The RIAA is supa-evil

from Daily Kos: State of the Nation

There has been an understandable public outcry against the RIAA’s attempts to more than triple the sound recording copyright royalties on Internet radio. (See Save Internet Radio from Corporate Money Grab) One solution proposed by Webcasters is to just not play RIAA-member songs under the assumption that then they don’t have to pay the royalty to the RIAA’s collection body, SoundExchange; Webcasters would then just pay the independent artist the royalty.

This sounds fair and just because it is. However, the RIAA is not about being fair and just. The game is rigged and the RIAA has rigged it in their favor. The strategy of playing only non-RIAA songs won’t work though because the RIAA has secured the right to collect royalties on all songs regardless of who controls the copyright. RIAA operates under the assumption that they will collect the royalties for the “sound recording copyright” and that the artists who own their own copyright will go to SoundExchange to collect at a later date.

Let me just state for the record that if Unit Circle Rekkids gives permission for you to play a track on your internet radio station don’t pay SoundExchange a dime, ’cause they aren’t going to pay me a dime and I will sue the crap out of them if they collect money in my name that they have no intention of paying me.

gee thanks, W, for restarting the cold war

It’s bad enough that this horrible administration is rolling back all the liberal victories of the last few decades: a woman’s right to choose, civil rights, protection of endangered creatures, worker safety, and much more. Now it is even looking to destroy some of the conservative ones as well.

It turns out now that our nation’s mismanagement of foreign policy is leading back to another blast from the past, the cold war.

The issues around the Treaty on Conventional Armed Forces in Europe are complex. I’ll admit that I don’t think I know enough about this to make a comment on the viability of the treaty itself (A blogger first!), but I do know that statements like “The idea that somehow 10 interceptors and a few radars in Eastern Europe are going to threaten the Soviet strategic deterrent is purely ludicrous, and everybody knows it” from Donna, oh, I mean, Condoleezza Rice don’t fucking help when the Secretary General of NATO has called CFE, “one of the cornerstones of European security.”

Yet again, the W administration has a complete incompetent running the show. This time it is the most intelligent of the bunch. When she became Secretary of State it seemed a bit weird since her background as an academic was Soviet Russia, not the Middle East. Finally, she gets a problem that talks straight to her experience and she resorts to 80′s style Cold War attacks on one of our freaking allies. Yeah, can I double-check that your PhD isn’t from some university run by a televangelist?

[nytimes article]

proof that H1-Bs are used to hire cheaper labor

I have railed against the abuse of the H1-B program in the past, having seen it up close in a previous company.

The program was cut back seriously after the bust, but several key tech heavyweights have been arguing for its return to old levels even though there are still 800,000 fewer people employed in the tech sector compared to 2000.

The InfoWorld Reality Check blog has some more data dispelling the lie that H1-Bs don’t drive down wages for the rest of the industry. Part one is anecdotal evidence from a former HR person, the other is real study data from John Miano. Unfortunately, he seems to work for some right-wing anti-immigration think tank. Can we get some more impartial data or anecdotes?

Flex goes Open Source

Flex:Open Source – Adobe Labs

this is freaky awesome news. I work at Adobe and I didn’t even know about it. This will totally open up the tool chain and allow lots of cool authoring apps addressing the different needs of Flex developers. I won’t jump the gun and declare Expression or WPF/e dead, but in the minds of web developers, who are the kinds of people who actually care about this stuff, this makes the decision a no-brainer.

talk about burning bridges

[via Mary Jo Foley]

David Bennet, a dev on the Vista Parental Controls team is leaving Microsoft and he decided to take some pot shots on the way out.

“I just accepted a position to work at Google up in Kirkland, so still in Seattle. I will be starting there on the 30th of April, so not long now. My first week will be down in Mountain View doing a orientation thingy. So those people down in San Francisco, be nice to meet up again.

“I think this will be a good change and a fun job, I was a little peeved without how Microsoft dealt with the team I was on, I did the parental controls feature of vista which has got some of the best airplay/talk about of any of the features associated with vista. In response Microsoft reorged us first into a group that hated us and then into a group that had nothing to do with Parental Controls and broke the whole team up. I liked working with the old group of people and I liked the feature, I don’t like where I am now or the product I am working on.

