Get FISA Right to meet with Sen. Feingold! (maybe) Help wanted.

One of our topics Saturday’s conference call (notes here) was how to make contact with our allies in congress.  Jean from Green Bay mentioned that she and a couple of other people were going to go to one of Senator Russ Feingold’s upcoming Listening Meeting in Wisconsin.

The first opportunity is this Saturday on Valentine’s day (February 14) at a Listening Meeting in Chilton, events in Madison and potentially Milwaukee on March 1, a cable advertising opportunity in Green Bay on March 4, and more.  To keep track of it all, we’re going to use a wiki page as the planning hub for this.

Here’s the current versions of our goals for the project:

  • get a better understanding of the situation in Congress and Senator Feingold’s strategy
  • get Sen Feingold to make a video on “what it means to get FISA right”
  • introduce ourselves to Senator Feingold and get a working relationship in place
  • pilot techniques that we can use as part of a 50-state strategy
  • get blog and media attention, at least at the local and state level, and hopefully nationally as well

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Vote early, promote often: Ideas for Change and Get FISA Right

The second round of voting in change.org’s Ideas for Change in America competition kicked off today.  Please vote for Get FISA Right, repeal the PATRIOT Act, and restore our civil liberties — and help promote it!

To vote, just click on the Vote here button on the widget on the right.  (If your vote doesn’t register, you may need to log in or sign up first.)

There are a lot of ways you can help promote the idea — see the list on our wiki.  A few ways to get started:

  1. Email the link to your friends and listservs.
  2. Post it to your profile and share it on Facebook or MySpace
  3. If you’re a blogger, write up a post on it and include the code for the widget (available here).  Then sign up as an “endorser” (the link’s on the right-hand side of the change.org page)
  4. As other bloggers to mention our idea and sign up as supporters

We’re having a conference call to discuss promotion on Tuesday, January 6, at 5 PM Pacific/8 PM Eastern.  Please RSVP on Facebook or MyBO if you’re interested!

Stay tuned for more!

jon

PS: and if you’ve got other ideas for promotion, please mention them in the comments

PPS: please also consider voting for Pierre Loiselle’s Repeal the Patriot Act idea.  If we decide to combine the ideas later, you can always change your vote …

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On to the second round of “Ideas for Change in America”!

Also posted on the new Get FISA Right blog

Happy new year!

My idea Get FISA Right, repeal the PATRIOT Act, and restore our civil liberties finished #2 in the Criminal Justice category of change.org/MySpace’s Ideas for Change in America competition, and so has advanced to the second round.

We can revise the idea over the next couple of days (suggestions please!) and then second-round voting runs from January 5 to January 15.  We’ll be promoting it actively, of course.  There’ll be a press conference on January 16 to introduce the top 10, change.org will work with each of them to help build and promote national advocacy campaigns.  With change.org’s 200,000 members, proven ability to attack media attention, and a great list of partners for Ideas for Change in America, it’s a great opportunity …

And some really tough competition.

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Get FISA Right: Proposed 2009 strategy

After discussions with people in Get FISA Right as well as others (including EFF, ACLU, privacy advocates, and journalists), I’ve put together a proposal for a 2009 Strategy.  There’s also a Strategy Backgrounder, with a brief history, and a discussion of our strengths and challenges — as well as challenges for the anti-FISA forces in general.

This is the first published draft, so it’s far from final.  Feedback, suggestions, criticisms, all very welcome!  There’s a thread on the wiki here; replies to to this post are welcome too.

A quick overview:

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Get FISA Right: Proposed 2009 communication channels

In response to the consistent feedback that we need to simplify our communications mechanisms, there’s a proposal up on the wiki.  A summary:

  • to stay informed:
    • check the website/blog at getfisaright.net
    • OR get action alerts and daily(ish) newsletters on any one of the channels listed in the “Broadcasts” section below (email, RSS, Facebook, Twitter, etc.)
  • for discussions: use the discussion forum on the wiki — anonymous participation okay (until we get overrun by trolls)
  • for more active organizing and collaboration: join the wiki

More details on the wiki page.

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Join the Impact: taking social network activism (and LGBTQ rights) to the next level

Fight the H8 in SeattleKate X Messer’s Young gay marriage activist leads national protests on 365 Gay profiles Seattle Amy Balliett, who started up the Join the Impact web site after a blog post and email by her friend Willow Witte.  Amy’s 26, and her day job is as a search engine optimizer.  It’s also an excellent history of the start of the movement:

By Monday morning,* a plan had emerged: Cities around the country would organize their own efforts to coordinate a synchronized protest for Sat., Nov. 15, 10:30 a.m. PST. The movement became officially global with hits from the UK and France, and by Nov. 11, over one million visitors had come to the site.

