We are generally what would be considered “law and order” type of people here at Raised on Hoecakes. We are of the belief that your rights end at our noses, and intersection of rights and noses is governed by laws.
That being said, an article in the FloridaToday newspaper reports there are 40,000 new laws across the country set to go into effect on January 1, 2012.
That’s an average of 800 laws per state being implemented.
It also means that for the past year, a new law was being passed every 13 minutes and 10 seconds.
Twenty four hours a day, seven days a week, 365 days of the year, a new law every 13 minutes.
That is in addition to the millions of laws already on the books.
The number of laws tells you all you need to know about the level of control the government wants to assert on our lives.
Dec 30, 2011
Posted by AAfterwit on Dec 30, 2011 | Comments Off
The “Stop Online Piracy Act” and the corresponding “Protect IP” Act have been getting a lot of posts around here and rightfully so. Both bills are serious threats to free speech and due process afforded to all Americans under the Constitution.
Some of the highlights in the post include the idea that while groups such as the MPAA and the RIAA make outlandish claims of how much piracy costs them, there is no solid study or evidence to back up those claims.
Are online piracy and copyright infringement hurting the economy? It’s always been hard to find solid evidence on this score. The copyright industry — record companies, movie studios, software makers — is always citing reports suggesting that IP infringement is destroying 750,000 jobs per year or costing U.S. companies $200 billion. But as the Government Accountability Office found last year, most of these claims “cannot be substantiated.”
And now, as Nate Anderson reports at Ars Technica, the International Intellectual Property Alliance is taking a brand new tack, arguing in its latest annual report that “piracy inhibits [our] growth in the US and around the world.” But as Anderson observes, the actual numbers in the report don’t seem bear this out. Since 2007, businesses based on copyright have been growing faster than the economy as a whole by a full percentage point. What’s more, the “core” copyright industries (sound recording, movies, TV, software, publishing) are thriving, shedding fewer jobs than the economy as a whole and earning record profits overseas, where piracy is even more rampant.
This means the whole premise of the SOPA and the Protect IP Act is somewhat fundamentally flawed. No one disputes there is intellectual piracy on the internet. The question is “are the two proposed bills using a cannon to kill a flea?”
Major groups have written and appeared before Congress telling representatives their approach will not work and will in fact harm innovation and economic growth, but officials have turned a deaf ear to groups and instead have listened to those groups that support them financially through contributions.
As a practical matter, seizing and blocking domain names, as the bill allows, is a technical nightmare. Both bills advocate the same type of censorship techniques used in China and other oppressive regimes. (That is a good feeling, isn’t it?)
In response to the proposed domain seizures, the group MafiaaFire and an individual who codes under the name of “Tamer Rizk” have both come up with extensions for the Firefox Browser that will allow people to circumvent the domain seizures and blocks if a website moves offshore and out of the United States.
We have previously posted about the “Stop Online Piracy Act,” and the “Protect IP” Act that are backed by groups such as the RIAA and the MPAA.
The bills basically allow for the government to require ISP’s to monitor your surfing habits and report any suspicious activity to the government. In doing so, the ISP’s become agents of the state, but without the need for a warrant or judicial oversight. In addition, the bill allows the government to seize domains that may have copyrighted material or even link to copyrighted material. The domains can be seized without any type due process.
Clearly the bills, while good intentioned, are so far out of Constitutional protection they must be stopped. (HINT: Contact your representatives!)
We also covered how the RIAA and the Department of Homeland Security have been caught with their hands in the proverbial “piracy cookie jar.” In the case of the DHS, more than 900 unique IP addresses have been caught downloading illegal content.
And these are the people that are charged with enforcing the proposed legislation.
Enter now into the madness is the House of Representatives. BoingBoing.net is reporting over 800 unique IP addresses assigned to the United States House of Representatives have downloaded illegal content via Bit Torrent. (more…)
Dec 28, 2011
Posted by AAfterwit on Dec 28, 2011 | Comments Off
The article’s headline blares out the question and the paper’s answer:
Is adultery bad? Politicians who betray spouses might do same to voters
The question is a fair one. If a person breaks their marriage vows of fidelity to their wife, how will that play out if the person is elected to the office of President?
If a person cannot be trusted with their most loving and intimate relationship, how will they act in the relationship with the American people?
To illustrate, the author writes:
In our not too distant past, a feeling of shame made people go into hiding after an adulterous relationship was exposed. Now they go on television . They either deny it (Herman Cain), admit it and say they’ve asked God for forgiveness (Newt Gingrich), or pay no political price at all (space limitations prevent me from listing the legion of politicians that fall into this last category.)
We may be a little sensitive here, but the only people listed are Conservative Republicans.
It is not until later the writer comes up with an example of a Democrat being accused of adultery: (more…)
Dec 28, 2011
Posted by AAfterwit on Dec 28, 2011 | Comments Off
The so called “Patriots” made visits to Democrats on the Budget Super Committee saying the Democrats should reject any Republican proposal that does not increase the taxes of people making a million dollars a year.
We have actually undermined the employment gains our economy made in the private sector by firing thousands of workers in the public sector. Just to emphasize this point, we have been firing people who WORK FOR US because we are unwilling to ask a few of the more fortunate Americans to pay exactly what they were paying a few years ago.
