Hola muchachos! Angry New Mexican here again with some original work for a change. So it turns out that for conservatives, hatred of the New York Times is an article of faith, much like Bill Clinton’s assassination of Vince Foster or the fact that President Obama is actually a Muslim and for that matter wasn’t born in America. Hmm. Perhaps I should have added those to the Conservative’s Declaration of Faith. But I digress.

Evidently The Grey Lady is viewed as the personification of all that is wrong with the “liberal media.” Now, if they wielded that label on MSNBC, I would find it hard to complain, but this is the same party who’s current 10 Commandments are so exclusive that Ronald Regan qualifies as a RINO (and if the WSJ says so, can a Republican really argue). To expect Republicans to have any connection with reality is like expecting Paris Hilton to develop a set of morals. I mean, it’s technically possible, but it’s about as likely as winning the Triple Crown with a lame horse. Regardless, the relative decline of print media, especially the New York Times, had Angry Overeducated Catholic salivating at the thought of a conservative media ascendancy. I had to respond. You see, the truth does that sort of thing.

Anyway, as bad as things are for the Grey Lady, the NYT is still doing pretty damned well compared to the vast majority of major papers. It’s still America’s #3 newspaper, after all. WSJ and every hotel’s favorite USA Today (#2 and #1, respectively) are also holding up pretty well.

WaPo is fucked as a national paper, which is why they’ve closed all their domestic news offices outside of the Washington metro area. They’re not even trying for “national paper” status any more. The Chicago Tribune and LA Times fighting valiantly on their way down, but they’re doomed unless they can (a) off the NYT or WSJ or (b) take the WaPo route and surrender. They’ll either refocus themselves as local papers (WaPo’s plan), or die.

This of course has nothing whatsoever to do with “media bias.” Just because the conservative media fantasy-cum-conspiracy-theory happens to offer an explanation for an event doesn’t mean that it’s the correct explanation (witness the circulation slide of the Moonie-owned uber-conservative Washington Times).

The bitter truth is that that through the power of the internet, the paradox of choice is wielding it’s winnowing fan. The papers with a truly local (or truly niche) audience will survive. But they’ll be small because a niche, by definition, doesn’t have many people willing to pay for it. The big guys will survive too, because when people have too many options they pick what is popular. If for no other reason, they allow you to have a discussion with other people who have seen the same material. This is also why Twilight movies are guaranteed to be made in Hollywood. No matter how badly they suck, they will pack theaters because they are popular. And tons of people see popular movies, even very, very bad ones. This is what will save the WSJ and NYT. They’re the most popular. People will read them because plenty of other people do. Everyone else gets fucked. (See also the article, “A world of hits” in this week’s Economist).

I’m sure it warms Angry Overeducated Catholic’s heart to realize that the future of print national/international level news in America is WSJ vs. NYT (let’s be honest, if it weren’t for hotels, nobody would read USA Today). The polarization brought by Conservative Savior Rupert Murdoch via Fox News to television will now make it’s inexorable way to print news. Rupert versus the world. I’m sure he’s always looked at it this way. But it wasn’t until recently that a sane man would actually think he might be right.

I sure wish the Bancrofts’ had a pair of balls somewhere in the entire family and stood up to Murdoch. I’d rather see the future of news fought between then Bancrofts and the Sulzbergers than see the world’s second most offensive Australian (after Mel Gibson, the raging alcoholic anti-Semite, naturally). But sadly, the fallen state of the world is such that douchebags do sometimes get ahead.

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So, a short time ago, the Associated Press decided that bloggers who quote a little too freely from AP’s wire should be ponying up:

Last week, The A.P. took an unusually strict position against quotation of its work, sending a letter to the Drudge Retort asking it to remove seven items that contained quotations from A.P. articles ranging from 39 to 79 words.

They did retreat from this somewhat extreme position, however, and announced that they were looking for clear guidelines. Regardless, the AP was clear that it believed that:

As content creators, we firmly believe that everything we create, from video footage all the way down to a structured headline, is creative content that has value

(Hat tip to the New York Times, with which I frequently disagree but which has never tried to sue me for quoting their articles!)

Now (and you could probably see this one coming) it seems that the AP doth protest too much:

In a news item about the e-mail from Judge Kozinski’s wife that I posted on this site, an AP article lifted numerous passages.

I counted 154 words quoted from my post. That’s almost twice the number of words contained in the most extensive quotation in the Drudge Retort.

And if that weren’t bad enough, there’s this:

Ironically, in January 2007, the AP syndicated reports written by a group of Media Bloggers Association member bloggers covering the Scooter Libby trial. The AP did not compensate the bloggers, though it benefited from their work.

Now, to be fair, in that last case it looks like it was win-win.

