Thursday, May 31, 2007

Steve Job's Mission: Saving the Music Industry

Over the last six years I must have written several dozen articles about the incredible stupidity of the major label music industry and their amazing drive to self destruction (links here and also here).

And I was hardly alone. Lawyers, music critics, technology experts and music industry experts all begged the industry to stop fighting the shift in technology and embrace the future.

And we also begged them to stop alienating their customers, the music fans, and to start giving them what they want!

But instead of hiring software engineers, computer experts and first class marketing and advertising companies, the industry, through their industry association, the RIAA, hired lawyers and lobbyists.

Instead of meeting the needs of the modern music listener, they filed hundreds of lawsuits against virtually every technology company in existence and, when that failed, they started suing individual customers personally.

Then, turning their gigantic pocketbooks toward Congress, they pushed through the worst single piece of legislation in the entire history of copyright law, the Digital Millennium Copyright Act.

It was as if the leaders of the industry said that every effort, every action, every concept, every product and every law must be designed to prevent listeners from enjoying music.

I can just hear the big music bosses now.......

"If they buy a CD let's be certain it won't play on many of their CD players, especially their computers. And let's make sure they can't make a copy."

"Oh, and while were at it, let's load up our CD's with spyware that will ruin their computers and report back to the record companies headquarters!"

"If they listen on the radio, lets make sure that radio stations are unable to play the music they want to hear."

"And if, heaven forbid, they listen on Internet Radio, let's be certain we charge so much for the product that the radio stations themselves will quickly head into bankruptcy."

"If someday we do ever offer digital downloadS, let's be certain that bizarre and esoteric copyright restrictions prevent the music from playing on DIFFERENT players, but limit it to a single machine."

"And let's make sure that a lot of the music listeners want to buy isn't available."

"But, if they do find the music they desire, let's be certain that it can't be played on more than one brand or type of portable music player."

As we read this week about the precipitous decline in CD sales, and the cries of terror from those same CD executives, we can only shake our heads and say "we told you so."

Throughout all this stupidity, one man has tried his best to save the music industry. And he isn't a record company executive at all. It's Steve Jobs, the Chairman of Apple Computer.

Unlike the record company executives, Jobs quickly and clearly saw that consumers only wanted what the convenience they always had. The music fan just wanted to buy the music they love in the most modern, convenient format. But, of course, they wanted to own the recording and play it whenever and wherever they were listening, home, car or office.

It all sounds to simple.
When Thomas Edison made the first phonographs, customers could actually purchase the music. They could take the cylinders and later those flat 78 rpm records to a friend's houses and play them. The format was universal. Every record played on every player.

When78's were replaced by those High Fidelity LP's the customer was still actually allowed to purchase the music and own it! No restrictions.

Now, to be certain, the eight track tape and especially the cassette tape recorder scared the heck out of the industry and they tried to get their first set of copyright laws through Congress. But Congress sided with the people and the resulting laws actually favored consumers and specifically allowed personal use copies to be made.

Precisely because Congress sided with the consumer and against the record companies, everybody won!! Sales of cassettes and LP's grew to new heights. The industry's claim of impending doom due to cassette copies proved really, really, really wrong!

Steve Jobs knew that was exactly what consumers still wanted. Still, he was unable to convince a terrified industry of this all at once. But he got a few industry folks to allow him to sell a few pieces of music, so long as he included the restrictive copy protection schemes that assured consumers would be really unhappy, but grateful for a halfway usable copy of the music they desired.

In fact Jobs was a genius. He knew consumers would actually pay real money for high quality, safe and virus free digital music.

The recording industry executives, quietly sipping on their Evian, Pellegrino and Desani bottled water, told him no one would ever actually pay for something they could otherwise get for free.

But Steve Jobs knew ripping CD's was a pain in the ass. And the illegal download sites were a menace most consumers would avoid if possible. A little marketing and a little bandwidth and Jobs realized the future was at hand.

Boy was Jobs right. And a gigantic industry was finally born! iTunes alone has sold over 2 billion music tracks at 99 cents apiece or more!! That's TWO BILLION DOLLARS spent by consumers who supposedly could have stolen the tracks!!!

Today, Jobs is announcing the final step in his dream of actually meeting the demands of a voracious music consumer.
Apple debuts unprotected songs online . He is about to give back to the music lover the control they had back in the day's of Edison's records: ownership and control of the music they legally purchased.

