Re: Ask Tell The Mineshaft: Get Out There!

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I'm going to sneak in and edit the post title to be orange. You know it is really.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 09- 3-08 5:55 AM
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Hey LB, how 'bout that open thread you promised?


Posted by: Knecht Ruprecht | Link to this comment | 09- 3-08 6:03 AM
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Telemarketing? I don't care if its for a good political cause, its still evil.


Posted by: Spike | Link to this comment | 09- 3-08 6:13 AM
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I think this post is kind of annoying. What about if I give up an hour that I spend more wastefully than commenting? I could give up crying/masturbating.


Posted by: Armsmasher | Link to this comment | 09- 3-08 6:38 AM
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I miss ogged's vague, open-ended exhortations to maybe get involved. If you feel like it.


Posted by: sam k | Link to this comment | 09- 3-08 6:55 AM
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NY Unfogged folks want to do a bar meetup/cell phone bank? That would probably make volunteering 100% less tedious.


Posted by: Chris Conway | Link to this comment | 09- 3-08 7:11 AM
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That would probably make volunteering 100% less tedious.

That was embarrassingly innumerate and/or wildly optimistic. Maybe 50-60% less?


Posted by: Chris Conway | Link to this comment | 09- 3-08 7:13 AM
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I could give up crying/masturbating.

Becks is suggesting telephone work, so you'd only have to give up crying.


Posted by: politicalfootball | Link to this comment | 09- 3-08 7:18 AM
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"Hell, is this Mrs. Smoot in Pensacola? I'm calling from a great bar called Fresh Salt in Manhattan's Financial District, and I wanted to urge you to consider Barack Obama's position on taxes."


Posted by: Fatman | Link to this comment | 09- 3-08 7:18 AM
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I don't know if they've started phoning yet. My younger daughter has been working weekend afternoons for the campaign and they've had her knocking on doors getting data to fill in the blanks in the database.

This past weekend, there were more volunteers showed up. The effect of the convention?


Posted by: jim | Link to this comment | 09- 3-08 7:22 AM
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2: Argh, I got home late last night and forgot, and now I'm back in the office. There's going to be an Unfogged party at the Ruprecht's in Boston, guests of honor Sifu and Blume, the first Unfogged engagement where the couple is still speaking to us, and I'll put up a post on it tonight, I promise I'll remember.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 09- 3-08 7:26 AM
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How am I supposed to phonebank from work or on the crapper?


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 09- 3-08 7:34 AM
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I got one of those phonebank calls the evening before the Virginia primary.

Volunteer: I'm calling on behalf of Barack Obama to remind you that Virginia's Democratic primary is tomorrow.
Me: I know! I plan to vote in it.
V: Great. Do you know where your polling place is?
M: I do.
V: All right. Well, have a good night.
M: You, too. Thanks for the call.

It felt sort of like a cell-phone high five or something. So, I dunno. Could be fun.


Posted by: Stanley | Link to this comment | 09- 3-08 7:42 AM
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How am I supposed to phonebank from work or on the crapper?

Let me demonstrate where McCain/Palin would take this country!


Posted by: Will | Link to this comment | 09- 3-08 7:45 AM
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11: The party's this Saturday night, and interested parties should email Knecht for details, directions, and so forth.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 09- 3-08 7:48 AM
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Which is the couple not speaking to us? I'm an oldtimer and I don't know these things.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 09- 3-08 7:51 AM
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16: Ogged and, you know, that Althouse lady.


Posted by: peter | Link to this comment | 09- 3-08 7:54 AM
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11 and 15 are funny; "we've got to get the information out, now!"


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 09- 3-08 7:55 AM
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One of the great things about my job is that I would be fired if I worked for or donated money to any political candidate. So I don't have to feel guilty at all.


Posted by: zadfrack | Link to this comment | 09- 3-08 7:56 AM
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16: Weiner and ac.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 09- 3-08 7:57 AM
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For a moment, Br and I were going to be free. We got excited. We actually looked up flight info. Then, plans changed and we couldn't go. So sad.


Posted by: Will | Link to this comment | 09- 3-08 7:57 AM
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For a moment, Br and I were going to be free.

"Then we remembered, 'Oh right, the kids. Freedom is a cruel illusion.'"

