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.

Some thoughts on State sanctioned violence

Today has been a very hard day.

Since I awoke from yet another violent nightmare this morning, I've been overwhelmed by mental images and thoughts of violence, especially State-sanctioned violence.

Two days ago, the partner of a close friend was hit in the head by a high-velocity teargas canister fired into a group of non-violent protesters in the West Bank. He is still alive, but in critical condition and no one knows when or even if he will recover.

Seeing the photos of him on the ground, covered in blood, brought back a flood of memories.

Images of my friend Brad Will, gunned down in 2006 by government paramilitary thugs in Mexico, push themselves into the front of my mind. The sound of his voice when he was shot, recorded by the video camera he was holding at the time, echoes in my brain.

I also keep thinking about the hundreds, if not thousands, of nameless and faceless victims of similar violence.

I know that the attention that Tristan and Brad have gotten is because they are white American activists. Their skin privilege makes them stand out in a sea of darker skinned victims.

It is not fair, but if we can shine a light of attention on the larger issues; if we can get the mainstream public to pay attention because these victims look and talk like they do, it is necessary to do so.

If what happened to them can make the other victims less anonymous and ignored, maybe their sacrifices are not in vain.

I know that there are tens of thousands of people dying in Darfur, in the Middle East, in Oaxaca, and other small ignored corners around the globe.

Why should the lives of these few people be worth more?

The quick answer is that, of course, their lives are not worth more. However, the sad reality is that because of how our world is, it seems to take the mutilation or death of someone white and from the west to get people to put aside their complacency and think about what is going on; what is being done in our names and with our tax money.

Today is especially hard for me because it is the anniversary of one of the darkest moments of my life. 21 years ago this evening, I almost became one of those martyrs.

After calling the police to deal with the theft of my roommate's bicycle, due to the arrogance and hate of one police officer, I was badly beaten -- first in a public parking lot by 3 officers and then again in the witness-free zone of the strip-search room of Central Booking in downtown Buffalo. The only thing that saved my life that night, other than the fast action of my friends, was the color of my skin.

Amazon reviews of the Bible

I remember reading a while back on Amanda's blog that people have been posting reviews for mundane, everyday objects like pens and milk. Some people with too much time on their hands actually have talent, some don't. But, I was really amazed when someone recently posted this page of rather funny reviews of the bible to a mailing list I'm on.

for example:

This book should never be left where it could fall into the hands of children. Recurrent themes of bloody violence, murder, racism, incest and rape are dealt with extremely irresponsibly. Horrific events are presented as justified by circumstances and as solutions to petty wrongs.

Certainly this is what the internet was made for!

Revolution and Regurgitation: some thoughts on a new radicalism in the 1990s

I had mentioned a line from this essay to a friend via facebook recently and she asked me to post the entire thing. I'm not the biggest fan of facebook, and since I have my own blog/site, I thought it would be best to post this here.

I wrote this in January 1989, shortly before leaving Buffalo to move to NYC. It was published in a small magazine called Silence in the summer of 1989, after I had already left to start my new life as Production Manager of The Guardian Newsweekly (which at the time was the longest publishing non-party affiliated socialist/radical newspaper in the US).

One thing worth noting: I eventually learned who the artist was that created the flyer that I quote in section 4. In fact, I'm happy to consider him a friend, -- 10 years after I was randomly handed a one page leaflet with his artwork/propaganda at a protest, I helped to produce his graphic novel, War in the Neighborhood, about the struggles against gentrification on the Lower East Side in the 80s and 90s. ( http://www.amazon.com/War-Neighborhood-Seth-Tobocman/dp/1570270546 ). This is worth mention because the leaflet and the research I did after reading it are one of the reasons I made the decision to leave Buffalo a few credits short of my degree.

Revolution and Regurgitation:
Some thoughts on the potential for a new radicalism in the 90s

my rant on Open File Formats is going to be published in Spanish!

I was contacted today by some folks in Spain that are publishing a book about Media Art Conservation. They found something I posted to the mailing list of the Institute for Distributed Creativity last year and want my permission to translate and publish it. I'm really excited.

more info on the IDC can be found at their website http://distributedcreativity.org or on the archive of the mailing list at http://mailman.thing.net/pipermail/idc/

It took me a while to dig up the post from my archive so I could decide if I wanted to give permission, I'm posting it here for no particular reason other than procrastinating other things I should be doing.

Internet Telephony, Cell Phones and Open Source For Labor

Dec 7 2008 12:00 pm
Dec 7 2008 1:30 pm

more info to come soon, this is one of the two panels I'm on at the upcoming LaborTech conference. this one is a discussion of using Open Source internet telephony, sms and other communications technologies for organizing.