Archive

March 6th, 2016

Technology has changed the patent world

    Apple just suffered an important legal defeat to Samsung in its battle over patents. This is good because Apple's claims were frivolous; its patents were questionable; and its use of litigation to hold back a competitor set another wrong precedent for the industry. Because of these patent wars and patent trolls, technology companies are divesting huge resources to defend themselves rather than advancing their innovations. This is the equivalent of nuclear arms race and is a lose-lose situation.

    Apple and Samsung have been at war over patents for many years. In the last round in 2014, a jury ordered Samsung to pay Apple $119.6 million in damages for infringing on three Apple patents. These weren't game changing innovations; they were simple and common smartphone features. One patent described how to turn a phone number into a link that could be clicked on, another protected the "slide to unlock" feature, and another was a slightly different way of autocorrecting spellings.

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Some ex-offenders now have the chance to vote - for 'liars' and 'con men'

    For ex-offenders who have successfully fought to have their voting rights restored in recent months, the presidential primaries were the first chance to go to the polls in years, even decades. And what a special welcome back it must have been for them to choose from a slate of candidates who have often exhibited the kind of behavior that many were warned about when they were given a second chance.

    One of those who expected to start voting again in the Super Tuesday presidential primary was Je'Marc Morton, a warehouse employee in Williamsburg, Virginia. His voting rights were revoked for seven years after his conviction for grand larceny in 2008. His sentence for the larceny was five years' probation.

    Morton successfully petitioned to get back the right to vote last year. Now he was able to vote in a presidential primary - to choose among candidates variously described by one another as liars, con artists, hypocrites, wackos, frauds, cheats and thieves.

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Rubio may only strengthen Trump by going nuclear

    Florida Sen. Marco Rubio is finally getting wall-to-wall coverage.

    The debate of Republican candidates last week went his way: He portrayed Donald Trump as a con man who defrauded poor, aspiring students at Trump University, got in that Trump Tower was built with immigrant labor, and was able to needle the Donald for having no idea what he's doing, and repeats simplistic one-liners because he knows nothing about governing. As in no debate before, Rubio showed that the builder uses fake bricks.

    Since then, and with time running short to win something, Rubio is taking the fight to Trump on his preferred terrain of insult politics. At a rally on Sunday in Roanoke, Virginia, Rubio took the low road. Acknowledging that Trump has taken to calling him "Little Marco," Rubio said, "he's like six-two, which is why I don't understand why his hands are the size of someone who's five-two."

    He added: "You know what they say about men with small hands." He paused. "You can't trust them."

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Our Politics Aren’t Keeping Up

    When the U.S. military trains fighter pilots, it uses a concept called the OODA loop. It stands for observe, orient, decide, act. The idea is that if your ability to observe, orient, decide and act in a dogfight at 30,000 feet is faster than the other pilot’s, you’ll shoot his plane out of the sky. If the other pilot’s OODA loop is faster, he’ll shoot you out of the sky. For a while now, it’s been obvious that our national OODA loop is broken — and it couldn’t be happening at a worse time.

    Our OODA loop is busted right when the three largest forces on the planet — technology, globalization and climate change — are in simultaneous nonlinear acceleration. Climate change is intensifying. Technology is making everything faster and amplifying every voice. And globalization is making the world more interdependent than ever, so we are impacted by others more than ever.

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March 5th

Super Tuesday showdown and the drama to come

    The 2016 presidential campaign picture should come into more revealing focus as voters in a dozen states, predominantly in the South, state their preferences. Again, the party frontrunners, Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton, are heavily favored in most of the primaries.

    The most significant event is the Republican primary in Texas, where Sen. Ted Cruz is counting on fellow Texans to keep alive his dwindling chances to deny Trump the GOP nomination. Even if he wins his home state, Cruz already is being overshadowed by Florida's Sen. Marco Rubio, who tries to cut down Trump by calling him a "con artist" and other brutal derisions.

