Tag Archives: democrat

Nerds for Obama Slapped With a Removal Request, from the Obama Campaign

The issue of copyright, intellectual property, fair use and the re-mix generation  have been a point of contention for this current Congress and the Obama administration. It should be no surprise then that Nerds for Obama have been asked to remove all items from their webstore by Obama for America‘s corporate counsel. The administration and Congress have proven themselves again as friends of the copyright protection lawyers.

The website, launched in early September, attempts to engage young and enthusiastic voters by linking President Obama to pop culture like Harry Potter, Doctor Who, Game of Thrones and more. They engage, quite effectively, with social media getting geeks excited and leveraging memes.

The site also provided the chance to purchase t-shirts, buttons and stickers of the Obama campaign logo mashed up with geek imagery as well as free items to use as icons on websites. The idea being that people can show off their support in a fun way and support Obama along with their cultural interest, taking a play from the popular tactic of political campaigns targeting their campaign swag. You’ll see “Jews for Obama”, “Teachers for Obama”, etc. Hell I had a “Beer drinkers for Kerry” back in 2004.

The website was engaging fandom and targeting groups of people that are normally overlooked by campaigns. I could go into a long diatribe about trying to target video game players while working on a Presidential campaign some years ago. The Obama campaign even seemed to dig it, reblogging on Tumblr a photo of the website’s “Ravenclaws for Obama” button.

But, fun an politics don’t seem to mix. The website was contacted by Obama for America’s corporate counsel and asked to remove all of the items from the Nerds for Obama website. The lawyers took issue with the usage of the Obama logo, which is a trademarked image. In all cases, the website had modified the logo and never used it in an unaltered form.

There’s a good chance this falls under “Fair Use.” “Fair Use” is permits limited use of copyrighted material without acquiring permission from the rights holders. When determining it you need to look at how much of the work is used, what the purpose of the use is and any damages/losses that might be due to the “fair use.” And, even I’ll admit, this is a grey area, not clearly defined and I’d be unsure how a judge would decide the case.

No matter, this copyright trolling by the Obama campaign’s lawyers hurts the campaign. It disenfranchises potential supporters and puts a damper on those who have participated. The campaign and their lawyers are taking the fun out of it all. There’s clearly enthusiastic supporters here and instead of trying to end the site’s activities, it’d have been smarter to bring the site into the fold and encourage it, much like so many “Draft” movements have done in the past, including one for Obama.

But, in the almost four years in office, the administration’s actions has clearly turned it’s back on the re-mix culture and generation that helped propelled it into the White House. It’s no shock to see this, and unfortunate too. No matter the result and how this is resolved, this reflects poorly on the campaign and administration.

The campaign, and President need to return to the fun whimsy of the Doctor, instead of the cold calculated heart of the Dalek.


Kickstarter Spotlight – Parecomic – A Documentary Graphic Novel

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It’s been a bit since I posted up a worthy Kickstarter project, but it seems Parecomic is the perfect one to kick this off again with.  Written by Sean Michael Wilson, and drawn by Carl Thompson, Parecomic is about Michael Albert and his life’s struggle as a US left wing activist.  The comics begins in the 1960’s with student demonstrations and lifestyle rebellions.

From the development of the anti war movement, civil rights, the woman’s movement, and the black panthers to the establishment of alternative media like South End Press and Znet. PARECOMIC shows us Michael’s story, and at the same time the ideas and issues that influence both our society and the better alternative that we can build via the anarchist influenced system of participatory economics. Or PARECON for short – hence the title for our book, which rather started out as a joke – but has stuck: PARECOMIC.

The comic book will be published by Seven Stories Press,  a NY publisher who specialize in books on human rights, politics, social and economic justice.

Best Pledges:  The pledges are a bit high, but the $20, $40 or $60 ones get you a copy of the book.

Elizabeth Warren, Wonder Woman

Elizabeth Warren, Chairman of the Congressiona...

