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December 19, 2008

RIAA Confirms It Will Take Piracy Fight to ISPs

RIAA Confirms It Will Take Piracy Fight to ISPs - News and Analysis by PC Magazine
The Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) on Friday confirmed that it will abandon its practice of suing individuals for online piracy in favor of working with Internet service providers to track down offenders. The RIAA is partnering with New York Attorney General Andrew Cuomo and several undisclosed ISPs in order to alert the ISPs rather than the individual customer when it finds people who are swapping pirated tracks online. This tactic has been used for some time now by the Motion Picture Association of America (MPAA). Cuomo will encourage ISPs to participate in this voluntary program, which will use a graduated response program. Instead of the RIAA sending lawsuits directly to consumers, the RIAA would notify the ISPs, who would then contact their customers. People who ignore the warnings from their ISPs could be subject to a slowdown in service or loss of service completely, according to the Wall Street Journal, which first reported the story Friday morning.

Cheney: "Le loi, c'est moi."

The Raw Story | Cheney claims power to decide his own case
I am the law. That's the message Vice President Dick Cheney appeared to send in a little-noticed court filing last week, in which his lawyers asserted that the vice president alone has the authority to determine which records are turned over to the National Archives after he leaves office. But the law exempts "personal and partisan" records, which Cheney's lawyers said he will be the sole decider upon.

Katrina's Hidden Race War

Katrina's Hidden Race War

With Bush Era ends decade-long rape of credit-card users

Fed OKs rules barring unfair credit card practices | Reuters
WASHINGTON, Dec 18 (Reuters) - The U.S. Federal Reserve on Thursday approved final rules aimed at cracking down on unfair credit card practices and improving disclosures to consumers. The regulations on unfair and deceptive practices, approved earlier on Thursday by the Office of Thrift Supervision and the National Credit Union Administration, restrict surprise fees and interest rate hikes and are expected to result in lower revenue for credit card issuers.

December 18, 2008

Blogo's Hail Mary play: Wiretaps were illegal

The Associated Press: Lawyer: Ill. governor wiretaps illegally obtained
SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (AP) — A lawyer for Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich told state lawmakers Thursday that the federal wiretaps at the heart of the pay-to-play allegations against his client were illegally obtained, and therefore should be kept out of any impeachment proceedings. The wiretaps are crucial to the federal charges filed against Blagojevich last week. Prosecutors say they caught the Democratic governor discussing efforts to auction off Barack Obama's U.S. Senate seat and pressure a hospital executive for campaign donations.... Genson also appeared before the House panel Wednesday and challenged it on multiple fronts. He said three members should be removed, the committee's rules should be changed and it should not consider accusations in a criminal complaint against the governor.

December 16, 2008

Court sides with ACLU, strikes down Patriot Act gag provision

The Raw Story | Court sides with ACLU, strikes down Patriot Act gag provision
federal appeals court ruling late Monday is the cause celebre of the American Civil Liberties Union, as another provision of the Bush administration's Patriot Act falls to the judicial system. Until the ruling, recipients of so-called "national security letters" were legally forbidden from speaking out. The letters, usually a demand for documents, or a notice that private records had been searched by government authorities, were criticized as a cover-all for FBI abuses. "The appeals court invalidated parts of the statute that wrongly placed the burden on NSL recipients to initiate judicial review of gag orders, holding that the government has the burden to go to court and justify silencing NSL recipients," said the ACLU in a release.

December 15, 2008

SEC reviewed Madoff Ponzi fund, said it was fine

Unseen hand of the market? More like a middle finger, amirite? Madoff investors burned by SEC, too - Dec. 15, 2008
Regulators reviewed the fund and found nothing wrong. Hell-oo?! Plus, five ways to crook-proof your portfolio. Not long ago the Securities and Exchange Commission reportedly looked into Madoff's operation and found nothing wrong! Hell-oo?! Anybody home?! Did the SEC ask who the custodian of these investments was? I guess not. That's disgraceful negligence on the part of the SEC. This from the president of a fund of fund business: "Every time one of these frauds is discovered I get scared to death it could happen to us. We do lots of things to try to ensure it doesn't, such as checking and confirming auditors and auditor changes, using a private investigator to check on managers when we first invest and the having the PI annually update the file, trying to find references which are not on someone's reference list, etc." If big investors like these could be fooled, he said, anybody can be fooled. So, bottom line, could investors have avoided Madoff? And what can you do to make sure you don't get suckered by the next smooth talking, cheap-trick artist? Good questions.