This is Epth Nation

Epth is a state of mind, not a place. Reading this will give you a virtual drivers license in that state, but you'll still need to be 21 to purchase alcohol. And you can't get any there anyway, so stop asking.

Tuesday, June 28, 2005

I haven't posted on this thing for over a week... entire archive's worth of time -- gone forever. What a crazy week. This time last week I was flying up to Wisconsin to go to a funeral. I've been there and back and to St. Louis and back since then. I'd like to just stay in one place (or at least one state) for a while now, ok? Traveling is nice, but I feel like Nomad: The Man Without a Country.

I'm not old enough to remember this, but after Watergate Captain America became so disillusioned with America that he could no longer wear his gay blue suit with the big white star and the ear wings. He changed his name to Nomad and beat everyone down with his naive political talk. He eventually changed back to Captain America because he was a man of much action but little conviction.

Anyway, I feel for Captain America and his disillusionment these days, after the Supreme Court made a bunch of decisions and then high-tailed it out of the courthouse, dodging the bullets and grenades of the American people to get to their souped-up Supreme Jaguars.

Q: What is the definition of Supreme?
A: According to Taco Bell, it is something with sour cream on top.
Q: What does that have to do with anything?
A: The Supreme Court is looking more and more like that definition fits, only it's not fresh sour cream, it's sour cream that's been lying out for a few days. Supreme Court or Court Supreme? I can't tell anymore.

First, the one that affects us the most but isn't so terribly bad. The court unanimously ruled that the landmark Sony decision (the one that enables people to use Tivo and VCR's and cassette tapes and so on) would not be reconsidered any time soon, and that technology in itself does not violate copyright. In the particular case they were looking at (MGM vs. Grokster), the court did say that a company using the technology could not encourage people to violate copyright, whatever that means(note: what that means is that free speech will be infringed on massive scale, just to appease a corporate entity). You can be sure the MPAA and the RIAA will be fighting to keep freedom from ringing whenever possible. The case is going back to the lower court with new guidelines. We'll see what happens from here. Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban had some thoughts on the subject that I think are interesting.

Now on to the less important but more insane decisions: Let's say you're a human, and you work real hard and make a lot of money and are blessed enough to build your dream house by a nice river in a nice area outside the city. You spend 5 years perfecting this house and making it your own, as the city eventually grows out to meet you. A mall developer then spies your patch of land and says to himself, "With all the people moving out here, this riverfront property would be a nice place for a resort for us Fat Cats. I want it." He tries to buy it from you, but you say, "No way -- this is my dream house." That's the end of it, right? So, so, wrong.

The developer then goes to the city government and asks them to annex your land for the resort. The developer convinces the city that the resort is a better thing to have around than your house, and you are forced by the city to sell out your dream home anyway. As you weepily watch the bullodzers come and demolish everything you hold dear except your dog, Justice David Souter drives by on a scooter, shaking his gavel and laughing at you. What is your recourse? Nothing. All USA homeowners are in danger of being forcibly moved at any time just because the government wants to put another private enterprise there. That, my friends, is a better definition of tyrrany than anything you'll find in a dictionary. This court is insane. If I were a developer, I would find out where Justice David Souter lived and convince the city where he lives that I could use his property better than he can (there might be some "lobbying" involved, if you know what I mean), and kick his butt to the curb. I'd be riding by on my scooter, pointing and laughing at the guy in the robes with the gavel and the frowny-face.

In the other big decision, the court decided that the 10 Commandments are OK in Texas, but not in Kentucky. Or something. I didn't really follow them after they took their side-trip away from the constitution and into "France", where the phrase:
"Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion" means,
"Some Guy shall not put up a plaque that mentions a particular religion positively in a public place, unless he counters it with a bunch of stuff that makes it clear that he doesn't really believe in the religion or anything."
Again, free speech suffers. But our system of law is not actually based on the Ten Commandments, so we should probably not get our panties in a bunch about this no matter what side we're on. Of course, everyone does anyway.

It's good to be back.


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