Every so often we have an interesting discussion on our super-secret internal mailing list. And sometimes, just sometimes, we give you all a chance to hear what it is we were thinking.

Today’s discussion involved sources of news. Various Angry Men gave their opinions on what they felt were superior news sources. We decided to share those with you, our loyal readers.

Angry New Mexican
My US-based news sources of choice are two of America’s best newspapers: The New York Times and the Washington Post. When I’m looking for a slightly less American flare, I turn to The Times also known as The Times of London. When I really want to get out of the NATO orbit, I either turn to the Irish Times, which has a very European focus or the South China Morning Post, Hong Kong’s #1 English language daily. The SCMP, as you might imagine, excels in Chinese and Asian news.

Angry Midwesterner
Like ANM, I also use American newspapers for most of my news. Unlike ANM, I use papers which are fit for reading, not ones which, like the NYT and Washington Post, are fit only for wiping my ass. As such my main news source is that long time bastion of accuracy (Dewey Defeats Truman!), the Chicago Tribune, which I balance out with the other pillar of midwestern journalistic integrity, the Chicago Sun-Times. I’m also an avid reader of a the paper produced by the classiest city on the Big Muddy, the St. Louis Post-Dispatch which does a great job of covering international and national news overlooked by many other papers. I get my dose of mainstream news from the surprisingly unbiased Houston Chronicle. To top all of this off, I usually add a dash of foreign sources found using Our New Google Overlords with occasional deep readings of the Irish Times and the Mail and Guardian, South Africa’s leading paper.

Angry Overeducated Catholic
The NYT is a real mixed bag. The in-depth articles are frequently pretty good, but the whole paper carries a bias worthy of the editorial page. So actual news stories are best read somewhere else, but features and investigative reporting can be fine. The same goes for the Post, except that the bias is a lot less blatant and more moderate. CNN and Fox News are both decent for getting quick updates about stories nobody can ignore, you just can’t expect either to cover everything (selection bias) or cover anything all that well (editing standards for online new sources are still pretty bad).

The Wall Street Journal is surprisingly comprehensive and unbiased given its very clear pro-business editorial stance, and the Investor’s Business Daily has excellent in-depth articles (but a very clear stance as well). Considering its heritage, the Christian Science Monitor is actually very, very good, with most articles going into substantial depth.

Away from mainstream media outlets, I generally find that Instapundit remains the best overview of the “mind of the web” on geopolitical, mainstream technological, and domestic issues. Of course, its sources are only as good as their authors, but that’s what a brain is for: to do filtering of content and weigh biases. There ain’t no such thing as objective reporting, and you have to accept that and move on. I prefer primary sources where possible, and Instapundit is pretty good at either linking to them or linking to blogs who link to them.

Angry Political Optimist
I have the Wall Street Journal delivered every morning. Occasionally they mess up and deliver the Chicago Tribune. To satisfy my craving for news, I read it but it usually leaves me feeling dissatisfied and hungry. My neighbor, a bastion of liberalism and dedicated Democrat, who I actually get along with quite well, has the NYT delivered. When he goes on vacation, he asks me to pick them up and suggests I read them. I have a nice stack of NYTs — in plastic bags — rolled up — unread. I just can’t stomach reading the headlines, although the social columns are interesting and the features are unique. The WSJ is a bit heavy for most people and is decidedly based towards business interests but even it has guest commentary from the likes of Pelosi and Reid. The WSJ bias is pro-business and to the extent that McCain, Obama, or any Congress-critter is pro-taxation, pro-corporate tax increases, and anti-Bush tax cuts, they end up being slammed pretty hard. Gary Kasparov has a piece on anti-Putin about every 4 months. After reading the Journal for years you know the by-lines just by reading the first few sentences. What’s best about the Journal are the headlines which are usually a play on words or some sort of pun.

When I want an international flavor, I usually wait for the Economist. And for a really in-depth view at the military and defense industrial situation, you can’t beat Aviation Week and Space Technology, although neither are dailys. They do give you an in-depth analysis on things the dailys just skim and allow you to fill in quite a few gaps.

