Category: News


My previous entry spoke about the need to travel somewhere to seek some solace. Mysteriously, there happened to be a death in my family. Now I’m about to embark on a long journey…

I will continue as the day and access allow for it.

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EDIT: There are few who care about the environment, there also hopes to be few who profit from it. I was thinking about quoting the source of the article below but then I felt I would get immediately disqualified because of it. But there’s one thing that stands out in all of this for me. You can Google it if you want. Here’s my take: Oil is unpopular, it’s limited, it’s a pollutant; yet, it fuels commerce, produce, and transports medicines, workers, and supplies over large distances. No one wants to waste the time and energy (pun intended) to fund and research cheap alternative fuel sources. Why would big oil want that? It would put them out of business. Why are the environmentalist organizations not keen on suggesting cheap alternative energy? Because they don’t want fuels to go away just yet either! So let’s make up “carbon credits” and just let the rich countries get “taxed” so they can continue burning fuels and let the underdeveloped countries have a chance to use that money. Most importantly, let”s use the UN to rally these countries together and let us handle the cashflow! What a racket! But then again, it is our fault for not being responsible enough on our own to be better stewards of what’s been given to us. Instead, we’re gonna let man’s “worst enemy to the planet” be judge, jury, and sadly, the executioner.

The Multibillion Dollar Carbon Trading System The carbon trading system is a multibillion money-making bonanza for the financial establishment. The stakes are extremely high and the various lobby groups on behalf of Wall Street have already positioned themselves.

According to a recent report, “the carbon market could become double the size of the vast oil market, according to the new breed of City players who trade greenhouse gas emissions through the EU’s emissions trading scheme.

The speed of that growth will depend on whether the Copenhagen summit gives a go-ahead for a low-carbon economy, but Ager says whatever happens schemes such as the ETS will expand around the globe.” (Terry Macalister, Carbon trading could be worth twice that of oil in next decade, The Guardian, 28 November 2009)

The large financial conglomerates, involved in derivative trade, including JP Morgan Chase, Bank America Merrill Lynch, Barclay’s, Citi Bank, Nomura, Société Générale, Morgan Stanley and Goldman Sachs are actively involved in carbon trading.( FACTBOX: Investment banks in carbon trading | Reuters, 14 September 2009)

The legitimacy of the carbon trading system rests on the legitimacy of the Global Warming Consensus, which views CO2 emissions as the single threat to the environment. And for Wall Street the carbon trading system is a convenient and secure money-making safety-net, allowing for the transfer of billions of dollars into the pockets of a handful of conglomerates.

“Every major financial house in New York and London has set up carbon trading operations. Very big numbers are dancing in their heads, and they need them to replace the “wealth” that evaporated in the housing bust. Louis Redshaw, head of environmental markets at Barclays Capital, told the New York Times, “Carbon will be the world’s biggest market over all.” Barclays thinks the current $60 billion carbon market could grow to $1 trillion within a decade. Four years ago Redshaw, a former electricity trader, couldn’t get anyone to talk to him about carbon.” (Mark Braly, The Multibillion Dollar Carbon Trading, RenewableEnergyWorld.com, 5 March 2008)

Consider the opposing argument for An Inconvenient Truth, then decide intelligently.

“He told an Arab-American audience of 1,000 people that the U.S. is no longer just a black-white country, nor a country that is dominated by Christians and a powerful Jewish minority, given the growing numbers of Muslims, Hindus and other religious groups here.”

Link to Story

10 million license plate reads a day!

Things that catch on across the pond tend to make their way over to the US. Fish & Chips, The British Invasion, Teletubbies, Dancing with the Stars, CCTV etc. Sometimes these “advancements” are not always welcomed with open arms but it appears that we’re not responsible enough to take care of ourselves. What is currently happening is yet another fine example of your liberties eroding away. BBC Special correspondent, Richard Bilton, writes about a new network of cameras and computers which will automatically log license plate numbers and be fully operational within months.

