The Soft Kitty Big Bang Copyright Nightmare

Copyright-term-extension-minUnited States, you’ve done it to yourself.

A woman named Edith Newlin wrote a poem in 1937. The Willis Music Co. published the poem in a book called Songs for the Nursery School that same year. Seventy years later the producers of a television show called the Big Bang Theory got permission from Willis Music to use those lyrics as a song in their show. They did not get permission from Newlin or her estate.

Newlin died in 2004 but her daughters are now suing.

I’m a writer and I believe those who create intellectual property own it and should have the exclusive right to make money from it for a period of time. The Copyright Clause of the United States Constitution reads as follows: To promote the Progress of Science and useful Arts, by securing for limited Times to Authors and Inventors the exclusive Right to their respective Writings and Discoveries.

The Founding Fathers felt fourteen years was a good number for that “limited Times” with another fourteen years available if the author was still alive and filed to renew.

In 1831 the clause was changed so that the period of time was twenty-eight years with renewal available for fourteen more. The reason Congress did this was to give a fellow by the name of Noah Webster more time to profit from sales of his dictionary. You may have heard of it.

In 1909 the renewal period was extended to twenty-eight years. That’s a total of fifty-six years.

Assuming Newlin reissued her rights; by the standards of copyright laws in the original constitution the Soft Kitty song would have expired its sole ownership rights in 1965. By 1993 using the 1909 law.

The reason the Founding Father’s used the term “limited Times” is for the precise reason that the producers of the Big Bang show are now using the song. Newlin had plenty of time to make money off her work and by allowing it to extend into the public domain people can do more things with it. They can use it to entertain people.

Mickey Mouse, created in 1928, was set to become public property in 1984 so in 1976, anticipating this disaster, Congress voted to extend the “limited Times” to the life of the author plus fifty years. Another twenty years was tacked onto this in 1998. For Newlin this means the rights of her heirs to be paid for the song extend to 2074. The are other nuances to the law but I won’t get into them.

The vote in the Senate was 97 – 0 and in the House 316 – 7.

I could go on for quite a while about all of this and why it is so wrong but I’m going to stick to the point of this blog. As Nelson of the Simpson’s might have succinctly pointed out, Ha-ha!

Here’s the reality, like it or not. The daughters of Newlin have an excellent case. The published version of the song made it clear that Newlin retained rights. The publishing company had no right to authorize anyone else use. Copyright laws extend 70 years past the date of her death.

CBS, open those wallets.

Congress, take note. Write bad laws, expect insane lawsuits.

Tom Liberman
Sword and Sorcery fantasy with a Libertarian Ideology
Current Release: The Girl in Glass I: Apparition
Next Release: The Gray Horn

Kansas City Drug Raid that Produced Nothing Based on Bad Evidence Was Legal

hydroponic-tomato-and-drug-raidI wrote a post about a drug raid that took place at the home of Robert and Addie Harte back in March of 2013. The family spent $25,000 of their own money compelling the police department to explain how they chose that home to raid. When they found out a lawsuit was filed. The result of that suit is in.

More information about the raid and the reasons behind it have come out since I wrote the original piece and I’ll summarize here but I’d highly recommend you visit the link I just posted and read the excellent article in the Washington Post written by Radley Balko. He gets it.

Basically the Harte’s visited a local garden shop in order to purchase supplies for a hydroponic experiment their son was conducting. The police apparently keep surveillance on such stores and note every licence plate of customers. They used this information to find the home of the Harte’s and searched their garbage on several occasions. This does not require a warrant. Flawed field tests returned false positive results for marijuana on loose leaf tea in the garbage. The police could have waited ten days to wait for more accurate lab tests but decided not to do so.

Police are well aware that field test results return false positives at an alarming rate, over 70% of positive results are false. They presumably like it that way. In an example given in the article by Balko there is a link to a video of a field test kit used for cocaine resulting in a false positive on a bag of air.

The police used the false positive results, on a substance described by lab personnel as not physically resembling marijuana in any way, to gain a warrant for a search. After twenty minutes of searching for a major crime scene they started looking for marijuana in small quantities for personal use. After two hours they found nothing and left.

The Harte’s had to spend $25,000 to find this out. The police in Kansas largely don’t have to explain their actions to anyone.

A judge heard this and dismissed all charges summarily. There was not even enough evidence of wrongdoing by the police to go to trial.

What does this say about the laws we live under? What does this say about the War on Drugs as a whole?

