Donald Rumsfeld: Anti-American Fascist?

In my general (unspoken and impossible) boycott of political blogging, I’ve passed up many opportunities to conjure up nausea by evoking even images if not quotes of Don Rumsfeld. As reported widely throughout the blogosphere, MSNBC’s Keith Olbermann delivered a KO-punch for the ages, evoking Murrow. Like his “Nexus of Politics and Terror” report last October, I cannot pass up hosting this commentary. Lay it down once and for all who the real fascists are. Is the U.S. media finally figuring it out, or is it just the “hacks” like Olbermann and Stewart? At least the blogosphere is flexing its muscle(s).

MP3 Blogging Controversy

Pitchfork Media, a top indie music review site (profiled in this month’s Wired) of which I’ve been a fan since 1999, is embroiled in a shake-up concerning the posting of MP3’s and the etiquette inherent to linking through to said files.

On Tuesday, Pitchfork secured an exclusive right to post “Summer Song,” from the upcoming Decemberists record.

According to Stereogum:

…[T]here are a number of tacit rules that the music blogging community seems to agree upon. Most are pretty obvious (e.g., if a label asks you to take an MP3 down, you take it down!)…. Don’t deeplink to other bloggers’ MP3, right? I think we can all agree that if some blogger takes the time to share a song, and put it in an editorial context, one must link to his/her post (not the file) as a courtesy…. Ah, but there are exceptions: we all freely deeplink to songs on official band websites, MySpace, corporate sites…

Pitchfork, clearly NOT a corporate site, was forced to shut down its download hub after many corporate media music sites — including AOL, USA Today, and Rolling Stone) went ahead and deep-linked to the file (not Pitchfork’s site/post), in effect circumventing Capitol’s exclusive licensing to Pitchfork and offering the file as if it were licensed to them.

Personally, I’m not so comfortable with deeplinking thru to even corporate sites, however, I do often post MP3 files that I have downloaded myself (legally) and host on my own server for others to stream (by RIAA definition — illegally).

For example, click here to visit AOL Video’s exclusive on Bob Dylan’s new video starring Scarlett Johanssen.

Click below to listen to Leonard Cohen performing “Tower of Song” with U2, from the I’m Your Man soundtrack (I own this, but even streaming it without paying royalties is considered illegal).

Finally, there’s Live365, on which I’ve broadcasted (WOOZradio) for 7 years. Early in the Napster/RIAA controversy, they worked out a sweet deal to ensure that the proper royalties were being paid and that all broadcasters were producing legal ‘casts.

The main issue with the Pitchfork controversy from my p.o.v. is that — it should be just as illegal for AOL, Rolling Stone, etc to provide access to Pitchfork’s licensed MP3 posting (without linking through to the page on which the file is posted) as it would be to host said file without proper permission / license.

Dave @ Rawkblog has more on Pitchfork’s legal & “illegal” MP3 hosting, its implications, as well as aural evidence of the soon-to-drop Joanna Newsom bombshell, Y’s.

Flickr Launches GeoTagging Feature

We knew this was imminent, as it had already been enabled by third party apps, but today Flickr went public with their official Yahoo! Maps geo-tagging mashup! What’s more, one of my fave Yahoo! props — Upcoming — will now be incorporated with Yahoo! Local and suddenly the whole world fits even more conveniently in my shirt pocket. Upcoming declares that their database has just been expanded by 3000%. woah! This is awesome news! For more tricks and tools on geotagging and mashing up your photos and more, i’d recommend OgleEarth’s links page.

‘The Hawk of Lebanon’

I finally tracked down the song that I can’t get out of my head. Firkat il-Shamal’s “The Hawk of Lebanon” is catchy as hell, in spite of its lyrics (the translated verse begins: I hail thee, hawk of Lebanon / I welcome thee, Hassan Nasrallah / Here are your men, Hezbollah / Victory, victory with the help of God).

I originally referenced it last week, after hearing it on The World (click here to listen to Aaron Schachter’s piece).

Firkat il-Shamal (Band of the North) consists of The El Haija brothers from Jenin and until this summer was known primarily as a top band on the Palestinian wedding circuit. That is, until they penned the hottest song of the summer in Gaza, and the West Bank. Israeli police are confiscating copies of the song on grounds that it is inflammatory, According to the AP. (The article, published yesterday and written by Sarah El Deeb, carries the bizarro title, “Boy band sings praises of Nasrallah.”)

The World’s Web site has an excellent feature on the song and the El Haija brothers, complete with a translationn of the lyrics and photos. (click here).

Even as the war has let up militarily, it appears that Israeli soldiers continue attacking Palestinians with Nasrallah screen savers on their mobile phones, according to this article by the Palestinian News Network’s Ali Samoudi. Interesting.

One-sided songs of war are nothing new, however, the ongoing conflicts in the Middle East contain many examples, including this, of how technology and the Internet is revolutionizing the way war is fought by states and publics. (See my presentation “The Internet is the Machine Gun of the 21st Century” and Jade Miller’s “Hezbollah, Israel, and the U.S.: A Conflict with Far-Reaching Implications.”

I am posting an MP3 of “The Hawk of Lebanon” for educational purposes and with no intent of making a political/cultural statement of any kind. (thx to BBC/PRI/WGBH)

Protect Your Identity with Stephen Colbert

Colbert, who recently authored a guide to being expert at everything for Wired, backed himself up this week with “Protecting Your Online Identity.”

Cuz you never know who’s watching your Internetron:

WATCH: Part 1 | Part 2

Commenting on Bruce Schneier’s blog, Israel Torres summarizes:

1. Always type with your non-dominant hand – so it’s not typed in your handwriting.
2. Pick the right password – close your eyes and slap the keyboard at random.
3. Get hundreds of credit cards – never use the same one twice.
4. Defrag your hard drive once in a while – overheard a nerd say it somewhere at best buy.
5. For every real search on a search engine do a fake search – make it seem it’s not you doing the search.
6. An infected computer is a vulnerable computer – make sure you wash your computer once a month.

Now go ahead and take the Colbert Green Screen Challenge (or at least watch some of the wacky submissions).

More on Colbert cross-platform multimedia integration in this post at 3i.