Sunday, May 31, 2009

Message to Republicans: Attacking Sotomayor is Another Nail in Your Coffin

It's been utterly fascinating to witness the speed and consistency of the vitriol heaped on Sonia Sotomayor, President Obama's choice to replace David Souter on the United States Supreme Court. Since Obama made his nomination public last week, the right wing attack machine's kicked into high gear, acting like a collective bunch of rapacious vultures circling above Sotomayor like she's some fly-infested roadkill.

Sotomayor's critics are waging a multi-front war, consisting mainly of charges of racism and judicial activism, despite the fact that nothing in the jurist's record of roughly 400 decisions supports either claim.

At the core of the controversy is a statement Judge Sotomayor made during a 2001 lecture at the UC Berkeley School of Law:

"I would hope that a wise Latina woman with the richness of her experiences would more often than not reach a better conclusion than a white male who hasn’t lived that life."

Probably not the best choice of words, as Sotomayor herself has now admitted, but hardly the basis for the unconscionable label of racist being slapped on her by the right. Leading that charge is former House Speaker, liar, philanderer and scandal-plagued book author Newt Gingrich:

"Imagine a judicial nominee said 'my experience as a white man makes me better than a Latina woman' Wouldn't they have to withdraw? New racism is no better than old," Gingrich said, adding, "A white man racist nominee would be forced to withdraw. Latina woman racist should also withdraw."

But there's no "there" there. Both Justices Clarence Thomas, Antonin Scalia and Samuel Alito have made similar comments about their ethnicity and how it's shaped and influenced them, as it should. Can someone tell me the difference between Sotomayor's comment and a statement Alito made during his 2006 confirmation hearing?: "When I get a case about discrimination, I have to think about people in my own family who suffered discrimination because of their ethnic background or because of religion or because of gender. And I do take that into account." Funny how we didn't get charges of racism levied at Alito from our hypocritical Republican pals. The notion that a liberal Puerto Rican woman from a poor New York City upbringing is racist is an absurd and reprehensible accusation. And it shows not only how desperate Republicans are to undermine the Obama administration, but the shameful levels they'll stoop to in doing so.

Obama himself kicked up the dust earlier in the month when he stated the virtues he believes which are important in a potential SCOTUS justice:

"I will seek someone who understands that justice isn't about some abstract legal theory or footnote in a casebook; it is also about how our laws affect the daily realities of people's lives, whether they can make a living and care for their families, whether they feel safe in their homes and welcome in their own nation. I view that quality of empathy, of understanding and identifying with people's hopes and struggles, as an essential ingredient for arriving at just decisions and outcomes."

Conservatives were quick to raise the red flag on the president's "empathy" comment, claiming it demonstrated a radical view of the role of one who sits on the High Court's bench. First of all, the word "empathy" is not a pejorative term to be feared, but rather a human emotion/virtue to be appreciated and admired, especially in the context of making critical decisions which profoundly impact the lives of individuals as well as businesses and governments. We saw what eight years of cowboy arrogance did for the country. Besides, empathy is not a term that only President Obama has introduced into America's judicial lexicon. George H. W. Bush Sr. used it in the same vein when explaining his choice of Clarence "Sexual Harassment" Thomas back in 1991.

Sotomayor's detractors argue, albeit in shameless partisan fashion, that she's not just racist, but one who'll serve the court as a liberal activist not a strict constructionist who will interpret law and not make it. It is truly ridiculous, naive and unrealistic to think that there's some black and white roadmap that all justices typically follow when hearing and deciding cases. If that were true, there'd never be dissention, never be split votes. The SCOTUS judges would always see things through the same lens and vote unanimously. As we know, that's not what happens. Obviously, the law is gray. And often very gray. With much of it open to the injection of one's personal views and life experiences. Therefore, it's a bit disingenuous, yet not terribly surprising, that "empathy" is at the heart of the Sotomayor controversy.

Then there's the attempt to impugn Sotomayor's qualifications. One media wingnut groaned that "there's got to be more of a reason for her getting the appointment than that she's Hispanic and came from a poor family." What a nitwit. Sotomayor brings more federal judicial experience to the Supreme Court than any justice in 100 years, and more overall judicial experience than anyone confirmed for the Court in the past 70 years. Funny how our sore-losing bigoted friends on the right overlook this little factoid when attempting to minimize Sotomayor's credentials and overall merit.

