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First POST: Whiz Kids

BY Micah L. Sifry | Thursday, February 27 2014

The inside story on how the HealthCare.gov site was saved; the limits of political moneyball; GCHQ captured millions of Yahoo webcam chat images; and much, much more. Read More

"Organizer," the Software Company That Wants To Make Campaign Field Offices Obsolete

BY Sarah Lai Stirland | Tuesday, April 16 2013

Organizer Founder Ralph Garvin, Jr. took the drudgery of his 2008 campaign experience and turned it into a startup.

If people-powered, neighbor-to-neighbor campaigns are the future of political persuasion, as President Barack Obama's former campaign manager Jim Messina suggests it is, then the practice is in need of a serious upgrade. That's exactly what Ralph Garvin hopes to bring to the table with Organizer, a new political software suite that just landed two big, early clients, the labor-backed Working Families Party and Howard Dean's grassroots group, Democracy for America. Read More

Who Is Ro Khanna?

BY Sarah Lai Stirland | Wednesday, April 3 2013

Some of President Obama's key 2012 re-election campaign staff and a top Silicon Valley fundraiser have jumped into a 2014 cycle Congressional race to oust longtime Silicon Valley Democrat Mike Honda, and to replace him with the former U.S. Deputy Assistant Secretary of Commerce Ro Khanna -- even though Obama and House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi have already endorsed the incumbent. Read More

Democrats Won't Necessarily Have A Tech Lead in 2016, Says Former Obama Campaign CTO

BY Sarah Lai Stirland | Tuesday, March 26 2013

Presidential candidates on both sides of the partisan aisle will face similarly difficult challenges when building their technology infrastructure in the 2016 election cycle, despite the advantages that President Obama's campaign enjoyed in 2012, predicted Harper Reed, the Obama 2012 campaign's chief technology officer during a talk Monday in Sun Valley, Idaho. Read More

Jeremy Bird on the Future of Organizing for America, 2012 and Beyond

BY Micah L. Sifry | Wednesday, December 5 2012

"We weren't quick enough out of the gate," four years ago, says Jeremy Bird, the national field director of President Obama's re-election campaign. "We will be quicker this time." He's not talking about the race just concluded. He's talking about how Organizing for America, the president's political organization, operated in the days and months after Obama's first election in 2008, compared to what is coming now. Read More

Hidden in Plain View: Obama 2012's Organizing Blueprint

BY Micah L. Sifry | Tuesday, July 3 2012

Image from "Campaigning to Engage and Win: A Guide to Leading Electoral Campaigns."

Yesterday, the New Organizing Institute, a progressive training center, published a 210-page manual titled, "Campaigning to Engage and Win: A Guide to Leading Electoral Campaigns." Written by and for campaigners at every level of politics, it is also the Obama 2012 field strategy, hidden in plain view. It is also an argument for a different way of campaigning than the traditional reliance on fundraising and TV ads, one that calls for starting earlier and engaging supporters more deeply in all aspects of a campaign's life, and one that builds on the one thing that may make campaigns in the digital age different: thanks to technology, it makes sense to involve more people. Indeed, it may be the best way to win. Read More

The One Group NOT Talking About #OWS Is ... The Obama Campaign?!

BY Micah L. Sifry | Wednesday, November 16 2011

Today, I got an email from Jeremy Bird, national field director for the Obama 2012 campaign. I like Jeremy at a personal level, and think he's a really talented organizer. Read More

Marshall Ganz on How Obama Failed to Lead

BY Micah L. Sifry | Wednesday, November 3 2010

Marshall Ganz, the man who devised Barack Obama's grassroots organizing model in 2008, and a master community organizer, has an eloquent statement in the LA Times on what went wrong for Obama between 2008 and 2010. His ... Read More

Respect, Empower, Include, Unfriend? The Story of One Disillusioned Obama Organizer [UPDATED]

BY Micah L. Sifry | Wednesday, January 6 2010

Marta Evry is a 45-year-old film editor who works on television shows and movies in Hollywood. She took off six months in 2008 to volunteer full time on the Obama campaign, ultimately working as a Regional Field ... Read More

OFA's "Time to Deliver" is Now; Watching Obama's Army Flex Its Muscles

BY Micah L. Sifry | Tuesday, October 20 2009

Today, President Obama is doing something no sitting U.S. President has done before. He is using his massive network of grass-roots supporters, which has been undergoing a reboot since Election Day, to go between the ... Read More

Transparency and Public Shaming: Pakistan Tackles Tax Evasion

In Pakistan, where only one in 200 citizens files their income tax return, authorities published a directory of taxpayers' details for the first time. Officials explained the decision as an attempt to shame defaulters into paying up.

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wednesday >

Facebook Seeks Approval as Financial Service in Ireland. Is the Developing World Next?

On April 13 the Financial Times reported that Facebook is only weeks away from being approved as a financial service in Ireland. Is this foray into e-money motivated by Facebook's desire to conquer the developing world before other corporate Internet giants do? Maybe.

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The Rise and Fall of Iran's “Blogestan”

The robust community of Iranian bloggers—sometimes nicknamed “Blogestan”—has shrunk since its heyday between 2002 – 2010. “Whither Blogestan,” a recent report from the University of Pennsylvania's Iran Media Program sought to find out how and why. The researchers performed a web crawling analysis of Blogestan, survey 165 Persian blog users, and conducted 20 interviews with influential bloggers in the Persian community. They found multiple causes of the decline in blogging, including increased social media use and interference from authorities.

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tuesday >

Weekly Readings: What the Govt Wants to Know

A roundup of interesting reads and stories from around the web. GO

Russia to Treat Bloggers Like Mass Media Because "the F*cking Journalists Won't Stop Writing"

The worldwide debate over who is and who isn't a journalist has raged since digital media made it much easier for citizen journalists and other “amateurs” to compete with the big guys. In the United States, journalists are entitled to certain protections under the law, such as the right to confidential sources. As such, many argue that blogging should qualify as journalism because independent writers deserve the same legal protections as corporate employees. In Russia, however, earning a place equal to mass media means additional regulations and obligations, which some say will lead to the repression of free speech.

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Politics for People: Demanding Transparent and Ethical Lobbying in the EU

Today the Alliance for Lobbying Transparency and Ethics Regulation (ALTER-EU) launched a campaign called Politics for People that asks candidates for the European Parliament to pledge to stand up to secretive industry lobbyists and to advocate for transparency. The Politics for People website connects voters with information about their MEP candidates and encourages them to reach out on Facebook, Twitter or by email to ask them to sign the pledge.

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monday >

Security Agencies Given Full Access to Telecom Data Even Though "All Lebanese Can Not Be Suspects"

In late March, Lebanese government ministers granted security agencies unrestricted access to telecommunications data in spite of some ministers objections that it violates privacy rights. Global Voices reports that the policy violates Lebanon's existing surveillance and privacy law, Law 140, but has gotten little coverage from the country's mainstream media.

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friday >

In Google Hangout, NYC Mayor de Blasio Talks Tech and Outer Borough Potential

New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio followed the lead of President Obama and New York City Council member Ben Kallos Friday by participating in a Google Hangout to help mark his first 100 days in office, in which the conversation focused on expanding access to technology opportunities through education and ensuring that the needs of the so-called "outer boroughs" aren't overlooked. GO

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