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The Supreme Court On Aereo And The Future Of TV

The Supreme Court looks at Aereo, the little startup that could cut your cable cord and up-end TV as we’ve known it. We look at the battle. Plus: a state ban on affirmative action in college admissions is upheld. We’ll examine the implications.

In this Thursday, Dec. 20, 2012, file photo, Chet Kanojia, founder and CEO of Aereo, Inc., shows a tablet displaying his company's technology, in New York. Aereo is one of several startups created to deliver traditional media over the Internet without licensing agreements. (AP)

In this Thursday, Dec. 20, 2012, file photo, Chet Kanojia, founder and CEO of Aereo, Inc., shows a tablet displaying his company’s technology, in New York. Aereo is one of several startups created to deliver traditional media over the Internet without licensing agreements. (AP)

The Supreme Court, in the thick of things yesterday on broadcast rights and on race.  In the land of television, the court took up the case of little Aereo, the start-up that wants to capture broadcast television on lots of dime-sized antennae and move it on to you for a fee.  Let you cut the cable cord and skip the ads.  Is that theft?  Is that innovation?  The high court was struggling yesterday to discern.  On affirmative action and racial preferences in college admissions, the court said states can decide to say no.  The dissent was blistering.  This hour On Point:  broadcasting, affirmative action, and the high court.

– Tom Ashbrook

Guests

Liana Baker, media industry reporter at Reuters. (@LianaBaker)

Michael Carrier, professor at Rutgers University School of Law. Author of “Innovation for the 21st Century: Harnessing the Power of Intellectual Property and Antitrust Law.” (@profmikecarrier)

Eleanor Lackman, partner at the law firm of Cowan, Debaets, Abrahams and Sheppard. (@EMLackman)

From Tom’s Reading List

New York Times: Aereo Case Will Shape TV’s Future — “As a matter of copyright law, television programs can be shown only by those who have that right or a license to do so. That’s why bars and hotels must pay a fee for the programming they show on their televisions. And broadcasters say that Aereo is similarly a middleman that should pay for what they consider a public performance.”

The Wall Street Journal: Broadcasters Don’t Own the Airwaves – “The deal has paid off handsomely for both broadcasters and citizens. Americans have enjoyed the ability to watch all sorts of programming from the comfort of home, beamed through the air free and delivered into the living room by an antenna. Broadcasters, meanwhile, built large enterprises, earned billions, and became even richer after convincing Congress in the 1990s to empower them to extract additional fees from cable and satellite companies.”

USA Today: Wolff on the battle over Aereo: Diller vs. Moonves – “Curiously, the two faces of the dispute are both old television guys. On the one hand there is Barry Diller, who made his career first at ABC, then as the creator of the Fox Network (both ABC and Fox are plaintiffs in the Aereo suit), and then as the owner of USA Networks. His present company, IAC, which holds a wide variety of digital businesses, is an investor in Aereo.”

Affirmative Action Ban Upheld At The Supreme Court

Joshua Thompson, senior staff attorney at the Pacific Legal Foundation. (@JPTizzle)

Theodore Shaw, professor at Columbia Law School.

Detroit Free Press: Schuette: Supreme Court ‘made the right call’ on affirmative action — “Tuesday’s ruling was the latest milestone in a decades-long conversation about the use of race in deciding who can attend Michigan’s public universities, a conversation marked by protests in the streets of Ann Arbor and previous Supreme Court rulings.”

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  • Fiscally_Responsible

    The Supreme Court got it right on affirmative action. The preferential coddling has gone on for long enough. Those who want society to not discriminate based on color or race can’t just pick and choose where race or color-based prejudice can continue (namely in those areas where it benefits them). Discrimination is discrimination, and it has gone on for long enough.

    • HonestDebate1

      The left is up in arms defending the right to judge people by the color of their skin. They desperately cling to their bigotry.

      • anamaria23

        Actually, it was the “color of their skin” that enabled
        the white man’s justification to hold sway over their slaves- a psychic assault that does not disappear in a mere generation or two.

        • HonestDebate1

          Exactly!

          • John Cedar

            Zactly how long is a generation or two?
            No blacks held and sold slaves and justified it?
            No whites were ever enslaved and said enslavement was never justified?

          • anamaria23

            Where in US were whites enslaved on such a grand scale. Just asking.

          • John Cedar

            Conscription?

          • HonestDebate1

            Slavery is alive and well in the mother land of Africa but that’s just an aside.

            My agreement with Anamaria is with her point that it was judging by the color of skin that produced slavery. Judging by the color of skin is racist whichever way it goes. I don’t know how many generations, however you define them, it will take for the practice to stop but the first step is to purge any reference to race from our laws.

          • anamaria23

            I agree word race should be eliminated. I was taught to honor human variation, instead, by a wise teacher.

      • TFRX

        Hahahaha.

        Keep believing what you want. Of course, you’re a rural older white southern male who doesn’t have any racist friends (except some of your black ones), so we’ve passed the point where factuals work on you.

        • jefe68

          It’s amazing, HD’s comment is really out to lunch.

          • HonestDebate1

            Okay smarty pants, denounce in no uncertain terms the notion of judging anyone of any race by the color of their skin.

          • jefe68

            You keep playing these semantic games when race is the subject. White folks really don’t get to pass judgment on this, as they don’t have to deal with being black, asian, or latino on a daily basis.
            And white men, well there’s enough historical data out there for one to be suspicious of people like yourself, who make the claims you do.

          • HonestDebate1

            Semantics schemantics, If you won’t even denounce judging by the color of skin then at least have the guts to say you advocate revenge against whites. Blacks don’t need your help and they sure don’t need your condescending pity.

          • jefe68

            For one who gets so riled by the comments levied at you, you sure do define the definition of hypocrite.