But isn’t that really the point? With fair use, it’s always win-win, especially on the Internet, where links back to the original material are pretty much par for the course. So basically, the AP gets free advertising and traffic for their site, and bloggers get a bit of free news.

You’d think a news gathering organization would be all for generating more buzz…but, of course, there’s this:

The central point of this post – that the AP’s middleman rewrite service business is becoming obsolete – stands.

Good point, Bill, good point. That’s what I think is really going on here: just like the music industry, the news media realizes that the gravy train is coming to the last station. Inevitably, markets destroy all middlemen, inevitably those middlemen resist and lash out, and inevitably they lose—and the rest of us win. That’s how I see it, any way. But what about you?

So…a show of hands from those who think that the AP was actually justified in its little blizzard of cease-and-desist letters? Those opposed? Crazy conspiracy buffs with a bizarre explanation of how everyone involved is really on the same side?

UPDATE: Really, this happens so often I sometimes forget, but I shouldn’t: Hat tip to Instapundit for pointing me towards this story.

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!


The Power Behind Every Throne
Chuck Norris does not vote for president of the United States. He gives the voting machine a swift roundhouse kick and Mike Huckabee wins.

Joke from Fox News

Well, it would seem that Mike Huckabee has picked up the definitive endorsement. So should we even bother to have an election or simply prepare now for the smooth transition of power. I mean, after all, if someone opposes Huckabee now, I’m pretty sure that Chuck Norris wouldn’t like it, which would mean you’d be crossing Chuck Norris.

And we all know that nobody crosses Chuck Norris and lives.

So shouldn’t we save all the bloodshed and suffering and simply agree that Huckabee has found the ultimate loophole? Unless Hillary comes back within the hour with an endorsement by God, or at least Elvis, shouldn’t she concede the election?

By bringing Chuck Norris on board, hasn’t Gov. Huckabee already won the most important territory of all, our imagination?

Discuss amongst yourselves.

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.

As I was walking my dog this morning, I walked past a day care center. Every morning I have to dodge cars making rapid blind turns into this establishment. It is located across a field from a local fire station. This morning, as I walked past, the fire alarm went off. Now this is a loud abrasive buzzing accompanied by several bright xenon strobes flashing. Day care operators dutifully herded their charges out the west doors onto the playground and across the field you could watch the firemen don their heavy rubberized coats and climb into their trucks. Let’s stipulate that there was a large amount of ‘optical and aural input’ available.

Yet as I watched (after dodging their turns), several moms exited the cars and led their children INTO the building. Into the loud buzzing, strobe flashing, entrance, which was in plain view of the playground where most of the children were gathered. Into a probable burning building. And not just one parent, either, but several—one after another, as I watched.

I was contemplating the stupidity and total recklessness of this behavior as the fire trucks arrived. One mom even walked her child around the fire truck and into the building. Now it was true that there were no visible flames, and no smoke that I could see, however, a prudent person usually allows the fire inspector/fire chief to make the determination that the building is, in fact, not on fire. Fires are tricky things.

Bursting through my consideration of the intellectual capacity of people who apparently try to set the record for the minimum time to detatch a young child from their busy and highly scheduled life, came the glint of an understanding. Americans are addicted to convenience , and investigating the possibility that your child might not be safe in a potentially burning building would be —well, inconvenient. Moms, after all, have to get to work on time, and bosses are so inconsiderate about leeway for tardiness for such things as making sure your children are safe. Best get the child to the caregiver where she can handle the situation.

Americans tolerate high gas prices. We are a mobile society. Good public transportation is available at a fractional ( and subsidized) cost of owning a car. But, you know, it’s so … inconvenient. The bus only comes around every 20 minutes, and the trips are at least 40 minutes long with those inconvenient stops to pick up other people.

Most supermarkets have a fresh food section. Raw broccoli stacked on iced shelves has given way to microwavable bags of cut broccoli. Fresh fruit and vegetables, and raw ingredients such as flour, and fresh meat comprise perhaps 15% of the store’s floor area. The rest is given over to bagged food, frozen prepared meals, sliced and prepared meats (even the fresh meat section has pre-marinated chickens, stuffed fish, peppered filets), and cans and cans of highly processed food. All very convenient.

Internet sex sites? Very convenient — avoids the problems of building a relationship. Everything you dated to find out is strewn out in explicit detail.

Americans are the most productive people in the world. The gross state product of even a medium state exceeds that of say Russia. Americans can do this because they are absolved of the inconveniences of preparing foods, riding transportation to work, having romantic relationships with people in the real world, or even exhibiting concern about the safety of their children.

The 9/11 attack in New York irritated people because it was highly inconvenient —for Mayor Guillani, — disrupting the nicely flowing pattern of lives with inconvenient items such as falling concrete, flames, choking dust and mounds of debris, not to mention having to consider that “someone doesn’t like America’ which doesn’t fit in to the convenient conceptual framework established by the media, Madison Avenue and the barrage of stimuli that directs your drinking, buying, selling, eating and sleeping habits.

