Monday, November 12, 2007
Sunday, November 04, 2007
Thursday, November 01, 2007
WHO REALLY OWNS HIP HOP?
USE THE TERM 'HIP HOP' & PAY A LICENSING FEE
by Davey D from (www.daveyd.com)
It looks like the Hip Hop community now faces its biggest challenge.
Forget police task forces or discriminating night club owners, folks
will now have to gear up to do some serious battle with a Los Angeles
businessman named Richard Gonahangya and his company America Media
Operative Inc. For those who don't know AMO Inc is a little known
company that specializes in lobbying Congress and advising government
officials on media policy. They yield a lot of influence over the FCC
and other agencies that determine policy. The word around town is
'what they say goes'.
Gonahangya a staunch conservative, held a small press conference in
Compton, Ca yesterday to announce that his company AMO Inc had
recently trademarked and brought the rights to the word/phrase 'Hip
Hop'. As a result they will soon start charging a licensing fee for
anyone who wishes to use the word in a commercial/ for profit project.
Taking advantage of a provision in the recently amended Millennium
Copyright Act of 2001, Gonahangya explained that he and his company
have all the legal ammunition and clearance to own the rights to the
phrase 'Hip Hop'. He noted that the Hip Hop industry has generated
over 20 billion dollars last year in the United States alone. The
phrase Hip Hop is now a powerful marketing tool and his company is
posed to profit handsomely in 2003 from its 'proper' usage. The new
licensing fee is estimated to net AMO Inc a whooping 5-8 billion
dollars a year.
"Any business including record labels, videos, radio stations or
television shows that use the phrase 'Hip Hop' in the title or
marketing body of their work will have to pay AMO Inc a licensing
fee", Gonahangya told reporters. 'We are not attempting to stifle
free speech or muzzle popular culture.. we have no legal grounds from
preventing anyone who wishes to use the word in everyday speech,
however if you are using the word in a manner that associates you with
a salable product, then we fully intend to collect our fee".
Gonahangya went on to explain that what he is doing is not unusual.
There are many popular words that are used in everyday conversations
that are trademarked and cannot be used in commercial ventures without
permission. 'The word 'Xerox' is often used interchangeably with
'copy'. The word 'Vaseline' is used interchangeably with lotion or
grease. he also explained that the word Rock-N-Roll is trademarked by
a major label record executive who at the time could not charge a
Gonahangya laid out his company's strategy for 2003. He explained
that AMO Inc is giving record labels and performers a one month grace
period to get their business affairs in order. Starting in May
letters will be sent out to anyone who is using the term 'Hip Hop'
explaining that the word is now trademarked and that if they wish to
continue to use it in the body of their work, they will have to
register with his company and be assessed a licensing fee. Letters
have already been sent to several Hip Hop internet websites with more
to come. He estimated the average fee will be anywhere from 2-5
thousand dollars plus residual fees per project. Permission to use
the word will be on a case by case basis. In addition any future
projects released using the term ' Hip Hop' will have to have the 'TM'
symbol next to the word.
When asked if he felt AMO Inc was being exploitative and attempting to
blackmail a viable popular culture, Gonahangya bluntly stated; 'This
is not about culture. This is about business... The laws have been
set up for anyone and everyone to use. Our company took advantage of
what was on the books for almost a year and that what we are doing is
now perfectly legal... Hip Hop is a big multi-billion dollar a year
business. I was surprised that a big executive like Russell Simmons
or Clive Davis or even business savy rappers like Jay-Z, P-Diddy or
Eminem never trademarked the phrase. Everyone in America knows that
you don't do business without protecting your assets. It's just plain
stupid not to leave yourself this wide open.. If the Hip Hop
community is that dumb when it comes to business then too bad. Don't
make me out to be the bad guy".
When asked if he intends to share any of the profits from licensing
the word 'Hip Hop' with any of Hip Hop's pioneers including Lovebug
Starski who first coined the phrase back in the lates 70s or Afrika
Bambaataa who popularized and spread the word, Gonahangya laughed. 'I
never heard of a Mr Starski and as for sharing profits with people
from Africa..No my people are originally from Denmark, Norway.
When another reporter told Gonahangya that Afrika Bambaataa was
someone's name, Gonahangya shrugged it off and said he had no
intentions of sharing the profits with anyone but his company and his
family." However, he did offer a discounted licensing fee for Starski
and Bambaataa since they coined and helped popularized the term.
When asked if there would be any sort of criteria set up to determine
who will and will not be allowed to use the phrase 'Hip Hop',
Gonahangya explained that for most part if a company has the money and
a viable revenue stream for residual payments then it should be a
'piece of cake'. As for criteria, Gonahangya explained that he has
very little tolerance and respect for individuals and companies that
are attempting to use the phrase Hip Hop for political gain.
"Recently the term 'Hip Hop' has been positioned as a
progressive/liberal movement. That's unfair and a totally one-sided
approach to what is an American institution.Hip Hop is for everyone.
It is not a slick political campaign tool for Jesse Jackson, Al
Sharpton or Hillary Clinton.", he retorted
Gonahangya became evasive when asked if he would allow the term Hip
Hop to be used by any of the conservative organizations that he
regularly associates with and lobbies for. " To be honest we have not
ruled them out. We believe that Hip Hop needs to be politically
balanced. For years Hip Hop has been associated with liberal causes
that have totally undermined the moral fiber of this country. We will
be very selective as to how Hip Hop will be used politically", he said
Gonahangya continued; "I will assure you this... In the future you
will not be seeing billboards or magazine ads with the words 'Hip Hop'
and Reparations, 'Hip Hop' and Affirmative Action or even 'Hip Hop'
and Black Power anytime soon. If it hasn't come through our offices
and been granted a licensing fee then its existence will be in
violation of the Millennium Copyright Act of 2001 and we intend to
aggressively go after any violators and prosecute. This about
political integrity and money".
