Saturday, July 30, 2005

Live Blogging at BlogHer

it's ON
Originally uploaded by image415.
It's 9:45AM on a Saturday morning and I'm up and at the BlogHer Con... On the ride up I spoke to Chris about the idea of live-blogging a video conference.

Why would anyone feel the need to live-blog a blogging conference? Because I can...

Stay tuned for more updates throughout the day, or not.

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Death of Democracy...

CAFTA Voting Irregularities
Originally uploaded by Insurgent.
Everyone knows that CAFTA barely passed, but Indybay has the scoop from Democracy Now
When official voting had ended in the House at 11:17 pm, as the fifteen minute voting period had expired, legislators had actually voted to defeat CAFTA 180 (one hundred eighty) -175 (one hundred seventy five). But in an unusual move the final House vote was held open for an extra forty seven minutes, giving Republican leaders time to furiously round up holdouts in their own party until they had secured just enough to ensure approval.

* Nancy Pelosi, House Minority Leader:
"The Republicans turned the floor of the House of the Representatives into a "Let's Make a Deal" set that was reminiscent of what happened at the time of the medicare prescription drug legislation that evening and again this time they kept the vote open a long time. But many of the overtures that were made to members was made before even going to the floor. So this is about again an abuse of power, an unethical way of passing legislation and depending on what members decide to do, may require further attention."

Meanwhile, Republican Rep. Charles Taylor of North Carolina said he voted against the bill, but that a problem with the electronic voting system failed to record the vote.

That last sentence is the really disturbing part. If true, that seems like some damning circumstancial evidence that electronic voting fraud did in fact transpire during at least one recent general election.

At the same time, during the hour representative Taylor had to cast his vote, he couldn't find someone to call about the fact that his vote hadn't been recorded?

How does this voting on Capitol Hill thing work? You can persuade your friends to change their vote while the polls are open?


Wednesday, July 27, 2005

This Man is President?

The Finger
Originally uploaded by Insurgent.
Whatever happened to a president being stately? Check out this video from one good move and see the president at his most irreverent.

Who is this guy? I mean it's one thing for me to say "Fuck corporate media," but it's a whole different story when you're the president of the United States of America.

2 Years in Iraq and We're Still in the Streets...

March 19th 2005
Originally uploaded by Insurgent.
To commemerate the second anniversary of the Iraq war, San Francisco came out into the streets to express it's discontent with the present political system. Here's my first-hand take of the events.

This video is a little long at just under 15 minutes, but I didn't want to cut anymore out. I'll be making a full-screen H.264 version of this video available tomorrow.

Anyone going to BlogHer from SF or the Eastbay?

Originally uploaded by a t r i u m.
Update: Chris Ritke of 49 Media has graciously offered to give me a ride to BlogHer. Thanks Chris.

Hey everyone, so I've discovered that I can get to BlogHer by way of public transportation. But it's going to take a while. A long while...

So, I was wondering if there's anyone out there reading my blog from either SF or the Eastbay that'd be down to give me a ride. I know it's a longshot, but I figured I'd give it a shot. If you might be able to help me out, drop me an E-mail. Thanks!

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The 07-07-05 Conspiracy Begins

Picture 20
Originally uploaded by Insurgent.
Citizens for Legitimate Government Have noticed something suspicious going on with the surveillance shot being distributed as a photo of the four alleged London bombers. It appears that one of the figures may have been photoshopped in...

Doug Alder
is reaching out to his readers to see if anyone can confirm or deny the possible validity of the photograph.

Tuesday, July 26, 2005

Add Water. If Any Substance Remains. Dilute Again.

