Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Oregon reservation radio shows power of tiny station

Dec. 29, 2010, 3:19 p.m. PST                                          Associated Press   PENDLETON, Ore. (AP) — One of Bill Young's earliest memories is listening to Elsie Conner tell him stories about Coyote as he fell asleep.  As an adult, he held that memory dear, even though he couldn't remember the stories themselves.
Now he is revitalizing those stories by reading them on the airwaves. Sunday through Thursday, between 9 p.m. and 10 p.m., Young's voice goes out on 104.5 FM to the Umatilla Indian Reservation. He reads stories by well-known authors, with their permission.  "I feel like I'm saying goodnight to all my neighbors," Young said.
Though Young has just started his show it's been on air for about eight weeks he hopes to build a library of stories that can be broadcast over and over, repeating the oral tradition via the radio waves. The show, called "Good Night Rez," is one of many broadcast on KCUW, the low-power FM radio station of the reservation.  Its signal stretches from near Wildhorse Resort & Casino almost to Highway 11. Sometimes it can be heard as far west as the Pendleton city limits and, on a good day, as far east as Cabbage Hill.
The signal is powered with 100 watts, about the same as a bright light bulb. It is centered in a back office of the tribal public safety building on Ti'mine Way, near the large Nixyaawii Governance Center. Along with Young's show, the station broadcasts national shows and shows produced by local volunteers with a love for music, storytelling and community.  Now, more places across the nation will have the opportunity to serve their communities as KCUW does.
The U.S. House and Senate recently passed the Local Community Radio Act. It now awaits the president's signature. The bill will allow for more stations like KCUW to get licensed and serve their local communities  The Prometheus Radio Project, which helped start KCUW in 2004, was a big proponent of the bill.
"A town without a community radio station is like a town without a library," Pete Tridish with Prometheus said in an announcement on the group's website. "Many a small town dreamer has successfully launched a low-power station, and built these tiny channels into vibrant town institutions that spotlight school board elections, breathe life into the local music scene, allow people to communicate in their native languages, and give youth an outlet to speak."
KCUW DJs Daisy Minthorn and Cindy Halfmoon both said they wouldn't be able to be involved with radio if it wasn't for KCUW. Young admitted he would likely be involved in radio in some way, but KCUW offers him the freedom to do what he loves.  And it's that freedom that makes KCUW unique.
Minthorn hosts The Quiet Storm, an R&B show allowing her to indulge in her favorite music.  "I love it," Minthorn said. "I just like music new stuff that's just come out, comparing it to older stuff. Mix it up, basically."  Minthorn grew up making mix tapes and giving them to friends. Developing a radio show was a "natural step" forward.
Minthorn comes off as a quiet person, speaking softly. She said it took a few months before she felt confident enough to add commentary to her music show. She's gotten more and more bold and now takes requests via Facebook. She usually makes up her playlist a few days before the show.  It is also a nice break from her day job in the tribal housing department and serving on the Nixyaawii school board. It gives her time to relax and do something different.
Cindy Halfmoon said she looks forward to working on her show, "C-Bear Revivals," every week.  "It's a lot like exercise" Halfmoon said. "You put it off, but when you get in here it feels good."  Unlike Minthorn's show, Halfmoon mixes music and talk to tackle serious topics such as suicide prevention, gang awareness, depression and breast cancer. She also looks into timely subjects such as elections or honoring veterans.
"I see topics on the news and bring them up if they're relevant to the community in how it affects the reservation," Halfmoon said. "I don't think I'll ever run out of ideas."  She pairs these discussions with music that runs with the theme.
"There's a song for every occasion," Halfmoon said =.  Aside from the fun of hosting a show, Halfmoon revels in the opportunity to help her community.  "I've been a taker all my life," she said. "It feels good to be a giver."
Young enjoys that same sense of community when he reads stories about Coyote. They are old lessons. Lessons that don't have to do with modern life, like work and business. It teaches the importance of a secure family, of having a good hunt, of being prepared for winter.
"It allows us to live in another view of the world," he said.

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Louis Tabing excerpt from Interview Article in Communication Initiative

Louie Tabing is the founder of the Tambuli Radio Project, and the subsequent Tambuli Foundation, created to sustain the growth of community radio in the Philippines. Louie spoke with Deborah Heimann in Managua, Nicaragua during the VIII International Communication for Development Roundtable.

