Right Thinking From The Left Coast
I find that the harder I work, the more luck I seem to have. - Thomas Jefferson

Monday, December 31, 2007

Happy New Year

The family is heading off to an 80’s themed New Years party. My wife is busy ratting and teasing hair right now. We’re essentially going as the butt rock family. I have a Guns-n-Roses concert shirt (bought in ‘87 at the Shoreline Amphitheater) and a pair of checked slip on Vans that I actually still wear regularly. The wife is straight out of Jersey with huge hair and a Bon Jovi T from the Slippery When Wet tour. My daughters both have side-ponies and jean skirts. One is wearing a Dokken T I bought at Monsters Of Rock in ‘88. The other is wearing a Howard Jones T from ‘85 (I was on a date and his music was catchy so bite it!). They’re both tied at the side, Madonna stylee.

Later, we’ll retire back to the neighborhood where the kids will all stay up late watching movies while the adults get wasted. Well, some of us will. I swear this is exactly like when I was a kid except I’m the dad now.

Happy New Year, everyone!

Posted by on 12/31/07 at 08:23 PM in Fun and Humor  • (0) TrackbacksPermalink

Johnny Get Your Gun

Guess what? Boys still like guns, and apparently it’s not all bad.

Playing with toy weapons helps the development of young boys, according to new Government advice to nurseries and playgroups.

Staff have been told they must resist their “natural instinct” to stop boys using pretend weapons such as guns or light sabres in games with other toddlers.

Fantasy play involving weapons and superheroes allows healthy and safe risk-taking and can also make learning more appealing, says the guidance.

It conflicts with years of “political correctness” in nurseries and playgroups which has led to the banning of toy guns, action hero games and children pretending to fire “guns” using their fingers or Lego bricks.

But teachers’ leaders insisted last night that guns “symbolise aggression” and said many nurseries and playgroups would ignore the change.

Hmm, it sounds like the teachers still want to put their own social agenda ahead of what’s in the kids’ best interests. But what about “It’s for the children?”

Posted by West Virginia Rebel on 12/31/07 at 03:03 PM in Europe and the UK  • (0) TrackbacksPermalink

The Word Is The Word

Where the fundamentalist mentality comes from.

Some people don’t practice evangelism because they feel they are imposing on others. And the way evangelism is often done, I can understand the confusion! But when you understand what the Bible presents as evangelism, it’s really not a matter of imposing your beliefs.

It’s important to understand that the message you are sharing is not merely an opinion but a fact. That’s why sharing the gospel can’t be called an imposition, any more than a pilot can impose his belief on all his passengers that the runway is here and not there.

Pardon me for being blunt, but if you’re talking about your religion to those who don’t follow it and aren’t necessarily interested in doing so, then you’re imposing your views on them. This is why Mike Huckabee has become a turnoff for those of us who consider ourselves more libertarian than Republican these days-his candidacy is prolestyzation as politics, and that, to many, goes against the grain of the Constitution. Welcome to the age of theodemocracy.

Posted by West Virginia Rebel on 12/31/07 at 02:26 PM in Religion and Sky Pixies  • (0) TrackbacksPermalink

It’s On, Bitch

How can you tell that we are finally going to do some damned voting around here? The rats are out in force. From CNN’s political ticker:

A holiday card that falsely claims to be from “the Romney family” and highlights Mitt Romney’s Mormon faith was anonymously sent to Republican mailboxes across South Carolina earlier this week.

The source of the card is unknown.

The mailer, which says it is “Paid for by the Boston Massachusetts Temple,” displays a quote from Mormon apostle Orson Pratt saying that God had multiple wives:

“We have now clearly shown that God the father had a plurality of wives, one or more being eternity by whom he begat our spirits as well as the spirit of Jesus, his first born, and another being upon the earth by whom he begat the tabernacle of Jesus, as his only begotten in this world,” the quote reads.