Trungpa Rinpoche
Originally uploaded by Insurgent.
Chogyam Trungpa writes in his book, The Myth of Freedom and the Way of Meditation
We had a film workshop in Colorado in which we discussed whether it was important to entertain people or make a good film. And what I said was that perhaps the audience might be bored with what we have to present, but we must raise the intelligence, the standards of the audience, up to the level of what we are presenting, rather than trying to constantly match their expectations, their desire for entertainment. Once you begin to try to satisfy the audience's desire for entertainment, you constantly bend down and bend down and bend down, until the whole thing becomes absurd. If a film-maker presents his own ideas with dignity, his work might be ill-received in the beginning but possibly well-received once people begin to catch up to it. The film might raise the audience's level of sophistication.
A number of articles about Current TV have recently been published, and it seems likely to me that Al Gore's endeavor has fallen prey to the very situation Trungpa Rinpoche describes above.

According to an article from Reuters, Gore "think[s] the reality of the network will speak for itself. It's not intended to be partisan in any way, not ideological in any way."

What exactly does this mean?

Not partisan in any way
Does this mean that any issues that are partisan in nature will be ignored?

Not ideological in any way
Does this mean that any videos "concerned with or suggestive of ideas" will not belong on Current?

Obviously, I'm over-reacting here -- but does that not seem like a very weak explanation for the channel? Read directly Gore essentially states that the channel is not about issues that are under debate nor anything having to do with suggesting any ideas. WTF?!?!

Just what kind of programming will be on Current TV? Well, I can't say for sure but Doug Elfman of the Chicago Sun-Times writes in an article that demonstrates Elfman's mastery of the fine-art of functional illiteracy:
Critics were given DVDs featuring stuff that will be shown on Current. Those segments look pretty good. There's a playful documentary-type thing that shows "jumpers" strapping on parachutes and diving off of cliffs and bridges. It's well-shot. It was created by an ordinary citizen who submitted it to Current.

There's also a snippet titled "HOOKING UP." In it, a young woman says, "I kind of regret now sleeping with Doug, especially now that he wants to end it. But I feel like since he's the one that wants to end this, it shouldn't stop me from hooking up with his friend now."

It seems a sure bet that conservative propagandists in the media will rip into Gore for helping to turn young, everyday citizens into titillating gatekeepers of the all-important news. I hope somebody asks these commentators which journalism schools they went to. Gore, by the way, started out as a newspaperman.

Current isn't all hotties and extreme athletes. Staffers and amateurs are putting together long segments on war victims who walk around on one leg, and suicidal people in Japan. When was the last time you turned on Fox News and saw a mini-documentary about Iranian kids who listen to loud music and get wasted at underground house parties?
Unfortunately, the organizers of the Current meetup groups were not provided a copy of the sneak-peak DVD so I must rely on Elfman's description.

Additionally, Current's advertising model was unveiled in a MediaWeek article on July 19th.
Another difference that this new network will bring to television is how advertising is sold. Advertisers are being signed up for 15-month periods during which they will sponsor a particular pod within each hour's telecast. They will get to air a message following the pod that they are sponsoring. The messages can vary in length. And once per hour, an advertiser will get to run a three-minute ad message. About 12 pod sponsorships will run an hour, according to Anne Kallin Zehren, Current's president of sales and marketing.
So each pod will be sponsored by a particular advertiser.

  • Who decides what pod goes with which ad? The advertisers?

  • Will the pods be auctioned off to the highest bidder?

  • What about pods that no advertiser would want to be associated with?

  • What about the advertisers no pods want to be associated with?

  • That video you've spent the last six months refining might just end up appearing on Current and sponsored by Valtrex. Just think, that's six months of your energy. Six months of your heart and soul exposed on national television to help hawk herpes medication.

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    Saturday, July 23, 2005

    Link fixed...

    So the link for the video I mentioned in my last post was dead for a while... as a result, it didn't get picked up by some feed readers. Hopefully this doesn't result in a repeat download for you...

    20 Dollar Dinners (Episode 1) *Limited Time Only*

    20 Dollar Dinners (Episode 1)
    Originally uploaded by Insurgent.
    It's been a while since I've posted a video, there's a few things I've been working on. One of them is this piece that I've beem working on with Toan Lam for Current TV.

    So why you might ask is this video only available for a limited time? Well, under Current's new submission terms, I can't not have a video on both Current and my blog. So once the piece gets submitted it will have to disappear from my blog for the next three months.

