Edwards 2008 and What we can Do NOW

Ruby and I recorded a video response to John Edwards’ video on YouTube called Tomorrow Begins Today. It was easy and fun to do.

This response came about from a phone conference call for bloggers we were on the day before Mr. Edwards announced. I was most impressed by his call for people to go out and do something NOW not just on election day to make this country better. A rally call I can really get behind.

I jotted down some notes on the plane about what I think YOU and John Edwards can do to make this world a better place. It is by no means exhaustive.

What YOU can do

  • Volunteer – find a non-profit near you with a community based mission
  • Help your Neighbor
  • Join AmeriCorp or the Peace Corp (you don’t have to be a kid to do it)
  • Blog: its not just for geeks anymore
    • Promote causes on your blog
    • Teach others how-to blog

What I’d like John Edwards to do in New Orleans

  • Promote an independent investigation into the levees failure. Folks at Levees.org have lots more info.
  • Find ways to save public schools in New Orleans. Preserve them for EVERYONE regardless of race or class.
  • Help push positive legislation thru congress to repair New Orleans for everyone. Not just fat cat developers.
  • Don’t allow New Orleans public housing to be destroyed.
  • END THE WAR IN IRAQ (Not super specific to New Orleans, but its a local issue as well as a national issue. No more of our neighbors need to die in this unjust War.)

Hat Tip to The Nation article The Kartina Factor. (Subscription required) Honestly I thought the ideas in the article where GREAT. I decided to adopt and promote them here. I’m a happy print subscriber to The Nation. 🙂

I asked Vlog santa how to get a Wii

I know I said all stuff Nintendo Wii would be over at my blog Wii The Media but this one is just too funny… so I cross post here:

I sent Vlog Santa a short video asking him, “How do I convince my wife to let me get a Wii?” Well he took my question as an opportunity to provide some free marriage advice… while drunk.

Is da weekend over already? Christ. Okay here’s some dude dat has to ask his wife to go wee-wee. Well dats what I thought he was sayin’, I guess it’s some kinda computa game. Danny McVicar’s got his mind in da gutter too, so get ready for a little bada-BOOM bada-BOOM know what I mean!

Go over to Vlog Santa’s site and check it out. Lots of funny vids from the man in red and white and blue. Blue is the color of his malt liquor can.

Send your “Computa video questions” to – santa@vlogsanta.tv

Help The Coup and Mr. Lif recover from bus Crash

I just found out from Ruby who found out from Dav that the wonderful radical hiphop groups The Coup and Mr. Lif where in a bus crash. They lost everything except their lives. Many of them are seriously injured. Thankfully no one was killed. From Boots blog:

We lost everything in that crash and fire. We were packed to live and do shows on that bus for a month. Most of us had every stitch of clothing we owned on there. We lost clothes, computers, recording equipment, cameras, IDs, phones, keys to cars and homes. We lost cash.We lost all our damn instruments and equipment to perform with. We were and are happy to walk away with our lives. But now we’re home. Most of the band touring with The Coup has kids, rent that won’t quit, bills, and holiday expenses coming. We need money, because like I said the band doesn’t have the tools that they make a living with. Not only did we lose cash and material things on the bus, but we also were depending on this tour for money to make it through. It may take a year for us to see any money from the insurance company.

You can find out more from Boots Reiley’s blog post on myspace. Lots of stories to be found via Google News too. Send your PayPal donations to thecoupbuscrash@gmail.com.

Geek Activism Ideas

In my post Activists and Geeks unite! a commenter left a great link to Devanshu Mehta‘s 95 Theses of Geek Activism. I put them here bellow the fold for you to read. [Thank you Devanshu for using the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 2.5 License.] Please go check out Devanshu’s site and send him some love for writing this. I’m not a religious person, spiritual maybe, but we all need to be inspired once in awhile to do right by other people. These points are inspiring!
Continue reading “Geek Activism Ideas”

Activists and Geeks unite!

FOSS stands for Free and Open Source Software. WordPress, the software that runs this blog, is FOSS. Apache, the software that serves the majority of web sites is, FOSS. These are tools used by people all over the world to advocate for change. When you promote your cause online there is a high chance you’re using FOSS. But the people who make FOSS tools and the people who use them don’t always relate to each other.

Bruce Byfield
article Why FOSS isn’t on activist agendas does a good job providing some reasons why. Maybe it should be titled Why FOSS isn’t on MOST activist agendas. I know a TON of activists using free and open source software.

I work in both FOSS (aka geek) worlds and activist worlds. So one of my goals is to bring these two communities together. Why? FOSS can be a very powerful fuel for change. Activists desperately need this power when working against great odds. In other words: Activists are David, the problems of the world are Goliath, FOSS is the sling shot that will bring Goliath down.

From Why FOSS isn’t on activist agendas:

Those comfortable in both the FOSS and activist arenas see several problems that must be overcome before activists can accept FOSS. These problems include the FOSS community’s insularity, its failure to deliver the right message to the activists’ technophobia, and a failure to make connections. In the end, it may be only by seeing the values that underlie both FOSS and other causes that any connection can be made.

I think activists desperately need to increase their technical literacy. Very basic things like how the Internet works, how to write basic html markup, how to use a web browser, how to search the internet, etc. (really these things aren’t very hard to understand)

Increasing technical literacy isn’t easy. Especially when a geek like me tells someone they’re lacking. So I spend a lot of energy finding good ways to explain stuff to people. My serious goal is to be more patient and work to empower people. We must remove non-techie people’s dependence on the few geeks with the knowledge. Education can do this.

In the other camp FOSS geeks need to improve their physical social skills. Especially in relationship to values shared with activists. I’m not saying that FOSS geeks should be more PC. (politically correct not personal computer) I just think lots of geeks could use some knowledge dropped on them by people working in struggles centered around race and gender. We must respect women and people of color more. Fact is the geek IT world is dominated by white men. (Like myself)

From years of being socially ostracized for being good with computers geeks/nerds/techies need to break out of their shell. We need to be loved and not feared or held in awe. We need to work harder to talk to people about technology without jargon. We need to see the FOSS struggle as political and akin to the same struggles that others have.

Brown concluded that, if activists were to respond favorably to FOSS, they would only do so at an ethical level. Brown is currently organizing a campaign by the FSF to reach out to the activist community with this new approach.

Activists and FOSS geeks can find common ground on a ethical level. We just have to teach each other to speak our respective languages. This combined with volunteering in our respective causes will bring us together.