"I won't be able to knock on everybody's door.."

... but he made an online video to talk about it.

Meet Chris Murphy

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Ripple of Hope Speech

"It is from numberless diverse acts of courage and belief that human history is shaped. Each time a man stands up for an ideal, or acts to improve the lot of others, or strikes out against injustice, he sends forth a tiny ripple of hope, and crossing each other from a million different centers of energy and daring those ripples build a current which can sweep down the mightiest walls of oppression and resistance."

Probably, many of you have heard this quote before. I think it is a quote which continues to resonate. But I wonder, how many of you know who said it, as well as when and where they said it? How many of you have read that speech or listened to it or are familiar with the context within which it was delivered?

The speech was given by Robert Kennedy forty years ago today, on June 6th, 1966 during his important visit to South Africa. Some friends of mine are making a documentary film about Senator Kennedy’s visit to South Africa and are currently raising funds to complete the post-production phase of the film.

Please celebrate the fortieth anniversary of this speech by visiting

http://community.rfksa.org to listen to the speech and download a recording of it. Please find out about the film and contribute to it to help ensure that this film is available to a new generation of leaders that will speak boldly against oppression.

The financing of the film is being managed by the 501(c)3 non-profit, South African American Organization, so your contributions are tax deductible.

If you can spread the word about this to others it would be greatly appreciated.

Full Discloser: I am getting paid to create and promote the website.

FBI, CLP, MBA and EFF

Over on Connecticut Local Politics, people have posted blog entries under the usernames "Harry Reid" and "Barak [sic] Obama". The Journal Inquirer has a report that “A Hartford lawyer says the FBI has agreed to investigate postings promoting Sen. Joseph I. Lieberman's re-election on a popular Connecticut-based Internet "blog" in the names of Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., and Sen. Barack Obama, D-Ill.”

There is a long discussion about this over at Connecticut Local Politics. Instead of simply adding another comment to that thread, I thought it was worthwhile to write my own longer blog post about it.

Were people on CLP libeled? Did the posters commit criminal impersonation? Is this an appropriate investigation for the FBI? As a supporter of the Electronic Frontier Foundation, I worry about action that could curtail discussions online. As a member of the Media Bloggers Association, I get particularly nervous when I see legal action being pursued against people that blog or in this case comment on blogs.

Does posting under the username of a famous person constitute impersonating that person? Unlike the person from Hartford, I am not a lawyer, but it seems to me as if a "reasonable man" would not believe that the people posting are in fact Harry Reid or Barack Obama. As to whether or not what the person posted constitutes libel, I’ll leave that for courts to decide if it ever gets this far.

A few other things to consider. When I was working on one political blog, one person commented, pretending to be a staffer of a key elected official in Hartford. People from the official’s office called and asked me to take down the post. I pointed out that even if I did take it down it would remain in various records online, such as archive.org or the cache at Google for a long time, and in my opinion it would be better to have a statement from the office that the comment was not from a staffer. They said that they still preferred the comment to be deleted and I reluctantly did so.

In another case, staffers of an elected official did post to a local blog and the blogmaster successfully tracked the post to an office in Washington. This was a pretty clear violation of laws about what government employees can do during their work time from government offices. I don’t know what the final outcome was. I don’t believe any legal action was pursued, but the actions were stopped.

Whether or not there was in fact criminal activity involved in the posts under the usernames “Harry Reid” and “Barak Obama” to CLP, the behavior did seem over the top to me and I do hope that the CLP community finds more constructive ways of dealing with inappropriate content.

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Desperately seeking Nikki

The other day, I got an email with this as a tag line:

"I get up every morning determined to both change the world and to have one hell of a good time. Sometimes, this makes planning the day difficult." – E.B. White

I can understand the feeling. However, another quote I’ve been coming across a lot recently helps put it into a slightly better perspective.

“It is from numberless diverse acts of courage and belief that human history is shaped. Each time a man stands up for an ideal, or acts to improve the lot of others, or strikes out against injustice, he sends forth a tiny ripple of hope, and crossing each other from a million different centers of energy and daring those ripples build a current which can sweep down the mightiest walls of oppression and resistance.” Robert F. Kennedy

So, yesterday, I set out on determined to change the world and to have a good time by sending forth a tiny ripple of hope. The setting was Gina Coggio’s literature classes. Gina and I have been corresponding for some time, for example when I went to see her classes production of a play about The Hot Zone by Richard Preston.

When I wrote about that, I commented about the belief that good writing can change people’s lives, and that is what I talked with the students about. I pointed them to Candy Girl’s post, In Loving Memory: 27 Marines, 1 Sailor of 1st Battalion 3rd Marines. I explained that her husband was serving in Fallujah and that she had written some of the best stuff I’ve seen about what the war means to a person perhaps not all that different from some of the students.

I pointed them to Fran’s post about starting Chemo. Fran is a 31 year old woman who had commented on a friends blog and has written some good stuff about dealing with cancer.

I pointed them to Joe’s blog entry about his experiences when hospital administrators came to speak with him about his blog about his open heart surgery.

I pointed them to the blog about a woman from the Hartford area who went to Ethiopia to adopt a child.

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Memorial Day Montage

It has been a busy month. I’m way behind in reading emails and blog entries. On the one hand, take the modern approach to Memorial Day and be heading out to the beach. However, as I dig through my emails, I find a lot of material related to Memorial Day.

I’m helping pull together the Citizen Filmmaking track at the Media Giraffe Summit at University of Massachusetts, Amherst, coming up June 29 – July 1.

As I look through various videos, people have pointed me to The War Tapes. David Weinberger describes it this way:

“Five soldiers in Iraq have been carrying video cameras with them throughout the past year. Working continuously with a director via IM, they have produced a 94-minute version of the film set to premiere at the Tribeca Film Festival on April 29. It is non-partisan, or perhaps multi-partisan...How could you be a soldier in Iraq and not have points of view?”

This is contrasted with Project Harmony, where students in Vermont went to Jordan and videoblogged some of their trip.

Another friend pointed me to this video made by adding images to the song Dear Mr. President, by Pink. Other People have made similar videos. One person has his own video up with a different, but similar song he had written a while ago.

One final video to add into the mix: As I spoke with friends about citizen videos, Lon Seidman from the Joe Courtney campaign sent me this link about Veterans for Courtney.

If you know of other material, please let me know.

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