Obama’s Podcast Aint Bad

US Senator from Illinois Barack Obama has a podcast. It sounds really good. He’s mostly speaking as if he’s having a conversation with you. Fortunately it doesn’t come off like a pre-packaged speech. I really felt like I got to know him better. There is something about the human voice that can touch you this way. But it’s obvious he knows what he wants to say and has said it before. This podcast is an excellent way to learn about his politics and issues in general.

Now that US national politicians are adopting podcasting – are they working for bottom up control of government or just using the latest hyped communication medium?

Senators, let me hip you to something. Podcasting didn’t come about to reinvent radio and PR. Podcasting was nurtured on the energy of individuals with their own messages. This is the very core of a grassroots democracy. Share more of your process of governing with all the people who live in America. (Citizens and non-citizens) Let them have a hand in your government. Let them be creative! For tips on how to do this look at how local politics are conducted. I’m talking about a town or county level. Reproduce that nationally!

A GRIM Report

Crossposted from OrangePolitics.org
Guest Post by Alan McSurely

Alan McSurely gives an update on efforts to get our member of congress, David Price, to support impeachment of President Bush. There’s been a community forum, two meetings with Price, and now…

We present the Case for Impeachment on Tuesday, February 28th at 7 p.m. at Chapel Hill Town Hall. Michelle Cotton Laws and Rev. Robert Seymour will participate, along with Prof. Dan Pollitt and myself. We will be announcing the formation of GRIM, and asking for your help to build the Movement.
Continue reading “A GRIM Report”

The End of Privacy: for Real This Time!

The sad reality is that the US Government has been spying on it’s citizens for decades. (ex. Operation Shamrock where the US Gov. gathered telegraphs) But finally George W. Bush has admited to it. [?!?] Learn more about this subject by reading the following, the NY Times article that broke the story, CNN comments on it, Security Focus links to all kinds of stuff. Sadly the media really isn’t serving us very well with this story. The NY Times says they knew about the story for more than a YEAR but chose not to release it citing national security.

Organizations are now doing somthing about this. The ACLU is suing the NSA! [Wow!] There is something you can do about it. Sign the Move On Pettition to Restore the Rule of Law. Here is the letter that will be sent to your elected representative and the Justice Department. Public pressure works. Especially during a election year.


TO: Your Senators
CC: (Attorney General Alberto Gonzales)
FROM: (Your Name and Email)
SUBJECT: Thoroughly Investigate the Wiretapping Program

Dear (Senator/Attorney General),

(Your personal note)

President Bush admitted to personally authorizing thousands of potentially illegal wiretaps, and he doesn’t plan to stop. This abuse of power threatens the very core of our Constitution.

We demand a thorough and independent investigation of the Bush administration’s allegedly illegal wiretapping activities, including: (1) appointment of an independent counsel to respond to any criminal activity that may have taken place, (2) a thorough, meaningful and open Congressional investigation, (3) protection for all whistleblowers who come forward with evidence of wrongdoing in this program.

(Your name)
(Your address)


Today November 8, 2005 is Election Day in Chapel Hill and many parts of North Carolina. We’re having odd year municipal elections for Mayor, Town Council, and School Board. It’s a non-partisan election with candidates and incumbent politicians who are mostly democrats.

So this morning I voted. Before I met Ruby and moved to Chapel Hill I voted, but I didn’t really believe in it. I didn’t think it made any difference. I just did it because I was taught that’s what you do. Then in the year two thousand I signed a petition to get Ralph Nader on the ballet in Virginia. Amazingly he made it on the ballot and that year I voted for him for president. It was a first big step towards multiparty election system (more than two serious political parties). More than anything it gave me a sense of hope that our electoral system can actually work sometimes.

