Op-Ed: Grand Theft Auto V removed from retailer due to guilt and slander – 12/11/2014

gta-v

Sexual violence is an ugly aspect of our society that has a lasting impact on the victims. It’s an issue that needs to be addressed in society and taken seriously by the criminal justice system.

Alleging one of the greatest cultural works encourages sexual violence and then strong-arming retailers with guilt isn’t one way to bring better awareness. Unfortunately a victim of domestic violence (going by the pseudonym of Nicole) chose to take this path by circulating a petition that slandered Grand Theft Auto V than bullied Kmart and Target Australia to remove it from their shelves.

It’s important to know that at no point in Grand Theft Auto V are players asked or required to participate in acts of sexual violence. There are also no moments in the game that features the player perpetrating such a criminal act on a female non-playable character (NPC).

The petition that circulated on Change.org claimed that Grand Theft Auto Vencourages and rewards players for sexually assaulting women. Her only evidence is a YouTube video that demonstrates a players encounter with a prostitute, a trivial feature that has been available since Grand Theft Auto III.

This is has not been the first time the game has been denounced for allowing players to have interactions with prostitutes. However most critics who have denounced the content have been taken seriously in resent years. This is due to a story influenced by Jack Kerouac and Hunter S. Thompson that presents an in-depth analysis of the American Dream in a post-2008 crash society. Bickering over an insignificant content to the game gives the impression that they are too stupid to understand its literary content.

Unlike the few irrelevant critics, this petition has fooled 40,000 users and convinced many that the game “encourages kids” to participate in some acts of sexual violence. The result has been two major retailers having pulled the game and reignite a controversy that should have been dead. Worse is that Nicole has had the audacity to brag about her action while demonizing gamers.

So it should not be surprising that the gaming community has come to Rockstar’s defense by circulating another petition while denouncing Nicole’s unfounded and damaging accusation.

Many have felt that Nicole’s petition was based on her not being informed of the game’s content and story, but that is just sugar coating it.The content of the petition was not based on misinformation or a response to Gamergate but the intent to damage. This was all about Nicole wanting to advance her own political ambitions by leaching on a social issue that matters to many.

Following in the footsteps of Jack Thompson, anti-video game activist and disbarred lawyer, this has been a moral crusade based on lies to deceive the public. Adding more insult, she is constantly referring to the game as a product targeted to kids while assuming gamers are kids. This despite the fact that the average gamer is in their late 20s and the game was made for adults.

Nicole is no hero looking out for those who been the victims of sexual violence. The real heroes are those who refuse to accept what happen to them while working not only to seek justice for themselves but for others. They are also the ones who are fighting to have the law take the crime seriously while pushing for stronger punishments against rapists.

It should also be noted that Change.org needs to to be held accountable for allowing such a petition to be passed around without checking its accuracy of its claim. Was the petition actually fact checked by an admin or does any social justice warrior gets a free pass?

Sexual violence is a problem that could only be addressed by fighting for the rights of the victims to seek justice, not slandering a work of art. In the end Nicole is no hero, she is just another opportunist pushing her own political agenda on the backs of those who have been the victims of sexual violence.

Written for Digital Journal 
12/11/2014
Original ArticleOp-Ed: Grand Theft Auto V removed from retailer due to guilt and slander

Noriega’s lawsuit over ‘Call of Duty: Black Ops II’ dismissed – 10/31/2014

A judge in California ruled to dismiss Manuel Noriega lawsuit against Activsion for using his name and likeness without his consent in ‘Call of Duty: Black Ops II.’

Los Angeles Superior Court Judge, William H. Fahey, ruled to dismiss the lawsuit because it violated Activsion’s right to free speech and the states anti-SLAPP laws. Court documents noted several similar cases in the past to support Activsion’s claim while also making note of the atrocities committed by Noriega when he was dictator of Panama.

Activision lead console and former New York Mayor, Rudy Giuliani, statedin a press release, This was an absurd lawsuit from the very beginning and we’re gratified that in the end, a notorious criminal didn’t win. This is not just a win for the makers of Call of Duty, but is a victory for works of art across the entertainment and publishing industries throughout the world.

