Tuesday, December 13, 2005

Hollywood continues to seek ways to reduce movie downloads

Whoever Hollywood is...isn't the creative artists who must derive some income from their work. Hollywood isn't serving them (realistically, they rarely do).

Hollywood seems be comprised of technological hillbillies - have these people never gotten off the Hollywood Hills farm? They built an industry, in-fact a culture, based on what seems to the average consumer to be free entertainment. We pay for this free stuff through higher consumer product costs, and sometimes pay double by paying for cable or satellite delivery that includes commercials we already paid for...but sometimes we prefer to be fat and dumb. Where we are swift and smart is adapting to new technology, and the internet has provided us with seemingly free entertainment.

This genie can't be stuffed back into the bottle. The people have spoken, and we will continue to hunt and gather stuff to consume - unfortunately, this of course leaves little bread for those of us who create this stuff. We keep using our unlimited curiosity and ingenuity to find this stuff, and there will never really be technology that will keep us from it - the entertainment companies, with Sony's recent debacle as a prime example, must get this concept as a start of a new system to encourage creativity while deriving revenue for their buisnesses and the creators of the art.

As an example, income for songwriters comes in-part from performance rights societies - ASCAP, BMI, etc., from licenses paid by broadcasters, venues, etc., and distributed to copyright holders. The big, bad, un-understood internet is the distribution mechanism just as radio and restaurants are. Radio and restaurants do not pay to own the music, as consumers of music do not (since consumers do not pay to own the music, just a licence for an image of that music, we must stop now and once and for all calling them "pirates" when they trade files). The Internet Service Providers must pay a similar blanket license fee for being the pipe.

When this license is paid (and hopefully distributed equitably), the issue of internet file trading goes away.

The only people who could possibly fight this are the ISPs, understandably, since it would cut into their bottom line one way or another. Ultimately though, without this, their bottom line will go away.

Wednesday, December 07, 2005

CNN.com - Cheney:�Terrorists win if U.S. loses 'nerve' in Iraq - Dec 6, 2005

No, Dick, the terrorists won when you took the war to Iraq. Your war for political and personal economic profit, based on lies, should never have happened - you know it, and you are lauging at us.

Please resign, and save this great country from further embarassment and isolation.

Saturday, October 22, 2005

reviewjournal.com -- News - VIETNAM VETERANS: Goodman announces 'operation'

Dear Mr. Howard,

TMitchell@reviewjournal.com; KHoward@reviewjournal.com

Your recent article on Mayor Goodman's Operation Welcome Home contained a grossly wrong statement of fact - please correct and retract this.

You reported:

"When U.S. military personnel came home 30 years ago as the Vietnam War ended, many were told to take off their uniforms and put on civilian clothes or else face the scorn of an ungrateful public.
Angry crowds sometimes gathered to spit on them when they returned."

There are no substantiated reports of soldiers returning from Vietnam being spat upon.

Crowds angry at the war did gather. Some US low-level personell may have recommened civilian clothes instead of uniforms. A few misguided civilians may have directed their scorn at soldiers instead of politicians. But protesters spitting on veterans? Entitlement mentality wishful thinking, and a re-writing of history for a purpose.

I was too young to serve, but many cousins and acquaintences did. They all reported that they returned to a different America - one that did not have an unquestioning support for the war. Many felt, and still feel, disrespected for the duty they did for us, but none report anything like spitting.

In many ways, these soldiers were the victims, not of the public but of the politicians. They universally feel, as do todays soldiers in Iraq (two of my nephews included) that they should either be given a clear task and the proper support to complete the task, or that they be removed from harm's way.

I will be waiting for notice of your correction.


reviewjournal.com -- News - VIETNAM VETERANS: Goodman announces 'operation': "When U.S. military personnel came home 30 years ago as the Vietnam War ended, many were told to take off their uniforms and put on civilian clothes or else face the scorn of an ungrateful public.
Angry crowds sometimes gathered to spit on them when they returned."

Friday, October 21, 2005

'Rudderless White House' Fights Miers' Choppy Seas - Los Angeles Times

Last November, it was obvious that:

The economic recovery was going slow and benefitting a small, and wealthy, portion of the US.

The war in Iraq was based on either lies or stupidity.

The insurgency and civil war in Iraq was increasing daily.

Top level Executive branch officials were suspected of or implicated in crimes involving national security.

Disaster preparedness was already under scruitiny.


Observing this rationally, no president with this record would be re-elected. Yet a (small) majority voted for him.

Now a majority of these people think he is doing a poor job. It was obviously the same job he was doing when they voted for him.

