Patterico's Pontifications

5/31/2015

Led Zeppelin Agrees That They Are Indeed Amazingly Awesome!

Filed under: General — Dana @ 6:45 pm

[guest post by Dana]

Remember when the heirs of Randy California, guitarist, singer and songwriter for the band Spirit, filed a complaint against Led Zeppelin for allegedly stealing the introduction to their classic anthem “Stairway To Heaven” from California’s instrumental song “Taurus”? (Unless you have lived under a rock for the past 40+ years, it’s impossible to not recognize Stairway’s iconic guitar arpeggio (yeah, that’s six years of classical piano lessons talking there…see Mom, they didn’t go to waste…) at the beginning of the 8 minute song that every high school boy in America has annoyingly tried to master on an out-of-tune guitar believing they were destined to become the world’s next greatest rock ‘n roll guitarist. Oh my God, what high school girls have to endure…)

Last week, Led Zeppelin responded to the complaint, and not surprisingly, they denied the allegations. Well, except for one on which they most heartily agreed with…

From Paragraph 11 of the complaint:

11. Led Zeppelin is undeniably one of the greatest bands in history, and their musical talent is boundless. However, what happened to Randy California and Spirit is wrong. Led Zeppelin needs to do the right thing and give credit where credit is due. Randy California deserves writing credit for “Stairway to Heaven” and to take his place as an author of Rock’s greatest song.

In response:

“Answering paragraph 11 of the First Amended Complaint, including the First Amended Complaint’s footnote 1, Defendants admit that Led Zeppelin has been called one of the greatest bands in history and its members were and are exceptionally talented,” the group’s answer reads, “but otherwise deny each and every allegation contained in paragraph 11 of the First Amended Complaint.”

Here is the complaint with its humorous use of the classic “Kashmir” font.

When I was young, I saw Led Zeppelin and Spirit in concert a number of times. They were both thrilling to see perform live. Great bands. Hot guys. Ah, youth.

Here are a couple of classics:

–Dana

UPDATE BY PATTERICO: The acoustic arpeggios are clearly lifted from Taurus; astute readers will remember that I noted the striking similarity back in 2013, before the lawsuit was ever filed. Zeppelin opened for Spirit before “Stairway” was written, and Spirit played Taurus during that tour. No sensible person could deny that Taurus was the germ of “Stairway.”

But I also think Led Zeppelin — although they are notorious music thieves — transformed the song into something different. As I said in 2014 after the suit was filed:

I have mixed feelings about this one. On one hand, if you listen to the piece, it’s pretty clear they ripped off part of California’s piece — and the fact that they were touring with Spirit at the time just solidifies the conclusion that you would have come to anyway regarding the similarities. It would have been nice for them to credit California and give him a piece of the royalties. And, as I say, I pointed out the similarities last year, long before the lawsuit — so it’s clearly not a made-up claim. (Do any of the lawyers read this blog?)

That being said, California himself never filed suit. And in “Stairway to Heaven,” while Zeppelin took some of California’s music, the more famous band also transformed the germ of that idea into something quite different, taken as a whole. Patterico reluctantly hereby enters judgment for defendant in the court of public opinion, but awards no costs — and encourages Led Zeppelin to give California his writing credit anyway.

I was front row for a Spirit concert at the West End Marketplace in Dallas many moons ago, back when Randy California and Ed Cassidy were still around. It was one of the greatest rock shows I have seen; very memorable.

NY Hotelier Who Hosted Ted Cruz Dinner Actually Donated Max Amount Allowed To His Campaign

Filed under: General — Dana @ 12:06 pm

[guest post by Dana]

The NYT is reporting that, in spite of earlier claims that it was not a fundraising event and no checks were written, one of the now infamous hoteliers who hosted a dinner for Sen. Ted Cruz last month actually donated the maximum amount allowed to Cruz’s presidential campaign, but requested it be returned:

“In the interest of transparency, I gave Senator Cruz a $2,700 check to show my support for his work on behalf of Israel,” Mr. Reisner said in a statement he provided after The Times learned of the donation from two people with direct knowledge of it. “When I realized his donation could be misconstrued as supporting his anti-gay marriage agenda, I asked for the money back. Senator Cruz’s office gave the money back, and I have no intention of giving any money to any politicians who aren’t in support of L.G.B.T. issues.”