Otherwise I don’t really read anything else, as I have this wonderful clipping service —err.. Angry Man mail list, that provides a myriad of interesting and diverse topics.

Angry Biologist
Personally I prefer to get my news from Fox News, they have a long standing tradition for unbiased reporting, they’re the only fair and balanced news service, and their policy of just reporting the facts without any editorializing provides the sort of honesty I can really get behind. When it comes to written news, I tend to prefer Little Green Footballs and World Net Daily. In a sea of liberal bias (especially prevalent on the internet) it is nice to see some news sites like these take unbiased journalism seriously. It’s hard to get the facts straight with sites like CNN, the NYT and the WaPost. They’re just shoveling the same liberal drivel onto their pages day after day. It takes real courage to stand up, as World Net Daily often does, and question mainstream myths, like global warming, evolution, and other liberal fantasies. I mean, really, when it comes down to it, do you want to be getting your news from someone who thinks your father was a monkey? I know I don’t!

It turns out that The Atlantic—a magazine to which I have subscribed for the last ten years, though I really doubt I’ll ever make enough money to be in their demographic (at least based on the market research surveys I saw and the ads in the magazine)—recently decided to open its web page to everyone. This is really nice from my perspective because I can send people links to articles without wondering if they’ll be able to read them. Whether they will read them is, of course, a separate question, but I’m not kidding myself. It’s not like I read everything people send me either.

Not too long back, as Angry New Mexican noted, the New York Times dumped TimesSelect and opened up things to everyone. After NYT went to TimesSelect, I confess I stopped reading them and ended up moving to the Washington Post, which I prefer (with the exception of Science Times). I wonder how many other people went in similar directions and simply stopped reading the Times?

Salon.com also dropped most of its pay-to-enter (I recall the days before pay-to-enter) and allows viewers in if they watch ads. You can pay not to watch ads.

Rupert Murdoch—ever the conformist contrarian—seems like he wants to keep his newly acquired Wall Street Journal as subscription-only. Murdoch seems to make piles of money riding herd over contradictions such as Fox News, purveyor of culture-warriors like Bill O’Reilly and sleaze-shows to offend more schoolmarm-ish viewers on Fox Network so maybe he can make this work.

Seems like advertising is paying more than the subscription fees these days and that many popular writers chafe under firewalls.

  • Are the days of pay web sites disappearing?
  • What are the upsides?
  • What are the downsides? I can think of a few, most notably the fact that advertiser influence may grow and make many media sites self-censor.
  • What fee sites, besides WSJ (and the huge number that are NSFW which we will leave to Angry Biologist to examine), aren’t likely to switch?
  • And the real question I want to know the answer to: Is Obama, the second political candidate to which I’ve ever given money, going to vanquish the Billary? 🙂 Having given money to McCain in the 2000 primary, I can be like all the fat cats who cover their basses by donating to both sides, only in slow motion and with a lot less $$$.

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ObFascism Tag: Well, much like other political groups out there, fascist ones, don’t usually charge… in coin. But you will pay with your soul…. (I won’t give them the satisfaction of the click-through, though not much shows up under the Google search for “fascism”.)

Once upon a time, news trickled out into newspapers or magazines. Then radio brought news bulletins out on a twice or three-times daily schedule. Television merged the fast pace of radio with the graphic content of photographs but didn’t really accelerate things further. Over many years we doubled or tripled our daily dose, but that was about it.

Until cable. With the advent of CNN and Headline News, and all their successors we now had news on an hourly basis. Naturally the Internet would only take that further, with news now literally “on demand.”

So it was only a matter of time until some clever news agency merged various technologies to give us this: a fully embedded, Google map-based, interactive display of currently known hash houses in Florida:

http://www.miaminewtimes.com/php/specialreports/index.php?report_id=791046

Can a full merge of all this with Google Earth be far behind? Will we soon have “breaking news” layers for Google Earth allowing us to zoom in as events unfold? Will Google eventually stream live satellite coverage to allow us to watch police chases and shootouts in real time?

