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Wednesday, January 02, 2013

OTP - Jan 2013: Jewish Journal:E1: An error in baseball and Mideast politics

Tripon Posted: January 02, 2013 at 02:48 PM | 2805 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
  Tags: ot, politics

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   2501. Bitter Mouse Posted: January 25, 2013 at 12:57 PM (#4354914)
Flip
   2502. zonk Posted: January 25, 2013 at 12:58 PM (#4354915)
I could probably look this up but someone here probably knows: in regard to 3D printing, with something like a bullet, you'd have to have powder and charge. Would your printer just have this stuff? You can't make powder from plastic. Would you print the casings and bullet and then add your own powder?
\

Well, I'm no gun expert - but I don't think the bullets come into play... you have the magazine and you load bullets into it. The magazine itself is a pretty simple piece of equipment -- really just a casing with a spring mechanism to advance the ammo. I have no doubt this entirely possible.

It's also entirely possible for me to grow common weeds that can be smoked, make my own hat with mouse ears, or - maybe to find an example of something we could all agree is 'easily possible', but don't have a problem with stringent illegality and harsh penalties - find images of 10 yos fornicating.

The point behind limiting magazine capacity is that:

1) they won't be mass produced and sold anymore

2) it would become a crime to create your own

3) If you were caught in possession of one, you could also be charged with a crime whether you downloaded it in 3d or built it yourself

I'm sure 3) is the least likely to be prosecuted simply because it's the least likely to be actively sought out by authorities...
   2503. Bitter Mouse Posted: January 25, 2013 at 12:58 PM (#4354917)
I could probably look this up but someone here probably knows: in regard to 3D printing, with something like a bullet, you'd have to have powder and charge. Would your printer just have this stuff? You can't make powder from plastic. Would you print the casings and bullet and then add your own powder?


I assumed one was just making the gun, and then buying bullets.

EDIT: Or what zonk said.
   2504. villageidiom Posted: January 25, 2013 at 01:00 PM (#4354919)
Netflix up another $17 today. So that makes it $57 in 1 1/3 days so far. Crazy
I'm not sure if it's more crazy that the stock price is as high as it is now, or that it was ever that low to begin with. Seemed like analysts had assumed the company was in a death spiral.

If I did a 5-second pitch of a business model and said, "HBO, but with all content on-demand and accessible anywhere in the world," that's a pretty damn good pitch. That's where Netflix will be in 5 years or so. They are expanding subscribers rapidly internationally; they are developing original content as well as continuing to serve as the middleman for others' works; they have the infrastructure in place.

I think analysts had thought Netflix would only thrive if it were a monopoly, which it's clear they won't be. But HBO is not a monopoly; they are, however, a far stronger brand than Showtime, and profitable despite competition.
   2505. The Chronicles of Reddick Posted: January 25, 2013 at 01:06 PM (#4354925)
All the columnists and financial tv yakkers tell me that borrowing money from your 401k still makes you worse than hitler.


yes and these are the same idiots that go on the air to try to tout worthless stock for their buddies or clients.
   2506. DA Baracus Posted: January 25, 2013 at 01:09 PM (#4354927)
Newt Gingrich will not run.
   2507. zonk Posted: January 25, 2013 at 01:12 PM (#4354929)

If I did a 5-second pitch of a business model and said, "HBO, but with all content on-demand and accessible anywhere in the world," that's a pretty damn good pitch. That's where Netflix will be in 5 years or so. They are expanding subscribers rapidly internationally; they are developing original content as well as continuing to serve as the middleman for others' works; they have the infrastructure in place.

I think analysts had thought Netflix would only thrive if it were a monopoly, which it's clear they won't be. But HBO is not a monopoly; they are, however, a far stronger brand than Showtime, and profitable despite competition.


Well, HBO has really managed to remain so successful in a media world that has expanded beyond cable distribution by becoming really good at creating its own original programming. Even minus carrier fees/however it gets worked -- HBO is still wrangling like $13 per month from the millions who subscribe to it.... and even though it's become pointless to have HBO for the movies, you aren't going to get Sopranos, GoT, Deadwood, Sex in the City, et al without subscribing to HBO (or buying/renting the dvds, which they're still getting their cut of).

Cinemax, Showtime, and Starz have all found it a necessity to move into the same model -- no one is going to pay a premium for those channels, via any system of distribution, solely for the movies because there are now plentiful cheaper options.

Netflix is trying to get there, too -- I know they just did a netflix series with Kevin Spacey (a reimage of an old BBC political drama) and don't they also have the coming Arrested Development continuation?

This is one thing that -- as someone who still dreams of one day living off content creation in some form -- cheers me... at the end of the day, after the upheavals, you still need content. You can't just be a conduit. You have to create and own the actual content.
   2508. steagles Posted: January 25, 2013 at 01:12 PM (#4354932)
I think analysts had thought Netflix would only thrive if it were a monopoly, which it's clear they won't be. But HBO is not a monopoly; they are, however, a far stronger brand than Showtime, and profitable despite competition.
their business model has also undergone a massive shift. i believe their original business (DVDs through the mail) actually was in a death spiral, but they had the foresight to shift gears before it was necessary, and they restructured their company around the concept of streaming video.

iirc, at the time, that was viewed as a major mistake, but with hindsight, it's probably the only reason they still exist.
   2509. Bitter Mouse Posted: January 25, 2013 at 01:13 PM (#4354933)
Newt Gingrich will not run.


But will he serve if elected? WWSD (What Would Sherman Do)?
   2510. Bitter Mouse Posted: January 25, 2013 at 01:16 PM (#4354935)
their business model has also undergone a massive shift. i believe their original business (DVDs through the mail) actually was in a death spiral, but they had the foresight to shift gears before it was necessary, and they restructured their company around the concept of streaming video.

iirc, at the time, that was viewed as a major mistake, but with hindsight, it's probably the only reason they still exist.


Their shift was brilliant, but the whole splitting the business and spinning off part of it was terrible and manmy assumed that mistake and competition (especially since some of it is from the Amazon juggernaut) would kill them. They are to be applauded for surviving so far, but I will second the notion that they need some content of their own.
   2511. Greg K Posted: January 25, 2013 at 01:18 PM (#4354937)
Speaking of movies, I just saw Passenger Side which I didn't know existed until yesterday, even though the director's other movie Who Loves the Sun is one of my all-time favourites. This one was almost as good (though they are almost identical movies except one is set in Los Angeles and one is set in the cottage country forests of Ontario).

What's the contemporary take on Matt Bissonnette as a director? I see both these movies have pretty abysmal imdb.com scores, but I think they're great!
   2512. Bitter Mouse Posted: January 25, 2013 at 01:20 PM (#4354941)
What's the contemporary take on Matt Bissonnette as a director?


Who?
   2513. Slivers of Maranville descends into chaos (SdeB) Posted: January 25, 2013 at 01:20 PM (#4354942)

their business model has also undergone a massive shift. i believe their original business (DVDs through the mail) actually was in a death spiral, but they had the foresight to shift gears before it was necessary, and they restructured their company around the concept of streaming video.


I think it's the other way around. Their DVD inventory is the only real asset they have. Attempting to spin it off and focus only on streaming was a foolish move.
   2514. Greg K Posted: January 25, 2013 at 01:23 PM (#4354946)
Who?

I guess that probably answers my question. Maybe his movies only get watched in Canada?

But they both feature superstar actor Adam Scott! (and Who Loves the Sun has Molly Parker)
   2515. Lassus Posted: January 25, 2013 at 01:57 PM (#4354965)
But they both feature superstar actor Adam Scott! (and Who Loves the Sun has Molly Parker)


Who?
   2516. Bitter Mouse Posted: January 25, 2013 at 01:59 PM (#4354966)
Darn it Lassus you made me laugh while swallowing and now I am chocking and laughing.
   2517. The Good Face Posted: January 25, 2013 at 02:06 PM (#4354971)
You guys are being mean. Personally, I think it's cute when Canadians try to produce art and culture on their own. It's like they think they're people!
   2518. The Chronicles of Reddick Posted: January 25, 2013 at 02:12 PM (#4354975)
I only know Molly Parker from "Deadwood" and she is ok. Who is Adam Scott?
   2519. zonk Posted: January 25, 2013 at 02:27 PM (#4354981)
Pretty enormous court decision today --

It was a DC Circuit decision specifically on a couple of NLRB recess appointments, but it's implications are ENORMOUSLY broad as it basically nips the near entirety of 'recess appointments' in the bud. It's certain to get a SCOTUS hearing (where, I suspect, we're going to see some fun Scalia gymnastics where he finely parses his tendency towards executive discretion on some domestic funtions, but not others!) - but for now - this is a big, big ruling.

