Who Should Pay – Apple, You Or The Music Industry?

There appears to be a stalmate in which Apple may threaten to shutdown iTunes due to an increase in royalty fees. What is also unsure is exactly who may end up paying for the increase. Someone will need to absorb the cost either by the music industry itself, Apple or you the consumer. So will Apple close down iTunes? That is highly unlikely. According to the article it states that:

The National Music Publishers’ Association wants rates increased from 66 percent, from 9 cents to 15 cents per track. Digital music stores, represented by the Digital Media Association, wants the rate lowered to 4.8 cents per track. Apple pays an estimated 70 percent of digital music revenue to record companies, who pass on a percentage to artists. That percentage is what’s being adjusted Thursday.

If the royalty rate is increased, someone — either Apple, the record companies or the consumer — will have to pay for it. Apple believes that an increase in price because of a rise in royalty fees “would lower total music purchases at the store.” So, Apple doesn’t want to increase the price and the record companies are highly unlikely to pick up the cost on their end. “If the [iTunes store] was forced to absorb any increase in the … royalty rate, the result would be to significantly increase the likelihood of the store operating at a financial loss — which is no alternative at all,” said Cue. “Apple has repeatedly made it clear that it is in this business to make money, and most likely would not continue to operate [the store] if it were no longer possible to do so profitably.

This is just another example of greed in America. Does anyone really doubt that we the consumer will end up paying for the increase?  Part of the problem, which has been exhibited during the past few weeks, is that greed by individuals and our political leaders is now having a devastating affect on the average American.

I don’t know about you but I am disgusted with the way greed has over taken our entire society. What do you think? Are you a happy camper?

Comments welcome.


Are You A ‘Whiner’?

By now we have all heard about the remarks made by former Senator Phil Gramm, saying we are a ‘nation of whiners.’ Though he has tried to shift the blame on Congress, it does make one think. Are we ‘whiners’? Sure we are! But there is only one problem. I don’t think we have whined enough. We have been lulled to sleep in our apathy of how our political system works and have not made our politicians take responsibility for their actions.

Several weeks ago I had a conversation with a relative and asked a simple question. For 35 years we sat on our hands doing nothing about oil, knowing it would bite us one day. Why haven’t we done anything?  His take was that he was busy raising a family and couldn’t get involved.  OK. I can relate to his thinking since I haven’t done squat as well. I guess I could of called, wrote, sent a telegram, emailed or whatever my representatives but didn’t. Why? Because I also was way too busy to do so.

Most of us feel that our elected officials were supposed to handle these problems. But we woke up one morning only to find that they were not representing us, but were representing big business via lobbyists. These lobbyists were handing out fists full of cash to these folks who took the big bucks and voted the way the lobbyist wanted. Now let’s look at this honestly. If you were in Congress, and you got a few $100 grand from a lobbyist, who would you listen to?  Do you really think that your tiny voice would be heard in this sea of cash?

If you would, put aside your feelings about the two political candidates. I personally believe that it is irrelevant who gets elected. If Congress continues to not represent us, and continues to represent special interest groups, nothing much is going to change in the next four years. Our political leaders seem lost when it comes to solving issues that are important to the American people.

Questions like, should Medicare pay for Viagra? This is important stuff people. I don’t know about you but I lay awake at night worry about this. :-)

So what do you think? Do we need to whine more or just shut up?

Comments welcome.

Will Texas Oilman T. Boone Pickens Be Able To Kick Start Our Nation?

Every since I sat in those long lines back during the oil embargo, I knew there would be a time when our nation would be facing an oil crisis. A crisis that would kick us right in the butt. A crisis that if we don’t start to respond soon will either put is into a depression or force us into a war. War?  That’s right. If our nation faces economic extinction I have no doubt that we will take the oil by force.

Now along comes Texas oilman T. Boone Pickens who is about to start kicking some rear ends in Washington. A kick that is desparately needed. You see we have completely ignored our situation spending some $700  Billion a year to import oil. There is little doubt in my mind that spending this much to fuel our economy is eventually going to bankrupt us. So what does Mr. Pickens propose?

