August 8, 2005

BizzyBlog’s Business Links of the day (080805)

Business developments and business-related items worth noting:

Supremely Qualified

This commentary from Larry Kudlow goes back about 10 days, but is worth recalling. Now I realize there are more important things that must be known about Supreme Court nominee John Roberts and his family, such as the details of his children’s adoption records, their family’s fashion sense, and memos he wrote on behalf of paying and pro bono clients 20 years ago. But Kudlow has looked at Roberts’ record in the apparently relatively trivial matters of business law and economic freedom, and pronounces himself satisfied:

… Judge Roberts could be the first modern economic conservative to ascend to the Court. Roberts of course knows full well that judicial change occurs slowly at the margin. But as someone who seems to believe in the importance of market forces that allow the entrepreneurial creative juices to flow, he is likely to make a huge difference.

That’s good enough for me.

Problematic Podcasting?

USA Today reports industry unease with the new technology:

A podcast is a digital recording of a radio-style audio program that can be downloaded from the Internet and played on a digital music player. Many podcasters think the technology could revolutionize radio as TiVo did television.

But record labels worry that listeners will pirate the songs contained in the downloaded radio shows. The result: yet another Napster-like standoff over piracy and music rights.

…. Since podcasts are recordings, they can be played at any time. Listeners can pause, fast-forward or rewind them. And since podcasts are posted online, listeners can download programs from radio stations and independent broadcasters from all over the world.

The podcasts can also be hacked and pirated. An enterprising listener could pull songs out of a podcast and turn them into music files or CDs.

That’s why many record companies say the technology is promising but problematic. For example, OK Go and several other emerging bands with EMI have their own podcasts. But EMI is not ready to approve a blanket podcasting license. “Podcasting is potentially very exciting,” says Executive Vice President Adam Klein. But the company needs contracts “that are responsible to everybody,” he says.

Ruth Seymour, general manager at influential Los Angeles public radio station KCRW, worries that those contracts will take years to be worked out. That would keep podcasting from reaching its potential, she says.

…. Streaming media is different from podcasting because it’s not a recording, which makes it harder to pirate. A stream is essentially a broadcast that travels over the Internet instead of the airwaves.

Record and radio companies have struck a blanket licensing agreement for streaming based on traditional radio licenses. No such agreement exists for podcasting.

I have to wonder if in the long run artists and content providers can really hope to keep control over their content.

Daimler Downer

Apparently the obvious problems at US-headquartered General Motors and Ford are present but less obvious, or at least less-publicized at the operations of DaimlerChryslerbut in Germany, at Mercedes (Biz Weak link is free for the time being):

Nearly seven years after (previous chairman) Schrempp brought together Daimler and Chrysler, with the promise of building an auto maker with sufficient size to compete globally, the question that has dogged the merger from the beginning remains: Does this marriage make sense? Schrempp sold investors on the idea of an historic merger of mass with class. Together, Mercedes and Chrysler would have the money, clout, and knowhow needed to produce next-generation engine technologies. They would produce a series of small cars for the world’s emerging middle classes. Chrysler would tap into Mercedes technology, and Chrysler would give Mercedes the ideal hedge in case the luxury car market plateaued. Synergies and cost savings would proliferate. Later, Schrempp spent $2.1 billion adding a stake in Mitsubishi Motors to his visionary empire, hoping to get needed exposure in Asia as well as help Chrysler with small and medium-size cars. And he encouraged the growth of the Smart division at Mercedes as a way into the market for small, affordable cars in Europe.

Nothing worked out as planned. Far from being the perfect hedge, Chrysler proved to be a massive rescue job that sucked up billions and absorbed German management for years. Mercedes has lost share, reputation, and now is losing money. Synergies have been few and far between. Mitsubishi Motors? Daimler ditched the alliance after the deal proved the lemon of all lemons. The Smart car? It’s looking anything but. And the merger certainly hasn’t helped the stock: Before the announcement sent the share price soaring 10%, DaimlerChrysler’s market cap hovered around $38 billion — just $2 billion more than Daimler paid to acquire Chrysler in 1998. Marrying mass and class has been far tougher than anyone ever imagined.

New Chairman Dieter Zetsche will not be lacking for challenges.

If It’s Monday, There Must Be At Least Three Obvious New York Times Errors, Omissions, or Hilarities to Report

Filed under: Economy,MSM Biz/Other Bias,MSM Biz/Other Ignorance — Tom @ 6:00 am

AIR AMERICA Updates and Directions Section:
(welcome Hugh Hewitt and Barone Blog fans!)

August 13, 1:15 PM: Big updates today:
- Radio Equalizer: The Times corrects of a key Al Franken misquote, Brian still sees big holes in the Times story, and adds a reader’s scathing letter to The Times that I fearlessly predict won’t make it into the paper.
- Michelle Malkin on the story finally getting wide distribution.
- Powerline publishes another letter to The Times that you can rest assured will not be “fit to print.”

August 13, 12:15 PM: Hugh Hewitt suggested that New York Attorney General Elliot Spitzer could use some help, as his intrepid gumshoes seem to be stuck at The Gloria Wise Foundation’s Executive Offices, and appear not to have made it over to Air America yet. So as a public service to Mr. Spitzer, here are directions for the 15.22-mile trip from Gloria Wise to AAR’s place at 3 Park Avenue.

