Politics, open government, and safe streets. And the constant incursion of cycling.

Month: August 2009

Oh, Like We Didn’t See . . .

this coming:

Brazilian authorities say drug dealers and other hoodlums were dying to get on Wallace Souza’s TV program. Literally.
Souza, a state legislator and former host of a police TV show called “Canal Livre,” also was a drug trafficker, officials say. And to get rid of the competition — and drive up ratings — he would order that criminal rivals be killed and then would have his camera crews arrive first on the scene, authorities say.

“In truth, they went as far as creating acts,” said Thomas Augusto Vasconcelos, intelligence secretary for Amazonas state. “It’s been determined that the crimes were committed in order to generate news for the program.”

This is the natural end of all that reality television so many people lap up. Don’t feed the beast.

(I also take this as an opportunity to recommend Ian MacDonald’s Brasyl.)

Midweek Makoever: Quick Hit Edition

Spiderbait’s Black Betty does it right.  Video isn’t original (because Universal Music Group hates its customers), but give it a play:

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The Most Recent Excuse

“This is what they do.”

Visit msnbc.com for Breaking News, World News, and News about the Economy

Harry Patch (In Memory Of)

From Richard Metzger:

Titled Harry Patch (In Memory Of), [the new Radiohead] song is a tribute to the oldest surviving Tommy who fought in World War I. Harry Patch was 111 years old when he died on July 25th, 2009. He fought in one of the grimmest battles of the war, the Battle of Passchendaele, where over 325,000 Allied casualties occurred and over, 260,000 Germans. The 99 day battle from July 31st 1917 to November 6th 1917, saw an average of 3,000 British troops killed, wounded, or captured daily. (By contrast, in Iraq, 3,650 US troops have died and approximately 26,000 have been wounded).

As Harry himself said:

“Irrespective of the uniforms we wore, we were all victims”.

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You can buy the track here.  All proceeds go to the Royal British Legion.  Please consider.

(Found via Xeni Jardin)

It’s About )(*#$@#@ Time: Rep. William Jefferson (D-LA) Convicted

I’d rather have slow justice than a swift railroading, but good lord does it feel like this was a very long time in coming:

Former Rep. William Jefferson — the Louisiana Democrat in whose freezer the FBI found $90,000 during a 2005 raid — has been found guilty on 11 out of 16 federal charges.

AP Fail

Honestly, I just don’t know what to say about the Associated Press and its lawyers, these days:

The Associated Press — which thinks you owe it a license fee if you quote more than four words from one of its articles — doesn’t even care if the words actually came from its article. They’ll charge you anyway, even if you’re quoting from the public domain.

I picked a random AP article and went to their “reuse options” site. Then, when they asked what I wanted to quote, I punched in Thomas Jefferson’s famous argument against copyright. Their license fee: $12 for an educational 26-word quote. FROM THE PUBLIC FREAKING DOMAIN, and obviously, obviously not from the AP article. But the AP is too busy trying to squeeze the last few cents out of a dying business model to care about little things like free speech or the law.

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