MegaUpload Taken Down

The SOPA & PIPA legislation certainly was knocked down and political backing withered away once the public outcry was too much for even Washington to ignore. That didn’t stop the government from overstepping their bounds again.

A federal indictment and arrests occurred today and the sites were taken down. NY Times article.

It’s surprising the US government was able to coordinate in order to bring down a file sharing site actually based in elsewhere.

I’m having a hard time swallowing the idea of arresting people who run a company in one country based on, at best,¬† shaky laws from a different country. The US, again, acts like we are the World Police.

Unfortunately, we really are closer to the marionettes portrayed in the film. [NOTE- I am referring to SupePACs, big business, Hollywood, the Military Industrial Complex, etc really running the country].

MegaUpload supporters took down the DOJ site as well as some entertainment sites. Anonymous took credit for the DOS attacks. The sites were back up within a few hours as well.

But lets not get all into the conspiracy theories and anarchy talk. Lets talk about something closer to home.

The XBMC Icefilms plugin, which I use extensively, relies heavily on MegaUpload for many of its files. Taking the site down effectively makes the plugin useless. This makes me sad. This makes my family sad. We cut the cable many months ago and are having a hard time finding a way to get the entertainment we need. We are willing to pay for what we actually are interested in.

The fact that Icefilms is a legitimate way for people to share access to (mostly) media they own or resources that are community property makes it a great part of my home media setup. Others obviously feel the same.

The hacker community over at XBMC Hub had a new update to Icefilms for XBMC on iOS within hours (v 1.0.22) that uses 2Shared as an alternative.

I take two things from this:

  1. Big media companies are in their death throws and are stopping at nothing to try and hold on to the monopoly and current price structures they have
  2. How artists create and disseminate their works and how consumers want to access it is changing

I hope we are able to make the transition peacefully and that the new media consumption paradigms will allow for more & greater personal and collective expression, sharing and results in a richer human condition.

 

UPDATE:

MegaUpload already has a new IP. They don’t have a demain¬† name yet, but it proves my point that you cannot keep these changes from happening.

UPDATE 2:

The Megaupload site referred to previously is likely to be a DOS site. Don’t use it. In the meantime, there have been several updates to Icefilms for XBMC (now v 1.0.23) that now redirect users to 2Shared. This is another file sharing site that really is not up to par with others (hence it was used sparingly before).

Hate Multiplies Hate

Why should we love our enemies? The first reason is fairly obvious. Returning hate for hate multiplies hate, adding deeper darkness to a night already devoid of stars. Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that. Hate multiplies hate, violence multiplies violence, and toughness multiplies toughness in a descending spiral of destruction.

Speech from MLK Christmas 1957

source: http://www.salsa.net/peace/conv/8weekconv4-2.html

Republicans Push for Cutting Bay Area Transportation Funding

As a daily commuter in the Bay Area, I have been excited at the prospect of improved public transportation here. The high speed rail, the BART extension, the subway in San Francisco.
I was doubly excited to hear Obama’s commitment to national infrastructure improvement during his State of the Union.
Now to hear that Congress wants to cut this funding, affecting us here in the Bay Area, I must call upon my fellow Bay Area Commuters to go to support Obama when he comes to meet high tech business leaders on Thursday, February 17.

Original article posted By Gary Richards on Mercury News

One day after the Federal Transit Administration announced it would give the BART extension to San Jose $130 million as a down payment on $900 million in aid from Washington, political reality set in.

The Republican-controlled House Appropriations Committee now recommends slashing funds to new rail lines by 22 percent — cuts that could slow the flow of money for BART and 27 other projects across the country.

“Obviously, any of their cuts would set us backwards rather than going forward,” FTA administrator Peter Rogoff said Tuesday from Washington, D.C. “We want to work with the House Republicans on deficit reduction, but we are heading in opposite directions on infrastructure and investment.”

President Barack Obama’s budget calls for $3.2 billion for new rail lines across the country, up from $2 billion this year. San Francisco’s Central Subway line would get $200 million, with Sacramento in line for $50 million for light rail.

The Republican budget proposal set off a flurry of angry responses Tuesday. Rep. Mike Honda, D-San Jose, called it “another example of mindless budget slashing. We can’t win the future if we don’t have a 21st-century transportation infrastructure to take us there.”

William Millar, president of the American Public Transportation Association, said, “None of these cuts makes sense.”

Added Randy Rentschler of the Metropolitan Transportation Commission in Oakland, which allocates federal and state money to the nine counties in the region: “It is areas such as the Bay Area who need a balanced transportation system and who would be affected most by this proposal. We need more, not less funding.”

Easing the potential pain for transit agencies is the freeing up of $350 million in federal aid after New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie blocked construction of a commuter rail tunnel between New Jersey and Manhattan. This would have been one of the largest transit projects in the country, and nearly $9

billion of the $12.7 billion construction costs had been covered.But Christie canceled the project because it would have meant borrowing funds or raising the gas tax to cover the difference — moves he refused to make.

Michael Burns, the general manager of the Valley Transportation Authority that will build the BART extension, took heart, saying that even with the Republican budget proposal, nearly 80 percent of the new train program would be funded.

“This demonstrates that the new starts program has solid bipartisan support,” Burns said.

But issues remain, from opposition to increasing spending to questions about where Obama’s ambitious transportation budget would get more revenue.

It calls for spending $556 billion over the next six years. But only $230 billion would be covered by gas tax revenues over that period, according to the Congressional Budget Office.

“How does the president propose to bridge the $326 billion funding shortfall?” asked Ken Orski, editor and publisher of a widely read transportation newsletter and the associate administrator of the Urban Mass Transportation Administration under Presidents Nixon and Ford.

Last fall a panel of 80 transportation experts that included Norm Mineta, the director of transportation under President George W. Bush and a former congressman from San Jose, estimated that an additional $134 billion to $262 billion must be spent per year through 2035 to rebuild and improve the nation’s transportation infrastructure.

Locally, said Honda, that must mean delivering on the promise of federal money for BART.

“The long-awaited BART to Silicon Valley project is too important for businesses and jobs in our communities to be put in danger by political gimmicks,” Honda said, “and I will fight tooth and nail to make sure it gets the federal funds that it deserves.”