Sunday, March 29, 2009

Automated Surveillance: Viral Spread From Little Beginnings. Tragedy of the Commons; Unintended Consequences

 Little Beginnings; and Where They Lead

Automated Surveillance
Sliding Under Reasonable Fences

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The Tragedy of the Commons.
The Law of Unintended Consequences.


What are the reasonable limits
to forced disclosure and recording of behavior

I . The Tragedy of the Commons: 
When private interests conflict with the common good.

Some behavior, if engaged in by too many, destroy.

Where there are limited resources, leaving every person to use the  "common resource" at will, leads to destruction. The idea here looks at one person's or group's short-term advantage, in doing an act; and assesses how that behavior, if everyone did it, would be devastating to larger interests. Find it here: http://www.econlib.org/library/Enc/TragedyoftheCommons.html/; and Garrett Hardin's work in the biological consequences area, uses of the commons in grazing and agriculture, for example, at://www.garretthardinsociety.org/articles/art_tragedy_of_the_commons.html

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Here, we look at surveillance in two settings - the roads, and the libraries.

When is forcing disclosure of people's whereabouts, behavior, and the recording of it, really necessary, When, if ever, is it the best way in the long run to get the behavior the society wants.  It is best to just cateh 'em; or to address the conditions that gave rise to the behavior; be less intrusive for the good of the whole.

A.  Think of the roads.

A limited resource, really. So use is reasonably regulated. Can the regulation go too far? Police and towns raising money, and those who find satisfaction in monitoring others, may say no.

1. The spread of automated surveillance to traffic surveillance willy-nilly.

It is in our region. Read the Hartford Courant today: automated surveillance is in Connecticut. See ://www.courant.com/news/politics/hc-traffic-cameras-0329.artmar29,0,2279041.story/. We see it on grand old Asylum Avenue, one on each traffic light up there, facing in all four durections. The road is already redesigned for traffic calming, and it is a residential street. Cameras watching people going in and out of their driveways, and us on our way to Hartford, watching, block after block.
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What is our alternative? This one - a gentle roadside graphic reminder -  may not be beautiful, but it did bring a smile as we drove by. This is in Poland - and duly slowed everybody up as an instinctive reaction. No immediate enforcement and punishment, humiliation and inconvenience, just a nice reminder to be a good citizen. All in favor? Aye. Where there is no huge risk otherwise. Just a regular road.

But hear the Force Guards making cameras sound so nice.
  • Think of the advantage for an understaffed police department to have access to a film of a speeder on an otherwise normal street. That way, a ticket can be mailed out in a week or so and the person has to pay, or go to great lengths to try to show why the ticket should not be imposed. Towns getting a share and increasing the budget? Why not. But are cameras recording your every move really what we want?
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 How much "public safety" is really involved in camera surveillance. Or do we suffer from/ enjoy an ideological commitment to automatic tattle -- the dig out any offender --control and punish behavior, not look at underlying conditions leading to it. That is like keeping ourselves children forever. Like being back in school terrified of demerits on the bulletin board and detention, rather than finding adult other means of affecting hehaviors for the comon good.

Traffic solutions can take other directions.

Go to, or read about, Europe and find extensive traffic-calming in the design of the roads. The design meets the speed allowed. You can't go over 35, for example, because there is a broad designated and differently surfaced parking lane right there.  You can't go faster than 10 mph near the school because there is one lane in and out of the area, so vehicles have to alternate in and out. Very slowing. Very.

Or there are road turnings, traffic circles, or wide parking lanes; or there are plantings and the lanes that are there narrow even more, and there are pedestrian upticks, etc. See Traffic Calming at ://www.spur.org/documents/040901_article_01.shtm; and articulating various functions for streets - primarily for traffic, or for social-recreational use as well in living areas, see ://findarticles.com/p/articles/mi_qa3734/is_199707/ai_n8782459/  Some roads in residential areas have their own rules - roads are for traffic, or for living. In the living area roads, children and people use all of it, play in it do all that. Cars just have to slow up and they do.

Those lane-narrowing ideas can be made to accommodate high snow areas.  Big plows followed by little scooty ones.  It works. See more at ://www.fhwa.dot.gov/environment/tcalm/index.htm

There are ways to accomplish social goals without force and invasion of privacy unnecessarily

B.  Think of our public libraries.

Libraries have computers - a limited resource. So identify ironclad every person using one, and track where that person searches, all the time, and a memory is forever?  Do you feel chilly about it?

Forcing affirmative disclosures in the most intrusive way possible, before you can even use a computer - in some places. Like taking your fingerprints. Automated surveillance in libraries by making you cross the thresshold. See Sassafras Tree: Natural Pragmatism. Library exposure week.

Some libraries comply with the Patriot Act, as they must, but in the least intrusive way possible. We all know that searches remain in computers. We don't mind signing in for our time slot on the paper on the file cabinet over there, or on the clipboard beside the computer itself. Keeps the screens available and not clogged. And the information can be reasonably disposed of to protect privacy, while complying with the law.

You wanna use our computers, says the public library, one of several near us. Well, then, we'll keep the power to open your hood to see where you went and as long as we want, because you can't use it unless you first type in your library card serial number from under the bar code there and then, since maybe someone stole your library card (gasp!), your name. FN 2
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II. Overlegislating; or Overcontrol;
and The Law of Unintended Consequences 
(to the frog who did not look far enough ahead)

No act can be mapped out into the future. Meet the Law of Unintended Consequences, usually applied to economics - see Unintended Consequences by Rob Norton at ://www.econlib.org/library/Enc/UnintendedConsequences.html/. "Perverse effects of legislation" - in a nutshell.

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But what if the ease of simply photographing a driver, or tracking and identifying every person on a public computer led to that use everywhere - for anything. - how does the culture gradually get accustomed to it, like the frog we hear about tolerating the increasingly warm water and not jumping out until it can no longer jump out and is cooked.

