aTypical Joe: a gay New Yorker living in the rural South
Friday, March 25, 2005
Protection or progress
Doron Ben-Atar, a professor of history at Fordham University and author of Trade Secrets: Intellectual Piracy and the Origins of American Industrial Power looks at MGM v Grokster over at The Chronicle Review:
There is no denying that commercial use of copyrighted material is both illegal and immoral. Yet estimates of the cost of piracy are misleading. They don’t account for the fact that piracy fuels demand for entertainment products: 2004 was a banner year for pirates; it was even better for the movie industry, where rentals and sales of DVD and VHS movies accounted for nearly $26-billion.
History is full of examples of governments that tried to stem the outflow of knowledge and technology. Venice locked its glassmakers on the island of Murano. England kept its textile mills closed to visitors, imprisoned artisans who were trying to leave the country, and even forbade the export of steam engines for a short while. Medieval Venice and 18th-century Britain enjoyed great coercive powers over their citizens, and yet their efforts utterly failed.
America is watching
Gallup. 3/21-22. MoE 4%. (2/24-28 results.)
Do you approve or disapprove of the way George W. Bush is handling his job as president?
Approve 45 (52)
Disapprove 49 (44)
Cell phone viruses
I’ve gotten a few emails about the cell phone virus threat. Here’s CNET’s take on the phantom menace:
Cell phone viruses could someday walk the talk and become a real danger, but I believe it will be some time before this becomes a reality...malicious code writers have moved past the fame game and are now seeking financial gains for their exploits. This means there is little motivation in writing a piece of malicious software just to crash a cell phone, apart from proving that it can be done...The more imminent danger, in my view, is an increase in mobile spamming and phishing scams, and not malicious programs wreaking havoc over the airwaves. Even if a mobile virus manages to proliferate, operators should theoretically be able to contain the damage by providing patches “over the air.”
Closet cases are dangerous
The driver was a middle-aged white man… The kid told him to take a right at Main Street. But the man didn’t. I’ll get you home, don’t worry about it, the kid remembers him saying. Then the man started rubbing his thigh. Are you gay? he asked. Are you bi? No? Are you sure? The kid was trying not to freak out. He saw a red light ahead and clicked open his seatbelt, bracing himself for the jump out. But the light flicked to green.
The police report identifies the man as Alex Arshinkoff, Republican Party county chair. Nothing was done of course, “You’ve got a he said/she said situation, or in this case, he said/he said.”
Out proud gay people don’t pull this kind of crap!
In the summer of 2001, [Michael] Curry, who works for the Summit County Board of Elections, spotted Arshinkoff at the Leather Stallion, a gay bar on St. Clair. The Democrat made a point of greeting Arshinkoff “just to freak him out,” he says.
Thirty minutes later, Arshinkoff came over and asked him to stay quiet about seeing him there, Curry says. Curry replied that it wasn’t his style to out people. “It’s just not my belief system,” he says.
Make a living will II
But before you go, Michael BÃƒÂ©rubÃƒÂ© points out that:
(a) some courts have insisted that advance directives have to be quite detailed with regard to specific levels of care and specific states of injury or illness;
(b) advance directives give courts and guardians guidelines for honoring patient autonomy- most importantly, an individual’s right to refuse treatment- but, of course, cannot account for the possibility that an individual might change his or her mind about refusing treatment after becoming ill or injured (and that such an individual might be incapable of saying so); thus, there is a possibility that the ideal of patient “autonomy” can be invoked both to honor the advance directive and to set it aside in favor of the argument that a patient’s radically changed circumstances, due to illness or injury, might have induced him or her to reassess his or her desires about treatment;
(c) the difficulties of entertaining the possibility that a person might “change her mind” about her advance directive become even more impossibly complex when the person’s mindedness is precisely what’s in question, as in cases of dementia, mental illness, or injuries and illnesses that leave a person conscious but incompetent; and
(d) adults with intellectual disabilities may not be competent to execute advance directives in the first place.
He details all this with examples and concludes:
...it seems to me the truly liberal imperative here should lead us to honor the wishes of others with regard to their desires to refuse medical treatment when those wishes can be ascertained by a preponderance of the available evidence, and we should likewise defer to the wishes of the legal guardians of incompetent persons, charitably granting them the assumption that they are indeed acting in what they perceive to be their charges’ best interests. And we should do so even when we ourselves disagree with other people as to their own wishes, or their perceptions of the best interests of those whom they serve as guardians.
Even with a living will, there could well be cause for someone else to make decisions regarding my care, course of treatment or whether or not to take life sustaining measures. That the law designates a spouse to be that person is reasonable and good to me; I certainly want to pick who that person will be.