Thursday, January 31, 2008


Rachael weeping, refusing to be comforted...

inconvenient tissue
One of the hot button issues every presidential campaign is Roe v Wade, the US Supreme Court decision in 1973 that effectively compelled all states to legalize abortion. The very concept of a court doing this would have horrified the founding fathers, but the decision has stood for 35 years without even being reviewed. Roe v Wade does not legalize abortion in the United States, it requires every state to do so. If Roe v Wade were overturned, this would not outlaw abortion. All it would do is turn the decision on this matter over to the states, something abortion rights activists fight at every possible turn. Why? Because it's easier to convince five judges appointed by mostly left-leaning governments to go your way than over half the population in each of the fifty states.

Let's say Roe v Wade was overturned by an enlightened court - one we're not likely to see in our lifetimes. What would happen? Well Human Events magazine online has had two columns in which they list the top ten most pro-life states (states that would almost certainly outlaw abortion at least to some degree) and the top ten least pro-life (states that would not change the abortion laws, except to maybe make it easier).

1. Michigan1. Oregon
2. Louisiana2. California
3. Pennsylvania3. Connecticut
4. Texas4. New Jersey
5. Kansas5. Vermont
6. South Dakota6. Hawaii
7. Mississippi7. New Hampshire
8. Arkansas8. Iowa
9. Oklahoma9. Alaska
10. Virginia10. New Mexico

The results are based upon Americans United For Life's annual lists, which are compiled by examining state laws and efforts that year. For example:
AUL’s criteria cover each state’s treatment of all life issues, but the final ranking depends largely on each state’s enactment of prudent and well-supported laws that fence in the abortion license granted by the U.S. Supreme Court in Roe v. Wade. Among the laws that AUL looks for are informed consent, parental involvement for minors, abortion-clinic regulations and limitations on the use of public money for abortion.
If Roe v Wade were finally thrown out as bad law, eventually I would guess at most 5-10 states would outlaw abortion except in extreme circumstances, and maybe 20-30 would do so in at least some circumstances. Most states would examine the date at which abortions were considered legal (it's pushing a few weeks before birth at present).

cluelessThe United States is not unique in the world in legalizing abortion, even Scotland has done so. To some, this is a sign of advancement and civilization: murdering unborn helpless babies shows you're enlightened. Why, to oppose the brutal slaughter of innocent children is being like the Taliban! To others like me, it shows we're barbaric, regressive, and heading in a very evil direction.

Whoever is elected president in 2008 will not be as strong as President Bush on this issue, and will not select judges who'll be inclined to reexamine the 1973 decision. In fact, they're almost certain to pick someone who would support it, either out of a sense of "moderation" or ironclad ideology. So the status quo will remain for decades longer as we continue to kill about 4,000 babies a day.
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"A cold beer on a warm day at the ballpark is as good as it gets."

I've only been around on this earth four decades or so and while I've managed to pick up some wisdom each year only teaches me how much I have to learn and how much I can learn from my elders. I was never the kind of child who decided my parents were idiots then learned how wise they were when I grew older, and I've always had a healthy respect for those older than I, but it grows each year.

Some of the lessons I've learned over the years include "you can't love someone out of being a trainwreck" and "no matter how smart or persuasive you are, some people's minds simply will not be changed - and I'm probably one of them." At the Chicago Tribune, Eric Zorn looked at his life and came up with fifty lessons he's learned over his first fifty years. Here are a few:
1. It’s better to sing off key than not to sing at all.

3. You can’t avoid offending people from time to time. When you don’t mean it, apologize. When you do mean it, accept the consequences.

8. Don’t be bothered when people don’t share your tastes in music, sports, literature, food and fashion. Be glad. You’d never get tickets to anything otherwise.

19. It’s never a shame when you admit you don’t know something, and often a shame when you assume that you do.

22. Anyone who judges you by the kind of car you drive or shoes you wear isn’t someone worth impressing.

33. The 10-minute jump start is the best way to get going on a big task you’ve been avoiding. Set a timer and begin, promising yourself that you’ll quit after 10 minutes and do something else. The momentum will carry you forward.

43. The store-brand jelly, cereal, paper goods, baking supplies and pharmacy products are good enough.
Some were a bit goofy like these:
10. Empathy is the greatest virtue. From it, all virtues flow. Without it, all virtues are an act.

(Empathy isn't a virtue, and Wisdom is the greatest virtue - guiding your ethical behavior or actions by how other people feel is a sure way to disaster).

38. In crisis or conflict, always think and act strategically. Take time to figure out what the “winning” outcome is for you, then work toward it.

(Pragmatism is not the proper way to address problems: what works or achieves your goal might be wrong. Don't look for what wins for you rather look for what's the right thing, the true thing, the just thing to do).
Readers had their own suggestions such as these:
#51: Always behave in public as though your kids were watching you. They are.

#52: Find the time to volunteer, whether it's to coach a youth sports team, help with a during and after school program, or for your local church. You'll be amazed and energized by how much you actually know and how much they actually need you.
-by Dan Wasser

I would like to add #51...
Making your bed in the morning is NOT a waste of time!
Love the list, thank you!
-by Betsy

Any politician that claims to be a reformer & good government type is a crook! This has been proven over & over.

Any politician that says he or she will be better for a particular group, race or religion because he/she is one of them is probably going to screw that group, race, or religion worse than his/her opponent ever would or could have!

There have been only two honest politicians elected in the history of Illinois.
Paul Douglas & Paul Simon.
Abraham Lincoln, when a Congressman filed fraudulent, inflated travel expenses to get extra money for his trips between Washington & Springfield.

Any prosecutor that goes after an adult for their private, consensual, sexual behavior with another adult has their own far worse sexual secret that's being hidden from the public.

Will Rogers said "I'm not a member of any organized political party, I'm a Democrat".
Still true today.

Most things said or written by Rogers or Mark Twain are still funny today. How many comedians of today will have that said of them?
Even more sad is that they're also still true!

If TV news tells you there is a huge storm coming, don't believe it. Their consultants have told them that this gives them higher ratings. So far this winter they've been wrong on three of five panic watches, I mean storm watches.

Newspapers make lots of mistakes that are never corrected.
As the man said: "If your mother says she loves you, check it out!"

Never use Wikipedia as the final authority on anything. It's a good, quick reference, but there's no way to guarantee its accuracy.

There are no shortcuts anymore in the city! PERIOD!
Stop cutting through on neighborhood side streets in an ultimately futile attempt to save time.

The only reason that judges don't want cameras in the courtroom is that the public will get to see what a wretched, lazy bunch they are!

Jury duty is a joke!
Do they actually think they are getting a cross section of the public at $17.50 a day?
Election judges get at least $125 a day!
As said in Chicago decades ago: "Who would be foolish enough to put their fate into the hands of 12 people too stupid to get out of jury duty?"
This of course, does not apply in California if you're a celebrity!

As I read others comments & additions I'm sure I'll think of more things.
-by Garry

"In order to form a more perfect union" is a mission statement, not an historical artifact.

Man made god in man's image and likeness, not the other way around.

Hunting will only become a "sport" when the animals have guns, too.

"Le Marseillaise" is hands down the greatest national anthem.

The world would be a better place if Golden Retrievers lived to be 65 and macaws only 12.

If "stupid is as stupid does", then most people are really stupid.

Don't mess with bears
-by Azdak

Great column. Twenty more things I've learned in 70 years:

51. You can do anything for your kids except live their lives for them.

52. It's a scientifically proven fact that it's impossible to eat a hot dog at the ballpark without getting mustard on your shirt, and that an elevator always moves slower when you're late for an appointment.

53. No matter how hard you try or how much time you put in trying to grow grass, your neighbor will have a better lawn.

54. If you aren't fired with enthusisam, you'll be fired with enthusiasm. (stolen from Vince Lombardi)

55. Always shoot for the moon. Even if you miss, you'll land on the mezzanine.

56. Never let a day go by without telling someone "I love you."

57. One of the great unsolved mysteries of life is why there are more horse's asses in the world than horses.

58. Dietary rule #1: Chocolate always loves you back.

59. Dietary rule #2: You can't get a bad meal in San Francisco or New Orleans.

60. Any country that begins with an "I" is worth visiting, e.g., Ireland, Italy, Iceland, Israel, Ivory Coast, India, Indonesia.

61: Exception to rule #60: Iran and Iraq.

62. Be nice to people on the way up because you'll meet the same people on the way down.

63. Perserverance beats talent any day.

64. Dogs give unconditional love. Cats allow you to live with them.

65. Baseball is an impossible game. They give you a round ball and a round bat and tell you to hit it square.

66. Scrabble is not a game. It's a disease.

67. Try to learn something new everyday, whether it's a word or a new theory of the universe.

68. Never pay more than $100 for a watch.

69. Give generously to good causes, but never to a telephone solicitation.

70. It's O.K. to lie about your age after 70.
-by eisele

One thing I learned many years ago when I was single: Women are more attracted to bad guys than to good guys.
-Don Heideger

51. Never put BBQ sauce on meat that is on the grill too early, it burns.
52. All women turn out like their mothers. They will look like them and act like them.
-by Bryan

51. You will need stronger reading glasses…get over it.

52. No matter how hard you try to keep them together, one sock will always leave to find a better home.

53. Speaking in a loud, clear voice to adolescent boys will not work… they will nod but not hear you. Go two rooms over speaking softly into the phone to their grandmother, not only will they hear you , they will correct your story.

54. As soon as you throw out ( insert item ) you will need it.

55. Teenage boys love homemade chocolate chip cookies…they also love raw dough so don’t leave the bowl unattended.

56. If you want your dog to get only short walks put purple paw protectors on them …your son will not take him past the driveway.

