Term limits. 

This morning over coffee an interesting discussion ensued over term limits for U.S. Congressional seat winners. The point was that we have term limits for the presidency but often not for other positions in the government; is the public’s best interest followed by not having term limits? At my core I’m not against term limits, but I wonder if they will result in the kinds of results we really want. i.e. It is suggested that if representatives and senators were limited then they would be more inclined to think critically about the laws impacting their areas of representation rather than who is going to fund their re-election. In theory I understand this line of reasoning. However, if we do propose term limits how does mentoring and long range national policy planning take place? Does this mean then that the outside consultant becomes more influential? And is that a secondary risk because the people with real power to influence are moved to outside the elected system?

Creative commons in U.S. Government

I am a big advocate of creative commons. I think it makes a lot of sense for a lot of reasons. One arena I have been watching the growing use of Creative Commons licenses is in the U.S. Government. I am particularly interested in the issue of over licensing. That is, my understanding is that the Federal government can not be a copyright holder unless someone else created the work and then gave the work to the US Government, and that items (creative works and intellectual property) created by the government can not be copyrighted, such content is by law supposed to be in the public domain. Therefore, when a government (in this case the U.S. Government) produces content and licenses the content under creative commons, doesn't that mean that they must copyright the material and then release the material under license? The following website talks about data - government data, and how that is legally supposed to be open. https://theunitedstates.io/licensing/. (And Ben Balter gives some really clear suggestions here: http://ben.balter.com/2014/10/08/open-source-licensing-for-government-attorneys/.) There are certain rights reserved, like the use of logos. In short I am a bit confused then by moves in the Department of Labor and the Department of Education where the CC-BY license is adapted:

Is this just saying that if I create something with money from the Federal Government then that work needs to also be CC-BY?

The Creative Commons wiki currently says about the US Government:

Federal

Works by the US federal government are automatically part of the public domain in the US as stipulated by http://www.copyright.gov/title17/92chap1.html#105
Third-party content (such as the text of speeches by the first lady) on the White House web site are licensed with CC BY 3.0 US by default.
President-Elect Transition Team, Barack Obama and Joseph Biden. CC BY 3.0 Unported. (Not an official federal government site, but an election team site, hence not required to be public domain.)
The U.S. Department of Education has made OER an invitational priority in their Ready to Learn (PDF) and Ready to Teach (PDF) grants.
The U.S. Department of Education has included open educational resources in their Notice of Proposed Priorities for discretionary grant funding. Essentially, if the priorities are adopted, it could mean that grant seekers who include open educational resources as a component of an application for funding from the Department of Education could receive priority.
The U.S. Department of Labor and Department of Education commit $2 billion to community colleges and career training; CC BY required for grant outputs.
The U.S. Department of Labor Career Pathways Innovation Fund Grants Program; CC BY required for grant outputs.
U.S. Open Data Action plan is under CC0 + some federal datasets: report (pdf); blog post

State

New York State Senate, Senate Content, CC-BY-NC-ND with CC+ allowing non-political fundraising use of content.
State of Virginia, legislation that indicates a preference for state-funded materials to be released with a CC (or equivalent open) license.
Washington State open policy and requirement of CC BY
New Hampshire adopts Open Source and Open Data requirements (policy friendly to CC use, but not a specific CC tool adoption)
OER K-12 bill passed in WA state. The focus of the bill is to help school districts identify existing high-quality, free, openly licensed, common core state standards aligned resources available for local adoption; in addition, any content built with public funds, must be licensed under “an attribution license” (CC BY)
The city of Washington, D.C. has made available an unofficial copy of the DC Code under the CC0 Public Domain Dedication.

So, as a business person looking at the limitations of CC-BY and the DMCA. If I were a grant recipient from the department of labor, and I wanted to profit from the output of the grant, I could make all the output CC-By and then release that content via an app that I sell. Make the app with funds not from the grant and make the content only available via the app. Hacking the app would constitute Copyright infringement and would be enforceable via the DMCA.

Creative Commons does not solve the open access and permanent access guarantee problems.