It is being hailed, by their own, as “the finest intelligence-led policing tool”. It is capable of reading over 10 million license plates a day. Information is then fed into the system where law enforcement can then determine the where-abouts of certain criminals on the loose. Some precincts that have implemented this system have reported an increase in arrests of 40%. The sword of justice, however, is double-edged. Read the BBC article further down and you will know about John Catt who should be entitled to his own opinions and be allowed to protest the war in a peaceful manner yet was wrongfully”marked” by this technology.

Right now, the technology and data that checks these license plates is unregulated. But as long as you’re not doing anything wrong, then you shouldn’t have to worry, right?

There will be a televised version of this story on BBC 2 on Monday. Hopefully, it will be made available on YouTube shortly thereafter.

Link to BBC Story.

This was pulled from Amanda L. French’s blog. Currently, the page won’t load and gets redirected before you get a chance to read it. Fortunately, I was able to copy her entry via Google cache. Please visit her blog at amandafrench.net when it becomes available. (Amanda, thanks!)

February 16, 2009 – 2:28 pm

With today’s outrage over Facebook’s newly altered Terms of Service at its peak, I figured I’d do a quick comparison of their terms of service as regards user-uploaded content to the terms specified by other social networking sites, just to see if said outrage is fully justified. It looks as though the finger-pointing at the Bush robots.txt file wasn’t justified, for instance, and I was guilty of spreading that story.

Conclusion? Go ahead and be outraged. Facebook’s claims to your content are extraordinarily grabby and arrogant. Here’s the rundown, which I go through in more detail below:

  1. Facebook apparently wants to keep all its rights to your stuff after you remove it from Facebook, and even after you delete your Facebook account; they just removed the lines that specified that their rights end when your content comes down. Nobody else (of those I looked at) would dream of that; mostly they specifically state that their rights to your content end when you remove the content from their site or delete your account.
  2. This one kills me: Facebook claims it can do whatever it wants with your content if you put a Share on Facebook link on your web page. Unbelievable–and unique, as far as I can tell. People can post links in Facebook to your content just by copying and pasting the URL, but if you want to save them a few keystrokes by putting a link or a widget on your site, Facebook claims that you’ve granted them a whole mess of rights. Count me out.
  3. Other sites point out in their terms of service that you still own your content: Facebook doesn’t mention that little fact. Facebook also neglects to remind you that you’re giving other Facebook users rights to your Facebook content, too — YouTube, for example, makes it clear that other people besides YouTube have a right to use and spread around the videos you upload. In general, other sites’ terms of service just have a more helpful tone.

So let’s look at what other popular user-generated content sites say about their rights to your stuff:

MySpace’s rights to your stuff:

6.1 MySpace does not claim any ownership rights in the text, files, images, photos, video, sounds, musical works, works of authorship, applications, or any other materials (collectively, “Content”) that you post on or through the MySpace Services. After posting your Content to the MySpace Services, you continue to retain any such rights that you may have in your Content, subject to the limited license herein. By displaying or publishing (”posting”) any Content on or through the MySpace Services, you hereby grant to MySpace a limited license to use, modify, delete from, add to, publicly perform, publicly display, reproduce, and distribute such Content solely on or through the MySpace Services, including without limitation distributing part or all of the MySpace Website in any media formats and through any media channels, except Content marked “private” will not be distributed outside the MySpace Website. This limited license does not grant MySpace the right to sell or otherwise distribute your Content outside of the MySpace Services. After you remove your Content from the MySpace Website we will cease distribution as soon as practicable, and at such time when distribution ceases, the license will terminate. If after we have distributed your Content outside the MySpace Website you change the Content’s privacy setting to “private,” we will cease distribution of such “private” Content outside the MySpace Website as soon as practicable after you make the change.

6.2 The license you grant to MySpace is non-exclusive (meaning you are free to license your Content to anyone else in addition to MySpace), fully-paid and royalty-free (meaning that MySpace is not required to pay you for the use on the MySpace Services of the Content that you post), sublicensable (so that MySpace is able to use its affiliates, subcontractors and other partners such as Internet content delivery networks and wireless carriers to provide the MySpace Services), and worldwide (because the Internet and the MySpace Services are global in reach).