            Your use of language when race is the subject is full of racially charged subtexts.
            That you’re unaware or unable to realize this speaks volumes of the kind of person you are. That last sentence was a full blown piece of nonsensical dribble.

            I could get in a huff and demand an apology… or tell you to stop telling me what to think, or say “that’s sick”, but your inanity speaks for itself.

          • HonestDebate1

            Dude, it’s not about me.

            It is racist to judge people by the color of their skin. What is so hard to understand? At least Hennorama admits she’s a racist.

          • jefe68

            And yet it is…
            Your act is tiresome, boring and again, you think you have the authority to comment on blacks and other people of color, you don’t.

          • HonestDebate1

            Alrighty then.

          • hennorama

            jefe68 — as your exchange seems to be over, please allow some observations:

            You discussed how some Americans “…have to deal with being black, asian, or latino on a daily basis.”

            The person with whom you were engaged replied with “… you advocate revenge against whites. Blacks don’t need your help …,” notably ignoring two of the three groups you had mentioned.

            Whether this speaks for itself or not, it does indeed speak.

            Enjoy your merry discourse.

        • HonestDebate1

          Cling to whatever you want, I’ll stick with MLK.

    • Human2013

      I grew up in the Northeast — thank the deities for that. With that being said, the state of Southern education for African Americans is so disgraceful and shameful, that amends have to be considered. My friend’s grandmother, never learned to read or write. Yes, that’s grandmother, not great grandmother. It’s not about skin color, it’s about the lack of the continuum of education that this group was denied. Education is the totality of your experience in society, not limited to the classroom. So if your society is still trying to throw off the chains of slavery and learn to read and write while your white counterparts are interpreting Plato and the New Deal, what is the government to do — they affirm action.

      • hennorama

        Human2013 — some participants in this forum no doubt have never experienced the things you describe, and also do not personally know anyone who has. This is a very good thing, and we must acknowledge the vast improvement that has occurred over time.

        The process of changing from legal ownership of humans by other humans, to the repeal of legal slavery, to legal institutional discrimination, to affirmative action, to a time where large scale action to overcome the past is no longer needed is an evolutionary one, not a revolutionary one.

        We’re not there yet, but each recent generation has shown that the influence of race, ethnicity, gender, sexual orientation, national origin, etc. has less and less influence on the lives of everyday Americans, and how we treat each other.

        This does not mean that there are no such issues, or that because laws have been enacted, that humans magically change their beliefs, attitudes, and actions regarding both their unconscious and conscious biases and prejudices overnight.

        However, over time, and sometimes all at once, progress is indeed made.

  • JONBOSTON

    Chief Justice Roberts in an earlier opinion got it right–the way to end discrimination on the basis of race is to end discrimination on the basis of race. Policies that promote division and balkanization are ultimately corrosive to this country and destructive of our democracy. And as far as Sotomayer’s dissent , today’s National Review had it right: “Her opinion is legally illiterate and logically indefensible, and the still-young career of this self-described “wise Latina” on the Supreme Court already offers a case study in the moral and legal corrosion that inevitably results from elevating ethnic-identity politics over the law.”

    Regrettably, with the mid-term elections in November , the Obama stain on our body politic is gearing up its outrageous racial charges , ethnic divisions, and phony war on women. Amazing how stupid they must think their electoral base is by engaging in such trash and believing its ultimate “success”, country be damned .However the greater shame is our mainstream media that just looks the other way in order to support this awful presidency.

    • WorriedfortheCountry

      “Her opinion is legally illiterate and logically indefensible”

      I wonder if she ever read Harlan’s lone dissent of Plessy v. Ferguson. Her dissent is inconsistent with Harlan.

      “In the eye of the law, there is in this country no superior, dominant, ruling class of citizens. There is no caste here. “Our constitution is colorblind, and neither knows nor tolerates classes among citizens. In respect of civil rights, all citizens are equal before the law. The humblest is the peer of the most powerful. . .The arbitrary separation of citizens on the basis of race, while they are on a public highway, is a badge of servitude wholly inconsistent with the civil freedom and the equality before the law established by the Constitution. It cannot be justified upon any legal grounds.”

      https://www.law.louisville.edu/library/collections/harlan/dissent

    • WorriedfortheCountry

      “Obama stain on our body politic is gearing up its outrageous racial charges”

      Obama’s lasting legacy might be his setting back race relations. It started with his first hire: Eric Holder. A horrible pick.

      I’m confident we’ll overcome Obama’s setting back race relations but he squandered a great opportunity. He had tremendous good will coming into office and was in a unique position to do wonders.

  • Shag_Wevera

    I suggest that all left leaning people refrain from posting today. After reading the first two comments by fiscally responsible and honest debate, I don’t think any of us could do any better than just letting these folks post dozens of comments reflecting their beliefs.

    • Fiscally_Responsible

      Color blind should be color blind.

      • HonestDebate1

        That’s too complicated, can you dumb it down a bit?

    • Fiscally_Responsible

      So based on your way of thinking, racism is ok as long as it is directed at the correct group. You liberals are such hypocrites!

      • Shag_Wevera

        I haven’t expressed any opinion.

        • HonestDebate1

          You have expressed your opinion that debate should be avoided and that somehow the left is monolithic in thought regarding race.

          • Shag_Wevera

            Not an opinion, just a suggestion. I don’t think the left is monolithic. Heck, I’m divided on this issue.

      • anamaria23

        To deny that a form of “affirmative action” does not exist among the rich, powerful and well connected is hypocrisy also. One’s family name opens untold doors to many offspring of the elite, regardless of their abilities. I have seen it with my own eyes.

    • HonestDebate1

      While I’m happy to have the last word unchallenged, I doubt it will happen. A much better strategery would be to counter my charge by explaining how affirmative action can work without judging by the color of skin while ignoring the content of character.

    • John Cedar

      Your suggestion is liable to crash the dkos server due to the extra traffic.

