Help start Bill Hop NC

Another legislation tracking website called Bill Hop is focusing on state bill activity. They’re trying to get one going for North Carolina. [ ] Check out their about info:

BillHop is a network of sites (for each statehouse and Congress) that allows people to track and comment on legislation while connecting with others with common interests. All content on the BillHop website is contributed by its registered users. Some users are progressive, while others are conservative. Some may be wonks in specific fields of interest. Others are just novice armchair politicos. It is hoped that this amalgamation of perspectives and experience levels will result in a body of information that accurately reflects reality, and an experience everyone can benefit from.

Here is their help pitch:

Help Start BillHop in North Carolina

We’re starting a new site for North Carolina and are looking for sponsors. Sponsors are individuals who are committed to contributing to the site and spreading the word among their cohorts. We will reward those founding members with frontpage recognition of their own projects, organizations, or blogs.

If you are interested, it’s a two step process:
1) Register as a member; and
2) Sign-Up to sponsor this site.
Once we have 7 sponsors, BillHop – North Carolina will open and the fun will begin.

I wish I had more time to work on this.

We need a ACC Social Network site

Steve Rubel over at Micro Persuasion blog tips us to the new NBA social network site FanVoice (beta). The folks over at the ACC should hire some local talent to create a social networking site for ACC fans. Especially for college basketball and college football. I’m not a big sports fan but I would use the hell outa’ such a website to keep up with UNC basketball. It would kick ass! Especially if fans could submit pictures and videos. Ed Cone and I have mentioned the importance of fan participation. Capitalize on it ACC.

Some people the ACC should contact about this ASAP. Ruby Sinreich [social network guru], Fred Stutzman [social network scientist], and Brian Russell (me) [social web site designer]. 🙂

See also my post Creativity + Fans x Love = Money for more ideas.

Update: Ed Cone asks, “Why wait for the league? An exogenous effort might work as well or better. I’d be interested in helping to create one.” Sean Coon responds, “you already have one at flickr… pimp it.”

Keep up with bills using OpenCongress

There’s a neat new website out there for all you political junkies and hopefully regular people. Its called Open Congress. Here’s something from their about page:

OpenCongress brings together official government information with news and blog coverage to give you the real story behind what’s happening in Congress.

For most people, finding out what’s really happening in Congress is a daunting and time-consuming task. The legislative process is frequently arcane and closed-off from the public, resulting in frustration with Congress and apathy about politics.

Small groups of political insiders and lobbyists know what’s really going on in Congress, but this important information rarely makes its way into the light. The official website of the library of Congress, Thomas, publishes the full text of bills, but we can do much more to inform ourselves and make our government accessible. Now, with OpenCongress, everyone can be an insider.

OpenCongress is a free, open-source, non-profit, and non-partisan web resource with a mission to help make Congress more transparent and to encourage civic engagement. OpenCongress is a joint project of the Sunlight Foundation and the Participatory Politics Foundation.

They have a blog and sections based on issues, like Technology, which list bills in that area. I’m going to subscribe to the RSS feed of their Congress Gossip Blog.

Chapel Hill Town Council Resolution on Immigration

Tonight the Chapel Hill Town Council has on its agenda a petition from the Orange County Bill of Rights Defense Committee proposing A RESOLUTION ESTABLISHING A POLICY ON ARREST FOR CIVIL IMMIGRATION VIOLATION and A RESOLUTION TO REDRESS SOME OF THE HARM CAUSED BY THE ARREST AND IMPRISONMENT OF SIMA FALLAHI. See the pdf of the resolutions and full text bellow the fold. Tonights full agenda is located here. Learn more about what happened to Sima in the OP posts Free Sima and Sima Update.
(Text is subject to change)



WHEREAS, in Section 15A-401 of the North Carolina General Statutes, the General Assembly has specified the circumstances under which law enforcement officers may arrest persons, with or without an arrest warrant;


WHEREAS, the list of circumstances under which a person may be arrested does not include an arrest of persons whose only known violation of law is or may be a civil violation of federal immigration statutes;

NOW THEREFORE, the Chapel Hill Town Council resolves:

Section 1. It shall be the policy of the Town of Chapel Hill not to arrest or take into custody persons when the sole basis for arresting or taking such persons into custody is that they have or may have committed a civil immigration violation.

