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Adam Schiff: Democrat, weasel

God bless Tucker Carlson for calling out Adam Schiff, the ranking member of the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence, for saying that he knew that Russians hacked into John Podesta’s email account. During the debate, which lasted a little less than 9 minutes, Tucker asked Schiff about a letter Democrats sent to President Obama. […]

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AT&T Buys Time Warner: An Expansive Strategy Amid Industry Uncertainty

After Comcast’s $30 billion takeover of NBCUniversal and Verizon’s acquisitions of the Huffington Post and Yahoo, AT&T agreed on October 22, 2016 to buy Time Warner for $85.4 billion. The ability to produce content and deliver it to millions of viewers “with wireless phones, broadband subscriptions and satellite TV connections was not lost on either board.[1]At the time, AT&T sold “wireless service in a saturated market, while Time Warner [was] a content company whose primary assets, networks like CNN and HBO, [faced] tougher times in a cord-cutting world.”[2]Although AT&T’s board could be accused of empire-building wherein bigger is better (i.e., more powerful), the stabilizing impact of combining wireless service and content could hardly be ignored in a business-environment so full of change and uncertainty. In other words, with the traditional television industry facing such dire threats to its revenue-structure due to the proliferation of high-tech substitutes, having the wherewithal to formulate and experiment with different distribution means and even content was at the time a fitting strategy.
The full essay is at “AT&T Buys Time Warner.”


1. Michael J. de la Merced, “AT&T Pledges $85 Billion To Acquire Time Warner,” The New York Times, October 23, 2016.
2. Farhad Manjoo, “AT&T-Time Warner Deal Is a Strike in the Dark,” The New York Times, October 24, 2016.

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Obama’s Scheme to Cede Internet Governance to the Keystone Cops at the United Nations

I’m not a fan of international bureaucracies. Simply stated, they routinely promote statism, which translates into less freedom and prosperity. But not all international bureaucracies are created equal. Most of my ire is directed at the International Monetary Fund and the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development for the simple reason that those two institutions […]

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Reality Is Meaniepants

Pro Tip: Publicly criticizing your boss & bitching about your  entry level job is not likely to get you a promotion. The story: College graduate (majored in English Literature) aspires to be a big media professional, moves to a city with a very high cost of living & takes an entry level minimum wage job … Continue reading Reality Is Meaniepants

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Beyond Facebook’s Impact on Political Polarization in the U.S.

Any time “scientists” at a company purport to have done a study involving said company in any way, the public has good reason to be suspicious of the reported conclusions. Were the folks running the company really intent on providing credible information, they would use independent scholars (i.e., not being compensated by the company). Such a management would want to obviate even the appearance of a conflict of interest—their desire to provide the public with an answer being so strong. So the management at Facebook may not have been very invested in providing the public an answer to the question: how much influence do users actually have over the content in their feeds? In May 2015, three “Facebook data scientists” published a peer-reviewed study in Science Magazineon how often Facebook users had been “exposed to political views different from their own.”[1]The “scientists” concluded that if users “mostly see news and updates from friends who support their own political ideology, it’s primarily because of their own choices—not the company’s algorithm.”[2]Academic scholars criticized the study’s methodology and cautioned that the risk of polarized “echo chambers” on Facebook was nonetheless significant.[3]I was in academia long enough to know that methodological criticism by more than one scholar is enough to put an empirical study’s findings in doubt. Nowadays, I am more oriented to the broader implications of the “echo-chamber” criticism.


The entire essay is at “Beyond Facebook’s Impact.”



[i]Alexander B. Howard, “Facebook Study Says Users Control What They See, But Critics Disagree,” The Huffington Post, May 12, 2015.

[ii]Ibid. I put the quotes around “scientists” to make the point that the conflict of interest renders the label itself controversial in being applied to the study’s investigators.

[iii]See, for example, Christian Sandvig, “The Facebook ‘It’s Not Our Fault’ Study,” Multicast, Harvard Law School Blogs, May 7, 2015.

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Government Screws Up Everything: The Internet Version

When I read that the Obama Administration wants to regulate the Internet by having the Federal Communications Commission impose “net neutrality” rules, my immediate response is to be opposed. Does my opposition to more regulation and red tape make me a knee-jerk ideologue? I suppose so, though I think it’s simply a common-sense instinct. After […]

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Court Ruling: Israeli And US Terrorism Victims Now ‘Own’ Iran’s Internet

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ه هدف مقدس!  What happened to “Monday Night Jihad?”

