Archive for ‘NTCNews’

July 27, 2009

Confession of Confident Cluelessness

“This is the most over-bought market I’ve seen in ages.”
Jim Cramer, “Mad Money,” CNBC

After a slow start today, the report that new housing sales increased 11% in June pushed the stock markets up — but not much. (Memeorandum has blog reaction from Don Surber, Calculated Risk and more.)

What does it mean? Short answer: I don’t have a freaking clue. And that’s a good thing.

Compiling this afternoon’s “Wall Street P.M.” report at NTCNews.com, I had to sift through a lot of financial news, and I sifted it with the curiosity of a guy who honestly doesn’t know any more about Wall Street than you do (and probably less than some of you).

My office TV was on CNBC today, and there is certainly no shortage of people out there willing to say what it all means. The fact that these people disagree with each other all the time . . . well, where is the truth?

Basic economics, however, I understand. And basic economics — combined with all that sifting through the news — told me that this morning’s housing report wasn’t all that hot. Check out what these analysts told the Wall Street Journal:

“[T]he dismal state of the U.S. labor market will continue to cast a long shadow over the prospects for a meaningful recovery in the sector in the near term . . .”
“[T]he report showed a sharp 6% sequential decline in June suggesting that much of the sales activity was concentrated at the lower end of the market . . .”
“The news sounds better than it looks . . . despite the jump in sales in June, new home sales remain at very low levels, and the not seasonally adjusted data show a total of 36,000 homes sold nationwide in June, the lowest sales total for June since 1982.”

Also, 31% of June home sales were “distressed” sales, involving foreclosures, etc. Does that sound like “recovery” to you? Apparently, Wall Street wasn’t thrilled, either, and so the market only recorded a minor gain. Meanwhile, the Treasury Department is flooding more than $200 billion of new debt into the market this week, which has people worried about “overwhelming supply.” Oh, yeah, and there was a Monday spike in the CBOE Volatility Index.

What does that mean? I don’t even claim to know, in the sense of whether you should buy or sell or flee to a cabin full of freeze-dried food in Montana and wait for Armageddon. Rebecca Jarvis of CNBC is now chattering away in my left ear about “vector rotation,” and Larry Kudlow is pimping the “big summer rally” — and all this chatter might be very important.

Or not. But I don’t have to know what it means to do a market report at NTCNews.com — I just look for interesting facts and pile ’em up. My favorite fact of the day? This quote:

“Last week was dubbed as a good earnings week, but good compared to what?” asked David Hefty, CEO of Cornerstone Wealth Management in Auburn, Ind. “It doesn’t take a lot to get the market excited these days.”

Right. But just don’t ask me what it means. You can figure that out for yourself.

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July 25, 2009

From the Dept. of It Won’t Work

Microsoft reports losses, the Dow is overvalued, Nouriel Roubini sees a “perfect storm” ahead, consumer confidence is down, double-digit unemployment in Michigan, Florida and Atlanta, the FDIC seized six banks Friday, and major banks are bracing for a wave of defaults on commercial real-estate loans . . .

Hey, how come nobody’s blogging about this stuff? Well, somebody is: NOT TUCKER CARLSON.

June 19, 2009

Get Down With NTCNews.com

Chris Muir’s “Day By Day” gets sexy with the no-tie-required down-and-dirty news bloggregator:

Of course, this is just the PG-13 family-friendly version. Bloggers featured in “Day By Day” get the original uncut strip. In this case, although decorum prevents a explicit description, the uncut version is 12 panels. Jan is amazingly limber . . . but she’s “Day By Day’s” token liberal, so I suppose she’s got to be very flexible like that.

NTCNews.com features a just-the-facts-ma’am Joe Friday way of aggregating news, blogs and commentary. Barely more than two weeks old, the site has already generated about 10,000 visits.

One of the things NTCNews.com has done from the start is to provide solid economic and financial coverage. Yesterday, while I was in D.C. to do reporting on the IG-Gate scandal, Jimmie Bise Jr. compiled the “Wall Street P.M.” report, a daily aggregation of stock market results and other financial-sector news.

Because NTCNews.com includes RSS feeds from numerous news sources and blogs, it is “auto-updating” — readers can refresh the page periodically and see how the sidebars change to include the latest items. Jimmie, Smitty and I hope to add more bloggers to the team at NTCNews.com, building it out to include more original reporting, in addition to the regular “300 Words Or Less” editorials. (Interested bloggers should contact Jimmie or Smitty.)

Meanwhile, speaking of reporting, I’m on deadline for this IG-Gate scandal story, so I’ll leave it up to readers to imagine what comes next at NTCNews.com. Like that “Day By Day” cartoon, the best is yet to come.

Again and again, yet still begging for more.

