....LMB: "Gallons of News"....

February 10, 2003

Saudis Plan to End U.S. Presence- possibly the most interesting news of the day. Allegedly, the Saudi royal family is going to ask the U.S. to withdraw its military forces from Saudi Arabia as soon as Iraq is disarmed/conquered. And if we remember our history (and few do), the U.S. military presence is (allegedly) why Osama bin Laden founded Al Qaeda in the first place: he claimed that the "infidels" should not be allowed in the land of Islam's two holiest sites, Mecca and Medina. And honestly, the U.S. might accept this offer, because they can just move their bases into Iraq.

The Police State Enhancement Act of 2003- the ever-insightful Geov Parrish on the "Domestic Security Enhancement Act of 2003," AKA "Patriot Act II".

Powell's Flimsy Evidence- Dayum! Maria Tomchick (who edits Eat the State with Geov above) strips bare Colin Powell's UN report, stripping it down to a skeleton of error, misdirection and ambiguity.

White House Floats Idea of Dropping Income Tax Overhaul- "President Bush, having already set off a firestorm over his proposals to cut taxes and revamp retirement accounts, suggested today that the time might be near to drop the income tax as a whole and replace it with some form of consumption tax." The more I think about it, the more pro-rich this idea is. If you make a small wage, and spend nearly all your money on day to day living, nearly 100% of your income is taxed. If you have a very large income, you probably have a substantial part of your income that you put in savings or the bank or something, meaning that a much smaller percentage of your income is taxed.

Suspicious Package Sent To Ashcroft Ends Up Being Porn- heh. Someone sends pornography to America's Puritan-in-Chief, Attorney General John Ashcroft.

77,000 body bags- in 1991, the Pentagon purchased 16,000 body bags for American casualties in Gulf War I. In 2003, the Pentagon purchased 77,000 body bags. Maybe they were just on sale....?

Comparing the News- I'm just going to steal this entry from Calpundit:

It's interesting to see how different newspapers treat the same news. Here's how the Washington Post reported yesterday's negotiations between Iraq and the UN team:

The top U.N. arms experts said tonight that they were unable to reach agreement with Saddam Hussein's government on several key issues they had traveled here to resolve in a bid to build support for continuing weapons inspections.

And here's the Los Angeles Times:

The top two U.N. weapons inspectors came to this capital over the weekend wanting something spectacular from Iraqi authorities to prevent a war. After two days of intense and arduous meetings, they announced Sunday night that what they got was not bad.

And the differences are even more pronounced if you read the full text of each article. It's kind of hard to believe that both papers are actually reporting the same meeting.

Bad Boy Done Good- Puff "Sean 'P. Diddy' Combs" Daddy just signed a huge deal with Vivendi Universal: V-U will distribute and promote the albums released by Combs' Bad Boy Entertainment record label, and Combs will make tons of money.

I only bring this up because of my record industry tirade some weeks back. If you as a musician sign a deal with a record label, you make like 12% of the profits from the sales of your own album. According to Wendi Day of the Rap Coalition, if you start your own record label and sign a distribution deal with a big label, you make like 80% of the profits. If any of you reading this are aspiring musicians, try for option #2.

Hopefully this will be the only time I ever tell anyone to emulate Puff Daddy.

Reinventing the Marketing Communications Business- more industry talk about last week's "Madison + Vine" conference about merging the advertising and entertainment industries.

Venezuelan Agencies End Anti-Government Ad War- apparently, for the length of the "let's drive President Hugo Chavez from power" oil industry strike in Venezuela, there were no commercials aired on television-- except for propaganda ads against the President. Try to imagine a similar situation here. Imagine that America was led by a popular, populist, liberal-to-radical president who had incurred the wrath of the business class. The business class incited a labor strike that lasted for two whole months, hoping to make us so miserable that we call for our president to resign just to stop the country from falling into a depression. And all the while, all of our television commercials have been replaced with anti-president propaganda. All of them.

The strike has final broken, but the country lost two months of oil revenue and the economy is in turmoil. And the advertisers are starting up work again.

For the curious, we have some the anti-Chavez print ads here (in pdf), and a video of one of the commercials. The TV ad shows that pro-Chavez and anti-Chavez folks don't have to fight, they can play soccer instead.