See? MySpace grants itself a “limited” license and carefully spells out what those limits are. MySpace does a terrific job in that second paragraph especially of explaining what’s going on, I think. Maybe your average thirteen-year-old would still need some help, but way to go with the “human-readable” language, MySpace. Getting an explanation about why they need to be able to sublicense the content is terrific, and I’m sure that if they then tried to sublicense it for other purposes, they’d be tripped up by their own TOS.

Yahoo!’s rights to your Flickr stuff:

Yahoo! does not claim ownership of Content you submit or make available for inclusion on the Yahoo! Services. However, with respect to Content you submit or make available for inclusion on publicly accessible areas of the Yahoo! Services, you grant Yahoo! the following worldwide, royalty-free and non-exclusive license(s), as applicable […]:

With respect to photos, graphics, audio or video you submit or make available for inclusion on publicly accessible areas of the Yahoo! Services other than Yahoo! Groups, the license to use, distribute, reproduce, modify, adapt, publicly perform and publicly display such Content on the Yahoo! Services solely for the purpose for which such Content was submitted or made available. This license exists only for as long as you elect to continue to include such Content on the Yahoo! Services and will terminate at the time you remove or Yahoo! removes such Content from the Yahoo! Services.

Yahoo! makes distinctions between its Groups and other services like Flickr, but that need not concern us here (Yahoo! reserves fewer rights to Groups stuff than to Flickr stuff). They start by reminding you that they don’t own your stuff, then go on to say that they have the right to copy your stuff “solely for the purpose for which such Content was submitted.” In other words, they don’t grant themselves the right to use it in their advertising, as far as I can tell. And, sanely, the license ends when you (or they) take the content down. I checked out the Flickr Pro TOS, as well, and there’s nothing extra in there, whew. I also love that Flickr makes it very easy to stick a Creative Commons license on your photos, although to be honest I’m not sure if I’ve done that with mine. Must check.

Google’s rights to your Picasa stuff:

Google claims no ownership or control over any Content submitted, posted or displayed by you on or through Picasa Web Albums. You or a third party licensor, as appropriate, retain all patent, trademark and copyright to any Content you submit, post or display on or through Picasa Web Albums and you are responsible for protecting those rights, as appropriate. By submitting, posting or displaying Content on or through Picasa Web Albums, you grant Google a worldwide, non-exclusive, royalty-free license to reproduce, adapt, distribute and publish such Content through Picasa Web Albums, including RSS or other content feeds offered through Picasa Web Albums, and other Google services. In addition, by submitting, posting or displaying Content which is intended to be available to the general public, you grant Google a worldwide, non-exclusive, royalty-free license to reproduce, adapt, distribute and publish such Content for the purpose of displaying, distributing and promoting Google services. Google will discontinue this licensed use within a commercially reasonable period after such Content is removed from Picasa Web Albums.

Sounds reasonable. I don’t really mind their using my stuff in their advertising, though “other Google services” may soon encompass every single conceivable service on the planet. They, too, stop the license when you take the content down.

YouTube’s rights to your stuff:

For clarity, you retain all of your ownership rights in your User Submissions. However, by submitting User Submissions to YouTube, you hereby grant YouTube a worldwide, non-exclusive, royalty-free, sublicenseable and transferable license to use, reproduce, distribute, prepare derivative works of, display, and perform the User Submissions in connection with the YouTube Website and YouTube’s (and its successors’ and affiliates’) business, including without limitation for promoting and redistributing part or all of the YouTube Website (and derivative works thereof) in any media formats and through any media channels. You also hereby grant each user of the YouTube Website a non-exclusive license to access your User Submissions through the Website, and to use, reproduce, distribute, display and perform such User Submissions as permitted through the functionality of the Website and under these Terms of Service. The above licenses granted by you in User Videos terminate within a commercially reasonable time after you remove or delete your User Videos from the YouTube Website. You understand and agree, however, that YouTube may retain, but not display, distribute, or perform, server copies of User Submissions that have been removed or deleted. The above licenses granted by you in User Comments are perpetual and irrevocable.

