Monday, March 30, 2009

The ultimate in fuzzy math

Just read this article on the scurge of software pirates besetting the iPhone App Store.  Whenever I see these articles that talk about software piracy, or music piracy or any intellectual property piracy I can't help but laugh at the fuzzy math used in any such discussion.  According to the Business Software Alliance "the economic impact of software piracy is tens of billions of dollars." 

The problem with this bullshit is that it assumes that every single person with a pirated iPhone application would have purchased that application if not for the piracy, when in fact, most people with pirated applications get the pirated apps because they have no intention or capability to purchase the applications legitimately.  

The same is true the music world where the RIAA makes bold claims about the loss in revenue due to piracy when, once again, there's a lot of shit music out there that people only own because they got it for free and would never...EVER...EVER in a million years buy those crappy albums/songs.  And of course, movie piracy is no exception either.  

If anything, intellectual property piracy is one of the few examples I've ever pointed out that shows Adam Smith's invisible hand of the market doing its job correctly.  Clearly those products that are being pirated are worth much less to the people who get pirated versions, then the distributers of those products would like.  If they lowered the cost of their crappy products, maybe people would be willing to buy them.  But so long as people are willing to risk infecting their computers with viruses to avoid paying for content, the content must be priced too high.

Sunday, March 15, 2009

Cheney says...oh wait who cares?

In a recent interview with CNN former Vice President Dick "the dick" Cheney asserts that President Obama has made America more vulnerable to a terrorist attack because he's treating the war on terror as a law enforcement issue.  Whether or not the very minor changes President Obama has enacted are actually making us more vulnerable or not, let us ask the more important question.  What really makes us more likely to be hit by a terrorist attack?  Not torturing people with little to no actionable intelligence, or creating tons more terrorists by inciting anger in the muslim world?  

Throughout the Bush II administration terrorist recruiting has been handed a number of boons from the invasions of Afghanistan and Iraq, to the revelation of torture of detainees.  These specific and enumerable acts have contributed far more to recruitment of potential terrorists than anything President Obama has done in his 60 in office.  Not only that, but Vice President Cheney's office also hampered the CIA (supposedly one of our frontlines against terrorists) by reveling Valerie Plame to the world as a CIA agent.

Now, the even more important question is why is CNN interview Cheney and giving him a mouthpiece to spew his unpleasantness?  After the damage the Bush administration did the country both financially and in regards to our image throughout the world, nothing Bush or Cheney have to say should be given any attention.  We've suffered through their moronic idealogy and actions for the past eight years and we should be spared any further injury that their words can cause.  

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Don't touch our bananas

President Obama has just signed a new spending bill that eases some of the restrictions W put in place concerning travel and remittances to Cuba. Unfortunately it is still restrictive to those of us without family on that warm, beautiful and SAFE island. This nearly 50 years embargo on a tiny island country will most certainly go down in history as the stupidest, most ineffective and possibly most vicious economic attack on a civilian population in our nation's history.

After nearly 50 years of encouraging Cuban democracy through executive orders, the "Cuban Democracy Act" or the "Cuban Liberty and Democracy Solidarity Act" America has been the opposite of successful in bringing democracy to the island of Cuba. The executive orders and the official laws (passed in the 1990s) that have prevented Americans from traveling to Cuba or purchasing Cuban goods (like Cigars) have done nothing to end the Castro regime making it less effective than old age at changing a government.

The fact that this oppressive policy was born out of the greed of our fruit companies is even more embarrassing for the American people and shameful for the American Presidents that have maintained and at times strengthened this attack on civilians. Sadly, President Jimmy Carter was the only President to have the courage to not renew elements of the embargo that allowed Americans to go to Cuba and spend American dollars there until Reagan reinstated it in 1982.

It's time to end this pathetic bullying of a tiny neighbor that poses no threat to America and is no less democratic than one of our largest trading partners (that's China just in case you thought I meant Canada) and there are dozens of countries with dictators and without elections that Americans are free to travel to and spend money in. This policy is a joke and you must end it President Obama. Just think of how much Sean and Rush will cry when you do, it'll be a kodak moment.

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Socialism and other scary words Part 1

While the windbags of the right continue to brandy about the "socialist" label on President Obama, they are either too stupid to remember the past or they are deliberately ignoring it. Take for example all the hullabaloo about taxes. President Obama is promoting the idea that we should roll back the tax cuts on the top income earners to what the rates were under Bill Clinton, that big pinko commie socialist. Forget for a moment all you've seen on FoxNews about how Bill Clinton was Lenin and Stalin's love child and look, intelligently and rationally at the fact that his top marginal tax rate was 39.6%. Under Republican presidents Ford and Nixon it was in the 70s. Under President Eisenhower, who it would be pretty hard to call a Socialist, the top marginal rate was in the 90s.

What this goes to show is what a farce it is to actually believe President Obama is a ramming his socialist agenda on America through a "massive" hike in the top marginal rate. President Obama is no more a socialist than Rush Limbaugh is a decent human being. I wish that we could get ourselves a real progressive candidate into the White House one of these days, but unfortunately, there are so many ignorant, uneducated piles of garbage voting these days that still get goosebumps when they hear words like Socialism because they don't realize that Socialism doesn't mean the government spying on your phone calls; kidnapping and torturing people in secret prisons; or even coming between you and your doctor concerning medical matters.

No, those are all things that are happening and have been happening during that oh so capitalist President George W. Bush. Socialism means your kids can finally go see a doctor when they cut their foot on some rusty metal in the trailer park, or you can go and start that business you've always wanted without worrying that your family might get sick. It means you can send your kids to school and they'll get a good education and you won't have to sell your house to afford it. It's time that America got over its irrational fear of the S word and started fearing the real bogeymen like Rush, Sean and all the others who shout about standing up for the little guy that they then proceed to piss all over.

President Obama is not a socialist, but I really wish he was.
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