Blog Archives

A life´s value (via Finn Hjalmar´s blog)

Finn left a note on my previous story this morning, so I went to his blog and found this post that relates to the Islamic Law issues of capital punishment, women and the law. I’m also adding Finn’s blog to my Blogroll.
– Bill

What is a life worth? Not particular much in some places. A life for a life, an eye for an eye, a tooth for a tooth. The history of mankind is easily listed in this quote from the bible. (Exodus 21:22-25). Human beings have killed, still kills and will kill each other as long as there is human beings on the planet. Animal also kills. But they are much more simpler than us. They kill either in self-defense or to get food. We humans are intelligent … Read More

via Finn Hjalmar´s blog

Happy New Year to You All…

I hope 2010 turns out to bring a significant improvement to all our lives. It can certainly move away from the combination of dread, deceit and degradation that our society moved through in the 00’s, culminating in the political infirmity of 2009.

So I’m making some resolutions this morning… you know, those things you tell yourself that you will change and then ignore about a week later… that I hope will be reflected in Under The LobsterScope in the decade, or at least the year, to come.

First: I want to avoid supplying publicity for the characters who are merely trying to keep their names in front of us in order to build a platform for a miserable future. That would include Sarah Palin and Dick “The Dick” Cheney, and too many others who take up space in the nether reaches of HuffPo and Salon. They have enough other sites wasting space on them… I want to focus, at least politically, on the people who will bring a positive, liberal message to those of us who have suffered since Reagan (SSR).

Second: I want to expand my arts coverage from the point of view of the individual trapped in the Potomac valley of the West Virginia Panhandle (yeah, that’s me.) Of course while I’m directing SNARK at Full Circle Theater, that’s likely to take up a lot of my arts posting. But I’ve been subscribing to a bunch of newsletters from around the country ( and around the world, actually) which will give me a basis for commentary on many arts issues. I really think we need to talk about the arts more, especially as arts programming is usually the first economic victim in school budgets and is considered well below sports, both professional and amateur, by the majority of media sites.

Third: I think I am going to have to set up a financial support system for this blog, something I haven’t done in its first six years, because I am still unemployed and want to have the time to make these entries and respond to comments and remarks and have to have a reason to doing it instead of being the old guy who welcomes you at the door at Wal-Mart. I’m exploring the least objectionable support method now (I really want to avoid selling advertising.)

So that’s my big three. I’ll see how long I focus on them as we go on. Meanwhile, flip all your calendars and get used to writing the new year on your checks (something I always screw up for a month or so) and get out there and make it a better world.

– BT

FTC about to impose Endorsement Guides on Bloggers…

Here is a warning for bloggers like me who often recommend products to buy or places to go (and I note that I don’t get reimbursed for any of this, mores the pity.) The FTC will start a regulation on December 1st (why is it that regulations on Health Insurers or similar institutions take a couple of years before they can be implemented?) which updates their 1980 regulation. Here’s their Press Release:

For Release: 10/05/2009

FTC Publishes Final Guides Governing Endorsements, Testimonials

Changes Affect Testimonial Advertisements, Bloggers, Celebrity Endorsements

The Federal Trade Commission today announced that it has approved final revisions to the guidance it gives to advertisers on how to keep their endorsement and testimonial ads in line with the FTC Act.

The notice incorporates several changes to the FTC’s Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising, which address endorsements by consumers, experts, organizations, and celebrities, as well as the disclosure of important connections between advertisers and endorsers. The Guides were last updated in 1980.

Under the revised Guides, advertisements that feature a consumer and convey his or her experience with a product or service as typical when that is not the case will be required to clearly disclose the results that consumers can generally expect. In contrast to the 1980 version of the Guides – which allowed advertisers to describe unusual results in a testimonial as long as they included a disclaimer such as “results not typical” – the revised Guides no longer contain this safe harbor.

The revised Guides also add new examples to illustrate the long standing principle that “material connections” (sometimes payments or free products) between advertisers and endorsers – connections that consumers would not expect – must be disclosed. These examples address what constitutes an endorsement when the message is conveyed by bloggers or other “word-of-mouth” marketers. The revised Guides specify that while decisions will be reached on a case-by-case basis, the post of a blogger who receives cash or in-kind payment to review a product is considered an endorsement. Thus, bloggers who make an endorsement must disclose the material connections they share with the seller of the product or service. Likewise, if a company refers in an advertisement to the findings of a research organization that conducted research sponsored by the company, the advertisement must disclose the connection between the advertiser and the research organization. And a paid endorsement – like any other advertisement – is deceptive if it makes false or misleading claims.