57. At some point your daughter will tell you she hates her name and would rather be called some other spiffy name like Felicity…Gemstone… etc

58. When you agree to purchase a vessel keep in mind it’s only a matter of time before the Captain starts conversation with ‘ You know, for our next boat…”

59. There are no fish in Lake Michigan…
-by Donna McDermott

Love the post, (came here through swissmiss blog). After 32 years, and living in several different countries on my own, there's nothing in there I disagree with, and even a few things I'd add ...

#1 Say please and thank you. Yes, it's a simple thing, but being polite is always a good idea.

#2 Stand up for the elderly and pregnant women on public transport. Not doing so doesn't make you cool or important, it makes you a jerk

#3 Invite people to do things. Regardless of whether you aren't sure if they'd come or actually want to spend time, it's a great way to get to know people better, and everyone likes to be asked to do things. If they say no without a fair reason, stop asking.

#4 You do not have to put up with people (male or female, regardlessof their relationship to you) lying, cheating, and being an ass to you. But ... everyone deserves a second chance. If they stuff up more than twice, there WILL be a third, fourth and fifth time. Three stikes and you're out is not a harsh rule.

#5 When travelling/living in a foreign country, learn to say at least a few local words including please, thank you, excuse me, hello and goodbye. If you're staying for any length of time, then also learn how to say "Do you speak ... " in the local language, and smile when you say it.

#6 Remember, your parents are people too.

#7 Knowing a secret is a mark of someone's trust in you. If you blab it around, not only is the person likely to know it was you, but everyone you tell will know you can't be trusted as well.
-by Abby
One of the best places to turn for wisdom and advice - not rules and laws, but suggestions and things to keep in mind - is any collection of ancient proverbs. The Bible has a whole book full, and it's easy to find, there are other collections online (I dip into them for quotes of the day on occasion). Proverbs endure not because they're clever but because they're often true and wise. A proverb that's nonsense just gets forgotten.

What I thought was ironic is that the entire list is about wisdom learned over the years, and he thinks empathy is supreme. Yet none of the list was empathic, it was all wise - because he knows, even if he's not aware of it - that wisdom must be the guide by which we do and think of everything. It's not that empathy is poor or wrong, we all can do with some empathy. It's that without wisdom, empathy makes you do some very stupid stuff. It doesn't matter how that serial killer feels, nor if I feel his pain.

Just two quick final thoughts:

Azdak is right, "Le Marseillaise" is hands down the greatest national anthem.. Watch Casablanca some time for a playing of the song that will bring you to tears.

And the final thought:
The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom.
-Proverbs 9:10
Everyone can benefit from meditating and living based upon that.
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Quote of the Day

"There is something Queegy about the guy."
-Dan Collins on John McCain
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Wednesday, January 30, 2008


Conservatives in the past have used the term RINO ("Republican In Name Only") to refer to Republicans such as Arlen Specter or John McCain, politicians who were almost completely in alignment with the Democratic Party in policy but were members of the Republican Party. Another term that was used in the 70s and 80s was "country club" Republicans, the very wealthy and generally left-leaning members of the party.

Yet looking at the election results it's hard to avoid the conclusion that what we conservatives call Republican is really RINO at all. As eLarson, a commenter at Protein Wisdom puts it:
I’m beginning to think Reagan was the RINO–a person who went with the Republican Party because he had no home in the Democratic Party and there was no viable alternative other than the GOP.
In other words: the guys we call RINOs apparently are the Republican Party, and conservatives like Ronald Reagan are the RINOs. The GOP has never been particularly happy with conservatism, it just went along with what got it wins and power. When that stopped working, or was merely inconvenient for profligate spending, then it was time to dump the conservatives.

Which leaves guys like me without a party. I've never been registered with any political party, but in the past at least the GOP has been more comfortable, or at least less obnoxious than the Democratic Party. The Democrats have if anything become more radical, and the GOP has basically decided it's time to embrace the politics of Senator Stevens from Alaska and abandon any hint of conservatism.

Times and political fortunes change, of course. Two years ago, the Democratic Party looked dead in the water. After a string of defeats at the national level and state level for over a decade (even President Clinton never actually won a majority of the public's votes, he simply got a plurality - the most of each of the candidates), the Democrats look primed to take over congress by an even greater majority and the presidency in 2008. What will it look like in 2010?

In the past, circumstances or issues have forced the hand of conservatives. When the choice was between President Bush and Senator Kerry in 2004, the Iraq rebuilding and judicial nominations prompted guys like me to vote for President Bush even though he was only slightly conservative and was destroying the Reagan revolution with his failure to veto spending bills. His social conservatism was a plus for me as well, enough to make me get out and vote, mostly to prevent Senator Kerry's blatant incompetence and buffoonish political stances were not just bad ideas for a president but he would have had too much direct power over judges and the Iraq war.

That's just not true today. What prompted me to not only vote for President Bush but urge others to don't apply today. Sure I'd rather not see President Obama or Clinton deciding policy, and I think Senator Clinton to be ethically repellent and sleazy beyond supporting, but I don't want to see Senator McCain's policies in place either, especially given his open and grinning proclivity to do what the Democratic Party and media most prefer.

So I'm left with the unenviable position of voting in November for local politicians and writing in someone who can't win and means nothing for President. Then I get to hear endless whining from McCain voters about how we ruined everything by not voting for the guy. Thank you, no. It's not my fault if we get President Clinton. It's the fault of the GOP for giving us lousy choices. Don't blame me, blame the Republican primary voters. I'm just one guy in Oregon, by the time it gets to me the contest is over anyway.


"Usually when a man of [McCain's] age goes to Florida he doesn't come back"
-Craig Ferguson

The presidential elections in the US are narrowing, it's a four-person race now. Former New York Mayor Rudolph Giuliani and North Carolina Senator John Edwards have dropped out of the race as being irrelevant. Edwards in particular has been rumored as Senator Obama's choice for Attorney General in his administration. There are a few other candidates running of course, such as Congressman Ron Paul and Governor Huckabee, but they're out of the race for all intents and purposes.

Meanwhile, Senator Clinton is trying to get the Democratic Party decision to strip delegates from Florida and Michigan reversed. These states moved their primaries forward to mean more in the elections and the Democratic Party punished them. Hillary Clinton won both states, a fact I'm sure have nothing to do with her sudden crusade to get those delegates.

McCain at present has the lead in delegates although Louisiana has a lot of delegates being sent to the upcoming GOP convention that are undecided so who knows how that will end up. Governor Romney has not enjoyed much momentum so far, and there are fears that his Mormon faith might torpedo his chances with general voters. Meanwhile, conservatives can barely conceal their seething rage at Senator McCain who seems unable to restrain himself from thumbing their eye at every opportunity.

The longer this election goes on, the less I care to be honest. I don't think conservatives can send any messages or teach the Republican party a lesson. It's obvious no political parties actually learn lessons from anyone. I just am not inclined to vote if I don't like any of the choices.

In other, better news: Paul Newman and Joanne Woodward have been married for 50 years. Congrats, guys.


"Bilbo, Bilbo, the bravest little hobbit in the land!"

The Hobbit is a children's book, so much so that J.R.R. Tolkien was rather embarrassed by how childish it was. He wanted to start with something simple and whimsical about his middle earth stories but the result was less broad in it's age appeal than the Narnia Chronicles, for example. Still, it is a fun story with interesting events and characters, and while it's kids stuff it still grabs the imagination in a very unique way.

A film version of the Hobbit has been created in the past - the animated one came out while I was still in Junior High and had some pretty good art in it. Yet the live action motion picture has not come out yet. Rumors of who'd direct and handle it have been floating around a while now, and it looks like it's been finalized for 2010, in two movies:
Guillermo del Toro is in talks to direct back-to-back installments of J.R.R. Tolkien’s “The Hobbit,” which is being co-financed by New Line and MGM.

Del Toro's name was on a short list of directors who could tackle the project, one of the most anticipated literary adaptations of the past decade. An ill-chosen director for "Hobbit" could put billions of dollars at stake for New Line and MGM and could turn off an audience that encompasses millions of passionate readers, Tolkien fans and obsessive geeks.
This isn't locked in yet, but it looks very much like Guillermo del Toro is going to be the director. Del Toro has directed several films out of which I've only seen Hellboy and Blade 2, but they were well done in terms of treating the outrageous, fantastical source material as serious and plausible rather than mocking the material (as, for example, the Discworld books do). Peter Jackson may produce but will not direct these films as he did The Lord of the Rings, instead working on other projects such as a Tintin movie (which could be wonderful). John at The Movie Blog gushes:
All I can say is.. WOW! This is probably the ideal situation. I’ve personally been very big on the idea of either a Raimi or perhaps a Frank Darabont vision of middle earth, but in reality there probably isn’t anyone better for this particular job on the face of the earth than Guillermo del Toro (with the understanding that Jackson wasn’t going to do it himself).
Personally I'd have preferred Raimi, if only to see Bruce Campbell as Bard the Bowman. Commenters responded:
That has got to be the best news I have heard in a while. I love Del Toro. He is perfect for the Hobbit.
-by Donald

Does this get in the way of him directing a two part Harry Potter and the Deathly Hollows movie? Because, honestly, I would rather have him direct HP than The Hobbit.
-by calviin

I think Burton’s vision for a Hobbit movie would be too dark for something being headed up by Peter Jackson. If anything I think Jackson would want someone who might share his vision and Del Toro is about the closest (in my eyes at least).

Then again it’s all a matter of preference, I didn’t see the Hobbit as a dark book. But you may have and others might as well.
-by Steve L

It’s funny but the first thought through my head was “what’s poor Sam Raimi going to do now?”, because i really want him to get away from Spider-man. This is fantastic news though. There is no better director to honour the foundations PJ laid but bring his own uniqueness to it.

