Absolute Moral Authority

Because plain old moral authority just wasn’t good enough — a mesablue production

Archive for March, 2008

I love this guy!

Posted by mesablue on March 31, 2008

Hope he doesn’t mind that I put up almost his entire post:

Most of you already realize that Earth Hour took place last Saturday at 8 pm. The newly-created event designed to raise awareness for energy conservation was not a big hit with KSK’s Monday Morning Punter, and that contributor commemorates the event with a running diary of how he answered the World Wildlife Fund’s call to help the environment.


7:59 – Turned on every light in house, including both TVs, which are both in the living room. The 32-inch and 19-inch sets are tuned to CBS and FOX, respectively. The PlayStation 2, despite not being used, is also turned on, but with no game in the system.


8:02 – Answered the door from disgruntled next-door neighbor complaining about “light pollution” and how I’m not “doing [my] part.” Gives a confused look when I scold him for lack of butane conservation after he lights up a cigarette.


8:06 – Order two large pizzas from Papa John’s, Pizza Hut, and Domino’s. Tell each person taking my order that I will tip generously if the pizza arrives before 9, but insist that if the pies arrive right at 9 or later, I will not pay.


8:09 – Wife calls and tells me she’s running late from work. I remember that I have a wife. I leave the cell phone on the table.


8:12 – Throw one sock in washing machine. Set wash cycle for a full load with hot water. Without soap.


8:17 – Pull out electric guitar and amp from closet and set up on front porch. Attempt to spraypaint PUNTER-PALOOZA in the front yard grass, but realize too late that I’ve made my letters too big.


8:19 – Ignore unattractive woman walking by that asks, “What’s PUNTE?”


8:24 – Papa John’s guy shows up during uninspiring solo performance of “Wild Thing.” I tip half the bill. Before tax, of course. Neighbor shows up (holding a candle) to complain about something after dropping his newspapers in the green bin by his garage, and then storms back into his house when I don’t offer him any pizza. He leaves in such a huff that he forgets his lighter.


8:31 – Go inside to take a shit. Realize I have no toilet paper, either on the roll or under the sink, but I do have a whole can of hairspray. I fumble through the wastebasket hoping to find a partially used tissue that I might have either bled on or blown my nose on, something that still has enough life that it could withstand one good wipe of the ass. I immediately abandon this plan when I realize that I would be, in fact, recycling.


8:36 – Cell phone rings, but I’m stuck on the shitter, so I can’t answer it.


8:40 – Finally suck it up and wipe ass with a picture of Kate Bosworth ripped out of Marie Claire. I mutter something sexual and unclever during the act. Flush toilet several times to make sure paper doesn’t clog the toilet.


8:42 – Fuck, the toilet did clog. Plunger time!


8:46 – Head back out to the front porch to start my second set when I hear a loud crash. I get outside and see that the Pizza Hut delivery driver has rear-ended the Domino’s delivery driver. I realize they’re both okay when I hear the Domino’s driver ask, “What’s PUNTE?”


8:51 – Shitbag neighbor comes back out during performance of “Louie Louie” and threatens to call the police, but gets shouted down by the Domino’s and Pizza Hut drivers, who are enjoying the show while they’re waiting for, ironically enough, the police to show up and take an accident report. But now the neighbor’s not backing down, and the three of them are shouting toe-to-toe.


8:53 – I run back inside to the bathroom and grab the can of hairspray under the sink . I run back outside and pick up the lighter my neighbor left on my porch and run over to his recycling bin, which is full of newspapers. The lighter lights on the first try, and I hold the can of hairspray just behind the flame.

Go read the rest.

Thanks to Eddiebear.

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Posted in blogs, cool, funny, moonbats, moral authority, video | Tagged: | 9 Comments »

Hey, your hole is burning!

Posted by mesablue on March 25, 2008

Adventures in engineering disasters involving drilling holes in things, part 2.

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Darvaza: The Burning Gates

In 1971 a search for gas went wrong when a whole drilling rig fell into an underground cavern. Natural gas started coming up from the hole. It was set alight so it wouldn’t kill everything around. For 35 years now the flames keep burning providing an spectacular seen for tourists. At night the burning gas makes the crater seen from miles away. The crater is located in Turkmenistan in the heart of the Karakum desert. The crater is called Darvaza or The Burning Gates.

Click the linky above for lots more cool pictures of the big burning hole.

Posted in cool, reality, weird | 23 Comments »

The good news…

Posted by mesablue on March 25, 2008

We put out the fire. The bad news?

You won’t be able to get into your building until Spring.

