Friday, July 04, 2008

Viacom and Judge Louis L. Stanton Rob YouTube Users of Privacy

On Thursday July 3rd, U.S. District Court Judge Louis L. Stanton forced YouTube to give Viacom -- which owns shows like "The Daily Show", and "The Colbert Report" -- records that show what videos you and I have been watching.

Here in this video , I explain that the implications are dangerous and could help, for example, the Chinese Government find and kill Tibetan protesters. In this, a private company could purchase the data from Viacom and then resell it to the Chinese Government.

The Chinese Government could use the IP address information to find the general location of Tibetan protesters, go to their areas, and kill them. That's a possible scenario.

I considered the court's "restriction" on use of the material by Viacom. But that's the problem: the block is on how the data is used -- there's no specific prohibition of the sale of the information.

The reason for all of these actions, if you've not followed the story is that Viacom has sued YouTube for allegations of copywrite infringement. Viacom lost on the majority of motions, but the one that's sticking asks for YouTube to essentially share records of what videos you and I have been watching, and that includes IP adresses.

I can't see the need for the data. Viacom claims that they wish to learn if audience views to a Viacom show on YouTube are greater than that for amateur shows like LonelyGirl15. They don't need all of that information to see that LonelyGirl15 has a larger audience traffic than "The Colbert Report" on YouTube.

You can complain about this decision. In the video, and here, I give the contact information for Judge Stanton and his Law Clerk, Samson Enzer.

The contact info is this: Phone number for Judge Stanton: 212-805-0252 and the fax is 212-805-0359. Mr. Enzer is on Linkedin and Facebook. You can contact him directly from this blog post.

CNN's Donna Brazile Comes To SF For Obama Fundraiser July 15th, Palace

Donna Brazile, originally uploaded by

CNN's Donna Brazile Comes To SF For Obama Fundraiser July 15th, Palace Hotel

CNN's Donna Brazile is coming To San Francisco For a Fundraiser for the "Obama Victory Fund" July 15th from 12 noon to 1:30 PM at The Palace Hotel, (2 New Montgomery, downtown San Francisco and just off Montgomery BART Station), and you can join us with a $150 contribution or a $1,000 contribution for a VIP reception to host Ms. Brazile. To join us, just click on this link:

And as you sign up and donate, type in "Zennie Abraham" in the field "PLEASE LET US KNOW WHO ENCOURAGED YOU TO MAKE THIS CONTRIBUTION:"

About Donna Brazile

Donna Brazile is Founder and Managing Director of Brazile and Associates, LLC and is the first African-American to direct a major presidential campaign, having done so for Gore-Libermann 2000. Brazile is perhaps best known as the weekly and at times daily contributor to CNN's "The Situation Room" and other CNN programs.

Recently, Brazile made news again as an active member of the DNC Rules Committee, where she told then-Clinton supporter and former Governor Jim Blanchard "my mama told me you gotta play by the rules."

Donna Brazile is the recipient of numerous awards and honors, including Washingtonian Magazine's 100 Most Powerful Women in Washington, D.C. and the Congressional Black Caucus Foundation's Award for Political Achievement.

A native of New Orleans, Louisiana, Brazile earned her undergraduate degree from Louisiana State University in Baton Rouge. She's also the author of Cooking With Grease: Stirring the Pots in American Politics

Please join us for this lunchtime discussion from 12 noon to 1:30 PM, Tuesday, July 15th.

DNC Convention Questions Answered By Phil McNamara of DNC

DNC Convention Questions Answered By Phil McNamara of DNC

Phil McNamara (on the left) is the Director of Party Affairs for the Democratic National Convention. I found this useful webpage where he answers some basic questions about the upcoming convention. Here's what Phil says:

Ask Phil

Phil McNamara is Director of Party Affairs and Delegate Selection. In other words, he is our go-to guru on all things delegate – pledged and un-pledged. “Ask Phil” is your chance to have your questions answered on the mechanics, rules and processes governing the Convention. We “Ask Phil” questions all the time, now it’s your turn. Phil will pick one of your questions to answer each week. Check back here to see if your inquiry was answered.
To submit your question, send an email to Please be sure to include your name and home town.

Question 1

I am a pledged delegate from the State of California and am interested in getting a seat on one of the standing committees -- How does this process work? -Eric, Oak Park Calif.
Answer: First, Congratulations on being elected as a pledged delegate. The enthusiasm and energy of this cycle's nominating process has meant a huge increase in the number of folks participating in the process -- which is great for the Party.
There are three Standing Committees of the Convention -- Credentials, Platform, and Rules. Each committee has a total of 186 members, with 161 of those coming from the states and territories. The remaining 25 committee members were nominated by DNC Chairman Gov. Howard Dean and elected by the DNC Executive Committee in January 2008. For those members from states and territories, Standing Committee members are selected by each state's National Convention delegates after all of the state's delegates have been elected.
State-based Standing Committee members are allocated to presidential candidates proportionally based on the state-wide results of a state's primary or caucus. As a rule and as general practice, standing committee members do not need to be Convention delegates. In most states, Presidential Campaigns provide a recommendation of individuals to serve as Standing Committee members to the National Convention delegates who in turn select those members. So as a pledged delegate, you will have the opportunity to ratify your state's standing committee members.
In order to allow as many people as possible to participate in the Convention, campaigns generally spread their supporters out as delegates, alternates and standing committee members. So it's probably unlikely that pledged delegates will be elected as standing committee members, though not entirely impossible or prohibited under the rules. You should talk with your State Party about the process used in your state or territory.