A copy of the glossy brochure obtained by CNN offers holiday wishes from “the Romney family”: “We wish you and your family a happy holiday season and a joyful New Year,” it says.

The card focuses on the Republican presidential candidate’s home state of Massachusetts, displaying a photo of the Mormon Temple in Boston as well as a snowy photo of the Public Garden in Boston.

The mailing also quotes from the first Book of Nephi, part of the book of Mormon, in which the Virgin Mary is described as “exceedingly fair and white.”

Hey, Mitt, you got off easy. At least they didn’t say you had a black love child. Anyone seen Karl Rove lately?

Then there’s this:

Democrat John Edwards suggested to an Iowa audience Sunday that presidential rival Barack Obama is too ‘nice’ to battle Washington’s special interests.

Speaking on the stump in Boone, Iowa, Edwards didn’t mention the Illinois senator by name. But as he related his familiar campaign mantra of battling interest groups inside the beltway, he implied that Obama just wasn’t up to the task.

“I hear people say you can sit at a table with these people, negotiate with them, and they will volunteer their power away,” Edwards said. “That is a complete fantasy. You can’t ‘nice’ these people to death.”

Obama often says he has ability to bring people together while forging compromises, making the idea a major cornerstone of his campaign’s ‘change’ theme.

Special interests “ will never give their power away,” Edwards said Sunday. “The only way we are going to get their power away, is we are going to take their power away from them, and we have an epic fight in front of us. …"You’d better send somebody into that arena who’s ready for the fight.”

Edwards went on to say, “the proper way to deal with special interests is to pick the worst and completely sell yourself to them. For example, if you had trial lawyers thieving funds from 96-year-old ladies, that would show those evil special interests.”

The next week is going to be fun. The holidays are over and the races are close. So one will be inclined to play nice. Expect the slime to fly. This is when we’ll find out if Barack Obama is really a new kind of politician.

Posted by Hal_10000 on 12/31/07 at 12:02 PM in Election 2008  • (0) TrackbacksPermalink

Kevnmkr Bowl

Alrighty, folks. I have been on the horn with our resident College Football expert Kevnmkr and as promised he’s guest blogging the bowls. I’d do it myself, but I gave up after reading he’s a much better study on the matchups, and all I really care about is the performance of UF (and the SEC, in general). So, here he is in all his glory (had to put this together fast, he’s going to be at 2 bowl games). So, here’s the mysterious person, that might or might not be paid to do this sort of thing (I’ve added it under the fold for more suspense! :-0))

Posted by Manwhore on 12/31/07 at 11:59 AM in • (0) TrackbacksPermalink

Sunday, December 30, 2007

You Are Hicks, And I Am Your God

Stephen Bainbridge says what needs to be said about Huckabee’s recent hunting expedition, designed to bring a “level of authenticity and credibility to the campaign”:

In times like these, it’s damned embarassing to be a Republican. Hell, its embarrassing being an American. Whatever happened to trying to find the smartest guy in the room? But if we can’t do that, can we at least not pick another good ol’ boy?

When I saw Huckabee on TV with a gun I knew that it was either a hostage situation or an attempt to appear like “one of us”. Either way, his campaign is doomed. Even though Huckabee actually hunts for real, it was John Kerry in 2004 all over again. The second a candidate grabs a shotgun, it’s over. He would be slightly less doomed if he’d shot an elderly lawyer in the face.

I’m getting sick of this nonsense of trying to appear to be a good old boy. When I lived in Virginia, I encountered the worst example of it. George Allen—before his hilarious fiery implosion last year—used to pull that shit all the time. He flew a confederate flag, he wore cowboy boots, he would make the occasional racist slip. This was man born in fucking Southern California, raised in Chicago and about as much of a redneck as Yakov Smirnoff. It was insulting to have a man come to a southern state and assume he had to act like a cracker hick to get our votes.

