As of this evening you can’t get access to the Op-Ed columnists of the New York Times unless you pony up for Times Select, a new subscription service. I have no plans to sign up. Don’t know about you. I doubt this spells the beginning of the end either for political bloggers or the relevance of the Op-Ed page to the chattering classes at large. But it does seem that this will reduce the columnists’ ability to set the agenda for online chatterers like ourselves. We won’t have David Brooks or Airmiles Friedman to kick around any more. But is that bad for us, or for them? NYT columnists are the pinatas of the conscience collective. If not so many people are reading them, you have to wonder whether it’s worth signing up yourself just for the content. I think we benefit at CT. The Times makes you pay to read Paul Krugman, but his substitutability with our own John Quiggin is pretty high, and as of this evening we’re therefore e a better deal than ever.