While it short-term definitely hurts Obama (and also calls into question some NLRB decisions... the labor law at my company is having a big news orgasm right now) - Obama actually hasn't used recess appointments nearly to the extent many on the left wish he had (and had been done in some other cases). Part of this was because, for a while, there was a silly pro forma 'session' called by single members during recess (essentially, meaning congress was NEVER in recess, even though no one was there save the single suckers who had to go to the chamber and pound a gavel).

Anyway - this has FAR-reaching consequences as the decision all but takes the 'recess appointment' gambit wholly off the table for this and future Presidents.
   2520. Biff, highly-regarded young guy Posted: January 25, 2013 at 02:29 PM (#4354982)
Adam Scott played the lead character in Party Down (a Starz show that was sadly cancelled after two brilliant seasons) and plays a main character on Parks and Recreation (also brilliant). He was also in the movie Step Brothers, which was quite funny.
   2521. Shredder Posted: January 25, 2013 at 02:30 PM (#4354984)
I only know Molly Parker from "Deadwood" and she is ok. Who is Adam Scott?
There's a couple. There's the actor from Parks and Rec, Party Down, and assorted other Hollywood fare. There's also the guy who choked away the British Open last year.
   2522. Delorians Posted: January 25, 2013 at 02:33 PM (#4354986)

Anyway - this has FAR-reaching consequences as the decision all but takes the 'recess appointment' gambit wholly off the table for this and future Presidents.

Which I think is good.
   2523. Slivers of Maranville descends into chaos (SdeB) Posted: January 25, 2013 at 02:48 PM (#4354989)
Anyway - this has FAR-reaching consequences as the decision all but takes the 'recess appointment' gambit wholly off the table for this and future Presidents.

Which I think is good.


Making recess appointments is one of the President's explicit Constitutional powers. Why is this good?
   2524. DJS and the Infinite Sadness Posted: January 25, 2013 at 02:49 PM (#4354991)
Anyway - this has FAR-reaching consequences as the decision all but takes the 'recess appointment' gambit wholly off the table for this and future Presidents.

I'm not quite sure exactly what rule for recess appointments I prefer (haven't thought too much about it, to be honest - while I tend to default to gridlock, I haven't considered this specifically), I think it's good if this hits the SCOTUS and we hopefully get kind of a bright line instead of this fuzzy area.
   2525. DJS and the Infinite Sadness Posted: January 25, 2013 at 02:52 PM (#4354993)
Making recess appointments is one of the President's explicit Constitutional powers. Why is this good?

The ruling doesn't end recess appointments. The dispute is what constitutes a recess.
   2526. zonk Posted: January 25, 2013 at 02:55 PM (#4354994)
Anyway - this has FAR-reaching consequences as the decision all but takes the 'recess appointment' gambit wholly off the table for this and future Presidents.

Which I think is good.


Well, only if the Senate also ends its silly practice of holding nominees from floor votes...

For example, the GOP doesn't like the CFPB... so they've been blocking votes on ANYONE (first Warren, now Cordray) being appointed to it. They're backdooring elimination of the agency... but the agency was legitimately created by law and it legally has to have a Director.

Ditto for instances where even an uncontroversial nominee to an uncontroversial agency gets a hold put on his vote by a Senator who's basically using the hold as blackmail for something else.

I don't like recess appointments either -- but I also don't like the game that basically put nominees in eternal limbo.

I think the latter is the GREATER of the two evils (not that the first can't be abused)... so while I'm fine with eliminating recess appointments, I think this decision makes matters WORSE, not better, because it means Senators can now pretty much grind ANY nomination to halt without the 'nuclear option' of recess appointing around the lack of votes.

I was actually having this argument with a liberal friend - and I actually found an old, old post I made on Dailykos when Senate Dems were blocking John Bolton's nomination as UN ambassador... Now - given that Bolton was on record as essentially opposing the UN as thing -- I think he was a terrible, terrible pick before you even get into his neocon (and crazier-than-a-neocon) baggage.

However, I wrote then:

A hold or filibuster is just the wrong way to go here. Elections have consequences and the President has the prerogative to appoint someone of his choosing, regardless of how odious, offensive, idiotic, ill-equipped, or improper for that role the nominee might be. The Senate's "advise and consent" role shouldn't be pro forma, but neither should it be overriding. They SHOULD debate... but they SHOULD also vote. Bolton should come to the floor. Senate Dems should oppose cloture only if cloture is invoked to avoid the debate. If Frist brings the nominee to the floor for a vote without debate - then sure, I'd oppose cloture... he should be debated. But after the debate is heard - and given an appropriate amount of it (with time for reaction), let's say 2-3 days - cloture should be allowed, the vote held, and the chips fall where they may. John Bolton is perhaps the singularly worst possible nominee to this role. No sane President should nominate him, and any sane majority of a Senate should vote him down... but sanity, sadly, isn't a requirement for either office. Filling the position of UN Ambassador - however poorly - IS.
   2527. DJS and the Infinite Sadness Posted: January 25, 2013 at 02:56 PM (#4354995)
At least according to Wiki, Clinton made 139, Bush 171, and Obama only 32. So that's I'll definitely give BO a Grape Job sticker on this one.
   2528. zonk Posted: January 25, 2013 at 02:57 PM (#4354996)
The ruling doesn't end recess appointments. The dispute is what constitutes a recess.


Not in word, but in reality -- because it essentially means those silly pro forma sessions where a rotating single member shows up are now "in session"... in effect, it made a silly plot legal. The Senate is/can now never be out of session -- "recess" no longer exists unless all 100 Senators now say it does/is.
   2529. Mefisto Posted: January 25, 2013 at 03:03 PM (#4355001)
Modern presidents are using the recess appointments clause in new ways. The reason they do that is because the Senate is playing shenanigans with the approval process. What the DC Circuit ruling does is jump into the middle of this institutional power struggle. That's never a good position for a court to be in. Plus the opinion is so broad that it basically says that 150 years of precedent of the actual workings of government are unconstitutional.

I think both parties ought to agree to an amendment which eliminates recess appointments -- they're a relic of a time when travel restrictions meant actual Senate recesses -- and gives the Senate X days to hold an up or down vote on an Executive branch nominee or else the nominee is automatically confirmed.
   2530. zonk Posted: January 25, 2013 at 03:08 PM (#4355002)

I think both parties ought to agree to an amendment which eliminates recess appointments -- they're a relic of a time when travel restrictions meant actual Senate recesses -- and gives the Senate X days to hold an up or down vote on an Executive branch nominee or else the nominee is automatically confirmed.


This would be a perfectly reasonable and proper solution in my mind.

Hell, you don't even need a law -- just changes to the Senate rules.

Judicial or Cabinet nominees shall not be subject to [insert the variety of tools to block 'things' from a vote - from holds to filibusters or all sorts under all other rules].

If you want to do it even better, ensure that a nominee gets the hearing from the appropriate committee in X days or weeks (inserting some language to prevent Presidential 'slamming' of committees) and that the nominee with the committee recommenation comes to the floor within X days or weeks thereafter.

Since we're taking cloture blocks out of the mix, I suppose you could also require X hours of debate, too.
   2531. Shredder Posted: January 25, 2013 at 03:09 PM (#4355003)

Not in word, but in reality -- because it essentially means those silly pro forma sessions where a rotating single member shows up are now "in session"... in effect, it made a silly plot legal. The Senate is/can now never be out of session -- "recess" no longer exists unless all 100 Senators now say it does/is.
It's actually much worse than that. Per Josh Marshall:
I've only had a chance to review the decision quickly, but it represents a dramatic limitation on the recess appointment, finding that the power can only be exercised during recesses between sessions of Congress and only to fill vacancies that occur during the same recess.
In other words, if this is correct, this decision limits the recess appointment power only to recesses that occur every two years, when one congress adjourns and before the next one is opened. Furthermore, the only positions that can be filled during that once recess every two years are the positions that actually become vacant during that recess. This basically reads the recess appointment power as purely an emergency power, written for a time when it probably actually took a lot of Senators multiple days to get back to Washington. This effectively amends the Constitution without amending it. Talk about judicial activism. This reading would basically render moot every recess appointment ever made.
   2532. DJS and the Infinite Sadness Posted: January 25, 2013 at 03:09 PM (#4355004)
Not in word, but in reality -- because it essentially means those silly pro forma sessions where a rotating single member shows up are now "in session"... in effect, it made a silly plot legal.