Well according to this USA Today article it states:

Today, Pickens will take the wraps off what he’s calling the Pickens Plan for cutting the USA’s demand for foreign oil by more than a third in less than a decade. To promote it, he is bankrolling what his aides say will be the biggest public policy ad campaign ever. The website, www.pickensplan.com, goes live today.

Jay Rosser, Pickens’ ever-present public relations man, promises that Pickens’ face will be seen on Americans’ televisions this fall almost as frequently as John McCain’s and Barack Obama’s.

“Neither presidential candidate is talking about solving the oil problem. So we’re going to make ’em talk about it,” Pickens says.

“Nixon said in 1970 that we were importing 20% of our oil and that by 1980 it would be 0%. That didn’t happen,” Pickens says. “It went to 42% in 1991 with the Gulf War. It’s just under 70% now. Where do you think we’re going to be in 10 years when our economy is busted and we’re importing 80% of our oil?”

Finding solutions to other major issues, including health care, are important, he concedes. But “If you don’t solve the energy problem, it’s going to break us before we even get to solving health care and some of these other important issues.” And it has to be done with the same sense of urgency that President Eisenhower had when he pushed the rapid development of the interstate highway system during the Cold War.

Of course, Pickens also has a particular solution in mind.

Wind. And natural gas.

Getting lots more electricity with wind is only half of the Pickens Plan. Increasing wind-power production by itself won’t reduce U.S. dependence on foreign oil because most of that oil is consumed as gasoline.

The key, Pickens says, is that wind energy can be used as a substitute for natural gas now burned to generate electricity. That, in turn, will make far more natural gas available for use as a transportation fuel. Pickens’ plan is to produce enough wind power within 10 years to divert 20% of the natural gas now used to fuel power plants for use in cars and trucks. That’s much more aggressive a growth plan for the development of wind energy than envisioned by the Depart of Energy, which doesn’t expect the USA to be getting 20% of its total energy needs from wind until at least 2030.

Pickens foresees as many as a third of the vehicles running on natural gas within only a few years. Julius Pretterebner, director of the Global Oil Group at Cambridge Energy Research Associates, says getting 15% to 20% of the USA’s cars to run on natural gas — in some cases, in mixtures with other fuels in dual-fuel vehicles — by 2020 would be an outstanding achievement, and doing that will require federal support to expand the necessary infrastructure.

I saw the first of Mr Pickens ads this morning on CNN. Hopefully his other ads which will start appearing soon and will in fact get all of us, including the presidential candidates, talking and addressing this problem. It is time to wake up America. If we don’t put pressure on our political candidates and those already in Congress, these yahoo’s will not take any action on their own.

But what do you think? Is it time for America to take serious the oil crisis? Is it time for our leaders to get off their butts and start to work on a solution? Or are you just tickle pink with the way we are heading?

Comments welcome.


Did Google Purposely Block Anti-Obama Sites?

Over at the Washington Times there is an article about how Google may have purposely blocked anti-Obama sites. Depending on who you wish to believe, the blogger’s, Google, the anti-Obama crowd, the bottom line is that the sites were in fact blocked. According to the story, Google identified the sites as spam, but there are also allegations of Google being biased in their blocking of these sites. The tale of woe states:

“You will not be able to publish posts to your blog until we review your site and confirm that it is not a spam blog … Sincerely, the Blogger Team,” Google said in an e-mail to the owner of Come a Long Way, one of at least seven blogs that were shut down. The affected blogs are all opposed to the campaign of Sen. Barack Obama, Illinois Democrat, and have a common association with the anti-Obama Web site JustSayNoDeal.com.

The suspension lasted five days in the case of comealongway.blogspot.com, according a post on the author’s new site at comealongway.wordpress.com. Several of the affected bloggers told Simon Owens of Bloggasm.com that they suspect supporters of Mr. Obama used Google’s “flag” function to report them as spam.

The company is looking into what happened but thinks the blogs were accidentally identified by spam detection software, Google spokesman Adam Kovacevich said.

Not everyone is satisfied with that explanation.

“While Google claims to be a neutral gatekeeper, the pattern of evidence increasingly suggests otherwise,” said Scott Cleland, president of McLean-based Precursor LLC and chairman of Netcompetition. org, which opposes so-called “net neutrality” regulation that would prohibit Internet service providers from slowing or blocking Web applications that hog bandwidth, among other provisions.

