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Message 175511 - Posted: 8 Oct 2005, 18:13:45 UTC

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Message 175514 - Posted: 8 Oct 2005, 18:17:35 UTC
Last modified: 8 Oct 2005, 18:19:50 UTC

House passes bill to help oil refineries after standoff
Detractors call measure a handout to big oil firms


By H. Josef Hebert
ASSOCIATED PRESS

October 8, 2005

WASHINGTON - The House voted to encourage U.S. oil companies to build new refineries yesterday in a raucous roll call that Republican leaders extended 40 minutes while they buttonholed their own members to avoid an embarrassing defeat.

Democrats crying "Shame, shame" - and some GOP moderates - called the bill a sop to rich oil companies that would do nothing to ease energy costs, including expected soaring heating bills this winter.

The bill would streamline government permits for refineries, open federal lands including closed military bases for future refinery construction, and limit the number of gasoline blends refiners have to produce, eliminating many blends now designed to reduce air pollution.

President Bush welcomed the vote.

"I commend the House for passing legislation that would increase our refining capacity and help address the cost of gasoline, diesel fuels and jet fuels," he said in a statement.

The legislation, which now goes to the Senate, passed 212-210, but not before a standoff on the House floor.

Rep. Henry Waxman, D-Los Angeles, asked at one point, "Is this the House of a Banana Republic?"

It looked as if the bill was going down to defeat, two votes shy of approval.

Democrats, to no avail, called for gaveling the vote closed as GOP leaders lobbied their own members to switch votes and support the bill.

"He worked me over a little," said Rep. Bill Young, R-Fla., among the last group of lawmakers to switch to support the legislation, referring to his discussions with House Speaker Dennis Hastert of Illinois.

Rep. Tom DeLay, who recently stepped down temporarily as majority leader after being indicted in Texas over a campaign finance issue, was as active as ever, administering pressure on wavering lawmakers in the crowded, noisy House chamber.

Finally, long after the vote had been scheduled to close, two GOP votes switched, providing the Republican victory. A tie would have killed the bill. "Shame, shame, shame" came a chorus from the Democratic side of the aisle.

Afterward, Democratic leader Nancy Pelosi of San Francisco called it all "a shameless display of the Republican culture of corruption," a theme she has used in recent days on a number of issues since DeLay's indictment on conspiracy and money-laundering charges.

Rep. Joe Barton, R-Texas, who had predicted a close vote, said he was not aware of "any deals" being made to get the last votes.

No Democrats voted for the legislation, although three initially favored it, only to change their minds after talking to Pelosi and Rep. Steny Hoyer of Maryland, the second-ranking Democrat.

Reps. Randy Cunningham, R-Rancho Santa Fe; Duncan Hunter, R-Alpine; and Darrell Issa, R-Vista, voted with the majority. Reps. Bob Filner, D-San Diego, and Susan Davis, D-San Diego, opposed the measure.

Supporters of the measure said that Hurricanes Katrina and Rita made it clear that the country needed more refineries, including new ones outside of the Gulf region. No new refinery has been built since 1976, although large refineries have been expanded to meet growing demand.

Critics of the legislation argued that a cash-rich industry with huge profits over the past year shouldn't need government help to build refineries.

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Message 175656 - Posted: 9 Oct 2005, 2:36:40 UTC

Thanks for posting that Misfit... I hadn't heard how that vote turned out.
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Message 175686 - Posted: 9 Oct 2005, 3:59:15 UTC



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Message 175687 - Posted: 9 Oct 2005, 4:07:43 UTC

And now the Republican Congress has shifted to the domestic front to assist those who's money helped get them elected.



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Message 176135 - Posted: 10 Oct 2005, 3:26:34 UTC

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Message 176138 - Posted: 10 Oct 2005, 3:39:50 UTC



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Message 176229 - Posted: 10 Oct 2005, 13:42:36 UTC

No new refinery has been built since 1976, although large refineries have been expanded to meet growing demand.


Odd how that works out. And yet there are calls to make energy cheaper. Lets see. If you restrict supply, does price go up, or go down? And which segment of society does that have the most effect on, the richest, or the poorest...

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Message 176277 - Posted: 10 Oct 2005, 15:55:01 UTC - in response to Message 176229.

No new refinery has been built since 1976, although large refineries have been expanded to meet growing demand.