To Protect and Serve…

In the U.S. we have a long tradition of citizenry, police, and military. For many years the citizenry has had distinct semantic categories for these social functions. However, I think there is evidence that at some levels these distinctions are merging. While not all citizens agree that the merger is useful, it is nevertheless happening at a political and managerial level. Terms like Law Enforcement extend beyond the traditional roles of police and bring the police into a larger strategically orchestrated social movement. In addition to this some of the traditional imagery surrounding police has changed. While it does raise many questions about the order and structure of society in the U.S. one question which seems pertinent to ask is: Who is protected and Who is served?

LA Police Shootings

More Traditional Police imagery.

Los Angeles Police Depertment manhunt for murder suspect

More modern police imagery.

Armed police officers search vehicles driving south in Yucaipa during the manhunt for fugitive former Los Angeles police officer Dorner

More modern police imagery.

Imagery is only one way to assess the conflation of semantic concepts. Another way to look at it would be to consider concepts and terminology of detainees and prisoners as those concepts are practiced by Law Enforcement operators. A look at the U.S. Army's Internment and Resettlement manual's terminology found in FM 3-39.40 available at http://armypubs.army.mil/doctrine/19_Series_Collection_1.html or locally [PDF]

Special ops pretending to be humanitarian aid…

So, missionaries (like those with SIL International) and NGOs have been accused of being affiliated with the CIA beforeCitations 1 and 2 are from Wikipedia article on SIL International.. But the recent announcement that a doctor helped the CIA has some serious implications, what about his Hippocratic oath? Doctors and humanitarian aid workers build trust with people. In some places this trust is hard earned and much unappreciated when someone (or organization) piggy backs on these relationships without consent, as was recently reported in The Atlantic. It would seem that for all the cries for ethics that academics make that this issue should be more in uproar than it currently is. I understand that war is war and that in war trust is just another item to be taken advantage of, but that is what terrorists do. Isn’t the difference between peace keeping and terrorism a matter of ethics?

Related Images:

Family for Christmas

This Christmas Becky and I spent some time with family. All of my brothers and sisters were there and so were my mother's two daughter-in-laws.

We had lots of fun together. We went and saw Sherlock Holmes 2 together.

After watching Sherlock 2

All the Patersons After watching Sherlock 2

The Five Boys

The Five Boys

After which we went out to eat.

Jed stroking his Chin

Jon Stroking his Chin

It was good to see my brothers and sisters talking, laughing and smiling.

Jeremiah Smiling

Moriah and her Scarf

Moriah and her Scarf

We did a lot of game playing...

Playing Mario Cart.

One of the interesting stories about this Christmas was that my bother Joe, sold his Xbox to buy our sister Monica a Wii. Monica really wanted a Wii. Jed, didn't know that Joe sold his Xbox and bought Joe some Games for the Xbox. It reminded me of the story of "The Gift of the Magi".

Playing Mario Cart

Hugh and Jed Playing Axis and Allies

Hugh and Jed Playing Axis and Allies

Playing Munchkins

Playing Munchkins

Playing Carcassonne

Playing Carcassonne

There were a lot of interesting interactions over our time together.
We learned that all of us like to play the game but we each play it differently. Some:

  • Play the game to win.
  • Play the game for fun.
  • Play the game to keep certain others from winning.
  • Play the game for the game's sake.

There was lots of silliness.

Over Lip

Over Lip

Jed Modeling his new hat and gloves.

Jed Modeling his new hat and gloves.

Hugh and Becky

Hugh and Becky

And we saw Jeremiah smile.

Jeremiah actually did smile

Jeremiah actually did smile

Sleeping...

Sleeping... There seem to be a lot of pictures of Jeremiah doing this...

Criticism Persistence

A few weeks ago I found a few really helpful tips on how to avoid being criticized. To think that all these years I could have lived without being criticized.