But who will direct Harry Potter 7(s) now?
-by Phil Gee

What about Harry Potter? i don’t think that Del Toro is going to do both. And what about Peter Jackson is he going to be involved in the project in any way or not?
And finally what about H.P. Lovecraft’s Mountains of madness Del Toro said that he whants to do it but when?
-by Makis
My only real concern is that del Toro's vision is consistently dark and moody and The Hobbit is consistently cheerful. The dark moments are brief and pass like a cloud over the sun and it ends with a smile. Raimi is better at this kind of movie and more whimsical, but del Toro certainly has the skill and vision to do fantasy. Let's just hope they don't have Glenn Yarbrough do the soundtrack this time.
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"The more I think about it, old Billy was right
let's kill all the lawyers, kill 'em tonight"
-The Eagles Get Over It

Copyright symbol
Bloggers sometimes make famous people or businesses mad. I've not done so yet (at least not to the point of them taking action) but on occasion some bloggers find themselves faced with a Cease and Desist letter. This is a letter from a lawyer instructing the writer to stop writing about a certain topic or they'll face legal action. What it amounts to is a bully trying to intimidate free speech so that it stops making someone look bad. The legal action rarely follows up, but lawyers know that an official letter from them will tend to scare people into doing what they want even if they have no intention of following up or have no legal basis to do so.

The blogs who receive these tend to post them on their front page with a note about why they've gotten such a response, then to thumb their nose at the lawyers. This in the past has simply gotten the blogger more attention, their target more exposure, and the points they were making about this person or business seen by more people. In other words, it's counterproductive - the more the lawyers try to silence the blogger, the more the word gets out.

A recent twist to this is the attempt by at least one legal firm to claim these "cease and desist" letters are copyrighted and thus the blogger cannot put them on their site. Here's where law, common sense, and right all diverge. Eugene Volokh points out that copyright law is both vague and difficult to defend:
Five readers e-mailed me about the court decision saying that cease-and-desist letters are protected by copyright. Does this mean that sites that get such letters -- usually saying "your post violates my client's [libel / privacy / copyright / etc.] rights, so take it down immediately or else" -- are violating copyright law when they post the letters (usually in the context of criticizing the letters)?

Probably not, though it's not obvious. The magistrate judge's report, which was adopted by the district court, is here, and a careful read makes things clearer. But first, let's go over two basic copyright law principles (which I necessarily oversimplify):

1. Copyright law presumptively protects pretty much any written (or otherwise recorded) work, whether or not the work is commercially valuable, highly creative, or decorated with a copyright notice. That includes this post, nearly any letter, and nearly any e-mail, except those that are very short or that almost entirely consist of copies of someone else's work.

2. But this presumption can be rebutted if the person copying the work shows (among other things) that his use is a "fair use" of the work.
Professor Volokh explains that the judge did not actually rule that the letters are protected by copyright law, or he'd have gone on to examine fair use of the letters. Copyright law is, to put it mildly, a mess - something I've written on in the past and will again below. First, however, readers at Volokh Conspiracy discussed this particular case and the use of lawyers to bully people:
I think you'll find that the real import of this case is that the law firm in question managed to turn a failed request for a subpoena into a winning one.

The firm tried to subpoena the identity of an internet poster and failed because their case was in adequate, however when an anonymous poster uploaded their huff and puff C&D (with--if it is like other Dozier doozies--it's direct claim that the letter is copyright &confidential and you may not post the threatening letter in full or in part) to the web, then Dozier managed to subpoena the ID of that poster based on "copyright infringement"--inspire of the fact the letter was mostly boilerplate, a threat and inherently newsworthy.

The import of the case is not so much that letters can be copyright but that the letters that contain legal threats can be used as weapons themselves against the recipients who try and show the nature of the letter. It is as if a thug comes in to your store threatens to burn down your store if you don't pay protection money, but then declares his threat to be copyright and that he'll sue you for infringement if you relay what he said to anyone.

Dozier is an arrogant bully, from the letters I've seen posted in the past. I suspect that by Dozier's over-broad interpretation of copyright that even photocopying the threat for use as evidence in a court proceeding is illegal.
-by Scote

I think Professor Volokh's aside about the subpoena gets to what is really the fundamental issue here. I know that the Supreme Court is VERY skeptical of First Amendment defenses in copyright cases. But this is a strong case for one. Fair use has us balancing all sorts of factors to determine whether the letter can be published. And, as Professor Volokh notes, because fair use is statutory and a balancing test, it offers little protection against a discovery subpoena.

What we really need is a per se rule. It should not be illegal to post a demand letter on the internet to criticize it, and the reason is because you have a First Amendment right to criticize a demand letter and drawing a categorical rule won't impair the exploitation of any copyrighted works made for profit. And if you have this per se rule, then we can protect the anonymity of the speaker as well.
-by Dilan Esper

And it should also be presumptive fair use to post a legal threat to the internet for public scrutiny.

Posting it to the internet shouldn't be considered copyright infringement anymore than posting the original in your store front window should be. The internet is today's version of posting the item in a shop window, the "copying" aspect is secondary because the poster's fair use rights to post the letter do not diminish the value of the copyright except to the extent the author's claims are shown to be untenable.
-by Scote

To cover this situation, we need an exemption for "legally operative words," otherwise law firms won't be able to copy court filings.
-by Tony Tutins

More broadly, is there any conceivable reason why a C&D letter should be entitled to copyright? There is no creativity involved and lawyers certainly do not need any government granted monopoly as incentive to "create" such things. Given that I'd argue that this type of letter quite simply is not entitled to copyright protection. (Granting it violates the spirit of the copyright clause in the Constitution though it probably does not actually violate the letter.)

The only argument that makes any sense is the difficulty of carving out various exceptions to what is covered by copyright. But I would think one could easily craft a n appropriate exception for this class of document.
-by KeithK

Dozier's tactic reminds me of the usenet loons of yore. The classical scenario was that a loon would post a troll with a copyright notice at the bottom. If anyone responded and quoted any part of the original article the loon would respond with threats of lawsuits for copyright infringement. Hilarity then ensued, at least the first time one saw such an event. But once was enough, and killfiles were updated accordingly.
-by Fub
At Overlawyered, Walter Olson also brought this situation up, and commenters there had this to say:
Those who have followed Dozier's tactics in the past will not be surprised to learn that Dozier is badly misrepresenting the facts of this case.

The court ruled that registering the letter with the copyright office establishes a prima facie case that the letter is copyrighted, and that, given the context -- a motion to quash a DMCA subpoena -- it wasn't appropriate to investigate the merits of the copyright claim.

In other words, at no point did the court actually rule that the letter was copyrightable, let alone that fair use wouldn't apply. All it said was that if you mail a document to the Copyright Office and pay your $45, the court won't investigate whether the document is copyrightable until the letter writer tries to sue for copyright infringement.

Or, to put it even more succinctly, this decision is not a ruling that a cease and desist letter is copyrightable.
-by David Nieporent

Some laws are copyrighted and you cannot get copies of them without paying for them nor can you redistribute them. That's right, to find out what laws you need to follow, you need to shell out $300.

If laws themselves can be copyrighted, why not legal notices?

It would seem to me, though I'm far from a legal expert, that citing the precise text of laws in the form in which they are in force would not be a violation of any copyright someone might coincidentally hold to that same text. Perhaps an exception might be made where legislators knowingly passed someone else's copyrighted work into law against the wishes of the copyright holder.

But as I see it, once a copyright holder chooses to turn his work into "magic words" they lose protection of copyright when used in that way. A court cannot freely choose any of millions of creative ways to enforce the building codes, it must enforce the codes as passed by the legislature. A contractor cannot choose any form of building codes to follow, he must follow the exact laws passed by the legislature.

When there is only one way to do it, and no other way will do, it is not copyrightable.
-by David Schwartz

I used to work for a Federal regulatory agency, and back in the beginning of the internet, right after Al Gore invented it, we had a stakeholder who thought it would be a good idea if our regulations were available electronically. Until then, you had to buy a copy of the CFR from the Govt Printing Office, and without experience, it was hard to find stuff in the thick books.

Our stakeholder proposed to transfer our regulations to a CD, which they would sell to other interested stakeholders. We would get a few copies of the CDs, but were prohibited from making electronic copies available generally to the public. One of our "business-oriented" managers made this decision, to keep the public from being able to read the government regulations electronically, for free.

Unfortunately for him, just after he signed this contract, Newt Gingrich won control of the congress, and he ordered that ALL of the CFR be made publically available on the internet, for free, so our stakeholder never sold any of his CDs.

Another example of people trying to copyright and profit from documents that should be publically available.
-by RXC

It is settled law. Copyright of a law violates public policy.

The letter belongs to a legal dispute. Unless covered by a privacy clause in a contract, this presumption violates public policy.

If a judge posts my small claim in the public records of the court, for the return of a rent deposit, should I be able to sue the judge with a presumption of copyright? Prisoners copyrighted their names. They sued judges for infringement by the judge utterance of their names, for $250K each time. They thought they had seized assets of judges and wardens. They offered to settle in return for release from prison. Their sentences were increased for harassment.

via Techdirt

Daily Telegraph story

The aim here is the same, to harass the adverse third party. That may violate a rule of conduct and a judge rule of ethics, too.

