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Keith Olbermann suspended over political donations

Posted on November 5th, 2010 at 20:16 by John Sinteur in category: ¿ʞɔnɟ ǝɥʇ ʇɐɥʍ


Msnbc TV host Keith Olbermann was suspended indefinitely on Friday for making campaign donations to three Democratic congressional candidates, apparently in violation of NBC News ethics policy.


“Anyone working for NBC News who takes part in civic or other outside activities may find that these activities jeopardize his or her standing as an impartial journalist because they may create the appearance of a conflict of interest,” it reads.

Impartial journalist? Have we been watching the same show?

In other news, Fox continues to hand shopping bags full of cash to the RNC, Sarah Palin, Mike Huckabee, Mitt Romney, Newt Gingrich, Archie Bunker, Grand Moff Tarkin, Skeletor and that mean dog down the street.

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  1. if Fox News had the same policy they wouldn’t have any employees left.


Posted on November 5th, 2010 at 19:12 by John Sinteur in category: Cartoon

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In Feingold’s Loss, Independents Turned on One of Their Own

Posted on November 5th, 2010 at 18:56 by John Sinteur in category: News


The irony was lost on no one. Senator Russ Feingold, a liberal with a fierce streak of independence who crusaded against the influence of money in politics, was toppled Tuesday in a campaign awash in the kind of unregulated cash he had struggled to keep out of the system.

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Posted on November 5th, 2010 at 18:33 by John Sinteur in category: Pastafarian News

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How M.C. Escher views a tennis match.

Posted on November 5th, 2010 at 18:22 by John Sinteur in category: Great Picture

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Oh my, Microsoft is having a a tamper tantrum!

Posted on November 5th, 2010 at 17:49 by John Sinteur in category: Intellectual Property, Microsoft


“Microsoft does not condone the modification of its products,” a company spokesperson told CNET. “With Kinect, Microsoft built in numerous hardware and software safeguards designed to reduce the chances of product tampering. Microsoft will continue to make advances in these types of safeguards and work closely with law enforcement and product safety groups to keep Kinect tamper-resistant.”

“What Grug make?”
“Grug make fire! Cook mammoth!”
“Grug fire good! Ogg warm cave!”
“NO! Grug fire cook mammoth! Not heat cave!”
“But Ogg cave warm with Grug fire!”

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  1. So why do they give a rat’s ass? Are they losing money on the hardware?

  2. I’m temped to say they (yet again) copy other companies idea’s and methods, without really knowing why.

Sarah Palin Complains About Invasion Of Her Privacy On First Episode Of Her Reality Show

Posted on November 5th, 2010 at 14:38 by Paul Jay in category: News


WASHINGTON — The first episode of Sarah Palin’s new show, “Sarah Palin’s Alaska,” has been placed online and it starts with what is now a familiar lament about the intrusiveness of the press from the former Alaska Governor.

The specific grievance is directed at Joe McGinniss, the freelance reporter who over the course of the summer camped up in the house next to Palin’s home in Alaska. And in terms a bit more candid than expressed at the time, Palin offers her displeasure.

“Our behavior has certainly changed this summer because of this new neighbor,” she says at the show’s onset. “I think it is an intrusion, an invasion of our privacy and I don’t like it.” Palin later adds, “It’s just none of his flippin’ business.”

Nice headline. And there is a video too!

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  1. The only way this post “works” is by casting the show as a “Reality Show”, implying that there are already cameras inside her house revealing her private life. My impression is that the show is nothing like that. And if it’s not a reality show, why should she not lament papperazzi hanging out by her house?

File Sharing Mom Ordered To Pay $1.5 Million

Posted on November 5th, 2010 at 13:36 by Paul Jay in category: News


RIAA applauds jury’s decision in third trial of Jammie Thomas-Rasset, the Minnesota mother of four who illegally downloaded 24 songs.

A Minnesota woman was ordered to pay $1.5 million for illegally downloading 24 songs, in her third trial in three years. The verdict was hailed by the record industry as justified.

A federal court jury on Wednesday ordered Jammie Thomas-Rasset to pay $62,500 for each of the two-dozen songs she downloaded using the Kazaa file-sharing program. The trial was the third for the mother of four children who has been battling the record industry since 2006, when it filed its first lawsuit.

This has nothing to do with artist rights. That’s obvious.

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  1. I haven’t bought a CD since they started doing this. I have bought maybe a dozen singles in four years, when I have to for a project of some sort. I am a performing musician and continue to see live music often. I do not expect everyone in America to stop buying music, but I truly wish they would. I cannot bring myself to support such vampirism.

  2. I should add, I have bought independently produced CDs directly from artists at their shows.

  3. I bought more music in the days of napster than ever. But I have also quit buying music and give generously to the EFF.

“…the best form of democracy we’ll have in this process.”

Posted on November 5th, 2010 at 8:18 by John Sinteur in category: Robber Barons


Are you ok with your bank playing roulette with your deposits? Yes? No? Well, today is the last day to speak up and be heard!

According to the Federal Register (linked above), the Volcker rule (previously) (written into the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act) would restrict commercial banks when engaging in proprietary trading and “maintaining certain relationships with hedge funds and private equity funds”.

