September 22, 2001

Here's an editorial by Jesse Walker for Reason Online about the Current Situation and one possible long list of options to consider before moving forward: What Happens Next? Six options beyond war and peace. (Thanks Bobby)

September 21, 2001

I've written an article for CNET that details the current battle going on over in the U.S. Copyright Office over compulsory licenses for webcasts: Hot debate over the future of Webcasting.

Here are a few excerpts:

"After years of big-money litigation, bankruptcy, and polemics, Webcasters, artists, and labels are finally sitting down with the U.S. Copyright Office to hammer out the licenses under which music will be distributed on the Internet. But Webcasters and artists claim that the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA), with its deep pockets and high-placed lobbyists, has hijacked the process and is setting up a world where the music industry fox guards the Internet henhouse..."
"The RIAA's petition proposed that SoundExchange would be able to deduct administrative costs from royalties--prior to paying them out to artists--without setting any limitations on these costs. Artists would be required to foot the bill for any independent audits, and SoundExchange would be allowed to absorb any revenue from unclaimed royalties after only three years, despite the fact that the process for copyright holders claiming such royalties hasn't even been decided yet. "

The gripes above are based on the RIAA's petition that it filed with the U.S. Copyright Office and the memorandum that goes with it.

September 20, 2001

A thinker by Moreover's Nick Denton about the emergence of weblogs and their increasingly important role as part of the reliable media: The atrocity through the eyes of weblogs.

An editorial by InfoWorld's Ed Foster takes a good hard look at how Microsoft's actions are speaking a whole lot louder than its words: A punitive puppeteer?.

The shift in Microsoft's focus from licensing to services will change the way it does business with its customers, both corporate and consumer -- and not necessarily for the better.

For example, the fine print of Front Page 2002's license has been tightened up to stop Microsoft's customers from criticizing it using its own software:

" 'You may not use the Software in connection with any site that disparages Microsoft, MSN, MSNBC, Expedia, or their products or services... ' the license reads in part. Good thing InfoWorld doesn't use FrontPage 2002 to post this column, I guess."

Here's how "disparage" is defined at Dictionary.com:

"To speak of in a slighting or disrespectful way; belittle."

"To reduce in esteem or rank."

"To dishonor by a comparison with what is inferior; to lower in rank or estimation by actions or words; to speak slightingly of; to depreciate; to undervalue."

Doesn't leave a whole lot of room for objective criticism or invaluable customer feedback.

September 19, 2001

Wow! Maybe security measures needed to be ramped up a little. Here's a piece from Michael Moore about the subject: Mike's Message 9/12/2001.

Barbara Lee explains the rationale behind her "lone vote" in her own words on her own website: REP. BARBARA LEE’S (D-CA) VOTES ON LEGISLATION REGARDING THE TERRORIST ATTACKS OF SEPTEMBER 11, 2001 :

"On Friday, September 14, I voted against H. J. Res. 64, which ceded Congress’s future authority to the President regarding the use of military force in response to the terrorist attacks. Our Constitution provides for checks and balances between our branches of government. This resolution does not obligate the President to report back to Congress after 60 days, as was required by Congress during the Gulf War, about the actions our military will take. Additionally, this resolution authorizes an open-ended action and significantly reduces Congress’s authority in this matter. We must bring the perpetrators of this horrific action to justice. But during this period of grief, mourning, and anger, the U.S. Congress has a responsibility to urge the use of restraint so that the violence does not spiral out of control and to consider all of the implications of our actions."

September 18, 2001

The Authorization for use of Military Force that Congress voted in last week cited two sections from the The War Powers Act of 1973:

"Consistent with section 8(a)(1) of the War Powers Resolution, the Congress declares that this section is intended to constitute specific statutory authorization within the meaning of section 5(b) of the War Powers Resolution."

Section 8(a)(1) of the War Powers Resolution:

"Authority to introduce United States Armed Forces into hostilities or into situations wherein involvement in hostilities is clearly indicated by the circumstances shall not be inferred (1) from any provision of law (whether or not in effect before the date of the enactment of this joint resolution), including any provision contained in any appropriation Act, unless such provision specifically authorizes the introduction of United States Armed Forces into hostilities or into such situations and stating that it is intended to constitute specific statutory authorization within the meaning of this joint resolution... "

Section 5(b) of the War Powers Resolution:

"Within sixty calendar days after a report is submitted or is required to be submitted pursuant to section 4(a)(1), whichever is earlier, the President shall terminate any use of Untied States Armed Forces with respect to which such report was submitted (or required to be submitted), unless the Congress (1) has declared war or has enacted a specific authorization for such use of United States Armed Forces, (2) has extended by law such sixty-day period, or (3) is physically unable to meet as a result of an armed attack upon the United States. Such sixty-day period shall be extended for not more than an additional thirty days if the President determines and certifies to the Congress in writing that unavoidable military necessity respecting the safety of United States Armed Forces requires the continued use of such armed forces in the course of bringing about a prompt removal of such forces. "

I'm not sure what exactly this all means yet, but these citings seemed relevant.

Here's the official Authorization for Use of Military Force that was agreed to by the house last week.

Apparently, we still aren't sure who "those responsible" is, but when we find out, the President is now officially authorized to kick their ass:

"To authorize the use of United States Armed Forces against those responsible for the recent attacks launched against the United States. "
"The President is authorized to use all necessary and appropriate force against those nations, organizations, or persons he determines planned, authorized, committed, or aided the terrorist attacks that occurred on September 11, 2001, or harbored such organizations or persons, in order to prevent any future acts of international terrorism against the United States by such nations, organizations or persons."

Hey everybody, let's not go willy nilly and throw out all our civil liberties while fighting our new unseen enemy!

Two important documents published recently from the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU): ACLU: Congress Should Resist Urge To Quickly Rewrite Wiretap Laws and ACLU Urges Congress to Follow Deliberative Process As It Considers New Measures After Terrorist Attacks .

"Attorney General Ashcroft today asked Congress to adopt and send to the President by the end of the week legislation that would include many provisions to expand federal law enforcement authority in ways that would infringe on civil liberties without any public showing that they will make us safer. Last week, the Senate adopted new wiretapping measures in the middle of the night with little to no debate."

September 17, 2001

Story from last week that provides an important reminder about protecting our civil rights during the current situation: Civil Liberty the Next Casualty? By Kristen Philipkoski (One of my favorite journalists!)

I'm working on a weblog about this, so I'll be posting a lot of links in this vein.

September 16, 2001

It's hard to tell if Microsoft actually received some heat for its Flight Simulator 2002 game, or if it's just its marketing department at it again (which would mean it was doing a bang up job, by the way, considering it managed to get a story placed in the New York Times -Microsoft to Change Flight Game ).

(Hmmm. Is it a story or an ad? So hard to tell these days....)

Here's a link to Microsoft's 747-400 Flight Simulator 2002 Demo. Check it out for yourself.

Barbara Lee was the only member of Congress to have enough guts to vote against giving President Bush the power to "wage war against international terrorism". Here's a piece from the San Francisco Chronicle: Lone dissenter in House war vote is Oakland's Lee.

I wonder if the hundred million dollars worth of gold that was stored underneath the World Trade Center is actually still there?
(Yahoo - WTC wreckage guards buried treasure of COMEX gold) (Thanks James)