Somebody linked the first Sarah Palin vlog yesterday. Episodes 1-4 are available at this Youtube channel. The second one is meh, but holy cow are 1 and 4 hilarious.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 09- 3-08 8:01 AM
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Darn kids!


Posted by: Will | Link to this comment | 09- 3-08 8:02 AM
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11,et al: I suppose I have no excuse whatsoever, do I? Hell.


Posted by: foolishmortal | Link to this comment | 09- 3-08 8:04 AM
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I'm just going to call Ogged nightly from now until the election, reminding him to vote. That counts, right?


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 09- 3-08 8:05 AM
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11, 15:

That's knecht under_score ruprecht at yahoo dawt com.

If you're planning to attend (and really, if you're not, you should be feeling intense regret bordering on self-loathing right now), please e-mail me to RSVP. If enough guests show up, Blume might perform the two-way preposition dance for our amusement.


Posted by: Knecht Ruprecht | Link to this comment | 09- 3-08 8:15 AM
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The Democratic-Farm-Vader party?


Posted by: peter | Link to this comment | 09- 3-08 8:15 AM
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I didn't post the original 26, but I don't think it was trolling. Is the new rule to delete all unsigned comments?


Posted by: peter | Link to this comment | 09- 3-08 8:18 AM
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28: Please email me or any other of the front-page bloggers if you have questions or concerns about deletions or other moderation.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 09- 3-08 8:21 AM
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If y'all want to volunteer for something, maybe make some phone calls about whether Diebold machines are still active in your State, right? (They're still slated to be used in 34.) You can bet your bottom dollar they won't be flipping the election in favour of Obama.


Posted by: DS | Link to this comment | 09- 3-08 8:25 AM
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I don't think it was trolling

Yes, it was.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 09- 3-08 8:26 AM
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Per 11 and so forth, Blume:

you can report to unfogged that I'm not commenting right now due to the JOB MARKET, but that I'll definitely do the two-way preposition dance if that means more people will show up. or even if it doesn't-- I'm all about spreading the german grammar

I don't know exactly what she means by "German Grammar", but surely it's not to be missed.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 09- 3-08 8:29 AM
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I spent the last seven weeks before the 2004 election as a Kerry volunteer. The last few weeks I as at HQ evry day, usually until it closed at 9pm.

During those last weeks, every day when I got home from the Kerry HQ I'd find a long, passionate, eloquent message from some out-of-state volunteer imploring me to go own to the Kerry HQ and volunteer. I'd think "how sad that those people, who undoubtedly thought they were helping, were just wasting so much time"

At HQ I sometimes did the tally sheets at the end of the day. We'd count responses from the phone banking. I can remember many days in which we'd made 5,000 or 6,000 phone calls from that office, and gotten perhaps 100 or 125 positive responses. Again I'd think "wow, we had dozens and dozens of people making calls all day, and the best result was 125 responses, many of which were along the lines of 'yes, I am planning to vote for Kerry'. Such a meager return for so many hours."

Personally, I've been getting so many political robo-calls that I have all my ringers turned off. I try to check my message machine every week, but sometimes I forget.

I hate the telephone.


Posted by: Michael H Schneider | Link to this comment | 09- 3-08 8:36 AM
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I hate the telephone.

Yes.

You know what's worse? Knocking on doors.

Really, I just don't like people.

Politics is stranger danger!


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 09- 3-08 8:46 AM
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first Unfogged engagement where the couple is still speaking to us

Give it time, LB.


Posted by: soup biscuit | Link to this comment | 09- 3-08 8:50 AM
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I hate the telephone.

I don't mind the Obama callers, but if I get one more call from that your-car's-warranty-is-about-to-expire scam, I might haul off and kill a puppy with an ice cream cone.


Posted by: Stanley | Link to this comment | 09- 3-08 8:51 AM
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You know what's worse? Knocking on doors.

Word to that. I blogged this back in 2006. It seems like the Obama campaign is doing a much better-than-average job of boosting volunteer productivity (i.e., not wasting volunteer time), but that may be exaggerated?


