Lawrence Lessig, who I met in early 2009, educated me about the need for campaign finance reform to keep government, and in turn, the law from favoring corporate interests over the interests of average citizens. Lessig is brilliant and sincere. Please take the time to check out his point of view. His organization Rootstrikers is doing great work!
At the beginning of April, TED posted the talk I gave at their annual conference. In the six weeks since, more than 800,000 people have viewed it across the TED platform and YouTube.
I’ve been doing this for a long time, but nothing I’ve ever done has spread like this.
So two weeks ago, I spoke at the TEDxYouth event in Chicago. I began that talk in a similar way, with the same argument about the corruption our government suffers. But then I ended that talk by giving the talk away — to them. Each of the 500 students in the audience got a thumb drive with the slides and the background information of the talk. Each thumb drive had a copy of the TED video, and the book I produced for that video. And I challenged those students to take that material, and remix it to tell this story in a way that would be compelling to them and their peers…
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I was first made aware of the West Memphis Three murder case through Henry Rollins’ Rise Above fundraiser CD. I knew wrongful conviction of three teenage boys who wore black was a cause worth learning more about because Rollins is always on the side of due diligence and justice. When I watched the Paradise Lost documentary I was convinced that Damien Echols and his co-defendants were innocent. I donated art to a fundraiser designed to fund DNA tests that could prove their innocence (or confirm their guilt). The evidence in the case had been mishandled and the West Memphis police were reluctant to cooperate and denied the case had been mishandled. DNA evidence finally exonerated the West Memphis Three after 18 years in prison. I can’t imagine losing 18 years in jail for a false conviction, but the West Memphis Three might still be in prison if it were not for the consistent pressure by diligent truth seekers like Henry Rollins and many others. I was incredibly honored to be able to help design the cover for Damien Echols’ book “Life After Death” along with my co-worker Casey Ryder. Check out the book to hear the compelling story from Damien Echols’ perspective.
America is a land of diversity with a rich history of embracing immigration. Almost any American can trace their family roots to immigrants. Often our ancestors migrated to escape prejudices in their homeland and to find a better life. Current immigration laws do not reflect our shared values, nor do they reflect the realities of our modern world. They all too often separate parents from their children and criminalize those seeking a better way of life. We call upon Congress to put forth an Immigration Reform Bill that leaves no one out and provides a roadmap to citizenship for all 11 million undocumented immigrants. Let’s live up to our highest ideals of democracy and freedom. Check out my friend Favianna Rodriguez’s Migration is Beautiful image and please share.
Help spread these butterflies and make a statement for just and humane immigration reform. Visit MigrationIsBeautiful.com
For anyone in the NYC area, there is a march against gun violence on May 11. The zealous gun advocates are very loud, so if you believe in common sense gun safety, please make your voice heard. Thanks for caring.
My friend Jason Filipow sent me this piece on Malcolm McLaren. Malcolm managed the Sex Pistols and was married to Vivienne Westwood(who my daughter Vivienne is named after). The Sex Pistols were life changing for me musically, visually, and philosophically. Malcolm was a very important part of their media manipulation strategy and antagonistic stance. Malcolm also was a pioneer in hip hop with his Buffalo Gals track. Keith Haring did part of the art. I was able to hang out with Malcolm a couple times and he was brilliant. It was hard to get a word in, but it was a pleasure to just listen to him. This is a piece from the BBC that is very worth watching.
Award-winning documentary director Ondi Timoner, whose films include the Sundance champs “DIG!” and “We Live in Public,” is launching her first crowd-funding campaign to finance an extension of her A Total Disruption website, which chronicles innovators and entrepreneurs in the tech world
“You can’t just be an artist now,” Timoner told TheWrap this week. “You have to be an artist-entrepreneur, and we want to set up a resource to show content creators how it can be done.”
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U.S. drone policy has been a contentious topic over the last few years. Many people seem to be afraid to speak against drones for fear of being seen as “soft on terror”. I first accepted drones because they were presented as a tool to eradicate proven terrorists with surgical precision. The more I learn, the more I am troubled by the volume of civilian casualties. In my opinion, it is impossible to ethically fight “the war on terror” by engaging in terrorism. Any civilian casualty is an act of terrorism by the U.S. If the U.S. claims that civilian casualties are acceptable in the pursuit of terrorists, then the next time there are American hostages taken, it would make sense to drone strike the whole location to make sure the terrorists are taken out. Oh wait, that wouldn’t happen because the lives of U.S. citizens are more sacred than the lives of foreigners. As an advocate of all humanity, I fundamentally disagree with that ideology. The lives of innocent civilians worldwide are just as important as American lives. Even from a strategic standpoint, the hostility that results from the deaths of innocent civilians is a crucial factor in radicalization leading to terrorism. In other words, a sloppy war on terrorism only generates more terrorists. I was happy to see what Tom Brokaw had to say about the issue. Check it out!