The United States District Court ruled today that the .ir domain name, along with Iran’s IP addresses
are assets that can be seized to satisfy judgments totaling over a billion dollars, owed by Iran to Israeli and US victims of terrorism perpetrated by Iranian-supported proxies like Hamas, Islamic Jihad and Hezbollah organizations, among others.

The verdict was won by attorney Nitsana Darshan-Leitner of the Shurat Hadin Law Center and what it means is absolutely delicious. The fees paid by Iran to keep its Internet going could be levied and given to the victims, or their lawyers now have to legal right to force an auction of Iran’s Internet assets to help satisfy the judgment.

 Nitsana Darshan-Leitner (Photo credit: Courtesy)

Shurat Hadin and others have been pursuing Iran in court for over a decade and have obtained numerous judgments against The Islamic Republic which Iran has refused to pay.

Faced with Iranian refusal to provide such compensation, Darshan-Leitner has been pursuing these judgments in the courts. “We’ve been able to seize numerous Iranian assets to satisfy these judgments,” Darshan-Leitner told The Times of Israel. “Last year, for example, we were awarded a building on New York’s Fifth Avenue, and we have a case pending for seizure of an Iranian government-owned art collection at the University of Chicago.”

But today’s ruling might end up being the most costly for Iran.

The Iranians, like every other country pay fees to The Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN), an agency that’s part of the US Department of Commerce which administers the World Wide Web. The court ruling today leaves the way clear for those fees Iran pays every year to renew its’ domains and its country prefix, .ir to be collected by Sharat Hadin and distributed to the plaintiffs to help satisfy the judgments. Included in the judgment are all the “top-level domain” (TLD) names provided by ICANN to Iran, including the .IR TLD, the Persian-language ایران TLD, and all Internet Protocol (IP) addresses being utilized by the Iranian government and its agencies.

At this point, according to Darshan-Leitner, the only question is how ICAAN is going to respond.They have ten days to do so.

But wait, there’s more.

Since ICANN will essentially not be paid its fees since they’re going to the terrorism victims, they may simply decide not to do business with Iran anymore. If that happens, ICANN can actually pull the plug on Iran’s internet, suspending its use of the .ir domain and disconnecting Iranian IP addresses from the web.

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If ICANN decides to carry the Iranians, it gets even worse. Shurat Hadin would likely pursue an auction of the Iranian Internet assets, (which would probably generate a lot more cash) and Iran’s websites and domains could be purchased by anyone. The possibilities are endless. Can you imagine the Saudis or the Israelis getting hold of Iran’s official government website? And the effect on Iranian commerce would be a disaster.

“The payments are just one aspect of the judgment,” Darshan-Leitner said. “It’s the assets themselves that we were awarded. This is the first time that terror victims have moved to seize the domain names, IPs and Internet licenses of terror-sponsoring states like Iran in an attempt to satisfy their court judgments. The Iranians must be shown that there is a steep price to be paid for their sponsorship of terrorism. In business and legal terms it is quite simple — we are owed money, and these assets are currency worth money. We remain committed to helping these American families satisfy their judgments.”

Kol Tov, Ms. Darshan-Leitner!

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Franken’s paranoid rantings

A loyal reader of LFR has sent me some hilarious fundraising emails from the Franken campaign. Here’s Sen. Franken’s latest fundraising appeal: Can you hear that ominous buzzing sound? That’s Washington Republicans, planning their next attempt to hold our economic recovery hostage by playing political games with the debt ceiling. In case you don’t remember […]

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Why the So-Called Marketplace Fairness Act Is a Misguided Expansion of Power for State Governments

I’m either a total optimist or a glutton for punishment. I recently explained the benefits of “tax havens” for the unfriendly readers of the New York Times. Now I’m defending a different form of tax competition for CNN, another news outlet that leans left. In this case, the topic is whether states can reach beyond […] . . . → Read More: Why the So-Called Marketplace Fairness Act Is a Misguided Expansion of Power for State Governments . . . → Read More: Why the So-Called Marketplace Fairness Act Is a Misguided Expansion of Power for State Governments

Official Underwear of Long Distance Relationships

With all the sad news on the television this past week America needs a good laugh. Today a new product was brought to my attention and at first all I could do was laugh and was at a loss for words, yes I know, at a loss of words. With technology ever advancing I wish

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