Some our speculating that Gonahangya intends to use his ownership of
the now trademarked term 'Hip Hop' to quiet down any sort of political
movement that has been organizing around the term in time for the 2004
We caught up with Greg Watkins webmaster of the popular site
allhiphop.com and he noted that he had received a letter from
Gonahangya's AMO Inc company earlier this month. "He told us in the
letter that we were in violation of his this trademark law and that me
and my partner Chuck would have to pay licensing fee if we wanted to
keep the word 'Hip Hop in our name. We checked with our lawyers and
found out that we were safe because we are allhiphop and not just 'hip
hop'. It's obvious these guys are serious about collecting their
We caught up with long time Bay Area writer and Hip Hop deejay Billy
Jam who does the Hip Hop Slam radio show and has the website Hip Hop
Slam. "Yeah this attorney contacted my attorney and said I would have
to take the 'Hip Hop' out of Hip Hop Slam or pay a fee if I want to
continue doing business. At first I thought it was a joke and then
days later I received a subpoena to show up in court. I was told if I
don't remove the word Hip Hop from Hip Hop Slam or pay a licensing fee
then I could lose my house, my car and my prized record collection".
Normally I don't give a damn about such things, but I can't afford to
lose my records", Billy Jam said
We caught up with popular Bay Area rapper /writer JR The Rap Slanger
out of East Oakland. He said: " Look man, this country's always been
about business and fools is gonna try and collect their paper. But
this is straight up bullS%$T. How's this fool gonna try and trademark
a word and collect a fee? Brothas need to rise up and retaliate and
put a foot in his ass. But let's be honest, me personally I don't
have to worry because I'm not really Hip Hop. I rap. I'm a rapper.
There's a difference between rap and Hip Hop. I guess Hip Hop is
gonna die but rap is gonna go on forever! He didn't trademark the
word Rap did he? "
As far as I can tell the word rap is not trademarked. Nor can it be
because of it's long standing everyday usage.
We checked with famed NY copyright attorney Arnold Esquire Sullivan
and he soberly explained that the new provisions that have been added
does indeed give AMO Inc the right to trademark and collect a
licensing fee for use of the word Hip Hop and any other coined
'unique' phrase. If the word is made up or unique to the American
lexicon then it can be trademarked and people will have to pay a fee
if they wish to use it in any sort of business endeavor.
Sullivan explained the new amendment went through around the same time
they were crafting the Patriot Act. "It's a shame people went to
sleep on this. I hate to say this but Negroes had better wake up and
start smelling the coffee. These people in Washington are not
Sullivan concluded by noting that failure to comply with the new
trademark laws can result in serious economic repercussions and a
stiff 5 year prison sentence. He noted that the stiff prison sentence
came after music industry executives and software companies lobbied
congress for harsher penalties for bootleggers and other 'copyright'
thieves'. "Unfortunately this new trademark law as it pertains to the
phrase Hip Hop can potentially land people in jail if they try to make
a profit off it', Sullivan noted.
At the end of the press conference Gonahangya explained that he is
currently in negotiations with a major broadcast company so that they
will have the exclusive rights to the word 'Hip Hop'. Gonahangya
declined to name the outlet that he is dealing with, but he did note
that should everything work out according to plan this media outlet
has vast resources and will set up offices throughout the country and
help determine which projects and products will be allowed to use the
term 'Hip Hop'. Gonahangya refused to say whether or not it would be
an outlet like Clear Channel, Viacom or Emmis that would be
determining who can or cannot use the word 'Hip Hop'. "It would be
premature for me to give out that information", he said
It is clear that big corporations and government lobbyist now own Hip
Gonahangya also reiterated the fact that he is extending a month long
grace period. He also used the occasion to pitch his new licensing
service. In what appeared to be a real cheesy move he stated that he
was offering a one time discount for the next two weeks. He explained
that he understands that there are a lot of non-profits that use the
phrase Hip Hop in literature and other marketing schemes and as a
result they will be granted a one time 500 dollar processing fee and
will subjected to the similar constraints of their 501 non profit
status. That means they can not use Hip Hop as a political marketing
Non political Independent record labels and artist can obtain a
lifetime license to use the word Hip Hop for 500 dollars. Gonahangya
explained that he believes in doing things for the community and this
is his way of giving back.
"Let it not be said I don't care for the underdog", he said. AMO Inc
is all about helping the downtrodden. We normally charge on average
of 5000 thousand plus lifetime residual fees, but because we care
about the little people we will offer Hip Hop [TM] for 500 dollars
licensing fee for the next two weeks.
If anyone wishes to fill out an application to see if you qualify to
use the term 'Hip Hop' in your product or if you want more information
on AMO Inc call them at 1-800-233-4563
Wednesday, October 31, 2007
Zero Chemistry = Anthropology/Archaeology...also a review of "The Run Up", a good reason to go to school...
Viva la Elocution! YA!
Yeah, the course list sounds like fun...Indiana Jones dreams, I suppose...But what's wrong with that?...I remember at MassArt I took a class called Glories of Ancient Greece...The teacher was a career changer, decided late in life to go back to school to study Archaeology; she had a lot of experience with history and culture because she had been on digs in Greece...I thought that was the coolest thing I'd ever heard and she seemed really happy about it, I think she even said it was the best decision she'd ever made...Anyways, I don't want to cry wolf about my major...I feel like there's a lot of people invested in the eventual outcome of this whole going back to school again thing but then again, how are you going to find out something doesn't fit unless you try it on?
Tuesday, October 23, 2007
Monday, October 22, 2007
Monday, October 15, 2007
and check out...ChannelFrederator.com...
Trapped in the Drive-Thru music by "Weird Al" Yankovic, Directed and Animated by Doug Bresler, Realeased by Volcano Entertainment III, LLC.
Thursday, October 04, 2007
The Dante's Inferno Test has banished you to the Seventh Level of Hell!
Here is how you matched up against all the levels:
|Purgatory (Repenting Believers)||Very High|
|Level 1 - Limbo (Virtuous Non-Believers)||Moderate|
|Level 2 (Lustful)||Low|
|Level 3 (Gluttonous)||High|
|Level 4 (Prodigal and Avaricious)||Very Low|
|Level 5 (Wrathful and Gloomy)||High|
|Level 6 - The City of Dis (Heretics)||Very Low|
|Level 7 (Violent)||Very High|
|Level 8- the Malebolge (Fraudulent, Malicious, Panderers)||Moderate|
|Level 9 - Cocytus (Treacherous)||Low|
Take the Dante's Inferno Hell Test
Wednesday, October 03, 2007
Oasis Storyboard Pads (set of three) Price: $30
Storyboard Oasis Pads feature boxes for sketching ideas or objectives, and rules for itemizing their message points or action items.