Private companies are great – they are critical to our society – most people around me work or worked for private companies. But private companies don’t work for US – they don’t work for the American people as a part of their mission. They work for profit and for their shareholders – and they should.
The disconnect here is staggering. Essentially, these moguls of industry are saying that they aren’t hiring people because it is not profitable, but are demanding people pay for public sector jobs without any accountability to whether the job is needed. They want people to be hired in the public sector so the public will be doing what they will not – hiring people.
The story of Chicken Little is a cautionary tale of letting one’s imagination and fears, instead of rational thought and discourse, send them down a path to a much worse fate and ruin.
The story is a simple one. Chicken Little gets hit on the head by a falling acorn and believes the sky is falling. She runs to her friends and convinces them the sky is falling as well. Chicken Little and her friends decide they need to warn the king of the impending disaster. Along the way, they meet a fox who sends them on a “shortcut,” which is actually a path to his home so he can eat them all. Luckily, the King is traveling along the same road and stops Chicken Little and her friends from taking the Fox’s direction. They tell the King the sky is falling and the King politely rebukes them saying the sky is not falling, but instead they have let their own irrational fears put them at risk.
The falling acorn of many people today is the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2012. Like all bills, there are currently two versions – one in the House and one in the Senate. Originally proposed in April of 2011, the Bill made it through committees and the House and Senate passed the final versions last Wednesday.
The “acorn” sections of the bill causing consternation are sections 1031 and 1032. The wording of these sections is the same in both the House and Senate versions of the bill. However, it does appear that a section prior to these sections has been deleted, so the numbers of the sections have been changed in the final versions of the bill to 1021 and 1022.
At issue is the claim that the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) through sections 1021 and 1022 will give the President (and specifically Barack Obama) to arrest anyone and detain them on the charge of “terrorism” without a trial.
On top of the attack on Constitutional freedoms, you have a report from the Department of Homeland Security saying terrorism in the form “right wing extremism,” including the Tea Party, is on the rise.
The report famously noted:
Rightwing extremism in the United States can be broadly divided into those groups, movements, and adherents that are primarily hate-oriented (based on hatred of particular religious, racial or ethnic groups), and those that are mainly antigovernment, rejecting federal authority in favor of state or local authority, or rejecting government authority entirely. It may include groups and individuals that are dedicated to a single issue, such as opposition to abortion or immigration.
It almost seems as if the DHS is saying opinions other than those held by the government are part of a terrorist movement.
Such a thought process from DHS is dangerous to all Americans.
Being concerned about the real attack on Americans and American liberties is a good thing. It is imperative that we, as a country, stay on top of the real threats to our freedoms.
Which brings up back to the National Defense Authorization Act. There are those who claim the NDAA will allow the President to detain those who are simply expressing a different point of view. The people, some say, will be held indefinitely and without trial under the authority given in sections 1021 and 1022, plus the Department of Homeland Security’s lists.
“IF anyone can be called a terrorist, the NDAA gives the President to lock them up,” is the way the argument goes.
Ah yes, the day after Christmas. It is usually the day when the most money exchanges hands between customers and stores due to returns, exchanges and purchases.
In many cases, for retailers and customers, it will be worse than “Black Friday,” when people are so consumed with getting the right gift, they are willing to fight, scratch, kick and claw their fellow man.
Today the same feelings will arise, but adding to the pressure is the fact that people will be tired from the holidays. Whether it be the customer, or the clerk behind the counter, everyone will be tired and in far too many cases, angry.
But angry about what? A gift that needs to be returned? A missing battery? A electronic device that didn’t work? A sweater that didn’t fit?
Think about this for a second. Why are we getting upset over a gift? Isn’t it the act of giving that matters? Isn’t Christmas about celebrating the birth of Christ with our families and loved ones?
And now, barely 24 hours later, the stores are going to be invaded by angry, tired customers facing tired and worn out clerks in what only can be described as a less than Christmas-y manner.
We have been on the side of the customer and have been on the side of the clerk. We have been in lines that never seem to move and behind counters past which you can barely see for all the people.
The point we are trying to make here is that when we venture out, we should remember that while Christmas is but one day a year, the spirit of Christmas – the spirit of peace on earth and good will toward men – should last at least through today.
Smile. Keep singing Christmas songs, and remember the verses you read yesterday….
“Glory to God in the Highest, and on earth, peace and goodwill toward all men.”
Dec 25, 2011
Posted by AAfterwit on Dec 25, 2011 | Comments Off
From all of us here at Raised on Hoecakes, we wish you, your family and friends, a wonderful, blessed Christmas.
8 And there were in the same country shepherds abiding in the field, keeping watch over their flock by night.
9 And, lo, the angel of the Lord came upon them, and the glory of the Lord shone round about them: and they were sore afraid.
10 And the angel said unto them, Fear not: for, behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people.
11 For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Saviour, which is Christ the Lord.
12 And this shall be a sign unto you; Ye shall find the babe wrapped in swaddling clothes, lying in a manger.
13 And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God, and saying,
14 Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men.