Cue the LGBT outraged brigade, because no one is allowed to think for themselves and make their own decisions which may or may not appear to be breaking ranks for a cause other than gay rights. Because it is always about them:

Mr. Reisner and Mr. Weiderpass have been doing damage control for over a month since the dinner, which made them pariahs in New York City’s gay rights community in which they’d been figures for years. As two people who have rarely donated politically, they seemed surprised by the reaction, stressing they were drawn to Mr. Cruz because of their mutual interests in foreign policy.

How sad that a grown man felt compelled to lie about his donation made to show support for a cause other than gay rights. How sad that he chose to cave to intolerant militancy rather than stand by his convictions. Certainly it has been a painful lesson for Reisner to see just how powerful and relentless the hate can be for going against the flow. Foolishly, he believed his stature in the cause made him immune to such attacks. But there can will be no dissension (or even the appearance of…). Ironically and tellingly, it is this very group whose opinion of him matters most – as he continues to support and be a willing participant in their hate machine.

The intolerant LGBT crowd simply cannot fathom or accept allow others within their ranks to actually think as individuals and not trained monkeys. Never can any other issue be equally as important as gay rights:

Yet the anger at the hoteliers has been fierce and unrelenting. Mr. Reisner is under great pressure from angry residents in the Fire Island Pines who want him to divest of his interest in the commercial property there. In early May, Eric von Kuersteiner, a businessman on Fire Island who previously owned the properties in the harbor, even approached Mr. Reisner offering to buy him out for somewhere in the ballpark of $2 million.

–Dana

5/30/2015

Vice-President Joe Biden’s Son Dies Of Brain Cancer

Filed under: General — Dana @ 10:32 pm

[guest post by Dana]

Joe Biden’s statement:

It is with broken hearts that Hallie, Hunter, Ashley, Jill and I announce the passing of our husband, brother and son, Beau, after he battled brain cancer with the same integrity, courage and strength he demonstrated every day of his life.

The entire Biden family is saddened beyond words. We know that Beau’s spirit will live on in all of us—especially through his brave wife, Hallie, and two remarkable children, Natalie and Hunter.

Beau’s life was defined by service to others. As a young lawyer, he worked to establish the rule of law in war-torn Kosovo. A major in the Delaware National Guard, he was an Iraq War veteran and was awarded the Bronze Star. As Delaware’s Attorney General, he fought for the powerless and made it his mission to protect children from abuse.

More than his professional accomplishments, Beau measured himself as a husband, father, son and brother. His absolute honor made him a role model for our family. Beau embodied my father’s saying that a parent knows success when his child turns out better than he did.

In the words of the Biden family: Beau Biden was, quite simply, the finest man any of us have ever known.

Beau Biden was only 46 years old.

May God comfort the entire Biden family at this difficult time and envelop them in His love.

–Dana

UPDATE BY PATTERICO: This is something, isn’t it?

“Using Their Tactics Against Them” — Part 2

Filed under: General — Patterico @ 1:10 pm

Yesterday I published a post defending Charles C.W. Cooke against good-natured criticism by Ace on the issue of “using their tactics against them” as it relates to the Bernie Sanders deal.

As I expected, several people misread the post as an argument that we should always engage in “gentlemanly” or “Marquis of Queensbury” style behavior that eschews such lowbrow common tactics as questioning people’s hypocrisy. The people who read my post that way were wrong; that’s not what I said. But part of the problem is that people throw around phrases like “we need to fight fire with fire” without being specific.

So let’s look at a couple of specific examples.

How would you react in the following situations?

Example 1: You are a city councilmember and are foursquare against a minimum wage. Over your vote, your fellow council members pass an absurd $15 minimum wage that will certainly disemploy significant numbers of lower-skilled workers. A labor union that lobbied hard for the minimum wage now seeks an exemption.