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Posted in cool, funny | Tagged: | 3 Comments »

A little bird told me…

Posted by mesablue on March 24, 2008

That PattyAnn likes lamb.

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Brewfan’s description of his Easter roasted lamb leg inspired me to get a couple of lamb shanks and throw them in the slow cooker.

Smells yummy. Three more hours until they are fall off the bone tender.

Update: Wow, that was the best lamb I’ve ever had. Bar none.  And, I’ve eaten a lot of lamb in my day. Even over lamb chops, which I love.

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Recipe below the jump.

Read the rest of this entry »

Posted in food | Tagged: , | 22 Comments »

Hillary under fire…

Posted by mesablue on March 24, 2008

Or not.

I used to be amazed by the things that would come out of Bill Clinton’s mouth while he had a straight face. Hillary makes Bill look like a saint in comparison. How in the world does she think she can say these things and not have it come back on her? You think she would have learned from watching her husband self-immolate through stupid speak.

How did Al Franken put it? Oh yeah, Lies (And the Lying Liars Who Tell Them): A Fair and Balanced Look at the Right idiotic Left.

Update: Heh, right after posting this, I noticed that DrewM at Ace of Spades HQ had put up the same video with another amusing tidbit.

Apparently, in light of the new evidence that catches Hillary in an outright lie, her previous statements are no longer operative. Her spokesman says she, ‘misspoke’ when she said it was so very, very dangerous. Apparently, she also ‘misspoke’ in her book.

I’m almost tempted to quote my new favorite minister about “chickens” doing something or another.

Posted in funny, moonbats, moral authority, politics, stupid people, video, Wordpress Political Blogs | Tagged: , | 3 Comments »

Judgement Day

Posted by mesablue on March 24, 2008

Detroit Mayor Kilpatrick charged with perjury, obstruction, misconduct

DETROIT –Wayne County Prosecutor Kym Worthy has filed felony charges against Mayor Kwame Kilpatrick and his former Chief of Staff Christine Beatty, accusing both of perjury, conspiracy to obstruct justice, obstruction of justice and misconduct in office, charges that could send both to prison in connection with the text-message scandal.


“Our investigation has clearly shown that public dollars were used, people’s lives were ruined, the justice system was severely mocked and the public trust trampled on,” Worthy said. “This is as far from being a private matter as one can get.”


She expects the mayor and Beatty to turn themselves in by 7 a.m. Tuesday for arraignment in 36th District Court.

I wish they could also charge Kwame with felony hubris. The level of sheer contempt for the people of Detroit and the law it takes to get to a point like this is just mind boggling.

As I type this, I’m waiting for the mayor to give his press conference. His arrogance and failure to act like a decent human being are still in evidence as he is having his staff exclude reporters that have been active in reporting this case from the press room.

Ah, it’s starting. Kwame is having his lawyer do the talking. What a bunch of shit. No apologies, no responsibility. Blame throwing and denial. They will not discuss the case with the press.

No resignation. It is beyond ridiculous that they are playing the victim card at this point.

Here comes the mayor.

Kwame is “deeply disappointed in the prosecutor.” This is a “flawed process.” “I will be exonerated.” Blah, blah blah. “Full and complete vindication.”

Kwame is going to drag the City of Detroit down with him.

Scumbag to the end.

Heh. Let’s have another round of Name That Party!. And, again.

I wonder how long it will be before we hear from Kwame’s mother, US Congresswoman Caroline Cheeks-Kilpatrick, defending her son — again.

Posted in crime, detroit, moral authority, news, politics, stupid people, video, Wordpress Political Blogs | Tagged: , | 4 Comments »

You’re doing it wrong

Posted by mesablue on March 20, 2008

The World’s Weirdest Engineering Disaster

On a fateful day in 1980 a group of oil drillers were working in a shallow lake in Louisiana probing for oil. A miscalculation sent their drill straight into a large salt mine shaft below the lake’s surface. The hole started at just over a foot in diameter but rapidly widened as the water from the lake above washed away the salt around it. What started out quite simply ended in disaster that no one could have predicted.

Yikes. I had never heard about this before.

Those of us from Chicago have first hand experience with what can go wrong when you start poking holes under large bodies of water.

Posted in chicago, news, video | Tagged: | 11 Comments »

Just shoot me now

Posted by mesablue on March 20, 2008

The Sad Truth About Relationships.

Posted in funny, stupid people | Leave a Comment »

Sunday Morning Cartoon

Posted by Wickedpinto on March 19, 2008

[Wicked was supposed to be back on the 17th.  Since he hasn’t shown his face yet, I’m posting this post that he left in the draft area for over a month.]

