While we’ve seen performing rights groups like ASCAP be overly aggressive in trying to collect money from anyone holding a “performance” of music, it seems that the UK’s “Performing Right Society” (PRS) is pushing the boundaries even more. This is the same group that we noted last year had sued a bunch of auto mechanics for listening to radios in their garages loud enough that customers in the waiting room could hear them. Yes, the PRS insisted that this required a performance license.
It appears that PRS representatives just go around the UK these days trying to see if they can hear music anywhere. One den of piracy that they discovered? Police stations! Yes, they’re now accusing 34 police stations with failing to pay for a license because officers were listening to music loud enough that others could hear it. These would be the same police that are out arresting people recently for “Conspiracy To Defraud The Music Industry.” Perhaps they should be checking themselves out as well.
A Dutch cyclists lobby group plans to teach more people across the country how to steal bikes after lessons it conducted in the big cities showed that bike owners became more security-conscious after taking the lessons.
“Someone specialized in locks shows people how to unpick them. This teaches people how to better secure their bikes,” a spokeswoman for Dutch bike group Fietsersbond said on Wednesday.
Speaking at the Handsets World conference in Berlin on Tuesday, Dr Ari Jaaksi told delegates that the open-source community needed to be ‘educated’ in the way the mobile industry currently works, because the industry has not yet moved beyond old business models.
Jaaksi, Nokia’s vice president of software and head of the Finnish handset manufacturer’s open-source operations, said: “We want to educate open-source developers. There are certain business rules [developers] need to obey, such as DRM, IPR [intellectual property rights], SIM locks and subsidised business models.”
Jaaksi admitted that concepts like these “go against the open-source philosophy”, but said they were necessary components of the current mobile industry. “Why do we need closed vehicles? We do,” he said. “Some of these things harm the industry but they’re here [as things stand]. These are touchy, emotional issues but this dialogue is very much needed. As an industry, we plan to use open-source technologies but we are not yet ready to play by the rules; but this needs to work the other way round too.”
So your answer to the question “Why do we need closed vehicles?” is “We do”? And you want to use Open Source but you’re not ready to follow the rules Open Source asks you to follow? You want to ditch the core what makes Open Source work and have us work for you in a way that allows you to use vendor lock-in to garantuee profits?
Excuse me for not being convinced by that brilliant dissertation. You’ll find that a lot of Open Source developers would rather think you just declared war on them.
Fox News anchor ED Hill has lost her show a week after suggesting Barack Obama and his wife Michelle’s on-stage victory gesture could be seen as a “terrorist fist jab”.
Now that Obama has the nomination, some of the ugliest parts of US society are becoming more visible… I expect a lot of racial mud the coming months…
Three hours before the count was expected to be completed, Dermot Ahern, the country’s justice minister, predicted: “It looks like this will be a ‘no’ vote.”
Mr Ahern added: “At the end of the day, for a myriad of reasons, the people have spoken.”
The decision places massive doubt over the future of the pact designed to bring more European integration.
All 27 European member states have to ratify the treaty for it to go come into force next year. So far it has been approved by 18 members including Britain, but Ireland is the only country to put it to a public vote.
Most of the parties that make up the current Dutch coalition governemnt promised a referendum her as well, but that was “compromised” away for political capital and an outright fear that the vote would be “No” again. Thank you, Irish, for picking up where our spineless politicians failed us.
LETTERMAN: My feeling about Cheney–and also Bush, but especially Cheney—is he just couldn’t care less about Americans. And that the same is true of George Bush. And all they really want to do is somehow kiss up to the oil people so they can get some great annuity when they’re out of office. “There you go, Dick, nice job. There’s a couple of billion for your troubles.” ( applause ) I mean, he pretty much put Halliburton in business, and the outsourcing of the military resources to private mercenary groups, and so forth. Is there any humanity in either of these guys?
McCLELLAN: Look, I still have personal affection for the President. I can’t speak to the Vice President’s thinking that well because he’s someone that keeps things to himself and he believes in doing it his way, and he doesn’t care what anybody else thinks. He is going to do the way he feels is best—and that’s not always in the best interest of this country, as we’ve seen.
LETTERMAN: You told me backstage you thought he was a goon.
An organization that promotes sexual abstinence for teens received a federal grant of over a million dollars, twice what it had requested, despite the skepticism Department of Justice staffers had about the group and the fact that it refused to participate in a congressionally mandated study.
So why did the Best Friends Foundation receive the grant from the Justice Department’s juvenile justice office even though dozens of competing organizations were rated higher by the office’s own reviewers? Current and former staffers say it was because of Best Friends’ powerful president and founder, Elayne Bennett.
Not only is Bennett the wife of Bill Bennett, a former Reagan and Bush administration official and conservative political commentator, but she is also personally close to the chief administrator of the Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention (OJJDP), J. Robert Flores.
