The White House has finally responded to a petition submitted by citizens expressing everything from concern to outright opposition to both SOPA and PIPA. Today the official web site for the White House has a rather lengthy post on these bills. The short story is that it seems like good news for those who oppose these bills in their current forms. From the Whitehouse.gov site:
An interesting story on The Hill points out that U.S. President Barack Obama faces a tough choice if the Stop Online Piracy or Protect IP Acts are passed by lawmakers because he has a vested interest in both Silicon Valley and the entertainment industry - two segments of the business community that heavily contributed to his 2008 campaign and continue to support him in 2012.
U.S. President Barack Obama recently visited a Washington D.C. Best Buy to pick up a video game for his daughters. No doubt Ubisoft will be delighted to know the game he chose was one of theirs.
When asked what he was buying:
“In case you all are wondering, Just Dance for the Wii. The girls beat me every time on these various dance games. And you'll never get a picture of me [playing] because I get graded F every time," said President Obama.
Leah Kauffman, who wrote and sang the popular song "I Got a Crush on Obama" (lip-synched by a woman who would later became known as Obama Girl), has released a new video about SOPA called "Firewall." In the video Kaufman dances with a man dressed as the "Internet" and begs him not to "put up a firewall."
Environmental groups and open Internet activists are not happy with President Barack Obama's pick to lead his 2012 political campaign. That is probably because the president has picked a lobbyist that represented the NBC Universal / Comcast merger and the Keystone XL pipeline. The lobbyist in question is Broderick Johnson of the lobbying firm Bryan Cave LLP. According to U.S. House of Representatives records, Johnson lobbied our elected officials to “support submission of a presidential permit for Keystone XL pipeline” in the final quarter of 2010.
An amusing post on the Huffington Post from senior political reporter Amanda Terkel posits that Republican presidential candidate and former Godfather Pizza CEO Herman Cain's 9.9.9 tax plan draws was inspired by a video game. According to HuffPo, Cain's plan is identical to the default settings in SimCity 4.
During his Father's Day national address yesterday, United States President Barack Obama encouraged parents to tell their kids to "turn off the video games and pick up a book." The President also talked about growing up without a father and why having a father figure in a child's life is important.
"We know that every father has a personal responsibility to do right by their kids - to encourage them to turn off the video games and pick up a book; to teach them the difference between right and wrong; to show them through our own example the value in treating one another as we wish to be treated. And most of all, to play an active and engaged role in their lives," he said.
TechBoston Academy garnered nation attentional this week when the President of the United States made a stop at the small Dorchester, Massachusetts school to give a 20 minute speech on technology and education. The school serves 800 students in grades 6 - 12 from a neighborhood known for crime, poverty and violence.
The point of the president's visit was to highlight TechBoston Academy's accomplishments and to say good schools can thrive in tough neighborhoods.
"Students here come from some tough neighborhoods, am I right? Yet the graduation rate is some 20 points higher than the rest of the city. Twenty points higher," President Obama said.
The President continued talking about investing in education that uses technology that can capture the imaginations of students:
A Saudi national who was arrested for plotting to "blow up" former President George W. Bush's Texas home and other targets in America has been connected ever so slightly to violent video games - particularly the Resident Evil series from Capcom. The 20-year-old chemical engineering student at Lubbock's South Plains College, described by authorities as a "jihadist" plead not guilty to charges last Wednesday in a Texas federal court. The charge was attempted use of a weapon of mass destruction. According to an affidavit in the Northern District of Texas, Aldawarsi, who was came to the US in 2008 on a student visa, had allegedly researched how to make a chemical-based, improvised explosive device (IED) online.
The New York Post reports that enjoyed watching game videos from five titles in the Resident Evil series on YouTube - information the paper found while sifting through his blog.
According to a C|Net report, the Obama administration has drafted a new set of proposals to deal with intellectual property infringement online that it plans to send to the U.S. Congress very soon. The administration is also applauding the Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement (ACTA), which it says will "aid right-holders and the U.S. government to combat infringement" once it enters into effect.
As the C|Net report notes, the 92-page report penned by intellectual property enforcement coordinator Victoria Espinel reads as if it was ghost-written by lobbyists groups. There is some interesting data in there like the fact that the number of FBI and Homeland Security infringement investigations jumped 40 percent from 2009 to 2010, praise for ACTA, and details on various law enforcement operations.
President Barack Obama on Monday announced that former RIAA lawyer Donald Verrilli Jr., currently serving as White House deputy counsel, will be taking over the vacancy left by Supreme Court Justice Elena Kagan. As the new solicitor general, Verrilli's job is to defend the government before the Supreme Court, and to file friend-of-the court briefs when the government feels it has a vested interest in a case.
According to the Ars Technica report, Verrilli is best known as the guy who lead the legal charge against music and movie file-sharing site Grokster. That site has gone the way of the dodo thanks in part to his efforts against it. He also had a considerable part in the Viacom legal battle with YouTube, which ended up going wrong for the media giant. Viacom is appealing that decision.
