Here on earth, God’s work must truly be our own

thank you,


Listening to this, I wonder why the title wasn’t the line that defined Kennedy’s first inaugural. My favorite line:

Let both sides seek to invoke the wonders of science instead of its terrors. Together let us explore the stars, conquer the deserts, eradicate disease, tap the ocean depths, and encourage the arts and commerce.

Yeah, let’s seek that, ok?


Cyberwar 1.0 beta

singularityCan you believe it?

People are voluntarily joining botnets!

I mean. Botnets? Intentional zombification of your computer? Are you sure that’s … you know … wise?

If Wikileaks broke the Espionage Act, so did the NYT!

Because they got the data too. Others who have broken the 90 year old Espionage Act include e.e. cummings.

Don’t worry – Congress is ready with the SHIELD act!

That’s the Securing Human Intelligence and Enforcing Lawful Dissemination Act for those of you who were worried that there wasn’t an awesome acronym!

Houston. We have a little problem handling our approach to the Singularity, please advise.

The photo is by sf à gogo and you can see her work in the Flickriver.

like a rat.

Trapped by Lincolnian

From The Real-Life ‘24’ of Summer 2008 by Frank Rich:

We know what a criminal White House looks like from “The Final Days,” Bob Woodward and Carl Bernstein’s classic account of Richard Nixon’s unraveling. The cauldron of lies, paranoia and illegal surveillance boiled over, until it was finally every man for himself as desperate courtiers scrambled to save their reputations and, in a few patriotic instances, their country…

(dark comedy about Nixon’s confidantes waiting for him to be taken down but Bush’s going straight to press)

…Nixon parallels take us only so far, however. “The Dark Side” is scarier than “The Final Days” because these final days aren’t over yet and because the stakes are much higher. Watergate was all about a paranoid president’s narcissistic determination to cling to power at any cost. In Ms. Mayer’s portrayal of the Bush White House, the president is a secondary, even passive, figure, and the motives invoked by Mr. Cheney to restore Nixon-style executive powers are theoretically selfless. Possessed by the ticking-bomb scenarios of television’s “24,” all they want to do is protect America from further terrorist strikes.

So what if they cut corners, the administration’s last defenders argue. While prissy lawyers insist on habeas corpus and court-issued wiretap warrants, the rest of us are being kept safe by the Cheney posse.

(cue spooky music and exit to strains of torture, lies and the destruction of our nation’s moral compass)

The photo is Trapped by Lincolnian and is part of his Abstracts set. I liked the old postboxes too.

Let’s Go Crazy with John, Marcia, Prince, YouTube and the Massive Media

No Room for Trees in Times Square by Raymond

My attorney and friend Enrico pointed out his post Digital Millennium Lawsuit Against Universal Music Publishing. It’s an interesting case that could set precedent for how we are allowed to live our lives amid an ever growing cloud of media.

He’s sponsored an interview with Marcia Hoffman of the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF). Ms. Hoffman is the lead attorney representing YouTube contributor Stephanie Lenz against Universal Music Publishing Group, who recently shut down Ms. Lenz’ YouTube home video of her toddler son dancing to a Prince song on the internet with a bogus take down notice to YouTube. The whole interview is interesting and you should definitely check it out. Here’s a little…

…JOHN: Well, being a musician myself, I always understood that somebody can not take a song that I’ve copyrighted and make a profit off of it. How is this lady making a profit off of this little clip of her toddlers dancing on You Tube?

MARCIA: Well, that’s really part of the situation here. Very a much a part of the whole picture. The way that copyright law works is that while your creative works may be protected and other people can’t use them in ways you don’t like, people really do have a legitimate right to use your material in certain ways without your permission, and under the law, you have a right to make what’s called fair use of other people’s copyrighted material …

JOHN: Well, I can see why you might get involved in something like this. It certainly seems like Universal Music Group doesn’t have much of a foot to stand on in this debate, but how does EFF get involved in a matter like this?

MARCIA: Well, you know, we’re very concerned about situations like this. We want internet users to feel free to make the full use of the internet that they can. And to take other’s material and you know make transformative uses of it and create new things. I mean that’s one of the main goals behind copyright law is to encourage innovation and we feel that the internet is an incredible capability for distributing your work. What we really worry about in situations like this, is that when people make frivolous take down claims like this, it really discourages internet users from using sites like You Tube to distribute their work and you know many people I think receive a take down notice like this or hear that one has been made and even if they’re on good legal footing, they’re very intimidated by the fact that a big company is upset with something that they’ve done and has taken some sort of a legal action against them and so we just want to make sure that people understand that they have certain rights to do certain things with copyrighted material and we don’t want them to feel that they’re so intimidated that they would not like to distribute works that they’ve made to others. You know it’s also a free speech issue. We don’t want people to feel that they can’t say certain things or make certain criticisms about people online because they’re constantly fearing that they may be subject to some legal action for it.

About the photo: The photo is titled No Room for Trees in Times Square and Raymond says that this photo is best viewed large and I quite agree. He asks How many advertisements can they possibly squeeze into this place? I ask: If Universal Music’s contention is upheld, how could you ever take a photograph in Times Square or any urban environment without fear of a takedown order? We’ve got to get off this path of limiting people’s rights in regards to media because every day, the media penetrates our lives more.

Raymond has a whole lot more photos of NYC and the people in it that I think you’ll enjoy.

The map is not the terrain

free from copyright in the name of the dream

Those who’ve followed the career of the Artist formerly known as the Artist formerly known as Prince will probably find it no surprise that he’s right there pushing on the bounds of the music business. Wired’s Eliot Van Buskirk deconstructs the recent hubbub around Prince’s deal to distribute free CDs to those who buy a special edition of the July 15 Mail on Sunday newspaper or attend one of his UK shows. In retaliation, his label Sony/BMG has refused to distribute the album in Great Britain, and a music industry wag remarked:

…people like (Prince) play a key part in helping figure out what the models may be in the music business of tomorrow, by giving away a whole album on the front of a newspaper, there is a very clear devaluing of music, which is not a positive message to send out right now.”

