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Shahid Buttar's blog

Remembering a dear friend

A few weeks ago, I mentioned the loss of my friend, Jay Marx. Today, the Burning Man blog published a memorial I wrote to celebrate his life and activism. 

It's worth a read when you have some time, and includes videos of Jay to preserve his legacy in his own voice. Here's a teaser:

Grooving across the United States

Moving back to San Francisco this month took me two weeks and all the way across the country. In addition to several stops along the way (read on), one of my highlights was visiting my hometown -- St. Louis, MO, where I had a chance to play my first hometown DJ & MC set at Upstairs Lounge in Tower Grove for Victor Levy's going away party.

A funky deep house set on a Saturday night in St. Louis at Upstairs Lounge (08.01.2015) by Shahid Buttar on Mixcloud

If this is what a midlife crisis looks like, I hope it never ends

I've known that the summer of 2015 would be epic, but little did I know what shape its memories would take. Having left my job two months ago, and with the benefit of one month remaining on my sabbatical-of-sorts, a few reflections worth sharing leap to my mind.

"Green out of the pockets of politicians..."

The PEX Summer Music Festival in July 2015 gave me a chance to break through a few personal musical milestones. My DJ & MC set at Meso Creso on Friday night better realized the vision that prompted me to start DJing in the first place -- fusing the lyrical spirit of conscious hip-hop with the funk and delirium of house music -- than any gig I've played yet. Fortunately, the inspiration struck at a good time.

A tribal, dreamy, funky, conscious, Latin, and sometimes techy deep house set mixed on the Meso Creso sound system at the PEX summer music festival (07.04.2015) by Shahid Buttar on Mixcloud

 

This 2:00 video clip shows me mixing between tracks, our fabulous and frenetic crowd celebrating the wee hours of Independence Day, and a single rhyme challenging both drug policy and money in politics.

Debating an NSA apologist on the eve of a Senate victory

On Tuesday, May 19, I was invited to join a panel on The Heat including my colleague Julian Sanchez from the Cato Institute and Fred Fleitz, a former CIA employee and Senior Vice President at the Center for Security Policy. Our discussion spanned two segments (both posted below after the jump).

Days later, popular constitutionalists scored a major victory when the Senate failed to extend section 215 of the PATRIOT Act, allowing its scheduled expiration under a previous act of Congress. It's the first time a controversial surveillance authority has ended since unconstitutional mass surveillance was first illegally imposed in secret over a decade ago, and offers me particular cause for celebration as I'll be wrapping up my time leading the Bill of Rights Defense Committee next week. 

A "Superhero Supermix" for the DC Bike Party Superhero Sprint

Tonight, the DC Bike Party hosted a Superhero Sprint, and played a DJ mix I recorded specifically for the event on a mobile sound system pedaled through the city by a longtime friend (of 15 years!) who build it. Read on (after the jump) for an explanation of how this mix aims to depict a universal hero myth elucidated by renowned mythologist Joseph Campbell.

An electro-swing, space disco, dark, goofy, deep house "Superhero Supermix" for the DC Bike Party Superhero Sprint (05.13.15) by Shahid Buttar on Mixcloud

Fighting corruption in the surveillance state

I've had a chance to publicly critique the intelligence establishment several times this month. After being quoted by the Guardian as describing the proposed USA Freedom Act as "yesterday's news," I had a chance to visit Thom Hartmann several times on The Big Picture. Here's our on April 28 interview:

That visit was followed by a series of return appearances on The Big Picture.

Questioning police body cameras across the Midwest

This month, I had a chance to invite audiences in two midwestern cities at the center of the Black Lives Matter uprising to reconsider the conventional wisdom on police body cameras.

Challenging Mass Surveillance on Capitol Hill

Today, after publishing Back to Square One on Spying in the Hill, I spoke at a congressional briefing about a proposed bipartisan measure to repeal the twin statutory pillars of the surveillance state. Here's video of my remarks at the briefing:

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