Why is proprietary trading such a problem? Well, to hear the rule’s namesake, Former Federal Reserve Chairman Paul Volcker, describe it, “such speculative activity played a key role in the financial crisis.”(link) This view is support by research (pdf),

“…the Political Economy Research Institute at the University of Massachusetts pointed out ‘risky proprietary investments by investment banks, along with trading for clients whose decisions were influenced by these banks, was one of the main forces that sustained upward pressure on securities prices in the bubble…Indeed, by running large trading books, banks had inside information on client trading patterns and could use that information to front-run, and thereby help sustain market trends.’”

American Public Media’s Marketplace compared such an arrangement as being similar to running a casino out of the back of your house (yt) with banks gambling their depositor’s money. The fear is, as it was before, when one casino loses (and one will, sooner or later) the losses are so big that the whole system collapses.

Now, the language in the Dodd-Frank Act would definitely limit bank’s private-fund investments to 3% of capital. The issue being heard is how to enforce the limit, how to regulate. Former IMF Chief Economist Simon Johnson notes that there is a difference of opinion within the group being tasked to determine enforcement, the Financial Stability Oversight Council (FSOC). “On one side is the view that compliance should be monitored only through periodic existing supervision and some spot checks…that the industry will follow instructions and only needs a moderate degree of broad-brush enforcement.” Meanwhile, “[o]n the other side is the view that enforcement should be more assertive and based on real-time access to detailed trading data. The thinking here is that regulators would need the ability to look at transaction data to understand what is really going on.” Johnson argues, “Why not do both?” Volcker himself seems to agree, with some noting his worry that “narrow or prescriptive rules would invite gamesmanship on the part of banks and could allow firms to evade the rule’s intent”.

That same WSJ article points out that, “[a]lready, some banks and their lobbyists are seeking to sway regulators and encourage them to narrowly define certain types of trading activities, according to government officials.” It doesn’t stop with trying to sway regulators. Only a few days ago, JPMorgan Chase signed a deal to acquire a controlling stake in Gavea Investimentos, a $6 billion hedge fund founded by the former head of the central bank of Brazil. (link) Such behavior in the face of impending regulation might be explained by the close associations the financial industry has with the US Legislature. For example, Alabama Republican Spencer Bachus who, back in July, “unsuccessfully sought to amend the bank reform legislation with a provision that would have prohibited the Volcker rule’s implementation unless other countries adopted similar measures. Bachus, who raised $218,000 in 2009 and 2010 from the securities and investment industry, is likely to push to regulators to limit the Volcker rule’s impact.”

Today, in the aftermath of mid-term elections, Bachus is considered to be the a leading candidate for chairman of the House Financial Services Committee. This may help explain why Bachus feels empowered enough to fire off a letter to the FSOC, asserting that the Volcker rule will “impose substantial costs on the American economy and market participants” with “doubtful” benefits. “Depending on how US regulators choose to implement it, the Volcker rule may spark a mass exodus of clients from US banks to banks based abroad”. The article also notes that Mr Bachus also expressed concern that shareholders of Goldman Sachs and JPMorgan Chase will be hurt because the banks will be less profitable. Now, there is no guarantee that Bachus will chair the House Financial Services Committee, but the alternative candidate seems no more inclined to support stronger regulation.

But sorting all of that out is will take time. In the meanwhile, November 5th is today and it’s the last day for American citizens to voice their opinion on how tough the Volcker rule should be. Mike Konczal, a fellow at the Roosevelt Institute, exhorts citizens to write in, “You may not have a lobbying staff, you may not get your calls returned from Senators within minutes, you may not be running attack ads through slush funds connecting a dozens front groups, but you can have your voice heard right here in this comment period.” Clicking right here will take you to the proper comment page.

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New Zealand P2P proposal: guilty until proven innocent

Posted on November 5th, 2010 at 7:17 by John Sinteur in category: Intellectual Property


Such fines would be levied by a Copyright Tribunal after a particular account holder racked up several notices, and these notices would adopt a "guilty until proven innocent" approach. As the committee report puts it, "an infringement notice establishes a presumption that infringement has occurred, but this would be open to rebuttal where an account holder had valid reasons, in which case a rights holder would have to satisfy the tribunal that the presumption was correct. We consider that such a change would fulfill more effectively the aim of having an efficient ‘fast-track’ system for copyright owners to obtain remedies for infringements."

It’s hard to argue with the logic of speed here; creating a presumption of liability certainly will "fast-track" the process, though concerns about accuracy remain. As a New Zealand legal blogger noted this week, almost one-third of all New Zealand copyright litigation fails because rightsholders can’t actually show they own the copyright and that the copyright is governed by New Zealand law. And Google has previously indicated that large percentages of the infringement claims it routinely receives are defective in some way.

InternetNZ, which runs the top-level .nz Internet domain, said in a statement that the new presumption of liability "reverses the burden of proof in the regime by saying that rights owners’ notices will be considered conclusive evidence of infringement, with alleged infringers having to prove they have not done so. This reversal of proof is not a welcome development, and our initial view is that it should not be passed by Parliament."

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The New Mac iBox

Posted on November 5th, 2010 at 7:08 by John Sinteur in category: Apple


Look what someone accidentally left in a laundromat in Italy—a working prototype of Apple’s much-rumored new iBox, ahead of the official launch.


Problems: The hue range is limited. The receptive surfaces will be sold separately by third party vendors. And the the gray undo tool isn’t compatible with all the rendering devices.

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