Archive for the ‘Culture’ Category

by Adam Baldwin and Liberty Chick

UPDATE: UW-Stout has retreated.  “…Therefore, UW-Stout has reconsidered its decision to remove the two posters from outside the professor’s office, meaning he can display them if he so chooses.”  Popehat has the analysis.

The First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution is one of America’s most sacred freedoms and our public universities often among its staunchest defenders.  But at the University of Wisconsin-Stout (UWS), it seems this sacred freedom is in the eye of the beholder.

UWS theater professor Dr. James Miller is relatively new to the short-lived, now cult hit TV series “Firefly.”  Some of his students are loyal fans and asked Dr. Miller to check it out for himself. He liked it enough to hang a Firefly poster on his office door. Given its remote location in the theater wing, where mostly only theater students would see it, who would have expected the poster to cause such a firestorm?

Foundation for Individual Rights in Education (FIRE) reports:

On September 12, 2011, Professor Miller posted on his office door an image of Nathan Fillion in Joss Whedon’s sci-fi series Firefly and a line from an episode: “You don’t know me, son, so let me explain this to you once: If I ever kill you, you’ll be awake. You’ll be facing me. And you’ll be armed.” On September 16, UWS Chief of Police Lisa A. Walter notified Miller that she had removed the poster because it “refer[s] to killing.” After Miller replied, “respect my first amendment rights,” Walter wrote that “the poster can be interpreted as a threat.” Walter also threatened Miller with criminal charges: “If you choose to repost the article or something similar to it, it will be removed and you could face charges of disorderly conduct.”

In response to Walter’s censorship, Miller placed a new poster on his office door on the 16th. The poster read “Warning: Fascism” and mocked, “Fascism can cause blunt head trauma and/or violent death. Keep fascism away from children and pets.”

Walter escalated the absurdity. On September 20, she wrote that this poster, too, had been censored because it “depicts violence and mentions violence and death” and was expected to “be constituted as a threat.” She added that UWS’s “threat assessment team,” in consultation with the university general counsel’s office, had made the decision. College of Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences Interim Dean Raymond Hayes then scheduled a meeting with Miller about “the concerns raised by the campus threat assessment team.”

Read the rest here at BigHollywood

“We know where you are. We know where you’ve been. We can more or less guess what you’re thinking about.”
—  former Google CEO Eric Schmidt at a Washington Ideas Forum last October


[Start at 16:02]

 Much has been said about Google’s evolution from a hip, niche technology outfit to a behemoth advertising machine over the years.  As the company has grown in its product offering, so has all that valuable user data – and their users’ online habits.  With almost 200 million users monthly of the Gmail service alone, there’s no shortage of juicy email content from which Google can serve up a cacophony of those automated “creepy” integrated advertising links in and around your email messages based upon your email habits.  When Google launched its Buzz product and automatically opted all of its users IN rather than OUT, the outcry for privacy and data protection was deafening.  And most recently, we’ve read the news reports of Facebook blocking the Google Chrome extension Facebook Friend Exporter, citing its violation of Facebook’s terms of service for vacuuming data right out of other users’ Facebook accounts without their permission.  Names, email addresses, websites, addresses and even phone numbers of users’ friends were being sucked out of their Facebook accounts straight onto Google’s servers where the information could be used by Google in any way they saw fit.  I share my info with my Facebook friends, but that doesn’t mean I want them extracting it for other applications they might want to use.  (But hey, how dare I complain, when Google calls this openness.)

Now, it’s copyrights that Google is seeking to hijack from users.

The Washington Post reports that under the fine print of the Google Terms of Agreement for Google+ there is a provision that robs photographers of the ability to sell their works if they upload their pictures on the site.

The Post noted:

Google’s Terms of Service on photography, Photofocus cautions, should be read carefully, especially these sections:

By submitting, posting or displaying the content you give Google a perpetual, irrevocable, worldwide, royalty-free, and non-exclusive license to reproduce, adapt, modify, translate, publish, publicly perform, publicly display and distribute any Content which you submit, post or display on or through, the Services.

You agree that this license includes a right for Google to make such Content available to other companies, organizations or individuals with whom Google has relationships for the provision of syndicated services, and to use such Content in connection with the provision of those services.

You understand that Google, in performing the required technical steps to provide the Services to our users, may (a) transmit or distribute your Content over various public networks and in various media; and (b) make such changes to your Content as are necessary to conform and adapt that Content to the technical requirements of connecting networks, devices, services or media. You agree that this license shall permit Google to take these actions.

