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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 >

Transparency and Public Shaming: Pakistan Tackles Tax Evasion

In Pakistan, where only one in 200 citizens files their income tax return, authorities published a directory of taxpayers' details for the first time. Officials explained the decision as an attempt to shame defaulters into paying up.


wednesday >

Facebook Seeks Approval as Financial Service in Ireland. Is the Developing World Next?

On April 13 the Financial Times reported that Facebook is only weeks away from being approved as a financial service in Ireland. Is this foray into e-money motivated by Facebook's desire to conquer the developing world before other corporate Internet giants do? Maybe.


The Rise and Fall of Iran's “Blogestan”

The robust community of Iranian bloggers—sometimes nicknamed “Blogestan”—has shrunk since its heyday between 2002 – 2010. “Whither Blogestan,” a recent report from the University of Pennsylvania's Iran Media Program sought to find out how and why. The researchers performed a web crawling analysis of Blogestan, survey 165 Persian blog users, and conducted 20 interviews with influential bloggers in the Persian community. They found multiple causes of the decline in blogging, including increased social media use and interference from authorities.


tuesday >

Weekly Readings: What the Govt Wants to Know

A roundup of interesting reads and stories from around the web. GO

Russia to Treat Bloggers Like Mass Media Because "the F*cking Journalists Won't Stop Writing"

The worldwide debate over who is and who isn't a journalist has raged since digital media made it much easier for citizen journalists and other “amateurs” to compete with the big guys. In the United States, journalists are entitled to certain protections under the law, such as the right to confidential sources. As such, many argue that blogging should qualify as journalism because independent writers deserve the same legal protections as corporate employees. In Russia, however, earning a place equal to mass media means additional regulations and obligations, which some say will lead to the repression of free speech.


Politics for People: Demanding Transparent and Ethical Lobbying in the EU

Today the Alliance for Lobbying Transparency and Ethics Regulation (ALTER-EU) launched a campaign called Politics for People that asks candidates for the European Parliament to pledge to stand up to secretive industry lobbyists and to advocate for transparency. The Politics for People website connects voters with information about their MEP candidates and encourages them to reach out on Facebook, Twitter or by email to ask them to sign the pledge.


monday >

Security Agencies Given Full Access to Telecom Data Even Though "All Lebanese Can Not Be Suspects"

In late March, Lebanese government ministers granted security agencies unrestricted access to telecommunications data in spite of some ministers objections that it violates privacy rights. Global Voices reports that the policy violates Lebanon's existing surveillance and privacy law, Law 140, but has gotten little coverage from the country's mainstream media.


friday >

In Google Hangout, NYC Mayor de Blasio Talks Tech and Outer Borough Potential

New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio followed the lead of President Obama and New York City Council member Ben Kallos Friday by participating in a Google Hangout to help mark his first 100 days in office, in which the conversation focused on expanding access to technology opportunities through education and ensuring that the needs of the so-called "outer boroughs" aren't overlooked. GO

thursday >

In Pakistan, A Hypocritical Gov't Ignores Calls To End YouTube Ban

YouTube has been blocked in Pakistan by executive order since September 2012, after the “blasphemous” video Innocence of Muslims started riots in the Middle East. Since then, civil society organizations and Internet rights advocacy groups like Bolo Bhi and Bytes for All have been working to lift the ban. Last August the return of YouTube seemed imminent—the then-new IT Minister Anusha Rehman spoke optimistically and her party, which had won the majority a few months before, was said to be “seriously contemplating” ending the ban. And yet since then, Rehman and her party, the conservative Pakistan Muslim League (PML-N), have done everything in their power to maintain the status quo.


The #NotABugSplat Campaign Aims to Give Drone Operators Pause Before They Strike

In the #NotABugSplat campaign that launched this week, a group of American, French and Pakistani artists sought to raise awareness of the effects of drone strikes by placing a field-sized image of a young girl, orphaned when a drone strike killed her family, in a heavily targeted region of Pakistan’s Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa Province. Its giant size is visible to those who operate drone strikes as well as in satellite imagery. GO

Boston and Cambridge Move Towards More Open Data

The Boston City Council is now considering an ordinance which would require Boston city agencies and departments to make government data available online using open standards. Boston City Councilor At Large Michelle Wu, who introduced the legislation Wednesday, officially announced her proposal Monday, the same day Boston Mayor Martin Walsh issued an executive order establishing an open data policy under which all city departments are directed to publish appropriate data sets under established accessibility, API and format standards. GO