Saturday, July 31, 2010

Top 10 Low Pass Flybys of All Time

All About Marc Mezvinsky

by Mike Krumboltz


On July 31, Chelsea Clinton will marry longtime sweetheart Marc Mezvinksy. As the nuptials draw nearer and the wedding bells grow louder, the interest in Bill and Hillary's future son-in-law grows larger.
Over the past week, online lookups for "marc mezvinksy" soared nearly 80%. Those who don't know his name (but are aware of the impending event) pushed Web searches for "chelsea clinton fiancé" up 132%.
And the Mezvinsky-mania doesn't stop there. Related lookups on "marc mezvinsky photos" and "marc mezvinsky job" are also popular. (By the way, he's an investment banker and does very well for himself, thank you very much.)
Usually, the pre-wedding searches are all about the bride. However, in this case, searchers are most interested in learning about the groom's mom and dad. Indeed, theirs is an interesting story.
Edward Mezvinksy

We don't know much about Chelsea and Marc's relationship — what they like to do, whether they engage in baby-talk, etc. But we do know they have at least one thing in common: Politically connected parents.
Marc's father, Edward Mezvinsky, was a congressman from Iowa for two terms during the 1970s. That's the good part of his resumé. The bad part: He's also a convicted felon. In 2002, he pleaded guilty to defrauding investors out of $10 million, and served several years in prison.
What exactly did he do? You know those Nigerian email schemes that clog your spam folder? Well, Ed Mezvinksy got caught up in one. He didn't start it, but he did attempt to scam people into giving him money. The ruse did not end well.
People magazine reports that he is "remorseful for what happened," adding, "It was a terrible time, and I was punished for that. And I respect that and accept responsibility for what happened."
Like Marc's father, Marc's mom served as a United States representative. From 1993–1995, she was a congressperson from the great state of Pennsylvania.
Ironically, she lost her footing after she changed her stance and began supporting then President Clinton's budget, "after months of publicly voicing her opposition to the bill because it did not contain enough spending cuts." That last-minute change was "political suicide" (her words).
According to Politics Daily, she attempted a comeback with a run for the Senate, but her husband's legal problems forced her to drop the bid. Prior to her stint in Congress, Ms. Margolies-Mezvinksy was a television reporter for NBC.
The siblings

Chelsea Clinton isn't just getting a husband. She's getting a whole bunch of brothers and sisters in the bargain. Marc Mezvinsky has 10 siblings, several of whom are adopted.
An article from House.gov explains that while a reporter in 1970, Ms. Margolies-Mezvinksy was covering a story on Korean orphans. She was apparently "so moved by the experience that she became the first single woman in the United States to adopt a foreign child, a Korean girl."
Again, according to House.gov, the family consists of "Margolies’s two children, Mezvinsky’s four children from a previous marriage, two sons born to them, and three Vietnamese boys whom they adopted together."

Friday, July 23, 2010

How your Apple iPhone spies on you

Criminals using the Apple iPhone may be unwittingly providing police with a wealth of information that could be used against them, according to new research.


By Tom Leonard in New York 

Published:  08 Jul 2010

As the communications device grows in popularity, technology experts and US law enforcement agencies are devoting increasing efforts to understanding their potential for forensics investigators.

While police have tracked criminals by locating their position via conventional mobile phone towers, iPhones offer far more information, say experts.

"There are a lot of security issues in the design of the iPhone that lend themselves to retaining more personal information than any other device," said Jonathan Zdziarski, a former computer hacker who now teaches US law enforcers how to retrieve data from mobile phones.

"These devices organise people's lives and, if you're doing something criminal, something about it is going to go through that phone." Apple has sold more than 50 million iPhones since the product was launched in 2007.

Mr Zdziarski told The Daily Telegraph he suspected that security had been neglected on the iPhone as it had been intended as a consumer product rather than a business one like rivals such as the Blackberry.

An example was the iPhone's keyboard logging cache, which was designed to correct spelling but meant that an expert could retrieve anything typed on the keyboard over the past three to 12 months, he said.

In addition, every time an iPhone's internal mapping system is closed down, the device snaps a screenshot of the phone's last position and stores it.