Michael Gartenberg, an analyst at Jupiter Research, said any worries the music companies have over increased piracy from DRM-free downloads are overblown.

"CDs are all sold without copy protection already, so these (unrestricted) digital files are not going to change the piracy story," he said. "DRM just adds an unnecessary layer of complexity here for people who do embrace this medium and
have already bought billions of songs on iTunes."

Shares of Apple closed at $118.77, up $4.42, or nearly 4 percent, and gained another 65 cents in extended trading.

What a shame the industry didn't listen to Shawn Fanning back in 2001.




Monday, May 28, 2007

An Appeal for Help to Cindy Sheehan

Dear Cindy Sheehan,

The people of Venezuela need your help.
After years of peace, freedom and prosperity as a fledgling democracy, their country is being transformed into a dictatorship without even the most basic of freedoms and rights you champion and thrive upon here in the United States.

I believe you can help the people of Venezuela in this hour of their greatest need.

You have a close, personal relationship with Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez. You have embraced him personally and as a world leader and as fighter against the American injustice in Iraq. He has, in turn, supported you, embraced you and endorsed your efforts to end the U.S. occupation of Iraq.

Hugo Chavez joined you in condemning the actions of President Bush here in the United States and in the middle east. Your thoughts and your messages to both the American and Venezuelan people have been virtually identical. You spoke with one voice and one heart.

I genuinely believe that if you will now speak out for freedom of speech, for freedom of the press and for freedom of assembly, President Chavez will listen. You have the moral authority. You have stood by his side. You have validated his regime. Your credibility has enhanced his stature. In many ways, it was you who handed him the moral power he now uses against his own people.

Last night
President Chavez assumed control over the one nationwide free and independent television network. At midnight he shut it down and replaced it with a state run propaganda machine. Only message approved and even prepared by President Chavez are allowed to be broadcast.

Only hours later he moved to shut down the only other opposition broadcaster. This smaller network did not have the national distribution or broadcast channels, but is about to be silenced, none the less. There will be no opposition viewpoints once this has been accomplished.

As your own protest to end the war in Iraq nears a successful conclusion, imagine what would have happened if you hadn't had open access to a free and unfettered press. Imagine your fate if the press hadn't camped with you outside the Presidential summer home.

You moved a nation because your every word, your every prayer, even your every tear was reported, televised and broadcast to a receptive nation. Your friend and ally President Chavez has now made similar actions in Venezuela absolutely impossible.

Today tens of thousands of Venezuelans protested all across the nation. The police and troops had to resort to extreme measures including tear gas, rubber bullets and even shotgun blasts to quell the crowds and force the protesters into retreat.

Not one single broadcast television station in all of Venezuela carried even the slightest mention of the protests. Chavez silenced all freedom.

But if you speak, even from right here in the United States he will hear you. The world will hear you. You can really make a difference!!

You can be Chavez conscience. You can be the person who reminds President Chavez of the greatness, the generosity, the stature he once sought at your side. You can help the people. You can speak for those who now have no voice. They have been sobbed of their forum.

You live in the United States where freedom of speech and freedom of the press are unchallenged. Your microphone is open. Even today I heard and watched you again condemn and vilify the President of the United States and the Congress. Even the right leaning FOX NEWS carried your every word.

If you speak out the entire world will echo and amplify your words.

The people of Venezuela are praying for your help.




Touched By War

Many people today do not know that Memorial Day originally began as a Southern tradition of "Decorating" the graves of the Confederate soldiers. In fact the holiday was originally called Decoration Day.

In 1867 Nella L. Sweet wrote a hymn called "Kneel Where Our Loves are Sleeping" and dedicated it to the women "To The Ladies of the South who are Decorating the Graves of the Confederate Dead."

The movement to honor the soldiers who died in war began, not as a big national holiday, but instead as a nearly spontaneous community event to clean and restore cemeteries and decorate the graves of those whose sacrifices gave us the freedoms we have today.

Because it was an unorganized community event, the actual date of celebration varied from January to June, depending on the town or state where the celebration took place.

Memorial Day was officially proclaimed on 5 May 1868 by General John Logan, national commander of the Grand Army of the Republic, in his General Order No. 11, and was first observed on 30 May 1868, when flowers were placed on the graves of Union and Confederate soldiers at Arlington National Cemetery.

Curiously, after General Logan's proclamation, the South refused to celebrate the "Northern Holiday." Instead each Southern state chose an alternative date as the official Holiday and dedicated it to honor the Confederate dead. Many of these dates are still official holidays in southern states: January 19 in Texas, April 26 in Alabama, Florida, Georgia, and Mississippi, May 10 in South Carolina, and June 3 (Jefferson Davis' birthday) in Louisiana and Tennessee.

And we think America is divided today!

But after World War One, Congress expanded the Holiday to honor the dead from all wars, not just the Civil War, and the South quickly came on board and recognized the National Holiday.

Today, the nation is deeply divided by the war in Iraq. A big part of the problem is that this isn't a traditional war, it is an occupation. We are deeply divided by the occupation of another country. A country where a large portion of the population wants us to leave.
And the War Against Terrorism itself is an unconventional war, if it is a war at all. John Edwards insists it's not much more than a slogan, a "bumper sticker."

Bumper Stickers tend to be fads. It's hard to get behind a bumper sticker.

The current conflict, whether it's a war or an occupation, is easily the most reported event in history. Thanks to 24 hour cable news, a robust local pan-Arab news source, al Jazeera, a motivated traditional main stream media and the new media of the blogosphere, including milbloggers, the magnificent Military Bloggers, you can follow this conflict from every perspective.

But, curiously, this "war" has touched very few Americans in the traditional Memorial Day sense. In fact, very, very, very few Americans have died in the conflict. About one thousand American troops have died in the last year.

While even one single death is one too many, consider the relative "personal" impact on American society. At the current death rate, it will take 58 years to reach the number of deaths suffered in the Viet Nam war (58,169)!!

It would take 36 years to reach the number of deaths American soldiers suffered in the Korean War (36,914).

And it would take 407 years to reach just the American military death toll (407,316)of World War Two.
That would actually be twenty generations of continuous occupation.

But, it would take an astonishing 623 years for the death toll to eclipse the horrific devastation on American that we suffered during the Civil War!! Six Hundred Twenty Three Thousand twenty six (623,026) Americans, Northern and Southern combined, were killed in our Civil War, the war that gave birth to Memorial Day.

Would today's media and blogosphere driven society allow 623,026 Americans die in just four short years, no matter how noble the cause? Or even 407,316? Or even 36,914?

And, if not, what would America look like today? Would we still have slavery?
Would Germany have won World War II? Would Korea now be united in slavery, poverty and hunger under Kim Jung Il?

We will be leaving Iraq soon. We'll be gone within two years, probably less. American deaths will undoubtedly exceed 4,000. What will Iraq look like? What will be our legacy?
We will certainly honor those who died. They gave their lives for our country, regardless of the reasons for the war, occupation or our departure.
Source of War Death Statistics: American War Deaths Throughout History
* * *
As we have in years past, Wizard Radio has a big Memorial Day Special, all day, today.
Wizard Radio can be heard on any Internet connection, world wide. There will be several Memorial Day tributes to our soldiers and all those who can before us in building this great nation. Patriotic music and Americana will be woven into a most enjoyable tapestry of eclectic music that is the trademark of Wizard Radio. From Jimmy Buffett to The Beach Boys to New Orleans style jazz, Wizard Radio brings you the perfect soundtrack for the kickoff to summer. I hope you'll join us.


I'm really enjoying browsing at random throughout the blogosphere today reading the many and varied essay and entries about Memorial Day.

I recommend to you a really short "Reader's Digest" size entry I think you will all appreciate. Neil has written about the
442nd Regiment from World War Two. This regiment was made virtually entirely of Japanese Americans and emerged as the most decorated Regiment in the entire war.

They fought in Europe. The Army "didn't trust them" to fight in the Pacific!!!

Read it! And have a thoughtful, but thoroughly enjoyable Memorial Day.

Friday, May 25, 2007

How About a Global War on Political Pandering?

The real problem here is the overly long and almost non-functional Presidential Primary and Nomination season. This campaign will cost a fortune and it forces each candidate to reinvent themselves constantly in an attempt to gain even one small poll percentage point along with a fleeting moment of television time.

Today's spotlight shines on John Edward's decision to attack the very existence of the Global War on Terror itself.

Edwards is mired in third place (or lower) in the national polls and he is searching for his voice. He feels he must "break through" and distinguish himself from the pack. He believes that the candidate moving the furthest from George Bush and the war in Iraq has the best opportunity among Democrat primary voters.

But it's still over six months until the first primary. It is doubtful that he is right. It is likely he is making a political mistake.

In effect he is saying that there is no real threat to the United States from the Islamic extremists. The issues raised by President Bush and others are nothing more than scare tactics.

