June 2005
Mon Tue Wed Thu Fri Sat Sun
« May   Jul »
 12345
6789101112
13141516171819
20212223242526
27282930  

Month June 2005

Microsoft’s Puzzling Array of Linux Attack Money

Doc Searls Points to Tom Adelstein‘s fascinating blog on Microsoft’s money and influence in Washington (the article also mentions some subtle reporting changes at the Washington Post):

What we did not discuss on Monday, however, was the possibility that the committee could remain deadlocked for other reasons. Such reasons could involve additional payments which Preston Gates may have some difficulty explaining. Should the ethics committee meet, some democrats could face similar problems for Tom DeLay. According to the the Washington Post, other names are beginning to surface, including both House and Senate members. Names discussed in the article include Thomas A. Daschle (S.D.) and Harry M. Reid (Nev.), Richard A. Gephardt (Mo.), Sen. Conrad Burns (R-Mont.), Patrick J. Kennedy (D-R.I.), Sen. Patty Murray (Wash.) and Byron L. Dorgan (N.D.).

While you might find the Washington Post’s work admirable, there are some subtle changes in their reporting that grabbed my attention. For example, a switch has occurred in naming Jack Abramoff’s employer. In our previous discussion, we referenced a washington Post story that said that Abramoff worked for Preston Gates. Even the Seattle Times wrote an article focused on Preston Gates’ potential problems. For example, in a discussion of one of the firm’s clients the article states:

Eva Zeisel Makes Beautiful Things at 98

Linda Matchan:

A few months ago, designer Eva Zeisel was contacted by Swarovski, the Austrian cut-crystal manufacturer. They asked her to submit ideas for designs and said they’d send her a contract so she could get started.

“I hope it arrives soon,” Zeisel, who is 98, told her daughter matter-of- factly. “I am unemployed!”

She exaggerates. The irrepressible Zeisel — one of the 20th century’s first industrial designers, and a leading force, still, in American design — is, at nearly 100, busier, more productive and more celebrated than ever.

Madison Should be Out Front on this…..

David Isenberg on Lafayette, Louisiana’s 7/16/2005 referendum to fund a municipal fiber network:

Following the Brand X decision, the future of U.S. networks weighs more heavily on municipal network initiatives.

As Lafayette, Louisiana’s muni FTTH proposal approaches it’s July 16th referendum on the necessary $125 million bond issue, the following organizations have stepped up to support the plan, including,
The Realtors Association of Acadiana
Downtown Development Authority
Downtown Lafayette Unlimited
The Greater Lafayette Chamber of Commerce
Lafayette Economic Development Authority
Rebuild Lafayette North Committee
Acadiana Home Builders Association
parish executive committees of both Democratic and Republican parties,
The Louisiana Municipal Association
and several others

Ten Years of Chilled Innovation

Robert Hof interviews Larry Lessig on the US Supreme Court’s Grokster decision:

Q: What do you think of the decision?
A: This is a pretty significant defeat here. Certainly the result is better than what the MGM companies wanted — because they wanted the Sony case modified — and [Justice David Souter, who wrote the decision, isn't] modifying Sony. But still, this intent standard…will invite all sorts of strategic behavior that will dramatically increase the cost of innovating around these technologies.

Q: How so?
A: Imagine that you’re a company with a copyright and you see a company coming out with a technology you don’t like because it’s challenging your business model. We’ve seen lots of these — for example, ReplayTV, or the VCR. Obviously, if the technology is illegal, you can just get it stopped.

But a second way to stop the innovation is just to litigate. Look what happened to ReplayTV: It spent years and millions of dollar litigating to defend its right to have the ReplayTV technology as it was. Essentially, it had to fold the company because the legal standard then was so uncertain that you had to get to trial before you could resolve the case.

Wisconsin Property Tax Hikes Outpacing Wages

Wistax:

Aids to local governments increased dramatically since 1955, according to the study. Local school aids rose 10.8% per year, while shared revenues to local governments increased 4.9% annually. However, WISTAX researchers point out that there are questions about the long-term effectiveness of local aids for reducing property taxes. Economic research in Wisconsin and elsewhere finds that state and federal aids to local governments only partially offset local property taxes, as a portion of that aid funds new spending.

The study finds that some limits on local governments have been effective at relieving property taxes and some have not. During the 1970’s, the state imposed cost controls on schools and levy limits on counties and municipalities. Due to an increasing number of “loopholes,” they were deemed ineffective and eliminated in 1983. Recent revenue limits on schools have been more effective, because they do not have similar loopholes. Counties and technical colleges have limits on the tax rates they can impose. However, large increases in property values have limited their effectiveness.

Star Tribune Sued over Circulation Fraud

Associated Press:

MINNEAPOLIS – Four advertisers sued the Star Tribune and its parent company on Tuesday, claiming Minnesota’s largest newspaper inflated its circulation numbers so it could charge more for ads.
The federal lawsuit seeking class-action status alleges the Star Tribune required distributors to dump unsold papers and failed to report returned papers accurately.
The newspaper denied the allegations in a statement Tuesday.

The Benefits of Southwest Airlines

Madison needs Southwest. Here’s why:

Many of their fares are lower when
booked as a round trip, or a multi-leg, in advance. However, unlike almost all other airlines, all of their fares are either fully refundable, or you get a full credit. There is no penalty for canceling a “super dooper” low discount fare. As a result, most travelers on SW book round trips, and then do not use the return leg, or even a leg in the middle of the itinerary. However, irrespective of whether you turn up for any part of the trip, the first leg, or the last, your itinerary remains in place. When you’re done with your trip, your unused portions are either refunded automatically, or sit as a credit to be used whenever you want.

KELO Ruling: Freestar Media Tests Eminent Domain

Logan Darrow Clements:

Weare, New Hampshire (PRWEB) Could a hotel be built on the land owned by Supreme Court Justice David H. Souter? A new ruling by the Supreme Court which was supported by Justice Souter himself itself might allow it. A private developer is seeking to use this very law to build a hotel on Souter’s land.
Justice Souter’s vote in the “Kelo vs. City of New London” decision allows city governments to take land from one private owner and give it to another if the government will generate greater tax revenue or other economic benefits when the land is developed by the new owner.
On Monday June 27, Logan Darrow Clements, faxed a request to Chip Meany the code enforcement officer of the Towne of Weare, New Hampshire seeking to start the application process to build a hotel on 34 Cilley Hill Road. This is the present location of Mr. Souter’s home.
Clements, CEO of Freestar Media, LLC, points out that the City of Weare will certainly gain greater tax revenue and economic benefits with a hotel on 34 Cilley Hill Road than allowing Mr. Souter to own the land.

Feingold/Obey on USDA Ginseng Grant

Wispolitics:

U.S. Senator Russ Feingold and Congressman Dave Obey announced today that the Ginseng Board of Wisconsin has received a Technical Assistance for Specialty Crops (TASC) Program grant of $76,500 from the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA). The grant will help Wisconsin ginseng producers continue to produce blemish-free ginseng while maintaining low chemical residues to help overcome international barriers to their product. Feingold and Obey have long worked to protect both Wisconsin ginseng growers and their produce with truth in labeling legislation. In April of this year, Feingold and Obey introduced, in their respective houses, truth in ginseng labeling legislation to protect producers and consumers of ginseng.

Tax Deductions for Hybrid car/SUV purchases

Paul Caron has the list. Note that 1 out of 7 vehicles is a domestic (the Ford Escape Hybrid – which uses Toyota hybrid components). The deduction is $2000 in 2005 and $500 in 2006 (not a whole lot for vehicles that can cost north of $40K in some cases).