Daily Flogger 7/30/08: Farm systems, Madonna, kitties, hacks


Running down the papers:

Times: ‘After 7 Years, Talks on Trade Collapse’

This is a big, big trade-related deal — almost as important as Mark Teixeira‘s trade from the Braves to the Angels — and it merited this fairly lengthy story, but the word “subsidies” appears only twice.

For sneer-filled but newsy background, read my July 2005 item “Bush regime pledges end to U.S. cotton subsidies enslaving Africans.”

The Times piece took a jingoistic take on a global topic, understandable considering that the U.S. economy is rapidly tanking. The lede and nut grafs:

GENEVA — World trade talks collapsed here on Tuesday after seven years of on-again, off-again negotiations, in the latest sign of India’s and China’s growing might on the world stage and the decreasing ability of the United States to impose its will globally. . . .

The failure appeared to end, for the near term at least, any hopes of a global deal to further open markets, cut farm subsidies and strengthen the international trading system.

Times: ‘Energy Prices Are Bright Sliver in Grim Economy’

Love Jad Mouawad‘s story, but the paper’s web promo of it is hilarious:

Oil has dropped more than $23 a barrel, or 16 percent, and
gasoline prices have fallen as Americans drive less.

Oh, boy! Gas prices are down! You can’t take full advantage of it because you’re driving less. But it would be cheaper to now drive more. But if you do, it will increase gas consumption and push gas prices up.

So stay home and enjoy those lower gas prices!


Stoopid hed (by Post‘s high standards — and I’m not being sarcastic) and hare-brained angle on Paterson’s gloom-and-down speech. The lede:

ALBANY – Warning of an approaching economic calamity, Gov. Paterson yesterday called an emergency session of the state Legislature – and raised the specter that New York may have to sell off roads, bridges and tunnels to close a massive budget deficit.

Us, us, us — what does this mean to us, those of who aren’t bankers or bureaucrats? There are hints, such as the fact that school property taxes will be capped.

But the only people sure to be immediately affected will be legislators. They’ll have to end their summer vacations and return to Albany, Paterson thundered.

Please don’t make us go to Albany.

While you pack your toiletries for a possible trip to that non-jaunty place, you’re better off reading the Daily News account — ‘Paterson wants immediate job freeze,’ which gets down to it and goes beyond just the governor’s speech.


The hackneyed lede:

That is one fat cat! Meet Princess Chunk, a 44-pound hunk of feline flesh, a cat so big that she needs a bathtub for a litter box. Volunteers at a New Jersey animal shelter are trying to find a new home for the corpulent kitty.

A sure-fire web-visitor, homepage hit-builder for a paper to prominently promo. Forward with 21st century newspaper journalism!


Great folo hed — yesterday’s Post put a half-Nelson on this tale by calling the scamster “Rockefooler.”


Good hed, spiffy and fact-filled story:

The rookie NYPD officer videotaped viciously knocking a cyclist off his bike during a Times Square demonstration was just acting “under direct orders” and was trying to protect himself, the head of the cop union said yesterday.


Another chock-full, fun-filled lede:

The door’s been slammed on the richest doorman in the city. After a six-week soap opera that saw Richie Randazzo win $5 million in the lottery, get a warning about his work habits, and then turn up in Atlantic City sporting a sexy new girlfriend, the ax finally fell yesterday.

Read it, because Randazzo’s our canary in the coal mine: He pissed away his money; don’t piss away yours in this recession caused by the vultures in the Wall Street gold mines.


Who’s the editor who wrote this hed (on a mediocre game story) about the Yankees losing again to the Orioles? Your next mousepad’s on me.

Daily News: ‘Woman driver duped by abduct dad’

I’m not being P.C. about this, merely pointing out that the web-promo hed plays off the sexist idea of screwball lady drivers. Don’t blame the reporter, because the well-crafted lede doesn’t:

The mystery woman who unwittingly helped an oddball high-society dad kidnap his 7-year-old daughter is an out-of-work financial services professional who was paid $500 to make the trip, the Daily News has learned.

Daily News: ‘Rep: Madonna’s the victim of a bad pic’

Madonna‘s not sick, her publicist says. The singer raised eyebrows Friday after she was photographed looking gaunt while leaving the Kabbalah Center in New York. But according to her rep, the 49-year-old is the victim of a bad photograph.

Not unless someone Photoshopped those junkie-type veins popping out of her scrawny arm.

Holy mother of Christ! If she’s studying Jewish food-for-thought, she might as well go all the way and stop at a deli for a big mound of chopped chicken liver and a pastrami (not lean) on rye. Look at you! Publicist, schmulblicist. I don’t care if you’re the namesake of Jesus’s poor mom. A nice meal I’ll make for you.

Slate: ‘The Gambling-Addiction Defense’

While the local rags are laying siege to various New York stadiums and arenas for game coverage, William Saletan focuses on what’s news at the NBA’s Fifth Avenue HQ, producing an excellent inside look at corrupt NBA ref Tim Donaghy‘s claim of “addiction”:

[A]ttorneys for Tim Donaghy, the former NBA referee who admitted to betting on basketball games he officiated, filed a psychological “evaluation” that blames his crimes on compulsive gambling.

This won’t play well inside David Stern’s sanctum — even before the scandal broke, the NBA had a “compulsive gambler” on its referee staff and didn’t know? or maybe it did know? — but it makes defense lawyers dribble and drool at the thought that such a claim once again did have the impact of paring months off a goniff’s prison sentence.

Guardian (U.K.): ‘Gary McKinnon — “world’s most dangerous hacker” — to be extradited’

New York’s paper of record and other local papers of broken records practiced a lot of hack journalism this morning but somehow ignored this fascinating hack account that has everything to do with the web and America. Who said Bloomberg‘s not smoking? Among NYC outlets, it has the story, but here’s the Guardian dispatch:

A British man who hacked into computers at the Pentagon will face trial in the US after the law lords ruled that he should be extradited.

At the House of Lords this morning, Gary McKinnon, 42, was told that his appeal against extradition would not be granted.

McKinnon, an unemployed computer systems administrator from north London, invaded computer systems belonging to the US military in 2001 – shortly after the attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon.

He said he was merely searching for evidence of extraterrestrial life, but American officials labelled him the world’s most dangerous hacker and accused him of deleting important files and causing hundreds of thousands of dollars’ worth of damage.

According to prosecutors, McKinnon scanned more than 73,000 US government computers and hacked into 97 machines belonging to the US army, navy, air force and Nasa.

His lawyers have fought vigorously against the extradition, arguing that McKinnon could face up to 60 years in prison as a result of his actions, and could even be classed as an “enemy combatant” and interned at Guantánamo Bay. Instead they argued that he should face prosecution under Britain’s more lenient computer crime laws because he carried out the hacking from his bedroom in London.