CI: Can you asses the value of new technologies, given the fact that in many of the areas in which you work, there is no electricity, so there is no internet. Is there a value to the new technologies in your work?
LT: For community radio – my priority is for the participants to be able to look around within the community and see the opportunities within the community. We provided at least 3 stations with computers. I say to them – "Community radio is your mirror to yourselves. Internet is your window to the world." We are indeed hoping that there will be a marriage of community radio to internet. We are proposing to these 3 stations that they would need only a telephone in order for them to access the world wide web and world-wide information. With this, they could hold programmes where people could ask questions and they could search for the information on the internet, and then say within seconds – "Aha...this is what there is to know about, say – 'mad cow disease'"... and things like that. Meanwhile, these computers that we sent to the 3 stations are being used to educate the staff and people around the station about the computer and how to use the computer. They use it to prepare their scripts. In this way it is opening the eyes of very rural people on the value of new technology.
But mind you, the internet does not seem to be their priority. They are fascinated by it, but it is not a priority. Instead of a computer, they would like to have portable tape recorders that they could move around with to interview people thoughout the community. Or they would like to have a spare CD player. So from their point of view, they see the value of the computer, but if you asked if they wanted a computer that cost say $100 or a receiver for a UHF (handheld) radio – they would choose the UHF radio, because it would give them the means to talk with one another. They would be able to have reports from other sources in the community.
CI: If you could double your communication strategy and activity budget, what would you do with those funds?
LT: I would experiment on putting up a special radio. For example, we have one children's radio – the problem is that the children only use it during the weekend, when there is no school. So during the rest of the week it is not being used. And the adults who oversee this radio have said – since it is not being used, can we take over and use it for the rest of the week? So they are using something like 3 hours in the morning and 3 hours in the afternoon on the weekdays, whereas the children are only using it for 3 hours on Saturday and 3 hours on Sunday. It has turned into just another adult radio station. I would like to have a purely children's radio to experiment with. I would also like a community radio station for street children in the city and one for disadvantaged women in the city. I would have problems with licensing because the city is already so full of frequencies - frequency would be very difficult to secure. I would like to work with ethnic communities/tribes in the mountains. In at least 2 stations there is involvement of tribal peoples, but it would be very exciting to see people who are still wearing g-strings, for them to be working with a microphone, to be preparing programmes of interest to them and their communities. These are things that excite me, but I am not sure if they will materialise soon.
We have proposed and are working on a semi-commercial one kilowatt radio station - semi-commercial, but community in character – with participation from different sectors, but operated on a commercial basis. So we are able to make arrangements with a Catholic organisation that has the franchise, and we will be using this franchise for that station. Slowly we are telling the commercial stations – here is a model – here is one thing that might threaten you once again! We are having the transmitter built and a school has agreed to host the radio station once we are ready to launch.
CI: You've mentioned a few voices, a few communities that you would like to reach. I am wondering if there is a voice or a community that you feel is not being heard by the communication for development field, by the development fields, that should be listened to?
LT: Many of them that do not even have access to communication. Many of these groups of people would be very happy to have a community station set up for them - Children, Street Children, Women, Fishermen. I am also thinking of a community radio station for prisoners. There are about 7,000 people in one prison camp – you would need only a 5 watt station for them. In an area of 4 square kilometers you don't need a very powerful station. These are people I would like to relate with if I have a chance.
Outside of that – schools would like to use it as a means for extension. Firstly, they would like to use it as a means for promoting the technology that they generate and that they have in their libraries. Secondly, they would like to make use of the radio station as a training ground for students. Particularly those schools, and there are quite a few of them, that have communication courses and development communication courses. NGOs and churches would like to have radio stations. However, in some of the radio stations that we have put up, the churches have tried to dominate them.
In some cases, when we tried involving the local governments, the politicians tried to dominate them. In the composition of the management group, the community broadcast council – we said that if there are politicians, opposition parties should always be there as well. In spite of this, they managed to put in only their own people and were able to dominate the group. We have been happier working with educators. We have no guarantee that the community radio stations will not be used by politicians or churches for their own agendas. The reality is that in some cases they are being used for political and religious interests. This is one of the problems.
Another problem is that some of the equipment is breaking down. When something like the transmitter breaks down, there is no one within the community who is able to repair it. It needs to be sent to Manila and this is quite expensive. The Tambuli Foundation does not have money for this. At the moment, the Foundation is just a group of volunteers who are willing to continue to work for the cause of community radio and who have been and are excited by the cause. So when pieces of equipment break down, this is a problem that often affects sustainability. In one case, we think the station was robbed because the station campaigned so hard against illegal gambling. The suspicion is that the gambling lords stole the equipment from the station. The community is very agitated about this because they were able to stop the "Jeuteng" – the illegal gaming that was sapping the hard-earned money of farmers and fishermen. The local cooperators are now saying that they plan to put up the station again. But I have to say to them, please, do not look to Tambuli Foundation for equipment – you will have to raise money for your own. The Foundation can provide training at this point, but not equipment, not funding.

Radio Rootz Tells the FCC to Keep the Internet Open

Radio Rootz Wants their Information on the Web Open and Free

Radio Rootz students from Manhattan Comprehensive Night and Day High School recently learned about Network Neutrality, which are the rules that keep information exchange on the Internet free and open.

When the students learned that on Dec. 21st the Federal Communications Commission will vote on Network Neutrality regulation, our students decided to send these audio postcards to the FCC to tell them why a free and open Internet is important to them.