Was it just the response to the natural disaster? The worsening of the war in Iraq? Their obvious loss of real income/purchasing power? The millions that have fallen off the unemployment count, unable to find an equivalent job, or any job at all? Is George W. Bush a different, lesser, man than he was before the election?

Did they just figure out that he is not the man do do all this "hard work" moments after the election?

Wednesday, October 19, 2005

New York Daily News - Home - Michael Goodwin: She's already failed

So Harriet Meirs had an opinion - so what? She's entitled to that. It may or may ever mean anything in relationship to her (potential) Supreme Court opinions.

What should bother those on the right as well as the left is that her opinion was in favor of a constitutional amendment to ban most abortions in the US. The reasonable among us on both sides realize that abortion, gay marriage, and using turn signals on the freeway will never be a part of the US Constitition.

The very idea of any of these cultural ideas growing permanent roots in the fertile earth of this document is a wacky liberal interpretation of the Constitution, and (not very) deep down, every sane constitutional scholar (trust me, I'm not claiming to be one) knows this to be true.

Whether Harriet Meirs has ever failed (she seems to be generally successful in her vocational life by any objective measure), I just do not know. Maybe, just the fact that so many on the left and the right object to her should tell us that she actually is the right person for the job, who knows...

Sunday, January 09, 2005

speaking from the center?

You can count me among the people who believe that the constitution spells out how we can have a free society and an appropriately-sized federal government.

That the government should stay off people's backs, and stay out out what it the states' rights to determine. That the federal government should provide a strong defense without primarily functioning as a profit-center for the rich and powerful, and without the strong defence functioning as a federally funded presidential campaign tool. That the federal government should never place discrimination in the constitution. That the federal government has no place in determining any personal medical decision. That my tax dollars can never be spent to market any religion, whether that of the majority or a minority, of the politically powerful or the disenfranchised.

You can count me among the people who have an education, opinions, and experience enough to form these opinions from a strong foundation, and among the people who respects the rights of others to have those opinions. You can count me among the people who respects others opinions because I have the self-respect to have confidence in my own.

You can count me among the people who voted against the current administration because there is not a single thought among those in the White House that supports the interests of the average citizen in terms of governance, the economic divide between rich and poor, and the balance between freedom and security, yet they were such effective salespeople that they sold a bill of goods.

You can count me among the people that agree that we are dangerously close to establishing royalty in this country - the inheritance tax, damage award cap, and social security issues are prime examples - and we are veering dangerously close to annointing our leader with king-like powers - the ability to determine who is and is not a legitimate enemy in a war, and what level of of torture is acceptable are prime examples. It makes my head spin that these radical ideas are supported by anyone who considers themselves conservative.

The very freedom to say things like this is under attack from Attorneys General, media moguls, and political leaders alike, and it makes my head spin that anyone who considers themselves conservative doesn't see this.

I certainly am fairly liberal on the environment and liberal in a constitutional-freedom sense about personal liberties, but also conservative in a small-federal-government way.

You can count me as one of the 49% who voted against the current administration's re-election because of commonly held beliefs, nothing radically left or right. Self-defeating, pathetically blinded ownership of radical right or left ideas is dangerous to our society.

Yes, count me as one who speaks from the reasonable center.

Wednesday, January 05, 2005

ambulance chasers and drunken doctors

The money, in the medical industry, goes straight to the top. Corporate executives are among the highest paid in the US. forty years ago, that overhead just wasn't there, and went to your local doctor.

The average surgeon in the US earned $78,000 last year - more that I make but it doesn't really seem like a lot. They spend nearly 50% of their time and profits administering paperwork for HMOs, insurance, Medicaid, etc. They did go to school longer than I did, and I want them to be well rested when they put a knife in me.

Insurance is expensive to them, but the rise in malpractice insurance precisely tracks the rise in insurance company profits - not court cases by ambulance chasers, not doctors drunkenly snipping out the wrong kidney.

We are swamped with immigrants in many parts of this country, and they indeed use emergency rooms for their urgent care needs, and this raises the price of hospital care for all of us. California is particularly impacted by this, and receives less monetary support from the federal government per capita than most states, when reasonably we should be compensated for this federal problem (California is not, yet, a soveriegn nation, and can't be expected to protect a federal border on its own).

Californians are also nearly twice as likely as residents of most other states to file a Workman's Comp claim. Since medical services are compensated at wholesale rates, this also increases medical costs for those of us who don't file WC claims.

IMO we, the richest nation in the world with the best Doctors, Nurses, and Hospitals, should make a system where we never deny the best medical care to anyone regardless of their ability to pay - anything less is shameful.