I don’t want a President who is “one of us”. I don’t want a pseudo-intellectual know-it-all like Algore either but there has got to be a middle ground. Intelligent, thoughtful, but grounded. So far, the only men in the 2008 campaign who even begin to cross me that way are McCain, Thompson and Obama.

In Huckabee’s defense, he appear to be an actual hick, not a pretend hick. But I’ve personally ha my fill of hicks from Hope, Arkansas. From now on, his name to me will be Hickabee.

Posted by Hal_10000 on 12/30/07 at 10:41 PM in Election 2008  • (0) TrackbacksPermalink

The Other Mayor Cometh

Well, the clown car is getting fuller.

Buoyed by the still unsettled field, Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg is growing increasingly enchanted with the idea of an independent presidential bid, and his aides are aggressively laying the groundwork for him to run.

On Sunday, the mayor will join Democratic and Republican elder statesmen at the University of Oklahoma in what the conveners are billing as an effort to pressure the major party candidates to renounce partisan gridlock.

Former Senator David L. Boren of Oklahoma, who organized the session with former Senator Sam Nunn, a Democrat of Georgia, suggested in an interview that if the prospective major party nominees failed within two months to formally embrace bipartisanship and address the fundamental challenges facing the nation, “I would be among those who would urge Mr. Bloomberg to very seriously consider running for president as an independent.”

Next week’s meeting, reported on Sunday in The Washington Post, comes as the mayor’s advisers have been quietly canvassing potential campaign consultants about their availability in the coming months.

And Mr. Bloomberg himself has become more candid in conversations with friends and associates about his interest in running, according to participants in those talks. Despite public denials, the mayor has privately suggested scenarios in which he might be a viable candidate: for instance, if the opposing major party candidates are poles apart, like Mike Huckabee, a Republican, versus Barack Obama or John Edwards as the Democratic nominee.

A final decision by Mr. Bloomberg about whether to run is unlikely before February. Still, he and his closest advisers are positioning themselves so that if the mayor declares his candidacy, a turnkey campaign infrastructure will virtually be in place.

If you want bland and blander, you couldn’t do much worse than Bloomberg and whomever his running mate would be.

Posted by West Virginia Rebel on 12/30/07 at 10:09 PM in Election 2008  • (0) TrackbacksPermalink

But He Spent the Night in a Haunted House!

What a douche:

The Alliance for a New America is an “independent” campaign organization running television ads in Iowa on behalf of John Edwards—whose ability to spend money himself in Iowa is restricted because he is taking taxpayer money as campaign funds (all while bashing other candidates for taking money from “lobbyists”, even as he takes millions from trial lawyers and his finance chair is the former head of lobbying group ATLA).

Via Kaus, though Paul Krugman calls the Alliance for a New America a “labor 527”, it turns out that a third of its money comes from Rachel Mellon, of the Mellon family fortune. (Though one wonders why Krugman is willing to defend the 527 as a labor 527. It’s not like SEIU, which also heavily funds the Alliance for a New America, doesn’t lobby the government for special-interest legislation. If, as Edwards says, lobbyists are bad, they don’t suddenly become good because you agree with them. And if lobbyists you do agree with are good, then why isn’t the issue the underlying policy proposal rather than the fact of the lobbying, as Edwards tries to demagogue?)

Yeah, yeah yeah. Breaking his own rules. Taking money from special interests while screaming about his own pure soul. Typical corrupt Democrat. Why are you bothering me with this, Hal?

Here’s the thing: Mellon is 96 years old. There are certainly competent 96-year-olds out there, and it’s possible that Mellon really likes John Edwards. But what we do know is that a New York trust attorney who holds the power of attorney for Mellon and the Mellon-related LLC that is fronting the money is a big fund-raiser for Edwards. Does Mellon know that she’s funnelling hundreds of thousands of dollars to John Edwards through her attorney through multiple 527s? Or is there something else going on? One expects Obama to complain:

According to the available records, which go back to 1980, she has never donated to a political candidate until a contribution was made in her name to John Edwards this year. Mellon’s involvement in the decision to donate to the Edwards campaign is unknown. The Washington Post reported yesterday that Alexander Forger, who has power for attorney for Mrs. Mellon, is a major supporter of John Edwards’ candidacy. Crain’s Business Journal reported in February that Forger and “a group of prominent New York lawyers” hosted a fund-raiser for Edwards at Essex House—the Central Park South address where his office is located. Forger has also personally donated $4,600 to Edwards’ campaign, according to FEC records. This is not the first time Forger has used Oak Springs Farms to support Edwards; in 2006, he made a $250,000 contribution to Edwards’ One America 527 group.

