The $1 billion damage Apple just won in its patent lawsuit against Samsung will be debated, and appealed an litigated, for years to come. In a nutshell, Apple convinced a federal jury that its patents on rounded corners and swiping to unlock a touchscreen phone are valid. Leaving aside issues such as competency (many jurors do not use smartphones; one of them do not use a cell phone at all; and the most common brand among their phones is LG), this verdict is ridiculous, a poster-boy for the absolute breakdown of the patent system, which is now exploited by technology companies to prevent competition by stifling innovation.
With a touchscreen phone, how can you unlock it without a swipe? With a phone, how can you avoid being rectangular? To make it pretty, how can you avoid rounded corners? Furthermore, these elements can be found in prior art–commercial products or designs made by other companies before Apple popularized them. But both sides had only 25 hours to conduct the entire trial. Perhaps due to the limited time, evidence could not be shown. Witnesses could not be questioned.
This whole trial and verdict show the U.S. patent system to be broken, whose remaining purpose is to enrich lawyers and the people who hire successful ones. Why are clothing companies not allowed to patent their designs, yet Apple allowed to sue competitors for huge damages for things they did not even invent? What would happen to the apparel industry and its consumers if each designer could lock in their designs until they are no longer fashionable or necessary?
This is about profits, not right and wrong.
As the Occupy movement fizzles out after violent and coordinated crackdowns by police departments and the federal government across the country, inquests will begin on what led to its demise. Was it the lack of specific demands? Or the absence of a leadership team? Perhaps the opponents are too powerful and stacked with too much wealth.
Ultimately, the movement failed because it was too little, too late. The most frequent complaint–the lack of concrete demands–was only a symptom of the absence of consensus about the problem facing this country and possible solutions. It may be difficult to remember, but three years ago, there was such a consensus.
In hindsight, Occupy should have launched three years ago, as the collapse of Lehman Brothers drove the nail in the coffin of neoconservative economics – or so it seemed. Reagan-Bush policies, based on money transfers to the rich, had been abandoned by Democrats and most independents, and even some Republicans.
Unfortunately, those people chose to put their faith in politicians led by Barack Obama, who rode anti-Wall Street sentiments to the White House. Then they waited, and waited. When the AIG scandal broke (executives were discovered pocketing huge bonuses for fixing the mess), Congress was about to pass a law to claw back the taxpayer money. That was when Obama and his Wall Street team struck back. Led by Lawrence Summers and Tim Geithner, the administration killed the budding effort. They argued that contracts are sacrosanct (of course, that doesn’t apply to the likes of auto workers), as Fox News launched a full-fledged campaign called Tea Party.
History may still remember the economic collapse as Bush-era events, but most Americans now link Obama to the malaise. Government is now again seen as the main problem, not the financial robber barons. The average Joe, therefore, did not join OWS and raised hardly a voice as the movement was violent ejected from parks and minds.
The Good News: Obama’s backbone is not a problem.
The bad news: His politics, or ideology, is.
Just the other day, the Republican House Speaker, in an unprecedented move, refused a request from the President of the United States to deliver a speech to Congress and the American people. The Obama White House relented after just a few hours.
Fresh on the humiliating retreat, the president has abdicated his duties once more. He announced his administration will not enforce portions of the Clean Air Act that sought to limit and cut asthma-inducing ozone pollution, potentially saving thousands of lives each year.
Over on CNN, Mr. Martin published an informative analysis of President Obama’s appeasement policy towards his political opponents and its effect on his once-enthusiastic supporters. But he missed the possibility that it’s not appeasement at all. There’s no reason to fight when what you and I see as a “loss” is an acceptable outcome.
See, most liberals still think Obama’s one of them, at heart, and Tea Kettles take it a couple light-years further. They’re both wrong.
Obama is just Joe Lieberman in disguise.
For hours, Yasmine has tried to comfort her best friend, Emily, seemingly in vain, but who can blame her when her friend’s fiancé had disappeared without a trace and answers are nowhere to be found?
“Are you okay now?” Yasmine asks as the last tears seem to have been shed.
“Yeah, thanks.” Emily replies as she tries to squeak by a thin smile.
She has the sweetest smile, he thought.
* * *
As Emily closes the door behind her friend, her eyes drift to the coat hanger nearby. A long, pink jacket holds gracefully to a little hook. He got it at a friend’s consignment shop the day they dropped by. She had just lost her favorite jacket, and there it was, in a customer’s hand, before his sharp eyes and quick wits convinced the reluctant woman to choose another.
It is not the jacket that drew her attention, however. A packet of M&Ms protrudes from the left pocket, with a glimpse of the goodies inside its gaping opening. She had found it in his lab the day he disappeared, partly ripped and its contents seemingly fresh. Emily would have left the packet alone were it not for the banner screaming “Surprise Inside!”
Emily walks over to the hanger and takes the jacket. She squeezes it, and can almost smell his cologne on it. She knows, though, it was only her imagination, for he has been gone for four days now. Her left hand slides down into the pocket, pulling out the packet of chocolate extravagance. She pulled out a green piece, and then notices a white one with arms and legs. It looked just like one of those little guys in the M&M commercials. She smiled, amidst all that was happening around her. The idea of framing it briefly entered her mind, but she quickly dismissed it as macabre. She began to place the M&M’s into her mouth.
* * *
He looks at her beautiful face one last time. There goes that almost invisible birthmark on the left cheek that he always felt like brushing off. There goes that curvy, bulbous lower lip he did not kiss enough. One more time, please.
No, he did not think his wish would be granted. The landmarks flew past and then, just before he went into free fall down the long and dark cleft, blindingly white rocks set into him like a tiger on prey, rupturing the skin and then the body.
Here’s a horrific story about a Libyan woman who barged into a hotel where foreign journalists were having breakfast, to tell the tale of being kidnapped and gang-raped by government forces. Journalists who tried to prevent her from being forcibly taken away by government “minders” were assaulted.
Let the record state that Republicans, conservatives, etc, were largely opposed to intervening in Libya and fighting the bloodthirsty Qadhafi.
Update: The Guardian’s posted a video clip of the incident.