This one isn’t a cartoon, but it’s cartoon related. I’ve been seeing this commercial all over the place and I can’t help but find it funny. I still say that Comcast and Geico have the best ad campaigns on the planet.

Former Co-worker “Mr Slate pays well, but not that well.”

Gets me everytime, I love the co-worker part.

Sorry for missing the last two, I picked a hell of a time to take a break, what with all the jazz that went down this week, I will be sure to make the next one, but still gonna be spending a lot more time in the real world, It really looks a lot different in person than it does on television.

Posted in cool, video | 3 Comments »

Leave Kwame alone!

Posted by mesablue on March 14, 2008

Bumped: I posted this on January 30th, but Kwame is now getting well earned national attention for his “indiscretions” — this deserves another look.

Heh, for those outside of Michigan, the “Gangsta Mayor” is in trouble again. This time for lying in court about an affair with his chief of staff during a lawsuit brought by former police officers who were fired for having the gall to try to investigate wrong doing by the Mayor and his staff. The City of Detroit had to settle for several million dollars. Kwame didn’t think anyone would ever find out about the text messages that he sent on his city issued cell phone to his paramour about getting rid of the officers and how she has a sweet, sweet booty.

Guess he doesn’t watch The Wire.

Posted in crime, detroit, funny, moral authority, news, politics, stupid people, video | Tagged: , | 4 Comments »

Necessary reading for AMA’s troll du jour

Posted by mesablue on March 12, 2008

 David Mamet: Why I Am No Longer a ‘Brain-Dead Liberal’

Posted in blogs, moonbats, moral authority, politics | 15 Comments »

Not gonna suck

Posted by mesablue on March 12, 2008

I think this is going to be pretty good in about five hours.

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Last night’s non-Warrior Diet effort after the jump.

Read the rest of this entry »

Posted in cool, food, sexy | Tagged: , , , | 19 Comments »

No words

Posted by mesablue on March 12, 2008

And it just keeps getting weirder:


Kevorkian plans to run for Congress

PONTIAC — Assisted suicide advocate Jack Kevorkian is planning a run for Congress.


Kevorkian was released from prison last year and remains on parole. But the 79-year-old told The Oakland Press for an article published Wednesday that he plans to run for office as a candidate with no party affiliation.


“We need some honesty and sincerity instead of corrupt government in Washington,” Kevorkian said.


He said he would say more about his candidacy next week.


Kevorkian lives in Oakland County and the 9th District. That’s a seat now held by Republican Joe Knollenberg. Democrat Gary Peters also is among those planning to run for the seat.

Unfortunately, I no longer live in the 9th, having moved into Sander Levin’s district a couple of years ago. I’m not a huge Knollenberg fan, but I would gladly pull the lever for him to offset the goofballs and Ron Paul supporters that will go ga ga for Dr. Death.

Exit question, can convicted felons run for congress? I know, it’s probably a prerequisite these days, but seriously?

Posted in detroit, moral authority, news, politics, stupid people, Wordpress Political Blogs | 2 Comments »

Hypocrisy, thy name is…

Posted by mesablue on March 10, 2008

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Ouch.

This is everywhere by now. But, it’s just too much to pass up.

Spitzer Is Linked to Prostitution Ring

ALBANY – Gov. Eliot Spitzer has been caught on a federal wiretap arranging to meet with a high-priced prostitute at a Washington hotel last month, according to a person briefed on the federal investigation.


An affidavit in the federal investigation into a prostitution ring said that a wiretap recording captured a man identified as Client 9 on a telephone call confirming plans to have a woman travel from New York to Washington, where he had reserved a hotel room. The person briefed on the case identified Mr. Spitzer as Client 9.


Mr. Spitzer today made a brief public appearance during which he apologized for his behavior, and described it as a “private matter.”

A “private matter.” The gall.

Juicy details of the “private matter” at The Smoking Gun.

Spitzer — forever to be known as “client-9” — has yet to resign. My guess is that he is working out the details with prosecutors to cut a deal that helps him avoid a full indictment if he relinquishes his public powers.

“Client-9” was prosecuting prostitution rings while availing himself to the services of the Emperors Club — essentially eliminating their competition. For what sort of “compensation?”

So, yes little moonbats, this is not just about “sex.” This is not a “private matter”, it is a criminal one.

Posted in crime, moonbats, moral authority, news, politics, stupid people, Wordpress Political Blogs | Tagged: , | 8 Comments »

Tunnel vision

Posted by mesablue on March 10, 2008

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Posted in moonbats, moral authority, politics | Leave a Comment »

Resistance is futile

Posted by mesablue on March 7, 2008

Found at Junkyardblog.

Posted in cool, funny, moonbats, moral authority, politics, video, Wordpress Political Blogs | Tagged: , | 34 Comments »

How much is too much?

Posted by mesablue on March 4, 2008

Gabe at Ace of Spades HQ offers this article on fair use:

What Bloggers Should Know About Copyright and Fair Use
—Gabriel Malor


Whether they know it or not, bloggers confront copyright issues every time they publish a post. If they’ve copied and quoted text, the odds are very good that the copied text was someone else’s copyrighted work. The same is true if they’ve displayed a photograph, graphic, or other image that they found on the internet. And, of course, what a blogger writes is generally his or her own copyrighted work with all the protections that status implies.


Those protections include the exclusive rights to copy, distribute, and display the copyrighted work. So where does that leave us if, say, we want to discuss a recent article in the Washington Post or to titter over a photograph of the drunken débutante of the week? The answer is Fair Use. The fair use doctrine provides that some limited use of copyrighted material is permitted even though it is unauthorized.


Fair use isn’t, however, carte blanche to take the copyrighted works of others. And it’s not always easy to tell just how much copying fair use will cover. At the suggestion of Brian Ledbetter, of the recent snapped shot copyright dispute, I have pulled together some guidelines for bloggers on copyright and fair use. One of the reasons I’m so insistent about explaining fair use when it comes up is that many well-meaning people have been led to believe that it protects their activities when it doesn’t. By correcting the more common misunderstandings, I hope we can limit the damage, if you will, among bloggers and blog-readers, and get on with what we like to do.


DISCLAIMER (You knew there had to be one, right?): I am not a lawyer and I’m not qualified to give out legal advice. What follows is an informative guide to keeping out of copyright trouble based on my own experience in this particular area of U.S. law; it is not legal advice. It is not necessarily complete, nor should you rely on it if you find yourself facing accusations of copyright infringement. If you are in that situation, get an IP lawyer. The only way to entirely avoid the problem is to NOT COPY ANYTHING. The rest of us, who just can’t help ourselves, should read on…


Intellectual property is property just like any other. It can have value or be totally worthless. It can be passed from person to person, leased or rented, and bought and sold. Its owners can be individuals or corporations. And it can be stolen. For that reason, the law provides copyright owners with strong and lengthy protection. But because we don’t want to completely wall off recent works from public discussion, the law also provides a limited exception.


1. What works are covered by copyright?
Literary works, musical works, dramatic works, pantomime and choreography, pictorial, graphical, and sculptural works, sound, and architectural works that are recorded in some manner. Most importantly for bloggers, this includes things like news articles and op-eds, photographs provided by the wire services or others, and our own original writing on our blogs.


It does not matter that the only place the work is recorded is the internet. Nor does it matter, generally, whether the author displays the “©” somewhere on, in, or near the work. Nor does it matter that the work is provided for you to view for free. Finally, it does not matter whether or not the author registered the work with the Copyright Office.


The bottom line: if it falls into one of those groups, is original, authored, and recorded in some manner, it can be covered by copyright.


2. What cannot be copyrighted?
Copyright only covers the expression of the author. It cannot cover facts or ideas. So, for example, no one can copyright a news event and prevent you from discussing it. You cannot take another person’s expression of the news event–the words or images he uses to describe it–but you can author your own.


Similarly, no one can copyright an idea, say, the idea of a girl lost in the forest as the basis of a children’s story. You cannot copy word for word another person’s story or even paraphrase his plot–that’s his expression of the idea–but you can write your own children’s story about the same idea.


Also, unoriginal works are not protected. So if I make a photocopy of Steven Spielberg’s next script, I cannot claim to own the copyright in the photocopied version.


The bottom line: No one can ever stop you from writing about the news. You are free to write about factual events and their sequence, including (generally) who said what and when or who did what and when.


3. How do I tell if something is copyrighted?
A good default position is to assume that if you are reading it (in the case of text) or seeing it (in the case of images or audiovisual works) or hearing it (in the case of music) then it is copyrighted. The vast majority of works available to you on the internet are subject to copyright. This goes double for any copyrightable work created in the last seventy-or-so years.


Unless you have good reason to believe that something is not currently protected by copyright, for example, because it has a notice that says “Public Domain” attached or because it is 500 years old, your best option is to assume that it is copyrighted.


I will note again for the sake of thoroughness that it does not matter that something is free for you to view; it can still be copyrighted. It does not matter that a work is easy to copy, like so much on the internet; it can still be copyrighted.