  • John Cedar

    This ruling does not ban affirmative action. The colleges are still allowed to take affirmative steps to actively recruit minorities.

    • William

      Would the next step be to require colleges to justify why a person was not accepted to a college? In this report they would be required to identify if any people were admitted base on affirmative action and pay compensation to those that were discriminated against because they did not qualify for affirmative action programs?

  • Yar

    We have always used affirmative action when making desisions, we affirm those that look like us. Removing policies that counter historical practices that oppressed people based on their ethnic origin only serves to return to the age old practice of affirming the people currently in power. I live in a state that has overtly inserted race into politics ever since the current president was first elected. The latest court desision is simply affirming that racism exists in Michigan.

    • HonestDebate1

      “we affirm those that look like us”

      Those are your words, you own them. Don’t project your bigotries on me.

      • Yar

        Prejudices is part of brain processing, if you claim to have no prejudice then you know no truth. We have to evaluate our prejudices and establish processes to be fair.

        • hennorama

          Yar — well said.

          I admit I am a racist, but I’ve been in recovery for decades.

          As an aside, when I was a young child growing up in an almost racially/ethnically homogeneous area, I heard the term “colored people,” but without any visual examples.

          I literally thought there were some people who were multi-hued, à la my beloved Crayola® 64 crayons, and was really disappointed to learn otherwise.

          • HonestDebate1

            That’s quite an admission. Duly noted with the obvious observation that racism is not in the least like alcoholism (and you did not claim it was). Once you are an alcoholic you are one for life and your life becomes one big recovery. There is no such dynamic with racists. One is completely recovered the second one decides to quit judging people by the color of their skin.

            Admitted racist like yourself should be shunned in any decent society.

      • Yar

        We is used in the context of our society. Not to be taken personally.

    • John Cedar

      Being good looking and taller effects a person more positively than “looking like us”.

      Regardless of any human tendencies, it is a different concept to deliberately introduce discrimination and justify it with two wrongs make a right.

      • Yar

        “Good looking” is not the same for different cultures, youth is part of beauty, some like skinny, others like plump. Gender is considered part of attractivness. Word choice, smile, mannerisms influence our empathy, this is all part of our subconscious prejudice. Affirmative action is a policy intended to address these covert practices, even when we are unaware we are using them when making decisions.

      • nj_v2

        ^ Thus conflating affirmative action with discrimination while making an otherwise deflectionary point.

        • John Cedar

          Nut uh…taking steps to recruit applicants from under represented minority groups, is different than the discriminatory practice of giving those minority applicants bonus points, simply for being a minority. There is nothing deflectionary about my listing of larger factors in discrimination than race. While you are pursuing your utopia you should prioritize.

          Of course, right now, males are underrepresented in colleges and in obtaining college degrees. But that won’t be addressed by anyone any time soon.

  • Yar

    How would you feel if the college you wanted to attend discriminated against you because your parents made too much money. Is it affirmative action for poor people? Should it be fair? Do any colleges use income as criteria for admission?
    https://www.berea.edu/admissions/admission-information/admission-requirements/

    • John Cedar

      While it feeds the hatred boiling in the minds of the occupy slackers, it is not as disruptive as race and gender reverse discrimination. However it is still ethically wrong.

      • Yar

        Why is it ethically wrong?

  • Rick Evans

    Aereo is retransmitting broadcasters’ programming without permission. Contrary to all the ‘David vs. Goliath’ media babble this is really a case of parasite vs. host.

    en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Retransmission_consent

    • Kathy

      The parasite being broadcasters and the host being the airwaves.

      • Rick Evans

        The broadcasters pay licensing fees to use the airways.

  • Jeff

    The Supreme Court has had a very busy week, they had a very good decision when it came to affirmative action…leaving the decision up to the people (state constitutions/legislatures) rather than overriding the voice of the people. The Aereo case is interesting, it could really go either way…but in reality we need our government to act on the 1 cable monopoly in order to allow competition. I feel like the answer is to allow any cable company to use existing infrastructure for a fair use price…you would see all sorts of competition coming out of the wood work and offering much lower prices and options (a la cart) than currently exists with a single operator. That would have much more of an impact on the TV industry than the Aereo case.

    • HonestDebate1

      The Aereo case is certainly interesting. We all own the airwaves.

      • http://www.rowenachery.com rowenacherry

        But not the content on those airwaves.

        • HonestDebate1

          True enough and I am a big supporter of owning intellectual property as I make a good deal of my income from it. Still, I see both sides of this.

          • http://www.rowenachery.com rowenacherry

            I’m an IP owner/creator, also, and that colors my sympathies. i don’t believe that alleged price gouging by X-finity or U-Verse (or whoever) has anything to do with the IP rights of ABC, FOX etc.

            i see similarities here with what happens when a publisher decides to display the entire text of a copyrighted book –as a sample, or as an inducement to visit their site– on their own website, then others come along, snag the text of the “free” book, and post it on a subscription site or ad-supported site for their own profit.

            If the cable companies pay the broadcasters, then Aereo should pay the broadcasters.

    • MrNutso

      I agree on your common carrier idea. It’s one topic that is not discussed regarding giant technology utility mergers. A Comcast – Time Warner Merger should require that infrastructure be opened competitors at a reasonable price. This could allow companies to create pick and choose cable bundles. Pick the 10 or 20 or 50 channels you want.

  • http://hlb-engineering.us/ HLB

    TV? People still watch that? I thought it went out with the 8-track player, locking lug nuts, loud neckties, print newspapers, and Barack Obama’s presidency.

    • Yar

      On air TV is better than ever, as far as the signal is concerned. I get 12 to 14 channels depending on the weather. Mostly watch Public Television, and not too much of that. Don’t have cable or dish. I do have DSL and watch a little online.

