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Published in: on June 26, 2017 at 12:09 pm  Leave a Comment  

The Return of The Interview

Today, Sony announced that they’ll be releasing The Interview after all. Which got me thinking, maybe overthinking… in the end, how much did Sony really suffer in all this? Because if the cyberattack were just a massive publicity stunt…

And let’s be honest: would that really have been more irresponsible than making this movie in the first place?

Original article: December 18, 2014

interviewThe first time I saw a trailer for The Interview, I was astounded by what a stupid concept this was: among other consequences, I thought this could be a tremendous propaganda tool for North Korea, and it might endanger American journalists overseas. I would never suggest in any way that Sony should be prevented from releasing the film — but just because you can do something doesn’t mean you should do it.

Obviously I never saw the massive cyberattack coming; but honestly, while I don’t condone massive cyberattacks, I had no sympathy for Sony getting smacked around over this. Freedom of expression doesn’t mean freedom from consequences.

And now we have people demanding to know why Obama isn’t retaliating for this “act of terrorism.”

Well, first, this wasn’t terrorism: it was an act of retaliation against a certain entity for a certain action.

Second, I hope we now have a national policy of only retaliating once we know we’re retaliating against the right people.

Third, Sony isn’t even an American company.

And finally, of course, a movie studio being hacked isn’t a national security issue.

Do I like the idea of a movie being pulled because of outside intimidation (even though there’s no reason to assume anybody would be harmed other than Sony executives being further embarrassed)? Absolutely not. In fact, I’d have a modicum of respect for Sony if they DID release it: if they thought making this movie was important enough to endanger other people, the least they can do is not back down when they’re the ones taking the heat.

And who knows, cyberattacks forcing the recall of a movie might give REAL terrorists ideas.

Published in: on December 23, 2014 at 2:38 pm  Comments (9)  

Over-reaction? Missouri Governor Declares State of Emergency, Calls Out National Guard, in Advance of Michael Brown Grand Jury Decision

state of emergency 11-17-14On August 9, 2014, in Ferguson, Missouri, a suburb of Saint Louis, an 18-year-old black man, Michael Brown, was shot and killed by a white police officer, Darren Wilson, after a struggle and while Brown was either running away or running back toward Wilson, and either had his arms raised in surrender or did not.

With a grand jury decision on indicting Wilson imminent, Governor Jay Nixon, concerned about violent protests if the grand jury doesn’t indict (some protests over this case have already turned violent), will send National Guard troops to Saint Louis, where according to Saint Louis’s mayor, they will take only a secondary role behind the city’s police department (which of course can change depending on circumstances).

This article, and all articles on this site, are © 2014 by Bill Bickel unless otherwise noted.

Published in: on November 17, 2014 at 7:09 pm  Comments (3)  

Friday Morning Miscellany: October 31, 2014

This article, and all articles on this site, are © 2014 by Bill Bickel unless otherwise noted.

Published in: on October 31, 2014 at 3:59 am  Comments (8)  

Sikh Children Permitted To Bring Carry Knives in School

800px-Kirpan_smallLast week, a Washington state school distract formalized a policy that was already in effect: Sikh children, who are required by their religion to carry kirpans, ceremonial daggers, are allowed to do so, despite zero tolerance rules that have seen children punished for accidentally bringing Swiss Army knives to school, or for being in possession of a knife to cut up an apple (not to even mention the really crazy stuff).

This article, and all articles on this site, are © 2014 by Bill Bickel unless otherwise noted.

Published in: on October 30, 2014 at 6:31 am  Comments (14)  

Beheadings, Bare Breasts, and Facebook [NSFW]

It took just over an hour for Facebook to take this down, not allowing me back into my account until I’d read a lecture about their Terms of Service… (click graphic to view the original post in full size)

breasts2

Published in: on October 24, 2014 at 3:32 pm  Comments (15)  

Rape Victim Ordered to Pay Child Support

There are too many variables here to offer a poll, but it’ll be interesting to see what people think:

Ten years ago, when he was fourteen, Nick Olivas had sex with a 20-year-old woman. He recently discovered that 1) he has a daughter and 2) the Arizona Department of Economic Security is forcing him to pay about $15,000 toward child support since the woman was on public assistance.