I really like it when these paragraphs start with the helpful information that “you retain all ownership rights.” Also note that YouTube points out that “You also hereby grant each user of the YouTube Website” some rights. Way to look out for the community. Good job. Now add the ability for us to put Creative Commons licenses on our videos somewhere other than in the description, okay? Thanks.

LinkedIn’s rights to your stuff:

License and warrant your submissions: You do not have to submit anything to us, but if you choose to submit something (including any User generated content, ideas, concepts, techniques and data), you must grant, and you actually grant by concluding this Agreement, a nonexclusive, irrevocable, worldwide, perpetual, unlimited, assignable, sublicenseable, fully paid up and royaltyfree right to us to copy, prepare derivative works of, improve, distribute, publish, remove, retain, add, and use and commercialize, in any way now known or in the future discovered, anything that you submit to us, without any further consent, notice and/or compensation to you or to any third parties.

LinkedIn is the one exception to the general conclusion I state above: its language about its rights to your content is at least as strong as Facebook’s, if not more so. The thing is that people don’t upload pictures and videos to LinkedIn; the main user-contributed content is the facts in a profile (where I worked, where I went to school). People usually don’t mind having that information spread around. Also, you can tell that LinkedIn is thinking mainly about the suggestions for improvement that people submit (”ideas, concepts, techniques”) — but still, LinkedIn would be well-advised to revise.

Twitter’s rights to your stuff:

1. We claim no intellectual property rights over the material you provide to the Twitter service. Your profile and materials uploaded remain yours. You can remove your profile at any time by deleting your account. This will also remove any text and images you have stored in the system.

2. We encourage users to contribute their creations to the public domain or consider progressive licensing terms.

Isn’t that sweet? Granted, the only stuff people contribute to Twitter are their little 140-character tweets, plus a profile pic or two — these terms don’t cover what you post to TwitPic, for instance. But Twitter wants you to know that your stuff is yours, and it wants you to share your stuff with others. Twitter doesn’t reserve to itself the right to use your tweets in its promotional campaigns — does Twitter even do any self-promotion? They hardly need to; the New York Times has certainly been giving them enough press lately.

Facebook’s rights to your stuff:

You hereby grant Facebook an irrevocable, perpetual, non-exclusive, transferable, fully paid, worldwide license (with the right to sublicense) to (a) use, copy, publish, stream, store, retain, publicly perform or display, transmit, scan, reformat, modify, edit, frame, translate, excerpt, adapt, create derivative works and distribute (through multiple tiers), any User Content you (i) Post on or in connection with the Facebook Service or the promotion thereof subject only to your privacy settings or (ii) enable a user to Post, including by offering a Share Link on your website and (b) to use your name, likeness and image for any purpose, including commercial or advertising, each of (a) and (b) on or in connection with the Facebook Service or the promotion thereof.

Yeah, so I took the Facebook icon out of my Sociable WordPress widget. All my stuff here has a Creative Commons license, so I’ve already allowed everyone including Facebook to use my stuff for “non-commercial” purposes anyway; it’s not quite clear what counts as a “commercial” purpose in a Creative Commons license, granted (though they’re working on clarifying the term), but any use that Facebook would make would probably be commercial. I don’t even mind all commercial uses: I don’t really care if they want to use my profile picture to show that the people who use Facebook are really sexy and good-looking. But the stuff on my blog does not become Facebook “User Content” if I put a link that allows people to share it on Facebook. Come off it.

Hey Bam, that’s not the door!. (Daily News)

It looks like President Obama hasn’t gotten acquainted to his White House surroundings. On the way back to the Oval Office Tuesday, the President approached a paned window, instead of the actual door — located a few feet to his right.

Doors didn’t open automatically for Obama’s predecessor either. While making a hasty exit from a 2005 press conference in Beijing, former President George W. Bush tugged on the handles of a door, only to find it locked.

Bush laughed off the blunder, but the pictures still live on as part of Bush’s lame duck legacy. However, there was little note taken of Obama’s rookie mistake.

