If At First You Don’t Succeed, Dig a Deeper Hole

The President’s Advisers are making a lot of noise about “getting” this election, never mind their repeated failure to get the last one:

The advisers are deeply concerned about winning back political independents, who supported Obama two years ago by an eight-point margin but backed Republicans for the House this year by 19 points. To do so, they think he must forge partnerships with Republicans on key issues and make noticeable progress on his oft-repeated campaign pledge to change the ways of Washington.

Ummm, right. You’ve already adopted the Republican healthcare plan, Republican financial reform, the Republican security state…

Oh, geez, that’s really impolite of us to start off Monday with a bummer. Any new kitty videos out there? No? Well, maybe this will be good enough for a laugh:

Although Obama could benefit from a high-profile compromise — perhaps on extending the Bush-era tax cuts or on other tax initiatives set to expire before the end of the year — officials are also prepared to point out any Republican intransigence.

HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA!!! It’s funny because it’s never going to happen!

Okay, okay, we’re in a good mood now, so one more:

Yet he does not need to behave as though his base has collapsed, his advisers said.

WHOA!!! We’ll have to confirm with Guinness, but we think we’ve just set a world record for Most Participants in a Simultaneous Spit-Take! Congratulations to everyone!

‘Soul-searching’ Obama aides: Democrats’ midterm election losses a wake-up call [WaPo]

So the fact that progressive Democrats won overwhelmingly while the Blue Dog Republocrats lost overwhelmingly tells these administration advisers to become even more like the Blue Dogs. Well that makes perfect sense to me, but only in Bizarro world.

Who are these aides? Karl Rove? Ken Melman?

What next privatizing Social Security?

Just a note to the hookers here in Beijing. Yes, I am very tall. Yes, I am from the U.S. But no, I do not want to get to know you better. Thank you, and move along. No DVDs, either.

The GOP made a comeback by becoming more militantly partisan, noisy and intransigent. Fired up its base. Got people flocking to the voting booth.

Is nobody in the Obama administration paying attention to that fact?

@Serolf Divad: Absolutely. They fired up the base, too. Just the wrong base. They call it bi-partisanship. It’s been a stunning success.

@Dodgerblue: Hey, sexy.

@Dodgerblue: “Little Jin Tao never once gave it away, everybody had to pay and pay….”

No DVDs, either.

Ten years ago, easily 70 percent of the discs we bought actually worked. I’m sure either the production value or the price has gone up since then. Funny thing was, most of the vendors were clustered in the tourist market behind the US Embassy as if to mock the trade and copyright law attorneys tirelessly advocating on behalf of Bill Gates and Harvey Weinstein.

@Nabisco: A friend of mine who represents a major studio says they have pretty much given up on street buys and are concentrating on internet piracy where the stakes are way higher.

@Serolf Divad: No.

Washington Post : good journalism :: dengue fever : seasonal influenza.


Hilarious. So they’ve given up on the people who are actually making $$$ from copyright violation to focus instead on people sharing for free. Nice.

Of course, the fact that the former requires real enforcement and detective work vs. the latter which only requires not-even-real-private-investigators to collect IPs and send extortion settlement letters may have something to do with it…

@rptrcub: Senator, I served with dengue fever, I had dengue fever, dengue fever was a part of me – twice.

Senator, the Washington Post is no dengue fever – it is far, far worse.

@Nabisco: Hey. Don’t make me get all cranky here. You have not been paying attention to my lectures, obviously. It’s not Harvey Weinstein who suffers as much as all the union members who are being cheated out of retirement and health funds by black-market crap. Plus, no revenue – no production. I don’t know about Bill Gates but what about all the small video-game production companies who see the work of years being stolen so they can’t earn the profits from it that they should.

Copyright theft is theft. I don’t get it that this is such a ridiculed idea. If someone downloads a p2p copy of The Hangover they have stolen the residual payments from the actors, the director, the writer/s, producers, among others. Same is true with illegal dupes. They are also about to subject themselves to a great pile of shite. But that’s neither here nor there. I don’t know what the unions have done about Netflix rentals. When I pay my weekly subscription I assume that some of that goes to a fund to pay royalties on the movies I watch, as it does with ASCAP. If not, then the creators are being shafted as writers have been for years by our ‘free’ libraries. The great ongoing dispute is with online stuff, who gets what and for how long? But what it boils down to is people trying to make a living wage in an industry for which 7% employment represents a triumph.

