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Posts Tagged ‘good news’

bin Laden dead

Posted by Richard on May 2, 2011

Something happened tonight that hasn't happened in a long time: the President spoke, and I cheered.

Osama bin Laden, hunted as the mastermind behind the worst terrorist attack on U.S. soil, has been killed, President Obama announced tonight.

The president called the killing of bin Laden the "most significant achievement to date" in the effort to defeat al Qaeda.

Bin Laden was located at a compound in Abbottabad, Pakistan, which was monitored and when the time was determined to be right, the president said, he authorized a "targeted operation."

"A small team of Americans carried out the operation," Obama said. "After a firefight, they killed Osama bin Laden and took custody of his body."

DNA testing confirmed that it was bin Laden, sources told ABC News.

Hurrah, hurrah! Now where's that SOB Zawahiri?

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Time magazine says Rush was right about oil spill

Posted by Richard on July 29, 2010

Many weeks ago, early in the history of the Deepwater Horizon oil spill, Rush Limbaugh argued that calling it a crisis or an environmental catastrophe was unwarranted and mere environmentalist hype. He pointed out that the natural seepage of oil from the ocean floor every day in the Gulf was about equal to the amount being spewed each day from the well. He pointed out that the microbes in the ocean water consumed that natural seepage and would do the same with the plumes of oil spreading throughout the Gulf. He argued that, while the accident was serious and unfortunate, it was not a catastrophe and would not, as environmentalists claimed, do permanent and significant harm.

Now, more than a hundred days after the spill began, Time magazine's Michael Grunwald says that the "obnoxious anti-environmentalist" Rush was right

President Obama has called the BP oil spill "the worst environmental disaster America has ever faced," and so has just about everyone else. Green groups are sounding alarms about the "catastrophe along the Gulf Coast," while CBS, Fox and MSNBC are all slapping "Disaster in the Gulf" chyrons on their spill-related news. Even BP fall guy Tony Hayward, after some early happy talk, admitted that the spill was an "environmental catastrophe." The obnoxious anti-environmentalist Rush Limbaugh has been a rare voice arguing that the spill — he calls it "the leak" — is anything less than an ecological calamity, scoffing at the avalanche of end-is-nigh eco-hype.

Well, Limbaugh has a point.

The scientists I spoke with cite four basic reasons the initial eco-fears seem overblown. First, the Deepwater oil, unlike the black glop from the Valdez, is unusually light and degradable, which is why the slick in the Gulf is dissolving surprisingly rapidly now that the gusher has been capped. Second, the Gulf of Mexico, unlike Alaska's Prince William Sound, is very warm, which has helped bacteria break down the oil. Third, heavy flows of Mississippi River water have helped keep the oil away from the coast, where it can do much more damage. And finally, Mother Nature can be incredibly resilient. Van Heerden's assessment team showed me around Casse-tete Island in Timbalier Bay, where new shoots of Spartina grasses were sprouting in oiled marshes and new leaves were growing on the first black mangroves I've ever seen that were actually black. "It comes back fast, doesn't it?" van Heerden said. 

Read the rest — it's fascinating. Apparently, the harm to fish and wildlife has been very modest, the damage to the marshes is a mere blip compared to the coastal wetlands lost every year for other reasons, and the oil-eating microbes, as Limbaugh predicted, seem to be doing a bang-up job. It's becoming increasingly difficult to even find any remaining oil to clean up.

Limbaugh claimed (tongue firmly in cheek, as usual) that the missing oil is "hiding next to the 3.6 million jobs that have been saved, admiral.  It's hiding right next to all the heat that the global warming people can't find."

BTW, here's something that's peeved me about the coverage of the oil spill almost from the beginning: Crude oil is measured by the barrel. No one in the oil industry ever measures a volume of oil by the gallon. Gasoline, milk, and water are measured (in the US) by the gallon, but it wasn't gasoline, milk, or water that was spilled.

There are 42 US gallons per barrel of oil. Admittedly, many people don't know that. But rather than educate their audience by stating this in their stories, the MSM have routinely specified the spill rate and the total amount of oil spilled in gallons. It gives them bigger, scarier numbers to report. Lazy journalism? A reflection of their own ignorance? Or a subtle way to further their anti-energy-industry agenda? I don't know, but it annoys me. 

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Recession batters law firms

Posted by Richard on January 27, 2009

Every cloud has a silver lining:

After upending a succession of U.S. industries, the recession has arrived for U.S. law firms, which have long seen themselves as partially insulated from economic downturns. In December, Thelen LLP, another large San Francisco firm, also shut down for good, citing recessionary pressures. Later that month, Thacher Proffitt & Wood LLP, a 160-year-old New York firm, announced that it was closing. Dreier LLP of New York is dissolving after its founder was arrested for fraud.

After the arrest, all the other partners and associates decided they wanted to spend more time with their families.

Pay cuts and layoffs are becoming commonplace. …

In November, New York legal giant Cravath, Swaine & Moore LLP announced it was reducing year-end bonuses for junior lawyers, and that it wouldn't raise its billing rates in 2009. Latham & Watkins LLP, one of the nation's highest-grossing firms, said in December that associates would not get raises in 2009 — a move followed by many other firms.

"More firms are in a fragile condition than I've ever seen," says William Brennan, a law-firm consultant with Altman Weil Inc. and formerly chief financial officer at two large Philadelphia firms.

Profits, on average, were down 8% to 12% across the industry last year, after 15 years of consistent profit growth, says Peter Haugh, managing director for the Legal Specialty Group of Wachovia Wealth Management.

Throughout the industry, business has dropped off in such key practice areas as mergers, public offerings, and corporate finance. Litigation, often counted on to carry firms through downturns, has become less profitable as clients increasingly settle big cases, forgo lawsuits altogether, or pressure firms to discount their fees, lawyers say. Some practice areas, such as bankruptcy, however, are robust.

Litigation is less profitable — more good news!

Too bad about the bankruptcy business, though.

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More good news than bad

Posted by Richard on July 7, 2008

The mainstream media have been relentlessly negative about America's economy (and life here in general) for the past five years. Now that there really are some problems, it's gotten worse. And I predict they'll become even more obsessed with doom and gloom as the election gets closer.

Case in point: Saturday's AP story, "America's unhappy birthday." I won't excerpt it or link to it, since they threaten to come after bloggers who quote them without paying a fee. But you may have seen it in your local paper or on one of the news aggregator sites. Doug Ross has excerpts here (I assume he's defying them, not paying up). The gist is that life in America sucks, almost everyone's miserable, and people are hoping someone will "ride to their rescue" (you can quote up to four words free, according to the AP fee schedule).

Well, cheer up! Sure, we've hit a bit of a rough patch recently, with the gas and food price increases and the mortgage mess (all of which are a consequence of liberal feel-good policies out of Washington). But so far, this century's really looking pretty good. Last Thursday, Mark J. Perry posted some evidence from Investor's Business Daily, leading off with another great graph (Perry does terrific charts and graphs) illustrating how much richer we've become:

U.S. Household Net Worth, 1980 to 2008


Americans' net worth — what they owned less what they owed — was $55.97 trillion. That's down from the peak of $58.196 trillion in the third quarter of 2007, but still $15.3 trillion above where it was seven years ago (see chart above).

Put another way, a bit more than one-quarter of all the wealth created in America in the 232 years since our founding was created in the last seven years.

I blame Bush.

There's more good news regarding incomes, jobs, the poor, lifespans… Read the whole thing.

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