Friday, June 27, 2014

Nobody Asked Me, But...

1) The US had a chance yesterday to sell soccer to a crowd that was not only paying attention but had a vested interest in the game being played. That weak-ass shit was the best they could muster? Admittedly, Germany dominated so well that I expected them to declare they had annexed the Sudetenland, but come on! A game like that could have focused attention away from the really ugly and really ridiculous stories coming out of Brazil.

2) This weekend marks the 100th anniversary of the Shot Heard Round the World. No, not that one. No, not that one either. No…*sigh*…OK, yea, there have been too many of them to keep track of…

3) How do we know that homosexuality is mainstream? Corporations are unafraid to sponsor gay pride parades. Not sure this is a good thing.

4) This was a ham-handed decision by the Supreme Court, but not as ham-handed as this one.

5) Arizona will become the first state to feel the real economic wrath of global warming.

6) NYC is about to bring undocumented workers out of the shadows. It’s about time. PS there’s a reason the Irish Times has such strong interest in this.

7) I guess they were hungry an hour later, too?

8) Your heartstrings moment of the week.

9) Oh, poo!

10) Finally, this story features Nikita Kruschev, Vladimir Putin and Arnold Schwarzenegger. And no, it’s not a buddy comedy. Well, maybe not.

Wednesday, June 25, 2014

How Republicans Operate

The IRS “scandal” gives us an object lesson in the modus operandi of conservatives.

1)  Grossly underfund an agency.

2) Task that agency to investigate an entirely new kind of possible fraud.

3) Whine when that agency performs its task to perfection – even tho an appointee from a President from your own party was in charge! She would know that the first people to abuse the status would be the very people who appointed her. Why else would she have been appointed?

4) Stamp your feet and yell that the agency can’t provide all the information you requested. Mostly because, you know, underfunded!

Monday, June 23, 2014

Like a Circle In a Spiral

So Barry Diller’s latest venture, Aereo, has hit a major legal snag:

A two-year-long legal battle between the country's biggest broadcasters and a startup called Aereo is about to culminate at the U.S. Supreme Court.

The court's decision, expected sometime this summer, could have far-reaching implications for television and technology companies -- and ultimately on how people watch TV programs.

That's because Aereo brings up crucial questions about copyright law and threatens to disrupt lucrative business models.

The case basically pits former Paramount Pictures (now part of CBS) and USA Television (now part of NBC Universal) head Diller versus…well, his entire stock portfolio, I’m sure: CBS, ABC, NBC, and FOX (where Diller also worked), which means CBS Corporate, Universal/Comcast and Disney. And FOX, too.

Ironic that these cable providers would also be involved in this suit, as the concept of cable’s beginnings is essentially the model behind Aereo’s service: capture broadcast signals and re-transmit them to viewers (in Aereo’s case, using small over-the-air antennae on the roofs of subscribers, then streaming those signals to the Internet for viewing on phones and tablets, and also allowing a DVR-like option to view at a later time).

It seems duplicative, except that Aereo charges $8 a month for 38 channels. To contrast, Time Warner’s basic 20 channel plan in NYC starts at $20 a month. And that’s before rental fees and other “charges”, and won’t allow you to stream your selection over the Internet through their website or app.

Diller has been a strong voice for breaking up media conglomeration and warning about how the consolidation of media outlets can only be a bad thing for the nation.

So he’s putting his money where his mouth is. I only hope his lawyers got enough of the leftovers.