An appellate judge has to protect the integrity of the court. (Yes, I actually believe in that.) The judge should reverse the decision, and assess triple legal and court costs from personal assets, for this bonehead lawyer stunt.
-by Supremacy Claus
OK so to make this a bit more clear, here's how it went:
  • A company hired the Dozier legal firm to send a cease and desist letter to a blogger to stop him from saying something the company didn't care for.
  • The blogger posted the letter on his site and laughed at the lawyers.
  • Dozier tried to soebpena the blogger's real name to harass them personally, but this attempt failed.
  • Dozier then brought the case to court over copyright violation, knowing this wouldn't work, but through it learned the blogger's name.
  • Later in an unrelated case, a judge ruled that technically legal letters are copyrighted, but did not rule that they were protected by law.
  • Dozier claims that they were right all along because of this ruling.
Here's where it gets fuzzy, legally. Copyright laws are odd because you don't actually have to file anything to get a copyright. It's presumed, if you create something, it's already copyrighted, nobody can take that away from you. You can give ownership away, but it can't be stolen legally. Filing copyrights is only a way to make any later case stronger and easier to prove - you can point to the date and the official recognition of copyright.

Thus, if you draw a nifty picture of a giraffe, it's copyrighted, even if you don't sell it or put it out in public. Ironically, the more private it is, the better copyright protection you actually have. Merely being copyrighted does not, however, necessarily mean that any use of your material is illegal.

People can use portions of your work as "fair use" such as a paragraph or two (up to a page) from a book, a few seconds of a song, part of an image, and so on. This is so that your work can be referred to in reviews or mentioned in a story without facing legal sanction. I published portions of the Screwtape Letters by C.S. Lewis even though that's still a copyrighted work (all of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle's work is public domain and not copyrighted, so I could have published all of The Tragedy of the Korosko). I could do so because I only printed a section of one of the chapters.

Other uses aren't copyright violations either - for instance if you take a letter and put it in the window of your store you have not violated copyright, you've simply made it visible to other people. It's like handing your book around and different people reading it. Letters are not copyrighted because the content is presumed to be meant for sharing. If you wish for a letter to be kept private, it is more of a contractual issue (you agreed upon something) rather than copyright issues. A letter, as Professor Volokh points out, is not protected: "It's pretty clear that a letter sent to one person is not treated as 'published' for copyright law purposes."

Copyright presumes that the creator of the object stands to lose something by its use. It's not simply an ownership issue, it's a loss of earning, status, or meaning issue. Copyright is a legal method of protecting potential gain by the creator through misuse of his product. It also has to be unique expression, you can't copyright something that's identical to something else. Just because I drew "Skippy" for a contest doesn't mean I now own that picture of Skippy, it's a copy of someone else's product.

A legal form such as a cease and desist letter is not unique content and it does not represent potential earnings or gain for the writer. It's a standard legal document and cannot be protected by copyright law in my opinion. In any case, displaying a letter you've received is different from using a letter you've received. If I print a letter in a book to make money off it, that's a different issue than pasting that letter to the front of my car and driving around with it so everyone can see. There's no loss with the latter, it's just publicity at worst.

This is the classic example of why people despise lawyers. This is a legal stunt to try to bully people, it's using the system as a weapon rather than seeking justice and truth. This is the kind of lawyer that is repellent and represents so much damage to society. It's the kind of lawyer Senator Edwards is, for example: the kind that will do and say anything whatsoever to win, gets vastly rich off the process, and insists all the time that they're standing for justice and defending the weak.
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Quote of the Day

"The most radical revolutionary will become a conservative the day after the revolution."
-Hannah Arendt
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Tuesday, January 29, 2008



Hello Kitty is one of those weird phenomenon that caught in a way I can't figure out. It's not a comic strip, it's not a book, it's not a movie. It's just a little simple doodle of a cat that became a phenomenon. Well, that's not precisely true, it is all of those media now, but it just started with a cute little kitty picture. Then a huge media empire built up about the mouthless cat.

In Japan, they put Hello Kitty on everything. And I mean everything no matter how odd or inappropriate from our perspective. Here are a few examples:

KittygunHello Kitty squirtgun. Someone actually rigged up a Hello Kitty M16 but that was a custom mod rather than a product.

Yes, it's hello kitty panties. For adult girls, presumably - a thong.
KittybongHello Kitty meets Cheech and Chong, with this adorable pink kitty cat ... uh, water pipe.

KittywashYes that's a douche kit. A Hello Kitty douche kit. I'm not going there.
KittypadsFeminine products! With Hello Kitty! Again, not going there...
KittyvibeA Hello Kitty er, wand massager. Ahem.
I don't really have anything clever to say I just found the last one while looking up a comic book price list once and it just stuck with me how shockingly odd and so very Japanese it was. Hello Kitty, just where have you been? Never mind, I don't want to know.
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"You've driven out to the canyon for a day hike, gotten lost, and now you can't find your car. Decide what to do."

I do love the shows like Survivorman on television where the host shows how to make it in tough situations and places. The scenery is impressive, the hosts are likable, the situations are interesting and the information is useful - just hopefully not soon. Yet, these guys are trying to make an interesting television show more than merely survive.

One of the things they do that you really shouldn't is move around a lot. I remember a particular incident where Les Stroud on Survivorman tried to hike into the Costa Rica jungle to find a road, which was disastrous and incredibly dangerous. He didn't do it to demonstrate smart survival, he did it to make the show more interesting. He could have spent the whole week on the beach, but it would have been awfully similar to other shows and the jungle presented interesting challenges.

At Popular Mechanics, Jeff Wise went on a wilderness survival camp where the participants are dropped into an area with, well almost nothing. They are told that most people are rescued if they can survive 72 hours, so they try to. The problem is, almost none of them had any particular skill in survival, so it was rougher than it had to be:
Hmm. We have no water, no flashlights, no food, no shelter, no way to make fire and few extra clothes. And now it's pitch dark. Reluctantly, we realize that the only thing to do is lie down where we're standing and try to sleep. The ground is hard; the August night air is cold. I shut my eyes, then open them. It's getting colder. My stomach twists in hunger. From out of the blackness comes a voice of reason in the wilderness. It says, "This sucks."
Making a fire with a bow or twisting a stick is damn hard, I've tried it. It takes a lot of practice and experience to be reliable, and it uses up a lot of your energy. If you aren't good at it, it's just going to make matters worse in most cases. Their instructors were there to demonstrate survival options and keep an eye on their students, but gave no direct assistance beyond mylar blankets the second night. Readers had their own suggestions:
Years ago my father took Air Force survival training in Washington State before going to Viet Nam; his stories are hilarious. He was an Eagle Scout and in his early 40s at the time. His group, dumped into the Cascade wilds, had to survive, evade, resist and escape – nobody was successful at it, of course. But, he told of going up a mountain with all these much younger guys who moaned and complained. Meanwhile, he was picking berries and dribbling water off of plant leaves into his canteen. They bitched, he fished. After getting caught by the enemy, they whined, he fell asleep in the little cage (he breathed in deep when they tried to put him into one that would fit, so they put him into a slightly larger one.) Attitude, folks, attitude. And porcupine IS delightful, he says!

Many years ago I was told by an old survival expert that among the items he carried in his survival kit when in the wild was a miniature deck of cards. If lost, his first planned action was to play a game of solitaire - to calm his nerves, avoid panic, and give him time to consider his situation and the best plan for survival and rescue.

This fall, a friend survived 3 nights and 2 days lost in Yosemite National Park. He had a small bottle of water, a jacket and a hat. Hats are nice in situations like this. He warns that one should not be misled in mountain areas by sounds of supposed rescue vehicles. The sound may not be coming from the direction you think it is, and may not be as close as you think. Best to stay close to where you got lost, especially if you have water. Rather than trying to find dry boughs to sleep on, how about a second Mylar blanket? Four ounces isn't much to carry, and staying dry can be important during cold nights. These blankets also make decent reflective devices. Consider carrying a pocketknife , a whistle and a short length of string or rope to help make a lean-to.

Good idea on the whistle, but don't use metal. Some places can get cold, and think of "A Christmas Story"

This reminds me of the week long survival trek we took as Cadets at the USAF Academy years ago up in the wilds of Sayler Park,Colorado...all we had was a knife,a parachute and one canteen of water to make due for the entire week...we learned how to make back packs and canteen belts from the parachute harness,how to unravel the shroud lines to make game snares and to weave into fish nets,how to make shelter haves and sleeping bags from the silk parachute panels(all of which were remarkably effective)before we set off on our trek,having to hit a series of checkpoints along the way....I was amazed at how delicious barbecued porcupine could taste after 3 days of next to the end of the week,we were bussed back to the Academy area and went to Mitchell Hall to pig out on as much food as we could hold....needless to say,after a week of shrinking stomachs,we did just that...and 30 minutes later we all puked our guts out....that was one course I was glad to take..and even gladder to be done with.

I would also carry a "credit-card" size 'metallic mirror" in order to flash at planes or choppers. Instead of matches, I would carry one of these magnesium-alloy fire-lighters.
The number one rule is this: stay put. That doesn't mean be immobile, it means don't move around more than you must and don't wander around looking for civilization unless you are able to see it and are in good shape.

The first thing you need is water. Without water you'll be useless in a matter of days and dead by a week to ten days. Water is your first target. Then you need shelter, that means someplace to stay warm and out of the weather. If you can't find any, build some. You can make a decent structure using branches and foliage like a thatched roof. Some areas will lend this better than others. The third thing depends on your situation. If you're in a fairly warm area you can wait on fire. If you're in an area that gets cold (and in the desert that means every night, no matter how hot it is in the day) then fire is next. Without fire you'll die that night if it's really cold. You'll be hard pressed to even go find food after a few hours of near freezing or below temperatures.

Then you want food. Food is low on the list not because you don't need it - you'll want energy to move around and you need to eat to survive, but it's the thing you can do the most without on this list. You can go several weeks with absolutely no food, although after a few days you'll start having a hard time thinking straight or seeing what's really out there. Most of us in western culture can afford to do without a few meals in any case. Food means anything edible, no matter how repellant. Roots, grubs, a rat you baked, whatever. Yes, it's nasty, but you need food and after a day or two eating nothing that scorpion doesn't look all that bad after all.

