Archive for the ‘Strib’ Category

Stewart Mills officially announced that he’s running for Congress in Minnesota’s Eighth District. Rick Nolan, his opponent and the incumbent in the race, said that he welcomed the challenge while promising to run a positive race. Of course, Nolan’s definition of running a positive race is questionable considering he said “I welcome Mr. Mills III back into the race, and I’m looking forward to a positive campaign based on facts and issues affecting the voters in the 8th Congressional District- a campaign very much different from the negative and misleading campaign Mr. Mills III and his allies have already launched against me here in the 8th District.”

In 2014, Nolan’s definition of a positive campaign included dishonest attacks from Nolan himself. What’s more is that the Star Tribune criticized Nolan while endorsing Mills, saying that “Nolan already translates Mills’ position as wanting to “privatize” and even “abolish” the safety-net programs. It’s the kind of extravagant rhetoric that makes reasoned discussion, public understanding and progress so difficult on these issues.”

The Star Tribune added this insult to Nolan’s injuries:

On foreign affairs, too, Mills’ view is the tough-minded one. While Nolan wishfully believes America can safely ignore Mideast turmoil, Mills cautiously supports President Obama’s military intervention to roll back the advances of ISIL in Iraq and Syria, recognizing that regional chaos endangers U.S. interests.

Nolan still supports President Obama’s plan, which is a total failure. Not only isn’t ISIL defeated, it’s spreading. Russia has emerged as the leader of the Middle East, too, while Iran’s mullahs build their hegemon one step at a time.

In short, it’s clear that Nolan is blinded by partisan loyalties. It’s apparent that he isn’t a solutions-oriented statesman. He’s just another cheap politician who can be bought off.

Last Thursday, the Duluth News Tribune surprised the political world when the DNT endorsed Mitt Romney. Anyone who predicted that should’ve immediately rushed out and bought a Powerball ticket. As astonishing as that was, this endorsement is just as astonishing:

Nolan, 68, would also be an able representative, though his reputation as an ultraliberal member of the 1970s Minnesota delegation raises questions about his own flexibility. Much has been made of Cravaack’s family moving to New Hampshire, but he’s stayed connected with his district. What matters most is the work he’d do in Washington. He’s earned another shot, but he should also face a stronger Democratic challenger in 2014.

It’s kinda funny hearing the Strib start by saying Nolan “would also be an able representative”, then see them finish by saying Chip should “also face a stronger Democratic candidate in 2014.”

The Strib is right, though, in highlighting Chip Cravaack’s availability to his constituents and the work he’s done in Washington, DC.

Cravaack has admirably bucked his party on labor and trade legislation, prevailing wage protections, the Buy America Steel amendment, that supported area industry and scored points with union members. The 52-year-old father of two is also praised widely around northeast Minnesota for his numerous town halls. He was quickly on the scene after Duluth’s devastating flood and has voted against Republican measures to cut disaster aid in general.

I predicted that Chip wouldn’t be an easy target, a prediction that was anything but unanimous. Chip’s relationship with the miners and other union workers would help him connect with his constituents.

I also knew that Chip’s unflinching support of Second Amendment and pro-life issues would stand him in good stead with Iron Rangers. Finally, Chip’s enthusiastic support of capitalism has played well with the many small businesses in the southern part of the Eighth.

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If ever there was an editorial that doesn’t get it, it’s this editorial. Here’s what I’m talking about:

The governor needs a new strategy, one built on his belief that Minnesota needs a strong human-capital foundation to thrive in the future. He needs to help Minnesotans understand that if the state cuts its human-capital spending unwisely, the state’s future prospects will be diminished.

He should ask for Minnesotans’ help in wooing Republican legislative support for that vision.

There’s a major flaw with this editorial’s thinking. It’s that they assume “the people” support Gov. Dayton’s budget. Until this post, we thought that union support for Gov. Dayton’s and the DFL’s budget was solid. Until last Thursday’s AFSCME Ambush, the media pretty much accepted as fact that the unions were fired up and supporting Gov. Dayton’s and the DFL’s agenda.

Now, it’s proper to question whether the unions unconditionally support Gov. Dayton’s and the DFL’s agenda. It’s acceptable to question whether the non-unionized public supports Gov. Dayton’s agenda.