August 12, 4 PM: The Times piece on AAR (requires registration) is thoroughly inadequate. Brian at Radio Equalizer tells you why, even beyond Michelle’s updated take that began last night. SOOOO…… A quick bump to the top for AAR’s address/phone number, and directions from The Times to AAR’s Headquarters for the constantly arriving Barone Blog and Hugh Hewitt readers. Scroll down just a little for e-mail and phone contacts at The Times.

August 11, 11:45 PM: Michelle nothing-gets-by-her Malkin notes The Times’ first piece on AAR (requires registration) for tomorrow’s paper, is underwhelmed, detects some clever revisions to previous comments made by Al Franken, and (on August 12) notes that a reference to her posting on the topic got edited out later.

And what’s with the headline “Bronx Boys Club’s Finances Investigated,” when the charity involved is the “Gloria Wise Boys and Girls Club” (second para)?

August 11, about 3 PM: Welcome Radio Equalizer fans and (8 PM) Barone Blog readers. This post covers four recent Times botches, of which ignoring the Air America Radio (AAR) scandal is only one. Item 3 below has more detail.

Since Brian has suggested e-mailing AAR’s address and directions to The Times, try or Public Editor Byron Calame at Mr. Calame’s phone number is 212-566-7652 (please be civil). More contact info (probably requires registration) is here.

Do this search (requires registration) to verify that the AAR news blackout at The Times continues continued until the August 12 print edition. (Added 8:45 PM) Here’s another search on “Gloria Wise” (requires registration; HT The Larsonian) that shows no news relating to the foundation for over 2 years until the dam broke in the August 12 print edition.

BizzyBlog Flashback 1: Did the Liberal Talk Network Really Steal from Kids and Seniors?
BizzyBlog Flashback 2: New York Times Running Out?


Indeed, there are four, and none have anything to do with the adoption records of a Supreme Court nominee’s children:

1. Overdependence Debunked

EU Rota (HT Instapundit) catches The Times article “Why America Is More Dependent Than Ever on Saudi Arabia” (link requires registration) graphically and factually ignoring the reality that our imports from Saudi Arabia are down as a percentage of our total needs by about 50% in the past 14 years, made up for by imports from other countries (Mexico, Venezuela, Canada, etc.).

So while the United States is importing a higher percentage of its total energy requirements, the imports are spread out among a number of different countries, making our vulnerability to any single country that might decide it’s in a bad mood (Exhibit A-Venezuela) lower. Drilling in ANWR to keep the overall level of dependency under control and continuing to spread out the oil imports among multiple sources sounds like a plan to me.

2. High French Unemployment and Slower Growth Are NOT Good Things, Mr. Krugman

Don Luskin at gets a hilarious e-mail from a reader who, in light of this past Friday’s employment report, beats up on “economist” Paul Krugman’s sentimential yearning for economic conditions like those currently found in France:

Oh, how disappointing today’s employment report. An additional 207,000 jobs were created in the month of July. What does that mean? It means 207,000 less people spending time at home watching “Oprah.” It means 207,000 less people staying home spending “quality” time with the family …… Each passing month takes the US farther and farther away from the utopian French model of high unemployment and “quality” family time together. Oh how I despise the free-market, capitalist pigs that inhabit this country. As more and more jobs are created, the less and less time we get to spend with our families watching soap operas and game shows on random weekday mornings and afternoons.

In other entries, Mr. Luskin points out that France is suffering a brain drain, is an employment graveyard for anyone over 50 who loses their job (same link as previous item), has a higher suicide rate, and has occasions where large numbers of the elderly die in heat waves (almost 15,000 in 2003) due to lack of air conditioning and “chronically insufficient care for the elderly” (quoted text is from USA Today link).

Perhaps Mr. Krugman should spend a few months living in France under average conditions and give us a full report. It may even be that the soap operas and talk shows aren’t as good.

3. Air WHAT?

Even New York gubernatorial candidate and current NY Attorney General Elliot Spitzer has figured out that he had better show up and get involved (link requires registration) with the disgraceful $800,000-plus “situation” between Air America Radio (AAR) and the Gloria Wise Foundation. The Cliff’s Notes version is this: Air America, its officials, or its ex-officials are in possession of the money, and shouldn’t be; The Foundation doesn’t have the money, and should.

The latest is here from Radio Equalizer, who broke the story, and Michelle Malkin.

It’s a good thing they and others in the blogosphere are on it. Over at The Times, a Sunday afternoon search on “Air America” (requires registration) has no entry more recent than June 15, the same situation as when the scandal first broke almost two weeks ago, even though AAR’s headquarters is a 5-minute cab ride away. “Journalists” at The Times–if you need a little help getting there from your place, here are directions.

4. Military Heroism Not Reported–Uh, Whose Fault Is That?

In an almost unimaginable self-parody (link requires registration). This one’s too easy and obvious for a detailed fisking.

Among the many weighing in on the absurdity are Mudville Gazette (with numerous examples of heroism at the site, and links to many others at other sites), ShrinkWrapped (HT Instapundit), and Phil Hendrie (soldiers aren’t “kids”; HT Tim Blair).

NYT stock, as would be expected, continues to tread water.

UPDATE: A week-long litany of Heroes from the War on Terror begins today at You Big Mouth You. Unsurprisingly, there’s no shortage of material.