C has a Moleskine storyboard pocket Notebook...
|Size:||3.5 x 5.5" (9 x 14 cm)|
|Pages:||80 pages of top-quality paper -- 40 pages with 2 frames, 40 pages with 4 frames|
|Our Price:||$9.95 at moleskines.com|
Unfortunately, they don't make them bigger, however I did find a template guide to create your own pages in a bigger moleskine...Moleskine Hack: Turn a Large Sketchbook into a Storyboard Notebook on Ninth Wave Designs' page.
I also just recently found "Comic Life", the software comic template/layout program by plasq...Add effects to photos or files, some balloons and you have a fresh new comic from start to finish in no time flat. Your iPhoto library and hard drive files are always at your fingertip - just drag in your pictures. Drag on some captions, 'sound effect' text (‘ka-blam!') and speech bubbles and your work is done! An interesting program called "Skitch" is also available by invite only to the Beta version...
P.S. For those who dabble in audio...I am having a lot of fun playing with DJay...It's a great program...a bit slow on the importing of the song to the table...but man, the hours of entertainment...
They have great political action figures and wierd pop culture stuff, too...The villain figures are amazing...
Also, Enterbay has a really well-designed site, clean and simple, and I love the precision they use to create and think through all the details in their craftsmanship...
Tuesday, July 24, 2007
The iPhone Matches Most of Its Hype
Published: June 27, 2007
Talk about hype. In the last six months, Apple’s iPhone has been the subject of 11,000 print articles, and it turns up about 69 million hits on Google. Cultists are camping out in front of Apple stores; bloggers call it the “Jesus phone.” All of this before a single consumer has even touched the thing.So how is it?
As it turns out, much of the hype and some of the criticisms are justified. The iPhone is revolutionary; it’s flawed. It’s substance; it’s style. It does things no phone has ever done before; it lacks features found even on the most basic phones.
Unless you’ve been in a sensory-deprivation tank for six months, you already know what the iPhone is: a tiny, gorgeous hand-held computer whose screen is a slab of touch-sensitive glass.
The $500 and $600 models have 4 and 8 gigabytes of storage, respectively — room for about 825 or 1,825 songs. (In each case, 700 megabytes is occupied by the phone’s software.) That’s a lot of money; then again, the price includes a cellphone, video iPod, e-mail terminal, Web browser, camera, alarm clock, Palm-type organizer and one heck of a status symbol.
The phone is so sleek and thin, it makes Treos and BlackBerrys look obese. The glass gets smudgy — a sleeve wipes it clean — but it doesn’t scratch easily. I’ve walked around with an iPhone in my pocket for two weeks, naked and unprotected (the iPhone, that is, not me), and there’s not a mark on it.
But the bigger achievement is the software. It’s fast, beautiful, menu-free, and dead simple to operate. You can’t get lost, because the solitary physical button below the screen always opens the Home page, arrayed with icons for the iPhone’s 16 functions.
You’ve probably seen Apple’s ads, showing how things on the screen have a physics all their own. Lists scroll with a flick of your finger, CD covers flip over as you flick them, e-mail messages collapse down into a trash can. Sure, it’s eye candy. But it makes the phone fun to use, which is not something you can say about most cellphones.
Apple has chosen AT&T (formerly Cingular) to be the iPhone’s exclusive carrier for the next few years, in part because the company gave Apple carte blanche to revise everything people hate about cellphones.
For example, once the phone goes on sale this Friday, you won’t sign up for service in a phone store, under pressure from the sales staff. You will be able to peruse and choose a plan at your leisure, in the iTunes software on your computer. Better yet, unlimited Internet service adds only $20 a month to AT&T’s voice-plan prices, about half what BlackBerry and Treo owners pay. For example, $60 gets you 450 talk minutes, 200 text messages and unlimited Internet; $80 doubles that talk time. The iPhone requires one of these voice-and-Internet plans and a two-year commitment.
On the iPhone, you don’t check your voice mail; it checks you. One button press reveals your waiting messages, listed like e-mail. There’s no dialing in, no password — and no sleepy robot intoning, “You...have...twenty...one...messages.”
To answer a call, you can tap Answer on the screen, or pinch the microscopic microphone bulge on the white earbud cord. Either way, music or video playback pauses until you hang up. (When you’re listening to music, that pinch pauses the song. A double-pinch advances to the next song.)
Making a call, though, can take as many as six steps: wake the phone, unlock its buttons, summon the Home screen, open the Phone program, view the Recent Calls or speed-dial list, and select a name. Call quality is only average, and depends on the strength of your AT&T signal.
E-mail is fantastic. Incoming messages are fully formatted, complete with graphics; you can even open (but not edit) Word, Excel and PDF documents.
The Web browser, though, is the real dazzler. This isn’t some stripped-down, claustrophobic My First Cellphone Browser; you get full Web layouts, fonts and all, shrunk to fit the screen. You scroll with a fingertip — much faster than scroll bars. You can double-tap to enlarge a block of text for reading, or rotate the screen 90 degrees, which rotates and magnifies the image to fill the wider view.
Finally, you can enlarge a Web page — or an e-mail message, or a photo — by spreading your thumb and forefinger on the glass. The image grows as though it’s on a sheet of latex.
The iPhone is also an iPod. When in its U.S.B. charging cradle, the iPhone slurps in music, videos and photos from your Mac or Windows PC. Photos, movies and even YouTube videos look spectacular on the bright 3.5-inch very-high-resolution screen.
The Google Maps module lets you view street maps or aerial photos for any address. It can provide driving directions, too. It’s not real G.P.S. — the iPhone doesn’t actually know where you are — so you tap the screen when you’re ready for the next driving instruction.
But how’s this for a consolation prize? Free live traffic reporting, indicated by color-coded roads on the map.
Apple says one battery charge is enough for 8 hours of calls, 7 hours of video or 24 hours of audio. My results weren’t quite as impressive: I got 5 hours of video and 23 hours of audio, probably because I didn’t turn off the phone, Wi-Fi and other features, as Apple did in its tests. In practice, you’ll probably wind up recharging about every other day.
