Tag Archives: Politics

Who is the "Tea Party?" – My Tax Day Video

Who is the “Tea Party?”

A college student. A coal miner.

Check this out video from Tax Day, where I shadowed supporters of the “Tea Party,” (which was initiated by Freedom Works), and were out engaging the government about what’s going on in their lives.


As a side note, finally! I am back. As a video journalist, that is. It was a long journey to transition and upgrade all my gear. I’m happy to report that I have officially gone from a Panasonic Mini DV cam (MTV vids), to a Flip Cam (CNN iReport vids) to a Canon Vixia and a Kodak Zi8 Pocket, which are both HD quality. In this video, you’ll notice some imperfections, in part due to experimenting with different file formats. That’s OK though. No one is expecting technical perfection – I think we all get at this point, it’s all about creating content that is raw, unfiltered and authentic…and in some way makes you feel like by watching it you are closer to a truth you had not considered.

As for my editing gear, I also transitioned to a MacBook Pro and Final Cut Express. I won’t bore you with the details, but it was a dramatic, drawn out process getting the Canon Vixia HD filed (AVCHD .MTS) ready to go into Final Cut. In fact there’s no easy way, it requires tons of conversion and compression. That’s what video editing is all about. Tedious, challenging problems that require solutions. Over and over. Thanks to @AnthonyFears, who suggested I use HandBrake, an excellent converter that made my life so much easier and got these old clips ready to produce.

"Enlighten us, But Make it Quick!" All About Ignite DC

A lot of my friends have been asking me to describe the work I’m doing with Ignite DC. I’ve been asked to co-host along with Jared Goralnick, who is a successful technology entreprenuer and all around go getter. I figured if I was lucky enough to be considered – and would be in the company of people like him, I’d go for it.

As some background, Ignite is an O’Reilly Media event that takes place in over 50 cities across the globe. The event draws hundreds of people, happens a few times a year, and the next D.C. one is coming up on June 16th from 6-10PM. I’m tasked with helping to organize it and bring in compelling, thought-provoking speakers. Like many of you, the readers of my blog.

O’Reilly describe the event as “a high-energy evening of 5-minute talks by people who have an idea—and the guts to get onstage and share it with their hometown crowd. Run by local volunteers who are connected through the global Ignite network, Ignite is a force for raising the collective IQ and building connections in each city.  And, via streaming and archived videos of local talks, local Ignites share all that knowledge and passion with the world.”

Below, I’ve embedded a few of my favorite past Ignite presentations. If you have an idea you’d like to submit – please do. We’re accepting applications (which are super easy to do) through May 17th. You can also pick up a ticket here.


Alex Lundry, Conservative Political Pollster
Presentation: Chart Wars: The Political Power of Data Visualization

“A funny thing happened during this summer’s health care debate: a chart that purported to show the organizational structure of the Democratic health care reform proposal took over the media cycle and triggered a partisan visualization volley. Since then, the original chart has frequently been used as a provocative protest sign and is now the subject of a congressional investigation. What was it that made this data visualization so powerful and politically potent?”

Peter Corbett, CEO, iStrategy Labs
Presentation: The Future of Social Capital

“Do stuff that maters. Where do you find the time? Sleep less, talk less. Help more. Do more. Do it now. Really, now. Literally when you leave tonight…write that blog post, reach out to that person. If you do that, we’re going to be the social capital that inspires the world. We’ll take (D.C.) from a social entrepreneurship perspective, a social technology…and a social change perspective, and we’ll inspire the world.”


20-year-Old Uses Facebook and Micro Donations to Run For Mayor

Glenn Stegall isn’t your average University of Georgia senior. On November 15, 2009, the 20-year-old political science major announced his candidacy for Mayor of Athens-Clarke County. The election is on November 2nd, and while Stegall is not the first ambitious undergrad to go after the college town Mayorship, he has a new advantage: a Barack Obama fund raising model, Facebook, and a life that began in poverty and transcended into the middle class – an advantage that he thinks, sets him apart.

“I believe being able to live in both poverty and the middle class allowed me to see two different worlds,” Stegall told me via e-mail. “I hope this unique experience will give me the insight and understanding a public servant needs to serve a diverse group of citizens.”

