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Daily Digest: Can the Web Buck a Bailout?

BY Nancy Scola | Tuesday, September 23 2008

The Web on the Candidates

  • Web Takes on the Bailout: Perhaps spooked into action by the fact that a bill that overhauls the U.S. financial system and fundamentally recenters the balance of power in D.C. is shorter than my shopping list, Micah Sifry looks at how the left, right, and center are gearing up online to challenge the $700 billion Wall Street bailout plan. A few of the highlights: The Sunlight Foundation's PublicMarkup.org is collaboratively marking up both Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson's plan and Senator Christopher Dodd's alternative measure. And BuyMySh**Pile.com is your chance to get the government to pick up the tap on your own boneheaded purchases. (Micah reports that the site's developer, who wants to remain anonymous, says it's been attracting 10K+ hits an hour.) The uncomfortable, question, is though: are we, the wired electorate, just quibbling about the margins as life-altering decisions get made inside the corridors of power? #

  • Conservative Bloggers Sleuths Out the Pro(?)/Am(?) Behind Anti-Palin Video: After a hard-hitting video popped up on YouTube that tied Sarah Palin to the Alaskan Independence Party, the Jawa Report and other conservative blogs traced it back to an employee at a PR shop with Democratic ties. After pressure, the creator yanked the video and issued a statement saying that it was a homegrown effort. Michelle Malkin is celebrating the idea that "the blogosphere is doing the job the MSM thinks no one else can do" while attempting to tie the PR firm to the Obama campaign. But Politico's Ben Smith says that the incident "reflects some of the best and the worst of distributed online journalism: Solid, fact-based reporting that actual [sic] answers an open question. But it's driven by theories that just aren't substantiated." #

  • Lawn Cam!: Don't get mad, get a webcam. That age-old political tactic of stealing your opponent's signage has gotten a digital upgrade. Over on the Huffington Post's Off the Bus, Pat Lawson-Black has the story of a Portland, Oregon family who rigged up a video camera to Ustream.tv to catch the thief pilfering its pro-Obama lawn signs. Somebody call Clay Shirky, because it turns out that this is where American is sinking its brain cycles. The "Obama Sign CCTV1" stream quickly climbed to the top of the site's viewing charts, and its fans seemed to be having a hoot. "When a garbage truck stopped within view in the early hours," reports Pat, "the site went wild." #

The Candidates on the Web

  • Obama on Tech Plan: Edits, Yes. Changes, No: The Obama campaign's revisions to their technology policy web page -- changes captured by Versionista -- raised concerns on Slashdot and elsewhere that the candidate was changing his tune on network neutrality and other tech issues. But camp Obama responded by basically saying that they were attempting to make the page comprehensible to normal folk. The candidate's tech platform is as it always was, enshrined in PDF. The Berkman Center's (and Obama supporter) David Weinberger rendered a verdict on the explanation, calling it "consistent with the edits." #

  • Biden Has No Taste for McCain as Luddite Jokes: Wired.com's Sarah Lai Stirland reports that Joe Biden thinks that Obama campaign's recent ad that mocked John McCain's for not knowing how to email was "terrible." He's probably not too happy, then, with the way Saturday Night Live depicted the Republican candidate as thinking that recording something "digitally" meant writing it down. #

TechCongress and Beyond

  • From the Latest Xbox Poll...: A survey of gamers conducted by Xbox is, according to a press release being sent around by the PR firm Edelman, found gamers preferring the Obama/Biden ticket to the McCain/Palin ticket at 43% to 31%; the remainder of the responses were split between other and undecided. Edelman helpfully notes that the pool of 100,000 respondents is far larger than those used by your more traditional pollsters like Gallup, NBC, and CNN -- combined. #

In Case You Missed It...

Mike Connery asks if CountMore can help college students find the biggest swing-state bang for their vote.

Nancy Scola reports that if OneWebDay had a theme this year, it was this, as captured in the words of founder Susan Crawford: "Let's actually use this thing to change the world."

Micah Sifry asks for help making sense of JohnMcCain.com's targeted appeals to "Lebanese Americans."