Alaskans whine about the Feds, feast on U.S. taxpayer dollars


Carl Gatto alongside federal highway project in Wasilla, Alaska

Backed by a blue row of saw-toothed mountain peaks, the Republican state lawmaker Carl Gatto finds himself on a fine roll.

Roll it back, he says, roll back this entire socialistic experiment in federal hegemony. Give us control of our land, let us drill and mine, and please don’t let a few belugas get in the way of a perfectly good bridge.

“I’ve introduced legislation to roll back the federal government,” he says. “They don’t have solutions; they just have taxes.”

And what of the federal stimulus, from which Alaska receives the most money per capita in the nation? Would he reject it?

Mr. Gatto, 72 and wiry, smiles and shakes his head: “I’ll give the federal government credit: they sure give us a ton of money. For every $1 we give them in taxes for highways, they give us back $5.76.”

He points to a new federally financed highway, stretching toward distant spruce trees. “Man, beautiful, right?”

Alaskans tend to live with their contradictions in these recessionary times. No place benefits more from federal largess than this state, where the Republican governor decries “intrusive” federal policies, officials sue to overturn the health care legislation and Senator Lisa Murkowski, a Republican, voted against the stimulus bill…

Alaska has budget woes, and, more perilously, oil production is slumping. But its problems are not mortal; the ax falls on new police headquarters and replacement Zamboni blades rather than on teachers and libraries. The state avoided the unemployment devastation visited on the Lower 48 in part because federal dollars support a third of Alaskan jobs, according to a university study.

RTFA. It should surprise no one.

Alaska is the northern terminus of the Bible Belt – where populism and greed feed off ignorant voters to maintain a veritable army of freeloaders at the federal tax trough.

Mexican drug gangs training “hit babes”

A Mexican drug gang is hiring pretty young women to carry out killings to surprise its enemies, a suspected member of the vicious La Linea gang said in a video.

Around 30 women aged between 18 and 30 years have learned in recent months to carry out killings accompanied by hitmen, and most have killed people, suspect Rogelio Amaya said during a interrogation by federal police. The video of the interrogation was made public on Tuesday.

They’re pretty, good-looking, to help mislead opponents,” said Amaya, the suspected member of a gang of enforcers for the Juarez cartel in the country’s most violent city of Ciudad Juarez.

The women operate in the same way as men and carry both light and heavy weapons, the suspect said.

The revelations came as Mexico’s drug battles leave a trail of blood and fear across the country, particularly in Ciudad Juarez.

At least 18 suspected drug-related deaths were reported between Monday and Tuesday in Ciudad Juarez.

Right. I do not visit Ciudad Juarez – for any reason – anymore.

Pay someone you don’t like to cross the Rio to shop for you.

Congressional Democrats lead opposition to Google/Verizon plan to limit net neutrality


Why are these men smiling?

Four Democratic members of the U.S. House of Representatives have voiced opposition to a network neutrality proposal offered by Google and Verizon Communications last week, with the lawmakers saying the two companies shouldn’t set the rules for how U.S. residents access the Internet.

The four lawmakers — Representatives Jay Inslee of Washington, Ed Markey of Massachusetts, Anna Eshoo of California and Mike Doyle of Pennsylvania — said they opposed several pieces of the Verizon/Google plan in a letter sent to the U.S. Federal Communications Commission Monday.

Americans’ online experience shouldn’t be dictated by corporate CEOs,” Inslee said in a statement. “Innovation and creativity online have given rise to millions of jobs and tremendous economic growth, in large part because individual consumers have been free to access what they want. Net neutrality is not about imposing a new set of rules, net neutrality is about preserving the open Internet and empowering consumers and small businesses to bring the next generation of entrepreneurial drive to the World Wide Web…”

The four lawmakers, all members of the House Energy and Commerce Committee, called for the FCC to set the same net neutrality rules for wireless broadband as it does for wired broadband. The proposal by Google and Verizon would exempt wireless broadband from net neutrality regulations. The committee has jurisdiction over most Internet-related law…

The lawmakers also raised concerns about the Verizon/Google proposal’s exemption from net neutrality rules for managed services, separate from the public Internet. “An overbroad definition of the proposed ‘managed services’ category would sap the vitality and stunt the growth of the Internet,” the lawmakers’ letter said. “In fact, an overly broad interpretation of managed services would create an exception that swallows the rule. Managed services might be rebranded or repackaged services and applications — only with priority treatment not available to competitors.”

It’s almost a surprise – having waited as long as we have to see political and economic alliances like this preparing to confront the future. Not only the future of the US [and North American] Internet market; but, the larger growth potential within the developing world. The latter relying even more upon wireless access to the Web.

No need to address collateral questions and complaints – I’ll leave that to those who consider the Web part of their religion. But, we have a unique opportunity to bring the FCC into play on behalf of consumers. An opening which has been blocked for decades by both flavors of the TweedleDeeDum political establishment.

Obama has moved the barrier to liberty for consumers vs. corporations about halfway. His “allies” are unlikely to help out very much – witness the grand total of four Democrats speaking out, right now.