Athens-Clarke County is a city of about 100,000 people. As Stegall pointed out in our GChat video interview (see clip below), Athens is one of the poorest city in the United States. According to the Wall Street Journal, it is also one of the most unequal cities in terms of income. Could a 20-year-old possibly have the life experiences to address such a dreary reality?

“My life has also prepared me for this journey. I grew up in a small south Georgia town. The socioeconomic status of just about everyone was poor. Most people I came in contact with on a daily bases had little education…The difference I can make by simply talking about the issues, and raising awareness is worth my effort alone. If we wait for the perfect time to help people, the problems they face may not persist anymore. Our ability to help may not be the same. So I say why not, why wait, and why not step up to the plate now.”

But perhaps what is most intriguing about Stegall’s run is his ability to stay in the race financially. The top contender who has yet to announce his candidacy, Spencer Frye, has raised over $11,000, according to the Athens-Clarke Board of Elections. Stegall has a little over $3,000 on hand, a surprising amount for a candidate who has only been on the trail for two months.

Frye’s contributions have come from less than a dozen individuals. Stegall – over a hundred.

DADT March on the White House TODAY

Check it out. The Servicemembers Legal Defense Network is holding a march today to call for an end to Don’t Ask Don’t Tell. (DETAILS  AT END OF POST.)

dont-forget-usDon’t Ask Don’t Tell(DADT) was a policy introduced under the Clinton Administration. In short, it prohibits any gay or bisexual servicemember from discussing their sexual orientation.  That includes any casual mention of a relationship, a family, you get the picture. Apparently it creates an “unacceptable risk” to the morale, good order and discipline of our military.

One of President Obama’s campaign promises was to repeal DADT, a policy that has since made it difficult to retain qualified servicemembers. As stated by Dr. Larry Korb, a former national security advisor and Senior fellow at the Center for American Progress (CAP) in Washington,

“…the military’s “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” policy continues to undermine their efforts to attract qualified men and women. Moreover, since its enactment, this outmoded law has cost the country hundreds of millions of dollars and thousands of service men and women who were working to keep our country safe.”

For details on the March: Meet at Farragut Square at 2:00PM EST. You will then walk over to the White House and gather in Lafayette Park.

Good luck and have fun! I would be there on the group with my gear but your little sister only graduates from high school once. 🙂

Helen Thomas Will Now Take Your Questions

Tonight I went over to Hearst, where Helen writes her weekly column, to talk. I told her ahead of time I had some questions and she sounded excited. “Sounds good,” she said. “I’ll see you at 5:30.”

What came of the conversation is the pilot episode for Your Fix with Helen Thomas. Enjoy and let me know what you think. I’ll be back next week for round two.

It’s past 5:00 in Helen’s newsroom. She had a busy few weeks. She greeted the new President with a controversial question, got blasted by Bill O’Reillyand then got flowers… It hasn’t been an average week for Helen, but then again, it never is. Now, in a completely new role, Helen Thomas will take your questions.


Helen’s last two columns:

Obama Follows Some of Bush’s Footsteps February 18, 2009

Obama Learns Limits of Bipartisan Overtures February 12, 2009

Citizen Journalism's Big Impact

Last week I spoke to a Georgetown University class on the use of social media, video and blogs in the election. Alan Rosenblatt of Center for American Progress, also the Professor, invited me. I opened up with some stories about my experience blogging and reporting for MTV, and then listened as Netroots Rising authors, Lowell Feld and Nate Wilcox took it away. I love speaking at classes because I know I am bound to learn something. That night was no exception.

This morning I spoke for the American Council of Young Political Leaders (ACYPL). The organization works in tandem with the House Democracy Assistance Commission and is internationally recognized for introducing rising political and policy leaders to each other. I spoke alongside Arielle Fleisher of Campus Progress and Adrian Talbott of Generation Engage.

ACYPL had brought young political leaders from Jordan, Israel and Hungary for their Election Study Program. From the Hungarian Socialist Party to Israel’s Women’s Rights Movement, these intellectuals would be in the U.S. for a few weeks — starting in Washington and then moving to battleground states to observe U.S. democracy in action.

