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It’s Friday

Posted on June 20th, 2008 at 13:44 by John Sinteur in category: News

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  1. Now if only those in marketing would kill themselves…
    Did you ever see red vs blue? Recommended, especially from the DVD all on one sitting.

  2. I did – and found only a few funny.

$75,000 reduction in mortgage payments buys you a Senator

Posted on June 20th, 2008 at 13:16 by John Sinteur in category: News


Give Senator Christopher Dodd (D-CT) credit for nerve. On Tuesday, the very day he finally admitted knowing that Countrywide Financial regarded him as a “special” customer, the Connecticut Democrat also announced that he was bringing to the Senate floor a housing bailout sure to help lenders like Countrywide.

How much will Countrywide benefit from Mr. Dodd’s rescue? The Senator’s plan allows mortgage lenders to dump up to $300 billion of their worst loans on to taxpayers via a new Federal Housing Administration refinancing program, provided the lenders are willing to accept 87% of current market value. The program will be most attractive to lenders and investors holding subprime and slightly-less-risky Alt-A loans made during the height of the housing bubble in 2006 and 2007.

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Wet Hot American Bummer

Posted on June 20th, 2008 at 12:23 by John Sinteur in category: Funny!

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On Global Warming

Posted on June 20th, 2008 at 12:14 by John Sinteur in category: Great Picture, News


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Dems, GOP agree to telecom immunity deal

Posted on June 20th, 2008 at 11:33 by John Sinteur in category: Privacy, Security


House and Senate leaders have agreed to a new compromise surveillance bill that would effectively shield from potentially costly civil lawsuits telecommunications companies that helped the government wiretap citizens’ phone and computer lines after the September 11 terrorist attacks without court permission.

The House will debate the bill on Friday, potentially ending a monthslong standoff about the rules for government wiretapping inside the United States.

House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer of Maryland said the new bill “balances the needs of our intelligence community with Americans’ civil liberties, and provides critical new oversight and accountability requirements.”

The great thing about the two-party system is that when one party is tired of fucking you, the other party is rested up and ready to take over.


In 2006, the State Department’s report on Russia contained one of the most amazing passages I’ve read in all the time I’ve been writing about political issues. This is really — honestly — what the State Department said in condemning Russia. I highly recommend reading this a few times, especially in light of what the Congress is preparing to do this week:

The law states that officials may enter a private residence only in cases prescribed by federal law or on the basis of a judicial decision; however, authorities did not always observe these provisions.

The law permits the government to monitor correspondence, telephone conversations, and other means of communication only with judicial permission and prohibits the collection, storage, utilization, and dissemination of information about a person’s private life without his consent. While these provisions were generally followed, problems remained. There were accounts of electronic surveillance by government officials and others without judicial permission, and of entry into residences and other premises by Moscow law enforcement without warrants. There were no reports of government action against officials who violated these safeguards.

What kind of monsters would spy on their own citizens without warrants even when the law requires warrants, and then not even punish those who broke the law? Russian Communist KGB thugs — that’s who would do such a horrible thing, our State Department complained in 2006.

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  1. I agree with you in principle but I think you have to consider a couple things regarding retroactive immunity for telecom companies who capitulated to administration requests for warrant-less wiretaps, and Internet and telephone usage. One, said companies may have been just as afraid of what they Bush administration might do to them in their egomaniacal thuggish glory days as some individuals may have been, not without valid reasons in both groups. And, two, the number of potential parties to a class in civil litigation, and the potential size of the awards, could bring the the telecom industry in the States tumbling down. The commercial airlines are pretty much doing that to themselves, slowly, on their own and it’s causing enough problems. We really don’t want most of our telecom industry to go under, disrupting nationwide communications and creating a viable, autocratic, long-lived monopoly out of the survivors. A painful fine for divulging the information or supporting the wiretaps without warrant as the law requires, that I would find reasonable and serve all interests the best.

  2. So the telco’s aren’t allowed to fail, just like the banks aren’t allowed to fail because of the subprime crisis, right? The big risk in that is that the fall will be a lot bigger if/when it finally comes. You can’t just wish away these kind of problems. It’s a bit like a soldier and an illegal order – you don’t want the soldier to say “No!” to every order, but you want him to be secure enough to say “No!” to prevent a second Holocaust. What you’re doing right now with the telco is allowing them to get away with it, opening the way to allow them to follow illegal orders next time as well. Are you really sure that next time isn’t going to be much worse?

