Things I read in the Times

1. I get the feeling that the MPAA really wanted SOPA/PIPA to slip through Congress in the dead of night. The more people wake up to the bills’ loopy enforcement provisions the angrier we get, and angry constituents have started to make even the bills’ sponsors very nervous. Keep the pressure on.

2. Sixty percent of Americans think that Barack Obama at least met Republicans halfway this year in trying to get important legislation done. How many think that Republicans made a good faith effort to work with Obama? Guess.

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63 replies
  1. 1
    Enhanced Voting Techniques says:

    My guess was 27% think the Republicans have meet Obama (aka Keyan Food Stamp Hitler) and… Oh my goodness, I was right!

    Who would have expected that the numbers match the Tea Party support?

  2. 2
    Villago Delenda Est says:

    It’s amazing how that number keeps coming up all over the place.

  3. 3
    beltane says:

    Based on the fact that my apolitical 9th grade son and his Minecraft playing friends felt strongly enough about this issue to write nasty emails to their senators and rep, I’d say the MPAA certainly miscalculated on the dead of night thing.

    Do I win a prize if I guess that 27% of Americans think that the Republicans made a good faith effort to work with Obama?

  4. 4
    dmsilev says:

    At this point, is it fair to speculate about a conspiracy by the pollsters to screw with us?

  5. 5
    geg6 says:

    It’s getting too freaky with that 27% everywhere on everything. Are the pollsters just fucking with us?

  6. 6
    ThatLeftTurnInABQ says:

    Has anyone studied the crazification factor in other countries, to determine what the percentage is there? Is it more or less than 27? Is it too early to break out the USA #1 foam fingers? Or is 27 percent a universal for the human race as a whole?

  7. 7
    geg6 says:


    Heh. Great minds and all that.

  8. 8
    Napoleon says:

    I’ll take 27%.

  9. 9
    MikeJ says:

    @dmsilev: Not all of the pollsters, just a bit more than a quarter of them.

  10. 10
    dmsilev says:

    @geg6: Heh. Well, as the saying goes, the question is now out there. It would be irresponsible not to speculate.

  11. 11
    middlewest says:

    Chris Dodd is trending on Twitter, fun times.

  12. 12
    eric says:

    Nature’s fundamental constants:

    Speed of light = c

    gravitational constant = G

    Plancks constant = h

    Crazy constant = f.u.

  13. 13
    RP says:

    29% is due. I can feel it!

  14. 14
    Zifnab says:

    My Congressman is currently playing the “What legislation? It’s still in committee so I’m not allowed to have an opinion!” card, which pretty much lets me know he wanted to support the bill but is too shit less to admit it.

    Some days I really do question why Congress even bothers operating during daylight hours. It only seems to cause them problems in the long run.

  15. 15
    Chris says:


    Holy crap, I’d never actually read the original “Crazification factor” article. Thank you, that conversation was HILARIOUS!!!

  16. 16
    Citizen_X says:

    Based on the fact that my apolitical 9th grade son and his Minecraft playing friends felt strongly enough about this issue to write nasty emails to their senaKtors and rep, I’d say the MPAA certainly miscalculated on the dead of night thing.

    Ah ha ha hah! Nice try, MPAA. But nerds never sleep!

  17. 17
    Brachiator says:

    How many think that Republicans made a good faith effort to work with Obama? Guess.

    How stuck these people are reminds me of the “Angriest Dog in the World” comic strip.

    “The dog who is so angry he cannot move. He cannot eat. He cannot sleep. He can just barely growl. Bound so tightly with tension and anger, he approaches the state of rigor mortis.”

  18. 18
    MikeJ says:

    Birthday greeter in chief has been busy.

  19. 19
    jimmiraybob says:

    There was a time that I’d have guessed 26% but I’ve come around to 27%. Change is not easy.

  20. 20
  21. 21

    My normal low grade phobia of the phone has escalated recently. I tried to pick the damned thing up to call my Senators (Franken and Klobuchar are both on the wrong side), but I couldn’t bring myself to do it.

    So I faxed them.

  22. 22
    The Moar You Know says:

    My normal low grade phobia of the phone has escalated recently.

    @Tissue Thin Pseudonym (JMN): I acquired the same problem back in the early 1990s. It has not gotten worse. It has not gotten better, and it is kind of a problem if, you know, you want to have a job these days.

    My cell gets used for texts only. If you call me you will never talk to me.

