aTypical Joe: a gay New Yorker living in the rural South
Friday, June 17, 2005
Billy Graham on gay marriage
From The Advocate:
Cautious even in his more active years, Graham now seeks to shun all public controversies, preferring a simple message of love and unity through Jesus Christ. Asked about same-sex marriage, for instance, Graham replied, “I don’t give advice. I’m going to stay off these hot-button issues.”
Via Gay Orbit: “I get the immpression he really believes what he teaches.”
I’m a liberal
In addition to being a reform Democrat, I am a progressive Democrat. I do not use that term in the sense of the Progressive Policy Institute, and I do not use it in the sense that I am really a liberal who is afraid to call himself such. Further, I also do not use the term in the sense that only those with clear positions are progressives, or only those who believe that John Kerry won the 2004 election are progressives. Finally, and most importantly, I also do not use it in the sense that only those who are willing to be partisans and go on the offensive against Republicans are progressives. For me, the label signifies that I am decidedly and unquestionably on the left wing of the Democratic Party. It is an ideological term...I am a progressive. I am a Leftie, and I am proud of that.
The full post is on why no progressives are running in 2008.
Michael Jackson’s innocence
I come late to the Michael Jackson commentary, and paid very little attention to the Jackson trial, but a couple persuasive articles and the many incredulous “reporters” compel me to do it.
I’ve never believed Michael Jackson was a pedophile. To begin with, he doesn’t fit the profile...it doesn’t ring true in psychological terms. Whether or not he has ever touched a boy inappropriately, Michael Jackson seems too emotionally stunted to act in any grown-up way, including a deviant sexual one. Naive, juvenile, and terribly damaged, he seems pathetically incapable not just of criminal intent, but of adult consciousness.
People tend to throw up hands at Michael Jackson’s multifarious bizarreness. But is it really so strange? The boy was forced to work by a cruel and physically abusive father starting at the age of 7. (If he’d been sent into a factory or coal mine, instead of onstage, we’d have more compassion for him.) As a boy, he was denied what even most abused and underprivileged children have: school, friends, and play.
That’s Jacob Weisberg in his Slate article, Arrested Development. His case has convinced me. I’m equally convinced by Andrew Vachss, a lawyer who represents children, in his NYTimes OpEd, Unsafe at Any Age. He observes that for all the commentary, the case signals no new wave of concern about child protection:
IN the months since charges were filed, I have heard people profess intense anguish that Michael Jackson might “get away with it.” Each time, I asked these people what other possible miscarriages of justice concerned them, past or present? I asked if they knew that in many states, including New York and California, the penalties for sexual abuse of one’s own child are markedly less than those for abusing an unrelated child. I asked each of them if this incest loophole also provoked their outrage; if they were prepared to actually do anything to change such laws. Not one ever answered.
What does the Michael Jackson verdict mean to the future of child protection in America? Nothing. The verdict only underscores one fundamental, persistent truth: when it comes to child sexual abuse, from public perception to prosecution, nothing has changed. Nothing at all.
Finally, I did catch some of the journalists’ badgering of the Jackson jurors. Kos singles out CNN’s Nancy Grace. I saw her in action and agree. I’d also add Catherine Crier and Diane Diamond to the list.
Rush Limbaugh, copyfighter?
But I just want to tell you we’re continually working on it, which at this point simply means monitoring developments in this whole copyright and piracy law. I know the Millennium Copyright Act is what this is all about, and until that’s changed, none of this is going to change. In fact I just saw a story in my RSS reader today that Sony is coming out with a new system to copy-protect their CDs. There’s software on their CDs that will allow a maximum of three dubs, three copies, and then it shuts down. So if somebody goes and buy a CD, they can copy it three times, but that’s it and it’s not on all their CDs. It’s a new technology that they are embedding in the CDs, and of course the DVD industry has gotten even much tougher than the music industry has, but it’s a huge deal and we have looked at it in every which way and that’s what we have been told by the legal eagles.
I keep getting questions, “Why no music?” Let me go through this once again… We simply don’t have the license to give away somebody else’s product, which is what we’d be doing if we downloaded music… We’re always trying to change these things and get permissions from various entities to include their work, but we’re running up against a brick wall because so much piracy is going on out there, and once you steal something, it’s easy to spread it around to your friends and they’re just trying to get a handle on this. So that’s why. If we wanted to write and produce, create our own bumper music and do that, we could, if we wanted to give that away, but somebody else’s we just can’t. So for now it’s audio only.
So is it that the media cartel just “trying to get a handle on it” or is Rush beginning to understand what’s really going on?
The music industry considers the seemingly innocuous act of duplicating a music CD for someone else ``casual piracy,’’ a practice that surpasses Internet file-sharing as the single largest source of unauthorized music distribution. After fits and starts, the industry’s largest players are taking measures to place curbs on copying.
It’s surprising to me that the Mercury News has accepted the record labels’ terminology in this matter. Piracy refers to making unauthorized reproductions of digital media for financial gain - or, stretching the term, for indiscriminate distribution. It is not piracy - “casualÃ¢â‚¬Â� or otherwise - when you buy music and make a few copies for close friends.
Quoting Jessica Litman, author of “Digital Copyright,” in her law review article “War Stories,” 20 Cardozo Arts & Entertainment Law Journal 337 (2002):
Under the old way of thinking about things, copying your CD and carrying the copy around with you to play in your car, in your Walkman, or in your cassette deck at work is legal. Borrowing a music CD and making a copy on some other medium for your personal use is legal. Recording music from the radio; maxing different recorded tracks for a ‘party tape,’ and making a copy of one of your CDs for your next-door neighbor are, similarly, all lawful acts. The copyright law says so: section 1008 of the copyright statute provides that consumers may make non-commercial copies of recorded music without liability. Many people seem not to know this any more.
We’re losing because most of us are completely unaware:
This latest bit of news comes on top of the restrictions placed on other uses of digital media:
- it’s a federal offense to back up a copy of your DVD;
- it’s illegal to copy a purchased computer game with DRM onto your laptop or desktop;
- the new generation of digital television may impose similar limits on how you can copy or burn Hollywood programming.
Ernest Miller has more, and expects we won’t bow down to the record companies:
All this DRM will accomplish is to encourage people to bypass it, to download the inevitable DRM circumvention devices. They might be illegal, but they’ll be available on the internet. Or, it will encourage people to use P2P programs to download the music they’ve already purchased. And, once they’re on the filesharing network, why not download a few songs they haven’t purchased? After all, if the record companies are going to make life hard for them with regard to music they’ve acutally spent money on, they might rationalize that they’ve earned some free music.
In other words, record labels will only succeed in encouraging disrespect for copyright law. Thanks a lot, you bunch of short-sighted morons.