Welcome to my site. Here you will find some info about me, the things I do and a listing of upcoming (and past) presentations and lectures. While I initially expected most of my posts to be about Open Source/Free Software (hence the name), these days it's mostly rants and ramblings about running.

half a rant about Fox

Dear Fox, Advocacy Journalism is about having a position and being up-front about it, not about intentionally pushing misinformation.

Seriously, I'm of the opinion that no publication or news source is actually objective. All editors select stories and their placement based on their world-view. Editorial viewpoint is not a bad thing. What you decide to report on or print and how you present the relationship between stories provides larger context. Who you decide to quote and even in what order will always give insight into which side of a political issue the reporter, editor or publication supports.

I've worked for advocacy publications, they have all been very clear that they had an opinion; they have all strived to report their opinion and ground that in fact. Lying is not an option for journalists. That is as long as you're not Fox News.

Fox went to court essentially to protect its "right" to pressure reporters to report information they knew was not accurate in order to bolster their political agenda. That is not journalism.

The latest news today is that Fox intentionally reported misinformation in order to protect Rudolf Giuliani's political aspirations.

That reminded me of how Giuliani forced Time Warner to carry Fox news to begin with.

The Giuliani administration stepped up the pressure yesterday in its effort to persuade Time Warner to carry Rupert Murdoch's new 24-hour cable news channel in New York City, suggesting that a refusal by Time Warner could influence a city panel that will be reviewing the company's lucrative cable franchises next week.

The veiled warning came after Time Warner on Thursday rebuffed a request by the administration to put Mr. Murdoch's Fox News Channel temporarily on one of the five public-access cable stations controlled by the city. ...

Mayor Rudolph W. Giuliani said yesterday that he was trying to help Mr. Murdoch because if the new 24-hour news channel, which is based in Manhattan, was not shown in much of the city, it might fail, threatening hundreds of jobs. ''This is the only cable network like this that is actually headquartered in New York City, so that is important to us,'' he said.

I had a point in mind when I started writing this, but it's late and I have to finish packing. I'll pick this up another time.

today's photo


For no real reason, today the photo comes first.

I'm stressed out -- getting ready to travel to Portland for a few days to visit a friend. I'd put it off until the weather improves but his recent diagnosis is rather grim and I want to see him while his illness can be the elephant in the room; while he's still feeling strong and healthy.

When I met Andrew, I was interviewing him for an article I was writing about Earth First! (the 1992 EF! Round River Rendezvous in Colorado, where this friendship started, will be a focus of a future post). Instead of taking on the name of some glorious noble creature like so many of the folks in that scene, Slugthang went in the other direction. The quote he gave me when trying to sum up the value of Earth First! as a movement stuck in my brain: "Earth First! might be controversial, but that's because EF! is the finger in the eye of the general public that would rather look the other way."

Over the years, I've grown to think of him more as a brother than a friend.

This all got me thinking about other friends that have had impact on my life, especially those that are no longer with us.

One of them, an old comrade from my days in Buffalo, Gabrielle Bouliane, sums up the lesson to be learned: "Don't you dare waste your time."

the same sex marriage debate

I ended up having the same-sex marriage debate with some facebook friends yet again today.

It confuses me that people somehow feel threatened by who someone else wants to love. I have no idea why same-sex couples should not be given the same rights that Jenna and I are given. We got married in Toronto specifically because we did not want to compromise our hatred of the State even more than we already were by having our relationship sanctioned by a municipality that did not grant that right to same-sex couples.

Today's debate got me looking into the relationship between States that had laws against interracial marriage in 1948 and States that have added language to their Constitutions that ban same-sex marriage. No shock, but 83.33% of the states that banned interracial marriage in 1948 ban same-sex marriage today and 83.33% of states that currently ban same-sex marriage also banned interracial marriage in 1948.

(source of the table below is http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Same-sex_marriage_status_in_the_United_Stat... and http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Interracial_marriage#United_States

State Interracial Marriage Illegal in 1948 State Constitution prohibiting Same Sex Marriage in 2011
Alabama yes yes
Alaska no yes
Arizona yes yes
Arkansas yes yes
California yes yes
Colorado yes yes
Connecticut no no
Delaware yes no
District of Columbia ? no
Florida yes yes
Georgia yes yes
Hawaii no yes
Idaho yes yes
Illinois no no
Indiana yes no
Iowa no no
Kansas no yes
Kentucky yes yes
Louisiana yes yes
Maine no no
Maryland yes no
Massachusetts no no
Michigan no yes
Minnesota no no
Mississippi yes yes
Missouri yes yes
Montana yes yes
Nebraska yes yes
Nevada yes yes
New Hampshire no no
New Jersey no no
New Mexico no no
New York no no
North Carolina yes no
North Dakota yes yes
Ohio no yes
Oklahoma yes yes
Oregon yes yes
Pennsylvania no no
Rhode Island no no
South Carolina yes yes
South Dakota yes yes
Tennessee yes yes
Texas yes yes
Utah yes yes
Vermont no no
Virginia yes yes
Washington no no
West Virginia yes no
Wisconsin no yes
Wyoming yes no

Today's photo:

S is for Still Snowy

today's tab dump

Some reasons why you should support PBS http://tinyurl.com/4skh8k3

If this was all happening in another country the press would be calling it a rebellion or revolution.

