kottke.org posts about Larry Lessig
Larry Lessig is raising funds for running for President in the 2016 election. Lessig would run as a "referendum president", whose single task would be to pass a package of reforms called the Citizens Equality Act of 2017, and then resign to allow his Vice President to take over.
The Citizens Equality Act of 2017 consists of three parts: make it as easy as possible to vote, end the gerrymandering of political districts, and base campaign funding on all eligible voters, not just corporations or the wealthy.
Four years ago, Cenk Uygur of The Young Turks told Netroots Nation, "There is only one issue in this country," and he was referring to the corrupt funding of public elections.
That corruption is part of a more fundamental inequality that we've allowed the politicians to create: we don't have a Congress that represents us equally.
Every issue - from climate change to gun safety, from Wall Street reform to defense spending - is tied to this "one issue." Achieving citizens equality in America is our one mission.
Read why he wants to run and watch his pitch:
This is a long shot (and he likely knows it), but I wish him well...it's a worthy and important goal.
Larry Lessig is shifting the focus of his work away from IP and copyright issues and toward tackling what he calls corruption. "I don't mean corruption in the simple sense of bribery. I mean 'corruption' in the sense that the system is so queered by the influence of money that it can't even get an issue as simple and clear as term extension right. Politicians are starved for the resources concentrated interests can provide. In the US, listening to money is the only way to secure reelection. And so an economy of influence bends public policy away from sense, always to dollars."
Jeffrey Toobin, the New Yorker's legal writer, has penned a piece about Google's book scanning efforts and the legal challenges it faces. Interestingly, both Google and the publishers who are suing them say that the lawsuit is basically a business negotiation tactic. However, according to Larry Lessig, settling the lawsuit might not be the best thing for anyone outside the lawsuit: "Google wants to be able to get this done, and get permission to resume scanning copyrighted material at all the libraries. For the publishers, if Google gives them anything at all, it creates a practical precedent, if not a legal precedent, that no one has the right to scan this material without their consent. That's a win for them. The problem is that even though a settlement would be good for Google and good for the publishers, it would be bad for everyone else."
An Inconvenient Truth, a movie about Al Gore's global warming crusade, opens today in NYC and LA. John Heilemann has a lengthy piece on Gore for New York magazine, the NY Times has a piece about Gore and the movie, the climate science blog RealClimate has a positive review of the film, and here again is my review. Larry Lessig, who knows a thing or two about bringing tha PowerPoint noize, loves the movie, calling the slideshow "the most extraordinary lecture I have ever seen anyone give about anything".
An Inconvenient Truth will open in the rest of the US in mid-June; check this theater listing for details. For more news, check out the movie's blog.
Choirboy. "As head boy at a legendary choir school, Lawrence Lessig was repeatedly molested by the charismatic choir director, part of a horrific pattern of child abuse there. Now, as one of America's most famous lawyers, he's put his own past on trial to make sure such a thing never happens again."