If you want to know what’s going to be in The Free Lance–Star a week in advance, just check out my blog.

What a rag. They can’t seem to get by without going to, and taking stories from, my and other’s lowly little hate-blogs.

On September 14, 2008, I published a post about how the fine folks at Germanna Community College decided to spend money to send staff to India to find IT internships for people at the college.

On September 21, 2008, The Free Lance–Star published a story talking about how great the whole trip was. The college spends $12,000 that’s supposed to go to “professional development” to send staff on a trip to India, and it’s a great thing!

You gotta love when a newspaper caters to whomever is in a position of power.

I’ve heard of this mythical place to the north called “Novaville”, it’s supposed to contain hundreds — if not thousands — of technology companies that need interns.

So instead of getting local technology companies involved in the college, they think that students have thousands of dollars to go to India for an internship during a sagging economy. According to priceline.com, a round-trip to India is going to cost you at least $1,100 in airfare alone (and that’s if you schedule it for January, five months in advance).

For that cost, you could pay for 12 credit hours at Germanna instead.

I just hope they don’t plan on setting up any internships in Delhi since “a top tourist spot” just got hit by a suicide bombing that killed 60 people and wounded 150 more (CNN). “India ranks among the countries where terrorism is most common” as well, according to the United States State Department (Ibid).

They really don’t seem to have problems like that in Novaville.

And The Free Lance–Star didn’t just happen upon that trip-to-India story on their own. There were visits to my blog from the paper at around 9:47 a.m. on September 15, 2008 going to the post I did. Then there were dozens of hits from the Virginia Community College System that started at 11:20 a.m. on the same day — going directly to that post — as if someone had e-mailed them a link.

Further, this trip to India happened two months ago, and the news story about it doesn’t even appear on Germanna’s homepage anymore.

Of course, this isn’t the first time something like this has happened.

Take for example, the resignation of Caroline County Finance Director Garland Adkins: The story was originally posted on Tom James’s blog on October 11, 2007, with quotes from, at the time, a non-password protected employee page.

On October 14, 2007, The Free Lance–Star published a story announcing Adkins’s resignation citing the employee page. No mention of Tom James’s blog was in the story. Are we to believe that someone from the paper just happened to wonder onto the county’s employee page?

On June 15, 2008, I published a post pointing out that Haymount had been bought out for $21,500,000.

On June 22, 2008, The Free Lance–Star published a story about Haymount being bought out.

Those aren’t the only times it has occurred, but I’m too lazy to track the other articles involved.

Hell, if they don’t have anything better to do, people from The Free Lance–Star will kindly point out when I use the wrong tense of a verb.

Frankly, why should I allow them to take stuff that I post on my blog, and use it for commercial profit?

I’m not making money of this site. Sure, I have ads on the page but it doesn’t offset the cost of the hosting package.

That’s why, beginning at midnight tonight, access from that rag of a paper will be blocked.

We can do it, we have the technology.

Actually, it’s pretty easy, just a few lines in the .htaccess file and boom, we’re done.

No worries, no one outside the people at the paper will be affected.

I guess they will have to find another source for news in the area.

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