Let's face it: what's really at issue here is that rich white men are pissed off at the thought that her appointment was the result of her being Puerto Rican and because she grew up poor. Pretty ironic coming from a segment of the population that holds most of the power in the business, financial, entertainment, political and judicial sectors. They're pissed because this sort of entitlement is usually reserved for them. If a top job's gonna go to someone because of their race, doggonnit it's gonna be them! In case you haven't noticed, rich white men don't like it when their privilege and power is usurped.

On another note, we could use your help at The The Adrienne Shelly Foundation. We're a 501 c 3 tax-exempt, non-profit organization dedicated in my late wife's honor, and with a simple mission: supporting women filmmakers. Adrienne, who wrote, directed and starred in the hit film WAITRESS, was killed November 1, 2006. Through the Foundation, her commitment to filmmaking lives on. We've established scholarships, grants, finishing funds, screenwriting fellowships and living stipends at NYU's Tisch School of the Arts/Kanbar Institute of Film; Columbia University; American Film Institute; Women in Film; IFP; the Nantucket Film Festival; the Tribeca Film Institute; and the Sundance Institute. Your generous contribution will go a long way towards helping us achieve this very important mission. Please click here to make a donation. Thank you.

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Shame on You California

The California Supreme Court had an opportunity Tuesday to do the right thing and overturn the thinly-passed Proposition 8 gay-marriage ban which the state's Homophobes voted into law through a ballot referendum last November. To no one's shock or surprise, they upheld the controversial decision, even as many other states like Massachusetts, Connecticut, Iowa, Vermont, Maine, New Hampshire, New Jersey and New York have moved to legalize such unions. Clearly, not everything progressive originates in The Golden State. This time, California can bask in its regressiveness (Prop 8 was an answer to an earlier Supreme Court ruling last May to allow same-sex marriages). So, "the will of the people" wins, and logic, fairness and tolerance loses.

But Tuesday's court decision wasn't a total bust. They did throw homosexuals a bone (pun intended) by grandfathering in the roughly 18,000 gay marriages that took place between June and November. The fact that 36,000 gays will be able to live with straights in peaceful, non-institution-threatening harmony, as one big happy California marital family, is itself inherent proof that the ban is truly a whole lotta nonsense about nothing and worthy of absolute repeal.

I still don't get why, when we're fighting two wars, terrorists, an economic meltdown and a need for universal health care, certain people seem to care more about whether gays and lesbians legally marry. Is this really an issue? In trying to understand the motivation behind the opposition, I once again turned to my Republican pal Bryant, my right-wing muse and trusty barometer of all things politically irrational and illogical, who also happens to live in California. Bryant and narrow-minded, intolerant folks like him use as their biggest argument that the legalization of same-sex marriages threatens the sanctity of heterosexual marriage. But, through their intensely vocal opposition, they often fail to mention that some of them, like Bryant himself, have actually been married as many as three times. Kind of an odd little factoid for someone who passionately defends the institution they claim to hold so dear and wish to protect from all those domesticated queer folk. The hypocrisy, the blatant double-standard, is infuriating.

There can be no sanctity in hetero marriages when people like Bryant piss on the 'sacred' institution by getting divorced whenever they feel like it. The phrase "till death do us part" is not a cherished vow to these people, but a cliche catchphrase that's honored until they no longer have any use for it. These liars break their vows every day and then stand in judgement of gays, claiming to be better than them; more deserving of the great institution of marriage. I'm sorry, but the whole "do as I say, not as I do" bullshit is enough to make you puke.

And if it's not the "sanctity" card these homophobes are playing, what is it then? Is it simply a personal bias against gays? That they just don't believe in homosexuals getting married? Well, there are lots of ignorant bigots who don't believe in interracial and interfaith marriages either. How about we start passing laws and voter referendums banning these unions too? Where do we draw the line?

The nation's gay-bashers need to stop being such narrow-minded, frightened little twits. Don't worry boys, legalizing gay marriage doesn't mean some stealth homo's gonna sneak up on ya and suck your dick. Truth is, these amped-up testosterone-drunk assbags would probably like it, which is why they and so many other "straights" are always so preoccupied with what a couple of queers do to get off. As I like to say, those who bash the hardest are the ones with the biggest closet.

To be sure, there's nothing American about discriminating against anyone on the basis of race, religion, gender, age or sexual orientation. Banning same-same sex marriage is morally wrong, it's unconstitutional and, as so many progressive states have shown us, it's just a matter of time before there's a happy ending (pun intended) to this story.

