January 2009

#topprog … yeah, that could work

twitter logoIt still bugs me that Steve Elliot’s Get FISA Right: Last Chance To Vote Against Domestic Spying was buried by pro-surveillance diggers after I foolishly twittered it to the #tcot (Top Conservatives on Twitter) channel.  So when I got Alan Rosenblatt’s email about a new #topprog hashtag, my immediate response was that we should think about how to use it for information diffusion including posts that might be worth digging.  Not that I’m competitive or anything ….

Of course as Twitter Vote Report and the Motrin Moms have shown, Twitter hashtags are potentially useful for far more than that.  From the Get FISA Right perspective, for example, it’s another great way of broadcasting our dailyish update — and the same’s true for every other grassroots campaign out there.

One especially intriguing aspect of this to me is that Twitter is a far less male-dominated environment than digg, email and the blogosphere — and indeed the early posts to #topprog include @WomenWhoTech, @nerdette, @PunditMom, @myrnathemynx and many others.  So it’s a great chance for a key piece of progressive infrastructure where feminists and womanists — and women in general — can participate on a fairer basis.

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Hi, Mom! (I’m offline)

I’ll be offline for the next week or so, back visiting my Mom in Folly Beach, South Carolina.  Oh, I might go by a Starbucks at some point, but for the most part, don’t expect to see me ’round these parts.  You’ll have to make do with the Folly Surf Cam,

Try to keep the net running without me!

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Notes from underground: Beat University @ Supperclub

From Pyramind’s announcement:

Beat University is a non-profit partnership between San Francisco institutions Pyramind, LoveFest and Supperclub to raise money for the only dedicated electronic music scholarship fund in the entire U.S. The quarterly series of electro, house, and trance parties at top dance venue Supperclub will donate all of its proceeds to help up-and-coming electronic music producers fund their education at Pyramind, the city’s leading digital audio and music production training facility.

Supperclub’s a great venue, and the DJs didn’t disappoint.  In the main room, Digital Paradigm had the floor packed by the time I got there at 11:30, Frost Raven followed on with a psytrance set, and Liam Shy rocked as always, with a lot of unreleased stuff.  Unsurprisingly it was a very young crowd, and interestingly almost nobody was drinking.  The vibe was happy and casual.  Good stuff!

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Microsoft layoffs

5000, but only 1400 announced now … meaning everybody gets to twist in fear over the next 18 months.  As MiniMSFT says:

Personally, I feel like we’ve taken the Sword of Damocles and rammed it through a bunch of pink slips and now we intend to dangle that above the head of Microsoft for the next year and a half. All the way through the end of FY10, folks. “Cut once, cut deep.” Or, you know, don’t. If you have insight to this counter-intuitive plan, please share.

The earlier thread on Mini is also good reading.

Meanwhile, Google defied expectations with strong results — as did Apple and IBM.

jon

PS: There’s a Facebook group Help Microsoft Friends Find a Job (and no doubt others).

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The ‘Team of Rivals’ road trip: change.org => change.gov

Executive summary

If you were in the finals of the change.org Ideas for Change competition and have (or know of) an equivalent idea in the Citizens Briefing Book on change.gov, please leave a link in the comments — and look for opportunities to co-promote with other compatible ideas.  Also please leave other suggestions for how we might work together moving forward.

Media note

Wow!  Less than 24 hours since the change.org competition ended and the competitors are already collaboratively building on it to influence government policy via change.gov’s similar system!  It’s almost like they’ve been practicing — and building a coalition!

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w00t, w00t! Get FISA Right finishes #5 in Ideas for Change! Congratulations and great job all!

With a late rush, Get FISA Right, repeal the PATRIOT Act, and restore our civil liberties squeaked into the #5 position in the change.org’s Ideas for Change in America competition with 12285 votes!

Alas, even though our other endorsement Bob Fertik’s Appoint a Special Prosecutor for the Crimes of the Bush Administration picked up over 500 votes this morning, it appears to have fallen heartbreaking short by just 19 votes. Still, overall, wow, what a huge success for Get FISA Right — and civil liberties!

Just think about it: despite virtually no help from the progressive blogosphere or 501(c)3s, we more than held our own against some really tough competition: big mailing lists, political allies.* It’s an incredible validation of the power of our grassroots approach and social network advocacy. Yay us! And it’s yet another clear sign that no matter what they think in Washington and the mainstream media, Americans do see the Constitution and the rule of law as a priority right up there with health care, peace, sustainability, and drug law reform.

So thanks to everybody who was a part of this. Once again, I’d especially like to acknowledge Democrats.com and DreamActivist.org for including us in their last-minute mailings … it made a big difference. Neocons’ worst nightmare, indeed! Thanks also to Jason Rosenbaum of The Seminal for a big endorsement this morning. Within Get FISA Right, it was definitely a team effort, so thanks all around — with extra thanks to Thomas and Patrick who really stepped forward in the last 24 hours.

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Take action: Demand justice in the killing of Oscar Grant

From Color of Change’s site:

On New Year’s Eve, Oscar Grant was shot execution-style by a transit police officer in Oakland, California. He was shot in the back while face-down on a subway platform, unarmed and posing no threat.

Twelve days later–despite several videos showing what happened–the officer who killed Grant hasn’t been arrested, charged, or even questioned. He quit the force and has refused to speak. The District Attorney has done nothing.