Even though he was a victim of statutory rape (a willing participant, though of course legally unable to give consent), he was willing to pay his share of expenses incurred after he turned 18.

Files were never charged against the woman. If she’d been found guilty, he might have been exempt by Arizona law from paying child support to her — but not when the claimant is the state. Which seems a bit questionable: child support is for the child, not the mother: should the child be deprived of support because of his or her mother’s offense?

If you agree that Olivas should be paying child support, what if the sex weren’t entirely consensual?  If either psychological or physical pressure had been used, should he still be financially responsible for the girl who is, still, his daughter?

And where do you draw the line? Fourteen? Thirteen? Twelve?

More

 

 

This article, and all articles on this site, are © 2014 by Bill Bickel unless otherwise noted.

Published in: on September 19, 2014 at 8:51 am  Comments (20)  

T-Shirts That Won’t Fly

A few years ago, I made my son change out of his Plot To Blow Up The Eiffel Tower t-shirt (that was the name of a band, apparently) before we got to the airport for a cross-country flight, because I could see us getting held up at the security line by some over-zealous TSA agent.

Yes, it would be silly — but what does that have to do with anything?

Which of these shirts would be likely to cause you trouble on the security line? The first one references the popular-at-the-time television program Have Gun Will Travel, and therefore should be as harmless as a Simpsons t-shirt (assuming the TSA agent is an American over the age of 50). The second one references the tv show less obviously, with a more ominous graphic. The third one… I’m trying to decide whether it would be more problematic in a red state or a blue state.

The fourth one, I’m in favor of pulling the guy out of the line just on general principles.

GUNS-1

guns-2

guns-3

guns-4

This article, and all articles on this site, are © 2014 by Bill Bickel unless otherwise noted.

Published in: on September 18, 2014 at 5:09 pm  Comments (15)  

Chris Christie’s ”Bridgegate”: Political Dirty Trick, or a Crime?

christieIn September, New Jersey governor Chris Christie ordered two of the lanes leading through Fort Lee to the George Washington Bridge (a link between NJ and NY) closed, in retaliation for that city’s mayor not supporting his re-election bid.

Or maybe this was a routine closing, which does happen (though almost always after the affected city’s government is notified, so preparations can be made, which didn’t happen in this case).

Or maybe one of the governor’s aides took this step on his behalf, on his own, without consulting the governor.

In any case, chaos did ensue, the chain of responsibility seems to be moving closer to Christie, and the traffic jams were apparently responsible for the death of a woman who suffered cardiac arrest. The full story is here.

This article, and all articles on this site, are © 2014 by Bill Bickel unless otherwise noted.

Published in: on January 9, 2014 at 12:13 pm  Comments (8)  

Jury Rules Against 41-Year-Old Actress Who Sued IMDb For Revealing Her Age

hoangIn Seattle today, a federal grand jury sided with IMDb against actress Julie Hoang, who’d sued the online database for $1 million claiming breach of contract.

The chain of events, as finally unraveled during the trial was this:

Hoang signed up for IMDb Pro, listing her date of birth as 1978 rather than 1971. In 2008 decided she didn’t want her age listed on her profile at all, and asked IMDb Pro to delete it. They told her that it isn’t their policy to delete information unless it’s incorrect. She wrote them an e-mail (completely in capital letters, which she said afterward was intended to get their attention) asking them what proof they had that the age they had on record for her was correct. IMDb using took this ill-advised challenge as permission to use information she’d provided to them to do a public records search, and that search turned up the 1971 birthdate.

