The Preamble in 140 Characters

The Preamble in 140 Characters

Independence Hall with twitter birdsThe Committee of Style in The Time of Twitter

The National Archives Prologue Blog issued a challenge this week: tweet the Preamble. The goal was to “shorten the Preamble down to as few words (or letters) as possible while retaining the Preamble’s meaning.”

The Preamble: We the People of the United States, in Order to form a more perfect Union, establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common defence, promote the general Welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America.

Here is my final 140-character draft:

I’m embarrassed to admit it has been years since I really thought about those 52 words that shape our nation. This challenge was a joy, because it turned my adult eyes to what my adolescent brain had memorized and let sit idle. As an adult, the phrase a more perfect Union gives me goosebumps. My adolescent brain likely thought it was a snub at Britain’s monarchy. I realize now, though, it’s the critical piece of the Preamble. It is an acknowledgement, I think, that we are not trying to fool ourselves into thinking we can perfect something that involves perfectly imperfect humans. We can, however, strive for better.

We have come a long way in 225 years. Persons who were not considered people in that “We the People” of 1787 are now. We amended the heck out of the original document. We survived a civil war, world wars, assassinations, a depression, recessions, and an unceasing political divide. (I urge anyone who thinks we’re divided now to head to the library and read newspapers from the middle to late 19th century.) We struggle during times of heartbreak and disasters. We thrive during times of prosperity and calm. The US Constitution was wisely and broadly written to flex along through it all. Happy Anniversary.


*I created the photo above from a Creative Commons photo of Independence Hall via dolescum on Flickr and also one of the Constitution (page one) via The U.S. National Archives. Thank you, both!

How to Wash a Pig

How to Wash a Pig

Step One: Start with a Dirty Pig

dirty pig

Step Two: Start with a Pig Who Likes To Shower (see his smile?)

smiling pig in shower

Step Three: Prepare to Get Wet (payback for your toddler bathtimes)

washing a pig

Step Four: Don’t Forget the Ears

washing a pig

Step Five: Don’t Forget the Belly

washing a pig Step Six: Rinse Well

washing a pig

Step Seven: Hope the Judge Isn’t Looking the Other Way During Your Close-Up (there’s always next year…)

Connor and pig in the show ring

Flickr, Creative Commons, and Chick-fil-A (Paging Dr. Lessig)

Flickr, Creative Commons, and Chick-fil-A (Paging Dr. Lessig)

Chik-fil-a dress like a cow

Last month, Ken Cook tweeted me that one of my Flickr photos was being used. I took a quick look at the article in question, saw that the photo was correctly attributed and put it aside. I thought, “well, maybe he’s letting me know someone is using my image in an article I might not agree with….” I was traveling and finishing a database project simultaneously that week and had only one undernourished brain cell left for Twitter and the web, so I added the tweet to my to-do-later list.

Once I was back at home and settled, Cook’s meaning settled in…. My Flickr photos are licensed with an Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike Creative Commons license. I had focused on the attribution part in my first glance and had completely ignored the non-commercial part: “You may not exercise any of the rights granted to You in Section 3 above in any manner that is primarily intended for or directed toward commercial advantage or private monetary compensation.”

The site using my image was Business Insider, a site that looks like it’s certainly commercial.

my photo on Business InsiderMy Chick-fil-A photo on Business Insider

Not only is the site commercial, but it was also posting this article just as the current Chik-fil-A controversy was heating up. So, am I okay with my photo being used? Is it a violation of my non-commercial license? I went to my Creative Commons and copyright bookmarks to see if I could find an answer. This issue is not new; I have a Creative Commons bookmark from Fall 2009: Defining Noncommercial: A Study of How the Online Population Understands “Noncommercial Use.” The study is good reading, but it did not provide a clear answer to my questions.

Ars Technica’s Creative Commons images and you covered the issue with a little more depth from the users’ perspective. On the issue of non-commercial images, the author advised editors, “check with your publisher’s legal department on this question, because putting noncommercial Creative Commons images in your articles is a real gray area.”

In contrast, the Ars Technica article linked to a 2008 post on non-commercial use by librarian Molly Kleinman. Molly stated the opposite in her examples: “Using a photo on an ad-supported website = Commercial.”

So, I’m indecisive for now. When I first decided to publish my photos, blogs, slide decks, and videos with Creative Commons licenses, my intended users were educators and non-profits. I believe in sharing, but I didn’t set out to make a for-profit website editor’s job easier/cheaper because he can embed one of my images instead of sending a photographer/writer out to Chick-fil-A for a photo. Again though, I believe in sharing and I believe in the sharing culture that has allowed creativity to flourish on the web.

Business Insider is clearly making money (that commercial advantage or private monetary compensation phrase from the Creative Commons license excerpt above). There’s a vodka ad next to my photo, for Pete’s sake. But, are they making money because of my photo? Most likely not. They’re most likely making money from the headline. (Remember the opening of that clause says in any manner that is primarily intended for or directed toward commercial advantage or private monetary compensation.)

Is there a difference between the use of my photo and the overall for-profit status of the organization?

After three weeks of reading and reaching out to experts, I’m still uncertain.

I’m indecisive for now because I want to be consistent. If I ask Business Insider to remove my image, I should also do the same of many of the smaller blogs that have used my images. They may not all have a pricey Ketel Vodka block ad in the sidebar, but they often have Google AdWords or Amazon affiliate blocks.

I tend to lean to the left on this. My thoughts are more in line with Lawrence Lessig than Sonny Bono on copyright issues, so I would rather share than restrict. However, I want to be faithful to the spirit and law of Creative Commons.

I’ll take any words of wisdom, either in agreement or dissent.

(Thanks, Ken Cook for making me think this through.)

We Run

We Run

We run in awesome Sock Guy mustache socks:

mustache socks

We run with awesome mustaches, period:

Crooked River runners

We run with our amazing PE teachers, Mrs. Pickhardt and Mrs. Woodward:

Crooked River runners

Crooked River runners

We run with our friends:

Crooked River runners

We run with our dads:

Crooked River runners

We run with our moms (and a thumbs-up):

Crooked River runners

We run with a double thumbs-up:

Crooked River runners

We run in tie-dye:

Crooked River runners

We run in our Romeos (Crook County proud!):

Crooked River runners

We run with strollers:

Crooked River runners

We run with wagons:

Crooked River runners

We run with broken arms:

Crooked River runners

We run with temporary (post-surgery and laughing!) bum legs:

Crooked River runners

We run through the unexpected sprinkler:

Crooked River runners

Crooked River runners

We run to the finish:

Crooked River runnersCrooked River runners

Crooked River runners

We run.

Photos are from our annual Crooked River Elementary School Fun Run and Spring Carnival in Prineville, Oregon.

Project 52 | Week Eight

Project 52 | Week Eight

slide from Ignite Bend

Week Eight…Cabin Fever  |  Ignite Bend 8 — When you make lichen into a mustache and beard, you may have cabin fever.

James Jaggard — Lichens: A Breath of Fresh Air — at Ignite Bend 8