  23. 23
    gex says:

    @geg6: Humans form a bell curve (in a non-Sullivan way). It isn’t surprising to me that that 27% group have a lot in common with each other, and not necessarily anyone else. So I guess I’m not *too* surprised.

  24. 24
    Maude says:

    @Tissue Thin Pseudonym (JMN):
    I don’t like talking on the phone at all.

  25. 25
    Rafer Janders says:


    They own the night.

  26. 26
    jimmiraybob says:


    29% is due. I can feel it!

    Well, here ya go (re: economy)…

    “…while 29 percent put the blame on Obama…”

  27. 27
    cmorenc says:

    @Villago Delenda Est:

    It’s amazing how that number keeps coming up all over the place.

    There MUST be some fundamental mathematical tie between the “wingnut constant” and the famous exponential number ‘e’, which is: 2.718…(notice anything about the first two digits?) There’s fame for anyone who discovers the fundamental formula for the “Wingnut Series”.

  28. 28

    Does this whole PIPA/SOPA drama remind anyone else of the plot of Caddyshack?

    You’ve got this cheeky gopher (pirates) utilizing a network of gopher holes (series of tubes) with the effect of irritating a bunch of old white guys (MPAA, RIAA, et al). The deranged grounds-keeper (Congress) responds with high explosives (PIPA/SOPA), which just ends up blowing up the whole course, and the gopher (pirates) just gets away anyhow.

    I believe that Google would be playing the part of Rodney Dangerfield in this analogy.

  29. 29

    Close comments now, there are 27 responses!

    Edit: fuck

  30. 30
    Calouste says:


    Le Pen got 18% of the vote in the French presidential election run off in 2001, so there’s that data point.

  31. 31
    Tonal Crow says:

    This SOPA/PIPA nonsense is just another manifestation of Americans’ tendency to use heavy firepower — despite the costs and side-effects — in preference to more subtle, effective, and lower-backfire means.

    Along these lines, why not add a “piracy tax” to internet connections, then use the proceeds to compensate copyright-holders for proven piracy losses? Everyone wins except the lobbyists and the totalitarians.

  32. 32
    singfoom says:

    Ah, the use of legislation to avoid the updating of outmoded business models. The companies behind this make hundreds of millions of revenue per year.

    I’ve got an idea for the movie industry. Release your content to DVD/Blu-Ray/Digital Download/Streaming a month after it leaves the theater.

    You make it relatively cheap and easy for consumer to access your content? Piracy goes down. Continue to refuse to change? Piracy goes up.

    They probably did expect to pass this in the dead of night. GO go internets for stopping this. 3 Senators have flipped so far (PIPA in the Senate, SOPA in the house). Certainly it won’t go down in the dead of night now…

  33. 33
    Tonal Crow says:

    @CaptainFwiffo: Good analogy!

  34. 34

    @Tonal Crow: Everyone wins except the lobbyists and the totalitarians.

    well what kind of lousy legislation would that be then

  35. 35
    Jay C says:

    @Tissue Thin Pseudonym (JMN):

    Well, in the interests of promoting the freedom of the Internet (“Clear Those Tubes!!”), I sent the following letter to my Senators (Schumer and Gillibrand)

    Dear Senator
    I read, with some chagrin, that your name was listed as one of the Senate sponsors of the Protect IP Act (PIPA);
    a piece of legislation which, in the opinion of this constituent, is an extremely misguided and badly constructed act (as its House counterpart, the SOPA). I would respectfully request that you reconsider your support for this legislation: US copyright and IP law is already the most restrictive and extensive in the world, and submitting the Internet to the
    unaccountable vagaries of the sort of legal strictures these Acts would abet is likely only to lead to abuses and inconveniences to the public, with very few positives as far as can be seen.
    Sincerely yours,

    Any one cares to, please feel free to copy-and-past the above: I hereby publicly waive any copyright protection I might imagine I have….

    I was heartened that Chuck and Kirsten found themselves the subjects of angry demonstrations in the Big Apple today: I think Tim is right: sneak-through-under-the-table-in-the-dead-of-night was what they were looking for.

  36. 36
    Brandon says:

    @gex: I think you can just refer to the 27% as the bell end.

  37. 37
    AnotherBruce says:

    @Cris (without an H): Sorry, there’s only partial crazification going on here.

