Onward, Don Quixote.

I’ve never been a fan of his fiction, but I’m thinking maybe Harlan Ellison is a man worth admiring:

Nine years ago, Mr. Ellison sued Internet service providers for failing to stop a user from posting four of his stories to an online newsgroup. Since settling that suit, he has pursued more than 240 people who have posted his work to the Internet without permission. “If you put your hand in my pocket, you’ll drag back six inches of bloody stump,” he said.

Now there’s a copyright warrior I could march into battle with. Sooner or later something will cut him down; I’ve come to the realization that the gurus are right, you can’t fight free, even law-abiding people don’t think it’s stealing when the person on the other end is just some face on a back cover, and anyway they’re probably rich and I’m not, so go ahead and download their book onto your Kindle, what’s the harm?

I’m getting ahead of myself.

The NYT looks at the latest frontier in copyright theft — books. Until now, stealing books didn’t pay, so to speak, but with the Kindle and other e-readers, the doors are open:

Sites like Scribd and Wattpad, which invite users to upload documents like college theses and self-published novels, have been the target of industry grumbling in recent weeks, as illegal reproductions of popular titles have turned up on them. Trip Adler, chief executive of Scribd, said it was his “gut feeling” that unauthorized editions represented only a small fraction of the site’s content. …An example of copyrighted material on Scribd recently included a digital version of “The Tales of Beedle the Bard,” a collection of fairy tales by J. K. Rowling. One commenter, posting as vicious-9690, wrote “thx for posting it up ur like the robinhood of ebooks.”

I’m trying to separate my intellectual reaction from that of my gut, which thinks vicious-9690 is most likely a 300-pound jerkoff with one hand buried in his pants and the other in a box of Froot Loops or, as Stephen King puts it succinctly later in the story:

“The question is, how much time and energy do I want to spend chasing these guys,” Stephen King wrote in an e-mail message. “And to what end? My sense is that most of them live in basements floored with carpeting remnants, living on Funions and discount beer.”

I suspect King is wrong, that there are Russian and Chinese and American hackers working on sites to sell the Twilight novels for half off the retail e-reader price. Or maybe not — maybe this is all a matter of the cheap and sleazy undercutting the talented and successful. “The robinhood of ebooks” says a lot about the ignorant mindset of the people who do this, as Robin Hood took from the rich and gave to the poor. I’ve known a few authors in my life, and they range from middle class to upper-middle. A few more can’t quit their day jobs (usually teaching). All of them work harder than most of us, and if you saw what they earn for every copy they sell, you’d be amazed — it’s far less than you probably think. The Stephen Kings and Stephenie Meyers and J.K. Rowlings are rare exceptions.

So bully for Ellison and his 240 takedown letters. He may be fighting a losing battle, but he’s on the side of the angels. (I sent a takedown letter of my own a while back. It was a beautiful feeling.)

So, a little bloggage? Sure:

Of all the things written about Elizabeth Edwards, this is the best. And the saddest: It’s from Double X, the spinoff of the XX blog at Slate, which I’m still exploring.

As someone who wrote about the Vanessa Williams/Miss America explosion a thousand years ago, there’s something about seeing a headline like this — Pageant Double Standard? Steamy Photos of Miss Rhode Island Won’t Threaten Her Crown — that makes me feel 1,001 years old.

Dear Tom Friedman: In the past eight years my feelings about you have moved from admiration, to grudging admiration, to dislike, and now to contempt. With good reason, you greedy bastard.

We saw the preview for “Up” at the movies the other day. I can’t wait. Roger didn’t have to.

I have so much work to do this week I feel pre-emptively crippled by it. So I think I’ll do a little, right now.

Posted at 9:37 am in Current events, Media |
 

76 responses to “Onward, Don Quixote.”

  1. Connie said on May 12, 2009 at 9:44 am

    Harlan Ellison is definitely NOT a man worth admiring. At a major sf awards banquet last year, (Nebula or Hugo) he groped Connie Willis’s breasts. At the podium. My impression is that the sf writing community considers him an a**hole.

    Then again his “Dangerous Visions” and “Again Dangerous Visions” completely blew me away. Back in the day.

  2. nancy said on May 12, 2009 at 9:56 am

    Yet another reason my readers are the greatest in the world. Noted. Opinion amended. (Too bad Connie Willis didn’t make him pull back six inches of bloody stump.)

  3. Randy said on May 12, 2009 at 10:00 am

    With a spouse who makes part of her living in the publishing world, I have learned to be totally on board with protecting published work. I hear a lot of people compare it to the music industry, and they say if we are swapping songs for free, then why not books? I think the comparison fails because musicians can perform, and use their recordings to promote their concerts (still not fair, but it seems to be the way things are). Authors do readings, but those are for selling the book, not to get paid for reading. And they can’t even sell t-shirts. Though I might wear an Elmore Leonard shirt, if one were available.

  4. Heather said on May 12, 2009 at 10:28 am

    The article about Elizabeth Edwards was spot-on, but the misspelling of “heroine” as “heroin”–twice–was really annoying.

  5. Connie said on May 12, 2009 at 10:34 am

    OK, not last year, but 2006. If you search their names together you can find plenty of reports of the event.

  6. moe99 said on May 12, 2009 at 11:03 am

    Given my personal situation, I feel rather sorry for Elizabeth Edwards. She doesn’t talk about it, she gets pasted. She talks about it, she gets pasted. Damned if you do, damned if you don’t.

  7. Hank Stuever said on May 12, 2009 at 11:11 am

    So who can’t spell “Funyuns” the right way — Stephen King, “in an e-mail message,” or The New York Times copydesk?

  8. jeff borden said on May 12, 2009 at 11:14 am

    Did anyone here see that the Philadelphia Inquirer has hired John Yoo to be a legal columnist? That’s right, kids, the man who wrote the memos allowing the last administration to torture at will, the man who ought to be facing disbarment if not criminal prosecution is going to be paid $1,750 per column for his work. This follows the Inqy paying wingnut ex-Senator Rick Santorum the same handsome fee for his witless commentaries.

    This is the kind of big city daily newspaper thinking that simply puzzles me. At a time when budgets are being slashed, journalists are being furloughed, pages are being cut. . .the Inquirer believes it’s a good business decision to handsomely pay a a creep like Yoo for his legal insights.

  9. nancy said on May 12, 2009 at 11:17 am

    Hank, I KNEW there was something wrong with that, but couldn’t put my finger on it.

    Knowing newspaper copy desks, there was probably a 90-minute confab over how to handle that — add a (sic)? correct it but put it in parens to indicate it wasn’t the writer’s original choice? — during which, 1,000 more subscribers died.

    Good luck with your book. Hope no one pirates it.

  10. LA Mary said on May 12, 2009 at 11:17 am

    My ex had/has a prettiness not unlike John Edwards. I met him in college, and once he came to pick my up at my job at the NYT Rocky Mountain Bureau. A very wise woman there told me to watch out for men prettier than myself and I should have listened to her.