Is there even any downside? (Well apart from the unfortunate inevitability that some poor sap will have his house displayed for national scorn due to a mistyped address…)

Pretty soon will this scenario be not clever fantasy but simply the way it is?

If so, is that good or bad?

Discuss!

John C. Dvorak, a long time main stay of technology magazines, has proven that he is so absolutely out of touch with modern technology and its uses that his future opinions are all now cast into doubt. His recent statements are so off base, that I seriously wonder if he has suddenly suffered permanent mental damage. In a recent column for PC Magazine he declared that the as of yet unreleased Google Phone is already doomed.

Now don’t get me wrong, I’m not saying the Google Phone is going to be a huge success either. It could really go either way. Plenty of good ideas, and big promises have been canceled or utterly flopped. The Google Phone may go that way, but given Google’s track record, I’m inclined to bet that they have something neat up their sleeves. Even some of their less well known products are amazingly useful, albeit less popular.

What really sets Dvorak’s statements from simply short sighted to down right moronic, however, is why he thinks the Google Phone is doomed:

So what is Google trying to do with a phone? First of all, it wants to put Google search on a phone. It wants to do this because it is obvious to the folks at Google that people need to do Web searches from their phone, so they can, uh, get directions to the restaurant? Of course, they can simply use the phone itself to call the restaurant and ask!

Right…, because people only do web searches to get directions to a restaurant, and of course always have the phone number for every location they might want to visit on hand? Obviously Dvorak has been asleep for the past few years and has thus missed Google SMS, which allows you to conduct Google searches with any SMS enabled phone by simply texting the search to GOOGL. Personally I can vouch for the fact that my friends and family all use Google SMS quite a bit. Whether it is searching for a Sports score when you can’t get to a TV or computer, searching for the nearest Asian restaurant in a certain zipcode, or using it as a text based 411, it works beautifully and is amazingly useful. It’s been so useful and so popular in fact, that Google debuted a new voice recognition version of it called Google 411, which works brilliantly, and is completely free (compared to the $1.99 most cell companies will charge for their 411 services).

In fact, Google’s new 411 service highlights an important point. Search engines for phones actually pre-date search engines on the web. So, yes, Dvorak, people DO in fact want to have search capabilities for their phones, and have actually wanted such capabilities long before the World Wide Web had even been a pipe dream. But you don’t have to speculate on the demand for mobile phone search capabilities, studies have shown that the demand is sky rocketing for these features (with mobile phone access to maps and directions topping the list).

Finally, Dvorak needs to realize that mobile phones are changing radically. Between roll up displays, compact virtual keyboards, and unbeliveably small projectors, it may not be long before the phone in your pocket is every bit as powerful and usable as a computer. Based on this information, I think Google is making a pretty safe bet by designing their phone around search capabilities. I’m really not sure where Dvorak is getting his ideas, but I think it is clear from his column that he has grown dangerously out of touch with modern technology.

-Angry Midwesterner


The New York Times announced today that it will be discontinuing its Times Select service as of this evening. For those of you who don’t read America’s best newspaper (which, unlike the Wall Street Journal, isn’t run by a neoconservative cabal), the NYT started Times Select a few years back to try to capitalize on some of their most exclusive content. In addition to restricting the archives, the NYT also restricted some of the best columnists you can find online or off. The likes of economics professor Paul Krugman, author Thomas Friedman, law school professor Stanley Fish or socialite Maureen Dowd were for paying customers only.

No doubt Times Select was worth it (or at least 227,000 paid subscribers thought so). However, the $10 million they made off the service annually obviously wasn’t worth the effort. Not only would advertising pay more, but making their Times Select content available for free (again) would better serve the New York Times brand. As an avid reader of the NYT (who started reading America’s second-best paper, The Washington Post for opinions and editorials when Times Select first came out), I am quite excited at the development. I won’t knock the Post — unlike USA Today it has a readership beyond America’s hotel rooms, but it’s still not the NYT. And no matter what people say about the democratization of social media as they participate in the great blogosphere (how I loathe that word) circle jerk, the facts are hard to avoid: Good news and commentary are becoming harder and harder to find in the blogging-driven Age of the Gibbering Yard Ape. I for one am glad that the New York Times is once again making their best and brightest available to us all.