The A.P. Has Violated My Copyright, And I Demand Justice

Posted on June 20th, 2008 at 10:42 by John Sinteur in category: Intellectual Property


As far as I can tell, the Associated Press is sticking by its ridiculous and unlawful assertion that “direct quotations, even short ones” are copyright infringements and result in lawsuit threats and DMCA takedown notices.

This story led us to ban the A.P., call the New York Times out on undisclosed conflicts of interest and begin to investigate some ridiculous organization called the Media Bloggers Association before getting bored and wandering off to other topics.

But now the A.P. has gone too far. They’ve quoted twenty-two words from one of our posts, in clear violation of their warped interpretation of copyright law. The offending quote, from this post, is here (I’m suspending my A.P. ban to report on this important story).

Am I being ridiculous? Absolutely. But the point is to illustrate that the A.P. is taking an absurd and indefensible position, too. So I’ve called my lawyers (really) and have asked them to deliver a DMCA takedown demand to the A.P. And I will also be sending them a bill for $12.50 with that letter, which is exactly what the A.P. would have charged me if I published a 22 word quote from one of their articles.

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  1. Ha. It’s fair use either way, so long as either one of you are using it for critical, satirical, reference, blah, blah, blah purposes. The problem is if you quote an AP story, AP bills you, and you refuse to pay AP, they sue you, you still have to defend it. A general denial followed by a clearly written motion requesting summary dismissal on the grounds of clear fair use, citing a couple precedents, should, I think, do it with something like this. But a lot of bloggers won’t even know what a “general denial” is, so they’re going to have to pay an attorney thousands of dollars to make it go away. I really doubt AP is going to go after a lot of unpaid $12.50 bills since the filing fees on the cases alone will exceed the amount of the bill; but their outside counsel will love them for it if they do.

    What would probably be more fun, and perhaps even effective, is rather than not quote AP, or bill them for quoting you, is get a bunch of high-traffic, heavily read blogs together and post references to AP stories, without links, intentionally misinterpreting the AP story. For example, AP wires a story that includes the quotation, “A recent poll of registered Pennsylvania voters who self-report as likely to vote in the November general election places Senator Obama 12 points ahead of Senator McCain. The margin of error in the poll is +/-…” Write it as, “An Associated Press wire story today reported that a poll in shows Senator McCain 21 points ahead of Senator Obama in the important ‘swing state’ of Pennsylvania. So, looks like Associated Press has made it pretty clear McCain has Pennsylvania locked up, as though numbers could change, if that lead is anywhere near accurate, it’s pretty much insurmountable for Obama.”

    Keep that up long enough, in enough popular blogs, they’ll be PAYING bloggers to quote them VERBATIM instead of merely reporting on their reporting. It will annoy the hell out of them, people calling and emailing to ask them just what the Schenectady they think they’re talking about. Since you provide no link in your story, and the nature of the Internet is that people will just remember “AP says” and very few people bother to actually source things on the Internet even by one degree of abstratction, anyway, it actually stands a chance, or they will perceive it stands a chance, of eroding their credibility as a wire service.

  2. All you say is true, but you’re forgetting one thing: AP is using the DMCA to get the stories removed. Or perhaps I should say abuse. The legal process is very different in that case, because such a takedown notice starts with ‘on penalty of perjury…’ So it isn’t just billing, or getting a “general denial”. Apart from the great misquoting method you mention, getting one of them to admit they know it’s fair use, would theoretically mean jail time. That should work pretty well as a deterrent, but it has never been done for a DMCA notice. It would take a lot of power out of the DMCA if even once a lawyer for a large company like AP would sit in a cell for a few hours.

Gort! Klaatu barada nikto!

Posted on June 20th, 2008 at 10:37 by John Sinteur in category: Funny!

Do you have Firefox 3? Try about:robots in the address bar!

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Thank you, George W. Bush

Posted on June 20th, 2008 at 8:37 by John Sinteur in category: News


Maybe he’s exactly what we needed. Maybe Bush’s brand of frighteningly inept politicking has been just the right kind of sociocultural emetic to induce a true purge of our congested system, just the thing to finally snap us out of our lethargy. Hell, sometimes you gotta go deep into the darkness to realize just how much you need the light.

So thank you, George, for exemplifying and embodying everything that’s wrong with the neocon agenda, for serving as the final death knell of the failed conservative movement, of a once-noble Republican Party that’s run out of ideas and has turned bitter and nasty and paranoid.

