Kindle DRM Cracked

My big opposition to the Kindle has been that it is based upon selling copy-protected books which initially only worked on the Kindle. They later added support for the iPhone and iPod Touch. Once Barnes and Nobel came out with a similar ebook reader which added the ability to read purchased books on computers, Amazon followed quickly with software to also allow this. Still the problem remains that books purchased for the Kindle cannot legally be transferred to other brands of ebook readers.

It was inevitable that the Kindle format would be cracked. An Israeli hacker has developed a crack which will convert Kindle books into Mobi format.

I’m sure Amazon is not happy but the irnoy is that I now might consider a Kindle if I was still in the market for an ebook reader. I purchased mine based upon its ability to read many open formats. I wouldn’t have considered Kindle as long as the books could only be read on the Kindle but I would now consider it with the option of converting books to the Mobi format.

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The Big Picture

Andrew Sullivan looks at the big picture as he looks at Republican attempts to block health care reform:

My suspicion is that they will fail in the end to achieve this; and that this new landmark for liberalism will reorient American politics the way Reagan’s first year did – profoundly. I may be wrong and I will be accountable for this judgment. But the age demands government action. And Obama is doing as much of it as consensually and as civilly but as ruthlessly as he can.

Why so pragmatic and centrist? Because he wants it all to last.

Sullivan also shows the difference between rational conservatism and the current conservative movement. He realizes that there are now problems which require government action. In contrast, the conservative movement has been taken over by people who have a knee-jerk opposition to any government action unless it involves invading other countries, torture, or imposing the sick moral code of the religious right.

Screw Job: How Obama became the unemployment fall guy

Jonathan Chait explains why Obama doesn’t deserve the blame he is receiving for unemployment. He begins with an analogy:

President Obama is like a pilot who took the controls of the plane in mid-flight after the engines fell out. It’s obvious that he didn’t cause the problem. But the passengers are going to focus on the fact that the plane was still airborne before he took over, and now, he’s crash-landing in the ocean.

Chait discussed the Republican strategy:

The Republican strategy here consists of two nifty steps. Step one consists of affixing Obama with the blame for rising unemployment. Step two is, when Obama points out that the economic collapse occurred before he took office, pummel him as a classless blame-shirker. Columns by National Review editor Rich Lowry (“Obama the graceless”), Wall Street Journal columnist William McGurn (“The post-gracious president”), and numerous other conservative worthies have harped upon this theme. Obama must accede to the Republican campaign to blame him for the consequences of the 2008 economic collapse because to do otherwise would violate social etiquette. Obama’s pointing out that he inherited the recession is “graceless, whiny, and tin-eared,” complains Lowry.

He points out how Republicans previously blamed everything on Bill Clinton. The difference is that while many of their arguments against Clinton were bogus, it should be no surprise that unemployment remains high. Jobless recoveries are becoming the norm after recessions. Many businesses shut down and are therefore not rehiring now. Others changed the way they do business to cut costs and do not need to hire as many people as the economy recovers.

The Festivus Airing of Grievances

It is an annual tradition to air one’s grievances on Festivus. I began this on a previous Festivus by airing the ways in which George Bush disappointed me and let down his country. In 2007 I aired my grievances against many of the candidates who were seeking to replace him. I had the least complaints about Barack Obama:

I am still waiting for more of the promised specifics of your plans. You do show an excellent ability to at least show consideration of all views, but I’m not yet certain if this is a matter of framing or ideology which will impact the final policy. My suspicion is that in a couple of years I will be writing a number of blog posts disagreeing with some of your actions as president, but things will be far better than if any of your major opponents were to win.

My prediction came true and I will begin this year with my grievances concerning Barack Obama. On health care he abandoned his opposition to mandates. It is hard to see how remaining in Afghanistan will be worth the cost, both in lives and dollars. He has preserved some of the secrecy policies of his predecessor. He opposes marriage equality at a time when I believe we are approaching a tipping point where such discrimination will no longer be acceptable–and leaders such as Obama could make this happen more quickly if he chose to do so.

While I have grievances against Obama, I also have grievances to air against the Obama bashers, both from the left and the right. On the right we have claims that he is a Muslim, a socialist, and not an American citizen. These attacks are ridiculous, but the right wing has deteriorated into an authoritarian cult primarily made up of people who are morally and intellectually bankrupt, lacking understanding of history, politics, economics, science, and, most importantly, of ethics or morality. We can no longer be shocked by their hatred and ignorance as this is what now defines the American right wing.

What is harder to understand is the Obama bashing from the left. I am not referring to those who disagree with Obama on issues but those who act as if they were deceived or betrayed, and claim he is no better than George Bush.

Obama might not be right on all the issues but, with some exceptions (and far less than most politicians) he is governing exactly as he said he would as a candidate. Obama ran as a centrist politician who sought to find common ground with others. He did not run as a Messiah, or as a far left politician. His health care plan remains very close to the plan he ran on. He stated his intention to remain in Afghanistan as a candidate. At least, in contrast to his predecessor, he did give some actual thought to the issue. It should have been obvious to anyone listening to him that he was not likely to prosecute members of the Bush administration for their crimes and he would move gradually to reform the system.

You can disagree with him, but don’t act shocked or betrayed–and certainly do not claim he is anywhere near as bad as George Bush.

And now for some briefer grievances to air:

Joe Lieberman, Ben Nelson, Bart Stupak, plus  the entire Republican Congressional delegation for getting in the way of what could have been a far better health care plan.

The insurance industry for developing a business model based upon increasing profits by denying care and dropping customers when they get sick.

Glenn Beck, who deserves the Misinformer of the Year Award.

Sarah Palin, who personifies everything which is wrong with the know-nothing attitude of the right wing, and who deserves to be honored for telling the Lie of the Year.

The tea-baggers. I respect their right to protest, but wish they at least had some basic understanding of the issues they were protesting about.

Acorn, just because everyone is supposed to hate them, regardless of the facts.

The hackers who stole the East Anglia emails. Once the stole the emails and it didn’t show anything meaningful it was time to shut up as opposed to continuing to make claims about the content of the email which were untrue.

Michigan football which has been so disappointing for the second year in a row. (I could include the Detroit Lions for a much longer time period, but why bother?)–the internet company which makes its money by selling defective merchandise at a discount, and then failing to respond to complaints.

Howie Mandel for being a spokesman for a crooked outfit like

The big box stores who offer discounts on electronics and then rip off the customers with extremely over-priced cables.

Fox for screwing up Dollhouse and not giving what could have been a great science fiction show a real chance.

J.J. Abrams for destroying Vulcan and failing to fix the time line (but at least he did save Star Trek).

Happy Festivus

I hope everyone has a happy Festivus. If you don’t, Festivus is still the perfect holiday as you can spend your Festivus dinner airing your grievances as to why you didn’t.

The tradition of Festivus begins with the airing of grievances, which will be following.