Posted by: | Link to this comment | 09- 3-08 8:53 AM
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To be honest, I'm too socially awkward and hate having my own privacy disturbed and so I can only do such things with great difficulty. In 2004 we volunteered on election day to do door-to-door to remind people to vote, offer rides, etc., and that was fun, but it also extravagantly trod upon my shyness nerves in a way I didn't enjoy. I'm much more comfortable devoting my energies towards the mechanics of voting by working as an election judge and donating money to those who are better at the advocacy. All that is not to say this is a lame idea, it's to say that I have a lot of respect for people who can call a stranger to ask them to vote and not find that extremely unpleasant.


Posted by: Robust McManlyPants | Link to this comment | 09- 3-08 8:53 AM
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Phonebanking doesn't have to be a drag. Go volunteer for an issue group that does election work. You'll be calling members, not cold calling (usually). Most GOTV calls are so brief that no one minds. And odds are the people you are calling will thank you for volunteering.

There are always a few grumps. Just be polite and get off the phone. Sheesh people. It is a phone call, not a prostate exam.


Posted by: Hazel Stone | Link to this comment | 09- 3-08 8:53 AM
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38 gets it right, except for the "have found some other way to be helpful" part.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 09- 3-08 8:56 AM
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You mean posting snarky comments on blogs isn't helpful?


Posted by: Spike | Link to this comment | 09- 3-08 9:05 AM
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Finally, proof that Bill Clinton just doesn't have it anymore.


Posted by: Gaijin Biker | Link to this comment | 09- 3-08 9:05 AM
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39: That's the problem. Prostate exams are fun.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 09- 3-08 9:05 AM
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I think there is an introvert/extrovert thing going on and I can understand how a person more introverted would have trouble with the outreach things.

Besides being extroverted there is also a real talent in being able to face rejection and not have it get to you. Usually it ends up being not that bad but still it is a hard thing to face over and over.

Personally I've tried to be more open in my circle of acquaintances and I am a little more outspoken against the more flagrant GOP lies some people parrot. I know I can't persuade the true Limbots but it does give some cover for others who may feel more like I do.

By nature I hate politics but when it started ruining my country and my world I felt I had no choice but to get involved and fight back. For me the GOP made it personal.


Posted by: Tripp | Link to this comment | 09- 3-08 9:09 AM
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39: That's the problem. Prostate exams are fun.

If you have a way to make that true we can make a fortune. I'm serious. eMail me.


Posted by: Tripp | Link to this comment | 09- 3-08 9:10 AM
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45: Clown doctors, maybe?


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 09- 3-08 9:11 AM
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I continue to be amused by how, presented with a comment like 30, would-be Dem political volunteers just sort of try to carry on as though ignoring a sulfurous fart in the room. Like, seriously; you do realize this is going to be a major and possibly decisive factor in your upcoming election, right? And that it decided your last one?


Posted by: DS | Link to this comment | 09- 3-08 9:12 AM
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46: Yeah, and do the whole thing on a trampoline. Trampolines are fun.


Posted by: Stanley | Link to this comment | 09- 3-08 9:12 AM
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If you're planning to attend (and really, if you're not, you should be feeling intense regret bordering on self-loathing right now),

More like intense regret bordering on hate, really, rather than self-loathing.

I hate you.


Posted by: NickS | Link to this comment | 09- 3-08 9:14 AM
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extravagantly trod upon my shyness nerves in a way I didn't enjoy.

I'm stealing this phrase, thank you.

What a nice description.


Posted by: NickS | Link to this comment | 09- 3-08 9:16 AM
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intense regret bordering on hate

Sounds like somebody needs a prostate exam. Honk honk!


Posted by: Lula Belle | Link to this comment | 09- 3-08 9:16 AM
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Why not just give money, less hassle and probably more effective?


Posted by: James B. Shearer | Link to this comment | 09- 3-08 9:17 AM
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37 and 38 both made good points. I'm terminally shy, so both calling and knocking are painful. Plus, I bear a striking resemblance to Moqtada Al-Sadr (except that he's younger, better dressed, and his beard is smaller and darker). Maybe it's more accurate to say that I look like a homeless old Moqtada. So knocking on doors is problematic.

Back in July I got an email from the Obama campaign inviting me to apply to be an intern. There were a number of positions, mostly back-office stuff: data entry, assistant to field organizers, managing files, etc. The major requirement seemed to be that one promise 20 hours a week until the election.