On another note, we could use your help at The The Adrienne Shelly Foundation. We're a 501 c 3 tax-exempt, non-profit organization dedicated in my late wife's honor, and with a simple mission: supporting women filmmakers. Adrienne, who wrote, directed and starred in the hit film WAITRESS, was killed November 1, 2006. Through the Foundation, her commitment to filmmaking lives on. We've established scholarships, grants, finishing funds, screenwriting fellowships and living stipends at NYU's Tisch School of the Arts/Kanbar Institute of Film; Columbia University; American Film Institute; Women in Film; IFP; the Nantucket Film Festival; the Tribeca Film Institute; and the Sundance Institute. Your generous contribution will go a long way towards helping us achieve this very important mission. Please click here to make a donation. Thank you.

Saturday, May 23, 2009

Dick Cheney is America's #1 Terrorist

During the eight miserable years of the Bush administration, then-vice president Dick Cheney lied, deceived and stretched the truth as he and the president sought to ram their extreme right-wing war-mongering agenda down our collective throats. And heaven help anyone who got in their way:

"If you're against the president and his policies, you're unpatriotic and rooting against America."

"If you're against the Iraq War, you're against the troops."

And now in the face of President Obama's plan to shut down the controversial prison at Cuba's Guantanamo Bay, Cheney's classic irresponsible and reprehensible partisan rhetoric is running on overdrive. He's an un-lean, mean 24/7 Obama-bashing machine who's giving us "If you're against the Bush/Cheney torture and Gitmo policies you're rooting for the terrorists." This posturing is beyond despicable. And if it's at all possible, he's an even bigger dick than ever.

What Cheney's trying to do, and perhaps successfully, is set the stage so that in the event a terrorist attack does occur again on U.S. soil, he and the other shameless partisan hacks can place the entire blame on Obama's reversal of several Bush/Cheney "enhanced interrogation techniques" such as waterboarding. As a precursor to that, Cheney's ratcheting up the rhetoric that Obama is a weak commander-in-chief, incapable of keeping America safe. Forget the fact that the worst terror attack occurred on Bush/Cheney's watch. Forget the fact that it was eight years between the first and second World Trade Center attacks, yet the Busheviks boasted of anti-terror success after just 6 or 7 years as if passing that mark somehow meant the threat was beyond us. Forget the fact that just three months into his presidency Obama deftly ordered Navy snipers to kill Somali pirates who had held an American cargo ship captain hostage. But as in the past, the truth doesn't matter to Cheney, as he marches on to redeem himself from his perch as the most unpopular vice president in history.

Now let's consider the concerns about closing Gitmo. LA mass murderer Charles Manson has been locked away for almost 40 years in a California maximum security prison. Other serial killers like John Wayne Gacy, Jeffrey Dahlmer and Ted Bundy, or the Oklahoma terrorist Timothy McVeigh, also rotted in the United States prison system before they were either executed or killed by fellow inmates. The deranged "Son of Sam" killer David Berkowitz is serving a life sentence without parole. And locked away in a high-tech prison in Florence, Colorado, known as the toughest slammer on Earth, is Unibomber Ted Kaczynski and radical Islamic terrorists Ramzi Yousef, Zacarias Moussaoui and shoe-bomber Richard Reid. Guess what? Not one of these butchers have busted loose.

But according to Cheney's convoluted, disinegnuous logic and rationale, no matter how many innocent people these evil monsters have killed, maimed and tortured--and there are thousands--they must be a bunch of pussies to be incarcerated for so long without successfully escaping in the grand Houdini-like fashion that Cheney would like us to believe will occur if we close the controversial jail and import the suspected terrorists into America's prisons. C'mon people, nothing could be more idiotic.

It's ludicrous to think the United States government lacks the overall resources to securely imprison Gitmo's detainees. Are we really supposed to believe that somehow these prisoners will ultimately end up walking the streets of small-town America? Are we really supposed to believe that while Manson, Kacynski, Yousef and countless other murderous beasts rot like caged animals in U.S prisons, this new breed of Gitmo uber-terrorist is too strong, too wily, too dangerous to be incarcerated on American soil? The suggestion that we can't transfer and successfully imprison Gitmo's detainees is not only preposterous, it's offensive to any American with even half a brain. This is simply another shameful Republican politicization of one of America's darkest days. It's a desperate attempt by a near-dead, fear-mongering party to once again lie to the American people about a threat that doesn't exist. Fear, fear and more fear. Where have we seen this routine before?

And if Dick Cheney truly wants to keep the country safe from terrorists, he should stop trying to scare the crap out of everyone. He's the worst terrorist of all.