Celebrity endorsers also are addressed in the revised Guides. While the 1980 Guides did not explicitly state that endorsers as well as advertisers could be liable under the FTC Act for statements they make in an endorsement, the revised Guides reflect Commission case law and clearly state that both advertisers and endorsers may be liable for false or unsubstantiated claims made in an endorsement – or for failure to disclose material connections between the advertiser and endorsers. The revised Guides also make it clear that celebrities have a duty to disclose their relationships with advertisers when making endorsements outside the context of traditional ads, such as on talk shows or in social media.

The Guides are administrative interpretations of the law intended to help advertisers comply with the Federal Trade Commission Act; they are not binding law themselves. In any law enforcement action challenging the allegedly deceptive use of testimonials or endorsements, the Commission would have the burden of proving that the challenged conduct violates the FTC Act.

The Commission vote approving issuance of the Federal Register notice detailing the changes was 4-0. The notice will be published in the Federal Register shortly, and is available now on the FTC’s Web site as a link to this press release. Copies also are available from the FTC’s Consumer Response Center, Room 130, 600 Pennsylvania Avenue, N.W., Washington, DC 20580.

The Federal Trade Commission works for consumers to prevent fraudulent, deceptive, and unfair business practices and to provide information to help spot, stop, and avoid them. To file a complaint in English or Spanish, visit the FTC’s online Complaint Assistant or call 1-877-FTC-HELP (1-877-382-4357). The FTC enters complaints into Consumer Sentinel, a secure, online database available to more than 1,700 civil and criminal law enforcement agencies in the U.S. and abroad. The FTC’s Web site provides free information on a variety of consumer topics.

Betsy Lordan
Office of Public Affairs


Richard Cleland

Bureau of Consumer Protection


(FTC File No. P034520)
(endorsement testimonial guide.wpd)

I’m not sure what changes this will make at Under The LobsterScope or other blogs, but we’ll find out soon enough.

Did Newsmax Enccourage a Military Coup on Obama?

Yesterday I was going to post a connection to a story by a blogger named Norwonk (he’s from Norway) that was about an article by one Jim Perry in Newsmax (if you don’t know Newsmax, it is both a print and online publication of the REALLY RADICAL RIGHT (ie: folks who both build and promote the lies that Repiglicans use against Obama and his administration.) It was about righties dreaming of a Military junta to take over the government. So I went to Newsmax to find the article, but it was nonexistent, so I let it lie… I don’t put up stuff I can’t back with source material, as I hope you all know.

This morning I found out why the article was gone… Newsmax pulled it without saying anything once people found out about it.

I am reproducing this from Norwonk’s blog today in it’s entirety:

Obama Risks a Domestic Military Intervention

By: John L. Perry

There is a remote, although gaining, possibility America’s military will intervene as a last resort to resolve the “Obama problem.” Don’t dismiss it as unrealistic.

America isn’t the Third World. If a military coup does occur here it will be civilized. That it has never happened doesn’t mean it wont. Describing what may be afoot is not to advocate it. So, view the following through military eyes:

# Officers swear to “support and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic.” Unlike enlisted personnel, they do not swear to “obey the orders of the president of the United States.”

# Top military officers can see the Constitution they are sworn to defend being trampled as American institutions and enterprises are nationalized.

# They can see that Americans are increasingly alarmed that this nation, under President Barack Obama, may not even be recognizable as America by the 2012 election, in which he will surely seek continuation in office.

# They can see that the economy — ravaged by deficits, taxes, unemployment, and impending inflation — is financially reliant on foreign lender governments.

# They can see this president waging undeclared war on the intelligence community, without whose rigorous and independent functions the armed services are rendered blind in an ever-more hostile world overseas and at home.

# They can see the dismantling of defenses against missiles targeted at this nation by avowed enemies, even as America’s troop strength is allowed to sag.

# They can see the horror of major warfare erupting simultaneously in two, and possibly three, far-flung theaters before America can react in time.