They posted her actual birthdate, and wouldn’t remove it. She sued, claiming they were guilty of breach of contract by using the information she’d given them to conduct an additional search. IMDB countered that they did nothing their contract with her did not allow, and that the revelation of her true age did not in fact harm her career (here is a list of credits pre-2008 and post-2008; judge for yourself).

This article, and all articles on this site, are
© 2013 by Bill Bickel unless otherwise noted.

Published in: on April 11, 2013 at 10:29 pm  Comments (2)  

Fifth Graders Arrested in Rape/Murder Plot

badseedOn February 7, in Washington state, an 11-year-old boy and a 10-year-old boy were arrested after conspiring to lure a girl away from their elementary school, where the 11-year-old would rape her (because “she’s rude and always made fun of me and my friends”). They would then kill the girl, and then apparently kill at least six other classmates. The plot got as far as the boys carrying their weapons onto the school bus (a knife, a semi-automatic pistol, and ammunition), where a fourth-grader noticed the knife and reported it.

(One of the boys allegedly swore to kill the fourth-grader)

Although children under 13 are generally presumed not to fully understand the difference between right and wrong, a superior court judge has determined that they do. They pleaded not guilty this past Friday (March 29), and if found guilty on all charges, could be sentenced to as much as 127 weeks.

That’s weeks.

(though the judge does have the option of sentencing them to more than the “maximum” if that sentence represents a “manifest injustice”)

Many juvenile offenders, even those who committed heinous crimes, are redeemable. Whether or not it’s in society’s interest to give them this chance is a separate matter. But truly sociopathic behavior can’t be fixed. These boys are, to put it unscientifically, missing the piece of their brain that would allow them to live among normal people.

Return them to society after less than two years? With their names withheld from the public because of their ages? This is not rational behavior.

So how can we deal with children who are beyond saving?

This article, and all articles on this site, are © 2013 by Bill Bickel unless otherwise noted.

Published in: on March 30, 2013 at 11:34 pm  Comments (10)  

The Price of Murder: $24.71

According to court documents filed yesterday, $24.71 of Stephen Grant’s prison wages has been garnished as partial payment on the $50 million judgment he owes to the family of his murdered wife. At this rate, the debt might take a while to pay off.

To put this in perspective, though, this is still $24.71more than O.J. Simpson has handed over to the families of his murdered wife and Ron Goldman. (more…)

Another Stacy Peterson ”Sighting”

stacypeterson.jpgJoel Brodsky, Drew Peterson’s attorney, claims that on December 29, Peterson received an letter from somebody who said he spotted Stacy Peterson with another man in Kentucky, a few weeks after her October 28 disappearance

The writer claims that he approached the woman and showed her a photo of Stacy Peterson, and that the woman then told him to leave her alone and “fled.” (more…)

Mentalist Offers Help in Stacy Peterson Case

kreskin.jpg

”I’m interested in becoming involved with this case, in more ways than one … This case is crying out for a breakthrough, and I don’t have to be a thought reader to say that.” -”The Amazing Kreskin”

”At this time, we won’t be granting any meeting with the Amazing Kreskin.” -Mark Dorencz, spokesman for the Illinois State Police

Ever notice how, whenever psychics get involved in missing person cases, they always say that the missing person is “near water”? (more…)

Worse Than Beating a Dead Horse

Bryan James Hathaway, a 21-year-old Wisconsin man who pleaded guilty last year of having sex with a dead deer, had his probation revoked Friday for, among other things, using alcohol and marijuana and having sexual contact with a (human) adult — which you’d think would be the sort of thing we’d want to encourage.

My problem with this whole thing is… While psychiatric treatment is definitely called for here, I’m not sure why he was ever charged with mistreating an animal: The animal was already dead and he was never accused of killing it. He was having sexual relations with venison. If we’re going to prosecute people for what they do to dead animals, we’d better all become vegetarians real quick.

Published in: on January 4, 2008 at 5:27 pm  Comments (1)