    The 20 Dollar project was started by David Bobrow; the project is an experiment in viral media.
    Spend 20 dollars of your hard-earned cash, pursuing that theme. What is key is that there are no right or wrong answers here. You are simply - or elaborately - telling a story of how twenty dollars gets spent. Find irony. Find humanity. Find something that will make the story interesting to you, and interesting to people you respect.
    From that initial idea, Toan and I conceived the idea for 20 Dollar Dinners, and we've since shot and edited the first episode. Please let us know what you think, and any suggestions you might have for us so that we can fine-tune this piece before we send it off to Current.

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    Thursday, July 21, 2005

    Sometimes you only need a sentence...

    From the article in the Chicago Sun-Times on Current TV.
    Anyway, Gore is a major player, and there's a whole capitalistic infrastructure backing Current.
    Capitalistic infrastructure? When you put it that way it just sounds creepy, ya know?

    Saturday, July 16, 2005

    Anarchist Action Call-Out for Financial Help for Legal Aid

    All Empires Must Fall
    Originally uploaded by Insurgent.
    Just found this in my inbox:


    Dear Community,

    The collective in support of July 8 anti-G8 protestors in San Francisco seeks funds for bail and legal defense of those arrested. Our immediate goal is to raise $5000 to post bail for the individual still in custody after one week. We want him back with us in the community! Let’s show our solidarity and pitch in what we can! Every little bit helps from $5 to $500! Once he’s out, funds will go towards the legal defense of others being targeted as part of this investigation. Please make checks payable to: Midnight Special Law Collective with “Anti-G8 Protest” written in the memo line. Send checks to: National Lawyers Guild, 558 Capp Street, San Francisco, CA 94110.

    Please Note: This collective is distinct from any individual's legal defense team or the organizers of the action!

    Thanks everyone for your support and solidarity!

    ~The Collective

    Thursday, July 14, 2005

    How American Are You?

    Haven't done one of these since my Live Journal days...
    You Are 21% American
    You're as American as Key Lime Tofu Pie
    Otherwise known as un-American!
    You belong in Cairo or Paris...
    Get out fast - before you end up in Gitmo!

    Wednesday, July 13, 2005

    The Ultimate Mobile Editing Solution

    Geek My Ride
    Originally uploaded by Insurgent.
    Steve Garfield found a pretty cool Lexus on the floor of Macworld in Boston. Falling under the category of "Geek My Ride," this car which thankfully is not an SUV offers two video editing stations running off two Apple Xsan servers; the car also features a projector that juts out of the sunroof for the ultimate guerilla drive-in experience. Click on the picture to check out Steve's video.

    Monday, July 11, 2005

    All Empires Must Fall

    All Empires Must Fall
    Originally uploaded by Insurgent.
    Update:Anarchist Action has released a communique regarding the event documented in this video.
    The difference between an anarchist approach to organizing a march and typical authoritarian leftist and liberal methods is that the latter seeks to control the actions of the participants, often squashing attempts at direct action. Authoritarian leftist and liberal groups favor routine, symbolic protests and beg for reforms from the ruling class. This does little in terms of actual resistance to the war or to whatever social condition is being opposed. An anarchist approach rejects all forms of authority and therefore does not set protest laws or try to keep people within boundaries- we believe in freedom and when we take to the streets that is the atmosphere we want. Anarchist Action does not coordinate, plan or participate in direct action, economic sabotage, or any other similar actions, we simply organize a protest space in which people may autonomously enact a diversity oftactics, and express their resistance in whatever way they choose.
    This is a first-person account of the protest that occured in San Francisco on the evening of July 8th, 2005. This protest recieved an exceptional amount of attention due to the injury of a police officer during a scuffle towards the end of the protest. This video makes use of all natural sound.

    Sunday, July 10, 2005

    My Videoblog is mentioned in Salon!