You have the ability to cast the deciding vote. Do you hold firm to your principle that the minimum wage is bad in all cases, and vote for the exemption? Or do you hold the labor union to its own standards by voting against the exemption — an act that may also help promote your longer-term policy goals?

Example 2: The candidate you oppose for President smears your favored candidate with a dirty and false story which gains traction, and your candidate is looking like he may lose a close race. You have the opportunity to publish a blockbuster story about the opposing candidate that will almost certainly torpedo his candidacy. As you are about to publish, you learn your story is false, because you discover a document written by a now deceased person that utterly debunks your story. Only you know about the document. If you publish your story and burn the document, nobody will ever know your story is false.

Do you hold firm to your principles of honesty and refuse to publish the story? Or do you hold the opposing candidate to his own standards, and publish a false story to retaliate for his own false story — an act that will probably also help you elect your favored candidate and achieve other long-term policy goals?

Please consider what you would do in each instance, give your answer in the comments, and then only after you have commented, read further below to see what I would do.

(more…)

Saturday Afternoon Music

Filed under: General — Patterico @ 12:06 pm

Kevin Kane from the Grapes of Wrath and Bryan Potvin from The Northern Pikes, doing a classic old Pikes song: “Hopes Go Astray” — live and acoustic.

By the way, the site was indeed down last night. The hosting company had a series of events go south that affected the server for multiple sites; it was not unique to this site. All seems well now. Sorry for any inconvenience.

5/29/2015

In Which I Defend Charles C.W. Cooke Against Ace in the “Using Their Tactics Against Them” Debate

Filed under: General — Patterico @ 7:54 am

Yesterday it was revealed that Bernie Sanders (a nobody socialist running for President) published a weird piece in 1972 in which he spoke of men’s fantasies about abusing women, and women’s supposed fantasies about being raped.

More interesting than Sanders’s bizarre writing is the reaction in conservative circles, namely: whether we should try to make a huge thing out of this as a tool to punish leftists for their wrongdoings? This is simply a variant of the evergreen “should we use their tactics against them?” question. If I were to run a poll asking “Should we use leftists’ tactics against them?” I am guessing the “yes” tally would run upward of 90%, so let’s turn the microphone over to Charles C.W. Cooke for a contrary view:

A society in which people are drummed out of politics for words they wrote 43 years ago is an ugly society indeed. Sometimes the best way to address hypocrisy is to take the high road. This is America: land of second chances. This is a place of redemption and of reinvention and of continual learning. Nobody honestly believes that Bernie Sanders is a sexual pervert or that he is a misogynist or that he intends to do women any harm. Nobody suspects that he harbors a secret desire to pass intrusive legislation or to cut gang rapists a break. Really, there is only one reason that anyone would make hay of this story, and that is to damage the man politically. Perhaps I’m old-fashioned. Perhaps I’m hopelessly idealistic. But until I see any sign of actual wrongdoing I’d much prefer to slam Sanders for his dangerous and ridiculous politics than to delve back into his past and embarrass him with a long-forgotten opinion. I certainly hope that my fellow conservatives will feel the same way, even if they do not enjoy the same courtesy from their adversaries.

In the other corner we have Ace articulating the more traditional “punch back twice as hard” position:

Charles C.W. Cooke says that we should not unduly persecute Bernie Sanders for his sexual heresies, so you have some idea of the perverted antiques roadshow Cooke has going on in his bedroom.

You know how it is with British men. The bizzare seeds planted in boarding school sprout wicked fruit throughout their lives.

Cooke is arguing for what he conceives of as free speech absolutism — one does not demagogue speech to whip up feeding frenzies of angry lynch mobbers about something merely said.

I agree with this, naturally, except that I don’t. As a tactical matter, there is no way to get the left to stop with its incessant Censorship Crusades except to visit equal pain upon them.

Ace goes on to describe the well-known experiments in which two people face off and can be honest or cheat. Instantly punishing the cheater by cheating — “tit for tat” — is the most effective system for preventing cheating.

My (I suspect very unpopular) instinct lies with Cooke — mainly because Ace’s argument seems to be, not that Sanders’s speech is actually objectionable, but that we should pretend it is, to punish the other side.