The police can, without any fear, take your license plate for doing ordinary shopping. Search your garbage. Use fatally flawed tests to obtain warrants. Come into your home and terrorize you. When they find nothing, you have no legal recourse. You must simply take it.

If this happens to a well-to-do family in an upscale Kansas City neighborhood do you imagine you are safe from such attacks?

This is a government using the mantra of fear to take away your freedom. Beware the scary drugs. We’re only doing this to protect you, to make you safe.

The government is most certainly not making us safer. They are putting us in greater danger AND taking away our freedom.

I’ve said it before and I’ll repeat it now. End the War on Drugs. Make us safer and more free.

Tom Liberman
Sword and Sorcery fantasy with a Libertarian Ideology
Current Release: The Girl in Glass I: Apparition
Next Release: The Gray Horn

Monica Pompeo, Lesbians, and Academic Standards

critical-thinking-abilityI just read an interesting case that has largely concluded in New Mexico wherein a student named Monica Pompeo filed a lawsuit against the University of New Mexico.

Pompeo took a course called Images of (Wo)men: From Icons to Iconoclasts in which the syllabus suggested that students have open minds to examine representations of a plethora of genders and sexualities. Her opinion of lesbians was that they were perverse and had barren wombs.

The original story about the lawsuit describes how professors seemed to harangue Pompeo for her negative comments about lesbians in the essay but the updated article tells a different story. Had I only read the original story I would have sided with Pompeo. In the updated story where the judge did further examination it was found that Pompeo was not asked to change her opinion but simply to substantiate it with critical thinking as is required in an academic environment.

Pompeo was spoken to about rewriting the paper so that it conformed with the requirements of the course, critical thinking, rather than rewrite it to conform with a particular ideology. Pompeo refused. Her academic advisor, the professor, and the professor’s immediate supervisor all reviewed the paper and came to the same conclusion. That the thoughts Pompeo laid out were not properly substantiated.

Rather than perform a rewrite of the paper, essentially attempt to prove her point, Pompeo resorted to a path more in tune with the United States of whining America. She filed a lawsuit because people were forcing her to adhere to high standards. The judge dismissed the case.

I think this sequence of events tells us a great deal about Pompeo, those commenting on the story, and our nation as a whole.

It’s my opinion that those who vilified Pompeo after the original story were completely wrong and those who trumpet her cause after the updated story are also mistaken. That is what we have in this country these days; a complete lack of critical thinking and blind loyalty to a particular cause.

If Pompeo was being told to rewrite the paper in ideological grounds then she is in right, whether you support lesbian rights or not. Pompeo is most certainly entitled to her opinion and all the more so because it is in an academic environment where individual thought is encouraged, even more so if it is against the mainstream. The “Liberals” who applauded such treatment were guilty of supporting bullying and closed mindedness.

However, if Pompeo was being asked to merely substantiate her claims then it is those who continue to support her that have failed in their analysis. “Conservatives” who support Pompeo are guilty of saying that standards do not apply. That clear and well thought out arguments are valueless. You need not understand or explain a position, it’s enough to simply have one . This attitude is also an utter abrogation of the responsibility of an academic institution.

And, by and large, I think that’s where we are in this country. It matters not if you have facts to support a position. It matters that you hold a position strongly and you talk louder than anyone else.

What I find discouraging is that I think the vast majority of people who originally disagreed with Pompeo will continue to do so and those who supported her originally will continue to do so. Only a small minority will have changed their opinion based on an evolving understanding of the case.

It’s my opinion that bad decisions are often rooted in this kind of thinking. People stick with an opinion and a plan despite evidence that it is wrong and will fail. The result is failure.

What happens when men and women who think like this run our municipality, our state, and our country?

All one need do is look around.

Tom Liberman
Sword and Sorcery fantasy with a Libertarian Ideology
Current Release: The Girl in Glass I: Apparition
Next Release: The Gray Horn

George Will Fears the End of a Conservative Party – It’s Already Gone

modern-republicansThe candidacy of Donald Trump has put to test a part of the Republican party that considers itself truly Conservative and George Will is of the opinion that a Trump nomination will mark the end of that faction of the GOP.

I’ve got news for you, Mr. Will. You and those of like minds might still be voting for Republicans, but the party is no longer Conservative and hasn’t been for a long time.

Part of the problem is that the term Conservative has come to mean two very different things to people who are members of the Republican party. The group to which Will largely belongs is Libertarian Conservativism. He does not believe the government should be telling individuals what to do and how to behave.

