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Comment Yes, publicity means privacy in this context. (Score 1) 207

The right of publicity is essentially the right to control commercial use of one's name, likeness, and reputation. It is the right not to be exploited for sensationalist profit. Is the right to control what words people try to put in your mouth -- what people try to claim that you endorse or support. This is part right now that people are railing against -- the notion that profit trumps speech.

However, there's another side to the publicity coin, and that's the right to be left alone. The right not to have one's likeness and life drug through the public eye without some kind of public merit. It's based on the notion that we have a natural right as to how and whether aspects of our lives are communicated to the public. It's very closely related to the doctrines behind prohibiting slander and libel. That side is very much about privacy.

The general causes for action under the notion of right of publicity are:
1) Intrusion upon physical solitude.
2) Public disclosure of private facts.
3) Depiction in a false light.
4) Appropriation of name and likeness.

While this case is about #4, #1-3 are essential privacy rights, and while the EFF is not arguing against them, I worry that weakening appropriation weakens false light, disclosure, and intrusion torts.

As to the case at hand, in general, commercial speech gets the lowest protection by the First Amendment. Privacy trumps profitable speech, but much like defamation law, the protections weaken the more political and public your life is and the closer the speech comes to political or academic speech, until it comes to the point that politicians essentially have no right of publicity, which is frankly the way it should be.

Electronic Frontier Foundation

9th Circuit Court Elevates Celebrity Privacy Rights Over Video Game Portrayals 207

The EFF posted a biting response to yesterday's Ninth Circuit ruling that heavily weights celebrities' right to privacy, and construes that right very broadly. From the EFF summary of the case: "The plaintiff, Sam Keller, brought the case to challenge Electronic Art (EA)'s use of his likeness in its videogame NCAA Football. This game includes realistic digital avatars of thousands of college players. The game never used Keller’s name, but it included an avatar with his jersey number, basic biographical information, and statistics. Keller sued EA claiming that the game infringed his right of publicity — an offshoot of privacy law that gives a person the right to limit the public use of her name, likeness and/or identity for commercial purposes. ... Two judges on the panel found that EA’s depiction of Keller was not transformative. They reasoned that the 'use does not qualify for First Amendment protection as a matter of law because it literally recreates Keller in the very setting in which he has achieved renown.'" The piece later notes that this reasoning "could impact an extraordinary range of protected speech."

Comment Re:*Yawn* Seen it before a dozen times. (Score 1) 506

These are well known authors and broadcasters who have an audience.

It's easy to find an audience when you speak to people's fears and biases. It's the secret that all demagogues have relied on for centuries.

They confirm in their own way what translation services like MEMRI point out, that anti semitisim and political Sharia are being widely promoted in Islamic culture.

Well that's a sentence with enough ambiguities to cover just about anything.

What is anti-Semitism? Is it virulent hatred of the Jewish people (e.g. Holocaust denial or even praise)? Is it merely opposition to the settlement and occupation policies of the state of Israel and/or sympathy for the plight of the Palestinians? Is it some place in between? Almost invariably, you will find views *somewhere* on that spectrum in most Muslim communities, but whether or not they rise to anti-Semitism depends on how you define it. While I have not personally read her work, it seems that she's taken a stance that Israel is the "good guys" in what, IMHO, is a conflict with no such thing. (Which I find baffling given her father was assassinated by the IDF -- maybe I should read her if for no other reason that to find out how on Earth that happened.)

As for political sharia, it's worth noting that advocacy for sharia as a legal system does not inherently require violent struggle any more than communism did. It is also worth noting that many of the people who do advocate for sharia also advocate for achieving it violently. However, that's also true of people who wish to see this country run by Biblical law. (See, e.g. Dominion theology.)

And lastly, there's a geographic spread on this. It's true that advocacy for violent overthrow of government to establish an Islamic state that would seek the destruction of Israel is a prominent theme in the Middle East. But I seriously doubt it's pervasive in U.S. mosques to the point that your original post suggests.

So in short, your sentence is true in some or even many cases and yet misleading if you intend it to apply to all Muslims, including all of those living in the West. And Nonie Darwish goes far too far in claiming that there is no such thing as a moderate Muslim.

You have to read what these women say, why and how they explain how they come to their point of view.

Oh I will, and I have read many heart-rending testimonials. But one must consider the source and the fact that significant personal biases may have arisen from a given author's tragic backstory, and one must consider the possibility that the author has an agenda, whether public or selfish. I have a bit of skepticism towards an author that is reputed to have such a one-sided presentation of the other side, and I also have misgivings in the way that people can take even an unbiased account and interject their own biases into it upon reading it. Many of the "Christian" books I read as a child and teen were full of outright lies, urban legends, and telephone-game rumors masking as God-inspired truth. I have what I consider a healthy sense of skepticism when a book comes out and tries to paint the other side as inherently evil and distrustful. The world is far grayer than a lot of people like to believe.

Comment Re:The "Party of Lincoln," and the Southern Strate (Score 2) 506

Thank you for the links. My morning meeting is nearing its end, so I'll have to keep this shorter than this (especially the third link might merit). In order:

1) Yes, the shift did in fact start earlier than the 1960s. The Republican could not have capitalized on purely racial issues. Just as they could not purely rest on social issues like abortion in the 1980s or terrorism in the 2000s. The economic factor is important, but perhaps overstated when compared to the equal prosperity of white Northerners and the grow of wealth in the West, who have either stayed liberal or drifted libertarian. Perhaps most importantly for the question of whether or not Republicans shun racism, the author himself also acknowledges that the GOP did deliberately target racial politics. He just argues that economics was more important.

2) Whitewashing Nixon is an ongoing exercise. Nixon was an interesting and cunning politician. Desegregation happened under his watch, but it happened with him dragging his feet. He ordered Attorney General John Mitchell to pursue a "go-slow" policy. He didn't reverse himself on this until 1970, but by that time he had already gotten Chief Justice Burger on the Court, whose majority decision in Swann limited actions against segregation to those invidiously motivated (i.e. deliberately) to enforce racial division. Before that, he had proposed laws blocking bussing, and supported letting the state courts handle Voting Rights Act cases.

3) This one is the best of the lot. I have addressed many of the points it raises above and in the previous post, even in the words of the people who were planning Republican electoral strategy, but it does raise a few points that I think deserve a response. My main objection is his readiness to dismiss "coding" of messages with racist and non-racist appeal as a phantasm. The overt racism of the 1950s is largely dead (outside of some vocal outliers, as seen in 2008). There is too much of a stigma. However, more subtle bias and distrust is rife still. You see it often in policies that just "happen to" disadvantage minorities and that look down on poorer minorities as somehow deserving their lot in life. That all they need is "tough love," "law and order," and "weaning off the government dole," i.e. crappier and crappier treatment. Is it any wonder minorities believe Republicans are out to get them?

4) Absolutely fascinating. I didn't know much about Goldwater the man as much as Goldwater the candidate. I find it kind of sad that he got in bed with the devil there if those were his honest beliefs about segregation. (But it's indisputable that he did, what with letting Strom Thurmond stump for him.) Anyway, thank you for that article.

Comment Re:The "Party of Lincoln," and the Southern Strate (Score 2) 506

I do notice you don't actually address my points directly. You can't argue that the Republicans were form as slavery abolitionists, so you misdirect. You can't argue that the KKK were created by Democrat populace, so you misdirect.

I addressed your core point directly: the idea that Republicans are all true egalitarians and that Democrats have unfairly tarnished them as racists when they were the racists is shown to be utter bunk when you review the last 50 years of politics. I have directly quoted Republican party election strategists on the issue of how they used racial identity politics to try to capture the (at the time) larger white vote by sacrificing the minority vote, and you claim I haven't addressed the point. How exactly aren't the words of Nixon's and Reagan's campaign strategist failing to address your core premise?

Yes, the founders of the KKK were Democrats. Yes, the abolitionist movement found its place in the Republican Party at the time of the Civil War. But so what? What bearing does that have on modern Republicans? I guarantee you every KKK sympathizer I grew up near was and still is a hardcore Republican.

It doesn't matter how noble the Party was in the 19th century if you're trying to claim that they still have the same nobility of purpose today, because that is an utter lie. The Republican Party of the 19th century was the socially liberal party. The Democratic Party of the 19th century was the socially conservative party. The political lines over issues were radically different back then. In fact, the modern economic leftist movement had its roots in socially right-wing, agrarians. (The Populists, William Bryan Jennings, etc.) Also, the parties tolerated far higher diversity of political positions (which would die during the 1960s-1990s period).

You cannot just simply read history up until the point you like and then just ignore the uncomfortable 50 or so years after that. Maybe, maybe you can argue that 21st century Republicans have eschewed the racism of the past, though I think it's pretty clear from the 2008 election and resulting uptick in white supremacist activity, the birther "movement" and talk of Obama as a "secret Muslim," and from rhetoric surrounding immigration that racial fearmongering is still continuing in the Atwater model.

