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First POST: A Republican "Renewal"

BY Nick Judd | Thursday, January 24 2013

Be strong and you will be renewed

  • RNC head Reince Priebus will address his party's rest-of-America-problem in an address Friday, Politico reports in a story that suggests he'll talk technology, a 50-state strategy, and a new and more inclusive coalition:

    Priebus will outline a number of steps the GOP should take to expand the base and get competitive in a broader swath of states. Among his suggestions: train “candidates, volunteers and operatives” on basic subjects like fundraising and campaign strategy — but through a variety of high-tech methods, including Skype sessions and Google hangouts; give the “next generation of organizers access to the brightest experts,” take the initiative on leading in the “digital space” and focus on being “welcoming” and “inclusive” without forgetting GOP “principles.”

    All of this, Priebus is quoted as saying, is in the service of "a Republican renewal."

    And it's all curiously cyclical. Over the past year, techPresident has been tracking how outside groups on the right like the Leadership Institute, American Majority and FreedomWorks (pre-implosion) have been emulating the work of the New Organizing Institute, MoveOn, and ThinkProgress on the left. Priebus calling on Republicans to abandon the concept of "red states" and "blue states" has certain shades of Howard Dean, to be sure, but he's also asking the party to internalize the kinds of outside infrastructure that helped the left defeat them in 2012. This is more than a little entertaining given that Democratic backers started putting that infrastructure in place as a response to their own defeats in the early 2000s.

    So tune in tomorrow to see the Republican Party reborn in the fires of carrousel exactly what Priebus has in mind.

Around the web

  • Sens. Jay Rockefeller (D-W.V.), Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) and Tom Carper (D-Del.) are resurrecting legislation that would facilitate more information sharing between private companies and government for cybersecurity reasons.

  • Republican Study Committee Chairman Steve Scalise (R-La.) argued Wednesday that regulation of Internet companies is an attack on Internet freedom. There's video and audio from the conference right over here.

  • Tech companies have beefed up their lobbying efforts.

  • Susan Crawford, the Benjamin N. Cardozo School of Law professor and author of a book, "Captive Audience: The Telecom Industry and Monopoly Power in the New Gilded Age," has detractors. Her friends point out those detractors are connected to the telecom industry, the subject of her latest critique.

  • Professional detractor Evgeny Morozov is speaking at Stanford University this afternoon.

  • The New York Times notes an emerging idea: If the U.S. is now on the other side of a bright line from the U.N.'s International Telecommunications Union when it comes to how the Internet should work, why should Americans be funding the international agency?

  • Google's semi-annual transparency report is out, detailing requests for information it receives from government. Google is now disclosing how many requests it complied with in whole or in part, the number of user accounts involved in requests, and what type of request was made — for example, whether the government approached the search giant with a warrant.

  • Completely different: What if Glenn Greenwald cared as much about Beyoncé as he did about drones?

International

News Briefs

RSS Feed 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

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.

GO

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.

GO

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