Why I don't think P2P is moral

 From a comment on Facebook that got very long.

Record companies got started because of the high cost of production & distribution, since they could centralize those processes. While those are each much cheaper (esp. distribution), production still costs a fair chunk of change.

The power of a label is that it can take a young artist and make an investment in that artist, provide facilities and promotional power, and then (hopefully) cash in on the artist's success. You seem to be suggesting that this is possible without the company, when I'm not convinced that's the case.

Consider this: I worked this summer for a non-profit that's trying to set up micro-franchising in developing countries, where the non-profit trains and supplies a distributor who sells valuable goods (like solar powered lights & cheap medical supplies) to people in the surrounding area. The goods are cheap to produce & sell, and they make a real difference.

BUT, sometimes the franchises fail. Goods get stolen (without police to investigate), franchise owners don't sell the stuff, and the goods might get damaged. The only way for the non-profit to protect itself against financial insolubility is to charge a small commission on the goods sold by successful franchisees, to pay for the % of franchises/training that fail.

The real world implication of this is that while shopowners know that they wouldn't be successful without the training, and know that their improved situation is due to the non-profit, they quickly get annoyed at the % of profit going to the non-profit and claim it's "not fair." This problem is bad enough that there are suggestions to hide that hidden cost in the supply costs of the goods so that the franchisee never sees the $ going to the non-profit, but that's not open or fair.

Yet someone could look at this situation and claim, correctly, that the people doing the real world are getting gipped and the non-profit is making a net profit off of them.

The difference between this and the above is that a record company is for-profit. Wouldn't then, it make the most sense to make music distribution/promotion a non-profit industry?

Justin Bieber was a success on youtube, but it took a record company to make him a star. I don't love his music, but I can't help but think that without these centralized promotion and production machines, talented artists will remain in unfortunate obscurity.

P2P has had good effects, and the industry does have problems, but someone has to pay for that initial investment. If not a label, than who?

Tea Party "Patriots"

This is the most frightening thing I've read in a long time.

Annie Hamilton: Muslim Day at Six Flags is inappropriate for a multitude of reasons and I'm saddened and shocked by the ignorance of the Corporate folks and by the action that now must be taken by the rest of us.

First, Islam is NOT a religion, it is an ideology - the religious portion only encompasses 11 % (the qur'an) the rest is the Sira and Hadith and the closest parallel to Islam is the Ku Klux Klan - if that is Six Flag's idea of 'appropriate' then by all means, hold your day on September 12th but don't plan on expanding any time soon because not only will we ensure that you don't grow, we'll make sure that your parks become a thing of the past.

Islam is dying in America because Americans are learning (finally) what Muslims are about, what their 'faith' is based upon, how they're recruited, how they prey on the weak, their idea of 'rights' how they cannot ever respect our constitution because it's in direct violation with Sharia and how they must abide by a set of laws called dualism, compelling them to lie to others.

It is becoming WELL KNOWN that ISLAM IS DYING IN AMERICA, despite what you might be hearing from CAIR and others - the more it dies, the more frantic they become and the more they put out press releases about how 'fabulous' things are, new mosques, etc...(except they are broke and hitting others up for funds)
If Islam is dying in America, it's because you and people like you are trying to kill it, Ms. Hamilton.
STOP placating them - in addition, there is no such thing as a moderate muslim, regardless of what you've heard - from the mouth of the son of a well known Imam. Islam is as Islam does. And Regardless of what you might think, there is no such thing of a 'mild' muslim, even the 'quiet' ones who live on the street corner, drive the BMW and work in the dr's office...they go to mosque, satisfy the pillars, pray, etc...and the money they are giving, that is funding terror.

it is funding terror - and by your silence, YOU are funding terror. YOU are funding terror.

"With us or against us." Black and white. Good and evil. Only madness lies this way.

Annie Hamilton
Los Angeles, California
P.S., I'm telling EVERYONE I know -
I know such opinions exist in this world, but I will do everything in my power (short of advocating against the right of free speech, which is sacrosanct), to stop such words from being part of an acceptable public discourse.

Do you remember the quote: "First they came..."

Well, the above is "them" trying to come for the Muslims. And I won't stand for it.
I actually think the Williams website does a decent job with its front page. I liked it as a high school senior, and it has remained useful as an undergrad. The underlying architecture needs help, but the school knows that.

But I think there's a decent point to be made about the map. I love our hand-drawn prettiness (and I think it does a great job at being clear and easy to read), but overhead maps are useful too. I was startled the first time I saw one; it was that strange.

Image source: XKCD

Review of Courting Disaster

Amazon link to the book

My first exposure to this book was a Jon Stewart hostile interview - the kind where Jon so much to say (and is so offended by the guy/gal he's talking to) that he doesn't mind his manners. Which Jon apologized for, which is why the Daily Show is still the best thing on television, which is another topic altogether.

In any case, I didn't know a lot about the book, and I had read in too much depth about the subject belong lengthy news articles and blog posts. But having gotten through it, I can unequivocally state that I was previously misinformed.

For one thing, the waterboarding that we used was strictly limited in application and duration in a way that the Khmer Rouge wasn't, so my previous comparisons of our practices to that group were wrongheaded. For another thing, it's perfectly clear from the book's evidence that Nancy Pelosi knew full well about what the CIA was doing at it's black sites and did not raise objection. It's also clear that some of the people advocating for the release of people at Guantanamo are communists.

The problem with the book is that the communistic tendencies of the lawyers have nothing to do with how Obama is "Courting Disaster." Thiessen routinely engages in guilt-by-association, implicating Eric Holder and various other justice department officials because individuals they worked with in private practice representing Guantanamo detainees. He also commits a worse offense by constantly labeling the people in Guantanamo as "terrorists" and as "enemies." The problem, of course, is that lots of people at Guantanamo were in the wrong place at the wrong time and got picked up, and that the point of the habeas proceedings was to identify those people who we had no business holding.

But Thiessen ignores this point, or only engages it obliquely by trying to make the case that a few false & indefinite detentions are necessary. One example he gives is of a special forces team that came across & captured some Afghan goat-herders who hadn't done anything. Without rope, Thiessen writes, they had to choose between shooting the guys and letting them go. After the guy in charge let them go, they alerted local fighters, who killed almost everyone in the unit, and Thiseen quotes the commander castigating himself for releasing them.

Wow. So his example of the "tough choices" we have to make is A: shooting an innocent person or B: letting them go and killing almost all of your unit. A sounds pretty attractive, until you think about the other possibilities, like knocking them out with chlorofoam. The world is not as black and white as Thiessen would have us believe.

There is also absolutely no mention of rendition. Nothing.

So while I now am completely convinced that we shouldn't prosecute CIA officials for following bad legal advice (and even more that John Yoo should be disbarred), I'm not going to recommend this book unless you know enough context to separate the useful information from the one-sided spin.