They kind of go hand-in-hand - Evans v. Stephens encourages this and incentivizes Congress to hold wacky pro forma sessions every time they're gone for a week or they leave to celebrate a holiday in order to prevent presidents from saving all the controversial selections for those periods.

Not a fan of the anonymous holds, though and filibusters are tough here. Give the Senate 100 days to hold a vote or something and if they don't, consider the nomination temporarily approved until such time a Congress holds a vote. But I guess that would need an amendment. The whole "session/recess" game is totally ###### up.
   2533. zonk Posted: January 25, 2013 at 03:17 PM (#4355008)
Not a fan of the anonymous holds, though and filibusters are tough here. Give the Senate 100 days to hold a vote or something and if they don't, consider the nomination temporarily approved until such time a Congress holds a vote. But I guess that would need an amendment. The whole "session/recess" game is totally ###### up.


Oh, I'm not disagreeing... like I said - both are bad (and both abused and by both parties).

I just don't like the court basically "picking a side" -- it's not mutual disarmament, it's disarming one side of the coin only.

Pair this with a rules change and I think we're golden... but absent a change on the Senate side, it's just emboldened BOTH parties to make things worse whenever the WH is occupied by someone from the opposite party (which, of course, is always true for at least some subset of senators).
   2534. CrosbyBird Posted: January 25, 2013 at 03:28 PM (#4355016)
Well, HBO has really managed to remain so successful in a media world that has expanded beyond cable distribution by becoming really good at creating its own original programming. Even minus carrier fees/however it gets worked -- HBO is still wrangling like $13 per month from the millions who subscribe to it.... and even though it's become pointless to have HBO for the movies, you aren't going to get Sopranos, GoT, Deadwood, Sex in the City, et al without subscribing to HBO (or buying/renting the dvds, which they're still getting their cut of).

The premium channels are starting to figure it out, though. My HBO subscription comes with HBO GO, which lets me log into my account from pretty much any mobile device. I can go to a friend's house and use a computer, PS3, or XBox to connect to all of my content. I can watch pretty much every episode of each series they produced in the past ten years or so on my phone.

I don't have a Netflix account in large part because I can get a lot of the content through free services (like the network websites themselves) or through services I'm already paying for, but I'm grateful for how they drove the industry to change. I'm pretty sure that someone would have done it eventually, though. The movie industry seems to have figured it out; make the content cheap and accessible enough that there's very little incentive to just download it.
   2535. DJS and the Infinite Sadness Posted: January 25, 2013 at 03:38 PM (#4355023)
I have to admit to still being a little disappointed we didn't get the ne plus ultra wacky scenario in November.

- Electoral College Tie
- House Slightly Democratic, Republicans With More Total State Delegations
- 50/50 Senate

So, then the Romney's elected president by the House.

But, there's disagreement over whether the sitting vice-president can break the tie for this purpose in the Senate.

So if there's a deadlock and the VP gets to break the vote, Biden votes for himself and we get a Romney/Biden presidency.

If the VP cannot, then we have a deadlock and until either a Democrat votes for Ryan or a Republican votes for Biden, Nancy Pelosi is the acting president of the United States.

So presumably, some number of Republicans would need to vote for Biden to be VP, because a Romney/Biden presidency is better than leaving Pelosi acting president. But some unknown number of Democrats may try to balance it out and vote for Ryan, in order to cancel out the Biden votes evenly, to keep Pelosi acting president.

You know what would break? The internet.
   2536. zonk Posted: January 25, 2013 at 03:41 PM (#4355026)

The premium channels are starting to figure it out, though. My HBO subscription comes with HBO GO, which lets me log into my account from pretty much any mobile device. I can go to a friend's house and use a computer, PS3, or XBox to connect to all of my content. I can watch pretty much every episode of each series they produced in the past ten years or so on my phone.

I don't have a Netflix account in large part because I can get a lot of the content through free services (like the network websites themselves) or through services I'm already paying for, but I'm grateful for how they drove the industry to change. I'm pretty sure that someone would have done it eventually, though. The movie industry seems to have figured it out; make the content cheap and accessible enough that there's very little incentive to just download it.


Oh sure - I didn't mean to imply that HBO was tied to the old distribution model -- just that they learned to move beyond it in a way that netflix is trying to replicate (i.e., we need to develop our own content which has value).

The interesting thing, though -- you have to be a Cable subscriber to have HBO GO.... You can't just become an app/streaming only HBO subscriber. They've actually been upfront about this -- that they're just not interested in creating a separate service model where you could 'buy' the HBO Go app and subscribe to them independent of a carrier.

I think that's a smart move, personally... keeps them wholly out of the distribution and bandwith wars - and let's them just force someone else to take that risk, with HBO getting paid regardless of winners and losers.
   2537. Mefisto Posted: January 25, 2013 at 03:43 PM (#4355027)
if this is correct, this decision limits the recess appointment power only to recesses that occur every two years, when one congress adjourns and before the next one is opened.


Yes, and as a practical matter, Congress adjourns on Jan. 3 and the new Congress opens on Jan. 4. So a true "recess" under the decision occurs on exactly one day. The existing officer must resign on that day and the new appointment must be made on that day.
   2538. CrosbyBird Posted: January 25, 2013 at 03:53 PM (#4355035)
I think it's the other way around. Their DVD inventory is the only real asset they have. Attempting to spin it off and focus only on streaming was a foolish move.

Stuff like this reminds me of how different my priorities are from some people. The idea of having to decide what I want to want two or three days before I can watch it is a complete deal-breaker for me. I don't think I'd use the DVD service even if it were offered for free.

From my perspective, the move to separate the two services seemed pretty savvy. You had two products that served customers with very little overlap; most people that used the streaming video weren't the same people that used the mail service. Splitting the service allowed them to drop the price point and remain competitive in both markets.
   2539. zonk Posted: January 25, 2013 at 04:00 PM (#4355039)
On one hand - as compression, bandwith, and such shrink - I like the idea of streaming media... Of course, that brings up the whole 'cloud' (which stands for Can't Let You Own Data!) thing, which I hate...

Clouds have their use and purpose - but given that I can literally have a portable terabyte of storage in something the size of a wallet - or gigs the size of a keychain, I absolutely HATE the idea of continually paying someone eternally to store something I have plenty of room to store myself.

Yeah, yeah - I get the mobility and shared aspect... but this is totally doable on a local level, without someone charging you a monthly fee to keep the actual data.

Or - to put it another way - I suppose I might pay for a sort of hybrid network router, but that's not what a Cloud is really charging you for... they're storing your data, and they don't really even control the accessibility -- the provider (be it a mobile provider via 4g/lte, wifi, or whatever ISP is).
   2540. CrosbyBird Posted: January 25, 2013 at 04:07 PM (#4355047)
The interesting thing, though -- you have to be a Cable subscriber to have HBO GO.... You can't just become an app/streaming only HBO subscriber. They've actually been upfront about this -- that they're just not interested in creating a separate service model where you could 'buy' the HBO Go app and subscribe to them independent of a carrier.

I think that's a smart move, personally... keeps them wholly out of the distribution and bandwith wars - and let's them just force someone else to take that risk, with HBO getting paid regardless of winners and losers.


I agree, especially since HBO essentially has a monopoly on their original content, and there's heavy competition for service provision. Not to mention that there's practically no service issues for HBO right now; that's a giant savings in an area that is pretty much all cost and no profit.

It's better for us as consumers too. I don't want to call sixteen different companies for service on sixteen different channels.
   2541. Slivers of Maranville descends into chaos (SdeB) Posted: January 25, 2013 at 04:08 PM (#4355049)

Stuff like this reminds me of how different my priorities are from some people. The idea of having to decide what I want to want two or three days before I can watch it is a complete deal-breaker for me. I don't think I'd use the DVD service even if it were offered for free.


I use both; there are a huge number of shows and movies simply unavailable via streaming, including about 80% of what I want to watch. The Simpsons, Wild Wild West, even something like Barney Miller.

