Monday, June 29, 2009

Three articles of interest

Which to talk about? All of them: Obama brings about watered-down change, unnecessary copyright protections, and our staggering national debt.

Is diluted change really change?
Clive Crook writes in the Financial Times:
Mr Obama aims to keep his promises, which is admirable. Unfortunately, there is a problem. This is not, as many Republicans argue, that neither issue requires forthright action. Both do. The problem is that the bills emerging from Congress are bad and Mr Obama does not seem to mind.

I've noticed that. It's like he's still in the Illinois legislature and still trying to pad his resume. "Lets see, I promised to deal with Global Warming, revise our health care system, and get us out of Iraq. Okay, let's get Congress to pass some bills about those topics so I can check these off my to-do list." It doesn't matter if the bills are bad legislation. It doesn't matter if they actually accomplish what he promised. They just need to have the write terms attached to them.

I've seen very few who really like the Cap-and-Trade bill on either side of the issue. The Right feels it will have a terrible impact on business. The Left feel is won't actually accomplish anything. Does ANYONE like this bill besides Pelosi and Obama?

Should copyright law be used to protect certain business models?
Jeff Jarvis over at Buzz Machine calls out certain lawyers-cum-lobbyists for advocating bad copyright law:
Following the frighteningly dangerous thinking of Judge Richard Posner – proposing rewriting copyright law to outlaw linking to and summarizing (aka talking about) news stories – now we have two more lemming lawyers following him off the cliff in a column written by the Cleveland Plain Dealer’s Connie Schultz.


Schultz says that David Marburger, an alleged First Amendment attorney for her paper, and his economics-professor brother, Daniel, have concocted their own dangerous thinking, proposing the copyright law be changed to insist that a newspaper’s story should appear only on its own web site for the first 24 hours before it can be aggregated or retold.

Incredible. So if the Plain Dealer reported exclusively that, say, the governor had just returned from a tryst with a Argentine lady, no one else could so much as talk about that for 24 hours. A First Amendment lawyer said this.

So this post would not be possible if Posner and company get their way. I have to wonder how many news organizations actually support this bad idea. If there is a problem on the internet, it's from bloggers, et al, not attributing/linking their sources. Do they realize that if the law is changed the way they want people will just start summarizing and not link to their sites? As long as they paraphrase carefully it will be difficult to prove they lifted it from their site.

And yes, Jarvis raises a good point. Would this inadvertently impact other news sources who develop the story independently? Would it impact the AP News Service in that the first newspaper that prints an AP story is the only one allowed to do so for 24 hours?

That these people appear to have thought this through so little frightens me.

Congressional Budget Office issues warning
The Washington Post has coverage on the CBO's latest warning to the administration:
Now comes the CBO with yet more news of the sort that neither Capitol Hill nor the White House is likely to welcome: its freshly released report on the federal government's long-term financial situation. To put it bluntly, the fiscal policy of the United States is unsustainable. Debt is growing faster than gross domestic product. Under the CBO's most realistic scenario, the publicly held debt of the U.S. government will reach 82 percent of GDP by 2019 -- roughly double what it was in 2008. By 2026, spiraling interest payments would push the debt above its all-time peak (set just after World War II) of 113 percent of GDP. It would reach 200 percent of GDP in 2038.

This huge mass of debt, which would stifle economic growth and reduce the American standard of living, can be avoided only through spending cuts, tax increases or some combination of the two. And the longer government waits to get its financial house in order, the more it will cost to do so, the CBO says.

Does anybody really know what time it is? Does anybody really care?

No comments: