Netroots movements -- grassroots programmers who pitch in on political campaigns -- have been significant factors in US electoral campaigns since the Howard Dean era, and indeed, some of the key players from that era are still deeply involved in campaign tech, but the netroots that's pulling for the Sanders campaign is a significant advance on the netroots of years gone by.
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The Second Circuit Court of Appeals just dropped a bombshell, ruling against the Authors Guild in its bid to force Google to stop scanning books and making them searchable.
Tiffiniy Cheng writes, "No governor deserves your attention unless they're awesome, right? What if the awesomest possible candidate was running against big power right now? Zephyr Teachout is that badass."
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One year ago today
Stormtrooper on a unicycle: Something something a little short something something.
Five years ago today
Groundbreaking Kansas rep netroots candidate takes another run at election with a new XKCD-style toon: Sean Tevis is the "candidate from the Internet" who caused an enormous stir when he financed a run at Kansas State Rep by soliciting micro-donations from people around the Internet who were inspired by an XKCD-style comic about his vision for the state.
Ten years ago today
Profile of Iraqi torture woman: Her name is Lynndie England, she's 21, and she comes from a "backwoods world" West Virginia.
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You'd think that the proponents of SOPA would give up that legislative dead parrot's ghost. But they're still doing the rounds on radio and in print, claiming that millions of Americans were 'duped' into opposing their harmless little internet censorship law.
The fresh (!) talking points go like this: Wikipedia, Reddit, Boing Boing and others 'lied' to the public about what SOPA was in the crucial final moments, 'abused our power' by going dark for a day, and thereby tricked legislators and the public into turning on a much-needed new law.
What rot. Read the rest
On January 18, Boing Boing will join
Reddit and other sites around the Internet in "going dark" to
oppose SOPA and PIPA, the
pending US legislation that creates a punishing Internet censorship
regime and exports it to the rest of the world. Boing Boing could
never co-exist with a SOPA world: we could not ever link to another
website unless we were sure that no links to anything that infringes
copyright appeared on that site. So in order to link to a URL on
LiveJournal or WordPress or Twitter or Blogspot, we'd have to first
confirm that no one had ever made an infringing link, anywhere on that
site. Making one link would require checking millions (even tens of
millions) of pages, just to be sure that we weren't in some way
impinging on the ability of five Hollywood studios, four multinational
record labels, and six global publishers to maximize their profits.
If we failed to take this precaution, our finances could be frozen,
our ad broker forced to pull ads from our site, and depending on which version of the bill goes to the vote, our domains
confiscated, and, because our server is in Canada, our IP address
would be added to a US-wide blacklist that every ISP in the country
would be required to censor.
This is the part of the post where I'm supposed to say something
reasonable like, "Everyone agrees that piracy is wrong, but this is
the wrong way to fight it."
But you know what? Read the rest
There were two things I learned watching the Netroots Nation panel on Science Policy in Unexpected Places.
First, more science communication is happening, in more ways. Scientists are taking initiative to talk to the public and to journalists, helping to make sense of the flood of information so that people come away educated, instead of overwhelmed. And advocates are finding fun ways to bring basic science—the stuff that isn't fresh news, but sure does help when you need to actually understand the news—to people who have traditionally been overlooked by science education programs. Sports fans, for instance. That's the good stuff.
The bad stuff: Turns out, it's frustratingly easy for science to become as polarized as politics, with a mentality that divides the world into the Smart People (who already know everything) and the Idiots (who won't ever know anything). Read the rest
Sean Tevis -- the "candidate from the Internet" who caused an enormous stir when he financed a run at Kansas State Rep by soliciting micro-donations from people around the Internet who were inspired by an XKCD-style comic about his vision for the state -- is taking another run at the Kansas House and has the comic to prove it.
I really like Tevis's approach, his platform, and his ideals. I can't give to his campaign -- I'm a dirty foreigner and I don't even live in the USA (though the IRS is happy to tax the hell out me!) -- but you can!
Running for Office: Option 4
Progressive geek looking for 3,000 people to help him win Kansas election against dinosauric anti-science/pro-surveillance dude
Kansas Representative introduces anti-netroots campaign finance reform bill
Homophobic politician sends self-published comic book to voters ...
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Dan Gillmor is a BoingBoing guest-blogger.
The Obama administration has undone a few of the Bush administration's worst policies, true. Yet when it comes to Obama's increasingly clear disdain for some core civil liberties and his administration's penchant for secrecy despite cheerful rhetoric to the contrary, Salon's Glenn Greenwald arrives at a dismal -- but sadly, logical -- conclusion:
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After many years of anger and complaint and outrage directed at the Bush administration for its civil liberties assaults and executive power abuses, the last thing most people want to do is conclude that the Obama administration is continuing the core of that extremism. That was why the flurry of executive orders in the first week produced such praise: those who are devoted to civil liberties were, from the start, eager to believe that things would be different, and most want to do everything but conclude that the only improvements that will be made by Obama will be cosmetic ones.
But it's becoming increasingly difficult for honest commentators to do anything else but conclude that. After all, these are the exact policies which, when embraced by Bush, produced such intense protest over the last eight years. Nobody is complaining because the Obama administration is acting too slowly in renouncing these policies. The opposite is true: they are rushing to actively embrace them. And while there are still opportunities to meaningfully depart from the extremism of the last eight years, the evidence appears more and more compelling that, at least in these areas, there is little or no real intent on the part of the Obama administration to do so.
Remember Sean Tevis, the Kansas geek who financed his run for the state House of Reps by asking 3,000 net-people to send him $8.34 each -- and who won lost (from Rikchik in the comments, "Correction - Tevis didn't win, though he came close. The guy introducing the bill is the incumbent who beat him.") the election after raising a staggering sum of money in a short time? Well, his "colleagues" in the Kansas House of Reps aren't impressed.
Representative Scott Schwab (R-Olathe) has introduced a bill to require politicians to gather and disclose the personal information of small (less than $50) donors, if that politician raises more than $1,000. This is basically the Sean Tevis Campaign Finance Bill, and it will only affect politicians who raise their funds through distributed, grassroots campaigns. As Tevis points out. the main reason for campaign finance disclosure rules is to track money's influence in politics: "You give $1 to a candidate. It’s a pretty safe bet that they won’t feel indebted to you. If you give them $100, they might. You give a candidate $1,000 they will probably drop everything to take your call." Do Kansans have to worry that net-people who paypalled $8.34 to Tevis will lean on him for government pork?
The $1,000 threshold creates an unequal protection of privacy.
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If you donate $1 to a candidate, you can expect that your personal information will remain private. If that candidate, however, crosses the arbitrary $1,000 threshold, which is beyond your control, then suddenly your reasonable expectation of privacy that other small donors enjoy is stripped from you.