Sunday, May 29, 2011

Free journalism? Well... Sometimes you DON'T get what you pay for.

Rainey, LATimes.. On the Media: The price of 'free' journalism

If you don't care to read it, the thing is focussed on the recent sale of Huffington Post and the subsequent complaint by its writer/bloggers that they got nothing for their content input that made Arianna Huffington a lot of money.
Implicit is the concept that perhaps content is worth more than what was directly paid for it. Interesting. Especially that this was published at nearly the same time as the NYT paid grudging respect to Matt Drudge, acknowledging that he is still very much the arbiter of what is news and what is not. IOW, most of the paid press reads him and puts their fingers in the wind accordingly. I hope everyone sees the irony there.

Contrary to the writer's apparent point, I contend that there are three forms of 'news' information: opinion, certifiable opinion, and factual rebuttal.
- non-factual rebuttal falling into 'opinion' category.

Opinion as provided by HuffPo, is just that, one person's (or publication's) opinion. And you know what they say about 'Opinions.. everyone's got one, just like...'  If HuffPo was forced to pay for content, that might be a good thing, in the big picture.  Folks that write dross that's easily refuted might be shed to protect the overall reputation.

Certified {not to say 'paid'} Opinion on the other hand, is more like legal publishing; ALL the pertinent factual information is addressed. You don't go to court on precedent supplied by Google search, or Drudge or even free internet caselaw. That would be Lexis/Nexis or Westlaw.  Or Bloomberg on stock performances and Corporate Reports.

Free factual rebuttal is exactly what the internet bloggers are best at.
- Ask Dan Rather.. oh, wait dont. He's a 'victim' you see!  Ask the 'scientists' at UEA on Climategate.  The fraud of 'Global Warming' has been well and truly exposed almost exclusively on the 'net. By people doing it for FREE!

OTHER than that, you PAY for vital information and indeed that is how the internet is now shaking out. What once was more or less free.. like the on line white pages, is now only readily available for a fee.  Did anyone seriously expect it to be otherwise? Who is going to pay for factual verification of someone's name, address and phone number?

Standards and Practices
News and journalistic standards used to be such that you could count on the front page to be a factual uncolored account. Who, What, When Where, and why or how. The latter being certifiable facts behind the issue or event. And the 'why or how facts' mostly disappeared from news reports sometime in the late sixties or seventies. Some say because of USAToday. I say EVEN BEFORE that in  my local paper.

We held the Wall Street Journal in high regard then, because it continued providing the factual background. The Opinion pages and sometimes Features were colored by POV, the news was generally not.

I refuse the premise that the only useful opinion is that which is compensated, at any rate. Going back to when dead tree news was still king, the publication might publish any sort of nonsense or opinion that it wanted to... whether on the Front, Editorial or Op-ed pages.

And that is why we also read the Letters to Editor. Once in a while or often, depending on the publication's journalistic standards, those letters presented facts that devastatingly rebutted the compensated professional's viewpoint. That content was free, and whether it's on the net article comments or printed on the pulpwood, it always will be supplied free of charge by the writer, who is usually more knowledgeable on the given subject or issue.

I appreciate the content providers for HuffPo wanting to be paid and submit that HuffPo certainly had the ability to gauge the value of the content to its readers and pay accordingly but what those writers should understand is that their credentials have nothing to do with the value of their content in the eyes of the general public. And Arianna's apparent hypocrisy on the subject is beside the point.

Paid Writing - Free Music? Does Not Compute!
However.. since a few of those same writers advocated that the net should allow free dissemination of other creative product, such as music and video, I think it rings hollow.
As does the idea that HuffPo is popular for its original content. The only value I see in it is argument against viewpoints published elsewhere and LINKED. Thus it goes one step, perhaps, beyond Drudge or even Instapundit.

Meanwhile NYT has re-erected its pay wall, trying to put a price on access to Dowd, Krugman et al. They brag of 100,000 subscribers in the first week. I don't care. I can find the same opinions in Washington Post or the Guardian or the Independent. Only some of the NYT Features have original content other than crass opinion. And most political opinion there has to pass through its editorial board to match their publisher's whims. In doing that they open themselves up to charges -by 'free' writers- of crass biases.

But the most important thing is that, paywall, writer compensation or not, the Media can't hide behind 'value of content' and force those who can rebut them to do the same thing.

Fair or not, the market decides.. for now, anyway.  That is the beauty of the 'net.

Saturday, May 28, 2011

Meet Meghan McCain, Blonde.

"..and what do you call the other one?"

