02 November 2011

Subterranean Link Sausage Blues

Back to the music of my misspent youth today...

  • Herman Cain has a secret fondness for John Lennon, apparent long ago, when he was running Godfather's Pizza. Nobody ever notes that the chain's franchise headquarters avoided bankruptcy on his watch by trickling debt down to its franchise operators — many of whom then went through bankruptcy — meanwhile asking those same franchisees to "imagine there's no pizza." Leaving aside for the moment the question of whether he cleared the copyrights for creating a derivative work that fails the bizarre legal tests for determining whether it's a parody, it's far less disturbing than his more-recent ode to John Lennon: Tax Revolution Number 9 (Number 9... Number 9). I won't be surprised if Cain's incoherent policy initiatives start reflecting more-overt connections to Lennon's songs. The capital punishment debate will not be enlightened by "Maxwell's Silver Hammer," nor will military procurement benefit from "Yellow Submarine." And the less said about "Helter Skelter" as inspiration for foreign policy, the better...
  • From the Department of It Could Be Worse: At least Occupy Wall Street doesn't have to contend with a legitimized shadow government (the shadow government on Wall Street is illegitimate) with the right by ancient royal perogative to ignore the civil authorities (power to do so, yes; royally granted right, not so much)... or an official, established religion that sues to remove protesters from an ordinarily public forum (over here it's usually the "cultier" religions that go after nonviolent protesters — usually).
  • The Copyright Office has released a voluminous report on mass digitization of existing textual works that, unfortunately, falls into the same trap as most of its other pronouncements: Despite some interesting and worthwhile analysis, it completely neglects the agency-capture problem inherent in its reliance on registration and recordation fees. I'll have more to say on the substance later on, particularly as it relates to the merits of the HathiTrust lawsuit.
  • Antitrust alert: Speaking of franchising, MordorCorp NewsCorp unit HarperCollins announced a plan to purchase Thomas Nelson, the largest "christian publisher"... to go along with its existing ownership of Zondervan (both the imprint and the bookstores). <SARCASM> Yeah, that presents no antitrust issues at all, or any conflicts with the seventies image of a whiny-voiced Jesus going Chuck Norris in the temple (or on Wall Street). </SARCASM> At least Occupy Wall Street has not gone that far; instead, it seems that Wall Street may have hired the Hell's Angels for security. Apparently, the right to peaceably assemble and present grievances to those who own (or at least rent) the government must be infringed in favor of the right to quiet while counting one's money.

       I was sorely tempted, as a counterpoint to the first sausage on this platter, to make the obvious cheap-shot reference to a piece from the Beatles' biggest competition, but I chose a more directly related cheap shot instead. (Oh, okay, I'll take that one, too.) Remember, though, that corporations don't cause foreclosures and bankruptcies — people do.