Tales of the Sausage Factory: A lesser known side of consolidation

As reported in the Washington Post and elsewhere, group owner Sinclair Broadcasting will not air the Nightline episode in which Ted Koppel will read the names of all American troops killed in Iraq. Whether one agrees with Sinclair’s decision or not, it highlights how concentration in the hands of a single owner can shape news nationally. The controversy has an added level of interest since Sinclair has agressively pursued centralcasting news, which further re-enforces the ability of a politically motivated group owners to govern the national debate.

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Yet another AofA technology announced.

Reuters is announcing

Professor Ehud Shapiro and researchers at Israel’s Weizmann Institute constructed the world’s smallest biomolecular computer a few years ago.

Now they have programmed it to analyse biological information to detect and treat prostate cancer and a form of lung cancer in laboratory experiments.

“We’ve taken our earlier molecular computer and augmented it with an input and output module. Together the computer can diagnose a disease and in response produce a drug for the disease in a test tube,” Shapiro told Reuters.

Tales of the Sausage Factory: Feeding the RIAA Pig at the Regulatory Trough

I wish *I* could change the criminal law of the United States to make it a crime to compete with me, and jack up the punishment to huge fines and more jail time than any Enron exec will ever serve. I wish *I* could persuade a regulatory agency and Congress to make everyone else in the universe personally responsible for watching all my stuff. Oh,and then I’d make everyone give me the keys to their house so I could look inside whenever I want.

Sadly for me, *I* am not the RIAA. The introduction of HR4077, a bill which makes the FBI the RIAA’s personal police force for monitoring peer-to-peer networks and says all sorts of nasty things about peer-to-peer generally, and the FCC’s,Notice of Inquiry on whether it should mandate content controls on digital radio certainly give credence to the accusations that big money owns Washington lock, stock ‘n barrel. Interested in helping my ongoing experiment to prove if democracy still works and reminding your Senator and Representative that they really work for you? Read below . . .

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Tales of the Sausage Factory: Comcast pulls out of Disney Deal, But More Cable Consolidation Coming

Comcast has withdrawn its offer for Disney. Much as I’d like to claim this as a kill for the public interest community as some of my colleagues have, I think that was only part of the calculus. But don’t worry all you big media fans, because with Adelphia on the chopping block and MGM being courted, we can count on the media feeding frenzy to continue.

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Well, hello everybody

I spend a lot of time reading weblogs.

I read TalkingPointsMemo and a dozen other lefty news blogs. I read about Bush and I read about Iraq. And I worry myself sick because just about everything I read tends to confirm my sense that (in the immortal words of an R. Crumb character that I’ll track down one of these days) “the whole fucking planet is turning to shit.” But I enjoy those blogs because they have personality.

Over the last few weeks I’ve checked wetmachine a few times just to see what was up, and nothing much was. And I remember thinking: Damn, what’s up with this site? Why is it so dull? Where is wetmachine’s personality?

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Tales of the Sausage Factory: It Depends What Your Definition of “Any” Is

Fans of municipal community networks were dealt a blow by a Supreme Court decision last month in Nixon v. Missouri Municipal League. The Supreme Court found that Congress needed to be more explicit in preempting the states when it said “the states shall not prevent any entity from offering telecom services” as part of the 1996 Telecom Act. Odd as it may seem to speakers of the English language, I think the Supremes may have got this one right.

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and speaking of being scared of the future

Ever wish you could go back in time, your knowledge of the present intact, and show ’em how it’s done?

There’s a new biography of Alexander Hamilton. Author Ron Chernow describes Hamilton as being a ”messenger from a future we now inhabit.” Even as he laid out a visionary model for the American economic system that we easily recognize today, Hamilton also set the fledgling political infrastructure firmly on a path towards today’s DC-centered

two parties + professional bureaucracy. And this disadvantaged immigrant did so while embroiled in great scandals. No wonder the American system succeeds so well in our time — it was created by someone who would feel right at home.

But this time-travel simile has hardened a feeling that’s been chilling me. I think we’ve pretty much gotten things working the way they were set up to. There are serious problems to be sure, but they are not problems that the American system was meant to overcome. So now what? Who from the past has acted as a messenger from our near future? What

prophet had tuned in on the needs and circumstances of the twenty first century? With Hamilton recognizably put in his place, I feel somewhat visionaryless for the future.