Odd how that works out. And yet there are calls to make energy cheaper. Lets see. If you restrict supply, does price go up, or go down? And which segment of society does that have the most effect on, the richest, or the poorest...


There has been no restriction on supply except for that which has been caused by natural diasters. The only other restriction on supply has been done by the oil companies to increase prices, just like when the electrical supply companies restricted production a few years ago to screw all the comsumers on the west coast. Do your homework first.


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Message 176308 - Posted: 10 Oct 2005, 17:34:32 UTC - in response to Message 176277.

There has been no restriction on supply except for that which has been caused by natural diasters. The only other restriction on supply has been done by the oil companies to increase prices, just like when the electrical supply companies restricted production a few years ago to screw all the comsumers on the west coast. Do your homework first.

And exactly which planet are you you discussing?

From the Heritage Foundation website, article joined in progess:
There is no reason for America to be so energy-dependent on just one part of the country. The impacted areas off the shores of east Texas and Louisiana are not, as many assume, the only ones with rich oil and natural gas deposits. To the contrary, there is offshore oil and natural gas in Alaska, the Pacific, the eastern Gulf of Mexico, and the Atlantic. In addition, there is considerable untapped onshore potential, including the estimated 10 billion barrels of oil in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge (ANWR). Cumulatively, this potential energy is greater than that in the Katrina and Rita-ravaged areas. As well, refineries could be built (and existing ones expanded) in a number of areas far from the hurricane-prone Gulf.

Laws will have to be changed to make this extra energy and energy infrastructure available. Federal restrictions on exploration and drilling put most offshore and many onshore areas off-limits, and a host of costly regulations have made it difficult to increase refining capacity.

I've seen variations on this reasoning in innumerable places, but this was the quickest example that I could find to quote here. It appears to be intentional, too... the radical Left of the environmental movement would like to constrain supply so much that petrochemical energy is placed out of the market and humanity settles into a lower-energy-usage state. The idea that national economies would sit still for this is ill-founded, but the damage caused by such a policy is irrefutable. It is not restricted to the United States... there is a global shortage of refining capacity, which is why the supply disruption caused such widespread shockwaves.
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Message 176340 - Posted: 10 Oct 2005, 18:28:43 UTC - in response to Message 176277.
Last modified: 10 Oct 2005, 18:35:26 UTC

There has been no restriction on supply except for that which has been caused by natural diasters.


Read what I said, do not comment on what you think I said. I did not say that supply had been restricted, although I would bet that the overall net effect has been to restrict it, given the population growth and growth in the number of vehicles since 1974.

The point was that simply that the costs imposed on the refining industry coupled with a declining refining base drives prices UP--which is left out of that news story.

The only other restriction on supply has been done by the oil companies to increase prices, just like when the electrical supply companies restricted production a few years ago to screw all the comsumers on the west coast.


Heh heh. At no time did California "deregulate." Well, unless by deregulate one means "a whole bunch more and different regulation."

While some suppliers may have tried to skrew the consumer by restricting production that's only because they could. CA enacted a law that let them. CA would not allow anyone else to provide energy, nor allow companies to sign long-term contracts will generators around the U.S. In other words, CA skrewed those consumers, by over-regulating the industry and not allowing competition.

Hell, "moreandextryregulation" was such a crappy plan that some places (most notably Los Angeles and Burbank among others) opted out. Power was so expensive that one could have run an extension cord from Iowa to CA and sold power that way. Oh, wait, no you couldn't. CA had forbidden you by law from doing so. You know, to give Enron (and others) the ability to control the system...

I mean, do you think Ford and GM could skrew American consumers by restricting car production? No, of course not, because, Daimler-Chrysler, Honda, Toyota and the rest would have a field day. But what would happen if there was a law that said no other manufacturer could sell cars in America? THEN Ford and GM could skrew American consumers royally.

Do your homework first.


Pffft. Do you really want to set this tone? Given your comments above, I would suggest that the comment applies more to you.

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Message 176359 - Posted: 10 Oct 2005, 18:50:55 UTC
Last modified: 10 Oct 2005, 18:52:16 UTC

Google's chutzpah
Grand goal doesn't excuse copyright theft


UNION-TRIBUNE EDITORIAL

October 10, 2005

In all of seven years, Google has made itself as much a day-to-day part of life as any company this side of Microsoft. And this huge, quick success has only fueled the ambitiousness of the Internet search giant, whose engineers think nothing of such casual observations as the following: "It might take a decade or two to put all the world's information into Google. ... But it's an achievable goal."