  11. coozledad said on May 12, 2009 at 11:18 am

    I wonder if this was part of the inspiration for “Up”:
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_White_Diamond
    I had a pleasant email exchange with Mr. Dorrington a couple of years ago. His father (now deceased) was an avid collector of antique agricultural implements, and Graham constructed a website/museum dedicated to his memory. He was very helpful and quite willing to overlook my ignorance.

  12. alex said on May 12, 2009 at 11:45 am

    This is the kind of big city daily newspaper thinking that simply puzzles me.

    The Sun-Times filling its op-ed pages with the deranged turd smearings of Thomas Sowles, Betsy Hart, etc. always puzzled me too.

  13. paddyo' said on May 12, 2009 at 12:08 pm

    I wonder how much of that “big-city-daily thinking” at the Inky is the result of the change in ownership (with an owner who is remunerated very nicely for … for … well, what IS it exactly that Brian Tierney is doing for the Inky?)
    But I digress …

    I guess I’m just plain astonished that in every story I’ve read (and that you have cited, Nancy) in recent weeks about thieving aggregators and plagiarists and book burglars on the ‘Net, the stock lame answer when they are called on it is that they don’t, um, really KNOW how much of that crap is going on at their sites, but gee, it really just couldn’t possibly be THAT much and besides, dude, all information “wants” to be free (“my gut tells me” BS, ad nauseam).

    Time for the briefest of ink-stained wretch rants:
    Maybe this is a “well-duhhh” observation, but the mounting evidence suggests that ethics and responsibility do not travel so well from the printed-paper page to the digital-pixelated world. These Bozos need a Napster-style 2-by-4 upside the head. But who in the world will deliver the blow?

  14. moe99 said on May 12, 2009 at 12:10 pm

    This month’s Esquire has a sneak-peak review of “The Road Is the Most Important Movie of the Year”:
    http://www.esquire.com/features/movies/the-road-movie-review-0609?click=pp


    . . . . The Road is no tease. It is a brilliantly directed adaptation of a beloved novel, a delicate and anachronistically loving look at the immodest and brutish end of us all. You want them to get there, you want them to get there, you want them to get there — and yet you do not want it, any of it, to end.

    You should see it for the simplest of reasons: Because it is a good story. Not because it may be important. Not because it is unforgettable, unyielding. Not because it horrifies. Not because the score is creepily spiritual. Not because it is littered with small lines of dialogue you will remember later. Not because it contains warnings against our own demise. All of that is so. Don’t see it just because you loved the book. The movie stands alone. Go see it because it’s two small people set against the ugly backdrop of the world undone. A story without guarantees. In every moment — even the last one — you’ll want to know what happens next, even if you can hardly stand to look. Because The Road is a story about the persistence of love between a father and a son, and in that way it’s more like a remake of The Godfather than some echo of I Am Legend.

    Only this one is different: You won’t want to see this one twice. . . .

  15. jeff borden said on May 12, 2009 at 12:11 pm

    Alex,

    Yeah, I know, I read the S-T every day and wince over the hacks on the op-ed pages. Still, whatever else they may embody, Betsy Hart and Thomas Sowell lack Mr. Yoo’s ties to unconstitutional behavior. If I were a betting man, I’d wager this is move is designed to assure rightwingers that the Inqy is open to opinions from all spectrums including the lawless neocon fringe. Maybe Yoo will turn out to be a better writer than lawyer, but I doubt it.

  16. Mary T said on May 12, 2009 at 12:18 pm

    You know, I’m not for stealing content, but I do get tired of the “300-pound guy in the basement” comments. First, it’s insulting to 300-pound guys. Second, it’s insulting to basements.

    Seriously, I am online most of my day and I’m a professional, I’m middle-aged, make a good income, blah blah blah. I suspect there are relatively few basement dwellers in the great scheme of things.

  17. Rana said on May 12, 2009 at 12:50 pm

    Mary T – I agree. It’s lazy, offensive, and it muddies our perception of what is actually going on. It’s always convenient to render “wrong-doers” as some sort of social misfits, because then the activity is something that “normal” people would never do. This both is insulting to people who don’t happen to fit the popular version of acceptability but who are still good, kind, decent people – and it hides from view the people whose outward respectability obscures a myriad of nasty behaviors.

    John Yoo is a good example of this – neat, well-spoken, educated, liked by people in power – and an amoral bastard who thinks torture is perfectly fine.

  18. Jeff (the mild-mannered one) said on May 12, 2009 at 1:12 pm

    In junior high and high school i read “Alas, Babylon,” “On the Beach,” “Malevil,” and of course “A Canticle for Leibowitz.”

    With “The Road,” and “The World Without Us,” and “Life After People,” we seem to be turning the page to an even darker corner of the collective unconscious. The dystopias of “Brave New World” and “1984″ gave way to the post-apocalyptics of the 60s and 70s (the four books i mention above, culminating in “Mad Max” and his sequels), which is now delving into obliteration, and trying to imagine what that looks like.

    Tree, forest, no one, sound?

    Anyhow, there’s an odd current of Wagnerian liebestod afoot that i’m not quite following. An existential zest at thinking of, hoping for, marinating in our human contingency turning into oblivion. As the philosopher said, “Whassup with that?”

  19. Bob said on May 12, 2009 at 1:23 pm

    Connie,
    Excellent juxtaposing of Harlan Ellison, a writer whose work I liked when I was a kid, with Connie Willis, whose books I’d like my kids to read. I reread one of Ellison’s famous stories, “I Have No Mouth, And I Must Scream” a few years ago, and it struck me as a guy trying to build existential fiction on a foundation of sexual and scatological gross-outs.

  20. moe99 said on May 12, 2009 at 1:28 pm

    Jeff tmmo: My college advisor recommended A Canticle for Leibowitz as providing perhaps the best contemporary understanding of how the medieval mind worked.

    I returned the favor years later, when I recommended The Domesday Book by Willis to him. And yes, early versions of that book were titled “Domesday” which is the true spelling of the first census book of England. But of course the reading public couldn’t figure it out, so they changed it.

  21. Connie said on May 12, 2009 at 1:46 pm

    I would recommend Willis’ The Doomsday Book to anyone. Long before I would recommend anything by Ellison.

    I have a secret love for post apocalyptic novels, including Alas Babylon, etc. I hated “The Road.”

  22. brian stouder said on May 12, 2009 at 1:50 pm

    You know, I’m not for stealing content, but I do get tired of the “300-pound guy in the basement” comments. First, it’s insulting to 300-pound guys. Second, it’s insulting to basements.

    Mary T (and Rana) make a genuinely excellent, enlightening, (thread-winning!) point. The thoughtless thieving 300# guy in the basement – which I would have given Cheetos and orange finger tips – as all-purpose general-utility whipping boy springs from precisely the same thoughtless place that makes that American Idol woman’s singing ability “surprising”

  23. velvet goldmine said on May 12, 2009 at 1:52 pm

    Regarding Elizabeth Edwards: There is a period of time after an affair in which the cheatin’ spouse is supposed to take any amount of criticism and even public humiliation. I wonder if this is what Jonathan Edwards is doing — actual atonement because he wants to stay in his marriage and because he regrets his actions? Or is he just putting up with it because his only chance of PUBLIC redemption is to avoid leaving his cancer-ridden wife? Either way, it’s incredibly uncomfortable to watch.