III.  Discernment.
How to discern when forcing behavior, or disclosure of it, is legitimate.
Are talking heads promoting the public interest, or private economic or political gain

How to weigh the impact of a few little beginning steps, keeping in mind unintended consequences.

Force. When is any force justified:  Only after other reasonable persuasion or behavioral modification methods fail, and the risk of immediate substantial and identifiable harm from the specific act is clear and convincing?

IV. When is force acceptable

A.  Instances.


Here is a site that proposes these areas: from an unidentified reader, who is commenting on the topic of forced wearing of the burqa, a cultural and religious, also political issue. Views may vary with the gender required to wear it. Is that so? See Burqa lecture at ://www.fitz-claridge.com/node/12/  If there is a law requiring it, should there also be cameras all over to catch the uncovered? Regardless of circumstance, others getting unfair advantage by imposing a cultural norm (burqa required only for 100 years or so, apparently not before). Etc.

The reader at the online version proposes that any force be limited to these scenarios:  forced disclosure of whereabouts or searches or behavior is such force, except if necessary to  - Force only to - Quote -
  • Restrain criminals and would-be tyrants.
  • Prevent children from doing things that would harm themselves and others.
  • Prevent behaviour (sic) which is to the short-tern advantage of particular individuals but would be disastrous if everyone did it. The "tragedy of the commons" and the "prisoner's dilemma" are the classsic examples.
  • Deal with external threats.  Unquote.
That would leave out the Burqa surveillance cameras, unless the non-wearing is a crime. But who is injured? How about traffic violations? library searches on internet? When does the state's interest become so great that this degree of intrusion by camera or other tracking is appropriate.

B. Automated Surveillance of the Public - Necessary Force, or Mere Convenience

This is no-escape monitoring and recording. It is a system taking data once you cross a field of view threshhold, whether you are complying with standards or not.

In the past, it was used where someone's breaking a law would have substantial repercussions on the larger society. Bank robberies. ATM's. Patterns of shoplifting even - see the little warnings of cameras in the aisles. The system bars explaining at the time. Strict liability idea, or the start to it.  Go to Foxwoods Casino. The House relies on catching cheaters (as it defines them) if it is to ensure nobody beats the House. Every pretty little smoky globe up there, eyeballing you. We were there promoting Special Olympics at a food show there, and so we know. Cameras to spot the cheaters, the ones who have memories for cards, the counters (are those skills really cheating??). Does that fit into the third example for force, the "tragedy of the commons". Does that make cameras for speeders also okay.

Has it become mere convenience.

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Is this like an unreasonable search and seizure, spend time at //caselaw.lp.findlaw.com/data/constitution/amendment04/; or ://legal-dictionary.thefreedictionary.com/unreasonable+search+and+seizure/.

Or do the times forbid us from taking criminal concepts and seeing how they may or may not apply civilly or quasi-criminal. Incipient criminal. Speculative future criminal maybe. Is this forcing someone to display themselves on film or otherwise justified by the nature of the threat they pose. This is an issue for the legal junkies. But the defense of the filmers would be that there is a "rational" base for it, and it is only civil in nature, or more like quasi-criminal. Or is it?

What other options are there, that we reject because our culture favors force to accomplish behavior change or to restrict behavior.  The irony is that those horrid cameras on streets, for example, are appearing in our area on streets that already have proven-effective traffic-calming in place.  Add more speed bumps if you need to, or further narrow the lane.  See the history and wide choices available in the traffic-calming area, at ://www.trafficlogix.com/traffic-calming-history.asp/  No. We want force.

A. Automated Surveillance as Force:

Reaction. Get rid of automatic surveillance where that force does not fit the categories above. Like in libraries, and streets where - if more traffic calming measures are needed, to it instead.
 

No forced disclosure of whereabouts where cameras or trackers are
  • redundant, with the existing and effective and other means available, if court order says to do it;
  • intrusive by pulling everyone in, no chance to explain, no chance for human evaluation and interaction and assessment, and not even getting notice that you were seen doing X until perhaps weeks later, when it is much harder to explain, and
  • actuarially not likely to make a difference to anyone in anything important.
B.  Social trawlers. Trawling by any other name is Trawling.  Bottom feeders all. Pull in everything, regardless.


Trawlers.  Bad for fish life.

Human behavior trawlers. Bad for human life.

Automated surveillance except in dire circumstances is the deep-sea dragnet from those indiscriminate trawlers, pulling in all life. Restrict the method reasonably to focus on those people doing bad, not bringing into the Big Eue all those who speculatively just might be, when the society's stakes are low. Even if someone is going to a trysts, about which someone might feel guilty, but even that is not illegal, don't give the divorce courts more to spend time and money on..
..

And, in all probability, I am not escaping from legal custody in a stolen car. I like privacy, and have even not bothered to fix the radio/CD because I am enjoying freedom from intrusion. Anyone's.

But look up. Dang. And this is a docile street, already traffic-calmed with center trees, and cute little cobble places to mark where you can slide over safely from the main lane to make a turn into your driveway.

Chilling effect. Automated surveillance has a chilling or squelching effect on otherwise legitimate, legal behavior, conduct, speech and expression, inquiry. Repeat: when none of that is illegal. Legitimate activity chilled and bad to the bone. Chilling effect: see ://legal-dictionary.thefreedictionary.com/Chilling+Effect+Doctrine/ An act seriously dissuading the exercise of a constitutional right.

C  Promoted more out of profit than need.

