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Monday, April 30, 2007
 
Radio Inter-nets

I missed this developing story on internet radio royalty rates entirely. I had pulled down an BBC piece BBC NEWS | Technology | 'Fatal' blow to web broadcasters on this on 16 April, this is when things were already finished. When the Copyright Royalty board turned down an appeal from their original ruling in March. I glanced at it briefly and left with the impression it was talking about British law, but I left it open to read it in full when got a chance. A week later when I did, I saw that this was a US affair. The Copyright Royalty Board which I don't think I had ever heard of even seems to be part of the Library of Congress, Copyright Royalty Board.

I listen to Internet Radio 5 to 6 days a week and post about it, occaisionaly, with little direct provocation. Ex college-radio-dj disease; I drift through my days filled with the sense I haven't gotten the next song queued up yet. I've been living in ignorance that my ability to listen to grounded community radio from other places was in danger. Threatening our right to be one nation under a groove. I'm sure that's in the constitution somewhere.

 I went back to the net and turned up an Ars Technica piece Internet radio dealt severe blow as Copyright Board rejects appeal, a tangental New York Times article Digital Subscribers Like Free Radio, Too - New York Times and a piece in the one paper I engage with materially Net Radio: 'New Song Royalties Will Kill Us' - washingtonpost.com, all of which I had overlooked at the time. Poking a bit further I turned up the website Savenetradio.org which appeared to have been set up fairly recently. This last was essentially the only activity I found in the internet that was not derived from journalistic sources. Considering the drastic effect the ruling would have on the status quo this seemed to be an under-reaction. Maybe I wasn't the only one this slipped by.

By Friday there were signs people were beginning to notice. WFMU had a post up on this by Liz Berg WFMU's Beware of the Blog: Hope on the Hill for Internet Radio. I have the RSS feed from the WFMU weblog and had been keeping an eye on it to see when they weighed in on this. In addition to confirming that this will affect noncommercial radio, she provided links to a web newsletter that tracks this broadcasting industry segment RAIN : "Internet Radio Equality Act". The big news here is H.R. 2060 the Internet Radio Equality Act (OpenCongress - H.R.2060) introduced by Rep Inslee (D. WA) which is primarily designed to nullify this ruling Internet Radio Equality Act would overturn decision on webcasting fees. My primary concern, is with the effect on noncommercial radio. Such as educational licensed stations (in WFMU's case an ex edu). Commercial radio has a proven existing business models to fall back on. Besides I haven't listen to commercial radio in years. Stations in educational noncommercial category are often operating as simultaneous broadcast and IP streams. Developments like this may lead them to reconsider going bimodal AlterNet: Rights and Liberties: The End of Internet Radio?

Odd circumstances resound through this story. The non-logical application of different rules for identical broadcast. The quick and under-the-radar manner of the decision. The arrogant and brutal manner with which the CRB judges shot the rehearing down. All the classic signs of iceberg 'public' policy : where what the average citizen knows is only a small part of the story. If I were to hazard a guess about what is happening It would be that some monied players have just discovered internet radio and said to themselves: You know what the problem is, you have a lively and competitive market here and no particular barriers to entry. Well, let's get to work and have that fixed. If Rep Inslee's bill gains some sympathy from fellow members of congress. If the issue gains some traction on the ground as people become aware. This issue may also follow the route of escalating activism as all the background interests come foreword. The path of a untethered noxious trash-barge-ruling clanging about visibly is likely to be different from the submerged glide of stealth public policy.


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Thursday, April 26, 2007
 
TrollTowne

A week ago, well two weeks ago now, there was a flurry of stories A Call for Manners in the World of Nasty Blogs - New York Times and commentary Guardian Unlimited | Comment is free | The blogosphere risks putting off everyone but point-scoring males on a suggested Blogger's Code of Conduct. It was all about making the Blogensphere behave and the discourse civil. Tim O'Reilly and Jimmy Wales are the principals behind this O'Reilly Radar > Draft Blogger's Code of Conduct. To me it was all fairly innocuous. So much so that I couldn't think of anything to say about it at first. Mostly it is about dealing with flaming in comments sections.