It's also a fabulous goal. Having instant access to a gigantic database of "all the world's information" isn't just good news for students writing term papers. It could spawn spectacular advances in the sciences by easing collaboration and the dissemination of new research. It's also likely to increase economic efficiency in untold ways. And in a philosophical sense, it promotes a healthy egalitarian view about what might in time be seen as a universal right: access to information.

If only Google could figure out how to do this in a responsible way. Instead, in an act of chutzpah on a par with the psychopath who kills his parents and then pleads for mercy because he's an orphan, Google has decided to ignore copyright law and begin scanning in millions of books - while presenting itself as the noble hero of the information age and complaining authors and publishers as whiny Luddites.

The books are coming from the New York Public Library and libraries at Oxford, Harvard, Stanford and the University of Michigan, which signed contracts to share their stacks with Google. Publishers can keep their titles out of the Google archive, but only if they opt out - and they can only do that if they're aware their works are on Google's list.

Google reluctantly acknowledged this was a problem by suspending its scanning program in August to give more copyright holders a chance to opt out. But despite many new complaints, the scanning will resume Nov. 1.

Google's defense is that since searches will only turn up small sections of scanned books, this amounts to a "fair use" under copyright law. But this seems absurd, given that Google is - without permission - appropriating the entirety of others' intellectual property for its own purposes.

Shame on Google - and too bad that such a great idea is being tarnished by the arrogant approach of those who conceived it.

This high-handedness is the second recent example of the disconnect between how Google does business and its pompous self-glorification - part of its official corporate philosophy is the dictum that "you can make money without doing evil," as if "doing evil" was otherwise standard practice in corporate America. The first came when the company blackballed the CNET technology-journalism Web site after an article observed there might be something dangerous about Google socking away information on what every computer user in the world did with its search engine.

Perhaps someday the admittedly brilliant people who run Google will realize that journalists aren't responsible for the cyber giant's growing image problem - they are. Mensa should sue. These people give geniuses a bad name.

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Message 176369 - Posted: 10 Oct 2005, 19:11:19 UTC - in response to Message 176359.

Perhaps someday the admittedly brilliant people who run Google will realize that journalists aren't responsible for the cyber giant's growing image problem - they are. Mensa should sue. These people give geniuses a bad name.

I've noticed in my brief span upon this Earth that many in Information Technology believe that what they do is genuinely new and that "old-fashioned" laws somehow do not apply to them.

Copyright and patent law may be struggling to keep up with software, but Google's project is in flagrant violation of the very meaning of copyright. An author does not have the responsibility to opt out of an objectionable project... it is the project's responsibility to acquire explicit permission from each and every copyright holder involved.

With libraries as old as these, there are no doubt many works for which the author's original copyright has expired. Search them out and scan them. Due to Disney, copyrights held by corporations will probably never expire, but that's a completely different topic.
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Message 176375 - Posted: 10 Oct 2005, 19:23:31 UTC - in response to Message 176369.

I've noticed in my brief span upon this Earth that many in Information Technology believe that what they do is genuinely new and that "old-fashioned" laws somehow do not apply to them.


Ah, well, Rosa Parks sort of figured the same thing--that laws didn't apply to her.

The world is changing. Google! is part of that process, figuring that if libraries can give the information out without asking the author, they can do so as well.

It will be interesting to see how this all works out with digital media, books, music, et cetera.
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Message 176388 - Posted: 10 Oct 2005, 19:36:50 UTC - in response to Message 176375.

I've noticed in my brief span upon this Earth that many in Information Technology believe that what they do is genuinely new and that "old-fashioned" laws somehow do not apply to them.


Ah, well, Rosa Parks sort of figured the same thing--that laws didn't apply to her.

Rosa Parks was peacefully protesting what she saw as an unjust law. In hindsight, pretty much everyone agrees with her. Google is not engaging in a philosphically-inspired protest... it is engaged in a profit-driven project. Virtually every copyright notice that I've ever seen inlcudes an explicit exclusion to storing the work in any kind of information-retrieval system. Rosa Park's actions did not threaten the profitability of the mass-transit authority, whereas Google's project would threaten authors' ability to get full value from their copyrighted efforts. Amazon data-mines the books it distributes, but with the authors' permission, and with the goal of increasing sales (and thus royalties to the copyright holders).
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Message 176425 - Posted: 10 Oct 2005, 20:51:59 UTC - in response to Message 176388.