So yes, the iPhone is amazing. But no, it’s not perfect.
There’s no memory-card slot, no chat program, no voice dialing. You can’t install new programs from anyone but Apple; other companies can create only iPhone-tailored mini-programs on the Web. The browser can’t handle Java or Flash, which deprives you of millions of Web videos.
The two-megapixel camera takes great photos, provided the subject is motionless and well lighted . But it can’t capture video. And you can’t send picture messages (called MMS) to other cellphones.
Apple says that the battery starts to lose capacity after 300 or 400 charges. Eventually, you’ll have to send the phone to Apple for battery replacement, much as you do now with an iPod, for a fee.
Then there’s the small matter of typing. Tapping the skinny little virtual keys on the screen is frustrating, especially at first.
Two things make the job tolerable. First, some very smart software offers to complete words for you, and, when you tap the wrong letter, figures out what word you intended. In both cases, tapping the Space bar accepts its suggestion.
Second, the instructional leaflet encourages you to “trust” the keyboard (or, as a product manager jokingly put it, to “use the Force”). It sounds like new-age baloney, but it works; once you stop stressing about each individual letter and just plow ahead, speed and accuracy pick up considerably.
Even so, text entry is not the iPhone’s strong suit. The BlackBerry won’t be going away anytime soon.
The bigger problem is the AT&T network. In a Consumer Reports study, AT&T’s signal ranked either last or second to last in 19 out of 20 major cities. My tests in five states bear this out. If Verizon’s slogan is, “Can you hear me now?” AT&T’s should be, “I’m losing you.”
Then there’s the Internet problem. When you’re in a Wi-Fi hot spot, going online is fast and satisfying.
But otherwise, you have to use AT&T’s ancient EDGE cellular network, which is excruciatingly slow. The New York Times’s home page takes 55 seconds to appear; Amazon.com, 100 seconds; Yahoo. two minutes. You almost ache for a dial-up modem.
These drawbacks may be deal-killers for some people. On the other hand, both the iPhone and its network will improve. Apple points out that unlike other cellphones, this one can and will be enhanced with free software updates. That’s good, because I encountered a couple of tiny bugs and one freeze. (There’s also a tantalizing empty space for a row of new icons on the Home screen.) A future iPhone model will be able to exploit AT&T’s newer, much faster data network, which is now available in 160 cities.
But even in version 1.0, the iPhone is still the most sophisticated, outlook-changing piece of electronics to come along in years. It does so many things so well, and so pleasurably, that you tend to forgive its foibles.
In other words, maybe all the iPhone hype isn’t hype at all. As the ball player Dizzy Dean once said, “It ain’t bragging if you done it.”
Strange but True: Infinity Comes in Different Sizes
In the 1995 Pixar film Toy Story, the gung ho space action figure Buzz Lightyear tirelessly incants his catchphrase: "To infinity … and beyond!" The joke, of course, is rooted in the perfectly reasonable assumption that infinity is the unsurpassable absolute—that there is no beyond.
That assumption, however, is not entirely sound. As German mathematician Georg Cantor demonstrated in the late 19th century, there exists a variety of infinities—and some are simply larger than others.
In fact, Cantor showed, there are more real numbers packed in between zero and one than there are numbers in the entire range of naturals. He did this by contradiction, logically: He assumes that these infinite sets are the same size, then follows a series of logical steps to find a flaw that undermines that assumption. He reasons that the naturals and this zero-to-one subset of the reals having equally many members implies that the two sets can be put into a one-to-one correspondence. That is, the two sets can be paired so that every element in each set has one—and only one—"partner" in the other set.
Think of it this way: even in the absence of numerical counting, one-to-one correspondences can be used to measure relative sizes. Imagine two crates of unknown sizes, one of apples and one of oranges. Withdrawing one apple and one orange at a time thus partners the two sets into apple-orange pairs. If the contents of the two crates are emptied simultaneously, they are equally numerous; if one crate is exhausted before the other, the one with remaining fruit is more plentiful.
Cantor thus assumes that the naturals and the reals from zero to one have been put into such a correspondence. Every natural number n thus has a real partner rn. The reals can then be listed in order of their corresponding naturals: r1, r2, r3, and so on.
Then Cantor's wily side begins to show. He creates a real number, called p, by the following rule: make the digit n places after the decimal point in p something other than the digit in that same decimal place in rn. A simple binary method would be: choose 0 when the digit in question is 1; otherwise, choose 1.
For demonstration's sake, say the real number pair for the natural number 1 (r1) is the decimal component of π (0.14159…), the pair for 2 (r2) is George W. Bush's share of the popular vote in 2000 (0.47868…) and that of 3 (r3) is Ted Williams's famed .400 batting average from 1941 (0.40570…).
Now create p following Cantor's construction: the digit in the first decimal place should not be equal to that in the first decimal place of r1, which is 1. Therefore, choose 0, and p begins 0.0…. Then choose the digit in the second decimal place of p so that it does not equal that of the second decimal place of r2, which is 7 (choose 1; p = 0.01…). Finally, choose the digit in the third decimal place of p so that it does not equal that of the corresponding decimal place of r3, which is 5 (choose 1 again; p = 0.011…).
Continuing down the list, this mathematical method (called "diagonalization") generates a real number p between zero and one that, by its construction, differs from every real number on the list in at least one decimal place. Ergo, it cannot be on the list.
In other words, p is a real number without a natural number partner—an apple without an orange. Thus, the one-to-one correspondence between the reals and the naturals fails, as there are simply too many reals—they are "uncountably" numerous—making real infinity somehow larger than natural infinity.
Aided by Harry Potter Fans, Amazon Triples Its Profit
SAN FRANCISCO, July 24 — Some of Harry Potter’s magic has rubbed off on Amazon.com. The company, based in Seattle, announced today that its second-quarter net income increased more than threefold on revenue that rose 35 percent.
The news pushed up the company’s stock in after-hours trading to a level it has not reached since February 2000, during the heyday of the dot-com boom.
The results come four days after Amazon delivered 2.2 million copies of “Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows,” the final installment in the blockbuster fantasy series. Amazon will count that revenue next quarter, but interest in the book helped drive 8 percent more traffic to the site in the most recent quarter, according to Nielsen/NetRatings. Other purchases that Potter fans tacked on counted toward Amazon’s quarter, which ended June 30.