Rather than hyperfocusing on this one specific incident, though, I thought it might be interesting to discuss the broad outlines of when it is appropriate to “use the other side’s tactics against them.” I’m going to suggest that it’s a fact-specific question. While I can’t resolve it in one blog post with clear, understandable rules on which everyone will agree, hopefully I can articulate a couple of reasons to be wary about falling for the trap of using this principle as a justification for bad behavior.

Let me begin by stating that there are obviously times when it’s right to treat a person worse because of his own behavior. For example, take a hypothetical criminal — we’ll call him “Brett Kimberlin.” If Kimberlin sets off several bombs and maims someone in the process, it is right for duly authorized officials to lock Brett Kimberlin in a cage for a long time, assuming proper legal procedures have been followed. Whereas it is not right for someone to randomly lock an innocent person in a cage for years. In this example, Kimberlin’s own behavior affects how he should be treated.

To take a more mundane example, it would be fabulous behavior on my part if I could take the time to respectfully reply at length to the argument of every commenter, no matter how rude they are. But if someone comes on this blog and says “PATTERICO IS A RACIST!!!!1!!eleventy!1″ I am not likely to be inclined to patiently spend a lot of time refuting them and presenting counterarguments. I’ll just mock and ban them. Again, their behavior has affected how I treat them, and properly so.

In other words, deciding that you are going to engage in your own standards of conduct, and not let others dictate your behavior for you, does not mean that you must allow bad behavior to go unpunished, or that you cannot engage in self-defense or reasonable, measured defense of others.

But there are times when I think most people would agree that it’s not necessarily justified to do to the other guy what he did to you. For example, when the Crips shoot a Blood, the Crips are often upset that the Bloods previously shot a Crip. When the Bloods shoot a Crip, they are often upset that the Crips previously shot a Blood. Most people are not inclined to justify such shootings as “punching back twice as hard.”

Having defined cases on each side which are obvious, but remembering that this is a blog and 1) your attention span is limited and 2) I have to get to work, let me say that I can’t solve all the harder cases in between. So let me finish by pointing out a couple of problems that don’t invalidate the “use their tactics against them” principle in every case — but are reasons that you should be wary of relying on that principle too easily.

First: people love to use the “use their tactics against them” principle to justify bad behavior that feels good. It’s fun to jump up and down and point at the personal foibles of the guy on the other side, and if you can justify by saying “this is what they do!” then you can engage in all kinds of nasty behavior and claim you have a clear conscience. But everybody does this. “The left” says they do it to you because you did it to them. Every bad guy in history has some paper-thin rationalization for why he did horrible things, and it always has to do with getting back at the other guy for what he did first. “He did it first!” is not generally a convincing argument for what you know is bad behavior.

Second: too often, the “use their tactics against them” principle is applied to other members of a group, with the group being more and more generally defined. Crips may not shoot the Blood who shot the Crip last week. They’ll just pick any Blood, or maybe even a random innocent person in Blood territory, and justify it by saying, hey, they’re a Blood. In politics, both sides simply slap a label on a group (“the left” or “the right”) and use that to justify using nasty tactics to make a member of that group miserable, whether that person personally merits it or not.

Did Bernie Sanders make a big deal out of, say, Todd Akin’s “real rape” statements? If so, give him hell. But nobody’s really asking the question. It’s good enough that “the left” did it — so let’s punish “the left” by blowing up the Sanders story.

Getting back to Sanders: if there are people who made a huge issue of odd Republican statements about sex/rape in the past, ask those people how they feel about Bernie Sanders. Watch them squirm. I’m good with that.

But be careful. Don’t engage in tactics that you know are wrong simply because someone else did it first. And make sure that anyone you punish truly personally deserves it.

You set your own standards of morality. Don’t let the other side set them for you.

5/28/2015

Hastert Indicted

Filed under: General — Patterico @ 7:45 pm

For “structuring” — which isn’t much of a crime and is often abused — and for lying to the FBI. Allegedly.

Supposedly he was giving money to a person he had known for a long time to cover up and compensate for some kind of misconduct he had supposedly perpetrated against that person.