Meanwhile the majority of the Republican party has long since swayed to a combination of Cultural and Religious Conservatism. This group believes the government should interfere intimately in the lives of its citizens in cultural and religious matters. They believe preserving the state is integrally tied to preserving the culture. They believe in a very strong state with an untouchable police force that has the ability to enforce any and all draconian measures in order to keep us safe. They believe in a mighty military in order to keep us safe. They believe freedom is secondary to safety.

The two ideologies have, much to my mystification, remained compatible with one another in a single party up to this point. Certainly some people who considered themselves Republicans and Democrats have transitioned to the Libertarian Party in the last few years but hardly enough to make an impression in the political juggernauts that the two main parties remain. Libertarian candidates get around 1% of the vote in general elections.

Will finishes his article with the following sentiment: If Trump is the Republican nominee in 2016, there might not be a conservative party in 2020 either.

Mr. Will. There is a Conservative Party the 2016 election but it’s not the Republican Party, no matter who the nominee. There will be a Conservative Party in the 2020 elections and it won’t be the Republican Party. The party to which you harken with nostalgic foolishness may be there in name but it is not there in spirit.

Mr. Will, you cling to a phantom that is no more. A ghost, an apparition, and the longer you hold the dead thing to your bosom the more life will be sucked from your own body. You will eventually be nothing more than a husk of a man. An empty corpse that manages to shuffle along but does not see, does not hear, does not understand. Perhaps you are already there but I suspect not. I suspect there is life in there still, intelligence, vigor, and ability.

Mr. Will. We are Libertarians and with open arms we welcome such as you.

Tom Liberman
Sword and Sorcery fantasy with a Libertarian Ideology
Current Release: The Girl in Glass I: Apparition
Next Release: The Gray Horn

Gamblers Lose Willingly and Kentucky Wins Legally

Kentucky-pokerstars-online-gamblingAn astonishing case just reached its first stop when Franklin Circuit Court Judge Thomas Wingate ruled that the state of Kentucky can claim triple $290 million dollars in gambling losses of residents between 2006 and 2011.

For a period  of time a company called Poker Stars offered internet gambling across the United States. In 2006 a law was passed called the Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act of 2006. In 2011 the government acted on this law and stopped all such gambling. The state of Kentucky claims that all losses made in the interim were illegal and thus they can collect said money.

There are so many things wrong with this case it makes my mind boggle and my blood boil.

I suppose I’ll list them by what I perceive as the most egregious.

  1. Kentucky is collecting the gambling losses made by its citizens, not for the citizens, but for its own treasury.
  2. Not a single one of the 14,000+ gamblers who incurred losses has made a single claim.
  3. The figure arrived at includes all losses in the time frame, not winnings and services minus losses. Just add up all the losses and go.
  4. The statute that allows Kentucky to do this was re-codified in 1942 and was apparently originally written sometime in the 1800’s although I can’t find a date.

Here’s the wording of the statute and here is a PDF of it.

372.040 Suit by third person where loser or creditor does not sue.

If the loser or his creditor does not, within six (6) months after its payment or delivery to the winner, sue for the money or thing lost, and prosecute the suit to recovery with due diligence, any other person may sue the winner, and recover treble the value of the money or thing lost, if suit is brought within five (5) years from the delivery or payment.

I mean, you have to be kidding me, right? This is some insane joke? Nope, sadly not.

This is an example of the power that government can wield. If the state of Kentucky can not only pass a law claiming any third party has the right to collect the gambling losses of another individual but actually enforce it … what law cannot they pass?

The only laws they can’t pass are those which the Constitution forbids. Kentucky is not allowed to abridge my freedom to speak, to assemble with like-minded people, to be immune from unwarranted search and seizure, to house soldiers in my home, establish a religion, and more.

We take many of these rights for granted but I hope this case makes you appreciate them all the more. Do you imagine a legislature that can write things like 372.040 wouldn’t be happy to take away your right to speak? To assemble? To vote? To own a weapon?

The sad part in all of this? The judge is probably correct in interpreting the statute. The statute is, quite obviously, madness. It is overreaching, money-seeking government at its worst, exposed to the light of day. It is sickening. It is a dark shadow upon the thoughts of any liberty loving individual. It is the raw power of a government not checked by the people.

There is one group who can remove this stain of a statute from the books.

Kentuckians, what say you?