I have no idea if he believes this or not. The "War on Terror" was a centerpiece of his campaign only a few weeks ago. Now the words have been stricken from his speeches, website and campaign, except as a "put down" to the President.

But, as John "I voted for the funding of the troops before I voted against it" Kerry learned the hard way, such political pandering in the primaries can come back to haunt you in the general election.

In the same vein, I wonder about
Hillary Clinton's vote against funding the troops yesterday. Although nearly every single Democrat Senator voted for the bill, Clinton, Obama and Dodd were the notable Presidential Candidates voting against funding the troops.

I don't believe, except for the very consistent anti-war candidate Barack Obama, that these are genuine votes of conscience. I believe, especially for Clinton who had been a rather consistent supporter of the troops, that this is just more political pandering.

Move to the left. Step to the left. Dance to the left. To the Left. To the Left.

Pray everyone forgets by November, 2008.


Addendum 2/25/2007 11:48 pm

Chris Kelly, writing in today's Huffington Post, is also taking on political pandering, but he's focusing on the dancers who are waltzing to the right. His target (and it's a really easy target) is Mitt Romney. Kelly's writing is so clever and his points are so very correct that I have to quote him here. But link on over and read his entire article: Mitt Romney Owns It.

Mitt Romney is the first candidate to take pandering so far beyond cynicism that it's not even cynicism anymore. It's Romantic Irony.

If you think it's inconsistent for him to change sides all the time, you're missing the point.
When he had to be pro-choice to get elected, he was pro-choice. When he had to be pro-life, he was pro-life. When he had to support civil rights for gays and lesbians, he did. Now that he doesn't, he doesn't. Guns? Campaign finance reform? Immigration? Tax cuts? Abortion? He's been as dependable as an atomic clock: He's changed his mind on everything.

Don't think for a minute all this won't come back to haunt Romney in the general election if he becomes the nominee, as Kelly predicts.



Mary over at FREEDOM EDEN is taking on the Democrats who chose to completely ignor any possible facts in their zeal to move to the left in pandering for votes. You may well disagree with Mary's opinions on Iraq, but they are well worth reading. U.S. Troops to the Rescue in Iraq.




Monday, May 21, 2007

Dennis Miller Got It Right

Fox Network's Half Hour News Hour. What a terrible show. Not funny. Not intelligent. Not irreverent. Or relevant. Except for two minutes at the very end.

That's when Dennis Miller gave his monologue.

Really politically incorrect? Yes.

Wrong messenger? Wrong venue? Wrong Network? Yep, Yep and Yep.

But is he right? Sadly, yes to that, too.

We are "Two buckets into a million bucket firemen's carry.........."




In Support of the Bush Kennedy Immigration Bill

As I drove into work this morning, listening to G. Gordon Liddy on the local News-Talk Radio Station (the wonderful WKOZ in Kosciusko, Mississippi), I realized that the Bush-Kennedy compromise Immigration Reform Bill is Dead On Arrival.

As Libby implored his listeners to call their Senators to defeat the bill, they responded in massive force, often replaying the recorded conversations on the air. The mood was near hysteria.

Barack Obama, Ted Kennedy, John McCain and George Bush plus virtually every state's two Senators were in Liddy's crosshairs. Bullets were flying. And it obvious this was an organized effort that would be duplicated on every talk show all week long.

But a quick glance this morning to the left proved the opposition there was as tough and as motivated as the opposition on the right. And Hispanics, who might have been expected to support the bill, seem to be in no mood to compromise, either

While the right believes this bill is nothing short of amnesty, the left feels it is racist and cruel, destroying the families and futures of the people actually providing the support structure for the U.S. economy and society.

There appears no room for any compromise. No one is willing to listen. And our Senators, many of whom actually understand the problems and want a compromise, will be forced to take one side or the other under a mountain of pressure politics.

One caller this morning on Liddy's program felt this issue and the huge divide would actually lead to civil war.

And so the broken, dysfunctional and dangerous status quo will continue.

Here's a strange twist of fate..... President Bush.... you remember him, the stubborn President who never compromises and never listens to anyone.... is the only one willing to compromise.

The bill as proposed is a good bill. It is a reasonable compromise between border security and realism and fairness. The bill should pass. The bill would actually restore the order of law. The bill must pass.

Otherwise we actually might end up in civil war.

An intelligent discussion of the actual proposal is taking place over on
Obsidian Wings. Be sure to follow the links.