Listen to Luna and Dominique's letters urging the FCC to make sure the Internet stays free and open.

Monday, December 20, 2010

US Senate Joins House in Passing the Local Community Radio Act

WASHINGTON, DC – Today a bill to expand community radio nationwide – the Local Community Radio Act – passed the U.S. Senate, thanks to the bipartisan leadership of Senators Maria Cantwell (D-WA) and John McCain (R-AZ). This follows Friday afternoon’s passage of the bill in the House of Representatives, led by Representatives Mike Doyle (D-PA) and Lee Terry (R-NE). The bill now awaits the President's signature.
These Congressional champions for community radio joined with the thousands of grassroots advocates and dozens of public interest groups who have fought for ten years to secure this victory for local media. In response to overwhelming grassroots pressure, Congress has given the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) a mandate to license thousands, of new community stations nationwide. This bill marks the first major legislative success for the growing movement for a more democratic media system in the U.S.
“A town without a community radio station is like a town without a library,” said Pete Tridish of the Prometheus Radio Project, the group which has led the fight to expand community radio for ten years. “Many a small town dreamer – starting with a few friends and bake sale cash – has successfully launched a low power station, and built these tiny channels into vibrant town institutions that spotlight school board elections, breathe life into the local music scene, allow people to communicate in their native languages, and give youth an outlet to speak.”
The Local Community Radio Act will expand the low power FM (LPFM) service created by the FCC in 2000 – a service the FCC created to address the shrinking diversity of voices on the radio dial. Over 800 LPFM stations, all locally owned and non-commercial, are already on the air. The stations are run by non-profit organizations, local governments, churches, schools, and emergency responders.
The bill repeals earlier legislation which had been backed by big broadcasters, including the National Association of Broadcasters. This legislation, the Radio Broadcast Preservation Act of 2000, limited LPFM radio to primarily rural areas. The broadcast lobby groups claimed that the new 100 watt stations could somehow create interference with their own stations, a claim disproven by a Congressionally-mandated study in 2003.
Congressional leaders worked for years to pass this legislation. As the clock wound down on the 111th Congress, they worked with the NAB to amend the bill to enshrine even stronger protections against interference and to ensure the prioritization of full power FM radio stations over low power stations.
Though the amendments to the bill will require some further work at the FCC, low power advocates celebrated the first chance in a decade for groups in cities, towns, and other communities to take their voices to the FM dial.
“After ten years of effort, a $2.2 million taxpayer-funded study, and new provisions to address this hypothetical interference, we are finally on our way to seeing new community radio stations across the U.S. This marks a beginning, not an end, to our work,” said Brandy Doyle, Policy Director for the Prometheus Radio Project. “For the first time, LPFM community radio has a chance to grow, and we’re ready to seize that opportunity.”
“All of us at UCC OC Inc. and at Prometheus express our incredible gratitude to Congressmen Mike Doyle and Lee Terry and Senators Maria Cantwell and John McCain for the leadership and counsel during this process,” said Cheryl Leanza, a board member of the Prometheus Radio Project and a Policy Advisor to the United Church of Christ, Office of Communication, Inc. “Without their work and the work of their committed staff we would not have come this far. At long last the 160 million Americans who have been deprived of the opportunity to apply for a local low power radio station will get a chance to be a part of the American media.”
"I am a leadership organizer from the ranks of the poor working with other low-wage workers – fighting for human rights in Maryland,” said Veronica Dorsey of the United Workers, a human rights organization in Baltimore. “Low power FM radio would allow the United Workers to expand the message of our End Poverty Radio show, which is currently only available on the internet. End Poverty Radio develops leaders and gives workers a way to tell their stories and be heard – and a low power FM station would reach a lot of people who do not have access to the internet. LPFM is a way for those in the community who are struggling to survive to hear stories that they can relate to, and to know that they are not alone in this struggle for human dignity. We can’t wait to work to build low power FM in communities like ours, so we can accomplish these goals."
“Civil rights groups and community organizations have wanted low power FM radio for years, and now the chance is here,” said Betty Yu, coordinator of the Media Action Grassroots Network, a national media justice network with members in many cities and communities that lost their chance to get low power FM radio stations. “From Seattle, Oakland, and Albuquerque to Minneapolis, San Antonio, Kentucky and Philadelphia, thousands of communities know that having access to our own slice of the dial means a tool to build our movements for justice. We have won something huge in Congress, but the fight is not over. Now we need to work at the FCC to make sure as many licenses as possible can be available in rural communities, towns and suburbs, and America's cities.”
LPFMs have saved lives in powerful storms when big broadcasts lose power or can’t serve local communities in the eye of the storm. WQRZ-LP in Bay St. Louis, MS received awards from President Bush and other organizations post Katrina in 2005, when one of the station operators swam across flood waters with fuel strapped to his back to keep his station on the air. The station proved so important that the Emergency Operations Center of Hancock County set up shop with the LPFM to serve the community after Hurricanes Katrina and Rita. Bipartisan Senators and House members have expressed support for the Local Community Radio Act as a vital way to expand emergency service media across our nation.
“I’m Frank Bluestein from Germantown, Tennessee, one of the several large suburban cities located just outside of Memphis. We have been fighting for the past 10 years to persuade Congress to give communities like ours the opportunity to establish a low power FM radio station. Our city wants to provide community and civic groups, students of all ages, local artists and others the power to communicate over their own LPFM channel,” said Frank Bluestein, a media teacher and Executive Producer of Germantown Community Television.
"Equally important for Germantown, we need a dedicated communication outlet that will serve the needs of our citizens in the event another tornado rips through town or if any kind of natural disaster hits,” continued Bluestein. “In this day and age, emergency management is a must for a city of our size and LPFM perfectly fits our needs. A low power FM radio station can stay on the air even if the power goes out. Low power FM saved lives during Katrina but strangely, the federal government is banning it from this part of Tennessee. That is not fair or wise. We have the right to be as safe as any other community in the US. After 10 years, now is the time! Congress has passed the Local Community Radio Act, and chances are so much greater that groups in towns like mine can apply for LPFM licenses. Germantown is ready to work here and at the FCC to make licenses for communities like ours possible.
