Sunday, January 29, 2012

Fox News Wants Examples of Media Bias

Well, I had a good example concerning SOPA/PIPA so I emailed them. Seems that Fox News turned off their email, so my email was kicked-back as undeliverable.  So I am posting a modified version below in the hope that a bored Fox News analyst may actually stumble across this post while surfing the net.
TO Fox News:  Concerning your 4:45 PM Segment on 1/22/2012. Could you please get someone on who actually knows something about copyright, property rights, and the constitution to appear on Fox News.
Recently, on Fox News, a three person panel of clueless so-called pundits had a superficial. discussion concerning why the politicians did not understand the implications or SOPA/PIPA.  The panel itself, however, did not evoke any comprehension concerning the nature of copyright.  The only redeeming comment, they at least did comprehend that these proposed laws went to far.

During that discussion the panel tossed out the obligatory, but incredibly dumb, question "How can we bring the two sides together". The content industry has progressively moved the fulcrum point to the "right" by lobbying Congress to pass laws that give the content industry special privileges and depriving the public of their civil liberties. I have yet to hear the content industry, in the spirit of compromise, to give-up some of their special privileges or to return copyright to its original duration and scope.

You can NOT negotiate with someone who consistently demands give me more, give me more, give me more. The FOX News panel seemingly failed to comprehend this oppressive trend and blindly swallowed the content industry propaganda.

The Fox News panel also made the gratuitous and obligatory statement  concerning "stealing". Once again the esteemed panel neglected to think this through. The activity of piracy is actually "infringement" it is NOT "stealing" .  When you commit theft, you are depriving the owner of their property.  Simplistically, piracy is the use of content in an unauthorized fashion. It is not theft.

U-tube animation illustrating the distinction.  Copying Is Not Theft

The content industry has been pushing the "theft" angle because it makes for good sound bytes, is simple, and evokes sympathetic emotions.  But there is an obvious counter-intuitive argument; it is the content industry that has actually been doing the "stealing" by changing the law.  By changing the law, the content industry is making formerly legal activities criminal. By changing the law, the content industry is eliminating the public domain.  By changing the law, the content industry is abolishing fair use.  The so-called pundits at Fox News are seemingly oblivious to this repugnant "land-grab" by the content industry. Time for Fox News to stop mindlessly regurgitating content industry propaganda and get a person who has real knowledge on their news panels to add some real fair and balanced analysis.
There is a simple solution to the piracy issue. Restore copyright to its original intent, piracy will be reduced. Formerly legal activities will once again become legal. Legality is what both sides seek. Now will the content industry agree to this compromise?

Friday, January 27, 2012

The Ghost of Voodoo Economics

 Republican still push supply side economics.  Yesterday, the Washington Post ran this article: "Supply-side economics at core of Gingrich plan".  Supply side economics is Voodoo economics. It encourages people to recklessness consume before they have earned the money to buy products/services. That is one factor that caused the great economic meltdown in 2008.

Blame Bush was at fault by reducing the tax rate and reducing regulations that stimulated reckless growth. But guess what, after time you pay for that unwarranted stimulated consumption. People will only buy so many refrigerators, houses, cars, etc.. After a wile they STOP buying for a variety of reasons. They run out of credit, they have no need for that tenth car, they can no longer afford overpriced houses. The economy then tail spins. In the meantime, taxes have been cut. The deficit balloons out of control. Supply side economics works till the music stops. Economic devastation then occurs.

The purpose of taxation (with a few exceptions) is to provide revenue for Government operations. Tax policy should not be used to manage the economy

Thursday, January 26, 2012

Debt Ceiling Travesty

Once again the debt ceiling was raised.  The Washington Post writes: "The latest hike in the debt ceiling will lift the federal borrowing limit from $15.2 trillion to $16.4 trillion, an increase that will see the country through the end of the year." The way this was accomplished was despicable and not what you would want to see from our elected ersatz leaders.  My quickie point, I have seen a short video clip were a congress person solemnly pontificates on how the debt ceiling has to be raised, since the money has already been spent! A totally idiotic comment. If you know that you are approaching the credit limit, stop spending (or raise revenues). A simple economic solution that Congress and the President do not seem to grasp.