The former dictator filed the lawsuit against Activsion for using his name and likeness without consent in Call of Duty: Black Ops II. Noriega appears as a minor villain who helps a terrorist escape than is hunted by the main character during Operation Just Cause.

Will Fulton of Digital Trend noted that ruling could set precedent for Lindsy Lohan’s lawsuit against Rockstar Games. The actress is suing over the appearance of a character in Grand Theft Auto V which she claims was based on her likeness without consent.

Call of Duty: Black Ops II is the ninth game in the series and was released on November 13, 2012 for the PC, Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3. The game focus on a father and son in the special forces as they hunt a terrorist starting from the Cold War circa 1980s up until the near future.

Written for Digital Journal 
10/31/2014
Original ArticleNoriega’s lawsuit over ‘Call of Duty: Black Ops II’ dismissed

Glenn Beck illogical opinion about ‘Watch Dogs’ ridiculed by gaming community – 5/31/2014

Glenn Beck has created a firestorm of laughter and backlash among the gaming community after denouncing Watch Dogs for teaching kids how to hack.

During a segment about the effects of video games on children, Beck claims that Watch Dogs teaches the player how to hack into other peoples smartphones and computers to collect personal data for their own personal use.

Beck further stated during the segment, “The idea here is they are teaching you to hack and then become the ultimate voyeur in other people’s lives, including their bedrooms, by hacking into their phones and everything.

To no surprise; the gaming community has denounced his ignorant remarks while he has become a laughing stock among members of the game and tech media. Many have been quick point out the fallacy in his statement while others have just called him out on his ignorant remarks.

Erik Kain of Forbes.com pointed out that Beck rhetoric has always been about Americans cultural decline while further stating, “So it’s really not surprising that he’s latched onto video games. Video games, to those who don’t play them, have a mysterious and threatening aura. They’re violent, decadent things.

Patricia Hernandez of Kotaku stated in her article, “Listening to him talk about Watch Dogs is kind of funny, since he’s convinced it’ll teach kids how to hack into his iPad.

Machinima official Twitter page stated, “Oh come on. Political commentator Glenn Beck believes #WatchDogs is teaching children how to hack

Watch Dogs creative director, Jonathan Morin, was quick to denounce Beck remarks via Twitter. Morin even responded to the remarks of his Twitter followers who mocked Beck’s misinformed opinion of the game.

Meanwhile most gamers have mocked Beck’s illogical connection to hacking or just say some offensive remarks about him on social media.

Despite Becks misinformed comments, many academic studies have shown that playing video games improves a subjects ability to make quick decisions along with overcome complex challenges. Meanwhile criticism of violence in video games has declined while the few that are published often lack any real credibility to support its argument.

This is also not the first time a political pundit ignorant remarks about a game has met with a backlash among the community. Most infamous was when Kevin McCullough of TownHall.com wrote an article that described Mass Effect as a rape simulator targeted at children.

Watch Dogs is an open world game that has players take on the role Aiden Pearce, a vigilante hacker, who is trying to avenge the murder of his niece. The game was released on May 27 for the PC and all major consoles.

Written for The Gamers Progress
05/31/2014
Original Article: Glenn Beck illogical opinion about ‘Watch Dogs’ ridiculed by gaming community

Leland Yee’s arrest is a victory for gamers – 4/9/2015

On March 26,2014 the FBI made series of arrests across the country related to a massive investigation into political corruption, among the most prominent politician arrested was California State Senator Leland Yee.

Lee was indicted with two felony counts of conspiring to traffic firearms (a classic ‘Baptist and Bootlegger‘ scenario) along with six corruption counts. As a result he has ended his campaign for California Secretary of State while the State Senate has suspended him. He has pleaded Not-guilty to the charges on April 9.

After hearing the news; conservatives and gun rights advocate wasted no time popping open the champagne bottle in celebration. Political sites have been flooded with Op-Ed’s denouncing Yee’s betrayal of the peoples trust and his hypocrisy of trampling on gun rights while trying to traffic arms.

The festivities of the Right has been well known while unknowingly another cultural group has had a reason to celebrate, the gamer community. As several weeks have passed; the gaming community hasn’t been having the same kind of celebration despite having our good reasons.

