NG Picks of the Week: Power of Photography | Photo Contest | Your Shot Assignment

125th Anniversary
Over National Geographic’s 125-year history, the process of taking photographs has changed dramatically, but the end result remains the same; a compelling photograph has the power to make you stop and think—and even sometimes act. This month, we’re taking an inside look at the determination, patience, and vision behind some of our most iconic images—the ones that have made people act to change the world.Explore the power of photography with our featured article. Learn how camera phones have made us all part of a global visual village. Zoom in on the changing face of America. See unearthed treasures from our photo archives. Delve into our new photo blog, Proof. Then see how your own photos stack up by joining our anniversary photo assignment on Your Shot for the chance to win a National Geographic Photo Workshop and more.

125th Anniversary
Watch what photography has the power to do.
EXPLORE MORE VIDEOSWatch our photographers explain what drives them.

See Cory Richards and Sadie Quarrier explain the latest Your Shot assignment.


GOP Rejects Own Plan to Keep Government Open


CHART: Democrats Have Already Negotiated & Compromised

Republicans continue to falsely claim that President Obama and Democrats won’t negotiate over the budget. That’s just not true.

In fact, Senate Democrats even tried once again this afternoon to launch a formal conference committee to hash out a budget through September of 2014, but Republicans blocked their request, as they have on 19 previous occasions since the Senate passed a budget over six months ago.

What is true is that Democrats refuse to negotiate over keeping the government open and paying the bills that Congress has already racked up. Those items should be non-negotiable. They are simply Congress’ job.

As soon as the GOP brings these latest manufactured crises to an end — as they could at literally any moment if they simply allow the House of Representatives to vote on a clean government funding bill and a bill that guarantees that Congress will not allow an unprecedented and catastrophic default on our obligations — Democrats are more than happy to negotiate on the actual budget.

In fact, they have done plenty of negotiating already. The clean bill to re-open the government is already a huge compromise and agrees to the sequester spending levels that Republicans demanded and promised to bring to a vote mere months ago.

Check out this chart that shows just how much Democrats have already compromised with Republicans:


This compromise bill was Speaker Boehner’s own idea and Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-VA) touted it as a major victory for House Republicans just last month, but now they refuse to even allow the House to vote on it. Worse, Republicans continue to threaten to unleash a “financial apocalypse” on the global economy as soon as next week unless the president and Democrats agree to their laundry list of Tea Party demands.

BOTTOM LINE: Unless Congress acts, we’ll face a global economic calamity next week. Americans across the country — including the family members of our troops killed in action — are already suffering because the GOP shut down the government in a failed effort to deny affordable health insurance to millions.

It’s time for these manufactured crises to end. Republicans just need to allow the House of Representatives to vote on a clean government funding bill and a bill that guarantees that Congress will pay our nation’s bills.


What health and safety really mean in TX

In a few weeks, the Center will return to court to fight for the rights of Texas women.

This is a familiar battleground in the ongoing war on women. Led by Gov. Rick Perry, Texas politicians are fixated on devastating reproductive health care in the state.

It’s time to let Perry know that we won’t stand for his ideological agenda.

He claims to care about the women in his state. On the day he signed the most recent restrictions into law, Perry told reporters, “This is an important day for those who…support the health of Texas women.” 1

But the governor’s actions speak louder than words. The sweeping law he passed has nothing to do with safety, health, or supporting women.

The truth is, if his restrictions take effect, they would make essential health care services practically impossible for many Texans to access, leaving women’s health and safety at risk.

Tell Gov. Perry to stop using Texas women as political pawns—and to stay out of the very personal decisions that determine their health and future.

Thanks, as always, for all you do,

John Ridley ~~ Toronto: John Ridley Talks Plans for L.A. Riots Pic

Toronto: '12 Years a Slave's' John

September 6, 2013 | 06:22PM PT

Film Reporter@Variety_DMcNary

Scribe behind ‘12 Years,’ ‘All Is by My Side’ works with Imagine on film about 1992 L.A. crisis

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Screenwriter John Ridley immersed himself in the 1800s for “12 Years a Slave” and dove into the 1960s rock scene for Jimi Hendrix biopic “All Is by My Side” (pictured above), both playing in Toronto.Meanwhile, he’s ready to focus on 1992 Los Angeles as he tries to get his “L.A. Riots” script off the ground with Imagine Entertainment.Both Toronto films were in production during the late spring last year, with Ridley directing “All Is by My Side” in Dublin and consulting on the script while shooting on Steve McQueen’s brutal epic “12 Years” took place in New Orleans. “That was a little tricky,” Ridley recalls.

A fan of Hendrix since high school, Ridley years later discovered the Hendrix song “Sending My Love to Linda,” about fashion model Linda Keith, who heard Hendrix perform in London in 1966 and played a key role in encouraging his career.

Ridley, whose writing credits include “Red Tails” and “Three Kings,” did a 2010 show about “Sending My Love to Linda” for National Public Radio and then decided to do the feature independently.

“I knew it would not be a studio script,” he notes. “If Paul Greengrass and the Hughes Brothers are having problems, then it’s not going to happen for me.”

Outkast’s Andre Benjamin, who stars as Hendrix, learned to play like the maestro — left handed with a right-hand guitar strung upside down — to boost the authenticity of the film. Ridley looked to model the Hendrix pic on singular biopics like “Sid and Nancy,” Lenny” and “Coal Miner’s Daughter” — films that tell stories that transcend the artifice of the performance.

Ridley’s also been working on rewrites of his “L.A. Riots” script with Justin Lin attached to direct. He’s hopeful that “12 Years” and “All Is by My Side” can generate enough success to push “Riots” toward production.

“It was a Black List script that I wrote on spec and sold in 2007 before the world changed financially,” Ridley notes. “I feel like we’ve got to make this happen now. People often think that it was limited to Rodney King and Reginald Denny, but there are so many other interconnected stories.”

Two decades after the fact, Ridley remains amazed that Los Angeles Mayor Tom Bradley and LAPD chief Darryl Gates had not talked for a year prior to the April 1992 riots, which left 45 people dead.

“It was a systemic meltdown,” Ridley notes. “The city and how it functions is the primary character of the film.”