Sign the Chapel Hill WiFi Petition

I just wanted to renew my call to everyone who lives and works in Chapel Hill to sign the Free Public WiFi in Chapel Hill, NC NOW! petition. As of today, June 19, 2006, we only have 42 signatures. We need many more before I can present this to the Chapel Hill Town Council. There has been lots of positive movement towards the creation of a municipal network in Chapel Hill.

BTW, if you don’t live in Chapel Hill you can sign the petition but the council would be most impressed by signatures from their constituents and people who live near and work in Chapel Hill. Lets continue speaking out! Thank you to everyone who has signed the petition already.

To: Chapel Hill Town Council

The time has come for the Town of Chapel Hill to build a free, community-owned, public municipal network. The network should have wireless access and provide an open, unfiltered, and unmonitored connection to the Internet available to ALL people. It must be maintained by a local nonprofit for the people of Chapel Hill. Not by a private business or corporation.

We request that the Chapel Hill Town Council act swiftly to bring this service to the people.

The Undersigned

Did your US House Rep Sell Out the Internet?

After reading MediaGeek’s blog post about how his US Representative voted on COPE (Communications Opportunity, Promotion and Enhancement Act) I was inspired to make a list. I’m happy to say that my Representative David Price voted against it. So did Rep. Brad Miller who represents part of Wake County (Raleigh). It’ll be interesting in the future to create a graph on how they voted on all the bills set to protect and destroy Network Neutrality. COPE is one of the bad ones. Incase you were wondering voting ‘Yea’ for COPE is bad.

This controversial telecommunications legislation would permit phone and cable companies to operate Internet and other digital communications service as private networks, free of policy safeguards or governmental oversight.

via: Democracy Now!

North Carolina

District Representatives Party Vote
1 Frank Balance D ?
2 Bob Etheridge D Yea
3 Walter Jones R Yea
4 David Price D Nay
5 Virginia Foxx R Yea
6 Howard Coble R Yea
7 Mike McIntyre D Yea
8 Robin Hayes R Yea
9 Sue Myrick R Yea
10 Cass Ballenger R ?
11 Charles Taylor R Yea
12 Melvin Watt D Yea
13 Brad Miller D Nay

Source for data above

NC Black Media Past and Present

With the release of Wilmington Race Riot Commission report we receive a way overdue official history of what happened on November 10, 1898 in Wilmington, North Carolina. Did you know about this bloody coup d’etat? I hadn’t until I read “Blood Done Sign My Name”. Thanks Tim Tyson. Thank you Yolanda Carrington for telling me about this report.

Over one hundred years ago armed white men overthrew the LEGALLY elected government of Wilmington, North Carolina killing many people, driving out the local Republican leadership, and terrorizing the Black community. (Lest we forget the Republican party of those days was supportive of equal rights. It was the Dixie Democrats who were the racist segregationist.) You can read more about this untold historic event in the book “Democracy betrayed: the Wilmington race riot of 1898 and its legacy” and the website For The Record.

An interesting part of this story is the suppression of African American free speech. During the attack the Daily Record, reported to be the only black newspaper in the country at the time, was burnt to the ground. Some say this action was the spark that lit the massive violence of November 10. The Commission report writes of the involvement of North Carolina newspaper editors like Josephus Daniels – founder of the Raleigh paper The News and Observer.

Involved in the conspiracy were men prominent in the Democratic Party, former Confederate officers, former officeholders, and newspaper editors locally and statewide rallied by Josephus Daniels of the Raleigh News and Observer.

– Wilmington Race Riot Commission [PDF], Summary, pg. 5

Its important to note that the beginning of many coups and military actions begin with the destruction of communications. First a rally cry to those sympathetic to the cause via racist newspaper articles. Then outright physical destruction of the source of the oppositions communications. In this case it was the destruction of a black owned newspaper.

So when the modern conservatives try and dispel this report saying it doesn’t have anything to do with people in the present, tell them, “This violence was committed in your white name. To preserve white dominance over politics and power. Help restore the damage of the past now!”

I second the recommendation of the Commission that an endowment be created for young black journalists in North Carolina.

Newspapers (News and Observer, Charlotte Observer, Wilmington Star, Washington Post, etc.) should acknowledge the role of media in the events of 1898 and work with the North Carolina black press association to prepare a summary of the Commission report for distribution statewide. The Commission calls upon said papers to study the effects of 1898 and impact of Jim Crow on the state’s black press and to endow scholarships at the state’s public universities.

Hopefully these funds will be available to all types of media makers. Not just for young men and women entering corporate media outlets. Community journalists in small magazines, blogs, podccasts, public access tv, vloggs, etc. should be included too. Fund the salaries of several committed black activists to mentor and encourage young media makers.

Read what other bloggers have to say about the report from Wilmington.
Eric Muller
Sally Green
Y. Carrington

BarCamp RDU

Fred Stutzman has announced he’s organizing a BarCamp here in the Raleigh, Durham, and Chapel Hill Area. There is a wiki and a e-mail list. Go sign up on the wiki and subscribe to the list. Its happening fast! The goal is to have this event on a Saturday in July. Like July 1 or 8. [please, please, please not on July 22] BarCamps sound like UnConferences so it should be very democratic. Speak up and make something happen! Fun!

Jerry Conner got a Stay for DNA testing!

Mark Kleinschmidt, a lawyer at The Center for Death Penalty Litigation, just emailed to tell me Jerry Conner got a stay of execution to perform DNA testing! THIS IS HUGE! A man’s life could be saved! BIG props to the lawyers working hard for little pay to make this world a better place. Yay!

Read more about this case in my post North Carolina Obstructs DNA Testing for Condemned Man and podcast Save Jerry Conner. Its possible that our grassroots blogging and podcasting mission could have helped bring the attention this case deserved. I’m not going to celebrate this fact just yet. The important thing is Mr. Conner gets another DNA test. More details soon.

Town Forum on Municipal Networking

On Thursday May 18 the Chapel Hill Town Council will host a public forum on Municipal Wireless Networking. The event will be from 7 to 9PM and be held at Town Hall, 405 Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd. All citizens are invited to attend.

The event will be moderated by Shannon Schelin, Ph.D. of the Institute of Government at UNC. She will also make a presentation. Other speakers include Casey Lide of Baller Herbst in Washington, DC, Lynda Goff, Executive Director of WinstonNet in Winston-Salem, NC, Ray Reitz, Chief Technology Officer of Chapel Hill Carrboro School System, and Chad Johnston, Executive Director of The People’s Channel. For more information about the speakers please see the Town event webpage. There will be time at the end of the event for questions and answers. If you can’t make it in person you can watch the event on Public Access channel 18.

My Council Members Approve Resolution to Impeach Bush

The Chapel Hill Town Council passed a resolution calling for the Impeachment of the decider in chief George W. Bush! Thank you Council members!

I believe this resolution reflects the opinion of the majority of citizens who vote in local elections. An overwhelming majority of them are liberal democrats. They’re tolerant and loving people. This atmosphere allows for very liberal people to have a friendly home. Especially in conservative North Carolina. We really are lucky here.

Lest you think the only people who vote here are liberal college students, the petition that brought about this resolution was submitted by local citizens group Elders for Peace. I signed that petition as soon as I was asked!

PDF : Petition to Impeach Bush from Elders for Peace