Obama, who was returning from meeting with Congressional leaders, may have been distracted by Republicans’ icy reception to his $825 billion stimulus package, which is poised to pass on Wednesday even without a groundswell of Republican support.

Editorial: Now regardless of which individual you voted for, which party you represent, which type of leanings you may have if any, clearly you can see the press at “it’s finest”. What used to be fact reporting in the early days of journalism has now turned into a competition over who can steer the majority’s opinion in their favor.

The media should reexamine their roles and responsibilities as a journalist. Start separating yourselves from the fluff and personal bias. Reread your articles and reports from the perspective of a visitor from another planet and not as Mrs. Kravitz.

So back to the matter at hand. Why should not walking through the right door deem one person a lame duck while the other is deemed a rookie mistake? Don’t give me an obvious response for what’s on the surface, either.

Celebrities are now pledging to be Americans and be more responsible?! Weren’t you a part of the problem before anyway?! You’re pledging now to be a “servant” to the president of the United States?! What about when the former president was being ridiculed by the rest of the planet? Oh, but we only hang out with the cool kids on the block. Forget being American, I don’t know that guy. Let me kiss my arms in the name of Barack (smack) Obama (smack) and pledge servitude because I cannot take care of this country and make a difference as an individual. Isn’t that what made this country great long ago?

Personally, I find this video awkward. I was taught to never serve mankind. We’re idiots, untrustworthy and self-serving fools. To believe that we can actually serve man for man’s sake is skewed. I serve a much higher authority that asks me to be selfless and seek out a purpose for my life that far exceeds anything great that I can attain here – even during those moments when I start to believe that the universe should revolve around me!

Are these celebrities for real? Well as more and more try to join us, we’ll see how hard it is to hold them accountable to a pledge as much as non-believers and believers try to hold me to higher standards.

But even as I walk away (not step down) from my soapbox. I know that you don’t have to pledge your servitude to any person. Serve your country because it’s what made this nation great! Serve your fellow man because it is what we’re commanded to do. But above all else, serve Him!

I know there was the question of a few items that remained “up in the air” regarding things we want to know more of Obama but apparently, someone’s compiled a list. I honestly do not recall any other president have this many holes in their past. Why is this the case?

Obama Inaugural Address

My fellow citizens:

I stand here today humbled by the task before us, grateful for the trust you have bestowed, mindful of the sacrifices borne by our ancestors. I thank President Bush for his service to our nation, as well as the generosity and cooperation he has shown throughout this transition.
Inauguration Day.

Forty-four Americans have now taken the presidential oath. The words have been spoken during rising tides of prosperity and the still waters of peace. Yet, every so often the oath is taken amidst gathering clouds and raging storms. At these moments, America has carried on not simply because of the skill or vision of those in high office, but because We the People have remained faithful to the ideals of our forbearers, and true to our founding documents.

So it has been. So it must be with this generation of Americans.

That we are in the midst of crisis is now well understood. Our nation is at war, against a far-reaching network of violence and hatred. Our economy is badly weakened, a consequence of greed and irresponsibility on the part of some, but also our collective failure to make hard choices and prepare the nation for a new age. Homes have been lost; jobs shed; businesses shuttered. Our health care is too costly; our schools fail too many; and each day brings further evidence that the ways we use energy strengthen our adversaries and threaten our planet.

These are the indicators of crisis, subject to data and statistics. Less measurable but no less profound is a sapping of confidence across our land – a nagging fear that America’s decline is inevitable, and that the next generation must lower its sights.

Today I say to you that the challenges we face are real. They are serious and they are many. They will not be met easily or in a short span of time. But know this, America – they will be met.

On this day, we gather because we have chosen hope over fear, unity of purpose over conflict and discord.

On this day, we come to proclaim an end to the petty grievances and false promises, the recriminations and worn out dogmas, that for far too long have strangled our politics.

We remain a young nation, but in the words of Scripture, the time has come to set aside childish things. The time has come to reaffirm our enduring spirit; to choose our better history; to carry forward that precious gift, that noble idea, passed on from generation to generation: the God-given promise that all are equal, all are free, and all deserve a chance to pursue their full measure of happiness.