Scott Bourne at Photofocus writes that there’s a reason he doesn’t use Google photo sharing services and won’t be signing up for Google+.

“If I do share images on Google services – under the current terms of service – I will risk genuine harm to my ability to earn income from those images. As a professional, I don’t see the reward of using the Google services as being worth more than the risk.”

At least this time Google had the courtesy to notify users upfront that they’ll have to abandon rights to their intellectual property–unlike the launch of Google Books, where Google uploaded copyrighted material without even asking the authors, which resulted in a class action suit.

Some will argue that the Google+ terms state that users do retain any rights they already hold, but the practical application of protecting those rights simply isn’t assured under Google’s model, and most certainly not under its current terms.  In these times of open source and file sharing, artists of all stripes can barely avoid making some of their content available for free to keep customers happy.  In fact, most will find it beneficial to do so to increase their traffic and to build up a customer following.  But many of those artists make their money in exclusive licensing agreements, the boundaries of which become a bit blurred by portions of Google policy, especially now that Google+ has launched. My mother is an artist and as someone who helps her market her work, the Google dilemma is one with which we struggle all the time.  Her artwork is quite unique and sometimes a customer may inquire about an exclusive licensing agreement to use a work of hers, for a line of fashion t-shirts, for example.  If she uploads photos of her paintings to Google+, it might be great to have millions of eyes looking at and sharing her work, but at the same time, she can’t necessarily promise her customer that the “exclusive” image he’s purchasing won’t show up in a Google ad or at a trade show booth someplace.

We frequently hear people in our country say, “we used to make things here in America, we used to create things.”  The truth is, we still do. We now create ideas, innovations, inventions, technology.  We create inspiration: words, music, art.  And while our society is speedily growing accustomed to sharing these creations collectively and openly, and expecting them at zero cost, we must remember that for some – for many, in fact – these creations are the very lifeblood of their creators.

Google itself started as the creation of two young college graduate students.  In the end, Google is built on the acquisition and use of more and more data from more and more people that is used to build marketing profiles and sell advertising. And that insatiable need coupled with a long track record of outright disregard for privacy and property rights should prompt users to exercise caution.

After all, these are the same do-as Google-pleases and take-whatever-Google-wants policies that Congress and the FTC are currently investigating.

“If you have something that you don’t want anyone to know, maybe you shouldn’t be doing it in the first place.” 

— Former Google CEO Eric Schmidt [video]

 

Ginger Lee 6-15-11Holds Live Press Conference in NY to Complain About…All the Press

From the LA Times, Top of the Ticket, by Andrew Malcolm:

Amid all the chaos and confusion of Rep. Anthony Weiner’s sexting scandal, somehow Los Angeles attorney Gloria Allred got connected with one of the New York Democrat’s female electronic correspondents.

And today, the pair opted to call a news conference in New York to announce that they would really like to avoid publicity and get on with their private lives.

Because Weiner has refrained from publicly texting his whereabouts and desires the last couple of days, times were slow on the power/sex news front. So, fewer than several hundred news media showed up at the Friars Club to watch the shy women enter down a spiral staircase.

Weiner’s texting partner is a Tennessean known as Ginger Lee. She is a former porn actress and what Allred calls a “featured dancer,” who is studying to become a real estate agent and likes long walks on the beach. We made up that last part.

Read the entire post and WATCH the press conference on video


I think the old gasbag has taken the left’s recent “Slut Walk” campaigns a little too much to heart.  See liberals?  THIS is why we don’t *embrace* the word slut, no matter what.  You think you’re “taking back the word’s power” when all you’re doing is just making it more acceptable for mainstream use.  By people like this misogynist.

Thank God Comcast has taken over control of the barn over there at MSNBC…

From MSNBC / HollywoodReporter

“Left-leaning Ed Schultz has been suspended from msnbc cable television for referring to radio talk show host Laura Ingraham as a “right-wing slut” and “talk slut” on his syndicated radio show Tuesday.

In a statement released Wednesday, the cable channel said: “Msnbc management met with Ed Schultz this afternoon and accepted his offer to take one week of unpaid leave for the remarks he made yesterday on his radio program. Ed will address these remarks on his show tonight, and immediately following begin his leave. Remarks of this nature are unacceptable and will not be tolerated.”

The remark came as Schultz was taking aim at Ingraham over her criticism of President Obama’s trip to Ireland — where he apparently enjoyed a beer — while the Midwest was experiencing severe weather, including devastating tornadoes.