Tom Liberman
Sword and Sorcery fantasy with a Libertarian Ideology
Current Release: The Girl in Glass I: Apparition
Next Release: The Gray Horn

What Paige Spiranac tells us about a Meritocracy

Paige-spiranacMost of you probably haven’t heard the name Paige Spiranac before but I think her story is interesting enough to discuss for a moment. Spiranac was an accomplished golfer at San Diego State University and has aspirations of joining the Ladies Professional Golfer Association tour.

Her attempt to accomplish this and the success she has attained, and failed to attain, demonstrates some of the ideas behind what is called a Meritocracy. In short, a society that is a Meritocracy vests power with those who prove most competent.

Now onto Spiranac. The normal route to joining the LPGA tour is through Qualifying School where the best golfers battle it out and the top finishers gain access to the LPGA the following season. Once on tour performance dictates how long they stay. Women who finish at the top of the leaderboard and win tournaments are given access to events for a period of time.

Spiranac chose a different path. She is an attractive young woman and leveraged her Instagram account into getting a sponsor’s exemption into a tournament in Dubai.

If you visit the website of the event there is a banner across the top that shows images of the tournament. Spiranac is in three of them while the winner of the tournament, Feng Shanshan, is nowhere to found despite absolutely dominating. Spiranac missed the cut and finished tied for 107th of the 111 total players.

In my opinion there are two lessons to be learned from this series of events.

Spiranac used her attractiveness to gain entry into a tournament that her golfing skills alone did not qualify her to enter. The tournament directors gave her the sponsor’s exemption because people are interested in looking at her and this boosted ratings for the event. The officers of the LPGA tour are likely rooting for Spiranac to improve her golf game enough to join the tour full time. She will undoubtedly gain future exemptions because her looks bring viewers and thus advertising revenue.

There is nothing wrong with any of this. Good for Spiranac. Good for the tournament.

The second lesson is that no matter how greatly people want to see Spiranac make it as a full time LPGA player, it cannot happen unless she improves at golf and starts making cuts and contending for titles.

This is also good. No matter how many people want her to do well, it should be only her actual golfing skill that keeps her on the tour.

I guess what I’m saying is her undeniable physical appeal and her golfing skills are both part of the meritorious equation. If she had neither we would not be talking about her. If she excels at both she will become a star and make a lot of money for both herself and the tour. If she is only attractive but not so great at golf then she will go onto other endeavors and likely do well.

We all have certain things going for us. Our looks, our skills, our minds, our writing ability, or anything else. If we leverage these things we make our lives and the world a better place. If we fail to do so then we leave behind a life and a world that could have been more.

Best of luck to you, Paige. I suspect you’ll never be good enough to make it on tour. Prove me wrong!

Tom Liberman
Sword and Sorcery fantasy with a Libertarian Ideology
Current Release: The Girl in Glass I: Apparition
Next Release: The Gray Horn

Headline Writers DESTROY Internet

Extra-ExtraIn HUGE news today the headline writers ABSOLUTELY DESTROYED the entire internet with EXPLODING stories about how their rant CRUSHED any opposition.

It was a MASSIVE defeat for reasoned and thoughtful discussion about important topics. The headlines DEVESTATED any argument against their bold lettering with ENORMOUS words that simply left rational thought without HOPE!!!!

Yes it was an EPIC day in the GLORIOUS history of the United States when headline writer’s proclamation of UTTER ANNHILATION simply overwhelmed all opponents. There was NOTHING LEFT except a feeble and useless attempt asking for substance instead of FLASH from those feeding us the news.

You HEARD IT HERE first!!

The internet is SHATTERED.

In a side note, click here to read TEN WEIRD TRICKS on how to write books that no one purchases!!

Peace.

Tom Liberman
Sword and Sorcery fantasy with a Libertarian Ideology
Current Release: The Girl in Glass I: Apparition
Next Release: The Gray Horn

Making Indoor Tanning Illegal for Anyone Under 18 without Consent

tanning-bedThe Food and Drug Administration has just issued a proposed regulation on the indoor tanning industry that would bar anyone under 18 years of age from tanning without signed consent forms from their parents.

Indoor tanning increases the risk of melanoma enormously. The statistics on this are overwhelming. Anyone who uses indoor tanning is putting their long-term health at risk. Children are particularly at risk.