Incoming White House Chief of Staff William Daley's history in the telecom industry has some supporters of the FCC’s net neutrality rules concerned, according to a report in The Hill. Dailey served as president of SBC Communications before it acquired AT&T and took the “smaller” company's name. Saying that AT&T was a smaller company tells you just how big SBC really was.
One of those supporters is Free Press:
"With Daley at his side, how long will it be before Obama caves?" Tim Karr, Free Press campaign director, wrote in the Huffington Post on Saturday.
Opponents of net neutrality, including Rep. Marsha Blackburn (R-Tenn.), think that Dailey’s influence in the White House on this particular issue is a good thing:
Correction: The U.S. Commerce Department contacted us to let us know that the national I.D. program is completely voluntary. In our earlier report we erroneously reported that it was not a voluntary program. Our original wording was "The Internet I.D. would give every American a unique online identity overseen by the Commerce Department."
According to the public affairs officer for the Commerce Department, "Every American will not need an ID and private organizations or others that conduct online transactions would opt in to a system that is led by private industry in partnership with federal agencies like DOC."
Details on what the program consist of can be found at www.nist.gov/nstic.
President Barack Obama has signed into law a bill that outlaws the creation and distribution of so-called animal crush videos, a response to an April 20 Supreme Court decision (United States v. Stevens) that struck down an earlier federal law that banned a more broadly defined description of animal cruelty. The court was concerned that the law could be applied to hunting and fishing videos. The new law specifically addresses creating and distributing videos and ties it to obscenity - saying that these kinds of videos - involving burning, crushing and mutilating animals appeal to a particular sexual fetish. Why would the law say that? To tie the act to obscenity and make it an exception to the first amendment.
"This [new] law protects both animals and free speech by focusing specifically on crush videos, which clearly have no place in our society,” said Randall Lockwood of ASPCA.
This week the White House debuted an online virtual tour, giving visitors of this web site a look at the most important address in America. This virtual tour lets visitors watch exclusive "Inside the White House" videos, and check out the most popular areas of 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue, such as the West Wing, residence, East Wing, and South Lawn.
"You're invited to do everything from cook with the New Orleans Saints in the White House kitchen, to peek inside the Situation Room, to watch the Jonas Brothers perform in the East Room and tour the first ever beehive on White House grounds with beekeeper Charlie Brandt," writes White House deputy director of digital content, Kori Schulman.
Check it out at www.whitehouse.gov.
In a recent Fox News piece on the hidden political characters in NBA Jam, co-host Jenna Lee (Thanks Joystiq) asked EA Sports head Peter Moore if giving President Obama’s character special abilities in the game was “bi-partisan,” an ironic question perhaps, given the network that the question was posed on.
Moore remained nonplussed, answering, “We try and be non-partisan in what we do.” He continued, “But at the same time, the President, who as you know is a pretty good hoops player himself… ah, we try to represent his skills there.”
While President Obama pops up in championship celebrations in NBA 2K11 and Madden NFL 11, he’s joined by a whole slew of friends and foes alike in the just-released NBA Jam.
The series has a history of hidden characters and this new Wii entry is no different, as an ESPN story discloses that whole teams of Democrats and republicans are unlockable in the game.
On the Democrat side, gamers can unlock Obama, Joe Biden, Al Gore and Bill and Hillary Clinton, while the Republican side is represented by George W. Bush, Sara Palin, John McCain and Dick Cheney.
The game’s Creative Director Troy Smith, discussed the appearance of politicians in the game:
In order to combat the decreasing use of archaic telephones, the Obama administration is preparing a bill that would allow law enforcement and national security officials greater access to online communications.
As reported by the New York Times, such a bill would require online services such as Blackberry’s encrypted email system, or social sites like Facebook, to be “technically capable of complying if served with a wiretap order.”
Some, like Columbia University’s Steven Bellovin, a Computer Science Professor, see a problem with the mandate, because hackers could figure out how to gain access through the new backdoors. Bellovin called it, “… a disaster waiting to happen.”
In light of President Obama’s appearance in Madden NFL 11 and the upcoming NBA 2K11, Kotaku took a look at the Politics of Presidential Appearances.
In both games, a representation of Obama is used to help celebrate a Super Bowl win or an NBA championship. While the President does have rights to his likeness, Villanova University School of Law Professor Michael Risch stated that, “A sitting president is probably never going to sue.”
Essentially, a president is the one A-list celebrity you get to use for free, provided you’re not too egregious about it. A sitting president filing a civil suit over the unauthorised use of his image is as bad a play politically as could be imagined, especially if the work in which he’s appearing is complimentary and respectful as is the case with Madden and NBA 2K.
BrainPOP has been tapped to serve as a founding outreach partner of the National STEM Video Game Challenge. The game design contest is part of the "Educate to Innovate" campaign the White House announced last week, and is headed by the Joan Ganz Cooney Center at Sesame Workshop and E-Line Media.