Regular readers will be familiar with our “Troll of the Week” category which we often award to worthy individuals. This week, its time for something completely different. We’ve found an individual which we wish to name Hero of the Week. This is not a title we will give out often, and will only be awarded to truly worthy individuals, who had the courage to stand up and fight one form of injustice or another, and who have championed the greater good.


Our current Hero of the Week is a would be Jedi Knight from North Carolina named Christopher Knight. The young Jedi made an ad for his campaign for the Rockingham County, North Carolina board of education. In his entertaining campaign video, which aired on local television stations, Christopher unveils his secondary career as a Jedi, and his commitment to protecting the local youth from evil while he quests for elected office. The ad is quite well done, creative, and an excellent bit of amateur movie making. His video was so popular, that Knight decided to post his video on YouTube to share with the internet community as a whole.

Viacom owned TV channel VH1 grabbed Knight’s video without permission and aired it during their series “Web Junk 2.0”, technically violating copyright law as they did not even ask for Knight’s permission to air his copyright work. Knight however, as a true student of the Light Side of the Force, didn’t mind. He accepted their action with good humor and enthusiasm saying:

I’m delighted that as a proud son of Rockingham County, I got worldwide exposure for this… How often does a local school board ad wind up on VH1?”

His response showed wisdom, patience, mercy, and benevolence, all traits true Jedi should possess. In fact, he so enjoyed their review of his video that he placed a copy of it with their commentary on YouTube so others could enjoy his work in this fashion. Viacom responded quickly by sending Imperial Stormtroopers with cease and desist letters to YouTube and our Jedi Hero, telling them that they were in violation of copyright law and if they did not comply immediately, they would “face the full firepower of this fully operational company”. Chris replied:

Viacom says that I can’t use their clip showing my commercial, claiming copy infringement? As we say in the South, that’s ass-backwards.”

Ever the brave hero, Christopher Knight risked life and lawsuit by filing a counter complaint against Viacom, noting that they had violated his copyright first. In an amazing win for the forces of good, Viacom surrendered to the Jedi Rebellion and YouTube restored his clip. His actions have not only saved his video, but all of the galaxy… I mean internet. Thanks to his bravery users everywhere know that they too can file counter DMCA claims should their rights be threatened.

For his heroism, valor, and courage, Christopher Knight is awarded Hero of the Week and will receive an honorary beer at the Man Lunch. Even though we know a Jedi craves not these things, we hope the Jedi Knight will accept our praise and know that today he is a hero to all of the Rebel Alliance. Mr. Knight, may the force be you, always.

Edit: Our Hero’s blog. Also, welcome to Fark.com, feel free to look around.

The greatest ideological struggle in the post-communist era is, so the media tells us, the struggle against radical Islam. Unfortunately, the media oracle feeds us conflicting messages on what the real issue is and how it can be solved. Like any issue that involves political zombies, America has two irreconcilable visions of the problem, and two radically different solutions. But, as is true with many issues in American politics: both sides are wrong. This is part one of a two-part series dealing with the problems Americans have with understanding and responding to radical Islam.

Let us begin with the right, which frankly speaking, isn’t. From the view of extreme partisans on the right, the problem is Islam itself. The Islamaniacs , and all those who follow the False Prophet, follow a fundamentally violent religion. From this perspective, Islam is locked in an eternal jihad against the heathen world, and it is a conflict that can only be continued by force of arms: Non-Muslims must either recite the shahadah or perish: There is no room for the separation of Mosque and State in Islam. Supporters of this view of Islam feel that the solution to the conflict is to take up arms to oppose the jihad. Though most won’t say it, there are always the more candid (and extreme) voices that feel that Islam must be destroyed. Supporters of this position point to the (admittedly) violent rise of Islam in the 7th and 8th century and content that the us-versus-them mindset of the early days of Islam translate perfectly into the 21st century.

