Heh - didn't expect to see that when I clicked through on the link.
But yes: that Nate Silver is simply trying to present the results of analyzing a large amount of data, and then trying to offer some context around that seems to be getting lost pretty quickly in the "50 for 50" uproar.
As was pointed out above, Silver wasn't every saying that Obama was going to win, he was saying that the available data indicated that Obama had a higher probability of winning. Silver could have been entirely correct in his analysis and still seen a Romney win.
Also: two minutes after posting that I realized that I'd missed the obvious headline -- I think this version is better, but the ball was already rolling on the other one: http://tumblr.absono.us/post/35203726587
Having spent a couple of years at a big six publisher I can report firsthand that the big houses are not at all enthusiastic with sharing of quotes or snippets, or "losing control over our content" as it's usually described in the biz.
You're probably right that Amazon isn't entirely unhappy about making the move, but they're certainly not the driving force behind the decision.
Publishers certainly did learn that having people talk about their books is a good thing back in the days when paper reigned, but as with the music industry, they were happy in part because the content being discussed could only be acquired as a physical artifact purchased from the publisher. The content/artifact link is being broken, and that scares the hell out of publishers.
The industry will get there, certainly, but they're not going to be leading the way.
My experience has been that you talk to a staffer, and that it's an entirely painless process. I doubt that calls are recorded, but I do believe that calls matter.
It's anecdotal, but from a friend who works in the political arena:
- Phone calls have more weight than physical letters, which have more weight than emails.
- Assume that the person on the other end is taking notes, but taking the fewest possible notes, so have a short, coherent script that makes specific reference to the legislation in question (SOPA is H.R.3261) and your support or opposition to it ("I want to make it clear to XXX that I strongly oppose HR 3261, the stop online policy act").
@Nick Coghlan I've most often seen the year/decade quote attributed to Anthony Robbins (though it was formulated as individuals under- and over-estimating what they personally could do in a year and decade).
I'd also toss in the classic Eisenhower quote here: "I have always found that plans are useless, but planning in indispensable."