If the public isn’t supporting Gov. Dayton’s agenda, it’s impossible to enlist their support for Gov. Dayton’s agenda.

A gubernatorial bully pulpit equips Dayton to drive home the human side of the budget story.

He can help Minnesotans understand that enacting the GOP budget he vetoed would mean denying personal care attendants to the disabled, affordable health insurance to the working poor, and rides to work to transit-dependent employees. It would slash mental health and chemical dependency programs and sorely squeeze higher education.

With every part of the population hurting, there just isn’t alot of sympathy for “the working poor” and others who are genuinely affected by the shutdown. It isn’t that the public doesn’t care about the less fortunate. It’s that Gov. Dayton, the DFL and the media (PTR) keep trying to guilt people into spending money it doesn’t want to spend.

Though they don’t have the particulars, people start with the belief that higher ed is a positive thing but that it’s probably got too much bloat to it. It’s difficult to win over people when they’re skeptical or downright suspicious.

Each day more Minnesotans are asking what they can do to help make state government fully functional again. As he tours the state this week, Dayton should give them a clear answer.

That isn’t what Minnesotans are thinking. They’re worried about how they’ll make their next house payment or how they’ll save enough for their kids’ college education. They’re worried that they won’t have a job a month from now or that they’ll have to pay more for their health insurance premiums.

Only pinheaded, inside-the-bubble bureaucrats think about “what they can do to help make state fully functional again.”

The biggest thing that can help Gov. Dayton is for him to start paying attention to Minnesotans. According to the latest KSTP-SurveyUSA poll, 8% of Minnesotans wanted spending increased, 27% wanted it frozen and 60% want the budget cut.

With support for increasing spending being that tiny, there’s no reason for Republicans to compromise. If Gov. Dayton is that intent on raising taxes and spending like maniacs, fine. Let DFL legislators pay the price in 2012. Between the dismal economic news that’s emerging every day and the DFL’s insistence on ignoring Minnesota’s wishes and redistricting strengthening swing districts currently held by Republicans, the DFL better do alot of praying that they can recruit quality candidates.

If they don’t, Gov. Dayton won’t have much company in St. Paul in 2013.

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The first thing I thought after reading this Strib editorial was that the sole focus is on Republicans’ refusal to raise taxes in a faltering economy. The next thing I thought about is that the Twin Cities media never thinks about economic growth as part of the budget equation.

Word came from the Department of Transportation that the bridge is now deemed a critical service by the Dayton administration. The courts willing, the governor now aims to continue the bridge’s regular rise and fall if other government functions cease.

So Republicans replayed last week’s talking points instead. They asked Dayton to call them into special session before a full budget agreement is in place, something he has said he will not do.

And they gave no indication that they are willing to spend more than the $34 billion contained in bills that Dayton vetoed last month.

I can’t express my disappointment with the Twin Cities media strongly enough. Rather than thinking in terms of what’s best for Minnesota’s economy, the Twin Cities media has focused on funding an antiquated form of government that was outdated by Clinton administration standards.

At no point in their editorial does the Strib editorial staff talk about how important putting in place policies that let job creators create jobs. At no point does the Strib editorial board consider the possibility that a strong economy properly funds Minnesota’s priorities.

This paragraph is particularly infuriating:

That turned the bridge into an emblem of misplaced focus by state leaders, on both sides. With only days remaining before the shutdown deadline, lawmakers ought to have been devoting all of their energies Monday to pursuit of a bipartisan compromise.

Immediately after that paragraph, the Strib returned to attacking Republicans. What a waste of bandwidth and ink.
As for “pursuit of a bipartisan compromise”, I’d argue that doing what’s best for Minnesota should rate as a higher priority. I don’t give a damn if an agreement is bipartisan in nature. When the DFL intends on looking out only for their special interest allies, then something is seriously wrong.

I’ve said it before and I’ll repeat it again: the DFL is the party that wants to fund a 1970s form of government; Republicans are the party that wants to build a 21st Century economy. It’s just that simple.

Rumors had been swirling that GOP leaders had finally recognized what was apparent to most Minnesotans soon after the 2010 election: Enacting a new budget would require that Republicans meet the new DFL governor at least partway, with a larger budget than “no new taxes” affords.

