Saturday, September 27, 2008
Orphan Works Opposition: Plan B
SEPT 27 Yesterday, in a cynical move, the sponsors of the Senate Orphan Works Act passed their controversial bill by a controversial practice known as hotlining.
With lawmakers scrambling to raise 700 billion dollars to bail out businesses that are "too big to fail," the Senate passed a bill that would force small copyright holders to subsidize big internet interests such as Google, which has already said it plans to use millions of the images this bill will orphan.
With the meltdown on , this is no time for Congress to concentrate our nation's copyright wealth in the hands of a few privately owned corporate databases. The contents of these databases would be more valuable than secure banking information. Yet this bill would compel creators to risk their own intellectual property to supply content to these corporate business models. That means it would be our assets at risk in the event of their failure or mismanagement.
As David Rhodes, President of the School of Visual Arts has said, the Orphan Works bill would socialize the expense of copyright protection while privatizing the profit of creative endeavors. Copyright owners neither want nor need this legislation. It will do great harm to small businesses. We already have a banking crisis. Congress should not lay the groundwork for a copyright crisis.
--Brad Holland and Cynthia Turner, for the Illustrators' Partnership
NOW FOR PLAN B
We MUST try to stop the House Judiciary Committee from folding their bill (HR5889) and adopting the Senate version.
PLEASE EMAIL CONGRESS TODAY.
If you've done it before, do it again!
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Click on the link below, enter your zip code, and take the next steps.
Thanks to all of you who heeded the call to action yesterday.
Friday, September 26, 2008
Wednesday, September 24, 2008
Franklin Delanore Roosevelt did something that needed to be done; Get America Smart!
This is a gross oversimplification, but FDR created "The New Deal", an agreement that stated that the government needed to help the citizens of this Republic when they needed it, and cut back spending as well. His plans helped America get out of the Great Depression and made us, by the 1950's, an economic powerhouse.
Right now, we need him.
I don't want to hear another politican talk about Tax Cuts. Fuck it. I don't need them anymore. A tax cut would kick ass, but right now, we're fucked. We are so fiscally fucked this isn't an economy, it's sodmoy on a daily basis! This is, without a doubt, the WORST economic situation since The Great Depression and we're looking at the possibility of a sequal right now dead in the face.
I've seen a lot of crap come from City Council members, I've seen them do a lot of shady crap. But this... wow, this takes the case.
As shown by Fox29 Investigators, Councilman Goode, on tax payer time, went home with his legislative aide, took her out to lunch and... brought back beer. It's obvious that Latrice Bryant, the aide in question, got more raises than one now last year. In fact, she got $13,000 in raises this year. Apparently... well, you get the idea.
I'm calling for Goode to be Impeached. Quickly. He needs to be tried and hung out to dry for this! This isn't lying about a blowjob, this isn't licking cream off the breast of a wife... this is freaking flat-out illegal! You have proof that Latrice Bryant only recieved raises, or at least in part, because of a relation she had with her boss. In 99% of America, that's illegal!
Goode, lock your doors. The citizens of Philly aren't fucking happy!
VIDEO OF THE REPORT
Monday, September 22, 2008
Sunday, September 21, 2008
That's how much money the White House wants to give failing insurance companies and investment banks to save their businesses. $700 Billion dollars. That's the single largest government bailout in US History, and the question being raised is who's going to pay and if it will help us in the long run.
To that end, since we already know we, the US Public, are going to have to pay for this... why not just give us the money?
Yes, yes, I know; we got a check not too long ago. And, you know, $300 - $500 isn't bad. It's enough to... well, fill your gas tank, pay a bill. Maybe. Not enough for even ONE mortgage payment, that's for sure. And we all know that a large part of why this economy is so bad is because, you guessed it, a lot of loan defaults.
So how about the US Public get's $700 Billion dollars. How? How would that happen?
Well, first off, let's do the simplest part; divide it EQUALLY over the entire population. So, at about 305,000,000 people, that means we all get... $2300. Who's included in that? EVERYONE. Men, women, kids, grandparents, government workers, prisoners, homeless people, the rich... EVERYONE who lives in the US.
