When publishers get paid, the writers should be paid

Some of us write for the sake of being read or performed. Some of us don’t expect to make money writing. But if you expect writers to create content for you, you should pay them fairly. This means you don’t go making money on their work without compensating them.

I understand the writers’ union is asking for a percentage of net. They should have a percentage of gross.

Right on

Jerome Doolittle @ Bad Attitudes:

The Guardian has a promising new website, Guardian America. In it Sidney Blumenthal offers a piece on how Rudy Giuliani’s old pal, Michael Mukasey, has publicly revealed that he intends to be not the nation’s lawyer but just another of Bush’s sock puppets.

The Senate Democrats could have spared us this further indignity but a controlling majority of them are too cowardly to do so. Principal among these cowards is the revolting Charles Schumer of New York. You may have seen him once or twice on TV, where he plays a liberal.

He has more. Read on if you can handle a bit of intramural criticism.

Related post:

Update: NTodd @ Dohiyi Mir suggests we stop calling the administration’s torture program “waterboarding,” and start calling it “partial drowning interrogation.”

Recommended reading

Barbara O’Brien @ The Mahablog on the current slate of Democratic candidates.

My own thoughts are similar to hers on this as far as the nomination; as for the general election I would not cast a vote for Hillary Clinton.

If you’ve lost Bob Schieffer, you’ve lost middle America

(h/t Faiz @ Think Progress)

Not funny

Just a quick note. Michael Musto is a frequent contributor to the otherwise excellent Countdown with Keith Olbermann. This is an excerpt of his schtick on Friday’s program with guest host Allison Stewart:

STEWART:  Now, when [Nicole] Richie‘s TV co-star and fellow famous for no real person, Paris Hilton, served her 23 days in the slammer, Hilton took along spiritual books.  What did Ms. Richie bring for her 82 minutes?

MUSTO:  She got the same bible that Paris had.  Paris sold it on eBay.  But this time there are passages circled in crayon for when Larry King asks you your favorite parts.  She also has a book called, “How to Accidentally Fall Down Stairs and Lose Seven Pounds in Prison For Pregnant Dummies.”  Great book.

Paul Clement for interim attorney general

First, let me show you an advertisement. As always, I have received no consideration.

Marijuana Laws Waste Billions of Taxpayer Dollars to Lock Up Non-Violent Americans

Click image to enlarge.

This was a paid advertisement that was displayed in the D.C. Metro during the month of September 2004. What you may not know is that it required a lawsuit to get the Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority to accept the ad. The Republican Congress had included budget language that would have cut off federal funding to local transit authorities that accept advertisements critical of current marijuana laws. The ACLU, the Drug Policy Alliance, the Marijuana Policy Project, and Change the Climate, Inc. filed suit in federal court and

In June 2004, Judge Paul L. Friedman of the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia ruled the ‘Istook Amendment’ unconstitutional on First Amendment grounds, stating “there is a clear public interest in preventing the chilling of speech on the basis of viewpoint,” and that, “the government articulated no legitimate state interest in the suppression of this particular speech other than the fact that it disapproves of the message, an illegitimate and constitutionally impermissible reason.”

As solicitor general, Paul Clement‘s responsibility would ultimately have been to argue this case on behalf of the government before the Supreme Court. He declined, stating that “the government does not have a viable argument to advance in the statute’s defense and will not appeal the district court’s decision.”

I think he will be a much better acting attorney general than the outgoing Alberto Gonzales.

In any event the senate should not recess for the duration of this term to prevent the administration from appointing another crony attorney general without their advice and consent.

Posted in Opinion. 1 Comment »

Says the Gray Lady, it’s time to go home

The New York Times:

“It is time for the United States to leave Iraq, without any more delay than the Pentagon needs to organize an orderly exit.”

Hat-tip Kathy Kattenburg.

Hot or not?

Two sets of law, one for the president and his friends, and the other for us


Larry Johnson has more on the ongoing British state of panic:

As events unfold I’m simply asking that folks take a big deep breath and try to keep things in perspective. Are there jihadist extremists in the world who are willing to kill innocents? Absolutely. Are they amenable to negotiation? No. I am not in the, “have you hugged a terrorist today” camp. However, we need to stop equating their hatred with actual capability.

If today’s events at Glasgow prove to be linked to the two non-events yesterday in London, then we should heave a sigh of relief. We may be witnessing the implosion of takfiri jihadists–religious fanatics who are incredibly inept. While I am not an explosives expert I am good friends with one of the world’s foremost explosives experts. Propane tanks and petrol (gas for us Americans) can produce a dandy flame and a mighty boom but these are not the tools for making a car bomb long the lines of what we see detonating on a daily basis in Iraq.

Morse v. Frederick re: “BONG HiTS 4 JESUS”

I have not yet read the opinions in this case, but I have been informed of the decision of the court.

I think the court made the correct decision under the facts as presented.

Because I advocate for the end of cannabis prohibition, it would have been my preference for the decision to go the other way, but of course that would be lending precisely an inference to the banner which Mr. Frederick denies. He says that the banner is meaningless, and if that is so, then how is it also protected speech?

If the banner had said SMOKE CRACK 4 SATAN would that have been acceptable?

Now there are real first amendment concerns if this speech were prohibited outright, but it has to be taken as meaningful speech in order to even be addressed as such. Speech can be regulated in some places, none of my readers would (I hope) advocate that people have a right to put up SMOKE CRACK 4 SATAN signs in public schools.

So we can’t even get to the meat of it as far as content restrictions may go, because the sign purportedly has no content.

But Mr. Frederick was an adult, and he had the right to display even a nonsense sign if he chose, and the school principal had no authority over him whatsoever unless he voluntarily remained enrolled in the public school.

