Personal Democracy Plus Our premium content network. LEARN MORE You are not logged in. LOG IN NOW >

First POST: Dogs

BY Miranda Neubauer | Wednesday, March 21 2012

Photo By DAVE SAVILLE/ FEMA News Photo

    Must Reads

  • Twitter is six years old today. Isn’t it cute?

  • Before participating in a Google Hangout yesterday, Mitt Romney toured the Google office in Illinois.

    As Jim Lecinski, a Google vice president, gave Mr. Romney a tour of the engineering floor, Mr. Romney walked past an employee with a big blue lava lamp on his desk. "That's a big lava lamp, congratulations," Mr. Romney said. An employee showed him a clip of a new YouTube branding campaign for the Marine Corps that casts Marines as warriors and humanitarians. "I need you to do one of these for my campaign," the candidate said.

  • Joe Biden wants to know from supporters what their most important issue in the campaign is, writing in an e-mail, "We've all got a dog in this fight." Public Policy Polling conducted a poll on Mitt Romney's "dog problem" with the following results:

    20% of voters have a favorable opinion of Romney's treatment of dogs to 29% with an unfavorable opinion. These numbers suggest that the Seamus story has gotten around enough for people to have a negative view of Romney on dogs, but 51% with no opinion indicates the story hasn't penetrated that deeply yet. By contrast 44% of voters have a favorable opinion of Barack Obama's treatment of dogs to 14% with an unfavorable one...68% of voters think it's inhumane to put your dog in a kennel on the roof of your car to only 14% who consider it humane. On this there's a bipartisan consensus- 74% of Democrats, 66% of independents, and 63% of Republicans think it's inhumane to strap the family dog to the top of the car. Whether this is really an issue that's going to hurt Mitt Romney in the campaign is a different question though. 55% of voters say it makes no difference to their vote, while 35% say it makes them less likely to vote for Romney and 7% more likely.

  • The New York Times spoke with Obama campaign manager Jim Messina, who talked about the campaign's use of online efforts:

    I just think about the changes since four years ago. Twitter didn't really exist as a company until the middle of the campaign. On Election Day of 2008, we sent out one tweet. Maybe two. Now it's one of the most important tools. Facebook was one-tenth of the size, and mostly about young people organizing themselves. Now, the fastest growing demographic on Facebook is 50-plus. IPad didn't exist. The smartphone didn't happen until the middle of the campaign. And, you know, all those things are now prevalent in everybody's lives. Our goal is to use them to organize politically.

  • Poynter spoke with BuzzFeed's Andrew Kaczynski about how he mines the Internet for old candidate videos.

    They really come from all over: Google Videos, YouTube, AOL Video. The C-SPAN archives are incredible - they just put it online in 2010. Sometimes I'll find them on local news sites where no one would think they would find a video, and I'll cut that and put it on YouTube. Sometimes they're just embedded in RealPlayer formats from back in 2005 when that was the only video player people had out there. The method I'll follow is to systematically go through all the different sources. Sometimes when I'm doing specific research for a piece I'll look for specific things, but sometimes I will just search for all videos of Rick Santorum during a certain time, maybe with the possibility it will yield something I'll find newsworthy....I think to a certain extent some news organizations miss it because they just have reporters focusing on covering the campaign and covering what people say. I think with me, too, I've just gotten so good at it by doing it continuously and finding all of these specific sites that I can do it faster than everyone else. I can just get the stuff up before other people can find it.

  • One Youtube user going by EXP0SEtheFRAUDS, who appears to be a Ron Paul supporter, suggested that the Today Show ran the Real Mitt Romney as a viral video clip when it wasn't yet really viral, citing the "only" 8,000 views counted on YouTube, and suggesting it was part of an effort by NBC "trying to push a political agenda by trying to force a brokered republican convention. They want to discredit all republican candidates so they can get Obama re-elected." The parody video now has more than 720,000 views.

  • David Axelrod found himself in trouble earlier this week when he tweeted with regard to the Romney campaign's ad advantage in Illinois: "The Mittzkrieg in Illinois isn't terribly inspiring, so turnout may lag. But the sheer volume probably has been grindingly effective." Within hours, the Republican Jewish Coalition responded with a statement that "at a time when there is so much talk about the need for civility in political discourse, it is disturbing to see President Obama's top campaign advisor casually throw Nazi imagery around in reference to a Republican candidate for President." However, it took only a quick Google search for JTA Washington Bureau Chief Ron Kampeas to find an example of Rep. Michele Bachmann (R-Minn.) using the term blitzkrieg in 2009 to describe Nancy Pelosi's legislative agenda.