Fortunately, we had a convenient resource available—the US Military, which we could send out to tidy up all of this nasty inconvenience in the form of radical Taliban governments and genocidal Baathist dictators. But sadly we had forgotten how inconvenient some of these things—like obtaining democracy—could be. We actually have to make sacrifices.

Fortunately, for most of us, this war on inconvenience, is not itself a source of inconvenience. Aside from the annoying increases in the cost of gasoline, and the continual barrage of combat KIA statistics in the media, our lives haven’t changed much. The sacrifices made are limited — scarcely a fraction of those who are killed by our use of the convenient automobile.

In World War II, we fought another war on inconvenience. In the 1940’s however, we weren’t so productive, and as a result, fighting that war required us to substantially alter our lifestyles. We allowed, even pushed, women into the work force; voluntarily limited our consumption of meat, sugar, rope, and a plethora of other materials, all rationed in the effort to support the military; and accepted a significant curtailment of our rights. And as a result of this, everyone was affected by the war. Everyone had a stake in the outcome.

With our productivity level today, in order to subject the population to the 1940’s level of sacrifice and commitment, we would have to broaden the war on inconvenience to significantly stress our economy. To ensure that every child toting mom at the daycare understood that the United States was making a committment to democracy and freedom, one that would curtail her addiction to convenience, we would have to simultaneously declare war on Iran, Syria, Russia, Nigeria, Venezuela and Somalia while rendering assistance to Darfur, Kosovo, the rest of the Balkans, with the occasional side trip to Sumatra to provide earthquake and tsunami relief.

Hmmmm.

The news media has been running a number of ignorant articles about a recent FOID which was issued to a 10 month old baby, nicknamed “Bubba” by his parents. Most of the articles that have been published on the matter display ignorance of what exactly a FOID is, and consequentially, what really happened here. Hopefully (but doubtfully) most readers will look into the facts before drawing the false conclusions that members of the popular press have come to in a display of typical shoddy journalism. In order to help inform the public of the truth, I’m going to clear up some of the most common lies being spread by the media.

Myth #1, A FOID is a gun permit: A FOID is not a gun permit. It alone does not permit someone to own a firearm, nor does possession of a FOID necessarily indicate firearm ownership. While some states may flaunt the Constitution by maintaining a list of all gun owners, and which guns they own, Illinois does not (making such a list creates a situation ripe for abuse by the government, should they turn oppressive; remember that an oppressive government is exactly what the founding fathers had just dealt with when they designed the Constitution). A FOID is required by most firing ranges, whether or not a gun is owned, and is required for the possession of museum pieces (such as muzzle loaders and black powder rifles). Additionally, further requirements, such as age limits, exist, meaning that a FOID alone does not entitle one to own a gun. The FOID serves one purpose, to allow the state to identify individuals in violation of Section 24-3.1 of the Criminal Code of 1961.

Myth #2, “Bubba” now owns a gun, thanks to his FOID: Actually he doesn’t. Illinois law prohibits underaged individuals from owning firearms. They may operate them under parental supervision, provided both are in possession of FOIDs, and provided the firearm is not a handgun (handguns may not be operated by anyone under the age of 18). One imagines the true status of “his” gun is that his father or grandfather is currently keeping it for him until he becomes old enough.

Myth #3, Illinois has lax gun laws: Illinois recieved an A- for gun laws from the Brady Campaign, a pretty darn good rating from an anti-gun lobby group. Not a single state scored higher, and 43 scored lower. Illinois is one of the few states which manages to both honor the constitution and support some level of gun control. This isn’t lax at all, it is the perfect marriage of gun rights and gun control.

Myth #4, This shows how stupid US gun laws are: This one is via the Mirror, a UK web based newspaper. I decided to address it directly as it draws a particular amount of my ire. I will admit that it is natural for the UK to dislike firearms. Afterall, the reason we allow access is because they helped us free ourselves from oppressive British rule. Anyone who dislikes the idea of controlled areas gaining freedom and human dignity must oppose firearms. In the USA, we respect and honor freedom, and don’t deign to treat people like criminals before they have given us reason. As such we allow them to own weapons for numerous reasons. Constitutionally we allow them to own weapons to enable them to fight a possibly oppressive government, and more realistically we allow them to own weapons for hunting, keeping their livestock and families safe from dangerous animals, and defense if they feel the need.

I hope I’ve cleared up some of the lies the popular media is spreading. I really should be amazed that shoddy journalism is now the norm, but sadly I’m not. This sort of “reward” is what we get for allowing the media to pander to us with infotainment and shock journalism.

-Angry Midwesterner