    My money is on the predictable scenario: After a suitable interval following Elizabeth’s death, he and the mistress will “find each other again,” and get married. Then he will make pained-face interviews about all he has learned from the experience, and how he wants to just keep serving the public, if only they’ll have him, etc etc.

  24. adrianne said on May 12, 2009 at 2:23 pm

    I like Hannah Rosin’s take on Elizabeth Edwards – certainly the most understanding and nuanced of the commentary I’ve seen. I also loved Rosin’s recent story in the Atlantic about how breast-feeding is not all it’s cracked up to be (the research is very suspect), but there’s a huge campaign to get all middle- to upper-class women to buy into it anyway.

  25. Scout said on May 12, 2009 at 2:24 pm

    I find Friedman insufferable. An opinion shared by Matt Taibbi, who never misses an opportunity to fisk his work. Merciless, but funny as hell.

  26. coozledad said on May 12, 2009 at 2:38 pm

    I’m sitting here eating a bag of Tings while I hit the refresh button, but I’m not masturbating, and I don’t weigh 300lbs. Yet.
    Speaking of masturbation, I read somewhere recently there’s new research showing a diminished risk of prostate cancer for men who
    A) Did not masturbate frequently when they were young, and
    B) Began to do so energetically when they hit age 40, which is
    C)Just another instance of medical science telling me I’m fucking doomed.

  27. nancy said on May 12, 2009 at 2:59 pm

    OK, I apologize for the 300-pound guy. It was more a reflection of my prejudice about people who write “ur” instead of “you’re.”

  28. Bill said on May 12, 2009 at 3:05 pm

    Guantanamo, torture, and govenmental deceit are featured in this

    <a href=”http://www.chicagotribune.com/features/magazine/”this article in Sunday’s Trib magazine about aChicago lawyer’s fight for two prisoners.

  29. jeff borden said on May 12, 2009 at 3:06 pm

    Well, the really important thing that has happened today is that Donald Trump, as owner of the Miss USA pageant, has decreed that Carrie Prejean and her augmented bosoms will be allowed to remain Miss California.

    I know I’ll sleep better tonight.

  30. Joe Kobiela said on May 12, 2009 at 3:29 pm

    Can some one tell me what having fake boobs has to do with getting ripped by the media for using her right to free speech to honestly answer a question?
    I mean come on, she just stated what she believed. What difference does it make if she had some work done. It’s the same tired old liberal rant, if you don’t like the message, destroy the messenger. While I’m on a rant,it seems most on this friendly little slice of cyberspace think the Bush administration is to blame for the economy, ok, they overspent, no doubt there, but can ANYONE explain how in the heck spending even MORE money than the last administration with out cutting spending is going to help!!! You can go ahead and hate Busch, Chaney and Limbaugh all you want, but you should put that hatred on the back burner for a while and take a good look at what these people in Washington are doing.
    Pilot Joe

  31. Sue said on May 12, 2009 at 3:47 pm

    Who needs Donald Trump? Miss California can redeem herself if she appears in the next Weezer video, a la Miss Teen South Carolina:
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WanLLnVixC4

  32. mark said on May 12, 2009 at 3:50 pm

    Wow, what a buffet.

    Yes, all the “good” newspapers should get rid of any last remnant of conservative thought. At least they can die with their principles intact. Maybe, while there are a few subscribers left, they can have Bill Ayres do a guest piece on the outrage of letting a scoundrel like John Yoo appear in print.

    The review of “the Road” that someone excerpted reads like the racy parts of a Harlequin romance.

    So on the board where a comment on Limbaugh’s obesity is de riguer for refuting anything conservative, it’s inappropriate to rant about a hypothetical copyright thief with a reference to weight?

    Elizabeth “two worlds” Edwards doesn’t care about John’s baby? The blood sibling of her children. How can that be? Never trust anyone that claims they ought to lead because they “care more.”

    Miss California’s mistake was in not prefacing her answer with “On this issue, I agree with our new president.”

  33. jeff borden said on May 12, 2009 at 3:50 pm

    Joe,

    Settle down. I couldn’t care less what a beauty pageant contestant thinks about the price of tea in China, much less gay marriage. Nothing Carrie Prejean says or does is going to stop or even slow the inexorable march of gay rights.

    What’s amusing to me is the kabuki theater this represents. Dr. James Dobson, the nation’s resident moral scold, embraces a young woman who has posed semi-nude before her 18th birthday and who accepted the gift of store bought hooters simply because she came out against “teh gay.” And Ms. Prejean, who we assume is intelligent enough to understand what those come hither semi-nude shots do to the average guy, now says that even as she stood on the catwalk pondering the question posed by Perez Hilton, she felt Satan urging her to say something politically correct.

    Sorry, Joe, but this is comedy gold.

  34. Dexter said on May 12, 2009 at 3:51 pm

    “”You can go ahead and hate Busch, Chaney and Limbaugh all you want, but you should put that hatred on the back burner for a while and take a good look at what these people in Washington are doing.
    Pilot Joe””

    Who hates Chaney? Great actor…wow, that Wolfman…scar-eee.
    Who hates Busch? I used to love it, but about 1976 they changed the recipe, and instead of a great Bavarian brew, it then tasted like weak tea and cheap lager all mixed together.
    Who hates Limbaugh? Me.

  35. Joe Kobiela said on May 12, 2009 at 4:00 pm

    Dexter, Pardon me for the spelling.
    I am just a poor freighter pilot.
    You help me prove my point though.
    Ignore the message.
    Kill the messenger.
    Pilot Joe

  36. jeff borden said on May 12, 2009 at 4:13 pm

    Joe,

    Sometimes the messenger is the message and vice-versa.

    If a principled conservative such as, say, Richard Lugar offers up an idea counter to my thinking, I’ll accept it as a good faith effort by a decent man. I’ll fight against it, but without animus. Lugar is a truly decent man who was conservative long before some of these Johnny-come-lately punks changed the definition of the word.

    Dick Cheney, on the other hand, is simply a very, very, very bad man whose ideas are absolutely unAmerican, a serial draft dodger willing to put our own troops at risk by embracing torture in a pathetic effort to link Saddam Hussein to al Queda operatives. He doesn’t operate in good faith. He doesn’t deserve scorn. He deserves criminal charges and a lengthy prison sentence for his crimes.

    Limbaugh is a clown, an entertainer, a baggy pants comic. If conservatives want him to be their public face, have at it. But you bet your ass I unapologetically hate Dick Cheney. He shit on my country and its ideals. Hate is an emotion that should be doled out sparingly, but there are few people in American public life so worthy of it as Cheney.

  37. brian stouder said on May 12, 2009 at 4:26 pm

    Leaving Limbaugh (et al) aside – here’s the article of the day, about two women who were switched at birth 56 years ago, and only just now have learned the truth.