In reaffirming the greatness of our nation, we understand that greatness is never a given. It must be earned. Our journey has never been one of short-cuts or settling for less. It has not been the path for the faint-hearted – for those who prefer leisure over work, or seek only the pleasures of riches and fame. Rather, it has been the risk-takers, the doers, the makers of things – some celebrated but more often men and women obscure in their labor, who have carried us up the long, rugged path towards prosperity and freedom.

For us, they packed up their few worldly possessions and traveled across oceans in search of a new life.

For us, they toiled in sweatshops and settled the West; endured the lash of the whip and plowed the hard earth.

For us, they fought and died, in places like Concord and Gettysburg; Normandy and Khe Sahn.

Time and again these men and women struggled and sacrificed and worked till their hands were raw so that we might live a better life. They saw America as bigger than the sum of our individual ambitions; greater than all the differences of birth or wealth or faction.

This is the journey we continue today. We remain the most prosperous, powerful nation on Earth. Our workers are no less productive than when this crisis began. Our minds are no less inventive, our goods and services no less needed than they were last week or last month or last year. Our capacity remains undiminished. But our time of standing pat, of protecting narrow interests and putting off unpleasant decisions – that time has surely passed. Starting today, we must pick ourselves up, dust ourselves off, and begin again the work of remaking America.

For everywhere we look, there is work to be done. The state of the economy calls for action, bold and swift, and we will act – not only to create new jobs, but to lay a new foundation for growth. We will build the roads and bridges, the electric grids and digital lines that feed our commerce and bind us together. We will restore science to its rightful place, and wield technology’s wonders to raise health care’s quality and lower its cost. We will harness the sun and the winds and the soil to fuel our cars and run our factories. And we will transform our schools and colleges and universities to meet the demands of a new age. All this we can do. And all this we will do.

Now, there are some who question the scale of our ambitions – who suggest that our system cannot tolerate too many big plans. Their memories are short. For they have forgotten what this country has already done; what free men and women can achieve when imagination is joined to common purpose, and necessity to courage.

What the cynics fail to understand is that the ground has shifted beneath them – that the stale political arguments that have consumed us for so long no longer apply. The question we ask today is not whether our government is too big or too small, but whether it works – whether it helps families find jobs at a decent wage, care they can afford, a retirement that is dignified. Where the answer is yes, we intend to move forward. Where the answer is no, programs will end. And those of us who manage the public’s dollars will be held to account – to spend wisely, reform bad habits, and do our business in the light of day – because only then can we restore the vital trust between a people and their government.

Nor is the question before us whether the market is a force for good or ill. Its power to generate wealth and expand freedom is unmatched, but this crisis has reminded us that without a watchful eye, the market can spin out of control – and that a nation cannot prosper long when it favors only the prosperous. The success of our economy has always depended not just on the size of our Gross Domestic Product, but on the reach of our prosperity; on our ability to extend opportunity to every willing heart – not out of charity, but because it is the surest route to our common good.

As for our common defense, we reject as false the choice between our safety and our ideals. Our Founding Fathers, faced with perils we can scarcely imagine, drafted a charter to assure the rule of law and the rights of man, a charter expanded by the blood of generations. Those ideals still light the world, and we will not give them up for expedience’s sake. And so to all other peoples and governments who are watching today, from the grandest capitals to the small village where my father was born: know that America is a friend of each nation and every man, woman, and child who seeks a future of peace and dignity, and that we are ready to lead once more.

Recall that earlier generations faced down fascism and communism not just with missiles and tanks, but with sturdy alliances and enduring convictions. They understood that our power alone cannot protect us, nor does it entitle us to do as we please. Instead, they knew that our power grows through its prudent use; our security emanates from the justness of our cause, the force of our example, the tempering qualities of humility and restraint.

We are the keepers of this legacy. Guided by these principles once more, we can meet those new threats that demand even greater effort – even greater cooperation and understanding between nations. We will begin to responsibly leave Iraq to its people, and forge a hard-earned peace in Afghanistan. With old friends and former foes, we will work tirelessly to lessen the nuclear threat, and roll back the specter of a warming planet. We will not apologize for our way of life, nor will we waver in its defense, and for those who seek to advance their aims by inducing terror and slaughtering innocents, we say to you now that our spirit is stronger and cannot be broken; you cannot outlast us, and we will defeat you.