Image via Wikipedia

Elizabeth Warren is a wonder woman in so many ways.  A Harvard professor, lawyer, consumer advocate, former chair of the Congressional Oversight Panel and a vital advisor in the implementation for the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, she’s currently running for the U.S. Senate in Massachusetts.  Last night was her first primary debate where she squared off against Bob Massie, an entrepreneur and one-time candidate for lieutenant governor; Alan Khazei, co-founder of the City Year youth program; Tom Conroy, a state legislator; Marisa DeFranco, an immigration lawyer; and Herb Robinson, an engineer.

With so many important topics like the national debt and budget, wars in Iraq and Afghanistan and the numerous other ills affecting us, a hot topic had to be asked, “If you could be a superhero, who would you be?”  Warren’s answer?  Wonder Woman.

Such a cool outfit, and the bracelets — they were the whole thing for me.

The winner of the primary gets to take on current Senator Scott Brown in 2012.  You can read more about the debate here or catch some of her answer in the video below at the 1:29 mark.

(via The Mary Sue)

Former Congressman Alan Grayson Chats With Graphic Policy

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Alan GraysonFormer Florida Congressman Alan Grayson made headlines in the comic book world when he sent out an email reflecting upon an old issue of Green Lantern in a discussion about race and politics.  This came after he used to same topic in a speech before liberal activists at Netroots Nation 2011.  Grayson was kind enough to take some time out of his busy schedule to chat about the email and his interest in comic books.

In between meetings the former Congressman was friendly and very engaging on a long range of topics including the origin of the email, his comic book reading habit as well as politics in general.  The email definitely put a smile on my face.  It’s great to see use of a shared cultural moment in politics, but also something a bit geeky.  Grayson was happy I enjoyed it, especially since there’s been “not too much smiling on the left.”  As a teenager he was a DC comics fan, sticking mostly with Green Lantern and Green Arrow, but also dabbling in the Avengers, Justice League and the Legion of Superheroes.

But Green Lantern #76 really stuck with him.  While comics had often dealt with right and wrong, Denny O’Neil‘s comic was a fundamental shift in his eyes.  It’s use of the real world was something entirely new.  This wasn’t an allegory like Star Trek used to discuss modern social issues, this was in your face, there wasn’t a need for cultural allusions.  This wasn’t the first time Grayson used a cultural reference though.  References to Joni Mitchell and Bob Dylan have been scattered throughout his speeches and writing in the past and has he put it, “it’s better than quoting Charlemagne.”

The infamous panel struck a chord with the Congressman, even after over 30 years.  As a whole, he sees political leaders distracted from doing good things and the panel is as relevant to our times as it was when it was first published in 1970.  Just as Green Lantern was confronted with, Grayson feels that today’s political leaders act like “they work for someone else, and not us.”  After reciting stats on how many Americans are uninsured, without a job and how many homes are worth less than their mortgages, Grayson feels that politicians need to pay attention to the people counting on them, and that they’re “not doing enough for their constituents.”

The reaction to the email was overwhelmingly positive, which is great for Grayson who wrote the email himself.  There was a connection as many remembered the comic book themselves.  An outpouring of comments on Facebook and popular political website DailyKos followed a blog post with the same content.  This further shows that issue is today still relevant and a landmark issue.  After it’s publication the series dealt with real world issues more and more including overpopulation.  Denny O’Neil forsook metaphor, leading to an “evolution of the medium.”  This culminated with Speedy becoming a junky which caused all sorts of issues with the Comics Code which regulated content in comic books.

Today, the Former Congressman is enjoying comic books in a different form, the movies and animated shows that he’s been watching with his family through Netflix.  It’s something both he and his children enjoy.  After seeing V for Vendetta and Watchmen he decided to check out their comic book form as well as other works by Alan Moore.  He appreciates the sophistication of the work which only makes Grayson look that more fondly on O’Neil’s Green Lantern run.