The bottom line for bloggers: Assume that something you find on the internet is copyrighted and act accordingly.


4. What is fair use?
Now we get into the meat of it. The fair use doctrine provides that copyrighted material may be used even without authorization from the copyright holder for purposes including, but not necessarily limited to, “criticism, comment, news reporting, teaching, scholarship, or research.” This does not, however, let you copy, distribute, or display just anything if you are engaged in one of the listed activities.


Your use must be appropriate or “fair” given the copyright holder’s rights. If you end up, unfortunately, in court over this question, the factfinder (usually a judge) will examine four factors in detail, but we don’t need to think about them right now.


For copyright law, “fair” does not mean what you think is fair. The word has a legal meaning apart from common, every-day usage. Don’t be lulled into a false sense of security and think that just because you are a snarky news blog, you can ignore the copyright protections of legacy media.


5. Okay, so how much use is fair use?
Generally, excerpting portions of copyrighted text is permissible, especially when you are commenting on or criticizing the excerpts. For example, if you are writing about a current event and want to use part of a newspaper article in your discussion, you may quote portions of the text to aid your discussion. Be very careful, however, that you are making news comment and not just running an amateur news service where all you do is reproduce the significant bits of other people’s copyrighted works. That’s not fair use.


When it comes to photos, the problem is that it generally isn’t possible or desirable to copy, distribute, or display just a portion of the photo. In the particular area that concerns us–the internet–some courts have held that use of a photograph is fair if the purpose is to direct the viewer to the original and if it is of vastly reduced resolution. But do not let that fool you. That description also fits what legacy media outfits like CNN and the New York Times do and they pay good money to the wire services for the pleasure.


Bloggers may want to put themselves on stronger footing by reducing the resolution of displayed photos and hotlinking to the copyright holder’s original, but that does not necessarily make their use “fair.” The central issue in cases like this is the purpose of the blogger in displaying the photo. If he is just doing the same thing as the wire service–providing newsworthy images to interested viewers–he will likely still be infringing the copyright.


To get around this problem, the key is that your criticism or comment has to be about the photograph itself and not just the content that it depicts. In essence, you are making the photography part of the news story. You can accompany your criticism of the photography with discussion of the content, but without the former, you are just illustrating your news posts with photos that belong to someone else. Again, that’s what the legacy media does and they have to pay good money to do it.


6. What is not fair use?
You cannot take and republish entire copyrighted articles, even if it is free to view them on the author’s webspace. In fact, you cannot take and republish entire copyrighted articles, even if you paid to view them behind the author’s subscription wall. In short, there is no way to stretch the fair use doctrine to include copying entire textual works that are copyrighted. You’re not Google, don’t try it.


Also, copyright infringement is not cured by attribution. Think about it. I don’t get away with stealing my neighbor’s car just because I say who it really belongs to when I give it away or sell it. You’re confusing copyright infringement with plagiarism.


Finally, copyright infringement can still occur even if you make no money from the use and even if you cause the copyright holder to make more money. As the copyright holder, they have the exclusive right to copy, distribute, and display the work. There is no exception for not-for-profit, pajama-clad web-warriors, nor does the law penalize gigantic corporations who have copyrighted works.


7. How does this affect me in practice?
In reality, things aren’t so restricted. Copyright holders have neither the time nor the interest in pursuing every violation from small-time bloggers and other internet cranks. But that doesn’t mean that you are legally in the clear. It only means that you aren’t enough of a thorn in their side to cause them to call in the lawyers. I think you can probably get away with quite a bit more use than what is “fair.” Don’t think that the forbearance of copyright holders will last forever or will protect you in all circumstances.


Also, the fair use doctrine provides you a defense to accusations of copyright infringement. But having to assert this defense means that you could still end up in front of a judge. That’s a punishment all it’s own and entirely separate from the question of which party is “in the right.” Keep in mind that civil and cooperative engagement with the lawyers when they come knocking can get you a long way and might save you some grief.


Finally, to take a line from Stephen den Beste: Don’t Write Letters. I know that this is a superficial discussion of the subject; the purpose here is to help bloggers make smart decisions about what they put on their blogs, not teach a seminar on copyright law. Also, and most importantly, if you email me a question of the form: “Is [my usage] fair use?” I cannot reply. I’m happy to discuss the factual realities of copyright law, but I cannot and will not make a “ruling” as to your legal situation.

Interesting article.

I’ll try to keep all of that in mind.

Posted in blogs, moral authority, news | Tagged: | 11 Comments »