Besides being an opponent of private firearm ownership, was an outspoken adversary of the gaming community. His reasoning came from a position that gamers are “children” while its affects are based on junk science.

Yee is most infamous as the sponsor of AB 1179, which banned the sale of violent video games (in the vaguest definition possible) to anyone under the age of 18. The bill was signed into law by then-Governor Arnold Schwarzenegge before being struck-down as unconstitutional by the Supreme Court.

Despite the ruling; Yee never gave up on his moral crusade and continued to find ways to legally challenge an industry that he demonized as peddlers of snuff. At times he would brand an entire culture as children and expecting them to remain silent as he trampled over our freedom.

Using his background as a child psychologist, Yee has acted as a moral authority on the debate while casting other views aside. He even took the massacre at Sandy Hook as a low-ball chance to attack the video game culture.

Gamers have no credibility in this argument. This is all about their lust for violence and the industry’s lust for money. This is a billion-dollar industry. This is about their self-interest,” Yee stated in an interview with the San Francisco Chronicle.

Now this once champion moralist is now facing charges of alleged public corruption while trying to buy firearms from Islamic terrorists.

For gamers; the arrest of Yee is one of the greatest victories for the community since Jack Thompson was disbarred back in 2007. The staff at IGN, Gamespot and other establish game news sites also need to pop open a bottle of champagne and celebrate with the writers at National Review.

Watching a judge declare him guilty is going to be the most amazing moment to watch, got a special bottle saved for that celebration.

Written for The Gamers Progress
04/9/2014
Original Article: Leland Yee’s arrest is a victory for gamers

Op-Ed: NSF fails to defend Federal funding for ‘Duck Penis’ study – 4/3/2013

Activists of fiscal responsibility have been outraged over the allocation of funds by the National Science Foundation to the study of “duck penis”.

Yes its true, the NSF has used money to study “duck penis”. For conservatives politicians and pundits, this has become an excellent example of government wasting tax payer money on a pointless research.

In response to this public outcry; Dr. Patricia Brennan, lead investigator in the Sexual Conflict, Social Behavior and the Evolution of Waterfowl Genitalia study, has penned an Op-Ed for Slate.com defending her research.

Dr. Brennan starts her argument with:Whether the government should fund basic research in times of economic crisis is a valid question that deserves well-informed discourse comparing all governmental expenses. As a scientist, my view is that supporting basic and applied research is essential to keep the United States ahead in the global economy. The government cannot afford not to make that investment. In fact, I argue that research spending should increase dramatically for the United States to continue to lead the world in scientific discovery.

At first she makes an excellent case for why the US Government needs to fund scientific research, however she takes so long to get to the point of studying “duck penis” that the typical reader with an ADD attention spam has most likely returned to their Facebook page.

When she finally dose explain the purposes of her study, this is what she had to say:Male ducks force copulations on females, and males and females are engaged in a genital arms race with surprising consequences. Male ducks have elaborate corkscrew-shaped penises, the length of which correlates with the degree of forced copulation males impose on female ducks. Females are often unable to escape male coercion, but they have evolved vaginal morphology that makes it difficult for males to inseminate females close to the sites of fertilization and sperm storage.

Sadly all this research is not about something important like finding a cure for cancer.

To summarize; its not a study of duck penis but a study of duck rape. The end result has been what every Sociologist and Psychologist have known for years regarding rape. The difference is Sociologist and Psychologist used data collected on rapes across communities along with a verity of social experiments while Dr. Brennan has wasted tax payer money on watching ducks rape.

Wasting tax payer money on having scientists watch duck rape in an social behavior experiments would be the equivalent of the NSF funding Michael Vick’s dog fights in an attempt to understand the competitive nature with in physical combat.

Yes; rape is a serious issue that has traumatized many women and devastated communities but To fight this crime will require laws to be rewritten to take the issue more seriously, law enforcement properly trained to handle such a sensitive issue and for society needs to stop demonizing the victims. I just found the answer that this research group was seeking without wasting tax payer money to watch ducks rape.

Its true that the US Government needs to fund research to keep our edge in leading the world in scientific research. Yet it has to be a scientific pursuit that has a real purpose to society. Tax payer money wasted on frivolous science is really just a theft from research regarding the cure for AIDS or cancer.