Meghan McCain is nowhere near that ditzy, but she's not exactly establishing herself as a serious commenter, either.
I, along with most other people, first became aware of the Senator's daughter during his 2008 campaign.  One of my favorite bloggers noticed that she had started one of her own, logging life on the campaign circuit from her viewpoint.
I was disappointed, though, as her point of view was as shallow as it could get.  We never got an insight on anything from her, alternately gushing about how super they were treated and then the hard travel schedule.

She hasn't grown up much in the years since.  New York Times Magazine just ran a human interest Q & A on her: Inside Meghan McCain’s Bachelorette Pad

Some samples:
HUMAN OBSESSION: I am borderline obsessed with Sofia Coppola. She is unbelievably talented and has a famous father and established herself as a force...
Well, Meghan.. you have a famous father and I suppose you have established yourself as a force
BODY IMAGE: I wake up every morning with large breasts, and it doesn’t affect me. But people had a meltdown when I posted a photo of myself on Twitter. I found such extreme sexism in it. I’ve spent as much of my career having my weight and body commented on as my writing and politics. 
 Uh, no.  Not in the sites I read, comments on your boobs referenced far less than the other meaning of the word as applied to you.

And here's a hint why:
FAVORITE DEMOCRAT: I like Anthony Weiner, the congressman from New York. He has YouTube moments I find entertaining, and he’s married to Huma Abedin, who works for Secretary of State Clinton. I have to tip my hat to him for landing such a hot woman.
Ironically this same day, the web is 'all-a-twitter' about a pic supposedly of Weiner in his gray tighties showing a boner. {no comments on 'vienna sausages, please} but that has nothing to do with this... other than chuckles and grins.
Read the rest of the piece. Then read Meghan's wiki.
In terms of economic policy, she has remarked on The Rachel Maddow Show that "I didn't even take Econ[omics] in college. I don't completely understand it so I'd hate to make a comment one way or the other. That's – truly of all the things – I keep reading and I just don't understand it."
Well, now. There's really nothing wrong with not understanding Economics.. and especially when you admit it. But economics is what the crux of the Republican Party platform is about.
And if you don't understand our economy is in deep trouble and why, and you're pro-choice and pro-illegal immigration and pro gay marriage then you might as well be a Democrat.   Cause they have such good cool people.. marrying hotties and all.
 So shut up about Bristol Palin.  Somehow I think if Bristol went to college, even Columbia, she probably would take at least one Econ course and probably WOULD understand it.

So let's face it.. Meghan does blonde women a disservice by reinforcing the old 'skin deep intellect' stereotype.

She may not actually be that dumb, most blondes arent really. But I can't imagine what she would have to say that would fill more than one book.

Speaking of celebrities.. here's the Celebrity Headline teaser of the Week:
"Mila Kunis has finally realized.... 
{wait for it}
.. she was dating Macauley Caulkin!"
Now THAT'S FUNNY! I dont care where yer from.
I'm not linking it because it was a teaser for those sites that have you clicking from one to another just to finally get to the punch line.

Why Women hate CFL's

Not only are people finding Compact Fluorescents not saving much money in power bills, and not lasting as long as claimed.. unless there's special circumstances, but women HATE them when they try to dress or put on makeup.
- I find that ones installed outside last long time though switched on and off. Of course it takes forever for them to warm up.
- Also left on ALL the time typically last a couple of years.

I guess we guys all know it's really hard to find good ones to install in proximity of both woman and a mirror.
via XkCD, Doghouse Diaries hints on the reason why:

- Note: I have a minor blue color misperception {light blue eyes, 'Electric Blue' turns into a blob that hurts my eyes} and I cant see any difference in some pinks plus some color gradients, like 'eggplant', seem out of order to me.

XKCD has a lot more to say on the subject but it develops on why women see color differently than men.

Whatever the case, it's obvious even to me that CFL's fall short in the color hue department. Cool White or Daylight is the only acceptable color temperature.

Add to that the mercury 'hazmat' problem.. which is laughable on the single broken bulb handling, yet pretty serious when a whole truckload gets smashed.
- by the way the recent tornadoes present that problem. All the smashed Lowes, Home Depots and Walmarts turned into hazmat zones by broken shelf stock. Now..Imagine a warehouse FULL of CFL's!

Sadly even LED lighting, though making great progress, still hasn't solved the color hue to the extent of traditional bulbs.

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Farmers Nervous.. and we should be, too.

With all the extreme weather we've been having and the coverage of tornado damage and deaths in the midwest and south, another aspect that has even more long term consequences for the world is the inability, because of wet fields, to get corn in the ground.
Marietta Ohio Times
As of the start of this week, only 11 percent of the state's corn crop had been sewn, compared to the nearly 90 percent average for this time of year.