Rosa Parks was peacefully protesting what she saw as an unjust law. In hindsight, pretty much everyone agrees with her.


OK, how about this: Google! is peacefully protesting what they see as an unjust law; civil disobedience, if you will. In hindsight, it's possible that pretty much everyone will agree with them.

Google is not engaging in a philosphically-inspired protest... it is engaged in a profit-driven project. Virtually every copyright notice that I've ever seen inlcudes an explicit exclusion to storing the work in any kind of information-retrieval system.


Rosa Parks was doing what she thought was best for her, Google! is doing exactly the same thing. In fact, a number of people had tried the Rosa Parks thing before she did; but those that would soon litigate that case had no interest in the others that violated that law--they weren't sympathetic "victims" (I think one was a unmarried pregnant woman, et cetera). So when Rosa came along they were thrilled.

While the copyright notice is in plain sight, again, the world has changed. The protection of anything that can be digitalized has become the burden of those that want it protected.

I don't think they can. And the courts and police simply cannot. Hence the reason that it was rare indeed for the police to stop anyone from Xeroxing things in the library.

Rosa Park's actions did not threaten the profitability of the mass-transit authority, whereas Google's project would threaten authors' ability to get full value from their copyrighted efforts. Amazon data-mines the books it distributes, but with the authors' permission, and with the goal of increasing sales (and thus royalties to the copyright holders).


Frankly, the internet is what is destroying authors' ability to get full value. Nearly anything new can be downloaded from the net for free in .doc or .pdf form.

Note, I'm not saying that it's right. I'm saying that it IS. There has been a sea-change. Google! just ain't as sympathetic as Rosa.

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Message 176429 - Posted: 10 Oct 2005, 21:03:57 UTC - in response to Message 176425.

Note, I'm not saying that it's right. I'm saying that it IS. There has been a sea-change. Google! just ain't as sympathetic as Rosa.

In the United States (and Google falls under United States law because all .com domains do), a group is allowed to advocate an act that is currently illegal so long as they refrain from performing the act in the meantime. This sets the US apart from many other countries, but some have decided that this is not enough. They choose to test the axiom "it is easier to get forgiveness than permission."

A student Xerox'ing a couple pages from a magazine is covered by the Fair Use provision. Creating an information retrieval system in direct violation of existing copyright law is not Fair Use. There are a lot of things that *can* be done, but they are illegal. The economy depends upon property laws to function in anything resembling an efficient manner. The US intellectual property laws are flawed enough when they are followed, we don't need a major corporation blatantly ignoring them.
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Message 176452 - Posted: 10 Oct 2005, 22:26:17 UTC - in response to Message 176429.
Last modified: 10 Oct 2005, 22:31:27 UTC

In the United States (and Google falls under United States law because all .com domains do), a group is allowed to advocate an act that is currently illegal so long as they refrain from performing the act in the meantime. This sets the US apart from many other countries, but some have decided that this is not enough. They choose to test the axiom "it is easier to get forgiveness than permission."


Which is exactly what Rosa Parks did.

A student Xerox'ing a couple pages from a magazine is covered by the Fair Use provision. Creating an information retrieval system in direct violation of existing copyright law is not Fair Use. There are a lot of things that *can* be done, but they are illegal.


Noting that they are illegal doesn't make your case. We know it's likely illegal. Just like we knew what Rosa did was illegal.

Technology may have simply left the law behind.

The economy depends upon property laws to function in anything resembling an efficient manner. The US intellectual property laws are flawed enough when they are followed, we don't need a major corporation blatantly ignoring them.


Real property laws are unaffected here--they aren't relevant. It's easy to retrieve a car, or a statue, less so a stereo or bicycle. Intellectual or digital property laws, on the other hand are directly on point, and they are failing in the face of technology. Google may lose in the short term. But it will happen, regardless.

You mentioned, correctly, Disney. Google may simply be trying to bring those Disney-inspired laws to a head. They should never have been enacted.

Besides, even if they lose, they can easily move their servers off-shore.
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Message 176649 - Posted: 11 Oct 2005, 13:35:29 UTC - in response to Message 176452.