“And what are the Republicans thinking about?” Schultz said. “They’re not thinking about their next-door neighbor. They’re just thinking about how much this is going to cost. President Obama is going to be visiting Joplin, Mo., on Sunday, but you know what they’re talking about, like this right-wing slut, what’s her name? Laura Ingraham? Yeah, she’s a talk slut. You see, she was, back in the day, praising President Reagan when he was drinking a beer overseas. But now that Obama’s doing it, they’re working him over.”

Ingraham has slammed Schultz for the remarks. In a posting on her Facebook wall, she wrote: “The crude comments made about me by Ed Schultz on his radio program: First, I was surprised to learn that Ed Schultz actually hosted a radio show. Is it only available online? Second, I have to get back to recording the audio edition of my new book ‘Of Thee I Zing.’ Now I’m tempted to insert one additional zing — about men who preach civility but practice misogyny.”

Read the full post and the statement at MSNBC

by Liberty Chick

By now, you’ve all seen it.  Gawker has reported on it, as has Huffington Post and Jake Tapper, among others.

It was tweeted this afternoon from the official Secret Service Twitter account and subsequently deleted by its author.  But Twitter has no mercy…delete can only delete if no eyes ever saw it in the first place.  Unfortunately for one Secret Service employee, eyes saw it.

I called the Secret Service Office of Public Affairs to ask for a comment.  I asked the question and almost immediately after identifying myself, was transferred to the voice mail of spokesman Robert Novy.  Luckily, Jake Tapper had already reached the office and received an official statement:

“An employee with access to the Secret Service’s Twitter account, who mistakenly believed they were on their personal account, posted an unapproved and inappropriate tweet,” Special Agent in Charge Edwin M. Donovan said in a statement to ABC News. “The tweet did not reflect the views of the U.S. Secret Service and it was immediately removed. We apologize for this mistake, and the user no longer has access to our official account. “

My first question was, ‘why is the Secret Service monitoring FOX News in the first place’?  But then I realized that such agencies monitor news outlets all the time – if they didn’t, they wouldn’t know which person in Congress just said something stupid that might prompt a foreign entity, or perhaps terrorists, to get really pissed at us.  And for other generally harmless reasons, too, of course.  It’s their public affairs staff doing the monitoring.  And besides, it’s Twitter.  We all know, Twitter is a public sandbox – you get in and play, and anyone can see you, and play with you.

I will admit however, I was slightly irked when I saw this in Jake Tapper’s report:

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by Liberty Chick

On his Wednesday show, Adam Carolla interviewed Andrew Breitbart to discuss Andrew’s new book, Righteous Indignation.  Let me assure you, you’ll LOVE this duo. Andrew’s been a guest on Carolla’s show before, but this was hands down the most entertaining so far.

Click for Audio:  http://www.mrctv.org/embed/101762

Check out some of the comments from Carolla’s regular listeners – not surprisingly, some aren’t exactly Breitbart fans (which makes it that much more enjoyable for me, at least).

Carolla tackled topics with Andrew on just about everything – from Righteous Indignation to Communism, the Left’s Racist meme, the racket of building permits and greenwashing, and unions, just to name a few.  And a whole lotta LA, which, as Andrew illustrates for us, ain’t what is used to be.  The two were on such a rant roll over our waning freedoms, Carolla, who has described himself as having libertarian leanings, almost sounded like another grassroots activist.  Who knows? Sounds like he may just have a bit of Presidential appeal.  Andrew certainly thought so!

“By the way, are you aware that the Republican Party has nobody running for the presidency right now, and if you had put that out there by mistake and people heard that, and that was your spiel, you would have gone up to Donald Trump level, you would have gone up to 17%?”

Oh yeah – Carolla’s also not a big fan of Maxine Waters.  Not. At. All.  Which reminds me, this audio is NSFW.

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[original post 11/6/2010]

This morning on MSNBC’s “Morning Joe” program, Lawrence O’Donnell proudly declared the obvious:  he’s a socialist.

After hearing the news today about the suspension of Keith Olbermann from the same network, I can’t say anyone’s all that surprised.

O’Donnell’s proclamation was made when “The Last Word” anchor got into a lively exchange with Salon.com contributor Glenn Greenwald.

“Unlike you, I am not a progressive.  I am not a liberal who’s so afraid of the word that I had to change my name to progressive.  Liberals amuse me.  I am a Socialist.  I live to the extreme left –  the extreme left – of you mere liberals.”

You have to give the guy credit for standing behind his views, and doing so openly.  You have to respect him for that, at least.