Now come on, Walter. If John Edwards can receive psychic messages from babies with cerebral palsy, he can divine the intentions of an old woman. But apparently this latest scumbaggery is so bad even Daily Kos has noticed.

I don’t give John Edwards Hell. I just tell the truth about him and they think it’s Hell.

Posted by Hal_10000 on 12/30/07 at 09:51 PM in Election 2008  • (0) TrackbacksPermalink

Cutting Ties
by Lee

I received another campaign update from Ron Paul.  This one I sent a reply to.

Sorry, guys.  I have been a fervent supporter and defender of Dr. Paul for months now.  The man truly impressed and inspired me.  But his recent statements regarding biological evolution are a deal-breaker for me.  I cannot support any candidate so blinded by the obvious, especially an ostensible man of science like Dr. Paul.

So I will not be sending any more money to your campaign, I will not support Dr. Paul’s candidacy, and will actively work against him.  He was, I sincerely believed, the last real hope for true conservatism, but he’s revealed himself to be nothing more than a typical wacko fundamentalist Republican.

He should be ashamed of himself.  What a waste.


Fuck him and his wacky creationist bullshit.

Posted by Lee on 12/30/07 at 10:25 PM in Election 2008  • (0) TrackbacksPermalink

Put On A Happy Face

Is everybody happy? Apparently so.

In 2006, Yale Law School surveyed members of the Yale class of 2001 on a variety of career-related issues including job satisfaction. 67% of graduates working in academia said that they were “very satisfied” with their jobs, compared to 51% of those working in “public service,” 30% of those employed by businesses, and 30% of those working for private law firms. At the other end of the scale, there were no academics who were only “somewhat” or not at all satisfied with their jobs, compared to 19% of those working in public service, 16% of those employed in business, and 34% of those in private law firms.

It is striking that job satisfaction among academics is high not only relative to those in private practice, but also relative to graduates employed in “public service,” which is often viewed as a career path chosen in large part to maximize personal happiness rather than income.

There are, of course, some limitations to this data. First, only Yale graduates are surveyed. The average Yale graduate in academia may have a somewhat better job than the average academic in general. On the other hand, the average Yale graduate in private practice or public service also probably has a better job than the average graduate of most other law schools. A more serious problem is that there are only 12 total academics in the sample. This is just enough to be statistically significant, but is a small group nonetheless. n addition, the survey question measures only the respondents satisfaction with their jobs. It doesn’t measure their overall level of happiness. Some academics might be happy with their jobs, but miserable more generally. However, the former is the better measure of the marginal effect of the job itself on personal happiness, which is after all the point at issue.

Considering that many Yalies live in a fantasy world, maybe we shouldn’t be too surprised that they’re happier than the rest of us. Reality can be such a turnoff.

Posted by West Virginia Rebel on 12/30/07 at 05:19 PM in Politics  • (0) TrackbacksPermalink

Fear Of A Terrorist Planet

What it’s really about.

Here is all that torture is good for: inspiring fear in a population. If you want it widely known that your ruling regime is utterly ruthless and doesn’t care about individuals, all you have to do is scoop up random people suspected of anti-government activities, hold them for a few weeks, and return them as shattered wrecks with mangled limbs, while treating the monsters who would do such a thing as respected members of the ruling clique, who are immune from legal prosecution. The message gets out fast that one does not cross the government.