Again, political realities be damned. Doing what’s right for Minnesotans is most important. I don’t want to play nice if the other side has shown that they’re only interested in doing what’s in their special interest allies’ best interest.

While it’s true that fixing Minnesota’s economy won’t straighten out all of our problems, I’m confident that taking that step would help alot.

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I’m shocked and stunned to read that the Strib has endorsed Tarryl Clark over Michele Bachmann. This is a stunner for the ages. Who would’ve guessed this outcome? Listen to this pompous opening paragraph:

Minnesota Congresswoman Michele Bachmann has appeared at least eight times since January on Fox News’ Sean Hannity Show. How many mayors or county commissioners in Bachmann’s Sixth District swath of central Minnesota have had an equal number of conversations with her this year?

In the Strib’s mind, taking care of mayors and county commissioners ranks as a higher priority than staying in touch with citizens and job creators.

That’s because, in the Strib’s and Tarryl’s opinions, government is what makes things happen, not entrepreneurs, innovators and productive private sector workers.

In the real world, it’s the small businesses and the hard-working private sector employees that create wealth and prosperity. In the Strib’s and Tarryl Clark’s eyes, they’re just ATM’s to fund government. This November, they’ll find out that We The People think differently.

Then there’s this blather:

Clark, an attorney and mother of two, is a respected legislator from St. Cloud who was first elected in 2005. Endorsed by Democratic Sen. Amy Klobuchar, Clark has been a strong advocate for small-business owners and pushed for the development of angel investor tax credits in the state.

The Strib can’t expect thinking people to believe them. That’s the most insulting nonsense I’ve heard this century. Tarryl has voted repeatedly against small businesses. She’s voted for job-killing tax increases on Minnesota’s jobs creators. Her voting for the angel investment tax credit doesn’t come close to her repeatedly voting to raise taxes on job creators.

What distinguishes Clark from Bachmann is her willingness to put common sense before rigid ideology to serve the Sixth District, which stretches from St. Cloud through Anoka County to the metro’s eastern suburbs. Clark is well-versed in health care issues and committed to smoothing health reform for consumers and providers, not prolonging the uncertainties.

Here’s yet another insulting paragraph. The full extent of Tarryl’s understanding of health care is that she thinks we should implement a single-payer system ASAP. That’s as rigid of ideology as it gets. That’s the system that John Marty, Jim McDermott and Howard Dean prefer. That’s as ideological rigid a trio as exists.

Tarryl stood in the way of common sense reforms like Steve Gottwalt’s Healthy Minnesota Plan, which would’ve saved Minnesota’s taxpayers tens of millions of dollars per biennium. What would the Strib give Tarryl for that on the pragmatic scale? I’d give it a maximum of 2 on a scale of 1-10 with 1 being the most rigid ideologically.

When it came to another key issue facing her district this year, the proposed tax on the medical device industry in the health reform bill, the self-proclaimed pro-business, anti-tax champion didn’t take the lead.

What’s the logic behind making a terrible bill slightly less awful? That’s the type of thinking that helped Collin Peterson accept a couple trivial set asides on the Cap and Trade bill in exchange for his vote on an awful piece of legislation. That’s doing the right thing? I don’t think so.

Bachmann is in touch with Hannity and Glenn Beck but out of touch with her district.

What arrogance. We The People of the Sixth District vehemently disagree with the idiots on the Strib’s editorial board. We The People of the Sixth District appreciate the fact that Michele consistently fights for fiscal sanity without raising taxes. We The People appreciate the fact that she’s fought the good fight for energy independance by supporting an all of the above energy policy, a stark contrast with Tarryl’s support for expensive green energy initiatives.

We The People appreciate the fact that she fought against the FinReg law that’s given the executive branch the authority to bypass Congress before writing a bailout check. We The People appreciate that Michele fought hard to defeat the disastrous Obamacare bill that raised insurance premiums by 11 percent this year and that raised a slew of different taxes to the tune of $670,000,000,000.

Tarryl Clark is nothing more than a union thug in high heels. There’s nothing moderate about her. Saying that she’ll fight for the people of the Sixth District is saying that she’ll ignore the collection of special interests who’ve supported her political career.

On the first Tuesday in November, the voters of the Sixth District will reject the Strib’s endorsement just like we’ll reject Tarryl Clark’s attempt to be Nancy Pelosi’s rubberstamp.