Thank you, Dubya, for setting the stage for Obama and Hillary. Because the truth is, even as recently as eight years ago, if you’d have asked if we as a nation would be anywhere near ready for a female or black president, it would have felt incredibly premature, a good 20 years off before we could entertain such an idea. But so potent has been the recoil against everything you stood for — the misogyny, homophobia, classism, fear of “the other,” of foreigners and minorities and alternative beliefs — that we are ready to be inspired and reinvigorated sooner than anyone thought possible.

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The Rich and the Rest of Us

Posted on June 20th, 2008 at 8:35 by John Sinteur in category: News


Today, as in the robber baron era a century ago, the gap between those at the top and the rest of us is simply staggering. The richest 1 percent of Americans currently hold wealth worth $16.8 trillion, nearly $2 trillion more than the bottom 90 percent. A worker making $10 an hour would have to labor for more than 10,000 years to earn what one of the 400 richest Americans pocketed in 2005.

How vast has our parallel universe of the ultrarich become? The Wall Street Journal now dedicates a full-time beat reporter, Robert Frank, to cover what he calls Richistan. Richistan did not suddenly appear on the American scene. Our top-heavy era has evolved from a heavily bankrolled effort by conservatives and corporations to instill blind faith in the market as the magic elixir that can solve any problem. This three-decade war against common sense has preached that tax cuts for the rich help the poor, that labor unions keep workers from prospering, that regulations protecting consumers attack freedom. Duly inspired, our elected officials have rewritten the rules that run our economy–on taxes and trade, on wage policies and public spending–to benefit wealthy asset owners and global corporations.

To reverse this reckless course, we need to change our nation’s dominant political narrative and restore faith in the critical role that government must play to protect the common good. But we can’t stop there. We need to confront directly the threat posed by this inequality.

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  1. First thing would be to change the law that forces the corporations to disregard everything except the profit. Funny, no? The actual law makes the corporation guilty if they care about anything else but profit.

    The Court held that a business corporation is organized primarily for the profit of the stockholders, as opposed to the community or its employees. The discretion of the directors is to be exercised in the choice of means to attain that end, and does not extend to the reduction of profits or the nondistribution of profits among stockholders in order to benefit the public, making the profits of the stockholders incidental thereto.

    Dodge v. Ford

    Because this company was in business for profit, Ford could not turn it into a charity. This was compared to a spoilation of the company’s assets. The court therefore upheld the order of the trial court requiring that directors declare an extra dividend of $19 million.


Posted on June 20th, 2008 at 8:32 by John Sinteur in category: Cartoon

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Posted on June 20th, 2008 at 8:20 by John Sinteur in category: Indecision 2008, Quote

“Speaking of Barack Obama, yesterday, Barack Obama said, if he becomes president, he will replace the White House bowling alleys because it’s something he would never use. That’s what he said, yeah. Yeah, apparently, this is the same reason President Bush got rid of the White House library.”

–Conan O’Brien

“Barack Obama surprised a bunch of students in Chicago yesterday when he showed up unannounced at an eighth grade graduation. Gave a speech at the eighth grade graduation, pretty cool. Now, don’t confuse that with President Bush’s appearance last year at an eighth grade graduation. He was just there getting a diploma.”

–Jay Leno

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Country I Love

Posted on June 20th, 2008 at 7:57 by John Sinteur in category: Indecision 2008

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Water Ice Found on Mars

Posted on June 20th, 2008 at 6:58 by John Sinteur in category: News


This just in from the Mars Phoenix Lander’s Twitter at 5:15 p.m.: “Are you ready to celebrate? Well, get ready: We have ICE!!!!! Yes, ICE, *WATER ICE* on Mars! w00t!!! Best day ever!!” It was just two days ago that media outlets were reporting that there were no signs of water yet.

Then nine minutes after that: “Whoohoo! Was keeping my eye on some chunks of bright stuff & they disappeared! Sublimated! So it can’t be salt, it’s ice.”

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Canadian Industry Minister lies about his Canadian DMCA on national radio, then hangs up

Posted on June 20th, 2008 at 6:56 by John Sinteur in category: Intellectual Property


CBC Radio’s Search Engine just posted/aired its interview with Canadian Industry Minister Jim Prentice about his Canadian version of the Digital Millennium Copyright Act. They’ve been trying to get him on the air for months now and he finally consented to ten minutes, but he delivered nothing but spin and outright lies about his legislation and ended up hanging up on Jesse Brown, the interviewer.

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