Posted by Jake at 12:57 PM

Well lets see, how many american soldiers died in the Gulf war? 300 or so total.

So we can expect less than 1500 dead...

Ofcourse this is just an estimate based on the past. The reality may be quite different.

Posted by: dxg at February 11, 2003 07:25 AM

RE: Emulating Puff Diddy

Why not? He...er...does a lot of emulating himself...musically, that is.

Posted by: Eric at February 11, 2003 02:38 PM

dxg, that estimate is pretty shaky, as the two campaigns are not very similar. The first was an effort to drive Iraqi forces from Kuwait. The second will be an effort to remove Saddam Hussein's regime from power.

It is quite possible that massive rounds of bombing will keep U.S. casualties very light, but we do keep hearing about the possiblity that ground forces will have to physically conquer the territory of Baghdad. Honestly, my money's on scenario #1.

Posted by: Jake at February 11, 2003 02:46 PM

The actual American Gulf War casualties are much greater then the official figures. Apparantly several thousand American soldiers have died prematurely ( statistically speaking, ) and as many as 180,000 have had serious health issues.

Posted by: Gary Robeson at February 16, 2003 06:12 AM
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Media News

November 16, 2004

Tales of Media Woe

Senate May Ram Copyright Bill- one of the most depressing stories of the day that didn't involve death or bombs. It's the music and movie industries' wet dream. It criminalizes peer-to-peer software makers, allows the government to file civil lawsuits on behalf of these media industries, and eliminates fair use. Fair use is the idea that I can use a snippet of a copyrighted work for educational, political, or satirical purposes, without getting permission from the copyright-holder first.

And most tellingly, the bill legalizes technology that would automatically skip over "obejctionable content" (i.e. sex and violence) in a DVD, but bans devices that would automatically skip over commericals. This is a blatant, blatant, blatant gift to the movie industry. Fuck the movie industry, fuck the music industry, fuck the Senate.

Music industry aims to send in radio cops- the recording industry says that you're not allowed to record songs off the radio, be it real radio or internet radio. And now they're working on preventing you from recording songs off internet radio through a mixture of law and technological repression (although I imagine their techno-fixes will get hacked pretty quickly).

The shocking truth about the FCC: Censorship by the tyranny of the few- blogger Jeff Jarvis discovers that the recent $1.2 million FCC fine against a sex scene in Fox's "Married By America" TV show was not levied because hundreds of people wrote the FCC and complained. It was not because 159 people wrote in and complained (which is the FCC's current rationale). No, thanks to Jarvis' FOIA request, we find that only 23 people (of the show's several million viewers) wrote in and complained. On top of that, he finds that 21 of those letters were just copy-and-paste email jobs that some people attached their names to. Jarvis then spins this a bit by saying that "only 3" people actually wrote letters to the FCC, which is misleading but technically true. So somewhere between 3 and 23 angry people can determine what you can't see on television. Good to know.

Reuters Union Considers Striking Over Layoffs- will a strike by such a major newswire service impact the rest of the world's media?

Pentagon Starts Work On War Internet- the US military is talking about the creation of a global, wireless, satellite-aided computer network for use in battle. I think I saw a movie about this once...

Conservative host returns to the air after week suspension for using racial slur- Houston radio talk show host (and somtime Rush Limbaugh substitute) Mark Belling referred to Mexican-Americans as "wetbacks" on his show. He was suspended for a couple of weeks, and then submitted a written apology for the racial slur to a local newspaper. But he seems to be using the slur and its surrounding controversy to boost his conservative cred with his listeners.

Stay Tuned for Nudes- Cleveland TV news anchor Sharon Reed aired a story about artist Spencer Tunick, who uses large numbers of naked volunteers in his installations and photographs. The news report will be unique in that it will not blur or black-out the usual naughty bits. The story will air late at night, when it's allegedly okay with the FCC if you broadcast "indecent" material. The author of this article doesn't seem to notice that Reed first claims that this report is a publicity stunt, but then claims it's a protest against FCC repression. I'd like to think it's the latter, but I'm not that much of a sucker.

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