Across the country, posts on Craigslist, bulletins on MySpace, and emails on ListServs with titles like “Meet at City Hall next weekend!” and “Upset about Prop 8? Here’s what YOU can do about it,” began to buzz with notice of the upcoming national protest.

Nancy Scola’s Once a Local Legal Battle, Is Prop 8 On Its Way to ‘Net-Fueled Cultural Moment? on techPresident puts Join the Impact in context: “Its success is reminiscent of Columbia’s anti-FARC movement launched on Facebook that spawned protests all over the world.”  Yeah, really.

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Showtime for election protection and citizen journalism!

They’re already voting in Dixville Notch, New Hampshire, so Election Day has officially begun.  Showtime!

voter suppression wiki logoWe’ve just finished our last minute polishing for the Voter Suppresssion Wiki, with a redesigned home page, a  Voter Suppression Documented summary with snippets of a dozen different examples, final touches to the Media Room, the Prepare for election day action alert, and a chat room.  We’ve continued to get some great press, with Caitlin Johnson’s Txt the Vote: Election Protection Goes High Tech on OneWorld/Yahoo News! featuring one of our members, and Simon Jones’ Citizens, Media Use Social Media to Monitor Election giving some great context.

We continue to have successes: flagging a deceptive report falsely claiming that people were arrested, getting our one-page What to do if you have problems document posted in a library in South Carolina.   Baratunde’s 90-second guide to election day video got over 1,000 views after YouTube selected it as a featured video.  Another wiki member submitted her story to the Huffington Post.  Multiply this by a few hundred people on our project — and dozens of other projects in the grassroots election protection and citizen journalism movement — and it adds up to a big impact.

On election day, the Incident Tracker will be where the action is on the wiki.  We’ll be updating it regularly, sifting through the various sources on the web and threads in our discussion forum, and linking to any action alerts.  Please check it out; and if you see any voter suppression or articles about it, please let us know about it!

Of course there are a many other sites around the web that also have great reporting.  Here’s a quick roundup of a few other sites.

Our Vote Live, a joint project of the Election Protection Coalition and EFF, features a live feed and queryable interface to the reports that go into the 1-866-OUR-VOTE hotline.  With over 40,000 reports already, it’s a rich data source — for example, here’s their Ohio page, and the list of the 200 reported incidents so far of voter intimidation.
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Voter Suppression Wiki action alert: preparing for election day

The Voter Suppression Wiki has issued our second action alert, this one focused on preparations for election day at the polls, along with a video that’s already been featured by YouTube. As Baratunde Thurston says in our media release, “All of the debates, research, organizing and enthusiasm can be undermined if people don’t head to the polls prepared.”

Maybe you already know all this — you’ve stored the hotline numbers on your phone (including the Spanish and Asian language ones just in case you run into somebody who needs help), you’ve printed out information about your rights, and you’ve got a six-pack of bottled water and a spare umbrella ready to bring with you to the polls. You can still help by passing the word on to your friends and family, online and off. Get the word out online via email, Facebook, MySpace, Black Planet, Twitter, and other social network sites … and then get the word out offline too, to reach people such as seniors most at risk for voter suppression.

A special note to any bloggers and journalists who are reading this: please provide similar information to your readers. You can cut-and-paste from our action alert and media release; or you can roll your own post from the other great information out there — the Election Protection Resources page on SourceWatch’s Election Protection Wiki is a great place to start. Please take the time and invest the effort to help protect voting rights. While you’re at it, take some of the space you usually reserve for running ads and promoting your site, and use it to promote democracy instead. Please feature election protection information like hotline numbers on your blog’s front page.