  38. 38
    jonas says:

    Yup — 27%. Funny — about the same number of Muslims who felt positively about Osama bin Laden in a 2009 Pew survey:

    The drop in support for bin Laden has been most dramatic in Indonesia, Pakistan and Jordan. Currently, about one-quarter of Muslims in Jordan (28%) and Indonesia (25%) express confidence in the al Qaeda leader to do the right thing regarding world affairs

    The Crazification Factor — it’s an eery, eery, constant. Perhaps it should be given a mathematical symbol.

  39. 39
    gogol's wife says:


    Hey Whitey, where’s your hat?

  40. 40
    middlewest says:

    I called Franken’s office, and the guy was obviously trying to get me off the phone as quickly as possible. Just listened to my spiel, said thank you, and hung up.

  41. 41
    PIGL says:

    @gex: I doubt that this cluster of disagreeble personality traits and cognitive deficits consititutes the tail of any distribution. I expect it is much more like a distinct sub-population defined by a cluster of largely genetic brain problems. In much the same way, there are real Irish red-heads (with freckles, physique and temper to match) who are not to be confused with auburn beauties or strawberry blondes.

    It’s not a distribution so much as a syndrome. And yes, it is a peak in some multivariate space or other, but that space is in no way multivariate normal. It is multimodal. Talk a Bell Curve in this connexion is not only inaccurate, I feel, but misleading.

  42. 42

    @Jay C: I went with:

    Dear Senator Franken,
    I am one of your constituents, and I am writing in regards to the Protect IP Act. While I agree that online piracy is a problem, it is not a problem with infinite costs. The mere fact that a bill will act against piracy is not sufficient to merit its passage. The costs of that bill must also be weighed.
    In this case, the costs that the bill would impose are vastly larger than the problem it is meant to solve. Some of these costs are not monetary. The revocation of the safe harbor for ISPs provided by the DMCA along with the immunity given to those that block websites even if they are found not to be in violation of the law does serious damage to our notions of due process.
    It simply is not right to allow large companies such as film and music distributors to threaten the existence of smaller operations through the use of legal action without ever needing to demonstrate evidence of a violation. Given the expense of fighting such charges, even if the entity has operated within the law, this is exactly what would happen. The cases of and Veoh were bad enough even with the DMCA’s safe harbor.
    By itself, that chilling of the first amendment would be sufficient to demand that this bill be killed. Of course, the damage isn’t just limited to that. The bill harms our foreign policy objectives by making a mockery of our public insistence that authoritarian regimes stop censoring the Internet. PIPA provides to private companies exactly the same powers that we decry when they are exercised by unsavory regimes. We will have no rational basis for our complaints if we allow the same thing that we are arguing against.
    This is a bad bill. I find it so appalling that I think it needs to be killed entirely. Congress needs to start over, with a completely different mindset, and fight online piracy properly. It needs to come at the issue from the perspective of protecting freedom of expression. That means not only protecting intellectual property, but also the freedom that we have to discuss that property. It absolutely should not include giving any entity the power to shut down that communication without due process, and it absolutely needs to contain provisions that prevent the deep pocketed from bullying those that, no matter the merits of their position, simply can’t afford to engage in a legal battle, win or lose.

  43. 43
    Mojotron says:

    Hungary’s prime minister Viktor “Viktator” Orban, who (along with his Fidesz party) has changed the country’s constitution to consolidate power, define marriage as between “1 man and 1 woman”, get rid of judges he didn’t like, “redistrict” to consolidate power (the past several election results would have been changed considerably under these new rules), take over the press, create what are essentially forced labor camps, attempted to take over the banks (Hungary needs a bailout and the EU was going to loan them the $$$ until this nonsense passed, Orban has since backed off), oh and some jew-baiting. I’m looking for the exact number, but his current support is “in the 20s”(%).

  44. 44
    gaz says:

    @Tissue Thin Pseudonym (JMN): What scares me about all of this, is if any representative were aware of what’s at stake, it’d be senator Franken. The man is a policy wonk.

    I can’t help but think he knows better, but is going to support it anyway.

  45. 45
    Jay C says:

    @Tissue Thin Pseudonym (JMN):

    Heh. Good letter. Myself, I would have edited it down considerably – not that I don;t agree with each and every word, but on the grounds that the staffers who will actually read these letters aren’t going to be parsing the arguments presented, but simply aggregating the correspondence for their employer on a for-or-against basis.

    I mean, “This is a bad bill. I find it so appalling that I think it needs to be killed entirely” IS the message in its entirety – hopefully Sen. Franken keeps an ear open to what his constituents squawk loudest about are motivated to comment on directly: Schumer and Gillibrand, I’m not so sure about.

