Yesterday was what we used to call Independence Day. Lately, it has just become July the 4th. There’s a difference. Just read the Declaration of Independence. But you wouldn’t know it by those 535 or so legislators in Congress. Dividing this nation to "conquer" it won’t work in the long run. King George (can’t decide whether it should be George I or George IV) and his Regent Cheney (is it "Regent" or Richelieu?) have perverted the "War on Terror" into an Executive Branch power grab … calling anyone, and I mean anyone, who argues with them "unpatriotic." Bull! But we, and by "we" I mean all of the American people, got a reminder about the checks and balances and separation of powers in our Constitution last Thursday when the Supreme Court – once again – reminded the President that he wasn’t a King. Even in a time of "war" (no matter this isn’t a "war" in the classic definition of contentious nations). Good news for the 4th … and for all. Random Notes *World Cup BUMMER! So, I wanted to try watching Germany play Argentina on my Mac (I had a little work to do, really, honest!) … went to ESPN360. Had seen a demo at The National Show and was actually impressed. Heard from my Kid (working at ESPN HQ in NYC this summer) that half the computers in the office were tuned to FIFA coverage. So, I logged on … and quickly found I couldn’t get it. Not only can I not get Hi-Def "local" (they’re over the mountain range from me; available from both satellite services, though) stations from Denver, I can’t get ESPN360. Tsk, tsk. So, like (I’ll bet) a lot of folks, I filled out the form letter to send to someone in Philadelphia via ESPN. Ah, but all was not lost, I went upstairs and watched the game in Hi-Def on ESPN2HD … and then I went through a friend in London and watched the last of the first half via http://www.bbc.co.uk. But, hey, join me in begging if your cable ISP hasn’t allowed it by going to http://espn.go.com and fill out a form, too! (Thanks, and kudos to: Frontier – US Cable – Charter [LA & StL] – Grande – Mediacom – Liberty PR.) *Meanwhile, on the Bike Trail: Does the doping scandal (bummer) mean that OLN-TV (soon to be Versus) will be a sports news channel, too? What a shame. *Please Come to Boston: (Without apologies to Dave Loggins.) Soon, beginning Monday the 17th (enjoy your weekend!) it will be CTAM Summit time and, if you can get past the Big Dig, it’ll be a kick to see MTV Networks’ Judy McGrath get (maybe she’ll croon I Want My Grand Tam?) a well-deserved award. One of the guys who wrote "Freakonomics," Steven D. Levitt, might tell some uncomfortable, unconventional truths about the cable business (maybe … wonder if he’ll do his homework or just babble?). Most interesting among the non- industry speakers might be Donald J. MacDonald, VP and GM of the "Digital Home Group for the Intel Corporation" … what’s different is that Intel is no longer Microsoft-centric. And, taking off a bit from what C-Cor’s Dave Woodle postulated as a "customer-centric cable business" last month at Cable-Tec Expo, the ever-entertaining Rich Cronin of GSN will lead a session on "Marketing Consumers Love." See you there (and I’m particularly looking forward to the Old-Tamers dinner).