Fear pays. Automated surveillance pays the installers and inventers. Fosters fear. Exploited by a booming industry. See ://www.automatedsurveillance.com/ Read a treatise on how to do it, See: "Tracking and Object Classification For Automated Surveillance," at //server.cs.ucf.edu/~vision/papers/trackECCV02.pdf/. Learn about object tracking and background subtraction and region correspondence. Sometimes it is worth it - install a camera in your home, then see if anyone is burgling while you are still a few blocks away. But that was your choice.d

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Here come the trackers. Ooh-weee-oh! Weee-oh-oh! See and hear the Oz version at http://video.aol.com/video-detail/the-wizard-of-oz-the-witchs-castle/4240908915/?icid=VIDLRVENT03/. Somehow, the real time boots on the ground witch-soldier trackers in Wizard of Oz. is less frightening.

Go to your own library. See how your own people comply with the Patriot Act. Do they go beyond, to make forced disclosures by your own affirmative action on the computer itself, not required by the Patriot Act? Is that political, and not otherwise required. Why do they do it. Who is served. Go elsewhere. Even, gasp, protest. Tragedy of the commons. Some things can be managed on a lesser scale, lest the intrusion lead to the
wasteland. Unintended consequences, or are they really intended by the proponents?

Use the side streets. The next town.

We need Dorothy.
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FN 1 Waste in high places. Redundancy.

Why did taxpayers pay for the fine, scenic traffic-calming on Asylum Street, which worked on speeding just fine, and now that is cast aside and we have nasty cameras to catch the people who aren't speeding anyway because of the traffic-calming.

Imagine the divorce courts now - subpoena the gent's radar record to see where he went. Or the lady's.

At least, however, there is a possible crime to be caught. Bingo. There is the license plate, when here was the mugging, or the Amber Alert, and right here is the same license plate, same looking car.

FN 2 - Libraries
  • Town A (ours) has a report back from the Library Journal, that collected data from 7115 public libraries across the country in areas like per capita circulation, visits, attending programs and public internet use. In its budget group, our little Town A came in 54th out of 1126. Of the big total, it came in at 1136. That is the town with no barriers to using the computer - squiggle in your name (nobody checks to see if it is legible, or if you even did that) and mark your start time. Go.
Now to find out about Town F, where all the restrictions are. How do they rank in computer use?

Like the black boxes in rental cars, monitoring you. They put in little black box equivalents to track you. Another topic.

  • Town F. This library in our area has initiated automated surveillance of each person who uses the computer.
You can't even get on it until you actually type in (that means huntpeckditdotbloopzingping), your library card number that is below the bar code; and then do the same for your last name. Boy, are you ever in there now. Better not look up something illegal.

But what is illegal on the computer? Porn is blocked, we hear. What illegal activity is there - that is not some soundbite here, that gets connected to some other soundbite there, and all over the globe, so that someone can put together a plot, perhaps, but how is even that served by forcing people to type in their numbers and names. Those folks will just use other computers where they don't ask. Overworked response - the duh fits.

Friday, March 20, 2009

The Bowlers' 129 Club Announces New Member Event. Bowling At The White House

MEMO
Bowling at the White House

Bowling With Obama!
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To: The Bowlers' 129 Club Initiation Committee

Re: Bowling at the White House
And Global Good Will Award.


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The Bowlers' 129 Club Events Committee is asked to set up a bowling evening. This could be framed as the people and the "mensch" -- a term stemming from history, not just the more familiar Yiddish source. FN 1. A League of Mensches.

The White House has a fine tradition of bowling, see its very own lane at White House Museum.org at ://www.whitehousemuseum.org/floor0/bowling-alley.htm/. Time to update the photo.

And the evening will include the initiation of another true mensch into our Ranks of Spunk. Mr. Obama, Yes, President Obama, himself.

Spunk in the Attempt.

We welcome you. President Obama, and say thanks for letting the world know: Iit is the Spunk in the Attempt that counts, not the score.

This recreational event would be scheduled to supersede the Congress' weekly happy hour slot at the House, on grounds that too many are too grumpy.

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For them, we find neither spunk nor attempt. Just grumpy gramps.

AWARD DETAILS: So - More about our new award:

At that enthusiastic occasion, the Bowlers' 129 Club also will present Mr. Obama with our

First Annual Global Good Will
Spunk In The Attempt
Award 
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This is to be a surprise. Don't tell.
(It's a second puppy!)
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Participants:

Participants will be selected by the Committee, from anyone at all, from all Alleys across the nation and anywhere else. Winners must bowl on a date to be selected, and achieve and reasonably prove to the satisfaction of the Committee that the person's best score on that date was 129. Got Alleys?

Eligibility is all-inclusive here. The People's Sport! Welcome to the bowlers of the Special Olympics and the Red Hat Society and the Teamsters and any other recreational or even a professional individual on an iffy day that day. No faking scores or effort. Somebody will take notes! Politicians and journalists will be carefully screened for truth in representations of fact in scoring however, and shall be given no preference based on name-recognition or physical reaction thereto among others.

How:

The Committee will set up a meet and greet, a website for all to join who can reasonably show they, too, bowled a 129 on Bowling Day. Figure out how to pick who plays.

Don't forget the Thanks -

Then, all of us who love Special Olympics thank you, Mr. Obama, for showing that you, too, support the 129' ers whoever we are A Global Good Will award to you, in alll its historical senses, for
  • your enjoyment of the game and
  • inclusion of all of us, who also bowl a 129, in your special League of Mensches. 

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And perhaps Mr. Obama will come to Hartford for the next Bowling Games event next year. Shall we try the duck pins?

Or, have it at your House.

