Social Media: Big Brother is Watching

Social media has extended the reach of our government while raising the public’s expectations of those in power, but it has gone too far. The explosion of social networking sites like Facebook and Twitter allow people to share their thoughts, feelings, pictures, videos, and insights. These and many other social networking sites have led to the creation of some of the largest user generated databases in the world, something the FBI and the CIA could have only dreamed of accomplishing. More government agencies are now active on social media as well, adding some much needed transparency of those in power.

The Obama 2012 campaign used data analytics and the experimental method to assemble a winning coalition (Issenberg, 2012). Interestingly enough, this kind of peering in from ‘big brother’ holds a fairly favorable public opinion. When big data is used to rally voters in an honest and open fashion, we are happy to accept that our personal data has been utilized without consent. The choice of mankind lies between freedom and happiness and for the great bulk of mankind, happiness is better (Orwell, Page 152).

Government agencies use the internet to activate and mobilize for change and to disseminate information, conduct transactions and engage in community building and collaboration (Toscano, 2016). Law enforcement agencies even utilize social media to gather intelligence and to fight crime. Nextdoor.com is a great example of a social network that is neighborhood based and allows for an exchange of information between police and concerned citizens. These collaborations can lead to arrests and often improve public safety and awareness.

The global threat of terrorism has forever changed the way law enforcement gathers intelligence. Shortly after the terror attacks of September 11, 2001, president George W. Bush signed into law the Patriot Act. The Patriot Act allows the FBI (and other government agencies) to conduct surveillance of phone, email, and other electronic records (social network data) without consent. This trend in surveillance policy doesn’t seem to be going away any time soon either, and many Americans are outraged.

In 2013 Edward Snowden, a former contractor for the CIA, revealed that the National Security Agency (NSA) tapped directly into the servers of nine internet firms, including Facebook, Google, Microsoft, and Twitter in a surveillance program called Prism. A concerning revelation from the Snowden leaks is that the NSA gathered information from citizens that are not under suspicion of a crime at all, often times by mistake. The NSA’s surveillance was believed by Snowden to be funded by an undocumented ‘black budget’ of almost 60 billion dollars in 2013.

In October of 2013, Secretary of State John Kerry renounced the NSA for its overreaching spy tactics. John Kerry said, “In some of these cases, some of these actions have reached too far and we are going to try to make sure it doesn’t happen in the future.” It is great if the NSA has indeed scaled back their questionable surveillance practices. However, many sceptics believe that the Obama administration denounced the NSA’s activities in order to avoid what was becoming a major political maelstrom.

Social media has assisted law enforcement, but at what cost? It is as if social media adds a potential for surveillance that can be thought of as an Orwellian nightmare, especially in light of the Edward Snowden case. Vigilance and transparency are America’s best hope to keep the government from extending their reach too far.

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Why Does The U.S.A. Not Support It’s Own Bill of Rights?

The answer for me is simple: I have seen that the Democrats (Dems) and all of the progressive movement supporting liberals want big government. Really should government be the biggest business in America? In my opinion – NO!

I quote our president Mr. Obama, ‘I am a citizen of the world.’ Me myself am a citizen of the great United States of America.

For all of the Dems out there here is our bill of rights in case you forgot, which you probably did:

THE BILL OF RIGHTS – FULL TEXT

Amendment I

Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the government for a redress of grievances.

Amendment II

A well regulated militia, being necessary to the security of a free state, the right of the people to keep and bear arms, shall not be infringed.

Amendment III

No soldier shall, in time of peace be quartered in any house, without the consent of the owner, nor in time of war, but in a manner to be prescribed by law.

Amendment IV

The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized.

Amendment V

No person shall be held to answer for a capital, or otherwise infamous crime, unless on a presentment or indictment of a grand jury, except in cases arising in the land or naval forces, or in the militia, when in actual service in time of war or public danger; nor shall any person be subject for the same offense to be twice put in jeopardy of life or limb; nor shall be compelled in any criminal case to be a witness against himself, nor be deprived of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor shall private property be taken for public use, without just compensation.

Amendment VI

In all criminal prosecutions, the accused shall enjoy the right to a speedy and public trial, by an impartial jury of the state and district wherein the crime shall have been committed, which district shall have been previously ascertained by law, and to be informed of the nature and cause of the accusation; to be confronted with the witnesses against him; to have compulsory process for obtaining witnesses in his favor, and to have the assistance of counsel for his defense.

Amendment VII

In suits at common law, where the value in controversy shall exceed twenty dollars, the right of trial by jury shall be preserved, and no fact tried by a jury, shall be otherwise reexamined in any court of the United States, than according to the rules of the common law.

Amendment VIII

Excessive bail shall not be required, nor excessive fines imposed, nor cruel and unusual punishments inflicted.