  • MrNutso

    The Michigan case is not really about affirmative action. It’s about whether the state constitution can be amended to only prevent the university system from considering race in admissions. The ballot amendment did not address other forms of affirmative action such as legacies, or daddy just gave a boatload of money to the university.

    This is what (I think, since I haven’t read the entire dissent) Justice Sotomayor was attempting to address in her dissent.

    Watch this space. This could have implications if state gay marriage constitution bans reach the supreme court.

    • Jeff

      The gay marriage issue already went to the Supreme Court and they ruled in favor of gay marriage. Sotomayor’s opinion was lacking in logic, if the goal is to help under privileged students then why can’t economic factors be taken into account rather than the color of someone’s skin? I always thought that affirmative action type programs should have to do your economic background.

      • TFRX

        The latent racism you want to wish away from processes like university admissions is still there.

        • Jeff

          I’m not sure if there is racism in the admissions…when I went to college there was a very clear formula that was equal among all students to allow entry into any particular college within the university. It took your class rank (as a percentage) and added your ACT score x 2 (or SAT equivalent). I fail to see the racism in that sort of entry criteria but I’m sure that objective type system would be dripping with racism to a leftist.

          • TFRX

            The latent racism you want to wish away, no matter how mildly you word it, is still there.

          • notafeminista

            You can always hope. Interesting to see one with such a dim view of his fellow man.

          • jefe68

            That could be because a lot of the so called “fellow men” have proven to back up such dim views.

    • hennorama

      MrNutso — thank you for clarifying that the Court’s decision in Schuette v. Coalition to Defend Affirmative Action is not about affirmative action per se.

      The actual issue that was before the SCOTUS was whether Michigan’s voters could bar their state’s universities from considering race in their admissions process.

      As we now know, the SCOTUS says “Yes, they can.”

      For more information, see “Divided Court upholds Michigan’s ban on affirmative action: In Plain English,” on scotusblog.com, here:

      http://www.scotusblog.com/2014/04/divided-court-upholds-michigans-ban-on-affirmative-action-in-plain-english/#more-208883

  • http://hlb-engineering.us/ HLB

    Has the Court issued those Get Out of Jail Free cards to US corporations, yet? Or the free mints on CEO pillows? I can’t believe this oversight continues with Jon Roberts and his old boy net.

  • http://hlb-engineering.us/ HLB

    Content belongs to the providers. Unless you contract to re-stream or broadcast it. {for profit}

    Feel free to release this comment, Tom.

  • MrNutso

    How is Aereo different than Tivo?

  • Kathy

    This is absurd. We have it completely backwards. Broadcasters should be required to stream and offer their content in as many ways as possible free of charge for the right to use the airwaves. Take a look at Freeview, FreeSat, and YouView in Britain. You can get dozens of channels anywhere free of charge using whatever technology you like.

    • http://hlb-engineering.us/ HLB

      Most of the world doesn’t live in Britain. Thank goodness. {for the UK}

      • MrNutso

        It would be very crowded.

      • J__o__h__n

        Too bad, they have great television.

        • http://www.rowenachery.com rowenacherry

          But, to receive the BBC, one has to pay an annual fee, and to receive the commercial channels, one has to suffer through the advertisements.

  • J__o__h__n

    I have a mixed opinion of the fairness and effectiveness of affirmative action, but this Court ruling is wrong. Minority rights should not be decided according to elections. That is the whole point of having an institution to protect individuals from majority rule.

    • William

      Is there a danger of defining who is a minority? Is it just based on skin color or gender? If so, should we also include short people, overweight people, different political beliefs, income levels, etc….Also, why is majority rule so wrong?

      • TFRX

        You have no problem with referenda, with the public at large, deciding this?

        Lemme guess: You’re a straight white male.

        Turning direct popular votes into laws is a great tool for the tyranny of the majority. Hope you get reincarnated as a black woman. You may get some common sense in you.

        • William

          Tyranny of the majority is wrong but tyranny of the minority is right? Who is lacking common sense?

          • TFRX

            Go back to Williamworld with your made-up phrases like “tyranny of the minority”.

          • William

            You have that “Bull Conner” like quality in your posts.

      • J__o__h__n

        I think it should be narrowly tailored to groups who can prove past discrimination. A decedent of slaves and decades of Jim Crow laws is not starting at a level playing field. I’d allow income to be a factor to break the cycle of poverty. The majority should rule on most issues but not on civil rights issues.

        • TFRX

          “Can prove past discrimination” is a bit narrow.

          I’d hate to be the black applicant on the end of this study.

          http://www.vox.com/2014/4/21/5637068/reviewers-will-find-more-spelling-errors-in-your-writing-if-they

          • J__o__h__n

            I would require the individual to prove that he or she is part of a group that had been discriminated against. Descendants of slaves and members of Indian tribes, etc. A recent immigrant wasn’t a victim of past US discrimination so I wouldn’t extend it to him or her.

          • HonestDebate1

            Are you advocating affirmative action in spelling?

        • William

          A problem would arise with 1st generation Chinese or African immigrant that takes advantage of discrimination against Chinese or Africans more than 100 years ago. It would be a free ride for them. A 3rd or 4th generation Irish American can claim his ancestors were discriminated against too. Where do you draw the line? Then here comes a hardworking 3rd generation European American who is shunned because of government polices of discrimination, i.e., Jim Crow laws. It would be difficult to call Affirmative Action a civil rights issue. It is a government policy which to many people is just redirecting Jim Crow type laws towards people that never discriminated against anyone.

        • HonestDebate1

          But wouldn’t it then become an issue of revenge?

          • J__o__h__n

            Reparations are not revenge.

          • HonestDebate1

            They are when they apply generationally to those with connections to aggrieved dead people.

          • J__o__h__n

            The legal discrimination didn’t end with slavery and the effects of the past discrimination are still a factor in current lower standard of living. Even attacks on voting rights aren’t relegated to the past.