Wednesday, May 16, 2007

The Only Way to Win is Not To Play

A really short post on last night's South Carolina Republican Debate.

Everybody lost.

In fairness, the format continues to be just terrible. Sixty Second Scripted Answers should now be made illegal by federal statute.

The biggest loser: Ron Paul. What an idiot.

The biggest winners: Fred Thompson and
Newt Gingrich. They haven't announced and didn't participate.

In the immortal words from the classic 1983 movie
War Games, "The only way to win is not to play."




Thursday, May 10, 2007

Senate Introduces the Internet Radio Equality Act

Well, the Wizard really has to eat his words this afternoon.

After lambasting Senator Sam Brownback (R-KS) just last week, the WIZARD humbly thanks the Senator for his vision and courage in introducing and co-sponsoring (with Senator Ron Wyden (D-OR)) the Internet Radio Equality Act, the Senate version of the House Bill HR-2060 we've been promoting for the last few weeks.

Kurt Hanson reported just a few hours ago, "Legislation introduced by Senators Ron Wyden (D-OR) and Sam Brownback (R-KA) today would save Internet radio from a recent royalty hike that threatens to bankrupt the industry."

"The Internet Radio Equality Act would vacate a Copyright Royalty Board (CRB) decision to increase fees webcasters pay to play music online by a devastating 300 to 1200 %. Companion legislation ( H.R. 2060) introduced in the House of Representatives on April 26th, by Congressman Jay Inslee (D-WA) and Don Manzullo (R-IL), has already garnered the support of more than 60 cosponsors."

On a side note, my earlier criticism of Senator Brownback centered on his handling of one question in last week's Republican debate. I still have huge problems with Senator Brownback's denial of the science supporting the Theory of Evolution, but clearly he is no dummy. I'd love to have a real, off -the-record, conversation with the Senator to see why he felt compelled to raise his hand during the Republican debate.

More important to the discussion and issues here, Senator Brownback obviously cares about fairness and about Freedom of Speech and communication. And he has the courage to take on Hollywood.

The issues of fairness here are undeniable. And I have a new appreciate for the Senator.

Kurt Hanson continued in his report, "Statements released today from the offices of the Senators co-sponsoring the bill underscore the urgent need for Congressional intervention to throw out the proposed CRB rates and determine webcaster rates based on a standard similar to the one used for other digital services like satellite radio."

"A joint statement from Senators Brownback and Wyden also emphasized the need to bring the rates down to a level that allows webcasters to continue operating instead of being "driven out of business" by the proposed rates."

“Our bill is about standing up for folks ranging from a small Webcaster in a basement in Corvallis to an innovative startup in Beaverton to a new band trying to be heard in Portland to a huge music fan in Coos Bay,” Sen. Wyden said. “Keeping Internet radio alive is part of a broader issue that is important to me — keeping the e-commerce engine running by preventing discrimination against it."

Tuesday, May 08, 2007

Genocide Olympics

Perhaps it is time to hit China where it really hurts!

Last week China's Ambassador to the United States
wrote a letter to the U.S. Members of Congress:
“There are…talks of linking the Darfur issue with the Beijing Olympic games in 2008…I hope that you will fully recognize and appreciate China’s positive role on the Darfur issue and use your influence to help the US Congress and public put things in perspective.”

Today Amnesty International released this Report showing that China and Russia were supplying arms to Sudan for the use against its own citizens in Darfur violating a U.N. arms embargo.
Amnesty International writes "The irresponsible transfer of arms to Sudan and its neighbors are a significant factor in the massive human rights catastrophe in Darfur and its spread into eastern Chad."
Amnesty continues its report by emphasizing that China and Russia, two of the five permanent Security Council members, should have been aware that their military equipment was "deployed by the Sudanese armed forces and militia for direct attacks on civilians and indiscriminate attacks in Darfur."
At least 200,000 people have died and 2.5 million have been chased from their homes since 2003 when ethnic African rebels in the Sudanese region of Darfur rose up against the Arab-dominated central government located in Sudan's capital, Khartoum.
These are direct quotes form the full report available on-line here.

Arms, ammunition and related equipment are still being transferred to Darfur in the west of Sudan for military operations in which extremely serious violations and abuse of human rights and international humanitarian law are committed by the Sudanese government, the government-backed Janjawid militias(1) and armed opposition groups.
This report describes the arming process and its effects on the people of Darfur and neighbouring eastern Chad, many of whom have been forcibly displaced. It provides details of violations of the United Nations arms embargo on Darfur that occurred during January to March 2007.
Amongst other things, it shows how the Government of Sudan violates the UN arms embargo and disguises some of its military logistics operations in Darfur, and what arms supplied to Sudan from China and Russia - two Permanent Members of the Security Council - have been used for violations of the Security Council’s own mandatory arms embargo.

