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January 15, 2003


The Mouse Remains in Chains . . .
. . . and the words "limited times" in the Constitution's copyright clause will — for now — have no useful meaning. The Eldred v. Ashcroft appellants lost today, seven to two (download the opinions here), leaving the laughably long 95-year copyright term on corporate-owned works intact. Disappointing as that is, we still owe hearty praise to Lawrence Lessig, and the rest of his legal team, for all their hard work.

Greg G. @ 12:56 PM | # |


BBC News: June debut for Potter latest.

Greg G. @ 12:21 PM | # |

January 14, 2003


Negotiations, Love Songs and Awkward Dances
The Bush administration, in its unswerving resolution about those pesky North Korean missiles, says that it may talk — but will never, ever negotiate. Don't believe me? Just ask Ari:
As I made clear before, I said the United States is willing to talk, not negotiate.
See? Straight from the record.

So what's up with this? From the way The New York Times tells it, our Asia hands at the State Department are falling all over themselves to make a deal &mash; that is, at least as much as diplomats can publicly do that. "Once we get beyond nuclear weapons," says the president's envoy to the region, "there may be opportunities with the U.S. . . . to help North Korea in the energy area."

So let me get this straight: we have an emissary in Asia making noises about talking with the North Koreans, all but saying "let's make a deal." We have an emissary in New Mexico talking with the North Koreans, talking about making a deal. So what's going on?

I figured out that it all depends on what the meaning of the word "negotiate" is — so I broke open a dictionary to look it up:
To confer with another or others in order to come to terms or reach an agreement.
Now color me purple and tickle me Elmo, but doesn't that sound an awful lot like what we're doing? I see American diplomats talking with terms on offer, hoping the people across the table give a favorable response. In what Bush-to-English dictionary does that not translate as "negotiation"?

It's like Jon Stewart put it tonight: "Fleischer-san! You are a riddle, wrapped in an enigma, drizzled in delicious bu--sh--."

Greg G. @ 12:55 AM | # |

January 13, 2003


Capitol Chronicle: Day One
Since business takes me down to the state capitol on a regular basis, I thought it might be fun to give you a glimpse of the inner workings of our state government. I happen to agree that watching politics is often like watching someone making sausage — but c'mon, who doesn't get a kick out of watching sausage get made?

So ease back, grab some popcorn, and enjoy. It might not always be pretty, but I guarantee that it'll be entertaining.

Sparks flew at the first day of business at the state legislature, but not from the expected source. The battle for the speakership fizzled out — but the Confederate air force buzzed downtown Atlanta.
  • The battle to replace the nation's longest-serving House speaker came to an abrupt end this morning. State representative Larry Walker (D), a Republican-backed legislator from middle Georgia who promised to appoint members of the GOP to head key committees, announced at a press conference that he was dropping his campaign for the top post.

    The decision left the job of speaker to Rep. Terry Coleman (D), the Democrats' official choice, by default. In a speech after his election as speaker, Coleman promised that he would "represent all Georgians."

  • On the other side of the Capitol, Senate Republicans — newly empowered by four party-switching Democrats who enabled the GOP to seize a 30-26 majority — defenestrated Lt. Gov. Mark Taylor (D), stripping him of his powers as the chamber's presiding officer. Senate rules passed this morning shift power over committee appointments and bill assignments to a three-man committee on which Republicans hold two spots. Out of "respect for the office," senate president pro tem Eric Johnson said, members of the chamber will let Taylor retain his customary seat at the rostrum.
  • Meanwhile, some Confederate flag backers mocked the spirit of a request by Gov.-elect Sonny Perdue not to wear or carry flags to today's proceedings. Two planes pulling banners with Confederate flags began circling the skies over the state Capitol around midmorning, just as many Repbublican officials were began to arrive downtown after a morning prayer service at a Buckhead church.

    The two banners featured messages pressing for quick action on the flag issue. One of the banners read: "Let us vote — you promised!" The other suggests that Perdue may have some rocky days in store: "Barnes was just a warm-up."

Greg G. @ 2:52 PM | # |

January 12, 2003


Case Closed
Steve Case, the man who melded two dysfunctional companies into a behemoth that went on to shed billions in shareholder value — and a couple of damned fine pitchers — took his leave of the chairmanship AOL Time Warner today. Hallelujah.

Not to put too fine a point on this, but Ted Turner has really come out of the post-merger boardroom warfare standing tall, hasn't he? He once compared the experience of having Turner Broadcasting bought from underneath him by Time Warner chief Gerald Levin with a "ritual clitoridectomy," and Levin all but wrote him out of the post-merger organizational chart when AOL and Time Warner went down the aisle. But where's Levin now? Gone. What about Case protegé Bob Pittman? Gone. And now Case himself is gone, too.

He's come back from forced retirement to establish himself as the last old-timer left standing, in just a few short years. It just goes to show; goofball or no, never count the man out.

Greg G. @ 9:33 PM | # |


Visions of the Future
The science discussion site has gathered all manner of experts — from Jaron Lanier to J. Craig Venter &mdash' to contribute comments to a memo to the president on pressing scientific issues facing today's world. It makes for bracing reading — and once the president learns to read, I'm sure he'll review it.

What — me, cynical? =,

Greg G. @ 9:04 PM | # |


They Can Read!
Here at the Green[e]house we love the Bush administration — so much so that we made a pilgrimage to the White House recently to ask top people there to tell us about the books that inspired these last two years of sterling leadership. Now, for you, we list some of the titles they named:

Greg G. @ 8:46 PM | # |