So, yeah, if you’re a tyrant in Uzbekistan who is holding control through force of arms, fear is a useful part of the apparatus of control, and torture is a great idea, as are barbaric executions, heads on pikes, and bullets to the back of the head.

When the US government announces it’s support for torture, they aren’t talking about intelligence gathering: they are simply saying “Fear us.” They are taking the first step on the road to tyranny.

The real problem is that fear isn’t a good tool to use in a democratic society. We are supposed to be shareholders in our government; when a process of oppression is endorsed by our legislators and president, we should recognize that they are trying to set themselves apart from the ordinary citizenry, and it’s time to rebel…before the goon squads come to your neighborhood. Anyone who supports torture is a traitor to the democratic form of government, and should be voted out of office, if not impeached.

In spite of all that Bush has done, I still don’t see us as headed down the road towards dictatorship-but we have become a secretive and paranoid country, using the fear factor to allow all sorts of anal and nefarious behavior to happen in the name of fighting terrorism. Instead of reacting we’ve been overreacting in a lot of ways. If this is to truly be a “Change” election, the Keystone Cops/Kafka-esque way we’ve been fighting on the domestic front is one of the first things that has to be dealt with by the next President.

Update by Lee: I’m going to have to respectfully disagree with WVR here.  I think we have taken the first steps towards tyranny with the introduction of torture.  Torture is easy, anyone can do it.  It’s been used, as the quoted article correctly suggests, as a tool of fear since the beginning of time.  And people who use fear to control populations are dictators. 

This is not an irreversible course, however.  What we have taken might be called the first “baby steps” towards tyranny.  Every crack addict at one time started out drinking alcohol, but this does not necessarily lead to every alcohol drinker becomes a crack addict.  But, to make the point once again, if you justify our current use of “enhanced interrogation techniques,” then what is to stop us from using real, honest-to-Glaven torture?  Think about it.  The line between real “torture” an “enhanced interrogation techniques” is purely arbitrary.  We once had an arbitrary line between civilized and uncivilized behavior, between what was acceptable and what was not.  This line was codified in the many international treaties and agreements on human rights which we not only signed, but were instrumental in writing.  That was the arbitrary line, and for six decades we all abided by it.  Now we’ve unilaterally decided to shift the line a little, all while pulling the standard totalitarian tactic of moving the line while claiming that we are not actually moving it.  So now we have a new arbitrary line for what is acceptable.  Why couldn’t we simply expand “enhanced interrogation techniques” to include pins under the fingernails?

If the line can be moved once, it can be moved again.  And again.  And again.

For the sake of argument, let’s assume that torture indeed works.  Let’s assume that the the “terrorists” to whom we have applied these “enhanced interrogation techniques” have supplied us with a pirate’s booty of information on terrorist activities, information which could never have been obtained through standard interrogation.  Why, in any logical sense, should we stop at “enhanced interrogation techniques?” If keeping a man in a cold room to where he almost freezes to death will yield information, why not drive nails through his testicles?  That would yield more information, wouldn’t it?  Since a little bit of torture works, and since we all know terrorists are of such keen intellect and steely resolve that regular interrogation won’t work on them, then surely a lot of torture would work better, right?  And if the more torture the better, why not bring their children in and smash their feet to pulp with hammers?  After all, the name of the game is to gather intelligence, right?  If more torture equals more information, why pussyfoot around with sleep deprivation and weak-ass shit like that?  Hell, let’s just pull out his fucking fingernails and be done with it.  Let’s hook electric shocks up to his testicles.  Let’s rape his wife in front of him.  That’s GOT to give us more intelligence, right?  After all, we have to protect America, and if we have to pull out a few fingernails or rape a few children to learn about the next 9/11, isn’t that worth it?  Which would you rather see, a child raped or a mushroom cloud over Manhattan?

