Blues for Mai Cramer


"Watching the president unleash his newfound 'outrage,' coming after months of silence and ho-hum shrugs, conjures up the image of Louis, Claude Rains' police chief in 'Casablanca,' announcing that he is 'shocked, shocked!'" to find that gambling has been going on in Bogie's joint -- just seconds before picking up his winnings from the previous night. "
Arianna Huffington,
July 8, 2002





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July 9, 2002

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Nick Denton blogs righteousness: "The CEOs who inflated earnings, the investment bankers who encouraged them, and the accountants who turned a blind eye: they are not just white-collar criminals, they are traitors. They have done more to undermine the freewheeling culture of American business than any external enemy. And the same goes for Ashcroft's authoritarian tendencies: they aren't just obnoxious; they are profoundly un-American." And that's just the middle.

DRM Comments page extended: Yet another update on the comments page for the July 17 Digital Rights Management hearing. The original announcement said comments would be collected only till July 11, but the comments page, after some prodding, only went up yesterday. Tom Poe inquired further, and was told via email from Cheryl Mendonsa of the Technology Administration, "I checked the site last night to be certain the form was up, and let our Dep Asst Second, Chris Israel know of your interest. It is my understanding site will remain active through the event date."

GooFresh: Query recent additions to Google. The only fault of Google searches, to me, is that the first result might be three years old. Advanced searches let you pinpoint a date range, but you couldn't sort by "most recent first." Here's a workaround search page offering these options: Today, Yesterday, Last 7 days, Last 30 days. Worth bookmarking. (Serendipity: I saw this last night, but lost the link. E-media tidbits at blogs it today as t he work of Tara Calishain, proprietor of Researchbuzz.)

Blistering attack on Bush: L.A. Weekly interviews Gore Vidal: "Mark my words. He (George Bush) will leave office the most unpopular president in history. The junta has done too much wreckage. They were suspiciously very ready with the Patriot Act as soon as we were hit. Ready to lift habeas corpus, due process, the attorney-client privilege. They were ready. Which means they have already got their police state."

"What it was really about -- and you won't get this anywhere at the moment -- is that this is an imperial grab for energy resources. ... Whichever big company could cash in would make a fortune. And you'll see that all these companies go back to Bush or Cheney or to Rumsfeld or someone else on the Gas and Oil Junta, which, along with the Pentagon, governs the United States."

Yoko speaks for herself: Not new (June 16), but, in response to SF Chronicle interviewer Kenneth Baker's, "what does she make of the political passivity that seems to prevail during the current war?" Yoko Ono, John Lennon's widow, replies, "... things are in a very complex phase; we can't be just naive like we were in the '60s and go to the corner and start waving flags."
via Judy Watt

"blogChalking is a movement attempting to create a region-sensible blog-search system - descentralized, improvised (influencing existing Internet search engines) and world-wide." Mark your blog with an icon and geographical information. Find other blogs in your area. The mouseover icon doesn't work with Mozilla, though.

Update: Email from blogChalking developer Daniel Padua:

"Hi Sheila, I noticed that. I'm looking for answers to fix that. The basic problem is that the code that show your data (ALT) is universal in HTML and Mozilla should be showing it properly. But I'm working to understand what to do. Thanks for emailing me."

Can anybody help him out?

Legal music sharing: AP reports that UMG, the largest of the five major record companies, will make about 1,000 of its 11,000 albums available to subscribers who pay between $10 and $15 a month, starting today. Unlike most other initiatives announced during the last six months, UMG's partnership with, a downloadable music subscription service, gives customers the same ownership rights as if they had bought the music on a CD. That means users will be able to store tracks and transfer them to CDs or portable players using the popular MP3 file format. But UMG is selecting the content it makes available selectively. Rather than offering the work of best-selling artists like Eminem and U2, UMG has chosen older, less popular content that doesn't sell quickly in stores.

Battle for the bands: "PC World (Will Web Music Ever Play?) reports from the Jupiter Media Metrix's seventh annual Plug In digital music conference in New York. "In response to an audience question about the consequences of steep fees on small broadcasters, Rosen suggested that broadcasters without the resources to pay the proposed fees shouldn't be in the market.

"This is not about mom-and-pop [businesses] versus big corporations. This is a business-model issue," she said. "This is something that should be anticipated when you build a business." Jennie Levine, The Shifted Librarian has some interesting thoughts (Rosen: Failing Music Industry Shouldn't Be In The Market) about the "failed business model" and the music industry. "Rep. Rick Boucher (D-Va), moving to strengthen "fair use" provisions under federal copyright law, said he is introducing a bill that would essentially restrict the record industry from selling copy-protected CDs. He also said he would introduce a bill within the week that would update the U.S. Copyright Office's Copyright Arbitration Royalty Panel (CARP), which he has criticized as being mired in outdated laws that tilt against Webcasters regarding royalties on streaming music. " and goes into detail.

Portable blogging component: Also from Jennie: InfoSynch reports a stretchable keyboard to attach to the BlogBox* of my dreams. "The Vario Keyboard has five rows of keys arranged in a standard layout. What makes this keyboard different is that it's made mostly of fabric and rubber, and it stretches to different sizes and configurations."

I sure hope it ages better than my bras. via The Shifted Librarian.

