Archive for January, 2012

Gigli’s Photo of the Week

Tuesday, January 31st, 2012

Photography by Rich Gigli

High School Sweetheart-1956

A Dream by Edgar Allan Poe

In visions of the dark night
I have dreamed of joy departed-
But a waking dream of life and light
Hath left me broken-hearted.

Ah! what is not a dream by day
To him whose eyes are cast
On things around him with a ray
Turned back upon the past?

That holy dream- that holy dream,
While all the world were chiding,
Hath cheered me as a lovely beam
A lonely spirit guiding.

What though that light, thro’ storm and night,
So trembled from afar-
What could there be more purely bright
In Truth’s day-star?

Here’s Looking at You, Newt

Monday, January 30th, 2012

By Bob Gaydos

Having restored a sense of inevitability to the demolition derby known as the Republican presidential primary campaign, Vanilla Ice, a.k.a. Mitt Romney headed west from Florida with his sights set on the big payoff in Las Vegas. That may sound un-Mormonlike, but we’re talking votes here, not dollars. Besides, Mitt’s got more than enough cash on hand to buy the nomination on his own.

Before we get to Nevada, though, there are a couple of what should have been obvious facts worth mentioning in the wake of Romney’s thrashing of Newt Gingrich in Florida:
• Floridians are much smarter than South Carolinians.
• Gingrich is a shameless pig.
Let’s go with the pig first. Gingrich, of course, is famous for shooting his mouth off and making outrageous comments, which he stands by in the face of immediate criticism, but has been known to deny far enough into the future. He has said, for example:
• “It is tragic what we do in the poorest neighborhoods, entrapping children in child laws which are truly stupid …These schools should get rid of unionized janitors, have one master janitor, pay local students to take care of the school.”
• “We should replace bilingual education with immersion in English so people learn the common language of the country and they learn the language of prosperity, not the language of living in a ghetto.” A couple of years later, he posted a Spanish-language website.
• “Give the park police more ammo.” Responding to a reporter who asked what to do about the homeless a few days after the police shot a homeless man in front of the White House.
And so it should not have come as a shock to any Gingrich watcher to learn that, in Florida, coming off his defeat of Romney in South Carolina, Gingrich supporters unleashed a robocall campaign on primary day, aimed at the Sunshine State’s large Jewish population. Here is what the call said, verbatim: “As governor of Massachusetts, Mitt Romney vetoed a bill paying for kosher food for our seniors in nursing homes. Holocaust survivors, who for the first time, were forced to eat non-kosher, because Romney thought $5 was too much to pay for our grandparents to eat kosher. Where is Mitt Romney’s compassion for our seniors? Tuesday you can end Mitt Romney’s hypocrisy on religious freedom, with a vote for Newt Gingrich. Paid for by Newt 2012.”

Outrageous? Absolutely. True? Absolutely not.

The truth is that, as governor in 2003, facing a budget deficit, Romney vetoed a bill that would have added $600,000 for nursing homes to allow them to continue to cook kosher meals on site. The veto simply meant they would have to bus in kosher food that had been cooked elsewhere. No kosher food was denied and Romney did not cut the budget, he just kept it the same. And the nursing homes had proposed bringing in the kosher food themselves. In the end, the legislature overrode the veto.

So, total falsehood. Gingrich, of course, denied any knowledge of the call, however, campaigning Saturday, three days before the vote, he told a crowd, that Romney had “eliminated serving kosher food for elderly Jewish residents under Medicare.”
Newt’s pandering in Florida even extended to outer space. Recognizing its large population of space industry workers (many of them out of work) he pledged that by the end of his second term in office, the United States would not only have a colony on the moon, but he would actually fight for a “Northwest Ordinance for Space,” allowing the colonists to petition for statehood when their numbers reached 13,000.

Setting aside Puerto Rico’s longstanding claim to be the 51st state and the hundreds of billions of deficit-bulging dollars Newt’s moon colony would cost, Republican voters in the county heavily populated by space industry workers gave Romney a 7-point victory. Statewide, Romney gained 46 percent of the vote in a four-man race, with Gingrich well behind at 32 percent.

It wasn’t necessarily that Mitt was so much better a campaigner than he was in the three previous contests, as it was his super PAC spent about $12 million savaging Gingrich in TV and radio ad. But really, it was simply a case of Romney (or his surrogate PACs) giving Gingrich a taste of his own vile medicine. The ads returned the anger, hostility and nastiness Gingrich had heaped on Romney in South Carolina, with a dash of truth to make it all the more powerful.