The online retailer reported net income of $78 million, or 19 cents a share, compared with $22 million, or 5 cents a diluted share, in the same period last year.
California bars Adidas from selling kangaroo shoes
By Alexandria Sage Tue Jul 24, 12:25 PM ET from Yahoo.com
LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - The Supreme Court of California Monday barred athletic shoe maker Adidas from selling shoes made from kangaroo leather inCalifornia does not allow products made from kangaroos to be sold or imported into the state, but Adidas had claimed that the state law conflicted with the aims of the U.S. , reversing a lower court's decision. , which sought to support Australian efforts to control kangaroos. The expanding population of the jumping marsupials has become a problem for .
"The bottom line is they've decided the California law is constitutional. As of now, it is illegal to sell products made of kangaroos in California," said Orly Degani, a lawyer for Viva!, an animal rights group that first filed a lawsuit in 2003 challenging the sale of kangaroo-skin shoes in the state.
A lawyer for the Humane Society of the United States, which filed a "friend of the court" brief on behalf of plaintiffs Viva! USA, called the court's decision "critically important" for species other than just kangaroos -- such as grizzly bears, bald eagles and wolves, which are dependent on state protection.
"When the federal government decides not to protect a species, the state can still do so," said HSUS counsel Jonathan Lovvorn, explaining the ruling. "What Adidas was saying was when the federal government decides not to protect a species, the state can't protect it either. That was squarely rejected by the court."
A spokeswoman for Adidas wrote in an e-mail that the company expects to ultimately prevail in the matter, but did not clarify further. Other legal matters related to the case now will be sent back to the appeals court.
Meanwhile, a bill that would overturn California's ban is working its way through the state legislature.
"Although Adidas makes some shoes using kangaroo leather, a common practice in our industry, Adidas does not make shoes from any endangered or threatened kangaroo species," said the Adidas spokeswoman Andrea Corso.
The Supreme Court's decision reversed a victory for defendants Adidas and retailers Sports Chalet and Offside Soccer last year when they won their appeal of the lawsuit brought by Viva! USA.
Bloomberg Announces Plan to Shore Up Arts in SchoolsBy Jennifer Median from NYTimes.com
Published: July 24, 2007
Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg announced yesterday that the city’s Department of Education will require all schools to maintain arts programs, and that principals will be rated in their annual reviews on how well they run those programs.
The announcement came just months after the department infuriated arts groups by eliminating a multimillion-dollar program to finance arts education.
Under a new set of city standards, the arts curriculums will be judged for comprehensiveness, and potential pay bonuses for principals could be affected.
“An excellent arts education is essential,” the mayor said at a news conference at Stuyvesant High School in Manhattan.
Last winter, the city schools chancellor, Joel I. Klein, told several arts advocates that the department was planning to give principals discretion over $67.5 million that had previously been budgeted specifically for Project Arts, which financed arts education. The project, developed in the Giuliani administration, was intended to rebuild arts programs that were obliterated during the fiscal crisis of the 1970s.
Yesterday’s announcement was met with muted praise and skepticism from arts advocates, who have worried that if no money is targeted for the arts, principals in struggling schools will eliminate arts programs to devote more money to basic reading and math programs.
The Project Arts money was used to pay for a variety of things: supplies, teachers, dance and music instruction, artist residencies. Officials said the money was a fraction of the department’s spending on arts. The change in arts financing is part of a larger effort by the administration to give principals more control over how money is spent in their schools. But even as they give principals more authority over how to run their schools, officials are demanding that principals who do not meet requirements in math and reading — and now the arts — face being reassigned.
“I think experience has shown us that money alone will not improve student outcomes in the arts or any other subject,” the mayor said. “Money doesn’t make the difference, accountability does.”
...Under the new plan, arts will be part of the revamped school report cards to be issued starting this fall. The arts will be one factor used to judge a school’s “learning environment,” which will make up 15 percent of a school’s grade. A school will also receive an annual review of its program that will be used to determine whether the principal gets a performance bonus.
The department will also begin issuing an annual report in January about the arts programs in each school. That report will be developed partly by a newly formed arts education task force, which is made up of several leaders from arts groups around the city.
Richard Kessler, the executive director of the Center for Arts Education, which had been the most vocal critic of the plan to divert the money from Project Arts, said yesterday that his group would take a wait-and-see approach. “We applaud the public commitment of the mayor and chancellor that every single school will meet state requirements,” he said, “and that they will be holding every single principal accountable to meeting the state requirements.”
Chancellor Klein said the city was not backing off a commitment to reinvigorate arts programs. He has repeatedly acknowledged that the school system has a wide mix of programs that range from stellar to nonexistent. A few years ago, he introduced a “blueprint” for arts education. “I didn’t want the arts to be a throwaway, I didn’t want arts be some add-on, some feel-good thing,” Mr. Klein said yesterday. “Arts education is critical, but it’s got to be coherent.”
Monday, July 23, 2007
Sunday, July 22, 2007
Tuesday, July 10, 2007
Friday, June 01, 2007
>>The panel discussion was filled with bright-eyed bushy tailed youngins...It's always kind of wierd to hear discussions about graff just 'cuz it's not really a discussion kind of thing, it's more of a get up and do it kind of thing, I guess...I got the pleasure of meeting with Dillinger (co-founder of Flashbacks mag) and fam...Thanks to the KD crew...
Wednesday, May 30, 2007
When I was growing up in the 80’s, the political climate was volatile. The Cold War was in full effect and thermonuclear war was on everyone’s minds with movies like “Threads”, “Wargames”, and “The Day After”. Nuclear disarmament is again a popular topic in world politics with the “War Against Terror” and countries like North Korea, which is considered to be part of the “Axis of Evil” as coined by President George W. Bush in his State of the Union address on January 29, 2002. His exact words were as follows:
[Our goal] is to prevent regimes that sponsor terror from
threatening America or our friends and allies with weapons
of mass destruction. Some of these regimes have been pretty
quiet since September the 11th. But we know their true nature.
North Korea is a regime arming with missiles and weapons of
mass destruction, while starving its citizens.…
…States like [this], and their terrorist allies, constitute
an axis of evil, arming to threaten the peace of the world.