The FDA is proposing these regulations in order to save lives. These regulations will save lives. These regulations will save insurance companies money, they will save people enormous pain and suffering from skin cancer as they get older. I absolutely agree that people should not go into tanning booths. I think people should use sun screen whenever they’re exposed to strong sunlight for any length of time.

And yet I’m totally against these regulations. The reasons I’m against the regulations are fairly numerous but it all comes down to one thing.

The dangers of tanning beds are well known and anyone who uses them has no excuse for not knowing them. Even children.

Other reasons include the fact that where there is a market a supplier will arise. Someone will find a way to provide tanning services to teenagers who do not have permission from their parents. Money will exchange hands. Raids will be made. People will end up in prison. Fake age identifications will become a bigger industry. Some parents just don’t care. They’ll sign any consent form they’re handed. Kids who tan a lot are likely to be children of parents who do it as well and choose to ignore the danger. Why an agency called the Food and Drug Administration should have any power of tanning booths is another mystery.

Yet all those reasons are secondary. If a teenager wants to tan and can’t bother to read through the already voluminous notices about the dangers of tanning that the government forces indoor tanning facilities to post, that’s their business. The government does not need to protect your child from tanning, you need to do it. If your children don’t listen to you, as teenagers a prone to do, then trying to rely on the government to protect them is an exercise in futility.

If you step into a tanning booth, even once, your insurance rates should skyrocket. If you lie about tanning and get skin cancer, your insurance shouldn’t cover the costs. It’s brutal. It’s painful. People will suffer. A pretty, young, pregnant girl will get skin cancer and won’t be able to afford treatment. More regulations people will scream. Protect us from ourselves!

It’s the price we pay for freedom. As I write in my latest novel, The Girl in Glass I – Apparition. Freedom is free, it just isn’t safe.

Tom Liberman
Sword and Sorcery fantasy with a Libertarian Ideology
Current Release: The Girl in Glass I: Apparition
Next Release: The Gray Horn

Let’s Get Ready to Rumble Announcers – Yawn

ready-to-rumbleI’m a huge sports fan and love both going to the games and watching events on television. I’m here to tell you today about a pet peeve of mine. You may disagree.

The Michael Buffer effect I call it. Let’s get ready to ruuuuuuuuumble!!!!

The long, drawn out name during introductions with emphasis everywhere it doesn’t belong. It’s all part of an attempt to work the fans into a frenzy and I’m guessing most people like it, but it annoys me.

Yes, I’m a party-pooper. Why all the fireworks? The light shows. The screaming announcers? The pounding music. It’s marketing I suppose.

It seems to me that in the old days fans knew when to cheer on their own. Frankly, I find it a both a bit insulting and counterproductive. I know when to cheer but I find increasingly that most fans do not, they wait for the music or announcer to tell them it’s time to yell. Half the time it’s not even appropriate and yet the fans start to scream like Pavlov’s dogs at the first sign of music.

So, either I’m right or I’m a grumpy old man yelling at those durned kids. Which is it?

Which am I?

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Tom Liberman
Sword and Sorcery fantasy with a Libertarian Ideology
Current Release: The Girl in Glass I: Apparition
Next Release: The Gray Horn

Tuscaloosa Police Dept Pays $500,000 in Overtime to Police Alabama Football Games

alabama-police-footballThere’s an interesting story out of college football involving the Alabama Crimson Tide and the fact that the local Tuscaloosa police department pays the salaries of officers providing security at football games with no reimbursement from the University of Alabama.

On game days in Tuscaloosa the crowd in the stadium is larger than the entire town and the police department works with local Campus Police to provide security. According to records produced by the city this amounted to over half a million dollars in overtime expenses this past season.

On the whole I don’t think it makes much difference in practicality. The reason I think this is if the University pays for the service some arrangement will be made to return that revenue through tax breaks or other means.

Nevertheless, I have a strong opinion this subject.

The city is providing a service for the university for which they would otherwise have to pay. The University of Alabama would have to bolster campus police forces on game days or simply hire the police force to do the job.

The reason the city of Tuscaloosa likely provides this service is that they get far more than half a million dollars in revenue from the 100,000 people that descend on the town those seven days a year. They do it simply as a courtesy.

This situation reminds of strongly of a story in Atlas Shrugged where John Galt insists on paying Midas Mulligan a dime for the loan of his car for the day. The dime is a trivial amount and Mulligan might easily loan the car as a favor. Galt insists on the payment and I think the University of Alabama should do so as well.

The police department is providing a useful service to the university. This service comes at an expense and paying for it is an homage to capitalism.