So I filled out the on-line form. My first clue was when the form absolutely required a phone number for a parent or guardian. Well, I haven't been able to reach my parents by phone since the last one died in 1995.

My second clue was in scheduling a follow-up interview. I said I'd be happy to meet the guy anywhere to talk to him. He said that it was forbidden to meet any applicant, in order to be scrupulously fair to applicants from out of state. I asked whether this indicated that they had use for only a small, limited number of volunteers. The answer, it appears, was "yes".

I told 'em I'd do most anything except phonebanking and canvassing. I'd promise 20 hours a week. I pointed out that I was retired, so I had time and resources. I invited them to email me if they had anything I could help with. I haven't heard from them.

So there's apparently nothing I can do as a volunteer to help the Obama campaign.


Posted by: Michael H Schneider | Link to this comment | 09- 3-08 9:27 AM
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I totally sympathize with hating both calling and door-knocking, though I have forced myself to do both, but there are versions that can be easier: calling members of an org., as Hazel said; putting up door hangers, which requires no interaction; GOTV, which people generally don't mind too much.

There's also registering voters door-to-door or, easiest of all, at big events where you just wander around with a clipboard and ask people if they're registered.

And there are other tasks, like putting up posters and lawn signs; delivering lawn signs to people who've requested them; data entry; stuffing envelopes . . . .

All of which is to say that it's worth calling your local Obama or Dem. party office to ask what you can do other than calling or door-knocking if you just can't hack that.

Last but not least, if you're in an area that's overrun with Obama volunteers, there are sure to be congressional, state, or local races worth some of your time.

I confess that I've done jack so far this year other than working the county Democratic convention and shelling out money, but now that we're down to 60 days, I'm getting my act together.

I'm sure Becks doesn't want to guilt trip anyone, nor do I. We won't blame you when we're living in the post-Armageddon brave new handmaid's tale of 1984 and John Galt has the conch shell. Really, we won't.


Posted by: Sir Kraab | Link to this comment | 09- 3-08 9:27 AM
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DS is right, the more introverted should better spend their time hacking Diebold machines.


Posted by: soup biscuit | Link to this comment | 09- 3-08 9:28 AM
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45: I can't think of something more guaranteed to make a prostate exam worse. Maybe a historical reenactor dotor who wanted you to interact with him in character before, during, and after the exam. Man, I hate those fuckers.


Posted by: Chopper | Link to this comment | 09- 3-08 9:31 AM
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I continue to be amused by how, presented with a comment like 30, would-be Dem political volunteers just sort of try to carry on as though ignoring a sulfurous fart in the room. Like, seriously; you do realize this is going to be a major and possibly decisive factor in your upcoming election, right? And that it decided your last one?

Actually, I care a great deal about this, regardless of manufacturer. I wound up an election judge because I called my board of elections to talk about what machines we use in our county. I just have trouble believing that the BoE of a county other than mine will care very much what I have to say about their machines. I got involved locally and satisfied myself that my county's machines accurately count the paper ballots put into them and there ends my realm of direct influence.

Unfortunately, I can't follow the link in 30 from work but I'll look at it when I get home. If it's targeted advocacy against paperless voting then I'm all for it.

That said, I am not convinced that the danger of slanted machines is pushing for one party or another across the board so much as that they protect the status quo. I would suspect any politician regardless of party who advocated too forcefully for such machines and tried to shut down public inquiry.


Posted by: Robust McManlyPants | Link to this comment | 09- 3-08 9:34 AM
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I have to say, I agree with 33. As well as other comments about phone banking being a very unpleasant experience. I just don't think this works too well. I'd rather give $ for TV ads and so forth.


Posted by: PGD | Link to this comment | 09- 3-08 9:36 AM
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Now just try to relax, Chopper.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 09- 3-08 9:37 AM
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56: yeah when your doctor introduces himself as "Sir Ernest Shackleton" you know you're in for trouble.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 09- 3-08 9:37 AM
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DS is right, the more introverted should better spend their time hacking Diebold machines.

