Blogging from Washington. If you want to see me and/or Danielle this weekend, let me know.
Anyway, in all the hullaballoo this week about Social Security, the death of the former Lebanese PM, and the nomination of John Negroponte for intel czar, two repulsive laws got through Congressional houses by absurd margins.
The first is a law stiffening penalties for "indecency." So, basically, if the FCC doesn't like what you're broadcasting, they can fine you even more for it. That's comforting. I guess 386 representatives - including my own David Price, who I usually agree with on most things - want to do my thinking for me. Hell, I'm not even sure I see the rationale for this law. I just don't understand what's driving this whole "decency" movement - and I'm usually able to at least see the other side of an argument, even if I don't agree with it. Someone please tell me why the FCC should be able to fine a broadcaster simply because they feel like it.
The second is a law that makes it harder for class action suits to be filed against corporations by moving them to overcrowded federal courts. Seventy-three senators voted to "fix" a system that ain't really broke. For every wacked-out lawsuit out there, there's another thirty that have merit that don't get to court. So quit whining, Corporate America.
You know, the biggest problem with torts is that corporations file too many frivolous ones to discourage individuals from challenging them. So to Republicans, and to half the Democrats, the fix is to make it harder for individuals to sue corporations. Yeah, that makes sense. I guess Republicans have had enough of courts holding corporations responsible for their actions. Gotta give those poor mistreated businessmen another free ride. And don't try to use that lame-ass excuse of how excessive torts hurt the economy. That's a load of crap and you know it.
What really annoys me is that there is a section of law that needs to be reformed - patent law. Currently, patents are so easy for Big Business to get that any innovation probably infringes on some patent, somewhere, somehow. As a result, competition and innovation - the twin engines of a capitalist economy - are both stifled. But this issue is too arcane to make headlines, and probably won't get addressed any time soon. So on with the bullshit, Congress.