Sudan imported $24 million worth of arms and ammunition from the People’s Republic of China, as well as nearly $57 million worth of parts and aircraft equipment and $2 million worth of parts of helicopters and aeroplanes from China, according to the data from Sudan for 2005, the last available trade figures. During a meeting in Beijing, the Defence Minister of China reportedly told Sudan's joint chief of staff that military relations had been "developing smoothly" and said: "[We] are willing to further develop military co-operation between our two countries in all areas."(17) The Chinese company AviChina Industry and Technology recently delivered six K-8 military training/attack aircraft to the Sudanese Air Force and a further six will follow soon, according to a military magazine.(18) Beijing Aviation Science and Technology Co. (BASC), a subsidiary of the China Aviation Industry Corporation I (AVIC I), has announced on its website that it has developed and produced flight simulators for Sudan for their K-8S jets.(19) These simulators were delivered to the Sudan Air Force in 2005.(20) The K-8S is widely used as a basic training jet for fighter pilots. Some of the Sudanese Air Force fighter pilots will eventually graduate onto the NAMC Q-5 ‘Fantan’ after undergoing basic training on the K-8S. The export version of the Q-5 is known as the A-5 ‘Fantan’.(21) Amnesty International is concerned that the Sudan Air Force has transferred these jet bombers to Darfur (see photograph and details below) without authority from the UN Sanctions Committee and is highly likely to use these newly acquired jets, as it has other aircraft, and the acquisition of expertise to fly the jets supplied from China, for indiscriminate attacks in Darfur in violation of the UN arms embargo and international humanitarian law, thus also posing serious questions about the systems of accountability and training provided to the Sudan Air Force to ensure respect for that universal law.

In 2005, the Russian Federation exported to Sudan $21 million worth of aircraft and associated equipment including spare parts and $13.7 million of helicopters, adding to its substantial arms deliveries in previous years.(22) The use of various types of military helicopters, particularly the Russian Mi-24 helicopter gunships acquired by the Sudan Air Force, to launch attacks in Darfur in which civilians are subjected to indiscriminate fire is of particular concern to Amnesty International, as outlined further below.

China is not fit to host the Olympics.

And, while I'm on the subject,
Warren Buffett is not fit to continue as Chairman of Berkshire Hathaway, Inc.

Sunday, May 06, 2007

Our List of Heros Grows

Congressional Supporters of HR 2060

'To nullify the March 2, 2007, determination of the Copyright Royalty Judges with respect to webcasting, to modify the basis for making such a determination, and for other purposes. '

Image Hosted by Shades of Grey Radio
11 Republicans
32 Democrats
Arcuri, Michael (D-NY 24th)
Baldwin, Tammy (D-WI 2nd)
Bartlett, Roscoe (R-MD 6th)
Blumenauer, Earl (D-OR 3rd)
Boucher, Rick (D-VA 9th)
Brown, Corrine (D-FL 3rd)
Buchanan, Vern (R-FL 13th)
Capuano, Michael (D-MA 8th)
Cohen, Stephen (D-TN 9th)
Courtney, Joseph (D-CT 2nd)
Cubin, Barbara (R-WY At-Large)
Davis, Susan (D-CA 53rd)
DeFazio, Peter (D-OR 4th)
Ellison, Keith (D-MN 5th)
Ellsworth, Brad (D-IN 8th)
Farr, Sam (D-CA 17th)
Filner, Bob (D-CA 51st)
Fortuno, Luis (R-PR At-Large)
Foxx, Virginia (R-NC 5th)
Grijalva, Raul (D-AZ 7th)
Gutierrez, Luis (D-IL 4th)
Higgins, Brian (D-NY 27th)
Hill, Baron (D-IN 9th)
Hinchey, Maurice (D-NY 22nd)
Honda, Michael (D-CA 15th)
Inslee, Jay (D-WA 1st)
Jackson, Jesse (D-IL 2nd)
Kildee, Dale (D-MI 5th)
Kirk, Mark (R-IL 10th)
Lewis, John (D-GA 5th)
Manzullo, Donald (R-IL 16th)
McDermott, Jim (D-WA 7th)
McMorris Rodgers, Cathy (R-WA 5th)
Michaud, Michael (D-ME 2nd)
Moran, James (D-VA 8th)
Paul, Ron (R-TX 14th)
Price, David (D-NC 4th)
Reichert, Dave (R-WA 8th)
Ryan, Tim (D-OH 17th)
Shea-Porter, Carol (D-NH 1st)
Spratt, John (D-SC 5th)
Terry, Lee (R-NE 2nd)
Woolsey, Lynn (D-CA 6th)

Click the image above or right here for more information. Links there will include ways to request your Congressperson co-sponsor this legislation.