It’s time to demand that California Attorney General Jerry Brown take over the case and arrest Grant’s killer, and to ask that the US Department of Justice launch an independent investigation into the conduct of local authorities. Please join us:

http://www.colorofchange.org/oscar/

Oscar Grant is the third man murdered by BART (Bay Area Rapid Transit) police in the past 17 years. All three victims were Black and none posed a serious threat. In each case, BART and county authorities have failed to hold the officers accountable.

Add your voice, now!

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Neocons’ worst nightmare: net movements intersecting in Ideas for Change in America

DREAM Activists and undocumented youth, the Stonewall 2.0 LGBTQ movement, Get FISA Right and civil libertarians, peace activists — together again for the first time, along with a demand for accountability for the last 8 years.   Scary stuff.  🙂

Read on for more … and please digg it!

It’s been surprising to me how little attention change.org’s Ideas for Change in America competition has gotten.  David Herbert mentioned it in the National Journal and Nancy Scola on techPresident; of course the competitors have blogging a lot (for example me, at Liminal States, Get FISA Right, and Pam’s House Blend, promoting my idea Get FISA Right, repeal the PATRIOT Act, and restore our civil liberties and the others I’ve endorsed).  But in the broader political, progressive or technology-in-politics blogospheres?  Very little.

Here’s my attempt to describe its importance.

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Get FISA Right: should we endorse the special prosecutor idea?

There’s a voting thread up on the Get FISA Right blog.

Current results: 18 yes, 1 no, 1 present (me, since I voted first, to avoid biasing people).

Please weigh in!

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Get FISA Right on Ideas for Change: only 72 hours left, five ways to help

Voting in change.org’s Ideas for Change in America competition closes Thursday at 2 p.m. Pacific time. Get FISA Right, repeal the PATRIOT Act, and restore our civil liberties has just fallen to #8, and a couple of the ideas close behind us like Pass the DREAM Act – Support Higher Education for All Students have been climbing rapidly.

Now would be a very good time to start increasing our momentum.

So let’s supplement our email and blogosphere outreach with attention to Facebook.  I’m pretty sure at least half the Get FISA Right members have Facebook accounts, and while there are a lot of challenges to doing Facebook activism, it’s a great platform for person-to-person contact.*

As you get a few moments of time over the next few days, here’s how you can help.

  1. vote for the idea if you haven’t already
  2. double-check that your vote has counted:  the blue “vote” button at the top of the change.org page should turn into a brown “voted” button.
  3. email your friends and family
  4. help with the blogger outreach
  5. get involved on Facebook

Thanks much!

jon

PS: our current endorsement list is here, and later today we’re going to start voting on whether or not to endorse Bob Fertik’s special prosecutor idea.  stay tuned!

* It would be great to do more on MySpace and my.barackobama.com as well; ideas and volunteers welcome!

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Stonewall 2.0: Repeal DOMA!

civil equality now

The vibe under the sunshine at the corner of Castro and Market was positive and determined — a few hundred people maybe (I’m horrible at estimating), just the right size for the location.  The immediate purpose was to organize for signature-gathering for the Open Letter to President Obama, with people fanning out afterwards to BART stops, busy street-corners, the Gaza protest … in the broader context, it’s another building block in the “Stonewall 2.0” wave of activism catalyzed by groups like Join the Impact and Courage Campaign that I’ve blogged about in Petitions are soooooo 20th century and Taking social network activism (and LGBTQ rights) to the next level.

One way to take action now: gather signatures for the open letter.  There’s a very short deadline of Monday but that’s still plenty of time to help — even “just” hitting the friends-and-family circuit the way we are can make a big difference.  And of course help get the word out about the effort.

Another way you can help: vote in change.org’s Idea for Change in America competition. Jen Nedeau’s idea Pass Marriage Equality Rights for LGBT Couples Nationwide is in fifth place so far.  The top 10 ideas when voting ends on January 15 will be presented to the Obama Administration on Inauguration Day and will be supported by a national lobbying campaign run by Change.org, MySpace, and some great non-profit partners.  There are a lot of other great ideas there being promoted very effectively* so any assistance here would be greatly appreciated.

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Apologies to DREAM Act advocates everywhere …

For the last six weeks of change.org’s Ideas for Change competition, I’ve been consistently impressed by the advocates for Pass the DREAM Act – Support Higher Education for All Students.

The network of activists promoting the idea are giving the rest of us lessons in how to do it effectively.*  And they and their supporters seem to really get the strategic importance of a potential partnership with change.org, MySpace, and a raft of excellent non-profits.

With the complex political situation around the DREAM Act, social network activism could be a wild card that helps tip the balance and gets Congress to prioritize the DREAM Act — and puts them over 60 votes in the Senate.  Of all of the ideas in the competition, it seems to me it’s got one of the best chances of having an impact.  I voted for it (please consider doing the same) and have been trying to help promote it as well as others.

So when I was talking when I was talking with David Herbert of the National Journal on Monday, as well as discussing my idea, I brought the DREAM Act as an example.  It worked very effectively from the promotional side (David’s article Move over, change.gov discussed and linked to their idea as well as mine) but I certainly wish I had said things differently:

Web strategist Jon Pincus, whose idea “Get FISA Right, repeal the PATRIOT Act, and restore our civil liberties” is currently ranked No. 2, argued that combining grassroots politics with the power of a social networking site like MySpace could prove a potent combination, even for issues that have already been debated ad nauseam.

The online vote could also help push legislation with some congressional support — like the DREAM Act, which would give undocumented high school graduates a path to citizenship — over the finish line. The only obstacle to the DREAM Act, Pincus said, is that it lacks vocal advocates.

“Who’s going to prioritize undocumented minors?” he said. “Nobody.”

Clunk.

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