In a refreshing (albeit disturbing) alternative to the zombification of politics, fellows from the “Atheist by Faith Alone” camp of lunatic leftists (like the recent douchebag-cum-author Christopher Hitchens) agree with this view. But this odd confluence of fundamentalist Christians and irrational atheists is united in something else: being flat out wrong.

For starters, Islam is not the only religion to have a troubling relationship with the state. Christianity, for instance has had problems in all its major branches (see late medieval Western Europe for Catholicism, the late Byzantine Orthodoxy or later writings of Luther that smack of complete Caesero-Papism). Second, the violence in Arabia was par for the course at the time and that Islamic nations were significantly less violent than some of their pagan contemporaries (the Golden Horde comes to mind). Third, radical Islam is a product of the modern era: beginning in the late 19th century with Jamal al-Din al-Afghani as a response to the British occupation. Until that point, the Islamic world (at least in its Turkoman/Islamic flavor) wallowed in the peaceful, slothful decadence it had descended into since the Battle of Lepanto. Fourth, barring isolated separatist insurgencies (which are not, in general religiously motivated), Muslims in Southeast Asia, the major nexus of Islam outside of the Middle East have lived quite peacefully for a long time.

A detailed look at history and a smattering of common sense (often lacking in the American right) tell a clear story: this view of Islam is wrong, and the conclusion that it must be destroyed by force cannot be supported from that evidence. If only the other side offered a better view. As we’ll see in the next issue, things aren’t any better on the left.

I can’t help noticing two things: The 24 hour news media , when not reporting on gratutiously stupid topics (Paris Hilton in the slammer), pick an event and salivate over it for weeks — a disappearance of this person, that child, etc. Consider the Aruba disappearance of Natalee Holloway. In this case, the mother, Beth Twitty had a motive for keeping the story alive, given the obfuscation of the Aruban authorities; however the coverage on this event exceeded any conceivable public interest in the story. It certainly generated more coverage than politics, money, sex or war. And this story is far from alone: a person watching US television news would quickly come to the conclusion that the United States is a haven for child molesters, murderers and worse.

Statistics play a role: More people — more to report. I have a hard time believing that things that occur in the modern world are any worse than what has occurred in the past. The Spanish Inquisition and Caligula come to mind. We just report them quicker and more globally. This gives rise to a belief that things are worse now. One example may be child abductions. In the past, abductions were a local matter and people living 100 miles away were never aware of the event. Now each and every one is a national matter. Are more children being abducted by strangers than before? probably not per capita; but the coverage makes it seem that way.

Which brings me to my second point: Virtually every person I have met in the last few years is on anti-anxiety medication (Prozac, Valium, Equanil, Ativan, Ataraz, Chlorazipam, etc. ) or anti-depressive medicine (Effexor, Cymbalta, Lexapro, Zoloft, Wellbutrin, ….) While this may be an exaggeration for me, it seems mostly true for men, and accurate to say this for women. Now it may be that I just hang around with the wrong type of people, but the sales figures of the various Pharmas seem to confirm this.

When the first thing a person does in the morning is to flip on the news, and get bombarded with the latest global nonsense and the completely idiotic Washington beat, one begins to wonder. Given a measure for the ‘intensity’ of the news reported and some measure of its negativity, I ask how that would correlate with anti-anxiety and anti-depressant drug sales. Likely the correlation coefficient would be quite high.

Blasted by the current 24/7 new cycle and neverending torrent of doom and crime, I fondly remember the Huntley-Brinkley report and CBS’s Walter Conkrite — an hour of news covering really important information. Just enough to get you interested in perusing your newspaper for in-depth coverage. Enough to start a conversation in the barber-shop; and enough to keep you informed on really important issues. Probably not enough to make a run to the nearest pharmacy.