Whereas the virtually all-white evangelical GOP voters of South Carolina chose to ignore Gingrich’s questionable character (serial adulterer, open-marriage fan, ethically challenged congressman), his penchant for rash statements with no regard for consequences (he will move the U.S. embassy in Israel to Jerusalem), his hypocritical anti-elitist/anti-establishment statements, and his smirky “I’m-smarter-than-you-so-I can-say-anything-I-damn-well-please, so there” attitude, Florida voters — not so homogenous or easily fooled — took another look at Romney.

Instead of Mr. Vanilla, the cardboard cutout, the flip-lopping, multi-millionaire champion of the 21st century, they saw something else. As Jennifer Rubin wrote in her “Right Turn” blog for The Washington Post, Gingrich’s slash-and-burn campaign and the support it received from many conservative Republicans who hate Romney (including Herman Cain and Sarah Palin) “provided … Romney with the ideal opponent, someone so undisciplined, so erratic and so amoral that what had seemed to be Romney’s flaws (e.g. hyper-preparedness, a lack of ideological fervor, a Boy Scout demeanor) emerged as great strengths (soberness, executive skill, reasonableness, good character).”
It’s all relative.

As the campaign heads to Nevada, I still don’t know what Mitt Romney really is. I do know that South Carolina should never have been let back into the union. And Republicans have let Newt Gingrich make a mockery of their party.

Farmers Go to Court On Our Behalf

Sunday, January 29th, 2012

By Shawn Dell Joyce

It’s not for money.

Rather, the Organic Seed Growers and Trade Association is suing Monsanto Corp., the genetic engineering giant, to protect itself from being accused of infringing patents on transgenic, or genetically modified, seed.

The seed growers filed suit on behalf of 300,000 organic farmers and growers who shun genetically modified organisms, or GMOs.

Monsanto’s seed monopoly has grown so powerful that it controls the genetics of nearly 90 percent of five major commodity crops: corn, soybeans, cotton, canola and sugar beets. This has resulted in onerous costs to farmers through high technology patent fees for seeds as well as burdensome litigation costs in defending themselves against lawsuits asserted by Monsanto, which has filed a motion to dismiss the current lawsuit.

This is ironic, considering how often Monsanto has dragged farmers through lawsuits. From 1997 through April 2010, Monsanto filed 144 suits against American farmers in at least 27 states, for alleged infringement of its transgenic seed patents and/or breach of its license to those patents, while settling another 700 out of court for undisclosed amounts. As a result of these aggressive lawsuits, farmers live in fear of accidental cross-pollination of their fields by genetically-engineered crops. Monsanto has generated an atmosphere of fear and loathing in rural America and driven dozens of farmers into bankruptcy.

“I don’t think it’s fair that Monsanto should be able to sue my family for patent infringement because their transgenic seed trespasses onto our farm and contaminates and ruins our organic crop,” testified farmer Bryce Stephens of Kansas-based Stephens’ Land and Cattle Co. “We have had to abandon raising corn because we are afraid Monsanto wouldn’t control their genetic pollution and then they would come after us for patent infringement. It’s not right.”

Some 200 million acres of the world’s farms grew biotech crops last year, with many of these farms located next to, or near, organic farms. Genetically Modified Organisms move around in the ecosystem through pollen, wind, and natural cross-fertilization. The Union of Concerned Scientists conducted two separate independent laboratory tests on non-modified seeds “representing a substantial proportion of the traditional seed supply” for corn, soy and oilseed rape.

The test found that half the corn and soy, and 83 percent of the oilseed rape were contaminated with modified genes eight years after the genetically modified varieties were first grown on a large scale in the United States.

The reports state that “Heedlessly allowing the contamination of traditional plant varieties with genetically engineered sequences amounts to a huge wager on our ability to understand a complicated technology that manipulates life at the most elemental level.” There could be “serious risks to health” if drugs and industrial chemicals from the next generation of GM crops were consumed in food.

Some organic and conventional farmers are forced to stop growing certain crops in order to avoid genetic contamination and potential lawsuits. Jim Gerritsen, the president of OSGATA and owner of Wood Prairie Farm in Maine states: “We are family farmers and we are in court to let the judge know that our survival as farmers depends on this lawsuit. We’re not asking Monsanto for one penny. We just want justice for our farmers and we want court protection from Monsanto.”