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This weekend, I’ve written about deconstructing Lori Sturdevant’s column and Esme Murphy’s interviewing Tarryl Clark. What I haven’t written about yet was Rachel Stassen Berger’s tweet in which she said this:

There’s anti-Dayton lit at the GOP fair booth but no pro-emmer lit.

She later updated that with this tweet:

In the strongest possible terms the GOP insists there was always pro-Emmer lit at their fair booth.

I’m incredibly disappointed in the media to varying degrees. In the case of Rachel Stassen-Berger, I’ll probably be a bit more lenient than I’ll be with Lori Sturdevant and Esme Murphy, if for no other reason than she posted a tweet saying that the GOP insists that “there was always pro-Emmer lit at their fair booth.”

I believe the pro-Emmer lit was there from the start because Eric Radtke told me that “he GOP booth is all about Emmer. The buttons are Emmer the balloons are Emmer, and yes there is Emmer lit. Put it there myself.” Knowing Eric, I’ll trust him.

I won’t be as lenient with Lori Sturdevant because didn’t take into account a number of different things that should’ve been taken into account. Let’s start with what she said in column:

In three early morning debates in as many bleary-eyed days, Emmer denied that there’s a red-ink tsunami ahead in the state’s 2012-13 budget.

In fact, the three-term state rep from Delano asserted, the state is going to have $2 billion more to spend in the next two-year budget period than it’s spending in the current one. That’s a 7 percent increase, he allowed, and that ought to be sufficient for any sensible Minnesotan.

Shortly thereafter, she made this comment:

Emmer’s numbers aren’t wrong. They’re just misleadingly incomplete.

Nowhere in her article does Ms. Sturdevant say what I’ve said: that Mark Dayton’s numbers don’t add up to a balanced budget. In fact, they fall far short. More on that later.

I spoke with a man who I consider to be a budget expert last night by the name of Jim Knoblach. Jim had a $4.2 billion deficit dumped in his lap shortly after Tim Pawlenty was first elected governor.

I specifically asked Jim whether cleaning up the permitting process could create jobs and whether those jobs would change the revenue projections. I specifically talked about the mining jobs that will eventually be created when Polymet gets its permits.

Jim said that streamlining Minnesota’s permitting process would help create jobs. In Polymet’s instance, that’s supposed to be north of 2,000 highpaying jobs in an area with high unemployment.

Not so coincidentally, streamlining the permitting process is high on Tom Emmer’s priority list. Wouldn’t it have been informative if Ms. Sturdevant had mentioned that in her article? It isn’t like this is treated like top secret information.

By including that information in her article, though, Sturdevant would’ve admitted that Tom Emmer a) has a positive agenda that will put people back to work, b) has a plan to get Minnesota’s economy going and c) thinks it’s important to make Minnesota more business friendly. That certainly wouldn’t fit into Ms. Sturdevant’s storyline.

Admitting that Mark Dayton’s numbers don’t add up to a balanced budget doesn’t fit into Ms. Sturdevant’s storyline, either. Sen. Dayton says that he’ll get $4,000,000,000 in additional revenue with his tax-the-rich plan. The Minnesota Department of Revenue says that that figure is more likely to be $3,300,000,000 to $3,600,000,000.

It’s important to note that the Minnesota Department of Revenue uses static scoring, meaning they don’t take into account the unintended consequences that happen when policies shift. For instance, they don’t take into account the fact that businesses will leave Minnesota for states with friendlier business climates. Suffice it to say that it isn’t likely that Sen. Dayton’s numbers will come close to being right, perhaps to the tune of $1,000,000,000.

During a debate on Almanac, Rep. Emmer talked about streamlining permitting. When Sen. Dayton said that he wouldn’t have a problem with streamlining the permitting process, Rep. Emmer noted that Sen. Dayton had never written or co-sponsored a bill streamlining any part of government.

This leads to Sen. Dayton’s supposed detailed budget plan, all 2 and a half pages of it. There’s nothing in Sen. Dayton’s supposed detailed budget plan that talks about regulatory reform. in fact, there’s nothing in Sen. Dayton’s supposed detailed budget plan that even talks about reform.

