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Will you Stand Up for Heroes this Thursday?

Hey there, folks - Here's the deal, The Bob Woodruff Foundation’s Sixth Annual Stand Up for Heroes benefit's less than a week away.

The Bob Woodruff Foundation does real good work to support injured service members, vets, and their families. They have over 70 community partnerships nationwide, and are dedicated to ensuring that this population of people are thriving. I've pledged to match any donations raised during the live stream until midnight EST, up to $25K.

The folks at the Woodruff Foundation are targeting the real needs of transitioning vets and focus on important things, such as identifying barriers to employment and suicide prevention, among other needs that wounded warriors have. I'm not speaking from experience, but from a place of thanks – the wounds of these injuries may not always be visible, their impact is felt long after a service member returns home.

The event, Stand Up for Heroes, honors and supports those heroic folks who were injured while serving our country.

This year, the event features musical performances by some people you may have heard of: John Mayer, Bruce Springsteen, Roger Waters, and more. And for the first time, it'll be live streamed so you can Stand Up for Heroes from wherever you are. Just tune in at 8pm on Thursday, November 8th to enjoy the show.

Also, in honor of their inaugural live stream, the Bob Woodruff Foundation's giving away 2 free tickets to next year’s show — an event that’s sure to be as inspirational as this year’s. For your chance to win, RSVP to the live stream today: http://join.remind.org/rsvp.

Our country's caring for more injured service members than at almost any other time in history. The numbers are staggering:

  • 1 in every 50 service members who served in Afghanistan or Iraq has sustained a physical combat injury.
  • 1 in 5 suffer from post traumatic stress, traumatic brain injury and/or depression.

For many, it’s going to take a lifetime of assistance to heal their wounds. Folks, they've really stood up for us, now it’s time we stood up for them.

The folks at the Bob Woodruff Foundation and I hope the live stream will allow more people to tune into the show, and that it'll help raise awareness for the cause.

Stand Up for Heroes by RSVP’ing to Thursday's live stream today, and make sure to help out by donating if you're able to.

More later…

Poll Problems or Questions? OVL has the Answers

Here's the deal, folks -

Real big news, Our Vote Live (OVL) just launched this morning. I supported the good folks at Election Protection, Lawyers' Committee, NOI, and Ushahidi who developed and launched this site.

It will map out all reported voting/election questions and incidences around the country. You can report problems on the website: http://www.ourvotelive.org/ or by using Twitter: #OVLreport, or calling into Election Protection's hotline: 1-866-OUR-VOTE or 1-888-VE-Y-VOTA.

The new site allows voters to report problems at the polls, receive assistance from trained volunteers more quickly and easily, and allow for better tracking and reporting on the nature and location of these incidents. Features include:

  • Easier reporting. New systems allow voters to report problems and submit questions and concerns around the voting experience using smart phones, online, and Twitter (#OVLReport), in addition to the existing telephone hotline.
  • Faster, more accurate response. Trained volunteers have instant access to necessary data, including polling place information and local election rules and regulations – streamlining the processing and resolution of complaints, and expanding the capacity of volunteers to respond to reported issues.
  • Greater transparency and more accurate reporting. As reports are filed, the data will be collected and grouped into categories, and then visually shown on an online interactive map and timeline to provide a real-time interface showing the types and regularity of election-related problems.

So please, folks, share this effort and help folks have easier access to voting. And I believe that it's truly our civic duty to vote, so do so for our country!

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Craigconnects to Match $25K in Donations on Crowdrise to Support Hurricane Sandy Relief

Ok folks, Hurricane Sandy is real serious. It’s causing a lot of damage across the East Coast including my hometown Morristown, New Jersey from downed power lines to major flooding. The news is reporting that this storm could be one of the top ten costliest storms in history.

A lot of good folks out there need our help. So I’m doing my small part by matching $25K to relief organizations like the American Red Cross, Feeding America, AmeriCares, IAVA, and National Wildlife Federation, who have their boots on the ground and will be helping people (and the little furry ones) out. Check out my Crowdrise campaign.

And hey, if you can spare a few bucks to these relief organizations please do.

There are lots of good folks who are working on relief efforts, so feel free to start your own fundraiser on Crowdrise too. I will match up to $25K for all donations supporting relief efforts.

This is my small part to make a difference here. A nerd's gotta do, what a nerd's gotta do.

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Hurricane Sandy relief resources (UPDATE 2)

Okay, Hurricane Sandy is a big deal, already caused a lot of damage and is expected to cause even more harm to communities across the EastCoast.

Here's a list of Hurricane Sandy relief resources we compiled. We'll keep adding to this list too.

Let me know if you have other credible resources too.

Stay safe.