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[original post 10/21/2010]

On July 17th, 2010, 45 year old Byron Williams was stopped by California Highway Patrol officers on Interstate 580 in Oakland, California for driving erratically.  A violent shootout ensued, and twelve minutes later, it was over.  Police had unknowingly averted an even more heinous crime before it could occur.  The police affidavit filed the next day stated that Williams’ intention was “to start a revolution by traveling to San Francisco and killing people of importance at The Tides Foundation and the ACLU.”

The left-wing media immediately pounced on the story, eager to exploit the mention of the Tides Foundation, a frequent topic of Glenn Beck’s program on the FOX News Channel.  Since Beck’s arrival to FOX, he has focused in on the organization for its central role in pushing far-left policies and funding left-wing propaganda outlets like Media Matters.  The liberal media watchdog site has been covering the story recently.

In fact, Media Matters, which has received more than $2 million from the Tides Foundation over the last five years, has relentlessly harassed conservative personalities and organizations, especially Glenn Beck, often in what appears to be a coordinated fashion – and to the point of complete monotony.  Just search “Byron Williams” on their website – for the last week alone, Media Matters has made over thirty posts associating Beck with the Byron Williams incident, seemingly implying that Beck and FOX News are directly responsible for Williams’ actions.

tides-beck1

That’s why it came as little surprise Friday when the Tides Foundation released this scathing letter to all of FOX News’ advertisers, signed by CEO Drummond Pike.  It reads in part:

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[original post 9/11/2010]

In the six days that followed the attacks on September 11th, the New York Stock Exchange was closed for the first and longest time ever since the Great Depression and World War I.  The markets would reopen on September 17th, but to quite a rocky start.  During the immediate aftermath of the attacks, the heartbeat of our nation’s economy stopped, suspended in time.  And a forgotten class of Wall Street workers faced the difficult decision of whether or not to return to work. Those who did would return to a completely different world, one that had already changed them forever.  And today, nine years later, many of them are still there.  In a polarized political environment where the bad behavior of a few has unfairly demonized all of Wall Street’s workers, their contributions to our post-9/11 recovery have been largely ignored.  But had these workers made the choice back in 2001 never to return again, what might have happened?  This is one story, out of many, of the courage, determination and dignity of an entire class of forgotten patriots who stood by their country in the aftermath of September 11th, 2001 when it would have been so easy to simply walk away.

 

Nine years ago, my brother Will was working for a Wall Street brokerage firm just steps away from what is now known as Ground Zero.  His office building overlooked Trinity Church on one side and the World Trade Center on the other.  Just on the other side of the river, near his home in Hoboken, NJ, he boarded the PATH train every day, bound for the bustling station at the World Trade Center.  Like so many others, he went to work on September 11th thinking that day would be just like any other.

Just before 8:46 am as Will was settling into his day with his co-workers, a loud, screeching sound of shearing metal boomed just outside their building.  He looked up at the trading desk manager, and both were stunned.  Will thought it might be a high rise construction accident; the desk manager suspected an explosion.

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[original post 7/29/2010]

Thursday morning at 12:01 a.m. local time, Arizona’s well publicized anti-illegal-immigration law will  finally go into effect.  Or at least parts of it will.  U.S. District Judge Susan Bolton ruled today to block several provisions of the law that some consider controversial (even though these mimic federal law).   However, the judge has allowed the remainder of the law to move forward as planned while the case is being litigated.  This includes allowing the state of Arizona to stop rogue state officials from implementing “sanctuary city” policies, and allowing the state to pursue civil lawsuits over sanctuary cities.  In addition, Arizona will still be permitted to implement the portion of the law that makes it a crime to pick up day laborers, an issue that law enforcement and officials say has become a major problem in the state.

While yesterday’s ruling is being praised by opponents of the law, it won’t stop their protests, it will prolong them.  For years.  In fact, hordes of angry protesters are scheduled to descend upon the state first thing Thursday morning.  And the propaganda machine on the left continues to run at full speed, cranking out intentionally misleading statements, disinformation, and outright lies.  We’ve watched the boycotts.  We’ve watched as the protests have erupted into hate events, directed not from the right against illegal immigrants as the left portrays them, but from the left and illegal immigrants against peaceful people on the right (and many in the center!).

Meanwhile, as the left continues their manufactured barrage of anger at Andrew Breitbart for supposedly taking things out of context in the Shirley Sherrod story, they fabricate their own version of context propaganda on video in examples like this one from the SEIU:

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