Amendment IX

The enumeration in the Constitution, of certain rights, shall not be construed to deny or disparage others retained by the people.

Amendment X

The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the states, are reserved to the states respectively, or to the people.

—–

Meanwhile in Washington:

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Rock To Grunge To Metal To Punk Rockers

Just do it!

Sign up now: Metal Devastation Radio

The time has come for all metal heads to unite! All metal heads must rebuild the ‘Great Wall of Metal.’ You know, the one that if you crossed it’s borders the Gestapo will label you as a terrorist and, well, the rest is history. The evangelicals might even burn you alive?

Below is the response Ron Burgundy gave to his ‘Non Metal’ friends in the ‘investigative journalism’ industry:

How dare you dislike metal devastation!

“You are a smelly pirate hooker. Why don’t you go back to your home on Whore Island?” — Ron Burgundy

“You know, I’m kind of a big deal, People know me.” — Ron Burgundy

Begin your comment below starting with the name of your favorite metal band.

That is all.

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Bacolas & Cantrell Recall Layne Staley

layneThe Seattle grunge scene that transformed rock in the ’90s produced four great voices, but the most distinct among them belonged to Alice in Chains’ Layne Staley. Nirvana’s Kurt Cobain deeply understood musical dynamics and could simultaneously scream and sing a melody in a way that few others could—think of John Lennon’s searing lead vocal performance on “Twist and Shout.” Soundgarden’s Chris Cornell wailed and hit high notes, putting him at times in Robert Plant or Freddie Mercury territory. Pearl Jam’s Eddie Vedder combined a Jim Morrison-style natural baritone range with other punk and rock influences.

But Staley sounded like no one else. His ability to project power and vulnerability in his vocals, as well as the unique and complementary harmonies he created when singing with Alice in Chains guitarist Jerry Cantrell, made for a style that would get copied for years after Alice in Chains became a household name.

“I didn’t want another Morrison or
another Rob Halford,” Bacolas says. “I don’t know what we were looking for. We just kind of—we just found it.”

When he died over a decade ago, the ensuing remembrances often centered on his voice. “He was single-handedly the guy that got me to start singing,” Godsmack singer Sully Erna told MTV News at the time. “To this day, I’ve never really heard a cooler singer … Just the way they [Staley and Cantrell] addressed their melodies and harmonies, and his vocal style in general was so different from anything that anyone was writing that it was so appealing and attractive that you couldn’t help but be influenced by it.”

Billy Corgan

“Layne had an amazing voice that had such a beautiful, sad, haunting quality about it,” Smashing Pumpkins frontman Billy Corgan said in a statement after Staley’s death. “He was different because his heaviness was in that voice.”

It was on Alice in Chains’s sophomore album Dirt that Staley would develop what became his signature sound: heavily layering his vocals in the studio by recording two or three vocal tracks in multiple intervals. The technique, called stacked vocals, “was totally Layne,” Alice in Chains producer Dave Jerden says. Staley hadn’t discussed or explained in advance his idea for stacking his vocals to Jerden: “What he would say to me when we did that stuff is he had it all worked out, and he would just say ‘Give me another track.’ ‘I want to double it.’ ‘Now let’s triple it.’ He was just telling me what he wanted to do, and we’d do it.”

There was also an improvisational element to how he recorded. Dirt engineer Bryan Carlstrom remembers that when working on the song “Them Bones” with Staley, Staley told him, “Oh, I hear a little vocal part I want to stick in the song.”

As he was hearing the music played back to him on his headphones, Staley began singing the “Ah!” screams timed to Cantrell’s guitar riff. He tracked the screams once or twice.

“He just made that up on the spot,” Carlstrom says. Cantrell is credited for the music and lyrics to the song, but it’s difficult to imagine it without those screams.

Staley was also capable of innovating in his ability to use his voice as an instrument. “He sings on the verse on ‘God Smack’ with this effect that literally sounds like there’s a tremolo [effect] or a Leslie [speaker] on his voice, and he is doing that with his voice,” Carlstrom says. No studio wizardry was necessary. Carlstrom has no idea how he was doing it because the production staff had put up a makeshift wall made of soundproof material in the studio at Staley’s request so he couldn’t be seen from the outside while he was singing.

It was his voice, in large part, that landed 17-year-old drummer Layne Elmer the gig that would turn him into Alice in Chains singer Layne Staley.

In the spring or fall of 1984, James Bergstrom, the drummer in a garage band called Sleze, was walking between classes at suburban Seattle’s Shorewood High School when he ran into Ken Elmer, a friend from the school marching band. Elmer knew that Bergstrom and his band mates were looking for a singer, and he had somebody in mind for them.