          • HonestDebate1

            Yes, legal discrimination ended 1964 but I disagree there are race based attacks on voting rights.

  • MrNutso

    Lets get to the real issue. How does Scalia not know HBO is not broadcast over the air?

    • http://hlb-engineering.us/ HLB

      Scalia employs voices inside his cranium who keep him abreast of the world at large. Hoober Doober

  • http://hlb-engineering.us/ HLB

    Cloud computing. Completely unnecessary. Unless you want your data held hostage by a profit making enterprise who can change the terms or sell themselves outright to some other carrion-eating buzzard you’ve never heard of. {with no consent from you}

  • http://hlb-engineering.us/ HLB

    Everything that makes us money is legal.
    –Dewey Cheatham and Howe, amicus filing

    • http://www.rowenachery.com rowenacherry

      Please define “us”.

  • Gary Welch

    I can’t see how rebroadcast is questionable at all. I currently pay nothing for over the air broadcasts. I’m lucky enough to live close enough to the antennae to pick up the broadcast, where people a few towns away can’t. Why shouldn’t they be able to pay a nominal fee for that free broadcast to be streamed to them?

    • Kathy

      Once upon a time, people asked this, and that’s how cable tv started. Then the broadcasters paid off Congress to change the rules.

  • skelly74

    Ancient Supreme Justice: “What is a cloud exactly”?

    Pimple faced tech advisor: “Sure, so, well…it’s a digital air wave…

    Ancient Supreme Justice: “right, ok…(my god, I need to wash this robe)…

    • http://hlb-engineering.us/ HLB

      They need to move some of those clouds to dusty, thirsty California. HD

  • http://www.CayerComputing.com/ Melissa A. Cayer

    I wonder why I cannot watch (subscription) TV at the library. I can read all sorts of books and magazines and newspapers but not (subscription) TV.

    • OnPointComments

      Claire Dunphy: “What do you think the public library is for?”
      Haley Dunphy: “I thought that was a bathroom for homeless people.”
      from Modern Family

  • http://hlb-engineering.us/ HLB

    The 1st American revolution: the Brits didn’t know when to go home.
    The 2nd: slaves should have the right to be.. slaves.
    The next: Cable fees. Man the barricades! {lawyers are a free fire zone}

  • malkneil

    Cable television has become an abomination. I’m speaking to the cost versus what you get. I’ve been off cable for more than 5 years now and I’ll occasionally visit my parents and turn on their TV. It’s stupefying the percentage of commercials that make a up a typical 30 min show. And that’s before we talk about how much the content has fallen from grace. Discovery channel used to have thought provoking documentaries. Now we have things like Ice Road Truckers. And you’re paying Comcast good money to pipe this lukewarm, ad-ridden content into your living room.

    • JS

      Amen. I remember when cable first came out, the deal was Pay for cable, but no commercials. Boy that didn’t last too long

  • disqus_76C0PFpw8x

    I think people should have access to the things that they are supposedly allowed to have for free, which is broadcast television. Some people, such as myself, do not live in an area where putting an antenna up on your roof is possible. Why shouldn’t I have access to the same broadcast signals that are supposedly provided for free? Aereo is like an extension cord for your antenna.

  • http://hlb-engineering.us/ HLB

    Tyranny by the readers of the dusty tome and the quoters of the law. “Without profit, the world will come to a screeching halt and all of civilization’s advances will be rolled back.”

    Oh, the humanity of it all!

  • Troy Scafuro

    People keep mentioning that “you can go to radioshack and rent an antenna”. That is not a valid argument. To buy an antenna is fine as it is now your property, however if you pay a monthly service fee, the antenna is not yours. Two different scenarios. I believe this point needs to be clarified as there is no differentiating going on about these two simple facts.

  • ian berry

    Its every American’s right to buy snake oil if they so choose.

    • http://hlb-engineering.us/ HLB

      Unless it comes from Canada. Hoober Doober

  • J__o__h__n

    “extra redundancy”

    • hennorama

      J__o__h__n — hat’s off to your “very unique” comment.

    • nj_v2

      Duly noted by our Department of Redundancy Department.

  • townie1952

    I live in a Boston suburb. I put an antenna on my roof, on a mast, with a rotor, but the trees block the signals.
    Why should I be required to pay Comcast for what others get for free by law?
    Why should I pay for a dozen shopping channels, and another dozen religious channels, and then the other than English stations, when all I want to watch is some news and PBS.

    • http://hlb-engineering.us/ HLB

      Yep, water {snow, rain} absorbs radiation. Except where it reflects it. Known problem especially at microwave frequencies. {big dip in signal strength, 1-2 GHz}

    • Yar

      Apple TV has A PBS channel, no monthly fee. I can get local broadcasts as well from apple TV. That may vary by market.

    • jefe68

      We pay more for cable and internet than a host of other nations for service that is slower and lousy service.

      http://www.bbc.com/news/magazine-24528383

      • jefe68

        A down vote. So you want to pay more for inferior broadband. Are you so far up the rear end of corporations that you endorse how they treat consumers as rubes?

  • Steve Schmitt

    If cable / satellite companies started selling stations separately instead of “packages” that protect unwanted programing Aereo price advantage might disappear

  • Dab200

    It’s very easy to predict – this Roberts’s court has always stood on the side of big corporations!

    • http://hlb-engineering.us/ HLB

      Mints on their pillows, is the finding. HD

  • Sam

    I feel like the fundamental problem is that TV content is free. You can’t offer something for free to some people and by some mechanism. It just doesn’t work. You end up with these absurd distinctions: I have an antenna on my house (ok) vs I own an antenna, but it’s not on my house (ok?) vs I rent an antenna that is at a data center (not ok ?) vs I share a rented antenna with a bunch of people (definitely not ok?).

    • http://www.rowenachery.com rowenacherry

      Free entertainment is not a Human Right. There are certain conditions that must be met by the TV watcher. One must have a suitable television (remember many of us had to buy new TVs when they went from an analogue system to digital a few years ago?) and the TV or antenna has to be positioned to receive the signal. I think we are supposed to view the adverts that finance the broadcasts (although many people use adverts as time to leave the room or change channels.)

  • http://hlb-engineering.us/ HLB

    Color blind
    Color blind
    Thank God* Almighty
    We’re color blind.
    –Jon Roberts and his Old Boy Band

    * Or creation mythological figure of your choice {I prefer Zargoz, the great and the scales of many-colors flying fish}

    • Yar

      Made in “his image”

  • OnPointComments

    Nondiscrimination is discrimination.
    Equal treatment is a violation of the Equal Protection Clause.
    Special treatment by race is wrong, and that’s why we absolutely must have more of it.

    As John Hayward says, we are in Orwell’s world now.
    http://www.humanevents.com/2014/04/22/supreme-court-upholds-michigan-ban-on-affirmative-action/

    • HonestDebate1

      Thanks for posting that, It is spot on.

      I don’t mean to distract from the excellent points Mr. Hayward made by talking about the author but I am a big fan of his. He was a mere commenter who frequented the blog Hot Air under the moniker Dr. Zero. Eventually they invited him to write for their “Green Room”. He s a very gifted writer, and soon became a favorite. From there it was not long before the former commenter was able to quit his day job and go to work for Human Events.

  • http://hlb-engineering.us/ HLB

    Higher education = $100. With 427 people all wanting a big piece of it.

  • Jeff

    Here’s the thing about the court overruling the voice of the people on the affirmative action issue, if we don’t let state legislatures/constitutions determine the legality of affirmative action then we have the Supreme Court writing the law. We all know that we should really treat people of all races equally, affirmative action is a temporary solution that needs to be removed at some point in time…should a Republic use elections and voting to determine when an unequal treatment of certain races should be removed or should an unelected group of elitists make that choice for us? This is about democracy and federalism more than affirmative action itself.

    The Supreme Court made a very wise choice and determined it should be up to the states (this was a 6-2 decision by the way).

  • James

    I’m torn. You’ve got two fundamental constitutional rights butting heads here, the freedom of the colleges to associate with whoever they want, against the idea that we are all equal under the law.

    • WorriedfortheCountry

      There should be no conflict.
      The people of Michigan have simply voted for PUBLIC colleges to not discriminate based on race. They didn’t impose restrictions on private colleges so private institutions freedom to discriminate is intact.

      • Barbara Moore

        Right. Public institutions are public. They depend on taxpayer dollars and public resources so they have to be open to all comers. But I don’t think even private institutions are free to discriminate on the basis of race or religion, for instance, are they? Can a private college decide they don’t want to associate with, e.g. Catholics or Jews?

        • WorriedfortheCountry

          The discrimination we were referring to was “affirmative action”.

          • Barbara Moore

            Oh, right! Discrimination against white guys!

          • HonestDebate1

            That is totally acceptable especially white Christians.

          • jefe68

            “especially white Christians.”

            Really? Do tell.

          • HonestDebate1

            I would but Ray will say I’m bitching when I just laugh at it.

          • Ray in VT

            “Discrimination is a good thing”, except when one thinks that they are being discriminated against?

          • HonestDebate1

            I don’t mind when people discriminate against me, happens all the time. They don’t affect me at all.

          • Ray in VT

            You seem to get pretty worked up over supposed discrimination against ole whitey. Not so much, though, it seems when it comes to various minority groups.

          • HonestDebate1

            Yea but you are famous for saying I said the opposite of what I say. It’s silly, I’ve never complained about discrimination against whites. At best I’ve given examples of it to counter the ridiculous notion that blacks are persecuted by whites. I understand you can’t tell the difference.

          • Ray in VT

            Your words damn you quite well on their own. There are some real gems there if one is willing to pull on one’s barn boots and wade into the dung.

          • WorriedfortheCountry

            Discrimination is discrimination.

            And Barbara, “affirmative action” is not always beneficial to minorities. I have minority friends who abhor it They just want to be judged on their merits and the AA policies have created a perpetual cloud that they despise.

          • JS

            What about discrimination against non-athletes?

          • JS

            Is allowing athletes with substandard grades into the school also discrimination?

          • WorriedfortheCountry

            I thought this was about racial discrimination. Sorting by athletic prowess is race blind.

          • JS

            “Discrimination is discrimination”

            My point was that some discrimination seems to be ok.

          • WorriedfortheCountry

            But you didn’t actually have a point. Criteria based on achievement and skill is not discrimination — racial or otherwise.
            There are many categories of achievement that a school may find desirable other than academics. (athletics, drama, music, etc.)

          • JS

            So what “achievement” is it to have parents as alumni? or parents who donate money?

    • HonestDebate1

      I get your point but being equal under the law is not just an idea. We are equal under the law. It seems to me some want to make us more equal through legislation.

      The Michigan case was really more about the 10th amendment but I suppose it is a distinction without much of a difference.

  • http://hlb-engineering.us/ HLB

    Disparity drives the universe. {universe = difference engine}

  • http://hlb-engineering.us/ HLB

    Some peoples will not be arriving on time at the 22nd century station. Better accept it now and move on.

  • Barbara Moore

    If there were “equal treatment” for racial minorities in pre-kindergarten education, k through 12 education, and residence, it would be fine to have equal treatment at the college and university level.

    • twenty_niner

      Yes, it’s going to be a challenge to get the inner-city schools up to par with the “privileged white” schools in Butcher Hollow, KY.

      • Barbara Moore

        You’re right, poor people everywhere have had a bad time. Maybe if affirmative action everywhere is eliminated, there will be more support for policies that address that.

