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  • Jan 15th, 2013 @ 8:40am

    Re: possession of child pornography

    Possession of child pornography is an offense because it provides a customer base for those who produce and distribute it. Eliminating child pornography is as worthwhile a goal as getting rid of child prostitution. Children shouldn't be coerced into activities that can harm them.

  • Oct 14th, 2012 @ 7:12am


    To say that music has survived since the Ice Age is meaningless. More accurately, what was meant was that humans have been making music since that time -- the Ice Age. What hasn't survived since then is the specific music that was produced. Some of the artifacts of music might have survived, like the bone flute mentioned. An instrument is not music. We do have ancient stories, some of which may have been attempts to remember historical events as ancient people interpreted those happenings. We call those stories myths, many of which seem to have kernels of truth (actuality) in them. Yet we have no music. Does anyone out there know the tunes of King David's psalms? Were there rhythms played along with the psalms? All we have are the lyrics. Thank heavens we have those wonderful lyrics. While music continued to develop along with technology, the musicians, song writers and composers barely prospered for much of that development until the invention of the printing press. While publishing gave them a boost, they received a still greater nudge with copyright laws. The taking over of the benefits of copyright laws by business people -- the publishers and record companies -- greatly limited those benefits. The creators and performers of music still had to live gypsy-like lives, travelling for much of their time, to make a good living. At the same time, business people taking control of music caused music itself to deteriorate for some simple reasons. Getting really talented musicians limit the pool of who business people can get music from. Going that route also increases the costs of talent. It's easier and cheaper to get untalented people to produce music. Lower cost of talent translates into greater profits. New technology even helps the business person. If someone sounds lousy, use reverberation to improve the sound. If he/she still sounds bad, have his/her sound somewhat drowned out by other sound in the recording. If the music creator doesn't have much creativity, let him just think of four bars, then loop them repeatedly in the recording. If the artist is tone deaf, let him just spout any words to anything banging out a rhythmic pattern that itself is uncreative because it's a looped pattern repeated over and over. If his words aren't very creative or interesting, make sure he's almost unintelligible. Mainly, keep costs down. In the end, of course, what we have is crap sold as music. What's great is that humans can be conditioned over time to actually accept anything as music. Sooo, certainly we need changes in who gets the benefits of copyrights. Nevertheless, creative people need copyrights.

  • Aug 13th, 2012 @ 10:58am

    news reliability

    I generally agree with the view that all news sources have some value. An important thing not mentioned regarding the reliability of news sources is the age-old notion of motive or, as they say, "Follow the money." Going by that dictum, we can say that, since most news media are corporate owned and their boards of directors are generally interchangeable with the various kinds of corporations, there'll be a bias toward the viewpoints of the various kinds of corporations -- banks, oil and coal companies included. Even the New York Times includes only what it considers "all the news that's fit to print". "Fit" is a big word here. Since Fox News is the most blatant in its lying, that source should be discounted altogether. Since it's owned by the Rupert Murdoch-controlled and tainted News Corporation, we must even be careful about such a source as the Wall Street Journal, also under Rupert's control. In England his company is still under investigation with one of his most senior people convicted of serious crimes -- carrying out unethical and even immoral policies. Al Jazeera is owned by an Arab Emir who, so far, has been as reliable as any corporate news source. National Public Radio has been so fearful of corporate power that it, demonstrably, has been a disappointment. The BBC has probably been the best source since it's, so far, the most independent from corporate control. Perhaps, as good as or better than BBC are the various non-government organizations that represent various causes like a free internet, better protection for people's health, fighting for a safer environment, anti-war groups that include some veteran's organizations like Vietnam Veterans Against War, Iraq Veteran's Against War, etc. These have newsletters that are very worth reading for information. Do they have biases? Of course, but those are in favor of a healthier, safer, freer humanity, rather than the corporate bottom line.

  • Aug 11th, 2012 @ 12:06pm

    Finding new ways to compensate the creative among us

    While the biggest complainers are those who have controlled the Media when it comes to information, the Recording Industry in regard to music,the large distribution companies when it has to do with films or videos, I'm concerned with the actual creators - writers, composers, song writers, musicians, singers, etc. These last have been the victims for many years of the publishing industy, recording industry, etc. While we rightly have to guard against these large companies taking away our freedoms by shackling our internet, we must find viable ways that creators can make decent livings. So far, I haven't seen any really good ideas yet.

  • Aug 11th, 2012 @ 9:04am

    John Stewart and Stephen Colbert

    I agree that, for T.V., they're a breath of fresh air.