Investigators could access "several hundred" such images from the iPhone and so establish its user's whereabouts at certain times, he said.

In a further design feature that can also help detectives, iPhone photos include so-called "geotags" so that, if posted online, they indicate precisely where a picture was taken and the serial number of the phone that took it.

"Very, very few people have any idea how to actually remove data from their phone," Sam Brothers, a mobile phone researcher for US Customs and Border Protection told the Detroit Free Press.

"It may look like everything's gone but for anybody who's got a clue, retrieving that information is easy."

Who's paying for the ground zero Islamic center?

By Rick Lazio, Special to CNN
  • Rick Lazio says the Imam behind the planned Islamic Center refused to call Hamas terrorist
  • Lazio: Other associations also make him wary of center's funding sources
  • He says New Yorkers have a right to know where money is coming from to feel safe
  • Lazio: The state attorney general should request Cordoba Initiative open its books
Editor's note: Former Rep. Rick Lazio served in the U.S. House of Representatives from 1993 to 2001, representing the 2nd Congressional District. He is the Republican nominee for governor of New York running against Andrew Cuomo, a Democrat, who is the New York state attorney general.
(CNN) -- In June, Imam Feisal Abdul Rauf, the man behind the proposed ground zero mosque, was asked on live radio if he believed Hamas is a terrorist organization.
This isn't a difficult question: Hamas employs suicide bombers and fires incendiary rockets at civilian targets within Israel. It calls for the destruction of the Jewish state followed by the establishment of a potentially fundamentalist and repressive regime.
Governments all over the world, including the United States and the European Union, rightfully consider Hamas to be a terrorist organization that willfully and indiscriminately targets innocent civilians. Yet Imam Rauf, after being asked this simple, straightforward question, refused to state whether or not he believed Hamas to be a terrorist organization. He said: "I will not allow anybody to put me in a position where I am seen by any party in the world as an adversary or as an enemy."
Now Imam Rauf wants to build and lead a $100 million, 13-story community center and mosque. It would be constructed on property currently occupied by a historic 150-year-old building that was seriously damaged by the landing gear of one of the hijacked jetliners that flew into the World Trade Center on September 11, 2001, and he wants to unveil it on September 11, 2011.
I oppose the center and mosque's construction because I believe there should be an investigation into the sources of its funding. The main group behind its construction, The Cordoba Initiative, which is headed by the Imam, is a registered charity in New York state. It is the responsibility of New York's Attorney General Andrew Cuomo to ensure the mosque's funding is coming from reputable sources.
The radio show comments were not the first time Imam Rauf has said troubling things or been associated with troubling activities. On CBS' "60 Minutes," less than a month after the attacks, he said American policies were an "accessory" to the crime of 9/11. "In fact," he added, "in the most direct sense, Osama bin Laden is made in the USA."
Imam Rauf is also listed on the website of the Perdana Global Peace Organization as a "role player and contributor." This group was a financial backer of the Gaza flotilla, which attempted in May to break the Israeli's blockade of Gaza.
The Cordoba Initiative has reported less than $20,000 in assets. Where the $100 million for his project would come from is anybody's guess. Furthermore, it's fair to ask why, exactly, Imam Rauf has insisted on building the mosque so close to ground zero, and why he wants to unveil it on the 10th anniversary of the attacks. This not an issue of religious freedom, but rather, a question of safety and security.
New Yorkers deserve to be safe and to feel safe, and we have a right to know who's footing the bill for Imam Rauf's project. Are foreign governments or other organizations involved? And why is there such secrecy about the source of the money?
The Cordoba Initiative is legally required to file disclosure reports with the office of the attorney general, and it could easily be asked under state law to open its books for the office if Cuomo would simply make that request.
We need to know who is paying for the center and mosque. We need to know what their motives are, and we need to know if the Imam is promising any potential benefactors anything in return for their support.
The opinions expressed in this commentary are solely those of Rick Lazio.

Netanyahu Deceived US to Destroy Oslo Accords

The Editorials: Counterpunch - July 19: "Netanyahu: I Deceived the US to Destroy Oslo AccordsBy JONATHAN COOK There is one video Benjamin Netanyahu, the Israeli prime minister, must..."