I love this:

The FBI began investigating Hastert in 2013, partly because investigators wanted to know if he was the victim of an extortion scheme, court documents said.

Heck of a way to treat a victim.

Nebraska Bans Death Penalty, Setting Stage for Anthony Kennedy to Ban It Nationwide

Filed under: General — Patterico @ 7:44 am

Nebraska has voted to abolish the death penalty, and the legislature has overridden the governor’s veto to reaffirm the ban.

I support the death penalty, but I also support the right of the people of a state to decide how to punish murderers.

Here’s the problem. Under the “evolving standards of decency” travesty perpetrated on the nation by Anthony Kennedy and the leftists on the Court, votes like this could result in a court-imposed, nationwide ban. Under this doctrine, which has no support in the text of the Constitution, any slight movement by local entities towards abolishing a particular punishment is instantly converted into an emerging consensus that must be imposed on the entire country by Kennedy and his fellow travelers.

That’s what he did with the death penalty for juveniles and those deemed even mildly retarded. In each case, a handful to states abolished the death penalty for defendants falling in those categories, and Kennedy decided that this slight movement justified his using his Emperor-like powers to deprive other states of the ability to make their own judgments. Now a monster who is a day shy of his 18th birthday, or who can convince a court that he is mildly retarded, can avoid death for his crimes — all thanks to the made-up doctrine foisted on the nation by the arrogant Kennedy.

If enough state legislatures ban the death penalty outright, Kennedy will do away with it for the rest.

You read it here first.

New Yorker Cover Art: Diversity Anyone?

Filed under: General — Dana @ 7:06 am

[guest post by Dana]

Untitled-1

Excluding a black conservative male and a Republican woman who have officially announced and are actively campaigning? Where is the outrage?

The New Yorker explains:

How many Republicans are running for President? It’s a trick question. Some of those who are clearly running—Jeb Bush, for example—are still pretending that they aren’t, mostly because declaring would change the fund-raising rules. And if you counted everyone who, against all evidence, takes himself (or herself) seriously as a candidate, the locker room depicted in Mark Ulriksen’s “Suiting Up,” this week’s cover, would look as crowded as the departures hall at Penn Station, and almost as disconcerting. As it is, Ulriksen presents seven contenders with seven varieties of preening. Maybe it’s hard to tell a vision for America from a delusion of grandeur, at least until the debates and primaries get under way. Until then, Marco Rubio’s got his phone, Rand Paul his comb, and Huckabee his Bible. Ted Cruz’s eyes flit between his copy of the Constitution and his mirror, while Scott Walker seems on the lookout for unionized gym attendants. Bush is wearing his dynasty-logo boxers and Chris Christie his put-me-in-now pout. And yet, somehow, one of these seven men is almost certainly right about his chances for the nomination. The primary campaign may look like a pickup game about to descend into a brawl, but there’s a national candidate somewhere in the lineup.

Chris Christie and Jeb Bush have not even officially announced.

–Dana

5/27/2015

Unions: Yes, We Support the Minimum Wage — But Not for Union Workers!!!

Filed under: General — Patterico @ 7:11 pm

Whether you react to this with a sharp, shocked laugh or a knowing but depressed shrug is a marker of how cynical you have become:

For much of the past eight months, labor activists have argued against special considerations for business owners, such as restaurateurs, who said they would have trouble complying with the mandated pay increase.

But Rusty Hicks, who heads the county Federation of Labor and helps lead the Raise the Wage coalition, said Tuesday night that companies with workers represented by unions should have leeway to negotiate a wage below that mandated by the law.

“With a collective bargaining agreement, a business owner and the employees negotiate an agreement that works for them both. The agreement allows each party to prioritize what is important to them,” Hicks said in a statement. “This provision gives the parties the option, the freedom, to negotiate that agreement. And that is a good thing.”

Eliminating the minimum wage entirely gives the parties the option, the freedom, to negotiate an agreement that works for them both, allowing each to prioritize what’s important. And that is a good thing.

Too bad unions and other soft-headed know-nothings oppose such common-sense principles — when it’s not their own ox being gored, that is.

Thanks to J.D.

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