So the next thing we do is eliminate anyone under 18. That's roughly 80,000,000 people. SWEET! That makes it 225,000,000 people! People in prison are next! That's 2.2 million people, so BAM! They're gone, they're in jail. We're now down to 222,800,000 million.
Now, let's just say that the government deserves a bonus this year. OK, now that your done laughing, let's instead of giving the folk in the higher echelons of government the money, we give it to the people who are barely making enough cash to feed their kids, let alone themselves. Seriously, people who work in Social Security aren't exactly happy folks.
Getting the number of people who work in the higher-echelons isn't easy, NOT EVEN CLOSE! There's 100 Senators, 440 people in the House of Representatives, 50 Governors! Hell, the federal government is compromised of 4 MILLION people! That means going in and trying to find who's the working slobs are and who's in the FBI and CIA. Then you have all those LOCAL governments! UH!
OK, so, for the sake of argument, we're going to say 4 Million people in this country are making lots of money a year by being a "public servant" by being President, Mayor, Governor, City council, State Rep, etc...
We're now down to 218,000,000 people.
So, let's not forget the rich! OH YES! The filthy rich folks! The TOP 1% of America who own 32% of America! So that top 1% is 3.2 million people since we're going from that top number of 305,000,000. Now, we can go on and on about where the cut-off should be for what's "rich". That's where it gets hairy. We'll just cut it off at the Top 1%. Why? Because 68% of the US population makes less than $50,000... You know what? Screw it. We're going to make sure that the top 15.73 percent, those making a wonderful $100,000+ don't get this money.
So that's 47,976,500 from the TOP number of 305,000,000. That's 170,023,500 people!
That's a pretty good number! Hell, we've nearly shaved off 135,000,000 people who can't use the cash! We're now dealing with US, the people who NEED this money the most! US, the people who can't pay their bills, afford decent health care, and the people who owe these banks the most cash.
And we just got a check for $700 Billion dollars.
That means we get... $4117.07 each. OK, round that down to $4100. That extra $17.07 per-person can go to back to the government. How much is that? $2,902,301,145! HOLY CRAP! I just found a way to save the government nearly $3 BILLION dollars!
$4100. WOW! Crap, if I had that kinda cash, I'd pay off as many bills as possible! No, it isn't a butt load of cash, but it's nothing to sneeze at. Some people don't even make that much in two months! $4100... for me, that's a few mortgage payments, all my utility bills, and any other debts I may have. Not enough to cover all of it, mind you, but a nice bit.
Now, can we honestly say that giving these massive houses this money could be better? If we're the ones who owe the money to them, if WE'RE the one's that are causing them to lose money... shouldn't we be the ones to pay it back? The government isn't going to wipe OUR debt away, is it? No, we're still stuck with those bills! But for the over 170,000,000 Americans who NEED it, the people who may not have even needed to pay taxes in their lives because they NEVER made enough cash... THEY get the money, too. We ALL do!
Me? I think this is a better idea than anything else we've got right now. We're the ones suffering the most and we're the ones with the debt. I don't see our parents more than happy to cut us a check to pay off all our bills; they need help themselves.
So start writing everyone you can about this, spread this idea like wildfire, and start getting the ears of your local government! I did all the crap work, you just need to send it out there!
REFERENCES (Because for something like this, you need them!):
Population total is an estimate based on the US Census Data.
Number of people under age 18 based on rounding down the numbers. Combined with an estimate of total population, my ballpark is pretty good. Data is here at the US Census.
The number of people who work for the US Government came from Wikipedia, but considering that the overall number is next to impossible for me to get, 4 Million is either a gross over-estimate or under-estimate. We're going to go with it since, when you account for the local governments, it does look like a lot.
The number of people in prison is based on a 2006 number. It most likely is higher.
The number of people making more than $100k a year is from Wikipedia, but those numbers are based on a TON of research.
That awesome cartoon is by Stuart Carlson. That guy rocks!
Friday, September 19, 2008
With those 8 words, Philadelphia City Councilman Wilson Goode, Jr, woke up the citizens of Philadelphia to everything that's wrong with their local government, myself included. With those 8 words, Councilman Goode alerted the public that City Council was back in session after taking their summer vacation. With those 8 words, Goode did something that needed to be done; He woke up the media.