An emergency meeting is planned for this morning in Columbus at the U.S. Department of Agriculture to address the issue, according to an official with the local Ohio State University Extension Office.

Indpls Star
Barely half of Indiana's corn crop for 2011 is planted and several million acres of seeds still must go into the ground with just a week remaining before Wednesday's optimal planting deadline.
- via Instapundit

This isn't just a localized problem it will affect everyone, national and global.

Global Food Output May Be Hurt as Climate Shifts, UN Warns
Drought in China has affected 6.5 million hectares of farmland, the Office of State Flood Control and Drought Relief Headquarters said on its website on May 20. China has ordered the operator of the Three Gorges Dam, the world's biggest, to release water to replenish the Yangtze River and counter the local region's lowest rainfall in half a century.
In the U.S., floods along the Mississippi River and its tributaries have affected almost 3.6 million acres of cropland, causing the most damage in Arkansas, the American Farm Bureau Federation said on May 23. Floods in Canada's Frenchman River Basin may be the largest since 1952, and the waters slowed the nation's sowing, the Canadian Wheat Board said on April 20.

And some of us olders know that precipitation tends to even out during the year. Too much rain now will likely be countered with too little when the ears of corn are filling.

And yeah, it will even affect gas prices:
Ethanol moved higher with corn, which rose on the Chicago Board of Trade as storms stretching from Iowa to Ohio may bring rain by tomorrow. Planting is behind the normal pace because of excess rain, with some of the biggest delays in Ohio, North Dakota and Indiana.

On the last, our government could help by telling the petroleum refiners to reduce ethanol in gasoline or eliminate it altogether.
- dont worry, your car can handle that just fine and your gas mileage would probably increase.
Only problem with that, of course is that the Agribiz corporations are very good friends or our elected.

So dont bet on it.. just remember where the real problem lies.. and it's not with CO2 global warming. Because temperatures have NOT gone up they are decreasing at the moment. The weather patterns {not climate} HAVE shifted due to ocean current changes and la Nina, but not for the first time nor will it be the last.

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Retread your DVD them in B&W

from Flavorwire: 10 Modern Movies That Are Better in Black and White
Great idea.. turns adventure films into suspense films! And makes suspense films like Halloween and Fargo even spookier

Great example of that:

You appreciate them in a whole different way

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

O'Reilly / Stewart on Common at WH sends my blog hits up 500%

Note: 'Pettifog' means 'Make a big deal over little or nothing.'
-You're welcome. That's not exactly how I write on my blog but reflects how I like to look at everything related to an issue.

Blog hits went from minuscule to noticeable in one fell swoop... because first O'Reilly then Stewart use the term 'pettifog' several times to describe overstating the importance of an issue. In this case inviting the Rapper 'Common' to the White House.
Article in HuffPo on the 'debate'. The word first comes up about 4:48 of part 1.

All the traffic increase came from Google search of 'Pettyfog'.. meaning users were unfamiliar with the term and misspelled it.
I explain my spelling in 'about'
{So when} I got on the then young internet, I adopted the identity "Pettyfog" as my online personna. It was a play on words from the Dickensian use of 'pettifog' {self-important minor bureaucratic blather, not the 'evil lawyer' use, and I used 'y' instead of 'i' for two reasons. 'Little Fog' being one, identifiability the other.
- the HuffPo staff did add a definition later, spelling it correctly.

But.. on the issue of Common: I expected from the HuffPo account that O'Reilly had gone off the deep end again. He truly is often guilty of blowing things up to ridiculous extents and he did pettifog here, somewhat. But hell, Stewart does the same thing. I dont watch either of them for that reason.

O'Reilly is right in that it does define the White House. Stewart's on shaky ground.

But it's still trivial because we already should know this would happen, the invite's a sop to Obama's most solid constituency; 2012 is just around the corner and he hasn't done much of anything for them, yet.

Sunday, May 15, 2011

Apparently there is now ..


Instapundit posted:
THERE’S NO GOOGLE ENTRY FOR “CAPTAIN SEXY BANJO.” Well, maybe this will fix that problem.

And lo.. it sure did

And yet... none of the 90 or so links listed were for Amazon{dot}com.

Saturday, May 14, 2011

Taliban 'Tet' a dud; MSM weep!

On May 8 the Taliban attacked the provincial capital of Kandahar in a much anticipated effort to repeat the NVA/ Viet Cong Tet offensive which the US won militarily, utterly destroying the attacking forces, but the press blew into a 'We Cant Win' meme.