As a founding outreach partner, BrainPOP will provide mentors with free access to digital STEM content and professional development opportunities. BrainPOP will also contribute contest prizes and lend support to the competition's judging and promotional efforts.
"Making video games is a complex activity that involves critical 21st century skills such as systems thinking, iterative design, problem solving, collaboration and creativity, and builds a strong motivation for STEM subjects," says E-Line President and Founder Alan Gershenfeld. "We are always excited to see how enthusiastically youth embrace these concepts when presented in the context of video game creation."
A Seaside Heights boardwalk game that allowed patrons to bean a questionable likeness of President Barack Obama has replaced him with a pair of other polarizing political types.
A Star Ledger story reports that models of George W Bush and Hillary Clinton have taken over for Obama, in a move that the game’s operator said was meant to show that “we’re not anti-Democrat or anti-Republican.”
Secret Service agents also reportedly scouted out the game in order to see if game operators were egging on players to bean the President or “for patrons who expressed a desire to hurt the president.” No incidents of either type were reported.
The notoriety of the attraction has also apparently not brought in much new business either as “most tourists point to the game stand in recognition, but then keep on walking without playing.”
Chip maker Nvidia has won a $25 million grant from the Pentagon’s Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) in order to create high-performance supercomputers that leverage the power of graphics processing units (GPU).
Nvidia has long been an advocate, obviously, of the computational powers of GPUs, which have been adapted to a wide variety of uses, from CT scans, to research labs, to Wall Street. Venture Beat reports that the win will see Nvidia operate under a four-year contract and build “a new class of ‘exascale supercomputers’ that are 1,000 times more powerful than today’s supercomputers.”
In the past it didn't really mean anything - beyond your own personal satisfaction hidden deep in your heart - to win the Super Bowl in Madden. But in Madden 2011 EA Sports has brought in the President of the United States to make the occasion more important, more exciting, than it ever has been before.
Whether you are madly in love with President Barrack Obama or still insist he is not a legitimate citizen of the United States of America, you have to admit that this is how a Super Bowl victory in a game should be treated. No? Then I guess you'd better watch the wall to your left because it's time for the Kool-Aid Man bust through and to top off your glass.
According to ESPN.com, Super Bowl winners will be treated to much celebration including team specific commentary by Gus Johnson, a lavish parade with cheering crowds and boisterous celebrations, and a trip to the White House where your star player will shake hands and present him with the team's jersey.
Sassy. For those of you about to go into a rage, a comment on ESPN.com sums things up nicely:
A recently-released screenshot from Deus Ex: Human Revolution, which is set in the year 2027, features a wanted poster for an ex-President.
An eagle-eyed Examiner columnist noticed a wanted poster for the 43rd President of the U.S.—and new Facebook member—George W. Bush in a batch of screenshots for the Eidos Montreal and Square Enix production. GW’s picture is plainly visible under the banner “Wanted for Mass Murder.”
The game is due out in 2011, so we’ll have to just wait and see if GW’s image remains in the finished product.
Political cartoon site TobyToons offers the above illustration as a means to explain President Obama’s continued attacks on videogames and technology.
Just last week the President lamented the current state of technology, stating, “With iPods and iPads, Xboxes and PlayStations, information becomes a distraction, a diversion, a form of entertainment, rather than a tool of empowerment.”
This follows Obama taking a shot at the Xbox in a 2009 speech, where he stated, “I’ve talked about your parents’ responsibility for making sure you stay on track, and get your homework done, and don’t spend every waking hour in front of the TV or with that Xbox.”
Thanks Rodrigo Ybáñez García!
President Barack Obama delivered a commencement speech at Hampton University in Virginia on Sunday, with a shout-out to certain entertainment devices that some may feel were a bit unflattering. Here's the quote, unfettered by commentary and in context:
"You’re coming of age in a 24/7 media environment that bombards us with all kinds of content and exposes us to all kinds of arguments, some of which don’t rank all that high on the truth meter," said President Obama. "With iPods and iPads, Xboxes and PlayStations, information becomes a distraction, a diversion, a form of entertainment, rather than a tool of empowerment."
"All of this is not only putting new pressures on you; it is putting new pressures on our country and on our democracy," President Obama added.
This comment may bother some on both the left and the right, who will point out that, in 2008 during the presidential election campaign, then Senator Obama had no problem advertising on the Xbox 360.
Videogames were the overwhelming answer President Obama received when asking a group of children what they hoped Santa Claus would bring them.
Obama was entertaining a group of children at a Washington D.C. Boys & Girls Club when he posed the question. TownHall.com reports that Obama was inundated with requests for games and consoles along with other electronic devices, such as cell phones and flat-panel television sets.
The focus on electronics prompted the President to ask, “What ever happened to, like, asking for a bike?”
This time around at least, the President took it easy on videogames, perhaps learning from calling them out in the past.
The President also reflected a bit on the actual meaning of the holidays, saying, “What's important is what kind of spirit you have. So I hope everybody has a spirit of kindness and thoughtfulness.”
|Photo via AP|