Everyone agrees that Ligaya Lagman is a Gold Star mother, part of the long line of mournful women whose sons or daughters gave their lives for their country.
Her 27-year-old son, Army Staff Sgt. Anthony Lagman, was killed last year in Afghanistan when his unit came under fire during a mission to drive out remnants of Taliban and al-Qaida forces.
But the largest organization of these women, the American Gold Star Mothers Inc., has rejected Lagman, a Filipino, for membership because — though a permanent resident and a taxpayer — she is not a U.S. citizen.
“There’s nothing we can do because that’s what our organization says: You have to be an American citizen,” national President Ann Herd said Thursday. “We can’t go changing the rules every time the wind blows.”
Voters in mainland France began casting their ballots Sunday on a proposed landmark constitution for Europe.
The new constitution must be approved by all 25 European Union members, either by parliament or by referendum, before it can take effect in 2006.
Voters are being asked whether they approve of the proposed law that would ratify the treaty establishing the constitution.
Opinion polls indicate there is a chance the referendum will fail in France, although some analysts believe supporters have gained ground.
Backers contend the constitution, which EU leaders signed last October, will strengthen Europe and France, make EU operations more efficient and let Europe speak with one voice on global issues. Among other things, the constitution would make the euro the official currency.
Opponents worry about losing national identity and sovereignty, and the influx of cheap labor — just as France struggles to reduce high unemployment.
Germany became the ninth country to ratify the constitution when the upper house of parliament voted Friday in favor of the treaty that embodies it. Germany followed Austria, Greece, Hungary, Italy, Lithuania, Slovakia, Slovenia and Spain in approving the text. The Dutch vote Wednesday.
If the measure fails, the treaty — designed to make Europe operate more efficiently — will be of no consequence. It was drawn up by a 200-person panel of parliamentarians headed by Valery Giscard d’Estaing, a former president of France.
Nine Inch Nails dropped out of the MTV Movie Awards after clashing with the network over an image of President Bush the band planned as a performance backdrop.
The Bush image was to accompany the song “The Hand That Feeds,” which obliquely criticizes the Iraq war. It includes the lyrics: “What if this whole crusade’s a charade / And behind it all there’s a price to be paid / For the blood on which we dine / Justified in the name of the holy and the divine.”
MTV said in a statement to its news division that the network was disappointed the industrial rock band would not perform but had been “uncomfortable with their performance being built around a partisan political statement.”
The Foo Fighters will perform in place of the Trent Reznor-led band at the awards being taped June 4 in Los Angeles.
Reznor said in a statement posted on the band’s Web site Thursday that the image of the president would have been unaltered and “straightforward.”
“Apparently, the image of our president is as offensive to MTV as it is to me,” he said.
A supporter of Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez holds a poster that portrays U.S. President George W. Bush as a devil during a march against terrorism in Caracas May 28, 2005. The U.S. rejected on Friday Venezuela’s first move to extradite a Cuban exile wanted for an airliner bombing, in a case that could challenge the U.S. commitment to fight all forms of terrorism. REUTERS/Howard Yanes
The Bush administration may be in a classic no-win situation because it may have to choose between extraditing Posada to a nation led by one of its most strident critics — Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez — or being labeled “hypocrites” for talking tough about terrorism but refusing to extradite a suspected terrorist, said Jennifer L. McCoy, an expert in U.S.-Venezuela relations at Georgia State University.
“It’s hard to recall anything this ticklish,” McCoy said. “It certainly is an awkward situation for the U.S.”
Earlier this month, a federal appeals court ruled that the Federal Communications Commission did not have the statutory authority to issue a regulation requiring the implementation of the so-called broadcast flag in digital television devices by July 1, 2005.
The U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit did not rule against the idea of a broadcast flag. It only ruled that the FCC does not have authority from Congress to issue such a regulation.
In the end, it will be the consumers who suffer the most if broadcast flag is not mandated for the digital era.
As CEO of the Motion Picture Association of America, my principal concern is protecting the magic of the movies. So why should I care about a so-called broadcast flag regulation?
The answer is simple. I want to make certain that the American people will continue to have the opportunity to see our movies and television shows on free television in the digital age.
The digital era presents great opportunities and great challenges. The opportunities come with the high-quality, high-resolution pictures that greatly enhance the viewing pleasure of the consumer. The challenges lie in protecting that content so that it is not stolen and resold or rebroadcast by video pirates.
Without proper protections, it will be increasingly difficult to show movies, television shows or even baseball games on free television.
Then don’t. Nobody is forcing you to. If you want to make money, keep broadcasting. If y ou don’t want to make money, you don’t have to. Either adapt your business model to the realities, or take your ball and go home. Stop wining that the regulations you tried to buy aren’t given to you. Besides, your precious Broadcast Flag doesn’t work anyway.
The irony, of course, is that modern cable and satellite delivery systems already have imbedded technical means that maintain the value of digital programming by preventing its redistribution over digital networks. The broadcast flag extends that same protection in the estimated 15 percent of American households that do not subscribe to cable or satellite services but rely instead on over-the-air broadcast television.
So you’re worried that the 15 perfect that are so backwards in technology that the don’t even have cable or satillite will start a massive piracy campaign? I don’t know what the fuck you’re smoking, but I strongly suggest you stop.