June 14, 2009

Bloggregating the Iran election

NTCNew.com has your Sunday morning round-up. The aggregation is still being updated, and linkage from other bloggers is most enthusiastically encouraged.

This round-up is a good example of the NTCNews.com approach to doing round-up coverage on major news stories. Top headlines with brief excerpts and links to news sources, blog reactions and video. Nothing fancy or elaborate, a formula so simple that even dumb bloggers (like me, Smitty and Jimmie Bise Jr.) can do it. Like the slogan says, “More News. Less Money. No Bow Tie.”

Also, no opinion, no attitude and no snark. NTCNews.com offers a daily editorial (including guest contributions from bloggers) called “300 Hundred Words Or Less.” Other than that, it’s a Joe Friday “Just-the-facts-ma’am” approach to news blogging. The sidebars are filled with RSS feeds for news sources and bloggers so that, even when we’re not online, the page is continually updated with fresh matterial.

We think it’s pretty cool. Please check it out.

June 9, 2009

NTC: Bloggregating the News

Got up this morning and created the “TOP STORY: OBAMA AND JOBS” post at NTCNews.com, which took every bit of 10 minutes, augmented by subsequent additions.

The news business is not rocket science. That’s the basic insight at NTCNews.com, an insight inspired in part by Protein Wisdom‘s slogan, “Because Not Just Anybody Can Summarize the News.” And, thanks to Carol at No Sheeples Here, we’re proud to report that you don’t need a bowtie to aggregate the news, either.

The major inspiration, of course, was when Tucker Carlson came bigfooting into the blogosphere with his announcement that he would create the “Huffington Post of the Right.” This raised lots of eyebrows. Tucker’s a TV pundit. What the heck does he know about blogs?

Well, what does anybody need to know about blogs? (Other than The Rules.) For all we know, the “TuckPo” will be absolutely wonderful. But it had better not suck.

A Work In Progress
Meanwhile, rather than waiting around to see what The Bowtied One would bring forth, I collaborated with co-blogger Smitty and with Jimmie Bise Jr. of Sundries Shack to develop NTCNews.com.

It’s a work in progress, but it is both working and progressing, while the TuckPo is still just a page bragging about “fearless journalism.” (Hey, Tucker: Fear this, y’know what I’m saying?)

The thing is, several conservative activists had talked to me in recent months about the “Huffington Post of the Right” concept. My reply generally involved the question: What does HuffPo have that we don’t have? Money, period. You give me the money Arianna Huffington’s spent on that site, and I’d kick her ass from here to Brentwood.

Evidently, somebody gave Tucker Carlson some money — one source told me Carlson had previously been turned down by various organizations he’d asked for funding — and so now he’s going to teach us bloggers how to aggregate the news.

How do bloggers feel about that? Among others, Michelle Malkin and Mitchell Blatt were profoundly skeptical. This goes back to CPAC in February, when Tucker Carlson proclaimed to the world that conservatives don’t do reporting. As I said two weeks ago:

Having spent 10 years at The Washington Times, I know a thing or two about reporting news, and was insulted by this assertion by Carlson — a rich-boy TV pundit — that conservatives weren’t doing reporting.
What about NewsMax? Human Events? The American Spectator? National Review? CNS? Townhall? All of these are conservative organizations that employ news reporters.
I remember seeing Byron York in a gym at a Sarah Palin rally in Pennsylvania, reporting from the scene. Tucker Carlson? Nope, he wasn’t there.

Four days after the big TuckPo announcement, the Tiller murder story broke on a Sunday, and most bloggers were slow to pick up on it. Having already started developing “Not Tucker Carlson” on a Blogspot platform, the Kansas killing seemed like the kind of big story that could use some rapid aggregation. I called Jimmie and asked him to buy a domain name and, voila, NTCNews.com had its first top story.

Bowtie Optional
A work in progress, like I said. Wednesday night we got our first “scoop,” being the first to report the remarks of George Will and Bill Kristol at the Bradley Prizes. Not a big story, but still a legit exclusive. And we’ve debuted a series of daily editorials, “300 Words Or Less,” with guest contributions from bloggers including Fisherville Mike, TrogloPundit, Moe Lane and Becky Brindle. (Bloggers who want to offer a “300 Words Or Less” commentary should e-mail Smitty or e-mail Jimmie.)

We continue to work and progress. Over the past several days, while I was visiting Georgia, Smitty and Jimmie kept the site running without me. We plan to add more contributing aggregators — other bloggers who can post news updates — but if you’ll scroll down through the NTCNews.com sidebars, you’ll find a slew of blog feeds arranged so that the site is already “auto-updating” to a large extent.