If people want to appropriate the work of others then give us grants. Give us a way to make a living wage. If not then everyone needs to be paid their due when their work is used.

If I’m wrong… it has happened twice before, a very long time ago… then someone explain why. For instance: you go to the theatre (all right, work with me here, pretend that could at least be some kind of possibility). Before the performance an announcement is made that no photographs or recordings are allowed. The recordings you kind of get (although every time the lights go up on the first reading of a new piece fifteen queens are recording every second to post on their fuquing ‘insiders’ gossip’ blog) but photographs? Of actors? Off-Broadway? Well yes. The producers do not own their likenesses, nor do they own the costume designs or the set designs, choreography, direction, etc. So they can’t allow those images to be taken as they haven’t got the rights. I don’t think that’s out of line. And I don’t get why it’s the object of ridicule.

@rptrcub: Wouldn’t that equivalency make Wapo Super-Massivly-Awesome Journalism? Shouldn’t it be the other way around?

@Benedick: I don’t steal stuff off the internet — I pay for it. I have lectured my kids about this to no avail.


I don’t have a problem with copyright per se, but I think there are some serious disasters in terms of how it’s being enforced.

– ridiculous copyright term: we’ll indulge in the same legal fiction that the Supremes did and pretend that The Mouse might eventually become public domain (hah!); even then, it’s nonsense that benefits to one’s descendants TWO GENERATIONS on somehow encourage people to create work now.

– ridiculous enforcement: using the law like a weapon instead of a shield. Downloading a song illegally is shitty, to be sure, but the idea that $150k/song is REMOTELY REASONABLE is preposterous. Sure, most people settle – but it’s bizarre that stealing an actual physical object is subject to hundreds of times smaller penalties than “stealing” an intangible digital copy.

– MOAR ridiculous enforcement: don’t get me started on the pond-scum that is ASCAP. The fact that every club gets shaken down for the fees but the proceeds are distributed based on radio airplay makes me unspeakably angry, but that may just be because I’m a fan of music with essentially no mainstream radio presence.

– Hollywood accounting. Do I need to say more? Every time I see a MAFIAA exec on TV whining about “stealing from artists” I’m reminded that that exact same empty suit is busy ACTUALLY STEALING from artists.

– still MOAR stupid enforcement: see the Canadian media tax, or the beyond-stupid levy on “Audio-rated” media. It’s less of an issue now, but there used to be plenty of standalone CD recorders that only took “special media” that were flagged as having paid a fee to cover “piracy”. Oddly enough, there was no rebate if you instead recorded your garage band on the disc…

I absolutely agree that content producers should get paid, but I think that the debate has been reframed by Big Business into the need for content “providers” to get paid; essentially conflating management / gatekeeping with actual work. I do NOT think that Big Content has a right to continue to siphon off most of the profits – they’ve been fighting on the losing side of every technological advance (remember the “Home Taping is Killing Music” inserts in LPs? What about Jack Valenti’s comparison between the VCR and a serial killer? etc etc)

@Dave H: It was supposed to tell them that liberals can win in more conservative districts? I don’t understand where you’re coming from. Do you assume that all districts are similarly situated? The two Blue Dogs that lost here in the desert never would have elected a liberal. One of them was basically stealing a GOP seat that he initially won thanks only to being less of an asshole than J.D. Hayworth.

@Benedick: Um…sorry? But you can have my library card when you pry it from my cold, dead hands…

@mellbell: Marketing.

@al2o3cr: Damn. I had to go and like do wurk and whatevs. But cool yo.

Why shouldn’t an author control the rights in his work past his death? He or she already does, so the issue is for how long. Why should you own a house and will it to your spawn for like forever but I can’t will something I made from the ground up from my imagination and an enormous amount of effort? Why shouldn’t TS Elliot’s family profit from those hideous ‘poems’ that inspired Cats? And in 50 years, when we are enjoying the 9th revival on Broadwalkway, why shouldn’t his copyrights still apply? And if Disney acquires rights or is sole progenitor of such, why shouldn’t he she it own them for a good long time? How did it make anyone happy when GBS’s plays came into the public domain? Amanda Plummer as Eliza?