By seeking weapons of mass destruction, these regimes
pose a grave and growing danger. They could provide
these arms to terrorists, giving them the means to match
their hatred. They could attack our allies or attempt to
blackmail the United States. In any of these cases, the price
of indifference would be catastrophic. (http://vote-smart.org)
Upon George W. Bush’s arrival into office in 2000, the U.S. has held a tougher and more aggressive stance toward North Korea. Cutting off one-on-one diplomatic relations initiated by the Clinton Administration, the Bush Administration accused North Korea of “violating the spirit of the Agreed Framework by developing a secret uranium program that the U.S. believed would circumvent the agreement.” The U.S. ceased the shipment of fuel oil it was supposed to provide. Pyongyang retaliated by expelling international inspectors and resuming the reprocessing of plutonium, which it had previously stopped under the 1994 Agreed Framework and on January 10, 2003, North Korea withdrew from the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (Harrison 1).
David Cortright, in his article, “The New Nuclear Danger”, says, “A strategy of selective coercion is fundamentally flawed” (20). According to Cortright, it has been the Bush Administration’s response to proliferation dangers to increase coercive pressures (19). Ronald E. Powaski reports in his article, “North Korea’s Nuclear Challenge” that in September of 2005, the Treasury Department ordered U.S. banks to sever relations with Banco Delta Asia because the bank was accused of passing counterfeit $100 bills manufactured by the North Korean government as well as helping to launder North Korean money made from drug smuggling and other illicit activities. “The restriction curtailed [North Korea’s] access to the international banking system, even for the purposes of legitimate foreign trade” (10). In Time’s article, “When Outlaws Get the Bomb”, Henry Soloski, former Defense Department nonproliferation expert in the Bush Administration, is quoted as saying, “The tactical game with North Korea—trying to get them to stand down their nuclear program—is now pretty much over. Now it’s a strategic game, containing them and waiting for the regime to collapse” (Powell 34). Cortright states that the attack on Iraq, which was ironically coined a “war for disarmament” by Jonathan Schell, has only served to harden the nuclear ambitions of Iran and North Korea with the example made of Saddam Hussein. He also cites Former Defense Secretary William Perry who said, “I have never been as worried as I am now that a nuclear bomb will be detonated in an American city. I fear that we are racing toward an unprecedented catastrophe.” Cortright goes on to warn that if the North Korean nuclear danger continues to persist, the pressure will be on for Japan and perhaps also for South Korea and Taiwan to develop corresponding nuclear capabilities (19).
…On July 4, 2006, North Korea tested four or five short range missiles, which landed in the Sea of Japan. The sixth missile, the Taepodong 2, was a long range missile but either failed or was aborted 40 seconds after launch. The seventh missile was launched the following day at 8:22 UTC. Media reports out of South Korea indicate that North Korea has three to four more missiles on launch pads and ready for firing. These missiles are believed to be of short to medium range…On October 9 2006, North Korea claimed that it had tested its first nuclear weapon at an undisclosed, underground test site. Within days, both the United States and China reported collecting air samples from the region that contained small amounts of radioactive material as well as seismic data showing a possible subterranean explosion, consistent with North Korea's claim that it had conducted a nuclear test…(Harrison 4)
Powaski details that in reaction to the nuclear test, the UN Security Council imposed sanctions on North Korea on October 14. “The sanctions included freezing the assets of businesses connected to North Korea’s nuclear and ballistic weapons programs, restricting the sale of luxury goods and placing travel bans on government officials. The Security Council also authorized neighboring countries to inspect cargo going into and out of North Korea” (10). Bush's reaction to the blast was to say, "The transfer of nuclear weapons or material by North Korea to other states or nonstate entities would be considered a grave threat to the United States, and we would hold North Korea fully accountable for the consequences of such action" (Powell 33). As President, Bush has proven himself to be quick to take military action and with this track record, I do not perceive him as a “negotiator” or a “peacemaker”. It is one thing for him to give a tour of Graceland to the Prime Minister of Japan or to hold hands with the King of Saudi Arabia in a garden, but to talk a madman down from detonating weapons?
With North Korea’s closed off, secretive and isolated nature, it is hard to tell if Kim Jong Il, dictatorial Leader of North Korea, is bluffing or if he really holds under his command a giant cache of WMD. In Dismantling the DPRK’s Nuclear Weapons Program, David Albright writes that the current size and status of the DPRK’s nuclear weapons program are unknown although North Korean officials have often stated since February 2005 that the DPRK has nuclear weapons, but have refused to say just how many or whether the weapons could be delivered by ballistic missile, which is the most threatening delivery system to Japan and the United States (7). Cortright states that the risk of a bomb blowing up in a city is arguably greater than during the Cold War and is likely to increase in the years ahead. It is speculated that Pyongyang has enough weapons-grade plutonium to produce 10 bombs. North Korea had only enough material for one or two bombs at the beginning of George W. Bush’s Presidency because during the Clinton Administration, North Korea agreed to freeze its existing nuclear programs and accept on-site monitoring. In the 90’s, the North Korean nuclear program was under inspected lockdown. The deal began to fall apart in 1998 and though the Clinton Administration negotiated a new arrangement with North Korea to halt missile tests and nuclear development, swapping for a U.S. commitment to normalize economic and diplomatic relations, as one of its last acts, the Bush Administration refused to carry on the negotiations (Cortright 19). Albright reports that in the process of negotiating a verified dismantlement plan, North Korea and the U.S. have made unacceptable proposals to each other due primarily to a lack of confidence in the other’s veracity. The United States has joined with China, Japan, Russia and South Korea in six-party talks to attempt to create a plan to dismantle North Korea’s program in a manner with which all nations can feel secure (Albright 1).
Made clear by President Bush’s 2002 address, his tone concerning North Koreans was very ominous, which reminds me of another time. As a kid in elementary school, I was offspring to one of the first waves of South Korean immigrants to arrive in the United States back in the late 60’s/early 70’s and I was asked frequently, “Are you from the South or are you a Red?” by the other kids. Not knowing any better and thinking that being Communist was an awful, awful thing, I would say I was from the South even though I was born in San Francisco and didn’t really know my history or the history of Korea.
