Category Archives: Politics

Petition | NcSoft: Keep NCSoft from shutting down City of Heroes! |

Petition | NcSoft: Keep NCSoft from shutting down City of Heroes! |

Outside of Ultima Online City of Heroes was my first real experience with online gaming. I had a blast with the game and really grew attached to my character. This game also taught me the value of playing as part of a team, and the experience has served me well in the years that followed. I haven’t really played the game much in recent years, and lately I have avoided online gaming since I am relying upon rural wifi for my Internet connection, so I was pleasantly surprised to find that this game actually loads and plays just fine with my limited bandwidth. Unfortunately I discovered this just as NCSoft announced that they are pulling the plug on the game. Some fans of the game are banding together and running a petition to try to get NCSoft to change their minds on pulling the plug. Apparently the movement has even gained national news coverage on CNN, so I am hoping against all odds that the game actually continues to operate. If you are a fan of the game, if you have ever played the game and enjoyed it, please follow the link and sign the petition.


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Sympathy for the FDA – If You Will: Natural Health Information

Do me a favor and read the article first. When you are done come back here and we can talk.

Sympathy for the FDA – If You Will: Natural Health Information.

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Philly requiring bloggers to pay 300 for a business license Washington Examiner

Philly requiring bloggers to pay 300 for a business license Washington Examiner.

I can understand governments wanting to access potential revenue streams whenever and wherever possible, but is it too much to ask them to exercise some common sense in the process? Wait, sorry, forgot for a moment that I was talking about a government operation.

Personal blogs are not money generators, even if they have adds on the page. If they make any money at all from those adds it might be enough to pay for services, but even that is usually a stretch.

Professional blogs however have the potential to be money generators, and are often treated as newspaper editorial columns. Blogs like that are typically part of a larger network (Gawker Media anyone), and the bloggers are treated as journalists by the network, and are even typically paid for their contributions. Their legal status as journalists is currently under examination, and while many treat them as journalists and feel that they should be protected by the same laws that protect journalists, their legal status as such is far from conclusive.

Is it right for a government to charge a blogger for a business license? I think that before they can do that they need to legally classify a blog as a business, therefore giving them the legal groundwork to actually tax it as a business. Then there is the additional consideration of whether or not the blog has to be hosted on local servers to qualify as a business in the community attempting to tax it. If the host server is in another state, would it still count as a local business, or would it be considered a business in the state where the host server is housed? Lots of questions that really should be addressed before taxation is rolled out.

I suspect that before long we will see a group such as the Internet Freedom Foundation stepping in to offer to fight for the rights of these bloggers, and force the city to back off. Until then…we shall have to see.

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U.S. Soldiers Punished for Not Attending Christian Concert

Chris Rodda: U.S. Soldiers Punished for Not Attending Christian Concert.

I already posted a short note about this on Facebook, but I wanted to spend some more time on my thoughts about this very disturbing event series. First, let me be clear, I am all in favor of soldiers being treated to concerts and other entertainment to help them unwind from a very stressful work environment, especially when stationed in active war zones.

That said, what is happening with this event is quite disturbing on a number of levels. First, if given the option of opting out of something it should be made clear when the option is presented that opting out means you face punishment detail. This effectively means that there really is no opt-out option.

Second, the amount of money being spent on these events under the guise of consulting or training is money that might be better spent. I do not object to religious concerts being put on for the soldiers, but they should be donated efforts, not events that the military has to pay for, and there should be a balance of performers. Do not even try to tell me that there are not musical performers for other religions. On the pagan side of things there are a lot of musical groups that I am sure would love the opportunity to perform for the troops if given the opportunity, and they are not all folk style music.

This brings me to the third point, which is the clear violation of the Constitution, and the forced evangelism to those of other faiths. Religious freedom is a cornerstone foundation in our nation, and while many of the original colonists may have been of one Christian path or another, the founding fathers intentionally chose non specific language when addressing the religion topic because they believed that everyone should have a choice and not be punished for what they believe. Our troops swear an oath to uphold the Constitution, which is a physical documentation of the beliefs and standards that those who founded our nation felt we should strive to uphold. That someone who has sworn to uphold these standards is clearly violating them, and is forcing those under his command to attend these events under threat of punishment if they choose not to attend, is a gross violation of the very standards that he swore to uphold. By doing this he is effectively removing their right to choose. Never mind that only Chaplains are allowed under military regulation to put on religious events, and that by putting on these events outside of the Office of the Chaplain the CO is also violating regulations.

It should be noted that it was not just non-Christians who objected to this forced participation. Some of the objectors were Catholic, and while their reasons for opting out, and thus facing punishment were not noted in the article, I think it is telling that they also objected. One commenter noted a question pondering what might happen if somebody of a Christian path that objects to rock concerts of any sort as wrong, and a violation of their faith were to object and opt-out. Having been raised for part of my life in a church that believed this way I know exactly what he is talking about in his comment.

Even in our military there is a freedom believe as you wish, and this is rigorously enforced. To have this so blatantly ignored simply to pursue one man’s campaign to bring his belief to those he commands is a very disturbing violation of this freedom. We are a diverse nation of diverse beliefs, and while I may object to how some people express their beliefs, I strongly believe that they have a right to them so long as they are not harming another, either physically or psychologically in the practice of their belief. If I chose to lift a horn in toast to my gods, or in respect of my ancestors, that is my right in this country, and I am legally protected from persecution for expressing my faith, whether others respect that faith or not. If my family chooses to pray to a god that I have chosen to not follow, that is their right, and I respect their choice even if I choose to not participate in the expression of their faith at family events. Our country was founded on the principle that everyone has the right to worship as they choose, and that nobody can force them to do otherwise. To see this principle being violated in such a public was is extremely disturbing to me, and I hope to see a positive outcome from this violation rather than something simply being cancelled and the whole thing being swept under the rug.

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Filed under Politics, Religion

Personal security devices will create a stilted society… | ZDNet

Personal security devices will create a stilted society… | ZDNet

via Personal security devices will create a stilted society… | ZDNet.

A chilling and very believable prediction of our near future, and a column that will certainly give you something to think about. The implications of this technology being so readily available can be quite shocking. Aside from the obvious loss of personal privacy, what are the legal implications? Already we are seeing the side effect of a legal system that is a decade or more behind the curve of technology, and the problems that this is causing. What happens to privacy laws when this becomes common? Another problem to consider is that things stored in the so-called cloud are much easier for law enforcement to obtain legally, and any of your data stored there is not protected by the same laws as the data you have stored on a computer at home. Think about that one for a moment and tell me that you didn’t have a tiny shudder crawl up your spine.

And don’t think that this isn’t already starting to be a reality. Aside from cell phones, there are video recorders that are starting to integrate WiFi and similar technology into the devices. The next generation of Kindle is reputed to have a camera integrated into it. Point-and-shoot cameras are already starting to appear with integrated wireless technology. Get any of these devices into range of a compatible wireless communication connection and selected contents will be automatically synced up in the cloud. With regards to phones, good luck finding a phone that doesn’t have a camera built in these days, and for the most part those cameras are capable of recording video.

The technology is already here, and it is getting easier and easier to make it less and less obvious. Just what are the implications of this? Read the article and think about it. Let me know when you crawl back out from under the rock that you are going to want to hide under.

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