    We define unacceptable content as anything included or linked to that:
  • is being used to abuse, harass, stalk, or threaten others
  • is libelous, knowingly false, ad-hominem, or misrepresents another person,
  • infringes upon a copyright or trademark
  • violates an obligation of confidentiality
  • violates the privacy of others
  • excerpt from the draft code of conduct

I have to come down on O'Reilly's side on this. Though, I understand why many are not inclined to;   Howls of protest as web gurus attempt to banish bad behaviour from blogosphere | Technology | Guardian Unlimited Technology.

Writing is hard, only so many people will take it up, or make much out of the endeavor. The written web log world, despite its growth, will for that reason (if no other) be in the end a relatively contained world. Which is why the new Web 2.0 tools move beyond writing and integrate other media to a much greater extent Victor Keegan: To the average Joe, blogs aren't cutting it | Technology | Guardian Unlimited Technology. Trolls ye will always hae wi ye. No amount of nanny-ing will change that.

It is a problem; angry rhetoric kills conversation. Most sites tend towards being post-centric or comments-centric. Some sites envisioned themselves as community sites from the start. Their life being almost entirely in their comments. Web 1.5 versions of the newsgroup worlds before them. The best [ MetaFilter ] found means and techniques of maintaining their openness and viability. Others who gradually built up followings, often go through periods of instability. This underscores the perception that the problem is centered in comments and other venues lending themselves to anonymity. On this web log I know the only content I have to worry about is mine. I don't get many comments. If I start running off at the mouth: hateful and abusive. Taking cheap shots at people. Commentors, if I had any, would be within their rights to water-log me with whatever indignation they could sustain. They wouldn't need and shouldn't ask for anonymity to do so. Law of the marketplace provides the sufficient. Civility of community provides the necessary, and allows the cordiality of mischievous masking; Wealth Bondage (who... all... had plenty to say about this at the time).

This marketplace of ideas should strive to define violently-intended sandbagging as outside it. But it begs the question whether the comment tools that come with first generation web logs can effectively do what the Bloggers Code of Conduct asks. Userland's trackback and comments are susceptible to spam (trackback especially) and often cranky; delivering up cryptic error messages rather than deleting anything. I note that all this seems much more robust in Web 2.0 web log tools. Vox and the like.

Everyone should remember there is an upcoming election cycle. Before it's over, things will get ugly. Very ugly. I have some limited expectations I would like to see observed; though, little confidence they will be. List your biases, show your pay stubs. If you believe in something, say so. If you're being paid to shill for something or someone it's deceitful and fraudulent to obscure it. Expect people to say this to you. The FEC - congress really - has a minor document filing debate on their hands. It seems some in congress would rather keep to filing paper with the FEC detailing how their campaign were conducted. Who they paid. With incumbent months long delays in processing GOP Unknown Halts Electronic Finance Filings - washingtonpost.com. Why would some rather not file electronically in a open and timely manner, and what hides in that closet?

Sheep and wolves . Everyone agrees (is pleased to agree) that the world consists of sheeps and wolves. And they all believe, often a quite private belief, that they are the wolves and the rest of us are the sheep. But all these opinions are of sheep. The real wolves think in different terms. They are merely hungry and in their thoughts inconsolable.


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Saturday, April 21, 2007
 
Funiculi funicula

The Jam are selling Cadillacs. With their song Start. Which itself, despite words to the contrary, is a essentially a repurposed version of the Beatles song Tax man. They may be trying to get you to consider that: "what you give is what you get". I have that song as a 7" single, it came out in 1980, b-side is "when you're young."

I reported in error a month ago the Fall are selling Subaru's with the song Blindness. On closer examination they are selling Mitsubishis.

The Decemberists were selling funiculas, a couple of records ago, with the song "a song for Myla Goldberg" Which brings up the point - What the heck is a funicula? It is a cable railway that goes up a steep hill. One car goes up as another comes down (it's a matter of balance). Like the one built to go up Mt. Versuvius which inspired Peppino Turco to write the poem Funiculi Funicula and have it set to music in 1880. I think one of these Funicula things plays a part in Arthur Phillips' novel Prague, (which takes place in Budapest).