As a whole Grayson looks at the email as a good example of the general phenomenon of communication that comes from the inside.  People appreciate the honest discussion more, and it shows more of who you are as a politician as well as the things you believe in.  The email revealed Grayson is an authentic person, he’s just not saying things to get the job or keep it, he really believes in what he discusses, it’s who he is, something that’s been brewing for over 30 years with a little help from Denny O’Neil and Green Lantern.

Former Congressman Alan Grayson Sends Out an Email About Green Lantern, Race and Politics

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I’m a bit dumbfounded (and geeking out) on this one, but I was surprised to find this email in my inbox from former Democratic Congressman Alan Grayson.  The email has been posted below unedited (other than removing the unsubscribe link), hence the donation button and Salsa Labs logo:

Dear Brett:

The movie Green Lantern opened on Friday, to mixed reviews.  Maybe the reviews would have been better if the movie had included this powerful exchange, from Green Lantern #76:

African-American Man: I’ve been readin’ about you . . . How you work for the blue skins . . . and how on a planet someplace you helped out the orange skins . . . and you done considerable for the purple skins!  Only there’s skins you never bother with – the black skins!  I want to know . . . how come?!  Answer me that, Mr. Green Lantern!

Green Lantern:  I  . . . can’t . . . .


I may never have the chance to talk to George W. Bush, Dick Cheney, Donald Rumsfeld, or any of the other Masters of the Universe who led and misled our country for eight long years.  Nor may I ever have the chance to speak to Sarah Palin, Newt Gingrich, Rush Limbaugh, or any of the other savage right-wing loons who want to finish the job that Bush et al. started.  But if I could, I might say:

Me:  I’ve been readin’ about you . . . How you work for multinational corporations like Big Oil. . . .  And how you say you built all those roads and schools and bridges in some country in Asia.   And in some other country in the Middle East someplace you got rid of some dictator.  Only there’s one country you never bother with – America!  I want to know . . . how come?!  Answer me that, Mr. Flag-Waiving Patriot!

Them:  I  . . . can’t . . . .

Well, I can answer that.  For a generation now, we have seen the heartless, callous erosion and destruction of all the things that make you a member of the middle class in America:

A job.

A home.

A car.

The chance to see a doctor when you are sick.

A pension or retirement account.

Social Security and Medicare.

And we’ve seen them replaced by endless war, falling home values, no pensions, lower wages, and now what Karl Marx called a “reserve army of the unemployed” – to keep wages down forever.

Even after only two years in office, as one out of 435 in the House, I can point to a lot of things that I did to preserve, protect and expand the middle class in America, and to help those of us who were falling through the cracks.

I look at our so-called leaders on the other side of the aisle, and I see nothing like that.  Only a perverse delight in eliminating programs that help my fellow Americans in need.  They’ll lead us, all right – they’ll lead us straight to ruin.

The next time you see one of them — at a town hall meeting, in their plush offices, or just on the street – ask them this:  “What have you done to help the people?  Answer me that!”

If they’re honest, they’ll say what Green Lantern said:  “I can’t.”


Alan Grayson

In brightest day,
In blackest night,
No evil shall escape my sight.
Let those who worship evil’s might,
Beware my power: Green Lantern’s Light.


Paid for and Authorized by the Committee to Elect Alan Grayson

empowered by Salsa

U.S. Senate Candidate is the Ultimate Warrior

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Alvin GreeneAlvin Greene’s improbable candidacy for U.S. Senate.  Taking on sitting Senator Jim Demint, his race for South Carolina‘s Senate seat started off weird and has only gotten odder.  With spending little money, almost no campaigning and no website, Greene won the Democratic nomination, defeating Vic Rawl and garnering 55% of the vote.

An uproar occurred over this long shot win, but Greene was certified the nominee.  Oh yeah, did we mention Greene received an involuntary honorable discharge from the U.S. Army, is unemployed, lives with his father and on August 13, 2010, it was announced that he had been indicted on criminal charges of showing pornographic pictures to an 18-year old female college student?

