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Voice in the Wire

December 16th, 2008

Late in the evening of December 6th, in the Exarcheia district of central Athens, 15 year old Alexandros Grigoropoulos was out with friends. Shortly after 9pm the group became part of a confrontation with members of the Greek Police. Alexandros was shot and killed.

In the days following the killing Alexandros became a symbol of a growing frustration among Greek youth over the country’s growing economic problems, rising unemployment, and a general perception of an inefficient and corrupt Greek government.

Riots in Athens over the death quickly spread like through out the country and then through out the whole of Europe.

The speed at which the riots spread has in part been attributed to organizers using text messaging and the internet as a means of spreading their message and setting up meeting locations. In an article to the Associated Press, Paul Have wrote…

At least some of the protests were organized over the Internet, showing how quickly the message of discontent can be spread, particularly among tech-savvy youth. One Web site Greek protesters used to update each other on the locations of clashes asserted there have been sympathy protests in nearly 20 countries.

This isn’t the first time we have seen the internet become a tool of the disenfranchised as a means of organizing protests.

When California passed Proposition 8 on November 4th, a wave of Anti-Prop 8 web sites such as Join the Impact, appeared on the web as a means of directing information to protesters and to organize events such as the Nationwide protest of November 15th and upcoming December 20th “Light Up The Night For Equality“.

Even in tightly controlled China, the internet has been used to organize people to effect change in government policies and stop construction of a chemical plant.

The internet is still basically in its infancy and the genie is out of the bottle. It’s difficult to imagine just how the civil rights movement of the 1960′s would have progressed had the internet been available. Imagine watching Martin Luther King’s “I have a dream” speech as a live web cast or if Rosa Parks could have texted all her friends to join her in sitting at the front of buses all over the country on the same day.

Often, as individuals, we feel somewhat powerless against those with power, whether it be government, or the vocal majority. We sit in our homes feeling sorry for ourselves and saying “I can’t do anything about my situation so I’ll just make the best of it.” What we don’t realize is that we are rarely if ever truly alone.

Cross posted at The Pajama Pundit

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Barack Obama

Obama in Iowa

President Obama was in Iowa on Wednesday. Here are his remarks courtesy of C-Span.

HRC Dinner

Saturday night before the National Equality March, The HRC held a fundraising dinner at which President Obama spoke. He reiterated his commitment to repealing DOMA and DADT. Now if he would only put action to it.

Obama?s speech is posted after the break.

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Obama – The Biggest Spender ?

Many congressional Republicans as well as GOP talking heads like Rush Limbaugh, Newt Gingrich, and Fox ?News? pundits Sean Hanity and Glenn Beck, have often made the claim that President Obama has spent more money than any President in history.

When President Clinton left office the Congressional Budget Office (CBO), had estimated a surplus in 2001 of about $800 Billion dollars. So where did it all go?

New York Times writer David Leonhardt took on this topic Tuesday and the results might actually surprise you.

You can think of that roughly $2 trillion swing as coming from four broad categories: the business cycle, President George W. Bush?s policies, policies from the Bush years that are scheduled to expire but that Mr. Obama has chosen to extend, and new policies proposed by Mr. Obama.

The first category ? the business cycle ? accounts for 37 percent of the $2 trillion swing. It?s a reflection of the fact that both the 2001 recession and the current one reduced tax revenue, required more spending on safety-net programs and changed economists? assumptions about how much in taxes the government would collect in future years.

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Syked Out

The White House Correspondents Dinner has never really gone without some sort of controversial joke being uttered to the crowd, and this weekend proved to be no different when comedian Wanda Sykes suggested that Rush Limbaugh could have been the 20th hijacker who simply missed the plan because he was high. She then followed up by saying that she hoped his kidneys would fail. While I have no love for El’-Rushbo, the Apparent King of the GOP, I think Wanda overstepped the bounds of funny by bringing up 9/11.

It also appears that the White House agrees that the joke was in poor taste. When Press Secretary

Robert Gibbs was asked what Obama thought of the joke, he replied?

I don’t know how the guests get booked…I haven’t talked specifically with him, but my guess is, Jeff, I think there are a lot of topics that are better left for serious reflection rather than comedy. I think there’s no doubt 9/11 is part of that.

White House Correspondents' Association Dinner

Here is video from the Correspondence Dinner… Remember, it’s just all meant in good fun.

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