Maybe it doesn’t make a difference in actual finances but I do think it’s an important statement to make as far as capitalism is concerned. There is nothing necessarily wrong with doing favors for friends but when somebody provides you a valuable service, pay for it. It could be as simple as buying them lunch. Doing so sets a good example for everyone.

Tom Liberman
Sword and Sorcery fantasy with a Libertarian Ideology
Current Release: The Girl in Glass I: Apparition
Next Release: The Gray Horn

Baby Bou-Bou Wrap Up

phonesavanh_familyI wrote a post back in December of 2014 about the case of baby Bou-Bou.

I added an update in May of 2015.

As far as I know things are wrapped up now with this final story.

You can go back and read all the details but I’ll summarize quickly.

The police in Georgia had a drug informant. He had a friend. The friend lied about making a small drug purchase in a house in which a meth dealer he knew lived. In reality, the dealer had moved out months before and relatives, with small children, had temporarily moved in.

Officer Nikki Autry wrote out a request for a warrant that stated the informant had purchased the drugs and seen weapons in the house. Both of these statements were known to Autry to be false. Autry did not know that the informant’s friend was also lying about the entire episode.

Judge James Butterworth issued a no-knock warrant. The police did no surveillance, broke down the door, and threw a flash-bang grenade into the room where it landed in a baby’s crib severely burning the 19-month. His flesh was burned down to bone.

When details of the case became known Butterworth immediately retired. Autry left her job as well. The state of Georgia protects law enforcement officers from the damage they do in such raids. A lawsuit was filed although it had no chance of success. The state felt remorse, as well they should, and paid out less than the cost of medical bills for the child though by law they faced no penalties. The family had to accept the proffered settlement or get nothing.

This final blog is about the conclusion of the case against Autry for providing false information on a warrant which, after much publicity, Autry was eventually charged with doing. Well, I should say she didn’t do because she’s been acquitted of all charges despite admitting that some of the information in the warrant was “not entirely inaccurate”.

Now I’ll spend a few seconds on some information that turned out to be wrong from my earlier posts. I passed along the inaccurate information that Autry was a DEA agent. She was a sheriff’s deputy. I also wrote that no charges had been filed, which was true at the time but proved false as charges were eventually filed against Autry.

The end. Go on about your lives.

Tom Liberman
Sword and Sorcery fantasy with a Libertarian Ideology
Current Release: The Girl in Glass I: Apparition
Next Release: The Gray Horn

 

Hamilton off the $10 Bill – Good but Maybe not for the Reason You think

Lady-Liberty-CoinThere’s been a story making the rounds for the last six months involving replacing Alexander Hamilton’s image on the $10 bill with that of a woman.

I’m in full agreement with removing Hamilton’s image but probably not for the reasons you think.

Hamilton was a great man and deserves to be honored as one of the most important figures in the founding of our nation. So was Andrew Jackson whose face is on the $20 bill. Many want Jackson removed, instead of Hamilton, because during Jackson’s presidency he was largely responsible for the forced immigration of the Native American population. George Washington was probably the man most instrumental in the creation of the United States, I’m all for honoring him despite the fact that he was a slave owner for his entire adult life.

All people who accomplish great things are merely mortals. As such they did things most of us would consider reprehensible. Ulysses Grant issued the infamous General Order 11. Franklin Roosevelt incarcerated innocent Japanese Americans during World War II. John Adams issued the Alien and Sedition Acts.

I do not think such are good reason for their names to be removed from buildings, currency, monuments, or any other such place. Despite their flaws and bad decisions their deeds helped to make this country what it is. They sacrificed much and deserve our honor, but also our honest assessment of their mistakes.

None of this is pertinent to my discussion today. Why, you might ask, do I want Hamilton removed from the $10 bill?

I’m of the opinion that the United States of America is a nation built upon ideas, upon an ideology that transcends the flaws of people. It’s those ideas we should enshrine on our currency. Liberty, Freedom, Self-Government, a Nation for the People and by the People.

The first set of coins issued by the United States back in 1792 were quite simple. There was a picture of the Goddess Liberty on the front and a bald eagle on the back. After that came the Draped Bust followed by the Capped Bust. It wasn’t until 1909 that the image of a living person appeared on any U.S. Currency with the introduction of the Lincoln Penny.

Ideas were good enough for the Founding Fathers and they are plenty good enough for me!

