December 7th, 2011

The conviction

I assume old news for you guys on the other side of the pond. Rod Blagojevic sentenced to 14 years! I wonder (honest question!), how much will he be behind bars?

December 1st, 2011

The sweet taste of justice

Let me make a little sidestep first. In my country a sort of state-authorized semi tax office operates called BUMA/STEMRA. They “tax” radio stations, websites, pub owners, employers and whatnot for playing music, on behalf of the producers and writers. It is of course a big scam covered under a blanked of fairness. They have been coming under more and more pressure as they are sitting on huge amounts of cashed money, but somehow are “unable” to redistribute that money to the legitimate owners.

Double sidestep: the same goes, but irrelevant for this story for another “foundation” that “taxes” media like CD-R’s, DVD-R’s and in the old days cassette tapes, as we, the public, are obviously using them to illegally copy music and movies. They even tried to get their hands on mp3 players, memory sticks and media boxes. That failed. So far.

Anyway…. Too funny! In some international score cards (too lazy to dig them up) my country is supposed to be at the very top when it comes to absence of corruption. A composer complained to BUMA/STEMRA about them having used his work on an anti-copy clip that is forced on us every time we play a DVD or go the cinema. His complaint was rejected. But when he called one of the board members, that guy he said, he could get the subject back on the agenda. Of course he wanted some compensation. One third to be precise. Of more than a million Euro’s (1.4 mln US dollars). Unfortunately, the conversation was taped. He even claimed the composer now had nothing and when he would have helped him out, at least he would have received 2/3rd. The gentleman has “temporarily stepped down to concentrate entirely on his defense”.

Don’t we LOVE the the media industry!!

May 5th, 2011

ADN puts advertisement for “outside” restrurant on front page

Hmmm, So ADN editor/publisher Pat Dougherty, the guy that fired the majority of the ADN staff at the direction of McClatchy corporate HQ, is now running what amount to advertisements for outside corporations using ADN as the outlet. Somebody ought to start something to compete with ADN – just say’n.


November 5th, 2008

I voted today – it’s warmer down south

Now if Don Young and Ted Stevens win – I may consider heading south; life is too short. Quoting from “Mudflats:”

The Alaskan Republican Party has just reaffirmed their endorsement of, and told you to vote for A CONVICTED FELON! You show ‘em Alaska Republicans! Hold your head high, walk in to the voting booth with the blessing of your political party, fill in that little oval, and vote with impunity for A CONVICTED FELON! Drive home with a satisfied smile, kiss your spouse, and say, “What did you do today, Honey? I voted for A CONVICTED FELON!“ Proudly call your friends and relatives out of state, and tell them how you, and all your buddies in the Republican party, puffed out your chests, and proudly hitched your wagon to the star of an 84-year old CONVICTED FELON! Maybe you should call your local party headquarters and suggest a fundraiser…you could do t-shirts, and hats that say, “I VOTED FOR A CONVICTED FELON!”

Amen brothers and sisters!

October 15th, 2008

Is Ralph Nader a kook?

“The United States effectively has a one-party system, the business party, with two factions, Republicans and Democrats.” – Noam Chomsky

Both Republicans and Democrats over the years have been critical of Nader. Of late some Democrats, who would proudly wear the badge “liberal,” have directed their anger at Nader in the form of derogatory comments that would do Rush Limbaugh and others of his ilk proud. Just how nutty and arrogant is Nader, you tell me? Seems to me that Nader’s suggestions on how to handle our financial crisis is better informed and thought out than those of candidates Obama or McCain. Ralph was on PBS last night, “The News Hour,” and you can listen to the audio here (link is an MP3 and runs about 10 minutes):

“Presidential candidate Ralph Nader speaks with the NewsHour’s Ray Suarez about his latest bid for the White House and discusses his platform on the critical issues facing the country this election year.”

FWIW The News Hour also ran a story about the corporate party candidates last night, it is available here (MP3 link) and if you listen closely you might just hear the ticker-tape in the background. I think it provides an interesting contrast to Suarez’s interview with Nader:

“Kwame Holman reports on the latest news from the campaign trail”

June 25th, 2008

The chipcard (and the shame)

The administration is trying to get all public transport companies (who are heavily subsidized anyway) to use a unified chipcard. Unfortunately, they used Myfair one, a Mickey Mouse card when it comes to security (I am not even going into the privacy issues). The University of Nijmegen exposed this and delved deeper and deeper, until they copied a card in less than 2 seconds, enough to do it standing close to a clueless traveler.