Question 2

Is a simple majority required during the delegate voting at the Democratic National Convention? If neither candidate receives enough votes in the first round of voting, is it possible for the ballots to go to a second, third and fourth round and so on? If so, is there a point when delegates are free to change their vote for a different candidate? Pauline, Houston TX
Answer: All very good questions. The Convention's Procedural Rules require that the Party's Presidential and Vice Presidential candidates be nominated by a majority vote of the delegates. A majority is more than 50% of the total number of delegate votes that can be cast at the Convention, not merely those present and voting.
Balloting continues until a nominee is selected. A candidate secures the nomination upon receiving a majority vote, no matter which ballot. Pledged delegates are not legally "bound" to vote for the candidate they were elected to represent. They can, and have in the past, cast a vote for another presidential candidate at the Convention.
It is entirely possible for the vote to go to a second or third (or more) ballot and there are many examples of that in past Conventions. However, the last time more than one ballot was needed for the Presidential candidate was at the 1952 Democratic Convention and the last time the Vice Presidential voting went to more than one ballot was at the 1956 Convention. Looking to more than 50 years of history as our guide, it is likely that the Party's nominees will be selected on the first ballot.

Question 3

What are the responsibilities of a delegate during the Convention? Beth, Verdi NV
Answer: Delegates are the individuals who vote at the Convention. During the Convention's business sessions, the delegates vote on the reports of the standing committees, the candidate(s) for president, the candidate(s) for vice president, and other official business. Prior to the Convention proceedings starting each day, delegates will attend their state delegation's daily breakfast meeting where they will hear from prominent state leaders and campaign surrogates. Also during the day, delegates may participate in constituency caucus meetings or training sessions. Of course, delegates and alternates will also use some of their free time to explore the Denver area and see everything the mountain West has to offer.

Question 4

I understand that the DNC agrees upon a platform every four (4) years. When was the last one and what does the platform include? Anonymous
Answer: The National Platform is an official statement of the Party’s position on a wide variety of issues. Each issue category included in the Platform is a “plank.” A new Platform is adopted every four years by the Democratic National Convention.
In 1840, the Democratic Party adopted the first-ever platform by a political party. That document was less than 1,000 words. Our 2004 Platform is about 18,000 words, but some Platforms have been as large as 40,000 words.
The Democratic Party has a long and proud history of representing and protecting the interests of working Americans and guaranteeing personal liberties for all. The 2004 National Platform emphasized four key Democratic Party ideals: (1) A Strong Respected America; (2) A Strong, Growing Economy; (3) Strong, Healthy Families; and (4) A Strong American Community.
To take a look at the 2004 Platform, go to
The 2008 Platform will be drafted by the Platform Committee which is responsible for drafting and recommending a proposed National Platform for approval at the Democratic National Convention. Please stay tuned for more information on the 2008 Platform.

Question 5

I have heard that delegates vote for the vice presidential nominee just as they would vote for the presidential nominee. Could this mean that the vice presidential nominee is not the choice of the presidential nominee? Could you please explain this process? – Fred, Snoqualmie WA
Answer: Very good question. We fully expect that the Party’s vice presidential nominee will be an individual, who along with Sen. Obama, can lead the Party to victory in November. Under the Party’s rule and the Call for the Convention, the vice presidential candidate is nominated in the same manner as the presidential nominee. At previous conventions, an actual roll call vote of states has been conducted for the vice presidential nominee. At still other conventions, the rules have been suspended and the vice presidential candidate is nominated by acclamation.
The nomination of the vice presidential candidate has evolved over the years. Throughout most of the 1800s and early 1900s, the vice presidential nominee was handpicked by Party bosses. In 1940, President Roosevelt insisted that the Convention pick Henry Wallace, threatening not to run if Wallace was not selected.
The last time the selection of the vice presidential nominee was left up to the Convention to decide was in 1956 when, in a very unusual move, presidential nominee Adlai Stevenson did not select a running mate.
Two ballots were needed to select the vice presidential nominee from among Senators Albert Gore, Hubert Humphrey, Estes Kefauver, John F. Kennedy and New York City Mayor Robert Wagner. Ultimatey, Sen. Kefauver prevailed over Sen. Kennedy on the second ballot. Since 1960, the Party’s presidential nominee has selected his running mate.

Question 6

How can I attend the Convention if I'm not a delegate? – Many Excited Democrats
Answer: I've had quite a few emails lately from excited Democrats who are looking for a way to attend the Convention but are not credentialed as delegates. As I'm sure you can imagine, with the unprecedented levels of enthusiasm and energy that have followed this year's primaries and caucuses, there is higher demand than ever for the chance to see what will inevitably be history in the making.
Here at the DNCC, we are responsible for credentialing all of the delegates, alternates and media along with other Party affiliated organizations and elected officials. While tickets are not available to the general public, each state is given a few more credentials (over and above its number of delegates and alternates) and is free to distribute them at its discretion. I recall that in the past some states have held lotteries and other activities as fun ways to distribute these credentials. To find out what opportunities exist for you, contact your state's Democratic Party. Though again, even with those additional credentials, demand is always high.
In addition to that, this year we are "bringing down the walls" of the Convention hall and providing more ways than ever for everyone to be a part of the Convention experience. If you live in Denver or will be visiting the city, there will be events happening around town that are free and open to the public. If you can't make it to Denver, will stream the Convention activities gavel-to-gavel, live in HD, so you're guaranteed a front row seat to this Convention. For the first time, we're also simulcasting the entire event in Spanish on the site as well.
I definitely want you to know that we recognize the excitement and attention surrounding the 2008 Democratic National Convention, and we are thinking outside the box (and outside the Hall) in our plans to bring you closer than ever to this historic event.

Keep checking back here at for more details in the weeks ahead.

Barack Obama Brings Hope To The White House

No matter where I go around the Bay Area, I see this poster which has also become a jacket button and I believe a screensaver, too. It says it all -- Barack Obama will bring hope to the White House.