If you're in a really, really desperate situation where there's no hope of rescue and you're stranded somewhere completely unfamiliar, you're going to have to move. It will be slow going because you'll have to spend at least half to three quarters of the day just surviving, but move you must. Almost all civilization is on water, so find a water source and move along it. This will provide you fresh water and even food in many cases, and the more you move down a water source the more likely you are to find civilization in some form.

If you're going anywhere you might be stranded or lost, pack a simple kit of survival stuff (basic first aid supplies, mylar blankets, a whistle, something to do like cards, a water bottle, a knife, etc). Chances are if you end up needing to be rescued, you'll need first aid and may be crippled in some way. Be ready to treat that if you can.

You can use your cell phone as a beacon, but you'll need to have it on all the time to do so. Rescue teams can use that cell phone to find you - but it will run out of power after a while. Chances are you won't be where there's any service if you're really lost, but it can be useful anyway. Just telling people where you're going and for how long is a huge help, nobody will look for you if they don't know you're gone.

The best trick is to not get lost, of course. Always be very careful and know where you are if you can. Learn landmarks as you move so you can return to a spot or recognize it. Just having a map can be a big help, especially if you study it while you are in a spot you know about. A compass is of limited use in the mountains, those huge hunks of iron are going to make it go haywire. Survival is exciting to watch but not much fun to go through, but when you make it out, you'll have a heck of story and a nice feeling of accomplishment, at least.
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" I realize I have done or said something stupid and insensitive and while I don't yet know what it is I would like to go up to my room and think about it for a little while."
-Jeff Foxworthy"

PVP advice
The title to this is a bit misleading, I'm not single merely for the reasons here, but it does still contribute. I'm not very good at being kindly deceptive for a positive effect. I'm not good at humoring women so they respond well. I used to be, then I came to realize that it really wasn't doing me or them any good. My motivations came from wanting to be good to a woman, to be kind to her and treat her special, until I came to understand that women aren't any more special then men, and sometimes can be unspeakably cruel and heartless. Having lived my whole life with only women who treated me with respect and love, and who were worthy of that in return, I was not ready for women who were not.

For example, one game I won't play any more is the "hint until you spontaneously do something of your own accord she wants you to" one. Where a woman talks about how its so sad the toilet paper is out, mentions "boy we sure need some toilet paper" and points out how cheap it is at the store until the man goes "gawrsh, hun, let me find the keys so I can drive right down to the store and get toilet paper!" You want it? Ask for it - or better yet, you're an adult. Go get it.

There's an article at MSN that lists 10 things you should never say to a woman, including these:
  • What did you do to your hair?
  • They both look the same to me.
  • You're not one of those feminists are you?
  • You're being emotional!
The whole list has some decent points in it, but there are some lame ones as well. Never ask a question from a man you don't want an answer to. The more independent and masculine the guy is, the more likely he'll tell you what he thinks, and you probably don't want to hear it. See, this kind of guy is used to being around other guys, who when they ask a question want to actually hear the truth. Guys ask because they want information. Women as because they want affirmation. It's ok to adapt to the other person, but adapt knowing who they are and what they're like. Don't presume they're wrong because they won't robotically do things your way. Does this dress make you look fat? Maybe. Why in the hell did you ask if you didn't want to know?

Rachel Lucas saw this article and shook her head, she's been around enough men that she knows what a basket of stupid it was.
Maybe I’m messed up in the head, maybe my parents just did something right, but I read stuff like this and I am so glad I’m not a man because being a man would mean being forced to put up with this s**t without fighting back because that would make you a sexist pig jerk. So as a woman who isn’t inflicted with The Crazy, I’ll fight back for you guys. Because I am helpful like that.
The whole thing reminds me of a conversation I overheard at the hair salon a few weeks ago between two women. One of them was bitching up a big frothy storm about how pissed off it makes her when she is driving and her husband is constantly looking around trying to make sure she doesn’t crash into anything. She described backing out of a parking space and her husband “sneakily” looking back and out his side, as though she is “too stupid to know how to drive!” The other woman asked if he says anything while he does this and the first woman assured her that no, he is just being “sneaky” about it because he thinks she’s “blind and stupid”.

She went on to say that when she yelled at him for this, he told her she was being irrational and that he was just trying to help. She said that was “the last straw” and so she gave him the “silent treatment and no sex” for two weeks. Because that’s mature and incredibly rational.
Readers responded to this article:
My wife, of 25 years, is always complaining that I don’t listen to her when she gives directions, which of course the directions are wrong about 99% of the time or else she tells me “you need to turn” about 10 feet in front of the exit going down the interstate at 75 miles an hour.

And she persists in this behavior, although I am one of those people who can look up in the sky and tell you what time of day it is within about a 15 minute window and also innately know which direction I am heading.

One day I lost it and shouted at her “I want my money back!”

She replied “What money is that?”

I said “The money that I spent as a taxpayer to send you to f**king map reading school when you were in the @#*(@!^ army!”

Seriously, we were headed south to Florida and she had to hold the Atlas upside down. This from a woman who is an executive in a fortune 100 telecommunications company.
-by Tolbert

I hate that thing women do where they take something a man says and twist it to its absolute worst possible interpretation. God forbid they should give the benefit of the doubt to a person they allegedly like or love.
-by Bad Penny

I am a guy who prides himself on being a consummate gentleman - regardless how my behavior might get ridiculed, diminished, unappreciated, or interpreted as oppressive or chauvinistic, I continue to behave this way unwaveringly, and without expecting some sort of reward or payoff. (I do, after all, live by an ancient code going way back to 1939). But of course, life gets hard after a while when the way you choose to live your life becomes such a joke.

Your essay does, in fact, feel like some sort of reward - and made meaningful precisely because it comes from the fairer sex. So today, I feel like life is a little less hard.

Thank you (infinitely) for your kind words. What a refreshing breath of air.
-by Fred Breifelder

I think feminism did a lot of damage to romance.
-by Doanli

That article was probably written by some sex in the city devotee (who believes that show is realistic) that gives the rest of us real woman a bad name.*

If I ask hubster about something I am wearing, I do want an honest answer. I’d rather him be honest then go out wearing something that makes me look freakishly large or abnormally shaped.

I like it when he holds the door for me and have received compliments from other women about how courteous he is.

I no longer complain about things I have control over. He is the reason why: I was unemployed and seriously depressed about not being able to get the job I wanted. One day I whined about not having any money and he said “Instead of complaining, why don’t you get off your ass and get a job.” I was mad for five seconds, and then I realized the man was right. I got off my ass and took a s**t job, just so I could get a paycheck. And from that s**t job, I worked my way up to the job I have today. This is because he had the @#(@& to say what I really needed to hear.

Also, I usually agree with him on the hot woman thing. I can appreciate a beautiful woman and I know who he is going home with. I am not the least bit worried.

Honesty between the sexes – what a concept. Too bad this bimbo doesn’t believe in it.

*I do own that sex in the city is a guilty pleasure, but I don’t know of any women that act like those biotches did
-by Ethne

I had a girlfriend who used to do this all the time. She would always get a new haircut or a new dress or a new something and expect me to notice and compliment her for it every single time. She insisted that this was only fair since she was doing all these things “for me”.

Finally I snapped and said, “Look, if you really want to do something for me, make me a sandwich!”

“I’m going to go play my X-Box now. For you.”
-by MightySamurai

The silent treatment and no sex for two weeks might seem like a reward if I were married to a bitch hen like that.

Regarding “doing things for me” -

She told me we couldn’t afford beer anymore and that I would have to quit.

Then I caught her spending $65.00 for makeup.

I asked her how come I had to give up stuff and she didn’t?

She said she needed the makeup to look pretty for me.

I told her that is what the beer was for.

I don’t think she is coming back.
-by fargus

After careful thought and consideration, I’ve noticed that a female’s attitudes regarding the type of list you just responded to determine whether said female is a “girl” or a “woman”. “Girls” say, “Yeah, right on!” while sitting in the salon detailing further reverse-misogynistic (is there a word for male bashing?) plans. This is also the equivalent of frat boys detailing their latest conquest in terms of what BS line they came up with to get in the girls pants. Conversely, the type of females that say, “I don’t have time for stupid games like that, okthxbai” are “women”. Women are wonderful - they’re mature, they know what they want and are actively pursuing it, and they have neither the time nor inclination of any of that obnoxious girl crap. They’re also not the kind of girl that’s going to put up with stupid boy crap, either, which means that any male that approaches them better damn well bring their ‘A’ game within 0.2 seconds, otherwise they’re just wasting everybody’s precious time.

I, for one, love women, and though I wish there were more of them, I’m not too worried about it because I’m already with one, and as long as there’s that one, I don’t need to care about the rest.
-by Oatworm
Women claim they want someone strong, someone masculine, someone who is his own person. Women for real (with a few exceptions) do not like the "nice guy" who always gives in, always does what she says, never upsets her, always finds the way to do things the way she likes, and apparently have no personality or will of their own. That's not nice, it's slavish. Here's a secret feminists don't want to admit, but in a loving relationship, sometimes the woman wants to be a slave too. She can't do it if you're constantly groveling at her feet begging for the next chance to do what she wants.

There's no reason to be a selfish, ungiving, unbending tyrant who demands she does everything your way either. But the dynamics of modern relationships have gone insultingly overboard the other direction from Victorian male dominance. Now if a guy isn't a cringing, obsequious plebe to the woman in his life, he's likely to see her walk away at the insistence of her sisters in arms who tell her she can do better than this selfish jerk. With half of his stuff.

