Sunday, December 30, 2007

Ending Thoughts for 2007

Ok, it's still a day or so away from 2008, and after reading the newspapers on a nice winter day in paradise, nice meaning cold (for here), cloudy, sometimes rainy, and windy but sometimes bright sunshine. But that's life in paradise in the winter, especially a nice day. Ok, onward. I updated my normal blog with posts about Evelyn Glennie and end of year thoughts. So, now I'll write about some end of year news.

First, copying music. The RIAA is suing people who buy a CD, copy it to their computer and rip copies for friends. I'm sorry, to me, this is fair and reasonable use of a purchased product. And the RIAA is focusing on computer made copies, but neglect the full capabilities sound studios have with their equipment. Even my home stereo system.

I have studio quality components in my stereo and can copy CD's direct without a computer using a CD player to CD writer. In addition I can copy to a studio DAT recorder overriding the copy prohibit tags on the CD and then make as many edited or direct copy CD's as I want or need for friends. And all the laws protecting studios for their work protects me. So why make the distinction about using computer when studios now use them as the storage and processing medium?

Second, ATV's. The New York Times has an excellent article on the damage ATV's are doing in the name of recreation. What do these people think when the environment has been so damaged by ATV's there's nowhere else to go? And they say their money allows them to do this? What don't they understand about public land in the public, all of us, interest?

Third, the surge. It's working, sorta', according to General Patreas. But he can't promise much and said the north is now the dangerous area. I don't know but I suspect it only works as long as US troops are handy. So, will we really be able to drawdown the troop level without resurrecting the violence, maybe not from Al Qeada but insurgents, criminals and ethnic groups? Or will the support we leave in terms of money, arms, training, intelligence, etc. come back to haunt or hurt us?

Fourth, saw an interesting cartoon about religious extremist taking over control in some "foreign" countries, except it mentions Romney and Huckebee. What's the saying about more truth said in jest? We've already have had a religious leader and look what he's done to the country and our international reputation? Do we need a Mormon or a preacher too? Do we really want a President who invokes the Bible more often than the Constitution, Bill of Rights or the laws of this country?

Fifth, we're losing access to our government and all its secrets. We all know the history of documents taken out of public view for little or no reason and FOIA requests being delayed almost indefinitely or simply ignored by the Bush Administration. And now the President is not liking the bipartisan backed OPEN Government act because it not oly reasserts FOIA but adds new provisions for more oversight and more power to the people requesting documents.

Gee, you would think he doesn't trust us, or is that we don't trust him and he's afraid we're right?

Sixth, earmarks. While the President was lambasting Congressional earmarks, even when Congress reduced them to the lowest since the Clinton administration and 43% from 2006-07 republican budget, he was asking for $24B for a Laura Bush Library and $16B for abstinence-only sex education. And he asked the Departments not to act on any project funded as an earmark unless there is specific legislation in the appropriation bills (earmarks are usually committee rreports or letters attached to appropriations bills).

I'm sorry George, what's good for Congress as you've approved for six years under the Republicans and good for your pet projects is good for the Democrats. After all they spent less on them than the previous six years of your administration.

Parting jesture? Have a good and safe New Year's celebration. Watch our for other drivers and use a designated driver or take a cab if you want to celebrate. Ok? I want to be safe too as everyone else does. And lastly, be cool. Everyone just wants to enjoy the time, not make arguments or get into fights. Can we do that?

And remember, it's how you see the world with a smile that matters.

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