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Just to Open Your Eyes and Unblock Your Mind

The Perils of Eating Fire in Saudi Arabia

By Nael Shyoukhi
RIYADH (Reuters) – Saudi artist Maher al-Luqman is always nervous when he goes on stage to eat glass and fire or to walk on nails, for fear the country's religious police will disrupt his show.
The leader of a troupe of 12 strongmen, Luqman struggles for acceptance in a country whose austere version of Sunni Islam means that many forms of entertainment and unusual feats of strength are sometimes seen as sorcery.
"They have stopped us for two years, branding us as sorcerers, and calling for people to fight us and report us," Luqman, 35, told Reuters.
Bearded religious policemen roam the streets of the Gulf Arab kingdom of 25 million people to enforce gender segregation, search for drugs and alcohol and to stop behavior they consider immoral.
The Saudi government is trying to promote internal tourism but its efforts are complicated by restrictions on singing, dancing and mixing of unrelated men and women enforced by a powerful religious establishment.
Public entertainment like that provided by groups such as Luqman's Altineen -- which means "dragon" in Arabic -- is rare. Every summer the Saudi Commission for Tourism and Antiquities organizes public festivals in cities in the kingdom.
Last year, concerts and some circus shows were banned due to what the religious police described as contradiction to Islam.
Conservative clerics and religious police, backed by powerful members of the Saudi royal family, resist some activities that they believe do not comply with the cultural and religious norms of the country.
Jeddah's annual summer film festival was canceled last year despite the support of local governor Prince Khaled al-Faisal. In Abha in the kingdom's southwest mountains, some concerts were also banned from a tourism festival.
Luqman's group had permission to perform last week in a desert town 200 km north of the capital Riyadh but was abruptly stopped from going on stage by an order from the religious police.
"I am fed up. I want to leave. It is so sad to see these talents go to waste," Luqman said.
He keeps trying to perform because of the loyal fans who flock to his shows.
"I really enjoyed the show. They deserve encouragement," said Ahlam Abdullah, a woman clad in black after watching how Luqman's men piled five huge bricks on his stomach and smashed them one by one with a hammer while he was lying still.
"Frankly, this was quite a performance," agreed Mezher al-Qarni who to came with his daughter to watch the group performing in a park near Riyadh.
(Reporting Nael Shyoukhi and Asma Alsharif; Editing by Cynthia Johnston and Angus MacSwan)

Anti-mosque protests on the rise, say Muslim advocates

By Liz Goodwin


Opposition to the construction of mosques has skyrocketed in cities and towns across the country, scholars and advocates of Muslim culture tell The Upshot.

Public protests against three planned mosques have made news in the past week: Former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin joined others in opposing the building of a mosque a few blocks from the World Trade Center site. Hundreds demonstrated against a proposed mosque in a small town in Tennessee (pictured above). Andsome residents of Temecula, California, are opposing the local Muslim community's plan to build a bigger mosque, saying it could become a hotbed of radical Islam.

Professor Akbar Ahmed, the Ibn Khaldun Chair of Islamic Studies at American University's School of International Service, is not surprised by the recent spate of public protests. He spent last year traveling to more than 100 mosques in 75 U.S. cities with a team of researchers, and concluded that opposition to mosques, including some attacks on them, is on the rise.

"Everywhere there's a mosque, there's a tension now," Ahmed says.
Ahmed believes most Americans have little idea what goes on inside the approximately 2,000 mosques in the country, which leads to fear and anti-Muslim sentiment. Comments from public figures like Sarah Palin exacerbate the problem, he says.

Palin posted Sunday on Twitter that a planned mosque near the World Trade Center site would "stab hearts." She joined a PAC and family members of some 9-11 victims in vocally objecting to the religious center. "Peace-seeking Muslims, pls understand, Ground Zero mosque is UNNECESSARY provocation; it stabs hearts. Pls reject it in interest of healing," she wrote.
(In addition to the mosque, the 13-story, $100 million project would include a swimming pool, gym, and performance space open to everyone, reports ABC News.)

"Sarah Palin's comments again were saying implicitly that mosques are associated with violence and terrorism," Ahmed says, though he adds that he thinks the tension over this proposed mosque is unique due to the "raw wounds" of the 9-11 attacks. "At the highest level, even in America, we have a [former] vice presidential candidate, she can openly make a statement like this."