I wondered last week what I could discuss about the Youth Engagement in this election that would be original and of interest.  Then it dawned on me when I saw this video.

The impact of citizen journalism in this election.


I gave an overview of how user generated content on YouTube, THINK and Facebook have revolutionized the way my generation interacts socially and politically. But then I got a question.

“Will young people be to blame if Obama loses?”

The question was fair, and my answer simple.

Definitely not. With an age-old electoral college, state resources stretched to accomodate the record number of voters – we have bigger problems than pointing fingers at first-time voters. Yes? No?

Financial Crisis, Debates and O'Reilly

This last week in the race to the White House was unheard of. First, lawmakers scrammbled to save our economy from collapse, McCain asked to cancel the first Presidential Debate – and Bill O’Reilly flipped out not just on Dems but all “ideological kool aid drinkers.” Hmm. Could we are all be getting somewhere?

Here is the week in review.

Wednesday, September 24
Joint Statement Released from McCain, Obama on Financial Crisis

Both Senators urged Member of Congress to work together and compromise on an economic bail out package. The package is controversial on both sides, particularly to very conservative Republicans and very liberal Dems.

As a side note, I also found this press release from Senator Obama’s campaign. Along with the statement, he outlined five “principals” for John McCain to follow. I wonder if that actually happened….

Wednesday, September 25
McCain Calls Press Conference to Try to Suspend Debate

Thursday, September 26
McCain’s Request to Delay Debate Falls Flat

“It’s going to be part of the president’s job to be able to deal with more than one thing at once,” Senator Obama said at a press conference.

“What I’m planning to do is debate on Friday.”

Friday, September 27
Congress Nears Agreement, Debate Goes Live

Both campaign jets arrived in Oxford, Mississippi for the first of three Presidential Debates. This one focused on Foreign Policy – but in light of the looming financial crisis, 35 minutes was spent on the economy.

You can watch the different portions of the debate at CSPAN’s Debate Hub. I just discovered this resource. You can also follow Debate Hub on Twitter and YouTube for constant updates.

To see the individual responses on the following topics (from solving the crisis to lessons of Iraq), visit the Debate Hub homepage and select which one you like. You can also see the breakdown of how long each candidate spoke on each topic in relation to the rest of the debate.

And to check out Chris Cizzilla, Washington Post blogger (The Fix) wrap up the key points from the debate, visit his blog. I had tried to post a video here but the WaPo embed isn’t working. I’ll get on that. Until next time.

"RNC-Goers React to McCain's Speech"


The feature story on the Street Team home page tonight is my compliation of live reactions immediately following McCain’s acceptance speech.

Other feature stories were:

Bob Dole Interview | Republican National Convention 2008

It was September 2008 | Bob Dole was in the Excel Center, on his way to visit the North Carolina delegation on behalf of his wife, Senator Elizabeth Dole. I caught him right before he walked into the floor pit.  I was alone, a credentialed journalist, with three cameras, an ID, and a pen in my pocket. I was on a mission to find some kind of story, and when I bumped into the Kansas Senator and Presidential candidate, I did. | More after the jump

Here are the basic nuts and bolts of the Live Streaming video process: After I hit “Broadcast”, the clip live went auNokia N95 to Flixwagon, a video sharing network that made it instantly available to anyone.

Instant connectvity. 60 seconds after I ended the clip, my phone buzzed twice. First a huge congrats from my Executive Producer who had watched it live, and my Dad, who called and admitted to having tears in his eyes. “You just interviewed my hero,” he said.

More Videos from the Republican National Convention 2008.

Sarah Palin's Personal…Vlog?

While I was at the RNC, my New York Street Team partner, Sara Benincasa did something wildly creative and amazing. She made YouTube series of her dressed as Sarah Palin — and begged the question — if Governor Sarah Palin had a vlog – would it sound like this?

Within days, the blog attracted hundreds of thousands of views — and an on air compliment from CNN’s Wolf Blitzer that, “this stuff is pretty funny.”


Vlog #6: Before the Big Speech!


 Vlog #1


 Vlog #2 — Bristol!