Money Talks …

Saturday, January 28th, 2012

By Jeffrey Page

Loathsome how the Republican right reduces everything to uncomplicated code, such as the one-word putdown “Obamacare.” It’s no longer news that “Obamacare” is based on the health care plan Mitt Romney introduced in Massachusetts when he was governor. What matters is that the message is succinct enough to be understood without lengthy explanation. As in Barak is Devil. Barak is Bad Man. It means nothing, but a lot of people buy it.

Isn’t it revealing that the right slanders President Obama as a Marxist or a socialist for his assertiveness for universal health care when even Romney’s harshest critics don’t go near the M-word or the S-word in describing him.

Nor do Romney’s political assailants come even close to describing him as a communist and a fascist, two labels I’ve heard radio geniuses slap on President Obama – in the same breathless sentence.

What brings this to mind, yet again, is the story that circulated over the weekend about Rick Santorum’s 3-year old daughter Bella being hospitalized. She suffers from a serious genetic disorder known as Trisomy 18. Santorum did what any dad would do. He ceased campaigning in Florida and returned north to Bella’s side. Anyone with an ounce of decency, and the wherewithal to exist if the boss says no-you-can’t-take-off, would have done the same thing.

But it got me to thinking how much easier it is to do the right thing when you can afford to do it, when you can tell the boss to get out of your way, when you can get appropriate treatment for your little girl and not worry about the price of care or medication, when you have enough money on hand to pay for the doctor or the mortgage but not both.

Santorum, among the sharp critics of “Obamacare,” made $1.3 million for the 15-month period ending last August. A lawyer in Monticello I wrote about years ago once told me about the danger and the folly of counting other people’s money. And I subscribed to that until now. It is a fact: Rick Santorum can afford health care.

Newt Gingrich, aside from his $500,000 line of credit at Tiffany’s (sorry, I couldn’t resist), reported a 2010 income of $3.1 million. Right, he didn’t get it for being a lobbyist – oh perish the thought – but as someone offering historical perspective to people who hire lobbyists, some from Newt’s own firm. It is a fact: Newt Gingrich can afford health care.

Mitt Romney reported combined 2010 and 2011 income at $42.6 million. It is a fact: Romney can afford health care.

They all can afford health care but have the nerve to dismiss critics of their opposition to the national plan as soldiers in the armies of class warfare. But it’s the right that has declared the war, suggesting that if your daughter suffered from Trisomy 18, you’d be an unworthy, entitlement-grabbing enemy of the nation in asking that your kid be treated at the same level as Bella Santorum.

Let there be no misunderstanding. Santorum’s daughter deserves the best treatment available. So does every other 3-year old who’s sick. For political candidates with seven- and eight-figure incomes to deny such care is to define wretchedness.

Occupy Movement Coming to Orange

Thursday, January 26th, 2012

By Michael Kaufman

The “Occupy” movement is about to set up tent in Orange County Feb. 2, thanks to a number of local activists inspired by the ongoing Occupy Wall Street (OWS) campaign. “It is truly amazing how a small, leaderless movement centered in a half-acre park in lower Manhattan captured the imagination of the world and rapidly spread to over 80 countries and 1,000 cities,” says Newburgh resident Bennett Weiss. 

Weiss, a jewelry and arts and crafts maker, says the last year will be remembered as “the year ordinary people took to the streets. From Tahrir Square in Cairo to Madison, Wisconsin, something special was happening: Voices long silenced by fear or deadened by hopelessness rang out in protest. No movement better encapsulates the raw and awesome power of people coming together in new and vital ways than the Occupy movement. And now it’s coming to Orange County.”

Weiss, of course, is one of the organizers. A longtime activist for peace and social justice he was a frequent visitor to Zuccotti Park before protesters were forcibly removed by police. He was also the organizer of a September “Rally for Economic Justice” in New Canaan, Connecticut, home to more than a few well-to-do corporate executives, including General Electric CEO Jeffrey Immelt. “What better place to demonstrate against the concentration of wealth than one of the places where it is concentrated,” he said at the time.

During his visits to Zuccotti Park he created and distributed more than 3,000 buttons bearing messages, such as “Economic Justice,” “Wake Up From the American Dream, Create A Livable American Reality” and “We’re the 99 Percent.” These activities were described in an article in the Times Herald-Record, eliciting a sarcastic comment from a reader who suggested that by accepting donations for the buttons Weiss was “exercising his rights under our capitalistic system to make money and take a shot at being among the one percent.” This, the reader suggested, seemed “somehow counter intuitive for the OWS crowd.”

