May 2008

Make desire more important than fear: “Change the Way You See Yourself (Through Asset-Based Thinking)”

cover for CTWYSEKathy Cramer and Hank Wasiak’s new book is out, a gorgeous and well-focused follow-on to their Change the Way You See Everything, one of the Microsoft Ad Astra project’s signature giveaways.* In May 2007, we did an amazing two-day workshop with Kathy, Hank and his colleagues from the Concept Farm, and folks from Extreme Arts and Sciences and Telstar oriented around the “Hero’s Journey” archetypal narrative as a metaphor for innovation. We also steadily refined a series of Asset-Based Thinking workshops involving customer-focused brainstorming and problem-solving. So it’s safe to say I’m a fan.

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CFP08 trip report (2): Dear Potus 08

Part 2 of a series; please see CFP08: trip report for part 1

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If the Computers, Freedom, and Privacy community wrote a letter to the next President of the United States about our priorities for technology policy, what would we say — and how would we get him or her to read it?

There’s only one way to find out.

— from the original, now spam-infested, announcement

At the end of the opening plenary session, I followed up a question from Linda Misek-Falkoff (“Respectful interfaces”) by building on her point about accessibility and asking how it was possible for all of us to get involved in a way that helps broaden the dialogue about technology policy to include everybody, not just the voices that are usually heard. Chuck and Danny both agreed with the goal and thought that the CFP community was well-positioned to help here: paraphrasing, they said “build it, and if they come we’ll listen”.

Well then.

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It’s over. Isn’t it? Microsoft/Yahoo, continued

a killer klown“It’s over. Isn’t it?”

— the end of Killer Klowns from Outer Space

Act 1 ended with a temporary resolution: Microsoft deciding not to “go hostile” and instead withdrawing their offer to buy Yahoo! After a brief intermission, Bill Gates’ announcement of Live Search Cashback is bang-up start to Act 2, featuring guest star Carl Icahn, with the finale already scheduled at Yahoo’s repeatedly-postponed shareholder’s meeting … grab some popcorn!

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CFP08: trip report

Part 1 of a series

cfp logoComputers, Freedom, and Privacy 2008 ended with me presenting Dear Potus 08 and circulating the letter to the presidential candidates for signatures, and then a closing plenary by Clay Shirky (notes below). It was exhiliarating as always, and I’m now simultaneously exhausting, revved up, and suffering from jet lag. So I figured I’d blog about it.

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Computers, Freedom, and Privacy 2008: showtime!

cfp logoCFP2008 traditionally starts off with a day of tutorials.

I was on a panel organized by Lillie Coney of EPIC on E-Deceptive Campaign Practices: “Elections 2.0″, which was extremely interesting; I discussed examples of, and responses to, e-deception based on my activism experiences this election season, much of which I’ve blogged about here already.

Tova Wang of Common Cause moderated, and the other panelists included John Phillips of Aristotle, Jenigh J. Garrett of the NAACP Legal Defense and Education Fund, and Ruchi Bhorwmik of Senator Barack Obama’s office, talking about the legislation he’s introduced banning certain deceptive campaign practices relating to knowingly and intentionally spreading false information about voting times and locations. The audience was extremely involved — and knowledgable — and the conversations during the breaks were great as well. Aldon Hynes already has an interesting followup post in Project VoteProtector on his blog Orient House.

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E-Deceptive Campaign Practices: “Elections 2.0”

I’m at a tutorial on Tuesday discussing “elections 2.0” at the Computers, Freedom, and Privacy conference, and one of the things I want to cover is Web 2.0 technologies’ positive role in countering deceptive campaign practices. I’m planning on using some examples from the Obama activism work I’ve been doing on Facebook, as well as some other sites I’ve tracked:

  • the “know your rights” work the One Million Strong for Barack group did for Texas and Ohio. group members got calls from a couple of people who had attended the Texas caucuses saying how valuable it was
  • the Courage Campaign’s “count every vote” petition in Los Angeles County, which led to counting most (not all) of the votes on the deceptive ballots
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“Where do you get your political news?”

when reading blogs, make a point to get a range of perspectives, starting with those that are shut out from the mainstream news.

Reviewing an earlier draft of Allies in the blogosphere, one of my friends asked me for more details on this. Rather than bury it in an comment, I figured that it was worth a thread of its own — because that’ll also give me a chance to ask others the same question.

As an experiment, for the last year I’ve been getting virtually all of my political news online, mostly avoiding newspapers, magazines, and TV. At first I’d start out each day by checking Google News, the New York Times, and a few blogs on specific topics, like Juan Cole’s Informed Comment on Iraq. Then I added Yahoo! News (which gets feeds from Huffington Post and Real Clear Politics as well as CNN). This gave me some different perspectives and a few more stories but it was still pretty limited.

