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Losing It at the Movies

Brian DePalma's fiasco. Also: Borderline Huckabee. Foer Play. Patents and the small inventor. Plus more.

12.3.07

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BRIAN'S SONGS
Re: Jeff Emanuel's Redacted Ad Absurdum:

Perhaps, with the latest spate of anti-American films, speeches, and appearances, the entertainment community has finally gone a bridge too far. One can only hope so.
-- Ken Shreve

I'm surprised that none of the reviewers of Redacted have pointed out that Brian DePalma has done this movie before. Casualties of War depicts a squad of soldiers kidnapping and raping a Vietnamese girl after an ambush kills several of their buddies.

It's bad enough that DePalma is a derivative hack who made his reputation by ripping off Hitchcock, but he is now apparently looking to his own earlier work for inspiration. Talk about a dry well...
-- Mike Harris
MAJ, QM
120th IN BDE

Oh, I'm afraid far too many people actually will see this movie -- the wrong ones of course. From your description, I have no doubt that the DVD will be circulated in Jihadi networks and will be very popular. I'm sure it will serve them well as an excellent recruiting and motivational tool.
-- Paul

Mr. DePalma has decided to take on the MoveOn responsibility of painting the entire U.S. military with a broad paint brush. As correctly stated in Mr. Emanuel's column, the organization that employed the guilty troops took care of business with more veracity than one would expect from the civilian court system stateside. A 110 year sentence for the lookout alone shows how the UCMJ is based upon a higher level of moral authority than any legislature-passed code could ever hope to do so.
An important issue not discussed in the column is the actual moneyman who funded the production of Redacted. If memory serves, this elitist also owns the NBA's Dallas Mavericks franchise. Now, just as any conservative libertarian would protect the First Amendments rights of any U.S. citizen, I will not deny Mr. Cuban's right to spend his treasury as he wishes. However, I will stand with all those who identify him as an unpatriotic publicity whore.
-- Owen H. Carneal
Yorktown, Virginia

Brian DePalma has to rely on violence and inflammatory lies to cover up his lack of talent. Does anyone remember the mess he made of Bonfire of the Vanities?
-- Anne T. Stinneford

Jeff Emanuel quotes Brian DePalma: "The pictures are what will stop the war..."

Has it ever occurred to the misogynistic fantasist DePalma that, perhaps, the pictures are what cause the rape?
-- Dan Martin
Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania

PATENT QUALITY
Re: Viet D. Dinh's Yes to the Patent Reform Act:

Mr. Dinh argues for the Patent Reform Act while complaining about "sharp increase in the number of low quality patents." However, based on court rulings of the last several years, roughly half of all litigated patents are upheld in court. That's pretty balanced and suggests there is no problem with patent quality. Further, seldom do cases ever make it to trial as the parties settle out of court. The facts do not support the contention that there is a patent quality issue. Still, with almost half a million patent applications filed each year a few are bound to be issued that shouldn't. However, rarely are they ever an issue because you can't enforce them without money and you won't get the money unless you have a good patent. Keep in mind it costs the patent holder about as much in a patent suit as it does the accused infringer. Investors are not stupid. If they don't have confidence in your patent, they will not invest. It's that simple. Bad patents do not get funded.

If there is a problem with the patent system, it is not that patents are issued too hastily but rather that many are issued too slowly. Witness the current backlog and pendency. I for example have applications with a pendency of over 15 years! In one instance it took 3 years just to get a first office action. With this kind of pendency by the time an inventor gets their patent their technology is of no value. That is the problem everyone should be focused on -- not this imaginary issue of patent quality trumped up and propped up by large multinationals as a way to stifle innovation and further cement their market control. Can you say "monopoly"?

This and many other myths of Mr. Dinh are debunked by a paper published by Economist Pat Choate. The paper can be viewed here.

All this talk of a need for patent "deform" is then but a red herring fabricated by a handful of large tech firms and their lackeys as a diversion away from the real issue...that they have no valid defense against charges they are using other parties' technologies without permission. It's not about reforming the system. It's about legalizing theft!