“Hopefully I will end up working on the Google TV product, which would be fun.”

You gotta be pretty pissed off to post that in a public forum. It looks like he removed the post from his blog after it got noticed, and it looks like he posted yesterday, so I guess he hasn’t been fired. yet.

Can we get tighter gun control laws yet?

not much to add here

“The U.S. is not the only country in which random acts of gun violence have erupted in seemingly everyday circumstances to destroy lives, families and communities,” Britain’s Guardian newspaper said. “But the U.S. is one of the few countries that seems collectively unwilling and politically incapable of doing anything serious to stop such things happening again.”

“Having the right to have a gun for civilians is completely wrong in a country like America,” said Haji Aziz, 48, a businessman from Wardak province in Afghanistan who said he has three Kalashnikov assault rifles at home for protection but said he will not let his sons use them. “Security is good there, they have well-trained police, they are not in a war zone, so why should they keep weapons at home?”

International community castigates U.S. “gun culture” (Seattle Times)

Seattle real estate mega-post

Hot market woes:
Tactics in place to deter buyers from flipping (Seattle Times)
Finding an apartment is harder — and pricier (Seattle Times)

If flippers can still flip then people must be willing to pay for flipped properties and if it is getting harder to find rentals, then it is still paying off for those apartment-to-condo conversions.

Or is it?
Could it also be that builders are trying to discourage flipping because it is getting harder to sell their inventory? If everything sold, it wouldn’t really matter if there was some flips, would it? Could it also be a sign that the flipping exuberance is getting a little over the top? The final death throes? Could it be harder to find a rental because the housing market is pricing out many more people and it no longer makes any economic sense to buy?

Can Seattle justify it’s housing costs?
When you think of crazy housing costs, you think of New York City, San Francisco, London, Paris, Tokyo and other World Class Cities. Can Seattle justify itself cost-of-living-wise in regards to the other cities? The Seattle Bubble blog doesn’t think so, the Seattle PI doesn’t think so, and neither do I. Having grown up in an alpha world city (Chicago) and lived in a beta world city (San Francisco), I can say that Seattle is not a world city. (Wikipedia page on world cities) Seattle has always struck me as a cross between Pittsburgh (where I went to college) and San Francisco (where I lived right after college). Like Pittsburgh, it is a relatively small town with distinctive neighborhoods separated by geography. Also like Pittsburgh, it is a company town (Microsoft and Boeing vs. PPG and Heinz). Seattle reminds me of San Francisco because of its proximity to nature, location on the water, vistas and large percentage of urban hipsters.

To my mind, it is that company-town thing that most disqualifies Seattle as a world-class city. I can’t swing a cat without hitting a current or former Microsoft or Boeing employee. These companies constantly come up in conversation with any other local. A world-class city is diverse. Seattle is not diverse, and with its current housing prices, it is becoming less diverse over time.

Speaking of jobs
I came across the Seattle Bubble blog this morning. Very cool. On there I found a post from last year that I still find relevant: Let’s Talk Jobs. This post reiterates some of the things that I have been saying and makes some new points as well. We, in Seattle, are constantly told that because the economy is growing and jobs are being created that the we aren’t in a bubble and we shouldn’t expect prices to stop growing EVER.

This, of course, makes absolutely no sense.

The era of the Microsoft millionaires paying extravagant prices of property is over: MS has moved from options to grants (dropping the number of shares granted drastically in the process), MSFT has been flat for seven years (and Vista didn’t help), and they company is capping raises BELOW the cost of living increases from year to year. Microsoft continues to hire into the region, but in much lower amounts than in previous years. Most of Microsoft’s growth is now overseas.

Most of the new jobs being created in the region are IN REAL ESTATE. We are becoming a region whose business it is to make houses to sell to each other, or to refurb and flip existing houses. That is simply and obviously unsustainable.

Will you ever be able to buy a house?
Priced out Forever attacks this fallacy on a national scale.