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March 25, 2009

Egypt trying to combat rumors of deadly text message

Egypt tries to hang up on killer SMS rumours - Yahoo! News UK

The Egyptian government has sought to dispel rumours that a mobile phone text message "from unknown foreign quarters" is spreading around the country and killing those who receive it.

The extraordinary move by Egypt's health and interior ministries follows press reports that an SMS containing a special combination of numbers killed a man in the town of Mallawi south of Cairo.

"He died vomiting blood,followed by stroke, shortly after he received a message from an unknown phone number," the Egyptian Gazette reported on Wednesday.

March 23, 2009

The long, tortured suicide of The Ann Arbor News

Attention, subscribers: Word on the street is publication cutbacks for the print product will be announced today. Supporting this rumor: The rat has left the sinking ship. Paper Tiger No More -- a former insider -- recounts of all the expensive side-projects The News tried that wasted money. One thing left untried: Good Journalism. Maybe if they cut the happy-talk crap and covered the political and economic life of Ann Arbor at first hand -- by attending meetings and interviewing the power brokers -- people in Ann Arbor would give a shit about their home-town paper. Paper Tiger No More: Dear Newhouse, journalism - not gimmicks or cutbacks - is your only hope (long)
Second, while Michigan's economic woes and the current newspaper apocalypse are driving a large part of this move, Newhouse is greatly accelerating the destruction of its own products. The company's current strategy for its Michigan newspapers - if you really can call it a strategy - if nothing less than suicidal. You can't drive away, or buy out, a large proportion of your best journalists, decline to replace them, and expect customers to keep buying your product. Seriously, would anyone consider buying a car from Ford if they offered you half the options and worse gas mileage for the same price? That's what Newhouse is doing. Lastly, given my experience at The Ann Arbor News, I have absolutely no confidence that the people in charge have any ability to react to these changes and/or adjust their strategy to make things better. Let me give you a quick rundown of a few management-driven projects undertaken during my tenure at The News: Book project 1: The sports department produced an excellent book on the 100th football game between Ohio State and Michigan, and the series in general. Management then signed a printing contract with a local real estate agent. Seriously, the guy was a part-time realtor, part-time book publisher. The book came out months later than it was planned and too late to take advantage of the anniversary hype. There was no national or regional distribution agreement with a single book store or chain when it did. The book was overpriced, under-distributed, and pallets of them were left to molder in the basement of the News until thousands were destroyed. I'd be surprised if we sold one copy for every 10 we destroyed.
So much more silliness at the link.

March 19, 2009

Wuxtry! Wuxtry! GOP talking points! Getcher GOP talking points here!

New GOP Talking Points: Obama Administration Is “Most Politically Obsessed White House In History” | The Plum Line
The talking points represent the first major move this cycle by House conservatives to create united conservative messaging front, according to Roll Call (sub. only). They were sent out by the Republican Study Committee, a group of more than 100 conservative House Repubs headed by GOP Rep Tom Price — a sign that House conservatives are hoping to capitalize on the crisis to mount a comeback for what they’re labeling the “conservative approach” to the economy. Among the GOP talking points’ highlights on Obama and Dems: * “The budget is a radical proposal that will change the character of our nation, trampling on freedom and liberty.” * “The only approach that has not been tried is the conservative approach – limited bureaucracy, lower taxes, and responsible regulatory structures.” * “The administration is disingenuous, unfocused, and reckless.” These claims are perhaps thrown into question when you think back to the approach employed by the Obama administration’s predecessors, but at least now you’ll know where this is coming from if you hear it.

Reasonable explanation dept.: Blogger who insulted Iranian leader commits "suicide"

Iranian blogger who insulted leader 'dies in jail' - Times Online
A young Iranian blogger jailed in Tehran’s notorious Evin prison for insulting the country's supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, has died, his lawyer said today. Mohammad Ali Dadkhah said that although there is not yet an official report about the death yesterday of Omid Mir Sayafi, “officials in the prison said that he committed suicide."