But you cannot ignore the 1960s-1990s. That is the time of Nixon and Reagan and cynical pandering to Southern whites. That is the time of Strom Thurmond and of David Duke, in which racist Democrats found their party would no longer tolerate them, but that the Republicans would welcome them with open arms. And the policies continue to today with anti-immigrant rhetoric, cutting short early voting specifically to stop black church Sunday voting drives, cheering the defeat of the Voting Rights Act (and turning around and passing overtly discriminatory laws in Republican-controlled states like South Carolina), etc.

Fortunately, the user "cold fjord" has used his/her excellent knowledge to furnish you with links. At least check them out please, before dismissing them out-of-hand.

Glad to. That will be my next post, in response to his.

Comment *Yawn* Seen it before a dozen times. (Score 1) 506

Oh pffsssh. Every decade or so, there's a book from some Christian convert about how secretly the group they were formerly a member of is actually two-faced. "Oh, they seem nice when you get to know them, but *actually* they are practicing hate / debauched sex / devil worship / etc. behind closed doors, which *you* will never be able to see, but you can totally trust *me* because I've been there. And I've usually got some sort of insider connection to make me totally credible."

It's inevitably complete bullshit. (See, e.g., Ergun Caner)

I remember as a kid hearing from the crazier members of my church that ouija boards can contact demons, that people who play D&D are members of satanic cults, that communists teach children not to believe in God by making them pray to God and then the government and giving them a cookie when they do the latter, that the Catholic Church is secretly a Babylonian cult, that modern mainstream Mormons practice blood atonement and have secret assassination squads, etc. etc.

It's amazing what utter nonsense people can be sold on about people different from them. This sort of "they seem nice, but behind closed doors...!" slander is the worst sort of lie, because it's completely unverifiable, and it justifies turning blinders to any signs that the accusation isn't right.

Comment The "Party of Lincoln," and the Southern Strategy (Score 4, Insightful) 506

The Republican party doesn't want to coddle minorities because it believes that minorities are just as capable as the majority, and believes that introducing dependence perpetuates problems. The Democrats want to keep dependency going because they get to harvest votes (instead of the cotton they used to get). Yes, this is surprising news to you that the *Republicans* believe in true equality regardless of race - but that is the history if you care to look.

The sad thing is that I think you've actually convinced yourself of that. That the political parties are now as they have always been, and that the Republicans are still the "Party of Lincoln."

No, if you really look at the history, you see people like Strom Thurmond and his fellow Dixiecrats who left the Democratic Party to become Republicans in the wake of the 1964 Civil Rights Act. You see Nixon and the Southern strategy. As Kevin Phillips, Nixon's political strategist said at the time:

"From now on, the Republicans are never going to get more than 10 to 20 percent of the Negro vote and they don't need any more than that...but Republicans would be shortsighted if they weakened enforcement of the Voting Rights Act. The more Negroes who register as Democrats in the South, the sooner the Negrophobe whites will quit the Democrats and become Republicans. That's where the votes are. Without that prodding from the blacks, the whites will backslide into their old comfortable arrangement with the local Democrats."

The mid 20th century was a transition time in which the Democrats split over the issue of segregation v. equality. Thurmond's Dixiecrats feuded with the rising liberalism in the party, and the end result was that most Southern Democrats were replaced with equally racist Southern Republicans -- at least the ones that didn't just switch parties themselves. It would be the Republican party that would squeeze out its pro-equality members over the next few decades, not the Democrats. As LBJ is said to have told an aide upon signing the Civil Rights Act, ""We have lost the South for a generation." It was the Democrats who made the political sacrifice to do what's right on race. And it was the Republicans who made the cold, amoral decision to pander to racists to gain their votes.

Although it was then-Democrat George Wallace who first linked popularized the connection between racist policies and states rights, it was Republican Barry Goldwater who ran with the idea and became the first Republican candidate to win the South with Reconstruction. Nixon's subsequent campaign on "states rights" and "law and order," all under the guidance of Harry S. Dent, was well understood by Southerners to mean support for racially biased policies. As Lee Atwater said:

"You start out in 1954 by saying, 'Nigger, nigger, nigger.' By 1968 you can't say 'nigger' -- that hurts you. Backfires. So you say stuff like forced busing, states' rights and all that stuff. You're getting so abstract now [that] you're talking about cutting taxes, and all these things you're talking about are totally economic things and a byproduct of them is [that] blacks get hurt worse than whites. And subconsciously maybe that is part of it. I'm not saying that. But I'm saying that if it is getting that abstract, and that coded, that we are doing away with the racial problem one way or the other. You follow me â" because obviously sitting around saying, 'We want to cut this,' is much more abstract than even the busing thing, and a hell of a lot more abstract than 'Nigger, nigger.'"