    Originally uploaded by Insurgent.
    Hey check out this article written by Farhad Manjoo.
    Josh Wolf, a 23-year-old college student who lives in San Francisco, is a filmmaker. Wolf is not, it's important to note, an aspiring filmmaker, that well-known species of young auteur willing to bide time in a series of tedious, steppingstone entertainment-biz jobs just to get a foot in Hollywood's front door. No, Wolf is the sort of filmmaker who actually makes films -- dozens of them, whenever the mood strikes him, about whatever he finds compelling. In recent months, a name for what Wolf does has come into fashion -- video blogging, or (gasp) "vlogging," -- but Wolf's films aren't simply a video version of a blog. Wolf is instead one of a number of tech-age documentarians who are setting up shop on the Web, a young person with a camera, a computer, server space, and a gut instinct for what's exciting and controversial and merits recording. To Wolf, that includes antiwar marches, anti-military protests, and lefty mayoral campaigns.
    Wow, I can't believe Farhad had such positive things to say about me, I'm jazzed. Thank you. Oh yeah, and be sure to check out the rest of the article to find out more about what people are saying about Current TV.

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    Saturday, July 09, 2005

    The Day After the Election

    November 3rd
    Originally uploaded by Insurgent.
    By request, here's a video from the protest the day after the election.

    Breaking News!

    Too sleepy from editing this to make a video link. Watch This!

    A bunch of you seem to assume that just because my website is called I *Support* what these kids did. I've addressed this topic in a number of forums but suffice it to say, I think that this was a case of wrong place and wrong time for actions which may at some point be necessary but at this point were nothing but childish random acts of anarchy that served no purpose but to further divide the community.

    I feel that the issue of the cop that was injured was one of collective self-defense or mutual aid. I neither condemn nor condone the action of whoever struck the blow.

    I will have a more detailed post with a new video tomorrow.

    Thursday, July 07, 2005

    Current TV Tackles London Terrror

    Originally uploaded by blackcatmedia.

    Update: Current TV has decided to put my video up on their site.

    Robin Sloan from Current TV writes in the Current Blog:
    Set up your webcam. Power up a camcorder. Put yourself on screen and just talk. Talk about what this means, and how it feels:

  • Where were you when you found out about the bombings?

  • Has your view of the "war on terror" changed today?

  • How do you feel about the safety of your trains and your town?

  • Any messages for the people of London?

  • Keep it short -- a minute or two is great. Then upload it to us here

    So... I decided to grab my camera and let Current know what I think.

    But wait... As you might have noticed, this entry's video has nothing to do with London. Once the 3 month exclusivity period is up and Current notifies me that they don't want to use my thoughts about today's attack, I'll happily post it here on my blog. But if you want to hear my thoughts on the London attack before October then please send an e-mail to and ask that they change their 3 month exclusivity term.

    But, until then -- here's the video from when I was hired to promote Current's pre-launch party "Take Back TV."

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    Monday, July 04, 2005

    The United Neighborhoods of San Francisco

    Declare Your Independence
    Originally uploaded by blackcatmedia.

    Declaration of Independence

    When in the course of human events, it becomes necessary for one people to dissolve the political bands which have connected them with another and to assume among the powers of the earth the separate and equal station to which their humanity entitles them, a decent respect to the opinions of humankind requires that they should declare the causes which impel them to the separation.

    We hold these truths to be self-evident: that all people are equal, that they are endowed with certain unalienable rights, that among these are life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness; that to secure these rights, governments are instituted among people, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed; that whenever any form of government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the right of the people to alter or to abolish it and to institute new government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form as to them shall seem most likely to effect their safety and happiness. Prudence, indeed, will dictate that governments long established should not be changed for light and transient causes; and accordingly all experience has shown that people are more disposed to suffer, while evils are sufferable, than to right themselves by abolishing the forms to which they are accustomed. But when a long train of abuses and usurpations, pursuing invariably the same object evinces a design to reduce them under absolute despotism, it is their right, it is their duty, to throw off such government, and to provide new guards for their future security.