Grassroots leaders were key in helping Senators understand that expanding low power FM was important and urgent. “Our station provides some of the only local service to Gillette when big storms come through, and it puts great content on the air. That's why so many in our town think it is such a vital resource,” said Pastor Joel Wright of the First Presbyterian Church of Gillette, WY, licensee of KCOV-LP 95.7 FM . “Senators Barrasso and Enzi had concerns about expanding low power FM, but they heard from many Wyoming folks who want these stations, and dropped those concerns. Communities of faith and so many others can celebrate that we've jumped this big hurdle to more license being available in cities, smaller towns, and rural communities nationwide. I look forward to working with many other pastors and groups to launch their own wonderful new community voices.”
"The Media Mobilizing Project works with a huge diversity of leaders across Philadelphia -- from taxi drivers and immigrant communities to students and low wage workers," said Desi Burnette of Philadelphia's Media Mobilizing Project. "Our leaders have been lucky enough to produce multiple programs with WPEB-FM, 88.1 – bringing all of these communities together. But WPEB is a 1-watt station, only covering a few city blocks. Now with the passage of the Local Community Radio Act, Philadelphia has a much greater chance of getting at least one 100-watt station of its own.With low power FM in our community, poor and working people across this region would have an incredible tool to learn together, to understand their shared struggles and conditions, and to work to change them."
"Our low power FM radio station has allowed Guatemalan, Haitian, and many other hard-working immigrant farmworkers to communicate in their native languages, and to build the power for dignity and respect in the fields of Southwest Florida," said the Coalition of Immokalee Workers' Gerardo Reyes Chavez. "Our radio station, WCIW – Radio Consciencia – has developed womens' leadership, has allowed us to mobilize rapidly in crises, and has helped us transform not just our community but the hundreds of communities inspired by our struggle. We look forward to helping many other farmworkers learn how to build their own stations and how to expand justice on the FM dial."
"In the rural areas we serve and all across the country, low power FMs are poised to celebrate and preserve unique local culture," said Nick Szuberla of Appalshop, a group that uses media to preserve Appalachian culture and tradition while working to improve quality of life. "More low power FMs mean that the vibrant, beautiful, and vital voices of America's rural areas and small towns will shine – and it will mean sustainable local resources in times of crisis. Low power FM stations can stay on the air in storms and save thousands of lives. Congress and community radio advocates should be proud of the resources they've won for American communities."
“Our group of 150 volunteers here at the Chicago Independent Radio Project (CHIRP) is extremely pleased that the Local Community Radio Act has been passed by Congress, and will be signed into law by our fellow Chicagoan, President Obama,” said Shawn Campbell, a founder of CHIRP. “For three years, CHIRP volunteers and supporters have worked diligently toward the goal of being able to apply for a low power FM broadcast license, and we look forward to working with our national allies and the FCC to make sure new stations are licensed in large markets around the country, including Chicago.”
"For decades, the Esperanza Center has worked in San Antonio and beyond to bring people together across cultures, and to ensure the civil rights and economic justice of everyone," said Graciela Sanchez of the Esperanza Center for Peace and Justice in San Antonio. "Whether we are fighting for the right to publically protest or to save the water systems of our region, we need to communicate and coordinate to effectively organize. Low power FM in San Antonio can unite people across cultures and issues to work together to make this city better for everyone. We celebrate this victory for everyone and pledge to work with allies to win as many stations as possible for communities nationwide."
Over 10 years, hundreds of groups of all walks of life struggled to bring community radio stations to every community possible, and they cannot all be listed here. We would like to thank the coalition who worked weekly to move this mountain including: Free Press, United Church of Christ Office of Communication, Inc, U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, Media Access Project, the Future of Music Coalition, the Media and Democracy Coalition, the Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights, the National Hispanic Media Coalition, the Benton Foundation, the Prometheus National Advisory Committee and Board of Directors.
We thank those who were instrumental in this final push including: Reclaim the Media, The Media Action Grassroots Network, New America Foundation, Chicago Independent Radio Project,, Color of Change, the Christian Coalition, and the National Association of Evangelicals, and Spitfire Consulting. Our partners in supporting community media including the National Federation of Community Broadcasters and the Grassroots Radio Coalition, and Media Alliance, Pacifica, REC Networks, the Alliance for Community Media.
We thank those who have helped at key moments throughout these ten years including: United States Public Interest Research Group, Consumers Union, the Esperanza Peace and Justice Center, the United Methodist Church Office of Communication, the Indigo Girls, OK Go, Nicole Atkins, the Microradio List, Amherst Alliance, MIcroradio Implementation Project, Pacifica Radio, Common Frequency, Christian Community Broadcasters, KYES -TV, National Lawyers Guild Committee on Democratic Communications, Virginia Center for the Public Press, every FCC Commissioner since 1999 (except for Harold Furchgott Roth).
We thank our radio barnraising partners who have time and again shown up to represent the best of what LPFM can be: WGXC-FM in Hudson, New York with Free103point9; WMXP-LP in Greenville, South Carolina with the Malcolm X Grassroots Movement; KPCN-LP in Woodburn, Oregon with Pineros y Campesinos Unidos del Noroeste; WRFU-LP in Champaign-Urbana, Illinois with Radio Free Urbana; WXOJ-LP in Northampton, Massachusetts with Valley Free Radio; WRFN-LP in Pasquo, Tennessee with Radio Free Nashville; WSCA-LP in Portsmouth, New Hampshire with Portsmouth Community Radio; WCIW-LP in Immokalee, Florida with the Coalition of Immokalee Workers; KYRS-LP in Spokane, Washington with Thin Air Community Radio; KOCZ-LP in Opelousas, Louisiana with the Southern Development Foundation; KRBS-LP in Oroville, California with the Bird Street Media Project; and our very first radio barnraising with WRYR-LP in Deale, Maryland with South Arundel Citizens for Responsible Development.
“We've built community radio stations from coast to coast and around the country,” said Hannah Sassaman, a longtime organizer with the Prometheus Radio Project. ‘The faith and perseverance of low power FM's legislative champions and the thousands who pushed the Local Community Radio Act has paid off in incredible ways. After ten years of struggle, it's stunning to know that in the next years, the FCC will work to and begin licensing LPFMs in city neighborhoods, in suburbs and towns, and in rural areas. It's humbling to understand that new young people will gain a love of telling stories at the working end of a microphone or at home listening to their neighbors. And it's powerful to know that these stations will launch leaders in every walk of life to change their communities, and this country. We look forward to launching the next generation of community stations with you.
To learn more about low power FM community radio, visit

