Tuesday, September 27, 2005

Obama's podcasts and Clinton's version of Slamdance

I found another cool podcast today--by Barack Obama! You can download it straight from the iTunes Music Store, listen to it on his site or subscribe through his site and listen to it though a podcasting application (iTunes, Odeo, iPodder, iPodderX, Doppler, NetNewsWire).

I post these kinds of things because it gives me hope that there are a few lone voices in powerful positions advocating for the future of all Americans, not just rich white ones, and for our environment. Looks like he just started podcasting so he just has a few:

• Hurricane Relief Efforts
• Katrina Relief Spending Accountability and Securing Our Energy Future
• Poverty in America and Opposing a Photo ID Requirement for Voting

The podcast about the photo ID requirement for voting was interesting and inspired me to email my Representative and Senator. Maybe you already know about this, but I can only bear to hear bits of the news so it was new to me that on September 19th the Carter-Baker Commission on Federal Election Reform released its recommendations for improving the electoral process and they recommended a photo ID requirement to vote. Obama points out that many poor and elderly people don't have the money, transportation or proper documentation (i.e. birth certificate) to get a photo ID. He writes on his Web site, "In the last election, many Americans stood for hours and hours just to exercise their Constitutional right to vote. . . .We should be making this easier, not more difficult. And we should be figuring it out how to make it easier for all Americans - not just those with a car, or the extra cash to pay for voter ID card."

Yay, Obama!

My mom turned me on to some interesting work Clinton did this month holding his own version of Slamdance (the alternative to the Sundance Film Festival) shortly after the UN Summit this month, the Clinton Global Initiative. Tina Brown wrote a great piece about it in the Washington Post on September 22nd.

Basically, Clinton got out his rolodex and asked heads of state, business leaders, academics, and NGO leaders to come up with practical solutions to issues surrounding poverty, religious conflict, climate change and "governance, enterprise and investment" in international development. The cool part about the conference was that each person who attended had to make a specific commitment about how they would take action towards one of the solutions discussed. When the next summit is held, each person will report on the status of his or her commitment.

I find this particularly appealing because when I facilitate group career transition workshops, I find that the most powerful part of the workshop is when each person announces at the end of class the steps he or she will take towards his or her goal. At the beginning of the next workshop they report what they were able to accomplish and the group provides advice and resources to help them work through any obstacles that they encountered during the week so that they could make progress in the weeks ahead.

Accountability to a group, access to group members' multiple ways of thinking and resources, and inclusion in a community are an extremely powerful threesome. It is exciting to see it used in a global context.

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