HR.3261e, entitled "To promote prosperity, creativity, entrepreneurship, and innovation by combating the theft of U.S. property, and for other purposes," better known as SOPA or the "Stop Online Piracy Act," certainly has folks in a lather.
I have to admit, I haven't read the entire bill but if social media is to be believed, passage of HR. 3261e would signify the end of life as we know it. Perhaps a more rational view can be found in this Slate article. Matthew Yglesias (no relation to Julio that I know of) opines that a little piracy is not necessarily a bad thing.
Frankly, I'm of two minds about that school of thought. First, as a writer - albeit with very little copyright material in the public domain that people are willing to pay me for - I am totally with those who fear that the fruit of their creative loins, as it were, is in danger from scurvy-infested Internet pirates seeking to make off with their (our) intellectual booty.
Image courtesy of some website...
However, as inferred in the caption underneath yon image of our most famous modern-day pirate, Captain Jack Sparrow (aka Johnny Depp), I freely borrowed said picture - that someone slaved over for days - to spruce up my low-rent (actually no rent) blog.
Does that make me a pirate? No more than setting my Facebook profile to Pirate English does, I'm afraid. In fact, my use of this image brings no material benefit to me at all and could conceivably provide additional, free advertising for the film in question.
The story would be different if I was getting paid to write this blog and was able to generate more revenue for myself through the inclusion of Johnny's mascara'd image. Even so, unless I was raking in significant lucre merely through the inclusion of a copyrighted image, it's doubtful that the studio and it's heirs and appurtenances would be losing out.
One last note before we move on...the Internet - the part that remained open yesterday - was awash with cries of anguish from students denied their primary research source...Wikipedia. I'm no modern scholar but when I was taking some college courses in the last few years, Wikipedia was not on the approved reference list. So kids, maybe you need to start using that old social media fallback from days gone by: the Library.
My favorite (fictional) librarian
Second on my list of never-ending topics is the excitement of the unfolding republican primary. The current front runner, Mitt Romney, is an amazing amalgam of a man seeking to be everything to everyone.
Regular readers of The Stream will have no doubts as to my theology - or, if you do, I've done a poor job of communicating and have yet another never-ending topic to mine! But we'll get to the theological side of the Mitt Romney question in a moment. First, let's look at his candidacy from a secular viewpoint.
R. Money, a Slate article about Mitt by John Dickerson, talks about Governor Romney's propensity to try and make out like the everyman, but somehow he always ends up making comments that highlight how much money he has. I'm not averse to people making money; I think it's wonderful. And I'm definitely in line with folks who think we need rich business people to give a lot of us jobs. But no one likes a person who keeps bringing up the fact that they have a lot of money. That's gauche.
Case in point: Dickerson highlights a comment Mitt made when talking about his speaker fees; Mitt is quoted as saying part of his income came from "...speakers' fees from time to time, but not very much." Apparently, the actual amount was nearly $400,000.
This clearly highlights how out of touch Governor Romney is with the great majority of the American people. If you asked me this year how much money I had available to spend on Christmas gifts for my entire family and I answered you, "Not much," the actual amount would be nearly $400.
We're talking factors of ten here...
At heart, the issue is not about Romney being wealthy. It's about his ability to translate the skills that made him wealthy into real benefit for America. I don't think he can.
Another large issue with Governor Romney - even though he won't cop to it - is the fact he is Mormon.
Will the real Joseph Smith please stand up?
Christians believe in the human birth and death of Jesus Christ - and in His divine resurrection, and that Jesus was also the Son of God - the second person of the Holy Trinity. God is not three different entities when we talk of the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit. These refer to different iterations of the one, true God.
In his article Could you vote for a Mormon, Dr. Jerry Newcombe raises a few valid points about Governor Romney's chosen faith. Dr. Newcombe begins by noting importantly that, "Mormons tend to make great neighbors and friends; they tend to be honest and hard-working people."
This isn't about tearing down people, it's about clearing up the fact that Mormonism does not line up with traditional Christianity. So, if you're a Christian and you are contemplating voting for Mitt Romney because you believe his faith is your faith...you might want to take another look.
That is, of course, unless you buy into the idea that when you die, you too can become a god and get your own universe to play in; kinda like an eternal game of The Sims.
I'm just saying...
In summary, if I download a song or two from the Internet or watch a video on YouTube of a copyrighted song like the one below, the world will not end. And Simon Le Bon won't go broke.
And Mitt Romney likes being rich more than he likes you. And he believes that he will die and become a god; which won't be much of a change from being president - if he gets elected. Well, except gods get their own planet, not just part of one.
What do you think?