Friday, November 9, 2007

Hey, kids: Still like the Democrats?

Democrats: Colleges must police copyright, or else | CNET News.com:

"The U.S. House of Representatives bill (PDF), which was introduced late Friday by top Democratic politicians, could give the movie and music industries a new revenue stream by pressuring schools into signing up for monthly subscription services such as Ruckus and Napster. Ruckus is advertising-supported, and Napster charges a monthly fee per student."

Prince to sue The Pirate Bay

Prince to sue The Pirate Bay | Tech news blog - CNET News.com:

"Continuing an aggressive campaign to defend his copyrights, pop star Prince is preparing to file lawsuits in three countries, including the U.S., against The Pirate Bay."

But the real question is, Who the hell is downloading music by "The Artist Formerly Known as... Who?"

Vote them ALL OUT

I am urging all Marylanders to vote out ALL incumbents in the next election, bar none. I, for one, am sick of them refusing to listen to us. We put them there.

It's simple arithmetic: the more the Maryland state government gets, the more it will spend. I was discussing the matter with my state delegate yesterday, and he told me his interest was in efficiencies in government. That's a nice thought, but if that's so, how can government become more efficient if they are constantly rewarded with ever-higher funding, stemming from ever-increasing taxes? The way to force government to be efficient is to cut their funding, and then let's watch them do the same job with less money. You know, I'll bet we'll all be surprised at how well a job they do.

I am sick of politicians taking political credit for doing a "good" job when they take the people's money and spend it. You guys want credit for doing something good? Then take credit for doing as you were directed to do, in our representative government.

I believe that anyone with even a modicum of common sense can do a better job than these career politicians that we have now. Therefore, I will not vote for any incumbent. I want fresh blood down there in Annapolis. I hope you agree.

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Senate passes tax plan -- baltimoresun.com: "'It's clear that every Marylander is going to pay more, significantly more,' said Sen. David R. Brinkley, the minority leader from Frederick County.

Under the Senate bill, the sales tax would rise from 5 percent to 6 percent, the tobacco tax would double to $2 per pack of cigarettes and the corporate income tax would increase from 7 percent to 8 percent. The chamber jettisoned O'Malley's proposed reduction of the state property tax, and largely rejected his proposals for making the personal income tax structure more progressive."

Small Lives

Why is it that we like blogs so much? We read incessantly about mundane daily things that populate other people's lives, and seem to like it. Is it voyeurism? Is it simple psychological diversion? Or is it an interest to compete - to see if other people's lives are even more unsatisfactory than our own? Or is it that humans need social activity in a world where, even though the population grows larger by the second, personal interaction with other individuals shrinks smaller, caused by our Internet-mediated lives?

Why was lonelygirl15 such a phenomenon? And were we happy or sad to discover it was just a ruse, put forth by an aspiring actress?

My mom would say we need to get out more. Pick up the telephone instead of the keyboard. Better yet, walk over to your friend's house and go to lunch. Take a walk and look at a tree instead of a JPG of one. Simple things.

So the question becomes, Who's at fault? Is it just the way of the New World, or is it us, ourselves?

I always think that people are in control of their lives. I don't believe so much in fate, nor in destiny. I believe one has what one worked for. Our culture worked hard for the ease that the Internet has provided, but I'm not sure this is a good thing. Looking at the past, were things that were manufactured better when it was harder to make them, or better now that manufacturing is easy? Do you think that a car made today will still be running in the year 2107? There are 100-year old cars, you know...

But things don't make a culture; people do. There are the Luddites, and the Amish, who seem to get along quite well, thank you, without the things that supposedly "improve" our lives. And they're actually quite nice people, whose work in doing things like home building is extraordinary by todays miserable standards. It's all in what they value, and pride in their work, and who they are, and that goes back to their interactions.

Human interaction is and has been the driving force behind the success of our species since forever. We help each other, because we know each other. But these days, when even gameplay is done with strangers over a wire, how can we relate to one another, to each other's situations, and in general learn and maintain a pathos?

Research has generally shown that the best way to create a sociopath is to deny him human contact. With that said, is that the road down which we're going? Not just being lonely and depressed, but actually creating a violent sociopathic culture?

Maybe that's the Armageddon: killing ourselves through convenience.

Zebron and James


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