How soon before they ask for a bailout?

December 8, 2008

Tribune Company, which owns among other properties the Los Angeles Times and KTLA Channel 5, has filed for bankruptcy. While I’ll feel sorry for any employees who lose their jobs (other than the left-liberal editors who made the Times an arm of the Democratic Party), I can think of few more deserving companies. The LA Times stopped being a real newspaper years ago when it shed any pretense of objectivity in its new coverage.

Of course, this isn’t a close-the-doors Chapter Seven bankruptcy, but a plea for protection in order to reorganize under Chapter Eleven. Still, the LA Times, like many newspapers around the country, is losing subscribers, which leads to lost advertisers, which means lost revenues. The industry has been in a downward spiral for years, now, and I fail to see how any reorganization can save the Times: no matter how it restructures its debt, the cash still isn’t coming in. Perhaps some White Knight can save the paper by returning its news coverage to a semblance of balance and turning its editorial direction back toward the center and thus making it relevant to peoples’ lives, but I doubt it. It’s too easy to get the information one wants off the Internet, free and unfiltered by the ideological gatekeepers at 1st and Spring.

In the end, I wonder if it would really matter if the Los Angeles Times went away?

LINKS: Ed Morrissey.


But does it include XM Radio and an iPod dock?

December 8, 2008

For a state well on the way to going broke, California continues to show it has its fiscal priorities straight — straight up where the sun doesn’t shine, that is. San Francisco Chronicle columnists Matier and Ross report that the Mandarins of the Golden Dome in Sacramento, also known as the California legislature, continue to get heavy subsidies for their autos and fuel:

California’s multibillion-dollar deficit hasn’t stopped the state from shelling out an estimated $1.3 million to keep 40 new and returning lawmakers rolling in style during these toughest of times.

Nearly all 28 of the newly sworn-in members of the Assembly, plus several of the 52 holdovers, have leased new wheels through the state – at a cost well below what the average wage slave pays at the dealer. On the Senate side, nine of the 11 new members – all of whom just moved over from the Assembly – picked up new rides along with their new titles.

Among them, San Francisco Democrat Mark Leno, who has a new, $32,000 Toyota Camry hybrid.

Contra Costa County’s newly minted Sen. Mark DeSaulnier and fellow Democrat Joe Simitian of Palo Alto both have new, $34,000 Nissan Altimas.

While most members have gone hybrid green with their car selections, there’s one notable exception.

Republican Sen. Bob Huff of Diamond Bar (Los Angeles County), who proudly declares on his Web site that he has led the fight to cut government waste and has never voted for a tax increase, ordered himself a brand-new, 2008 Cadillac CTS – priced at $46,000.

Under government rules, the legislators lease their vehicles from the state with the help of a monthly $350 to $500 auto allowance. The amount varies based on the lease terms and whether the member serves in the Assembly or Senate.

Any costs above that come out of the legislators’ pockets – which, in the case of the Senate, is anywhere from $35 a month for a new Chevy Malibu hybrid to $280 for a Lexus hybrid.

Of course, lawmakers also get free gas and maintenance.

Kind of reminds you of the CEOs of the Big Three automakers flying to Washington to beg for handouts for the bankrupt companies, doesn’t it?

I don’t object to some subsidies for necessary expenses incurred as part of their job, but, with the state teetering on the edge of bankruptcy, this is just plain silly and wasteful. California legislators receive salaries of $113,098 per year, and a per diem of $162 for each day the legislature is in session, which lasts roughly eight months. And on top of that they get discounted car leases and free gas and maintenance?  I want in on this deal! Money Eyes

With their salaries and per diems, California assemblymen and senators make more than enough to see to their transportation needs. Let them show genuine leadership and responsibility: the state needs to cut its budget sharply, and these auto perks should be among the first to go.

EDIT: Updated 2/6/12 to remove Technorati tags and add WordPress tags.

Supreme Court 1, Truthers 0

December 8, 2008

Striking a blow for rationality, the Supreme Court has declined to hear Leo Donofrio’s suit over Barack Obama’s eligibility to be president. Now can we forget this nonsense and get down to serious matters of policy?

Don’t bet on it. Talk to the hand

Final Thought: I agree Obama could settle this by producing his birth certificate and that he’s dumb for being so stubborn, but this dead horse has been beaten to a pulp. Hawaii’s secretary of state has certified he was born there. That should be good enough. Let it go.

UPDATE: This is linked at the Hot Air article I linked to, above, but I wanted to quote David Horowitz on directly. I can’t stress enough how much I agree:

Conservatives are supposed to respect the organic nature of human societies. Ours has been riven by profound disagreements that have been deepening over many years. We are divided not only about political facts and social values, but also about what the Constitution itself means. The crusaders on this issue choose to ignore these problems and are proposing to deny the will of 64 million voters by appealing to five Supreme Court Justices (since no one is delusional enough to think that the four liberal justices are going to take the presidency away from Obama). What kind of conservatism is this?

It is not conservatism; it is sore loserism and quite radical in its intent. Respect for election results is one of the most durable bulwarks of our unity as a nation. Conservatives need to accept the fact that we lost the election, and get over it; and get on with the important business of reviving our country’s economy and defending its citizens, and — by the way — its Constitution.

(Emphasis added.)

Now that’s chutzpah

December 8, 2008

Senator Chris Dodd (D-Waitress Sandwich) demands that the head of General Motors step down in return for a federal bailout. This is the same senator who a) helped create the financial crisis in the first place by blocking any reform of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac and the sub-prime mortgage mess and b) received sweetheart mortgage deals* from Countrywide Financial, one of the major sub-prime "players," that saved him tens of thousands of dollars — while he was chairman of the Banking Committee, which is supposed to supervise businesses like Countrywide.

*(Also known as a "bribe.")

And he’s demanding integrity from the head of GM? Rolling on the floor

(hat tip: Hot Air)

UPDATE: If you’d like to tell Senator Dodd (D-Booze) what you think of him and his call for accountability, why not write him?