liberals and conservatives

Heheh. My friend Ovi sent this out on our messageboard last week, and I thought it would be a good thing to share on this blog. The humor and the irony of the points made in this video had me rolling with laughter, especially the comment about mammon. At the same time, I take a similar viewpoint to the video citing that real improvement and change starts with the individual, not the system.

orphaned works legislation

I read about this on several artist blogs and heard it on email the past few weeks. This is highly alarming to anyone out there making a living from art. First, the definition of what is at stake:

An Orphaned Work is any creative work of art where the artist or copyright owner has released their copyright, whether on purpose, by passage of time, or by lack of proper registration. In the same way that an orphaned child loses the protection of his or her parents, your creative work can become an orphan for others to use without your permission.

It doesn’t get any better either… What they are attempting to do is redefine what an orphaned work is, and require those that create the work to register it with a mandatory system that is presently not required.

It is currently against international law to coerce people to register their work for copyright because there are so many inherent problems with it. But because big business can push through laws in the United States, our country is about to break with the rest of the world, again, and take your rights away.

With the tens of millions of photos and pieces of artwork created each year, the bounty for forcing everyone to pay a registration fee would be enormous. We lose our rights and our creations, and someone else makes money at our expense.

This includes every sketch, painting, photo, sculpture, drawing, video, song and every other type of creative endeavor. All of it is at risk!

If the Orphan Works legislation passes, you and I and all creatives will lose virtually all the rights to not only our future work but to everything we’ve created over the past 34 years, unless we register it with the new, untested and privately run (by the friends and cronies of the U.S. government) registries. Even then, there is no guarantee that someone wishing to steal your personal creations won’t successfully call your work an orphan work, and then legally use it for free.

In short, if Congress passes this law, YOU WILL LOSE THE RIGHT TO MAKE MONEY FROM YOUR OWN CREATIONS!

Click here to read rest of AWN article
Click here to read about Orphan Works legislation on wikipedia

cambodian culture and photography

These are some fantastic pictures of Cambodia from National Geographic.

I was always intrigued by this part of the world. The way their temple architecture intertwines surrounding foliage looks like a future civilization where environment has integrated with structure. Cambodia has an interesting political history, with social revolution and many changes fertile in its wake.

Dancers in traditional Khmer dress prepare to perform at the Angkor temple complex. Khmer culture almost vanished during the bloody reign of the Khmer Rouge communists in the 1970s, but Cambodians today are reclaiming their inheritance.

khmer dancers

Giant strangler fig tree roots embrace the crumbling Ta Prohm temple at Angkor. Although the forest has overrun this sacred site, it has largely escaped the looting that decimated many of its fellow Cambodian temples.

ta prohm temple

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tibetan protest impacting the election in taiwan

tibetan monks

Tibetan monks, nuns and other Tibetan supporters stage a candlelight vigil by walking around the Swyambhunath Stupa in Katmandu. The march was another display of solidarity with Tibetans in Tibet, and occurred shortly after the protest on Monday.

The unrest has created shock waves in another volatile region on China’s periphery, shaking up the presidential election in Taiwan and sapping support for the candidate Beijing had hoped would win handily. The suppression of Tibet protests by Chinese security forces, as well as missteps by the Nationalist Party, which Beijing favors, have nearly erased what had seemed like an insuperable lead for Ma Ying-jeou, the Harvard-educated lawyer who has been the front-runner in the race.

Concern that China’s crackdown could herald a tougher line on outlying regions that Beijing claims as sovereign territory, including Taiwan, has become the most contested campaign issue ahead of Saturday’s election.

ma ying jeou

On Thursday, China acknowledged for the first time that security forces had opened fire on Tibetan protesters in Sichuan Province, while also saying that protests had spread to several areas of China where ethnic Tibetans live.

Even if Mr. Ma wins, the election may now give him a weaker mandate for his goal of pursuing closer economic ties and reduced diplomatic tensions with China.