# They can see the nation’s safety and their own military establishments and honor placed in jeopardy as never before.

So, if you are one of those observant military professionals, what do you do?

Wait until this president bungles into losing the war in Afghanistan, and Pakistan’s arsenal of nuclear bombs falls into the hands of militant Islam?

Wait until Israel is forced to launch air strikes on Iran’s nuclear-bomb plants, and the Middle East explodes, destabilizing or subjugating the Free World?

What happens if the generals Obama sent to win the Afghan war are told by this president (who now says, “I’m not interested in victory”) that they will be denied troops they must have to win? Do they follow orders they cannot carry out, consistent with their oath of duty? Do they resign en masse?

Or do they soldier on, hoping the 2010 congressional elections will reverse the situation? Do they dare gamble the national survival on such political whims?

Anyone who imagines that those thoughts are not weighing heavily on the intellect and conscience of America’s military leadership is lost in a fool’s fog.

Will the day come when patriotic general and flag officers sit down with the president, or with those who control him, and work out the national equivalent of a “family intervention,” with some form of limited, shared responsibility?

Imagine a bloodless coup to restore and defend the Constitution through an interim administration that would do the serious business of governing and defending the nation. Skilled, military-trained, nation-builders would replace accountability-challenged, radical-left commissars. Having bonded with his twin teleprompters, the president would be detailed for ceremonial speech-making.

Military intervention is what Obama’s exponentially accelerating agenda for “fundamental change” toward a Marxist state is inviting upon America. A coup is not an ideal option, but Obama’s radical ideal is not acceptable or reversible.

Unthinkable? Then think up an alternative, non-violent solution to the Obama problem. Just don’t shrug and say, “We can always worry about that later.”

In the 2008 election, that was the wistful, self-indulgent, indifferent reliance on abnegation of personal responsibility that has sunk the nation into this morass.



Thomas Sowell in National Review:

“Someone recently pointed out how much Barack Obama’s style and strategies resemble those of Latin American charismatic despots — the takeover of industries by demagogues who never ran a business, the rousing rhetoric of resentment addressed to the masses, and the personal cult of the leader promoted by the media. Do we want to become the world’s largest banana republic?”

Judging from Perry’s column, the answer from Sowell’s own side is: “Yes! Bring on the junta!”

Update II:

Mediamax has given their version of events:

In a blog posting to Newsmax John Perry wrote about a coup scenario involving the U.S. military. He clearly stated that he was not advocating such a scenario but simply describing one.

After several reader complaints, Newsmax wanted to insure that this article was not misinterpreted. It was removed after a short period after being posted.

Newsmax strongly believes in the principles of Constitutional government and would never advocate or insinuate any suggestion of an activity that would undermine our democracy or democratic institutions.

Mr. Perry served as a political appointee in the Carter administration in HUD and FEMA. He has no official relationship with Newsmax other than as an unpaid blogger.

While it is technically true that Perry “does not advocate” a coup, he does say that a coup “is not an ideal option, but Obama’s radical ideal is not acceptable or reversible”. That hardly makes it look as if he dreads the prospect.

As for his status as an “unpaid blogger” – well, he has been a regular columnist for Newsmax since 1999. He’s hardly a crazy stranger who hacked into their server to sneak one past the editors…

Remember this. Some day, people on the right are going to say it never happened.

OK… That’s everything. Thanks to Norwonk for his persistence!
There was poll on Facebook (now pulled) on the subject “Should Obama Be Killed?”
Read about it HERE.
Tom Friedman’s column today in the NY Times takes up this issue HERE

This isn’t going away… and it worries me greatly.

Blogiche is down…but it will return.

We have been participating with Blogiche, a service which connects more people with blogs, and our user base has gone up tenfold in a month. Then yesterday Blogiche stopped working and when we went to check it we got a message from their service provider that it was “Suspended.”

I sent some email out to the provider, since Under The LobsterScope also lists Blogiche over on the right hand column side so other bloggers can use it, and got this back today:

Hi Bill,
Blogiche is down because of excessive bandwidth consumption issue. Once this has been taken care of, the site will be resumed immediately.
This will be taken care of in a couple of days time.
Blogiche Team

So, hopefully, the service will be back soon. Keep an eye out.