Click the following link for the full backstory of all previous WIZARD, fkap articles on the fight to Save Internet Radio.




Saturday, May 05, 2007


Here are four small observations I've had this past few days and been meaning to discuss with you all.


The so called Republican Presidential Debate Thursday night was terribly disappointing. I don't feel the Republican field has the depth or credibility of the Democrat field overall. Only Rudy Guilani came off well in the sound bite competition (you cannot call this stupid format of inane questions at 60 second answers a debate).


Representative Tom Trancredo (R-CO), whom I have previously praised for his leadership on Darfur, former Arkansas Governor Mike Huckabee and Kansas Senator Sam Brownback are immediately disqualified from any serious consideration for holding any office at any level (including dog catcher).

By raising their hands to certify they DO NOT BELIEVE IN EVOLUTION, they perhaps were trying to validate their deep faith, but, in reality, they revealed their ignorance of basic and established science. Such people cannot be entrusted with any real authority. If they were pandering to the Christian Coalition, they are still disqualified from any serious consideration.


Stephanie Miller guest hosted the morning show on MSNBC for three days this past week. While I hoped for a stellar performance and a long term contract for Stephanie, her performance was awful.

At first I enjoyed her barbs directed at conservative radio show talk hosts, columnists and bloggers, but she turned into a one trick pony. Her pointless attacks at rival talk show and television hosts quickly grew tiring and then embarrassing. The woman is obsessed and it follows a sad tendency among liberal radio hosts and bloggers.

Stephanie must have mentioned Ann Coulter at least fifty times in three days! Ann isn't in the news. Ann hasn't said anything important lately. In fact, has Ann ever said anything important? I mean really important? Ann isn't an influential spokesperson for anything. She is, a best, a sharp witted ultra conservative commentator, nothing more.

When Stephanie wasn't obsessed with Ann Coulter, she was devoting huge chunks of time to critiques of Bill O'Reilly or Sean Hannity or Rush Limbaugh. What in the world is Stephanie's problem. She clearly needs help. None of these people are elected leaders, none are particularly influential. Not one of them has done a thing that was newsworthy. Who in hell cares what they say or do!

Stephanie, don't you remember the old adage: "Great minds discuss ideas, average minds discuss events and small minds discuss people."

Stephanie, I tuned in to hear you take on the issues of the day from a liberal or progressive perspective. Instead I got school yard name calling.

I really missed Don Imus. He had guests that discussed current events, news, and real ideas. Name calling, which got him fired, was a rarity.

All in all it was the three least informative days in the entire history of MSNBC. And that's too bad. An opportunity missed.


I'm not sure who blinked, but the the Copyright Royalty Board suddenly delayed the collection of the new retroactive Internet Radio Royalties until July 15, 2007. It had been set for May 15th.

Internet Radio fans are calling this a victory, but I'm not sure it isn't simply designed to slow momentum, which was on the Internet Radio broadcaster's side.

I'll keep you informed. I'm watching this issue closely. Meanwhile, please contact your Representative in Congress and
request he or she co-sponsor HR-2060, which would provide a fair and level playing field for all radio broadcasters.




Wednesday, May 02, 2007

The Number of the Beast

1:46 am Wednesday Morning

I actually have a wonderful job because I often work late at night. Such is the case tonight (actually early Wednesday morning, May 2, 2007) so I could watch and marvel in real time at the meltdown of the Internet community, especially the technical community, over the censorship by DIGG of a single post.

It was a joy, and a horror, to behold.

Oh, and, as usual when the big media companies (yes, the RIAA and it's cousin, the MPAA) get involved, it was just a stupid as hell.

DIGG, in case you don't know, is one of the many community sites driven by users. Unlike MySpace, DIGG is primarily a user driven filter for all tens of millions of articles, news stories, ads and trash posted on the Internet every day. Users like you and me can rate a story - DIGG! it - and stories with the most DIGGS rise to the top of the site. A casual reader at DIGG can easily locate the most important stories and skip the junk. It's a useful tool.