On another note, we could use your help at The The Adrienne Shelly Foundation. We're a 501 c 3 tax-exempt, non-profit organization dedicated in my late wife's honor, and with a simple mission: supporting women filmmakers. Adrienne, who wrote, directed and starred in the hit film WAITRESS, was killed November 1, 2006. Through the Foundation, her commitment to filmmaking lives on. We've established scholarships, grants, finishing funds, screenwriting fellowships and living stipends at NYU's Tisch School of the Arts/Kanbar Institute of Film; Columbia University; American Film Institute; Women in Film; IFP; the Nantucket Film Festival; the Tribeca Film Institute; and the Sundance Institute. Your generous contribution will go a long way towards helping us achieve this very important mission. Please click here to make a donation. Thank you.

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

A Message to America's Homophobes: No One Really Gives a S**t Anymore if Gays Get Married!

State legislatures have been passing gay-marriage bills left and right over the past few months. Maine, New Hampshire, Vermont, Connecticut, Massachusetts and Iowa have all moved to allow gay couples to engage in the same revered institution normally reserved for such upstanding heterosexuals as OJ Simpson (murderer), Joey Buttafucco (hired a murderer, albeit a sloppy one) and Peter Cook (Christie Brinkley's uber-philandering ex). Other states like New Jersey and New York are also considering similar bills.

In New York this week, as the State Assembly voted to legalize gay-marriage, Brooklyn Assemblyman Dov Hikind, a staunch opponent of the measure, frustratingly wondered where the opposition was hiding: "Wake up! Where are you? "It’s the bottom of the ninth, two outs, and you’re losing — big time."

Now let me be the first to acknowledge and appreciate the unintentional appropriateness of Hikind's analogy involving a game men play where balls and long phallic-looking objects are grabbed and passed around for hours. But more important, the answer to Hikind's question, "Where are you?" is simple: people are too busy worrying about their jobs, their incomes, their savings, their homes and whether or not they'll have adequate health care. They're also worrying about the effect the prolonged recession is having on the crime rates in New York and other cities across America. In short, what two gay dudes or lesbians do to commit to each other is just not an issue anymore to most thinking people. It's just a matter of time before the entire nation--with the exception of a few small, densely populated narrow-minded die-hard bastions of homophobia--accepts and legalizes same-sex marriage and finally puts this issue to bed (pun intended).

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Why Republicans May Never Again Control Washington

You can stick a fork in the once mighty right-wing GOP. The Republican Party, to quote the hilarious Billy Crystal character in the magical film The Princess Bride, is "mostly dead." The majority has clearly swung to the center, becoming a much more moderate representation of the party. Statistics now show that more Americans have abandoned religion and the hot button social issues that used to be conservatives' bread and butter campaign themes. What's more, the evangelical wing, the party's core base just a few short years ago, has shrunk to negligible, insignificant levels.

It's 2009, and we have a black president, a black chairman of the Republican National Committee, a female House Speaker, and gay marriage laws being passed around the country. How sweet it was to see President Obama acknowledge RNC head Michael Steele at the recent White House Correspondents Dinner with a jovial "Wassup, Michael!? Michael Steele is in the hizzy!" This is definitely not your father's America. Finally.

The nation is reeling from the worst financial crisis in 80 years, and it's mired in two wars which are sapping our financial and emotional resources as we struggle to keep the country safe from terrorists.

And then there's President Obama, who tackled the controversial subject of abortion head-on in yet another brilliantly delivered speech at Notre Dame last weekend--as he did with race back in 2008--and which proved, by the overwhelming support of students and faculty alike, that the staunchly conservative pro-lifers who tried unsuccessfully to undermine his appearance are in even smaller, more insignificant ranks than ever before.

Obama is also doing more to bridge the nation's great political divide than any president in history. My dear friend Bryant, a die-hard Republican, and who for years I've used as a barometer to measure the pulse of the fringe wing of his party, sent me an email Monday acknowledging Obama's bi-partisan efforts, but somehow the real meaning and intent of them was lost on him:

"...Obama's at least smart enough to sense that we live in a center right country. That’s why he kept Gates. That’s why his speech at Notre Dame called for each side in the abortion debate finding common ground with the other side. That’s why he appointed a Republican as ambassador to China (Utah Gov. Jon Huntsman)."

