"An era can be said to end when its basic illusions are exhausted." - Arthur Miller

Friday, August 31, 2012

Linkfest - GOP's Legitimate Rape

It has been an interesting week for the GOP. They are coming off of the unexpected press blowup over the term "legitimate rape". A concept the party has quietly supported for decades and often spoken of by the GOP even if not quite such stark terms. Then you have the GOP convention that had the VP candidate get called out for a speech of lies by every news organization including Fox News and a speech from Romney that was remarkable for how unremarkable it was. Other topics include the Samsung vs Apple lawsuit and the end of Nintendo Power.

Legitimate Rape
It is weird how all it takes is a poor phrase to get people to wake up to a truth that has been around for a very long time. GOP's Rep. Todd Akin made the mistake of saying exactly what he thought of the idea of there being exceptions to abortion for rape or incest by saying in an interview "...from what I understand from doctors [pregnancy from rape] is really rare. If it's a legitimate rape, the female body has ways to try to shut that whole thing down." He later said he "misspoke" for the phrase he used but never apologized for what he meant which is if a woman got pregnant, she wanted the sex and therefore could not have been raped. The idea that pregnancy is proof of no rape has been around for literally centuries. At one time the victim by law would be forced to marry her rapist if she had got pregnant. That thinking is also shared by almost the entirety of the GOP who have made the concept of no exceptions central the the RNC platform for Romney's election and was part of a bill that his VP candidate Paul Ryan write and tried to push through Congress. Below are a few videos that illustrate just how stupid the whole concept is.

Apple vs Samsung Ruling
Last Friday the jury of the Apple vs Samsung case returned a $1.05 billion ruling completely for Apple after only three days of deliberation. The reason for "only" is the jury has 109 page instructions to consider and 700 question in around 30 parts to consider yet it seems they blew through it by only answering one question "Is Samsung guilty?" Once the foreman (who owns many patents and admitted he approached the case "as if protecting his own patents") told them to say "yes" it just became a discussion on dollar amounts. The jury also decided that Apple didn't violate any Samsung patents (cause both being guilty probably didn't occur to them). Most patent experts have decided the decision was not only rushed but very strange in its inconsistency. All I know is patents on things like bevel design, a grid of icons is moronic and gestures should should have been issued in the first place since almost off of them have not only been used in prior products but on PC too (see Windows 3.1 for a grid of icons). How this will damage innovation has yet to be seen but the whole case just reinforced that the US patent system is in desperate need of an overhaul.

Paul Ryan, VIP of Lies
Who knew I would actually miss the says of "spinning" in politics. That was when politicians would walk right up to the line of lying without crossing over to take a fact and "spin" it in a way that makes it untrustworthy, incomplete or simply not worth paying attention too. Then came the Romney campaign and a wiliness to lie at anytime for any reason to score points with the base whenever possible. This wiliness reached its apex (but sure to be surpassed soon) by Paul Ryan's speech at the GOP Convention on Wednesday. The speech was literally a series of easily provable lies that even appalled Fox News (above link). An example is blaming Obama, who took office in 2009, for closing a GM plant in 2008 and failure to note that it was both Romney and Ryan that were against the auto bailout that saves many other car plants. His speech had plenty of opportunities to provide spin and keep his central points but I guess he couldn't be bothered to be that creative when flat out lying has proven to work just as good with none of the effort. We all know politicians are scum, but usually are not so blatant about it. Oh and before you get into the "but he cares about the deficit" nonsense, note that Ryan's budget plan would have increased taxes for bottom 80% of the country by average $1,700, decreased taxes for the top 20% (with top 1% getting average $200,00 tax cut) resulting in an estimated $2 trillion increase on the deficit. Adding to the deficit to the benefit of the rich doesn't strikes me as fiscally responsible.

CEOs Paid More Then Company Paid in Taxes
If you need further proof that the GOP plan that the rich deserves more tax cuts isn't utter BS, hit the link above. At the link is a list of companies that took advantage of a huge volume of tax loopholes to actually pay less in federal taxes then they paid their CEOs. Explain to me again how tax cuts are the only thing that will fix the economy when these huge companies pay so little (or none)?

Nintendo Power Ending
The very first magazine I grew up on is ending after 24 years with the last issue set for December 2012. The cause is simply lack of interest on the part of Nintendo which chose to end its contract with Future US that produced the magazine. The decision seems strange as the magazine couldn't have hurt Nintendo's efforts to launch their Wii U console by year end. Of course if history is a guide, the Wii U will launch with lack luster games, a promise of more to come and nothing to make it worth buying until a year or so later (a mistake that Sony's Vita has made). The result means the magazine will at least go out on a high note. Thanks for the many NES, Super NES guides, reviews and memories.

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