aTypical Joe: a gay New Yorker living in the rural South
Wednesday, November 16, 2005
Liberal failings in the copyfight
Matt Stoller points to this from the Progress and Freedom Foundation:
Fair use has outlived much of its usefulness in a market with ever-increasing digital offerings for sale at varying price points, Progress & Freedom Foundation Senior Fellow James DeLong told a congressional subcommittee today.
I guess what else can we expect from “a market oriented think tank” but I am appalled at how wrong-headed this argument is. None of the copyfighters I admire has weighed in yet, but Matt takes up the cudgel:
You might have heard of the Electronic Frontier Foundation, an organization that has worked on defending the internet’s open model of information flow since 1990. They are fighting this fight, along with the Free Culture movement, and a great group called Public Knowledge. Boingboing, the extraordinarily popular and awesome blog which many of you may read, is a leading proponent of progressive reform of copyright.
The Democrats in Congress and good government groups like Common Cause are not. It’s a common thread - reformers in the campaign finance world are working to restrict freedom on the internet, because they don’t really act as if individual freedom is a positive good, only that corporate corruption is a clear wrong… Democratics in Congress, with the exception of some fine leaders like Rick Boucher and Zoey Lofgren, are largely clueless or actively malicious in this battle. Until our elected leaders begin to understand that there is value in freedom, that the digital world is not some weird place where freedom of speech is entirely subservient to commercial interests, we will not be a progressive party.
It’s worth remembering how this sausage is made:
Connie Lawn, White House correspondent for USA Radio Network, became the first member of the press corps to inquire about McClellan’s job status, asking if he had considered resigning. McClellan said he had not.
Lawn, who has covered the White House since 1968, explains that reporters’ questions are the most important part of the press briefings - “to get those questions on the record, to get them out there in public.”
Lawn knew how McClellan would respond to her question about his possible resignation over the Plame affair.
“For most of us, the answers are preordained. We could write the answers before we get them,” she says. “It’s a ballet. It’s a dance.”
Bigger fish to fry
Washington oddsmakers are now keeping a close eye on McClellan.
A White House correspondent, who asked not to be identified, predicts McClellan, who replaced Ari Fleischer as press secretary in summer 2003, will soon be leaving his post. “I’m expecting very big changes,” the correspondent says.
Of all the people this White House needs to get rid of, he seems the most inconsequential to me. He’s taking the flack, and suffers from a “credibility gap,” while the others stay put? He’s just doing his job, as untenable as it is.
On the other hand:
[Gannett columnist Deborah] Mathis believes he does not have the aptitude to continue as the White House’s top communicator. “I’ve been through a lot of press secretaries,” she says. “There are some really good ones out there. There are some average ones out there. And there are a few who have no business there. And I would put Scott in that last category.”
Maybe he’ll sing when he’s free. I can dream can’t I?
Via Think Progress.
Alito, the man
I hate to admit this publicly but I honestly wondered if Bush didn’t put Miers up just to have her shot down and eliminate the need to nominate anything other than a white male. And what a male he is:
The man nominated to replace the first female Justice in US history isn’t just not a woman—he’s a man who was a proud member of “Concerned Alumni of Princeton”, a group formed to oppose the admission of women to that male bastion. ("Q: How many Concerned Alumni of Princeton does it take to change a light bulb? A: Six - One to change it, and five to sit around and talk about how good the old one was.")
Now, this was back in 1972, a rather long time ago, and at a rather young age. So one might be tempted to draw a veil over the episode. But not Samuel Alito. It seems that then-Mr. Alito was still bragging about his anti-woman-at-Princeton membership in 1985, when applying for legal work in Meese’s Justice Department. (And it probably was a shrewd move, too. In any case, he got the job.)
In that same 1985 application, Alito made a point of stating that “I personally believe very strongly” that the Constitution doesn’t guarantee a right to abortion. Again, not alone likely to be a disqualification; many people believed that then, many do today, including some who would follow Casey’s re-affirmation of Roe despite their personal beliefs.
What’s most troubling here is Alito’s explaining this ‘deep personal belief’ away when visiting when Senator Specter. He doesn’t say he’s changed in the intervening 20 years. He doesn’t say, personal beliefs don’t necessarily decide cases, personal beliefs then may not control legal decisions now—which would have left the issue open. (And he certainly doesn’t say he’s changed or grown in 20 years—that might startle the base.) Rather, today Judge Alito says that what he said 20 years ago should be ignored: “I personally believe very strongly” was just language used by ”an advocate seeking a job.” What does that mean? He was lying? Puffing? Being parsimonious with the truth? But we should believe him now because he’s a judge seeking a much better job?
Politics over good judgment
That’s what Kenneth Y. Tomlinson says the inspector general is guilty of. And precisely how, as the inspector general documents, Tomlinson operated:
Investigators at the Corporation for Public Broadcasting said on Tuesday that they had uncovered evidence that its former chairman had repeatedly broken federal law and the organization’s own regulations in a campaign to combat what he saw as liberal bias.
A report by the corporation’s inspector general, sent to Congress on Tuesday, described a dysfunctional organization that appeared to have violated the Public Broadcasting Act, which created the corporation and was written to insulate programming decisions from politics.
The former chairman, Kenneth Y. Tomlinson, who was ousted from the board two weeks ago when it was presented with the details of the report in a closed session, has said he sought to enforce a provision of the broadcasting act meant to ensure objectivity and balance in programming.
The report has no teeth - “No sanctions or further action against Mr. Tomlinson will follow from the report’s findings” - and nothing will come of it.
The problem with public broadcasting from the beginning has been that without a dedicated and reliable public funding source it can not truly be public. Instead it has to grovel for annual appropriations, placate corporate givers and attract a wealthy audience. That’s public?
It’s done many things well, but I’m more and more thinking it costs too much for the little we get. And the cost I’m describing is not dollars and cents; it’s about allowing the Right to cast it as “liberal” and wail about our tax dollars while comprimising its journalistic standards and forcing a conservative shift.
My answer is to serve those audiences commercial television won’t, and to include a broad range of perspectives but most particularly those not found or under-represented on commercial television. Those of low-income, under-educated and working-class people for example.
That ain’t gonna happen.