Koppel: 'Americans Need to Be Reminded of the War' — 04/30/2004

Koppel: ‘Americans Need to Be Reminded of the War’ — 04/30/2004
“In an interview ABC’s “Good Morning America” Friday, Koppel said he expected the show to be controversial – “but not this controversial.”

He denied complaints that the show is “anti-war.”

“It is a way of saying…let me explain it this way, Charlie [Gibson]. I was born and grew up in England. I was a small child in London during the Second World War. We used to spend our nights during bombing raids in an air-raid shelter in the back. There was rationing. There were blackouts. There was an awareness of the war, which I think is somehow a little bit lacking in the United States at this time.”

If this were Peter Jennings or Dan Rather, I’d be a little more inclined to believe it was political or a ratings ploy. I’ve found Ted Koppel to be pretty fairminded and objective. I couldn’t honestly say what his political leanings are; he asks tough questions of everybody, which is what a good journalist should do. The timing is odd and I wouldn’t doubt that there are people at ABC thinking it will help ratings and others who see it as an antiwar thing. I think Ted Koppel is looking at it as a tribute and a reminder of the sacrifice these soldiers have made for us.

Frankly, after going through several weeks being reminded, much more graphically, of another sacrifice, I’d expect better of conservatives. My question to Christian conservatives, “Did being reminded of Christ’s sacrifice make you turn against your religion or did it make you more mindful of the importance of the importance of it? ” Likewise, I think that a reminder pf the sacrifice of our soldiers will serve to make us all more mindful of their cause.

I think for most Americans there is a realization that bailing out now would mean these people died in vain and I don’t envision most Americans seeing a roll call of the dead and wanting that to happen. If anyone at ABC is thinking that this will generate some grassroots antiwar movement, I think they are sadly mistaken and I’d bet Ted Koppel is smart enough to know that.

Yahoo! News – Blog-Tracking May Gain Ground Among U.S. Intelligence Officials

Yahoo! News – Blog-Tracking May Gain Ground Among U.S. Intelligence Officials
“…some analysts say U.S. intelligence and law enforcement officials might be starting to track blogs for important bits of information. This interest is a sign of how far Web media such as blogs have come in reshaping the data-collection habits of intelligence professionals and others, even with the knowledge that the accuracy of what’s reported in some blogs is questionable.”

I’m sure some people will be offended by this or think their privacy is being invaded. My first thought was, “what the hell? ” Bu after another 15 seconds I thought…well, we expect politicians (the gubbmint in other words) to read the editorial pages, right?

Sure enough.. “One such critic is James Love, director of the Ralph Nader (news – web sites)-affiliated Consumer Project on Technology.

“When you’re conducting surveillance where you have no expectation of illegal activity, there has to be some threshold to justify such surveillance,” Love said. ”

So what’s the threshold for watching the nightly news or reading the newspaper. Everyone out there with a blog was inspired at least partly by folks like Matt Drudge who fought hard to be recognized as ‘legitimate’ journalists. Would it make sense to say, “When you’re watching Tom Brokaw or Dan Rather on the nightly news, where you have no expectation of illegal activity, there has to be some threshold to justify such surveillance.”? Of course not.

What I find much more troubling is this:

” At least one nation, China, is actively tracking blogs. It’s also reportedly trying to block blogs. Several press reports earlier this year said the government shut two blogging services and banned access to all Web logs by Chinese citizens.”

If China can somehow filter out blogs, what’s to stop other governments from filtering material they don’t like. (Granted, even with the CAN-SPAM Act, the FTC can’t seem to blog 300 viagra ads a day from my email.) Gubbmint, read away, but if you block my access, then we have a real Constitutional issue.

Yahoo! News – SCO Backs Off GPL Claims

Yahoo! News – SCO Backs Off GPL Claims
‘Many lawyers, such as Tom Carey, a partner at Bromberg & Sunstein LLP, a Boston intellectual property law firm, have said they found SCO’s assertion that the GPL is unconstitutional to be “rubbish.”‘

Indeed. They’re argument, in a nutshell, is that the Constitution in Article I, Section 8 empowered Congress to enact laws to protect intellectual property. (copyright, patent, etc.). SCO made (and has now retracted) the ridiculous argument that the open source community, a group of private actors, was encroaching on Congress constitutional prerogatives. This is comparable to claiming that Clear Channel is violating Howard Stern’s right to free speech by taking his program off the air. Private actors can’t violate the Constitution, as a general rule. The only limitation on privte individual action in the Constitution is the section regarding treason and even that is essentially a limitation on government power as it doesn’t actually prohibit treason, but merely sets a minimum threshold for proving it.

Now, perhaps SCO might have a point in arguing enforceability of the GPL. I think the argument would be shaky, but it’s certainly feasible that they could assert that the license lacks legal purpose based on the theory that intellectual property is governed by federal law. The flaw in that would be that such an argument would not only invalidate the GPL but also the ‘shrink wrap’ licenses imposed by software companies like SCO.

SCO’s explanation of their position is here: http://www.sco.com/copyright/

An excellent response from the author of Code and Other Laws of Cyberspace is here:

http://www.lessig.org/blog/archives/001611.shtml

Yahoo! News – Flying Saucer Fever Grips Iran, Theories Abound

Yahoo! News – Flying Saucer Fever Grips Iran, Theories Abound
“Is Iran about to be invaded by little green men or are the Americans racing through the night sky in spaceships to spy on the Islamic Republic?”

Or maybe all those houris just got sick of waiting around Paradise for the martyrs to come to them? “Sorry Mr. Atta, turns out your 72 virgins are 3 feet tall and green with 4 eyes and 6 breasts.”