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Business groups are worried by the potential effects of provisions banning the import of all goods made with convict labor, forced labor, or forced or indentured child labor that were included in a recent customs bill.
Via Daily Kos
My govt. issued 40 buck discount on a DTV box was about to expire, so I bought one today. I don’t have cable, and ever since the WTC went down my TV reception has been for crap. I was pleasantly surprised that with the box I get crystal clear images (better than dvd images) from 18 channels in Downtown Manhattan.
I was going to post about the scare ads for cable and DTV ready televisions, preying on people’s tech fears about the switch. I was going to say don’t worry, I’m using rabbit ears and getting great reception on my old TV. But I then I read that the current DTV signals here are temporarily on the UHF band, and that after the switch the stations will revert to using the VHF frequencies that I currently receive so crappilly. So, it could be that after the 12th my reception will once again go to hell, but instead of ghosts I’ll be getting blocky images and audio interruptions. I suspect it will be OK, but it’s nothing I can definitively say at the moment.
Get your TV converter box coupons here: dtv2009.gov It took a couple of weeks for my card to come.
Update: I ran some coax cable to the top of my west facing living room window. To the ground and the central wire I attached two 26 inch long pieces of speaker wire. They are stretched making an upside down Y from the top. I can now receive 40 channels about a third of which may be something I might watch. The rest are Spanish, Korean, Christian or infomercial. This is very cool. It is almost like getting basic cable for free.
Heroes, Season one, had me enchanted with the fairytale morality drama. It was good fantasy/sf writing. Exploring the good and the evil of the characters as they discovered their powers was fun. The second season introduced more superpowers and superheroes. Some characters accumulated so many different powers that I can’t see how they could remember what powers they had or didn’t have, I certainly couldn’t. In this third season, when you see an actor, he/she will as likely be: their future evil time-traveling self, a shape-shifting impostor, or a psychic-projection, as anything else. I can’t tell If the writers are weaving coherent threads, or random knots. Everybody has superpowers, the center cannot hold. Who knows, it may all cleverly come together for this year’s seasonal climax. But in terms of emotional involvement, the writers are making it too hard for me to care if a particular character lives or dies between commercial breaks. You don’t have to worry, if they do die you know that the actor at least will be back on the show sooner or later. But the writers and producers are doing clever things that will probably be fun for my future-self to dissect with the aid of my DVD remote control of the future.
Every year, in order to raise a large portion of the school budget, St. Andrews Catholic School holds Taste of the Town. Local restaurants love it because it brings new customers to their establishments. And the people like getting a taste of the restaurant’s best for a buck or two. Bob Natale, my brother, is the big-shot weekend dj at the Easy Listening station in Myrtle Beach , South Carolina (WEZV-FM). He’s in charge of publicity for this event. Bob’s the Orson Welles of Myrtle Beach, writing, directing and narrating the video. Listen to those dulcet old-time radio tones.
Bob’s dream, and I’m sure it’s the dream of many of those sweet children of the school, is for Rachael Ray to come down this Fall and be the Taste of the Town celebrity judge. I’m throwing the whole weight of the GammaBlog organization behind this quest. Rachel, it’s for the children.
I’ve been using Netflix for the past couple of months, and I’ve got to say that I’ve been impressed. On Monday their website went down, and the video I was expecting yesterday did not show up. This morning they sent out an email apologizing for the outage and offering a 5% rebate for this month’s service. This is the first time a video did not show up on time. In general if I drop my video in the mailbox before noon the next day, I get the next one in my queue two days later. That is: get the movie Tuesday, return it Wednesday, get the next one on Friday. I find this an impressive collaboration with the often maligned US postal service. This is a shout-out to them as well. If I am diligent about returning the videos the next day I can reliably get four videos a week with my two-at-a-time $13.99-a-month plan (working out to roughly 90 cents a rental with the tax). A price increase is planned for June 15th.
There are some negatives. You may have to wait awhile for new releases. I’ve had No Country for Old Men and I Am Legend at the top of my queue since long before their release dates and am being told to expect a long wait for both of them. Also the discs are sometimes a little scratched up, but so far none of them have been unplayable. In general it is a pretty good deal, but you might want to stick with your local shop for the latest videos releases.
By the way, their tip of cleaning glitchy discs with window cleaner is a good one. And their suggestion algorithm is excellent. I’ve found it to be very helpful in finding videos for my queue.
Sam Seder is filling in for Randi Rhodes this week, while Randi is most likely hiding from her listeners on the Air America cruise. His web cam is pretty slick. Watch him ably wrestle with conservative callers… SammyCam
He has a dedicated camera on his call-screener.His roots are in stand-up comedy and he plays to the screener, trying to make her laugh. During the commercials you see them talking about the callers, planning what’s next, blogging and IM-ing. He’ll be doing this all week live 3-6 in the afternoon, Eastern time. It’s very entertaining and informative. I miss Sam’s morning show. He was replaced by the somewhat entertaining, but often politically lame, Lionel. His regular gig on Air America these days is on Sunday’s, and fill-ins.
FCC Chairman Kevin Martin is rushing through plans to remove decades-old media ownership protections. And he’s trying to do it without public scrutiny.