Can't really say much in public, but I'm your huckleberry. Seriously. It is almost laughingly easy. Service port, copy, modify (subtract some from column A and add those to column B, totals the same, new winner) , replace. My state don't use Diebold, or even Premier, which is the new name for Diebold. Why any state would ever use Diebold/Premier or would use any method that did not provide a hard copy record suitable for later audit is beyond me.


Posted by: Tripp | Link to this comment | 09- 3-08 9:41 AM
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Didn't they code the 2000 version in VB or something ridiculous?


Posted by: foolishmortal | Link to this comment | 09- 3-08 9:43 AM
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55: Now we're talkin'!

61: Why any state would ever use Diebold/Premier or would use any method that did not provide a hard copy record suitable for later audit is beyond me.

Hmmm, I could think of one or two reasons.


Posted by: DS | Link to this comment | 09- 3-08 9:44 AM
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Why any state would ever use Diebold/Premier or would use any method that did not provide a hard copy record suitable for later audit is beyond me.

The reason isn't hard to figure out; it just isn't savory.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 09- 3-08 9:44 AM
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I think I used to have some leaked source on my machine, but that HD died about a year ago.


Posted by: foolishmortal | Link to this comment | 09- 3-08 9:45 AM
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So much for Sara Palin being likable . She certainly would have been the annoying busybody on Northern Exposure.


Posted by: PGD | Link to this comment | 09- 3-08 9:47 AM
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If you have a way to make that true we can make a fortune. I'm serious. Email me.

There are for sure ways to make prostate exams fun, but I think most straight men would be too insecure for them.


Posted by: PGD | Link to this comment | 09- 3-08 9:50 AM
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"Prithee, young squire, roll thee onto thine side. Now I shall grease my finger and place it in your backside. Ah, you have a fine, soft Gland of Paracelcus, young master!"


Posted by: Chopper | Link to this comment | 09- 3-08 9:50 AM
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I had a half-serious suggestion that could bring together those who still want to snark and those who just feel like throwing money around.


Posted by: destroyer | Link to this comment | 09- 3-08 9:54 AM
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The last few weeks I was at [Kerry] HQ evry day, usually until it closed at 9pm.

Wow, they closed HQ each night at 9pm? No wonder we lost. It's usually a good night if the staffers I know are out of there before 9, and going back to the office after dinner to work until midnight isn't all that uncommon.

And yes, volunteering. I really should do more of that... Canvassing would be fun, but I really can't see calling people for the phone bank, though I know it's vital work (and last time I was in the HQ, the phone bank volunteers were listening to Daft Punk's Alive 2007, so you know they're fun and tasteful!). I may try to see if I can get a week off sometime in October and just do the door-to-door thing in a swing state for a while.


Posted by: Po-Mo Polymath | Link to this comment | 09- 3-08 9:59 AM
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69: an Unfogged 527, basically? Also need a lawyer to set it up.


Posted by: PGD | Link to this comment | 09- 3-08 10:01 AM
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||

Annals of really strange things written by Yglesias:

I went last night to a party at James Lileks' house

Huh.
|>


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 09- 3-08 10:04 AM
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So... I'm in Somecounty, Ohio working for Obama right now. Like, literally, I'm physically in the office. I work as a full-time intern here. Some stuff to know:

-We treat our volunteers really well. We keep detailed lists of who we've talked to recently so we have no repeats, we get veterans calling other veterans and Republicans for Obama calling other Republicans who might be for Obama. We put paeans to their efforts on the walls. We give them enough free food to explode an aquarium full of goldfish.

-We *always* have valuable stuff for you to do. About 19,000 people came to the rally in Dublin - entering their info into their computer is basically an infinite amount of work. If you come in and help, it will free up time for our organizers to do their jobs, which leads directly to more votes. Real tangible effects.

-Basically, we have our shit together more than any campaign in history. Or at least, we have multiple 80-year-old women who've been volunteering since Adlai coming in here every day and telling us how impressively together our shit is.


Posted by: dz | Link to this comment | 09- 3-08 10:04 AM
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As long as Diebold/Premier refuses external audit they are a joke. Even their latest Hackuvote system closes some holes and leaves others wide open. It will gladly create a paper trail of the vote you didn't cast.

Flip a switch, boot from flash memory attached to the printer port, turn it off, flip the switch back. Not widespread enough? Go to the source and insert a special service update. Bingo - out on all systems. If it was me I'd make sure the service update was mandatory by claiming it closed some security hole.

