Teach In with Teachout

With any luck, the O’Reilly Digital Democracy Teach-In will have Zephyr Teachout virtually onstage. I’ve been helping with the planning and it appears that we may have Jim Moore and the legendary Zephyr join us through iChat AV. The logistics precluded anyone from the Dean campaign attending in person, though Joe Trippi was genuinely enthusiastic when Doc asked him to keynote last month.

You may recall that the invitation happened when I was carrying Doc around Dean HQ embedded in my PowerBook via iSight.

Let’s see. The campaign will be in the middle of its entire raison d’etre, and Joe or a designated thriver is supposed to fly from Burlington to San Diego for an hour session? Well, telepresence probably should have been our original plan, and we’ve got a great agenda now, so I’m optimistic about the conference.

The O’Reilly folks have been using me as a placeholder until some things got resolved in our conference call today. If you look fast before they revise the schedule, you’ll see my service as the body double for the real Dean team, now to be present virtually, since we all knew that I, the virtual Dean teammate, could really be there (sort of a reverse bait-and-switch):


These sessions will be part of the Digital Democracy Teach-In. Please check back often as we will be adding sessions and panels in the days to come. For more details about specific speakers, see the Speakers page.

Internet Campaign Magic
Britt Blaser, President, Blaser and Company
Time: 8:30am – 9:15am
Location: California Ballroom C

Howard Dean has rocked the political establishment by raising more than $40 million over the internet, mostly in small donations, by harnessing the power of weblogs, meetup.com, and email. Pundits now say that the 2004 presidential election will be shaped by the internet as surely as the 1960 election was shaped by television. In this session, key technologists involved with the presidential campaigns will explain how to build a grassroots campaign — what some people call “Open Source democracy” — using the net to empower local activists.

Y’all C’mon Down, Y’Hear?

Admission is just $100, the weather will be great, and it coincides with the Emerging Technology Conference, which was moved to accommodate our teach-in, as Tim O’Reilly writes today:

Wes Boyd of MoveOn.org is keynoting, but we’ve also got key people from the Dean and Clark campaigns, a bunch of noted bloggers, Scott Heiferman from meetup.com (which has become a critical political organizing tool), and other online activists. We’ve also got a panel on the critical issue of transparency and trust when using electronic voting machines.

We actually moved eTech to this earlier date (from its usual April time slot) because we wanted to have the Teach-In early enough in the campaign season to help make a difference in getting people involved.

Whatever your politics, the increased use of the internet for everything from fundraising to activism is extremely interesting. I’m looking to hear more about success stories in this space, and especially about tools that can be adapted and used by others, not only for campaigning, but for making government more responsive after the fact.

We’re Peddling the Electoral Cycle – Buy in Now!

Tim’s last point is crucial. The fuel for American governance (sort of its Krebs cycle…:) is the electoral cycle. This seems to be the only time when politicians look at what good they might do. Then they spend their time in office to weasel out of their insights into governance, or pandering, depending onyour viewpoint.

That’s why we democracy-lovers need to get involved in politics now, not after government goes back to business as usual. Perhaps that won’t be true of a Dean administration, since no one tells the Dr. what to think, which he does on his feet, and has the self-confidence to develop his diagnoses in public. He honors us by treating the public as co-producers of democracy.

As some wag said the other day, “To Washington insiders, a gaffe is what they call it when they think you should have lied.”

Dirty Politics

I don’t speak for the O’Reilly folks, but I have a closely-guarded secret few people know about Governor Howard Dean. He intends to do precisely what he’s describing, since he’s on to the one dirty trick politicians can’t deal with:


11:36:39 PM    

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