Bowling with Obama. We'd have a good time. Leno may or may not be a judge in case of participant alleging but the committee not accepting a good-faith 129 score. Go, Jay!
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We could raise money if you would consent to be a Prez On Top this spring or summer. See ://www.specialolympicshawaii.org/cop-on-top.htm/ This site reference from a fan of Special Olympics. Unauthorized but we don't think they'll mind.
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FN 1 Mensch - a word for a fine all-round person, someone of worth and honor, now seen in its Yiddish setting, but with roots back to Arabic and Cicero's Humanitas, even. Wikipedia offers an overview of the etymology including the back to Cicero, see p://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mensch. See also Humaniitas at ://www.britannica.com/EBchecked/topic/276018/humanitas/ and Cicero's biography at://ancienthistory.about.com/cs/people/a/bingleycicero.htm

Monday, March 16, 2009

Business Judgment Rule: Sinking the Boat? Bail! Bail!

The Business Judgment Rule.

Why we need better education.

I.  Is the Business Judgment Rule a Shipwreck, a Key, a Trap?


First, what is it, what role does it play in business and corporations, how can the concept help us understand politicians and economists and moral focusers, who are getting very loud.  Does it or should it control AIG bonuses, other corporate super-compensationif enabled or paid from the Big Bail Pail
Bail? Bail? With what? Little cupped hands?

The business judgment rule. Is its workings, and the way it is taken for granted in deciding if there is legal recourse or not to block bonuses, a shipwreck of Hesperus * proportions; or is the rule a key to understanding the issues.


The Business Judgment Rule. Who will bell the corporate cat? **

II.  The Role of Drafting

No drafting plugs all loopholes. Moral of Drafting.

There will always be loopholes. No paper can cover all the human condition or ingenuity or bar all arguments for interpreting this as really that. It takes will and discipline and commitment to honor the spirit of a contract, not find ways around its letters. That we do not have without someone breathing down our necks?

Loopholes that stem from exercise of greed are particularly insidious.  

Is this true: that the taint is in the greed, not the drafting because no drafting is ever enough. There will always be a loophole somewhere. And if blocked in this provision, it will be found in another. If you tried to plug all conceivable loopholes, nothing would ever reach Finish so you could get on with the job.

Ask your downstairs in the kitchen field mouse.

There is always a way to get in. We boast an occasional clever tiny-footed, tiny-teethed family member and regulate them with peanut butter in the have-a-heart and release them down the road by the Governor's Horse Guard stables.  Repetitively.

No way to plug all the crannies. And the glues and poisons are torture and banned in this house. Regulation does not have to be devastation.

III.  When Drafting Fails, 
What Does the Business Judgment Rule say.

A. The Nature of the Business Judgment Rule: 

This provides in many states that boards of directors are given great leeway in making their business decisions.  It will be presumed that their "business judgment" as exercised was within the realm of the reasonable under the circumstances.  It is hard for mere shareholders to prove that it was clearly erroneious, or whatever the other standards might be.  The only recourse may well be to dump the directors at the next meeting, but their judgments to that point will stand. Probably.


Directors owe their loyalty first to the corporation, and the corporation is a separate legal entity. If shareholders end up on the short end so that the corporation as an entity benefits, so be it.  Outsiders have no standing to sue corporations conducting their business according to law.

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The Business Judgment rule wins in many states, when the opponent is only a shareholder.  Shareholders have standing, or the right to sue, but there is a high hurdle before boards are criticized. See FN 1.

The intervenor.  But what happens when a fourth party attains standing to sue or object, such as when the fourth party is funding the corporation.  Can that fourth party represent its interests against both the board and the shareholders, and assert for the taxpayer community, and For the Common Good.

Let's imagine a matter comes to court.  A document leaves an opening for criticism of a board of directors' action.  A loophole, somebody says.

Is that what happened here.  An issue of corporate governance, interpretation of powers.

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The business judgment rule may say that the directors were right. So now, what laws apply or should be passed to address
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1) obscene-looking but legally contracted for bonuses,
2) where the business situation then changes, making breaking the contract possible, yet
3) are condoned because of more pressing issues of getting a job off the ground and knowing not all loopholes can be plugged, keeping the coping for later; and
4) the judgment call based on the Big Picture is whether to
  • bar them before they are paid, and cope with the time and expense of lawsuits (valuable time, focus and money lost even if you ultimately win), and lose sight of the big picture because your energies are dispersed with maybe 1 percent of a total bucket
  • draft the bonuses out in advance (but wouldn't they just find another way to pay themselves?); but then never end with the haggling on drafting everything else trying to anticipate everything else, and then never end with all the other possible loopholes there as well in any document, so nothing gets off the ground; or
  • get the job done, know there will be ways people can take advantage of something, but get the project off the ground because there is no time to lose.
  • then wait to see what the dastardly deed will be and deal with it then.
We vote this way:

For the people in charge to be practical, prioritize, and get the job started and off the ground, and let the self-serving sideshows be sideshows, not derailleurs.

B.  Meanwhile, back to the need for self-education, national broadband, neutral internet access..  How else to figure out the angles..


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Saratoga. Revolutionary War Battlefield. Are our weapons against financial enemies sufficient. Does the need for types of weaponry and education change
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Where the business climate change originally got its big boost, leading us here. At least we can educate ourselves on how corporations have been encouraged to work. How they think. What has developed in case law and statute and "regulation" so this fiasco could happen. The business judgment rule has made corporations fortunes. It also is killing us now by abuse.
/
Look at the Worship of the Board that the Business Judgment Rule fosters, and perhaps necessarily if the market is to rule, and not disgruntled shareholders. Which should? Another issue.  Look at Answers.com at ://www.answers.com/topic/business-judgment-rule/ Speak, o guru of money, and we will obey. Is that it? This site is more useful because it is in outline form, is in plain language, and you can go directly to the facet of concern. Go to Everything.com at ://everything2.com/title/business%2520judgment%2520rule

IV. Can the Rationale of "Business Judgment Rule" 
Apply to Personal Business of Life Judgments?
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When, if ever, do outsiders have a right, or standing, to be heard, to intervene in someone else's governance of his or her own life? If we believe in free exercise of business, free of government, as some do, the same standard should apply to personal life decisions. Is that consistent?