To be fair, MSN also did an article of 10 things never to say to a man, and it presumes women should never have their own opinion or become part of a man's life. They aren't all awful though, and in case anyone cares, here are my views on the statements:
That looks cute - I'm not a boy or female. I don't want to look cute. This is particularly to be avoided in intimate situations. You probably weren't attracted to him because he looks like a baby seal, why would that be something you find appealing in him now?

We need to talk - men hate this because it's not how we relate. It's like saying "lets tear out the front steps and rebuild them" to you as a way of communicating and bonding. Guys bond and build relationships by working side by side. Women do so by talking face to face, generally speaking. Every time these four words come out its something awful about the guy and we would rather avoid the whole thing. If you can, find another way to communicate your concerns or point out what a horrible person he is. These words make us defensive and argumentative.

It's just a game - it is just a game. Sure, you care a lot about the outcome, but that's a separate issue that she should be aware of if she loves you, but when the game is over, nothing has changed. Some guys grossly overstate the importance of a sporting event, the way women do, say, Oprah Winfrey's opinion.

Nothing's Wrong - this one was wierdly out of place. I've not had a woman or girl say this to me. I've said to to women, however, because it's easier than explaining and usually when I'm miserable I'm like a wild animal: crawl under a bush somewhere and hide until I'm better. Or die, which is preferable at the time. Men typically aren't trained nor inclined to explain their feelings or why they are some certain way. That's not to say we can't learn but usually we're no good at it. Women tend to be a bit overflowing in terms of emotions and relationships. If she refuses to explain to you what's wrong, something is really wrong - something she is afraid to tell you because of the consequences. Either you're an ogre or she's doing something or contemplating something you won't like.

I sound like my mom - only someone in their 20s thinks this is horrific. We all tend to turn into our parents to a large degree, when you get a little older you realize it. In a way, its a good thing, because it means she's getting more mature and wiser. You sound like your mom? Honey, you did when I met you.

I just want to be friends - this is something you really ought to avoid saying to anyone, men or women. It means "I don't like you and want you to leave me alone but don't have the stones to admit it and am trying to seem like a nice guy while stomping on your heart."

Size doesn't matter - one size fits all, it doesn't matter what you say.

What are you wearing? - This one confused me, likely because I've not been in a relationship long enough for it to come up. I know women fixate on dressing you in a way they find pleasing, but that doesn't particularly bother me. I don't honestly care much how I look beyond "warm and presentable" so if they think I should wear something, chances are I won't complain. She's doing it for the same reason she dresses herself - not for you, but for the other women around and their judgement. So they won't go "what's wrong with her to be with that slob?" Don't ask "you're not going out in that are you?" because it presumes he's a clod and a lousy-looking one at that. Yep, I sure as hell am now.

Do you think she's pretty? - Probably, or you wouldn't have asked. Do you really want to know? Chances are if I'm really in love I won't much pay attention to other women, you're all I need or have ever wanted. At least until you prove otherwise. But from an aesthetic perspective, I'll say yes if she is, just like I will if you point out a flower or a mountain scene. If you don't want to know, don't ask. This is another game I won't play. I'm not going to lie or pamper your ego on command. If you want me to compliment you wait, and I will. Lots. But don't play games or you'll make me stubborn and contrary.

Which outfit do you like better? - The one you had on between them. But you can't go out in public naked. If something is really awful, chances are I'll tell you (unless you're having a horrible day already). Otherwise, it's all the same to me. As an artist I have a bit more keen eye for texture and color than most guys, so I will be of some use but chances are a girl knows by the time she's 18 what looks good on her and what doesn't. She's only asking for attention and a pat on the ego again.
Women constantly say men are hard to understand, and that's either a lie or a gross misunderstanding of men. Men are pretty direct and straight forward. The problem is women are more subtle and indirect and they expect that from men. So when they get what they see out of a guy, they start looking for more subtle, clever, byzantine reasoning. Trust me, it's not there. This confusion most often rises, I think, from women not liking what they know to be true and trying to find an explanation that isn't so uncomfortable or painful. Yes, sweety, he slept with you and isn't calling back just because he's a shallow jerk who just wanted you for sex. Once. There's no more clever answer, he's not shy or missing a phone or going through something terrible. He's just a jerk.

Both men and women need to bend and shift in a relationship, both need to learn to relate to someone fundamentally different from them on many levels. It's good to do so, because it teaches humility and selflessness, it teaches sacrifice for a better cause, and it helps stabilize society. There are, however, times when this adaptation and sacrifice becomes excessive and even damaging, and women have crossed that line in society to an astonishing degree. It's no coincidence that many men are single these days and women can't find a guy. We're not really all that interested in the milk, cow purchase or not.
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Quote of the Day

"The intelligent man finds almost everything ridiculous, the sensible man hardly anything."
-Johann Wolfgang von Goethe
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Monday, January 28, 2008


"Am I the only one who thinks removing words from the lexicon because they have a syllable in common with an offensive word is completely absurd?"

via Glenn Reynolds at Instapundit we get this headline:

At American Digest, Gerard Vanderleun analyzes what brought this unfortunate headline about:
Quite often, in large media organizations, the head and the subhead are all that a would-be editor does to the copy on its way to publication. I've seen this operate for over 30 years in the New York magazine and newspaper culture. I grew to dread the advent of a new catch-phrase, because it meant months of headline torture from every clever and aspiring word-jockey in the business. ( Think "Close Encounters of the ________ Kind," or "Sex, Lies, and __________.")

Yes, word play wins in the magazine biz. As a result, places like Time foster a competitive atmosphere between editors on the lower levels looking to climb a rung or two up. In the past, little word games like that displayed above would raise a snicker or two and then be killed by wiser and older editors higher up on the food chain.
He notes that in the past, news moved slowly enough that the editorial chain would chuckle at the effort, then kill it and maybe rip on the guy later in a meeting. Today things move so fast and get onto the internet so quickly and without editing that we see this sort of thing happening more often. Commenters discussed the headline:
Besides, isn't the real story that "America's first black president" reneged on his promise not to play the race card?
-by Gagdad Bob

Given the tendency for this type of wittiness among the 100% Democrat wordsmiths at Time, the Clintons' strategy of casting the South Carolina vote as merely a matter of racial solidarity that requires a response of racial solidarity from white Democrats in future primaries looks more likely to succeed.
-by Mark in Texas

Oh come on. This "gaffe" is crap, and this coverage of it is a non-story. Sometimes a cigar is just a cigar. Yeah, the word sounds vaguely like a racial slur. I bet "Huckabee Visits Local Cracker Barrel" would have you guys rolling.
-by Jeeesuz

Hmph. Looks like 'rejigger' is this year's 'niggardly'.

Am I the only one who thinks removing words from the lexicon because they have a syllable in common with an offensive word is completely absurd?
-by Rosignol

I, too, wonder what the real problem is here. To me, the real problem is that people don't understand the English language, and think something is being said that is not. It speaks poorly for us all that an editor should have to think "hmmm... good illiteration... succinct... somebody that is too stupid to read the word might think it's nasty... better kill it."

Of course it's all rather academic to me... I haven't bothered reading TIME in years (print or electronic).
-by MDC
Ordinarily I'm inclined to shrug at words that are used in this manner - Niggardly to mean cheap and miserly, for example. However, there are juxtapositions of words you probably ought to avoid, such as a prominant black man winning a Southern victory and the word "rejiggered." There's nothing innately wrong with the word, but it's pretty obscure and a term such as reshapes (what the headline now says) is more common and retains the alliteration.

Certainly anyone who is usually in hair-tearing outrage over this sort of thing ought to be screaming at Time for their callous disregard for the other.

Alternate phrases rejected by Time Magazine for this article:
  • Obama has momentum of a rolling watermelon
  • Obama chucks spear into the heart of Clinton inevitability
  • Clinton momentum stuck in Obama tar
  • Obama more popular than fried chicken
  • Clinton hopes lynched in South Carolina
I'll be patiently waiting for gasps from the usual suspects directed at Time.
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One of the new technologies that Hollywood went crazy with for a while was Morphing which is a program that takes two different images and blends between them. The movie Willow used this to fair effect in a few transformation scenes but it became a bit overused and unwelcome. It still is an interesting concept, and one variant of Morphing is to take two images and blend them halfway, creating a third, combined image.

The website Morph Thing lets you do just that with various famous people through history. I took two lovely young ladies (Anna Paquin and Kristin Kreuk) of similar coloring and hair to create this image:

For the ladies, you could instead try this one:

That's Johnny Depp and Orlando Bloom: the pirates of the Caribbean combined. One thing I noticed is that if you pick two particularly attractive people and blend them you lose some of the personality and quirk that makes them so nice looking and they end up looking sort of generic.

The site is lacking a lot of folks I wanted to try, but they do have many many faces to offer and it's fun to play around with them. Just something to pass on that you can use to waste time with.
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FREE MUSIC! Downloads for free, legally, from the record companies, of hot tracks, over 25 million total!

Qtrax Logo
That was the headline for the launch of Qtrax, a company that offers music downloads with "no adware, no spyware, no spoofing." The service claims to let you download any song from their gigantic library, but the songs have ads, and can only be heard to a limited number of times before they expire and are no longer available to listen to again. Still, it would be a terrific service to listen to new music or alternate tracks you might not be inclined to buy, just to get a feeling for the songs. The exact number of times you can listen to the songs are not known but it is likely 3-5 times. That's enough to decide if the music is right for you or not.

