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You Can't A/B Test Your Response to Syria

BY Micah L. Sifry | Wednesday, September 4 2013

Senate hearing Sept 3, 2013. Department of Defense Photo by Mass Communication Specialist 1st Class Daniel Hinton.

While Congress wrestles with President Obama's unexpected request for formal legal authorization before he orders airstrikes on Syria, it's been fascinating to watch the country's big online advocacy groups try to figure out their own position on the crisis. Should the US bomb Syria in order to punish Bashar Assad for using chemical weapons on his own people, risking a wider American involvement in the conflict and potentially further destabilizing the region? Or should the US stay out of that kind of direct involvement, even if that risks emboldening Assad and could lead to more frequent uses of chemical weapons in the future? These are just some of the hard questions at stake. And what makes any decision even harder is the fast-moving and relatively unique nature of these events. Even tougher for big e-groups like MoveOn.org, Democracy for America, the Progressive Change Campaign Committee, which collectively claim about ten million list members, the Syria crisis isn't an issue that these groups were formed to address. Nor is there an obvious consensus "progressive" position to promote, beyond the one these groups were all touting in the last few weeks (along with many others, including some conservative organizations), which was the need to bring the question before Congress. Some people are strong anti-interventionists, wary of green-lighting another American incursion in the Middle East. Others worry about genocide, and don't want to look the other way when mass killings of civilians take place. Read More

First POST: Egypt

BY Micah L. Sifry | Thursday, August 15 2013

Exclusively for Personal Democracy Plus subscribers: Reacting to the massacres in Egypt; Bradley Manning apologizes; Pew Internet says the kids are all right; and much, much more. Read More

First POST: Commandeered

BY Micah L. Sifry | Tuesday, August 13 2013

Exclusively for Personal Democracy Plus subscribersThe inside story of how Edward Snowden won Laura Poitras' trust; reconciling open data with the NSA scandal; the new Pew research on where people go to get their news; and much, much more. Read More

First POST: Nihilists

BY Micah L. Sifry | Thursday, August 8 2013

Exclusively for Personal Democracy Plus subscribers: The latest twists in the NSA scandal, advice for Republican would-be techies and wannabe innovative cities; why Samantha Power will break our hearts; and much, much more from around the web. Read More

First POST: Informed

BY Micah L. Sifry | Wednesday, August 7 2013

Exclusively for Personal Democracy Plus subscribers: Cory Booker's web of tech industry backers; more questions about the NSA; and maybe Jeff Bezos just wanted to buy power in DC the old-fashioned way, by owning media; and much much more. Read More

RIP, Change.gov

BY Sarah Lai Stirland | Friday, July 26 2013

President Barack Obama's personal brand is inextricably linked to the words "hope and change," thanks to his initial presidential campaign, so it's not surprising that open government advocates are pouncing on the removal of the contents of Change.gov as a symbol of a broken promise. Read More

In Germany, Obama Encounters a Tough Crowd for Defense of Surveillance

BY Miranda Neubauer | Wednesday, June 19 2013

(Digitale Gesellschaft/Flickr)

President Barack Obama and German Chancellor Angela Merkel found themselves in a verbal minefield when it came to an ongoing controversy over U.S. National Security Agency surveillance, which loomed large over Obama's visit to Germany Tuesday and Wednesday. Read More

WeGov

Israelis and Palestinians Launch Online Campaigns Ahead of Obama's Visit

BY Lisa Goldman | Tuesday, March 19 2013

Logo for Operation Unbreakable Alliance on the Israeli government's Facebook page.

With Barack Obama set to land in Israel tomorrow for his first official visit as president, Israelis and Palestinians have taken to the Internet to campaign for their causes and to express approval or disapproval of what the Israeli government has dubbed Operation Unbreakable Alliance . Read More

OFA Targets Congress on Guns and Some Members Fire Back

BY Micah L. Sifry | Wednesday, February 27 2013

Whatever else you might say about Organizing for Action -- whose funding mechanism looks like a classic influence-peddling scheme -- the suggestion that the group is creating spam-bots to harass opposing members of Congress is ludicrous on its face. Read More

Check Out This Cool Thing the White House Is Testing For #SOTU

BY Nick Judd | Tuesday, February 12 2013

The director of the White House Office of Digital Strategy, Macon Phillips, is asking folks on Twitter to kick the tires on this tool that looks like it will allow people to offer feedback on any sentence from President Barack Obama's speech tonight with a click of the mouse. Read More

News Briefs

RSS Feed today >

First POST: Sad Reality

How social media changed the course of the Ferguson story; Ready for Hillary's 3-million-member email list; why Mark Cuban opposes net neutrality rules; and much, much more. GO

monday >

First POST: All Against All

Why Uber isn't "the future" of cities; why journalists lost control of journalism; how Sean Parker is spending his political money; and much, much more. GO

friday >

First POST: Power Frames

The differences between "old power" and "new power"; Uber as a new/old power hybrid; debating Clay Shirky's feminist cred; and much, much more. GO

thursday >

First POST: Creeping

Senator Al Franken's tough questions for Uber's CEO; how the NSA could make its phone metadata program permanent; global privacy groups launch a personal spyware catcher called Detekt; and much, much more. GO

Recreation.gov and other Govt Projects Move Toward Embracing New Digital Approach

A draft request for proposals for the revamping of Recreation.gov will include a requirement that reservation availability data be publicly accessible and that all proposals detail how they will enable third-party sales, as two members of the United States Digital Services have joined the government team overseeing the RFP, meeting some key demands of civic technologists and consumer oriented technology companies. GO

wednesday >

First POST: Ubermenschens

Surge-pricing in effect for Uber privacy violations; why "privacy" policies should be called "data usage" policies; pols silent on Uber mess; and much, much more. GO

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