  • thedimka

    There is a very simple and fair solution to this. Instead of deciding to discriminate (or not) and forth some schools make special treatment decisions based on race we should just rate all the schools in the state by academic level of students and invest more into the areas where more students are behind. If that happens to be the minorities, so be it. With more investment (and I mean not only money, but public attention, and other things like that) those poor areas will get better, thus the state and country as a whole will get better and it will pay in turn, and be beneficial to all, including the very rich and very poor. It is not the quick fix, but it will work better and will have more economic and cultural return and it is way more fair.

  • Blue_To_Shoe

    I noticed the emphasis seems to focus ONLY on race.
    Some ‘blind spots’ are kicking around.

    Why not ALL preferences?!!

    It’s because these Republican ‘Soccer Moms’ and ‘Softball Dads’ want to maintain gender-based affirmative action for their suburban daughters.

    • JS

      And children of Alumni, children of big donors, kids who are good at sports: all these preferences are allowed, but not race? Doesn’t make sense to me.

      • Jeff

        It makes perfect sense, those individuals have a connection to the school…using race for benefits or for punishment is unethical.

        • JS

          A kid who can throw a football has a connection to the school?

          If the school feels it needs football players, or cello players, of minorities, so be it. But a law allowing every kind of preference, except race, is unethical to me.

          So now, in Michigan, a school can legally give a preference in admissions to blue eyed students, but not to white people?

          • Jeff

            You can’t use appearance, but for football yes…that great football player will be the face of the University in many people’s eyes…no problem with offering a benefit for that kid.

          • JS

            What about the third string running back who got in with less than stellar grades? Should he get a benefit too? Or the kid bench warming for the basketball team? Why is discrimination based on athletic ability ok, but based on race not ok?

          • Jeff

            Using race to determine anything is racism, athletic ability is similar to joining a club or doing any other after school activity like debate or National Honor Society.

          • JS

            Using athletics to determine anything is athleticism! lol But seriously, having a racially diverse campus is a valid as having a athletically diverse campus.

          • Jeff

            But it has to do with what the actual person is involved in, their dedication to an after school activity…their determination to excel. The other is judging someone based on the color of their skin and not the content of their character.

          • JS

            I think including diversity of race as one more thing to look at is worthwhile, not necessarily making it the only thing. I know some schools look at geographic diversity, why shouldn’t they also be allowed, if they so choose, to look at racial diversity? And race is more than the color of ones skin, and entails cultural and experience differences. Not always, but for the most part, and nothing is perfect.

            BTW, I am speaking as someone who grew up in a very diverse community, and I value that experience and wouldn’t want my child going to a monolithic campus. All things being equal, I think race can be considered.

            Also, I have been passed over for a job because of I was white, was given a job because I was white, and was passed up for certain classes because athletes got to register before regular students.

        • Blue_To_Shoe

          This is the REAL problem right here: people start to ‘qualify’ based upon their own biases and their own self interests!!!!!

          The kids aren’t connected to a school they have never personally attended!

          You already are trying to change up the rules!!!

          ‘Preferences’ are ‘Preferences’!!!!!!

          • JS

            Good point. If the school wants students with “connections” to achieve a certain goal, that’s ok. But a school wanting a certain percentage of minorities is somehow unethical?

            So letting a lower performing student into the school because his daddy donated a building is ethical, but letting a lower performing minority into the school because you want a diverse student population is unethical? That’s ridiculous.

          • Jeff

            Daddy donating to the school is fine because it’s not race based…most kids cannot enter college in that manner but it could have an influence if that kid can make it in. If that kid can’t cut it that doesn’t matter anyway.

          • JS

            So, allowing some under performing kids in is ok, as long as its not based on race? Basing it on Daddy’s donation, athletic skills, geographic background, all ok, but not race?

          • Jeff

            Yes, we do that all the time, race is a horrible standard to determine who should be favored because it is racist to do so.

          • JS

            I disagree. I think a school wanting diversity is as valid as wanting a good football team, maybe more so.

          • HonestDebate1

            Diversity? Diversity of thought or even culture is fine but it has nothing to do with skin color. Even then people go to college to learn. Colleges are there to teach. What good is diversity?

            And please don’t give me faux outrage at the question. I’m serious, why should a college be required to be concerned with diversity at all much less diversity of skin color?

          • JS

            There you go again. Show me where I said “required” and I’ll answer any questions you may have.

          • HonestDebate1

            I deny the charge. I don’t understand your straw man. Who said you wrote “required”? Not me. My comment was in regards to the topic of the show. If the SCOTUS had ruled the other way, colleges would have been required to use racial quotas in the name of diversity. I directed my question to you because you gave weight to the concept of diversity which I think deserves no weight at all.

          • JS

            Why should I answer for something I never proposed? And I love your “faux outrage” remark, very clever. That way, anyone who questions you can be claimed to be “outraged”.

            If a college wants diversity of experience based on race, they should be able to have that.

          • HonestDebate1

            That way, anyone who questions you can be claimed to be “outraged”.

            That’s just bizarre.

            I didn’t say you proposed anything. Why are you so defensive?

            I don’t get your position at all. I don’t even know what diversity of experience based on race is. It sounds like goblity goop to me. I just think the color of skin is irrelevant. If you don’t want to defend your support for ethnic diversity, fine. Never mind.

          • Jeff

            So you’re telling me that parents that dress their kid up in a college’s clothing from birth, takes that kid to football games every home game and then talk about that kid going to the same school they went to up to age 18…that kid has no connection to the school? Yeah, right. We all have preferences…we shouldn’t use appearance to hand out preferences…tall, short, skinny, fat, skin color, eye color, etc…those attributes shouldn’t be given preference for admission to college.

    • notafeminista

      That would be Title IX…and it should go away too.