Sunday, January 22, 2012

Paula Deen, Diabetes, and Restaurants

Paula Deen was recently identified as having Type II diabetes. Prior to this breaking news, she was basically an unknown to me. Evidently she owns and operates The Lady & Sons restaurant and has published five cookbooks and lives in Savannah Georgia. The exploding coverage over her cooking style caused me to think about restaurants and diabetics. Basically, diabetics are provided with minimal information by some restaurants concerning their menu options. At restaurants the menu, in many cases has calories and fats listed, but not carbohydrates. Time to add a carbohydrate column to the menu. (Some fast food places do have nutrition guides posted on the wall, which is very helpful.)  Of course most diabetics, after being diagnosed, should be well aware of what they are able to eat.

Many restaurants menus also suggest certain "healthy food" choices in terms of low calories and low fat, but these choices are not necessarily diabetic friendly choices. Time for restaurants to consider adding low carbohydrate foods to the "healthy foods" list on the menu.

According to the Washington Post "More than 25 million Americans — more than 8 percent of the population — are believed to have diabetes." According to Wikipedia "Rates of diabetes have increased markedly over the last 50 years in parallel with obesity."

Friday, January 20, 2012

Steven Titch on SOPA and PIPA for Non-Techies

Following a link from The Technology Liberation Front I ran across the a post from Steve Titch "SOPA and PIPA for Non-Techies" on the Reason Foundation webpage.  His post very clearly articulated that our legal system is now focusing on passing laws that criminalize everyday activities. To paraphrase, lawmakers are criminalizing everyday activities rather than insist that law enforcement actually investigate a case against a suspected criminal.
SOPA and PIPA are the latest and most egregious example of an alarming political trend: instead of strengthening enforcement against actual crimes, lawmakers instead criminalize everyday activities that by nature lend indirect support. Rather than demanding police build a case against real money-launderers, Louisiana lawmakers made cash transactions illegal.  Instead of finding a drunk driver guilty, the New Jersey Supreme Court ruled that the defendant could sue the bar owner who sold him the drinks. Congress couldn't muster the political will to pass a law against Internet poker, so it made it illegal for a licensed bank to transfer funds to a licensed gambling site.
Additionally many of these new laws also require that third parties act as an extension of law enforcement.  As an onerous example CNET posted an article:  "Federal rules on campus file sharing kick in today". In short, universities would be required to spy (wiretap) on student internet traffic for infringement. No due process or warrant. At the Republican Debate of January 19, 2012 Ron Paul spoke out in opposition to this type of legislation.

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Obama and Captain Francesco Schettino

Recently Captain Francesco Schettino reckless ran his ship, the Costa Concordia, aground.  It sank. Coincidentally, the Washington Post published a pro-Obama opinion piece by  Ezra Klein"Has Obama done a good job? Well, compared to what?" Needless to say this blatantly apologetic article cherry picks the analysis to imply that Obama is somehow either the victim of circumstances or to suggest that if another person had been elected President that they would not have done any better. I guess the concepts of leadership and personal responsibility for ones actions must be unknown to Mr. Klein

Well - any analysis (if structured "correctly") can absolve the person under scrutiny of the responsibility for an accident and any damage that they may have resulted.  If Obama, as Mr. Klein suggests, should not be held accountable for piloting the Ship of State, one could make the assertion that Schettino should not be responsible for sinking his ship because of some pesky rocks that somehow got in the way of the ship or the apparent distraction of Domnica Cemortan.  Furthermore, despite his apparent absence from the ship, that he did an amazingly heroic job beyond the call of duty in minimizing the damage to his ship (Costa Concordia) and minimizing the loss of life. (sarcasm)  Like Schettino, Obama is not focused on piloting the US Ship of State and is recklessly proceeding forward without considering the consequences. The US Ship of State may soon run aground on the rocks of insolvency. (Post Revised 1/20/2012)

