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Housing and Congress

Micheal Frasse has an interesting post about the money floating around Fannie Mae in administrative salaries. Here is the money shot:

The top 20 FannieMae employees each make more than US$1 million a year; in the last five years, almost US$250 million in bonuses was distributed. With these kinds of numbers, how can the institution be on the brink of insolvency?

He notes the poison effect of money in politics.
He also mentions Larry Lessig’s Change Congress platform. The initial ‘planks’ are
1. accept contributions from individuals only, lobbyists excepted
2. support the fundamental reform of congressional earmarks.
3. support reform to increase transparency in Congress.
4. support public financing of public elections.

These are interesting but do not go far enough.

1. Contributions from individuals should also be confined to the state where the congresspersons are running. Letting individuals and groups from areas outside the districts and states contribute to your candidate is perhaps more corrosive than any other money used and dilutes your contribution.

2. Congressional earmarks are just a symptom of current legislative practice. Legislation should only occur on an issue basis. One issue, one piece of legislation. No amendments, no ‘and for other purposes’ language, or multi part legislation.

3. increasing transparency is a function of participation in the process.

4. Public financing is an endgame strategy, that requires a lot of thought to make work. Here in Arizona we have it, and it spends more time in court than contributing to the political process.

Car Leasing Crashing

Car leasing for individuals has never been a good idea, as the first time you turn the key, the car loses value, and the terms and conditions of car leases always end with you upside down.
The NYT has this nugget:
Plummeting Resale Values Lead Chrysler to End Leases
Chrysler may be the first, but will not be the last, and only because the new ownership team is quick enough to chop it off.
There is no money in used cars. There is very little in new cars either.

Businesses are gonna take a big hit soon as this ripples into the commercial markets. When the leasing stops businesses will lose that tax deduction, and need mechanics, in house or shops.
Expect free shipping offers and UPS, FedEX, and others to raise rates.

Sharecropping Business Speak

AOL sent an email out to the troops explaining what widgits were getting the axe.
In the middle of it was this nugget:

“We have found that building media management applications within the context of a social experience is a more rapid and effective way to grow the business.”
Kevin Conroy – VP AOL

Simply put, wrapping ads around ‘user generated content’ is the only way to make any money.

I don’t have the heart to tell them that the advertising supported display model had its noon about 6 months ago, sundown is coming sooner than they think, followed by a bitter cold winter.

Social Network Slavery YouTube hands Viacom the whip

The latest episode of Social Network Slavery is the Viacom Copyright Grab of Joanna Davidovich’s [1] short film she created, Copyrighted, and posted to YouTube.

Copyright and 2 bucks will get you a cheap cup of latte.
This is interesting on a number of counts.
First, the terms of discovery in the YouTube Viacom Copyright Infringement lawsuit, turned over allegedly non personal information logfiles, so Viacom could attempt to circumvent the Safe Harbor Provision of Section 512 of the DMCA, [2] and place YouTube, as the largest copy thief on the planet. So now it looks like the first thing Viacom is doing is making a land grab for everything that is not nailed down.

Second, according to Joanna, there is a distribution agreement between her and Viacom. she says,

“only entered into distribution agreements that were nonexclusive.”

I have no details on this currently, but as a guess, it probably assigns the copyrights to Viacom.

The defect in this agreement and with every other social network site, are the Terms and Conditions that these sites make you agree to, before posting anything.
Let me take a moment and explain what you are giving away to the Social Network Content Plantations.

a worldwide, fully sub-licensable, fully paid-up and royalty-free, perpetual, irrevocable license to use, reproduce, modify, distribute, publicly display, publicly perform, and create derivative works

You gave it all away and for free. See if the word Chump fits

I have written on this before.

[3] Facebook – Emerald City’s Newest Sharecropper Network
[4] A Bill of Rights for Users of the Social Web – The Sharecropper’s Revolt
[5] Social Network Bill of Rights

The most pathetic part of this is you have done it to yourselves.

Third, and most important is the lack of value of Copyright and the lengths that the Entertainment and Publishing Industries have gone to turn Copyright into an Entitlement Program for themselves, while perverting the the spirit of Copyright for Creators, Musicians, Authors, Filmakers, and everyone who has a novel artistic idea.