    It immediately made me think of some of the themes Laura Lippman explores in her book Life Sentences -

    http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/30704907/

    “Do you remember those rumors of being switched at birth?” she asked, and went on to provide the update.
    “Does this mean I’m not invited to the family reunion?” Shafer joked. Qualls, Bobby Reed and one of their sisters met Shafer at a Kennewick, Wash., clinic last month for DNA testing. A week later, Qualls got the results, learning her likely probability of being related to her brother and sister was zero.

    “I cried,” she said. “I wanted to be a Reed — my life wasn’t my life.”

    To me, the most arresting line in the article is this:

    Qualls’ brother, Bobby Reed, said the 86-year-old woman knew his mother and had also lived next door to the Angell family. “She said she had something she had to get off her chest,” he told the East Oregonian newspaper in a story published Monday.

    The neighbors ALWAYS know more than we do, about ourselves!

  38. jcburns said on May 12, 2009 at 4:29 pm

    Hey Pilot Joe:
    The Bush administration messed things up by sacrificing their (and our) principles, keeping secrets from the American public The “spending a lot” part was just hypocrisy on their part, after all their caterwauling about how bad it was. That was their basic theme: bad if you do it, OK if we do it. Sort of the same as Miss California. Gay lifestyle bad. My lifestyle OK…no matter how salacious and corrupting it may be. Why? Because the Bible tells me so.
    And by the way, Satan called and commanded you to agree with me.

  39. Dexter said on May 12, 2009 at 4:37 pm

    br.s. : I saw that story early this morning and sent it to all my friends, something I rarely do any more , as people just don’t want to be bothered by news items it seems, sent in emails, anyway, but damn…this one really grabbed me. I am a Twain-nut and I usually am reading a few pages of something by Clemens every day…back to basics month, I just fini’d Tom Sawyer and started on Huckleberry Finn. And, next on my list is “The Prince and the Pauper”.
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Prince_and_the_Pauper

    This kind of thing fascinates and terrifies me at the same time. It is so wrong!

  40. Sue said on May 12, 2009 at 4:49 pm

    Dexter, just curious, do you read Twain because you read the books as a kid, or is this a later appreciation? I revisit L.M. Montgomery about once a year and still find things to appreciate, but for some reason Laura Ingalls Wilder and Louisa May Alcott don’t do anything for me anymore.

  41. Dexter said on May 12, 2009 at 4:51 pm

    Every time I hear about wasteful spending I think about the giant cargo airplane that was filled to capacity with pallets of compressed United States paper currency that was sent to Iraq, unloaded , and then when Tenet was asked where it went to, he did his Ralph Kramden “habba habba habba habba” bit. Hundreds of millions of dollars and nobody knew what happened to it.
    Any guesses?
    Wolfowitz promised “the oil will pay for this war and the nation-building…”
    Yeah?
    Bush43 emptied the treasury into a giant rathole and told us this was necessary to make us safe.
    Cheney and Rummy orchestrated a torture policy and a military plan that was ridiculed by the generals like Shinseki.
    This war was all about enriching privately owned US corporations who built the war machine, fed the troops, and sucked the US money-teat dry providing security in all manners possible.
    Yes, George Bush43 bankrupted the treasury, and Congress just went along, even members who knew it was wrong to perpetuate a long war did so “in support of the troops”, a hollow log to stand on, as thousands were being killed and injured in the name of “it’s our profession, it’s what we do”—regardless of WHAT KIND or type of fiasco a sorry President like bush could think up. Hey , Grenada was foolish, but it was short-lived, and did not really define Reagan, but Iraq and Bush43 will make all the history books, I would guess.

  42. Dexter said on May 12, 2009 at 5:01 pm

    Sue: The Tom Sawyer volume I just read was given to me by Mom in 1956. I read it then, but I was seven years old, and I probably only read a few pages and put it away. Then I read it when I was nine, again when I was 12, and through the years maybe three more times. The only other book I read many times over many years was Heller’s “Catch 22″. After I retired in 2002, I found a store that sold many paperbacks, and as I was browsing, there were all these great books I had read in high school but not since, and I bought them all again, and I grab one every now and then for a browse or complete reading.
    Without saying, books have different meanings as we age. With the wisdom of our years, we know what the authors were trying to tell us, and can appreciate it.
    Reading yields much more satisfaction now than it ever did when I was a kid.

  43. Sue said on May 12, 2009 at 5:22 pm

    I have my copy, my mother’s copy and my grandmother’s copy of Anne of Green Gables, in various stages of disintegration. I have two “nice” sets of the entire series. Twenty years ago it felt like I was the only person outside of Canada who had ever heard of the books, and then that wonderful miniseries came out and it exploded. My daughter never warmed to the books, so the chain is broken.

  44. Catherine said on May 12, 2009 at 5:38 pm

    The piece about Elizabeth Edwards was nuanced and sad. Obviously she is a complicated, smart, insightful person. Someone (the writer) who has never lost a child should shut up about how she keeps coming back to that tragedy, though.

    The Edwardses are the LAST time I fall in love with a politician because I think the spouse is great (I’m talking about you, Bill Clinton). Elizabeth should have run herself, like Hillary. No more two for the price of one. And by the same token, I’m not paying any more attention to Cindy McCain or Todd Palin. It’s got to be about the candidate. The rest of y’all probably figured this out a long time ago…

  45. Jeff (the mild-mannered one) said on May 12, 2009 at 6:01 pm

    Yes, Todd Palin should run in his own right.

  46. Scout said on May 12, 2009 at 6:12 pm

    Joe, for me (and I only speak for myself) the spending issue comes down to this: Bush threw our money into the sucking vortex that is Iraq. And then kept those numbers separate from the overall budget in a sleight of hand. Obama’s budget spends money here, on our soil, to fortify infrastructure, education and health care. Plus there is a more honest accounting with the military budget included in the overall.

  47. jeff borden said on May 12, 2009 at 6:44 pm

    Scout,

    Aside from the wasted money issue. . .

    Wonder where we might be right now vis-a-vis Afghanistan and Pakistan if the geniuses in the last administration hadn’t lied us into war with Iraq? Maybe Osama bin Laden would be rotting in a prison, or better yet, moldering in a grave. Perhaps the Taliban wouldn’t be reclaiming huge swaths of Afghanistan and be within 60 miles of Islamabad. Maybe we wouldn’t be worrying about whether Pakistan –with its 60-plus nuclear weapons– will eventually be ruled by the Taliban or its allies. We damn sure wouldn’t be as worried about Iran.

    Yes, that nice Mr. Cheney and his marionette certainly did a fine, fine job for us.

  48. MichaelG said on May 12, 2009 at 7:40 pm

    I don’t really give a rat’s ass about Miss CA. She’s within her rights to say what she said and I’m within mine to think she’s a jerk for having said it. And yes, she certainly seems to have become a dupe of the professional bigots. I’m no big fan of breast enhancement but many people are. That’s fine. I do, however, reserve the right to be amused by the fact that the Miss Whatever people paid for Miss CA’s pectoral enlargements just a short time before the contest. I wonder what other contestants think about that.

    On the other hand, I’m very happy to see Roxana Saberi, the former Miss N. Dak. released from an Iranian prison. She seems to me like a very nice kid who was trying to pursue a dream and to do a good job as a foreign correspondant. She’s very lucky to have a father with the brains, the money and the P.R. savvy to get her case on the front page and the love and persistence to keep it there.