    Such has been the patient sufferance of the people of this city; and such is now the necessity which constrains us to alter our former systems of government. The history of the past and present administrations of the United States of America is a history of repeated injuries and usurpations, all having in direct object the establishment of an absolute tyranny over the people of this city, these states, and the world. To prove this, let facts be submitted to a candid world.

  • The government of the United States of America has refused its assent to that social behavior which is the most wholesome and necessary for the public good.

  • It has through the prosecution of treaties refused to make accommodations for entire nations of people, unless those people would relinquish the right of labor representation, and other rights inestimable to them and formidable to tyrants only.

  • It has called together policy-making bodies at places unusual, uncomfortable, and distant from the people of its own and other nations, for the sole purpose of conducting business pertaining to the affairs of other peoples in secrecy, absent both their presence and their voice.

  • It has obstructed the administration of justice, by refusing its assent to international law.

  • It has made judges the selectors of its highest elected office and is itself a government which serves corporations, not its people.

  • It has created a multitude of new offices in its Department of Homeland Security, and sent hither swarms of officers to harass and spy upon the people.

  • It has persisted, even in times of peace, in building and developing weapons of the most obscene descriptions and marketing them as a source for profit to nations around the world.

  • It has created self-admitted shadow governments and various agencies engaged in spying, subterfuge of all kinds, and self-confessed criminal activities including assassinations and the overthrow of the lawful governments of other nations.

  • It has combined with others to subject peoples throughout the world to a jurisdiction foreign to their constitution and unacknowledged by their laws; giving assent to acts of pretended legislation.

  • It has deposited toxic materials throughout the earth and within the territory of our own city and has refused to clean up its poisonings here and elsewhere.

  • It has shielded the criminals in its midst, even from prosecution by international bodies, has violated international conventions, and has refused to join as an equal with other nations in the creation of international bodies and agreements designed to end war crimes, the exploitation of children, and to protect human rights and our common environment.

  • It has destroyed its own small business people and small farmers while ensuring the health of major corporations through billions of dollars in direct subsidies.

  • It has used our share of its taxes in ways that we, the citizens of San Francisco, do not support, including the waging of offensive wars.

  • It has demonstrated a system of justice which is inequitable, racist, and classist as evidenced by the disproportionate numbers of minorities and the poor which inhabit its single growth industry: prisons.

  • It has transported people across seas to be held without trial for pretended offences.

  • It has invalidated our decisions in matters of our own sovereign concern, attempted to abolish our most valuable laws, and expresses fundamental hostility to the forms of our society.

  • It has ignored or suspended our own legislative acts and the actions of our elected officials, declaring itself invested with power to legislate for us in all cases whatsoever.

  • It is at this time transporting large armies of regular Soldiers and Mercenaries to complete the works of death, desolation and tyranny already begun with circumstances of cruelty and perfidy scarcely paralleled in the most barbarous ages, and totally unworthy of a civilized nation.

  • It has constrained sovereign peoples taken captive to betray and bear arms against their country, to become the executioners of their friends and neighbors, or to fall themselves by their hands.

  • Amongst these many general abuses it has suborned and denied the sovereign will of the citizens of the City of San Francisco in five critical ways:
    1. Against our firm resolve to not persecute its wars of aggression, it has utilized our taxes for these purposes, recruited the youth of our city to fight in its armies, moved war materials through our port, contaminated our land, and has failed in its acknowledged duty to recover the damages done.

    2. Against our decision and progressive implementation of a model system for administering medical marijuana, a plant recognized in providing safe and effective relief from a variety of conditions, and in opposition to the mutual wishes of physicians and patients, it has raided, arrested, and prosecuted individuals and groups acting in full compliance with state and local law.

    3. It has chosen to stand against the general desires of the people of San Francisco and the executive action of its Mayor in attempting to limit marriage and its multitude of benefits to heterosexuals to the degree of consideration and proposal of a Constitutional Amendment.