    On the Democratic side, Clinton can count on heavy African-American support in Alabama, Arkansas, Georgia, Oklahoma, Tennessee, Texas and Virginia to widen her lead over Sen. Bernie Sanders. Meanwhile, Sanders looks to Massachusetts, his own Vermont and possibly Colorado for some face-saving backing.

    But potentially more significant than the Super Tuesday results may be a belated arousing within what remains of the GOP's moderate establishment to derail the Trump steamroller.

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It's risky to bash Trump on talk radio

    Ross Kaminsky has been running the morning rush hour show on TalkRadio 630 KHOW in Denver for all of two months, but he's already in hot water with many of his 50,000 listeners: They like Donald Trump, and Kaminsky doesn't.

    I drove to Kaminsky's house on 40 acres of forested mountainside in Nederland, a town in Boulder County where Kaminsky is one of very few conservatives, because I'm hooked on U.S. talk radio. Driving around primary states on a reporting assignment is a lonely business. So Rush Limbaugh, Sean Hannity, Glenn Beck and their local colleagues are my in-car companions, their wit and eloquence making long drives more tolerable. I don't get to argue, so in just six weeks they've taught me how to think like a U.S. conservative, though I disagree with myself when I do.

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Hillary Clinton’s Moment

    You can look at Hillary Clinton’s path to this juncture and marvel at how difficult she has often made things for herself, creating messes where there didn’t need to be any, frittering away advantages, misunderstanding the mood of voters, underestimating the mettle of opponents, and failing to cement an image — and a message — that seemed authentic and right.

    That’s a legitimate perspective. She’s a deeply flawed politician.

    But she’s also a preternaturally determined, resourceful and patient one. Her path illustrates that just as compellingly. For about a quarter of a century, she has been vilified as loudly as she has been lionized, told that her talents pale beside her husband’s, called “likable enough” but seldom lovable, and cast in supporting roles: the first lady, the secretary of state.

    She teetered but never fell. Grew teary but never folded.

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Goodbye Safe And Legal

    It had been my intention to continue recognition of March as Women' History Month by resurrecting the stories of some of the forgotten women of history; however, all the attention on this week's hearing at the Supreme Court on Texas' abortion clinics cannot be ignored. That too is the history of women in this nation.

    Lest you have forgotten, three years ago Texas legislator Wendy Davis did a thirteen hour filerbuster in opposition to Texas HB2 designed to eliminate women's access to abortions in the state. It is that legislation with numerous burdensome requirements of no medical legitimacy whatsoever - passed despite Ms. Davis heroic efforts - that is now before the Supreme Court.

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All right, then, Mitch; the people will have their say

    Like blowing out that last birthday candle, Mitch McConnell is going to get his wish.

    For the remainder of 2016, no one will occupy the seat vacated by the death of Antonin Scalia. No concession will be made to a lame-duck president. That nominee won't get a sniff of a hearing room.

    Such joyous Republican news comes with an advisory, however:

    Enjoy the cake, the balloons and the party hats, Mr. Senate Majority Leader, because in your revelry and obstinacy you increase the odds that when a new year dawns we'll address you as Mr. Senate Minority Leader.

    Meanwhile, on another significant political front, your latest gambit (Sen. Harry Reid terms it "obstruction on steroids") is going to help more Americans understand why they need an experienced consensus-seeker rather than a hotel-suite bomb-thrower for president.

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Why Catholics should be grateful for 'Spotlight' and the media's exposing abuses within the church

    A new film serves as a painful reminder of one of the darkest periods in Catholic Church history, where more than 200 priests and religious were accused of abusing minors and were reassigned in a cover-up.

    "Spotlight," which won Best Picture at the Oscar's Sunday night, chronicles the Boston Globe's groundbreaking coverage of the clergy sexual abuse crisis in the Archdiocese of Boston that would go on to win the paper a Pulitzer Prize in 2003.

    Reflecting on the 10-year anniversary of the Globe's revelations, Boston Cardinal Sean O'Malley said that "the media helped make our Church safer for children by raising up the issue of clergy sexual abuse and forcing us to deal with it." (Editor's note: The Globe's editor at the time was Martin Baron, now executive editor of The Washington Post.)

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