10.27.2004



Even Diebold may be better than this


Even Diebold may be better than this
The American Constitutional Society for Law and Policy Blog has pointed to this nonsensical ballot in Ohio. Note how the numbers for the candidates are not in order. To vote for Bush, you are supposed to punch the red box. Personally I think this could go into the Mensa test.

But wait, there's more! ASCBlog shares a Cincinnati Post report of another Ohio ballot that just happens to be missing John Kerry and John Edwards.

That's not all! The Sixth Circuit Court reversed an Ohio trial court decision that would have guaranteed access to a provisional ballot in Ohio.

Thank goodness for electronic voting machines that never crash, never
have bugs, are always reliable, just like your home computer.



Wal-Mart campaigns for taxpayer subsidy


At least that's the way I read this: Wal-Mart funds opponents of California ballot measure - Oct. 26, 2004:
LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - Wal-Mart Stores Inc. said Tuesday it will spend $500,000 in a bid to defeat a California ballot measure requiring larger employers to pay for health care coverage for workers.

Wal-Mart (Research), the world's largest retailer, said it got involved in the issue after supporters of the measure, called Proposition 72, featured the company in a television ad campaign.

"The ads attempt to make Wal-Mart a scapegoat, claiming we do not provide affordable health care," Wal-Mart spokeswoman Cynthia Lin said in a statement. "These are outright lies."

The television commercial, which began running last weekend, claims California taxpayers last year paid more than $32 million for health care for Wal-Mart employees "because the company won't provide affordable health coverage."


One doesn't have to be a liberal to recognize that the costs of living are the costs of living, and that low-paying jobs with no benefits end up costing the taxpayers money in terms of uninsured medical care at emergency rooms, often for non-emergency illnesses that would better be managed in clinical care. It's a rather bald assertion that Wal-Mart is costing taxpayers so much, but in this day and age, it seems to be the only way to get any traction with the public. We certaintaly cannot seem to count on the media to explore any of the issues.



Prison space goes up in smoke


When you consider how much it costs to jail an inmate per year, this seems like a totally outrageous waste of taxpayer money: Marijuana Arrests Set New Record:
The FBI reported today that there were an all-time record 755,186 arrests for marijuana in 2003 -- vastly exceeding the 597,026 arrests for all violent crimes combined. As in past years, the vast majority-88 percent-of marijuana arrests were for simple possession, not sale or manufacture.

The new arrest report comes eight days before voters across the U.S. will consider a variety of measures to reform marijuana laws.

"With marijuana arrests exceeding 750,000 a year, it's safe to say that the drug war isn't preventing people from using marijuana," said Robert Kampia, executive director of the Marijuana Policy Project in Washington, D.C. "It's time to acknowledge this reality by taxing and regulating marijuana. A responsible system of regulation will do a
better job of keeping marijuana away from kids and end the pointless persecution of adults who use marijuana responsibly."

Thanks to Common Dreams for picking this up off the wire.



She goes outside


Former IRAA CEO Hilary Rosen has seen the light about Creative Commons, it seems, judging by her article in Wired, How I Learned to Love Larry.
Meanwhile, as I have long predicted, the music industry is slowly restructuring itself. Artist contracts are for shorter duration, and every facet of an artist's output is up for negotiation. Indeed, artists have more control than ever before, giving rise to, in some cases, business models with the artists as the central business unit, in effect buying the services of middlemen to execute promotion, recording, and distribution. Increasingly, free use and access are employed to stimulate sales. Prince signed a one-record deal with Sony Music that made sure he could give a copy of his CD to every fan who bought a concert ticket. Pearl Jam left its longtime label to release a live album through its fan club. It has also authorized multiple releases through a bootleg program. The band hires services from the labels, as needed. Given these changes, the industry ought to embrace Creative Commons as an agile partner providing tools for new ways to do business.

It's so refreshing to see someone in the mainstream media admit publicly that they learned something and changed their minds. I'm sure the RIAA tassled loafer boys are plotting their revenge. Maybe they'll go and wrap up her house with CD plastic seals.

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