For we know that our patchwork heritage is a strength, not a weakness. We are a nation of Christians and Muslims, Jews and Hindus – and non-believers. We are shaped by every language and culture, drawn from every end of this Earth; and because we have tasted the bitter swill of civil war and segregation, and emerged from that dark chapter stronger and more united, we cannot help but believe that the old hatreds shall someday pass; that the lines of tribe shall soon dissolve; that as the world grows smaller, our common humanity shall reveal itself; and that America must play its role in ushering in a new era of peace.

To the Muslim world, we seek a new way forward, based on mutual interest and mutual respect. To those leaders around the globe who seek to sow conflict, or blame their society’s ills on the West – know that your people will judge you on what you can build, not what you destroy. To those who cling to power through corruption and deceit and the silencing of dissent, know that you are on the wrong side of history; but that we will extend a hand if you are willing to unclench your fist.

To the people of poor nations, we pledge to work alongside you to make your farms flourish and let clean waters flow; to nourish starved bodies and feed hungry minds. And to those nations like ours that enjoy relative plenty, we say we can no longer afford indifference to suffering outside our borders; nor can we consume the world’s resources without regard to effect. For the world has changed, and we must change with it.

As we consider the road that unfolds before us, we remember with humble gratitude those brave Americans who, at this very hour, patrol far-off deserts and distant mountains. They have something to tell us today, just as the fallen heroes who lie in Arlington whisper through the ages. We honor them not only because they are guardians of our liberty, but because they embody the spirit of service; a willingness to find meaning in something greater than themselves. And yet, at this moment – a moment that will define a generation – it is precisely this spirit that must inhabit us all.

For as much as government can do and must do, it is ultimately the faith and determination of the American people upon which this nation relies. It is the kindness to take in a stranger when the levees break, the selflessness of workers who would rather cut their hours than see a friend lose their job which sees us through our darkest hours. It is the firefighter’s courage to storm a stairway filled with smoke, but also a parent’s willingness to nurture a child, that finally decides our fate.

Our challenges may be new. The instruments with which we meet them may be new. But those values upon which our success depends – hard work and honesty, courage and fair play, tolerance and curiosity, loyalty and patriotism – these things are old. These things are true. They have been the quiet force of progress throughout our history. What is demanded then is a return to these truths. What is required of us now is a new era of responsibility – a recognition, on the part of every American, that we have duties to ourselves, our nation, and the world, duties that we do not grudgingly accept but rather seize gladly, firm in the knowledge that there is nothing so satisfying to the spirit, so defining of our character, than giving our all to a difficult task.

This is the price and the promise of citizenship.

This is the source of our confidence – the knowledge that God calls on us to shape an uncertain destiny.

This is the meaning of our liberty and our creed – why men and women and children of every race and every faith can join in celebration across this magnificent mall, and why a man whose father less than sixty years ago might not have been served at a local restaurant can now stand before you to take a most sacred oath.

So let us mark this day with remembrance, of who we are and how far we have traveled. In the year of America’s birth, in the coldest of months, a small band of patriots huddled by dying campfires on the shores of an icy river. The capital was abandoned. The enemy was advancing. The snow was stained with blood. At a moment when the outcome of our revolution was most in doubt, the father of our nation ordered these words be read to the people:

“Let it be told to the future world…that in the depth of winter, when nothing but hope and virtue could survive…that the city and the country, alarmed at one common danger, came forth to meet [it].”

America. In the face of our common dangers, in this winter of our hardship, let us remember these timeless words. With hope and virtue, let us brave once more the icy currents, and endure what storms may come. Let it be said by our children’s children that when we were tested we refused to let this journey end, that we did not turn back nor did we falter; and with eyes fixed on the horizon and God’s grace upon us, we carried forth that great gift of freedom and delivered it safely to future generations.