Mr. Cleland suggested the company is censoring content, violating one of the very net neutrality principles – as enumerated by the Federal Communications Commission – they are pushing to be codified in federal legislation.

Well here is my two cents worth. First of all this is going to be one of the most hotly contested elections is a long. long time. These two candidates are so opposite of each other, that there is going to be considerable controversy. But what is becoming evident is that the supporters on both sides, are attacking not the positions either takes, but on a personal level.

This political season is going to be very volatile. :-)

But what do you think?

Comments welcome.


Do Pregnant Women Need Parking Spaces Just Like The Disabled?

The San Jose Mercury News has a story about a new Web site for women that is supposedly for sharing advice on life’s challenges. It’s written by Deborah Perry Piscione, who just happens to be 8 1/2 months pregnant; she wants to know why California doesn’t allow parking spaces for pregnant woman – similar to what disabled parkers enjoy. Her Web site was delayed for a day during the Spitzer ordeal, but is now up and running. According to the news article, the Web site is:

The content is organized around life stages, starting with “kissing frogs” – the woes of dating – moving to career, marriage, children, and finally “finding you.” There also is a section for political advocacy. Piscione once worked in the first Bush White House, and Gable is an active Republican. But Malveaux is a well-known African-American liberal – “so we’re balanced politically,” Piscione said.

One would think that a doctor could issue a temporary disabled parking permit while a woman goes through her pregnancy. :-)

You can read more about what the site here.

You can also go directly to the Web site, located here.

Comments welcome.

Military Trying To Stop The Spread Of Obama Email

Needless to say that this year is going to be a year when political rhetoric and distortions are going to flow around the Internet. If you haven’t received the email which makes several derogatory remarks about Sen. Obama, I’ll provide you with several of the allegations that have proved false. In the email it claims that the senator is a Muslim when in fact he is a practicing Christian. It also claims that when he was sworn into office that he took the oath on a Koran when it fact it was the bible.

It now appears according to an article over at the Boston Globe that the military is clamping down on this email being sent by government owned computer systems. The article states:

 The military has warned soldiers not to use official computers to forward a chain e-mail that falsely accuses Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama of being a Muslim who attended a radical Muslim school, saying distribution of the information is a violation of Army regulations and constitutes unlawful political activity.  


The memorandum, dated Thursday, went out after the discredited claims about Obama’s background were sent from an Army computer to what appear to be thousands of Army personnel worldwide.

“Currently there is a Chain Email floating around with the Subject line: ‘Who is Barack Obama,’ ” states the official warning, which was sent to all personnel who work for Army Medical Command, based in Fort Sam Houston, Texas. “Like virtually all chain e-mails this one is false.”

Further, the official warning adds, distributing the e-mail using military computers is a violation of several Army regulations that state that government communications equipment must be used only for official purposes and that their misuse could be punished under the Uniform Code of Military Justice.

Hopefully all of us will check out the facts as well before distributing any false information about any of the political candidates.

Comments welcome.

Full article is here.

[tags]email, obama, political, candidate, false, accusations, military, computers, government, us,  [/tags]

Our Endangered Values: America's Moral Crisis by Jimmy Carter

Our Endangered Values must be considered in the light of its author, Jimmy Carter, who is regarded as a sort of “Saint-in-the-Box” by some due to his work with Habitat for Humanity and by the Nobel Peace Prize Commission for his assistance in condemning the current Bush Administration’s foreign policy. However, for those of us who lived through his presidency his record was abominable as could be seen in his gutting of the CIA and military budgets and his turning over of the US built and financed Panama Canal to Panamanian dictator Omar Torrijos giving the emergent US rival, China, control over both ends of the canal.

