Spooks R Us
David P. Goldman casts a skeptical eye on Stratfor:
How would you like to tap into an exclusive private intelligence service staffed by ex-CIA analysts who glean exclusive information from shadowy sources, cross-grid raw intel to detect relevant patterns, and alert you by email when the product requires your attention? Membership in this elite club will cost you just $349 a year, and you'll also get a free book that predicts the next 100 years of human history. ... In a crowded market where The New York Times can’t successfully charge for premium content, Friedman’s thriving business targets a key market niche: corporate types with geopolitical exposure who are too busy or too ill-informed to use Google.
I don't subscribe, but I do occasionally read the free stuff. I take it as as seriously as, say, a really good spy novel. But every now and again, they're dead-on.