See that? Evidently, the Blogger Gods have removed a post on this site because someone -- they won't say who -- has determined that something in it violated someone's copyright under the Digital Millennium Copyright Act. The post in question is a May 2009 blog item announcing the release of that week's episode of The Strip Podcast featuring Carlos Santana. It was my usual drill - a short personal note, the link to the show, an image of the guest and a list of links to stuff we discussed in the show.
There's nothing in the post that could even vaguely be construed as being owned by anyone else except, maybe, the image of Santana, but that was a publicity shot provided by The Joint at the Hard Rock. So what gives?
How the hell would I know? The "takedown" email from Google, which owns Blogger, does not indicate what is being called into question. Instead, it directs me to a site called ChillingEffects.org, which anonymizes and posts complaints. Except that there's no complaint anywhere there.
What's more, the instructions for asking Google to dismiss or reverse the claim actually includes language in which you must acknowledge guilt and corrective measures. One of the steps requires your letter to them to include this statement:
Huh? I don't even know what they think needs to be removed. Weird, right? I followed the instructions and faxed a letter to the number in the instructions. We'll see what happens.
And now something else weird. Today's R-J carries a piece from Carri Geer Thevenot about David Lockhart, a New Yorker who sued the Venetian for false imprisonment and a few other bad deeds. Lockhart alleged that in 2004 Venetian security accused him of being in a car involved in a hit-and-run, then forced him to retrieve his stuff and leave his room at the hotel. When he refused to pack up, they cuffed him, shackled him to the floor in a security room and later took him to the local jail where he was held for hours before charges were dismissed.
The case went to trial and found the hotel "committed assault, battery, false imprisonment, intentional infliction of emotional distress, breach of contract and breach of an inkeeper's duty.
The weird part: The jury awarded him $200,000 but no punitive damages.
That's weird, right? The jury bought his story. They agree all these awful things happened to him. But the Venetian should not be punished? The only thing I can think of is that maybe the car he was in was, in fact, involved in the hit-and-run. Thevenot's piece never says.
Finally, a third weird thing for today. I'm generally in love with New York Times columnist Gail Collins. She's far more clever and funnier than her colleague Maureen Dowd thinks she is and Collins -- gasp! actually has a point when she writes. But an April 9 column by Collins that appeared only today in the Las Vegas Sun about the problem of Sarah Palin sucking the oxygen out of the political debate included this random thought:
Those parentheses were in the original column. But any which way, this is a very weird notion. What part of that disqualifies Palin? That she's a paid speaker? That she appeared in front of the booze industry? Or that she did both in Vegas?
I can't figure it out. Is the wine and spirits industry somehow anathema to the Religious Right? Maybe to a microscopic segment of teetotalers, but most religious observers have some use for wine, right? Wasn't it doing shots at a Pennsylvania bar that was supposed to make Hillary Clinton seem more common, more in touch with the centrists and even conservatives of the heartland? And who's going to make an issue out of her speaking to such a group in Vegas, anyway? Obama's not so stupid, I hope, as to insult us a third time and I'm pretty sure every leading Republican has given paid speeches to trade groups in Vegas in recent years.
It would seem like a small point, but a New York Times columnist that I admire seems to think this is grounds to end speculation of Sarah Palin's national political potential.