This is the problem with “moving the line” in the manner we have.  George Orwell was a huge believer in words.  Words mean things. It is the hallmark of totalitarian dictatorships throughout history that, when the meaning of a word becomes politically inconvenient for the goals of the regime, they simply redefine the word.  In the literal sense, this is where the term “politically correct” comes from—Stalinist Russia.  “Yes, it might be correct to say that we are torturing these people, but it would not be politically correct to do so, so we will refer to it as an enhanced interrogation technique.” Hitler did this too.  The Jews were “resettled” into the east, but we all know what “resettling” meant and it sure as hell didn’t mean “resettled.”

Think, for a second, about what “democracy” means.  Now think about the definition of the word “republic.” The official name for North Korea is “The Democratic People’s Republic of North Korea.” Would any of you, in any sense, describe North Korea as being either democratic or a republic?  Well, they do in North Korea.  Words mean things, unless it’s politically advantageous for the government to redefine them to suit their needs.  Words like “torture” becoming “enhanced interrogation techniques.”

In the Navy a cook is known as a “Mess Management Specialist.” But he’s still a cook.  You could call him “Senior Thoracic Cardiologist,” but if he prepares food and serves it to people he’s still a cook.

There has been a definition of “torture” in place for 60 years.  We’re now violating that definition.  You can tart it up however you like, you can use whatever euphemism allows you to convince yourself that we’re not actually torturing people, but according to any accepted definition of torture, including the ones we wrote ourselves, that’s exactly what we’re doing.  All I ask is that, if you support this type of behavior, at least be intellectually honest enough with yourself to call it torture and stop bullshitting yourself with “enhanced interrogation techniques.”

I wouldn’t say that we’re well on our way to becoming a totalitarian state.  But we’ve come to a fork in the road, and we’ve taken the first baby steps in that direction.  It’s not too late to change our minds and turn back, and I think—I hope—that whoever our next president happens to be they have the courage and integrity to end this barbaric practice.  Because if they don’t, then we might as well just abandon all pretense that we’re opposed to just torture and really start fucking torturing people.  After all, we have to protect America.

Of course, the definition of “America” can be changed too, can’t it?  And if you really, really try hard enough, two plus two can equal five.

Posted by West Virginia Rebel on 12/30/07 at 05:11 PM in War on Terror/Axis of Evil  • (0) TrackbacksPermalink

Warming LIke It’s 1998

A big argument against global warming is that 1998 was the hottest year on record and hasn’t been matched since (1934 was the hottest year in *America* not the world and by less than the margin of error). Hold the horses, though:

Through the first 10 months, [2007] was the hottest year recorded on land and the third hottest when ocean temperatures are included.

Smashing records was common, especially in August. At U.S. weather stations, more than 8,000 new heat records were set or tied for specific August dates.

More remarkably that same month, more than 100 all-time temperature records were tied or broken - regardless of the date - either for the highest reading or the warmest low temperature at night. By comparison only 14 all-time low temperatures were set or tied all year long, as of early December, according to records kept by the National Climatic Data Center.

For example, on Aug. 10, the town of Portland, Tenn., reached 102 degrees, tying a record for the hottest it ever had been. On Aug. 16, it hit 103 and Portland had a new all-time record. But that record was broken again the next day when the mercury reached 105.


And yet none of those events worried scientists as much as what was going on in the Arctic in the summer. Sea ice melted not just to record levels, but far beyond the previous melt record. The Northwest Passage was the most navigable it had been in modern times. Russia planted a flag on the seabed under the North Pole, claiming sovereignty.

The ice sheets that cover a portion of Greenland retreated to an all-time low and permafrost in Alaska warmed to record levels.

Meteorologists have chronicled strange weather years for more than a decade, but nothing like 2007. It was such an extreme weather year that the World Meteorological Organization put out a news release chronicling all the records and unusual developments. That was in August with more than 145 sizzling days to go.

Again, this isn’t the hysterical panic scenarios that Algore is hyping. And as the ice retreats, we have found evidence of prior human habitation covered by glaciers. But it is disconcerting and in line with the current models.