After Monday dj, Liz Berg, on WFMU played a version of this song Liz Berg's Playlist WFMU Monday, 16 April 2007. I had the sudden urge to put paper to pen and spell out Eliza. Or email to Liz, and say I though the refrain of her funiculi song turns up in a Decemberists' song: "It comes around, it comes around, it comes around. Funiculi, Funicula. Funiculi, Funicula..." She emailed back with the Wikipedia entry on Funiculi, Funicula. Its nice when things have a good story about them.

[addendum 23Apr07: This last Monday she played a song by a band called "Big Fun" which would seem to be an obvious reference to the movie Heathers - a band Big Fun and their song Teenage Suicide (don't do it ) being a running joke in that movie. I knew a guy in college who since he had a band, wrote a song called Teenage Suicide, but he was also reading a biography of Sammy Davis jr at the same time so it came out rather oddly.

24Apr07: Heard on a WZBC show Gulls Window Circus Sammy Davis jr's theme from the tv show Baretta: "Don't roll the dice if you can't pay the price (don't do it)]


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Tuesday, April 17, 2007
 
Don't call me Ismail.

 My friend Robert Bratton went to Virginia Tech as an undergraduate. An english major at an engineering school. This was before coming to the University of Maryland for his Masters of Library Science. And before moving on to George Washington University to catalog books for their Law Library.  Everything I know about Virgina Tech, I know from him. Especially from the day he pulled the schools web site up on his computer because he wanted to show me what a real university looked like, not Maryland's flood of red bricked pseudo-Georgian columned pretention. But a natural school set in the majestic backdrop of the Blue Ridge mountains. Of course he's from Roanoke, and I am the last person that would speak against aesthetic determinism.

 About the murders I can say nothing. I have nothing that gets me close to this  Gunman was both methodical and angry - Los Angeles Times. Boing Boing has some commentary up on possible meaning in the phrase Ismail Ax written on the shooters arm  VA Tech mass shooting: Who or what is Ismail Ax? UPDATED. But looking for reasons now, will get no one very far. It is apparent that people knew - knew after a fashion - that this person was a troubled individual. But that no one listened to see how troubled or lead him out of it or to help. America is a busy nation of busy people and we do not make time for those who can not keep up. We do not attempt to know them or even count them. A rear guard of unknown proportions.

 I look over the news today and see a gun debate is forming in the wake of this tragedy  Shock, Sympathy And Denunciation Of U.S. Gun Laws - washingtonpost.com. By 2:00 pm yesterday I saw links forming in Google News that laid this at the feet of laws that kept concealed weapons off the Virginia Tech Campus  The Virginia Tech shootings and gun policy. - By John T. Casteen IV - Slate Magazine . Maybe, but the greatest human motivator perhaps is boredom and after so many ordinary days of no assailants, a symbolic assailant, oppressor of the mind, will suggest itself and a new tragedy will be born.


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Saturday, April 14, 2007
 
Allan Bloomsday

What the right doesn't know...

 This post is intended as a small commentary following on from last weeks post and concerns with the current leadership. It centers on some specific misgivings I've had. Issues of world view and education. Despite the considerable educational credentials this administration marshals. Despite the centered (midwested) gravitas they claim to speak from. They display in practice an amazing degree of incompetency, ignorance, and seeming inability to tell right from wrong. There is no deep questioning of morality and justice despite constant trading on that discourses emotional appeal. Merely a reflexive take on justifications, and justice. A superficial ownership view of (being) right. We are the good, all we do is right. The unexamined life in a gilded frame.

 There are some who have told us all along that is is not happenstance as much as revolution as Paul Krugman suggested in the introduction to a few years of collected columns The great unraveling : losing our way in the new century" and as Sidney Blumenthal has outlined recently Upending the Mayberry Machiavellis | Salon.com. I recall reading a particularly self serving column from David Brooks a few years ago One of the things that inspired me to simply stop reading Brooks.  He attempted to make the claim that Conservative are natural philosophers. They refrain from reacting emotionally, instead dispassionately reason and weigh the costs to benefits to arrive and the 'right answer. For my self it is almost enough to proceed by rejecting this vapid conceit utterly.

