Cleaning out the aggregator

My server died last Tuesday, locking me out of my site. My hosting company finally resurrected it late Wednesday, but by then my vacation interfered. Rare access to the Internets, as well as general mental decompression, stood in the way of regular posting. So I disappeared for almost a week. In no particular order, here are a few items filling my news inbox while I was away.


From Reason’s Hit and Run, I think I might be the only person in America who answers Yes and No instead of some other combo.

…, New York Attorney General Eliot Spitzer fielded two questions on marijuana. One: Would he legalize medical marijuana? Two: Had he ever smoked marijuana? The answers: No and yes. The terror of Wall Street has picked up and run with the old Clintonite maxim: Do as I say, not as I did.

Spitzer should’ve been discredited as a candidate for any number of actions he’s taken, but this is just further proof that the people of New York need to see more than (D) when they get in the voting booth. I suppose it should be comforting to know that Virginia isn’t the only state with hack politicians.


Is anyone shocked by this:

The federal government will need to either cut spending or raise taxes down the road to pay for extending President Bush’s recent tax cuts, the Treasury Department said in a report released [last Monday], dismissing the idea popular with many Republicans that such sacrifices can be avoided.

My question should be rhetorical, but there are many people in this town who will probably be genuinely shocked. Okay, actually, the shocked people will be voters. Those who are not shocked, but are bitter that the Treasury Department could be so treasonous as to impugn the American economy this way, will complain among themselves that their secret is revealed.


Maybe I can start a network and force Comcast to air it:

After more than a year of inaction, Federal Communications Commission Chairman Kevin J. Martin yesterday addressed a dispute that has kept Washington Nationals games off the region’s biggest cable network.

The Mid-Atlantic Sports Network (MASN), which carries most of the team’s games, asked the FCC in June 2005 to order Comcast Corp. to begin carrying the games immediately, but the agency took no action.

MASN now has the right to seek a resolution to its complaint through the FCC process or take the path of arbitration.

Shouldn’t customers decide whether or not MASN is important to them? Of course, lack of competition due to regulatory monopolies prohibits customers from having a sufficient voice, say to cancel and switch to a cable provider that carries MASN, but I’m certain the answer is not to push the regulatory hand deeper into the industry.


Tomorrow MTV turns 25. Being old enough to remember the early days of MTV, and young enough to enjoy them, the present-day celebration is good for reliving fond memories. But this explanation of why MTV evolved (devolved?) into what it is broke the spell:

“I think we started as an idea with very little content; it was more like a radio station with songs and cheesy, hair-metal videos,” says Van Toffler, president of MTV Networks’ music/film/Logo group. “But we quickly realized the novelty of music videos wore off and was not repeatable with thousands of viewings. So we evolved into being more about TV production — yet still sloppy, live and organic.”

Forget that my musical tastes are stuck more in early MTV than current MTV, which means I don’t watch most new videos. The video has not gotten old. Look at iTunes and its music video sales. There is a market, meaning the novelty didn’t die. MTV killed it with its repetition of the same tiny number of videos.

Early on this was necessary due to the newness of the form. But by the late ’80s, that didn’t hold. MTV abandoned it. Today, when I watch music television, I watch the extra music video channels like VH1 Classic. Even when I’m watching country music videos, I’ll flip to the all video channels rather than the regular channels. When original programming appears on any regular music channel, I almost always pick up the remote. I understand that I’m not MTV’s target audience, but I didn’t age out of that audience. MTV decided my viewership didn’t matter. But that makes sense, because my money is not green, it’s plastic.

One thought on “Cleaning out the aggregator”

  1. And the advent of YouTube proves that people still want to see the same tiny number of videos. Our favorite videos from the 80s are all over that site. VH1 had the right idea when they launched VH1 Classics.
    Now if they could just bring back zuba pants, we’d be all set.

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