Palin defended her statements in a post on Facebook, saying that she is all for religious freedom and tolerance, but that not building the mosque near Ground Zero is an issue of "common moral sense."
Jim Zogby, the head of the Arab-American Institute, a nonprofit research group, said there are not enough people in public life defending American Muslims' right to worship.

"There is very little counter-thrust in the public debate, and the result is I think Muslims are becoming increasingly concerned about their security in the country,"  Zogby says. "This is a worrisome environment. Something's got to give."

Opponents of mosques feel freer now to openly object to the presence of a mosque in their community, saysIbrahim Hooper, spokesman for the Council on American-Islamic Relations, a Muslim advocacy organization.

"Mosques used to face opposition in the past, but it was usually couched in terms of opposition to parking or traffic," Hooper says. "But you know it's only recently, I think, that people feel comfortable expressing their bigotry so openly."

Of course, opponents of mosques do not consider themselves bigots, and many are genuinely concerned that mosques may help produce homegrown terrorists. The Washington Post cited seven cases of homegrown terrorism that occurred over the past year alone, including the case of U.S. citizen Faisal Shahzad, who pleaded guilty to attempting to set off a car bomb in New York City's Times Square. President Obama has named battling the phenomenon one of the country's top security priorities.

Ahmed says the incidents of Americans turning to jihad is a reflection of a "failure in Muslim leadership." He says Muslim religious leaders should have to be trained and certified, since they are in positions of power, often over young congregations. But he adds that opposing mosques at home will only fuel accusations from America's enemies that the country hates Islam and Muslims.

A pastor opposed to the proposed mosque in Temecula, California, reflected these fears of homegrown terrorism in a comment to the L.A. Times.

"There is a concern with all the rumors you hear about sleeper cells and all that. Are we supposed to be complacent just because these people say it's a religion of peace? Many others have said the same thing," Pastor Bill Rench said.

Others they their opposition is a matter of pragmatism. Stephen Schwartz, a convert to Islam and the founder of the nonprofit Center for Islamic Pluralism, opposes the building of the mosque near the World Trade Center, calling it an "unnecessary and misguided attempt at conciliation." He says that Muslims should not build big new mosques in the country because it will stoke tensions with the non-Muslim community.

"The problem that emerges is that these projects, when they are ambitious and large, set off a certain sector of the American people," Schwartz says. "I think that's very unfortunate but it is reality. Muslims should take that into account and should understand that building large mosques right now will be problematic."

Some opponents of the mosque in Tennessee have told local news outlets they think people will learn jihad inside the mosque's walls, though the local Muslim community has had a smaller mosque in the town for years without incident.

Several hundred people in Tennessee took to the streets of Murfreesboro last week to protest the local Islamic Center's purchase of a 15-acre plot of land. They were met by a counterprotest of equal size.

"In Islam, a mosque means 'We have conquered this country,' " one man told a local CNN affiliate. "And where are they? They're in the center of Tennessee. They're going to say, 'We have conquered Tennessee.' "

A plan for a separate mosque was tabled in another town in Tennessee this year after public opposition, reports the Tennessean.

Ahmed visited the site of a mosque in Columbia, Tennesseethat had been burned down and vandalized with painted swastikas in 2008, while researching last year.

"The local tiny Muslim community was in a state of shock because most of them were born in America and had lived very happily in the small community," he says. "People say, 'Go back home,' and they say, 'Where do we go? This is our home.' "



Some Thoughts on Digital Media and the Future of the Newspaper Business

This week Business Insider poked fun at the New York Times's latest discussion of how hard people in successful online media companies work.


We poked fun because the New York Times never seems to portray the energy, excitement, industriousness, and intensity of this business--our business--in a positive light.