Eventually physical currency will make way for digital and that will be that, but until then I say get rid of them all!

We are nation of ideas, not hero worship. We are nation of principles, not hero worship. This nation, more than any other, has inspired people to throw off their chains around the world, to insist upon a government in which they, the people, have voice. I say we should always honor those ideas.

All people are flawed but the ideas of Freedom, of Liberty, and of Pursuing Happiness are not.

Tom Liberman
Sword and Sorcery fantasy with a Libertarian Ideology
Current Release: The Girl in Glass I: Apparition
Next Release: The Gray Horn

Barring Muslims Practicality

Trump-Muslim-ImmigrationI want to take a very quick look at the practicality of Donald Trump’s plan to bar Muslims from entering the United States.

The idea behind the plan is simple enough. The vast majority of terrorists in the world are Muslims and therefore if we ban all of them from entering the United States we decrease the chances of a terrorist attack.

There are a lot of people out there decrying the plan for any number of reasons but I simply want to look at it from a practical perspective. Let’s imagine Trump is elected President of the United States and manages to get legislation passed barring all Muslims from entering the United States.

The law is passed. All travelers coming from outside the United States into the country must declare their religious affiliation before entering. How is it implemented?

At entry points everyone is asked their religion. What will happen?

  1. Any person who plans on a terrorist act will lie about their religion.
  2. Many people will refuse to answer the question.
  3. Some people will give an accurate answer.

The result. No one is any safer.

It’s quite obvious that any terrorist is going to lie about their religion, in order to prevent that person from entering the country we will have to do a background check on them to ensure they are the religion they claim to be.

This means everyone entering the country will have to have a background check. This would be a huge inconvenience to all travelers, frankly, it would make travel into the country all but impossible. A literal army of agents would be required to do the check which would cost trillions of dollars. Trillions? You bet. Think about all the people who are entering the country every day and what it would take to investigate each one.

And, of course, any terrorist who plans on entering the country will take the time to fake a conversion to some other religion.

So, in a nutshell, the plan is useless in preventing terrorists from entering the country, will cost taxpayers trillions of dollars, will inconvenience every traveler harshly, and will invade the privacy of all our lives.

Welcome to ‘Merica.

I’ve got another plan for you. Vote Libertarian.

Tom Liberman
Sword and Sorcery fantasy with a Libertarian Ideology
Current Release: The Girl in Glass I: Apparition
Next Release: The Gray Horn

 

Steve Sarkisian Claims Being a Drunk Means He can’t be Fired

steve-sarkisian-alcoholNon sports fans will be unaware that a fellow named Steve Sarkisian was fired from the job of head football coach at the University of Southern California earlier this year. Several drunken incidents led the athletic director of the school to the decision to fire Sarkisian.

He is now suing USC for $30 million because alcoholism is considered a disability and the Americans with Disabilities Act has rules about protecting disabled people.

To begin with the ADA doesn’t protect people with disabilities if their disability interferes with them doing their job. In the specific case of alcoholism this is spelled out quite clearly. The law states that an employer can discipline, discharge, or deny employment to an alcoholic whose drinking effects their performance. The case appears without merit from a legal standpoint. Sarkisian was sent home from at least one practice for being too drunk and there are rumors of many other incidents.

While that part is true and to my, non-lawyer, mind conclusive, it is not why Sarkisian’s lawsuit so nauseates me. This lawsuit is a slap in the face to all people with disabilities who are protected by ADA. It’s an insult to veterans who lost limbs, babies born with disabilities who must make their way through a difficult life, and anyone else who is truly disabled.

It’s as disgusting as someone faking a disability to gain the advantages laid out by ADA.

Normally I wouldn’t even be taking on a topic like this because I think almost everyone will agree with my opinions on the subject. Judging by the comments on the stories I’ve read this appears largely true.

The reason I’m writing this blog is because drug addiction is a terrible thing and can happen to anyone. Sarkisian deserves help. He needs treatment. People can and should be sympathetic to his plight. In this day and age there are precious few of us who have not been touched in some way by drug addiction. It’s a huge problem that needs to be discussed. Addicts need to be treated rather than ostracized. They should be given new opportunities if they overcome their addictions.

Sarkisian has my sympathy and to his credit has gone through treatment. I would encourage football teams to consider him for a coaching position and include monitoring for relapse behavior along with ongoing therapy.

That being said, he deserves nothing from USC. He hid his problem. He denied his problem. He let his problem adversely effect his job performance. He deserved to be fired. He should be ashamed for even filing the lawsuit.

