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Daily Digest: The Evolutionary Tracks of the Left and Right

BY Nancy Scola | Monday, July 21 2008

The Web on the Candidates

  • Netroots Nation and RightOnline both drew to a close in Austin this weekend. And it's looking a lot like the left's netroots has made the leap from fish swimming in the sea to four-legged creature skittering around on the beach. The right, meanwhile, is still sprouting nubs and dragging its wet self onto the sand. NN, at least, gave the appearance of being an industry meet-and-greet, while RO was focused on teaching and training its online front line. We've got your recap of both events here in the Digest. In brief, Bob Barr turned up at both, Al Gore made a surprise showing at one, and much BBQ was eaten all around. Let's start with Netroots Nation, with a look at both big news and smaller happenings:

  • Kate Phillips from the New York Times' Caucus blog suggests that Netroots Nation '08 was a low-key affair with a distributed energy, with less of the "OMG, I saw Markos, did you see Markos?!" flavor than in years past. And with a Democratic win a real possibility this presidential election cycle, Jose Antonio Vargas asks if the fate of the netroots is hitched to an Obama victory.

  • Of course, Kos was there. Markos Moulitsas sat down for a chat with DLC chief Harold Ford in which Ford was occasionally jeered, particularly when he heaped praise on his former colleagues at Fox News. More coverage of "the great debate" by New York Times' Katharine Q. Seelye and a look at why Markos and Harold just can't get along from the Wall Street Journal.

  • A session on the push for a national popular vote only attracted only a few lonely souls.

  • The Washington Post's Garance Franke-Ruta sees significance in the fact that Barack Obama was somewhere on the other side of the planet during Netroots Nation; but several members of his team were on the ground and participating. For example...

  • Future Majority's Kevin Bondelli blogs out a session with the Obama camp's Chris Hughes and Judith Freeman on how MyBO, Facebook, and MySpace help move them closer to the goal of getting their guy into office. While MyBO and Facebook may get a lot of attention, the ugly duckling that is MySpace helps them reach and activate young voters. Reports Colin Delany, one advantage of MyBO is how it quickly establishes presences in parts of the country with no official Obama footprint.

  • Ari Melber finds it weird that the MSM (note to Ari: it's been rebranded "traditional media") seems to feel the need to frame the presence of both activists and party officials at Netroots Nation as either a love fest or coming together of two warring houses.

  • The keynote of newly-elected congressperson from Maryland Donna Edwards was liveblogged.

  • The Huffington Post's Rachel Sklar has a report on Al Gore's surprise appearance during the "Ask the Speaker" session with Nancy Pelosi that is mostly pieced together from Twitter tweets. Gore hammered on his call to get American off of fossil fules by 2018 and dismissed domestic drilling plans. More coverage of Gore: Hotline, The Wall Street Journal, and The Washington Post (with video).

  • Sanding down rough edges: have bloggers cleaned up their potty mouths?

  • Green for All's Van Jones, and his introducer, San Francisco mayor Gavin Newsom, got some good press from Talking Points Memo. TPM TV has also has interviews with Speaker Pelosi on the wisdom of surveillance legislation and Washington State Democratic Senate candidate Jeff Merkley on his electoral prospects.

  • Acting as a bridge across troubled waters, civil libertarian Bob Barr made the 12 mile drive from Netroots Nation and the RightOnline (and for the former, reportedly, paid his own way). Which brings us to our coverage of RightOnline:

  • David All reports on RedState's Erick Erickson RO presentation in which he threw about a ton of red meat to the crowd, called on them to quit standing on the sidelines and get engaged locally -- filing FOIA requests, raising red flags, and calling out their local sheriffs, for example. Erick's speech raises the question over whether RightOnline was a more grassroots and locally-minded event than NN.
  • The right's equivalent to Netroots Nation is closer to CPAC (the annual Conservative Political Action Conference) than it is RightOnline, says Robert Bluey in his "Reflections on Right Online." Robert emphasizes that the conservative conference in Austin was focused on training, not powwowing. (Now, we use the gloss "conservative" to describe RightOnline, but is libertarian closer to the truth?)

  • The Next Right's Aaron Marks takes issue with Michelle Malkin's idea that the right isn't behind onlline, just different. Also on The Next Right, diarist Allen says that "the netroots is kicking our b***" because the online right isn't ideological enough or tough enough on the GOP. Related: hilzoy, sitting in for a vacationing Andrew Sullivan, digs into the issue pages on the two major presidential candidates' websites and finds John McCain coming up short.

TechCongress and Beyond

  • Meet the Bloggers is a new project by Brave New Films. Host Cenk Uygur chats up prominent progressive bloggers every Fridays; shows can be watched live or downloaded after the fact.

In Case You Missed It...

Patrick Ruffini thinks that the idea that campaigns are benefiting from a mastery of micro-targeting involves a whole lotta myth.

Zephyr Teachout is on hunt for examples of Twitter being used to cover local events.

In case you've been wondering whether Bob Barr crafts his own tweets, Michael Whitney has your first-hand answer. (Hint: it's "yes!")

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.


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.


tuesday > Reboots As a Candidate Digital Toolkit That's a Bit Too Like 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 is out from stealth mode, entering a field already being served by competitors like NationBuilder, Salsa Labs and And strangely enough, seems to want its early users to ask 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.


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.


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.