Weiss calmly replied, “I don’t ask a penny for my buttons, but rather state clearly and emphatically when asked how much my buttons are, ‘Please make a small donation if it’s easy to do so and please do NOT make any donation if it’s not easy… all I ask is that you wear your button all the time.’ Doing this, I have raised money for a cause I strongly believe in, paid for my button costs, given away thousands of free buttons, and had the good fortune to meet and talk to some of the most dedicated and interesting people. 
“But perhaps more to the point,” he continued, “I DO understand your cynicism. We live in a culture where the bottom line is all that makes sense and greed is the only plausible explanation for hard work. We have arrived at a place where venality is considered the norm and claims of non-monetary motivation are suspect. How sad.”

Weiss says the launching of Occupy Orange will be anything but sad. “This meeting will be a  celebration of the momentous successes of the past year, a pep rally to keep our  spirits high for the  challenges that lie ahead, and an opportunity to learn  firsthand from experienced Occupiers what it’s like on the ground  (sometimes  literally on the ground) of an Occupy site.  There will be great food, music, and speakers from unions and community groups.” 

Sponsoring groups thus far include Orange County Peace and Justice, CSEA of Orange County,   Democratic Alliance, Community Voices Heard of Newburgh, and District 1199, Service Employees International Union. 1199 members were among the earliest trade unionists to show support for OWS.

“The Occupy movement, by raising awareness of the massive dissatisfaction with economic injustice has started a vigorous dialogue that we will keep open,” says Weiss. “Whether your primary concerns are local, as in the case of the Valley View Nursing home closure, regional, as in the case of our escalating home foreclosure rate, or global, as in climate change and never-ending wars, you will find  that promoting economic justice  plays a big part of the solution.”

Diane Newlander of New Windsor, agrees. I’ve been to Occupy groups on Wall Street, in New Paltz and Poughkeepsie, and wondered why there was no ‘Occupy  Orange.’ Now that it is 2012, the time has come to get organized. We are the 99%.  Join us!”

Weiss says there will be “great food” served at the Feb. 2 event but attendees are also encouraged to bring canned goods for a food drive to benefit the needy of our community. The first Occupy Orange meeting will begin at 6:30 p.m., Thursday, Feb. 2, at Mulberry House, 62-70 West Main, Middletown. “It’s going to be a lively, dynamic extravaganza,” he quips. “I guarantee it or your money back. There’ll be lots of politics, philosophy and pizza for all.”

And if Newlander’s name seems familiar, it is. She has served as chair of New Windsor Concerned Citizens, and was a member of the New York State Advisory Panel on Transportation Policy for 2025. She also was president of the League of Women Voters of Orange County. Her involvement is but one example of Main Street joining with Occupy Wall Street in the fight for economic justice. And if you haven’t figured it out yet, it’s the economy, stupid.
 Michael can be reached at

Gigli’s Photo of the Week

Wednesday, January 25th, 2012

Photography by Rich Gigli

Cadillac Mountain, Acadia National Park, Maine.

Cadillac Mountain, Acadia National Park, at 1,530 feet, is the tallest mountain on Mount Desert Island and the highest point along the North Atlantic seaboard and the first place in America to see the sunrise.

Alternatives to Road Salt

Monday, January 23rd, 2012

By Shawn Dell Joyce
Winter weather has struck hard this year, and many people and municipalities are pouring on the road salt. According to the National Research Council (NRC), we Americans dump 8 million to 12 million tons of salt on our roads per year.

Massachusetts, New Hampshire, and New York report the highest level of salt use, with New York weighing in at 500,000 tons per year. The New York State Department of Transportation requires a road-salt application rate of 225 lbs. per lane-mile for light snow and 270 lbs. per lane-mile for each application during rapidly accumulating snow.

When you consider that there are approximately 6,000 miles of paved roadways near New York watersheds, you begin to see how all that road salt adds up. Some roads may get up to 300 tons of salt per lane-mile each year. Recently, many scientists have begun to study the effects of so much road salt on ecosystems, water quality, public health and road quality. Here are a few things you should know before your break out that sodium chloride (NaCl) the most commonly used deicer:

–Salt destroys soil structure by killing some bacteria. This allows more soil to erode into streams, taking the salt with it. Salt erosion contaminates drinking-water supplies to levels that exceed standards.