What Bryant, and others like him, have failed to grasp is that our president--an inexperienced 46-year-old black man named Barack Obama, who Republicans have called the most liberal Democrat ever--managed to get himself elected by bringing a new message of hope, change and bi-partisanship to our sick nation. These are themes on which he campaigned. Promises he made to voters. That Bryant reduces this to some cheap political triangulation strategy--something to be mocked--once again proves that the extreme right-wingers out there still do not understand how and why they lost the White House and both houses of Congress last November, or why they're about to hand Democrats the Senate's first filibuster-proof majority in 30 years. Clearly, if we're judging the nation's political leanings by the actions of voters, this picture is hardly one of a "center-right" country.

The more Republicans fail to see why they lost, and why Democrats won...and the more they continue to waste time, energy and financial resources on abortion, guns, God and gays instead of focusing on what voters really want, which is an end to war, recession and the incessant partisan bickering that ravaged our political system under Bush/Cheney, they will never again hold power, and their party will go from mostly dead to all dead.

Monday, May 18, 2009

Nancy Pelosi and the Republican Orgasmathon

It had to happen. It was just a matter of time before someone, somewhere in the Democratic party would trip up and provide the GOP with the kind of controversial fodder they've been fantasizing about. And to Republicans, the Nancy Pelosi saga this week is the stuff partisan dreams are made of.

Seems House Speaker Nancy Pelosi can't remember being briefed by the CIA back in the Fall of 2002 about the specific use of torture on terror suspects in U.S. custody, in particular the technique known as waterboarding. Yeah, she remembers meeting with the spy agency, but claims waterboarding never came up. The issue here is that Pelosi's been very critical of the Bush administration's use of the illegal torture tactic, so it's important to know if in fact she knew it was taking place and when. Adding to the complexity of this mess is the fact that she's admitted to knowing about it through briefings just 6 months later, but kept quiet because she felt "powerless" being in the Democratic minority at that time. That is perhaps the most lame excuse since "the dog ate my homework."

I'm no fan of Pelosi. I think she's terrible as the face of House Democrats. She's shrill, combative and speaks like a teenager trying to explain why she's late for class. There are some people who project sincerity and integrity, but Pelosi's just the opposite. She comes across as a duplicitous partisan hack. A female Tom Delay, yet lacking the gravitas and efficiency. Whereas Delay was ruthless and resolute, Pelosi's simply an ineffective trainwreck. If she's found to be lying about what the CIA told her and when--current and former CIA Directors Leon Panetta and Porter Goss respectively claim she in fact was briefed in 2002 about the waterboarding of terrorist suspect Abu Zubaydah--then she should be prosecuted along with Bush, former VP Dick Cheney and everyone else who authorized the use of illegal torture tactics.

But let me stop being the objective Democrat for a second and acknowledge the orgasmic excitement rippling through the Republican Party right now over the Pelosi saga, which right-wing radio and TV host Sean Hannity said is "blossoming into a Watergate like cover up and scandal." On his radio program, a near-hyperventilating Hannity repeats the mantra "what did she know and when did she know it" every three minutes, literally.

Really Sean? Watergate? That Pelosi may have lied about being briefed on the illegal torture tactics being used by the opposing party which then-controlled the White House, Congress and the Supreme Court is of the same scale and magnitude as the President of the United States authorizing a burglary of the opposing party's headquarters in an effort to rig a presidential election and then covering-up this illegal act? You see Sean, this is why no one takes Republicans seriously, and why you guys can't get elected anymore.

Former House Speaker Newt Gingrich has moved front and center in his harsh criticism of Pelosi:

"I think this is the most despicable, dishonest and vicious political effort I've seen in my lifetime...I think Speaker Pelosi's in enormous trouble. I think that lying to the country on national security matters and lying to the House is a very, very dangerous thing to have done."

And if it's one thing Gingrich is an expert on it's lying. Just ask his first wife, on whom he cheated while she lay suffering from cancer. What's more "despicable, dishonest and vicious" than that? But when it comes to politics, Gingrich, like many other high-ranking Republicans, suffers from selective memory and blatant double-standards.

Note to Newt: Bush and Cheney lied to America for eight years about national security matters, and perpetrated countless war crimes, and have yet to be punished. Wanna talk about what's truly dangerous? How about lying about WMD and terrorist connections so you can justify invading Iraq, which has resulted in 4300 U.S. troop deaths and tens of thousands of other fatalities, not to mention the hundreds of thousands maimed and wounded. Where's your self-righteous outrage on all that, Newt? Spare us the sanctimony. And be careful what you wish for. Just as the unprecedented personal war you and your band of 1990's 'revolutionaries' waged on Bill Clinton forever changed the tenor of politics and backfired massively on Republicans, so too shall the Pelosi Crucifixion.

