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First POST: Grandma Knows How You Voted

BY Miranda Neubauer | Friday, January 11 2013

Friday must-reads

  • Personal Democracy Plus exclusive: The New Organizing Institute's new executive director, Obama for America alumni Ethan Roeder, tells Sarah Lai Stirland that the Democratic Party still doesn't have enough data-driven campaigners. That's where NOI comes in — an organization with an increasing number of connections throughout the party on a mission to train a new generation of candidates and campaign operatives.

  • ICYMI: For ProPublica, Lois Beckett explores the Minnesota Democratic-Farmer-Labor Party's sophisticated, grandma-driven data operation. Grandma-driven, yes, that's right:

    Much of the data the Grandma Brigade collects is prosaic: records of campaign donations or voters who have recently died. But a few volunteers see free information everywhere. They browse the listings of names on Tea Party websites. They might add a record of what was said around the family Thanksgiving table — Uncle Mitch voted for Bachmann, cousin Alice supports gay marriage.

    One data volunteer even joked about holding "rat out your neighbor parties," where friends would be encouraged to add notes about the political views of other people on their block.

  • Iowa Democrat Brad Anderson, who ran the Obama campaign's 2012 Iowa effort, has announced plans to run for secretary of state. Criticizing voter ID proposals pushed for by the current Republican incumbent, Anderson said an electronic verification system to check in voters made more sense, the Des Moines Register reported. He praised The Precinct Atlas Program developed by Republican Ken Kline, the auditor in auditor in Cerro Gordo County. "It’s essentially a digital poll book that replaces the binders of papers. The database flags convicted felons, people who have already requested a ballot by absentee, and those who are at the wrong precinct. And it doesn’t disenfranchise a single voter," he said.

  • Software engineer Luigi Montanez writes about the rise of the activist engineer:

    The prospects for more activist engineers are bolstered by a failed promise of Silicon Valley. A long-time refrain has been that VC-backed Silicon Valley startups can indeed change the world. But the current crop of consumer web and mobile startups don’t live up to that ideal. SnapChat and Facebook Poke aren’t changing the world, they’re enabling people to be even more self-centered and insular. Airbnb and Uber, two terrific services that are profoundly disrupting their markets, don’t make that dent in the universe Steve Jobs once spoke of.

  • In officially nominating Jack Lew as treasury secretary, Obama said, "I had never noticed Jack’s signature. When this was highlighted yesterday in the press I considered rescinding my offer to appoint him. Jack assures me that he will work to make at least one letter legible in order not to debase our currency should he be confirmed as Secretary of the Treasury." Yahoo News offered a Jack Lew Signature Generator. The NYC Public Schools Twitter feed posted yesterday, "Congrats to Jack Lew (Forest Hills HS '72) on his nomination as Secretary of the Treasury. We're proud of all of our students' penmanship!"

Around the web

News Briefs

RSS Feed 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.

GO

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.

GO

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.

GO

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.

GO

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