In his latest work Carter attempts to position himself as a wizened old patrician rebel waiting to whisper sage advice to those he considers worthy of leading the Republic as he spells out America’s eroding values with such examples as the US’s current engagement in preemptive war, its challenges to women’s rights, and the invasion of religious dogma in politics. Overall, however, this book gives the perception that Carter was perhaps just a bit too honest and naïve to be president. To his credit, however, President Carter reflects on general principles in a true manner, although his assessment of courses of action to be taken are a bit reminiscent of those very things which have given so many misunderstanding people fuel for their vitriolic fires. President Carter, obviously speaks from a strong Christian background, while exposing the deep wound he felt as ecumenical clergy chastised him for his views and goes on to explain how this hurt definitely exacerbated his view on separation of church and state. Additionally, because of these hurts, he raises many good points with respect to the needs for dialogue among diversified groups regarding such issues as poverty or abortion (here or abroad). President Carter then turns his attention to providing what he considers sage advice and opinions regarding his concerns on civil liberties, women’s rights, America’s global image, nuclear arsenals, homosexuality, abortion, preemptive war, the death penalty, science, religion, and terrorism. In actuality, one may consider this book a counter attack against the fundamentalist movement that would tend to move America towards a theocracy, as he makes a stimulating argument that the Bible supports different positions from those of the Christian right. One problem I see with his views, on this topic, is that he fails to realize the appearance of the evangelical movement that occurred as a direct result of the encroachment of liberal and secular ideals which has tried to garner support for minority groups over the last fifty years.

Finally, this book portrays President Carter as a man of integrity, belief and convictions demonstrated by his good works and while not a fan of his political career I respect him in that regard. I also agree with many of his arguments against the policies and procedures of the Bush Administration but it is obvious to the reader that he has a chip on his shoulder when he wanders into a morass of arrogance and self-pity. Overall, however, I would recommend this book for anyone with an open mind who wants to hear alternatives to the current policies and attitudes held by American’s today.

Be sure to take advantage of your Google search engine to find additional information on Jimmy Carter or his any of his many books.

[tags]book review, Our Endangered Values: America’s Crisis, Jimmy Carter, Google, political, anti-war[/tags]

Brutalites abound in Iraq as seen in – The Occupation – by Patrick Colburn

The Occupation, by Patrick Cockburn, is a rousing political expose on the real reasons behind the Iraq war, the manipulations by the US government against the peoples of Iraq, and virtually states that the war has destroyed Iraq, worsened the prospects of peace and justice for the Palestinian people and strengthened the al Qaeda terrorists.  Cockburn who in 1978, as an independent Middle East correspondent, who became familiar with Iraq began  his coverage of the war prior to the US invasion and occupation making his reports perhaps the most informed and passionate to come out of Iraq during the last three years. Additionally Cockburn brings a clarity to what is happening in the Middle East as he opines on the long term view of the Iraqi invasion and occupation and its place in US history while clearly depicting how the current disaster is the result of something more sinister that just bad planning.  

The sinister aspect that Cockburn refers to concerns the Bush Administration’s claim that toppling Saddam would stabilize the Middle East (which has turned out to be bogus) but has in actuality caused a destabilization of the region’s countries resulting in rampant corruption fueled by the economic chaos it created. Despite the political aspects of the book, however, Cockburn does an amazing job of illustrating the large-scale events, from the prewar lies to justify invasion to the spiraling violence and chaos that has pushed the country to the brink of civil war, as he details through his own personal account, the brutalities of the occupation. Recently, Cockburn points out that US General William Odom, former head of the NSA (National Security Agency), called the war “the greatest strategic disaster in American history.” Statements like these add to the picture Cockburn paints showing that the governments of both the United States and England handled the region without any proven expertise shown by military or civilian leadership. Furthermore he shows how through a series of miscalculations, poor communication and outright blunders, the occupying army has managed to turn the bulk of Iraqis against it, deepening the resistance and the growing civil war. 

Unfortunately, for the people of Iraq the U.S. has drawn on the vile tradition of setting the country’s separate factions (Shia, Sunnis, and Kurds) against one another in order ot maintain its rule preventing the war from being consigned to history. To complicate this gross miscarrage of responsibility Cockburn claims that no management at all makes is timpossible to see any light at the end of the anarchy.   Overall, I found the book, which makes a compelling case for withdrawal, to be very well written, as well as, insightful making for a highly desirable read for anyone who wants more than the corporate media’s twist and bias on what is really happening in the Middle East.  

