The 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.
The political parties now raising money for the fall campaign could do the nation a service by aiming their fundraising appeals in the next several weeks at helping with recovery from Hurricane Gustav, assuming it’s as bad as we now fear it could be.
And make a contest out of it.
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.
NY Times: Congress Reaches Deal on Wiretapping Bill: After months of wrangling, Democratic and Republican leaders reached a deal Thursday that would re-write the rules for the government’s wiretapping powers, and would provide what amounts to limited immunity to the telephone companies that took part in President Bush’s warrantless eavesdropping program after the Sept. 11 attacks.
This “deal” — which the reporter stenographically reports, quoting others, as a compromise — is an absolute capitulation by the Democrats, who have shown themselves conclusively to be pure quislings. Fearful of looking “soft on terrorism,” they are bowing to Bush and Republican demands that they encourage companies to break the law — and break it so that government can have all the help it needs in spying on American citizens who have done absolutely nothing to justify the surveillance.
We may as well redact the Fourth Amendment when we publish the Constitution. It’s completely meaningless at this point.
McCain supports this travesty, of course. He believes in absolute, dictatorial power for the president.
Where the hell is Obama, who claims to believe in the rule of law? He’s in hiding.
UPDATE: No, it’s worse. He supports this, too, after being a leader in the fight against it before. What a raging hypocrite he has become.
A new kind of politician? Not one who’d sell out the Constitution to get elected.
Wall Street Journal: Taxpayers May Face Hurricane Tab. As hurricane season begins, Democrats in Congress want to nationalize a chunk of the insurance business that covers major storm-damage claims. The proposal — backed by giant insurers Allstate Corp. and State Farm Mutual Automobile Insurance Co., as well as Florida lawmakers — focuses on “reinsurance,” the policies bought by insurers themselves to protect against catastrophic losses. The proposal envisions a taxpayer-financed reinsurance program covering all 50 states, which would essentially backstop the giant insurers in case of disaster.
This is a fiscal disaster in the making if it passes. It will encourage even more reckless coastal development that would be uneconomic if the people who benefit had to bear the real costs of what they’re doing.
Republican presidential candidate John McCain opposes it. Democrat Barak Obama is for it. McCain is on the right side of this issue, and I don’t mean the right wing.
Obama has been presenting himself as a candidate who wants to tell the truth to the American people — to run a government that recognizes reality and doesn’t continue the lies of the past. His support of this legislation is a giant blind spot in his vision.
NY Daily News: Obama: ‘Assassination’ flap over-rated. “I have learned that when you are campaigning for as many months as Sen. Clinton and I have been campaigning, sometimes you get careless in terms of the statements that you make,” Obama told Radio Isla in Puerto Rico, where he and Clinton stumped in advance of the June 1 primary. “And I think that is what happened here.
This really should be the final word. Sadly it won’t be.
Look, we all say stupid things from time to time, even super-smart people like Clinton. Some of the criticism of her remarks, which were kind of weird, is so far over the top that it’s crazy. Yet journalists continue to flog it mercilessly.
Let it go.
The “Publius Project” — essays and conversations about constitutional moments on the Net collected by the Berkman Center — has launched. I have an essay there, along with the writings of many other folks.