I’m a signer of a letter on a new site called “An Open Transition,” where a group of folks led by Larry Lessig:

  • celebrates the incoming administration’s decision to put a Creative Commons license on its Change.Gov transition website, thereby allowing anyone to share, remix and otherwise reuse and copy the material there;
  • and asks that this philosophy be extended widely in the new administration, and around the government in general.

Politico has a short story on this here.

ABC News: Palin Fears Media Threaten Her First Amendment Rights. “If [the media] convince enough voters that that is negative campaigning, for me to call Barack Obama out on his associations,” Palin told host Chris Plante, “then I don’t know what the future of our country would be in terms of First Amendment rights and our ability to ask questions without fear of attacks by the mainstream media.”

One might hope that she has more of a clue about the rest of the Constitution than this nuttiness. One might be disappointed, too.

Picture 35The RealDVD home page features the unsurprising news that the entertainment cartel has persuades a judge to block sales of RealNetworks’ incredibly lame software that lets you — after jumping through absurd hoops — make copies of DVDs on your hard disk so you can watch them later. Apparently, Hollywood figures that this is another victory in the War on Doing Things that the Cartel Doesn’t Want You to Do with the music and movies you buy.

Had the movie studio bosses given this any nuanced thought, they would have celebrated Real’s achievement, which is mainly to make it so annoying to make these copies that consumers who try will figure it’s just not worth the trouble. Instead, Hollywood has simply taken away even that avenue, and encouraged people to look for software that does a better job.

Software like Handbrake, for example, which gives computer users an easy way to compress DVDs to play back on laptops, iPhones and other such devices.

Clearly, the politicians had to “Shore Up Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac,” as the NYT headlines today. The risk of not stepping in was just too high.

But the paper, and every other bit of coverage, also notes:

While senior Democratic and Republican officials in successive administrations have for many years repeatedly denied that the trillions of dollars of debt Fannie and Freddie issued is guaranteed, the package, if adopted, would bring the Treasury closer than ever to exposing taxpayers to potentially huge new liabilities. The two companies could face significant new losses this year as the wave of housing foreclosures continues. Officials seemed to suggest, however, that they had little choice but to intervene.

Think about it for a minute. These officials were deliberately lying to you, to all of us. They knew perfectly well that they and Congresses run by both parties had created a situation in which there would be no choice but to bail out these monster companies.

We are all on the hook for billions, maybe a trillion or two, that we simply do not have. Our kids and grandkids will pay for this, unless we start dealing with reality right now by requiring some sacrifice from the basest generation, the baby boomers whose selfishness — and willingness to allow corporate corruption on a mega scale — has brought us to the edge of financial catastrophe.

And the politicians have led the parade with false promises and outright lies. We insisted they do this, or so they believed, and they responded as they normally do.

American could soon be in an Argentina-like meltdown. When you look for people to blame, if you’re older than 30, start by looking in the mirror.

Rep. John Conyers, in “Karl Rove, The White House And The Rule Of Law,” says:

Today was the deadline for a Judiciary Committee subpoena issued to Karl Rove, demanding his appearance before the Committee to testify on his role in the politicization of the Department of Justice and the politically selective prosecutions of Democrats. Unfortunately, Mr. Rove chose not to show up.

What are they going to do about it? Nothing, in the end, because Conyers and his Democratic colleagues are nothing but doormats for a White House that holds them in deserved contempt.

The Democrats are pathetic. Sadly they don’t seem to know why the public now rates them in single digits for approval.

In this Dow Jones story –FISA Deal Will End Court Cases Vs Phone Cos – GOP Lawmakers — Missouri’s Republican senator, Christopher Bond, is quoted as follows:

“I’m not here to say that the government is always right, but when the government tells you to do something, I’m sure you would all agree that I think you all recognize that is something you need to do.”

If I ran the St. Louis Post Dispatch or Kansas City Star, the two biggest newspapers in Missouri, I’d assign my Washington reporters to ask Bond, at every opportunity, the following questions:

If the government tells you to murder someone, is that “something you need to do?” If not, what crimes are in the permitted zone? What illegal acts can the government order a private citizen or company to commit?

Amazingly, or perhaps not, there’s no sign that anyone is asking Bond these questions. Another example of journalistic non-feasance.