But, what does this have to do with comics!?

With the help from Bob Raymond, Greene has been running a graphic novel on his campaign website depicting himself as the “Ultimate Warrior.”  Four pages have been released so far.

The series sees Greene discharge because he spoke out about issues he saw with intelligence regarding weapons of mass destruction in Iraq.  According to his Wikipedia page:

During Greene’s time in the Air Force he received numerous poor evaluations from his superiors. The evaluations stated Greene was an ineffective leader who lacked organization and was unable to express thoughts clearly.

While the art is actually pretty decent (the pages are much better than the picture shown above), the story is hilariously bad.  It jumps from his discharge to seeing a family being evicted with him finally chasing down the bad guys only to be distracted by a young women doing research.  The tool they use to allow you to view the pages doesn’t even work all that well generating a small picture of the intended page.

Weird is an understatement in describing this candidacy and candidate.

Choice Quotes

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Ex Machina #50

Mayor Hundred – Thinking about crap like that is what Government does best.  It’s the unthinkable we always fuck up.


Kremlin – Republican, Democrat, Independent, whatever.  These are just Coke and Pepsi, different names same watered-down shit.

Fables #97

Brock – Stinky was my farm prisoner-bondage name, and I won’t hear it any longer.

Marvel Universe vs. The Punisher #2

Priest – Even when it looked like the economy was no longer sliding down the drain, the aftershock was throwing so many people out of work.  CNN may have talked about recovery, but in the blue-collar trenches we were back to the Great Depression.  It felt like those Wall Street fiends had sold all our souls to the devil.  In my vanity and naiveté I thought, well, at least things have bottomed out.  Things have to get better from here.

Win the Dem Presidential Primary Get Spider-Man Schwag

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One of my early jobs was as a Special Assistant for Senator John Kerry.  This was during his run for President around 2004.  Tons of random items were sent including some comic book related items.

Around May of 2004 a box made it’s way through security filled with all kinds of Spider-Man goodies.  Sent by Embassy Suites Hotels a letter was included:

Dear Senator Kerry,

For being this nation’s top Democrat, you’re a superhero in our minds!

Because you provided the inspiration for the latest in save-the-day accessories, we’ve enclosed an Embassy Suites Spider-Man 2 Web Pack just for you!  Kids across America will be getting the Web Packs free this summer when they stay at Embassy Suites Hotels.

So pass on the Spider-Man 2 Web Pack and make a superhero out of someone who makes your life just a bit easier, or keep the Web Pack for yourself.  It may just be this summer’s hottest accessory!

Me being the comic geek, of course I begged for the pack.  Below are photos of the items included.

Spider-Man Web Pack box Read more

Tuesday Twitter Fun – Captain America, Health Care, Obama, and More, Oh My!

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Last week numerous people involved in the comic book industry tweeted their thoughts about the Captain America/Tea Party controversy.  This weeks sees some spill over as some of those same people contemplate other issues connected and much more.

Alex Segura isn’t just the publicity manager for DC comics but also a great resource for breaking politics news, http://twitter.com/alex_segura.

Alex SeguraAlex Segura

Ed Brubaker is one of the great modern comic book writers, http://twitter.com/brubaker.

Ed Brubaker

Gail Simone is also an amazing writer and received a lot of flack for her statements on the controversy, http://twitter.com/GailSimone.

Gail SimoneOur new friend Ron Marz decided to chime in on the Sarah Palin/Rahm Emanuel issue, http://twitter.com/ronmarz.

Ron Marz

Mark Waid is an amazing writer as well, and decided to speak out about his views on Captain America, http://twitter.com/MarkWaid.

Mark WaidMark WaidBen Templesmith is a comic book writer who’s actually worked on a book about American Presidents, http://twitter.com/Templesmith.

Ben Templesmith

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