The problem is that as of this morning, you still can't download the beta interface to get any songs. It looks impresssive, but the site is very slow and you can't get any music yet. Further, the release has been complicated. Courtesy Claudine Beaumont at the UK Telegraph blog:
It seems despite Qtrax's claims that it would carry about 25 million songs from "all the major record labels", Warner, EMI and Universal all say that no deal has been struck with Qtrax and that they have not licensed their music to the new service. Sony has not commented on any deals it may or may not have signed with the website.
As I've posted on before, consumers and music fans aren't fond of songs they do not own, or as Steve Jobs puts it "people want to own their music, not rent it with conditions attached" Commenters were not impressed even before hearing about the limited label participation:
It's not free, it's borrowed, therefore it's not of interest.
-by Sheumais

As Ian Douglas explained a week or so back, there is no economic model for time-expiry rentals. Either sell it of give it away for free. those are actually the two models that the customers actually want.
-by blindrew

I read elsewhere (The Register) that the much quoted number of 25 million is the maximum theoretical size of the licensed catalog. The songs will actually only be available in Qtrax if they have already been uploaded onto the Gnutella

So what you're getting is basically a DRM-crippled ad-stuffed version of Gnutella that doesn't work with an iPod. Any takers?
-by Richiesan

This isn't the first time a company has offered limited listen free downloads with ads bundled in them, but Qtrax claimed to have every single label and thus a much larger library. Unfortunately, that does not appear to be the case at this point. Meanwhile, Amazon.Com and Itunes continue to offer songs for cheaper than buying the whole CD, and you own them to boot.

As I said, this kind of idea is great for "try before you buy" listening, which I've done a lot of in the past. Amazon for example tends to let you hear a small portion at low quality, but that's not good enough to get a feeling for what you want or don't want to pay for. An entire song, even with an annoying ad, that expires after a few times would be perfect for this.

The problem is, this is too late. This kind of thing (along with I-Tunes) ought to have been offered in 2000, launch the new millennium (at least in people's minds) with a push to offer music over the new growing media. Except they didn't, and by now the concept of buying songs unheard or even buying music at all is alien to millions of young people around the world. To them, forcing you to pay for an entire disc without hearing the music is stupid when they only want some of the songs anyway. You can hear them and record them off the radio, they argue, the only difference is you get what songs you want when you want them this way.

DRM (Digital Rights Management) is broadly despised by music fans, for good reason. It means you don't actually own your media, and prevents you from making your own copies of something you potentially even paid for. This is ideal for the publishers of such content, you'll have to buy new copies each time! It's less than ideal for the fan. When I buy a record, it's mine, even if I just want to use it for a dinner plate or a frisbee. If I want to make 87 copies of the record, it's mine to copy as long as I'm not giving away or selling these copies. DRM prevents this, which makes it less than endearing to music fans.

So it doesn't look like Qtrax will be the answer we've been waiting for and the music industry has been hoping for: a way for fans to access music the way they like it that still satisfies the record labels. At this point I doubt it's even possible.
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Quote of the Day

“Experience should teach us to be most on our guard to protect liberty when the government's purposes are beneficial. The greatest dangers to liberty lurk in insidious encroachment by men of zeal, well meaning but without understanding.”
-Justice Lewis Brandeis
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Saturday, January 26, 2008


"What the world needs now..."

Dallas and Doc Boone
John Wayne's breakout effort was the John Ford movie Stagecoach, which came out in 1939 based on an Earnest Haycox short story. The movie has since been remade several times, but never as good as the first version. Early in the movie is a scene in which the Law and Order League, apparently composed of bitter, wizened, and judgemental old ladies run two characters out of town. The first is a pretty girl played by Claire Trevor named Dallas, wearing a fancy dress and clearly meant to be a dance hall girl, a woman of ill repute. The second is a drunken doctor played by Thomas Mitchell. As she passes the doctor, Dallas pleads with Doc Boone:
Doc! Can they make me leave town? When I don't want to go?
Do I have to go?
Do I have to go, Doc? Just because they say so?
The Doctor replies with good natured resignation:
We have been struck down by a foul disease called social prejudice, my child.
The women are shown, they are particularly snooty, noses literally in the air, a smug sense of righteousness and presumed absolute moral authority visible. They represent the intolerant, the bigoted, the judgmental in society. These are the kind of people who gossip about someone who dated the wrong sort, dresses the wrong way, does the wrong kind of thing. Every movie or book about a small town seems to have a few of these, the prudes who condemn all who do not fit to a very narrow, stringent concept of right and propriety that they are the final arbiters of.

That girl is dating a negro, have you ever heard of such a thing? That man listens to such awful music! Did you hear, she's getting a divorce!

This sort of person is commonly mocked and attacked in media, and justly so. The kind of person who will hear no alternative to their viewpoint, that will tolerate no differences, and that cannot bear to see things a way other than that which they've chosen. Such people are inevitably shown as religious, holding to a cruel, harsh dogma with brutal strength that even can lead to murder. They are what people often refer to as "puritanical," although it is a misleading and improper label. These folks aren't only shown in movies, they exist in real life: a cold, mean-spirited sort of person who will not accept anyone but someone such as themselves.

Almost always such a person is revealed to have an evil streak in them, or one of strong hypocrisy. The strong moralist in a movie usually also is a pervert, a gambler, a madman, a thief, a drunkard. They're demanding others behave in a way they fail to in the big sin of our age: hypocrisy. The image being shown is deliberate: they're no better than the ones they condemn, and a lot less pleasant to be around, to boot.

Shocked Old LadyThe primary characteristic beyond judgmentalism and intolerance that one sees in such a character - in real life and in movies - is a grim humorless nature. Nothing is fun, nothing is light hearted, everything is judged in the most weighty manner. You cannot laugh at anything because to do so would be to take matters of the greatest import lightly. This is God's word! This is the heritage of my country! How can you consider laughing at such a thing, you are being offensive and frivolous!

There's another kind of prude out there today, though. This sort has been growing in number, loudness, and power for a few decades, primly and intolerantly demanding that all fall in line with their dogma. These are as humorless, judgmental, inflexible, and bitter as the old kind. Here are a few examples:

The Citizen of the West banquet honors someone each year at the National Western Stock Show. Held in Colorado, a speaker told a joke that the audience gasped at, unable to find any humor in:

William R. Farr was pretending to read telegrams congratulating this year's award recipient, University of Colorado President Hank Brown, when he pulled out a piece of paper and said, "I have a telegram from the White House."

Then he added, "They're going to have to change the name of that building if Obama's elected."

Witnesses said they could hear people gasp in the ballroom of the Adam's Mark Hotel.

Oh no! He told a joke that Barack Obama probably would laugh at, but you cannot find any humor that might, in some way, conceivably somewhere offend someone!

Bring Home the Bacon
BaconIn England a cop lost his job over a Secret Santa joke:
A police officer has been forced into resigning after he gave a Muslim colleague a pack of bacon and a bottle of wine as a joke present during a Christmas Day party.

Pc Rob Murrie gave the gift to his colleague as part of a "Secret Santa" at Luton station, though the consumption of alcohol and bacon is forbidden under Islam.

However, even though the Muslim officer did not complain and thought the present funny, senior officers in the Bedfordshire force were not amused. They declared that "behaviour of this nature is not tolerated" and welcomed Pc Murrie's resignation.
Anyone who knows cops knows that they rip on each other regularly - it's how men get along, they mock and poke fun at each other, and this is one more example. But no humor is allowed for the New Prude. This is intolerable, our society cannot bear the weight of someone who so flagrantly mocks the rules and morality of the New Prudes.

Lynch Mob
Nooses and lynching have become the new forbidden concept after the now-discredited claims of blacks in the Jena Louisiana beating case. Just ask the Dave Seanor, editor of Golfweek magazine who was fired for daring to put a noose on the cover to illustrate a story. The story started with a joke by a commenter at a golf game about the only possible way young golfers could possibly defeat Tiger Woods in the tournament:
Faldo and Tilghman were discussing young players who could challenge the world's No. 1 player toward the end of Friday's broadcast at Kapalua when Faldo suggested that "to take Tiger on, maybe they should just gang up for a while."

"Lynch him in a back alley," Tilghman replied.
There used to be groups of people in ancient time who'd kill someone for blasphemy, for uttering incorrect words or phrases about that which was considered holy. We're returning to those times: say something that offends a black person or Muslim, face the penalty. It doesn't matter if anyone is actually offended or not. The mere possibility that someone could be, particularly a hyper-sensitive, humorless, bitter and mean-spirited New Prude, and you're history.

Little Piggies
In Great Britain, judges of a government agency awards panel have rejected one book for consideration for an award not due to the story's lack of quality or poor storytelling, but because it has pigs in it:
The digital book, re-telling the classic story, was rejected by judges who warned that "the use of pigs raises cultural issues".

Becta, the government's educational technology agency, is a leading partner in the annual Bett Award for schools.

The judges also attacked Three Little Cowboy Builders for offending builders.
Which cultural issues would those be? It might offend "Asians:"
But judges at this year's Bett Award said that they had "concerns about the Asian community and the use of pigs raises cultural issues".

The Three Little Cowboy Builders has already been a prize winner at the recent Education Resource Award - but its Newcastle-based publishers, Shoo-fly, were turned down by the Bett Award panel.

The feedback from the judges explaining why they had rejected the CD-Rom highlighted that they "could not recommend this product to the Muslim community".

They also warned that the story might "alienate parts of the workforce (building trade)".

The judges criticised the stereotyping in the story of the unfortunate pigs: "Is it true that all builders are cowboys, builders get their work blown down, and builders are like pigs?"
Because, naturally, no one could comprehend that these books for children were not to be taken literally. Our culture has had entirely too much portrayal of builders as pigs, and the line must be drawn before we offend someone.