For example, the NYT never seems to note that this is a dynamic new industry that is creating jobs and revitalizing a trade that has become fat and happy and set in its ways (mainstream media). Rather, the NYT portrays the industry as some sort of digital slave labor camp--focusing on online media manager heart attacks, "burnout", and employees reduced to tears at their desks.
And we get tired of seeing companies like ours portrayed like that. Not only because we love what we do but because we think we've created a dynamic, exciting workplace--one in which talented, motivated people succeed and hard work, team-work, creativity, and success are rewarded.
Importantly, we have created this environment not only because we would be toast without it (sad but true), but because it's the kind of environment that WE want to work in. The folks who thrive at Business Insider could easily work anywhere, and we're thilled they are choosing to work here. We're also proud as hell of the hard work they do.
(It's our third birthday today, so we're feeling nostalgic and proud of our team.).
Anyway, after we poked fun at the NYT article yesterday, we got several notes from folks observing that there are plenty of people at newspapers who work hard, too, that working hard at a newspaper is no guarantee of continued employment these days, and that making the transition from newspapers to digital pay scales is tough, especially for mid-career folks with families.

And of course all that is true, and we didn't mean to be insensitive to it.
And so, as a balance to yesterday's fun-poking, we thought we'd run through a few points that rarely seem to make it into newspaper articles about our industry AND the newspaper industry.
First, on the "digital slave-labor pay scales" theme, we're happy to report that--at least at this company--we've reached the point where our full-time pay and benefits are equal to or more than those at most mainstream media organizations (not all, but most). Most of our team have the opportunity to earn performance-based bonuses, but these bonuses are NOT just tied to readership goals. They're also dependent on teamwork, quality, management, attitude, effort, improvement, and other more subjective measures that help us build a better product and company.
Importantly, we're fortunate enough to have reached the point where we can pay better-than-market and run the company at break-even after only three years, which is a short investment period for a media business. This is encouraging--not just for us but for the digital media industry as a whole. As we continue to grow, we will invest everything we can back into the business. This should allow us to continue to improve the quality of our content AND continue to build the best digital team in the business. We will never employ as many journalists as the New York Times--the digital business model just won't support it--but what we lack in numbers, we'll make up in talent, commitment, and excellence in the medium.

This last point can't be stressed enough, and it's often forgotten: The digital and print media are different. One big reason digital newsrooms seem so foreign and stressful to those who have spent their careers in print is that the digital product, production schedules, goals, work-flow, reporting styles, and skill-sets are so different. It's hard to step from a senior slot in print to a senior slot in TV without feeling like a fish out of water--and it's the same when moving from print to digital. That's the main reason it's hard for many print folks to make a mid-career transition. It's not just that succeeding in a real-time digital environment means working intensely and effectively. It's also that the skills required for success in each medium are different.
And Now On To What Your Newspaper Bosses Aren't Telling You...

With respect to the future of the newspaper business, we continue to be amazed at the vague-but-positive noises about the "transition to digital" that emanate from the mouths of newspaper bosses. After five disastrous years, newspaper bosses are finally acknowledging that the industry is going through a rough time, but they still aren't being fully forthright with their employees about the employees' long-term employment prospects.
Perhaps this is because the newspaper bosses don't want to be the bearers of bad news. Perhaps they're hoping for a miracle. Perhaps they themselves are in denial.
Whatever the reason, newspaper folks deserve to know just how challenging the future of their business (and, therefore, careers) is likely to be. And because newspaper bosses aren't spelling it out for them, we will.
It's "All About Circulation"

Print journalists love to ridicule online journalists for being "all about clicks." In doing so, they apparently forget that print journalism is "all about circulation." And the trends in print circulation are much worse than the trends in clicks.
Newspaper bosses speak about the "transition to digital" as though all that has to happen for newspaper companies to be fat and happy again is to migrate their print economics to the the web. And that's where the denial (or at least praying for a miracle) comes in.
Unless something changes radically in both online advertising and consumers' willingness to pay full price for newspapers online (one or the other alone won't do it), today's newspaper cost structure simply won't work in a digital world.
At some newspapers, this has already become self-evident (the SeattlePI shut down its print business and laid off ~90% of its newsroom). At others, it is in the early stages of happening. Over the next 10-20 years (at the outside), it will likely happen at every newspaper in the world.
The problem, in a nutshell, is this:
A print newspaper is not just a vehicle for delivering news -- it's a vehicle for delivering a truckload of high-priced ads. No one has any idea whether these ads are actually seen, of course, but for the $40 billion still spent on newspaper ads each year, that lack of accountability has never been a problem (in part because there was never an alternative.) What matters to newspaper advertisers is circulation -- the number of folks who might -- might -- see those ads.
The print newspaper is such a good vehicle for delivering ads, in fact, that the New York Times generates about $55 per month of advertising revenue for every print subscriber it has ($650 million of annual print revenue divided by 1 million subscribers divided by 12 months). That's in addition to the $58 per month the New York Times induces subscribers to pay for the daily print ad-delivery vehicle ($700 million of annual circulation revenue divided by 1 million subscribers divided by 12 months). The New York Times' web site, in contrast, only generates about $0.70 of ad revenue per month from each of the 18 million people who visit it -- and zero (ZERO) circulation revenue.

