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Daily Digest: 5/24/07

BY Joshua Levy | Thursday, May 24 2007

The Web on the Candidates

  • Over at TechRepublican, Jim Durbin writes that the way for conservatives to match the energy of the left-wing netroots is to strongly convey Republican messages online. The key, says Durbin, is to stay on message on blogs, discussion boards, social networking sites, everywhere: "If you believe as I do, that our strength is in our reasoned approach to issues - mainly that in winning the arguments, we'll win the elections, than the strategy is simple." Durbin takes for granted that people will simply be won over by better arguments -- there are actually ideologies and political beliefs at stake here -- and his position that "the reasoned argument on the left is outweighed by emotion. On the right, reasoned argument is actually our strength," is not so reasonable in itself... But we give him credit for seeking out ways to invigorate online conservatives.

The Candidates on the Web

  • Hillary Clinton used her YouTube Spotlight moment to ask supporters to choose her campaign's theme song, and the original video has received over 525,000 views, helping her dethrone Barack Obama as the most candidate with the most YouTube buzz. Today, she's released an update to the video that's actually, surprisingly, amazingly, funny. It includes clips from supporters who have sent in their interpretations of what the song should be and Hillary's reactions, which are warm, funny, and real-seeming. I think this is the first time she's released an online video that actually takes advantage of the web -- it's informal and mashes-up other people's work. The Politico's Ben Smith kind of likes it too, though he noticed something interesting about her choice of videos: "Clinton teasingly includes a handful of angry, critical responses, all from young, white men; they're just the sort of attackers that she's long used to raise her stature. They're adolescent Rick Lazios [the Republican who ran against Clinton for Senate in 2000].
  • William Beutler of Blog P.I. likes Rudy Giulani's web site, but he's getting shut out of the campaign's communications system. Upon visiting the site you're presented with an email sign-up form; he's filled it out three times but hasn't received any emails. "I have tried signing up from different computers in different locations, entering addresses from the District, Arlington and Oregon. Nada, zip, zilch. What gives? Something is up with the database software managing their contact information, I presume. I’ve been going about signing up for e-mails from the Big Six and some of the others, but so far only the Giuliani campaign has kept me in the dark," he writes. No email? Beutler turned to Twitter, but he tried to add Giuliani as a friend there and nothing happened. He's guessing the Giuliani camp has started an account, but hasn't committed to using it yet. In any event, these snafus don't exactly signal an open approach to supporters.
  • Mike Huckabee is the next participant in YouTube's Spotlight series. He uses his moment to promote his tax platform, which he calls the "fair tax": "it's fairer, it's flatter, it's finite, it's family friendly." He doesn't actually explain what the proposal is, but asks for our response nonetheless. A strange video.

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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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