–Salt doesn’t evaporate or otherwise get removed once applied. So it remains a persistent risk to aquatic ecosystems and to water quality. Approximately 55 percent of road salt runs off with snow melt into streams, with the remaining 45 percent infiltrating through soils and into groundwater aquifers according to a 1993 study.

–Salt slowly kills trees, especially white pines, and other roadside plants. The loss of indigenous plants and trees on roadsides allows hardier salt-tolerant species to take over.

–Salt can change water chemistry, causing minerals to leach out of the soil, and it increases the acidity of water, according to Dr. Stephen Norton, a professor of Geological Sciences at the University of Maine.

–Salt cracks animals’ paws. House pets are particularly susceptible.

–Road salt seeping into drinking water changes its flavor, and supplies the excess dietary sodium associated with hypertension.

–Salt corrodes metals like automobile brake linings, frames, and bumpers, and can cause cosmetic corrosion. Auto makers pay almost $4 billion a year in efforts to prevent this.

–Salt can penetrate concrete to corrode the reinforcing rods of bridges.
Canada is considering classifying conventional deicers as toxic substances under the Canadian Environmental Protection Act. California and Nevada restrict road salt use in certain areas to reduce damage to roadside vegetation. Massachusetts is using alternative deicers to prevent contamination of drinking water. New York is considering doing the same to protect New York City’s watershed.

There are alternatives to sodium chloride that are relatively harmless to the environment and still get the job done. Calcium magnesium acetate (CMA) and potassium acetate (KA) are two such alternatives currently available. They are much more expensive than salt, but if you factor in the loss of wildlife, soil erosion, water quality and corrosion, these alternatives start to look like a real bargain.

Shawn Dell Joyce is the director of the Wallkill River School of Art in Montgomery.

Lending a Hand

Sunday, January 22nd, 2012

By Jeffrey Page
The first thing I did on my first day of retirement was to drive to Edenville and have a celebratory breakfast (just me and The Times) at Country Dream, the great little restaurant just off County 1.

The second thing I did was call a couple of friends and ask them to keep me in mind for freelance writing and editing assignments.

Third, I called Jewish Family Service in Middletown and asked if they needed a volunteer. You should know that you don’t have to be Jewish to work for this organization, or to take advantage of its services. By way of background: I’d never signed up for volunteer work while I was commuting 450 miles a week to The Record in Hackensack. Now I had the time.

I spoke with Margie Faber at JFS and agreed to be a driver. I would have no set schedule. Instead, Margie would contact me several days ahead of time to see if I was available to drive someone to a doctor’s appointment.

The people needing rides might be too old to drive themselves safely, or without cars of their own. Some normally rely on a friend or relative but occasionally need a volunteer.

The first woman I drove turned out to be a former parishioner at Our Lady of Czestochowa Church in Jersey City. She was very impressed that I knew how to pronounce it. I told her that was because I used to cover the neighborhood for The Jersey Journal, a paper she’d read every day before moving to Orange County. Whenever I drove her for treatmwnt we talked about Jersey City and what I great town it was, and remains. I was devastated when she died about a year later; it was like a member of my family had passed.

Two of my more frequent riders are a retired Wall Street broker and his wife. He manages to ignore my question every time I ask about the quickest and safest way to get rich. “God, if I only knew,” he says.

I drive this couple to their dental appointments. When we’re heading back to the car, she usually calls him over and says, “A little kiss,” and he leans down to oblige.

There’s the Spanish speaking woman who let me know that she liked my pronunciation, and who handed me $5 for gas money that I returned to her. This encounter left me wondering: Do I turn down the $5 in the name of volunteerism? Or do I accept it in the name of helping someone maintain her dignity and self-respect? I think it’s the latter but I’m uncertain. I have to talk to Margie about that.

I drive a guy to his doctor. The patient tells me how much he hates the New York Giants. “Hate?” I say. “Hate,” he says. “How can you hate the local team that’s going to the Super Bowl?” I say. “They’re not the Jets,” he says. The doctor wants him to stop smoking. No way, he says.

It’s been said before. Volunteers often get as much out of their work as the people they assist. That’s the truth.

If I hadn’t signed up with Margie, I might never have met the fabulous 96-year old woman I take to the podiatrist and the eye doctor. Her children live far off. They are not well.

“I did what I could for them,” she says. “I wish I still could.” Then she changes the subject and tells me about all her years as a volunteer at a senior citizens facility in New Jersey. “I can’t complain. When I was in Jersey I helped stroke victims who couldn’t move so good anymore. You know what it’s like after a stroke?” she says. “I would get a container for them and pour their coffee. If they couldn’t do it themselves, I’d add some sugar for them.