Sunday, December 19, 2010

From ---- How to Take Good Mobile Video

Many mobile phones can capture video footage. This has enabled both trained journalists and citizen reporters to more easily capture footage including images that were rarely seen before. The Polk Journalism Award in 2009, for example, was awarded to a video from Iran captured on a mobile phone. Today, more and more journalists are using mobile phones to record video and quickly transfer content to their newsrooms via mobile data connections.

Using mobiles to capture video isn't new news. But there is good news: You don't need a high-quality video camera to do high-quality reporting, be you in the U.S. or elsewhere. Many journalists and citizen reporters today use smartphones to capture video footage. Examples abound. Vancouver journalism students use an iPhone with some additional hardware and software to do all their video editing on the phone. Voices of Africa uses a Nokia N-series smartphone. In his bookMobile Journalism in the Asian Region, Stephen Quinn uses both iPhones and Nokia smartphones. This post will provide some tips and tools on how you can record quality video and audio from your mobile phone.Phone hardware is constantly improving and getting cheaper. With an older phone, you may consider video enhancement software, which can offer a cheaper way to get better quality video content. For high quality video recording on a mobile, the best phones available today feature 640 x 480 pixels at 30  frames per second. 320 x 240 pixels at 15 frames per second produces acceptable web-quality video.
Lower resolutions will look grainy and pixelated without software enhancement, and video below 15 frames per second will look choppy. On the high quality end, these are some good mobile phones with excellent video cameras:
  • PC Magazine featured these five video-phone models with varying price ranges. The article includes lengthy reviews and a matrix comparison of the phones.
  • For high end phones, take a look at these articles: CNet's top 5 video phones of 2009,Wirefly's top 10 2009 video phones, MSNBC's video phone review with 5 recommendations, the iPhone 3GS, and the Motorola Droid.
  • The database features 1800 phones with video capabilities, 70 of which are listed on this page. The site allows you to search for cameras based on various criteria and links directly to carriers around the world who are selling these phones.
  • The Nokia N series phones are generally highly recommended for video recording. The N82,N93, and N95 are mentioned often by independent reviewers.When it comes to shooting video, the major difference between mobiles and mainstream camcorders is that mobile phones have simpler (and smaller) cameras. It is important to understand what makes for good quality video given these limitations. Some suggested tools and tips are listed here.