It's actually fun to watch and listen as Republicans sink their teeth into the Pelosi scandal. They're a beaten, battered, disenchanted, delusional lot who see Pelosi's foot-in-mouth disease as their ticket back to power. As if the alleged actions of one Democrat is enough to bring down the entire party in the 2010 midterms. Forget the fact that, even if it's true that she lied, who gives a shit? is this really a story? Again, if she lied, she should be punished. And if the Obama administration eventually prosecutes those who knew of and/or authorized illegal torture tactics, then she too should be prosecuted. But the bigger story here, the real story, for Pete's-sake, is how these blood-thirsty Republicans seem to be forgetting just what the hell Pelosi may have been lying about in the first place.

While right-wing stooges like Gingrich, Minority Leader John Boehner and Hannity would love to divert all the attention onto Pelosi, the real scandal isn't about what she knew, but whether a United States president, vice president and their legal advisors cooked the books so that America could commit illegal acts of torture. What these disingenuous Republicans need to understand, through their shouts of "prosecute Pelosi," is that if she goes down, so do Bush, Cheney and the rest of the torture-mongers who conceived of and perpetrated these "enhanced interrogation techniques." Pelosi's crime, one of stupidity perhaps, pales by comparison.

Sunday, May 10, 2009

How the Internet is Killing Our Economy

The United States is facing the most challenging economic crisis since The Great Depression of the 1930's. And if you ask me, the greatest technological invention ever, the Internet, is in no small part responsible. In fact, I believe the Internet is not only killing our economy, it's shredding our social fabric as well.

To be sure, the Internet is an incredibly useful medium. It's been a genuine paradigm shifter, altering the way we communicate, research, travel, shop and organize, educate and entertain ourselves. It allows us to do all of these everyday tasks faster, more efficiently and more cost-effectively...often times even free. And therein lies the gargantuan problem of the Internet.

As someone who's formed and runs a few businesses, I can tell you firsthand that free is not good. Free never shows up on a P&L or a balance sheet. Free doesn't fatten the company's coffers and allow for growth and expansion. And you can't pay bills with free. In short, and to use the vernacular of my 16-year-old son, free, in business, sucks.

Yet, the Internet is all about free. We can get our newspapers and magazines for free. We can watch televisions programs free. We can download movies and music free. We can book our own travel, send free mail, make free phone calls, send free greeting cards. We can, thanks to MySpace, Facebook and Twitter to name a few, even socialize for free, never having to leave the house or spend one red-cent actually socializing the way truly sociable folks used to.

Think about all the businesses, all the people, who've been slammed by this economic black hole called the Internet. Consider how much money has literally been sucked out of America's GDP by this rapacious beast which resides in our laptops, PC's, iPhones and Blackberries. Look how it's destroyed the music business, travel agencies, the publishing industry. It's killed the movie after-markets, like DVD. Look at the strikes it's caused in Hollywood, because somehow studios think that viewing content on a computer screen instead of a TV screen somehow gives license to screw writers out of their residuals.

Think of all the money not spent in cafes, bars, lounges, restaurants, clubs, video stores, and book stores because of the proliferation of impersonal, intimacy-starved social-networking sites and free-content sites. Somehow, when it came to the Internet, businesses decided the only way to truly attract a scalable audience was to give them everything free. But now that the economic shit's hitting the fan, our corporate titans may be coming to the long-overdue realization that capitalism and free are about as successful a marriage as Karl Rove and Queer Eye's Carson Kressley.

Just this week one of those corporate uber-moguls, Rupert Murdoch, announced that his News Corporation will begin charging for content on his newspaper websites within a year in a direct answer to what he calls the current "malfunctioning" business model. Citing the enviable success of the Wall Street Journal's growing online subscription revenues, Murdoch said that newspapers were experiencing an "epochal" debate over charging consumers for content. Murdoch's a guy who likes to make money. I'll bet he'll make it all work and have the last laugh. Hopefully, others will follow suit.

I'll say it again: free sucks. Nobody can make money by giving their products and services away for nothing. There can be no profit without revenue. And without revenue all you have is expense, which leads to bleeding red ink. The more people like Murdoch who wake up and smell the cyber-coffee, the sooner our economy and our once-thriving capitalist society can get back on track. When companies and individuals make money, they spend money. Just because a business operates online doesn't mean all that good old fashioned Wharton Business School stuff doesn't apply. Let's keep all the speed, the ease, and the efficiency of the internet, but how about making people pay for it all, just like everywhere else? Duh...