Which is exactly what Rosa Parks did.

Noting that they are illegal doesn't make your case. We know it's likely illegal. Just like we knew what Rosa did was illegal.

Technology may have simply left the law behind.

You are stuck on this ill-fitting analogy with Rosa Parks. Rosa Parks risked bodily harm, public ridicule and imprisonment for her conduct. The brains pulling the strings at Google are not facing any of these. At worst, Google could be indicted as a corporation, but even that is a remote possibility.

This is the moral equivelent of saying that Microsoft should get a free pass for violating antitrust laws because they are antiquated. That spamming firms should get a free pass on fair trade regulations because they are hard to enforce. That pharmaceutical companies should not feel constrained by human testing laws because they slow drug discovery.

Think about what you are advocating.
Real property laws are unaffected here--they aren't relevant. It's easy to retrieve a car, or a statue, less so a stereo or bicycle. Intellectual or digital property laws, on the other hand are directly on point, and they are failing in the face of technology. Google may lose in the short term. But it will happen, regardless.

You mentioned, correctly, Disney. Google may simply be trying to bring those Disney-inspired laws to a head. They should never have been enacted.

Besides, even if they lose, they can easily move their servers off-shore.

"Real property" is a specific legal term meaning land and land improvements. I assume that you mean "tangible property." Just because property is intangible does not mean that it does not exist. The Coca-Cola brand is intangible property. The secret algorithm by which Google operates its search engine is intangible property. The reputation of a particular hair salon is intangible property. These are things that required effort to produce, but are not tied to a physical object. There are laws governing each of these (trademark, trade secret, and libel, respectively).

Do you think it is fair for some up-start to sell store-brand soda with Coca-Cola labels, for a Google engineer to sell the search algortithm to Yahoo, or for a complete stranger to sue the hair salon for something that it did not do?
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Message 176751 - Posted: 11 Oct 2005, 19:21:28 UTC - in response to Message 176649.

You are stuck on this ill-fitting analogy with Rosa Parks. Rosa Parks risked bodily harm, public ridicule and imprisonment for her conduct. The brains pulling the strings at Google are not facing any of these. At worst, Google could be indicted as a corporation, but even that is a remote possibility.


We disagree. While you may not consider the two as similar circumstances, they are: They both chose to knowingly and non-violently break laws they consider unjust. It's civil disobedience either way. The fact that you agree with Rosa's position and not Google's or the possible punishment they receive is not relevant. PLENTY of people didn't agree with Rosa's actions back then, they were wrong.

This is the moral equivelent of saying that Microsoft should get a free pass for violating antitrust laws because they are antiquated. That spamming firms should get a free pass on fair trade regulations because they are hard to enforce. That pharmaceutical companies should not feel constrained by human testing laws because they slow drug discovery. Think about what you are advocating.


I'm not advocating anything. I noted that the world has changed. While it may be relatively easy to bust Microsoft or Google, it is impossible to police billions of people with digital media. Criminalizing nearly the entire earth's population is not an effective solution.

"Real property" is a specific legal term meaning land and land improvements. I assume that you mean "tangible property." Just because property is intangible does not mean that it does not exist


No. But since the world has changed, the law will have to change. It's nice that your bike was always legally yours and that it existed, but you had better make sure you used a bike lock that existed as well. And if someone defeated that lock, good luck getting the law enforced upon some unknown perp. The responsibility for protecting it remained with you.

Now that same burden is on those that would protect digital media. Best of luck to them. I think they'll fail, and they would either bankrupt themselves or the justice system chasing down .mp3s and .pdfs.

Google is just pushing the envelope.

Do you think it is fair for some up-start to sell store-brand soda with Coca-Cola labels, for a Google engineer to sell the search algortithm to Yahoo, or for a complete stranger to sue the hair salon for something that it did not do?


No, because there is clearly a property line there, and it's clear that someone is profiting--there is clearly a chain of evidence: money changes hands, et cetera.

I don't know how you punish someone who has 300th generation Tom Clancy .doc or Jessica Simpson .mp3 that they were given for free and did not profit off of. What happens if Google just starts mining the 'net, picking up these books for free? Who gets busted there? Google? The 300 people that passed on the file? The person who did the initial scanning? All of them?

The world is changing and the law needs to change as well. That may mean the end of legal protection for digital media, busting only those who profit from selling such things.
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