  49. caliban said on May 12, 2009 at 7:43 pm

    Hrlan Ellison’ a smartass, and he’s really the science fiction equivalent (or doppelganger or evil twin, cue theramin) of my old Bloomfield Surf Club nemesis Elmore Leonard. Mr. Leonard would sit in a deck chair weiting on legal pads while the pool was closed for swimming practice, and then demand we all leave the pool when the lifeguards called the first adult swim, even though he was the only adult around.

    Anyway, I’d say both are masters of interior monologue and outwardly aggressive dialogue that embraced Raymond Chandler and not that abusive drunk Dashiell Hammett. And how anybody could abuse an examplar of truth justice, the American Way, and a role model for boys and girls alike that aspired to literary excellence Lillian Hellmann is beyond me, unless it was just the booze roaring and babbling and being considerably bigger and envious.

    To be fair, I’m biased in favor of Raymond Chandler and Nathaniel West instead of, say Hemingnway and Hammett, who, I think, managed to latch onto naturalism at the expense of turning the quotidian, which is magical, into the mundane. Simplistically, in one case, bourbon-soaked impenetrability in the second.

    Dash, if I may call him that, was tubercular from his experience in WWI, and undoubetdly alcoholic from same. His girlfriend’s heroism must have bothered him, because he saw himself as the hero rescuing the cursed Dain girls etc.

    Which brings me to Cheney, who indicts himself with every arrogant utterance. Cheney brought John Kerry to Nixon’s attention, and recruited John O’Neill to attack Kerry. Nixon pursued a Vietnam policy that lacked the slightest semblance of rationality. I mean, if trying to blow up the northern portion of Vietnam didn’t work, invading Laos probably wasn’t going to either. Budt they sent the Riverine boats there anyway, Kerry followed orders, and he saved crewmates from dying and performed missions.

    When Kerry grew up and became a man of conscience, and figured out this was a boondoggle. Cheney convinced Nixon Kerry was somehow untrue to his country. Years later, in service to the little ventriloquist shrub he was banking his financial future on through PNAC and eternal Halliburton contracts to fry soldiers in their showers, Cheney was still pissed off.

    It’s fascinating that in the old Whitehouse.org, Cheney discusses his vagrant academic oddyssey by noting that Yale didn’t suit him because it was “cliquish and elitist”. Them cheerleaders were shutting you out? Meanwhile, he went to a bunch of schools and got a bunch of deferments because he had “other priorities”.

    So it’s 2004, and Cheney remembers John O’Neill and they get together with Rove. Rove and Cheney were draft dodgers extraordinaire. W never did anything but fly cover for the OClub. And they launch Swift Boat, and beyond all hope and comprehension, Americans are such ninny’s, Republicans weren’t draft dodgers, they were protecting against such dangerous Commonists like Kerry they would serve honorably and save Americans from imminent death.

    This is sort of strange, when you look at it. Can Americans be so bone stupid they don’t see what these folks did in the first place, but see through the incredibly unseemly and mendacious smear. Holy shit. If Americans are that dumb, they might think 2000 was on the fair and square.

    Now we have Cheney as blunderbuss. He’s such a fucking idiot he’s admitted to approving torture. He claims he’s exonerated by plots foiled. Yup. That Cleveland truckdriver that was going to cut down the Brooklyn Bridge with an acetylene torch. The schizophrenic whack that told them about the Library!Liberty!Library tower. Cheney claims that he’s proven right by the lack of attacks, but every “attack” he claims was stymied is, well, hilarious.

    So here’s what I say. Cheney is spouting sedition. And now he’s attacking Colin Powell ad hominem. It’s not unreasonable to see Cheney’s crap as striking out at people that walked his talk back in the day when he was chickenshit to walk it himself. And he hates them for it.

    Does Cheney belive in the Imperial Presidency, or does he believe in a little nitwit that Barney pissed on to carry his Strangelove agenda? I think it’s clear that what he despises about Kerry is Kerry’s heroism when he wasn’t capable of it.

    Couple of other things to think about regarding the asshole that appointed himself vice for the moron Pres. Rummy and Cheney negotiated the deal with the Ayatollahs to hold the hostages until after American elections in 1980. This is a fact, jack. When the Bush administration sent an envoy to Saddam to discuss the slant drilling theft by the Kuwaitis of Iraqi oil, they told him they couldn’t care less if he invaded Kuwait. TDhey wanted to try Shock and Awe. If you consider current numbers about Iraqi innocents? That first attack-add 50,000.

    Isn’t Shock and Awe just a ready admission of having committed war crimes? In the long run, Obama will smooth things out. In the short run, human life is sacred, and when Kerry pulled a crewmate out of the MeKong, wasn’t that an act of heroism?

    It’s hard for me to imagine anybody questioning the service of John Kerry. Especially, anyboody that”s daddy bought them a place in the guard and carte blanche to just bail out of the committment. Or somebody that got all those deferrments because of better things to do.

    According to Republicans, it’s the Dems that chicken out. In real life, it’s clearly the Fortunate Sons. So Cheney decides Colin Powell ought to hang up his Republican credentials. Well, he should. These cowards dishonor him. He served, they didn’t. Kerry pointed out that terrorists are criminals, and trating them that way is the best way to catch them. Undoubtedly, that’s true.

    Cheney thinks Rush is a better spokesman for Republicans? He’s right. Brain dead whale blubber washed up on the beach of intelligent government.

    I don’t know what y’all think, but Cheney is like Nixon rejuvenated. And we don’t want it. Nixon was a traitor. Dheney is a traitor. Neither of these assholes bbelieve in the Constitution.

    Rush believes in Jabba. He’s a disgusting drug-addled pig that doesn’t give a shit about the American Constitution. Back in the day when the Constitution was being written, there weren’t abject traitors like Cheney. But holy shit. It would do my heart good. If people would admit Kerry won if that infernal asshole Ken Blackwell didn’t cheat his ass off and steal Cuyahoga County.

    These assholes robbed two presidential elections. For a draft dodger, by a draft dodger. These bastards never gave a crap about anythingthey claimed to care about. They wanted to make cash. Isn’t that hilarious?

  50. JPK said on May 12, 2009 at 7:57 pm

    It’s the same tired old liberal rant, if you don’t like the message, destroy the messenger.