Look at it this way. If we can't get a campaign finance bill that leaves no loopholes even with public scrutiny how do we ever think we can get secure voting records when the machines are made in private?


Posted by: Tripp | Link to this comment | 09- 3-08 10:07 AM
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I really wonder how useful it is to have people from out of state volunteer for GOTV. I went to South Dakota for Stephanie Herseth on the DCCC's dime. We drove hours out to one location only to find that the lists had been misplaced, and of course, the DCCC can't coordinate with the local campaign.

Most of the people seemed to be either enthusiastic Dems or slightly annoyed to have people from out of state there. I feel less bad about going to NH or Maine, since I've lived in Maine. I may be a Masshole, but at least I'm a fellow New Englander.


Posted by: Bostoniangirl | Link to this comment | 09- 3-08 10:07 AM
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73 is helpful.


Posted by: PGD | Link to this comment | 09- 3-08 10:09 AM
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If some of you young bucks can't get excited about volunteering listen to this: Screw the college Republicans. Volunteering for the Dems is a great way to meet real hott women. Seriously. All that bleach blond gold-digger stuff is for losers. You want the real deal? Trust me. Life is so much better with a real woman.


Posted by: Tripp | Link to this comment | 09- 3-08 10:10 AM
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It's true that Obama is shamefully underperforming in NH. Sending squads of Massholes to advise the friendly and pliable residents of the Granite State on how best to vote is sure to fix that right quick.


Posted by: foolishmortal | Link to this comment | 09- 3-08 10:12 AM
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73 is true. It's an impressive operation, people, and they've finally got a lot of the back-end data systems right on the Obama campaign. It helps that they're all built by pretty much the top people who created anything worthwhile on the Dean campaign, bolstered by programmers who left Facebook and Google to join the campaign ages ago (we just found out one of the guys was actually a major programmer on Chrome before he left, he hadn't been able to reveal the project before).

75: It seems like out-of-staters been pretty effective as canvassers. I know the sheer impressive size of the GOTV effort for the Obama campaign actually relies pretty heavily upon out-of-staters, since they make excellent use of the huge number of volunteers they're picking up in California, Illinois, New York, and Texas. They had a very successful GOTV effort in Nevada recently that was pretty much doubled in size by arranging a giant carpool out of SoCal.


Posted by: Po-Mo Polymath | Link to this comment | 09- 3-08 10:15 AM
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I did GOTV in Nevada out of California in '04. Nevadans like Californians; they bring cash.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 09- 3-08 10:17 AM
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Arranging a California -> Oregon GOTV effort maybe would not be such a hot idea.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 09- 3-08 10:17 AM
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I would go to the party at Knecht's, but I'd have to miss the farmer's market.


Posted by: ben w-lfs-n | Link to this comment | 09- 3-08 10:26 AM
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82: there might be fruits there. Give us enough advance notice to hit a local convalescent center and we could even manage vegetables.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 09- 3-08 10:27 AM
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73: That is music to my ears.


Posted by: Chris Conway | Link to this comment | 09- 3-08 10:29 AM
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73: Yay, dz!


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 09- 3-08 10:33 AM
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While phone banking from home is easier in a way since it doesn't require getting off the couch, nothing can match a real phone bank with autodial and headsets and such. Not having to dial numbers makes a huge differerence in making it not an annoying task. So it's worth the trek if you can make it.


Posted by: Becks | Link to this comment | 09- 3-08 10:43 AM
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I can vouch for 73 as a first-time Obama volunteer this past weekend at my local office. I've volunteered for a lot of Dem campaigns, and this was the best organized I've ever seen. Lists and maps were ready when we arrived, training for new people took 20 minutes and started on time, we were offered food and water, and thanked many times for our time. The data was also current--out of 50 doors, I only had one wrong name on the list, and it was someone who recently moved.

You can also download names to canvass in your neighborhood if you don't want to go to an Obama office. Go to the website and look for the "neighbor to neighbor" campaign. Even if you live in a heavy Dem area, this gives the campaign valuable data that they can use to target GOTV and get all those Dems to the polls.

