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News Points, 10-11-2003

October 11th, 2003

The music recording industry is just embarrassing itself more and more every day. Recently they’ve gotten bad press, and for good reason. They said that they had the right to release powerful viruses that could spread to innocent computer users; they claimed to have special police powers to subpoena people’s private records; and they have sued a truckload of users, including a 12-year-old girl and an 71-year-old grandparent. They even had to withdraw one suit aimed at an elderly lady when she revealed that she owned a Mac, not a PC, and therefore couldn’t even use KaZaA.

Their technical achievements are not much to crow about, either. Sony tried to release a new multi-million-dollar technology called “Key2Audio” which they thought would prevent copying the CD–until someone discovered that you could defeat it by using a felt-tip pen. And now, SunnComm released its own super-duper foolproof copy protection technology–which a college student found you could disable by holding down the “Shift” key.

How embarrassing. But they’re not making the situation better by making sounds of suing the college student.

It’s a dying industry, and they’re really not dying with much grace at all.

“Cuba will soon be free,” said Bush recently, and he promised to “hasten the arrival of a new, free, democratic Cuba.” How? By restricting Americans from visiting Cuba even more than is done today (how will that help, as it has not done anything but made Cubans suffer and not hurt Castro at all?) and accepting more Cuban immigrants, making it safer by informing them “of the many routes of safe and legal entry into the United States.”

News Flash, George: it’s an island. Without plane flights or boat trips that are not closely watched by Castro’s people, exactly what are those other routes? You don’t think the Cubans have thought of just about any way to get off the island by themselves after 40 years?

And increasing immigration–I don’t object to the concept, but that idea, and the whole Cuba initiative itself is such a blatant election-year sop in a crucial electoral-college state that it is rather sickening to behold.

Tony Jenkins, North American Bureau Chief from Expresso newspaper in Portugal, has just been on Diplomatic License on CNN, making a very good point: that Schwarzenegger never answered any substantive questions during his campaign. He related one incident where Schwarzenegger, according to his supporters, was answering serious questions (ergo, he didn’t need to go to those pesky debates). Well, he didn’t get asked serious questions. He brought on Dana Carvey to do his Schwarzenegger-like impression from SNL. After several minutes of this, Jenkins wanted to ask a serious question, and tried to point out that this was not a political press conference, it was a circus–but his American colleagues shushed him, saying, “It’s Dana Carvey!”

Quite rightly, Jenkins referred to them as “pansies.”

Schwarzenegger, in the meantime, says he will ask Bush for federal funding to help California. The journalist in the articled I just linked to doubts it, and I have to say, if Bush comes through now, it will be such blatant political favoritism using taxpayer dollars as to be practically criminal. California needs the money, but it should not be used as a political weapon in an election year.

Instead, why not try to get the $9 billion back from companies like Enron who stole that much and tens of billions more? Unlikely; during the energy crisis, Schwarzenegger held a closed-door meeting in Beverly Hills with Enron Chairman Ken Lay. I doubt they were discussing a movie deal, or that Arnold was desperately trying to get Lay to stop robbing Californians blind. We can all too likely wave bye-bye to California’s suit to get some of that money back.

Rush Limbaugh, meanwhile, is checking into drug rehab–again–and has made a non-admission admission to his drug abuse problem, doubtlessly to play to future clemency. He has hired high-power criminal defense attorney Roy Black, and is in full gear to engage the usual rich-white-guy defense.

The real question here is, if Limbaugh returns to radio or other commentary, will he now be for treatment over incarceration for drug abuse? Because if he’s not, then he’d either better surrender himself to authorities and do hard time in prison, or else come across as a hundred times the hypocrite he’s already seen as–and in Rush’s case, that’s really saying something.

Odds are this guy doesn’t do a day in jail, and he’ll probably come out ‘born-again’ on the drug issue, in the sense of being stronger and more vehement as ever on incarceration.

In the meantime, here is a choice quote from Limbaugh 8 years ago:

“What this says to me is that too many whites are getting away with drug use. Too many whites are getting away with drug sales. Too many whites are getting away with trafficking in this stuff. The answer to this disparity is not to start letting people out of jail because we’re not putting others in jail who are breaking the law. The answer is to go out and find the ones who are getting away with it, convict them and send them up the river, too.”

— Rush Limbaugh show, Oct. 5, 1995
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