  46. 46
    Peter says:

    Angry constituents have made them nervous? Or angry new-media corporations?

  47. 47

    @Jay C: For god’s sake, man, I have Asperger’s. That *is* the edited down version.

  48. 48
    gex says:

    @PIGL: I love everything about this comment. It is fun to read.

  49. 49
    gex says:

    @gaz: Where do you think he made his money in the first place?

  50. 50
    Steve Finlay says:

    As soon as you said “Guess”, I (and most of us) thought: “Is it REALLY going to be 27% again?” – and by God and Michelle Bachmann, it is. This is truly a universal constant.

  51. 51

    Pelosi is against it, as is Boxer. It’s pretty much useless to tell Queen Feinstein my opinion on anything at all.

  52. 52
    pk says:

    I wonder if the world’s dictators, murderers, arsonists and various criminal elements also come from this pool of 27%ers?

  53. 53
    PIGL says:

    @gex: ahhh, you are too sweetly kind. But thanks!

  54. 54
    JR in WVa says:

    @pk: They must, by mathematical law, come from the [e x 10 to the first power] (aka 27%) group of humanity.

  55. 55
    Schlemizel says:

    OK, I cop to it. I really didn’t know until I clicked the link – geez I need a vacation, how do you miss that?

  56. 56
    iriedc says:

    I mentioned 27% to my folks a few months ago and now they just look for it in the polls. If the wingnut answer is 29% they just say “yup, within the margin of error” and we all nod our heads. I would love for a social scientist to explain this phenomenon.

  57. 57
    Katie5 says:

    I know it’s late in the thread, but that NYTimes article about SOPA, PIPA was TERRIBLE. It’s was all about the horserace. Nothing about the contents of the bill. There was plenty of real estate given to bill supporters to say that opponents were lying but no space given to opponents to respond (other than–“They shut down their site. That’s unfair competition!” whinging). And consistent with the NYTimes’s ombudsman’s POV, there was no pushback from the journalist in terms of whether the opponents are lying or not. Your MSM!

  58. 58
    Jess says:

    So, the meaning of life isn’t 42? And deaths of all those rock stars at age 27 weren’t just coincidental?

  59. 59
    mclaren says:

    Tim, what no one, absolutely no one in any of the news media has noticed or mentioned IS THAT THE ENTIRE SOPA/PIPA ENFORCEMENT PROVISIONS THING IS GOING ON RIGHT NOW, AS WE SPEAK.


    That’s right.

    The DHS is shutting down hundreds upon hundreds upon hundreds of websites right now, today, by killing their DNS entries and taking over their internet domain names.

    Don’t believe me?

    Welcome to reality, buckaroo.

    And it just goes on. And on. And on.

    Wake up, folks. SOPA is already here. The DHS is already operating using every single one of the provisions of the SOPA/PIPA insanity.

    The hard cold fact is that SOPA/PIPA merely legitimizes what is already standard United States Government policy.

    If you don’t like what’s going on, maybe you might want to re-think voting for a president who appointed a former goddamn RIAA lawyer as Solicitor General.

    Don’t vote for Obama! Write in someone else this November! If you vote for Obama, you’ll just get more SOPA-type laws, more PIPA-style shutdowns of the internet. As long as you people keep supporting Obama, it will just keep getting worse and worse and worse.

  60. 60
    gaz says:

    @gex: I’m well aware, and said so on an earlier thread! =) follow teh moneys

  61. 61
    gaz says:

    @mclaren: has anyone been trying to compile a list of blacklisted domains? I think it’d be helpful. Is there a site where victims of this crap can submit their domains, just so we know what kind of stuff they’re hitting?

  62. 62
    ruemara says:

    @mclaren: Not to get picky, but you’re saying don’t vote for the current president that doesn’t support SOPA/PIPA and did not write these laws, but write in someone else that will not win and hand the whole thing over to the conservative that will pass even more terrible laws like AUMF and the DHS, but this time with even more intrusive laws regarding vaginas, dissolving even state legal gay marriage, reinstating DADT, possible entry into an Iran war, re-engaging in an Iraq war, stepping away from Taliban talks, possible cuts to even more social safety net programs and killing any possible oversight on financial institutions? OK. No thanks. I believe you can do that all by yourself.

  63. 63
    Yutsano says:

    @ruemara: The rodentia must continue to be fornicated.

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