Friday, December 07, 2007

Irritants of the Week

Two media snippets I overheard on the radio or read somewhere on the Net made me very agitated:
  • A woman being interviewed about who she's voting for in the coming election saying "I am tired of paying for someone else's children's school lunches."
  • A proposed bill is making the rounds that would allow copyright holders (i.e. media cartels) to break into computers they suspected of holding unlicensed media.
The first sounds like someone who is either Libertarian or a staunch Republican. So many things wrong with that statement. Selfish, in a "I haven't fully thought this through" way. An appropriate response would be something like "Well, I'm tired of paying to stop your house from burning down, should that ever happen." Or, "Did you go to public school? Didn't we all pay for your school lunches?"

The second is not far-fetched. Our administration has no qualms about running over the Constitution, and avoiding all public discussion about it. It also enjoys taking bribes from the industry. Our elected officials do not seem to comprehend technology law, and those with an agenda seem to be pushing through legislation as fast as possible to avoid scrutiny. Scrutiny that might have questioned the MPAA's claim that "piracy is costing the industry" how much? $6 billion in one claim. $30 billion in another. A Harvard study has already demonstrated the flaw in how they came up with this imaginary number. Yet, they keep getting sympathy to the point where they can get ridiculously powerful legislative help, NOT to stop piracy (which they acknowledge can't be done) but to enforce monopoly and shut out international competition.

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posted by Brian at 5:13 PM 1 comments links to this post

Wednesday, February 28, 2007

A Representative from Generation Me Responds to the recent Study of Youth Narcissism

Reporter: "The study suggests that the current generation is more self-centered and narcissistic than any before. Do you think this is harmful to Society?"

Gen. Me Representative: "I don't see how that affects me."

(paraphrase from an NPR interview)

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posted by Brian at 1:32 PM 0 comments links to this post

Thursday, February 15, 2007

Hazards of Unregulated Free Market Capitalism #17: Vulture Funds

Those of you (probably not reading my blog) who still have unquestioning faith that so-called Free Market economies (the particular variety with few if any regulations governing the behavior of entities within) will "regulate" themselves and play nice with the Earth, Nature, and Man-Kind should read this eye-opening commentary, a blurb of which is found below:

Donegal International is a breed of investor known as a "vulture fund" -- though such an association is a foul slur upon a bird that never deserved such calumny. Surely, no living creature other than a human being could conceive of and carry through so insidious a business plan as buying up the debts of destitute African nations at bargain rates and then turning around and suing those same nations for vastly inflated sums.
The inspiration for this commentary is at documentarian Greg Palast's site.

Now I realize, buying debt is a common practice (at least in America) -- one can buy foreclosed houses, cars, property, etc. Given that we save -1% of our incomes on average, this would suggest there's a high risk of debt sales.

But buying government debts?? Who needs to invade a country -- if it's poor, just buy its debt and threaten to sue it out of existence with an army of lawyers. Settle with payments of property instead of cash.

Hmm, anyone want to buy New Orleans' debt after Katrina? Nothing illegal about it. It's a Free Market, after all. Would hurt the Economy if we stopped such a thing...
*petting* Poor little Economy. Silly regulators trying to hurt you. Oh, but what about the the Children! We must regulate regulate regulate! Nudity? Ban! Words? Ban! Evolution and other un-Godly ideas? Ban! Filthy World out there must be kept away from the Children! Filthy World tarnished by sinful Mankind, made by the Intelligent Designer. Oh, but Corporations -- those are good for the Economy. Good little Economy. There there. *petting*

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posted by Brian at 5:03 PM 0 comments links to this post