Everyone who participates in Social Network Sharecropping sites is at best a share cropper and at worst a slave. Your participation fills their pockets, and is not going to change anytime soon. They are not chumps.
You may get a couple minutes of fame, they get to sell your ass down the river forever for free.

Sources:
[1] Viacom Fraudulently Claims Ownership Of Indie Filmmakers’ YouTube Clips
[2] Frequently Asked Questions (and Answers) about DMCA Safe Harbor Provisions
[3] Facebook – Emerald City’s Newest Sharecropper Network
[4] A Bill of Rights for Users of the Social Web – The Sharecropper’s Revolt
[5] Social Network Bill of Rights

The Changing Newsroom

The Changing Newsroom is a new report from the Pew Research Center that looks at the impact of the Internet on Newspapers.
The study, by journalist Tyler Marshall and the Pew Research Center’s Project for Excellence in Journalism is an exceptional document looking at the news from the producers of news.
The Changing Newsroom
Highly Recommended.

Environmental Deficit Disorder

Environmental Deficit Disorder is a term I made up for the practice of over packaging products, by companies who should know better.

My personal EDD story is the Canon Ink Package. This package contains only 3 cartridges. It would seem that I am not alone in thinking that this is a stupid idea. On a tip from the Dell Blog is this gem from the Register. 17 boxes to protect 32 A4 sheets

Can’t quite figure it out. Is this a printer company problem in that their profits on ink are so vast, that environmental concerns are out the window, or is it just stone cold stupid?

Does Your Company Suffer EDD?

EDD stands for Environmental Deficit Disorder.You heard it here first! EDD.
I have been recycling since before a lot of folks could pronounce it, let alone understand it. I worked in auto junkyards for almost 9 years, which may account in small part my sparkling personality, but more importantly exposed me to recycling in a big way,(when you are crushing dismantling and crushing 5 cars a day,about 10 tons of scrap metal, 6 days a week for two years, you build up a bit of a carbon credit) as well as networking, as auto wreckers have telephone hotlines that connect each other together to find parts for customers.
Great sales training also, as you have a vertical sales challenge. You are selling used parts from wrecked cars to folks who are pissed off because their cars are not working, they cannot afford to buy new, and they do not know how to install it.
Couple of years of this, I can sell your sister back to you, and have you thank me. But I digress…

In the post global warming, save mother earth, go Green or Die Brave New World, there are a couple of things that annoy me. Packaging is a big one. I have already saved the planet enough.
Specifically Canon Printer ink packaging. This is a Canon Color Ink cartridge bought at Costco. It has a shrink wrap to hold the orange cap in place.
A Canon Color Ink Cartridge
So you are thinking WTF? here is the package it comes in.

You are thinking WTF? It is a value pack! Says so right on the front.

This is the back side. There are 3 cartridges only. One of each color The package is huge in relationship to the product.

This is  Environmental Deficit Disorder, of the first rank. Canon is not alone in this. It is just the stuff I use.

I am not buying an anti theft argument, as just about anywhere that sells printer ink, keeps behind the counter, or under lock and key, and then holds it for you on your way to the register, like you can’t be trusted not to make a break for the door to the getaway car piloted by your office assistant.

Getting the package open is an exercise in danger also. You need a blade sharp enough to cut through plastic thick enough to be used as bulletproofing, yet not so sharp that you end up slitting your wrists, or that of your trusty henchmen. You have already generated this big pile of garbage, arguably recyclable, before you ever get to actually use the ink.

Really what the hell are these folks thinking. You had me at the first photo. I like my printer, and want to use it, rather than dealing with a package designed by some deranged designer who didn’t make the cut for reality TV. I would like to buy them 6 of one at a time also.

Next up is Polident 5 3 min. denture cleaning tabs. Yes it is a bulk pack. But they individually wrap them, leaving more crap to dispose of.

They could package them in little plastic tubes like Alka Seltzer used to come in. EDD for sure.