Why did I pick those 8 words to start the story? Because they were given a much more harsh light because of what the aide held in her hands at the City Council meeting and, in turn, ignited the firestorm to begin with.
On a piece of paper, she scrawled the words "Jeff Cole: KKK".
There was so much intriguie as to why this happened that the reporter, Jeff Cole, became part of the story and a discussion, not about race, but about corruption in the halls of our government. In fact, the only people in this entire debate who have the aide and the Councilman himself.
For the past few weeks, Jeff Cole of Fox 29 has been following an aide of Philadelphia Councilman Wilson Goode. According to sources, the reporter found out that the aide, Latrice Bryant, was going to the gym on taxpayer time. The story would have been a standard story was it not for where it goes... She was found buying bear and going to the Councilman's house... and spending the night there. It's worth noting that we were, as you may have guessed, foot the bill for this as it was all done on taxpayer time.
When Councilman Goode was confronted with this information, he refused to answer his question. The local media, in a show of either unity or, even better, force against a corrupt
Councilman, than began to ask the same questions Cole had tried and he answered them. You can watch the video here and, frankly, it tells the story better than I can.
This entire mess stems from one thing: Time sheets.
According to the records attained by Jeff Cole, time sheets show that Latrice Bryant was clocked in for hours before she was spotted going to the office. It is worth noting, because it ties into the overall story, that Latrice Bryant dresses in rather, ahem, REVEALING clothing on a daily basis. A visit to her MySpace, which she made private after a local blog found it and posted images and photos from it, show's racy photos and reveals that her dream was to become a state represenative. Because of her actions, it is very likely those dreams will never come true. And, admittedly, these photos will come back to haunt her.
But this woman aside, Councilman Goode also highlighted his horrible new bit of legislation: By having one-party rule.
Councilman Wilson Goode Jr. wants to eliminate one at-large Council seat for the minority party, amending his original proposal that would have reduced Council from 17 members to 15 members with two less at-large seats. Philadelphia Metro
In part of this story breaking, he's alerted us of this. He's reminded us that, despite a mayor who is trying harder than any I've seen before to clean up this government and make sure Philadelphia shines again, that out our City Council still have members hellbent on destroying it and making Philadelphia the same culture of corruption it was before.
It also showed that the local media, as a whole, have been far to warm to City Council and, in part because Nutter has done so much good on a whole, has become latheargic and lazy about covering the events of the city and, in turn, have not done their job. Which is why I think the citizens of this city should be so thankful for Jeff Cole.
I would like to thank the following people for all the research:
Fox 29 Philadelphia for reporting on this. Philebrity.com for posting the MySpace Page.
And, most importantly, thank you, Daniel McQuade of Philadelphia Weekly! He alerted me first to the story and inspired me to write this. Dan, thanks a million and please, keep up the awesome work!
Thursday, September 18, 2008
Friday, September 12, 2008
System of a Down - Steal This Album! ♠♠♠♠
System of a Down - Mesmerize ♠♠♠♠♠
System of a Down - Hypnotize ♠♠♠♠♠
Tenacious D - Tenacious D ♠♠♠
Tenacious D - The Pick of Destiny ♠♠♠♠
Terror - Always the Hard Way ♠♠♠♠
Metallica - Death Magnetic ♠♠♠♠
Let me get this out of the way first: I was so god-damn psyched about the new Metallica album, it's nothing short of amazing that I didn't crap my pants while waiting for 10AM to come and I could buy the album. Despite that, I'm not doing a review tonight and I'm just going to say this: BUY IT.
System of a Down is a band I greatly admire and love, but it hasn't been easy; in 2005, Casey Chaos, the man behind AMEN, announced that he was angry that he didn't get a writing credit on the album for writing the Grammy-Winning song "B.Y.O.B." Being a major fan of Casey, as well as wanting to make sure he received the royalties he was due (which, at the time, he wasn't)... well, it was hard. I found out late 2005, after I had seen them live and right after "Hypnotize" came out. I decided to do what I could to not support SOAD... at least until they did the right thing. They did, and it's history, but Scars of Broadway... no, I can't listen to it. That was Casey's project, and I wouldn't feel right.