DOJ staffers were deeply skeptical when Best Friends applied for a grant of around a half-million dollars last summer. For one thing, the organization had backed out of a congressionally mandated study to examine whether or not abstinence programs are effective.
There’s something curious about the Congolese minister of foreign trade — he doesn’t exist.
When the prime minister asked for two nominees for the post, UNACEF party leader Kisimba Ngoy nominated himself and “Kasongo Ilunga,” apparently thinking he was bound to win against a phantom.
The plan backfired when the prime minister chose Ilunga. The enigmatic 36-year-old failed to appear at the opening of the new government, and he hasn’t claimed his office. Ngoy says that the invisible bureaucrat has resigned, but the prime minister insists that he must do so in person.
That leaves Congo without a trade minister — and Kisimba helplessly offering that dubious resignation letter. “He wrote it himself,” he insists. “He signed it. Could an imaginary man do that?”
here is the wiki for Ilunga.
As an acting coach, I’m writing specifically about actors, who today are being cast more and more on their looks and less and less on their talent. The continual display of perfect bodies on television and movie screens has contributed not only to an epidemic of eating disorders, but also to spiritual disorders that increasingly lead young people to evaluate all humanity as either “hot” or “not.”
A while ago, I had a conversation with a 12-year-old girl about “The Diary of Anne Frank,” which she was reading for school. I asked how she liked it, and she replied, “She was a liar.” “How can you say that?” I asked. “Because she said that a lot of boys liked her. No way.” “Why not?” I probed further. Because, the girl replied disdainfully, “she wasn’t hot.”
Surely we can lay much of the responsibility for this on the criteria and values of the entertainment industry. Where once casting seemed to strive for a combination of looks and talent, the equation now appears to have shifted radically toward the former, particularly with regard to film and television aimed at the youth market. Not long ago, I coached a young woman on a screen test for a television project. Afterward, the casting director told me that she had been “hands down the best actress of the bunch” but they had decided to go “another way.” “Why?” I asked. “Because the girl we went with is a Victoria’s Secret model,” he said, as if that were the most obvious explanation imaginable.
Or consider this breakdown, or character description, for a film audition: “Just beneath her ivory snow exterior is a babe-a-licious ready to unleash her inner hottie.”
Nor is this limited to young women. Turns out that what a network really wanted to see wasn’t the two monologues that a young actor named James and I had prepared, but rather what he looked like with his shirt off, holding an automatic weapon.
A study published today by the Dutch Centre for Insurance Statistics (CVS) showed that fewer accidents and reports of fire and theft occur when the 13th of the month falls on a Friday than on other Fridays.
“I find it hard to believe that it is because people are preventatively more careful or just stay home, but statistically speaking, driving is a little bit safer on Friday 13th,” CVS statistician Alex Hoen told the Verzekerd insurance magazine.
In the last two years, Dutch insurers received reports of an average 7800 traffic accidents each Friday, the CVS study said.
But the average figure when the 13th fell on a Friday was just 7500.
Last April 9th, at Dugway Proving Ground in Utah, two soldiers were driving a rented SUV about five kilometers from the part of the range used for live firing. It was at night, and an F-16 that thought it was firing at something in the live fire area, lit up the SUV instead. Only 70 20mm rounds were fired. Fortunately, the two people in the SUV were only injured (both from flying glass, the passenger got a dislocated shoulder as he rapidly exited the vehicle when it quickly turned off the road and stopped.) The investigation of how this happen has not been completed.
There are several (unlikely) rumors circulating regarding Obama’s birth certificate.
Rumor one: Obama was born in Kenya.
Rumor Two: Obama’s middle name is not “Hussein” but “Muhammad.”
Rumor Three: His mother did not want to name him after his father, and his birth certificate says “Barry.”
Well, check for yourself (click for a bigger version):
In the mean time, can somebody please help translate McCain’s birth certificate?
This frothy flume is what 300,000 gallons of water per second looks like. A 60-hour surge of almost 75 billion gallons, it’s part of an effort to revitalize the ecosystem of the Colorado River and the Grand Canyon.
Every now and then somebody tells the truth on Fox news… like this time:
HANNITY: But Senator McCain has shown a little bit of reluctance in terms of going after some of the controversies of Senator Obama. As he balances the — you know should he run on ideas versus going after the weaknesses that he’s not really an agent of change, that he’s a typical, quintessential politician, where would you balance it?
GIULIANI: I think — first of all, it’s different being a mayor and being a presidential candidate, and I think that you’re going to find that in both cases Senator Obama and Senator McCain — a lot of the attacking is going to be done by surrogates. And they’re going to — well, I mean.
HANNITY: People like me.
Laos is the most bombed country on earth. The US dropped 2.4 million tonnes of bombs on it during the Vietnam War – more than the allies dropped on Germany and Japan combined in World War II.
(more pictures at the link)
People around the globe widely expect the next American president to improve the country’s policies toward the rest of the world, especially if Barack Obama is elected, yet they retain a persistently poor image of the U.S., according to a poll released Thursday.