 A number of years ago I read Allan Bloom's book  The closing of the American mind : how higher education has failed democracy and impoverished the souls of today's students I read the book on the suggestion of a teacher Charles Butterworth who, I believe, had studied with Prof. Bloom and greatly admired him. My sister Ann bought me the book for Christmas. I can see the book even now on the book shelf across the room. I have no temptation to get it down. I found the book  mordant, by turns, turns against what he didn't like. Just so many boo's and yea's. I found it pedantic, didactic, just plain ick. It, despite ordered erudition, pushed me away from its main thesis that there was something wrong with the American Academy and it was turning out generations of morally relativistic and ethically crippled leaders. I was, for what its worth, troubled by this because Bloom had edited the definitive political science edition of Plato's Republic WorldCat: The Republic and it is very good. And he was prominently placed in the Chicago School, land of neo conservatives and Leo Strauss.

 The revolutionaries; however, are not just coming out of premier institutions no matter how conservative. They are the prelaw twits at state colleges, become law welps made good. small college bible belted soldiers prized not for their knowledge or scholarship but for loyalty and willingness to overstep boundaries. This is the Bush administration and the bankruptcy of the conservative mind. Not possessing the academy, a school, a curriculum they owned saved them from themselves early on. As soon as enough of them gathered together under one purpose to form a de-facto academy they self destructed. In power they demonstrated only a pathetic grasping after empire. Seemingly quick to corrupt because they already were corrupt -- without moral center. Being in power gave them power, and wealth. And they discovered that was all in fact they cared about. Paul Wolfowitz who as he informs everyone he deals with knows everything there is to know about the evils of corruption . Except how not to be corrupt himself AFP.com | Wolfowitz fights on as World Bank split over scandal. Apparently that was not taught him. Though some such as Christopher Hitchens try desperately not to understand this Why Wolfowitz did nothing wrong.. I suspect that in time the Conservative movement will attempt to sever the populists from their midst and attempt to reframe the movement as balance between primitives and sophisticates. I will only ever see it as an even smear of of elite opportunists within the greater boundaries of American culture.


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Tuesday, April 10, 2007
 
RVAH 7 Disestablishment.

I had a hit in my referrer logs last week for "RVAH-7 Personnel." It prodded me to look again for the little booklet that was made for the squadrons decommissioning. I knew that had a roster list of the unit in it. Eventually I found it. Not where I thought it was, but I had it, and scanned it so I could make it available here RVAH-7_Disestablishment_Ceremony.pdf.

This document was created by photocopying the original booklet through a photocopier that can generate a pdf. The page order comes from pulling the staples out and sticking it in the document feeder face down. So page 1 of the pdf is the booklets center overleaf, p. 8 and 9; then p. 10, 07; p. 06, 11; p.12, 05; p. 04, 13; p. 14, 03; p. 02, 15; and pg. 8 of the pdf is the back cover and front cover... You are probably going to want to print this out and reassemble it. Everybody who was in the squadron when we decommissioned is here along with a history of the squadron and bio's of our c.o., x.o. and wing commander. Mark and I are in there as IS3 Edmunds and ISSN Bushmiller respectively. I see the squadron history talks up our impeccable readiness on that last cruise. I notice it doesn't mention that the squadron and the planes spent most of that summer back at Cubi Point in Subic Bay. They took up a lot of deck space for planes that didn't get in the air much. I and Ensign Gent stayed with the ship through that interval, myself because a port call in Hong Kong was scheduled. The history also indicates the heavy squadrons were based at NAS Albany Georgia until sometime in late 1974. Admittedly before my time in the unit, but I can't recall if I ever knew that, or just took it for granted that the whole program had been based in Key West since the A5 took on its reconnaissance role. Similarly I had assumed that Admiral Fallon the current Centcom (Iran, Iraq, Afghanistan, Pakistan) commander would know NAS Key West since he had flown RA5Cs at one point, but possibly not.