And for all the introverts out there: I hear you and feel your pain. I hate the telephone with a fiery passion. Person-to-person canvassing is easier to me, because people seem to mind it less and are more polite when they're talking to an actual face rather than a voice on the phone. And to me, it's much more comfortable to canvass in my town rather than in another state, because I feel a little more legitimacy in talking to people who are part of my community, rather than coming in as an outsider.


Posted by: Roadrunner | Link to this comment | 09- 3-08 10:49 AM
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I've thought it might be fun to canvass in my neighborhood, Bed-Stuy, but I've been a little too nervous to actually do so.


Posted by: Jackmormon | Link to this comment | 09- 3-08 10:54 AM
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Everybody can come canvass at Knecht's house.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 09- 3-08 10:55 AM
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73 is hopeful.


Posted by: lurky lou | Link to this comment | 09- 3-08 11:19 AM
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We *always* have valuable stuff for you to do. ... We treat our volunteers really well.

I expect there's serious variation between states.

I got on the Obama email list back at the end of January, before the primary, about the same time as I went down to their office and filled out a form to volunteer (never did hear back, perhaps that's because I gave them an email but no telephone number).

In July they sent an email to the list inviting everyone to come to a training to be a "neighborhood leader". It didn't say more than that about the training. It was at the law school from 10am to 6pm on Saturday. I thought that 8 hours was a bit much, and I wasn't sure what being a neighborhood leader meant, but I signed up on the intertube form and I went. On the form I gave them my email, but either skipped or gave a patently fake telephone number.

A paid Obama staffer stood at the podium in the well of the largest classroom and talked for hours to the assembled crowd, telling them that this wouldn't be a centrally driven campaign where one person lectured to many but would be strongly peer to peer.

He said that their motto was 'respect, empower, involve'. When people asked questions (e.g. are your call lists any good? Where did you get 'em?) the first answer was "don't worry, we have that under control". If pressed, he'd say "I'm sorry, but we have a full agenda, so we can't take time to answer questions now".

At about 4pm I figured out that what this was leading up to: they were going to give each of us a call list for our neighborhood, ask us to take out our cell phones, and to invite everyone on the list to a meeting at our house. I have very limited minutes on my cell phone, I don't do calls, and I'm not about to invite a bunch of strangers to my house. So I walked.

Later I exchanged email with someone else who'd been at the meeting. He told me that they didn't have the right list for him because his precinct had been created in 2005, so it wasn't in their database.

The next day I got a message on my answering machine from another Obama staff person, looking for feedback. He'd ignored the email address and looked my phone number up in the voter file. So I went down to the office and talked to him. Again I said I'd do anything except phone calling or canvassing, and that they should email me. I've never heard from 'em.

I met many of the staff around the office. Every single one was from out of state. Not a single local person.

I concluded that for all their talk about the new technology, they're helpless without telephones, they don't use email.


Posted by: Michael H Schneider | Link to this comment | 09- 3-08 12:04 PM
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Hey Michael, what state and office was this that you were dealing with?

They probably also rely almost entirely on phones for personal communication with high-probability volunteers because it gets an order-of-magnitude better response rate. Emails from the campaign are mostly ignored if you're on the email list, and pretty much anyone volunteering is.


Posted by: Po-Mo Polymath | Link to this comment | 09- 3-08 12:18 PM
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Albuquerque, New Mexico. They closed the office they'd had for the primary, and it was before they'd opened the new offices, so they were working out of the State party headquarters.

You are probably right about emails being ignored, but we've got a bit of a feedback loop going. Because othing important comes from the email list (it's all begging for money) people ignore the emails. Because people ignore emails, they never use it for anything important.

Although they have actually used it a few times for invitations or encouragements to go to events. They wanted me to attend one of the nomination viewing parties at people's houses. I couldn't see the value in being an audience, so I didn't.

And, it strikes me that as I'd signed up on the web (giving an email and no phone), signed in for the event (using an email and no phone), they might have suspected that I prefer email and wanted to use it. I think it says something that they are entirely unwilling to deal with someone who does email, but not phone.


Posted by: Michael H Schneider | Link to this comment | 09- 3-08 12:36 PM
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Michael, if you still want to help, my advice to you is to email (or, if you're up to it, call) the local campaign and ask if you can help with data entry. That's the best role for people who don't want to talk to people.