Washington Post Picture

Costa Concordia and the US Ship of State

The Christian Science Monitor has an excellent article "Costa Concordia captain: symbol of the era?" In that commentary Robert Marquand writes:"The Concordia captain's missteps and failure to take responsibility have spurred deeper discussion about a dearth of moral leaders.  ...  The crisis of leadership extends beyond Italy and has been written about extensively – and the Concordia is a good metaphor." The Captain and crew of the "US Ship of State" are sailing obliviously at full speed forward into the rocks of insolvency.

Sunday, January 15, 2012

Eliminate Piracy Now!

Reducing piracy is simple. Restore copyright law to what existed in 1790.  The expansion of piracy has not been caused by the consumer becoming evil, but by the content industry being able to purchase favorable legislation from Congress that criminalizes formally legal behavior.  In a sense "piracy" is the public relations creation of the content industry to make themselves out to be "victims".  Below is a graphic from Wikipedia demonstrating this trend. So if the content industry can create evil thieving "pirates" through the passage of self-serving legislation, the legislation can be modified to eliminate the evils of piracy too.  It goes both ways.

Our legal system is meant to provide a level playing to conduct business.  It was not meant to provide one group (content industry) special rights while at the same time diminishing the rights of another group (consumer).  The consumer, when they purchase content acquire a property right to use that content.  The public domain, also has a property right to content! Time to restore those rights.

Romney on the Econonomy

Romney, on the campaign trail, has been vilifying the economies of the various countries in Europe plus that of Japan. He suggests that socialist economies are failures and that you should vote for his economic policies to restore the US economy to its former glory because we don't want to be like those losers in Europe or Japan. This claim, to me, is another case of a politician disingenuously distorting reality to mislead people into voting for him.  Basically inappropriately mixing apples and oranges.

My casual observation is that the economies of Europe and Japan are "mature". By mature, I mean that they are aging and declining in population. Economic growth, in part, depends on growing population and a demand for additional goods/services.  Well, declining population means that you do not need to produce as much and older people tend to buy less. Based on the preceding, to say that these economies are a failure would be a significant misunderstanding of economic concepts.

As a follow-up thought, how much unmet demand exists in the US? The possibility exists that the US may itself be evolving into a "mature" economy that has limited need to grow at a rapid clip. Should that be the case, our economy will remain a "failure". The issue is not whether the economy is socialistic or capitalistic but one of demographics. If the demographics are not there Romney will be proven wrong.


Romney, on the campaign trail, has been claiming that he will bring jobs back to the United States to Make it competitive. How does he propose to have jobs move back to the US since US workers are paid more than their counterparts in the Third World?

Well there is one strategy.  Improved productivity. Machines, even under the operation of an expensive US worker, could be competitive.  Productivity has its own downside though, you need less workers. Since you don't need as many workers.  What to do?  You fire some of them which unfortunately raises the US unemployment rate. So once again Romney's economic proposal would seem to lack veracity.

But there is a redeeming approach, sell more products/services to the Third World. That may be a plausible approach to restoring the US economy.


Romney, on the campaign trail, has been claiming that he will create jobs.  I find this contention preposterous coming from Republicans.  As a corporate executive Romney clearly would have the ability to create jobs. As president of the United States, NO.

One of the platforms of the Republican party is getting government out of the private sector.  Within that context, the Republicans assert that they do not want a Nanny State nor do they want the government to define losers and winners in the economy.  Based on these fundamental Republican philosophical imperatives, Romney should not be suggesting that he would create jobs. He can''t. 

To get around this obvious hypocrisy the Republicans use empty motherhood platitudes such as "creating an environment that fosters economic growth". To implement that goal, the Republicans often speak of things such as less regulation and less taxes. Well blame Bush did exactly that. And that created our current financial malaise. So why would re-starting failed Voodoo Economics work?  It won't.