When corporate America agrees to not use our inventions without consent, American inventors and small entities will agree to stop suing them.
-- Stephen Wren
Actuary/Inventor
St. Louis, Missouri

FOER PLAY
Re: John Tabin's Franklin Foer's Paranoia:

Foer's article is amazingly similar to a recent article about Dan Rather still trying to prove his "Rathergate" story. His main "proof" was the White House refusing to deny the story. Some press guy at the White House or the military for that matter isn't going to stick his neck out denying something that he is not sure of one way or the other. Crazed liberals now view cautious non denials as proof of facts. Sad.
-- Greg Allison
Rancho Santa Fe, California

John, Thanks for staying on top of this mega fraud of a story. Your Sunday AmSpecBlog post, with its accompanying link to Mr. Foer's loopy stream of consciousness "apology" for his and the New Republic's horrific journalistic malfeasance, says it all about elite, leftist media bias. I urge TAS readers to link to your post and read for themselves Foer's window into the mind of abject leftist hatred and denial. The entire Beauchamp imbroglio, should, once and for all, blow the lid on how far the elite leftist media will go in its propagandist desires. An anonymous military source, brought to the attention of Foer by Beauchamp's own wife, also at TNR, who, while acting as his fact-checker, also vouched for his leftist bias. A la CNN, Foer now admits that Beauchamp's anti-war proclivities were public before his military postings. The number of basic journalistic principles Foer and TNR broke, renders one speechless.

This is analogous to Bill Burkett's wife, reprising the role of Valerie Plame, serving as fact-checker for Mary Mapes and Dan Rather, while also working at CBS. Welcome to the new Orwellian paradigm of journalism, as practiced by the left. And to think, with the memories of CNN's fake "undecided" debate participants, fresh in our minds. Is this the new de rigueur curriculum as taught by elite schools of journalism such as Columbia?

Mr. Foer, prior to his being fired, needs to dedicate the next issue of TNR to this debacle and fess up for his deliberate desire to defame our troops and impact the war effort. The rest of the MSM also needs to finally drop their charade of objectivity and come clean. This story also needs to be told to all Americans, over and over again, until this insanity stops.
-- A. DiPentima

TO KEEP AND BEAR ARMS
Re: Robert VerBruggen's Repeal the Second Amendment?:

As a result of SOTUS taking on the Washington D.C. gun case, Americans will be subjected to a torrent of "legalese" concerning the Second Amendment. Some "simplifying:"

1. Anyone who believes the best option Americans should have when confronted with deadly force is begging for mercy is a fool.

2. Ditto for anyone who believes a hostile government takeover "could never happen here."

3. If the right to own a firearm is not an individual right, it is the singular exception in the entire document known as the Bill of Rights.
-- Arnold Ahlert
Boca Raton, Florida

FOOL ME ONCE...
Re: Jeremy Lott's Mike W. Huckabee:

Mr. Lott, if it is your purpose to convince simple, conservative voters like me that Huckabee and George Bush are not separated at birth twins, politically, then you are on a fool's errand. Both men are biiiiggg government, "compassionate" conservatives. Huckabee got along sufficiently well with the Dems in the legislature, often by agreeing with them. Bush was the absolute darling of the Dems in the Texas state legislature. I remember the Speaker of the Texas legislature being effusive in his praise of Bush and predicting that he would get along just fine with the Dems in Washington. Then the Washington Dems smacked the Texas Speaker with a wet mackerel for his trouble.

Both men believe in amnesty for illegal aliens that can manage to get into our country. Both men believe in dispensing all manner of government services to the ILLEGAL aliens that have made it here. Both men believe in the death penalty and the individual right formulation of the 2nd Amendment. Both men are pro-life, and as noted, both are fitness nags. I can't stand people that are constantly judging others by their girth instead of their brain or heart. If God meant for me to be thin, He wouldn't have changed my metabolism in my mid 20s. They both seem to be wedded to the "social conservative" agenda of the GOP's Christian activists. The wives and families of both men seemed to be relatively unknown quantities at similar points is the nomination process.

