More power, Mr. Ashcroft?

Washington Post: Government Will Ease Limits on Domestic Spying. Here’s a nice little erosion for your morning coffee: “Mr. Ashcroft and Robert S. Mueller III, the director of the Federal Bureau of Investigation, plan to announce on Thursday a broad loosening of the guidelines that restrict the surveillance of religious and political organizations, the officials said.”

Thank God for that voice of sanity, the ACLU (and no, that’s not sarcastic):

Officials at the American Civil Liberties Union criticized the new guidelines, saying they represent another step by the Bush administration to roll back civil-liberties protections in the name of improving counterterrorism measures.

“These new guidelines say to the American people that you no longer have to be doing something wrong in order to get that F.B.I. knock at your door,” Laura W. Murphy, director of the national office of the A.C.L.U., said. “The government is rewarding failure. It seems when the F.B.I. fails, the response by the Bush administration is to give the bureau new powers, as opposed to seriously look at why the intelligence and law enforcement failures occurred.”

Seems to me that after the leaks about what the government knew before the September 11 attacks, giving the FBI more data to analyze is the last thing we need to do, regardless of whether it impinges on our personal freedoms or not (and it does, it does!).

How about this: the FBI gets ZERO new powers until it proves it can get useful data from the ones it already has.

Her life was saved by rock and roll

Given Clear Channel’s financial difficulties, now might be a good time to point to the Sloan E-52s’ version of the Velvet Underground’s “Rock and Roll,” available for download in MP3 format, lead vocals and arrangement by yours truly. Lou knew thirty-two years ago that Big Radio was coming:

Jenny said when she was just five years old
There was nothing happening at all
Every time she puts on the radio
There was nothing going down at all

When we perform that song, I can’t resist adding after that line, “Must have been a clear channel.” 🙂 Other tracks from our live in the studio recording session are available.


Clear Channel losing $ hand over tight fist

Washington Post: Mega Hurts: Clear Channel’s Big Radio Ways Are Getting a Lot of Static These Days (via Slashdot). Apparently Clear Channel’s relentless homogenization of US radio is causing some other people than me to turn off that station. Or maybe it’s just the hideous advertising slump.

In some cities, the company’s radio stations attract as much as half the audience and advertising dollars… If a pending deal to buy a competitor in Charlottesville is approved, Clear Channel would control more than 90 percent of that city’s radio market, according to analyst Mark Fratrik of BIAfn Inc.

But if Clear Channel is a colossus, it’s a colossus under the gun.

The company lost money every quarter last year, piling up an annual loss of $1.1 billion. Clear Channel also is shouldering $8 billion in debt — the legacy of its deal-a-minute expansion spree. With a long advertising slump afoot, the company’s stock is selling at about half its peak price of two years ago.