In an attempt to defend her work all Dr. Brennan did was strength the case against her research. Her argument presented is the equivalent of a spoiled rich kid trying to defend his $30K a month cocaine expenditure to his father.

Written for Digital Journal
04/3/2013
Original Article: Op-Ed: NSF fails to defend Federal funding for ‘Duck Penis’ study

Op-Ed: UCSF should not waste money on erectile dysfunction research – 5/18/2012

According to findings by NBC Bay Area, the University of California San Francisco had received $1.5 million in federal stimulus that was allocated to the study of erectile dysfunction of overweight middle aged men.

NBC Bay Area Investigative Unit broke the story on May 15, as part of its ongoing series of investigations regarding the use of federal stimulus in California.

Information regarding Grant number 1R01HD056950-01A2 are available at Recovery.gov.

Wow – Basically the Federal Government and UCSF are wasting taxpayer money by financing the work of the only people in the world who have never heard of Viagra. Remember that this is University of California San Francisco; one of the world’s leading centers of health sciences research and medical education.

Next to the grossly over-funding of UC Chancellor Mark Yudof and the UC Regents care-free lifestyle, this has to be one of the biggest waste of money by the University of California.

The news may have given writers the opportunity to crack a few jokes, but the situation on the UC campuses is tragically grim.

The UC system is already struggling with budget cuts which have resulted in major cuts to student services, limited courses and overcrowded classes. On top of that are the tuition hikes that have become a burden on students.

So obviously the last thing that needs to be funded is research into erectile dysfunction. A medical condition that is already well researched and already has many treatable options; just check out the Wikipedia page for erectile dysfunction.

Worse is that offering such a grant for such pointless research is a theft from the research of a medical subject that actually matters, like the cure for AIDS or cancer.

Had this grant been used for research that matters, then the $1.5 million in federal stimulus would be money well spent. Because it’s not rocket science to know that society gains more from curing an epidemic than learning more about erectile dysfunction.

Republicans have criticized the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 as being government waste while Gov. Jerry Brown is struggling to reduce the states deficient. This waste just helps strengthen the argument that the stimulus has failed and Gov. Brown is just another tax & spend liberal.

It’s because of poor policies and logistics that allowed money to be wasted for such a redundant study. Or it’s because Chancellor Yudof is getting tired of his wife complaining about his late night performances.

Written for Digital Journal 
5/18/2012
Original Article: Op-Ed: UCSF should not waste money on erectile dysfunction research

Democratic National Committee ignoring Wisconsin recall – 5/17/2012

The Democratic National Committee has been ignoring requests to fund the local efforts to recall Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker.

With only three weeks until the June 5th election, the DNC has not responded to the request of a $500,000 investment by the Democratic Party of Wisconsin. Meanwhile the Republican National Committee has given its full support to Gov. Walker.

Mary Magnuson, a MoveOn.org activist from Wisconsin, has created an online petition to show public support for the recall. The goal is to gather 125,000 signatures before its mailed to the Democratic National Committee and Debbie Wasserman Schultz ; there are currently 110,709 signatures.

Am I missing something? This would appear to be a no brainer for the DNC,” said Catherine Treece from Madison, Wisconsin, who signed the petition on May 16.

People need to be educated and fast! We need the DNC’s support!“, said Kay Heimerl from Appleton, Wisconsin, who also signed the petition on May 16.

ActBlue, a non-profit political committee that supports Democratic candidates, has setup pages to raise for money for the campaign against Walker, which has collected $825,133.

Meanwhile the Republican Party of Wisconsin will host a Super Saturday on May 19, 2012, to raise money for Walker’s campaign.

The recall election pits Walker in a rematch against Tom Barrett, the former Mayor of Milwaukee. Random polls show that Walker has the lead by a thin margin which indicate the election could be decided based on voter turnout.

If the recall election is successful, Walker would be the third governor to have been recalled in U.S. history.

Scott Walker took office as the 45th Governor of Wisconsin on January 3, 2011. Campaigned on a promise to fix the state deficit but gain national attention for his budget plan which stripped most public sector unions of their collective bargaining rights.

Written for Digital Journal 
5/17/2012
Original Article: Democratic National Committee ignoring Wisconsin recall