Example: Anecdotal testimony from the crowd.

I am tbe board of directors of my life. If I choose this moral decision or not, within the confines of my fingertip and toe tip span, and you are not directly affected in your life, and I am not otherwise obligated to serve you, then my decision is unreviewable. No regulation from the outside about what I choose to do. Or, it would operate the other way, permit objective review as to whether my decision was a valid life decision within that wingspan. See PoseJuxta, Planks for People, Corpus Meus, Corpus Tuus 
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Is that workable? Possible? Consider.
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V. Regulation issues.
Who Will Bell this Cat?
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Assume existing laws do not cover the scope or nature of the economic problems today.  What form should regulation take. How. When. For how long. And What Then.

Meet Piers Plowman, the mice, and William Langland who wrote about them all in the 14th Century. Read about it, and the philosophy that emerges, at Migratory Patterns of Cultural Tales, Who Will Bell The Cat.


What moral was drawn by the mice, how they determine when to back off from regulation of the cat, and why. Our retellings leave out that the wise mouse points out that, so long as the damage by this particular cat is relatively contained and the survival of the group is not at stake, let it be.  Watch out for your own. But if the cat's acts endanger the entire group, then is the time to do what?  Perhaps there is no recourse. Is that the message unsaid?  Does the mouse have to extend the tale to that? Read there.

The story is not as simple as the kiddie tales suggest. Find in it lessons and arguments for a free market. Until abuses go too far. :See the Prologue to Vision of Piers Plowman

If there are typos here, bear with us. I am on principle avoiding my eyeglasses, for a while anyway, see FodderSight, No Glasses.

Conclusion: Proposal:
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The Business judgment rule remains intact in whatever jurisdiction has interpreted it for the corporation incorporated there, so long as outside money is not sought and given. Once outside money is sought and given, then a fiduciary duty flows to that Fourth Party providor and supersedes the fiduciary obligation owed by the directors to the corporation or its own shareholders.
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This also allows jurisdictions to proceed in their own way as to other differing views so long as there is no Fourth Party trumping everything. For example, this does not try to resolve: when, if ever, do the directors owe a fiduciary obligation to the shareholders, rather than or in addition to the corporation (a common view is never), and what to do when there is a conflict. In any jurisdiction, what can shareholders do when aggrieved? Just vote out the directors? Or get a review of their decisions. Is the corporation director-centered, or shareholder-centered. And how to apply the law and duties of a place where the corporation operates, instead of the law of its place of incorporation. Not easy.
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There is nothing stable about a trapezoid. Try it. Use tongue depressors, a drill and some brass foot fasteners. Push it and it collapses over. The moral is to get the Fourth Party out of there as soon as the directors have followed through with their fiduciary duty to the Fourth Partyl and that supersedes its obligation to the corporation or the shareholders.

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FN 1.  The business judgment rule.

Who can control or even review what a corporate board of directors does. Who has "standing" to protest. The traditional Business Judgment Rule operates in the corporate world in two basic ways: It can refer to the defemse of a board of directors when shareholders challenge the board's decisions. The court abstains from anay review because the issues are business judgments. How does the circumstance of federal bailout change the dance?
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Does corporate law control, even in case of shipwreck. Rule of tough. Or do rights of taxpayers as the bailouters supersede the traditional obligations within a corporate structure. This is complex. No easy answers. And how many people have looked into the corporate issues, issues of what law controls, what is fraud, how do you know, what trumps what. Educators? Is it time yet?
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In other jurisdictions, the Rule can refer to the standard of review that a court can apply in reviewing those decisions. The shareholders get their revies. Then, objectively, the court asks if the directors exercised a broadly valid business judgment.
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Look it all up at SSRN's The Business Judgment Rule as Abstention Doctrine by Stephen M. Bainbridge at ://papers.ssrn.com/sol3/papers.cfm?abstract_id=429260/

Note their description of a tension between the two interpretations of the same concept - states taking different views. In some, permit review; in others, not. And the state of incorporation may control as to law. You can be incorporated in Delaware or the Canary Islands, and operate in other places. You choose which jurisdiction's law you want - for your own purposes, within broad limits.

Independence of business judgment, where do fiduciary obligations flow, not a simple area.
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FN 2. The current setting. The Fourth Party.
.
At issue now is definition of new obligations, stemming from a Fourth Party entering the fray.
No longer are we looking at a neat stable triangle of the corpoation's directors, officers, shareholders. But a fourth angle is required.
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This turns out little corporation TRIANGLE into an unstable TRAPEZOID - directors, officers, shareholders, and now the Fourth Party represenitng a common good. By necessity. Because of abuses.
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What happens when the directors, who entered into bonus contracts with executives, now want to pay out on their obligation using the Fourth Party's funds. Is that protected by Business Judgment, or does the Fourth Party have a say now.
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* "The Wreck of the Hesperus," by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, see Bartleby's at ://www.bartleby.com/42/777.html. Stand and declaim. Applause.

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Ein Feste Burgemeister; The Sunday Limbaugh Vetting Service

Welcome to The Sunday Limbaugh Vetting Service. 

Our Community Seeks to Make a Difference 
by Vetting Those Who Take Up Our Time


I.  Prelude:   Money Makes the World Go Around
Liza Minelli and Joel Grey at ://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rkRIbUT6u7Q

II. Opening Hymn:  That's Life.     
Tom Gaebel at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Y3gLS7DBE50; or Sinatra audio and new video at ://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KIiUqfxFttM
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III.  Lesson:  From Rush 9:11

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Introduction:   Welcome, friends. This is Boss Limbaugh * Sunday.

