Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Not What The Framers Had In Mind For Artists

The Copyright Clause of the U.S. Constitution (Article I, Section 8, Clause 8) gives Congress the power to "promote the Progress of Science and useful Arts, by securing for limited Times to Authors and Inventors the exclusive Right to their respective Writings and Discoveries."

Note the words "Authors and Inventors."  According to the plain language of our founding document--the very thing that conservatives are sworn to defend--intellectual property rights belonged to the creators, and only to the creators.

And, if the creator allows his or her rights to expire, they've expired.  They're gone.  Except if you're the current U.S. Supreme court, and you have a choice between upholding the plain language and giving your financial supporters a chance to make money without working for it.

Sadly, I think we all know what that choice is going to be.  It will be one that does nothing for the artists of yesterday, and stands in the way of promoting the artists of tomorrow.

On The One Hand, We Have A New Incentive To Lose Weight

On the other hand, the day on which we start to run out of planet is no longer just around the corner.  We've turned that corner, and the day is here.

We can't just consume.  We have to recycle, re-use and renew.  It's possible.  And, if you care about the people who come after us, it's absolutely essential.  For that matter, it may be essential if you care about the past.

Actually, Ms. Keenan, They're Really Evil

Believe it or not, I occasionally enjoy reading the New York Post.  As odious as its editorial and op-ed pages are, its business and sports pages have good writers.  Every so often, however, one of those writers reminds you that, personal intelligence aside, he or she cashes a paycheck that's signed by Rupert Murdock.

In the most recent case, it's Terry Keenan, who also works for Fox as well as the Post.  According to her latest column, liberals hate the Koch brothers because liberals are just corrupt, hypocritical cynics who recoil before the brothers' allegedly courageous war against America's fiscal crisis, which can only be cured by cutting both benefits and taxes. 

Never mind the fact that both have been relentlessly cut for years, or the fact that we wouldn't have a fiscal crisis except for the fact that we wouldn't HAVE a fiscal crisis if Koch-supported politicians hadn't already cut taxes and fought two wars on borrowed money that our grandchildren will have to pay off.  Ms Keenan, if you really want to know why liberals hate the Koch brothers, take a look at this.

Actually, Mr. President, It's Pretty Simple

So you're looking for ways to fire up you base, Mr. President?

I've got an idea.

Stop looking for a consensus that will not emerge until you get out in front of the problems, instead of just watching them unfold.

The American people elected you to lead.  They knew you're a Democrat.  They know you're a liberal.  And most of them aren't dumb enough to need to see your birth certificate five times a day.

You don't have to re-invent the proverbial wheel to fire up your base.  You just have to do the job the American people elected you to do.  If you need an incentive, apart from avoiding a one-term presidency, here's a reminder of why it's so important.

So, as this is William Shatner's 80th birthday, I'll put this in the words of Captain Kirk:


The Republican Bomb? (Part 2)

Last year, I wrote about the death of the man who invented the neutron bomb, the one that destroys people without destroying property.  It's a weapon that tells you everything you need to know about Republican "values."

Speaking of bombs, this incident proves that, when it comes to those "values," some things sadly never change.

Sunday, March 20, 2011

Preach It, David!

It's almost inspiring to read this.  I'm glad to see a conservative embracing the idea that, in the long run, the national interest isn't based on self-interest.  It's actually the other way around.

Springtime For Hitler And The GOP

Ordinarily, I'm opposed to pushing the rhetorical Hitler button when arguing with one's political opponents, regardless of the identity or beliefs of those opponents.  It's a different story, of course, when one's opponents embrace the comparison.

Can't imagine it happening?  Well, thanks to TRH, you don't have to use your imagination.  You just have to read this.

And then, like Mother Jones said, pray for the dead and fight like hell for the living.

UPDATE, March 22:  Just in case you need more evidence.

Cheer Up, Liberals!

Conservatives hate you in the short run but, in the long run, they pretend that your ideas were really always their ideas.  Here's George Will, using liberal arguments against invading Iraq to justify not intervening in Libya.

