Thursday, October 25, 2007

NY Set to Ban Nooses

I thought they already did that?

Oohhhhh, I get it. They're going to pass legislation to treat nooses as a hate crime. And drawings of nooses. And paintings of nooses. Presumably, they're going to ban any noose in any form.

No noose is good noose?

I know, that was stupid, but not as stupid as the New York legislature, apparently. Once again, a lawmaking body has tasked itself with whittling away at our Constitutional right to freedom of expression.

Just remember:

First they came for the nooses, and I said nothing, because I'm not a KKK moron.

Next, they came for the swastikas, and I said nothing, because I'm not, well, a KKK moron.

Next, they came for other things someone might find offensive, so Dancing With the Stars was removed from the air, and I said nothing, for I am not a brainless twit.

Finally, they came for bloggers...

Tuesday, October 09, 2007

Supreme Court Will Hear Medellin Case

I'm not talking about the notorious Medellin drug cartel. I'm talking about Jose Medellin, the gang member sentenced to death for his confessed role in the gang-rape and murder of two Houston teenage girls in 1993.

I'm in the middle of reading Medellin's brief to the Supreme Court right now, and I just wanted to throw out something that may very well be answered later:

Medellin's brief is discussing, at length, the "International Court of Justice," and its ruling which supposedly mandates American courts' review of the trials and sentences of 51 Mexican nationals. The brief seems to state that, because it was started by treaty, it is entitled to "supreme law of the land" status.

Fine. Okay.

But it can't supercede the Constitution. Because treaties are on a par with "acts of Congress," that means they are subject to the same standard of judicial review as those acts.

Which brings me to my point:

Isn't the ICJ, as it applies to the American court system, completely and utterly void based upon the fact that it seeks to set up a court which is higher in stature than (and thus able to review the decisions of) our own Supreme Court?

Something to think about.


I address the following to our Supreme Court:

Regarding the argument that the President's Directive was merely an attempt to "faithfully execute the laws," I would remind you that a President's Directive that any member of the Judicial Branch do anything, without following proper channels, is a blatant and terrible violation of our Constitution's separation of powers.


From the Respondent's (Texas) Brief:

"...the Presidential Memorandum surely reflects the President’s genuine desire to "reaffirm[ ] the United States commitment to the international rule of law.” U.S. Br., at 4. However, a laudable goal does not give the President unlimited power to act beyond his constitutional authority. As the Court has recognized, “the Constitution protects us from our own best intentions: It divides power among sovereigns and among branches of government precisely so that we may resist the temptation to concentrate power in one location as an expedient solution to the crisis of the day.” New York v. United States, 505 U.S. 144, 187 (1992)."

Good stuff.

Friday, October 05, 2007

RIAA Wins Lawsuit in Minnesota


A jury awarded $222,000.00 to the RIAA from a woman who allegedly shared music online.

You know, I can't begin to express how unfair I believe this is. First of all, I'd really like to see a transcript of the trial, to see how the RIAA proved this woman was really doing the infringement claimed. The article says they got some folks from the woman's ISP to testify that the address belonged to her. I guess that's it, then. Throw the book at this lowlife scum. Put her in the poorhouse for the rest of her life over a grand total of roughly $1,200 in lost revenue. Great idea. And while we're at it, let's hop on down to the schoolyard and pop those kids who are sharing a pair of earbuds from an iPod.

The recording industry is waaayy behind the curve on this one. Their idea of "damage control," instead of embracing new technologies, is to make the "little guy" lick your boots. They're producing cookie-cutter music at increasingly low overhead, and yet prices are still going up.

I'm not saying people should be allowed to indiscriminately share copyrighted material. I mean, the mixed-tapes I made in the 80's without a doubt cost the recording industry all of twenty or thirty bucks, and I feel bad about that. I really do. And I fully admit that I dubbed songs off the radio as late as 1987. I cry myself to sleep on a regular basis that, because of my actions, some recording industry executive couldn't afford one ten-trillionth of his mortgage payment. Just imagining the poor fella, sobbing in his Bentley, wondering how he'll make it to his next paycheck...

Sorry. I got choked up for a minute there.

Piracy is wrong. It always has been. But it's not a case of raving marauders attacking, pillaging and plundering the high seas, killing all in their quest for gold.

It is, overwhelmingly, a case of people who love music, and are tired of the recording industry being able to dictate the entirety of the marketplace's terms.

I suppose it's clear I'm conflicted on the issue. I haven't downloaded anything illegally, although I know folks who have. I don't associate with them anymore, because I don't want that oily taint to rub off on me. I have better things to do with my life than register on bittorrent sites like The Pirate Bay and search and download torrents of hundreds of songs (or even one, for that matter). It doesn't mean that I want those who do so to be treated as if they've caused hundreds of thousands of dollars in damages to the RIAA. They haven't.

Hey RIAA! Let's stop treating these folks like criminals and find a happy medium, shall we? I know, it sounds like extortion, but until your heavy-handed tactics stop, it's not going to get better for you. Remember the old saying:

"You catch more flies with honey than you do by putting them through intense trials and subjecting them to massive fines that are waaaay out of proportion to the amount of damages you have suffered."

Remember, Robin Hood was cool back in the day. But I imagine it wasn't so much that Robin Hood was cool, as it was that the Sheriff of Nottingham was a complete tyrant.

I leave you all with some serious words of advice.