We read about Rushing about; the fraternity Rush; the drug high we hear about, as a Rush; Moses in the Bulrushes; Bull Rushes In, Where Info Fears to Tread; Rush Not, Trip Not; What's the Buzz-Rush, Tell Us What's A-Happenin', see ://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dLFAyw-5Rp8/. And why and how and for whom deferments are awarded, each situation unique, of course, see the urban legends site at ://www.snopes.com/military/limbaugh.asp/

And now, a reading from Rush, ://www.brainyquote.com/quotes/quotes/r/rushlimbau120503.html
"We are born to action; and whatever is capable of suggesting and guiding action has power over us from the first."   Rush Limbaugh
Thanks be to Rush.
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IV. Offertory - Money, Money, Money
Abba, at ://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WCkOmcIl79s/ 

V. Sermon
Good morning, on this lovely Vet Limbaugh Day. Good to have all of you here today. Our overall topic today is how important it is to vet whoever is telling you anything. And as to Mr. Limbaugh, we did a brief foray into genealogy and occupations of forebears in the Limbaugh clan. Shortly you will learn about the origin of the famed cigars we see so often being enjoyed by Mr. Limbaugh (laughter). Stay tuned!

This is, as you know, my fifth stop on a speaking tour in the region's parish family, and I want you to know that I just saw a fine summary of the life and skills of Mr. Limbauagh at the New York Daily News, see ://www.nydailynews.com/news/politics/2009/03/ /08/2009-03-08_rush_limbaugh_is_rich_nasty_and_now_de_f.html?page=1/

Do make a note of that source - pencils and paper are in the pews.  That kind of article that I know you will read means I can hone down some of the more familiar background.

  • And as to new points for us, we found that, yes, 3% of Limbaughs some time ago were cigar makers.  It pays to vet.  That may be useful information sometime.

Now: to the larger topic for today.

What do we need to know about someone, anyone, before we believe what they say. The New York Daily News site gives the data, we go into why it is important.

A.  The Role of Vetting in a Belief System.  

Vetting goes against the grain for those who believe based on someone else's persuasion.  Sounds disrespectful, as though you doubt. But vetting is not being un-faith-ful. Indeed, vetting is Biblical.
It just got spun into a bad name.

Disciple Thomas got a bad name for that, and became known as Doubting Thomas, and the stigma for doubters stuck.  But he was right to question. And he got the proof he asked for. Faith begins where reason and common sense have ended.  Good for you, Thomas. Use your reason and common sense first.  Then vet.  No reason at all to begin with the "believe" - start that after your vetting is done.

What is the place of Belief without vetting?  Belief applies when common sense and commonly available and reasonably verified information stop.
  • So:  Who is asking you to believe something now?  Vet the Pied in Piper.
The Pied Piper tale of warning.  Go back to the story to see what really happened.



Today we speak of a sitting Piper, if not jiggling; or a Piper behind a podium.  A Piper pied.

What is "pied"? As in Pied Piper.
  • Recall the old story? He was "pied" because he wore patchy clothing, two or more colors, mixtures of things, blotched, and to "pie" in printing is to reduce the letters to a jumble. {roduce confusion. See ://dictionary.reference.com/browse/pied led those kids right into the cleft in the mountain and they were never heard from again! (hearty laugh). And he went on his merry way. See the variety of Pied Piper stories at Pitt University's folktale site collection, at ://www.pitt.edu/~dash/hameln.html
And here we have a piper who, in a sense, is piping to seek your hand.

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Would you not vet someone who proposed an ideological relationship with you? Who proposes to make up your mind for you;

B.  Fear Not!  Vet!

1. Vet Family Trees.  Where did the Piper get his own mindset?

Find what shaped the mindset.  Occupations, immigration, geographical settling places, lifespans, even possible name changes to get along.


a.  Limbaugh Family Tree
What Limbaughs served in the Civil War?  On what side?

There are indeed persons with the surname of Limbaugh in the Confederate Army: Eighteen of them.  Limbaugh members in the Union Army: Two.. See ://www.ancestry.com/facts/Limbaugh-civil-war.ashx/   So the orientation is to the South as to Limbaughs, with two nay-sayers.
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  • Life expectancy:  Expect many years of enjoyment of Limbaughs. See ://www.ancestry.com/facts/Limbaugh-life-expectancy.ash/
b.  Limbaugh and Immigration
  • Immigration. What happened to the Limbaugh immigration records? What does that tell us?  Illegals??  There are few Limbaughs about which we have any immigration records at all. See the 1920 census at://www.ancestry.com/facts/Limbaugh-family-history.ash;  ://www.ancestry.com/facts/Limbaugh-immigration.ashx/
One could conclude that spellings of names change, and that even people themselves change their names, and we will get to that presently.

But for now, the immigration records part is interesting because Mr. Limbaugh focuses on the evils of immigrants here without the documentation the law requires.

Yet, it looks like only one "Limbaugh" arrived here in 1887.  See All immigration and emigration results for Limbaugh at ://search.ancestry.com/cgi-bin/sse.dll?gl=40&rank=0&gsln=Limbaugh&rg_81004011__date=1887&gss=angs-d/  But see the Limbaughs in the Civil War, Southern side. How and when get in?
  • This paucity of Limbaughs from that one source is not dispositive.  We know there were more Limbaughs than that, in the southside Civil  War, see below. There are more thorough searches possible on immigration history of people, if we have port of entry and a time frame, see "Finding Passenger Lists and Immigration Records" at ://home.att.net/~wee-monster/passengers.html/.  Records seem to  begin about 1820, however, so an absence of record may mean that the person entered before 1820 as many, many did.
c.  Limbaugh and Name Change - Limbachs became Limbaughs?

Do we have Name Change here.  An absence of immigrants with that name, Limbaugh, raises another issue, however, of change of name.  Did people change their name, or have it changed for them when they entered - think Ellis Island and the hash made of names by harried clerks.