From my perspective, the move to separate the two services seemed pretty savvy. You had two products that served customers with very little overlap; most people that used the streaming video weren't the same people that used the mail service. Splitting the service allowed them to drop the price point and remain competitive in both markets.


Streaming is always going to be a low-margin business. There are multiple services and the content providers have all the leverage. In contrast, the only competitors to the DVD business are video stores like Blockbuster, which are a dying breed.
   2542. DJS and the Infinite Sadness Posted: January 25, 2013 at 04:13 PM (#4355052)
I don't like the cloud either. My various active computers (my laptop, my main PC, my saber PC, and my media server) and external hard drives have 30 TB of space between them, so I can stream anything I want locally to any TV in the house.

My important files, I keep on my hard drive, on my external hard drive, on physical media, on an encrypted flash drive in a safe-deposit box in a bank, and on an encrypted flash drive hidden in a state park.

I'm not making up the last one.
   2543. CrosbyBird Posted: January 25, 2013 at 04:17 PM (#4355054)
Clouds have their use and purpose - but given that I can literally have a portable terabyte of storage in something the size of a wallet - or gigs the size of a keychain, I absolutely HATE the idea of continually paying someone eternally to store something I have plenty of room to store myself.

Yeah, yeah - I get the mobility and shared aspect... but this is totally doable on a local level, without someone charging you a monthly fee to keep the actual data.


Sure, you could share all of your media from your home to any mobile device, but then you need to do all of the work yourself (or trust that the applications that do it for you aren't exposing you to risk). I'm not a user of the cloud because there's nothing I need on-demand outside my house than I can't drop on a thumb drive or transfer to my laptop. I think it's more appropriate to have a lot of data in the cloud that you pay to access, as opposed to data you own that you pay to store there.

I really don't mind if we shift our idea of media from ownership to access, but I don't want to pay ownership prices for access rights. If you take away my ability to switch providers or to easily sell what I purchased, then the value of your product to me has dropped.
   2544. Biff, highly-regarded young guy Posted: January 25, 2013 at 04:26 PM (#4355060)
From my perspective, the move to separate the two services seemed pretty savvy. You had two products that served customers with very little overlap; most people that used the streaming video weren't the same people that used the mail service. Splitting the service allowed them to drop the price point and remain competitive in both markets.

I used both until the split. I obviously prefer streaming for the convenience but not everything is available on streaming. After the split, I dropped the mail-by-DVD service, which I assume works out for Netflix. They'd rather have me pay $7.99/month for just streaming than the $9.99/month for streaming plus one DVD that I had been paying.
   2545. CrosbyBird Posted: January 25, 2013 at 04:31 PM (#4355062)
In contrast, the only competitors to the DVD business are video stores like Blockbuster, which are a dying breed.

That's the point. Small-storage physical media is dying because it's so inefficient, and it will continue to die as more and more media is produced in a digital world, especially as the technology gets better. Why do I want a physical disk, where the content is stuck, that requires me to purchase another device to play it, when my television is already capable of displaying the content through the network?

If you're one of those people that wants to have physical possession of your stuff, storage is getting so cheap. You can probably fit around 70 Blu-ray movies on a 2 TB hard drive that takes up the same physical space as two or three movies on the shelf, and you can search and sort far more effectively on the hard drive. You can buy a 256GB thumb drive right now.
   2546. Fred Lynn Nolan Ryan Sweeney Agonistes Posted: January 25, 2013 at 04:32 PM (#4355063)
Making recess appointments is one of the President's explicit Constitutional powers.

So is issuing pardons and commutations, and Obama's shaping up to be the least merciful President in that area since George Washington.
   2547. Jolly Old St. Nick Is A Jolly Old St. Crip Posted: January 25, 2013 at 04:35 PM (#4355064)
From my perspective, the move to separate the two services seemed pretty savvy. You had two products that served customers with very little overlap; most people that used the streaming video weren't the same people that used the mail service. Splitting the service allowed them to drop the price point and remain competitive in both markets.


I used both until the split. I obviously prefer streaming for the convenience but not everything is available on streaming. After the split, I dropped the mail-by-DVD service, which I assume works out for Netflix. They'd rather have me pay $7.99/month for just streaming than the $9.99/month for streaming plus one DVD that I had been paying.

I'm glad they split, but for the opposite reason. I get maybe 4 to 8 DVDs a month from Netflix and stream almost nothing, since I don't like watching movies on a small screen and their streaming selection is geared towards recent movies that I don't give a #### about. Their DVD selection isn't the world's greatest, but for me it's good for getting some older, foreign and silent films without having to wait for TCM to show them. What we really could use is a TCM for foreign films.
   2548. Ron J2 Posted: January 25, 2013 at 04:35 PM (#4355065)
WWSD (What Would Sherman Do)?


I think the "burn Atlanta" (yes, I know the full story) would get support from other parts of the state.

   2549. bunyon Posted: January 25, 2013 at 04:37 PM (#4355067)
I assumed one was just making the gun, and then buying bullets.

EDIT: Or what zonk said.


Ah, okay. Then what's the big deal? I could own 5000 AK-47, or a couple of howitzers, and if I don't have ammo, I'm harmless. Look! I can print out a 50 round magazine! If only I had a bullet!

If self-printed weapons become widely available, my guess is massive regulation/control of ammo follows quickly.
   2550. Tripon Posted: January 25, 2013 at 04:41 PM (#4355068)

Ah, okay. Then what's the big deal? I could own 5000 AK-47, or a couple of howitzers, and if I don't have ammo, I'm harmless. Look! I can print out a 50 round magazine! If only I had a bullet!

If self-printed weapons become widely available, my guess is massive regulation/control of ammo follows quickly.


The Chris Young argument. Let people buy whatever guns they want. Just make bullets cost $1000 per round.
   2551. Fancy Pants Handles lap changes with class Posted: January 25, 2013 at 04:44 PM (#4355070)
My important files, I keep on my hard drive, on my external hard drive, on physical media, on an encrypted flash drive in a safe-deposit box in a bank, and on an encrypted flash drive hidden in a state park.

I'm not making up the last one.

There's paranoid, and then there is that.
   2552. bunyon Posted: January 25, 2013 at 04:49 PM (#4355073)
and stream almost nothing, since I don't like watching movies on a small screen

Plug your TV into your computer.
   2553. Tripon Posted: January 25, 2013 at 05:02 PM (#4355084)
Edit: Chris Rock, not Chris YOung
   2554. Tripon Posted: January 25, 2013 at 05:04 PM (#4355086)

Plug your TV into your computer.


Other way around. :) If all you care about is streaming from Netflix, and the like, I would get a roku. I'd wait off buying a PS3/X-box right now since the next generation is coming by the lastest in 2014.

I'd only get a Wii U if I wanted Nintendo games. (And I have one.)
   2555. Jolly Old St. Nick Is A Jolly Old St. Crip Posted: January 25, 2013 at 05:13 PM (#4355090)
and stream almost nothing, since I don't like watching movies on a small screen

Plug your TV into your computer.


They're in two separate rooms on two different levels that would require a very long cord to connect them. But more than that, there's almost nothing I've noticed available for streaming that I can't get somewhere else, either on TCM or YouTube, whereas on Netflix 90% of the movies I've rented are available on DVD only. I just don't see any real value to adding the streaming option.
   2556. zonk Posted: January 25, 2013 at 05:23 PM (#4355093)

That's the point. Small-storage physical media is dying because it's so inefficient, and it will continue to die as more and more media is produced in a digital world, especially as the technology gets better. Why do I want a physical disk, where the content is stuck, that requires me to purchase another device to play it, when my television is already capable of displaying the content through the network?

If you're one of those people that wants to have physical possession of your stuff, storage is getting so cheap. You can probably fit around 70 Blu-ray movies on a 2 TB hard drive that takes up the same physical space as two or three movies on the shelf, and you can search and sort far more effectively on the hard drive. You can buy a 256GB thumb drive right now.


The point, though -- is I hate paying for something continually if I can plunk down a one-time payment to have it forever. It's like paying rental on a storage locker when I have an empty closet that can EASILY store everything in that locker.

Connectivity/access is another matter -- it's not really feasible for me to run my own broad network (home networks are another matter - there - clouds are completely worthless and pointless... I can be my own cloud in a local network environment).

