Category Archives: national

Senators/Hollywood Move to Censor Internet

I was reading about this new “Combating Online Infringements and Counterfeits Act” and getting a bit scared. This bill, sponsored by a group of scallywag scamp-ass senators would evoke a structure that allowed web sites and services to be blocked on major internet service providers if they are deemed to be dedicated to infringement. Salon has an interesting piece on this bill, which I think you should definitely check out.

This legislation would essentially set up a blacklist of thousands of websites to be disallowed to Americans, I daresay in a manner similar to the way in which communist China restricts their users to content deemed appropriate by the government. As with many laws, those considered to be infringing will be generally the ones with the weakest voices and least connections to the pockets of, I imagine, senators. Although some would argue in favor of the need for this legislation, following Hollywood’s lead on copyright issues is a tenuous path at best(click for a list of technologies that would have been banned by this bill over time).

We have included the text of the Bill for you below. Is this perhaps a response to what some people are seeing as a slipping of American intellectual property capital in an increasingly globalized market? I recently read an article about the counterfeit shoe industry in China, from the NYT. The article talks about the widespread practice of counterfeiting American brands and points to many of these Chinese factories hope to use their bootlegging as an eventual springboard to legitimacy. I guess my question is whether this bill is a late reaction to music and movie piracy, or if the fears expressed here are more deep-seated. Take a look:


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Koch’s War on Obama

The gala marked the social ascent of Koch, who, at the age of seventy, has become one of the city’s most prominent philanthropists. In 2008, he donated a hundred million dollars to modernize Lincoln Center’s New York State Theatre building, which now bears his name. He has given twenty million to the American Museum of Natural History, whose dinosaur wing is named for him. This spring, after noticing the decrepit state of the fountains outside the Metropolitan Museum of Art, Koch pledged at least ten million dollars for their renovation. He is a trustee of the museum, perhaps the most coveted social prize in the city, and serves on the board of Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center, where, after he donated more than forty million dollars, an endowed chair and a research center were named for him.

One dignitary was conspicuously absent from the gala: the event’s third honorary co-chair, Michelle Obama. Her office said that a scheduling conflict had prevented her from attending. Yet had the First Lady shared the stage with Koch it might have created an awkward tableau. In Washington, Koch is best known as part of a family that has repeatedly funded stealth attacks on the federal government, and on the Obama Administration in particular.

Read more http://www.newyorker.com/reporting/2010/08/30/100830fa_fact_mayer#ixzz0ymB5PgBr

Massaging the Curriculum: A Texas Guide to Rewriting History

I haven’t much to say about this besides that you should read the article.  Part of me thinks it’s scary, another part of me thinks that it’s always scary when you see sausage being made.

I mean… I remember that in school we colored in pictures of happy “Pilgrims” and “Indians. “  Sometimes feeling like you were lied to can be more dramatic than not.

McLeroy moved that Margaret Sanger, the birth-control pioneer, be included because she “and her followers promoted eugenics,” that language be inserted about Ronald Reagan’s “leadership in restoring national confidence” following Jimmy Carter’s presidency and that students be instructed to “describe the causes and key organizations and individuals of the conservative resurgence of the 1980s and 1990s, including Phyllis Schlafly, the Contract With America, the Heritage Foundation, the Moral Majority and the National Rifle Association.” The injection of partisan politics into education went so far that at one point another Republican board member burst out in seemingly embarrassed exasperation, “Guys, you’re rewriting history now!” Nevertheless, most of McLeroy’s proposed amendments passed by a show of hands.

Finally, the board considered an amendment to require students to evaluate the contributions of significant Americans. The names proposed included Thurgood Marshall, Billy Graham, Newt Gingrich, William F. Buckley Jr., Hillary Rodham Clinton and Edward Kennedy. All passed muster except Kennedy, who was voted down.

