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Facebook Co-Founder Chris Hughes, Obama’s “online organizing guru” Deserves Big Props


You have to love a story about a 24-year old who made a monumental difference by helping Barak Obama to become president-elect of the United States. In other words, this young dude helped change the world.

His name is Chris Hughes and he was one of the three co-founders of Facebook, the runaway social networking phenom to which I am addicted. And I am 61.

Mr. Hughes left Facebook last February (taking stock options that are worth at least tens of millions with him) to become the “online organizing guru” for the Obama campaign, moving from Silicon Valley to Chicago. Obviously, in hindsight, the move was worth it. MyBarakObama.com was brilliant and brilliantly successful. Thanks so much, Chris.

The New York Times published his story in July calling him “The Facebooker Who Friended Obama”

and he came to my attention because
Beet.TV republished a two year old video interview with Hughes last week.

I have a new enthusiasm for the ways that the world is changing, and I’m inspired by young people like Chris who are making real changes happen.

Continuing on the Gen-X theme, I was also very moved by Heather Havrilesky’s “open apology to boomers everywhere” on Salon.com. It was nice of her to speak so respectfully to her elders when she said, “Your earnest, self-important prattle has gotten on Gen X nerves for decades. But now we finally get it.” 😉

It’s a bright new day.

The Real People in the Middle of this Election (and the TV hype)


Errol Morris is arguably one of the most important documentary film makers of our time. More than just an Academy Award winner (for “The Fog of War“), he has an amazing talent for listening to people and letting them tell their own stories in ways that inform and even illuminate reality.

Now, he has written for the NYTimes blog site an extremely insightful perspective, including an impressive selection of historical examples, on real “everyday” people in election advertising campaigns. This perspective, “People in the Middle” also includes discussion and links to Morris’ brand new web video site, PeopleintheMiddleforObama.org which was sponsored by People for the American Way.

About this new work, Morris says, “If you’re not going to put words in people’s mouths, if you’re really listening to what they have to say, you’re going to learn something. Admittedly, the evidence is anecdotal. I haven’t selected these people through some kind of statistical sampling. These people are self-selected. They wrote in and said that they were registered Republicans, Independents or switch-voters who were planning to vote for Obama. People in the middle. And I was interested in talking to them on film about why they were making the switch from voting for a Republican to voting for a Democrat.”

Most interesting to me was this conclusion, “The people I interviewed have embraced Obama. They are voting for a candidate, not against a candidate.”

Read more of Errol Morris on “People in the Middle” by clicking here.

Al Gore Attacks Big Media & Gets Funnier

I was pleased to see that the Associated Press reported today from the Edinburgh International Television Festival that Al Gore told it like it is (IMHO) about the damage that big media is doing to democracy. (I can’t help but wonder if you have to NOT be a candidate in order to talk truth to power?)

I also recently watched the TED video of Mr. Gore which was apparently a follow up (2nd appearance) to the “Inconvenient Truth” presentation he does in the movie of that name. I’ve never seen Gore this funny. He can actually be entertaining!

FYI, there’s also an entertaining interaction between Gore and none other than Tony Robbins in the Tony Robbins TED video. More on the free TED videos below.

Bush & Blair: Like a Couple of guys at a convention…

Now that TV is no longer limited to a few networks, video continues to open new doors of perception. Most recently, this little unedited clip of a chat between George W. Bush and Tony Blair at the G8 conference where the normally controlled Bush got caught being himself (including the four letter explitive). Don’t they seem to be just two guys at a convention discussing the fate of our world? Only these are the heads of state who are really pulling the strings! (1 minute 31 seconds)

Bush: “See the irony is what they need to do is get Syria to get Hezbollah to stop doing this shit, and it’s over.” Hunh? Er, I mean, no problem. Eh? 😉

Father of the Web, Berners-Lee Backs Net Neutrality

Perhaps some folks need to be reminded that the Internet, the Web — this wondrous online universe that has revolutionized, and is still revolutionizing communications for corporations and “the little guy” alike — was not created or envisioned by politicians, but by scientists… to be specific Sir Tim Berners-Lee.

So maybe we all should be listening more to Tim, especially the politicians, who are considering screwing up the Net by enabling communication vendors like telephone companies to link their Internet connection fees to the delivery of various kinds of content. This, in my humble opinion, is a horrible idea. But don’t listen to me, listen to the guy who invented the Web. He said very recently (speaking in Scotland) in favor of Net Neutrality, “It’s better and more efficient for us all if we have a separate market where we get our connectivity, and a separate market where we get our content. Information is what I use to make all my decisions. Not just what to buy, but how to vote.”

Read more at ZDNet UK

Bush Meets Dalai Lama Despite China’s Objections

Way to go, George! 😉

Read the Reuters report

The Grand Mr. Gore is Great for Golf

You gotta love it when nice guys finish first. Also, as a “big man,” it would be less than full disclosure if I didn’t point out that I also like this guy because, like me, he’s not as buff as Tiger Woods. But he still got the job done.

The future of golf is brighter today because of his victory. And, as a fan, I’m pleased to have someone that’s this fun to watch making his mark. Keep it up, Jason. Click here to read a feature interview with Jason Gore about his win. Or, click here to accept my personal invitation to visit Media Mall’s “Golf Club”

Why the Levee Broke: The Cost of the Iraq War Gets Uglier

Like most Americans, I am horrified by the Hurricane Katrina disaster and its follow on challenges of health and downright survival issues. It’s heartbreaking, the magnitude of the human suffering; and, for me, it comes “home” also because my father was a proud native of New Orleans, and I spent a bit of time there as a child.

How could this happen in such a great American city? Well, here’s one explanation: With the cost of the Iraq war and the Bush tax cuts, something had to give. Apparently, Federal funding for Louisiana flood control projects was one of those things. Read the AlterNet explanation

Would completion of the funding for the Louisiana flood control projects that were under way for years have been enough to shore up the sagging levees and completely prevent the disaster on top of disaster that we are now witnessing? We’ll never know. Certainly that would have helped.

What was it that grandma used to say? “An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.” Or as the NY Times’ Paul Krugman says in his 9/2 column, we have “A Can’t-Do Government.” To quote him, “This time we need accountability.” Recommended reading.

Video Activists Defeat Prosecution of Most Republican Convention Protesters

Yes, there IS power in the video camera and the way that today’s technologies make that video power more accessible.

The New York Times reported that of the 1,670 people arrested during the street protests that were organized around last summer’s Republican National Convention in NYC, 91 percent have ended with either charges dropped or a verdict of not guilty. In particular, the Times said: “A sprawling body of visual evidence, made possible by inexpensive, lightweight cameras in the hands of private citizens, volunteer observers and the police themselves, has shifted the debate over precisely what happened on the streets during the week of the convention.”

Read more on WorldChanging.com or at the New York Times