Buskirk points out that Prince will probably rake in millions from his “devaluing” end-run around his own label and points out that it’s the copies, not songs, that are becoming worthless in the digital age. After reading Buskirk’s excellent Prince Points the Way to a Brighter Future for Music, I was struck by the immense possibilities for all kinds of artists and media producers to capture more value – not less – from their work.

Rarely when I hunt for a photo do I find one that so elegantly dovetails as this one. It’s titled rosita: free from copyright in the name of the dream and it demonstrates that the wealth to be gained from valuing the art over the copy doesn’t have to be monetary.

Can you fill the sound of silence with the clatter of coin??

Radio SilenceI sort of ripped this off from myselftwice … but I’d like to interrupt this blog to let you know that I stand with the many internet radio stations that will observe a national Day of Silence today. Royalty rates for webcasters have been drastically increased by a recent ruling and are due to go into effect on July 15, 2007 (retroactive to Jan 1, 2006 – what the heck is up with THAT?? How about a law retroactive to the pre-cambrian era that forbids the RIAA/MPAA from hiring lawyers?). If the increased rates remain unchanged, the majority of webcasters will go bankrupt and silent on this date. Internet radio stations currently pay a fee based on revenues, something that works very well for an industry that is just getting started.

The internet has been built upon the philosophy of free exchange of information. While actions like this, current suits against YouTube and attacks on net neutrality are billed as protecting the rights of copyright holders and media producers, they also have the effect of making it fantastically more difficult to share creative commons content by attacking the networks and web services over which it is shared. YouTube is an easy target as everyone knows it’s just a haven for other people’s copyrighted content … except that it isn’t. Not always. There’s more and more original content on these services every day and I have to believe that this poses a threat to established media companies *cough* ClearChannel *cough*.

Anyway, please take a moment to contact your representatives and tell them that you support the Internet Radio Equality Act has recently been introduced in both the House and Senate to save the Internet radio industry.

Much more information at the SaveNetRadio Coalition web site.

Human Growth and The Fluoride Uncertainty Theory

 The Fluoride Uncertainty Theory by Judge Mental

My latest entry in the They should just rename Gmail’s web clips feature to ‘blog food’ category is The Growth Hormone Myth: What athletes, fans, and the sports media don’t understand about HGH in Slate. I learned a thing or two for sure.

This Week’s Photo: The Fluoride Uncertainty Theory by Judge Mental is probably one of the most ignored scientific works of this or any age. As long as that age is “12” or divisible by 37.

They’re just LINES … aren’t they?

me da medio (it gives me fear)

According to the boringly titled Military Expands Intelligence Role in U.S. in the New York Times, the CIA and US Military are apparently using something called “noncompulsory national security letters” to request the financial records of Americans suspected of terrorism & espionage. Congress rejected attempts by both agencies to issue mandatory letters 5 years ago but banks and other institutions are complying with the requests.

Some national security experts and civil liberties advocates are troubled by the C.I.A. and military taking on domestic intelligence activities, particularly in light of recent disclosures that the Counterintelligence Field Activity office had maintained files on Iraq war protesters in the United States in violation of the military’s own guidelines. Some experts say the Pentagon has adopted an overly expansive view of its domestic role under the guise of “force protection,” or efforts to guard military installations.

“There’s a strong tradition of not using our military for domestic law enforcement,” said Elizabeth Rindskopf Parker, a former general counsel at both the National Security Agency and the C.I.A. who is the dean at the McGeorge School of Law at the University of the Pacific. “They’re moving into territory where historically they have not been authorized or presumed to be operating.”

Similarly, John Radsan, an assistant general counsel at the C.I.A. from 2002 to 2004 and now a law professor at William Mitchell College of Law in St. Paul, said, “The C.I.A. is not supposed to have any law enforcement powers, or internal security functions, so if they’ve been issuing their own national security letters, they better be able to explain how they don’t cross the line.”

If we are allowing the CIA and military to violate their charters now, how would those powers multiply following a terrorist incident? I am certainly not advocating the government turn a blind eye toward domestic terrorism or espionage. What I most certainly do advocate is using this thing called the FBI to investigate these cases. There are very good reasons that the CIA and military are supposed to be barred from such activities, not the least of which is guarding against waking up to the orders of Generalissimo Presidente…

About the photo: Me Da Miedo translates as “It Gives Me Fear”. The photo was taken by Venuz in Bogata, Columbia. 2 years of college Spanish aside, I can’t read the comments on the photo…

Barry Goldwater is spinning the dials … or spinning in his grave

Ham Radio QSL Cards - Barry Goldwater

When Garrison Keillor is pissed, you know things are bad. He has a very brief article saying that with our suspension of habeus corpus, we take a step toward totalitarianism. You really should read it but if you’re too busy,

It’s good that Barry Goldwater is dead because this (vote by 65 senators) would have killed him. Go back to the Senate of 1964 — Goldwater, Dirksen, Russell, McCarthy, Javits, Morse, Fulbright — and you won’t find more than 10 votes for it.

None of the men and women who voted for this bill has any right to speak in public about the rule of law anymore, or to take a high moral view of the Third Reich, or to wax poetic about the American Idea. (more)

Regarding this photo, KB8WFH, a shortwave operator says Barry Goldwater, former senator and presidential candidate was a ham. I have a card from his memorial radio station.  The “QSL” cards are post cards that Ham Radio operators send each other to confirm contacts with each other.   Read more by visiting him.