As print circulation declines, the print newspaper becomes a less-miraculous vehicle in which to deliver ads -- because fewer people might see them. Just as bad, as circulation declines, the cost of printing and delivering each newspaper goes up (thanks to the loss of economies of scale).
Eventually, the cost of writing and printing and delivering the print newspaper more than offsets the revenue that can be generated from the print-based ads, and the print paper collapses.
That's why the newspaper business is "all about circulation."
But What About The "Transition To Digital?" Won't That Save Print?

As noted above, the digital media business, at least in its current form, generates vastly lower revenue per reader than the print newspaper business does. So the digital business just won't support the same cost structure as the print newspaper business, no matter how successfully a newspaper company "transitions" to it.
To hammer this point home, let's look at the respective revenues generated in 2009 in print and digital by the New York Times(round numbers, our estimates).

The New York Times Media Group (the division of the company that includes the NYT and International Herald Tribune) generated $1.6 billion of revenue in 2009. Of this, $800 million came from ads, $700 million from paper sales, and $100 million from other stuff:

NEW YORK TIMES REVENUE (2009):
Advertising: $800 million
Circulation: $700 million
Other: $100 million
TOTAL: $1.6 billion

Of that revenue, we estimate that the paper's online division generated about $150 million of revenue, almost entirely from advertising. (The New York Times Company says it generated about 14% of its overall revenue from its online operations last year. Once you strip out About.com, that leaves about $210 million of online revenue. We estimate that the bulk of that comes from the New York Times.)

So, with that estimate in hand, we can compare the respective revenue of the New York Times print business and the New York Times digital business:

NEW YORK TIMES PRINT REVENUE (2009):
Advertising: $650 million
Circulation: $700 million
Other: $100 million
TOTAL: $1.45 billion

NEW YORK TIMES DIGITAL REVENUE (2009):
Advertising: $150 million
TOTAL: $150 million

Now you can begin to see what the problem is. Even with all the New York Times content available online, plus a dedicated New York Times Digital staff, plus an awesome web site with 18 million unique visitors a month, New York Times Digital is only generating $150 million a year. Meanwhile, the NYT's newsroom alone is said to cost $200 million a year.

Okay, But Won't Paywalls Save Us?

The NYT is about to implement a paywall. Won't that boost online revenue?
Actually, no. NYT management says the paywall is expected to be revenue-neutral: It will increase circulation revenue but decrease advertising revenue.

But let's say the NYT paywall does much better than that. Let's say the NYT gets 1 million people (same number as its print circulation) to pay it $100 a year for the online paper. And let's say it retains the entire $150 million of ad revenue. Then the NYT digital revenue will look like this:

NEW YORK TIMES DIGITAL REVENUE AFTER HYPOTHETICALLY WILDLY SUCCESSFUL PAYWALL
Advertising: $150 million
Subscriptions: $100 million
TOTAL: $250 million

Now, $250 million of revenue will support a perfectly respectable and viable business. In fact it will support a downright huge business relative to most other digital media companies (We would be thrilled to have $250 million of revenue). But $250 million is not enough revenue to support the New York Times' current newsroom, which costs an estimated $200 million.

How big a newsroom could $250 millon of revenue support? In our opinion, a newsroom that costs about $75-$100 million. Even if the NYT's paywall strategy is wildly successful, therefore, we estimate that the paper will eventually have to cut its newsroom costs by at least one-half and probably two-thirds.