Tom Liberman
Sword and Sorcery fantasy with a Libertarian Ideology
Current Release: The Girl in Glass I: Apparition
Next Release: The Gray Horn

 

Pro Uncovered Breastfeeding, Strong Women, and Twitter Rage

Twitter-hateI made a post the other day about a woman who was proudly, without any covering, breastfeeding her child and angered by the woman at the next table who was glaring at her.

A self-declared feminist on Twitter retweeted my original post and attracted the attention of a group of people who strongly, and I do mean strongly, advocate breastfeeding in public without any covering.

I’ve gotten a large amount, well, a large amount for me, of Twitter hate. I’m being called misogynistic, ill-informed, perverted, male-privileged, and various other names. In the midst of it all a woman grabbed a screen capture of my Twitter image which shows the three main protagonists from my latest novel, The Girl in Glass I: Apparition. She asked if I liked the way the woman was dressed. It was Rhia the powerful swordswoman of the group.

I do like strong and powerful woman. I find them attractive and interesting in real life and I enjoy writing about them in my fictional universe. My mom and all of my sisters (five for those of you counting) certainly fall into that category and the women I date tend to as well.

A thought occurred to me as I was looking at this Tweet.

Are not the women who are so dedicatedly defending the act of uncovered breastfeeding also strong and passionate women? By golly, they are!

I personally don’t think we’re that far apart in our opinions of breastfeeding uncovered in public. I think a woman should make an effort to cover herself out of consideration to the other diners. My Twitter friends think otherwise.

I certainly agree women should be allowed to go without covering themselves and not fear arrest of indecency. I think if a woman wants to do so she has every right to do that. I would fight vigorously against making such illegal. I also think accommodations for breastfeeding women should be made much more readily available.

That being said, it is not me who thinks our opinions are widely divergent. It is the strong and vocal women. They are mad at me, not vice versa.

To that I say: Good for you. I admire your passion. Keep up the fight! We disagree but that’s not a reason to hate, at least not for me.

Tom Liberman
Sword and Sorcery fantasy with a Libertarian Ideology
Current Release: The Girl in Glass I: Apparition
Next Release: The Gray Horn

 

Nasty Glares for Breastfeeding in Restaurant

Ashley-KaidelThere’s apparently a big story making the rounds about a woman named Ashley Kaidel who posted a picture of herself breastfeeding in a restaurant.

Apparently a nearby woman was glaring at Kaidel for her display. Kaidel took exception and glared back which is when the picture was taken. Kaidel writes in her Facebook post: If a mother is more comfortable covering herself because SHE feels better doing so, then I totally support that.

She has accumulated almost 400,000 likes to the post as the image has gone viral.

She’s angry because the other woman in the restaurant is making an attempt to shame me and indirectly tell me without words that I am wrong and need to cover myself.

I’m a man. I’m not married. I’ve never had a child. Yell at me all you want, but Kaidel is in the wrong here. I’d be uncomfortable if a man pulled off his shirt and exposed himself this way, let alone a woman.

I’m upset when people a few tables over start yelling at each other. I think it’s rude when a man wears inappropriate clothes to a fine dining establishment. Why? Because it’s disrespectful to everyone else in that restaurant. It’s a ME-ME-ME attitude on display for the world to see.

Like it or not a female breast has a sexual aspect to it. It’s fine at a nudist beach, in the changing room, at home, or any other place where it won’t be intruding on the lives of others. Not to mention that it’s not that difficult to cover up. Yes, it’s a uniquely female problem but does that mean someone is sexist to suggest that perhaps you shouldn’t pull out your breast in public? Is it sexist to say a man shouldn’t expose his penis in public? Is it sexist to say a woman shouldn’t show her vagina in public? I think not.

Kaidel’s long rant makes it clear she has an agenda. Everyone should breastfeed everywhere so little girls learn to love it. You have to read the whole self-centered thing yourself to truly get her narcissism. She’s a crusader, make no doubt about that. Most laughable is her claim at the end that she didn’t make the Facebook post to get attention.

All that aside, it’s not a matter of disgust, intolerance, hatred, or shaming. It’s a matter of respecting the other diners at that restaurant. Kaidel is the guilty party in that regard.

Tom Liberman
Sword and Sorcery fantasy with a Libertarian Ideology
Current Release: The Girl in Glass I: Apparition
Next Release: The Gray Horn