I'm pleased that many Wizard, fkap stories have been DUGG by my readers and had nice rides through the DIGG wonderland gathering a wider audience for this blog. But I digress.

Here is the cause of tonight's meltdown: 09 F9 11 02 9D 74 E3 5B D8 41 56 C5 63 56 88 C0

Yep! That's it. It is, according to the MPAA, the number of the beast.

It seems that three months ago, or so, hackers (read that scientists) cracked the code that allows you to make perfect copies of DVD's and Blue Ray disks. And you can, with the code, get parts of movies or other copyright "protected" works and manipulate them into new works. Just like a rap star samples old music to create new works.

WIRED magazine dutifully published the information.
Here's the link. It's old news (February 13, 2007). Anybody who actually gave a damn had the code for months. Who the hell really cared?

Ahhh... the MPAA (that's Motion Picture Association of America), that's who. They discovered that a few folks (damn few, actually) had reprinted the article (which was, of course, still available on line), and they not-so-secret code, in their blogs or journals or MySpace pages or .... whatever. This was, after all, the worst kept secret on earth.

But the MPAA, as part of their "full employment for lawyers" charity work, sent out hundreds (thousands? millions?) of Cease and Desist letters to anyone who might actually reprint the number. It's a trade non-secret, remember?

DIGG got a letter and, being a small upstart company trying to find a way to profitability, decided they could never fight the gigantic and evil MPAA and reluctantly decided to delete the very few links from websites posting the number.

By the way, I want to emphasize that the MPAA has the law on their side thanks to some of the worst legislation ever passed in the entire history of mankind. Remember I just wrote just a few hours ago that the RIAA and MPAA have
the finest Congress money can buy. Here is a link to thirteen articles I wrote over 5 years ago about the legislation and similar efforts by the MPAA to prevent fair use and free speech at that time.

Well, a few of these tech types noticed the deletion, told their friends, who told their friends and the revolution began.

Suddenly DIGG was faced with a war on two fronts. First they were slammed by users who felt betrayed. It is, after all, supposed to be a user driven community. The post and emails and complaints flew hot and heavy.

Then, since 09 F9 11 02 9D 74 E3 5B D8 41 56 C5 63 56 88 C0 is the worst kept secret on earth, everyone posted the numbers on their web site. I even heard that Don Imus wanted to go back on MSNBC just to say the numbers out loud.

And everyone who posted the numbers (they are hexadecimal (base 16), by the way, that's why they have letters in them), immediately posted their article (blog, journal, MySpace page, whatever) to DIGG.

Digg was drowning in new posts and tens of thousands of votes. They couldn't delete them as fast at the thousands of posters added them.

As of 30 minutes ago, the DIGG website was down. And, more importantly, Kevin Rose, the founder of DIGG, surrendered. Or rather, in my opinion, rose to the occasion!

Here's Kevin's letter on
his own blog on DIGG:

Today was an insane day. And as the founder of Digg, I just wanted to post my thoughts…

In building and shaping the site I’ve always tried to stay as hands on as possible. We’ve always given site moderation (digging/burying) power to the community. Occasionally we step in to remove stories that violate our terms of use (eg. linking to pornography, illegal downloads, racial hate sites, etc.).
So today was a difficult day for us. We had to decide whether to remove stories containing a single code based on a cease and desist declaration. We had to make a call, and in our desire to avoid a scenario where Digg would be interrupted or shut down, we decided to comply and remove the stories with the code.

But now, after seeing hundreds of stories and reading thousands of comments, you’ve made it clear. You’d rather see Digg go down fighting than bow down to a bigger company. We hear you, and effective immediately we won’t delete stories or comments containing the code and will deal with whatever the consequences might be.

If we lose, then what the hell, at least we died trying.

Digg on,


Kevin, as we fight the impending death of Internet Radio at the hands of the same idiots who have managed to place their secret DVD code into the hands of every living person on earth with Internet access, I feel your pain and appreciate your desire to fight to protect the integrity of your community.

I wish I could get the hundreds of thousands who mobilized in a matter of a few hours to fight the MPAA to join in our fight to save Internet Radio. Or, even better, to rise up as one to demand an end to the genocide in Darfur.

I have the rallying cry! It's 09 F9 11 02 9D 74 E3 5B D8 41 56 C5 63 56 88 C0