Monthly Archive for December, 2004

Do as we say, not as we do

Washington Post is reporting on how the Republicans are relaxing the ethics rules so that it would be harder to report ethics complaints against House representatives. Last month they changed the ethics rules so that their majority leader, Tom DeLay, could remain the majority leader even if indicted of accepting illegal campaign donations.

The ethics rules are, in part, designed to ensure the legislators are not unduly influenced by outsiders with which the legislators might have vested interests in. This is why state government officials and judges are supposed to recuse themselves when deciding on issues they have personal involvement in.

According to the Washington Post article the Clinton administration legislated that administration officials could not hold a lobbying position until five years after resigning from their administration position. Well, on his second term, just before his people started leaving the government, he overturned that law. How convenient.

The article outlines several high profile instances of vested interests, for example Bill Tauzin negotiating himself a lucrative lobbying position within the industry he was supposed to be regulating at the same time.

One has to wonder how these fine and upstanding politicians are supposed to reconcile relaxing ethics rules on themselves while trying to impose tougher penalties on questionable business practises in the insurance and financial services industry.

And they wonder why people are turned off by politics. It seems that they only have to look in the mirror. They’d see a person more interested in serving his/her own interests, increasingly often, at the expense of the interest of the people s/he is supposed to represent.


Selling our future

Bill Moyers’ Global Environment Citizen Award acceptance speech is a pointed commentary on the current state of affairs in the US Government in regards to our environment.

It’s being sold, piece by piece, to the highest bidder, to be used as the highest bidder pleases regardless of consequences. The politicians allowing this to happen do not care, because the consequences will not be apparent until long after they’re gone from politics and thus won’t negatively affect their chances of re-election.

I wonder if my grandchildren can sue GWB’s grandchildren for destroying the world? I doubt it.


The Dirty Punk Fuckin Anarchy Machine

My friend Jamie sent me the link. Rock on, dudes! Don’t go crazy with the solos.


It’s not about copyright, it’s about control of the medium

Looks like the movie studios don’t want DVDs copied, at all. Not for personal use, not for backups, no copies whatsoever, even though making personal copies is perfectly legal.

DVD Copy Control Association (DVD CCA) sued a company that produces a DVD jukebox that copies DVDs into its harddrive then allows users to play the DVDs from the hard drive. Sounds like a great device, but one that will probably be unavailable sometime soon. The manufacturer will go bankrupt fighting this frivolous lawsuit.

I wonder what’s the point when the general public goes “enough is enough”. We’re fast moving towards an era where nothing you buy is yours, but licensed with terms that allow the owner of the merchandise to dictate everything you can or can not do with the merchandise. You can’t resell or give it to anyone (charity, relative, friend), because it is not yours. You can’t transport it to another location, because the license terms prohibit it. You can’t augment the capabilities with a third party add-on, because the license terms prohibit it. Want to move to another content/network provider, too bad, gotta buy THE SAME device again, because the license terms prohibit you from moving it to another provider. You can’t use it aboard, because the license terms prohibit it.

End result: you have to buy or pay more to do what the merchandise was already capable of doing, but was articifially restricted from doing.

Great for businesses. Really bad for consumers. If only the legislators would understand this.