Sunday, 4 September 2011

09:22 – I just read an article on FoxNews about the importance of religion in the GOP presidential campaign. According to the article, more than 70% of Republicans and more than 50% of Democrats considered it at least somewhat important that a candidate have “extremely strong” religious beliefs. I guess that explains how buffoons like Rick Perry and Michelle Bachman, both of whom would like nothing more than to remake the US into a theocracy, can be taken seriously as candidates. On the other hand, re-electing Obama might be even worse. Moderates like Ron Paul (a Lutheran/Episcopalian/Baptist) and Jon Huntsman (a semi-lapsed Mormon) have no chance, with the media ignoring both of them as a matter of policy. And, of course, admitted atheists have no chance of being elected to any office, let alone the presidency. (Yes, I know Obama is an atheist, but he won’t admit it; even Democrats won’t vote for an atheist.)

What all this tells me is that, once again, there won’t be any major party candidate worth voting for in 2012. No surprise there. I think the last time we had a major-party candidate worth voting for was when Thomas Jefferson ran.

I’ve read several articles about negotiations between Netflix and Starz falling through. When that hit the news, Netflix stock dropped something like 10%. I can’t see that it’s a big deal. In 2008, Netflix negotiated a contract with Starz for about $30 million per year. That contract expires in February 2012. Netflix offered to increase its annual payment by a factor of ten, but $300 million a year wasn’t enough for Starz. They wanted Netflix to charge a premium for access to their content, and that Netflix absolutely refused to do. Good for Netflix.

All of the articles focused on Netflix losing Starz content, but what none mentioned was that Starz gave up $300 million a year, which it has no prospect of getting elsewhere. Netflix, on the other hand, now has $300 million a year available to buy streaming rights from other content providers. As Netflix said, in 2008 Starz was a major provider of Netflix’s streaming content. Now, not so much. Starz is down well below 10% of what Netflix streaming customers watch, and headed for 5%. Netflix can do an awful lot to replace that 5% with $300 million a year. And, of course, nearly all of what Starz was providing streaming is available on DVD, so Netflix can simply buy the DVDs for its customers. We’re not going to miss out on anything. And, if Netflix really wants to stick it to the studios, it can simply stop giving them a 30-day window after the DVD is released before that DVD is available from Netflix.

Barbara and I are spending some time over the long weekend assembling more chemistry kits.