Thursday, December 16, 2010

The Challenge: New Technology in an Indigenous Community in Panama

Promo video for an wireless internet hub for an Indigenous community in Panama.  This features a "facilitator" from Microsoft. For information about a group in Namibia that works to provide alternatives to Microsoft by encouraging and assisting in setting up free and opensource networks, see:
In the Schoolnet comics the microsoft sales man is the evil villain.

Drawings from comic books distributed to Namibian school students and teachers by Schoolnet.

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

How Environmental Disasters Destroy Culture

Con la solidaria intención de que prevalezca la verdad y la justicia, se ha publicado este Documental, que revela un derrame o siniestro equivalente a 30 veces el producido por el Exxon Valdez. CHEVRON TEXACO debe pagar por el genocidio provocado; además de la afectación de flora y fauna irrecuperables.

Monday, December 13, 2010

Inmates in Georgia Prisons Use Cell Phones to Coordinate Protest

By SARAH WHEATON Published: December 13, 2010 U.S. NEWS

The prison protest has entered the wireless age.
Inmates in at least seven Georgia prisons have used contraband cellphones to coordinate a nonviolent strike this weekend, saying they want better living conditions and to be paid for work they do in the prisons.

Inmates said they would not perform chores, work for the Corrections Department's industrial arm or shop at prison commissaries until a list of demands are addressed, including compensation for their work, more educational opportunities, better food and sentencing rules changes. The protest began Thursday, but inmates said that organizers had spent months building a web of disparate factions and gangs - groups not known to cooperate - into a unified coalition using text messaging and word of mouth. Officials at the Georgia Department of Corrections said Monday that four facilities remain in a lockdown status and there have been no major incidents or issues reported.

Inmates complained of scattered clashes with guards.
Smuggled cellphones have been commonplace in prisons for years; Charles Manson was caught with one in a California penitentiary this month. Officials worry that inmates will use them to issue orders to accomplices on the outside or to plan escape attempts.

But the Georgia protest appears to be the first use of the technology to orchestrate a grass-roots movement behind bars. Reached on their cellphones inside several prisons, six participants in the strike described a feat of social networking more reminiscent of Capitol Hill vote-whipping than jailhouse rebellion.

Conditions at the state prisons have been in decline, the inmates said. But "they took the cigarettes away in August or September, and a bunch of us just got to talking, and that was a big factor," said Mike, an inmate at the Smith State Prison in Downing who declined to give his full name.

The organizers set a date for the start and, using contact numbers from time spent at other prisons or connections from the outside, began sending text messages to inmates known to hold sway." Anybody that has some sort of dictatorship or leadership amongst the crowds," said Mike, one of several prisoners who contacted The New York Times to publicize their strike. "We have to come together and set aside all differences, whites, blacks, those of us that are affiliated in gangs." Now, Mike said, every dormitory at participating prisons has at least one point man with a phone who can keep the other inmates in the loop.

Miguel, another prisoner at Smith who also declined to give his full name, estimated that about 10 percent of all inmates had phones." We text very frequently," he said. "We try and keep up with what's going on in the news and what's going on at other facilities. Those are our voices."

They are also a source of profit to the people providing the contraband. Miguel said he paid $400 for a phone that would have cost $20 on the street. Mike said he bought his through a guard. "That's how a lot of us get our phones," Mike said. Inmates said guards had started confiscating the phones, and they complained that hot water and heat had been turned off.

The Corrections Department placed several of the facilities where inmates planned to strike under indefinite lockdown on Thursday, according to local news reports. "We're hearing in the news they're putting it down as we're starting a riot, so they locked all the prison down," said an inmate at Hays State Prison in Trion who refused to give his name. But, he said, "We locked ourselves down."

The inmates contend that if they have a source of income in the prison and better educational
opportunities to prepare them for release, violence and recidivism will go down. But the Department of Corrections has not publicly acknowledged the protest.

Mike said that the leaders were focused on telling inmates to remain patient, and not to consider resorting to violence.

The inmates' closest adviser outside prison walls is Elaine Brown, a longtime advocate for prisoners whose son is incarcerated at Macon State Prison, one of the other major protest sites. A former Black Panther leader who is based in Oakland, Calif., Ms. Brown helped distill the inmate complaints into a list of demands.  She held a conference call on Sunday evening to develop a strategy with various groups, including the Georgia chapter of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People and the Nation of Islam.


