Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Is the New York Times about to collapse into a miasma of inefficiency, bollixups, and obscene pay for screwup executives?

As Janet Robinson departs the New York Times, $15 million richer – for having quartered shareholder value, gotten rid of many valuable people, and frozen the pensions of Times employees abroad who literally risked their lives for the paper – a new problem emerges.

Seems the Times can't even get its subscription operations straight.

A few hours ago, a notice popped up in my e-mail inbox. I quote it in full:

Dear Home Delivery Subscriber,

Our records indicate that you recently requested to cancel your home delivery subscription. Please keep in mind when your delivery service ends, you will no longer have unlimited access and our NYTimes apps.

We do hope you’ll reconsider.

As a valued Times reader we invite you to continue your current subscription at an exclusive rate of 50% off for 16 weeks. This is a limited-time offer and will no longer be valid once your current subscription ends.*

Continue your subscription and you’ll keep your free, unlimited digital access, a benefit availableonly for our home delivery subscribers. You’ll receive unlimited access to on any device, full access to our smartphone and iPad® apps, plus you can now share your unlimited access with a family member.
To continue your subscription call 1-877-698-0025 and mention code [redacted code numbers] (Monday–Friday, 8:30 a.m. to 8:30 p.m.; Saturday, 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. E.D.T.).
There's just one small problem. I'm not a home delivery subscriber. I'm a digital subscriber. And I certainly didn't want my digital subscription cancelled.

So I called the 877 number in the notice and got a mechanical brushoff. The system is to effin' busy to take my call. It tells me I can call back later. Or write a letter and fax the damn thing someplace or other.

No thanks.

And by the way, New York Times: If you by mistake cancel my digital subscription, don't expect me to renew.

Yours very crankily,
The New York Crank

Update: I just came across this article, indicating that what at first was thought to be the work of a spammer or a spoofer is indeed actually caused by a massive goof at the Times itself.

Second Update - "Pay no attention to the e-mail we sent you": At approximately 4:55 p.m. today I received the following e-mail from the Times:

Dear New York Times Reader,

You may have received an e-mail today from The New York Times with the subject line “Important information regarding your subscription."

This e-mail was sent by us in error. Please disregard the message. We apologize for any confusion this may have caused.


The New York Times
Final (I hope) update: Dec. 28, 10:45 p.m.
As you'll discover if you click on the comments, twenty-something readers chose to comment on this post, a good many of them saying, or implying, that I'm an idiot for not recognizing that all I received was some malicious spam.
Not so fast, dumdum. According to an article now on the Times website, written by Amy Chozick, "
"The New York Times mistakenly sent an e-mail on Wednesday to more than eight million people who had shared their information with the company, erroneously informing them that they had canceled home delivery of the newspaper.

"The Times Company, which initially mischaracterized the mishap as spam, apologized for sending the e-mail. The people who received the message represented a cross section of readers who had given their e-mail addresses to the newspaper, said Eileen Murphy, a spokeswoman for the Times Company..."
You can read the whole story here. So take that, you idiot shoot-from-the-hip nincompoops who implied that I hadn't checked this out and didn't know spam from Shinola! Look who's up to their necks in Shinola now.

Monday, December 26, 2011

Beat up, shoot and try to murder America’s heroic war veterans – one tactic used again the Occupy movement. What’s next? Maybe outlawing snow suits.

Sitting here in New York City, it's pretty easy to lose sight of the fact that the Occupy movement is happening all over America, not just on Wall Street. The 99 percent is mad as hell at Republicans and bankers from sea to shining sea.

What initially brought this to my attention was an e-mail from Brian Sonnenstein at Firedog Lake about what's been going on in Erie, PA. He wrote:

"The police are trying to drive occupiers out of the park by seizing their blankets and sleeping bags, so they've asked Occupy Supply for arctic lined coveralls to keep them warm at night..."
So I went web surfing and found the Occupy Erie website, where I learned that the Erie protesters are examining instances of police brutality against occupiers from Erie to California. Said the Erie occupiers:

"Excsssive use of force toward those in the Occupy movement has led to arbitrary arrests, a fractured skull for one veteran and a reputured spleen for another...[and all these actions] have been deployed against peaceful U.S. Citizens."
So great. You go to war for your country. You get shipped halfway around the world on one, two, maybe even three or four tours of duty, dodging bullets, IEDs and car and truck bombs. And when you get back, some cop feels duty bound to beat the crap out of you or try to shoot you to death. Is this the greatest country in the world or what?

Here's one example:

Then there was the vet in Erie who got shot in the face with a teargas cannister, resulting in a fractured skull.

Of course, if all else fails, the town fathers of Erie can get rid of the demonstrators by outlawing their arctic coverall snowsuits that the occupiers are starting wear when they sleep outdoors since the cops confiscated their sleeping bags.

And I suppose the cops will claim that they're not really blocking free speech for arresting people for wearing snow suits, because the Occupy protestors will still be free to stay out in the freezing winter of upstate News York and demonstrate, so long as they're naked.

Friday, December 09, 2011


What is it with my business clients? Well, I'll tell you what it is.

It's the end of the year and if they don't blow their budgets by December 31, some corporate uberfuhrer will say, "Well, obviously we allocated too much money to you in 2011, so we're cutting your budget for 2012."