UPDATE 2
Hurricane Kit: Explaining Hurricanes to Kids with Big Bird
http://www.sesamestreet.org/parents/topicsandactivities/toolkits/hurricane

NYT Readers Photo of Hurricane Sandy
http://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2012/10/28/us/hurricane-sandy-photos.html

A Facebook Page for Lost and Found pets
https://www.facebook.com/pages/Hurricane-Sandy-Lost-and-Found-Pets/403922739676650
UPDATE 1
Preparing Makes Sense for People with Disabilities and Other Access and Functional Needs
http://www.fema.gov/medialibrary/media_records/7028

Disaster Safety & Preparedness Guide for Seniors & People with Disabilities
http://www.nyredcross.org/?nd=disaster_safety_guide_for_seniors_and_people_with_disabilities

First Aid Kit Tips for your Pets
Prepare a first-aid kit for your pets and to be aware of how to treat common injuries. Some tips here.
http://www.findavet.us/2012/04/how-to-treat-top-5-dog-first-aid-situations/

American Red Cross
To find a shelter, people can download the Red Cross Hurricane app : http://www.redcross.org/mobile-apps/hurricane-app

You can find a list of currently open Red Cross shelters at: http://www.redcross.org/nss/

Visit the Red Cross web site: http://www.redcross.org or call 1-800-RED CROSS (1-800-733-2767).

People should also register on the Red Cross Safe and Well website, a secure and easy-to-use online tool that helps families connect during emergencies:  http://www.redcross.org/find-help/contact-family/register-safe-listing

@NotifyNYC on Twitter
Folks in NYC, you can text ‘follow NotifyNYC’ to 40404 to get @NotifyNYC (http://www.twitter.com/notifyNYC) tweets as text messages.

Google Crisis Map
Google Crisis map that has good information about Hurricane Sandy as well as shelter information:  http://google.org/crisismap/sandy-2012

Disaster Assistance
A secure, user-friendly web portal that consolidates information about federally funded government assistance to disaster victims, including the ability to apply for FEMA benefits directly online: http://www.disasterassistance.gov

State Offices of Emergency Management
A list of the emergency management offices in all 50 states plus territories:
http://www.fema.gov/regional-operations/state-offices-and-agencies-emergency-management

Disaster Distress Helpline
The Disaster Distress Helpline (DDH) is the first national hotline dedicated to providing year-round disaster crisis counseling.

This toll-free, multilingual, crisis support service is available 24/7 via telephone (1-800-985-5990) and SMS (text `TalkWithUs' to 66746)  residents in the U.S. and its territories who are experiencing emotional distress related to natural or man-made disasters: http://disasterdistress.samhsa.gov/

How to help
The folks at Huffington Post have a great resource, note some redundancy:  http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/10/26/hurricane-sandy-how-to-help_n_2022488.html 

Restoring trustworthiness to news

Hey there, folks, I'm speaking at the Poynter Journalism Ethics Symposium today. I'm giving my speech right about now, and this is what I'll be saying and talking about:

I'm speaking only as a news consumer, I just want news I can trust.

The press should be the immune system of democracy, and needs to fulfill that role again.

The observations I make are based on insights from industry insiders, many of whom are at the Poynter symposium. I really appreciate your presence here, and your ongoing work, for being in the vanguard of restoring trustworthiness to the news.

My hope is that the outcome of this effort will move the needle regarding trustworthiness of the news industry.

There're many paths toward that end, and they're all far more difficult than I imply here. I'm guessing these are required for survival of the news industry, and might allow premium news operations to thrive.

For example, we need to establish fact-checking as the norm for all significant news stories. Previous fact-checking of specific sources  should drive future analysis; if a source has a poor record, that should be made clear.

It's also time to end the pretense of objectivity in frequent situation where one side of a story just isn't real, and someone is brought in to present a deceptive position.

That's what folks sometimes call "false balance," similar to the "CNN leaves it there" problem. In both variations, the interviewer presents a platform for a speaker to lie to the public,  unchallenged, and often in a manner that amplifies an existing deception. (For later: is the interviewer and/or news org complicit in deception when the lie is aired without effective challenge?)

Finally, how do we restore ethical practices to industry players  which shun them as outdated and inefficient?  A superior ethical code might lead to industry self regulation. It that's perceived as unworkable, market forces might solve the problem; only ethical news orgs would be perceived as trustworthy, and worth paying for. A legal solution might become an unintended consequence; unethical news orgs might be regarding as unprotected by First Amendment and shield law protections. That might cause enormous liability issues.

We need a trustworthy press to serve as the immune system of our democracy, and my hope is that we can move the needle in that direction with this symposium and its aftermath.