Tales of the Sausage Factory

Why you can't split D Block and PSST

Unsurprisingly, folks are now proposing to split the D Block from the public safety spectrum, auction the commercial spectrum, and use the money to build a separate public safety network. This got a bunch of attention at today’s House Subcommittee hearing. Despite my frantic attempts to subtly signal I had something relevant to say, no one wanted to hear my opinion on the matter (or anything else either, apparently my opening statement was sufficiently overwhelming that the Republicans did not dare challenge me and the Dems felt nothing further was required). Too bad, because I could have spared everyone about an hour of yacking by explaining why it won’t work.

Or, more technically, to make this work requires such drastic changes in the band plan that it is impossible to predict how much money such an auction would make, if anything. I’m aware Dr. Bazelon gives an estimate of $5 billion or so in his testimony, but I think his use of the A Block demand as a proxy is overly optimistic. Trying to predict spectrum auction results is always perilous, because there are so many factors and every spectrum auction is different from every other in significant ways. But in this case, the difference between the A Block issues and the possible D block issues are of significant magnitude that I anticipate major problems.

Bottom line: I think it would take months to resolve the engineering issues, and that an auction based on necessary rules would fetch very little money.

More below . . . .

Read More »

Posted in Spectrum, Tales of the Sausage Factory | Also tagged , , , , , | 2 Comments (Comments closed)

Tales of the Sausage Factory

Action Alert: Senate Judiciary Mark Up On FISA — Call To Oppose Telco Immunity

The Senate Judiciary Committee is scheduled to mark up the FISA reform legislation today, Thursday November 15.

The bottom line is that now is the time to call the Senate Judiciary Committee and ask them to oppose retroactive immunity for telecom companies that helped the Bush administration spy on Americans without warrant.

MYDD has this post with a call to action and announces that they will cover the cost of your phone call to the Senate Judiciary members. Follow the link to Chris Dodd’s campaign website to take action now!

[UPDATE 7:14 PM Thursday, by John]: I just got an email from Senator Dodd’s office announcing victory in the Judiciary Committee today. I’ll enter the letter in a comment below the fold.

Stay tuned . . . .

Posted in How Democracy Works, Or Doesn't, Tales of the Sausage Factory | Also tagged , , , | 2 Comments (Comments closed)

My Thoughts Exactly

When the writer strikes!

I’ve been keeping a desultory eye on the gathering strike by the Writer’s Guild of America, which is the screenwriters’ union — where “screen” means movie screen and television screen.

One of the points at issue is whether computer screens and iPhone screens also count as “screens”, that is, the writers want compensation for works of theirs that are distributed on the net, and, as I understand things, the other party doesn’t want to give it to them.

As a person who has made his living as a writer, kinda-sorta, since April, 1980, I find the notion of a writer’s union intriguing and somewhat baffling. It’s hard to imagine a technical writer’s union negotiating terms with Sun, Microsoft, or IBM. But why is that, exactly? Screenwriting is a much more solitary endeavor than technical writing, so on the face of it, one would expect screenwriters to be even less likely to unionize than technical writers. But then again, the stakes are higher in Hollywood, where the difference between an OK screenplay and a good screenplay is measured in millions of dollars at the so-called bottom line. So writers have more clout, is what I’m trying to say.

Recently my friend the Hollywood actor/producer/script-doctor has been making some noises about pimping the movie rights to my novel Acts of the Apostles. (It would make a great movie, by the way!) I have no understanding of the craft of screenwriting; nor do I have any free time not taken up by the day job & so-called life. So I’m not a very strong candidate to try my hand at writing a screenplay of my book. On the other hand, I’m not in the Guild, and, given that it is a guild— meaning that it’s hard to even gain admission to it— I’m unlikely to be in it anytime soon. So maybe I should go for it.

Act one, Scene one: Exterior. A dark and stormy night. . .

Posted in My Thoughts Exactly, Writing | Also tagged , , , | 3 Comments (Comments closed)

Tales of the Sausage Factory

A brief personal observation on the pay gap

New census data indicates that, on average, white men with a four year degree earned, on average, more than any other catagory. Women generally earned less than men, but white women earned less than black and asian women (and slightly more than hispanic women). No one is sure why this is the case.

What’s odd is that that last night I was having a conversation with my wife which has some relevance on this. While one anecdote is hardly the basis for public policy, I’d be interested in knowing whether any of the xtant research has explored this issue . . .

Read More »

Posted in General, Tales of the Sausage Factory | Also tagged , , , | 5 Comments (Comments closed)

Tales of the Sausage Factory

TotSF: Fling These at the Democratic National Committee

Below is Adam Werbach’s of Common Assets call to arms for those not at the center of the Democratic Party structure. It is the first salvo for those who dream a different vision of this country than the Republicans and want a party that can deliver.

No surprise that I agree with Adam’s Theses. Also no surprise that I beleive we must not wait on the leadership to define our vision. We must speak for ourselves and define our own voice. I plan to be at DNC HQ on Monday Morning, Nov. 15, 430 S Capitol St, SE in Washington, DC, at 7:30 a.m. Provided I can find someone to get Aaron on the school bus.

Now, more than ever,

stay tuned . . .

Read More »

Posted in Tales of the Sausage Factory | Also tagged , , , | Comments closed

Tales of the Sausage Factory

Got a Lot in the NYT

The NYTimes has a couple of interesting articles worth discussing. You need a free subscription, and the links will probably die in a few weeks.

This doesn’t need much discussion, but I can’t help but point out another dig it my good buddies at Clear Channel. Similarly, while anyone who has read my thougfhts about media ownership won’t be surprised, I enjoyed the article on Sunday about the new documentary/video op ed by Robert Greenwald, Outfoxed. But this article also highlights the problems that come from the continued erosion of the fair use doctrine.

But the most pernicious piece is this article, which asks Are Used Bookstores Napster? Oh my stars! Have we really come to this, where folkks in the book industry have no shame about saying this stuff in the NY Times? I occassionaly joke to my son that we need to go to libraries before they become illegal. Ho ho.

On the other hand, I really wish the book industry would try to “fix” this “problem.” It might finally wake the rest of the public up to what’s at stake.

Read More »

Posted in General, Tales of the Sausage Factory | Also tagged , | 1 Comment (Comments closed)

General Exception

Patriot Missle Coverup

This article over at the Register implies that there has been a cover up over the death of two British pilots who were shot down after mistakenly being identified as an Iraq scud by the Patriot missle system. It seems that the military is reluctant to criticize the missle system, given that billions of dollars in sales to foreign governments are pending. Acknowledging its major flaws could be bad for Raytheon’s bottom line.

Hmm… I dimly seem to recall some half-remembered president that nattered on about the threat of the industrial-military complex to American freedom. Or something.

Posted in General Exception | Also tagged , | 2 Comments (Comments closed)
  • Connect With Us

    Follow Wetmachine on Twitter!

Username
Password

If you do not have an account: Register