Obama Talks Tech at Google

I'm down in Mountain View at the Google world headquarters for the coming dialogue with Barack Obama. According to media reports, Obama will lay out his tech agenda, which includes the creation of a chief technology officer position to ensure that the federal government is conducted in an open manner, and a commitment to net neutrality. The event should be starting momentarily and I'll be liveblogging with thoughts throughout.


Obama next takes questions from the audience. The first questioner notes that Bill Clinton was the only Democrat in the post-war era to win two elections and asks Obama what he would learn from Clinton. Obama says that he believes int he importance of the moment, that Clinton understood the moment in the early 1990s, worked as a different kind of Democrat, which was a powerful message for that time. The moment today, Obama says, requires an honesty with the American people, and not necessarily doing things the way they've been done before.

Democrats lose when they are not strong about what they stand for. Democrats lose when they don't know what they stand for and get defensive when they get hit rather then going back on the offensive. In effect, Obama says "bring it on" to Giuliani and Romney about the culture of fear, saying that we don't need to redefine torture-like tactics to make them legal, that we don't need to double the size of Guantanamo.

On a question regarding the deficit, Obama says that the first step is ending the Iraq War. Obama also talks about honest accounting, not hiding debts. But the biggest problem Obama sees in terms of the federal budget is healthcare spending, Medicare and Medicaid. Technology, he says, could help with the costs. So, too, could investing in prevention.

The next question comes on the "perceived weakness" surrounding the issue of experience. Obama talks about the fact that the people who founded Google didn't have a whole lot of experience running Fortune 500 companies, which elicits more than a few laughs. Obama then says that judgment and character are paramount, but also that his experience can be put up against that of any of the other candidates. Obama points to achievements within the Illinois state Senate. Obama also speaks about standing up for what he believed in even when it wasn't necessarily popular, such as when he spoke out against the impending Iraq War even when George W. Bush was at 65 percent in the polls. Obama also speaks of finding the right talent to achieve the goals of his administration.

The final question comes on fighting special interests -- how to get insiders to fix a system they benefit from. Obama says that people need to use shame, pointing to his successful work with Russ Feingold on the toughest lobbying reform since Watergate. Transparency is important in the process, he says, because the more the American people know the more government will be held accountable. On healthcare, Obama says the lesson from the Clinton healthcare plan is that the plan shouldn't be created behind closed doors, that he would bring everyone to the table but that that table would be in the open (on C-SPAN, on the net). "And if they put up 'Harry and Louise' ads", Obama would go on YouTube and talk back. Obama also says that decisions should be made on facts and reason.

Prior updates below the fold...

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HR1955 Gets 404 Voted. Is it a Net Neutrality Threat

HR 1955 passed with 404 votes in the House. Sponsored by Jane Harmon aand co sponsored by Chris Carney and a host of others the bill is entitled Violent Radicalization and Homegrown Terrorism Prevention Act of 2007.

Here is a link to read the bill:  http://www.govtrack.us/congress/billtext .xpd?bill=h110-1955

I am most troubled by this section of the bill:
(3) The Internet has aided in facilitating violent radicalization, ideologically based violence, and the homegrown terrorism process in the United States by providing access to broad and constant streams of terrorist-related propaganda to United States citizens.

Will this section endanger Net Neutrality

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Big Brother Rudy: Gov't Should Decide What You See on the Net

Todd sat through the Republican debate today so you didn't have to, noting that Rudy Giuliani continued his serial exaggerations. I unfortunately was unable to catch the debate. But in the subsequent coverage, one point from Giuliani stood out to me in particular. NBC's First Read has the catch.

Rudy indicated he would be for setting up an FCC for the Internet if the FBI, et al can't police it properly.

More here.

As for Giuliani, his answer about policing the internet culturally probably didn't resonate on a personal level to parents and McCain picked up on it. That's why he jumped in and attacked those predators and pornographers personally. It was one of McCain's stronger moments. Giuliani was a bit technocratish.

Again, I didn't see the debate, so I'll admit that I don't know the entire context of this interchange. But from these reports from First Read, Giuliani's position doesn't come off as particularly "technocratish" but rather quite "Big Brother-ly."

Americans are already unhappy enough with the federal government snooping on things like their library records and their emails. A move to go even further than that -- which Giuliani seems to be suggesting -- a move into the government deciding what Americans can and cannot read on the internet, to what they can and cannot see doesn't sound like something Americans will terribly approve of. This, of course, is not to say that Americans don't want to see the government cracking down on those who use the internet for nefarious purposes. That said, a move to regulate the internet with an FCC-like bureaucracy (think of the type of crackdowns we've seen in China and Burma for an idea of how far such things can go when taken to the extreme) just isn't going to fly in this country today.

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Edwards Evening News: Can't Touch This

Welcome to your Saturday night Edwards Evening News. Tonight we focus on 10 reasons why Edwards is the most progressive candidate, and why the other Democratic candidates can't touch this.

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Edwards Evening News Roundup: Teach Your Children Well Edition

Welcome to the Saturday night Edwards Evening News Roundup.  Tonight, our major focus is on the education plan that John Edwards released yesterday.  I think it's a great plan that will put our public education system back on track after years of neglect.  I'll highlight some of that plan tonight.

Beneath the fold, we'll delve into the following stories:

  • Teach Your Children Well: The Edwards Education Plan

  • Campaign Manager David Bonior on Hardball

  • Breaking News: Bush May Have Misused the DOJ AGAIN

  • Celebrating OneWebDay with the Edwards Campaign

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