In a so called Red State like North Carolina having two towns like Chapel Hill and Carrboro that are so politically liberal is an anomaly. [ We’ll except for Asheville 🙂 ] It’s amazing to me because I never imagined living so long in such a conservative state. After the hell that is conservative Virginia I vowed never to go back. No where else I’ve lived has fit me so well. Sure we have the Peoples Republic of Berkley, CA and big cities like NYC where just about anything is tolerated but these small southern towns represent me. Chapel Hill is very southern, intellectual, creative, liberal, radical, peaceful, and warm.

North Carolina is called RED because its people historically vote for Republicans to national offices like Senator and President. Aesthically speaking the fact that conservatives and their arch enemies – Socialist, Communist, and Anarchists – claim the color red is weird. It’s is especially odd to me, a graduate of a fine arts program and a very visually oriented person. What does this mean from a social physiological perspective? I’m getting side tracked…

Sadly elections in Chapel Hill and Carrboro are decided by a very small percentage of the people who live here. Elections are won and lost on tens to hundreds of votes. For a politician it is literally possible to shake the hand of every person who votes for you. This makes the races very much a personality contest. Surprised? The polls are open to everyone and people work hard to get everyone to vote, but still many people stay away. Unfortunately, I can understand this. If you don’t feel like voting helps or means anything you just don’t care to.

Now that I’ve been more exposed to local politics I vote with conviction. Local politicians in Chapel Hill and Carrboro actually represent a large part of my values and work very hard to create positive change. Some how these towns have cultivated an environment where we elect wonderful people. It’s certainly not “balanced” politically. It’s decidedly unbalanced. But that’s ok with me. It’s progressive, liberal, moderate, closet conservative, and left wing radical. It’s our oasis in a sea of neo-conservative politics. It’s a semi-autonomous zone of political freedom. I love living here and will vote to keep it progressive and free.

Save Big Bird from the chopping block? NOT!

Isn’t that a cool sounding post title? It was the subject of an action alert ‘spam’ 🙂 email I got – minus the NOT! – from FreePress.net. It describes the attacks on Public Broadcasting from the right wing. For starters I will miss Big Bird and the Sesame Street crew if they are forced off the air because of budget cuts. Those happy muppets were a positive part of many children’s lives. But honestly why not just let those arrogant republicans take away funding? Yep you read that right. Let them kill Public Broadcasting! Why?! For petes sake why?

Because our government is owned by big corporations, has been for decades. How can anything owned by a corporation be truly publicly created or owned? Public Broadcasting stopped being grassroots and owned by the people long ago. Let a large void be left in the place of Public Broadcasting. Something better will fill the void. The fundraising for public media in America should be conducted for small, local, grassroots productions. Groups that your neighbors work with.

You might think that the void will only be filled with crappy commercial cable TV show for children with tons of ads. Well, that isn’t the only option for parents. We have community radio for kids of all ages, public access TV for kids, books, sports, music, podcasting for kids, etc., etc. All created by amateurs. Not corporations. Why shouldn’t these community created options replace Big Bird and all other Public Broadcasting programming?

Because I respect the people who work hard at Public Broadcasting I propose a exit strategy for them. PUT ALL CONTENT EVER MADE WITH PUBLIC MONEY INTO THE PUBLIC DOMAIN.

Give it away. Even better use a Creative Commons license to help prevent Disney from stealing Big Bird and turning him into the next Mickey Mouse. By giving ALL publicly funded content back to the people who paid for it you will ensure a RICH cultural future and lots of media for the public to work with. Turn this tragedy into a positive strategic move. One that will really give the people the public media they paid for.

More Politicians Podcasting ?

Taegan Goddard’s blog entry Political Podcasts got me thinking. I know John Edwards has podcast, but what about other politicians? After a google search I came up with this BBC article about political podcasts. Seems it ain’t just the Dems getting into it. Now the GOP (Grand Old Party to ya’ll heathens. ;D ) Republicans are podcasting. When the rulers start using new tech, like podcasting, the OFFICIAL herald of mainstream adoption is sounded. All of ya’ll podcasters are saying, “Like no DUH!” Am I right?!?