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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

News Briefs

RSS Feed today >

Another Co-Opted Hashtag: #MustSeeIran

The Twitter hashtag #MustSeeIran was created to showcase Iran's architecture, landscapes, and would-be tourist destinations. It was then co-opted by activists to bring attention to human rights abuses and infringements. Now Twitter is home to two starkly different portraits of a country. GO

At NETmundial Brazil: Is "Multistakeholderism" Good for the Internet?

Today and tomorrow Brazil is hosting NETmundial, a global multi-stakeholder meeting on the future of Internet governance. GO

Brazilian President Signs Internet Bill of Rights Into Law at NetMundial

Earlier today Brazil's President Dilma Rousseff sanctioned Marco Civil, also called the Internet bill of rights, during the global Internet governance event, NetMundial, in Brazil.

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tuesday >

Ruck.us Reboots As a Candidate Digital Toolkit That's a Bit Too Like Democracy.com

Ruck.us launched with big ambitions and star appeal, hoping to crack the code on how to get millions of people to pool their political passions through their platform. When that ambition stalled, its founder Nathan Daschle--son of the former Senator--decided to pivot to offering political candidates an easy-to-use free web platform for organizing and fundraising. Now the new Ruck.us is out from stealth mode, entering a field already being served by competitors like NationBuilder, Salsa Labs and Democracy.com. And strangely enough, Ruck.us seems to want its early users to ask Democracy.com for help. GO

Armenian Legislators: You Can Be As Anonymous on the 'Net As You Like—Until You Can't

A proposed bill in Armenia would make it illegal for media outlets to include defamatory remarks by anonymous or fake sources, and require sites to remove libelous comments within 12 hours unless they identify the author.

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The Good Wife Looks for the Next Snowden and Outwits the NSA

Even as the real Edward Snowden faces questions over his motives in Russia, another side of his legacy played out for the over nine million viewers of last night's The Good Wife, which concluded its season long storyline exploring NSA surveillance. In the episode titled All Tapped Out, one young NSA worker's legal concerns lead him to becoming a whistle-blower, setting off a chain of events that allows the main character, lawyer Alicia Florrick (Julianna Margulies), and her husband, Illinois Governor Peter Florrick (Chris Noth), to turn the tables on the NSA using its own methods. GO

The Expanding Reach of China's Crowdsourced Environmental Monitoring Site, Danger Maps

Last week billionaire businessman Jack Ma, founder of the e-commerce company Alibaba, appealed to his “500 million-strong army” of consumers to help monitor water quality in China. Inexpensive testing kits sold through his company can be used to measure pH, phosphates, ammonia, and heavy metal levels, and then the data can be uploaded via smartphone to the environmental monitoring site Danger Maps. Although the initiative will push the Chinese authorities' tolerance for civic engagement and activism, Ethan Zuckerman has high hopes for “monitorial citizenship” in China.

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The 13 Worst Bits of Russia's Current and Maybe Future Internet Legislation

It appears that Russia is on the brink of passing still more repressive Internet regulations. A new telecommunications bill that would require popular blogs—those with 3,000 or more visits a day—to join a government registry and conform to government-mandated standards is expected to pass this week. What follows is a list of the worst bits of both proposed and existing Russian Internet law. Let us know in the comments or on Twitter if we missed anything.

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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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