The temperature of the planet varies from year to year quite a bit, which is why it is so difficult to tease out the long term trend. 2007 was probably an outlier, just as 1998 and 1934 were. But the overall trend is unmistakably upward.

Posted by Hal_10000 on 12/30/07 at 12:08 PM in Science and Technology  • (0) TrackbacksPermalink

What’s Yours is Mine

When I first moved to Los Angeles, I remembered that the music industry was one of the most lucrative enterprises in the Entertainment industry. The music industry had money coming out of it’s ass and I was always amazed at the poeple I would meet that were industry poeple and could throw a lot of money around. It was there, and the system that was set up was so great that there wasn’t much of anything to worry about until napster bubbled up from the then very tiny internet. Downloading was tedious, but even when I saw it, I knew CD’s days were numbered.

The record industry never really responded, and to this day really never have. they have stubbornly kept to either trying to add security to CDs or they have attacked people they feel have an infringed on thier popularity. It amazes me that very big companies can make very poor decisions with all of the beauracracy they have. However, the record industry giants have, once again, astounded me with a monumentally stupid, and lazy approach to protecting themselves.

Despite more than 20,000 lawsuits filed against music fans in the years since they started finding free tunes online rather than buying CDs from record companies, the recording industry has utterly failed to halt the decline of the record album or the rise of digital music sharing.

Still, hardly a month goes by without a news release from the industry’s lobby, the Recording Industry Association of America, touting a new wave of letters to college students and others demanding a settlement payment and threatening a legal battle.

Now, in an unusual case in which an Arizona recipient of an RIAA letter has fought back in court rather than write a check to avoid hefty legal fees, the industry is taking its argument against music sharing one step further: In legal documents in its federal case against Jeffrey Howell, a Scottsdale, Ariz., man who kept a collection of about 2,000 music recordings on his personal computer, the industry maintains that it is illegal for someone who has legally purchased a CD to transfer that music into his computer.

The industry’s lawyer in the case, Ira Schwartz, argues in a brief filed earlier this month that the MP3 files Howell made on his computer from legally bought CDs are “unauthorized copies” of copyrighted recordings.

I’m not really shocked or outraged by the lawsuit’s premise. They have composed a very worthy case in my opinion, and I believe the point that they are making is that duplication of the material is a crime. It’s not so crazy to come to that conclusion. they feel you only own the property in it’s original form. However, what I am curious about is how they expect to prove they can have thier cake and eat it too. Songs are distributed over the radio to you for free everyday. Songs are also sold to you over the internet everyday.

The industry has been trying to tackle the idea of ownership of content for a while now, but I think that they are going to hit a wall until they change the methods in which they attempt to make money. Distribution has always been the bedrock of all entertainment companies, but the internet is fucking it all up for them. A few directions are coming up, but the concensous leans more and more to service. If anyone of you has a brilliant idea to make sales of music profitable again, there is a bright future for you in music. Just one of the many challenges that this wonderful time in history has provided opportunity for.

Now, for what I AM outraged about. the record industries have placed almost all of the war on infringement on patrons in the USA. I had a classmate in school, that knew Chinee, and he would regularly download movies before they were even released in the theatres. Entertainment companies will never go after these people, and to even try is pathetic. Putting the fear of god in people seems to only be the tactic here, and that’s wrong. I understand we are the largest consumers of entertainment, but we are also the largest consumers of entertainment. Eating your own is not really a great way to get new customers IMHO. People can tolerate being outsmarted. People cannot tolerate being attacked for very long.

Posted by Manwhore on 12/30/07 at 02:50 AM in Politics  • (0) TrackbacksPermalink

Saturday, December 29, 2007

The Triad

Here it is in black and white:

Now [Huckles’] success is setting off a debate in his party over whether his success marks the fading of the old Reaganite conservative coalition — social conservatives, antitax activists and advocates of a muscular defense — or, rather, offers a chance for its rejuvenation.