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gold at $950 after record high

If you live in the US and are paying attention to economics, you know that the value of the dollar has been dropping. In fact, it has down nearly 40% against the Euro since 2001. Is this a thing of concern? Some would say no, and that it is a down-swing that will inevitably see an up-swing. Others feel that the nucleus of the issue has not been resolved by the continual injection of fiat currency into the stock market and economy. Still others sit in the middle, analyzing both sides and advising that one should be humble in attempting to predict something as complex as the economy. One thing is for certain in short-term:

As the value of the dollar continues downward fluctuation, so the value of other investments increases. Will it be something that continues to trend on a longer arch? Only time will tell.

dollar collapse

LONDON (Thomson Financial) – Gold was steady heading into the afternoon in London, consolidating below the 950 usd mark after hitting a fresh record-high yesterday on heightened fears of a recession in the US.

Dollar weakness and recession fears have seen money pouring into gold, with investors using bullion as an alternative investment to the most common form of currency reserves and as a store of wealth during the ongoing economic turmoil.

Inflation concerns are also providing support, with oil still close to the 100 usd mark and costs rising in the US and Europe, the prospect of a return to stagflation has piqued buying interest in gold.

article source

net neutrality: HR 5353

For those of you who don’t know about the bill HR 5353, take some time and do some research on it. The internet is one of the last frontiers of free information and ideas, so it’s important to protect it to ensure that the trend continues.

Click here to download and read the bill in PDF format.

Reps. Ed Markey (D-Mass.) and Chip Pickering (R-Miss.) today launched the latest salvo in the struggle to keep the Internet free from gatekeepers with the introduction of the “Internet Freedom Preservation Act of 2008” (HR 5353).

The bipartisan bill protects Net Neutrality under the Communications Act and calls for a nationwide conversation to set policy about the future of the Internet.

The legislation gives hope to the millions of Americans who have called for action to ensure that the public — not phone and cable companies — control the fate of the Internet.

Taking it Public

The new bill calls on the FCC to convene at least eight “broadband summits” to collect public input on a variety of policies “that will promote openness, competition, innovation, and affordable, ubiquitous broadband service for all individuals in the United States.”

Taking the issue outside the Beltway — and beyond the corrosive influence of telecom lobbyists — is an encouraging sign for communities across the country that stand to benefit from the enormous economic and social benefits of an open Internet.

Big phone and cable companies like AT&T, Verizon, Comcast and Time Warner have padded the pockets of Washington lawyers, lobbyists and shills to kill Net Neutrality and pave the way for “network management” practices that allow blocking of certain content in favor of Web sites and services the companies prefer.

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collective rights of a society

Below is a debate I just listened to that raised some great issues. It was recorded at the National Constitution Center. The overarching theme, I think, was in relation to a collective society’s operative knowledge of what rights a public official is mandated. Namely, the president. In that respect, the authority of leaders determine a society’s rights that fall under their jurisdiction, so it is important to be aware of what regulations come into play when discussing the system.

Click here to listen to the debate.

Larry J. Sabato, founder and director of the Center for Politics at the University of Virginia and author of “Divided States of America” will debate with the authors of “The Genius of America: How the Constitution Saved Our Country and Why It Can Again”, Michael Oreskes, executive editor of the International Herald Tribune and Eric Lane, professor of law at Hofstra University School of Law.

super tuesday

If you live in the United States, then it’s highly likely that your state will be holding their primary elections today. This election is going to be very crucial, so please make it out to take part if you can. If you’re not sure when your state’s primary is, you can go here to see a calender list. I’m not going to publicly say who I am voting for besides that I think he is literally one of the last hopes for our country. He is a constitutionalist by nature and voting record. Many other friends of mine in the creative industries have also taken a special liking to him and his knowledge of economics, history, and the federalist papers. Can you guess who he is? Hahaha.

Quite frankly, I am worried about a lot of what’s happening to our country today, and I am thankful to work in the creative field on things I enjoy. I don’t take that for granted for a second. If certain liberties are dissolved, then that would be a thing of the past and a normal trend of history. I’m not asking anyone to agree with me politically, that’s not the nature of a free country. Agree or disagree, I’d be happy either way, as long as a voice is present. The nature of freedom is to be able to have a voice to begin with and state yourself. Freedom of the mind is the most important thing of all.

new orleans devastation

If you can, please make a gesture to help the people in New Orleans and the rest of south-eastern United States devastated by the hurricane. You can volunteer if you’re in the area, or donate to organizations such as The Red Cross and Habitat for Humanity online. Any bit of help will be appreciated by those that have lost their homes, jobs, and loved ones.