I saw and heard some small pieces in the press on Admiral Fallon over the last week, It turns out he only recently arrived in the Gulf, and spent much of his time dealing with the British-Iranian Naval imbroglio. In the curious way of international news here is Vietnamese press coverage of the Admiral's statements VietNamNet - U.S. commander denies attack on Iran soon. It was nearly all I could find. I think it's a Xinhua wire story. There was also a NPR or WAMU piece (an interview with a author writing a book who had flown out to the Gulf with him) which ran on the 2nd or 3rd of April that I can't seem to find now. A picture named Habel_Lcdr.jpgI include a picture I found in the booklet which I must have torn out of a Navy aviation magazine, which is a plane marked as being piloted by Lt. Paul Habel who was Rvah 7's Operations officer. Since I was a black shoe rating I'm not sure what the person standing in front of the plane is indicating, but I think he is saying "if you can guess which hand your car keys are in you can drive home tonight".

One last item before I leave off here. I got a comment on a post from January The one titled Admiral Fallon, in that post I had sketched out a brief history of the Iran-Iraq war of the 1980s. Harold Wise who wrote the comment wanted to mention that he has just had a book published by the Naval Institute Press: Inside the danger zone : the U.S. Military in the Persian Gulf, 1987-1988. It is on the phase of that war when the US Navy became involved, commonly called the tanker war.

---
11Apr07 I think the pdf problem is fixed now. Folks, never deal with pdfs on a dial-up connection.


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Friday, April 6, 2007
 
What Heart?

One thing in the story of the Department of Justice's night of the long knives, the eight prosecutors that were removed, and where when questioned for reasons the Administration responded the only way they know how; reflexively by smearing them. By hypocritical gesture Michael Waldman and Justin Levitt - The Myth Of Voter Fraud - washingtonpost.com to self-serving reasons Firing of US attorneys puts new focus on voter fraud | csmonitor.com. The thing not to lose sight of is that this did not happen in isolation Justice Department tugged to the right - Los Angeles Times. Certainly not in isolation from the procedure change worked into the second Patriot act. That allowed for replacement appointments to occur without consultation of congress. A condition without which these replacements would not have been initiated Time for Answers - New York Times. Nor in isolation from powerpoint presentation to the departments such as occurred at GSA on where and what the agency of government could influence Republican fortunes on the ground The Blotter Probe Targets GSA Chief. Nor also on the Science Advisory Boards in place throughout the Bureaucracy that as they vaulted over science and empirical process became more politics than policy.

This is electoral absolutism, politicizing the U S Government in the era of the Unitary Executive. The Republican parties benefit, On the taxpayers of the Nation's pay. Work towards one party rule, towards a final and eventual despotism. The question is: do they see this, understand this, or not.

"Somebody gives me an angle, I play it." This is from the movie Millers Crossing; the rationale Bernie Bernbaum gives to Tom Reagan Miller's Crossing (1990). I may be inclined to see this as an analogy on the "Just Smart Politics" argument that defenders of Karl Rove's political sensibilities try to advance. Why not play every angle you see? Bernie is blind to the reasons that people want to kill him. Probably even to why Tom Reagan finally does. It's just an angle. Here I'm begging a question that I'm not prepared to really answer. Since I haven't seen this movie now in ten years. Why is Tom good and Bernie bad? Why are we treated to lines like "Jesus Tom Jesus we're not even talking here Jesus" (Mink's line)? Both men are manipulative, and conniving in their nature, and callous of those who care about them. Why is the audience superficially pushed towards accepting Tom as the hero? Seeing Tom as altruistic: "smart play all around." Bernie as selfish: "an angle." Maybe Tom has a code. One that, only maybe, he believes he lives by. We might believe he tries to consider where all the balls will end up, when he plays his angle. While Bernie, more impulsively, just looks at the first angle glowing brightly in front of him. It may be (as has been suggested) simply a matter of who keeps his hat on A metaphor for keeping yourself, your thoughts, your desires, your needs, contained. Under a lid. A roadmap to a masculine ethos.

Politics in an open society is a game of aggression. A hard ball game of loyalty, betrayal, revenge, forgiveness. When Tom does shoot Bernie it is when Bernie plays an angle against him. There is no forgiveness. Tom has stepped into a breach for him twice already. Increasing partisan politics brings inevitable waves of increasing reprisal. The temptation to regard this as simply politics in hard times is thrown over by a continual movement to bring changes to the basic rules of the game. Those rules being that politics belongs to the parties and not the government. That a government job is not an enlistment in a parties private army. That the Hatch act precludes such draft. That the organization of our government was intentionally designed to keep faction and party in sublimated realms.

