Singing the Bite Me Song

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November 24, 2004

Jailed for fast-forwarding through commercials?

The day could be coming when your remote control could tattle and send you to prison... such is the stranglehold the entertainment industry has on Congress. They would make breathing illegal if the industry demanded it.

I was watching the Frontline program on PBS last night, "The Secret History of Credit Cards," and I now think the credit and banking (legalized USURY, call it by its true name) industry may be the only ones with a more powerful lobby able to push ludicrous things through.

(here's my favorite link on the Frontline web site: The Cement Life Raft by Elizabeth Warren and Amelia Warren Tyagi. I swear Frontline is the ONLY news web site that has ever blown my mind and had such compelling content I couldn't tear myself away for hours. Last night was no exception. Other media sites should take note.)

New York Post Online Edition: entertainment



November 18, 2004 -- CONGRESS is considering a law that could one day make it illegal to fast-forward through the commercials.
The provision is buried in an controversial copyright bill meant to keep people from downloading movies and music from the Internet — and is suddenly stirring up trouble on its own.

The proposal started with the Hollywood lobby trying to prevent DVD makers from including technology that would allow people to skip through the promotional material that comes with movies at the beginning and end of DVD films.

But now lawmakers are realizing that the bill is written so loosely that it could make criminals out of viewers sitting at home who use a remote control to fast-forward past commercials. (The bill specifically allows people to fast-forward through parts of a movie if it is too gory or sexually explicit — a right people already have, of course.)


Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) is also trying to block the bill, warning of the "implication that certain basic practices that consumers have enjoyed for years — like fast-forwarding through advertisements — constitute criminal copyright infringement."

Beltway insiders say that McCain and the bill's sponsors, Sen. Orrin Hatch (R-Utah) and Sen. Arlen Specter (R-Pa.), are currently trying to "talk through" the trouble spots in the legislation, but Congress might try to push through the bill during the lame-duck session that began this week.

Calls to the Motion Picture Association of America were not returned yesterday.

Already DVR makers have caved in to the entertainment industry's dislike of giving home viewers the ability to skip commercials.

Last year, ReplayTv eliminated a button on its DVR that allowed users to eliminate commercials on their recordings altogether.

And yesterday, TiVo introduced a new function that would put a "billboard" featuring advertiser product information on a viewer's TV screen as they fast-forwarded through those advertiser's commercials.

November 24, 2004 at 02:05 PM in Media & Journalism | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

November 09, 2004

Who's sorry now?

I think we all are, so here's a little apology to the rest of the world for our sorry election, and all those sorry red states.

Sorry Everybody

Miasma <---nobody knows how sorry I've been...

November 9, 2004 at 03:18 PM in Politics, Singing the Bite Me Song | Permalink | Comments (0)

November 08, 2004

Essential Reading: this post from the Mystery Pollster

I've been literally living on two sites, the Mystery Pollster, Mark Blumenthal, one of the most clear-headed folks I've seen on this issue, and the Electoral Vote Predictor, a data-cruncher's wet dream set up and run by Andrew Tanenbaum. Both of these sites continue to perform an excellent public service, and I would recommend them to everyone.

But this posting on Exit Polls: Mitofsky on News Hour by the Mystery Pollster is required reading, the whole site is. Joe Lenski and Warren Mitofsky ran the consortium for all the networks this year, replacing the Voter News Service, widely blamed for screwing up in Florida in 2000, and said to have fallen apart in 2002. (one friend points out: did Voter News Service screw up in Florida? Or was it right and the election was stolen, as Greg Palast, Michael Moore, et al claim? She has a good point)

Link: Mystery Pollster: Exit Polls: Mitofsky on News Hour.

Mitofsky is arguably the best source for information on this issue, and while the interview does not answer every question, it at least provides his explanation without any filter.� It is worth listening to in full.�

The money quote (my transcription):

Kerry was ahead in a number of the states in margins that looked unreasonable to us, and we suspect that the main reason was that the Kerry voters were more anxious to participate in our exit polls than the Bush voters. That wasn't the case in every state. We had a few states that overstated the Republican margin, but for the most part it was Democratic overstatement for the reason I just gave you.

