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Daily Digest: The Blimp is Up

BY Joshua Levy | Friday, December 14 2007

The Web on the Candidates

  • The Ron Paul Blimp is up! Ron Paul supporters have raised $200,000 to fly a blimp with the phrase “Who is Ron Paul? Google Ron Paul” written on the side. It’s officially airborne and being tracked using GPS. There has been a slight change of plan, though: the blimp was originally scheduled to fly over Boston on Dec. 16, the anniversary of the Boston Tea Party and the day Paul supporters will once again try to break fundraising records. But bad weather and logistical problems have pushed it further south. It’s currently in North Carolina and will fly to Columbia, South Carolina tomorrow.

  • In an interview with PBS’s NOW, techPresident’s Zephyr Teachout compares Ron Paul’s campaign to Howard Dean, and in the process gives one of the smartest analyses of the Paul campaign to date. Kudos to NOW for giving Zephyr the chance to get in depth about how the media gauges seriousness, the relationship between online and offline activism, and Ron Paul’s ambitious supporters.

  • Have you ever come across a total jerk in the media and wanted to find out more about him? If so, Dickipedia has come to the rescue. The site, created by the 23/6 folks (who also produce the hilarious SwiftKids for Truth videos), is in the process of cataloging the world’s dicks and writing up Wikipedia-like entries about them. A typical entry starts with a brief biographical line, like “Michael Moore (born April 23, 1954 in Flint, Michigan) is a filmmaker, a political antagonizer, an author, and a dick.”

  • Campaign Circus is YASVSTAVOAATC (yet another spartan video site that aggregates videos of and about the candidates). Looking for a complex site that offers several points of entry and interaction? Go elsewhere. But if you want a site that lets users add videos by and about the candidates and pulls them all together in a nice package, check it out.

The Candidates on the Web

  • Chris Dodd stopped by Google earlier this week for a speech to employees and, as is customary, a brief chat with YouTube politics and news editor Steve Grove. Dodd is polling very, very low in Iowa and nationally, but that hasn’t stopped him from being a forceful and articulate candidate (the Iowa Independent even thinks he won yesterday’s Democratic debate). Check out the spitfire round of questioning Grove calls “Constitutional or Not.” It’s kind of like Jeopardy for constitutional experts.

  • TechCrunch’s Michael Arrington has been conducting interviews with the candidates, focusing on tech sector-specific policies like H1B visas, Internet taxes, and Net neutrality. In his interview with Mike Gravel, they discussed these issues, but they also talked about whatever else happened to be on Gravel’s mind. It’s an amazingly entertaining interview. Whatever you think of Gravel, prepare to be entertained by quotes like this: “We have the most corrupt tax system in the world and I don’t understand when American corporate officers whether in [Silicon Valley] or anywhere else in the United States hear me talk about wanting to deal with corporate income taxes don’t flood my campaign with contributions. Are they retarded or something?”

In Case You Missed It…

In an all-GOP edition of the week’s favorite videos, Fred Thompson takes a stand, a satiric Mike Huckabee ad manages to insult just about every Republican in Iowa, we see a quieter, God-fearing Chuck Norris, Rudy giggles, and Ron Paul gives a dazed performance in his own Christmas video.

News Briefs

RSS Feed today >

Civic Hackers Call on de Blasio to Fill Technology Vacancies

New York City technology advocates on Wednesday called on the de Blasio administration to fill vacancies in top technology policy positions, expressing some frustration at the lack of a leadership team to implement a cohesive technology strategy for the city. GO

China's Porn Purge Has Only Just Begun, And Already Sina Is Stripped of Publication License

It seems that China is taking spring cleaning pretty seriously. On April 13 they launched their most recent online purge, “Cleaning the Web 2014,” which will run until November. The goal is to rid China's Internet of pornographic text, pictures, video, and ads in order to “create a healthy cyberspace.” More than 100 websites and thousands of social media accounts have already been closed, after less than a month. Today the official Xinhua news agency reported that the authorities have stripped the Internet giant Sina (of Sina Weibo, the popular microblogging site) of its online publication license. This crackdown on porn comes on the heels of a crackdown on “rumors.” Clearly, this spring cleaning isn't about pornography, it's about censorship and control.