In other words, it's use it or lose it time. Which means hapless scribblers like me get called out to produce great stuff, in great gobs, under great pressure, until the end of the year.

Where were all these guys in September when I needed them? Shepherding their budgets, of course, so that they wouldn't get caught short in case an unexpected, umm, situation came along that would demand a big expenditure.

For the top guys in American business, it's all about stuffing their pockets with huge wads of cash that would otherwise fall into the hands of their employees, or their stockholders, or in the form of lower prices to their consumers.

But for the poor shlubs in middle management it's about playing Goldilocks and the Three Bears. They spend not too much, not too little, but just right – until the end of the last quarter when they dump their budgets like a drug dealer pursued by a police car, desperately throwing bags of cocaine out the window.

Listen, I'm not complaining about the middle guys. Thanks to them, I've survived for the past 20 years living on the crumbs that fall off corporate America's table.

Same as the middle management guys and all the rest of us, come to think of it.

So I'll see you when I'm back to complaining that I'm not getting any work.

Sunday, December 04, 2011

Why should the New York Crank badmouth Newt Gingrich when I can get Ron Paul to do it for me? (Be sure to scroll down and see the video.)

Republicans have an odd habit of worshipping losers, liars, lunatics, and lunkheads.

Among their company is Newt Gingrich, whose star is now on the ascendancy after Herman Caine’s fell, owing to what used to be called “wimmin troubles.” Before that was Michelle Bachmann and Governor Tex Whatzisname, who could stick their own feet in their mouths while standing up ramrod straight with their lips tightly shut.

Now one of the lunatic fringe candidates – no I take that back. He’s not on the fringe. He’s batshit crazy. Anyway, looney tunes Doctor Ron Paul has decided that Newt is a serious threat to his own candidacy, and has taken his case of the vapors to the Internet to denounce Newt.

Of course, in my own cranky opinion, Newt deserves denouncing. It’s just that I wish Doctor Ron wouldn’t blame the fall of western civilization on Fanny Mae and Freddy Mac, when they were mere bit players. Fanny and Freddy followed after the big boy players in the mortgage meltdown, from Bear Sterns (remember them?) and Lehman Brothers (and remember them too – and also Countrywide Financial?) to the still-standing Citigroup, Goldman Sachs, Bank of America and other Wall Streeters who are occupied with their bonuses rather than the troubles they’ve caused America.

That said, without further ado, I turn my blog piece for today over to my guest blogger, Ron Paul, who sent me the following screed in an e-mail (he thinks I’m a conservative libertarian for some reason) along with this video denouncing Newt. Take it away, Ron:


Dear [Another name for the New York Crank],

You might have seen recently that Mr. Gingrich traded on his former political office to land a $1.8 million lobbying contract with Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac.

Why is this so disturbing?

Because while these out-of-control federal agencies were ruining the housing market and causing millions of homeowners to lose their homes and life savings, Newt Gingrich was earning millions advising them.

At that same exact time, I was publicly declaring they needed to be stopped before they ruined the economy.

I guess Newt Gingrich and I have a different idea of what to do with federal bureaucracies. I fight to rein them in and shut them down before they can do harm. He pads his personal bank account while they wreck our economy.

While I was fighting environmental extremists, the out-of-control EPA, and the Soros-funded green movement, Newt Gingrich was filming commercials with Nancy Pelosi.

While I was fighting government bailouts, Newt was saying he would have voted FOR them.

Don't be fooled by the words candidates use when they are running for office. Look hard at their records. My record is one of true limited government, anti-Washington, D.C. conservatism.

Newt Gingrich has a long record of liberal appeasement, flip-flopping on key issues, and lobbying for insider millions.

Millions. That's right. Remember the individual mandate I mentioned earlier that Newt supported? His healthcare group received nearly $40 MILLION in contributions from the healthcare industry.

I have rarely seen a candidate who represents so much of what is wrong with Washington and what is wrong with our political system.

We can and must demand better.

We must demand REAL conservative values. We must demand a person who puts faith, family, and freedom ahead of all else. And we must demand a candidate who has remained true to principle his entire career.

I believe I am that candidate, and I ask you to take a look at my Plan to Restore America at

You can tell I mean every word in it -- just as I've meant every word I have said in public life. And that's something that everyone will admit, whether they agree with all of my positions or not.

With me, what you see and hear is what you get. Wouldn't that be a nice change?

I am the only true conservative in the top tier of candidates running for the GOP nomination. And I ask for your support.

Together we can stop the counterfeit conservatives AND the liberals in the White House. We can take back and Restore America Now.

For Liberty,

Ron Paul

P.S. Whether it's flip-flopping on TARP, supporting the individual mandate that served as a model for "ObamaCare," joining with Nancy Pelosi in support of the global-warming crowd's radical agenda, or making millions off of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac as they helped destroy our economy, Newt Gingrich is trying to pull the wool over our eyes.

He's what I call a "counterfeit conservative."

Here's an ad my campaign put together explaining his record of supporting liberal policies. Please take a moment to watch it.

And, if possible, contribute to my campaign as generously as you can to help me run this ad and get my message of liberty out with mail, internet advertising, and an all-out media blitz.

Paid for by Ron Paul 2012 Presidential Campaign Committee