This is how history is made — or rather, how the hue and cry of the present and near past gets lodged into the long-term cultural memory or else is allowed to quietly fade into an inaudible whisper. Public education has always been a battleground between cultural forces; one reason that Texas’ school-board members find themselves at the very center of the battlefield is, not surprisingly, money. The state’s $22 billion education fund is among the largest educational endowments in the country. LINK

They say history is written by the victors.  Given how frequently we accuse our politicians of attempting to rewrite history, nay, how frequently they do, maybe we should begin to say that the victors are also written by history.

60 was the loneliest number

We are still in denial here in MA… is this really our home state?

The consequences of Republican Scott Brown’s victory in the race for the Senate seat from Massachusetts fall into two categories. The first involves the optics of the race itself and the message Brown’s victory sends, about Obama’s first year, the economy, anti-incumbent sentiment, and the generalized “fuck ‘em all” feeling that seems to burst forth in American politics at times of stress. (The pollster Stan Greenberg a few years ago developed a taxonomy of voters that included the useful categories “F-You Boys” and “F-You Old Men,” groups that were quiet in 2008 but were heard from yesterday.) That message is somewhat complicated coming from Massachusetts and was provoked by the failure of a candidate who might as well have been a double agent for the Republican National Committee, but it won’t be perceived that way.

To the extent that the outcome is perceived as the beginning of the end of the Obama administration, and a one-blue-state equivalent to the 1994 Republican takeover, it is potentially a disaster. But that is the kind of straight-line projection that is the stock-in-trade of both Chris Matthews and the folks at OpenLeft.com, which produces the wild gyrations from ecstasy to despair that rarely prove correct. To the extent that it is perceived as an opportunity to press the reset button on the administration, to focus on the economy, and to go to the people rather than work inside Congress, with almost 11 months before the next election, it is potentially healthy… Read the Rest

Image Link

Clinton Takes PA

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No surprise here, ninjas. Hillary Clinton can chalk one up in the W column tonight, winning the Pennsylvania primary by  a projected 8 points with 30% more precincts to report in. Let’s just hope she doesn’t let it go to her head … haaaaaaaa. I’m so sad.

This is Pennsylvania, folks. Barack Obama was never supposed to be close in this one, and Clinton is already trying to spin the victory as people being unsure about the viable nature of his candidacy. Apparently she forgot that she was supposed to have this in the bag back on or before Super Tuesday. And she would have gotten away with it, too. If it weren’t for those damned free thinkers and their ideals …

It is nice to see that the major media outlets are largely saying that this victory is merely allowing her campaign to continue to exist, rather than giving her any sort of boost she shouldn’t receive.

Sillyness

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CNN:

Rapper 50 Cent, who told Time magazine last September he was supporting the New York senator’s White House bid, now says he has decided to shift his allegiance to Obama [...] “I’m Obama to the end now, baby!” But the musician also admitted he’s lost interest in the protracted Democratic race, and may not support either candidate.

mumia is still not free

… but he got his death sentence overturned.

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whats really good though, they decided he needs a new sentencing hearing but not a new trial? Its dope that he wont be on death row anymore, but this seems in a lot of ways like a bogus concession to make it seem like the justus system is doing the right thing when the actual trial was what was completely jacked up, not–objections to the death penalty in general aside–the sentencing.

anyways this post probably belongs on the politricks page, but here are some of Mumia’s thoughts on hip-hop music…

Check out the documentary A Case for Reasonable Doubt in its entirety here.

Davey B. With the Solution

Over at the Post David Broder presents his solution for the punished Democrats of Michigan and Florida. He doesn’t see much luck coming Hillary’s way, but for the delegates he imagines that the “perks of convention week would be available –the parties, the schmoozing, the press interviews.”
It seems to be understood among party elders and openly inferred from some influential Dems that Hillary is done (obviously her campaign doesn’t have money left for calculators as they disagree). I also believe that super delegates who represent states that have already voted should act. Why hasn’t Pelosi endorsed Obama yet (especially after this)?