Growing up, my Mom would tell me stories about where we came from and I also did some of my own research. In five thousand years, Korea had survived five major Occupations, several wars, and up until the Korean War, the North and the South had been one country with its capitol in Pyongyang. My great-great-grandfather was the last tutor to the last Prince of Korea, and our family had long been living in Pyongyang. Technically, I guess it is not incorrect to state I have roots in North Korea.
When I was twelve, I walked miles through a dark tunnel on the border of South Korea to a wall with a box to step up on in order to peer through a small rectangular window onto the DMZ (Demilitarized Zone). I could see North Korean soldiers, heavily armed on the other side. I would find out later that the town at the border was all for show, constantly lit up, but empty. I became very concerned about the split between the two Koreas after that experience and when I got a bit older, after the fall of the Berlin wall, I was asked to give a speech in a contest held by the community of Bay Area Korean Methodist churches. I orated a piece I had written about the reunification of Korea looking to Germany as an example. I lost out to “How to Make a Christian Salad”.“Add a bit of love, a dash of kindness, some rainbows…” Needless to say, I was disappointed by Koreans in the U.S. People, all elders, came up to me after my speech and said that the subject was too heavy, that I shouldn’t have chosen the topic because it went against the spirit of being American. This is when I began to develop confusion about my identity. I became split by being American and my own race. I just couldn’t understand how we Koreans had the same roots, but weren’t the same people. After all, everyone from the South has some family on the other side. It is unfortunate that the government in place in North Korea is self-interested and unconcerned for its citizens. I now agree that the increasingly maniacal disregard for his people has proven Kim Jong Il’s need to be checked. And when I hear about the North Korean human rights atrocities and starvation rates, rumors of cannibalism in the streets due to the lack of food, I find myself horrified and also disgusted by the overindulgent Kim Jong Il. I feel for those suffering under his dictatorial regime.
Kim's reputation for personal extravagance is a focus of international attention on both the man and his country. In the context of United Nations sanctions restricting the trade in luxury items to North Korea following the country's October 2006 nuclear test, Reuters coverage noted that "No one enjoys luxury goods more than paramount leader Kim Jong-il, who boasts the country's finest wine cellar with space for 10,000 bottles. Kim has a penchant for fine food such as lobster, caviar and the most expensive cuts of sushi that he has flown in to him from Japan. His annual purchases of Hennessy's cognac reportedly total to $700,000, while the average North Korean earns the equivalent of $900 per year.” (Blitzer 1)
Powaski says that North Korea has had to “swallow a dose of realism” because of imposed UN sanctions, although he also states that neither China nor South Korea, North Korea’s two most important trading partners, have conducted the rigorous inspections required to make the sanctions work (10). I think Kim Jong Il must be feeling the pinch a bit anyway because the latest installment of six-party talks may have made a breakthrough. In “North Korea Deal: Caution Follows”, Brian Bremner reports that according to a joint statement issued by the six-party members, as of February 14, 2007, North Korea has agreed to “shut down and seal for the purpose of abandonment the Yongbyon nuclear facility” and a plutonium reprocessing plant there, and also to invite back International Atomic Energy Agency inspectors to look around. North Korea, in exchange, will get an initial emergency energy assistance of 50,000 tons of heavy fuel oil and the U.S. and Japan will open up bilateral talks with Pyongyang. Paik Hak Soon, a North Korea specialist at Sejong Institute, thinks that Bush gave Secretary Condoleeza Rice and Assistant Secretary of State Christopher Hill the running room to convince Kim’s government the U.S. wasn’t intent on regime change and Kim Teng Jianquin, deputy secretary general of China Arms Control and Disarmament Association in Beijing thinks this shift in U.S. approach made a big difference (Bremner 17). Cortright states, “Nonproliferation successes in the past have relied not on military pressure but on diplomacy and carrot-and-stick bargaining” (20).
In Bremner’s article, he says that the compromises made in Beijing by the six party members will be met with blistering criticism in the U.S. and that Bush is sure to come under fire from watchful national-security Republicans who think that the U.S. gave away too much to strike a deal that may be dead a year from now. After all, there is no guarantee that IAEA inspectors will truly be allowed complete access to North Korean nuclear labs and processing plants or that Kim will hand over any of the nuclear weapons that the U.S. CIA believe he has already developed. Another reason there could be a stall in normalizing relations with North Korea is Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe has been under heavy domestic pressure to have North Korea make restitution for its past abduction of Japanese citizens. North Korea’s removal as a designated terrorist state will still take many years even if all these hurdles can be bypassed (17).
Cortright claims that the challenge in halting proliferation in particular countries “depends on a global commitment to prevent the spread of nuclear weapons everywhere.” He goes on to say that, “ultimately the success of any nonproliferation strategy requires a universal standard” and Washington’s “Do as I say, not as I do” approach is hypocritical not to mention lacking in moral authority (21). I am not claiming to know the answer to safety in a post-911 world, however when asked how all this affects me, I must say that the fact that North Korea is so close to home, and that the United States is my home, the only thing I can do is to separate my identity like an egg white from a yolk, and hope that world peace is the eventual wish for most countries in this global community. I find myself siding with those invested in eventual and total disarmament, however I am also a realist. The war in Iraq which has produced no WMD findings is a painful strain due to its longevity and lack of progress not to mention disappointing because of its lack of evidence, and yet nuclear weapons, especially if in the wrong hands, is a fear that prevents any future peace in a suspicious new age. Therefore there is a need for normalized relations with secretive countries like North Korea which could not only change the course of the nuclear race, but also could be a real first step in breaking down the wall, though that is just a Korean dream.
Albright, David. Dismantling the DPRK’s Nuclear Weapons Program. Washington, DC: U.S. Institute of Peace, 2006.
Blitzer, Wolf. "North Korean leader loves Hennessey, Bond movies." CNN.com, 8 Jan. 2003.
Bremner, Brian. “North Korea Deal: Caution Follows.” Business Week Online. 14 Feb. 2007, 17.
Bush, George. Address. State of the Union. The United States Capitol, 29 Jan. 2002.
Cortright, David. “The New Nuclear Danger.” America. 11 Dec. 2006, Vol. 195 Issue 19, 18-22.