    I have to admit I’m often brought up short by statements like this that open a window for me on the conservative view, which parallels in reverse my own prejudices. To me, it’s the conservatives who have the same old tired rants — hypocritically dictating morality, wrecking the planet for cheap gain, blah blah, everyone knows this drill. I often justify my occasional fits of intemperateness (or moments of dazzling brilliance, depending) with something along the lines of, “well you started it”; whether that refers to Iraq II/torture, Florida 2000, the impeachment of Bill Clinton, Vietnam, the Great Depression, slavery, or whatever, depends entirely on the circumstances of the moment. But I can see that conservatives have their own list: the highly successful “Bush lied” campaign, Carter’s economics and/or foreign policy, the vindictive “gotcha” of Watergate, the questionable election of JFK, the New Deal (a/k/a wasteful entitlements), maybe federalism, yadda yadda, on and on. My question for Pilot Joe, mark, Jeff tmmo, and other conservatives checking in here, one that arises out of real curiosity and a sincere desire to understand, is: where do you place the liberal “original sin”? The New Deal maybe? I will say that my own ire with conservatives often traces back loosely to many things Southern, starting with slavery, and following along fairly faithfully, even as the representing party shifted from Democrats to Republicans, through what seems to me a lot of nonsense about religious sanctity and Christian exceptionalism. Also, I don’t have much use for robber barons and what seems to me a mindless and highly conditional worship of the “free market,” which too often (again, purely from my own view) amounts to a game rigged in favor of the wealthy. So help me here, please. Where did “we” all start to go wrong as liberals?

  51. Jean S said on May 12, 2009 at 8:01 pm

    Cdad, I lost you after quotidian. Felt like I was reading the NYTimes. (Anyone else notice how fond they are of the word?)

    About Elizabeth Edwards, if you can stand one more comment: she’s dying and she wants to make sure her kids know HER version of the story before (and during and after) Daddy does whatever he’s going to do.

  52. caliban said on May 12, 2009 at 8:20 pm

    if you bought that Swiftboat shit, wake up, you are an idiot. Cheney baileed. W bailed. Kerry saved his shipmates. That little Nixon piece of shit in his suit. He’s the biggest liar in the history of American politics. He’a Catspaw for Nixon. Hwll with the constitution.These assholes believe you have no rights. They beliebe Cheney should be able to tell the suprme court you’re a bunch of assholes, and some wack job that can just shoot anybody in the face can get away with it, even if he couldn’t care less about the Constitution.

    He’s the most despicable asshole in the history of mankind. He thinks Scalia has a brain and can judge fairly. Vuck you all, but Scalia, he shoots his friend firsts and then shoots them again.Scalia couldn’t imagine recusing himself. If he can’t imagine recusing himself, he’s an entirely uincompetent judge. He should have recused himself several times. If he refused to recuse, he is the single most arrogant piece of shit in the history of judgeship. He thinks he can do anyhing he wants to make whatwever cash he wants. He’s a crook.

  53. caliban said on May 12, 2009 at 8:41 pm

    Hwre’s the deal, no shit. Swift boat was the most amazing horseshit of all times. Kerry was a hero. W was a liar. Know what. Who cares. Believe W and Cheney you goddamn idiots. It’s hard to believe humjan beings can be that goddamn stupid. This Swiftboat shit these lying pieces of shit made up? yeah right. The people you believe blew up several thousand Iraqis for no reason ecxept they could try to claim shock and awe. They do not give a shit about human lives. You can buy this Chebey horseshit, but you killed innocent peoople.

    Cheney is the biggest liar in the history of mankind. He believes torturing people for no purpose is a bood thing. Look, you put him in that naxi uniform. There isn’t some question about what’s torture.

    Does Cheney think he’s some sort of hero? He did things for which the US hung somebody. Cheney knew this for a fact. I

  54. coozledad said on May 12, 2009 at 8:49 pm

    JPK: If there was ever any doubt that the Republicans have become the Democratic party of Stephen Douglas, the neo-secessionist movement afoot in Texas and Georgia should put an end to it.
    http://alterdestiny.blogspot.com/2009/05/historical-image-of-day_12.html

  55. Deborah said on May 12, 2009 at 9:08 pm

    I’m with Elizabeth about the creepy other woman, Rielle Hunter sounds like a a sad case. She was formerly Lisa Druck, her father had her horse killed (she was a show rider in her youth) in a horse murdering scam to collect insurance money. He was convicted (I think, or he died before the case came to trial). She was Jay McInerney’s girlfriend in New York briefly and he made her a character in one of his novels, the character’s name is Allison Poole. She was an over-sexed party girl. The same character is in two of Bret Easton Ellis’s novels. The character is even worse in the Ellis novels. Who knows if any of this is really true. If it is, John Edwards picked a doozy.

  56. MitchAlbomFan said on May 12, 2009 at 9:24 pm

    RE: Harlan Ellison, he lost all my respect when I saw the YouTube of him demanding his $ when television series he wrote for were sold on DVDs. Somehow the writers get paid multiple times for the same work, whereas the grips, gaffers, and craft service people do not.

    I applaud mercenary capitalists. I just can’t figure out why writer are somehow magically entitled to share in studio profits along with the studio investors who took a risk on a project that was more likely to fail into obscurity than become a repackaged classic. Script writers were paid (well) to do a job. They did their job. Then their hand came out again. That would be like me sending my boss a bill every time verbiage from one of my industrial instruction manuals was used in a instruction video.

    RE Kerry: I wasn’t on that boat with Kerry. Neither were you, Caliban. So I’ll take the word of those who were. Your hate defines you.

    RE Secession: Bitch, please! And all that bullshit with the George Bush sewage treatment plant in San Francisco, and those douchebags in Vermont issuing criminal charges against Bush while he was still in office… Now THAT was justified, right? Blue state stupidity is patriotic. Red state stupidity is idiocy. Ahkay. Whatevs.

    Moot.

    The “Montana-made Gun” challenge will reset state rights back to 1900. It will happen like lightening within the next three years. It will completely dismantle the perversions of Congress’s oversteps of regulating interstate commerce. It’s the most sweeping rollback of Federal powers in our lifetime or any others. It has six votes on the Supreme Court waiting for it right now.

    And it couldn’t have happened without Obama scaring the shit out of Red America. Thank you. On behalf of Libertarians everywhere, THANK YOU!

  57. moe99 said on May 12, 2009 at 9:35 pm

    Dwight,

    You realize you’ve converted absolutely nobody here.

    My rant is a little more mundane. I HATEHATEHATE Sears home repair service. I just spent from 8am to after 6pm waiting for a repair person who was supposed to show up by noon at the latest and fix my washing machine. What a frakkin waste of a day. Sears will never get my business again. I cannot wait to tell the service clerk that once I get off hold, where I have been for the past 20 minutes for yet the sixth time today. I gave up a day of work to just sit around home. I will never buy anything from them again. And it’s a damn shame because most of my appliances came from them.

  58. Catherine said on May 12, 2009 at 9:54 pm

    The reason TV writers get paid for reuse? They have a better-than-average union. Yes, I said UNION.

  59. nancy said on May 12, 2009 at 10:00 pm

    I like how they get paid forever if they introduce a new character who gets a spinoff. Oh, to be the “Cheers” bullpen writer who dreamed up Dr. Frasier Crane.

  60. grapeshot said on May 12, 2009 at 10:29 pm

    Gosh, nn, I must say you have the wrong end of the stick on “free” downloading and piracy. Take a look at what the publishers of Baen Books has to say on the subject, and also take a look at a presentation regarding the music industry (although a lot of the principles apply to any artist in any medium):
    http://www.baen.com/library/
    http://www.techdirt.com/articles/20090422/0407024607.shtml

    It is clear that the means of distribution of content has drastically changed, and the trick is not how do we punish all the evildoers who are sharing content but how to figure out how to make money off this new distribution model.