Or did people, once here under the name of Limbach - a German name - change it if they moved to Neighborhoods of Prejudice Against Immigrants.  That happened. Have an Irish name, change it when you moved to an anti-Irish city.  Or Jewish. Or shorten the Slavic.

One reason for the lack of immigration records, then, may be that Limbaugh is a change from the German Limbach.  
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Limbach to Limbaugh. 

Did that happen? The interesting point is that if Limbach changed to Limbaugh, it could have been because of the very prejudice that Mr. Limbaugh is now flinging at other immigrants from despised and unworthy  (in his view) nationalities. Prejudice. Once inflicted, not forgot.

Imagine his childhood, or his father's - in World War I, or World War II -- Limbach!  Krauts! Spy!  Is German a pejorative? Was it? It was. Did that disparagement have an effect on Rush. Or his parents? Is he doing unto others by passing it on? Is abuse cyclical.  Will you produce your original Family Bible, Mr. Limbaugh.

Wikipedia, at ://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rush_Limbaugh says that Rush Limbaugh's father was indeed of German descent.  But the German spelling is Limbach, not Limbaugh.


Arguments against:  Some people just changed spellings because it was easier. Convenience to match a pronunciation, as our own did adding an "e" where none was, just to help the postman a century ago.

Rush, look it up. We'd like to know. We understand the perils of the newcomer to our shores. Can you? See ://www.ancestry.com/facts/Limbaugh-family-history-sct.ashx/  The melting pot becomes a plot against all others who also would melt in.

You could blend - pass from being a hated German in two war eras to a passable Anglo-sounder because you are white European. Is that the secret of your success? What if you had not been white European?  Our family also changed spellings, and for benign reasons - the postman got confused with all the farms out there so my granddad added an e.  Changing names and spellings is fine, but if it was in response to ethnic prejudice, as against Germans in wartime, does that enter any equations? You do it to me I do it to you cycle of abuse? Just asking.

d.  Limbaugh and Cultural roots
  • Cultural roots.  By 1920, there were still just a few Limbaugh families, and those were located mostly in Missouri and Alabama (27-51 families in each).  Some Limbaughs were in Ohio and Tennessee and California (10-26 families in each).  There are 1-9 Limbaugh families in most every other state.
  • Values.  Harder to get at online.  What degrees people have, what training and education they seek, and why.  Limbaugh:  dropping out of college. One interest - radio. He has indeed made money, and enjoyed sequential monogamy followed by the usual, see the New York Post article mentioned in Today's Lesson. He is paid $400,000,000 (yes, that is four hundred million dollars)  by the current contract.  Is this a role model we want touted for our kids.  That a few can do it and succeed in wealth beyond wildest dreams, at our expense when that is not fed back reasonably into infrastructure for health, roads, the group necessities.  But can America compete without education?  This devaluing of education - what do we learn from his brief attendance at Southeast Missouri State, see ://www.myplan.com/education/db/ug/ug_1.php?id=179557).
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 e.  Limbaughs - the streets where they lived.


Limbaughs Settling In. Where did the Limbaughs not settle.  And why.

Was there an allelopathic * relationship between Limbaughs and and areas like New England, New York, the Southwest and - here is an odd combination - West Virginia and Kentucky (allelopathic to Appalachia?) and also to Nobility, Virginia. Or is this the Appalachia end? So that Limbaughs and those other areas just weren't compatible?

Allelopathic. A phenomenon in nature first noted by the Roman, Pliny the Elder, in 77 AD.

Like that old black walnut out there in the yard, a tough nut to crack, but look around it.

Nothing else can grow.  That, my friends, is allelopathy.  Why the big plant there in the middle puts out such negativity, such toxins, such substances and auras and aromas that no other plant even wants to be near it  See Trees for Problem Landscapes at ://www.ext.vt.edu/pubs/nursery/430-021/430-021.html/.

Kind of like the sassafras - bark toxic to rodents, to protect the tender shoots, but the leaves and sap fine for use in ordinary doses for tea, beverages, except as the FDA fantasizes because mice can't eat it.  See The Allelopathic Influences of Sassafras, at ://www.esajournals.org/doi/abs/10.2307/1935494/ Just the allelopathy against the mice, and rats, and beavers, and other rodentia. Now, there's another sermon (congregation stolid).

 It overall means a plant's ability to make the environment so toxic to other forms of life that they cannot survive there well, such as under those old walnut trees, or sassafras. Jam them right out.

f.  Limbaughupations.  What is the family lore.  Limbaughs at work.

But let's get back to the Limbaughs in the early days. Occupations.  It looks like lots of Limbaughs with that Limbaugh spelling suddenly appeared by 1880. In that census, Limbaughs were in these occupations: info from Ancestry.com - at ://www.ancestry.com/facts/Limbaugh-occupations.ashx/

What did they do here? What were the family assumptions, skills, mindsets.
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Wikipedia (supra) tells us that there are a wide variety of professional occupations in the Limbaugh clan now, but we are looking at roots:
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Distribution of Limbaughs in occupations
  1. 74% were farmers -(now that must mean they owned their land, no mere laborers here, is that so?)
  2. 6% kept house -(some ladies had to earn their own livings? or is just the widder ladies, or spinsters?)
  3. 7% were in "farming" -(clearly the losers who did not even own their own land, is that so?)
  4. 3% were farm laborers - (Limbaughs had a few mere farm workers outstanding in others' fields)
  5. 3% were dealers in groceries (corpulence explained) (also nepotismistically a place to sell the other Limbaughs' crops and keep it in the family?)
  6. 3%  were cigar makers (aha! now we understand the cigar!)
This Limbaugh, a talk show personality, earns some $400,000,000.00 from 2010 to 2016 - divided out by 7 years, some $57,000,000.00 per year? Pass the collection plate again? Here is says only 50 million. See ://themoderatevoice.com/20775/rush-limbaugh-signs-record-big-bucks-renewal-contract-to-2016/.  Pay you that and would you say anything just to keep it coming? 

