Tag Archives: Bloomberg

This Week in Fossil Fuels

By Christopher B. Daly 

Dear readers:

Sorry about the unannounced hiatus. All I can say is, there was a beach involved. I am returning to this theme by posting a bunch of links that I was gathering all through the late summer.

Further in my defense: I spent some of my time last month pursuing a solar option for the rooftop of my own home. Putting a fair amount of money where the mouth is.

Some fairly recent developments:

–Another coal company bites the dust. One bond rating agency says investors should avoid the whole sector:

The bond rating agency Fitch expects coal companies to struggle in the future. “The sector default rate is likely to increase further in the near term,” its analysts wrote in a note to investors Monday.

–How crazy is it to over-cool offices? Way to go, men!

Molly Mahannah shivering at work in the summer in Omaha. NYT photo.

Molly Mahannah shivering at work in the summer in Omaha. NYT photo.

–How hard do advocates of fossil fuels fight? Pretty hard, according to this NYT story. (Don’t miss the comments.)

In a related development, TNR comments on the GOP response to Obama. A sample, from Kentucky’s Sen. Mitch McConnell:

“I am not going to sit by while the White House takes aim at the lifeblood of our state’s economy,” the Kentucky senator said. The new regulations, he argued, would mean “fewer jobs, shuttered power plants, and higher electricity costs for families and businesses.”

Problem is, there are only about 6,000 coal-mining jobs in Kentucky.

Not only that, but we have to ask: WHAT IS THE IDEAL NUMBER OF COAL MINING JOBS ON THE PLANET? (I’d say it should approach the number of whale-oil harpooneers.)

–I wasn’t sure whether Newsweek was still in business, but here’s a science lesson.


–NO FRACKIN‘ WAY!! (another upside to low oil prices)

–Who says coal is cheap? It’s actually very costly when you count all the costs.


–Even Bloomberg (the pro-business news agency that’s afraid to rock the boat in China) had to report on this grim news: air pollution, mostly from coal, kills 4,000 Chinese people a day. A day.

If you missed the viral Chinese documentary “Under the Dome,” here’s a link to a story about it.

–Even oil companies don’t want to drill for oil. Sheesh. (Are you listening, Drew Faust? Or do you plan to hold onto those stocks until they’re worthless?)

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Bloomberg News in China: Pulling punches?

By Christopher B. Daly 

The company known as Bloomberg — founded by Medford native and, oh, yeah, former mayor of New York City Michael Bloomberg — is really several companies. The one that made Mr. Bloomberg a billionaire is one that makes and sells proprietary terminals that big-time investors use to trade stocks. Mr. Bloomberg also runs a news service that originally just covered business but in recent years has ventured further and further afield until it has emerged as something like a full-service news agency along the lines of the AP or Reuters.

Trouble is, Bloomberg News is a comparatively small part of Bloomberg’s overall business. And when covering news jeopardizes the company’s other interests — by, for example, pissing off the leaders of China — then Bloomberg corporate executives will step in and protect the core business, at the expense of the journalism.

That appears to be just what happened this week, when Bloomberg corporate chairman, Peter T. Grauer, discussed China.

“We have about 50 journalists in the market, primarily writing stories about the local business and economic environment,” Mr. Grauer said in response to questions after a speech at the Asia Society. “You’re all aware that every once in a while we wander a little bit away from that and write stories that we probably may have kind of rethought — should have rethought.”

Translation from corporate-speak: We are not a real news organization that wants to tell the truth no matter what and let the chips fall where they may. Bloomberg wants the chips to fall in his pocket. It’s his company, and he can do as he likes. But no one should be under any illusions.

If a story is true and interesting and you withhold it, you are engaging in self-censorship. If you really are in the news business, that approach, over the long run, is bad for business.





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The lure of owning a (whole) newspaper

By Christopher B. Daly 

What would you do if you were worth a couple of billion dollars and were the mayor of New York City and (probably) banned from seeking a fourth term? If you are Michael Bloomberg, your thoughts might stray toward buying a newspaper. Not a copy of a newspaper, of course, but a whole newspaper company.

That’s the upshot of a story in today’s Times, which says that Bloomberg is reportedly considering buying Financial Times Ltd., which owns all of the Financial Times newspaper and a half interest in The Economist magazine. (FT Ltd is a division of the British media giant Pearson.)

You might ask: why?

Michael Bloomberg has made a fortune multiple times over from the “media” company that he bloomberg-terminalalready owns — Bloomberg L.P. The company is based on the phenomenally lucrative business of supplying patented terminals to stock traders, along with content from Bloomberg’s own company and other sources. In that business, Bloomberg made billions. But it’s not enough.

What follows is pure speculation (since I have never met him or interviewed him). I don’t believe Michael  Bloomberg wants any more wealth. Besides, getting into the printing of newspapers or magazines is hardly the road to riches. I suspect that what drives Bloomberg is the electricity that comes from power — the kind of power he now wields as mayor of the country’s biggest city but which will be passing from his hands.

Like many another media mogul before him (Greeley, Hearst), Bloomberg has toyed with the idea of offering the whole country his services, as president of the United States. There are many reasons to believe that will not happen, so what else is there? He probably does not want to go back to minding the store at a company that sells trading terminals to Wall Street types.

No, the only kind of activity that offers the promise of that much power (or at least influence) is owning an important publication. Since the time of the first truly mass-circulation daily newspapers in the 1830s, that has been the pattern throughout U.S. history (see my book Covering America on Bennett, Greeley, Pulitzer, Hearst, Luce, Murdoch, etc.) . Time and again, as publishers have connected with masses of people, they have convinced themselves that they are indispensable to the fate of the nation and start throwing their weight around.

Michael Bloomberg already has a record of accomplishment. He has come a long way from his origins in Medford, Mass. If he really wants to help our country, and if he really wants to boost the news business, he should buy a couple of newspapers — every day, at a newsstand — then take them home and read them.







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By Chris Daly

More outrageous behavior by NYPD.

According to my preliminary research, there is no recall mechanism for the people to use to remove the mayor of New York. Even though Michael Bloomberg comes from my hometown (Medford, Mass.), I have had it with him over these attacks on journalists, and I think he should be removed.

My understanding is that the governor of New York state has that power. He should use it.




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