Bo Diddley

Bo Diddley, Who Gave Rock His Beat, Dies at 79 – Obituary (Obit) – NYTimes.com

Bo Diddley has always been one of my favorite early rock-and-rollers, for his iconic songs–see “Who Do You Love?”–his exploration of feedback and distortion–see “Mumbling Guitar”–and the gigantic fact that he invented the iconic syncopated beat that bore his name and became the template for hundreds of songs. He influenced the history and sound of rock music at its core.

More NY Sales Tax News

I’ve noted recently (here and here) that New York changed its law to require out-of-state Internet retailers that receive customer referrals from in-state business to collect and remit NY sales taxes on transactions with New York residents. The law went into effect on Sunday June 1 and the NY Times reports that Amazon, among other online sellers, began collecting the tax on that day while it continues to press its legal challenge to the new law. Overstock.com, which severed its relationships with 3,400 NY affiliates in response to the law, on Monday filed its own challenge to the law in New York state court, seeking to enjoin the law pending resolution of the legal issues.

Imagine a fair use

Yesterday the trial court ruled against Yoko Ono and John Lennon’s sons, holders of the copyright to Lennon’s song “Imagine,” in their lawsuit against challenging use of 15 seconds of the song in Ben Stein’s film “Expelled: No Intelligence Allowed.” Ono et al did not want use of the song to appear to endorse the message of Stein’s pro-intelligent design film. The judge ruled that use of the song was fair use. I’ve not seen the film but the judge’s ruling appears to be correct, based on what I’ve read. The song is played against a montage of images criticizing its anti-war and anti-religion lyrics, a straightforward example of transformative, parodic use. Ono plans to appeal but success on appeal is unlikely.

Equal time

A large part of John McCain’s media persona is his reputation for “Straight Talk.” This video shows McCain flatly contradicting and lying about his own prior statements: McCain’s YouTube Problem. As troubling as his dissembling is McCain’s palpable discomfort in dealing economic issues. He is scarily out of his depth.

A week ago Barack Obama pinch-hit for Ted Kennedy, delivering the commencement address at Wesleyan University after Kennedy backed out for health reasons. Obama’s speech, by all accounts stirring and well-delivered, called on graduates to enter public service. Obama failed to mention the military in his list of service options, a troubling omission for a presidential candidate and potential commander-in-chief and especially glaring on the day before Memorial Day.  Is military service only for people who cannot or do not attend schools like Wesleyan?