I concur in the decision of the court, on my own reasoning above.

I would point out that students have been protected in their political and religious speech. Therefore, the following two banners would presumably pass constitutional muster as protected first amendment speech:



Related posts:

Update: “Bong Hits for Jesus” seems like a good subject for a song.

Update 2: Would you believe it started as a song?

Update 3: Chris Weigant in the Huffington Post (hat-tip Lindsay Beyerstein):

In reading today’s Supreme Court’s decision on Morse v. Frederick, the case of the student in Juneau, Alaska, who unfurled a banner reading “BONG HiTS 4 JESUS” and was subsequently suspended (you can read the story here or at the Washington Post to get the details of the case), one conclusion is crystal-clear: Kids, if you’re going to unfurl such a banner in an effort to get on national television, make sure that you state your case as: ‘LEGALIZE BONG HiTS 4 JESUS’.” Because then the First Amendment will protect you.

I think the real lesson here is to defend your speech. Don’t pretend you didn’t mean something by it, or you’ll never get anywhere. BONG HiTS 4 JESUS was perfectly capable of defense on first amendment religious grounds, but I doubt that Mr. Frederick understood that; at any rate he was unwilling to stand behind the words themselves at all after the sign was taken from him.

Update 4: If I seem harsh towards Joe Frederick, I actually think he did good. Sometimes not winning is as good as winning. We’re discussing BONG HiTS 4 JESUS, aren’t we?

Pete Guither has some more thoughts along these lines, though I gather he thinks the court got it wrong altogether.

Is she a good witch, or a bad witch?

Invent your own titles. Fun for the family*!

*Cannablog has been rated PG. Parental guidance suggested.

Legislation that nobody liked, finally dies


Hat-tip Melissa McEwan.

Related post:

Still the best writer on these internet tubes

Dennis Kucinich is absolutely correct.

Withdraw, now.

Iowa poll of likely caucus-goers (hat-tip Andrew Sullivan):

Do you favor a withdrawal of all United States military from Iraq within the next six months? (Republicans Only)
Yes 54%
No 37%
Undecided 9%

Do you favor a withdrawal of all United States military from Iraq within the next six months? (Democrats Only)
Yes 81%
No 5%
Undecided 14%

He’s a loony

Georgie Anne Geyer in the Dallas Morning News, on George Bush (hat-tip Monkeyfister):

Friends of his from Texas were shocked recently to find him nearly wild-eyed, thumping himself on the chest three times while he repeated “I am the president!” He also made it clear he was setting Iraq up so his successor could not get out of “our country’s destiny.”

Posted in Opinion. 1 Comment »

Even “reasonable conservatives” forget the first half of the second amendment

Jon Swift has an idea:

It is the Second Amendment that makes our country free. A Global Second Amendment would make the world free. Nuclear proliferation could be the key to making the world safe for democratic proliferation.

We’d have to accept a Nuclear Regulatory Body, being necessary to the security of a free World.

Related posts:


digby. (h/t.)


Chuck Dupree:

As a long-time critic of the New York Times, I have to say my first impression of their new public editor is positive.

Clark Hoyt, the third PE after Daniel Okrent and Byron Calame, was Knight-Ridder’s Washington from 1999; when McClatchy bought K-R last year, he became a consultant.

Related post:

The VA Tech killer and his victims

I’m not going to use his name. He’s dead, and best forgotten. He was a destructive force, and desired to create a name that would live on. Why are the media giving it to him? Why display his writings and his videos, when there are people who are out here writing and making videos for peace that you will give no coverage to whatsoever? What message are you sending by giving to the murderer the very thing he desired?

Let’s talk about the victims, instead. I already mentioned one, a hero by the name of Liviu Librescu who lived through the Holocaust, was liberated from communist Romania, and on his final day he rescued multiple students from certain death by holding the door closed against the killer. He was shot through the door.

Emily Jane Hilscher, age 19, was the first victim. She was killed in her dormitory. Media rushed to report some possible relationship between her and the killer. Without any evidence. Why?

There are 30 more stories like these two, though we don’t know the details of many of the students’ lives. Nor would we expect to; the families are entitled to their privacy in their mourning after all.

Among the faculty, we know somewhat more, in addition to Professor Librescu, killed were Jamie Bishop, age 35, Instructor, Foreign Languages and Literatures, Jocelyne Couture-Nowak, Instructor, Foreign Languages, Kevin Granata, age 45, Professor, Engineering Science & Mechanics, and G. V. Loganathan, age 50, Professor, Civil and Environmental Engineering.

I think we should see their pictures. Not the killer’s. Let him lie in an unmarked grave, known only to his family and those that loved him in spite of his actions. Let his name be forgotten, his achievement was only disaster.

On review

Oh bullshit.

But Kennedy said the Act could stand “when medical uncertainty persists…The Court has given state and federal legislatures wide discretion to pass legislation in areas where there is medical and scientific uncertainty.” Quoting from a 1974 ruling (Marshall v. U.S.), the opinion said that “When Congress undertakes to act in areas fraught with medical and scientific uncertainties, legislative options must be especially broad.”

If there were a broad consensus that a procedure was medically unnecessary and dangerous, legislation would be appropriate to regulate those who went against the consensus — not to prohibit, as prohibition fails to dissuade and creates unregulable harms — but to place controls and supervision, to fully inform people of the risks and to establish liability.

But in the absence of such consensus, “in areas where there is medical and scientific uncertainty,” legislation is least appropriate, and most likely to be injurious of fundamental rights. This is the time when we should be studying the issue and learning enough about it to form a consensus, not to prematurely inflict a viewpoint that is widely contested.

The court has misruled.