The Stanford law professor is focusing on corruption as a way of combating creeping copyrights:
Mr Lessig has concentrated for a decade on copyright law and its interaction with the internet. So he left some people feeling confused earlier this year when he announced a new focus for his campaigning efforts: tackling corruption. Not everyone understood that this change in academic and activist emphasis is more of a shift in strategy than in substance.
For years Mr Lessig has presented legal arguments against excessive copyright extensions. But he says lawmakers are so in thrall to big-media lobbyists that they do not even realise that counter-arguments to copyright extensions exist. Even though Britain's Gowers Review, published in 2005, argues against such extensions, and eminent economists such as the late Milton Friedman have declared the importance of copyright limits to be a “no brainer”, Mr Lessig says legislators are clueless about “an issue that any rational policymaker has no problem understanding.” Swayed by campaign contributions from vested interests—such as film studios, music companies and book publishers—America's Congress has lengthened copyright terms 11 times in the past four decades, he observes.
Princeton economist (and New York Times columnist) Paul Krugman thinks Tresury's subprime plan won't do much:
[W]e're almost surely looking at less than $10 billion in losses avoided. Meanwhile, estimates of subprime losses to investors are currently running in the $300 -$400 billion range. So the back of my envelope suggests that this plan is a drop in the bucket.
This one from the Washington Post. Unlike the one I mentioned from WQAD, WaPo's limits you by party, and to the top 5 in each.
I came up all Edwards again, mostly because of his positions on health care.
Via my dad, an interesting tool to help pick your primary-election candidate from the NBC affilliate in the Quad Cities.
Apparently I'm closest to Kucinich, though of the three front-runners in my party, I'm closest to Edwards. (Which I knew anyway.) Only 65 days until the Illinois primary...and only 414 days, 21 hours and 42 minutes remain in the worst presidency the Republic has ever known.
Via Talking Points Memo, the White House is planning to stay in Iraq indefinitely:
When last we left the Bush administration's so-called benchmarks for strategic progress in Iraq—that is, the political progress that military success allows—they weren't being met, and the White House didn't care. Now that the year's almost over and the administration is beginning to bring the "surge" troops home, it's worth asking: what happened to the benchmarks? The New York Times reports that the administration has quietly given up on them, preferring nebulous goals for which it's easier to claim success.
We still have (up to) 420 days, 22 hours, and 30 minutes left in the worst presidency in history.
The Commission on Presidential Debates announced Monday that my undergraduate alma mater, Hofstra University, will host the final debate in the 2008 general election cycle:
"We are extremely pleased and proud that the Commission has chosen Hofstra University for one of America's most important political events," said Hofstra University President Stuart Rabinowitz. "The presidential debates are pivotal events that can shape the course of the election, and our students and community will be able to witness, first-hand, the democratic process."
President Rabinowitz will soon announce plans for a series of academic programs to be held in the months leading up to the debate that will provide students and the community with insights into the process and workings of the national election. "With Hofstra's unique academic strengths, particularly with our Peter S. Kalikow Center for the Study of the American Presidency and our vibrant academic programs in political science, journalism and mass media, and law, we are uniquely poised to take advantage of the special opportunities a presidential debate offers. We plan to maximize every opportunity to involve students, faculty and the community in this historic event."
The debate will air Wednesday 15 October 2008 at 9 pm EDT.
No word yet on who will attend, but several qualified people have applied for the job.
Via Talking Points Memo, Donny and Marie have endorsed Romney. They also endorse the idea that the Angel Moroni spoke to Joseph Smith and told him that the word of God was written on a collection of golden plates buried (conveniently) near his home; that native Americans spoke European languages and were white; and that white men quite literally rule all others.
Lest you think I'm inflating the religious issue, perhaps drawing too close an inference that having a world-view based on the demonstrably irrational and fantastic writings of a deeply disturbed individual is somehow incompatible with having nuclear launch codes handy, here is Donny Osmond's rationale for his endorsement:
Donny Osmond said Romney's candidacy has been "absolutely wonderful for the Mormon Church" because it has made many more Americans curious about their faith.
Marie added punctuation:
And Marie Osmond had this to say when asked whether Romney should give a speech on his religion similar to the one that John F. Kennedy gave during the 1960 campaign before becoming the nation's first Catholic president: "I hope we've grown up since then. I hope people look at the person and what they've done."
You're right, Marie, Mitt Romney is not John F. Kennedy. Romney supports theocracy, Constitution be damned, while Kennedy quite famously told the country "I do not speak for my Church on public matters — and the Church does not speak for me." So the Osmonds' endorsement, couched as it is in religious terms, and Romney's refusal to distance himself from it, may not be the triviality it seems to be. And I'm not sure that sauntering toward religious rule, no matter what the religion, means we've "grown up."
Don't even start me on Romney's record.
From Talking Points Memo (emphasis in original):
Tom Tancredo's new ad, set to run in Iowa—if any stations will accept it, that is—is a true original. The ad depicts the dire consequences of our open borders through a dramatization of a fictitious terrorist attack in the middle of a shopping mall. ...
One has to wonder if the plot is taken from the hypothetical terror scenario described by Brit Hume at the first Fox News debate earlier this year, which involved terrorist attacks taking place at malls.
Today's Chicago Tribune explains that while the Chicago Transit Authority (CTA) has serious problems funding its daily operations, it has an even bigger problem finding the $6 billion required to make capital improvements:
The CTA says it is more than $6 billion short of adequately modernizing its rail and bus lines, a staggering number lost in the debate as the agency lurches from one "doomsday" to another searching for the tens of millions of dollars it needs to keep operating.
The result is that more than 500 CTA buses, one-fourth of its fleet, have been on the road for 16 years, logging an average 580,000 miles apiece.
The cost of repairing and maintaining the old buses is soaring. The CTA said it spends $16 million a year to keep the old buses in running order, more than five-fold the $3 million cost for upkeep on newer models.
Reporter Jon Hilkevich does examine some of the reasons for the funding shortfall:
Increasing amounts of the CTA's capital budget -- more than a combined $150 million since 2003 -- have been diverted to operations to help balance annual budgets and reduce the threatened service cuts and fare increases under the CTA's doomsday plans.
At the same time, capital funding to the CTA has fallen by almost $200 million a year since the Illinois FIRST infrastructure program expired almost five years ago.
Without the state launching a successor to Illinois FIRST, non-federal capital funding to the CTA during the next five years is projected at one-tenth the level in 2002, according to CTA budget documents.