  • cwu

    The affirmative action is a huge discrimination against Asian people. I have seen many Asian families (some are poor) put all their money, attention and effort to the entire education of their kids (starting from pre-K) just to have their children with decent SAT scores and academic records rejected by universities that will accept students with lower record from other racial groups. I am not saying scores are everything. However, you can not simply punish the great effort from these families and these students by simply saying “Hey, we already have a lot of students with your skin color!”. That is not fair. After all, Obama mentioned many times about high quality early education for young Americans. You know what, the best quality education to get is from your parents. We should award these behaviors from these Asian families, not discourage them. The advantage and disadvantage of being a minority have nothing to do with less effort and hard word for a human being.

  • WorriedfortheCountry

    An analysis of Sotomayer’s dissenting opinion.

    “The American public has woken up to the folly of trying to end racial discrimination by practicing it, doomingaffirmative action to a slow death, and the racialist left is not taking the news very well.”

    “But she was faced with a difficult task in explaining why refusing to treat races differently is actually racial discrimination, so of course she need a lot of verbiage, background, and pretzel twisting.”

    http://www.americanthinker.com/blog/2014/04/justice_sotomayor_and_the_affirmative_action_bitterenders_have_lost_bigtime.html

    • Jeff

      This is the same woman who ruled that is well within a union’s rights to discriminate based on age when she was an appellate judge. She’s the typical liberal judge that picks and chooses which types of discrimination should be allowed based on her political viewpoint.

  • marygrav

    I have long ago given up on Affirmative Action. Affirmative Action will take care of itself in mid-century when Whites will become the minority, that is unless they make all hispanics, especially Mexicans, White. Any laws made about race based preferences that go down at the beginning of the 21st century will be reversed in mid-century because Whiteness will have to be protected.
    Did anyone but me notice that Russia is practicing Affirmative Action based on speech in Ukraine? Russia is willing to go to war with the US over its speech-based affirmative action.
    White Neoconservatives/T-Party Republicans see 5-10% of non-white Americans as a threat to civil and cultural rights. How do you think the Russians feel about their 5-10%? We will find out soon enough if loud months old warmongers like John McCain keeps farting at the mouth. Old men and old wars get young men and women killed to protect the interest of the 1%.

  • OnPointComments

    Excerpt from the Michigan amendment that was before the Supreme Court:

    “The University of Michigan, Michigan State University, Wayne State University, and any other public college or university, community college, or school district shall not discriminate against, or grant preferential treatment to, any individual or group on the basis of race, sex, color, ethnicity, or national origin in the operation of public employment, public education, or public contracting.”

  • crandle

    Basically, once a network BROADCASTS their signal, it is available to ALL! Everyone, NO ONE Excluded. Do they not understand what they are doing when they BROADCAST? If they wish to LIMIT who can see their content they really should not BROADCAST. I know if I had proprietary information. I would NOT BROADCAST that information. Is this so difficult to understand??????

  • Iraq veteran

    I’m not an expert in this but I’m going to take a crack at the Aereo thing… I think that if someone produces a good product, whatever that may be (food, entertainment, art etc.), they should get compensated for their work. I download or buy hard copies of movies, shows, and music from retailers. I dont think it’s right to take something somebody else produced and try to sell it when I did nothing to produce it. This just seems shady to me. Seems like this guy is trying to exploit a hole in the copyright laws via the internet to me. It seems a little unethical to me. Seems like they’re trying to get something for nothing. Besides what’s so different between this group and Netflix?

    • Think Tank

      Do you also think that the people who make televisions and rabbit ears should compensate television producers for the shows on broadcast television that the audience will eventually consume for free?

      • Iraq veteran

        Im going to answer your question but first I have to ask, is this a serious question?
        Of course I don’t think that. I don’t really see your connection between the two either. You’re comparing a medium for business to the business itself.

        • Think Tank

          Aereo’s whole legal argument for why they shouldn’t have to pay broadcast companies is based on the fact that each user is paying Aereo to rent a little individual antenna and a DVR box — this equipment allows the user to pick up broadcast signals that are on the public airwaves. Functionally, the equipment is no different than paying to rent an antenna and a DVR from Radio Shack — so the court has to figure out why one is “exploiting” copyright loopholes, and the other is perfectly legal.

          • Iraq veteran

            Each user is paying Aereo to watch the programs without commercials. Besides merchandise that’s the only source of income for these companies. A big portion of that goes to all the people responsible for actually making the shows, people like the camera operators, makeup, stage hands, writers, directors, and actors/actress’.
            If it’s such an innocent deal why don’t they just sell the antenna leave in the commercials and charge for the DVR?

          • Think Tank

            So the commercials aren’t taken out at all; they’re still there with Aereo’s service. If you want to confirm this, you can look at pages 34-35 of the oral argument transcript.

            The reason Aereo wouldn’t edit out the commercials is simple: to do so would require Aereo to make a copy, and then display the copy in a public performance, which would deliberately violate the statute. What they’re doing instead is more of a gray area — Aereo isn’t making a copy, the user is. All they’re doing is renting out an antenna, a DVR, and some cloud storage for the DVR.

          • Iraq veteran

            Thank you for refering me to that. I didn’t know it was posted. Just to let you know I am more sympathetic, though not quite there yet, to their cause now. Especially since the commercials aspect is cleared up.
            Now im just on the fence unsure about how I feel about it.

ONPOINT
TODAY
Jul 29, 2014
The U.S. Senate is seen on Capitol Hill in Washington, Wednesday, July 16, 2014. (AP)

The “Do-Nothing” Congress just days before August recess. We’ll look at the causes and costs to the country of D.C. paralysis.

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This April 28, 2010 file photo, shows the Colstrip Steam Electric Station, a coal-fired power plant in Colstrip, Mont. Colstrip figures to be a target in recently released draft rules from the Environmental Protection Agency that call for reducing Montana emissions 21 percent from recent levels by 2030. (AP)

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