But that aside, Mesmerize/Hypnotize is THE GREATEST Double-album in this decade! PERIOD! Normally the second disc kills an album, but it worked well here! Meanwhile, Toxicity is a classic, period, and I'm glad to see it still holds up great. Same with "Steal This Album!"
Of course, the exception proves the rule. George Carlin had a talent for doing just that, and because he, and a handful of incredibly talented comics, are able to doesn't mean any two-bit blog writter can, or should.
On that note, I'm going to point to a few friends. These folks kick-ass, and I have nothing against them. Consider this a nudge that, yes, we can all stray from what we want to do when we write these things, a reminder that we can go into our own selves and self-indulge in ways that are kinda sickaning.
Philebrity recently did a piece on Johnny Gootimes and his Quizzo thing and, I agree, Quizzo is one of the dumbest things I've ever heard. The smartest conversation I've ever heard in a bar was either drowned out by everyone else talking, incredibly loud music, or slurred to the point where the person talking thought pointing out how hot a woman was was the equivelent of writing a Shakesperian play. But because of some stupid comment about the writer, Joey Sweeny, who is, without a doubt, an AWESOME guy (I've met and worked with him in the past, and he helped me a lot last year) by Johnny in his column for the Philadelphia Metro, the result was a very sad flame war:
Thursday, September 11, 2008
SUM 41 - All Killer No Filler ♠♠♠♠
SUM 41 - Does This Look Infected? ♠♠♠♠
SUM 41 - Chuck ♠♠♠♠♠
SUM 41 - Go Chuck Yourself ♠♠♠
SUM 41 - Underclass Hero ♠♠
Superjoint Ritual - Use Once And Destroy ♠♠♠
Superjoint Ritual - A Lethal Does of American Hatred ♠♠♠♠
Symphony X - Paradise Lost ♠♠♠♠♠
System of a Down - System of a Down ♠♠♠♠♠
10, count them, TEN ALBUMS! AWESOME day!
SUM 41 is amazing, and despite my fears that "Underclass Hero" would still suck after over a year of not listening to it... I was pleasantly surprised. I had written before that the album was pure shit, but instead it proved to be... well, different. It's a concept album in a sense, and the music direction is stripped of nearly any and all metal leanings and instead relies on the same pop-punk done by Green Day and Blink-182.
Superjoint Ritual was actually a double-surprise: I wanted to sell "Use Once and Destroy" for a while because the album always felt WAY too long (it clocks in at over 55 minutes) for a punk/metal album. Instead, I discovered things I never did before. In contrast, "A Lethal Does" didn't age as well as I thought. I loved the album for the longest time after it came out... but now, the album can start to wear on after a while.
But THE biggest hit today is very simple: SYMPHONY X.
I had the album for over a year and hadn't really listened it more than once. Today, I discovered why I'm an idiot for not listening to it more! The album is a concept album based on the epic poem "Paradise Lost". Imagine Dave Mustaine of Megadeth playing the guitar for Nevermore and the singer for Yngvine Malmsteen into the mix. The reuslt? THIS ALBUM.
And, as always, System of a Down delivers an incredible album. In 1998, while Rage Against the Machine were more than happy to cave into capitalism, a group of Armenian metal heads came to the US with just one agenda: Make political metal GREAT! The result is a debut album that triumphs and towers over that of Rage's, taking on subjects such as the governments use of mind control, the World Helath Organization, and exposing to the world the horrors of the Armenian Genocide. This is a band not hell-bent on destroying the government; they want to make it better and make the citizens more aware. For that alone System of a Down is worth the world, so guys, thanks for the album!
Wednesday, September 10, 2008
Honest to god, I can't believe I have to explain this one:
Foxwoods Casino has agreed to work with state and city leaders to move its long-delayed slots parlor planned for the South Philadelphia waterfront to the Gallery at Market East, The Inquirer has learned.
Two sources familiar with the agreement, struck between Foxwoods and Gov. Rendell and Mayor Nutter this week, said the plan was to revive a vision for a downtown casino built over the Gallery.