“People need a hand sometimes,” she says.

Sound interesting? JFS (845-341-1173) is always looking for volunteers.

Carrie’s Painting of the Week

Wednesday, January 18th, 2012

Rainbow Sunflowers

By Carrie Jacobson
Winter has settled in for what appears to be a short visit. I find I’m liking the snow, how it half-covers the still green grass, the unraked leaves, the tree trunks downed by the summer’s storms.

I like the white sky and how the patches of white above and below show off the tips of the bushes in the yard, reddening with the whispered promise of spring.

I heard a spring bird four days ago, and doubted my ears. Heard it again three days ago. And today, Peter says there are bluebirds in the grove.

So I have painted sunflowers, sunflowers of wild, marbled colors, sunflowers that sing with the song of summer birds, come calling in the winter’s snow.

This painting is part of the Passages project – 100 10-inch by 10-inch paintings, each on sale for $100. Please email me at if you’re interested in this one, and check my website to see more of these paintings!

The Dangers of SOPA and PIPA

Tuesday, January 17th, 2012

By Jason Poggioli
Many Internet sites staged an online demonstration protesting two pieces of legislation currently making their way through Congress, the Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA) authored by Lamar Smith (R-Texas) and the Protect Intellectual Property Act (PIPA) by Patrick Leahy (D-Vermont). While these bills have been written with the  intention of protecting people who make a living creating intellectual property, the actual enforcement of these proposed laws can effectively end the concept of free speech on the Internet.

The list of Internet sites opposing these two bills is staggering. Among them are Google, AOL, Ebay, Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, Yahoo, Wikipedia, Craigslist, Wired, and WordPress, the company behind the software running this blog.

To be clear, the bills are coming from good intentions. It’s understandable that creators of content, whether it be books, movies, music, or anything else, should want to make sure their product isn’t getting passed around for free. However, the way these bills are going about it is not only wrong but have been drafted inside staggering clouds of ignorance regarding how the Internet works. There are many more in-depth writings analyzing these bills such as this one, but here’s a quick summary.

First, the bills aren’t aimed at stopping piracy, but at forcing operators of web sites to stop linking to other sites identified by copyright lawyers as engaging in copyright infringement. At first this sounds like a fine plan, but when you begin to get into the details you start to uncover a myriad of instances where this would be not only unfairly burdensome to sites like this one, but nearly impossible for sites like Google, which operates a search engine in a completely automated fashion. Many sites, such as, are based on the democratic concept of users submitting interesting links while other users vote on those links. The links gathering most votes get seen by more readers. Should a site like Reddit receive a take-down notice it would need to find and remove the offending user-submitted content from its entire site as well as continue to monitor all future submissions. This is only the most basic example.

Secondly, the bills won’t actually stop piracy because the Internet is a worldwide communications system. Sites dedicated to the transmission of copyrighted material can simply set up shop offshore where U.S. authorities can’t get to them. Which means sites left operating in the United States would be instructed not link to them. Then, once an overseas site has been targeted it could easily change domain names and keep its operations going. The end result being that law enforcement spends all its time haranguing legal sites here, trying to play whack-a-mole with links to overseas sites, while being completely ineffectual in stopping piracy.

There are many other reasons why these bills are not only ineffectual, but bad for the Internet. New startup companies would be forced to spend more time, effort, and money covering themselves legally for a useless law. Given the broad wording of the bills as to what constitutes “copyrighted material” and therefore who can bring about these claims, there is a strong potential for abuse. I urge you to read more on this topic.

Finally, there remains the very real issue of piracy. At the core of the problem is anything created that can be digitized into ones and zeros can then be copied millions of times with the simple click of a button. With the rapid spread of technology, virtually any intellectual property (often referred to as IP) is susceptible to this kind of rampant copying. Attempting to require rightful payment to the creators of that intellectual property is going to be the challenge for the foreseeable future. There are very smart people debating this issue daily around the world. At one extreme is the idea that it is absolutely impossible to lock down IP and we have simply entered an age in which paying someone for their IP is now subject to the honor system. At the other extreme is the idea that it’s possible to lock down content and force people to pay, while at the same time not interfering with the normal and legal operations of the Internet.

I’m not certain what the ultimate solution to this problem can be, but I know that these proposed laws are not it. Although at the time of this writing our Senators from New York, Kristen Gillibrand and Chuck Schumer, seem to think they are a good idea.