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Daily Digest: And Now, Back to Our Regularly Scheduled Conventioning

BY Nancy Scola | Tuesday, September 2 2008


As of this afternoon I'll be reporting live from the Republican National Convention in St. Paul, Minnesota. Be sure to check for updates. -Nancy

The Web on the Candidates

  • Hitting the List for Gustav: The Obama campaign pinged its mobile list yesterday afternoon with the message that "Barack" was asking supporters to text GIVE to 24357 to donate cash to the American Red Cross. Send the aforementioned text, and this message in SMSish comes back in return: "Thx 4 donating $5 to American Red Cross Disaster Relief Fund. Ur donation will be on ur next bill." Using a mobile service called m-Qube, the process takes at most 20 seconds, and that's if you're a slow thumb typer. The effort is an compelling way for the Obama team to make use of its carefully cultivated mobile number list to inspire painless but potentially powerful micro-activism. Over at the Republican convention, attendees were also asked to make donations via text message. No word in either case on whether the mobile companies waived their usual practice of garnishing 50% of each donation made by text. #

  • All Eyes on St. Paul, Only Outside the Hall: Citizen-journalism hub The Uptake (tag line: "Will Journalism Be Done by You or to You?") is using Qik and other video tools to cover the on-going RNC protests in St. Paul -- some of the first really potent and journalistic uses of live streaming we've seen. A video of the arrest of "Democracy Now" radio host Amy Goodman seems to be making the rounds online with particular speed. But law enforcement in the Twin Cities seems to be catching on to the power of all that electronic gadgetry; Firedoglake's Lindsay Beyerstein reports that "the National Lawyers Guild and Communities United Against Police Brutality have filed an emergency motion to stop the seizure of cell phones and cameras during the RNC." #

  • The Fourth Estate, in 140 Characters or Less: In the flurry of activity around last week's Democratic National Convention in Denver, we missed this one: the Washington Post's Howard Kurtz has a look at how political reporters from John Dickerson to Ana Marie Cox are using Twitter, for fun and for profit. A taste of Dickerson's tweets, posted from the RNC in St. Paul: "The fire marshal has come to my hotel where the Texas delegation is staying to deliver a citation for wearing cowboy hats without irony." Zing! Over on HuffPost, CNN's Greta van Susteren, a total gadget junkie, admits that while she uses Twitter, she has qualms: "It also sounds mildly obscene. Am I the only one who thinks, like, Twittering ...I don't know. Do you Twitter? It's like, I thought we had a don't ask, don't tell policy!" #

The Candidates on the Web

  • Maybe She Can Help McCain with the Google: Here's a little known fact about McCain running mate Sarah Palin that happens to actually be true. As Alaska's newly elected governor, she put the Westwind II jet former bought by Governor Frank Murkowski up for sale on eBay. Alas, the jet, which came to symbolize Murkowski's self indulgence and arrogance while in office, found no takers online -- though it did eventually sell offline for $2.1 million. #

  • Parallel Universes?: One thing to keep an eye on when it comes to Palin: how much the rather frenzied talk around her nomination online makes itoffline and into the broader political discussion, from the nightly news to around the dinner table. It may well be fascinating look at how the news ecosystem works in 2008. #

  • The Alaskosphere: It's probably safe to say that Alaskan political blog Mudflats wasn't in your RSS reader until this week. But with interest in the governor sitting somewhere near the level of Mt. McKinley, the site has attracted a great many new eyeballs -- a testament to how valuable local political blogging can be when there's no one you want to hear from more than those with boots-on-the-ground insight. #

  • You and the Blogs with Your "Name in Them": As MyDD's Todd Beetonreports, the McCain campaign made an effort yesterday to handcuff the swirl of messy stories about Palin's family life to the Obama campaign. In the words of one so-called senior aide, "the despicable rumors that have been spread by liberal blogs, some even with Barack Obama's name in them, is a real anchor around the Democratic ticket." It was unclear which blogs "with Barack Obama's name in them" he or she was referring to. But senior McCain adviser Nicolle Wallace later directed some ire towards Barack Oblogger -- a site that clearly has Obama's name "in" it, but seems to have no affiliation at all with the Obama camp. #