British Students Sing Protest Carols

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Intergenerational Indigenous Project

Rachel Tso just completed her masters at Northern Arizona University. The film focuses on Rachel's work with Outta Your Backpack Media, teaching Navajo youth using film making as a medium. This work led to the award winning youth film "In the Foot Steps of Yellow Woman."

Monday, December 6, 2010

Precarious Workers' Patron Saint

Born in 2001 the Italian MayDay has become the most attended May Day demonstration in Europe: 120,000 people took the streets of Milan and danced until dawn in 2010 under the slogan “Precarious of the world, let’s fight!” Since 2004 San Precario is the patron saint of precarious European workers. The San Precario Network is devoted to defend the workers rights but we also strive to imagine a new set of rights, a new welfare that matches the needs and lives of this precarious generation. Born within the Italian social centers movement, our collective provides legal support, tactical help and social-media skills, as well as brand subverting and political theorizing.

Our more recent campaigns are: Cash & Crash, a series of actions against evil companies wallets and brands; Welfare for Life! A campaign to guarantee fix income and free access to services; the Etats-General of Precarity, a general assembly of Italian and European movements which will be held in October; and of course, the EuroMayDay Parade.
Etats-General of Precarity (in English)

San Precario appears
Tutti Santi Tutti Stronzi
Mayday 2010 Special

Friday, December 3, 2010

Radio Continental Drift

Claudia Wegener sent these links: radio continental drift

a broad casting house in the bag of a listener
out to here unheard voices
a branch of the growing networks of sound workers,
audio artists, radio communities, and the street corner academies
of listening and broadcasting
around the world
radio is happening
when people loiter in public places
the air is free!

Original recordings re-mixed in the audio track can be accessed, downloaded & used under creative commons share-alike licence. They are archived as part of a conversational journey & audio media road workshop in Kenya & Uganda in May -September 2010.

featured producers (in the order of their appearance part 1 & 2):

(contact: David Odwar (9), Santa Joyce Laker (1) )
Mega fm LOCAL PUBLIC BROADCASTER pka "Radio Freedom" (contact: Nicky Afaya (2), producer, Okot Juma Jammieh)
(Acan Jennifer (3), Agnes Odoch, Ajok Lilian, Aber Khevine Vicky)
Gulu MC's interviewed:
AshBee (5) , DN (4) & Babu (aka Kites) (5)
Breakdance Project Uganda GULU BRANCH;
(contact: Josh Jones, coordinator ; Dennis Kilama (10), Latim Simon Peter; Benson (6), Bernhard, Ivan, Caroline, Brigitte)
The Remnant Voice HIPHOP PROJECT FOR STREET CHILDREN (7) (contact: Ogen Rwot Jefferson ; Ogen Rwot Felix)
Joseph Okumu, director; Stella Akiteng (8), project coordinator; Alfred Kilama, technical assistant)
Alimucan Janet, pupil at Gulu Central High School
for contact details see also: h 

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Punch and Judy by Amy Trompetter

This is a Punch and Judy performance from several years ago in Willow, NY.
Amy Trompetter has been performing the classic Punch and Judy show for decades.  She recently was scheduled to perform it in Rhinebeck, NY, as part of a Christmas Fair. However she received a notice from the festival director that the "Mothers' Committee" had decided to cancel the play because it was inappropriately violent.
From the British Telegraph:
Oh, the heart sinks at the news that a Punch and Judy puppeteer in Portsmouth has been told to tone down Punch’s violence. Poor Daniel Liversidge has had to take away Punch’s whacking stick and replace it with a floppy mop, and add positive messages in to his show.
Punch and Judy is like Tom and Jerry – ritualised, cartoon thwacking that bears no relation to real violence, unlike violent films which try to make the shooting and the hitting as real as possible. Like all great fantasy, seaside theatre is a release from the horrors of everyday life; not an encouragement to recreate them.

Signs of Change: Graphic Arts from Global Struggles

Josh McPhee and Dara Greenwald are celebrating the publication of their book today.  It grew from an exhibition they put together at Exit Art in New York.
Josh says:  Dara and I spent years collected hundreds of posters, flyers, photos, video, film, and ephemera from dozens of radical left social movements around the world, and it's all synthesized into this book! The cultural output of almost 60 movements are explored in seven sections: Struggle for the Land, Agitate! Educate! Organize!, Forward to People's Power! Freedom and Independence Now, Let It All Hang Out, Reclaim the Commons, Globalization From Below. 

It can be purchased from their web site at:

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

KNN: Kibera News Network

The images and voices of the Kenyan shacktown in Nairobi are posted to the internet.

