New Software Quietly Diverts Sales Commissions

New Software Quietly Diverts Sales Commissions:

“Some popular online services are using a new kind of software to divert sales commissions that would otherwise be paid to small online merchants by big sites like Amazon and eToys.


Critics call the software parasite-ware and stealware. But the sites that use the software, which is made by nearly 20 companies and used by dozens, say that it is perfectly legal, because their users agree to the diversion.

The amounts involved are estimated by those in the industry to have mounted into the hundreds of thousands of dollars and are likely to continue to grow — in part because most users are unaware that the software is operating on their computers.” NY Times [via Richard Homonoff]

Just Blog Instead?

Joseph Epstein, author of the recent Snobbery: Think You Have a Book in You? Think Again: “According to a recent survey, 81 percent of Americans feel they have a book in them — and that they should write it. As the author of 14 books, with a 15th to be published next spring, I’d like to use this space to do what I can to discourage them.

… I wonder if the reason so many people think they can write a book is that so many third-rate books are published nowadays that, at least viewed from the middle distance, it makes writing a book look fairly easy. After all, how many times has one thought, after finishing a bad novel, “I can do at least as well as that”? And the sad truth is that it may well be that one can. But why add to the schlock pile?” NY Times op-ed [Recall that Epstein not only doesn’t like writers but he doesn’t like literary critics either.]

The Bon-Bons of War:

From Talking Points Memo by Joshua Micah Marshall:

Though the rationale for liberating Kuwait was powerful in 1990 there was also testimony before Congress at the time about Iraqi atrocities in Kuwait which was later demonstrated to be entirely bogus. The immediate trigger for our involvement in Vietnam — as opposed to the larger rationale for our involvement — was later revealed to be based on exaggerations so great as to basically amount to lies. And one finds this sort of thing in the lead-ups to many other wars, in this country and in others. It’s almost like these little bogus stories are the bon-bons of war, the little morsels and appetizers to chum up those who can’t quite swallow the whole complicated rationale whole.

Karl Kraus: “How is the world ruled and led to war? Diplomats lie to journalists and believe these lies when they see them in print.”