The Ready Kilowatt Guilt Trip
The electric company ads that say if everybody in America replaced just one bulb with a CFL, it would save enough energy to power every home in Arizona.(probably have the same ad in your state, but I live in Arizona) and my bill has not gone down, leading me to the conclusion that the rest of you are red zone, suv drivin’, planet raping fools of the first order. Maybe you have and my bill will go down next month. Yeah Right!

Don’t get me started about what an environmental disaster that the mercury in CFL’s are going to cause in a few years. The good news is that places like the Home Depot are accepting used ones for recycling. As well they should, thinking back to the Asbestos litigation of a few years ago.

So there you have it! Another acronym you can use in your next conversation or round of golf.

WordPress 2.6 has issues

Updated another blog from 2.5 to 2.6 and the ‘Pages’ do not work.
They show up in the control panel, can be seen in the control panel, but can’t be found on the site.

Probably should have waited the rest of the month for a little more testing.
Word Count? who the fuck cares about word count. Keyboard fetishists or punctuation nazi’s most likely.

A much more useful feature would be a post comment word counter. We could call it the HMTCYBADH How Many Times Can You Beat A Dead Horse contest.
we could separate the twitters to the askimet file, and dump folks who have forgotten what vowels are.

Oh yeah, turn off that fucking WordPress is available Update Now Nag screen. Everytime I update I spend more time getting things working again.

New MRI Tricorder

Over at Daily Tech comes news of a newe MRI Scanner that is Hand Held
New “Miracle Diagnosis” Handheld Medical Scanner 800 Times More Sensitive Than Full-size Scanners
The good news is its size and sensitivity, the bad news is it is about 2 years from market.

New Scientist has more

Here is the T2Biosystems site

fair use is a part of the design of copyright, it is not an exception to it,

This is the probably the most significant distillation of Fair Use I have ever seen.

“fair use is a part of the design of copyright, it is not an exception to it,”
William F. Patry

This is a partial quote from William Patry, who is probably the pre eminent Copyright Lawyer on the planet, responding to a blog post by Patrick Ross, who probably knows less than I do about Copyright, and I am not a lawyer.

At issue are ross’s statements on Fair Use in response to a new report: Code of Best Practices in Fair Use for Online Video from The Center for Social Media at American University’s School of Communication which is a non-partisan group, unlike the Copyright Alliance whose membership reads like a roll call of Big Media, and the remora like associations that surround them.

Fair Use outlines how an excerpt of material can be used, it does not prescribe a percentage, or any guidelines as to where the line is. Fair Use is only a Defense Mechanism used in a court of law on a case by case basis. It sucks, but there it is.

Here is today’s pop quiz!

Who do you think has a better idea what Fair Use is About?

Patrick Ross, Executive Director

Patrick Ross is executive director of the Copyright Alliance, a grass-roots coalition of artists, producers and distributors from across the copyright spectrum. Prior to joining the Copyright Alliance he was a senior fellow with The Progress & Freedom Foundation, a free-market think tank in Washington, D.C. Ross focused on intellectual property issues for PFF’s Center for the Study of Digital Property (IPcentral.info), specifically the rights of artists. He was also PFF’s vice president for communications and external affairs.

Source Copyright Alliance

or

William F. Patry (born January 1, 1950 in Niskayuna, New York) is an American lawyer specialized on copyright law. He studied at the San Francisco State University, where he obtained a B.A. in 1974 and an M.A. in 1976, and then at the University of Houston, where he was graduated with a J.D. in 1980. He was admitted to the bar in Texas in 1981, in the District of Columbia in 2000, and in New York in 2001.[1]

Patry served as a copyright counsel to the U.S. House of Representatives in the early 1990s, where he participated in the elaboration of the copyright provisions of the Uruguay Round Agreements Act.[2] Patry also worked as a policy planning advisor to the Register of Copyrights, and held a post as Professor of Law at the Benjamin N. Cardozo School of Law.[3] He is also the author of a 7-volume treatise on U.S. copyright law entitled Patry on Copyright, arguably superior in breadth and depth to Nimmer’s Nimmer on Copyright.[4] Patry is currently Senior Copyright Counsel at Google, Inc.