The sources spoke on condition of anonymity before Rendell and Nutter were scheduled to announce the plan at a 1 p.m. news conference today at City Hall.
Although the Gallery was once considered a prime site for a downtown casino, the latest plan would still face a variety of obstacles, including potential neighborhood opposition.
Tuesday, September 9, 2008
Static-X - Shadow Zone ♠♠♠♠
Static-X - Beneath... Between... Beyond... ♠♠
S.O.D. - Speak English or Die ♠♠♠♠♠
Suffocation - Human Waste EP ♠♠♠
Suffocation - Souls to Deny ♠♠♠♠
Dragonforce - Ultra Beatdown ♠♠♠♠
Suicidal Tendencies - Suicidal Tendencies ♠♠♠♠♠
Yes, I'm in the "S's" and, yes, there is a new Dragonforce album in this list. I had it with me yesterday but didn't crack it open after 2 weeks until today. More later.
Static-X is, without a doubt, the most under-rated band to come out big during the 1998 - 2002 period when metal was mired in nu-metal copycats. Static-X was lumped into that mix, despite owing more to Ministry and Metallica than Korn and Public Enemy. Their brand of industrial and metal was a welcome relief and a great counter-point to the ultra-sleek and shiny veneer of late-90's synth-pop.
Despite the fame they did achieve, many critics have held the band, and their albums, in negative views. I, on other hand, no longer do that. Yes, until 2004, I was in the "Static-X Sucks" camp, although it's hard to know why. Most likely it was because of the timing, but still, the band was great. Machine was a great follow-up to Wisconsin Death Trip, and Shadow Zone was panned MUCH harsher than it should have. There's a lot of good songs on this album as it blends their ferocity with a bit of a more mellow edge.
Although, without a doubt, BBB (to be short) was not good. Not even close. A collection of B-Sides and Rarities (and it makes sense after 3 albums; they had done a LOT of soundtracks), the album fails for one simple reason; It's not a cohesive piece. Static-X works best as a machine; each track on an album is like a piece of that machine and each element, each tiny piece, works perfectly in sync with the others. When you have a B-Side collection, your basically taking assorted pieces and seeing what happens. Instead of building a killing machine... you've got some insane contraption made to fix your breakfast like in Back to the Future... only it doesn't work.
The new Dragonforce album, "Ultra Beatdown", is a good solid album, but not one worth noting much. Preaching to the converted more than anything, really. Meanwhile, SOD's landmark album, "Speak English or Die" still holds well, the first album to introduce crossover AND blipcore!
Finally, Suicidal Tendencies self-titled debut.... without a doubt, in terms of an album that can speak to nearly ANYONE, this is THE most important album to ever be released! At least, in terms of lyrics. It's hard not to relate to lyrics about suicide and a horrible life, isn't it?
Monday, September 8, 2008
Sunday, September 7, 2008
Wednesday, September 3, 2008
Monday, September 1, 2008
But with this hurricane, the reaction, not by the press, but by people who hate the Republican Party, has been pretty damn sick.
Again, I am a registered Republican right now, but I've basically am so I could vote for Ron Paul back during the PA Primaries. I've been meaning to become an Independent again. I wanted to point that out for full disclosure of who's this is coming from.
I'm not a fan of the Republicans, but a lot of the comments have been really, really sick. Michael Moore, who I own all of his films and think is awesome, was thankful for the storm to hit since it would delay the convention. I got the joke, and he immediately realized how wrong that was to say, but still just sick. A lot of people are glad to see that the Republicans may have to shortened their convention and not do a lot of things because of the storm.
On the flip side, I can't imagine the outrage these same people would have if the Republicans said the same thing if the Democrats were in the same mess. Two sides of the same coin, really.
One idea being floated around, and I honestly hope this happens, is that the RNC becomes a telethon to help the residents of the Gulf Coast. That's honestly is a great idea because they have a massive national stage for which they can do a lot fo good.
I think that, right now, we need to put politics aside. There's a national emergency right now and arguing and debating the Republicans at this degree detracts from that right now. Let's focus on this Hurricane, make sure that everything works out... THEN we can go on about how horrible the Republicans are.