    So take me, an average jane-schmo consumer who loves to read books. Recently I decided to give the ebook format a try. I travel for a living but no longer wish to carry around a tote full of heavy books and magazines. Rather than invest in a new electronic reading device just yet, I decided to use my Palm, which had two different ebook reader applications on it.

    When I went searching for ebooks to buy, I was shocked at how difficult and expensive it was to find books that I wanted to read. Works by best selling authors sold either AT THE SAME PRICE as the hardback book, or at the same price as a paperback. So…what kind of idiot thinks that I’m dumb enough to pay that much for an electronic text file with some specialized formatting? Obviously, an idiot that doesn’t seem to realize that with a bit of effort, I could probably find that eBook on a torrent site somewhere.

    Had the eBook been available at a more reasonable price, I would’ve gladly paid just to avoid the pain of trying to search for a download for free. (Oh, and that “free” download does cost me. It costs me time, and bandwidth, and probably some more time spent re-formatting as well. If I can buy a song on iTunes for a buck, or an album for 9 bucks, and a television episode for 2 bucks, all of which costs more to produce than an electronic book file does, why on earth would I pay the full hardback or even the full paperback price for a f**king TEXT file?? JEBUS! And yes, I understand that writers do work hard! But surely not harder than any other artist!)

    Okay, I thought, I’ll just buy those high prices eBooks in the printed version, at a later time. For that kind of money, they can take their ebook and stick it where the sun don’t shine, and I will at least have something tangible for that $24.95. Or, better yet, f**k the author AND the publisher, I’ll borrow it from the library. I mean, really, they must think I’m some sort of boob. As far as I can tell, they’re practically INVITING me to search out a free download.

    Another problem is how paltry the selection in my favorite genre was. Many respected authors simply have no ebooks available, and others only had a few available. eBook sites such as eReader and Fictionwise were an almost painful site for browsing for titles. If you don’t already know the author or title that you’d like to read, it’ll take you a month of Sundays to find something that strikes your fancy. (I can’t speak for Amazon and its Kindle, but I somehow doubt that I’ll ever get an eReader that locks me into a format that I can’t shift from one eReader to another. That’s kind of like selling me a book that I can only read on Thursdays, or only read in the bathroom.)

    In my experience, people would far rather drop into a site like iTunes, browse around for a song, maybe listen to some samples, and with a few, quick clicks, have their music on their device in minutes, than to search high and low for a torrent that they think they might like. Contrary to popular belief, torrenting is time-consuming and a PITA. If only someone were smart enough to make book files just as easy to buy as songs are on iTunes. But no, they have to be locked down in draconian DRMs because someone might (oh the horror) pass it on to someone else. Never mind that people have always lent books to friends and family (representing LOST SALES) and lending libraries serve ENTIRE CITIES (again, MORE LOST SALES), and this hasn’t seemed to have harmed authors or the publishing industry.

    Piracy exists only because there’s a segment of the market that’s being under-served, or the offering is at such a high price-point that it offers no VALUE to the consumer.

  61. Joe Kobiela said on May 12, 2009 at 10:51 pm

    Interesting,
    Moe was the only one to try and attempt to explain the budget, everyone else seemed to say the same tired old things. Hate gwb, cheney is the devil,blah,blah.
    Face facts people. You can rant and rave all you want but nothing is going to come out of all this. No one in the top tier of GWB cabinet is going to jail, nor should they. Like I tried to say before, your letting all your hatred of the last administration cloud your views of the new administration. Take a good hard honest, (not a thank god he’s not gwb,) look.
    Pilot Joe

  62. Jeff (the mild-mannered one) said on May 12, 2009 at 10:53 pm

    Shot, you’re making me think. I’m not changing my mind yet, but as so many like to point out around here, i’m a conservative and hence slow to change, even when it seems obvious.

    Pricing isn’t quite as simple as you’re framing the issue (cost of production plus a profit margin really isn’t the whole story), but i’m just too totally tired to nitpick. Interesting points, and i promise to think about them . . . someday.

    MitchAlbomFan, i think you’re a DNC mole helping make GOPs look stupider. Cooz, don’t say it.

  63. Hattie said on May 13, 2009 at 12:16 am

    What if writers were publically funded and the public could download any work they wanted for free? This could be paid for by a tax on internet use. After all, you can get a book from the library or lend a book to a friend or neighbor, and that is not illegal.
    In my mind, downloading a book is not the same as stealing it from a bookstore but more like making use of work that has already been sold.
    I doubt if anyone will agree with me, but I don’t see how you can provide a living to creative people and distribute their work widely any other way.

  64. nancy said on May 13, 2009 at 12:27 am

    Good points, Hattie and grapeshot. Downloading books is OK. Downloading illegal copies is not OK.

    I agree with all the critics who say these intellectual-property companies lagged behind the tech curve — the “if iTunes came three years earlier, it’d be a whole different landscape” argument — but I have a hard time balancing their mistake with a culture of outright thieving that arose opposite it.

  65. Hattie said on May 13, 2009 at 12:56 am

    We need somehow to rethink all of this rather than making it a moral issue.
    BTW: I have a Kindle. I download several newspapers a week for which I pay 75 cents a copy. What I get for that is just the “meat” of the paper, the front page, opinion, etc. and a few photos. This is fine with me. More newspapers need to jump on board with this one.

  66. mark said on May 13, 2009 at 12:57 am

    jpk

    I guess your questions are posed in terms different than the way I look at the issue. I can’t identify one big or original liberal mistake.

    I like freedom. In the weighing of the value of security verses the value of freedom, I’m most likely to come down on the side of freedom. I think it works better and I think history is on my side.

    I don’t think that what I eat, or smoke, or drink or have sex with is any of the government’s business. I don’t want government paid-for medical care in part because I’m quite sure government will quickly take a much greater interest in what I weigh, where I travel, etc. The man who pays the piper picks the tunes, or something like that.

    I think it’s just as wrong for Republicans to create tax breaks for favored constituents as it is for Democrats to increase taxes on political or cultural opponents.

    I’m opposed to entitlements for those who don’t need them. I think a willingness to be charitable with other people’s money is not a virtue. Programs for the poor, the incompetent and the helpless are fine by me. Programs, subsidies, tax breaks, transfers etc. for the rest are the “Road to Serfdom”.

    If you examine the various developed countries, almost without exception those with the highest government spending as a % of GDP have the lowest rates of growth and innovation, and stagnant populations. Why will it be otherwise for us?

    Hobbes thought we needed a Leviathan to rule over us, but he was a very frightened man. I fear a government that engages in large scale wire-tappings to protect me from outsiders and fines (and would even imprison) me for not wearing a seat belt to protect me from myself.

  67. mark said on May 13, 2009 at 1:22 am

    Hattie,

    Do you really want government deciding who gets to be a writer and who doesn’t and what gets published and what doesn’t?

    “downloading a book is not the same as stealing it from a bookstore but more like making use of work that has already been sold.” So is it the same as stealing it from a USED bookstore?

    “but I don’t see how you can provide a living to creative people and distribute their work widely any other way.”

