I've been spending some time today playing around with Quod Libet, a free music player and organizer built for Linux. The nice thing for me is that it's written entirely in Python, which makes it really easy and fun to modify.
This is too much fun!
My father always had a piano in the house while I was growing up. I have many fond memories of him playing it. At some point, after we moved to Utah when I was 10 years old, the frequency of his playing slowed. I think this was due in part to his eagerness to provide for his family and thus his time diminished, but also because his Chickering upright piano did not fare well in Utah's lower humidity.
Last year, my parents moved closer to where my Dad works and they also got a new house-warming self-given gift: a 1911 Steiff grand piano. My Dad has been very enthusiastic about it ever since and his playing has improved by leaps and bounds. I am very proud of him.
Today, he sent me his latest studio recording. I assume this is not played on his new Piano as he doesn't have his own studio. This is amazing: If you could see me now.
Click the play button below
According to the Treasury Department, the forty-two presidents who held office between 1789 and 2000 borrowed a combined total of $1.01 trillion from foreign governments and financial institutions. But between 2001 and 2005 alone, the Bush White House borrowed $1.05 trillion, more than all of the previous presidencies combined.
How have we let things get this far out of control? It's unbelievable: more money borrowed in five years than in all the two-hundred and eleven years previous... and Bush still has until January 20, 2009 to bring that number even higher.
I am sick to my stomach after reading this latest news. We have heard over the last several months a lot about justification of torture and debate on when, where and under what circumstances it should be allowed to occur. This, though, is personal - An uncensored glimpse into our own local reality: domestic torture of unconvicted Citizens of our own country.
Eugene Siler of Jacksboro, TN was brutally beaten by Police officers in July of 2004. His wife Jenny secretly hid a recorder in the room and caught the whole candid event on tape. The transcript has been available for a while. The audio has now been realeased as well.
Luckily, the officers involved have all been charged and sentenced to prison, if but for a small token amount of time.
Please read or listen to the above. If you have any lingering beliefs that law enforcement is here for our benefit or in any way respects the rights of their fellow human beings, this should put things in their proper perspective.
You might be thinking that this all turned out OK because the officers were all convicted. Yes, that is the good part of this story, but it was only due to the secretly hidden recording device. How many more untold stories like this are hidden forever?
Thanks to the Hammer of Truth for the story.
I'm trying to determine if things are just getting really bad or if I'm just starting to wake up.
I try to read the news everyday. I browse the topics at mainstream media sources but I try to get as much of my daily info from a variety of independent and blog-type news sources. Unfortunately, a lot of really important things are filtered out by the mainstream media these days. Also, I don't have enough time in my day to read all the potentially really newsworthy topics in the blogosphere. I've missed a lot in just the past few weeks alone:
- Boy convicted for putting pictures of guns on MySpace
This 16-year-old was arrested in February because he posted pictures of his father's guns on his blog. The pictures were taken privately in his own home, and he had his father's permission to handle the guns, even when he was alone at home. He has been convicted of 'possession of a handgun by a juvenile'; however, the law also gives permission for parents to allow their children to handle their guns in their own homes. Therefore, no law has been broken, but it looks as if he will be going to prison regardless.
- Federal agents attempt to seize gold tooth caps from suspected drug dealers
To their credit, the agents said that they didn't know that the tooth caps were impossible to remove without destroying the teeth. However, these agents only admitted this after the defendants' lawyer got an injunction to stop them. By that time, the defendents were already loaded up in the car and ready to go to the dentist. The best quote from the lawyer:
It sounds like Nazi Germany when they were removing the gold teeth from the bodies, but at least then they waited until they were dead.No kidding! Not only were these people not dead, they weren't even convicted yet!
- The White House wants to examine your shit... Literally!
In the ongoing war against drug users, the latest tactic is examination of your excrement for traces of cocaine.
Now we have drug companies inventing (!!) new diseases in order to gain more market spectrum and profits. Richard Ley, of the Association of the British Pharmecutical Industry, has this to say:
We provide information that there are treatments out there that might help certain conditions, but at the end of the day it is down to health professionals to decide if they are appropriate.My translation: "We just throw random chemicals together and call it science, and then we pay off the doctors to sell our stuff. Oh, but we're not actually saying that our drugs are for any particular purpose. Again, they're just random chemicals, You do what you want with them."
- The FDA comes out with 'New' evidence that marijuana has no medical value
This 'news' comes to us despite how testing marijuana is actually illegal in this country so they couldn't have done any real tests, despite how all the party's involved are a bunch of government-funded bureaucracies that certainly have their own agendas, despite hundreds of tests that show the contrary, despite the fact that, if the same standards were applied 30 years ago, even aspirin wouldn't have been approved by the FDA, despite the fact that people, since the beginning of time, have been able to responsibly use marijuana and no deaths directly attributable to it have been recorded. Yea, let's all congratulate the FDA on their new 'scientific evidence'.
And scariest of all:
- Bush Advisor, John Yoo, admits that Bush has the right to crush a child's testicals That recording was from a debate in December. Regardless of whether one has the right to torture a suspected terrorist or not, where does one get off saying that you can torture the suspect's family members, especially their children? These people are facists and should be taken out of power immediately!
Kind of makes one rethink the avian flu thing now doesn't it?
Oh, but you might say, "Ryan, that's not very libertarian of you to say that. Let the company sell what it wants to sell, it's your fault if you do something stupid with it. Let the market take care of it".
I might believe in the free market, but I don't have to stay quiet when a company does something I don't like, especially when it is in collusion with the government. This is far, far, removed from a free market. Currently, only the companies that are a part of the FDA elite are allowed to hock their wares.
The scariest thing about all of this is not that any of this has happened, but that there doesn't seem to be much outcry about it. When it was proven that Bush lied to us to get us into a war, I thought the People would revolt. We didn't. We don't seem to care about torture. We don't seem to care about domestic spying. We don't seem to care about anything that our government does anymore. We all seem to know that at least something they have done is unconstitutional. But where are the protests? We got Clinton impeached for far less. I think it's gotten so bad that maybe it's just too overwhelming and is just washing over us like the tide. I don't want to be lazy, I want to do my part, but it shouldn't be such a chore to dig this stuff up every day. We need to be proactive and refuse to put up with this sort of crap anymore. I'm still holding out for us, hoping that more people will gain the courage that Michael Badnarik has, that people will make the current regime accountable, that people's voices will be heard; I know that most of us still have one.
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