Section 2. This resolution shall become effective upon adoption.

This the 26th day of February 2007.


WHEREAS, the Town of Chapel Hill is committed to the human and civil rights of its residents and to actions that preserve and protect those rights, demonstrated by its stand on October 8, 2003, in voting to protect its residents against unconstitutional actions (2003-10-08/R-5.1);


WHEREAS, enforcement of civil immigration laws has historically been a federal obligation considered off-limits to state and local law enforcement;


WHEREAS, serious concerns have been raised regarding the ability of state and local police to prevent and solve crimes when non-citizens fear that state and local enforcement officers will enforce immigration laws against them;

WHEREAS, the Chapel Hill Town Council regrets the tragic consequences of the detention of Sima Fallahi for a civil violation of a federal immigration statute, resulting in her subsequent imprisonment, separation from her eleven-year-old daughter Leila, and the threat of deportation leading to probable imprisonment in her native Iran;


WHEREAS, members of the community have come forward to support Sima and Leila Fallahi, including incurring legal costs which will be at least $10,000 to $1 5,000;


WHEREAS, the Chapel Hill Town Council seeks to redress some of the harm that has been done in this instance;

NOW THEREFORE, the Chapel Hill Town Council resolves:

Section 1. To make a significant contribution to the legal costs incurred in providing effective legal counsel to Sima Fallahi in her effort to reopen her case and seek political asylum in the United States.

Section 2. This resolution shall be effective upon adoption.
This the 26th day of February, 2007

Cross posted from Orange Politics.

Update on my twitter blog

I’ve redirected to for now. I had a Twitter/SMS blog up at but found some bugs. I thought I could squash them quickly but it turns out its a bit more complicated. I’m working on it now and hope to restore the Twitter/SMS blog soon. I know ya’ll are freakn’ cause you can’t find out what I’m doing up to the second. 😉

Props to Calvin for inadvertently showing me some new ways to do this.

Egyptian Blogger Gets 4 Years in Prison

The AP on WaPo is reporting that Egyptian blogger Abdel Kareem Nabil, aka Kareem Amer, has been sent to prison for blogging.

Abdel Kareem Nabil, a 22-year-old former student at Egypt’s Al-Azhar University, had been a vocal secularist and sharp critic of conservative Muslims in his blog. He often lashed out at Al-Azhar _ the most prominent religious center in Sunni Islam _ calling it “the university of terrorism” and accusing it of encouraging extremism.

Nabil’s lawyer, Ahmed Seif el-Islam, said he would appeal the verdict, adding it will “terrify other bloggers and have a negative impact on freedom of expression in Egypt.” Nabil had faced a possible maximum sentence of nine years in prison.

This is something I think bloggers around the world should be concerned about. Its an amazing free speech violation. Keep up with events at Learn more about Kareem via the Kareem FAQ.

Reporters Without Boarders has condemned his sentence:

Reporters Without Borders strongly condemned the four-year prison sentence imposed today by a court in Alexandria on Abdel Kareem Nabil Suleiman for “inciting hatred of Islam” and insulting President Hosni Mubarak in his blog, for which he used the pseudonym of “Kareem Amer.”

“This sentence is a disgrace,” the press freedom organisation said. “Almost three years ago to the day, President Mubarak promised to abolish prison sentences for press offences. Suleiman’s conviction and sentence is a message of intimidation to the rest of the Egyptian blogosphere, which had emerged in recent years as an effective bulwark against the regime’s authoritarian excesses.”