Poor George.  I wonder if he even realizes that we co-oped him in advance?  That's what he gets for stealing Jimmy Carter's briefing books!

It's Nice To Know It's Being Done Somewhere

Investing in people, not inequality or war.  If it can be done there, why not here?

Is Anyone REALLY Surprised By This?

I'm not.  I've never believed that there are enough stupid people in this country to justify Rush Limbaugh's inflated estimates of his audiences.  And, now that I know how they're inflated, I never will.

Have I listened to Rush?  Yes.  Enough to know that anyone with half a brain has better things to do with their time (like work, given the fact that he broadcasts during regular business hours).

Even I Might Vote For This Guy

And he's a Republican.  He has no chance in the current GOP power structure.  Which is good news for Obama and the Democrats; if he did, they might be in real trouble.

How Conservatives Manage Foreign Affairs

First, they pretend that nothing significant is happening.  Then they blame it on liberal fecklessness.  And finally, when neither of those approaches work, they take credit where it has never been due.

They did it with Communism.  They are now doing it with the Middle East

P.S.:  It's hard to believe this guy used to work for Walter Mondale.

I Don't Know Which Is Worse Here ...

The inability of one side to appreciate a problem in society until it affects them individually?  Or the inability of those on the other side to understand that they're being bought?  I post.  You decide.

Saturday, March 12, 2011

Freedom Of Speech Is The Right To Yell Hellfire At A Crowded Funeral

So the Supreme Court has said, with regard to the activities of the Westboro Baptist Church in holding vicious protests at military funerals for gay soldiers.

The inability of the protesters to appreciate the irony of their opposition to those who gave their lives to protect WBC's bigotry is not surprising.  But one wonders why this case was fought out along First Amendment lines, when it seems clear that the mourners (especially the families of the deceased) have a clear path to damages in tort for invasion of privacy.

I'm ordinarily an uncompromising advocate of First Amendment rights.  But it's difficult for me to believe that time, place and manner regulations could not be drafted to protect the mourners and the bigots.  Such regulations are generally recognized as being necessary to preserve public order.  This is a situation that screams for that kind of protection.

For me personally, it's bad enough that, as a consequence of all this, I now agree with Sarah Palin about something.  Isn't it bad enough that I've previously found common cause with Dubya?

Make Everyone Hurt, Indeed (Part 2)

If public opinion continues to go this way, John Boehner may be the greatest one-term Speaker of the House in history.

Clearly, the American people are hoping Democrats will start acting like Democrats, and not like Republicans in a good mood.

Or, for that matter like Republicans in a normal mood (for them).  Take Chris Christie, for example, who looks like he could most effectively deal with New Jersey's budget deficit by eating it.

The American Road To Success

First, you join a union.  Then, you use the work they help you get to make a pile of money.  Then, even when you are still a member, you bash the people who helped you get to the top, in the hope that they'll never follow you and remind you of your roots.  Or, heaven forfend, be better than you are.

It worked for Ronald Reagan.  No wonder his followers are following in his shameful footsteps.

Speaking Of What I've Been Saying All Along ...

Now we have proof.  The so-called "pro-life movement" is not a pro-life movement.  It's not even an anti-abortion movement.  It is, first and foremost, an anti-sex movement, as this confession illustrates.

Want to know how "pro-life" they really are?  Take a look at this, and then tell me who should be comparing who to Hitler.

Well Done, Wisconsin Workers!

You may have lost this battle.  For now.  But you understand there's a war going on, and you're not afraid to fight it.  Perhaps, one day soon, a majority of the American people will agree with you.

Then again, maybe they do.

Make Everyone Hurt, Indeed

It's what I've been saying all along.  Us-versus-them politics is good for grabbing short-term power, but suicidal in preserving the long-term future of society.  Who ever thought we'd be hearing this from David Brooks?

It's nice to see him essentially agreeing with the likes of Bob Herbert.  Speaking of whom, this is one of many reasons behind my view that we are in a depression, not a recession.  Unfortunately, our penchant for magical thinking won't let us face reality, even when we desperately need to do so.