This is the flag that Francis Scott Key saw flying over Fort McNair during the War of 1812. It inspired him to write "The Star-Spangled Banner" which officially became our National Anthem in 1931 (h/t National Museum of American History).
Sixty years later, Whitney Houston's rendition of the National Anthem inspired the nation.
I am in New York City for Personal Democracy Forum, an annual conference that focuses on the intersection of technology, civic engagement, politics and government. I’m attending as one of nine Tumblr Fellows.
As the chief evangelist for the Cost of Freedom Project, a citizen-led initiative that’s powered by we the people, I’m particularly interested in the “We Government” breakout track. Speakers will present ideas and tips on “the variety of ways the people and their governments are using data to make civic life smarter and more responsive to public needs.”
With the voter suppression schemes in place across the country, voting rights advocates must work harder and smarter to remove barriers to the ballot box and ensure all votes are counted.
During a recent broadcast of “Hour of Power,” Al Sharpton said:
This is not a normal election. We don’t know what we’re dealing with.
That’s true. But we do know that True the Vote will be out in force challenging voters’ eligibility and causing confusion at the polls. They’re crowdsourcing voter suppression; we must crowdsource voter protection.
Yo! Philly Votes will aggregate, visualize and contextualize multiple sources of real-time Election Day incident reports so that problems can be addressed and corrected in real time. We’re leveraging the power of Web 2.0 to fight Voter Suppression 2.0.
The annual Personal Democracy Forum is “the world’s leading conference exploring and analyzing technology's impact on politics and government.” PDF brings together thought leaders, influencers, technologists, activists, academics and good-government types.
In 2009, I attended PDF as a Google Fellow. Yesterday, I received notice that was awarded a Tumblr Fellowship to attend PDF 2012.
For preachers and some civil rights organizations, including the NAACP and the National Urban League, no money is tainted. For them, the only thing wrong with tainted money is there t'aint enough.
But enough is enough.
Today, the Justice Department announced a $25 billion agreement with the five largest mortgage servicers: Bank of America, JPMorgan Chase, Wells Fargo, Citigroup and Ally Financial (formerly GMAC). Attorney General Eric Holder said:
This agreement – the largest joint federal-state settlement ever obtained – is the result of unprecedented coordination among enforcement agencies throughout the government. It holds mortgage servicers accountable for abusive practices and requires them to commit more than $20 billion towards financial relief for consumers. As a result, struggling homeowners throughout the country will benefit from reduced principals and refinancing of their loans. The agreement also requires substantial changes in how servicers do business, which will help to ensure the abuses of the past are not repeated.
Iowa Attorney General Tom Miller added:
This monitored agreement holds the banks accountable, it provides badly needed relief to homeowners, and it transforms the mortgage servicing industry so now homeowners will be protected and treated fairly.
In his remarks on the landmark housing settlement, President Obama said:
By now, it’s well known that millions of Americans who did the right thing and the responsible thing – shopped for a house, secured a mortgage that they could afford, made their payments on time – were, nevertheless, hurt badly by the irresponsible actions of others: by lenders who sold loans to people who couldn’t afford them; by buyers who knew they couldn’t afford them; by speculators who were looking to make a quick buck; by banks that took risky mortgages, packaged them up, and traded them off for large profits.
The NAACP and the National Urban League trade their credibility, such as it is, for sponsorship by banks that engaged in discriminatory and fraudulent lending practices. Pariah corporations have long sponsored civil rights organizations to buy their silence.
It's up to the rest of us to make some noise. Hey, Ben Jealous, how's your “partnership” with Wells Fargo working out?