There is a corruption at the heart of American politics, caused by the dependence of Congressional candidates on funding from the tiniest percentage of citizens. That's the argument at the core of this blistering talk by legal scholar Lawrence Lessig. With rapid-fire visuals, he shows how the funding process weakens the Republic in the most fundamental way, and issues a rallying bipartisan cry that will resonate with many in the U.S. and beyond. UPDATE
Michael Moore questioned by the BBC interviewer Jeremy Paxman, patiently explains the significance of the Occupy Wall Street movement, which has spread to over 1000 cities and towns in over 80 countries. "We're not into fixing or reforming or tweaking. This simply has to end. The way of doing business as we know it has to come to an end." UPDATE
(This [slightly modified] piece first appeared in the French TV listings magazine Télérama, 4 October 2000)
If I say that culture is in danger today, if I say that it is threatened by the rule of money and commerce and by a mercenary spirit that takes many forms – audience ratings, market research, pressure from advertisers, sales figures, the best-seller list – it will be said that I am exaggerating.
If I say that politicians, who sign international agreements consigning cultural works to the common fate of interchangeable commodities subject to the same laws that apply to corn, bananas, or citrus fruit, are contributing (without always knowing it) to the abasement of culture and minds, it will be said that I am exaggerating.
If I say that publishers, film producers, critics, distributors, and heads of TV and radio stations, who rush to submit to the law of commercial circulation, that of the pursuit of bestsellers, media stars, and of the production and glorification of success in the short term and at all costs, but also to the law of the circular exchange of worldly favors and concessions – if I say that all of them are collaborating with the imbecile forces of the market and participating in their triumph, it will be said that I am exaggerating.
If I recall now that the possibility of stopping this machine lies with all those who, having some power over cultural, artistic, and literary matters, can, each in their own place and their own fashion, and to however small an extent, throw their grain of sand into the well-oiled machinery of resigned complicities; and if, lastly, I add that those who have the good fortune to have accounts on Totalrecut would, by conviction and tradition, be among the best placed to do this, it will be said perhaps, for once, that I am being desperately optimistic.
From TubeRaider: "Bono and U2 starred today in the free, HBO video event of Obama's inaugural "We Are One" Concert, which featured speeches by President-elect Barack Obama and Vice President-elect Joe Biden, and appearances by celebrities like Tom Hanks, Tiger Woods and Denzel Washington, offered some memorable musical moments. Among them:
Highlights in the video now online at Youtube included Veteran soul singer Bettye LaVette and Jon Bon Jovi warmly harmonizing on Sam Cooke's "A Change Is Gonna Come," with Bon Jovi adding the lane, "change has come" at the end. Bruce Springsteen and folk legend Pete Seeger - still spry, at 89 - leading a spirited singalong on "This Land Is Your Land." and U2 sounding as driven as ever on its Martin Luther King Jr. tribute, "Pride (In the Name of Love)." U2 also gave a special shoutout to the Palestinian and Israeli people." UPDATE
The leader of Ireland, An Taoiseach, Bertie Ahern (Taoiseach means Chieftain or Leader in Irish) announced today his intentions to resign on May 6th 2008. Who will take his place? A very interesting time for Irish politics. Bertie Ahern was re-elected as Taoiseach for the third time less than a year ago, but since then he has been hounded by local media regarding his alleged corruption and questionable financial affairs. He has served as Taoiseach for almost 11 years. Who will be able to fill his shoes? UPDATE
The Change Congress project's first mission is to diminish the influence of money in the legislative body by influencing the outcome of the 2008 election campaigns of 67 members of congress which are up for grabs. As the Change Congress project founder Larry Lessig noted in the project's launch Thursday afternoon, there haven't been so many seats open up for challenge in more than a decade.