What next? Who knows? Right now, we could use some money. Several people have already hit the tip jar. So far, it’s a long way from Arianna Huffington’s divorced-my-gay-millionaire-husband money, but we’re grateful for every $5, $10 or $20 contribution. (Please specify the purpose of your PayPal donation, so it doesn’t accidentally get mixed in with the Emergency Fireworks Fund.)

Can a handful of bloggers relying on tip-jar contributions create a major news site? If it’s never been tried before, it’s certainly about time.

PREVIOUSLY:
6/2: Bowtie Optional
5/29: ‘This will not end well for him’
5/27: Exactly What Will the TuckPo Be?
5/26: Tucker Freaking Carlson?

June 3, 2009

‘Hate-F***Gate’: Fire Them All

Over at NTCNews, we have a daily editorial called “300 Words Or Less,” the idea being to address a timely topic in the specified length. Today’s entry addresses the media scandal known as “HateF***Gate”:

Obscene insults and raw hatred are not new in the online world. What made Guy Cimbalo’s article about “hate-f***” fantasies so shocking was that it was published by Playboy.
Did no one in the editorial process at Playboy.com think twice before hitting the “publish” button on an article that said of Rep. Michelle Bachmann, “Chemical castration has begun to look appealing“?
Cimbalo’s article required someone to build multiple Web pages, someone to find, crop and embed photos, someone to write headlines and captions — hours of paid labor during which various editors had the chance to say, “Hey, wait a minute. Maybe this isn’t a good idea.” . . .

Please read the whole thing. We hope that our blogger friends will find NTCNews a useful resource, It’s a work in progress, so have patience if you haven’t been blogrolled yet.

Frequent Commenter Smitty (who has been known to wear bowties, alas) and Jimmie Bise Jr. of Sundries Shack are my partners in this latest insane project. Of the site’s inspiration, Jimmie says:

Tucker made a big mistake in calling out the HuffPo before his site was anywhere close to being live. Three weeks is an eternity in the blogosphere and, by the time his site finally does make it to the masses, all the buzz will be gone.

I won’t tell you which one of my partners described the Underpants Gnome business plan of NTCNews:

  1. Post a metric ass-load of brief news pointers.
  2. ? ? ? ?
  3. Profit!

Don’t try this at home kids. These men are professional bloggers. We’re already showing up occasionally in the Memeorandum feed and being linked by Fisherville Mike, So It Goes In Shreveport and No Sheeples Here, among others.

If you want to be a guest contributor to the “300 Words or Less” series, please e-mail Smitty or e-mail Jimmie. Remember (a) the subject must be timely, (b) it must include linkage to articles and blogs about the topic, (c) your entry will be competing for publication against other offerings, and (d) it must be 300 words or less, including the title and you signature. (Try composing it as a Word document, which automatically counts the words.)

As payment for your contribution, you’ll have your choice of three lucrative options:

  • 100% of the cash value of the traffic generated by your entry, not to exceed $1 (one U.S. dollar);
  • Reciprocral linkage to your blog at The Other McCain and NTCNews.com; or
  • One cold beverage, if you are ever able to catch me, Smitty or Jimmie in a bar with cash in our pockets. (Good luck.)

What a deal, huh? At any rate, even if you don’t decide to take us up on this offer, we invite you to visit NTCNews, where we strive to prove daily that you have to be a rich preppy to aggregate the news.

And please hit the tip jar, so I can afford to buy one of those spiffy bowties like all the smart pundits wear.

UPDATE: Smart pundits? Dan Collins:

Stacy McCain is quite right . . .

And speaking of inspiration, I owe a lot to Protein Wisdom for their slogan: “Because not just anybody can summarize the news.” Ironic implications, you see.

Tucker Carlson seems to believe that you have to be a rich famous TV pundit to summarize the news. I hate that kind of stuck-up attitude. A little story:

At CPAC 2006, I was engaged in my usual CPAC activity — schmoozing like a mofo — when I decided to take a smoke break. So I go outside, light up, and start talking to this guy with a beard who was puffing Marlboro Reds.

He looked familiar. Kind of like . . . an Ewok.

At that point in time, I had very little idea of just how big Ace of Spades was in the blogsophere, and didn’t know the guy from Adam’s housecat.

Which is the point. You can be huge in the blogosphere and yet be an obscure nobody compared to the famous TV pundits. And that’s OK, but the problem is when the famous TV pundits get the idea that you actually are nobody.

In Tucker Carlson’s mind, Ace of Spades and Jeff Goldstein are zilch compared to the 26-year-old assistant producer at Fox News, because the 26-year-old can schedule him on TV — so we all can admire Tucker’s wisdom and good looks — and Ace and Jeff can’t do that.

Yeah, well, Ace and Jeff are all right with me. You know who else is all right with me? Carol at No Sheeples Here. Because she lets me steal her cool Photoshops:

UPDATE II: Speaking of obscure people I met at CPAC 2006, Little Miss Attila says, “Fire them all? Works for me.”