Conclusion:

My friends, vet.  Vet.  Vet.  If culturally iconic opinionators have a restricted background, does that affect their views of things they themselves did not experience fully.  Such as an education. What a loss. A loss, you say?

If Limbaugh finished college, then went into radio, he might have made less, not more.  You are right there.

He went in single-mindedly and cashed a fortune.

But he lost out on the horizons. Would his opinions have been the same if he had studied, learned, lived abroad, learned other languages other than ME, expanded his own horizons, just a little?  Instead of honing the techniques for persuasion and getting? See our lesson for today.  There he is. Opinions are his way of asserting power.
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But how else, except by vetting,  to take responsibility as an adult for what gets perpetuated, affecting your own children.   Think for a minute:  If people's life experience and backgroud raise questions about why and how they interpret ideas and dogma, political tenets, as they do, then is their credibility not justly questionable? Especially someone setting himself up as a leader of the herd. Foreigners (2).  Immigrants. Labels.  We are well taught, my friends.

So, thinking again of radio allelopathy, if you find it difficult to watch, hear, certain tough nuts cracking at you, be charitable.  Think to yourself as you flip that remote, swirl that dial, that is is just allelopathy, my dear friends;  inbred, no reflection on you or him, because it is just foreordained.   Fools Rush in.  Wise men fear to tread.

Amen. 

Let us stand.

VI.  Closing Hymn:
Ein' Feste Burgemeister (1)
From A Mighty Fortress (Ein' Feste Burg) .

A mighty Tempter. Follow the Voice.
A bull-horn, cash all-hailing.
A fixer who sets self as as joist.
Don't heal, don't teach. Just railing.
Thought is their ancient foe.
Analysis also.
His craft onstage is great.
Persuasion techniques great.
Exclude them all.  None equal.

Postlude


D, A, B, F#, G, D, G, A / repeated 54 times, see Paravonian rant at ://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JdxkVQy7QLM/;  and a different variational perspective at ://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QjA5faZF1A8 and find that it might not suit you either; until you finally chuck everybody, and listen to yourself - at ://ckuik.com/Johann_Pachelbel.  Write a blog and clear your own head.
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(1)  Ein' Feste Burg - note the apostrophe at the ein' to be absolutely correct, to show the missing "e" of "eine".  Martin Luther's hymn, "A Mighty Fortress."  Read about it at "Martin Luther's Greatest Hymn" at /://german-history.suite101.com/article.cfm/martin_luthers_greatest_hymn/

For the melody of the real Ein' Feste Burg, A Mighty Fortress, see ://www.hymnsite.com/pdf/110piano.pdf/  For the town where Ein' Feste Burg was written, we believe (in Wittenberg), see Germany Road Ways, Wittenberg.  For Wartburg Castle, see Germany Road Ways, Wartburg and other sites there (see labels).

What is a Burgemeister?  Like a mayor."Middle High German Occupational Name"; a Burgemeister is head of a town or village.  The term appeared first in 1306.  If the Limbaugh name was originally Limbach, as it apparently was for many Limbachs, then this nationality reference is particularly appropriate for use with Ein' Feste Eitherway.

Burgemeister:  Mittelhoch Berufsname burgomeister; vorsteher einer Stadt,
Dorfgemeinde (um 1306).  See woerterbuch.babylon.com/Burgemeister/  Go back to the search list for Burgemeister definition and translate the Babylon page.

(2)   Faux transcript from recent show on Foreigners, upon seeing this photograph of one.

"Harrumph. "Mascot of the Citadelle." Now what kind of foolish spelling is that. And what is that fool thing's name?  Batisse?  Batisse?  Batisse! BATISSE! No wonder! (points wildly) Look at the jools.  I ask you now, how is the 22d Regiment of the Canadian Forces, see://www.flickr.com/photos/sandman5/2902605541/supposed to look to the rest of the world when they learn they are supposed to parade around with that blingy you-know-what. Don't ask, don't tell, Canucks. See ://kpearson.faculty.tcnj.edu/Dictionary/canuck.htmHa. Batisse! Batisse! Ooooh. At least the thing is finally earning its keep, as a stuffed tourist attraction. A goated community. Ha."


Goat, Regimental Mascot, Quebec: Batisse. Gift to Queen from Shah of Persia (2) 


Testosterone marching.  When has it not. See Sassafras Tree, Testosterone Marching;
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Coffee Hour Adult Discussion Group

Questions on the newsprint. 


What is the role of disagreement. Should opinionators do what they wants, anyway, while enjoying the lucre from telling other people what to do and think?

Discussion: Any talking head:  He, or she

  • Was he steeped in one tradition, one set of assumptions, or did he have broader experience - and not with successive sequentially monogamous broads as they say today  (group chuckles, coughs, adjusts sitting positions, looks understandingly at each other, eyeballs to topmost stained glass, then shrugs).
Role of newspapers for "news"

Discussion: We can't use the newspapers any more, they are all owned by the same regional people as own the TV, and are so downscaled all you can see are puppies. You need a computer, and many people don't have one, or live in an unwired area.

Role of churches, belief systems.

Discussion:  We are also, especially in the church business, primed to believe just because we are taught, without examining the motives or independent thinking of the people who teach us, and who may have gotten their information from other people, who also got it from someone else. We are well trained to listen from our various pews and nod.



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* "Boss" Limbaugh -  title first heard on Keith Olbermann Show, coined by Mr. Olbermann himself.  We don't know of an earlier use of the title for Limbaugh, and it is not original for us.  Who else used it? Have to check. Ok - did a search and there are others using the phrase.

For Mr. Olbermann, we vetted him along with Limbaugh earlier in November 2008, see FodderSight, Authority Assessment Vet List.


Scroll down to Mr. O.