The only reason Republicans pretend to care today is because the political landscape has changed, and the failure of Mitt Romney to defeat Barack Obama because of half a century of burning their bridges with blacks and a quarter of a century of doing so with Hispanics, combined with shifting racial demographics as whites are on schedule to no longer be a majority means that appealing only to whites is political suicide.

This isn't principles or long held beliefs in true equality. This is nothing more but the same cold, amoral calculation that it's no longer Kevin Phillips' era, and if you want to know why it's falling on deaf ears, it's because minorities in this country have spend so long hearing "dependence" and "personal responsibility" and "47 percent" and knowing that what the speaker really means is, "Nigger, nigger."

Comment Re:Mental capability (Score 2) 385

The paper on special relativity is fairly readable. The general relativity paper is practically illegible to the layman, requiring tensor mathematics that are usually not taught until the later stages of a physics degree.

He did, however, try to make it more generally accessible, at least to the determined student. This paper is pretty amazing:

Comment Re:Carnivore meat is not inherently toxic. (Score 1) 655

Yes, however none of them feed exclusively on mammals.

Lions do, and people can eat them just fine. And since when was this a component of your spurious claim of carnivore toxicity? Will you just admit that you were making an unsupported claim, will you provide some sort of citation backing up this "well-known fact," or are you just going to keep trying to shift the goalposts in an increasingly illogical and desperate attempt to avoid admitting that you were wrong.

As do the diets of domestic felines... :)

Cats are obligate carnivores. Unlike dogs, they can't survive on a vegetarian diet -- at least not without severe processing of vegetable matter to get the nutrients they need and eliminate the components they can't digest. Vegan cat food exists, but it's by no means their natural diet. Nor is it representative of what cats raised for meat are fed, since it's the kind of thing only a Westerner would worry themselves with.

But, more importantly, don't you see that that torpedoes your own freaking argument!?

You) Cat meat, as a carnivore meat is well-known to be toxic.
Me) Carnivore meat isn't inherently toxic. He're a long list of carnivores people eat.
You) Well, I wasn't talking about fish.
Me) I wasn't exclusively either. Here's some more mammalian carnivores people eat -- and some mostly carnivorous omnivores too, including dogs.
You) Well, cats are kind of like dogs, that way.
Me) *Head explodes*

Comment Re:Carnivore meat is not inherently toxic. (Score 4, Informative) 655

Whales and seals, which I mentioned, are mammals and not fish. Lion meat is also sold and eaten (though not without controversy over its conservation status). Polar bear meat is eaten by Arctic indigenous peoples as well, and it's only the liver that's toxic due to its extreme vitamin A content (seal and whale liver is a-okay).

Black bears are a bit more omnivorous but are also eaten by peoples around the world, including in Japan. Dogs are also eaten in various parts of the world, though their diets as food animals can vary wildly from the standard "mostly carnivore" model.

And to the specific subject at hand, domestic cat meat has been eaten widely across the world. I have found absolutely no references to it being toxic.

Comment Horse meat is legal in the US. But... (Score 1) 655

Yes, but in the US it is _illegal_ LOL... we are so weird. Naturally, we are still allowed to sell them for slaughter. Because, you know, it doesn't matter that the horse is eaten, just that it cannot be eaten HERE.

As a matter of federal law, the consumption of horse meat is legal. It's also legal to grow horses for meat consumption and to export them for slaughter (e.g. to Mexico & Canada) and then re-import the meat for consumption. It's also technically legal to slaughter them for consumption, but only if the USDA inspects the slaughtering facility for this purpose, and the USDA has not allocated any money to horse-butchering operations since a rider in budget bills explicitly banned them from doing so from 2007-2011. That pretty much killed the industry here, though some are looking to start it back.

Now, several states do ban horsemeat production and/or consumption, and much of that came about because of terrible abuses in the industry, such as the infamous Beltex plant in Texas, and concerns over the use of horse drugs not safe for human consumption commonly used in old race horses.

Personally, I'm allergic to horse hair and thus never developed an enchanted love for the beasts that so many others suffer from, which is probably why my opinion of horses and horsemeat tracks pretty well with The Oatmeal's.

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