OK, let’s talk obscurity and fame. All acolytes of The Rules (or, as Jimmie calls them, “The Million Hit Squad”) know Little Miss Attila as She Who Must Be Linked, the Kharma Queen of the Blogosphere. She’s like the blog-fu temple goddess. If your traffic is sucking, just ask yourself, “When was the last time I linked Little Miss Attila?”

Two days after I met Attila at CPAC 2006, Ann Coulter gave the speech destined to be known to history as The Raghead Heard ‘Round the World. And somebody on Bloggers Row decided to circulate a petition denouncing Ann. (Which even Ace signed, having succumbed to the fever of civic-virtue Joiny McJoinerism that was apparently pandemic on Bloggers Row that year.)

Well, I’m sort of Coulter Fanboy No. 1. Don’t judge me.

Having done a stint as a humor columnist for The Rome News-Tribune — after Lewis Grizzard died, my Menshevik editor, Pierre Rene-Noth, decided I should try my hand at the Bubba McGrits schtick — I know how hard it is to be consistently funny.

If a columnist can give three good laughs in 700 words, that’s success. Four good laughs per column, that’s national syndication. Five laughs in a column and you are a newsprint Vishnu: I Am Become Death, Destroyer of Worlds.

Coulter is funny, and if you’ve never tried to be funny in print, you’ve got no idea how hard that is. It’s like stand-up comedy. Next time you’re watching some brick-wall third-stringer doing a routine on cable TV and thinking to yourself, “Ah, he’s not so funny. Anybody could do that,” how’s about you take a stroll down to the next open-mike night and try it yourself, asshole.

So I leapt to Coulter’s defense after the “raghead” comment, and one of the people I leapt on — figuratively, no matter what any gossip tries to tell you — was Little Miss Attila. She had put up a post slamming Ann and so, with all the vitriolic ad hominem I could muster, I told Attila to get herself a nice hot cup of STFU. Hulk Hogan never slammed Andre the Giant so hard. Meghan McCain never slammed tequila shots so hard. Matt Sanchez never . . .

I regret slamming Attila like that. But it’s out there somewhere on the Internet, and you can’t retrieve those pixels once you hit the “publish post” button. But Attila has forgiven me, and this is one of the reasons (certainly not the only reason) she’s the Kharma Queen of the ‘Sphere.

One of these days, Attila will write a post called “Ann Coulter Is Da Bomb,” admitting that her 2006 anti-Ann posts were wrong. At which point, she’ll begin knocking down Instalanches like she knocks down vodka martinis. And then we’ll all be grateful we’re on her blogroll.

Er . . . not that we weren’t already grateful.

June 2, 2009

NTCNews on Sotomayor

Dig the groovy aggregation, people. I love working to keep up with a breaking meme like this one.

Some people talk about “aggregation.” Some of us just jump in and start aggregatin’ like a mofo.

Dibs on the slogan, “Aggregatin’ like a mofo.” Don’t try to ace me out of that one, Trog.

June 2, 2009

Remember all those liberalslecturing us about ‘civility’?BUMPED: It gets WORSE!RE-BUMPED: The latest

(BUMPED 7:15 EDT; RE-BUMPED 8:24; UPDATES BELOW) After I linked pro-lifer Becky Brindle, she got some interesting comments from such progressive exemplars of peace, love and tolerance as “Maine Cat Woman“:

Using Fox News as a mouthpiece and allowing a major media figure like O’Reilly to continually profile an abortion provider as bloodthirsty as Caligula means you are all have as much blood on your hands as the actual terrorists who pulled the trigger. Sorry, we really don’t want to hear any of your cynical, self-serving “regrets.” Conservatism: the party of illegal war, torture and murder. Congratulations. Hope you are really proud of yourselves. Go to hell, murderer.

Thank you, our moral superior! “Maine Cat Woman’s” blog is called Bill Kristol’s Brain. And Becky Brindle’s blog is called . . . uh, BeckyBrindle.com. Take a look at both sites and ask yourself which one might aptly be described as “People With Minds That Hate.”

UPDATE: Speaking of “people with minds that hate,” NTCNews chronicles the latest wretchedness. Remind me of this the next time someone calls me a misognynist . . .

UPDATE 8:24 EDT: Ed Morrissey:

Playboy has pulled the article, with no explanation, Allahpundit reported on Twitter. I think we know the reason, though.

And the latest via Allah’s Twitter:

@AmandaCarpenter Playboy thought they’d get away with it bc they didn’t realize they’d targeted bloggers, who talk back. Simple as that

Yep. BTW, I’m on Twitter. Not all the time, like some people, but I’m on there. And as for Playboy, don’t believe any guy who says he only reads it for the articles . . . Rule 5, anyone?