Oops, I think I spot a slight gaping hole there...
"intelligence agents do not have the time or inclination to harass random Americans, nor the capability as long as Americans remain in the United States."
Well that part of the statement might almost be true... except for 1 tiny thing that seems to have been overlooked. The NSA has shown itself more than willing to share the information with other law enforcement bodies in the United States (as well as out), and they do have "the time, inclination and the capability to harass random Americans in the United States."
So I'm sorry Mr Posner but, like the man wearing cellophane shorts, I can clearly see you're nuts.
Without copyright, other people could print their own Harry Potter books and sell them, with the author getting nothing.
Well, firstly the original poster referred to "copyright on an idea", which seems to me to refer to the characters and world concepts etc - i.e. perhaps a separate copyright term for derivative works. Not sure that's a great idea, but that's how I read it and thus people couldn't print a copy of, say, "Harry Potter and The Philosopher's Stone" and sell it. Secondly, assuming the original poster didn't mean that (in which case the idea of linking copyright term to "re-usage" of the copyright doesn't make much sense, but hey-ho), if not 3 years, what do you think is a fair term to be consistently paid for doing zero extra work? How long is it "fair" to be able to ignore normal market forces of competition to provide a service?
You're basically demanding an author churn out a single series like a factory, regardless of what other series they might be working on, or how long they feel is needed to properly develop their story.
I'd agree to some extent that 3 years is too short a term as I don't have a problem with copyright per-se, just the current stupid version of it.
On the other hand, however, you're missing or ignoring the obvious fact that not having a copyright in no way "forces" an author to do anything or stops them from doing anything or selling more books. Quite the contrary in fact. All it would mean is that other people could also write in the same or similar world and frankly some authors could use a bit of encouragement in the way of competition to finish series rather than leave fans hanging.
I'd have happily paid for and read both the Harry Potter books and the subsequent Middle Earth books no matter how many other titles in the same world existed as I like how they're written. I'd also have probably have read other author's work in the same worlds as I enjoy the worlds. A Song of Fire and Ice, however, I gave up on after book 3 because I found it dull despite liking the world and other GRR Martin creations. I'd have been intrigued to see what another author could have done with the backstory. Bottom line, if it's good I'll read it, if not I won't and other similar works wouldn't change that.
Copyright removes choice plain and simple and whatever it's supposed to do or not, it locks up ideas not expression and reduces culture. Is that worth it for a short term? Perhaps. But don't pretend it's anything other than protectionist.
Incidentally, ironically I think some of Martin's best work is in a shared world that several authors write in.
Once again, though, it seems like yet another case where the popular myth of copyright -- that it's about "ownership" of some "creation" -- leads to this kind misguided attack.
I would guess that the attack is not misguided and that the asshat doesn't actually expect to win.
I think it's more likely he reckons if he shouts loud enough and causes enough trouble, that copyright law is muddy enough that the BBC will chuck a few quid his way as a settlement rather than test it in court and pay lots of lawyers.
The only thing that seems to offend McCain is (1) that we let "low level" people like Manning and Snowden have access to secrets and (2) that we might offend a few "high level" friends. It's the complaint of an ultimate insider, who only cares about friends in high places and has absolutely no concern whatsoever for the common people he hasn't been in touch with in decades.
Absolutely true and ideally the man shouldn't be anywhere near public office. On the other hand, if his rant led to firing an even bigger knucklehead, would that be so bad? Plus there is at least a tiny sliver of merit in his argument. I think the expectation that "spy" agencies are going to follow all the rules is probably hopeless. I suspect that most agencies have never followed the rules since they were created and the real questions become "How far do they stray from strictly legal and against whom?" and "How is the straying monitored and limited and by whom?". In that context the question of who gets to see the "naughty stuff" is indeed a key one. If access to the kind of information they clearly have were limited to "genuinely critical need to know" instead of "I'd kinda like to know please, coz it might be related to this other unrelated thing I'm working on", I'd still be far from happy but I'd certainly be a lot less unhappy.
So it sounds like they did a man in the middle attack, redirecting very specific visitors from those two sites to sites that planted malware instead.
That begs 2 questions: 1/ How do GCHQ justify hacking a Belgium telecom company? (other than the standard vague "ZOMG TERRORISTS!!!") 2/ Did they really bother to limit redirecting "specific visitors", or would they have considered it a bonus to install malware on several thousand other computers while targeting what they want?
We've strayed very very far from the ideals that this country is supposed to embrace.
In some respects, this is not the worst part of the problem. The "straying" happened long ago, the problem is that it's only now that people are starting to notice how far from civilisation the path has taken them. Worse still is that the noticing is not yet enough to make any realistic effort to head back towards somewhere a little more civilised or even to stop the direction of straying.
Disputed meaning, I'd classify those items under gun safety
A semantic argument. As an example, if I were to say you are allowed to own any weapon you want but may only legally load and fire it in approved areas, how would you describe that? It's not a ban on weapons, but neither is it "demonstrating understanding and safe use". Me, I'd call it gun control.
As for the statistics, we are attempting to determine whether the US has a relatively high degree of lawlessness and violence.
Actually the term the original poster used was "hostile", which is a slightly different thing to lawlessness and violence. In that context, saying "The US is much less violent than countries that have little or no rule of law" doesn't get you very far.
I think that the fact that the US significantly tops the so-called "western nations" in homicide is interesting. Are the US people more "hostile" or is it because the stats are scewed by homicides that wouldn't have become that if there weren't so many guns lying around people's houses? I don't know the answer to that and there are undoubtedly other possibilities and other related statistics, but it's a relevant question to gun control.
S/C American countries and a bunch of places with "stan" at the end comprises almost 50% of the data. I call that skewing the stats.
Yeah, because in the same part of the list as Krgystan, Pakistan, the Ukraine and Belarus and above Iran and Kosovo is definitely where you want to be aiming for... Oh, and yes throwing knifes are equally quick and fatal, but you can learn to shoot a pistol in an afternoon and skill enough to kill someone with a knife at better than arms length takes rather longer. You also forgot to mention bows and arrows, which at least have an effective lethal range above about 10 meters. I have at least some skill with all 3 and I know if I were to go bat-shit crazy enough to want to try it, I wouldn't be reaching for a knife or a bow given the option - there's a reason war moved on from bows and arrows - so that argument seems a little spurious.
As for gun control, you seem to be assuming what I mean by it. I'd probably agree with you about the precision argument, but I'd add that there's a whole other potential dimension of gun control that you seem to ignore. There's a big difference for example between it being legal to own a gun and being able to carry it, store it, transport it or shoot it any way or place you want (and yes I know you can't do all those things in the US either but many states seem more up the permissive end of that as far as I can see).
Correlation isn't causation and I think that the UK gun laws are stupid and botched, and only a part of the reason there's relatively little gun crime (being an island tends to help a bit) but I can't help noticing that most of the "western nations" that you'd probably mention in the same list as the US have some sort of gun control and mostly turn out to have 1/2 or less of the per capita murder rate of the US overall. If you want to "unscew the stats", how about ignoring the nations notorious for lawlessness and violence? Or would you consider that would also drop the US from the list?