Saturday, January 23, 2010

Sad news from the Paper of Record:

After trying a paid access service for several years, the [New York Times] moved to free access to its content. But it's apparently time to go back to the future for the NYT, as the company announced it will develop a system that will charge frequent readers of its online content.
I actually don't really begrudge them that decision, and I'll happily pay whatever they end up charging (within reason, I suppose) -- as I paid for TimesSelect several years ago. Still, it's sad to see: in the long run, I don't think the paywall model works out best for anyone.

(Relatedly: there was a good Bloggingheads a few months ago about the future of online journalism, with Reason's Matt Welch and the Kennedy School's Alex Jones. Worth a watch.)

"Hey, Mike. Don't you have a ton of work to do?"
"I do indeed."
"So why'd you just spend 20 minutes Photoshopping an Obama-Signal?"
"Well because of this article, obviously."
"Also because I have very poor time-management skills."
"Right. And why is it projected over San Diego?"
"That was the nicest cloudy picture I could find."
"Doesn't make a lot of sense, does it?"
"Well it's an Obama-Signal. I'm not sure what you expected."
"Fair point. This conceit is fun, this 'imaginary-conversation-as-a-blog-post.'"
"I know, right?"
"We should try this again sometime."
"No doubt."

Thursday, January 21, 2010

This is just plain depressing:

Sweeping aside a century-old understanding and overruling two important precedents, a bitterly divided Supreme Court on Thursday ruled that the government may not ban political spending by corporations in candidate elections.
The Times' Jeff Zeleny points out (in a what might be called "a heroic understatement") that, "At first blush, Republican candidates would seem to benefit from this change in how political campaigns are conducted in America." Well observed.

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

The United States government has a $660 million contract with a company that manufactures gunsights engraved with shorthand references to the Bible. I can see nothing creepy or unconstitutional about that at all.

Update: Someone at the Washington Post listens to Marketplace, too!

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

I'm pretty sure this is the first time I've ever endorsed a musical artist on this blog, but I've been loving this guy recently. His first album, "Soon It Will Be Cold Enough," is terrific. Phenomenal. Stupendous, even. (The whole thing can be streamed for free here; the song "Anthem" is my favorite, but really the whole thing is great). His new album, "Safe in the Steep Cliffs," came out today. I haven't had a chance to listen to it yet, but I'm hoping that a few of my several million readers will like him enough to buy his album, and I can therefore feel good about supporting a 22-year-old (!) with a mighty gift for FruityLoops.