Consequently -- right now, I accept that I do have to pay someone to provide the roads/access to data, whenever it's stored external and I'm not within range of my own local network.

That said, though -- I haven't played/attempted to do it much because there's simply not a lot of data that I need 'away from home' that I can't store locally (i.e., even my on my 'little' 32 gig iphone, I've got all the music library I really need) -- but I'm willing to bet that it would be a relative piece of cake for me to enable my home device to serve as my storage and I could just layer into remotely.
   2557. zenbitz Posted: January 25, 2013 at 05:24 PM (#4355094)
All the columnists and financial tv yakkers tell me that borrowing money from your 401k still makes you worse than hitler.


It was a no brainer for us because I used it to pay off a 2nd mortgage that was about to balloon. Now I pay myself $400/month at 5% interest for 6 years!
   2558. DJS and the Infinite Sadness Posted: January 25, 2013 at 05:29 PM (#4355098)
There's paranoid, and then there is that.

Security's a good place to over-engineer.
   2559. Slivers of Maranville descends into chaos (SdeB) Posted: January 25, 2013 at 05:38 PM (#4355106)

That's the point. Small-storage physical media is dying because it's so inefficient, and it will continue to die as more and more media is produced in a digital world, especially as the technology gets better. Why do I want a physical disk, where the content is stuck, that requires me to purchase another device to play it, when my television is already capable of displaying the content through the network?


Right, but it's better to die slowly than die quickly.
   2560. Steve Treder Posted: January 25, 2013 at 05:39 PM (#4355107)
Security's a good place to over-engineer.


Best in which voice:

1) Clint Eastwood

2) Donald Rumsfeld

3) Homer Simpson

?
   2561. Misirlou's been working for the drug squad Posted: January 25, 2013 at 05:43 PM (#4355115)
Best in which voice:

1) Clint Eastwood

2) Donald Rumsfeld

3) Homer Simpson

?


Woody Allen
   2562. spike Posted: January 25, 2013 at 06:22 PM (#4355147)
Wilford Brimley
   2563. formerly dp Posted: January 25, 2013 at 06:54 PM (#4355160)
The interesting thing, though -- you have to be a Cable subscriber to have HBO GO.... You can't just become an app/streaming only HBO subscriber. They've actually been upfront about this -- that they're just not interested in creating a separate service model where you could 'buy' the HBO Go app and subscribe to them independent of a carrier.

Right now, the service providers handle all of their billing for them-- HBO is simply not set up for it, and they have no interest in taking over that aspect of the business. I know that sounds like a minor thing, but going around the service providers would have the effect of biting the hand that feeds them (the service providers) for not too much of a gain, while requiring HBO to establish a payment processing infrastructure that they don't really feel like developing. The people without cable willing to pay for a Go subscription are very vocal, but not very plentiful-- or at least that's how they're regarded by HBO. This also means the service providers are here to stay, at least for now, because they're keeping some content exclusive/expensive (FX has pulled out of Hulu for the most part, ect).

Especially with the death of unlimited data plans, I am also not a fan of the cloud. On a related note, I just downloaded some Steam games to my work computer, and they were coming in at 5 MB/s. So I don't mind the cloud on campus, as long as I'm hard-wired. Our wi-fi is insanely lacking in capacity and coverage-- which I think is the rule, rather than the exception at a lot of campuses, and one of the reasons students seem slow to jump on the cloud train.
   2564. The Chronicles of Reddick Posted: January 25, 2013 at 07:02 PM (#4355166)
1) Clint Eastwood

2) Donald Rumsfeld

3) Homer Simpson

?



Helen Mirren?
   2565. Steve Treder Posted: January 25, 2013 at 07:20 PM (#4355178)
Helen Mirren?

Linda Hunt
   2566. Greg K Posted: January 25, 2013 at 08:12 PM (#4355200)
The premium channels are starting to figure it out, though. My HBO subscription comes with HBO GO, which lets me log into my account from pretty much any mobile device. I can go to a friend's hohe use and use a computer, PS3, or XBox to connect to all of my content. I can watch pretty much every episode of each series they produced in the past ten years or so on my phone.

Sky GO (which I suppose is the same as HBO GO), works great for me. I essentially use it to watch Game of Thrones. So I activate my account in March, pay a monthly fee of £10 or whatever it is, watch the show on my computer, then de-activate it in May. Rinse and repeat next year.

I also subscribe to LoveFilm (the UK equivalent of Netflix, though we have Netflix here now too). The DVD by mail and streaming stuff is still packaged together, so I have 3 DVDs at any given time, and stream mostly TV shows. I like that set up in that I treat the DVD rentals like a massive collection on shuffle. I'm passive to the point of paralysis, so I enjoy not making a decision. I just feed into the system a list of hundreds of movies and get to be surprised when the mail arrives. Though clearly it's not entirely random, they gave me the Godfather earlier this week, then the Godfather Part II in the next delivery. I suppose you guys haven't heard of those ones either!
   2567. BDC Posted: January 25, 2013 at 08:24 PM (#4355206)
With the advent of so many streaming/on-demand/cloud/etc. options, DVDs are getting cheaper and cheaper. So are CDs, for that matter. I think there's going to be a nice window in the next few years for me to buy every dang film or piece of music I ever wanted in media that will outlive me and cannot collapse along with a server somewhere, that is likely to have functioning players until I buy the farm, and that is hard for me to demagnetize or wash in a pants pocket. It's true that storage of discs is inefficient, but it's not like even a few hundred of them are exactly enormous. I love owning entire runs of TV shows on discs.

If you're a lot younger (I'm 54), YM will certainly V. Though at that, vinyl was around before I was born, and there are lots of people older than me who are delighted today that they never sold off their collections of records.

Another angle (and more relevant) is just to say that there will probably be a market for a big-stock DVD rental supplier for a long time to come. It's just that that supplier, Netflix or whoever, won't be strangling the entire media world in exponentially more lethal ways, the way the stock market prefers large corporations to do.
   2568. Greg K Posted: January 25, 2013 at 08:24 PM (#4355207)
I only know Molly Parker from "Deadwood" and she is ok.

You're forgetting Men with Brooms, which I know all of you have seen. I mean, come on, it's easily in the discussion for top 10 movies about curling made in the past fifteen years.
   2569. Never Give an Inge (Dave) Posted: January 25, 2013 at 08:40 PM (#4355213)

Netflix streaming is great for t.v. shows, especially for someone like me who rarely has time to regularly watch shows in primetime. They have a fantastic selection. On the other hand, their movie selection is pretty terrible.
   2570. Jack Carter, calling Beleaguered Castle Posted: January 25, 2013 at 09:34 PM (#4355225)
You can buy a 256GB thumb drive right now.

This seems like a pretty tech savvy bunch, but every so often a development occurs that blows my mind a little bit. Cell phones didn't faze me at all, perhaps because of their appearance in Star Trek when I was a kid, but this kind of capacity on a key chain staggers me a little. Maybe because for so long (in tech terms) everything was getting more and more closely packed into the space of hard drvies a thumb drive seems like it's skipping a step... I'm going to get a kick out of 'laptops' in five years that are nothing more than key chains you set on a table top and that project a usable keyboard and active computer screen at ninety degree angles, all created by light projection.

On the other hand, their movie selection is pretty terrible.


Yup. Padding with Hong Kong police procedurals is pretty unimpressive.
   2571. Jolly Old St. Nick Is A Jolly Old St. Crip Posted: January 25, 2013 at 09:51 PM (#4355232)
With the advent of so many streaming/on-demand/cloud/etc. options, DVDs are getting cheaper and cheaper. So are CDs, for that matter. I think there's going to be a nice window in the next few years for me to buy every dang film or piece of music I ever wanted in media that will outlive me and cannot collapse along with a server somewhere, that is likely to have functioning players until I buy the farm, and that is hard for me to demagnetize or wash in a pants pocket.

To that I'd add the advantages of dead tree books over kindles, though there you have to weigh aesthetics vs storage space. But for the average book, if you're willing to wait a year or two, the average price of a printed book is lower than the corresponding price of the electronic version. Not to mention that there's zero resale value in the case of the latter.

It's true that storage of discs is inefficient, but it's not like even a few hundred of them are exactly enormous. I love owning entire runs of TV shows on discs.

Well, if you live in a broom closet, I can see the storage problem, but right now I've got over 3000 movies on DVDs stored in about 7 cubic ft. of space, completely out of sight but accessible within less than a minute.