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wednesday >

Another Co-Opted Hashtag: #MustSeeIran

The Twitter hashtag #MustSeeIran was created to showcase Iran's architecture, landscapes, and would-be tourist destinations. It was then co-opted by activists to bring attention to human rights abuses and infringements. Now Twitter is home to two starkly different portraits of a country. GO

What Has the EU Ever Done For Us?: Countering Euroskepticism with Viral Videos and Monty Python

Ahead of the May 25 European Elections, the most intense campaigning may not be by the candidates or the political parties. Instead, some of the most passionate campaigns are more grassroots efforts focused on for a start stirring up the interest of the European electorate. GO

At NETmundial Brazil: Is "Multistakeholderism" Good for the Internet?

Today and tomorrow Brazil is hosting NETmundial, a global multi-stakeholder meeting on the future of Internet governance. GO

Brazilian President Signs Internet Bill of Rights Into Law at NetMundial

Earlier today Brazil's President Dilma Rousseff sanctioned Marco Civil, also called the Internet bill of rights, during the global Internet governance event, NetMundial, in Brazil.

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tuesday >

Ruck.us Reboots As a Candidate Digital Toolkit That's a Bit Too Like Democracy.com

Ruck.us launched with big ambitions and star appeal, hoping to crack the code on how to get millions of people to pool their political passions through their platform. When that ambition stalled, its founder Nathan Daschle--son of the former Senator--decided to pivot to offering political candidates an easy-to-use free web platform for organizing and fundraising. Now the new Ruck.us is out from stealth mode, entering a field already being served by competitors like NationBuilder, Salsa Labs and Democracy.com. And strangely enough, Ruck.us seems to want its early users to ask Democracy.com for help. GO

Armenian Legislators: You Can Be As Anonymous on the 'Net As You Like—Until You Can't

A proposed bill in Armenia would make it illegal for media outlets to include defamatory remarks by anonymous or fake sources, and require sites to remove libelous comments within 12 hours unless they identify the author.

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monday >

The Good Wife Looks for the Next Snowden and Outwits the NSA

Even as the real Edward Snowden faces questions over his motives in Russia, another side of his legacy played out for the over nine million viewers of last night's The Good Wife, which concluded its season long storyline exploring NSA surveillance. In the episode titled All Tapped Out, one young NSA worker's legal concerns lead him to becoming a whistle-blower, setting off a chain of events that allows the main character, lawyer Alicia Florrick (Julianna Margulies), and her husband, Illinois Governor Peter Florrick (Chris Noth), to turn the tables on the NSA using its own methods. GO

The Expanding Reach of China's Crowdsourced Environmental Monitoring Site, Danger Maps

Last week billionaire businessman Jack Ma, founder of the e-commerce company Alibaba, appealed to his “500 million-strong army” of consumers to help monitor water quality in China. Inexpensive testing kits sold through his company can be used to measure pH, phosphates, ammonia, and heavy metal levels, and then the data can be uploaded via smartphone to the environmental monitoring site Danger Maps. Although the initiative will push the Chinese authorities' tolerance for civic engagement and activism, Ethan Zuckerman has high hopes for “monitorial citizenship” in China.

GO

The 13 Worst Bits of Russia's Current and Maybe Future Internet Legislation

It appears that Russia is on the brink of passing still more repressive Internet regulations. A new telecommunications bill that would require popular blogs—those with 3,000 or more visits a day—to join a government registry and conform to government-mandated standards is expected to pass this week. What follows is a list of the worst bits of both proposed and existing Russian Internet law. Let us know in the comments or on Twitter if we missed anything.

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