How do we get to that estimate? For now, the NYT is not a non-profit, which means that, eventually, it has to produce a reasonable profit margin--say 20%. There are also plenty of costs in addition to editorial costs that that $250 million of revenue has to support: Sales costs, tech costs, bandwidth costs, design costs, management costs, administrative costs, etc. In fact editorial costs should eventually amount no more than a third of revenue. That's where we get $75-$100 million for the NYT Digital newsroom.

So those are the economics of the digital business.
Even if the New York Times "transitions" successfully to digital, in other words, its news-gathering costs will likely have to shrink by at least half and probably two thirds. Those who support their families based on a salary from the New York Times Company should probably take note of that.

Is There Any Hope?

Now, is there any way the New York Times and other newspapers can escape that fate?
Yes. There are three ways:
·           First, newspapers can find some way to keep print circulation stable (or, better, growing) for the next couple of decades. We don't think this is likely--especially when there's more and more good content available for free or cheap online--but we suppose it's possible.

·           Second, newspapers can be bought by a company like Bloomberg, which is swimming in cash thanks to a professional financial terminal business. The cost of the New York Times newsroom is meaningless next to the billions of dollars of profit that Bloomberg generates, so Bloomberg could absorb that cost forever and no one would care. For some excellent papers, including the NYT, this is a reasonable escape route.

·           Third, newspapers can find ways to charge online subscribers more AND generate a lot more ad revenue AND find ways to reduce newsroom costs without gutting the place. If newspapers can figure out new revenue streams, it will help us, too, so we're certainly rooting for them to do so. For now, though, this escape-route falls into the "hope and pray" camp. On the cost-cutting side, there is a simple, if harsh-sounding, solution. If we were put in charge of the NYT, the first thing we would do is open the site logs and see which 20% of the newsroom produced 80% of the readership. And we'd probably start reducing costs by focusing on the most expensive projects in the other 80%.

How likely is it that any of these three escape routes will save the careers and livelihoods of half of the folks who currently work in theNew York Times's newsroom?

We'd put the odds at about 50%.
The most likely solution by far is that someone like Mike Bloomberg buys the paper as a trophy and funds it as a vanity project (a la Bloomberg BusinessWeek). That would be the best for everyone who loves the NYT just the way it is.

The second-most-likely solution is that the NYT finds a way to hit up readers for more money and reduce its newsroom costs through trimming rather than gutting--perhaps by laying off many expensive folks who don't actually contribute that much to the paper's readership and hiring more intense, hungrier folks who do. This would be the best solution for folks who want to see the NYT be a good, disciplined business in addition to a great news organization again.

Bottom Line: Odds Are, In 5 Years, You Or The Guy Sitting Next To You At Your Newspaper Will Be Gone

Overall, we think the odds are better than even that about half the folks in the NYT's newsroom and other print news will need to find another job (or career) within 5 years.

We're certainly not rooting for that. But we do think it's the reality.
And we don't think newspaper bosses are doing newspaper folks any favors by not laying out that reality in detail for them.
But Here's The Good News: The Future Of Journalism Is Bright

Obviously, the challenges facing newspapers are deeply depressing to those whose family fortunes and livelihoods depend on them. But the challenges facing newspapers should not extrapolated into challenges facing journalism--or, for that matter, the world that depends on it.
The future of journalism, in fact, is bright. Despite the struggles of many newspapers--and the pain that many newspaper folks have experienced in the past 10 years--the world is vastly better informed than it was only a decade ago. Thanks to millions of blogs, experts, organizations, causes, digital media companies, print media companies, electronic media companies (Bloomberg, Reuters), Twitter, Facebook, and other next-generation information outlets, the world is now awash in primary and secondary information.
It's true that this the information often appears in a rough, unedited, or incorrect form. But within seconds, millions of online fact-checkers descend upon it and hammer it into shape. This participatory, conversational journalism is certainly different than what came before, but it's vastly more powerful. And it will continue to give voice to more and more people, facts, and news in our world than newspapers ever could have.
So don't confuse the plight of "newspapers" with the state of journalism. Journalism is in great shape. And digital-media journalism is getting better all the time.
Follow Henry Blodget on Twitter: www.twitter.com/hblodget