If you care enough about Net Neutrality to make it an up or down vote in your life, I’d suggest getting hold of your elected representatives and telling them to get off their rusty dusty.

Rupert hands out bonuses: $1 Million to GOP governors


Daylife/Reuters Pictures used by permission

With Republicans hoping to recapture a number of statehouses in November, the media conglomerate headed by Rupert Murdoch is inserting itself into the races in bold fashion with a $1 million donation to the Republican Governors Association.

The contribution from Mr. Murdoch’s News Corporation, which owns Fox News, The Wall Street Journal, The New York Post and other news outlets, is one of the biggest ever given by a media organization, campaign finance experts said.

Democrats seized on the donation as evidence of the News Corporation’s conservative leanings, with Media Matters for America, a liberal group that has tangled often with the company, calling it “an appendage of the Republican Party…”

Jack Horner, NewsCorp spokesman [can you believe that’s his name?], said that the company’s corporate side made the donation with no involvement by its news operation and that the gift would not have any impact on newsgathering operations. “There is a strict wall between business and editorial,” he added.

Officials at the governors’ association did not respond to requests for comment. The contribution, first reported by Bloomberg News, was made in June and is included in the Republican group’s most recent second-quarter filings…

The News Corporation and its political action committee, News America Holdings, have given donations over the years to both Democratic and Republican candidates and causes, but never in the amount approaching the June donation, records show…

Of course, the sleaziest end of the pool of American corporate scumbags always distributes largesse to a range of political lackeys. That’s how they’re paid to practice their lackeydom.

The donation generated significant buzz in Washington on Tuesday. Much of it focused on Fox News, whose stable of highly rated, conservative hosts have made it the frequent target of liberals [and anyone else who stands up for a Free Press], who accuse the network of blurring the line between news and opinion.

Darwin Award — Text yourself right off a cliff

Dr. Frank Ryan, plastic surgeon to Heidi Montag and other celebrities, was sending a Twitter message about his border collie just before his fatal car accident, his ex-girlfriend tells PEOPLE.

“He lived up in Malibu on a tiny street and he was texting while driving and he accidentally went over the cliff,” Charmaine Blake says.

Blake, a celebrity publicist, says Ryan’s family was told by investigators that the Tweeting caused the wreck on Monday.

The dog, whose name is Jill – Blake’s middle name – was in the car at the time of the crash and survived injuries to the head, eye and paw.

The California Highway Patrol confirms Ryan was texting before the crash, but investigators have not officially determined the cause of the accident.

“It is one of the elements that we are investigating,” CHP Officer Steven Reid says…

She adds that she hopes other people learn from this tragedy that “people should not text and drive at all.”

Golly gee, thanks for the tip, lady.

Bobby Fischer’s last laugh… Now leave him the f*ck alone


“Hello again…”

A DNA test has determined that the late chess champion Bobby Fischer is not the father of a nine-year-old Filipino girl, her lawyer has said.

The Supreme Court in Reykjavik had ordered Mr Fischer’s body exhumed to prove whether Jinky Young was Mr Fischer’s daughter.

However, lawyer Thordur Bogason said the report “excluded Bobby Fisher”.

The US-born chess player died in Iceland in 2008 but left no will. His estate is estimated at $2m (£1.4m).

“The DNA report excluded Bobby Fisher from being the father of Jinky Young, and therefore the case has come to a close,” said Mr Bogason.

Next on Days of Our Lives:
Jinky: “OK, mom, so just who the hell IS my father?”

NAB, RIAA want Congress to require FM radio on mobile devices


This will be their next requirement

Radio broadcasters and music labels are seeking to legally mandate FM radio reception as a feature in all consumer mobile devices in an effort to expand the market for radio.

A report by Nate Anderson of the Ars “Law & Disorder” blog notes that competing interests in radio and studio industry groups have sided on a proposal to force hardware makers to add FM radio chips to mobile phones and other consumser devices…

Negotiations between the two trade groups have found agreement on a plan that requires radio stations to pay new, limited performance rights fees to the studios annually, but that plan is tied to the ability of the two groups to pass laws forcing mobile device makers to add FM radio features to their devices…

Apple hasn’t commented on the plan, but the Consumer Electronics Association is strongly opposed to the idea. “The back room scheme of the [National Association of Broadcasters] and RIAA to have Congress mandate broadcast radios in portable devices, including mobile phones, is the height of absurdity,” CEA president Gary Shapiro said in the report, adding that such a move is “not in our national interest.”

The Performance Rights Act currently before Congress is at the center of the controversy. “The performance royalty legislation voted out of the Senate Judiciary Committee does not include this onerous and backward-looking radio requirement,” Shapiro said, indicating that the CEA wants the bill to continue without any FM radio requirements being mandated.

“Rather than adapt to the digital marketplace,” Shapiro said, “NAB and RIAA act like buggy-whip industries that refuse to innovate and seek to impose penalties on those that do.”

These associations are wholly composed of the most reactionary and predatory sharks in the world of entertainment. Music, discussion, any of the content falling within their purview is only a commodity to be regulated to produce the most profit.

The rights of consumers are as meaningless in their 19th minds as concepts like progress and ethics.