    4. In violation of its own Constitution, it has instituted the PATRIOT Act, trampling on the basic rights of due process and privacy, further weakening the already limited freedoms of speech, inquiry, association, and legal representation. Without warrant or witness, crimes against the common citizen can be pursued under the guise of National Security, claiming the name of justice but without evidence of cause. We, the people of San Francisco, have repudiated this act and its administration through the resolution of the Board of Supervisors and the direct vote of the people, instructing non-compliance by city civil servants who are directed to refer PATRIOT act requests to the Board of Supervisors for decision, thereby placing our citizens in grave conflict between performance of just and lawful actions and the illegal actions of a more powerful state which assumes sovereignty over us.

    5. As a city that considers itself a member of the international community and supports both universal health care and the International Declaration of Human Rights, the disregard of the United States of America for the welfare of its own people stands in strong contradiction to both our own principles of a just society and to international understandings we share with the remainder of the world.

    We, therefore, as representatives of the United Neighborhoods of San Francisco, in general congress assembled, appealing to the peoples of the world and their communities for the rectitude of our intentions, do, in the name, and by the authority of the good people of this city, solemnly publish and declare: that these United Neighborhoods are, and of right ought to be, a free and independent city; that they are absolved from all allegiance to the US corporate crown; and that all political connection between them and the United States of America, is, and ought to be, totally dissolved; and that as a free and independent city, these United Neighborhoods have full power to levy peace, conclude war, contract alliances, establish commerce, and to do all other acts and things which independent states may of right do. And for the support of this Declaration, with a firm reliance on the protection of Providence, we mutually pledge to each other, our lives, our fortunes and our sacred honor.

    We instruct the Board of Supervisors of the city and county of San Francisco and all other appropriate legal representatives of this city, to amend the City Charter in all such ways as are required in order to establish and clarify the lawful standing of the United Neighborhood of San Francisco as a sovereign nation per this Declaration and to inform the government of the United States of America of our separate and sovereign status in a timely and appropriate manner.

    Friday, July 01, 2005

    The Current TV Saga Continues

    Current TV pre-launch
    Originally uploaded by blackcatmedia.
    Out of respect to the many good people at Current TV I have refrained from publicly commenting on Current's response to my original post about their new submission policy. In light of the fact that Current has refused to respond to the e-mail I sent them Monday night, I've decided to post an update for those reading my blog.

    On Monday June 27th, shortly after Dan Gillmor made his post about my entry, I recieved a phone call from Suemyra Shah at Current TV.

    Suemyra Shah stated that several people at Current were frustrated by my post about the new submission terms. She went on to tell me that various employees at Current look at the Meetup organizers almost like employees, that we are percieved as representatives of Current, and therefore, as organizer, it is inappropriate for me to criticize Current TVs policies. Suemyra stated that if I'm going to continue to do so, I should step down as organizer.

    Shocked by such a strong reaction, I told Suemyra that I'd need to let this all sink in before I was able to really give her an answer as to whether or not I was going to step down as organizer or if I was going to refrain from critical discussion regarding Current TV.

    Late Monday night I sent my response. In recognition that Suemyra's concerns were valid, I told her that it should be up to our meetup group to decide whether or not I should continue as organizer. I proposed that I share with the meetup group that I've been asked to step down over a post I made on my blog, and that we'd be having an election at the July meetup to ascertain whether the group wants me to stay on as organizer.

    The days went by with no response. Robin Sloan elected to address my original concerns on the Current blog, but only did so in response to Dan Gillmor who essentially just linked to me and stated his agreement with my concerns.

    According to Current TVs CEO Al Gore:
    We are about empowering this generation of young people... to engage in the dialogue of democracy adn to tell their stories about what's going on in their lives in the dominant medium of our time.
    Additionally, Current has stated on several occasions that are commited to "fearless truth-telling." As a television station with a news-charter, it seems hypocritical for Current TV to suggest that I can't volunteer as organizer and be critical of the station. Where's the fearless truthtelling in that?

    I look at the meetup group, less as a cheerleading squad for the upcoming station, and more as a guild or union. I think that if there are developments at Current that take issue with, then as a group we should be vocal about our concerns in the hope that Current is really listening and attempts to help find a solution to these various concerns.

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