Real estate prices killing CD sales

Went to a party last week in Boston’s North End.  Most of the folks there were young people who work for airlines.  This is a prime demographic for the music industry.  Yet they were not playing CDs.  A tiny apartment in Boston costs $2000/month.  This has dual effects:  (1) young people have no money to buy CDs because it all goes to their landlords, and (2) young people have no space to store CDs because every square inch of their apartments is already devoted to something more essential.

Had these folks given up on music?  No!  They were paying for digital cable TV, which includes 50 channels of commercial-free music at no extra charge.  They’d hooked up their cable box to their stereo and were happily flipping among the stations.

One flight attendant, a vivacious blond Floridian, said that she had a lot of music on MP3.  She doesn’t like computers, though, and hadn’t downloaded anything from the Internet.  Her brother had a big old music collection that he had ripped onto his computer.  Periodically the brother would select some material for his sister and transfer it onto her MP3 player.

The CD celebrates its 21st anniversary this year, having been introduced in Japan in 1982.  It is tough to milk $billions in profits from a 21-year-old product that has never been improved, especially in a First World economy where things like digital cable TV are developed and marketed.  We really should give the record company executives credit for being grandly ambitious….

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Democrats committing political suicide with gun laws

Talked briefly over the weekend with Chrissy Gephardt, daughter of Democratic Presidential candidate Dick Gephardt.  She is working for her father’s campaign so I tried to offer at least one helpful suggestion:  “You dad doesn’t have a prayer unless he becomes a pro-gun Democrat.”

Why does the rabble vote Republican?  This question has been looked at in this blog before, in the posting entitled “Democrats = mediocrity; Republicans = lottery ticket”.  It might be too much to ask Democrats to give up their devotion to mediocrity and pandering to public employee unions.  But shutting up about gun laws would be a small change that would yield an enormous number of voters.

Why are gun laws so important?  Consider Johnny Paycheck.  He has no freedom of speech, at least if he wants to keep his job.  He has no freedom of action; a hierarchy of managers tells him what to do all day every day.  Johnny Paycheck has no wealth; all of his income goes for rent and payments on his SUV.  He has no pension; his retirement mutual fund is being eviscerated by managerial looting at American public companies.  Johnny spends about 40% of his income on various taxes so that rich people don’t have to pay taxes.

Why does Johnny support the Republicans then, the party of corporate looters and tax cuts for rich people?  He expects rich people and the government to take away all of his money and freedom, regardless of which party is in power.  The difference to him is that the Republicans will allow him to keep his gun, the one shred of personal dignity that he has left.  The Democrats want to take away Johnny’s gun, his last vestige of personal freedom and manhood.

Perhaps if gun laws made a difference alienating half of America’s voters might be worthwhile.  It would be nice to strip America’s underclass of their ability to perpetrate violence.  But the gun laws proposed by the election-losing Democrats are feeble pathetic measures that serve only to annoy gun nuts.

You can have a powerful semi-automatic rifle… but it can’t look exactly like a military “assault rifle”.  You can get a machine gun but you need to fill out some forms.  You can buy a pistol but unless you fill out the right forms you can only kill 5 people with it before popping in another magazine.  These then are the achievements for which the Democrats have sacrificed their relevance to American government.

Gephardt’s Web site doesn’t put the harassment of gun lovers #1 on his agenda but it is there and that is enough to lose him any election.  His charming daughter is clearly ready to follow him into politics because she managed to ignore the idea without anyone liking her less…

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