2003 January 1

(entry last updated: 2003-01-01 19:05:30)

Happy New Year! After a couple of days off, I’m going to have some catching up to do. Hope you had a safe and happy celebration. (These little pics are from the North Conway New Year’s Eve "Burning of the Greens" and fireworks display last night)
Firemen supervising the burn Looking over the crowd at fire and fireworks

  • Looks like it’s going to be Sklyarov all over again with this announcement that a U.K. programmer has released some code that cracks the Microsoft Reader format – he’s not claiming authorship, but is merely acting to distribute the work of others. The Slashdot discussion is worth a scan.

  • The New York Times, in an article titled Economy Intrudes on Dreams of New Services, gives a look at the challenges facing music distribution and copyright in the coming year – you need to go to page 3 of the online article to get to the discussion.

  • The Times also has a bizarre story on pending litigation over the use of ducks in the name/trademarks of a Long Island winery. Apparently, someone in California objects, saying that it’s an infringing use. The Long Island winery owner says “It’s not confusing,” he said. “Our duck is cute. Theirs is ugly.”

    As my wife said upon reading it, "What a bunch of quacks."

  • And Chief Justice Rhenquist’s annual report gets some coverage in the Times, with a set of statistics that was surprising to me, given recent rhetoric out of Washington:

    In his brief discussion of filling vacancies on the federal bench, the chief justice appeared to go out of his way to avoid apportioning blame for widely noted difficulties in the confirmation process. With a nod to the outgoing Democratic leadership of the Senate Judiciary Committee, he said that “we appreciate the fact that the Senate confirmed 100 judges during the 107th Congress.”

    That was a considerably faster pace than the Republicans set when they controlled the committee and were processing the Clinton administration’s nominations in the late 1990’s. Congress adjourned this year leaving 60 vacancies on the federal courts. For 29 of these, the Bush administration had not submitted nominations.

    OTOH, the fact that the actual Clinton-era statistics are not cited will certainly give the Times-bashers something to feed on if the difference is small.
    UPDATE: According to Justice Rhenquist’s 2001 report, only 28 judges were confirmed by the Senate in 2001 – 101 in 1994, 17 in 1996, 36 in 1997, and 39 in 2000