Despite their loads of bombs and sniper tactics, the Taliban failed miserably.

But Time Mag and the NYT aren't giving up on their Cronkite-ish theme. 'Analysts', particularly those with facial hair to make them look serious and wise, are free to put any sort of spin on it they can think of:

NYT: Broad Taliban Attack Paralyzes Kandahar

The attack ended as night fell Sunday, when the last two suicide bombers were killed in a hotel near the provincial headquarters of the national intelligence department. Spent casings littered the streets “like hail after a storm,” one Kandahar resident said, and ranks of police officers stood guard at official buildings.

The scale and organization of the attack as well as the targeting of government buildings suggested that the Taliban had been planning it for some time — and that they had relied on support from inside Kandahar.

Among the places singled out were the provincial governor’s palace, the police headquarters, the transportation police headquarters, a police substation and other buildings used by the military, according to a NATO statement.

Those are among the most well-guarded spots in Kandahar, the biggest city in southern Afghanistan and a major base for NATO forces. Still, the 27 insurgent fighters involved in the attacks were able to move in those areas while toting explosive vests or driving vehicles laden with explosives, raising questions about complicity with the attacks.

- summary. None of those targets were captured, let alone occupied. And yet the tone is one of 'woe' with the inevitable negative statements from locals who fit the profile.

Time holds out hope even after the one sided debacle:
Afghanistan: A Taliban Offensive Hopes to Repeat Vietcong's Tet Effect

So much so that Time's bearded wunderkind writer former anti apartheid activist brings up a totally off the wall statement by Gen Westmoreland about the enemy in Nam, months previous to Tet:
{{Tet's} historical impact was to mock the triumphalist claims of General William Westmoreland, who had told Americans months earlier that the Vietcong were on the ropes and unable to mount a major offensive, and that the war would soon be over.

Of course there's no parallel example in the modern military effort, but hey.. that was just too good to pass up. And never mind most of us who were actually voting age adults, and paying attention at the time, thought Westmoreland was an idiot.
Well the writer was alive, too. Maybe ..what.. six years old.

The Washington Times has a different view of the Taliban flop.
...the Taliban launched a major attack on Afghan government targets in the insurgent’s spiritual capital of Kandahar. Press reports called it a “vengeance attack” for the killing of Osama bin Laden a week earlier. Time magazine forebodingly compared it to the 1968 Tet Offensive in the Vietnam War. The general tone of the coverage was thick with knowing dread.

The outcome of the attacks was far from the doom presaged in the press. “All of the Taliban involved in the Kandahar attack were either captured or killed,...”
At a heavy price, no doubt? Well it disrupted everyday life in the city for 30 hours. Does that count.. guess it depends.

The series of attacks in Kandahar reached none of their assumed objectives. No Afghan government public buildings were seized and the insurgents inflicted few casualties. The most underreported good news story was that the defense of the city was conducted by the Afghan National Security Forces. “The ANSF did a really good job,” our source said. “They were calm; they were capable.”

But all that good news didn't change the theme for the IDIOT Leftist press. And it never will.

Thursday, May 12, 2011

Bureaucrats rethink "All your cash are belong us"

Dallas police have change of heart on cash found by teen 


There are new developments in the story of Plano teenager Ashley Donaldson, who turned in $2,000 she found in an envelope on the ground in North Dallas — only to find out that when no one claimed it the city planned to keep it.
Dallas police Chief David Brown issued a statement Wednesday afternoon saying the department will follow a provision in state law in determining what happens to the funds.
 But previously:
On Tuesday, police said under a new city policy, the unclaimed money will go into Dallas' general fund — not back to the person who found it, as in years past.
"We appreciate your honesty," said Dallas police spokesman Senior Cpl. Kevin Janse. "We're going to put the money to good use. It's not going to be wasted, but put to good use for the City of Dallas."
 Now the reason I highlighted Cpl Janse is that he probably hasnt been a civil servant long enough to become SO EVERLOVING FREAKING STUPID as to think the government claiming found money is a good idea.
And it probably wasn't even the Dallas chief.. No, that takes years of 'public service' and would be someone who has a law degree and also one in 'political science'.

It takes that sort of training to acquire the myopia needed to believe that it was a good idea for future crime solving.
Because, you see, the first think I thought when I read the original article was
"What!!! No one who hears about this and finds an unmarked envelope with cash in it will bother turning it in."
And lets face it, that could be money from a drug deal. And the loser might be dumb enough to claim it; it's happened before.
If that was the case, THEN the police would keep it and there's precedence for that but the finder would get some satisfaction from helping out the police.