K. Back from throwing up. K. Huh? I know nothing about music world. Only that a couple of composers I know live off their royalties from songs written in the 60s via ASCAP or BMI. I know nothing about clubs. But would suggest that this is why we need more unions, to take care of members rights (I have a member: It has rights).

The ‘Hollywood Accounting’ of beloved memory is, I suspect, partly apocryphal. First off, it’s all about the gross. And as anyone knows, homey don’t do no gross. Only Major Stars and Directors, Producers, etc get a cut of the profits. They flex their muscle by demanding Net. This is not unlike our own dear noje with google. He gets his off the top and let the Snorg girl go fuque herself. The real issue is the percentages. In my experience, accounting has been meticulous to the point of, Dude, chill. The theatre and TV is in a vice-like grip of accountability. Which is not to say that the general manager of Spidercunt: Show Us Your Dark doesn’t have an arrangement with the dry cleaner to show him some love (cleaning bills for a musical can easily reach $20,000 a week) but there is a fever to do the books right.

I know nothing about bands in clubs. See above re unions. Do the labels exploit them? See above re unions. Do I give a fuque what some retard tween scroons about her life on youtube? Do I think any ‘band’ is worth more than a swideswipe piss on? No. Garage bands belong in garages.

You have a romantic idea of Art v Commerce. Our country has stripped the arts of all funding. David Koch is the president of the Metropolitan Opera. When you go see Valkure on the new fab local network broadcasting performances from the Met, the National in London, etc, you can then tell me how we should bomb the Republicans. But these broadcasts show how we could perhaps salvage our culture for another 20 years or so. Beyond that I don’t care. I’ll be dead. I will leave my copyrights to my godson so he can profit from them, if profit there is.

Why should my estate be stripped of its value after some arbitrary number of years?

You think Canadian tax is oppressive try the Franch. I just stopped a production of a work of mine as I would have made almost nothing after tax, commissions (I would have paid 20%), and subsidiary rights (30%). All of that after street sweeper tax plus concierge tax plus sky tax plus view of Eiffel Tower tax.

I don’t know about Big Content. I mostly despise the online ‘music’ racket. I can only write from my own experience as someone who tries to eke out a living from royalties and all I can tell you is: Why should my work stop belonging to me after — years? Why doesn’t my work belong to me?

@Nabisco: No. The writers whose work you ‘borrow’ should be recompensed. I am researching a story and am using the library. I adore and worship the library and give them money whenever I can but they are subsidized by the writers whose books we borrow. Let the govt set up a system of paying residuals for the books borrowed. At the end of the year the writer applies and finds out what she has earned from rentals. The central library system then recompenses Shirl Bustier for the 19 takeouts of Mormon Hoyden in the last year.

@Benedick: Have you ever published in an academic journal? Because if you think you and other writers are being screwed by libraries, that is nothing to what journal publishers do to writers. I published two books on a very boring and esoteric topic, and had it not been for sales to libraries, I wouldn’t have made the pittance in royalties that I did. Had a written articles for an academic journal instead, I would have gotten nada. Zilch. And my institution’s library would have had to pay a ridiculous amount for a subscription (paper and digital, of course) to said journal, which gets to publish scholars’ articles without paying them a dime, all because of the publish-or-perish tenure system. Also, you are forced to sign your copyright over to the evil publisher, which will then charge you to quote your own words in a different article. There’s a reason Elzevier has been in business since before they published Galileo.

@Mistress Cynica: This is my larger point. As the bishop said to the actress. We subsidize a system that would collapse without our unpaid labor. One nation under all the writers who make it possible.

@Mistress Cynica: @Benedick: Just wait until Nojo publishes It Takes a Community to Pay for My Beer: the Collected Comments from Stinque, 2009-2012 and refuses royalties unless you can produce legal ID corresponding with your gravatar ID.

As someone who has actually met Nojo and imbibed on said free beer, I have no comment.

Add a Comment
Please log in to post a comment