Sinking On Line Pirates

The Los Angeles Times on Internet Law
Imagine having a nemesis who assaults you daily (often mocking you as it does) yet somehow stays beyond the reach of the law. That's a rough approximation of the entertainment industry's view of online piracy — particularly the kind practiced by the likes of Sweden's The Pirate Bay, Latvia'smp3fiesta and a growing number of websites that stream bootlegged movies and TV shows from digital lockers. Such sites exist almost exclusively to promote illegal downloading or streaming of movies, music, video games and software, making money through advertisements or even by selling unauthorized copies of the works themselves.

Copyright holders have shut down some offending sites through civil suits and federal investigations, but these cases have taken years to complete. Meanwhile, new sites and services have emerged to replace the shuttered ones, and the amount of copyright infringement has increased over the years as broadband connections have proliferated.

Fed up, the entertainment industry has lobbied hard for a more powerful legal weapon against online piracy. It found a receptive audience in the Senate Judiciary Committee, which unanimously approved a bill this month that would speed the process of penalizing such sites. The goal of the Combating Online Infringement and Counterfeits Act (S 3804) is a good one — there's no defense for online businesses whose raison d'etre is infringement. But some of the methods employed by the bill could create significant problems of their own.

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Sponsored by Sen. Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.), the bill would make it easier for the Justice Department to obtain court orders cracking down on sites "dedicated to infringing activities." Such orders could be obtained against foreign-based sites that attract U.S. Internet users as well as domestic companies.

Sites that use a U.S. domain-name registrar (a company that sells domain names, such as or registry (a company that oversees the registrars for a category of domains, asVeriSign does for .com, .net, .cc and .tv) would be subject to the most direct penalties. In those cases, a court could order the registrar or registry to invalidate the site's domain name, removing it from the global database that Internet service providers use to direct traffic online. That's akin to ordering road atlases to erase a street from their maps — it would still be there, but it would be much harder to find.

The bill would take a different approach to sites that used foreign registrars and registries, which are beyond the reach of U.S. courts. In those cases, courts could order U.S. Internet service providers, payment processing companies (such as Visa and MasterCard) and online advertising networks to stop sending traffic, money or ads to the offending sites.

Some critics have complained that the Leahy bill isn't targeted narrowly enough, so it conceivably could be used against sites that provide a useful outlet for legitimate content distributors in addition to bootleggers. Another criticism is that the bill wouldn't give offending sites a fair chance to defend themselves. In fact, the Justice Department wouldn't even have to inform the actual operator of the site before obtaining an injunction against it — it would simply have to send a notice to whoever is listed as the domain name's registrant.

Such problems, although potentially serious, could be addressed by refining the bill's definition of what it means to be a site "dedicated to infringing activities" and the process it lays out for obtaining court orders. A more troubling question is whether the Justice Department should be focusing on domain names at all.

A site's actual Internet address isn't its domain name but rather a series of up to 12 numbers separated by the occasional period. The domain name — the portion of the URL that comes after "www." — is just a form of branding. When someone types a URL into a browser, the software looks up the corresponding numerical address in a database of domain names, typically the one furnished by the user's Internet service provider.

The court orders made available by the bill would remove the offending site's name from the databases used by U.S. service providers, but they wouldn't stop people from typing the site's numerical address into their browsers. Nor would people be prevented from using alternative databases overseas — say, one maintained by The Pirate Bay. Such a migration could undermine efforts to fix the security problems in the domain name system, which can leave Internet users vulnerable to identity theft and other online threats.

Some technology advocates and public interest groups also have warned that the bill's domain-name provisions would violate free-speech principles — because some legitimate content may exist alongside pirated material on blocked sites — and encourage other countries to draw up their own blacklists of sites that don't comport to their unique dictates. Meanwhile, a virtual who's who of Internet pioneers contend that the bill could endanger the leading role the United States has played in technical issues online.

Entertainment industry executives have challenged critics to come up with alternative ways to address sites like The Pirate Bay, rather than just conjuring worst-case scenarios to gin up opposition to Leahy's proposal. They've got a point — some of the groups lining up against the bill seem more concerned about the entertainment industry abusing its copyrights than websites trying to profit off piracy.

Nevertheless, there are real questions about the effectiveness and consequences of the domain-name seizure provisions. It's worth noting that when Congress decided to crack down on Internet gambling sites in 2006, it didn't give the Justice Department new power to seize domains — instead, it focused on cutting off the flow of money from gamblers in the U.S. to betting sites around the world. Similarly, it makes sense for Congress to crack down on the revenue flowing to piracy hotbeds online, as the Leahy bill's provisions for advertising networks and payment processing companies would do.

With Congress set to adjourn soon, the bill isn't likely to progress any further this year. That's a good thing. Before moving the bill on, lawmakers should take a closer look at whether its domain-name provisions are likely to work, as well as their implications for the health of the Internet as a whole. Copyright holders shouldn't be left defenseless against the Pirate Bays of the world, but the proposed seizure of domain names is the least promising enforcement mechanism in the Leahy bill.


Here is an interesting proposal for an alternative to ICANN