If you're a lot younger (I'm 54), YM will certainly V. Though at that, vinyl was around before I was born, and there are lots of people older than me who are delighted today that they never sold off their collections of records.

I've got about 1200 vintage R&B 45s and about 200 jazz & classical CDs, but I admit it's easier to just find them all on YouTube or turn on WPFW or WETA whenever I want to listen to music. If I had to start all over I doubt if I'd bother to replace most of what I own now.
   2572. Jolly Old St. Nick Is A Jolly Old St. Crip Posted: January 25, 2013 at 09:58 PM (#4355234)
Netflix streaming is great for t.v. shows, especially for someone like me who rarely has time to regularly watch shows in primetime. They have a fantastic selection. On the other hand, their movie selection is pretty terrible.

Their streaming selection is pretty lame, but their DVD library isn't really that bad. It all depends on what sort of movie genres you like, and whether you can live with the relative slowness of the mail, but (for example) I've yet to look for a film from the Criterion Collection that they couldn't provide. They're not great for recent foreign and indie movies, but for $8.47 a month you can't have everything.
   2573. Jack Carter, calling Beleaguered Castle Posted: January 25, 2013 at 10:28 PM (#4355243)
To that I'd add the advantages of dead tree books over kindles, though there you have to weigh aesthetics vs storage space. But for the average book, if you're willing to wait a year or two, the average price of a printed book is lower than the corresponding price of the electronic version. Not to mention that there's zero resale value in the case of the latter.



Given how the net has caused the price of ordinary books to plummet, and given the hassle of selling the occasional book over the net, I think the resale value of the average printed book is a moot point. When a friend passed he left me about 600 books, mostly on literary criticism and the like. A dealer stopped by the house and wanted to cherry pick a couple of boxes worth, for which he would have given me a couple of hundred dollars. A lot of the titles go for $10 or so on abebooks, and I suppose if I wanted to go through the trouble of inventorying, entering, and storing them, answering inquiries, packing the books, shipping them... I might be able to turn a profit. Even the local library doesn't want them as a donation more than a week ahead of their next annual book sale. Ten months from now. What a pain in the ass paper books are.
   2574. Commissioner Bud Black Beltre Hillman Posted: January 25, 2013 at 10:34 PM (#4355252)
I've got about 1200 vintage R&B 45s and about 200 jazz & classical CDs, but I admit it's easier to just find them all on YouTube or turn on WPFW or WETA whenever I want to listen to music. If I had to start all over I doubt if I'd bother to replace most of what I own now.
Vinyl + MP3 download is fantastic, gives you the aesthetic value of the actual LP plus portability. Its not always offered, but most indie labels do for new releases, and LPs with a free download are practically all I buy anymore. Its obviously not an option for used vinyl, but I've seen it on a numberof reissues.
   2575. BDC Posted: January 25, 2013 at 10:36 PM (#4355254)
What a pain in the ass paper books are

In the short run, I agree, being in the process of moving several hundred books that nobody wants out of my overcrowded office.

In the long run – I know that somebody's going to be able to pick up whichever of those books survive to 2113 and read it exactly as I'm reading it today. I am really not sure about e-books. There is something to be said for a format that has been stable for over 1,500 years.
   2576. BDC Posted: January 25, 2013 at 10:41 PM (#4355256)
They're not great for recent foreign and indie movies

Who's better, though? I tried Facets for harder-to-find things awhile back, but their service is lousy by comparison to Netflix.

I do worry from time to time about things falling through the cracks of various media. (Ah, the worries I have.) A film I should see and never have is The Set-Up, with Robert Ryan, for instance. It plummeted recently from #8 or 9 in my Netflix queue down into the bottom where basically you have no hope of ever seeing it. What happens in such cases? DVD out of print and all the Netflix copies lost? OTOH there are 60 of them on sale at Amazon from $2.39 apiece, so I reckon this is a moment when I should follow my own advice in #2567 and just buy the damn thing.
   2577. Jack Carter, calling Beleaguered Castle Posted: January 25, 2013 at 10:51 PM (#4355260)
I missed the opportunity to comment on this gem (clearly I need less life and more web time), but darn it I want to.

First of all it is a classic JoeK comment. You will note he is not defending the GOP plans, not talking about the principles behind it or anything like it. He is attacking the people criticizing the GOP proposal. If he had a principle he wanted to talk about then that could be discussed, but he is not interested in that.

So discussing the merits of the GOP propsal is irrelevent to Joe's case. Anyone against the GOP is bad and should be attacked, and the discussion staying on those grounds works for him.

All that aside, it is an obvious power grab by the GOP, but a fairly clever one and clearly within the EC rules. How much (if any) backlash there would be either before or after an election with these rules in place is not clear to me. How many partisan Joe's are there, versus folks who are conservative but still have a sense of fair play and can see a power grab and wouldn't like it?

.......



What's Joe's deal, anyway? You'd think with all the random energy and the relentless ability to be wrong on every conceivable issue along with a special willingness to pervert honesty, integrity, and the rules of argumentation in the service of partisan crap, he'd be a hit on the interwebs; a star of his own blog with at least a cult following, and maybe more. He strikes me as one of those magical people who are actually unable to smell their own bullshit.

Does he think without his endless, stupid distractions the lefties here will solve the problem of universal health care?

One real advantage to the proposals in Virginia and Wisconsin would be that it would limit the amount of fraud that takes place in the inner cities that illegally inflates the Democratic vote by tens of thousands. The fact that this is allowed to happen is still a crime that needs to be prosecuted, but with the changes to the Electoral College voting, the corruption of one district won't completely tarnish the votes of the entire state. You still have the problem with the single district (or more depending on the size of the state), but these corrupt areas will no longer be able to illegally influence the vote in districts that properly vote.


Did we get a link for this bit of business yet?

   2578. Jack Carter, calling Beleaguered Castle Posted: January 25, 2013 at 10:57 PM (#4355261)
@2575: oh, sure. I generally agree. It's just right now those titles and another lot are a genuine pain in the ass. Btw, do you know how kindle and the like handle oversized books? A lot of what I read are architecture and design texts, along with blueprints and specs. Seeing and reading on a small screen would be a nightmare. Is there an oversize version of an e-book reader available?
   2579. BDC Posted: January 25, 2013 at 11:28 PM (#4355277)
Btw, do you know how kindle and the like handle oversized books? A lot of what I read are architecture and design texts, along with blueprints and specs. Seeing and reading on a small screen would be a nightmare. Is there an oversize version of an e-book reader available?

My only knowledge is second-hand, from others who use these devices. But I've heard a lot of complaints about the rendering of graphics in Kindle books. Many college textbooks are going to iPad or other tablet formats - a student today showed me an iPad app for astronomy courses that is wonderful (it's self-orienting as you hold it over your head against the night sky, and pans to represent a swath of the sky as you move it). Amazingly better than the paper charts remember from college, naturally. And probably a lot better than their Kindle equivalents, too.
   2580. Jack Carter, calling Beleaguered Castle Posted: January 25, 2013 at 11:46 PM (#4355287)
Thanks, BDC, I'll look into that. In the astonomy app you mentioned, is it the kind of thing where you enter the date, time, and your location, and the night sky appears on the screen with the names of the stars and so forth?
   2581. Randy Jones Posted: January 25, 2013 at 11:48 PM (#4355289)
Google Sky Maps. Been around for Android for years. It uses the phone/tablet's location service, you don't enter anything.
   2582. Jack Carter, calling Beleaguered Castle Posted: January 25, 2013 at 11:57 PM (#4355296)
Sounds fantastic, and I'd never heard of it. Thanks!
   2583. Jack Carter, calling Beleaguered Castle Posted: January 26, 2013 at 12:05 AM (#4355300)
While the EC is a pointless anachronism, I don't think I'd take to the streets if states were divided up according to Congressional districts as long as those districts were fairly apportioned.

It would be just a larger scale version of Maine and Nebraska's idiosyncracies in that regard, which I don't think anyone sees as partisan manipulations of the process, but only more American electoral weirdness.

Forget Civil War II scenarios - there's really no way for that to actually happen. But what if there were an election in which the D presidential candidate won the popular vote with a 9%-10% margin but the EC went the other way because of shenanigans - shenanigans so obvious that everyone has to notice? Urban riots, maybe. Huge demonstrations, for sure. Americans don't really do general strikes, do they? And maybe the demonstrations die out, but what if they don't, and they're held together with a demand that the R candidate resign before ever assuming office? (Or a demand that the EC, if it hasn't voted yet, "honor the will of the people.") This would be new territory, and it's not military force that would matter.


I don't know how your scenario would happen in practice. I mean, the 2000 Presidential election was clearly stolen, but nothing happened. (It's not that it was clear Gore would have won if every vote had been counted--it's just that it was clear that the process was stopped at a wholly arbitrary point, and that solely happened in order to select Bush as the winner. I would have loved to have seen one of four justices [all four, actually] resign from the Court after that decision.)

In what you describe, I don't see any way for a 9-10 point Dem pop vote win to end with a Republican President as any kind of surprise. The news would have been abuzz for months if not years ahead of time over exactly that possibility. Are you suggesting that the Pubs might push something through like their current EC plan, in a half dozen states; judicial appeals fail, the Supreme Court turns the Dems down 5 to 4, then even though everyone knows it might be coming, HRC beats Bobby Jindal 54%-45% but loses the EC by something like 271-267?
   2584. Jolly Old St. Nick Is A Jolly Old St. Crip Posted: January 26, 2013 at 12:13 AM (#4355302)
Given how the net has caused the price of ordinary books to plummet, and given the hassle of selling the occasional book over the net, I think the resale value of the average printed book is a moot point. When a friend passed he left me about 600 books, mostly on literary criticism and the like. A dealer stopped by the house and wanted to cherry pick a couple of boxes worth, for which he would have given me a couple of hundred dollars. A lot of the titles go for $10 or so on abebooks, and I suppose if I wanted to go through the trouble of inventorying, entering, and storing them, answering inquiries, packing the books, shipping them... I might be able to turn a profit. Even the local library doesn't want them as a donation more than a week ahead of their next annual book sale. Ten months from now. What a pain in the ass paper books are.

All that depends on the books in question, since there are tens of thousands of books which are worth a lot more than either the original or the current list price, not to mention the price that you can pick up most books at a year or two after publication. But it's true that if you value books only for the "information", then the space problem can override all other considerations.

------------------------------------------------------

[Netflix isn't] great for recent foreign and indie movies

Who's better, though? I tried Facets for harder-to-find things awhile back, but their service is lousy by comparison to Netflix
.

Hard to say if anything's better than Netflix, and I actually find their overall selection of DVDs to be quite good. For recent foreign and indie movies about all I can think of is patience.

I do worry from time to time about things falling through the cracks of various media. (Ah, the worries I have.) A film I should see and never have is The Set-Up, with Robert Ryan, for instance. It plummeted recently from #8 or 9 in my Netflix queue down into the bottom where basically you have no hope of ever seeing it. What happens in such cases? DVD out of print and all the Netflix copies lost? OTOH there are 60 of them on sale at Amazon from $2.39 apiece, so I reckon this is a moment when I should follow my own advice in #2567 and just buy the damn thing.

FWIW The Set-Up plays on TCM anywhere between once and three times a year,** so it shouldn't be hard to record and watch. But whether you go that route or just buy a copy off Amazon, it's more than worth the money, given that it's easily among the half dozen best sports films ever made, and arguably only behind Raging Bull and The Wrestler. Robert Ryan was a collegiate boxing champion, and even at 39 he still gave a hell of a performance as an over the hill fighter.

**If you like movies like The Set-Up, the $12.95 you pay for a year's subscription to TCM's program guide may be the best entertainment investment you'll ever make.
   2585. Tripon Posted: January 26, 2013 at 12:16 AM (#4355303)

[Netflix isn't] great for recent foreign and indie movies

Who's better, though? I tried Facets for harder-to-find things awhile back, but their service is lousy by comparison to Netflix.


Hulu has the Criterion Collection. A collection of the best foreign films by the best foreign directors. My roommate swears by it. Its one of Hulu Plus' main draws.
   2586. Jolly Old St. Nick Is A Jolly Old St. Crip Posted: January 26, 2013 at 12:21 AM (#4355305)
While the EC is a pointless anachronism, I don't think I'd take to the streets if states were divided up according to Congressional districts as long as those districts were fairly apportioned.

It would be just a larger scale version of Maine and Nebraska's idiosyncracies in that regard, which I don't think anyone sees as partisan manipulations of the process, but only more American electoral weirdness.


The problem with dividing it up according to congressional districts is that unless you eliminated the two extra EC votes per state, the rural states would cumulatively have way more power than they deserve by population. At least with the winner takes all system, that advantage gets somewhat negated by the fact that in close elections in swing states, the urban voters can tip the balance.

The other problem is that partisan gerrymandering is so ubiquitous, and so subject to partisan interpretations by partisan courts, that allocating EC votes according to congressional districts would inevitably wind up being tilted in favor of whichever party controlled the most statehouses in the legislative sessions immediately following the latest census. Right now it favors the Republicans, but since they're overplaying their hand to the max, they shouldn't expect the Democrats to do them any favors in 2021 if the 2020 election puts them in control.
   2587. Jack Carter, calling Beleaguered Castle Posted: January 26, 2013 at 12:22 AM (#4355307)
To continue from 2583, it's an interesting possibility--everything (probably) would depend on what Democratic politicians did. People get too much out of business as usual to stay on the streets or away from jobs for very long. Black congressional reps failed in their attempts to formally protest the 2000 election because not one Dem Senator had the guts to support their objection.

I'm not at all convinced Democrats in Congress would do anything significant, even in the case of blatant electoral theft. They'd use it only to bargain for increased power for themselves, as they did in 2000 when Democratic Senate leader Tom Daschle sold off Dem rights to protest to Republican Senate leader Trent Lott for he sake of sharing equally in committee seats and congressional staff positions in the newly organized Senate.

   2588. Jolly Old St. Nick Is A Jolly Old St. Crip Posted: January 26, 2013 at 12:25 AM (#4355308)
Hulu has the Criterion Collection. A collection of the best foreign films by the best foreign directors. My roommate swears by it. Its one of Hulu Plus' main draws.

Netflix also has the Criterion Collection in its DVD library. I've rented scores of those titles from Netflix over the past decade, whenever I get impatient with TCM's relatively meager selection of foreign movies. I'm not knocking Hulu, just mentioning this counterpoint.
   2589. Jolly Old St. Nick Is A Jolly Old St. Crip Posted: January 26, 2013 at 12:32 AM (#4355311)
I'm not at all convinced Democrats in Congress would do anything significant, even in the case of blatant electoral theft. They'd use it only to bargain for increased power for themselves, as they did in 2000 when Democratic Senate leader Tom Daschle sold off Dem rights to protest to Republican Senate leader Trent Lott for he sake of sharing equally in committee seats and congressional staff positions in the newly organized Senate.

You may be right, but I do think that the Dems have learned a lot since 2000, and in particular their social networking is a LOT better equipped to fight back now than it was then. If Gov. McDonnell signs that nice little bit of redistricting theft that the GOP pulled off in Virginia the other day, I guarantee that it'll come back to haunt them, as its blatantly racist impact becomes understood. Already some Republican governors are starting to back off on similar plans, even if the RNC still seems to think that they can get away with them---it's as if the RNC is taking up Kehoskie's "forget the changing demographics, let's just win more and more white votes" strategy.
   2590. Jack Carter, calling Beleaguered Castle Posted: January 26, 2013 at 12:34 AM (#4355313)
All that depends on the books in question, since there are tens of thousands of books which are worth a lot more than either the original or the current list price, not to mention the price that you can pick up most books at a year or two after publication.


Sure, but that's not what you were talking about in 2571. There you were referring to 'average' books, and so was I.

But it's true that if you value books only for the "information", then the space problem can override all other considerations.
I know no one who does this, but YMMV.

The problem with dividing it up according to congressional districts is that unless you eliminated the two extra EC votes per state, the rural states would cumulatively have way more power than they deserve by population. At least with the winner takes all system, that advantage gets somewhat negated by the fact that in close elections in swing states, the urban voters can tip the balance.


Sure, but we were talking about what would send people out into the streets; not what was ultimately fair. I agree the EC is a silly system for the specific reason you describe, and many more.