Lessig, known for his decade-long role in trying to loosen the entertainment industry's vice-like grip on popular culture by shaping copyright law, is betting that the energy and dissatisfaction exhibited by voters against the status-quo in Washington DC, and the emergence of collaborative software that enables vast numbers of geographically-dispersed citizens to become politically active on their own schedule, will enable a new kind of transparency and accountability in political campaigns.
"The problem we face is ... the problem of crony capitalism using money to capture government," he said on Monday during the launch of his project in Washington, DC. "The challenge is whether in fact we can change this. The political experts tell you that it can't be done, that process always win over substance." [by Sarah Lai Stirland from Wired]
Gabriela sez, "Lawrence Lessig, renowned expert in intellectual property and founder of Creative Commons, recently changed his mission to combat the influence of money in American democracy. In commemoration of Sunshine Week, the Sunlight Foundation and Omidyar Network will host a press briefing featuring Lessig, who will announce the launch of his new 'Change Congress' project. The event will take place on Thursday, March 20 from 1:30-3:00 pm at the National Press Club in Washington, DC. Seating is limited, so please RSVP soon. For those who can't attend in person, the event will also be webcast." [from BoingBoing.net ] UPDATE
'With lots of mixed feelings, I have decided a run for Congress would not help the Change Congress movement. I explain the thinking in this 5 minute video (a new record for me!). First question: What happens to the contributions to Lessig08? As explained on the ActBlue page, all will go to (the yet to be established) Change Congress organization.
Thanks to everyone who helped me make this decision -- and especially the many friends in the harshest way told me it would be a mistake.' - Larry Lessig UPDATE
Barack Obama won a clear majority of the Super Tuesday states...
In the closest thing to a national primary we’ve ever seen, Barack Obama overcame double-digit leads by Senator Clinton in 8 of the largest 10 states to win a majority of states, defeating Senator Clinton 13-8 – with New Mexico still undeclared.
Obama also won Red States by a margin of more than two-to-one and leads Senator Clinton by nearly 50 delegates going into California.
Obama won his home state by 67 delegates (110-43; 153 total). Clinton won her home state by 52 delegates (142-90; 232 total). Among home states, Obama won a net delegate margin of 15. That’s a good number – but even more impressive when you consider that New York had 79 more delegates up for grabs than Illinois.
Barack Obama performed especially well in those states he visited in recent weeks, including Minnesota, Utah, Idaho, Delaware, and Connecticut. He also won his home state by 67 delegates, 15 more than Senator Clinton won her home state of New York by. This is further proof that the more voters get to know Barack Obama and hear his message, the more they support him. And this bodes well for the contests coming in the next few weeks, where Obama will have more time to campaign aggressively in individual states.
Of the seven caucus states that were decided tonight, Obama won six (New Mexico is still undeclared).
Caucuses test the enthusiasm of supporters in a way that primaries do not. And Obama’s near-sweep of these contests shows why he’s the candidate who’s generating the most excitement in this race and bringing new people into politics for the first time.
Barack Obama won the support of Americans of every race and gender in every region of the country. From Hillary Clinton’s backyard in Connecticut to Georgia, where Obama won nearly 40% of the white vote and eliminated the gender gap by winning 64% of the women’s vote, Obama demonstrated that he’s the one candidate who can transform the electoral map. That’s why he is the Democrat who’s most likely to win in November. UPDATE
Music Video Created by Bob Dylan's son, director Jesse Dylan. Celebrities featured include: Jesse Dylan, Will.i.am, Common, Scarlett Johansson, Tatyana Ali, John Legend, Herbie Hancock, Kate Walsh, Kareem Abdul Jabbar, Adam Rodriquez, Kelly Hu, Adam Rodriquez, Amber Valetta, Eric Balfour, Aisha Tyler, Nicole Scherzinger and Nick Cannon UPDATE
Very interesting the YouTube - CNN debate. Users at the ground level can have their opinions heard in a new way enabled by technology. Candidates get to appear tech savvy while still airing their own agendas. Still, a step in the right direction methinks. UPDATE