The differences seem to be that Huckabee is more willing to raise taxes and government fees then Bush, and Huckabee can actually give a coherent speech explaining his position. It seems to me that the extreme number and type of the similarities between the two mere serve to highlight the extremely few differences.
-- Ken Shreve

Why is it, I wonder, that Jeremy Lott can do a feature story on Mike Huckabee's quest for the presidency that totally eschews the governor's perspective on how the Federal government should deal with illegal immigration, an issue that rivets public attention? The dissatisfaction amongst the electorate on that problem is palpable, and the issue transcends party: in New Hampshire, Mrs. Clinton was booed loudly when responding to a question dealing with her future handling of illegal immigration. Further, Mr. Lott's emphasis on Huckabee's position on the death penalty seems misplaced, for the last time I looked, it still was a state matter.

As for dealing with the scourge of abortion, the next President of the United States can bring moral suasion to bear, and his choices of future "Supremes" are important markers to social conservatives, but the immediate question before the house that bestirs many GOP and Independent voters in upcoming primaries is the bizarre question: Will the GOP candidate promise to enforce existing law on illegal immigration? About that, Mr. Lott is mute.

Last week, however, Huckabee was asked specifically about his record, which I would describe as abysmal, in dealing with illegal aliens while Governor of Arkansas, specifically his full-throated support of giving in-state tuition to the children of illegal aliens. After repeating the nostrums that Liberals generally provide to answer the question, Gov. Huckabee 's response was: "What I support ...is the humane treatment of human beings." That answer tells you a lot about Huckabee's future handling of illegal immigration, for while it may be touching and compassionate to some, he is untrustworthy in resolving this issue, and the voters will let him know of their dissatisfaction on Primary Day.

Mr. Lott may unfavorably conflate Huckabee's political future with the current record of the incumbent in the White House, but I believe that, in one way at least, they are similar: neither one has, or will, enforce the current statutes dealing with illegal immigration. That is why no organization that takes border enforcement and carrying out of immigration law seriously will endorse Gov. Huckabee. Fool me once, shame on you; fool me twice, shame on me!

Pax tecum,
-- Vincent Chiarello
American Council for Immigration Reform

DYING TO WIN
Re: Samuel A. Hill's letter (under "No News is Bad News") in Reader Mail's Fair Tax Counting:

While I cannot predict what the future holds as regards OIF, I must respectfully disagree with Mr. Hill's WWI analogy. He wrote:

[T]he so-called "surge" being a "success" being solely based upon fewer American deaths, and explosions around Baghdad? Idiocy! Totally illogical. Picture this: WWI troops, huddled in a 7 foot trench half-full water, congratulating each other on the fact that a whole day has passed without the enemy shooting at them, calling it a "success." Face it, American occupation troops fight in a solely defensive position. Except for kicking in a few Iraqi home's doors, they must wait to be attacked. Result: it is the enemy, not them, that determines the frequency and amount of warfare!

Invoking WWI conjures stark imagery -- trenches stretching along the border separating two great power blocs, largely static for over four years despite enormous efforts on both sides to break the stalemate. Stagnation, however, is only half of the picture. Wouldn't the location of the lines have some bearing on a comprehensive assessment of a military situation? One can easily imagine the malaise of the Allies, failing day after day to achieve more than a few yards' progress at the front--a front located almost entirely on the friendly side of prewar borders for most of the war. The unpleasantness of a "trench half full of water" aside, mightn't the Doughboys' perspective have been a bit different had those ditches cut through, not the Flemish countryside, but the gardens of Sans Souci? And might not a bit of enthusiasm have been warranted if, under such circumstances, suddenly one day the Kaiser's guards stopped shooting back?

Our "solely defensive" bastion lies right in the heart of the Caliphate. So long as the war consisted mostly of getting shot at or blown up with no end in sight, the occupation of previously-hostile territory was little cause for celebration. Now the circumstances are different: The enemy may indeed "determine the frequency and amount of warfare" but, exhausted in a futile struggle for an ignoble cause, he is opting increasingly for a low frequency and amount indeed. Two wrestlers struggling for a takedown is a static situation; so is a pin. After a certain amount of time, the latter results in victory.
-- Michael R. Wohnhaas

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