    It’s not my responsibility to provide a living for creative people. You don’t have a moral right to take from me to give to them. You don’t have the moral right to give away their work to me. It’s their work, the product of their creativity, and their’s to sell, give away or hide in the attack.

  68. JPK said on May 13, 2009 at 1:25 am

    thanks for responding, mark, interesting points.

    Coozledad, I’ve been just gobsmacked by the secession talk ever since I first heard of it a few weeks ago via the Texas gov. Unbelievable, just unbelievable, after all this time of using patriotism as a bludgeon. Words fail.

  69. caliban said on May 13, 2009 at 3:59 am

    It’s fairly obvious the State of Israel practices a form of Apartheid and just blows up Palestinians when it gets tired of bulldozing their homes and asking for papers.. Is their any part of that statement that isn’t true? Any rational observer would say it’s true. But somehow, this bestial governmental behavior is OK? Because if I point out that blowing up all of Lebanon may have been fine for W and Bibi, it was criminal, and the wanton destruction of the West Bank is sure as shit as disgusting as anything happening in Darfur. And this is because Jews were victimized, so its OK to be the victimizers?

    Facts in the modern world. Israel is spectacularly brutal and regressive, and engages regularly in spying on the US, from which it gets the bulk of its income. But if you point any of these facts out, you’re not disgusted with the obscene politics of the state of Israel, you’re anti-semitic, even though those nomads are semites too..

    Anybody that doesn’t think there’s anything wrong with AIPAC’S obscene influence on US voting is seriously too stupid to be allowed to vote.

  70. Claudia Allen said on May 13, 2009 at 7:32 am

    I send takedown letters out on a regular basis for the nonprofit where I work. While I sort of understand that ordinary people may think they can lift copyrighted materials and place them on their web sites, I am gobsmacked by the organizations in the publishing business (think major news outlets) that lift copyrighted materials and think “giving credit for the information” is enough. I’m not talking fair use amounts of material, but a whole stories and reports! How about asking permission to reprint? How about just linking to the information? How about offering to purchase the material? I’m sending one out to an organization this morning that I’d really love to name…I see my organization’s PDF on their web site. This PDF came from a password protected area on our web site and it’s clearly marked with a copyright. It even has a section that tells how to get in touch to ask for permission to reprint. Now I have to go write a “nice” letter asking them to remove it.

  71. coozledad said on May 13, 2009 at 8:27 am

    I think it’s likely that in a few years the Dixie wing of the Republican party will stage their own Strom-style walkout, so they can hew closer to the aims of the original Confederacy: The creation and maintenance of a phony aristocracy, a state mandated religion, a romanticized sham of feudalism, a militarized foreign policy, slavery for the poor in everything but name, and lynching as public sport. I know a few of them. They want resegregation and an invasion of Venezuela. Same ol’ same ol’.

  72. JRH said on May 13, 2009 at 8:47 am

    On the other hand, Neil Gaiman presented to the Open Rights Group at the end of last year about exactly why free is a good thing and how it’s worked in his favour as a publishing writer. http://www.openrightsgroup.org/2008/10/24/come-see-neil-gaiman-talk-in-london-tonight/

    Free/paid/copyright warrior – it just isn’t that simple any more.

  73. brian stouder said on May 13, 2009 at 9:49 am

    I like freedom. In the weighing of the value of security verses the value of freedom, I’m most likely to come down on the side of freedom. I think it works better and I think history is on my side.

    I like freedom also, and I don’t subscribe to the view that there is a zero-sum equation that dictates more of one thing equals less of the other. (Is a tax automatically an infringement on freedom? – or is it most often a ‘force multiplier’ of freedom?)

    As for history being in agreement with the idea that freedom and security are in conflict – I’m hip-deep into the book “Mellon” by David Cannadine (which, by the by is an EXCELLENT book, and one that Dorothy should check out – if only because it’s also very much about Pittsburgh), and Andrew Mellon and Henry Clay Frick and Andrew Carnegie WOULD agree with that definite “I got mine” construction

  74. mark said on May 13, 2009 at 10:36 am

    brian-

    I don’t think it is a zero sum game either, and I think it is often kind of complicated. At the macro level, I’m hard pressed to think of an example where less freedom lead to greater security.

    As a gneral rule, I prefer to see the tax code used to raise revenue, not to overtly influence behavior. But, in many instances I can see the benefit of user fees, which is sometimes contrary to my general rule, sometimes not.

  75. Croatoan said on May 15, 2009 at 1:24 pm

    The idiocy of a creature like caliban proves that the internet has become the last refuge for those who actually belong in a looney bin.

  76. DTS said on May 15, 2009 at 5:23 pm

    Regarding royalties, paying for use, etc: I think it’s great NN spoke out about illegal downloading (the internet equivalent of stealing a book from a store)…just wondering why she and Mitch are offended by a writer (Elllison or any other) who creates an original work (just as a novelist does) and then expects to get royalties when said work (an episode of a TV show or the show itself, if the person helped create it) is issued on DVD (novelists get royalties — and perhaps even upfront payments –for Kindle and audio editions of their novels, as they should.

    So what’s the difference? Why do you folks defend one and attack the other?

    MITCH: The work (characters, stories, etc) is owned by the writer and therefore his or her intellectual property. Whenever it is resold (usually for great profits) the writer SHOULD get another piece of the profit. If it wasn’t for him or her, the (poor) producers who invested money (with the hope of MAKING money off of someone’s labors and talent) wouldn’t continue raking in the bucks. Furthermore, MANY of the TV writers who rightfully demand royalties don’t have the same sort of benefits — health, retirement, etc — you have while working for a corporation (I know, I’ve done both: freelance and work for “the man”). So the monies paid for reuse is basically their annuity. Begrudging them that seems _very_ Republican of you.

    Finally, MITCH: I saw the video you mentioned. In that case, Ellison was (rightfully, again) complaining about being asked to spend part of his working day doing an interview — offering commentary that would help sell the DVDs — for free. When is the last time you offered your valuable time gratis to a company that is looking to make as much money as it can?

    NANCY: Regarding the Ellison/Willis imbroglio at the above-mentioned convention. First, the two have been – or at least were – friends for a very long time. They were into doing silly schtick when at such gatherings. Willis was going on and on, making Ellison (who was being _honored_) sit like a child in front of her. I looked at the video. Best I can tell, he probably grazed her breast when overzealously acting the fool in return. It didn’t look to be a malicious move on his part. But most importantly: _She_ never came out in public and said she was molested. Ellison has made a lot of enemies in the SF industry. My gut reaction is that they (and those who don’t like out spoken people like Ellison) used the opportunity to insert their uninformed opinions and get back (for whatever reason) at a guy whom they just don’t like.

    I’m not defending Ellison, but I’m not condemning him, either. That would be up to Connie Willis — a smart, secure, successful confident and outspoken woman — should she feel the need.

    So I guess I’m saying that I think you were right to sing Ellison’s praises for fighting the good fight against internet piracy where writing is concerned. He was one of the first to do so — I wrote an article about it for “Pages” – even when MANY writer’s organizations (and many writers) refused to help out.