Substantial numbers in most countries said they are closely following the U.S. presidential election, including 83 percent in Japan — about the same proportion who said so in the U.S. Of those following the campaign, optimism that the new president will reshape American foreign policy for the better is substantial, with the largest segment of people in 14 countries — including the U.S. — saying so.
Andrew Kohut, president of Pew, said many seem to be hoping the U.S. role in the world will improve with the departure of President Bush, who remains profoundly unpopular almost everywhere.
“People think the U.S. wants to run the world,” said Kohut. “It’s not more complicated than that.”
At UN talks in Bonn last month, 140 countries, including many developing nations, met to make key decisions on international rules concerning genetically modified crops and internationally recognized liability standards regarding the damage caused by the release of these biotech crops. Six major biotech companies – BASF, Bayer CropScience, Dow, AgroSciences, DuPont/Pioneer, Monsanto and Syngenta – are proposing a compact agreement to settle all damages related to GM contamination through private compensation schemes to individual countries rather than an international liability regime.
Of course they do. Much cheaper to buy off a few individual local politicians than an international regime.
John McCain and Barack Obama have starkly different philosophies about tax policy – how to raise the revenue needed to support government programs, spur growth and ensure economic fairness.
But voters really want to know one thing: How would the presidential candidates’ views trickle down to their tax bills? A report released Wednesday by a nonpartisan policy group in Washington, D.C., takes a big first step toward answering that question.
“Middle-class families get tax cuts that are three times larger from Obama than from McCain,” Furman said. “And the McCain plan gives nearly one-quarter of its benefits to households making more than $2.8 million annually – the top 0.1%.”
|Income||Avg. tax bill||Avg. tax bill|
|$603K and up||-$45,361||+$115,974|
According to the IRS, 89% of Americans report less than $100,000 in adjusted gross income (2005). Most of them will pay LESS taxes under an Obama administration… the big problem is that you have to show the above numbers.. I don’t have the link any more, but at the time of the 2000 election, 17% of Americans thought they were in the top 1% of incomes . . . Can you imagine how many thought they were in the top 10%?
In a stinging rebuke to President Bush’s anti-terror policies, a deeply divided Supreme Court ruled Thursday that foreign detainees held for years at Guantanamo Bay in Cuba have the right to appeal to U.S. civilian courts to challenge their indefinite imprisonment without charges.
Bush said he strongly disagreed with the decision — the third time the court has repudiated him on the detainees — and suggested he might seek yet another law to keep terror suspects locked up at the prison camp, even as his presidency winds down.
Justice Anthony Kennedy, writing for the 5-4 high court majority, acknowledged the terrorism threat the U.S. faces — the administration’s justification for the detentions — but he declared, “The laws and Constitution are designed to survive, and remain in force, in extraordinary times.”
A college student’s trip to Wal-Mart last month ended with her in handcuffs and a two-day stay in the Harris County jail.
Nitra Gipson was charged with felony forgery after the Meyer Park Wal-Mart manager accused her of passing bogus money orders. Thing is, the money orders were legit and had been purchased at Wal-Mart to begin with.
Democratic leaders have made clear that they want no further action on impeachment this year, but Kucinich said after the vote that doing nothing was not an option.
“Leadership wants to bury it, but this is one resolution that will be coming back from the dead,” Kucinich told Capitol Briefing. “Thirty days from now, if there is no action, I will be bringing the resolution up again, and I won’t be the only one reading it.”
Judiciary Chairman John Conyers (D-Mich.) has not commented on whether he plans to hold hearings, and Kucinich said he would meet with Conyers this week to present him with documentation for his charges against Bush. But if there is no further action, Kucinich said, “We’ll come back and many of us will be reading this [on the House floor], and we’ll come back with 60 articles, not 35.”
Congressman Ron Paul officially unplugged his dormant Republican presidential campaign Thursday night.
The Lake Jackson obstetrician was expected to tell a Houston crowd here for the state GOP convention that he wants to build a national organization to elect libertarian-leaning Republicans at all government levels. As of 9:45 p.m., he had yet to address the crowd at the Hilton Americas Hotel.
“The presidential campaign was Phase One” of the national movement, Paul spokesman Jesse Benton told the Washington Post.
I guess hoping that Phase Two means running as an independent is too mucht?
“The Greens’ support for a ban on dihydrogen monoxide shows just how scientifically illiterate the party is. They would ban anything if it has a slightly scientific name, regardless of the fact that all life would cease without water,” Dr Smith said.
The federal government has introduced a controversial bill it says balances the rights of copyright holders and consumers — but it opens millions of Canadians to huge lawsuits, prompting critics to warn it will create a “police state.”
Michael Geist has some more on this.
Some of the provisions are really stupid – for example, if a music CD has software on it that prevents copying on a windows machine, it will be illegal to stick that CD in a Mac or Linux box.