There is in the Administration's attempts to justify this behavior Attorneys for Gonzales Aide Criticize Congressional Democrats - washingtonpost.comincreasingly the sense that they are simply digging themselves in deeper Dan Froomkin - Blame It on the Democrats - washingtonpost.com. They are pushing through the boundaries of acceptable behavior and demonstrating the inability of the ideological right to tell right from wrong, or to disbelieve anything they do can be wrong . Amply embodied How Pat Robertson's law school is changing America. - By Dahlia Lithwick - Slate Magazine by the new know-nothings such as Monica Goodling  Scandal puts spotlight on Christian law school - The Boston Globe. Should this be be read as more unconcerned disregard for the balance of the nation - the balance of the electorate. A disrespect for democracy. Or as failure to adjust to reality of shared governance now that the Democrat party have taken precarious control of congress. A position they have never been in since this administration came into office. One they simply may not understand.


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Monday, April 2, 2007
 
Radio: the Soft White Underbelly of America

We learned punk rock in Hollywood. We drove up from Pedro. We were f*cking corn dogs. We'd  drink and go pogo, me and Mike Watt. Minutemen, "History Lesson pt. 2".

A few more commercials have filtered through my nominal consciousness featuring material formerly thought to have no commercial potential. Someone is using the Violent Femmes' Blister in the Sun to sell something. At times over the years the Femmes actually got played on the radio, so I'm not sure if they count. I hear drum and bass, in TV commercials too, but someone else will have to pick up the slack on that. Most astounding I was reminded the other day that the LA band the Minutemen had their music in Volvo commercial.

This I learned listening to a show on WZBC (Boston College's station). The Monday 5-7pm DJ, John Straub, did a special on The Minutemen's 1984 double lp. Part, I think, of a general theory of 1984 he is developing. He had with him Michael Fournier who has written a book about this record for the 33 1/3 series The Minutemen's Double nickels on the dime. I was a little surprised to learn Joe Carducci, who ran SST records during this period wrote the lyrics to the song Jesus and Tequila. The Volvo licensing was for D. Boones dad's hospital bills (Boone died in a car accident in 1985). John Straub keeps annotated play lists from his shows up on his myspace page Kraft-o-Matic Bed o' Nails and the one for this show has numerous excerpts from Fournier's interviews with Mike Watt  Annotated Playlist for 4/2/2007 (Double Nickels on the Dime with quotes from Mike Watt).

The Minutemen special came on the heels of another similar show on WFMU. On Thursday Diane's Kamikaze Fun Machine did a show focusing on the Misfits. This with Joel Gausten (Joel Gausten - Wikipedia) author of an upcoming book 100 records that should've changed your life (and several smaller spin off book projects including one on the Misfits) March 29, 2007: Special Guest: Author Joel Gausten . I have a recollection that I once saw the Undead (a Misfits related band) play at a place called the Marble Bar in Baltimore with P.G. county's own Black Market Baby opening.

The day before that Washington DC NPR talk show host Kojo Nnamdi had Ted Leo (and his guitar) up in the studio for a half hour WAMU 88.5 FM American University Radio - The Kojo Nnamdi Show. Ted played a unaccompanied version of Curtis Mayfield's Move on up right there in the studio: Real Audio. OK I've forgiven radio for its general wankerness, but only because of pod-casts and internet streamining.

I heard another song off the Pernice bros. record Live a Little that I like, It's called B S Johnson and seems to be about a tiny manuscript with a hole cut in it.

Wait a moment! Looking over the first half of this post again I had a thought strike me. Now; there were three guys in the Minutemen:  D. (dennis dale) Boone, George Hurley, and Mike Watt. I knew the big guy reminded me of someone, I saw the Minutemen play once, but I think they got it backwards. And then, where is the character in the TV show Lost named Mike Watt? It just seems incomplete, suspicious.



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