    I asked the RJC on Twitter if they could explain why Bachmann's usage was less offensive than Axelrod's. They replied: "start with the difference between who they are... The President's team sets the tone for nation's discourse, right?" Fair enough. But the more salient point is: This usage, by a leader of the Tea Party caucus and a future contender for the GOP presidential nod, has been known for more than a year. No one complained, from either side; it was used by liberals to show how commonplace the term is....[According to the Encyclopedia Britannica] it's a purely military exercise, in other words -- one originated by the most monstrous regime in history, but one that has become commonplace. Were Axelrod to have referred to Romney as steady and resilient as a Volkswagen, would he be in as much trouble?

  • Texas Governor and former presidential candidate Rick Perry is the latest victim of countless "sarcasm" attacks on his Facebook wall over his efforts to defund Planned Parenthood. Posting on his wall has now been disabled. "Perry spokeswoman Catherine Frazier said, "There is no place for such inappropriate comments which do nothing to advance the important discussion about issues surrounding the Women's Health Program. It's clear many of these individuals are basing their remarks on something other than the facts - Gov. Perry is proud of his efforts to keep this program going with or without the federal government."

  • Notable

  • FCC Chairman Julius Genachowski was criticized earlier this week by Republican members of the House Appropriations Committee over his agency’s proposal to require TV stations to disclose online the buyers of political ads and how much they spent.

    Implying that the FCC's interest in the move might be more political than practical, Rep. Jo Ann Emerson (R-Mo.), chair of the Subcommittee on Financial Services and General Government, asked Genachowski: "Why do you care about this? You have more important things to worry about. Why in the world is this a big priority?" Genachowski explained that the idea was part of a broader rulemaking proposal to move TV stations' public disclosure files online. "Across the board, the FCC has been looking to move from paper to digital," Genachowski said.....The broadcaster arguments were echoed by commissioner Robert McDowell, the sole Republican on the commission who warned of "unintended consequences" of a proposal that he said was more FCC "mission creep" that might better be served by the Federal Election Commission. "Transparency is a laudable goal, but the contents of the political file do not speak to whether a TV station is serving the community," McDowell said, adding that the requirement could cost an individual station as much as $140,000 a year, hurting stations that by and large are small businesses.

  • Meanwhile, in response to the broadcasters’ claim that the proposed requirement would impose an undue burden on stations, Pro Publica worked with students at the Medill journalism school at Northwestern University to take on the work that broadcasters are unwilling to do, starting with posting online the documents from the local affiliates of ABC, NBC, CBS, FOX and CW in the Chicago market. They are seeking volunteers around the country to cover more stations.

  • In a blog post addressed to President Obama, Bristol Palin wrote that she was wondering if she could expect a call from him to apologize for negative comments Bill Maher, a donor to the Obama Super PAC, made about the Palin family since he had called Georgetown Law Student Sandra Fluke following Rush Limbaugh's description of her as a "slut."

  • Senator Ron Wyden (D-OR) introduced an amendment to the Senate jobs bill that would force ACTA to be approved by Congress, and would require more transparency around the US Trade Representative copyright and patent negotiations.

  • Job seekers are increasingly being asked to provide their Facebook or other social networking passwords to prospective employers. The ACLU is fighting the practice.

  • As part of the Knight News Challenge, NPR is proposing the expansion of an experiment of geo-targeting news stories on platforms like Facebook through a program called GeoGraph. The broadcaster had piloted such a program with its Seattle affiliate.

  • A student government candidate at California State University at San Marcos was arrested for allegedly tampering with election files using a university computer. He was found to be in possession of several devices often used illegally to capture key strokes of people entering their log-ins and passwords.

  • The New York Times detailed how Wikipedia turned a Long Island librarian into a geriatric porn star with the same name.

  • A new Tumblr launched by economic justice group Rebuild the Dream called “America Underwater” highlights Americans suffering from the housing crisis.

  • The California student who won against AT&T in small claims court over its throttling has received his $850 check, but "they're still throttling me," he said in an interview. "There's no permanent remedy."