What Mitofsky is suggesting is extraordinary: If true, it is the first time in his exit polls and one of the first times I can remember for any political survey, that those who refused to participate in the survey were different enough (more supportive of George Bush) than those who were interviewed to make a material difference in the overall results.�

The comments on this post are so enlightening as well. Read the whole thing.

November 8, 2004 at 11:05 AM in Politics | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

November 05, 2004

Dubya's Mandate?

George W. Bush says he has a Man Date.

Google bombs can be fun!

November 5, 2004 at 08:31 PM in Singing the Bite Me Song | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

November 04, 2004

An election where "morals" and "values" won... Have you looked at Alabama lately?!

Why am I harping on Alabama? Because you can just look at this story and others and see the CODE WORDS used for VALUES and MORALITY, and what EXACTLY those code words really mean. In case you have any doubt what the GOP stands for in the U.S. The article excerpts below will tell you, with a kind of eerie otherworldly-ness (and you thought Halloween was over... try a former Alabama Chief Justice of the Supreme Court. He's not just about Ten Commandments in the courthouse. Ooh, scary!)

He's got "Chrustain" friends with values, values that seem to involve keeping those private white schools pure, and values that stand against immoral lawyers who might try to help little African American kids get their rights in the public schools in Alabama.

Readjust the Democratic Party to go after that putrid "values-ridden" moral base? Puh-leaze. I would not stoop so low to court racists and bigots and homophobes in my embrace of tolerance.

Google Search: Alabama amendment

This story is updating as we speak, but here is the Google News search on it.

from AP:

Amendment Two appears narrowly losing to anti-tax critics

11/3/2004, 10:46 a.m. CT
The Associated Press

MONTGOMERY, Ala. (AP) — An effort to rid Alabama's Constitution of segregation-era language appeared to be losing by the narrowest of margins after critics raised concerns that it could lead to a court-ordered tax increase for public schools.

I'm hearing it is going to an automatic recount because the margin is too narrow. State law mandates the recount.

With 99 percent of precincts reporting as the unofficial count neared completion Wednesday, Amendment Two was losing by about 3,400 votes out of 1.37 million cast. There were 688,927 votes against it, and 685,508 votes for it.

emphasis mine.


While there was widespread support for removing language mandating segregated schools and imposing poll taxes — both long since left unenforceable — another section, added by the Legislature, stirred opposition from the Alabama Christian Coalition, former Chief Justice Roy Moore and anti-tax groups.

The new part deleted a 1956 declaration that there is no right to an education at public expense in Alabama. Opponents said removing such language could allow a federal court to rule that education is a constitutional right and that Alabama must provide more funding through a tax increase.

This CNN version of the story seems to lay out the issues best, but even it falls prey to the cloaking language of "values" and "morality" sported in the recent presidential campaign. As a whole, the current media climate in the U.S. makes me wonder what it would be like if today's media were covering the Civil Rights Movement? What names would they use to call things? Would they just repeat verbatum what the segregationist authorities called things? (I know, I know, the media of that time did mindlessly repeat the code words most of the time... but what was it that BROKE THROUGH and started calling things by their TRUE NAMES?)

Alabama referendum to dump segregationist language faces recount

(CNN) -- A ballot measure that would remove long-unenforced segregationist provisions from Alabama's state constitution trailed by a razor-thin margin Thursday and faces a recount after critics argued the measure would lead to higher school taxes.

Amendment 2 would remove language that provides for separate-but-equal
schools for whites and blacks, authorizes poll taxes and, in a 1956 amendment,
explicitly states Alabamians have no constitutional right to public education.
That 1956 amendment was at the center of the opposition to Amendment 2.

