A Canadian MP who is accused of being in bed with entertainment companies published an editorial defending herself in yesterday’s Toronto star, large passages of which were lifted almost verbatim from publications and speeches given by the Canadian Recording Industry Association.
Sam Bulte is the Liberal Party Member of Parliament who spent her last term in office creating draconian, US-style copyright proposals, apparently at the behest of the entertainment companies who bankrolled her last election campaign. This kind of law-buying is relatively unheard-of in Canadian politics and Bulte has come under fire from all quarters for repeating her sins with her current campaign, which culminated in a $250/plate fundraising dinner sponsored by entertainment executives, associations and other cronies.
Yesterday’s Toronto Star published a lengthy editorial under Bulte’s by-line, but Michael Geist, a law professor and editorialist, has shown that large passages of Bulte’s material was lifted, uncredited, from speeches and publications from the Canadian Recording Industry Association, and slightly rewritten.
The irony is really lovely. Bulte’s defense all along is that she isn’t unduly influenced by her “friends” in the entertainment industry, but here we have evidence that these friends are ghost-writing her campaign materials, or at least appearing as uncredited co-authors in her newspaper editorials.
Judge Alito would no doubt try to change the court’s approach. He has supported the fringe “unitary executive” theory, which would give the president greater power to detain Americans and would throw off the checks and balances built into the Constitution. He has also put forth the outlandish idea that if the president makes a statement when he signs a bill into law, a court interpreting the law should give his intent the same weight it gives to Congress’s intent in writing and approving the law.
Judge Alito would also work to reduce Congress’s power in other ways. In a troubling dissent, he argued that Congress exceeded its authority when it passed a law banning machine guns, and as a government lawyer he insisted Congress did not have the power to protect car buyers from falsified odometers.
There is every reason to believe, based on his long paper trail and the evasive answers he gave at his hearings, that Judge Alito would quickly vote to overturn Roe v. Wade. So it is hard to see how Senators Lincoln Chaffee, Olympia Snowe and Susan Collins, all Republicans, could square support for Judge Alito with their commitment to abortion rights.
Judge Alito has consistently shown a bias in favor of those in power over those who need the law to protect them. Women, racial minorities, the elderly and workers who come to court seeking justice should expect little sympathy. In the same flat bureaucratic tones he used at the hearings, he is likely to insist that the law can do nothing for them.
The White House has tried to create an air of inevitability around this nomination. But there is no reason to believe that Judge Alito is any more popular than the president who nominated him. Outside a small but vocal group of hard-core conservatives, America has greeted the nomination with a shrug – and counted on its senators to make the right decision.
The real risk for senators lies not in opposing Judge Alito, but in voting for him. If the far right takes over the Supreme Court, American law and life could change dramatically. If that happens, many senators who voted for Judge Alito will no doubt come to regret that they did not insist that Justice O’Connor’s seat be filled with someone who shared her cautious, centrist approach to the law.
science in society but feel scientists are “brainy people not like them”, research suggests.
The Science Learning Centre in London asked 11,000 pupils for their views on science and scientists.
Around 70% of the 11-15 year olds questioned said they did not picture scientists as “normal young and attractive men and women”.
They found around 80% of pupils thought scientists did “very important work” and 70% thought they worked “creatively and imaginatively”. Only 40% said they agreed that scientists did “boring and repetitive work”.
Over three quarters of the respondents thought scientists were “really brainy people”.
The research is being undertaken as part of Einstein Year.
Among those who said they would not like to be scientists, reasons included: “Because you would constantly be depressed and tired and not have time for family”, and “because they all wear big glasses and white coats and I am female”.
Although that last one doesn’t look like she was in line for a Nobel anyways, I hope she finds flipping burgers not too boring and repetitive…
How much of this can you take?