Today's photo:

This winter it seems that a stick figure's job is never done

How I Mis-spent My Youth, Chapter 2: June 12/14 1982

This is going to be another long post, so as with my earlier story, today the photo comes first


Reagan was visiting Berlin, we were in the streets in NYC:
"Ronald Reagan don't come home, we'll run our country on our own!"

My friend's father who ended up coming along with us looked at me in horror as I joined in the chant. He was not happy with this segment of the demonstration and wanted us to walk faster so we could get to whatever the next group ahead of us was. Maybe if we walked faster we could catch up to the folks we planned on marching with.

It's only now, looking back, that I realize while chanting about Reagan I had ended up in the middle of one of the anarchist sections of the protest -- a place that would later become familiar and comfortable territory to me.

We got to our staging area/starting point really late, the person that was supposed to pick us up in his van totally flaked out on us -- lesson learned, always have a backup plan. Instead of 6 or 7 people I knew from school driving into the City with the crazy guy in the van, it turned out to be me along with one classmate, her sister and father. He drove us to the train station and insisted on coming along to keep an eye on us.

It was June 12th, 1982, at that time it was the largest protest in US history. Over 1 million people gathered during the United Nations Second Special Session on Disarmament to make our voices heard. Two days later, hundreds of people would be arrested blockading the UN Missions of every nuclear nation in the world, sadly I was not able to make it to the Blockade the Bombmakers event. From what I understand, this was the first in a long history of using more mainstream events to lead into more radical direct action.

We started off much farther back in the crowd than we expected and tried our best to move faster than the group looking for the NFTY delegation (national federation of temple youth, the reform Jewish youth umbrella organization).

As we moved through the crowd, the diversity of organizations built a sense of mass organization.

I'm happy to have been among the crowd; I'm proud that I did my tiny little part of helping to make the event happen. It was the first time I had been around the organizing of a protest. I learned a ton from the people I met who were willing to take a 16-year-old clueless kid seriously.

All I did for the event was make some phone calls and hand out leaflets, but that put me around some really amazing people that changed my life. Sadly I can not remember any of their names. I have no idea who they were, but if it makes any sense I'll never forget them.

During my early activist days, much of my activism and organizing was connected to the Temple Beth David youth group. It was a way of combining what my parents wanted me to do and what I wanted to do. It was a safe place to do political work. If they only knew how much pot and alcohol went along with those youth group meetings.

My first real organizing effort was a campaign to raise money to make the temple's synagogue handicapped accessible. The first stage of that was a system for the hearing impaired. At the time it was cutting edge technology, strange looking headsets that people could put on combined with an infrared transmitter connected to the sound system.

In a way, that was another of my failed attempts to connect with my father. His hearing was bad, damaged during his time in the Air Force in Korea. The Temple Beth David community that he saw every Friday night at services was one of the few places he seemed happy.

In addition to the youth group "activism," I also kept participating in the protests about the Shoreham Nuclear Power Plant, and often talked with (ranted at?) people during the youth group events about these other events and the politics related to them. One evening, after the weekly youth group meeting while I was sitting on the hood of a friend's car babbling about politics passing a joint around, someone -- my god I wish I could remember who she was, a friend of the assistant youth group adviser maybe? -- came over to me and said "If you ever want to do more than sit around smoking and talking shit, some people I know are organizing some protests this summer."

A week or two later, I called the number she gave me. A few days later I was somewhere in Manhattan (I think it might have been the War Resisters League office on Lafayette) learning my first lessons about how much tedious and boring work is necessary to make serious things happen. I made phone calls, mimeographed copies of leaflets, and got to listen to some amazing conversations. I think that my favorite (and certainly most educational) moments of being an activist are some of the conversations among brilliant people that I've had the chance to be a fly on the wall for (in the mid 90's as part of my job as Art Director for Tikkun Magazine, I'd have the best of these fly on the wall moments, sitting in on a conversation between Manning Marable, Michael Eric Dyson and Cornel West).

Those conversations in 1982 introduced me to the writings of Saul Alinsky, Karl Marx, Emma Goldman, Gandhi, King, and Malcolm X. My mind was blown. I started seeing connections between my life and these politics; e.g., my father's union being on strike. I started believing in the potential of revolution, massive social change in America, the power of the people over forces of oppression. Two seeds were planted, one of my determination to make things different and the other would germinate into my future cynical grumpiness.

Both of those are important and playing them off each other has helped me be both idealistic and pragmatic. Demand the impossible, expect to be crushed, enjoy anything in between.