*BlogBox: I want a globally wireless box, a sleek, $200 laptop designed for communication via satellite. No spreadsheets, no heavy crunching, not much giggery, just a browser, email and publishing software (and a few of my favorite freeware utilities). Will someone help make a prototype?

When Patriotism Wasn't Religious (NYT, reg. req.) By Arthur Schlesinger Jr. "The word "God" does not appear in the Constitution of the United States, a document that erects if not quite a wall, at least a fence between church and state."

More on those supermarket discount cards: Consumers Against Supermarket Privacy Invasion and Numbering -- a group obviously opposed to them -- explains the pricing issues,

"The first impact on consumers is that retailers raise prices throughout the store when a new program is implemented. This allows stores to show "'savings" that look far deeper than they really are and forces those who refuse to participate in the programs to bear the brunt of their cost. An industry executive admitted this in a Smart Money Magazine article in the summer of 2001. (Ten Things Your Supermarket Won't Tell You)

"The whole point is to give the best shoppers something special, and you have to pay for that out of something," says David Diamond, President of Emerging Business for Catalina Marketing, the St. Petersburg, Fla., company that handles many supermarket card programs. "It used to be that everybody got Rice Krispies for, say, 79 cents. Now they're available to anyone for 89 cents, but the best shoppers get them for 49 cents."

Catalina Marketing boasts on its website, "One of the company's most successful product introductions has been Checkout Direct®, the company's database marketing program, capable of increasing both the volume of purchases and brand loyalty of consumers over time. The program now boasts the world's largest electronic real-time database, tracking more than 70 million households."

A partial list of participating groceries is here.

Measured broadband "service"? Sharing the Internet via Wi-Fi: Generosity or Theft? " Last week Time Warner Cable of New York City sent letters to a handful of subscribers, including Tait, demanding that they cease and desist their "wireless broadcast" of its Road Runner cable modem service....

"I'm a believer in community networks, but I also understand that corporations aren't charities," said Tait, 31, manager of systems engineering for Tradescape, an after-hours stock trader based in New York. "I pay $60 a month, and they give me a connection via cable modem to the Internet at a certain (capacity). Whether I use it all myself seems immaterial."

(Would they mind if he let others use his computer when he's not busy? I, too, thought we were buying access.)

"As an industry we should embrace how people are using our service," Eder said (that's Sarah Eder, a spokeswoman for AT&T Broadband in Englewood, Colo.) "Are they distributing it? If they are, then we could charge by bits and bytes. ... Ultimately, we'll figure out how to charge for this. There are no free rides."

Imagine that your telephone company charged by the word, and banned handing the phone to somebody else.

Treating Viewers as Criminals: MIT Technology Review. " The networks are responding not by rethinking how they do business, not by developing new metrics for measuring and accurately reporting viewer interactions with media content, not by adopting new marketing strategies which take advantage of the affordments of the new media environment, but by wagging a finger at consumers and demanding that we behave according to their antiquated dictates."

Posters & graphics: Free protest graphics from,

Gig Posters allows you to revisit post-punk design triumphs, and marvel at the products of an era when a photocopier was all that stood between your band and glory," says newthings

Protest Political Posters from the United States, Cuba and Viet Nam 1965-1975 The 1967 "Make Love Not War" is here, as is a lovely Vietnamese poster urging the production of more salt. Worth a browse. via Travelers Diagram

The life of a chicken nugget. You sure you want to know what's in 'em?

BeerShots offers photographs taken through an optical microscope of the World's most famous beers, arranged by country. In foaming color. via MetaFilter.

July 8, 2002

We have a comments page • Background: The blogosphere workedWhat Tom Poe wrote to the govt.
Digital Rights Management hearing comments page link

Go here and make your case.

Update: Tom Poe, who got a letter from the Technology Administration saying "Your criticism of eliciting public comments is a valid one, " after he pointed out the lack of a public comments page on the upcoming hearing, added a comment to this post:

This is one more example of government doing its best to minimize the Public. We're smack in the middle of the Digital Age. We have a voice. We want to use it, and every trick in the book is being used to silence our voice.

If they get more than 40 people to comment, you can rest assured, they will shut the site down. How? The server will go kaput, accidently, of course. The file will be corrupted, accidently, of course. If you fax, the fax machine will go on the blink, temporarily, of course. If you email, the mail server will go kaput, accidently, of course. There will be incorrect email addresses provided, as evidenced by Sheila's attempt to contact them. There will be incorrect fax numbers provided. The system in Washington, is not receptive to people using technology, which makes it easy to connect. They want the cost, in stamps, and slow postal mail, to work to their advantage, to say, "We tried".

The singular issue that is raised, regarding public comment, is highlighted by this so-called notion that Senators and Congressional Reps only represent their local constituents. That system is absolutely intolerable. When there's an issue, the technology should permit us to communicate with each and every one of them. Regardless of which state they were elected in, they represent the United States citizens. We're in the Digital
Age, and we're in a global economy, and we need to have each and every one of our elected officials responsive to the interests of the entire United States of America.

"Bin Laden is the known face of a particular brand of politics that committed suicide in New York and Washington on Sept.11, 2001, killing thousands of innocent people in the process.
His ghost may continue to linger on, partly because Washington and Islamabad, among others, find it useful to keep it in the headlines for a while. Bush still has an election to win next November and Musharraf is keen to keep his country in the limelight as long as possible.
Arab News



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