“It’s gone,” said Ed Rollins, who once worked as President Reagan’s political director and recently became Mr. Huckabee’s national campaign chairman. “The breakup of what was the Reagan coalition — social conservatives, defense conservatives, antitax conservatives — it doesn’t mean a whole lot to people anymore.”

“It is a time for a whole new coalition — that is the key,” he said, adding that some part of the original triad might “go by the wayside.”

I’ll give you three guesses as to which of us is supposed to go “by the wayside”. It’s a nice little recipe for disaster Rollins is cooking up there. If the Republicans drop the libertarian small government wing of the party, do they really expect to pick up the big government liberals from the Democrats?

On a related note, I wrote a long post on Ron Paul for my own blog. Money quote:

In a normal election cycle, RP would be confined entirely to the nut fringe, unable to poll statistically above zero. The reason he has drawn such strong support is not because there is some secret Nazi revolution brewing and not because he’s fooling anyone.

It’s because there is such a vast yawning chasm on the libertarian-conservative side of American politics.

When you look at the candidates for President — on either side of the aisle — they no longer debate whether we should have big government or small government; they debate just how huge our government should be. Our candidates no longer argue about the correct application of the Constitution; they use lawyer arguments to get around its basic provisions. The corpses of Reagan and Goldwater are venerated — but their basic philosophy is not just ignored, it’s ridiculed.

On the political spectrum, the mainstream candidates are bunched together, covering the entire range from big government to slightly less big government. RP is all out on his lonesome; the only man — apart from perhaps Thompson — to whom the Constitution, federalism and freedom are something beyond words to sucker in the conservative vote.

In the end, Paul’s views on the federal reserve, foreign policy, trade and now evolution, are a bit too much for me. But I’m glad he’s shaking things up. Because the GOP needs to know precisely what awaits them if they break up the triad.

(PS - If you want to read intelligent criticism of Paul, rather than hysterical Nazi-baiting, try Megan McCardle here, here, here and here.)

Posted by Hal_10000 on 12/29/07 at 10:27 PM in Election 2008  • (0) TrackbacksPermalink

I Am The Law!!

Read the Globe’s survey of Presidential candidates on executive power. Giuliani refused to participate—probably because he would look like the worst of the bunch. So did Huckabee and Thompson. Many of the candidates give Algorish long answers to show off their knowledge. But they get to the point. And, I hate to say this, the Democrats come off better—in part because none refused to answer the questions. Paul and McCain also do well. Romney depresses me.

I’ll give you some depressing quotes:

Our most basic civil liberty is the right to be kept alive and the President should not hesitate to use every legal tool at his disposal to keep America safe. - Mitt Romney

Give me liberty or give me death! Oh wait, you’re out of liberty? OK, I’ll have the chicken.

A President should decline to reveal the method and duration of interrogation techniques to be used against high value terrorists who are likely to have counter-interrogation training. This discretion should extend to declining to provide an opinion as to whether Congress may validly limit his power as to the use of a particular technique, especially given Congress’s current plans to try to do exactly that.

I’m getting tired of this bullshit argument. You can’t do anything you want by slapping a “security” label on it. Or perhaps I missed that Amendment to the Constitution.

On that one, the Supreme Court just heard oral arguments in the Boumedienne case and it is expected to rule early next year on that question. So I will be interested in seeing how the Court rules. - McCain on whether we have a Constitutional habeas right.

No, John! Give me your fucking opinion. Don’t hide behind the courts.

The Bush Administration has kept the American people safe since 9/11. The Administration’s strong view on executive power may well have contributed to that fact. - Mitt Romney

He was also throwing salt over his shoulder and didn’t break a single mirror. And if we have to sacrifice babies to keep America safe, then we will do it!

Below the fold, I’ll give you my answers.

Posted by Hal_10000 on 12/29/07 at 09:30 PM in War on Terror/Axis of Evil  • (0) TrackbacksPermalink
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