Letters to the editor for Jan. 18
Published: Friday, January 18, 2008 at 6:01 a.m.
Last Modified: Thursday, January 17, 2008 at 5:19 p.m.
Local government has a new motto
I just wanted to say "Happy New Year" to the Alachua County Commission and Gainesville City Commission. Thank you for all of the new taxes and fees that I'll get to pay as a result of them "feeling my pain," as it were.
For instance, I get to pay five cents more for gas. The price was already obscene due in large part to government taxation. Now it will be even larger. Hoorah to the county commission that would have us all believe they are advocates for the poor, and then turn around and drive a knife worth a nickel into their pocketbooks.
"Happy New Year" to the politicians who champion programs that are vacuuming up money for a program that still services a fraction of the population that we were all told needed help. How wise they are to keep tens of millions of unspent dollars in an interest-bearing account, while at the same time telling us that services will have to be cut if the homestead exemption is doubled. What they haven't told us is that our homes are going to be reassessed and the exemption will apply to a higher market value, so local government gets higher existing taxes and new taxes, too.
I am so excited that RTS has 12 new buses that will carry few if any paying customers, and I am just tickled that our local leaders are already putting together plans for increased impact fees along with another raise in our sales tax for recreation.
I am utterly underwhelmed by government which is supposed to be an advocate for all of its citizens. In Gainesville "customer no-service" has become the motto of local government with only a few exceptions.
Jeffrey H. Dissell,
Intelligent design is ill-founded
The letter from Samuel Lawson (Jan 11) indicates he is badly informed. First, there are no alternative theories to evolution with evidence to support them. Intelligent design (ID) has no real evidence, no facts, to support it.
The examples given by ID proponents Michael Behe and William Dembski have been shown not to even meet their own criteria of irreducible complexity. The claim that evolution cannot account for irreducible complexity was abolished by a 1918 model by H.J. Muller (Nobel Prize, 1946), later refined in 1939.
The questions Lawson asks (How does an eye form? etc.) have already been addressed, in one way or another, by evolutionary principles. And anatomical/physiological features do not appear spontaneously - that's the whole point of evolution that Lawson does not seem to understand. Evolution is more factual than ID because ID has no facts and because evolution is fact; it is observed in medical laboratories all the time.
No scientific theory is ever provable, in the sense that further investigation is halted. The theories of high energy physics are not provable, but the observations and experiments carried out in the past (atomic and hydrogen bombs) strongly indicate that they are probably true, because they work to a high degree of precision.
Until ID can provide evidence to support its ill-founded concepts and vague notions of a designer, it does not qualify as an alternative theory to evolution, and does not belong in a science classroom.
Wayne H. McCoy,
Copying CDs for personal use is not a criminal act
I have learned that the RIAA (Recording Industry Association of America) now believes that it is a criminal act if I save some of my old CD songs to my hard drive. Does this apply to all the other musical formats I have purchased?
I will use the Beatles album "Rubber Soul" as an example. I first bought this album in the 1960s as a 33 and 1/3 rpm vinyl record. Later I bought it again as an 8-track tape, and later a reel-to-reel tape, and then a cassette tape, and, finally a CD.
After buying "Rubber Soul" at least five times, I finally have the ability to copy my original "high fidelity" vinyl album to my PC and then create MP3 songs or CD compilations or whatever I want for my enjoyment of the songs. The RIAA says I am a criminal and violator of their protected copy rights for doing this. I say they are bullies and cowards.
I recall that there is a legal precedent from the Supreme Court that allows me a fair use "license" of content I have lawfully purchased including making copies for my personal use. Isn't my including a file transformation during the copy process a logical part of personal fair use?
I will continue my fair use of the audio content that I have more than fairly paid for and encourage others to lawfully use and enjoy their music!
If the RIAA wants to get serious about revenue loss due to piracy, they need to take on the real pirates here in the USA and in places like Russia and China.
If property tax cuts pass, school funding will suffer
Shannon Ritter's Speaking Out on career education in Alachua County (Jan. 7) was right on the mark.
I have been co-chair of the advisory board of Buchholz High's Academies of Entrepreneurship and Finance for several years and realize the importance of this and other excellent career education programs in Alachua County. The students graduate ready to go out into the world and get a good job or go on to college for further training.
That's the good news. The bad news is that the programs are grossly underfunded. The career and technical education budget was nearly 50 percent larger in 1990 than it is today. And in the early '90s, there were only three magnet academies. Now there are 13! Next year, there will be 14.
When the class-size referendum passed three years ago, schools had to add more teachers to their academic programs and money was taken from the CTE programs to cover the cost.
We citizens of Alachua County have a way of passing ballot issues without realizing the cost. We all want great education, but don't want to pay for it.
On January 29, we will have the opportunity to vote on a cut in property taxes. If the proposed referendum passes, funding for education will be cut even more. We must not let that happen.
Meyer wasn't questioning John Kerry's integrity
In response to John Carlo's Jan. 9 letter: He mistakenly thought that Andrew Meyer (before he was Tasered by UPD) was questioning Jon Kerry's integrity. What he was questioning - and what everyone talking about the right to free speech fails to talk about - was the legality of the 2004 election, the disenfranchisement of minority voters, a Bush impeachment for his dragging the country into an illegal war, and the Skull and Bones society, of whom both Kerry and Bush are members.
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