URLs du Jour

2018-01-11

Tread Upon Now What?

■ Advice to the planners from Proverbs 16:3:

3 Commit to the Lord whatever you do,
    and he will establish your plans.

On the other hand, I recommend due diligence.

Note: we default to the New International Version translation here. For important commentary on that, see today's bottom item.


■ The Google LFOD klaxon sounded for this article from our state's local cell of Commie Radio: New Hampshire House Votes for Marijuana Legalization. And LFOD comes up pretty much where you would expect it to:

Advocates, like Rep. Frank Sapareto of Derry, said the "war on pot" should be over. Others cited New Hampshire's "Live Free Or Die" motto, with the Granite State possibly being "an island of prohibition" whereas neighboring states have legalized pot for adults.

It should pain us to be less liberty-loving in this area than Maine, Massachusetts, and Vermont.


■ At the Volokh Conspiracy's new home at Reason, David Post notes some good news on the copyright front: The Public Domain is So Hungry. Post relates the history of works originally copyrighted in 1923:

  • Under existing law, the copyright term was 56 years, so they would have gone into the public domain in 1979;
  • But in 1976, Congress extended the period to 75 years, pushing back the PD date to 1999;
  • And then in 1998—just in time!—Congress stuck on another 20 years, which brings us to 2019;
  • Which means that those 1923 works will go public next year! Yay!

But will they actually be allowed to do so, or will Congress step in yet again, with another gift for copyright owners? Many people, myself included, pointed out at the time of enactment of the CTEA, that Congress could just keep on extending copyright duration further and further, every 20 years, thereby contravening the constitutional requirement in Article I that copyrights could only be granted for "limited times." The argument that the CTEA was unconstitutional for this very reason was ultimately rejected by the Supreme Court (in Eldred v. Ashcroft, 537 US 186 (2003)), thereby seeming to give Congress free rein to do just that.

Fortunately, it appears that the likelihood of such an additional extension is relatively low, as Timothy Lee explains in a very interesting essay over at ArsTechnica. This reflects a small but rather significant change in the politics of copyright policy. In the past, copyright owners could get pretty much whatever they wanted from Congress. The benefits of longer copyright term, and broader and stronger protection, were felt by a small and very well organized constituencies - recording companies, movie studios, print publishers - who had/have a substantial financial interest in measures to increase copyright protection, while the costs were largely invisible, spread out among the members of the entire public who were denied free access to previously-copyright protected works.

The legislative history is classic crony capitalism, with a complaisant Congress rolling over to well-heeled rent-seekers. The copyright period is already too long, but at least it appears it won't get longer.


■ David Harsanyi piles on Google's shiny new feature, designed to protect their users from unwanted thoughts: Google’s New ‘Fact-Checker’ Is Partisan Garbage. Specific examples of Google's deployment of this weapon against The Federalist website are provided.

[…] if [Google's method] is the standard for corrections and dissuading people from visiting a site, what possible reason could there be for left-wing sites that regularly make arguable or false assertions about economics, history, science, and politics, like Vox and ThinkProgress and many others, to be spared from this fact-checking? It’s one thing for us to read publications through filters. We do it all the time. But it’s another for a search engine to manipulate perceptions about those sites — and only conservative ones — before people even read them.

In my own Googling, I've found that Google search results are often an active impediment to "getting all sides" of an issue, burying any conservative/libertarian voices deep on subsequent pages, if they're present at all.


■ But perhaps that's not surprising, given this Federalist article listing 19 Insane Tidbits From James Damore’s Lawsuit About Google’s Office Environment. Just one gem:

Google manager Adam Fletcher wrote in 2015 he would never hire conservatives he deemed hold hostile views. “I will never, ever hire/transfer you onto my team,” he wrote. “Ever. I don’t care if you are perfect fit or technically excellent or whatever. I will actively not work with you, even to the point where your team or product is impacted by this decision. I’ll communicate why to your manager if it comes up.”

“You’re being blacklisted by people at companies outside of Google,” he added. “You might not have been aware of this, but people know, people talk. There are always social consequences.”

Yesterday I noted that Google sounds a lot like higher-ed Deep Thinkers, whose response to any Incorrect thought is marginialization, denunciation, and blacklisting. Eighteen more examples at the link. (And they don't mention Cargo Cult Programming!)


■ And (as promised above) the Babylon Bee diagnoses our problem: KJV-Only Pastor Tests Positive For NIV

In a somber announcement, Pastor Philip Wallace confirmed to his congregation at Hartford Ave Fundamentalist Baptist Church, AV1611 Wednesday evening that he has tested positive for NIV.

The man has pastored the congregation of seventeen people for the past thirty years, staunchly defending the purity of the Scriptures as handed down to mankind in the Authorized Version, but confessed he may have contracted NIV while “experimenting” with other translations during his college years.

I'm NIV-positive, and I think you should know that.