With iTunes, Apple has thrown their weight around [Gasp!]

Investigators for the Department of Justice began asking questions about Apple’s business practices involving digital music at least three weeks ago, multiple music industry sources told CNET.

DOJ investigators have interviewed numerous executives at record companies and digital music stores and according to those with knowledge of the discussions, it is clear that investigators are interested in learning whether Apple has employed anticompetitive tactics.

The sources said that the department’s inquiry is just in a fact-finding stage and that there is nothing to indicate investigators have found any wrongdoing or would file a complaint against Apple…

Apple has a history of throwing its weight around the music sector. Apple’s iTunes accounts for 70 percent of all digital song sales and wields huge power. Apple has often used that clout to dictate terms to suppliers — that is, the major labels.

Here are just a few examples: The major labels wanted variable pricing on songs and albums and for years Apple resisted. In 2005, Apple CEO Steve Jobs said the top recording companies were “getting greedy”after music execs considered a music price hike. Last year, Apple finally gave the labels some additional control over song pricing.

The big record companies wanted the ability to sell albums that were unbundled, meaning they wanted Apple to sell hot LPs as a full package and refrain from selling individual songs from these works. Again, on this issue Apple hasn’t given much ground.

To iTunes’ fans, Apple was a freedom fighter. The perception was that Apple was standing up for consumers.

Apple’s refusal to force customers to buy full albums saved them from having to shell out money for songs they didn’t want. To them, Apple’s reluctance to raise the 99 cent song price was another way the company kept music costs down. And the government never made a peep about these practices.

Regardless of papier mache whines like this, the DOJ isn’t about to investigate the MPAA or RIAA. They aren’t even prepared to come down on the side of consumers and protect Fair Use – which has been eroded every year by greedy entertainment giants, pliable bureaucrats and judges.

Woman who fell asleep on plane sues for ‘false imprisonment’

Ginger McGuire, 36, is suing for false imprisonment, infliction of emotional distress and negligence, her attorney Geoffrey Fieger said.

Mrs McGuire fell asleep on a late-night United Express flight from Washington, DC, to Philadelphia. She failed to wake up after the 50-passenger plane touched down at 12:27 am local time and everyone else disembarked.

A cleaning crew eventually roused her, but she was kept locked in the plane until federal officers were satisfied that she was not a terrorist.

Mr Fieger is a high-profile attorney…

Mrs. McGuire is a ninny.

The airline will probably get ripped-off for complying with TSA regulations.

Willie cuts his hair

Country singer Willie Nelson cut his trademark waist-long braids recently in what his own website has dubbed the “Haircut Heard Around the World.”

Spokeswoman Elaine Schock told The Associated Press that Nelson didn’t make a big fuss about it, and she theorized he might have grown tired of dealing with the long locks….

More recently, Victoria Beckham’s hairstyle sparked a hair craze. Her short bob was even copied by other celebrities, including friend Katie Holmes.

I cut out all of the nonsense bullshit from “experts” telling us what this “means”.

The truth is, it’s important enough to blog because, well, uh …

John McCain proves to teabagger Republicans he can be as much of a bigot as anyone else

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The House of Representatives has delivered a victory to President Barack Obama and gay rights groups by approving a proposal to repeal the law that allows gays to serve in the military only if they don’t disclose their sexual orientation.

The 234-194 vote to overturn the military’s “don’t ask, don’t tell” policy reflected a view among many in Congress that America was ready for a military in which gays and straights can stand side by side in the trenches.

“I know that our military draws its strength on the integrity of our unified force, and current law challenges this integrity by creating two realities within the ranks,” Democratic Rep. Susan Davis.

In a statement after the House vote, Obama hailed the day’s congressional action as “important bipartisan steps toward repeal.”

“This legislation will help make our armed forces even stronger and more inclusive by allowing gay and lesbian soldiers to serve honestly and with integrity,” Obama said.

Republicans, who voted overwhelmingly against it, cited statements by some military leaders that they need more time to study how a change in the law could affect the lives and readiness of service members…

“NO” is replaced by “not in my lifetime”.

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Obama redefines national security strategy

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The Obama administration has unveiled a new national security doctrine that would join diplomatic engagement and economic discipline with military power to bolster America’s standing in the world.

Striking a contrast to the Bush-era emphasis on going it alone, President Barack Obama’s strategy called for expanding partnerships beyond traditional U.S. allies to encompass rising powers like China and India in order to share the international burden.

Faced with a struggling economy and record deficits, the administration also acknowledged that boosting economic growth and getting the U.S. fiscal house in order must be core national security priorities.

“At the center of our efforts is a commitment to renew our economy, which serves as the wellspring of American power,” the wide-ranging policy statement said.

Obama’s first official declaration of national security goals, due to be released in full later on Thursday, pointedly omitted predecessor George W. Bush’s policy of pre-emptive war that alienated some U.S. allies…

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Obama/Salazar halting 33 exploration rigs in deepwater review

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The U.S. government’s broad move to crack down on offshore oil safety will include the temporary suspension of 33 deepwater exploration rigs, U.S. Interior Secretary Ken Salazar said on Thursday after unveiling a series of measures in the wake of the massive BP oil leak.

The halt represents the biggest regulatory threat to the immediate growth of U.S. oil production, potentially delaying project development plans by companies like Chevron Corp in the Gulf of Mexico, where rising output has helped offset shrinking domestic onshore supply.

Unlike the administration’s six-month extension of its ban on new deepwater drilling permits and its decision to cancel a much-anticipated lease sale offshore Virginia, the indefinite pause for existing deep-sea exploratory rigs to meet new safety requirements threatens to affect proven oil discoveries rather than untested areas.

“These actions are all guided by the need to take a cautious approach to offshore oil and gas development, as we strengthen safety and oversight of offshore oil and gas operations,” Salazar said.

In other words, all the crap loopholes provided by eight years of the Oil Patch Boys running the show in Washington still have to be plugged.

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