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Hillary Clinton Facebook group overrun by troll mob

a trollThe Hillary Clinton group got overrun with trolls last night. A Facebook bug — that’s been reported and unfixed since February — prevented the admins from being able to react. I saved a snapshot of a series of 25 threads with sexist (and in many cases racist) subjects; I won’t quote them, but trust me, they’re vile. In the middle of this was a plaintive plea for adult behavior by an Obama supporter — with a bunch of responses from trolls. Sigh.

Update: Will Bower’s Glitch-Plagued Clinton Facebook Group Cries Foul; Obama Page Glitch Free in the Huffington Post has administrator Candy Elizabeth’s excellent open letter.  Why yes, now that you mention it, that is the same Will Bower who was mentioned in comments in How to respond when Facebook censors your political speech on Tales from the net.  Small world!

Members of the Clinton group migrated to a private group, always a good thing to do in a situation like this. This morning, the board seems calmer but it’s hard to know whether that’s just a temporary lull. There are aftermath threads like since only the trollzz are here thread and (in the Obama group) The Hillary group has become a trollfest.

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Clay Shirky to deliver closing plenary at CFP08!

From the Computers, Freedom, and Privacy blog:

We are pleased to announce that Clay Shirky will deliver the closing plenary keynote at CFP Technology Policy ’08.

Since the 1990s, Shirky has written, taught, and consulted on the social, cultural, and economic effects of Internet technologies and social media. His most recent book, Here Comes Everybody: The Power of Organizing Without Organizations, evaluates the significant role being played by technological advances on the formation and experience of modern group dynamics, citing such examples as Wikipedia and MySpace to demonstrate the Internet’s power in bridging geographical and cultural gaps.

Shirky’s hot-hot-hot around the internets these days, between the book (excellent reading!) and his Gin, Television, and Social Surplus talk at O’Reilly’s Web 2.0 conference, so this is really exciting. And of course this ties in extremely well with the all-day Workshop on Activism and Education Using Social Networks running in parallel with other CFP activities the day before Shirky’s talk. Good news indeed!

We hope to have streaming video of the plenary talks, and will update the CFP blog with information once it’s confirmed; and we’ll be having some pre-conference discussions as well.  So please, stay tuned!

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Phyllis Schafly to get Honorary Doctorate from Wash U?

The intro of the No honorary doctorate for anti-feminist Phyllis Schlafly Facebook group:

Wash. U. will honor anti-feminist Phyllis Schlafly at commencement. WHAT?

This is the woman who lives the hypocrisy of having a career that takes her around the country lecturing “family values” groups on how women should stay home.

This is the woman who said of husband-wife rape, “By getting married, the woman has consented to sex, and I don’t think you can call it rape [sic].”

This is the woman who described sex education classes as “in-home sales parties for abortions.” Do her views fit with the future the men and women of Wash U’s graduating class see for themselves and their peers? Probably not. Then why honor her with them? Wouldn’t having someone like her in the midst of Wash U’s female graduates be incongruous at best, offensive at worst?

Indeed.

When Jessica posted about this on Feministing this morning, she said there were 1100 people in the group; when I joined at 11 a.m., it was up to 1350, and as of 11:15 it’s over 1400. It’s already being discussed broadly (a Google Blog search on phyllis schlafly degree currently has 311 hits); a friend forwarded it to me from the Feminist Daily News Wire, saying “this’ll set the blogosphere on fire,” and I suspect she’s right.

The organizers have clearly thought ahead, labeling this group as a discussion group and setting up another, smaller, action-oriented group. They’ve also got contact information for University officials and the press, and some excellent tips such as (“Wash U Alums: Make it very clear to the administration that not only do you disapprove of their choice of honoree, this choice will lose them your contributions. Money talks.”) They’ve got a very clean website with links to key information, and an email list.

Looks like Wash U’s in for some excitement!

jon

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Allies in the blogosphere

There’s so much to write about for Angry Black Woman’s Carnival of Allies that it’s hard to know where to start. At first I thought of focusing on “why the usual excuses are not good enough.” As the month of April went on, though, with brownfemipower’s and Blackamazon’s final statements, the growing list of women of color bloggers rejecting the term “feminism”, prof bw’s call for a Seal Press girlcott, open letters to white feminists from Jessica Hoffman and Ico … I realized that after all that, if anybody is still clinging to the usual excuses, it’s almost certainly beyond my power to reach them.

So I started working on an essay building on the discussion in places like Melissa McEwan et al’s We write letters on Shakesville, Chris Clarke’s Is a humane online politics possible, and Theriomorph’s An ally 101 thread. not currently publicly available

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Poetry friday!

Kelly Herrold has her weekly Poetry Friday post up on Big A little A , with tons of good links and more in the comments. My brother Gregory K’s posted (with permission of course) an original J. Patrick Lewis poem, A Sixth Grader Sees the Future … for those who don’t know the kids poetry world, this is a Big Deal.

Here’s a haiku I wrote about a month ago, and had previously posted in the Original Poetry thread at Seducersworld.

cool windy spring sun.
thoughts of you: two walks, two states.
cool calming spring clouds.

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