Use your Google search engine to find additional resources on the Iraqi people and the Iraqi war. [tags]book review, The Occupation, brutalities, political, Iraq, Iraqi war, Patrick Colburn, Google, Sinister plot[/tags]

Exile by Richard North Patterson

Patterson’s newest creation, Exile, a political, legal, and romantic thriller, offers the same masterful story telling and social commentary that his fans have come to expect from his legal thrillers but this book adds an intense political element surrounding the Israeli/Palestinian conflict.

The host of characters in Exile include: David Wolfe (an upcoming Jewish attorney and political contender); Hana Arif (a suspected Palestinian terrorist who is put on trial for the assassination of the Israeli Prime Minister); Saeb (Hana’s husband, a militant Palestinian); Amos Ben-Aron (Israeli Prime minister who has come to America to garner support for his Israeli/Palestinian peace initiative); Carole Shorr (David’s finance and daughter of a holocaust survivor) 

Patterson begins his recent bestseller with David Wolfe a successful
San Francisco attorney who is slated to run for Congress with the support to his finance, Carole, but finds that just one call from his former Palestinian girlfriend, Hana, turns his life upside down and causes him to question the truth behind many of his previous convictions. As it turns out Hana has, coincidentally, returned to America, after thirteen years in Palestine, accompanied by her militant Palestinian husband, Saeb, at the same time that Israeli Prime Minister, Amos Ben-Aron is assassinated prior to the scheduled presentation of his
Middle East peace initiative. As events proceed Hana is eventually taken into custody for being in collusion with the suicide bombers who killed the Prime Minister and turns to David to represent her resulting in his losing credibility among the Jewish community and the politicians that were set to help him launch his political career. Throughout the course of his investigation to find the truth David finds himself traveling to Israel where he has the opportunity to interview many of the people associated with Hana’s past and to tour the many relevant sites involved in the Israeli/Palestinian conflict. Throughout David’s visit to the area Patterson does a great job of describing why the conflict exists and why, due to the extremist views held by all those involved, it will be next to impossible to arrive at a peaceable solution. When David finishes his tour of the Middle East he returns to
America where he uses the information that he has learned at Hana’s dramatic courtroom trial.

This politically motivated, well-researched, novel is an emotionally charged story that serves not only to entertain but to also give the reader an in-depth background helping them to better understand the existing conflict between Israel and
Palestine. I felt that Patterson did an excellent job in painting the historic
Middle East conflict, illustrating the plight of both sides, while keeping the story line rapid paced with well developed characters, intertwined with a love story that seemed timeless and strongly written Court Room scenes. I would strongly recommend this book to the politically minded among us in the hopes that we would learn from it what each of these groups has suffered and that it is a problem that it is not likely to be easily solved.

 [tags]book review, Richard North Patterson, Exile, political, Mid East conflict, Israel, Palestine, love, action, courtroom drama[/tags]

Meet Senator John Edwards

You might read that subject line and think: since when did Lockergnome have anything to do with politics? I’d answer: we’ve been talking about geek politics for a while now (where have you been?). In all seriousness, you probably know who Senator John Edwards is. I’m thrilled to report that he’s keynoting this year’s Gnomedex conference – which many of you, unfortunately, will not be attending. Democrat, Republican, or Independent – this is absolutely tremendous news for us. The senator may very well be the next President of the United States of America, yet he’s taking the time to talk to true technologists. Gnomedex started with humble beginnings in Iowa; six years later, we’ve become one of the most talked about tech conferences in the industry. I really wish more Lockergnome subscribers could’ve been there with us through the years. Then again, we found our strongest audience in the blogosphere – which is one of the reasons you haven’t heard me push attendence through Lockergnome over the past couple of years (not like I used to do). Still, Senator John Edwards will be there with us – and there’s still time for you to pick up a Cove pass.
Continue reading “Meet Senator John Edwards”


Sometimes you just have to laugh at the governmental systems. If you take them too seriously, you’ll probably just get in the fetal position and cry like there’s no tomorrow. The Daily Show has done a tremendous job with poking fun at the government in all the right places, but they’re definitely not the only ones doing it. If you remember, a small series of political cartoons were being passed around the Internet and aired on the cable news networks just a short time ago. Who were the people responsible? JibJab.
Continue reading “JibJab”