Pig Lessons
In Amsterdam, the pig theme continued:
Asscher told newspaper De Volkskrant: "A primary school in Amsterdam-Noord has decided no longer to teach about living on a farm. Various pupils began to demolish the classroom when the pig came up for discussion. Apparently it has gone that far. These children, 9, 10 years old, have not been given even the most elementary rules at home about why they must go to school."
The lesson here being children who go berserk in class must not be taught to tolerate differences and behave, they must be heeded and teachers silenced on certain topics.

Silence Dissent
The Canadian case in which a portion of Mark Steyn's book America Alone were printed in the magazine MacLean's is infamous in blogs and Canadian press now. Canada has had a human rights tribunal for decades now which has the singular accomplishment of having never lost a case. Every single time, without fail, they bring a case to a hearing, they find the offenders guilty. Every time. They pulled up the MacLean's editor for just such a hearing:

The plaintiffs allege that Maclean's advocated, among other things, the notion that Islamic culture is incompatible with Canada's liberalized, Western civilization. They insist such a notion is untrue and, in effect, want opinions like that banned from publication.

Two separate panels, the British Columbia Human Rights Tribunal and the Canadian Human Rights Commission, have agreed to hear the case. These bodies are empowered to hear and rule on cases of purported “hate speech."

The hate speech in question involved quotes from Muslims in Europe and statistics on birth rates, frequency of names, and data on Muslim expansion in law and culture. Can you feel the hate?

Cartoon Violence
Muhammad CartoonSimilar to this is the case in Belarus where a man was sentenced to three years in prison for a cartoon portraying Muhammad. The cartoons he published were the Danish ones that Muslims - without seeing them, and months later after being carefully organized and given English-language signs - spontaneously and unanimously rose in protest:
President Alexander Lukashenko ordered the paper shut the following month, calling the publication of the cartoon "a provocation against the state." Sdvizhkov was arrested and charged with "inciting religious hatred" in November 2007 when he returned to Belarus following several months of living in Russia and Ukraine.
Is this because the Muslims are so overwhelming in the country and demanded the action be taken? Not exactly.
Belarusian Islamic leader Ismail Voronovich called the sentence excessively harsh.

The ex-Soviet republic is overwhelmingly Orthodox Christian; less than 1 percent of the country's 10 million is Muslim.
Newspapers in the United States almost without exception declined to run the cartoons.

Axe Murderers For Peace
Sometimes the New Prudes become more than simply litigious, they don't restrain themselves to running the offenders out of town for not fitting the demanded, rigid code. Sometimes they get violent:
A U.S. citizen has confessed to using an axe to kill a Dutch student after failing to find a soldier to attack, his lawyer said Tuesday.

The suspect, Carlos Hartmann, 41, of Tecumseh, Mich., has confessed to the Sept. 8 killing on a train platform in the southern city of Roosendaal, defence lawyer Peter Gremmen said.

Gremmen said Hartmann wanted to punish the Netherlands for its support of the war in Iraq.
He couldn't find a soldier, so he just attacked a man waiting for a train. He was Dutch, the Dutch government supported Iraq. How else could a man fight for peace? He had to make a statement about the evil of warfare and killing. With an axe. Good thing gun laws are so strong in the Netherlands, or he might have attacked someone with a lethal weapon!

What's that you say, he was a lunatic, an extremist, a fringe nutcase who chose this as his cause? That it doesn't condemn the anti-war movement? That's all true, and I agree. The problem is, when some crazed pathological anti-abortion type blows up a clinic or kills a doctor 10-20 years ago, forever after that's the defining characteristic of anti-abortion activists. Neither is correct; I simply suggest consistency.

Certainly we cannot allow anyone to stray off the Politically Correct plantation, why someone, somewhere might get offended - at least, someone that counts, a minority by some definition. Yet there are deeds and behaviors that we must tolerate, no matter what:

9/11 Not So Bad
I wrote a mocking piece about the LA Times article that tried to portray the reaction of the west to 9/11 as extreme, after all so few people really died, it was just one incident! A former Nobel Prize winner in Britain pointed out that compared to the IRA's attacks on England, 9/11 was no great shakes:
"Some Americans will think I'm crazy. Many people died, two prominent buildings fell, but it was neither as terrible nor as extraordinary as they think. They're a very naive people, or they pretend to be," she said of the Americans.

"I always hated Tony Blair, from the beginning," she said. "Many of us hated Tony Blair, I think he has been a disaster for Britain and we have suffered him for many years.

This, of course goes along with a previous Nobel Peace Prize winner who called for violence against President Bush.

Strange Love
And of course we have the lesbian leftist who admitted that she had a "little Crush" on Iranian president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, although this was before he claimed there was no homosexuality in the entire country of Iran. At least, no living homosexuals.

My Hero
At the UK Guardian blog, journalist Neil Clark found folks to admire:
The true heroes in Iraq are those who have resisted the invasion of their country.
Sure, they hack the heads off journalists, they strap a bomb to children and people suffering from Down's Syndrome, they set bombs off to prevent voting and kill civilians, but they're the good guys because they're fighting against invasion. After all invading any country for any reason is wrong, so we must always side with the resistance, in all circumstances, everywhere. At least when the US invades.

Oh Archie!I could keep doing this for hours, I could fill ten pages with examples of people who can't take a joke, who demand without exception perfect fulfillment of their absolute moral code of behavior and punish mercilessly anyone who dares waver in the slightest. Humorless, bitter, mean-spirited, cold, and totalitarian folks who cling to their ideology with a zeal and fervor that previously has only been portrayed in the religious.

As I've said in the past, it used to be Archie Bunker who held this kind of position in society, who damned anyone that was different, who rejected tolerance of something they were troubled or offended by, who used irrational, inconsistent arguments for their absurd positions. It was once the John Birchers who held this position. Today it's the modern left.

What happened to the happy hippie who would slip a flower in a gun barrel, hug their enemies, call for peace and love, and smile? What happened to the joy-filled youth who wanted to make a better future? They grew old and bitter, filled with inflexible dogma that as they grew older became more and more central to their very existence.

How did they get there?

The primary problem these people face is that they were too successful in tearing down the old. When you strip away tradition, destroy moral foundations, attack and mock successfully the old reasons for behavior, eliminate moral bases from education, law, and media, and in every realm and every instance push the boundaries of what is permissible or even right or wrong, you face a dilemma.

How do people know how to act or behave? If there's no longer a shared basis for moral action, if there's no cultural agreement on right and wrong, then a vacuum forms. Who can decide what is proper any more? How can you demand people not do something if you cannot agree on what's wrong? In the end, all that's left is individual opinion and those who have the strength to impose their views on everyone else.

What's left after the successful demolition of previous morality today is Political Correctness. It's no different in concept, PC is simply a way of structuring proper behavior and morality. Instead of right and wrong being based upon an objective, separate code of behavior like the 10 commandments, you have it based on the ever fluid agreements of the left in academia. Yet the results are the same: thus you shall do and thus thou shalt not.

Political Correctness appeals to the same people who reject absolutes and rules and morality and religious judgments because it is not based on religion, it is based upon the tangible and the political. When you begin with the assumption that the majority always oppresses and dominates the minority, then it becomes obvious that the minority are on the moral high ground. The concept of PC is that you must avoid offending or oppressing anyone in any form. Thus, if you yell at someone that they're making more noise than a herd of water buffalo, you're violating the law of PC when at least one person in that crowd is black - because it might in some remote sense be considered possibly racist since Water Buffalo come from areas that are predominantly non-white.

Political Correctness holds the same place as rigid religious dogma in the past. That Law and Order League from Stagecoach was basing their position on a vaguely Christian set of morals: drunkards and prostitutes must be hurled from our society. Of course the movie shows both the drunk getting sober and the prostitute becoming a respectable woman, so it shares this viewpoint, but it judges the judgmental for being so harsh and unbending.

PC ideology holds the same power over people. It gives them a weapon, a bludgeon to hammer all of society until it's shaped like they desire. Those who will not bend will be broken, or driven away until we have the perfect society, ala Dr Raymond Cocteau from Demolition Man:
Now I'll have carte blanche to create the perfect society. My society.

San Angeles will be a beacon of order with the purity of an ant colony. And the beauty of a flawless pearl.
As the villainous Simon Phoenix points out none too subtly in response: "People have the right to be assholes."

The prude and the cruelly, maliciously judgmental are wrong regardless of their ideology. They're intolerant and brutal against people whom tolerance is proper - or if intolerance, then justice and brotherhood, even if they are condemned. It's not wrong to oppose certain behavior or to refuse to tolerate some actions. That's why we have laws and prisons to begin with. It's wrong to do so in a brutal, hateful, and arrogant manner.

Love CandyThis sounds hackneyed and childish, but the song is right in one sense: what the world needs now is love. The problem is what the song means and what society usually understands to be love is far from what we need. Love isn't embrace and acceptance of someone and their actions without question or judgment. That's not love at all, in fact, it's a kind of cold apathy. I don't even care what you are or do, I'll treat everyone everywhere the same until it means nothing at all.

Love means you want the best for someone, even things they don't care for. Love means you will condemn someone's wrongdoing, it just changes the nature, reason, and method of your condemnation. The New Prude and Old condemn with patronizing authority: you do not measure up to my perfection. It's not out of real concern for the person in question, it's out of concern for one's standards. You don't even care if they exist or not or who gets hurt, except in a broad, general sense. If the little guy or the individual is crushed in the system, that's an acceptable price for the end goal: a perfect society that matches your vision.

Love cares about each person, love wants the best for each person, love is interested in each individual. Love will never tolerate anything, tolerance is unloving. Sometimes we have to tolerate what we don't care for, but love will prompt us to try to find a way to help and encourage people to stop what's wrong and improper.

What the prude lacks is love, sweet love.
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