rat is so freaking hilarious.  And notice how so much future technology that had not been invented yet was written into the storyline. 
I rate this as one of the funniest scenes in Hollywood history. For your viewing pleasure, I present the factory scene from Modern Times..

and part 2..

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Clean energy and dirty politics. the Solyndra scandal

I try to avoid getting wrapped up in the daily political scandals and the barbs tossed back and forth across the aisle. I typically have more productive things to do.  But the Solyndra scandal isn't going away anytime soon so I figured I'd read up on it.  Here's the gist of it..
The Solyndra scandal involves the Obama administration's giving a $535 million loan guarantee to Solyndra in 2009, with the promise that the company would create 4,000 new jobs. Instead of creating the news jobs, Solyndra reduced its staff to approximately 1,100 employees. In early September 2011, the company ceased all business activity, filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy, and laid-off all employees...

According to e-mails which were released exclusively to the Washington Post, the Obama administration had tried to rush federal reviewers to approve the loan so Vice President Joe Biden could announce it at a September 2009 groundbreaking for the company’s factory. The company was a hallmark of President Obama's plan to support clean energy technologies.
Imagine that. Politicians who use their influence to benefit individuals and companies that donate to their political campaigns. Wow. Who woulda thunk it could ever happen here in the USA. / 

But maybe there is a deeper conspiracy at work here. (cues the mysterious music..) President Obama has a horrible approval rating. He has lost all his mojo with the Democratic base and he's got no trick cards left up his sleeve to get it back. He could potentially lose the White House in 2012.  He may have already been dubbed an albatross.

There are people out there, in his hometown no less, wondering aloud if Obama should just step aside and skip the 2nd term for the good of the party. Why Obama Should Withdraw
His approval rating is at its lowest level ever. His party just lost two House elections — one in a district it had held for 88 consecutive years. He's staked his future on the jobs bill, which most Americans don't think would work.

The vultures are starting to circle. Former White House spokesman Bill Burton said that unless Obama can rally the Democratic base, which is disillusioned with him, "it's going to be impossible for the president to win." Democratic consultant James Carville had one word of advice for Obama: "Panic."
Could the Solar Panel scandal actually cause enough of a problem for Obama that it forces him out of a 2nd term?  Under normal circumstances I would say no, Obama will likely win reelection whomever the TeaOP runs against him.  But then Hillary is not interested in being anyone's secretary for long and by 2016 Obama's policies may have caused irreparable damage to the Democratic party and the US financial system rendering Hillary's patience all for naught.  2012 just might be her best shot at not only winning the presidency but also being able to lead the US out of the multiple crisis we face at home and abroad.

If the Solyndra Scandal can somehow pave the way for Hillary, the Ablest Person in a generation to the Democratic ticket in 2012, the GOP will get a lot of free help focusing sunlight on the shady dealings by the Obama administration.  Jes sayin..      

Monday, September 19, 2011

Some ideas for old fashioned newspapers..

My first job was working for a newspaper.  I had a Detroit Free Press route in Lincoln Park back in the late 1970's in 8th and 9th grade.  I had around 100 daily and 125 Sunday papers to deliver. I got up at 6AM, picked up the papers at the Lawson's, walked or rode the route for an hour or so and went back home to start the day.  Every day, rain or shine, even on Christmas.  I had to go door to door in the afternoon every Friday to collect the $2 from everyone.  I never once needed the book to know how much every customer owed.  Paperboy's got a lot of time to think about who didn't pay last week.  

Anyway, I grew up with newspapers and I want to see them survive in the digital age. The internet can't totally eliminate the need for print news, but it certainly has screwed up the traditional business model.  But I can already see the signs of strain on the internet news media as well.  Heck when you call up most online newspapers now, your PC gets jammed with bandwidth sucking banner ads, pop-up ads, commercials, etc.  At least in the old fashioned newspaper you could skip past all the ads and go right to the story.  I'm not sure this medium has a long term business model any better than the print media.   How much bombardment with internet advertisements will web surfers tolerate?  Not much.

So I have a few ideas for the newspapers to maybe help drum up some interest and maybe new fans.  In no particular order. 

First, make sure the layout for printing is done carefully so that the color pictures are sharp and defined.  Blurry photos are a sign of sloppy work in the printing process.  Customers expect quality.  In my mind this is the number one perceived quality issue with newspapers I see for sale, with one exception, the Toledo Blade which I must say, always has clean and sharp color pictures.      

Provide some blank space somewhere in the newspaper. Not much, maybe just an 1/8 of a page.  There is nowhere in the entire newspaper on which to jot down a note or just doodle if you're bored at the airport.  Apparently the object of newspaper layout is to fill every square centimeter with either an ad, a graphic, a wire story, a picture, anything at all except for blank space.  I think people would like some doodle space in the paper.    

As a daily feature present a timely news story in English and then along side that in Spanish, French, or other language.  Over time it will be a convenient way for some interested people to learn a basic knowledge of another language.  Might even get some school language departments to buy the paper once a week.

Have something like a Quack's Corner to expose the nut case radicals on the internet, debunk the common internet based conspiracies and Snopes the current chain e-mail string nonsense.  Print media should get a dig in at the net where it is due.  The Internet is full of quacks.  Have some fun ridiculing them. 

Car Pool page.  The paper could do a community service and help build sales by organizing and sponsoring car pool efforts in the reader community.  A place where people who want to share a ride can find others nearby.  This can also be the place where road construction projects that will cause delays can be listed.

Just a few thoughts.  One thing is sure, the newspapers have to do something to retrieve customers.  Otherwise it will be a slow long march to complete oblivion and no one wants that.