With nearly 99 percent of precincts reporting, unofficial results showed
it trailing by a roughly 2,500-vote margin out of nearly 1.4 million votes

A margin that narrow -- within one-half of 1 percent -- triggers an
automatic recount, said Trey Granger, a spokesman for Alabama Secretary of
State Nancy Worley. An unknown number of absentee and provisional ballots
remain to be counted as well, Granger said.


The measure was opposed by ousted Alabama Chief Justice Roy Moore and the state Christian Coalition, which argued that repealing the segregationist 1956 amendment would open the door to court-ordered tax increases for education.


"The Christian Coalition of Alabama will work to ensure that reckless
trial lawyers and activist judges will not be able to open the floodgates to
increase taxes and that private, Christian, parochial and home-school families
will be protected," Giles said in a statement on the group's Web site. "The
Christian Coalition will lead the way to remove the racist language in the next

Do you believe that? I most certainly don't. They are just working their lily white Christian asses off to keep their private white flight schools lily white... and keep those carpet-bagger lawyers away from those black kids. We don't need none of those "immoral" ideas coming down here.

And speaking of "what a piece of work is man," get a load of Mr Ten Commandments. Is this guy for real?!

In 1993, amid a lawsuit over state education funding, a circuit judge in Montgomery struck down the amendment. The state Supreme Court upheld his ruling in 1997. But in 2002, during Moore's tenure as chief justice, the court reopened the case and reversed itself.

Jus' keeping the world safe for white folks, you know. It's all about values and morality. That's what put Bush in the White House for four more years.


November 4, 2004 at 08:09 PM in Politics | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

November 02, 2004

Election Eve Vigil

Hanging out in a vigil with my Virgil, having recently gotten addicted to Talking Points Memo and Josh Marshall.

My good bud and I plan to hang out on IM all day tomorrow, to hold hands and sing "Kumbayah." Maybe that will help. I feel optimistic, but nervous just the same.


I'm liking this post he has here:

(November 01, 2004 -- 10:59 PM EDT // link // print)

I must say, when they're cruising through elections, it's all inclusion and compassion and 'reaching out' (as that idiotic phrase has it). But when things are going south the GOP is truly the party of Jim Crow. There's no other way to put it --

out on the Indian reservations in South Dakota, in the inner city neighborhoods across the upper Midwest and in various other ways.

I like to think of myself as fairly hardened to this stuff. But it's bracing to actually see it happening, even though it's all from the Rove playbook. You can see on the commentary this evening that Bush is hemorrhaging. But these guys aren't prepared to lose. And they are going to amazing lengths that even I have a hard time believing.

It's ugly. And it's all starting to come down tonight.

In any case, as nearly as I can tell, the Democrats are on top of the situation and mobilizing rapidly. The key is that folks should just go to polls and vote. They won't have any problem.

The aim here is to create rumors and a perception that people will have problems and in so doing get a lot of them not to show up at the polls at all. The truth is that people will be available to make sure things go smoothly and that folks won't have any undue difficulties.

Go to the polls, vote, and let President Bush know that democracy starts at home.

We'll try to have more updates on this stuff this evening.

-- Josh Marshall

November 2, 2004 at 12:35 AM in Politics | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

November 01, 2004

The REAL reason Bush looks like he's wearing a wire...

Salon got a NASA photo analyst to use CSI-type techniques to enhance the photo with Photoshop to make the outline clearer. News | NASA photo analyst: Bush wore a device during debate


Once we look at the enhanced version, I think it is OBVIOUS what Bush has tucked up underneath his $4,000 custom-made suit (made just for the debate!, wool, I believe. I heard an interview with the tailor on a pre-debate entertainment show on late-night).

So what is it? Come on people!


He is the great desert demon Ahriman! Water demon Lucifer! Satan! The Beast from the Bottomless Pit! (that's why he had to go to Iraq, to open the bottomless pit, and once the beast possessed him, he couldn't hide his tail and trident anymore)

It is even one of those fancy tridents, with symetrically curved outer prongs.


November 1, 2004 at 08:50 PM in Best Essays, Singing the Bite Me Song | Permalink | Comments (1) | TrackBack