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Daily Digest: Obama's Surveillance Stand Shakes the Netroots

BY Nancy Scola | Thursday, June 26 2008

The Web on the Candidates

  • When Barack Obama announced his support this week for the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act that included retroactive immunity for telecom companies, the move sparked a crisis of faith among some of those in the progressive networks -- in large part, it's probably fair to say, because a strong pro-civil liberties bent is one of the strongest unifying threads running through the online left. Firedoglake's Jane Hamsher has this to say about the reaction to Obama's stand on the bill: "You can feel a real shift in the zeitgeist online." Now, when Obama opted-out of public financing, the conventional wisdom was that his online prowess would let him raise all the money he needs for the general election. But many top bloggers on the left are also prolific fundraisers. Is Obama in as strong a position to raise money online if his actions lessen the netroots' enthusiasm for his candidacy?

  • MySpace IMPACT has partnered with and NBC to launch the Decision08 Convention Contest. Upload a two minute video on why you're the best "citizen journalist" to cover either the Democratic or Republican convention, and you might be headed to either Denver or Minneapolis-Saint Paul. There's no guarantee, though, that your reportage will be used by any of the partners.

  • Obamaculture watch: From "baracklamation" to "barackryphal," Slate presents Obamamania! The English Language, Barackafied, complete with embeddable widget.

  • We've got a TechPresident poll in the works: Does an American president need to know how to use a computer and the Internet to lead the U.S. in the 21st century? It's no trivial question. Stay tuned.

The Candidates on the Web

  • With the debate between domestic offshore oil drilling in the news, John McCain and Obama package and present their competing energy visions on new subsections of their website. McCain has unveiled The Lexington Project, named for the Massachusetts town where the American Revolution began and meant to evoke the idea of American energy independence. The Obama sub-site is the more dryly named New Energy for America. McCain's is the more well-developed effort and it suggests that the Republican candidate might be homing in on energy policy as a major campaign building block. (via Jonathan Martin)

  • McCain has unleashed Pork Invaders, its latest Facebook application. Alas, while I was itching to do my virtual part to reduce wasteful earmarking, I couldn't get the app to start.

  • The Obama campaign is growing its new media team. Visit that first link to fill in our info and and then pass along your C.V. using their Barésumé uploader. The Chicago-based enterprise is hiring web developers, print designers, a "grassroots blog coordinator," and more.

TechCongress and Beyond

  • Does "father of the Internet" Vint Cerf really want to nationalize said Internet, as he seemed to imply at PdF '08?. If so, Cerf's co-panelist and TechCrunch contributor Erick Schonfeld thinks that's a terrible idea.

In Case You Missed It (a.k.a. even more PdF '08 coverage) ...

ABC News covers John Edwards surprise appearance via Skype at PdF '08. Great video of the occasion is now up on YouTube. (The former Democratic presidential candidate wanders in the living room at about 1:15 in.) Micah Sifry has the details on how that "conference serendipity" came to pass.

CNN's Jeanne Moos riff off the exchange between the McCain campaign's Mark Soohoo and former Edwards online advisor Tracy Russo to ask passers-by if they expect their commander in chief to be personally tech savvy.

The New York Times "Bits" blogger Saul Hansell looks at the technology discussed at the conference and concludes that much of it was focused on pulling more of what was previously cloaked about government into the public sphere. Points to Saul for using the word "chiaroscuro" in a tech post: "Some elements are illuminated with very bright lights. Others are shrouded in shadows."

Katharine Seelye writes up the "broadband for everyone" effort that was launched at the PdF '08, pointing out that "Americans pay among the highest prices for some of the slowest speeds, and only about half the country is wired." Katharine also weighs in on the theme of the second day of the conference: the transition from Campaigning 2.0 to Governing 2.0.

Hillary Clinton-impersonator Rosemary Watson has video up of her good-natured ribbing of the former Democratic candidate than ran on the big screen at the conference.

We're hard at work editing the plenary sessions videos and will be rolling out lots of 'PdF Talks' over the coming weeks.

And finally, there are some terrific photos of the conference now posted up on Flickr.