  • International Headlines

  • In a Youtube video marking the Persian New Year Nowruz, President Obama warned that a "electronic curtain has fallen around Iran." He said further:

    [The Government] censors the Internet to control what the Iranian people can see and say. The regime monitors computers and cell phones for the sole purpose of protecting its own power. And in recent weeks, Internet restrictions have become so severe that Iranians cannot communicate freely with their loved ones within Iran, or beyond its borders. Technologies that should empower citizens are being used to repress them.....I want the Iranian people to know that America seeks a dialogue to hear your views and understand your aspirations. That's why we set up a Virtual Embassy, so you can see for yourselves what the United States is saying and doing. We're using Farsi on Facebook, Twitter, and Google Plus. And even as we've imposed sanctions on the Iranian government, today, my Administration is issuing new guidelines to make it easier for American businesses to provide software and services into Iran that will make it easier for the Iranian people to use the Internet.

  • In a pirated Russian version of the film The Iron Lady, Margaret Thatcher is depicted as an admirer of Hitler and intent on destroying the working class. At least one reviewer in a Russian newspaper seems to have considered this version of the film to be the real one, quoting from it in an otherwise generally positive review.

  • After criticism, London Mayor Boris Johnson, who is running for reelection, set up a separate Twitter account in his name, after his opponents criticized his decision to change the @MayorofLondon username to @BorisJohnson. He also angered the opposition Labour Party when he replaced a link to the City Hall website with the link to his campaign site, backboris2012.com. In The Kernel, Nick Denys offers an in-depth look at how the British political establishment has been slower at adapting to online campaigning than the U.S.

  • An American jihadist in Somalia appears to have posted a YouTube video announcing that his life is in danger from other members of the movement.

  • France's data protection authority wants answers to 69 questions about Google's privacy policy. In the U.S., the Electronic Information Privacy Center, has appealed the denial of a Freedom of Information Act request for information about Google's relationship with the National Security Agency. Meanwhile, the French government is also looking into Google's taxes.

  • After the presidential elections (22 April and 6 May), next June French citizens will also have the option to elect their National Assembly, the lower chamber of the French Parliament. A million French voters living abroad will be able to vote via the Internet on the website http://www.votezaletranger.gouv.fr where they can set their id and password. Internet voting for French citizens abroad will run from May 23 to 29 for the first round and 6 to 12 June for the second. (via Antonella Napolitano)

  • After Chinese Internet users began raising questions and rumors about a Ferrari crash in Beijing with an unknown cause, and the police refused to comment, the Baidu microblog service "deleted all microblog posts which mentioned the accident, and blocked online searches of the word 'Ferrari.' The Global Times also found that news reports about the crash were deleted from many Web portals.'' Hat tip to the Times for pointing out the “splendid” Baidu Beat web service. It is indeed, splendid.

  • All Internet service providers in India, 387 altogether, have been required to block 104 sites offering unauthorized music, following a court order.

  • After a special German parliamentary assembly had elected the new president, the Parliamentary Speaker offered a joking invitation to the buffet, and the state premier of North Rhine-Westphalia, Social Democrat Hannelore Kraft, was caught on video rushing out. She was soon mocked online for her "sandwich dash," and the video was watched 20,000 times. However, her spokesperson said she was just trying to catch her plane. Kraft, who is currently running for reelection, did not make reference to the video as she joined Twitter yesterday. Meanwhile, her assumed conservative opponent is facing increasing criticism for acting indecisively about whether he wants to leave his position as German environment minister to run in a state election that polls currently do not indicate he will win. A loss by the conservative party would be seen as damaging to German Chancellor Angela Merkel. A Tumblr that appeared yesterday appeared to mock his attitude with several photos of the candidate, Norbert Röttgen, and, comments in English, such as: "Is Röttgen going to San Francisco?", "Is Röttgen loving campaigning?," and "Is Röttgen going to solve the crossword?"

  • Lawyers and data-protection experts are concerned about a German plan for a database of far-right extremists.

  • The Hebrew University of Jerusalem is making 80,000 documents that belonged to Albert Einstein available online. The CERN lab in Geneva recently redid a scientific study after an initial experiment appeared to contradict an Einstein theory when neutrinos seemed to travel faster than light. In the new study, the neutrino obeyed the established scientific laws, and the earlier readings may have been caused by faulty cabling.

With Micah L. Sifry

News Briefs

RSS Feed wednesday >

In Mexico, A Wiki Makes Corporate Secrets Public

Earlier this year the Latin American NGO Poder launched Quién Es Quién Wiki (Who's Who Wiki), a corporate transparency project more than two years in the making. The hope is that the platform will be the foundation for a citizen-led movement demanding transparency and accountability from businesses in Mexico. Data from Quién Es Quién Wiki is already helping community activists mobilize against foreign companies preparing to mine the mountains of the Sierra Norte de Puebla.

GO

More