Harrison, Selig S. “Did North Korea Cheat?” Foreign Affairs. January/February 2005. Vol 84, Number 1. 1-5.
Powaski, Ronald E. “North Korea's Nuclear Challenge.” America. 12 Feb. 2007, Vol. 196 Issue 5, 9-11.
Powell, Bill; Baker, Aryn; Burger, Timothy J.; Donnelly, Sally B.; Shannon, Elaine; Elegant, Simon; Graff, James; Hasnain, Ghulam; MacLeod, Scott; McAllister, J. F. O.; McGirk, Tim; Purvis, Andrew; Robinson, Simon; Veale, Jennifer; Walsh, Bryan. “When Outlaws Get the Bomb.” Time. 23 Oct. 2006, Vol. 168 Issue 17, 32-37.
announced the United States was enforcing sanctions that bar 31 Sudanese companies owned or controlled by Sudan's government from the U.S. banking system. The sanctions also prevent three Sudanese individuals from doing business with U.S. companies or banks...this was taken from Sudan: U.S. sanctions over Darfur unfair By ALFRED de MONTESQUIOU, Associated Press Writer Tue May 29, 5:16 PM ET from Yahoo.com
Bush confronts immigration deal skeptics
By BEN FELLER, Associated Press Writer from yahoo.comGLYNCO, Ga. attacked opponents of an immigration deal Tuesday, suggesting they "don't want to do what's right for America"...
..."You can use it to frighten people," Bush said. "Or you can show leadership and solve this problem once and for all."
The bill would give temporary legal status to millions of unlawful immigrants, provided they came forward, paid a fine and underwent criminal background checks. To apply for a green card, they would have to pay another fine, learn English, return to their home country and wait in line.
The plan also would create a guest worker program. It would allow foreign laborers to come to the U.S. for temporary stints, yet with no guarantee they can eventually gain citizenship.
Both the new visa plan and the temporary worker program are contingent on other steps coming first. Those include fencing and barriers along the Mexico border, the hiring of more Border Patrol agents and the completion of an identification system to verify employees' legal status.
The legislation would also reshape future immigration decisions. A new point system would prioritize skills and education over family in deciding who can immigrate.
Georgia's senators both played leading roles in producing Bush's deal with the Senate. Yet they have also said they may not support the final bill, depending upon how it is amended.
Bush chastised those who say the proposal offers amnesty to illegal immigrants. He called it empty political rhetoric.
Tuesday, May 29, 2007
|You scored as a Cultural Creative|
|Cultural Creatives are probably the newest group to enter this realm. You are a modern thinker who tends to shy away from organized religion but still feels as if there is something greater than ourselves. You are very spiritual, even if you are not religious. Life has a meaning outside of the rational.|
I also found a definition for being a cultural creative...
Wednesday, May 23, 2007
20 Things You Didn't Know About... Pencilsby Dean Christopher from Discover.com
1 There is no risk of lead poisoning if you stab yourself (or someone else) with a pencil because it contains no lead—just a mixture of clay and graphite. Still, pencil wounds carry a risk of infection for the stabees, lawsuits for stabbers.
2 And bad juju for anyone linked to Watergate: In his autobiography, G. Gordon Liddy describes finding John Dean (whom he despised for “disloyalty”) alone in a room. Spotting sharpened pencils on a desk, Liddy fleetingly considered driving one into Dean’s throat.
3 Graphite, a crystallized form of carbon, was discovered near Keswick, England, in the mid-16th century. An 18th-century German chemist, A. G. Werner, named it, sensibly enough, from the Greek graphein, “to write.”
4 The word “pencil” derives from the Latin penicillus, meaning—not so sensibly—“little tail.”
5 Pencil marks are made when tiny graphite flecks, often just thousandths of an inch wide, stick to the fibers that make up paper.
6 Got time to kill? The average pencil holds enough graphite to draw a line about 35 miles long or to write roughly 45,000 words. History does not record anyone testing this statistic.
7 The Greek poet Philip of Thessaloníki wrote of leaden writing instruments in the first century B.C., but the modern pencil, as described by Swiss naturalist Conrad Gesner, dates only to 1565.
8 French pencil boosters include Nicolas-Jacques Conté, who patented a clay-and-graphite manufacturing process in 1795; Bernard Lassimone, who patented the first pencil sharpener in 1828; and Therry des Estwaux, who invented an improved mechanical sharpener in 1847.
9 French researchers also hit on the idea of using caoutchouc, a vegetable gum now known as rubber, to erase pencil marks. Until then, writers removed mistakes with bread crumbs.
10 Most pencils sold in America today have eraser tips, while those sold in Europe usually have none. Are Europeans more confident scribblers?
11 Henry David Thoreau—American, but a confident scribbler all the same—used pencils to write Walden. And he probably got them free. His father owned a pencil-making business near Boston, where Henry allegedly designed his own pencils before becoming a semi-recluse.
12 In 1861, Eberhard Faber built the first American mass-production pencil factory in New York City.
13 Pencils were among the basic equipment issued to Union soldiers during the Civil War.
14 The mechanical pencil was patented in 1822. The company founded by its British developers prospered until 1941, when the factory was bombed, presumably by pencil-hating Nazis.
15 Je suis un crayon rouge. After the 1917 Soviet revolution, American entrepreneur Armand Hammer was awarded a monopoly for pencil manufacturing in the USSR.
16 More than half of all pencils come from China. In 2004, factories there turned out 10 billion pencils, enough to circle the earth more than 40 times.
17 Pencils can write in zero gravity and so were used on early American and Russian space missions—even though NASA engineers worried about the flammability of wood pencils in a pure-oxygen atmosphere, not to mention the menace of floating bits of graphite.
18 Those concerns inspired Paul Fisher to develop the pressurized Fisher Space Pen in 1965. After the Apollo 1 fire, NASA banned pencils in favor of his pen on manned spaceflights.
19 The world’s largest pencil is a Castell 9000, on display at the manufacturer’s plant near Kuala Lumpur. Made of Malaysian wood and polymer, it stands 65 feet high.
20 At the other extreme, engineers at the University of California at Santa Barbara have used an atomic force microscope as a kind of pencil to draw lines 50 nanometers (two millionths of an inch) wide. Just because they could.