And to anybody reading this, please digg the action alert and the video — and pass the links around! Continue Reading »

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Protecting the election by “leveraging” office printers

cross-posted on Pam’s House Blend, OpenLeft, and MyDD and Oxdown Gazette, with various differences due to HTML incompatibilities but some cool polls to make up for it.

voter suppression wiki logoExecutive Summary:

  1. Print out election protection documents on Friday and Saturday, at work (unless you’d get fired) and at home (if you have a fast printer): My Vote, My Right state-by-state voter bill of rights fliersElection Protection and Ya es hora more detailed state-by-state legal information, and/or some of the other information linked to in this post.  Don’t be greedy and hog the printer.  Let your colleagues protect their votes too.
  2. Give them away and discuss with friends, family, fellow canvassers and phonebankers, and at places of worship over the weekend …
  3. Print out some more on Monday
  4. Take them to the polls

Details:

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Media release: Voter Suppression Wiki workshop highlights last-minute opportunities for reducing voter suppression

Cyberspace — A diverse group of bloggers, community organizers, media professionals, technologists, and voting rights activists have issued a report with several last-minute recommendations to reduce voter suppression in the upcoming US Election.  Some of the most significant opportunities involve increasing awareness of resources like the non-partisan Election Protection hotlines at 1-866-OUR-VOTE/1-888-VE-Y-VOTA, engaging the tens of thousands of participants in citizen journalism projects observing the election, and ensuring that voters and activists prepare for a chaotic environment on election day.

“Rather than simply making people feel frustrated and disheartened about the challenge, the Voter Suppression Wiki has allowed average citizens to participate in the protection of their most fundamental democratic right, that of voting,” said Baratunde Thurston, co-founder of the Jack & Jill Politics blog and initial creator of the wiki. “WIth this workshop, by collaborating across geographic, professional and demographic lines, we have distilled a handful of recommendations that can have a real impact on the voting process.”

A central theme in the recommendations is the need to engage many more people — not just activists — in election protection activities. Tracy Viselli of Reno and Its Discontentscomments, “Voters in battleground states are particularly hungry for information about how to protect their votes because they are anticipating problems. The good news is that voters seem to have gotten the message about how important early voting is. Unfortunately, though, many voters still don’t know what they can do if they’re faced with a problem voting at the polls.”

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Update on the Workshop on Last-minute strategies for reducing voter suppression

Update: w00t, w00t, Voter Suppression Wiki is mentioned in Noam Cohen’s Casting a Ballot, and a Wary Eye in the New York Times — and I’m quoted (“The interesting challenge — the story in progress — is how do we coordinate our efforts”)!   Mom will be proud 🙂

voter suppression wiki logoWe’re roughly at the midpoint of the Voter Suppression Wiki’s Workshop on Last-minute strategies for reducing voter suppression.  After brainstorming and identifying opportunities over the weekend, we’re going to be starting to draft the report today.  Tomorrow, we’ll begin work on the press release as well, and issue both the report and press release Wednesday morning at 9 a.m.

We made a huge amount of progress on our Saturday conference call, with some common themes jumping out — in particular, opportunities for community organizations, media, and bloggers to supplement all the work going on.  A good example: Linda talked about how when she discovered she had been removed from the rolls, she found a link on MSNBC that directed her to the 1-866-OUR-VOTE Election Protection hotline who helped her get in touch with the right people.  If information like this was featured prominently on the front pages of mainstream media web sites, it could help a lot of voters …

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Radio, radio. You’re gonna hear me on your radio. Tonight!

On Saturday, Jon hosted a major organizing conference call that became a strategy session for countering voter suppression nationwide. And, so, in a bit of marvelously self-reflexive irony, with Jon’s help, we’ll be using that same approach to make this hour of our show into a kind of national town meeting of the air, by modeling some of the local connections we’re making, while also connecting with others in Jon’s networks doing other important work in localities nationwide. Somewhat confused by all of this? Tune in on Sunday to see how it works in practice…. but, regardless, be sure to join in our conversation by calling us at 321-1670 (local) or 1-877-867-1670 (nationally).
— John Quinlan and Harry Waisbren, Forward Forum.net

live and streamed at WTDY 1670 in Madison
8-9 PM CDT

Questions via email: Forwardforum@aol.com
Phone-in during show: 1-877-867-1670
Live discussions to follow, on the Voter Suppression wiki and at MadProgress

These discussions are part of the Voter Suppression Wiki’s October 25-28 Workshop on Last-minute Strategies to Reduce Voter Suppression — see the announcement for more context.  We laid some ground work for this in a phone call yesterday, and there are a lot of interesting potential topics to cover — as well as important stuff happening in Wisconsin, as Ed Garvey’s Cheers for the voters! on Fighting Bob describes.

Please join us!

jon

PS: If there are topics you’d like us to cover, either in the on-air discussion or follow-on online, please mail them to forwardforum@aol.com … or leave them in comments here.

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