And then they stepped it up a bit, went to London, where London Underground uses the same card. And published their results. Bravo right? Exposing weak systems compromising the wallet of the consumer, right?

Wrong. The responsible minister is arm twisting the University board and the research group is more or less stifled, using the argument of “acting responsible”. Shame, shame, shame on you, minister Huizinga.

January 25th, 2008

The fall of Eveline Herfkens

Oh, a wonderful and embarrassing connection. Eveline Herfkens is a PvdA politician, who is now stationed at the UN. Most elements of the story are in Wikipedia, but let me give you a quick rundown. She insists she needs to fly business class, even if that is not allowed for her function. She applied for (and received) a $7.000 a month rental allowance for her upper class Manhattan apartment “to avoid traveling by subway”, a subsidy not allowed by UN rules to insure independence of the home country. She applied for a US permanent residence permit, which is also not allowed. To add insult to injury she defended her behavior by stating “this discussion was Dutch small mindedness”, “she didn’t have time to go through all the minute rules” and “deserves these incentives connected to such a job profile”. For the record, her salary is way over $200.000.

Her own party is fed up with what one member of parliament called “Diva behavior”. I am pretty sure, and I hope, the bell for her last round has sounded. She has damaged the U.N., my country, her party and the taxpayers. Begone!!

Disclaimer: “PvdA”, which is considered here a mildly leftish social democratic party, often gets my vote. I am not a member.

Added: Foreign ministry is investigating a claim to have her hand back the quarter million she received against the rules, at the same time admitting they should never have given her that rental allowance in the first place. Party leader drops support. She is said not to respond to call for comments.

Added Feb 22nd: By Dutch law, she is not to return the $280,000, based on the principle of security of law, meaning in this context like you cannot suddenly withdraw something that was legally supplied; the subsidy was allowed by Dutch law, simply not by UN rules. The UNDP is still investigating if she knew this was against the rules (which she denies), and if so, the decision to not to have her return the loot will be “re-evaluated”. I won’t hold my breath on it.

January 24th, 2008

The blackened past

Uh oh. KLM (Royal Dutch Airlines), now part of Air France and a tight partner with Northwest Airlines. Has an image problem.

(…) The witness, 17 years old at the time (1949) saw a fierce exchange between KLM CEO Albert Plesman and the famous writer and pilot Adriaan Viruly . The latter protested bitterly according to the witness that he was asked to fly ‘black monks’ to Argentina. It was clear from the exchange those were Nazi war criminals said the witness, who was not publicly identified.

Because Viruly apparently considered to bring the matter in the open Plesman warned the pilot according to the witness with the words: “If you dare to ruin my KLM, I will take steps.”

September 17th, 2007

Undoing the past

A friend sent me a link to a story by John Fisk that details the destruction and looting of archaeological sites in Iraq. Because of the looting there is so much history that we will never know. Bush and the U.S. Congress have once again, through the consequences of their actions “out Orwelled Orwell.” For an example of what Fisk is talking about check out this website where for a mere $200 you can buy your very own cylinder seal from Ur.

How depressing.

August 17th, 2007

Fed up

Dear xxxxx,

I’m hanging out in Berkeley (land of Fruits and Nuts) with xxxxx at the moment.

Don’t know if you have any interest in AK politics, but if you do this might
be of interest (though if stripped of the details I’m sure it is applicable
in most any part of our country).

FBI investigates science contracts awarded Veco
ARCTIC: $170 million in research contracts coincided with support for polar funding by Sen. Stevens.

FWIW the press keeps reporting how low the approval #’s are for our
Congress – what they fail to mention is that the numbers are low because the
Democrats and Republicans fail to hold our leaders accountable. The press
spins it that the public is upset because the Dems are going after the
Repubs – that of course is BS – the public is PO’d ’cause nobody is swinging
from a tree, not even the low hanging fruit. I’m disgusted with what’s
going on – with the president, the legislature, the current crop of presidential
“hopefuls” and, of course, the Fourth Estate.