It’s disturbing that Ms. Sturdevant didn’t mention Sen. Dayton’s inconsistencies. If Dayton’s revenue projections are off that much, what will he cut? Or whose taxes will he raise? It’s much more likely that Sen. Dayton will raise taxes on suburbanites making $75,000 than he’s likely to cut spending.

Here’s reality: Dayton can’t cut spending much because he has too many DFL special interest allies to pay off.

It isn’t a secret that Lori Sturdevant is a DFL partisan. It hasn’t been a secret for years. Now it’s getting dangerous, though, because the numbers matter, the policies matter. If you won’t challenge the DFL candidates, then you’re just part of the problem.

Minnesota can’t afford more of this journalistic malpractice.

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Earlier tonight, Powerline’s John Hinderaker posted something about the Strib’s article about Minnesota’s shrinking moose population in Minnesota’s Arrowhead region. John questioned the DNR’s conclusion on what’s causing the decline. Here’s the conclusion stated in the article:

Reasons for the decline are uncertain, but researchers continue to believe a warming climate is responsible. Minnesota, already at the southern fringe of the moose range, apparently is becoming inhospitable for the large animals. Moose are extremely heat-sensitive, and temperature readings in Ely show over the past 48 years, average summer and winter temperatures have increased substantially.

Here’s how John questions that conclusion:

Really? The Minnesota Pollution Control Agency says mean temperatures have increased in the state by a whopping one-half of one degree Fahrenheit in the last 50 years. Those moose must be sensitive creatures.

I won’t hesitate in admitting that I don’t know what’s causing the moose population’s decline but I’ve got a hunch why the Strib ran this article. Bear with me a moment as I make note of another statistic relevant to this story:

Already in the northwest part of the state the number of moose has fallen from around 4,000 in the mid-1980s to around 100 today.

Let’s compare that with what’s happening in Minnesota’s Arrowhead region:

Wildlife researchers estimate that there are 5,500 moose in that region of the state. With a 23 percent margin of error, the estimate is not statistically different from last year’s estimate of 7,600, but it supports other evidence that the moose population is declining.

I think this part of the Strib’s article is why this article ran:

People come up here to catch fish and see wildlife,” said Bob Baker, owner of Gunflint Pines Resort and Campground on the Gunflint Trail, northwest of Grand Marais, Minn. “The moose is the one animal people want to see when they’re here, and its decline could impact tourism.”

The three pillars of northeast Minnesota’s economy are tourism, tourism and tourism. With Minnesota’s economy struggling, people aren’t likely to vacation in the BWCA and Grand Marais. They’re far more likely to vacation in the Brainerd Lakes area or Alexandria or something closer to their homes.

By running this article, the DFL gets a two-fer: they talk about global warming and they get to highlight the ‘need’ for relief to northern Minnesota. It’s just a hunch but I’d say that, with DFL gubernatorial candidate Tom Bakk representing Grand Marais, I’d think that there’s a better than average shot that Sen. Bakk’s itch will get scratched.

During the DFL’s glory years of the Perpich administration, legislators kidded that Gov. Perpich changed the translation of the State seal “L’Etoile du nord” from “The Star of the North” to “the money goes north”, which it did in prodigious amounts.

In the end, I suspect that the Strib’s article has more with spending money in Minnesota’s Arrowhead than it has to do with moose herd population declines.

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In a recent article, Kevin Diaz wrote, perhaps intentionally, that Sen. Franken was “confronted by a group of anti-reform ‘Tea Party’ activists…” It’s unfortunate that a reporter would inject that type of invective into an article.

It’s one thing when bombthrowing op-ed journalists like Nick Coleman and Paul Krugman use that type of incendiary language. In fact, it’s expected in that context. In their minds, their job is to incite people. Their job isn’t to educate or persuade. If it were, they would’ve been fired years ago.

Reporters are supposed to be about reporting verifiable facts. Reporters are supposed to tell the who, what, when and where. Reporters aren’t supposed to get into answering the why questions. That’s a job best left to politicians and experts on the subject.

That being said, let’s discredit Diaz’s statement:

Confronted by a group of anti-reform “Tea Party” activists about whether he would side with President Obama or “the people,” Democratic Sen. Al Franken replied, “I’m going to vote the way I want to vote…I use my independent judgment.”

