Monday, December 31, 2007

Are MP3's Illegal?

UPDATE: Based on this blog by LaShawn Barber, the Washington Post writer got the facts of this wrong and is mistaken. The RIAA does in fact allow copies of CD's for personal use. I therefore retract my mistaken statement on the matter.

The Recording Industry Association of America has argued in legal filings, "that 'when an individual makes a copy of a song for himself, I suppose we can say he stole a song." Copying a song you bought is "a nice way of saying 'steals just one copy,' she said."

If this were to be enforced, the only way one could legally own Mp3 music is to buy the music online (a move that the RIAA was even hesitant to do in the first place) forcing people to purchase a CD as well as the MP3 versions of the songs for playback on a MP3 player or PC.

I am at a loss for words. It is the kind of outrageous claim you'd expect to see at The Onion--not the Washington Post. If ever there was a place for Civil Disobedience, this is it. What music enthusiast would actually inconvenience themselves enough to manually switch CD's when a program like iTunes will do the work for you?

The RIAA needs to join reality, not to mention the 21st century.

Friday, December 21, 2007

Mitt Romney for President

I am under no illusion that my endorsement for any candidate will contribute in a meaningful way for the candidate's success. Yet I know there are some loyal readers of this blog that may actually be interested in what I think about the presidential primaries. I know of at least one that has been pushing me toward Mike Huckabee. I at least owe my thoughts to him.

For a long time I have known in my gut that there is no other candidate that I could support but Mitt Romney. I have been hesitant to give him my support because he is a Mormon, but I have come to realize that he is the man most fit for the highest office in our land, in spite of his religious beliefs.

I do not believe a man's religious affections ought to have undue influence over my vote. I am issue driven--and do not believe a religious litmus test ought to be employed. Yet, I am not enthusiastic about a Mormon holding an office of such stature, knowing as Al Mohler has reflected, that a Mormon president will have a great effect over the nation's, and even the world's perception of Mormonism. I believe God is sovereign and He will not be handcuffed because a Mormon is President of the United States. Is this self-justification? Perhaps. But I firmly believe there is no other candidate as qualified for the Presidency than Mitt Romney.

Romney's opposition to abortion, stem-cell research, and other right-to-life issues is not as strong as I would hope for, but I am prepared to take him at his word on these matters. He knows his political future relies upon his commitment to life.

To summarize, Romney is right on all the major issues. I like his experiences, I like his convictions, and I like what I've seen of him. Here is a summary of sum of his views:
  • Romney recognizes the threat of Islamo-fascism and takes it seriously.
  • Romney supports a Federal Marriage Amendment stating that marriage is only between a man and a woman.
  • Romney opposes amnesty for illegal immigrants and will enforce our immigration law.
  • Romney opposes nationalized healthcare.
  • Romney wants more local control over education, rather than centralizing authority in Washington.
  • Romney wants to reduce federal spending.
  • Romney wants to lower taxes.
But why not Huckabee? I was enamored with Huckabee for a while, but the more I see and hear of him, the less enthusiastic I become of him. For a Baptist pastor, I have seen far too many ethical questions raised about him. I have also seen a lack of solid judgment and even lack of Christian conviction in speaking about evolution, Mormonism, and so on. I find it difficult to trust any pastor with the amount of money he seems to have, or at least have access to.

In short, Huckabee appears to me as an opportunist, and a man willing to obfuscate, much like the other guy from Hope, AK. Perhaps I am wrong on my assessment of Huckabee. I actually hope I am wrong. Even so, Mitt is my guy.

Friday, December 14, 2007

Global Warming Alarmists Are Socialists

Can there be any doubt that global warming alarmism is largely driven by those with a socialist agenda when they make statements such as, "A climate change response must have at its heart a redistribution of wealth and resources." So said Emma Brindal, a "a climate justice campaigner coordinator for Friends of the Earth."

A panel at the UN Climate Conference in Bali, Indonesia recently “urged the adoption of a tax that would represent “a global burden sharing system, fair, with solidarity, and legally binding to all nations.” Of course the lion’s share of the taxes would be paid by the United States courtesy of the “polluters pay principle.”

Granted, a team of one hundred “prominent international scientists” argue, “The IPCC's conclusions are quite inadequate as justification for implementing policies that will markedly diminish future prosperity. In particular, it is not established that it is possible to significantly alter global climate through cuts in human greenhouse gas emissions.”

But Al Gore in the same article is said to have “reiterated…his call to place a price on carbon dioxide emissions.” Of course not all global warming alarmists are socialists or have socialist intentions, but it is clear that this is a driving force behind the agenda.

Americans need to come to terms with what will be demanded of them if we concede that man is culpable for causing “global warming.” If we do not, we will be find ourselves being asked to surrender Constitutional authority to foreign powers. We need to stand firm in our resolve against the forces of socialism and environmental alarmism. We must not cede our autonomy in the name of a man-made crisis that men like Al Gore liken to a moral cause.

This is not to say that we should not take steps to find a new, more efficient, cleaner, more cost effective renewable energy source that will eliminate our need to rely upon middle east terrorist sponsor nations. I believe we ought to seek better fuel sources as well as be better stewards of our resources. But we must be careful to not grant the government authority outside the bounds of our Constitution—something we have already begun.

Thursday, December 13, 2007

One Reflection on the Mitchell Report

The Mitchell Report on performance enhancing drugs in baseball has been released. One of the observations that I was surprised to see is the recognition that human growth hormones do not seem to produce the desired effect. The report states,

"A number of studies have shown that use of human growth hormone does not
increase muscle strength in healthy subjects or well-trained athletes. Athletes who have tried
human growth hormone as a training aid have reached the same conclusion. The author of onebook targeted at steroid abusers observed that “[t]he most curious aspect of the whole situation is
that I’ve never encountered any athlete using HGH to benefit from it, and all the athletes who
admit to having used it will usually agree: it didn’t/doesn’t work for them.”

The primary attraction of human growth hormone for athletes seeking
performance enhancing effects appears to be that it is not detectable in any currently available
drug test. In addition, because human growth hormone stimulates growth in most body tissues,
athletes use it to promote tissue repair and to recover from injury."

I have seen this reported at Sabernomics several times, so the information is not new, but I did not expect to see this in the Mitchell report itself. Perhaps the perception of the media and even athletes have toward HGH will change as a result of the report.

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Name This Favorite Hang-out Location

Ok guys, Google Maps' Streetview has hit Minneapolis/Saint Paul and I want you to name this favorite hang-out spot of mine, and probably of yours.

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