The other problem is that partisan gerrymandering is so ubiquitous, and so subject to partisan interpretations by partisan courts, that allocating EC votes according to congressional districts would inevitably wind up being tilted in favor of whichever party controlled the most statehouses in the legislative sessions immediately following the latest census. Right now it favors the Republicans, but since they're overplaying their hand to the max, they shouldn't expect the Democrats to do them any favors in 2021 if the 2020 election puts them in control.


That's an excellent summary of why we shouldn't even try to repair gerrymandering in order to more 'fairly' divide up the EC vote. No one (do they? How could they?) any longer thinks the judiciary is remotely impartial, so trusting the courts to better divvy up the districts is a fool's errand.

As for Dems playing hardball in return in 2021, I'm not so sure. Despite Republican abuse of the filibuster rules, I don't remotely expect Democrats to return the favor if they're in the minority after the next elections. Democrats take an incredibly long time to figure out they're being hosed then react in kind to it. Nature of the beasts, I guess.

   2591. Jack Carter, calling Beleaguered Castle Posted: January 26, 2013 at 12:39 AM (#4355314)
You may be right, but I do think that the Dems have learned a lot since 2000, and in particular their social networking is a LOT better equipped to fight back now than it was then. If Gov. McDonnell signs that nice little bit of redistricting theft that the GOP pulled off in Virginia the other day, I guarantee that it'll come back to haunt them, as its blatantly racist impact becomes understood. Already some Republican governors are starting to back off on similar plans, even if the RNC still seems to think that they can get away with them---it's as if the RNC is taking up Kehoskie's "forget the changing demographics, let's just win more and more white votes" strategy.


We can hope, yeah? Still, I can't help noticing the Republicans paid no price of any kind, incredibly enough, for stealing the 2000 election. If you don't pay a price for that...

I admit I'm a little surprised at the Republicans here and there (especially after going 20 for 20 within the GOP in Viriginia) who get out of lockstep and allow as how they won't be supporting the new EC theft plans. Those refusals as much as anything might be the key to breaking this latest plot.

Now, if Democrats would only get massively behind re-enfranchising people who have served their time, we could probably shove the GOP substantially to the left...

edit: "Netflix also has the Criterion Collection in its DVD library."

Yes!! Great stuff.
   2592. Delorians Posted: January 26, 2013 at 12:56 AM (#4355316)
What is the history behind why Maine and Nebraska apportion their EVs this way now?
   2593. Jolly Old St. Nick Is A Jolly Old St. Crip Posted: January 26, 2013 at 12:57 AM (#4355317)
All that depends on the books in question, since there are tens of thousands of books which are worth a lot more than either the original or the current list price, not to mention the price that you can pick up most books at a year or two after publication.

Sure, but that's not what you were talking about in 2571. There you were referring to 'average' books, and so was I.


Point taken. I was just trying to note that there are many exceptions to the general rule.

But it's true that if you value books only for the "information", then the space problem can override all other considerations.

I know no one who does this, but YMMV.


I've met many people like that, unfortunately. They'd pay $9.99 for an e-book copy of a Zora Neale Hurston novel over a first edition in dust jacket that was priced at $100.00, and think they were getting a relative bargain.

------------------------------------------

As for the GOP gerrymandering and the Democratic reaction: Let's wait and see. I could be wrong, but I think the days of the Democrats supplying vaseline to the Republicans are fast coming to an end, as the Republicans keep ratcheting up their Kehoskie strategy and thinking that's still a winning formula.

I know this: I gave equal amounts of money to the Dems in 2012 as I did in 2008, and the number of e-mail appeals I've been getting for (a) money, (b) petition signing, and (c) calls to mobilize are running ten times in number this month than they were in January 2009. I think that the operative year to remember is 2010 rather than 2000, and I think that more than ever the Dems are recognizing the true nature of the forces they're up against.
   2594. Joe Kehoskie Posted: January 26, 2013 at 03:21 AM (#4355339)
2266. Rickey is mourning zenbitz' passing Posted: January 22, 2013 at 11:09 PM (#4353044)

The American Case Against A Black Middle Class

I've been waiting to see if anyone would comment on this, but I guess this piece of drivel didn't even pass the lefties' laugh test. (Credit where credit is due, etc.)

In Ta-Nehisi's World, there's no achievement gap between whites and blacks. No wonder everything seems so unfair, and racism can be found lurking around every corner.
   2595. Jack Carter, calling Beleaguered Castle Posted: January 26, 2013 at 03:35 AM (#4355342)
@2593: I do agree with especially your last point. The rapid response teams the Obama campaign assembled for his 2008 and 2012 campaigns were impressive and extremely effective. As a whole I think he's created a model for Democratic success at the national level that will serve the party splendidly hereafter. There was nothing like them for the Kerry campaign in 2004, so it does seem the Dems do some learning.

I also think that for all its shortcomings, MSNBC (pretty clearly a gigantic arm of the Democratic party) has very, very successfully established itself as an effective counterweight to Fox. They have an impressive set of fact-checkers, far more so than Fox,and people I know in the industry, while acknowledging their obvious left-leaning, also recognize that MSNBC hews close to the facts. They have a nice range of commenters, and while the party line gets old fast, a pair of real thinkers in Hayes and Maddow and a master of Senate minutae and strategy in Lawrence O'Donnell. Fox doesn't have anyone like them, and the value of the network to the Democratic cause is impossible, imo, to overestimate. They're everything Air America was meant to be.

I still get a chuckle out of Joe thinking Bob Beckel at Fox was one of the pre-eminent liberal thinkers of our time.

I've met many people like that, unfortunately.


Yikes! One of my few regrets in doing a fair bit of moving around during my life is that it means I never established a huge library of paper books. There's nothing like leafing through, say, great art books, and even the best organized electronic libraries aren't the same, for me. A well-made book is a treasure, not just a collection of information.
   2596. Joe Kehoskie Posted: January 26, 2013 at 04:03 AM (#4355346)
I still get a chuckle out of Joe thinking Bob Beckel at Fox was one of the pre-eminent liberal thinkers of our time.

There's a big difference between "prominent" and "preeminent."

Bob Beckel is indeed a prominent liberal pundit, whether the lefties here want to admit it or not.
   2597. Jack Carter, calling Beleaguered Castle Posted: January 26, 2013 at 06:36 AM (#4355355)
What?

Seriously, Joe, you're the absolutely perfect Republican blogger. You're casting your pearls here before all manner of unappreciative lefty swine. Allow me to continue to encourage you to go forth and make a name for yourself as the righteous defender of all things good and white and pure. I mean it. You have everything it takes to succeed in that line of business, and it'd just have to be more rewarding than the reception you get in these parts.
   2598. Joe Kehoskie Posted: January 26, 2013 at 07:22 AM (#4355359)
What?

If the lefties here don't like Bob Beckel, that's fine — I'm no fan myself — but claiming that a guy who has, for years, appeared several times per week on the highest-rated shows on the highest-rated cable network and also has a column on the op-ed page of USA Today doesn't qualify as a "prominent" political pundit is beyond absurd. If Bob Beckel isn't a prominent political pundit, then Ken Rosenthal isn't a prominent baseball reporter. (I know the lefties here shield their eyes at the sight of Fox News, but it does exist, it is the No. 1 cable news network, and it's a major platform for the people who appear on it.)
   2599. Lassus Posted: January 26, 2013 at 08:20 AM (#4355365)
Beckel's a complete joke who provides plenty of embarrassment. Those are kinds of of prominence.
   2600. Jolly Old St. Nick Is A Jolly Old St. Crip Posted: January 26, 2013 at 08:49 AM (#4355367)
Yikes! One of my few regrets in doing a fair bit of moving around during my life is that it means I never established a huge library of paper books. There's nothing like leafing through, say, great art books, and even the best organized electronic libraries aren't the same, for me. A well-made book is a treasure, not just a collection of information.

I've always been a reader, but until my mid-30's I was either moving every year or two or on the road for one hustle or another, and didn't really appreciate that. But at this point it's almost impossible to describe what my personal library means to me on more levels than I can probably understand myself. I've got somewhere over 8000 books, and though the answer to the first question I always get ("Have you read all of these books?") is obviously "No", I can tell you where each of them came from, and how each of them fit(s) into history at the time it was written. IMO none of us is capable of fully understanding the world we've lived in, but much more than google or wiki or any of those sources (which I use many times a day), what I've absorbed from those books makes me feel a bit less like a complete idiot than I might have felt without them. And that more than makes up for the minor space problem.
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