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First POST: Fusion Politics

BY Micah L. Sifry | Tuesday, September 9 2014

Fusion Politics

  • Zephyr Teachout and Tim Wu yesterday unveiled their tech policy for New York, garnering the endorsement of Reddit cofounder Alexis Ohanian, our Miranda Neubauer reports.

  • Also noted in Miranda's round-up: Google search trends show a substantial spike in interest in Teachout and Wu in New York, especially down-state. But do Googlers = voters?

  • Yesterday, for the first time in the entire primary, NY Governor Andrew Cuomo made an indirect reference to his opponent, telling reporters, "You can be a great college professor. You can be very good at what you do. You need experience in government if you want to run the State of New York." Teachout responded, "My first qualification for being the next governor of the State of New York is that I'm not under federal investigation."

  • Speaking to the Washington Post's Nancy Scola, Teachout argues that her campaign represents a "new kind of coalition politics: a combination of Elizabeth Warren populism with the SOPA-PIPA protesters. People who cared about tech policy tended to be in one silo and people who cared about banking policy were in another. But there's a fusion happening."

  • Teachout also points out that her campaign has benefited from net-powered volunteers and says, "I think a lot of campaigns mis-learned the lessons of Obama 2008. They overly focused on the particular tools, and less so on the fact that the Internet enables a kind of culture of trust to be translated into real power. This campaign does not have a fancy [digital] tool kit. We made that decision early on. But the Internet has played a central role in our campaign because we have chosen to basically open-source our staffing."

  • MoveOn Political Action emailed its members in New York, urging a vote for Teachout-Wu but acknowledging the endorsement of Andrew Cuomo by the left-leaning Working Families Party.

  • The NY state Republican party chairman is defending using a GPS tracking device to determine if a Democratic assemblyman actually lived in his district, the Daily News' Albany bureau chief Kenneth Lovett reports. It is legal in New York to secretly place a GPS device on the outside of someone else's car. Who knew!?

  • Responding to Reddit CEO's Yishan Wong's declaration that the site was "a new kind of government" devoted to free speech (but then admitting that it deleted a sub-reddit devoted to sharing nude pictures of celebrities by citing existing DMCA notices), Sarah Jeong writes, "What kind of society accepts that copyright is a more compelling dictates that sexual victimization and invasion of privacy?"

  • Further riffing on the Reddit-as-government analogy, The Verge's T.C. Sottek suggests instead that it is "a failed state," adding that "Reddit wants to be a techno-libertarian's wet dream, but in practice its a weak feudal system that's actually run by a small group of angry warlords who use "free speech" as a weapon.

  • At Re/Code, Peter Kafka and Kara Swisher report that Reddit is in the process of raising "a big funding round" based on selling "less than 10 percent of the company for more than $50 million." Ah, now we know what kind of free speech we're talking about.

  • First Lady Michelle Obama is joining Upworthy as a guest curator, the White House announced yesterday. She will be sharing content aimed at inspiring young people to "take charge of their future."

  • House minority leader Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) has written to FCC chair Tom Wheeler urging him to reclassify broadband services as a utility under Title II of the Telecommunications Act.

  • In the wake of video surfacing of NFL player Ray Rice beating his fiance and current wife Janay Rice unconscious, the hashtags #WhyIStayed and #WhyILeft are garnering powerful stories of women dealing with domestic abuse, reports Alex Abad-Santos for Vox.

  • Cautionary tale: The New Republic's Noam Scheiber tears into Amicus founder Seth Bannon, arguing that the way angel investors supported his troubled start-up is all too indicative of "the way the tech industry works these days."

  • Ten lessons for government tech innovators, from a new study by Bloomberg Philanthropies and Nesta.

  • Google is facing a growing backlash across Europe, reports The New York Times' Danny Hakim.

  • NYU professor Clay Shirky explains why, after years of encouraging students to multitask, he now asks them to close their laptops during class.