Because so many campaign functions require you to call people or talk to people, they are probably prejudiced in favor of folks who have indicated a willingness to do those tasks. If you're clear about what you can do and they can't tell you when you can do it, then by all means resign yourself to them simply not knowing how to utilize you.

You may have to make your peace with getting calls on the phone, though -- organizations don't count on people coming out without a verbal confirmation. You may be an exception, but in the main, they're right.


Posted by: Wrongshore | Link to this comment | 09- 3-08 1:29 PM
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ok, I've donated my money, ordered my bumper sticker and yard sign, and send an email to my local organizer (through my.barakobama.com) saying I was willing to go door to door, but wont be able to make the meeting this Saturday.

The picture of the local organizer makes him look like this is the first election he's old enough to vote in.


Posted by: rob helpy-chalk | Link to this comment | 09- 3-08 1:49 PM
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Michael, if you still want to help, my advice to you is to email (or, if you're up to it, call) the local campaign and ask if you can help with data entry. That's the best role for people who don't want to talk to people.

There's lots of things I could do. I played secretary/receptionist for the Kerry HQ. I'd often take a shift answering the phone for the five main incoming lines, or greet people who wandered into HQ. It seemed to me that if a person called, or came in, then someone with some sense should be there to say "how can we help you, or how can you help us?". Frankly, no one else thought it important, but I did.

I also organized walk packets. There were 440 precincts in Albuquerque, and the plan was to have a big canvass the week before election. That meant at least one folder for each (more for big precincts). Each folder needed the appropriate walk sheets (in order), maps (in order) literature, scripts, etc.. All organized in boxes, so that at 7am saturday morning we could start handing them out to the hundreds of walkers who showed up.

I also did data entry, when it was more pressing than answering the phone or greeting walk-ins. Lots of data enty.

But it all seemed like theater. It didn't seem that anyone really cared about whether the job got done - they only cared about how many volunteers they could round up. It didn't even matter if the volunteers were kept busy. Standing around a parking lot waiting for something to happen was fine, as long as it was a big crowd standing around the parking lot.

I talked to one Kerry staffer who said that they were, indeed, judged by how many people they could get to show up. That was also the implicit message of the 8 hour Obama training. It mattered that lots of people showed up, not that lots of people would actually have house meetings. If it had mattered, they'd have been more careful describing the purpose of the training, so people who wouldn't have the house meetings wouldn' do the raining. But they apparently decied it was better to piss off a lot of people (I'd say 40% left before the training was over) in order to have a big crowd, rather than allow the attendees to more carefully self-select.

There's a point where big crowd events are good. I've done my share of demonstrations and marches and such. But I'm at the point where I don't want to spend many hours of my remaining life being a body in a crowd, where the only purpose of the crowd is to be a crowd pretending to do something in order to generate buzz. I mean, I'm sure that the acceptance sppech at the stadium was fun, and B sure made the process of attending sound like fun, but I'm way too old and lazy to do that much standing around. especially in the hot sun.

So yes, I'm sure that if I showed up at the Obama office they'd probably find something to keep me looking busy, but I'm also fairly sure they wouldn't really care whether I showed up the next day, as long as enough volunteers keep showing up to make the place look like it is buzzing.


Posted by: Michael H Schneider | Link to this comment | 09- 3-08 3:12 PM
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Campaign work can be tedious, sucky and seemingly pointless, but it can reward a person with revelatory experiences (that was my very first Unfogged comment, incidentally).


Posted by: Jesus McQueen | Link to this comment | 09- 3-08 3:20 PM
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Registering voters is good, and worthwhile. One of the things we did at Kerry HQ was voter registratioin.

Since then NM has passed a new statute (cite below, I hope it works) which makes things a bit dicey. I think that the Obama campaign is simply ignoring the law, using the HAVA form instead of the Secretary of State 's form, and not worrying about the potential criminal charges.

http://www.conwaygreene.com/nmsu/lpext.dll/nmsu2008july/9a3/9f9/b59/c23?f=templates&fn=document-frame.htm&2.0


Posted by: Michael H Schneider | Link to this comment | 09- 3-08 4:13 PM
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