Why would Mr. Diaz think that the Tea Party activists are opposed to reforming America’s health care and health insurance systems? Did they say explicitly that they think the current system doesn’t need changing whatsoever? Did Mr. Diaz simply assume that Tea Party activists reflexively reject health care reform of any sort? Is it possible that the Tea Party activists support reforms that Mr. Diaz disagrees with?

If Mr. Diaz made this statement without verifying the voracity of his statement, then he’s guilty of assuming something, which obviously is significantly different than reporting verified facts. If Mr. Diaz wants to start making these types of statements, he should become a columnist where stating unverified opinions aren’t judged quite as harshly.

It isn’t a stretch to think that this is proof that Diaz has some hostility towards Tea Party activists, though I don’t know that for certain. At minimum, Kevin Diaz owes his readers an explanation as to why he thinks Tea Party activists are opposed to health care reform.

I’m also curious why the Strib’s editor didn’t edit that phrasing before it went to print. An editor’s job should be to eliminate things that aren’t verified facts. This leads to other questions. Do the Strib’s editors verify each statement for its accuracy? If they do, what standards are used in verifying their reporters’ statements? Do the editors demand a direct quote in a situation like this? Is it possible that they let this slide because they assumed the statement was accurate?

This is proof that the editing at newspapers isn’t as thorough as people like Tom Friedman would have us believe. People have figured that out. Elitists like Tom Friedman hasn’t. What’s worse is that Kevin Diaz put in a defamatory sentence into an important article. What’s worst of all is that the Strib didn’t investigate a possible mischaracterization.

That’s the most damning indictment of the Strib in ages, far worse than anything Nick Coleman writes.

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I don’t often talk on this blog about Sid Hartman’s columns but I can’t avoid talking about his latest column this time. Here’s the idiotic statement Sid made that should make him the laughingstock of the sportswriting community:

The point I’m trying to make is that, had the Twins decided to sign Hunter, and not have made the deals involving Castillo, Santana, Bartlett and Garza, they would have a lot more solid club with fewer holes in the lineup.

No shit Sherlock??? The Twins couldn’t have signed Hunter, Santana, Castillo, Bartlett & Garza. Hunter & Santana alone would’ve added $38 million to this year’s payroll, with Castillo & Bartlett adding another $8.75 million. According to this ESPN website, the Twins payroll is approximately $65,000,000.

Keeping Santana, Hunter, Bartlett & Castillo alone would’ve pushed the Twins payroll north of $110,000,000, approximately $40,000,000 more than their highest payroll ever. That’s before thinking about signing Joe Mauer, the best hitter in baseball by far, to a contract extension. Expect that contract extension to be in the neighborhood of $25,000,000 a year.

If that typical Sid boilerplate isn’t enough, then think of this:

Talking about holes, if they should lose Joe Mauer, it would be impossible to replace him.

No shit Sherlock. That’s like saying it would’ve been impossible for the Giants to replace Barry Bonds if he got injured.

Sid Hartman & Nick Coleman are (semi-living) proof positive of why the STrib is a dying newspaper.

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Yesterday, I sent a humorous email to my friend Ed Morrissey about the turmoils of the Boston Globe and the NYTimes. Ed quickly proceeded to highlight the ill will between the Globe and the Times. In his post, Ed makes a number of important points. The opening paragraph, though, needs to be explained from my perspective. Here’s what Ed wrote:

My friend Gary Gross suspects a conspiracy. The Boston Herald reports that the New York Times threat to shutter the Boston Globe has caused a “storm over Morrissey Boulevard,” where the Globe’s offices are located. Has this blogger managed to undermine a Boston institution, albeit owned lock, stock, and barrel by the Paper of Record?

For the record, the only conspiracy I believe in is the VRWC’s attempt to assist in the destruction of institutions like the NYTimes. That said, I don’t think it’ll take much more assistance to topple the NYTimes and send it into bankruptcy.

I’d further add that what little assistance is needed in ushering the NYTimes into the dustbin of history can be provided by my friend Ed Morrissey.

It’s from that perspective that I suggest this deal: High profile bloggers like Ed Morrissey and the Powerline trio push high profile newspapers into oblivion while the talented MOBster bloggers push lesser known papers into the dustbin of history.

I’ll update this post if I hear from Ed and the Powerline trio.

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