“Hey, my stepbrother Layne plays drums but he wants to be a singer,” Elmer told Bergstrom. “You should give him a call.” Bergstrom agreed, and an audition was eventually set up.

Alice_N_ChainsThe tryout took place at Bergstrom’s parents’ house, where Sleze had their jam room set up in the basement. They were young—still in early high school and still learning how to play their instruments and perform covers. Layne eventually arrived. Before playing together, the band members noticed his tall stature, soft-spoken demeanor, and that he was very much dressed for the part of a rock musician, with band names like “Ozzy” or “Mötley Crüe” written on his pants in bleach.

“He came to our jam room and was really shy, real timid,” guitarist Johnny Bacolas says. “And just as we expected, we were like, ‘Fuck, yeah! This is what a lead singer should look like!'”

After initial introductions were made, the group started jamming. Bergstrom, guitarists Johnny Bacolas and Ed Semanate, and bassist Byron Hansen are all fairly certain that the first song they performed with Layne was a cover of Mötley Crüe’s “Looks That Kill.” They immediately knew they were onto something

“When he got to the part, ‘Now she’s a cool cool black,’ he could actually hit those notes. We were like, ‘Oh my God! This is awesome!'” Bergstrom recalls with a laugh. “So you had that feeling, ‘Here’s this kid. He’s got a great sounding voice. He’s cool. He could sing on key. And he also had good range and he was soulful, though he was just a raw beginner.’ So we knew we had something special, and we were like in heaven from then, man. We became a band.”

Semanate had a similar impression of Layne’s vocal performance: “He had a really high voice, kind of Vince Neil-ish, he could nail that pretty good. So I was happy.”

Johnny Bacolas

Johnny Bacolas talks about his days of working with Layne Staley.

But aside from his ability to mimic Neil’s vocals, it was the distinct sound of his voice, even in that raw, undeveloped form, that caught Bacolas’s attention—and led Sleze to hire him, starting Layne on the journey that would lead to Alice in Chains.

“He didn’t strike me as, ‘Oh, this guy is a [Jim] Morrison wannabe,’ or ‘Oh, this guy is a Robert Plant wannabe,’ or an Ozzy [Osbourne] wannabe,” Bacolas says. “Layne had his own thing, and I think that’s what was the most appealing about him. He had a very distinctive voice. I didn’t want another Morrison or another Rob Halford. We weren’t looking for that. I don’t know what we were looking for. We just kind of—we just found it.”

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Tolerance and Cultural Diversity

I can define diversity in a number of ways so I listed a few of them here. Please leave a comment on how we can recognize, even celebrate, our differences.

-Knowledge is the key to tolerance.

-To gain a new perspective on the lives of others around you as well as around the world.

-At this predominately white college a lot of the students, especially freshmen, have not experienced another culture. Cultural celebrations give students the opportunities to view and maybe understand more about cultures different from there own. Also by learning about other cultures students can develop respect and open-mindedness for other cultures.

-To overcome ignorance and prejudice.

-Diversity is our strength.

-We are all diverse people. Celebrating our differences, as well as our common interests, helps unite and educate us.

-To understand others perspectives, to broaden our own, and to fully experience and educate ourselves.

-In a word, heritage!

-People all around need to understand and learn to appreciate other cultures and this is one way to accomplish that.

-Through each other’s diversity we become more aware of our own. Not only do we become more aware we gain a sense of pride for the diversity of our own culture.

-Understanding people and their backgrounds is crucial to personal and community growth.

-Because diversity makes the world go round!

-It’s energizing and thought provoking. We live in such an isolated area that we don’t often reflect on the diverse people we have all around us.

-To see how many different forms of music can bring happiness to groups outside of their own traditional roots.

-In order to realize what varied cultures, beliefs, and lifestyles people lead outside the somewhat heterogeneous bubble of Boone. In order to relate and understand those with different social, economic, and educational backgrounds.

To help us all spend some time together we understand and appreciate each other’s cultures so much more!

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Integrity

Christopher James Bacolas has integrity as a designer. Do you?

My integrity as a freelance marketing specialist.

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Freelance Web-Development

As a freelance web-developer, Christopher Bacolas can customize your marketing material to better suit your needs while keeping your budget in mind.

Basic Plan: 

1.       Logo Design (4-5 samples)
2.       Layout Design (2-3 samples)
3.       Banner Design
4.       Menu Design
5.       5-15 Static Pages
6.       1 Contact PHP Form
7.       Basic SEO
8.       3 Months of Emergency Technical Assistance

Please note that services can be customized to better fit your needs. A La Carte is available as needed. Additional services available upon request.

Total Cost : $100 – $500
Time Required : 7 Business Days
Initial Milestone Payment : 50%
Final Payment : Upon Customer Satisfaction (Project Completion)

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