And you know what.. I'm just a guy with some common sense but I noted there were others who got that point. Only those who think the people are there to serve government wouldn't get it.
* * *
There's a lot more to the story about Ashley and her family on the WFAA site, read the 'related' links

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

WSJ: Giggles and Grins column

For some muted chuckles on world and national affairs, in a large national paper, you could do worse than bookmark the Wall Street Journal's "Best of the Web Today"

In the May 9 edition, The bin Laden Book Club, we learn:

- bin Laden was a fan of idiot savant Noam Chomsky and commented favorably on Jimmy Carter's geo-politics

- John Kerry thinks it's a good time to raise taxes.
Now that Osama bin Laden is defunct, John Kerry, the haughty, French-looking former junior senator from Massachusetts, who by the way served in Vietnam, thinks it's time to raise taxes.
note: Rush probably wishes he had copyrighted that.

- The New York Times still largely has a staff of Blow-hards and Coastal Elitists

But the best stuff is the skim of the 'net - linked news articles, at the bottom of the article, which usually include things like:

Life Imitates the Onion
which uses wordplay to add silly summaries to straight news headlines
Questions Nobody Is Asking
Answers to Questions Nobody Is Asking

which are not pointing to the same issues, btw.

Everyone should bookmark that section.

Friday, May 06, 2011

Science: Man-Brain > Food, Sex, Sleep.. all the same.

LiveScience Article: Men Think About Sleep & Food as Much as Sex

... men paid no greater attention to sex than they did food and sleep, Fisher found.

Men think about sex every seven seconds, right? Not according to a new study that finds men ponder sleep and food as much as they do sex.

The median number of thoughts about sex by college-age men was 18 times a day to women's 10 times a day, the study found. But the men also thought about food and sleep proportionately more.

"In other words, there was nothing special about sexual thoughts," study researcher Terri Fisher, a psychologist at The Ohio State University, Mansfield, told LiveScience. "Males thought more about any of the health-related thoughts compared to females, not just thoughts about sex."

So... since men think about those three more than women do, the question is 'What are the women thinking about, instead?
- Hmmm.. On further rumination, I'm pretty sure it relates to what they are wearing and how they look in it.

And the subjects of beer and sports wasn't even covered, leaving an even larger gap. One that surely can't be explained completely by "Do I look fat in this?" can it? Naw.. it's probably "Wonder if the kids are all right?"

I was a little troubled, at first, by the 'thinking about sleep' part. Then I realized it was college kids and I remembered being that age. I too missed a fair amount of sleep on occasion. Closing time was 1:30 even on weekdays back then.

Now I'm sixty eight and for me it's mostly 'food - nap - food - sleep'.

And I never think about beer unless someone else brings up the subject.
But when I DO think about beer, I think about a Dos Equis

Monday, May 02, 2011

Taking out the Trash

First, kudos to President Obama for giving the go ahead to erase the Al Quaeda mentor.
Second kudos to Navy Seals for collecting and sanitizing the garbage.

But we all must realize that this is somewhat equivalent to 'capture the flag', where one side steals the talisman of the other and it was not only captured but deep-sixed so that it could never be used again.

As a symbolic victory it cannot be denied as a scoring coup. In reality it changes little other than to underscore that the US will only put up with so much humiliation from its supposed 'ally', Pakistan, who knew full well where bin Laden was stashed and did absolutely nothing about it in order to appease its large population segment who still live in the dark ages.

There will, no doubt, be reprisals from these cretins, and we don't know where or when. But it's important that they don't get away with it, on the premise of 'allowing free expression from other cultures'.
You can be sure there will be some sort of street demonstration, in the UK, against this action. You can also be sure that unless it breaks out into full riot, the British will treat these stinking Islamists with kid gloves. Jailing and charging as few as possible.
On the other hand if native cultural Brits counter demonstrate with the same sort of rhetoric and actions, they will be jailed and prosecuted for hate crime or anything else that applies and to the full extent of British law.

And THAT would serve greatly to repair the damage to Islamist morale that losing bin Laden inflicted. Nothing is more important to terrorists than to show how weak and ineffectual their opponents are. From the embassy hostages in 79 to the first WTC bombing to the Cole to the attacks on the two African Embassies. they had their way until the two towers fell.
It could even happen that way in the US... already the 'progressive left' is mewling about International Law being violated. Well when the other side is bringing knives to the fight, you throw away the Marquis of Queensbury rulebook.

So... Taking out the Trash, finally, is a good thing. That the garbage collector comes around often and as scheduled is most important.

Deep Background:
The Secret Team That Killed bin Laden