Null and Void

The Register: Eolas’ web patent nullified

Thankfully, the US Patent Office has invalidated Eolas’ ridiculous patent on browser plugins. This means that browser makers were going to have to make drastic changes to their web browsers in order to handle things like Flash, RealMedia, QuickTime, and designers like myself would have to jump through hoops to make their sites that contained plugins to work properly. But with the multitude of citations of prior art being proved, the patent held little credibility. Thank goodness – I was not looking forward to rewriting all that code on my affected pages out there.

Riding the coattails of a disaster

Bush is using the tragedies of the 9/11 attacks that happened on his watch as a showboat for his political career. I am truly offended. This guy refuses to cooperate with congressional investigations on the issue and only offers a token gesture of agreeing to no more than one hour of closed door discussion on the issue with select members of the congressional panel, drags his feet on supporting the families affected, uses the event as justification for rolling back every fanatic ultra-conservative right-wing agenda item he has on his list, and gets distracted in the hunt for the perpetrators of this autrocity by embarking on his own personal vendetta to avenge his daddy in Iraq. And in spite of all this, he still has the cojones to use the ruins of the World Trade Center as his own personal soapbox for whipping up the public into a patriotic frenzy in his quest for reelection. This is not what I would call a moral person, to approve such distateful use of what should be considered sacred ground.

Free speech crumbles in the Land of the Free

A congressional committee recently approved the idea of levying fines of up to half a million dollars on performers for “indecency”. Earlier, Bush-worshipping ClearChannel dropped Howard Stern’s show from the six cities they were carrying for the show claiming it was a change in policy against the indecent material of his show. Just days before, Stern had renounced his support for Bush and was instead backing whatever Democratic opponent would arise out of the primaries. This is the same ClearChannel that dropped the Dixie Chicks from the airwaves and sponsored Nazi-style CD smashings in retaliation for their criticisms against Bush.

And on top of that, CBS refusing to air’s commercial that criticized Bush, and dropping that Regan show that didn’t portray him as the 20th Century’s Superman is more evidence of this highly disturbing trend towards censorship and fascist-style government control of the media in this country. Who is to decide where to draw the line on what is decent and what is not? Where is the oversight on the obvious political motivations of the activities of our media giants? What the hell is happening to free speech and the American Democracy?

One only has to look to China, the USSR, or Nazi Germany to clearly understand what the implications of all this are. You can subjugate an entire nation and make it bend to your whims most effectively if you control the media. Creating laws that impose hefty fines for someone’s random interpretation of indecency that can be slapped on at any time, even if the motive is really due to political suppression, gives too much power and control to the government over our media and is a direct attack on the First Amendment. Howard Stern was always raunchy and was never billed as anything but. So why did ClearChannel suddenly pull the plug on him claiming “indecency” only days after he switched his allegiance to the Democratic candidates, and not much earlier?