Today's Blogs

Bench Warming

Bloggers analyze the Supreme Court’s ruling on greenhouse gases, gush over Alanis Morissette’s new Black Eyed Peas cover, and cheer EMI’s decision to release unprotected music.

Bench warming: The Supreme Court on Monday rejected the EPA’s rationale for refusing to regulate greenhouse gas as a pollutant under the Clean Air Act. The court’s decision says the EPA must provide “reasoned justification” if it chooses not to regulate CO2 and other gasses. Bloggers gauge the decision’s impact.

Joe Gandelman at The Moderate Voice argues the decision is not “whoppingly huge” but is still a “clear slap” to the Bush administration: “[I]t’ll be harder for critics of global warming to dismiss concerns as just part of a ‘tree hugging’ agenda. … And now a winning majority of the Supreme Court could be considered part of those who are concerned.” Liberally Conservative, meanwhile, disapproves of the ruling: It “managed to diminish the rules of judicial standing, rewrite the definition of ‘pollutant’ under the Clean Air Act, and dramatically curtail the decision-making authority of the executive branch.”

At the New Republic’s Open University, law prof Cass Sunstein envisions two possible outcomes, and predicts either one would face a legal challenge: “(a) The EPA might try to give a better explanation of why it does not seek to regulate greenhouse gas emissions from motor vehicles. … (b) The EPA might conclude that it will indeed regulate greenhouse gases from motor vehicles. If so, it will start a (time-consuming) rulemaking procedure.”

At Warming Law, a blog started by the Community Rights Council in response to the case, Tim Dowling predicts that the ruling will “affect pending cases … that involve other provisions of the Clean Air Act that use the term ‘air pollutant’ (most notably, provisions that govern emissions from power plants and other stationary sources).” In addition, he predicts, “the ruling might well prompt the U.S. Congress to act more quickly and more aggressively on comprehensive global warming legislation.”

Read more about the Supreme Court’s EPA decision.

Her humps: Fading fem-rocker-turned-sensitive-strummer Alanis Morissette has released a video parody of the Black Eyed Peas’ ubiquitous “My Humps.” Blogger reactions range from befuddled to downright gleeful.

Music blog Idolator gives Alanis props: “[S]omewhere, Tori Amos is hunched in front of a laptop, cursing herself for not thinking of giving this rumination on turning men into quivering, ATM-like masses the sad-piano treatment first.” Alex Blagg at VH1’s Best Week Ever blog had a similar reaction: “Now if someone can just get Adam Duritz to do a whiny, melancholic cover of ‘SexyBack’, my life will officially be complete.”

At The Mike Abundo Effect, the titular blogger calls the video “[m]ore proof that mass media artists can thrive in social media as long as they let their hair down with the rest of us.” Travis Fox at FOXYMORON SUCKS! has some career advice for Alanis: “She should do an entire album of these shitty awful songs in a very serious, emotional way and totally re-invent herself as some sort of Female Weird Al or something.”

Mark Blankenship at I Totally Hear That dubs the video “brilliant”: “[N]ot only is Morissette mocking the ludicrousness of ‘My Humps,’ she’s also mocking herself. The fact that she recorded this song in the ‘Morissette style,’ with the haunting piano and angsty wailing in tact, proves that she knows she can sometimes seem like a drippy flower child.”

Howard James Hardiman at The Coterie of Zombies has a less enthusiastic take: “In a last-ditch attempt to save her flagging career, emo-feminist Alanis Morisette takes a misguided potshot at confident, powerful sexy female figures everywhere by taking a funny song about how easily manipulated men are by the sight of tits and ‘ass’ and turning it into a tragic tale of woe by, utterly originally, slowing it down and putting it into a minor key, thus totally missing the wry irony of the original. Irony never was her strong point, though, was it?”

Read more about Alanis.

Down with DRM: Record label EMI and Apple have agreed to start offering music without the copy protection known as digital-rights management. For an extra 30 cents per song, iTunes users will now be able to download higher-quality files, copy them as much as they want, and play them on multiple devices.

New York Times tech columnist David Pogue hails the decision as a “triumph of common sense,” albeit a qualified one: “Yes, I wish the other record companies would follow suit. Yes, I wish the no-copy-protection songs didn’t cost extra, although I think that’s a reasonable tax to compensate EMI for some ‘piracy overhead.’ … But this is an absolutely huge, industry-shaking development that I never in a million years would have imagined. Whatever happened to the head-in-the-sand recording executives who are terrified of the Internet and at war with their own customers?”

Adrian Kingley-Hughes at PC Doctor figures that the new deal is “win-win” for Apple and EMI: “First off, they get a ton of publicity, which is always a good thing. Second, it silences DRM critics. The move also silences Apple critics who claim that iTunes is monopolistic and locks out other devices.  Apple is finally unlocking part of the iTunes store to non-Apple devices.”

At tech blog Engadget, Ryan Block fears that “the whole thing is gestural at best, and subterfuge at worst.” He argues that instead of charging more for higher-quality music, Apple and EMI should abolish DRM altogether: “[W]e don’t approve of misleading sales pitches, confusing conditions, and second guessing what should just be a better consumer experience, and making it seem like some kind of privilege. If these companies are going to dump DRM, they need to really dump it, and never look back.”

Read more about the EMI-Apple deal.