Nine Easy Rules to Avoid Being Criticized

  • Rule 1: Always strive to please others and agree with everybody
  • Rule 2: Do not attempt to change people’s minds
  • Rule 3: Do not try a new idea or pursue any worthwhile goal
  • Rule 4a: Conform to established ways of doing everything
  • Rule 4b: Never step a foot away from the path of convention
  • Rule 5: Follow the crowd; stand for nothing unique
  • Rule 6: Let the world shape you; be who others want you to be
  • Rule 7a: Accept life “as is” and never examine the status quo
  • Rule 7b: Believe whatever you are told without checking evidence
  • Rule 8: Do not say, attempt, or do anything contentious or imaginative
  • Rule 9: Do not say, attempt, or accomplish anything at all

As I read these I was reminded of the Think Different campaign by Apple, Inc a few years back. I have always been inspired by the comercial. Perhaps I have always identified with not giving into the status quo. I think my Dad instilled in me a desire for excellence and doing better. This was something that Steve Jobs talked about too. He said we don’t ship junk. It makes a lot of sense: Be profitable, be honorable. Love what you do. Do what is right. Never stop learning.

Here’s to the crazy ones.
The misfits.
The rebels.
The troublemakers.
The round pegs in the square holes.
The ones who see things differently.
They’re not fond of rules.
And they have no respect for the status quo.
You can praise them, disagree with them, quote them,
disbelieve them, glorify or vilify them.
About the only thing you can’t do is ignore them.
Because they change things.
They invent. They imagine. They heal.
They explore. They create. They inspire.
They push the human race forward.
Maybe they have to be crazy.
How else can you stare at an empty canvas and see a work of art?
Or sit in silence and hear a song that’s never been written?
Or gaze at a red planet and see a laboratory on wheels?
We make tools for these kinds of people.
While some see them as the crazy ones,
we see genius.
Because the people who are crazy enough to think
they can change the world, are the ones who do.

The British Kerfuffle

I was rather shocked when I heard about the Riots in the UK. The UK‽ Really‽ That’s different. Kind of disturbing really.Jamie Oliver’s Restaurant was burnt. Why? This is perhaps the saddest news out of England in the last 48 hours. (Not that the BBC’s Photographs don’t make the situation look like a scene from V for Vendetta.)

BBC Map of UK Riots

UK Riots

I got to thinking about some of the implications of the reporting coming out of the BBC.

Officers believe some rioters have used BlackBerry Messenger – a service allowing users to send free real-time messages – to organise violence.I often see the words gang and masked youths used in reporting. One must keep in mind that gangs in the UK do not mean the Crips and Bloods, rather a more generic idea of swarm of people. Also keep in mind that the UK has more street video cameras and video surveillance than any other country, so wearing a mask is logical for this kind of activity.

And I was told that there was some use of social media platforms like FaceBook and Twitter. In particular, Facebook groups. Allegedly, locals on Facebook were reporting the groups as fast as they were being created. An interesting social dynamic as opposing social forces collide. I got to thinking about these alleged locals using social media and wondered: What if someone who was not in the UK was organizing or creating the Facebook groups. That would be something. It would be a way that sympathizers who were not local or in the UK could lend a hand to people on the ground. This lead me to think about how would law enforcement react to this sort of help to the rioters.

Law in the U.S.A. is different than in the U.K. But none the less if it were in the U.S. and people were to lend a hand then those lending a hand might be considered to be Terrorist. Using the definition preferred by the state department, terrorism is: “Premeditated, politically motivated violence perpetrated against noncombatant* targets by subnational groups or clandestine agents, usually intended to influence an audience.” [Quote taken from The definition of terrorism]It seems though that this definition agrees with what I read in the Patriot Act some years ago. It also agrees with Wikipedia and About.com. One thing that I see in the current news is that there is no political motivation. So some might say that this is not terrorism because it lacks motive.

But if it were terrorism, and the individuals were known through FaceBook, would the UK ask for their extradition to the UK? – to put them on trial as terrorists? Would UK law apply outside of the UK? If the person is creating a FaceBook group and is doing from outside of the UK and several blokes join a group does that make the creator of the group a terrorist? and also guilty of breaking UK law? Can someone break another country’s law without leaving their current country – even country of citizenship? What gives the UK legal rights prosecute?

The other thing which is disturbing in this social media business is the global social reaction to the difference between what is happening in the UK right now and what happened in Libya, Morocco, Egypt, and Syria earlier this year. Social media was part of that unrest as well, however, political motivation was definitely part of that. Yet the rioting was deemed to be for a “worthy” cause. Yet if the same actions were taken in the U.S. we would call it Terrorism. I think The Guardian really points out some of the idiosyncrasy of the U.S. definition and the application of the term Terrorism as it relates to crime.