Kid Rock needs to do more research
Jun 19th, 2008 by Ken Hagler

Kid Rock explains iTunes boycott. Kid Rock – Apple gets paid, labels get paid, artists don’t

US musician Kid Rock has gone public on why he won’t sell his albums through iTunes, arguing that while Apple and the labels get paid, the artists don’t.

[Macworld UK]

He should complain to his label, then, because pretty much every independent artist I know has their music on iTunes. An artist who uses CD Baby to put his or or tracks in iTunes receives 60 cents of the 99 cent sale price. The article reveals the real reason Kid Rock isn’t getting paid–he’s signed to a major label.

Musicians on iTunes
Jun 17th, 2008 by Ken Hagler

This is a good week for musicians I’ve photographed in iTunes. Katy Perry, Priscilla Ahn, and Martha Wainwright all show up on the main iTunes page with varying degrees of prominence.

Spam history
Jun 15th, 2008 by Ken Hagler

It’s been just over two years since I started using SpamSieve to filter out incoming spam. In that time, I’ve received 65,820 spam messages, or an average of 87 per day.

Jury duty
Jun 12th, 2008 by Ken Hagler

I got stuck with jury duty for the last couple of days. Usually I go in on Monday, sit around all day without being sent to a courtroom, and then go home. This time I was sent to a courtroom, but (unsurprisingly) didn’t get past the jury tampering selection process, where they stack the jury in favor of a conviction.

The defendant was charged with eight felonies, some of which were duplicates, that translated as “accused of having drugs that he intended to sell and a pistol in his car.” Unfortunately the LA court system is very thorough about ensuring that people who object to such laws can’t get on the jury without lying.

There were at least three prospective jurors (including myself) who were dismissed for being too principled to participate. The first guy started out a bit tentative, saying he had heard that jurors could use their intuition and make a decision one whether the law itself was just and asking if that was true. Interestingly, the judge seemed to be sympathetic, saying he wasn’t allowed to answer that and telling the juror what he was “supposed” to say. That guy was subjected to a fair amount of badgering by the prosecutor, during which he steadied up and gave answers that showed he had read at least a little bit about jury nullification.

A bit later, I got moved into one of the vacant seats. To the same question, I explained that the laws we were being asked to apply were immoral, unconstitutional, and un-American, and that the very idea of a man being on trial for being a capitalist who believed in the Second Amendment was utterly repugnant to me. The judge asked if I could put that aside and vote the way he told me, to which I replied that I was never much for “just following orders.”

Shortly after me, but before I was dismissed, another guy explained that because of his personal experiences he didn’t believe in the system, wanted no part of it, and refused to vote on the defendant’s guilt or innocence.

We left at the same time, so I got to talking to the third guy. He was a black man about ten years older than me, and his experiences with the legal system were pretty much what people who pay attention to the news would expect. For example, he described how a cop had tricked him into signing a piece of paper, and then wrote a false confession above the signature as he watched. He was in prison for five months before that was thrown out. I didn’t think to ask at the time, but (again based on having paid attention) I estimate the chance of that cop receiving any negative consequences for his actions at exactly nil.

Time Machine review
Jun 8th, 2008 by Ken Hagler

I just bought a 1 terabyte hard drive to store my scanned photos, which freed up the 250 GB drive I previously used. Since I have a laptop with Mac OS X 10.5.3 on it, I decided to try using it for Time Machine backups. The result: it turns out that Time Machine doesn’t work. It invariably hangs partway through the backup, at which point it has corrupted the backup drive to the point that Disk Utility is unable to fix it. It’s a good thing there wasn’t anything left on that backup drive at the time!

So, anyone who wants to backup their Mac would do well to stay far, far away from Time Machine, which is not merely worthless but actually is actively destructive.

Washington, District B13
Jun 5th, 2008 by Ken Hagler

Highway to the Neighborhood Zones. This is a great idea!

The Examiner has the scoop on a controversial new program announced today that would create so-called "Neighborhood Safety Zones" which would serve to partially seal off certain parts of the city. D.C. Police would set-up checkpoints in targeted areas, demand to see ID and refuse admittance to people who don’t live there, work there or have a “legitimate reason” to be there.

From the story:

Peter Nickles, the city’s interim attorney general, said the quarantine would have “a narrow focus.”

“This is a very targeted program that has been used in other cities,” Nickles told The Examiner. “I’m not worried about the constitutionality of it.”

Others are. Kristopher Baumann, chairman of the D.C. police union and a former lawyer, called the checkpoint proposal “breathtaking.”

Shelley Broderick
, president of the D.C.-area American Civil Liberties Union and the dean of the University of the District of Columbia’s law school, said the plan was “cockamamie.”

“I think they tried this in Russia and it failed,” she said.

Or maybe the Russians didn’t do it right! [Hit and Run]

As if the government wasn’t bad enough, now they’re getting ideas from French action movies.

Book recommendation
Jun 5th, 2008 by Ken Hagler

AMY H. STURGIS: Doctorow’s 1984 for 2008.

Cory Doctorow’s new dystopia, Little Brother, deserves the attention it’s receiving. As author Scott Westerfeld says, it’s a “rousing tale of techno-geek rebellion, as necessary and dangerous as file sharing, free speech, and bottled water on a plane.”

Read the Publishers Weekly review.
Read Neil Gaiman’s review.
Read the Omnivoracious review.

Download the book for free.

[Liberty & Power: Group Blog]

After seeing the reviews I downloaded the book, ordered a hardcover copy from Amazon, and started reading. Twelve hours later, I’ve finished it and give it a very strong endorsement.

Stupid user tricks
Jun 4th, 2008 by Ken Hagler

From one of the mailing lists I subscribe to, someone picks a strange way to demonstrate his illiteracy:

Do not post admin requests to the list. They will be ignored.
Automator-users mailing list (
Help/Unsubscribe/Update your Subscription:

The text below the line is appended to each and every message sent out to the list.

California endorses fascism
Jun 4th, 2008 by Ken Hagler

California Voters Endorse Eminent Domain Abuse. Voters in California yesterday overwhelmingly supported Proposition 99, a ballot measure that will significantly empower state and local officials to seize private property via eminent domain, and rejected Proposition 98, which would have protected property rights and ended rent control. As legal scholar Ilya Somin noted in the Los Angeles Times, Proposition 99, though masquerading as a defense of private property, was actually sponsored by groups representing counties, cities, and other redevelopment interests who drafted it specifically to counter Proposition 98. Among other crimes, Proposition 99 will protect only owner-occupied residences from condemnation, leaving apartment buildings and other rental properties wide open for abuse. Moreover, as Somin observed:

Even the protection for homeowners covered under Proposition 99 is likely to be ineffective, because the measure allows the condemnation of owner-occupied homes if they are "incidental" to a "public" project. This means that homes could still be taken for transfer to private developers if the proposed project allocated some space for a "public" facility such as a community center or library.

Proposition 98, on the other hand, would have placed significant limits on such abuse. But while that might have gone over with the voters, ending rent control was far less popular, even though the law would only affect rent controlled apartments once they became vacant, thus leaving current tenants unaffected. Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger came out against Prop. 98, however, claiming it "would undermine California’s ability to improve our infrastructure."

Finally, as the Pacific Legal Foundation’s Timothy Sandefur has warned, Prop. 99 will "make things far worse not only by providing fake protection, but because the courts would interpret it as meaning that Californians did not want more serious protections for property rights."
[Hit and Run]

I’m not surprised. I voted for 98, but it was obviously just a gesture–an antifascist measure never stood a chance in such a deeply fascist state. The real surprise is that 39.1% of the voters actually supported civil rights.

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