robertogreco + acorn   4

Who Needs ACORN?
"But unlike African Americans or college students, WVWV targets were not geographically clustered in specific neighborhoods whose sidewalks could be stalked by clipboard-carrying canvassers. Gardner knew she would have to seek them out individually, but it wasn’t obvious how to do that: Databases used by campaigns and parties usually included voters’ ages and flagged them by race, but did not identify their marital status. But Gardner happened to be launching her new group just as the political world was discovering the value of commercial data warehouses initially created for credit agencies and consumer marketing. She bought lists of all voting-age adults and then cross-referenced them with voter-registration rolls: The names that appeared on one and not the other became a potential universe of targets. She then had analysts develop statistical models that mined demographic variables for each woman on that list to predict the likelihood that each was unmarried. Women’s Voices Women’s Vote didn’t have to wait for these voters to come to them. They sent the women on their list a letter.

During campaign years, the group issues quarterly mailings.* Each mailing has a randomized experimental design built in, allowing the group to test various ways of packaging a registration form, adjusting everything from cover letter language to envelope typography. By paying the postal service to track which of its forms were sent along to registration authorities, it is possible to determine which packages get the best response. In a 2010 test, for example, WVWV found that Ohio-specific forms sent to targets in that state got returned at a rate 1 percentage point higher than a standardized national alternative. Analysts can also apply statistical models to identify the attributes of those recipients who have been most responsive to each appeal. With time, WVWV learned that those who have recently moved, or just turned 18, are twice as likely to respond to any mailed registration appeal as the broader population.

After the group’s June 2012 mailing, WVWV analysts and designers made 13 improvements to the way it builds a list of new targets.* Each was designed to slightly increase the odds of response, and thus lower the cost of a registering a voter. A decade of such tests and tweaks has cut the price of a new registration more than half from the $15 that Gardner estimated it cost a decade ago to administer traditional site-based programs using paid canvassers. “We have kept driving the cost of registering a person down cycle after cycle,” she says. “Our lists are getting better, our models are getting better, our targeting is getting better.” With that data-centric approach came something unimaginable at the card table: the ability to put on the rolls only those people you wanted to see cast a ballot.*"
vote  participation  vip  voting  politics  statistics  acorn  vpc  via:migurski 
august 2012 by robertogreco
On Making Yourself Right - Ta-Nehisi Coates - National - The Atlantic
"Publicly, he lived to make himself right -- a tradition that is fully empowered in our politics. Breitbart didn't invent the art of making yourself right. But he embraced it, and then advanced it.

That is what took me to sadness. I have experienced curiosity as a primarily selfish endeavor. It originates in the understanding of the brevity of life, and the desire to see as much of it as possible, from as many angles as possible without doing too much damage to my morality. The opposite of that -- incuriosity, dishonesty, the opportunistic deployment of information -- is darkness. Breitbart died, like all of us will, in darkness. But as a media persona he chose to also live there, and in the process has impelled countless others to throttle themselves into the abyss…

It is wholly appropriate to be sorry that Andrew Breitbart died. But in the relevant business, it is right to be sorry for how he lived."
history  journalism  us  race  politics  society  mediapersona  persona  media  lies  lying  naacp  acorn  death  life  ethics  morality  values  charlessherrod  shirleysherrod  truth  wrong  right  2012  andrewbreitbart  ta-nehisicoates  from delicious
march 2012 by robertogreco
Balloon Juice » Blog Archive » This Is What Obstructionism + Nihilism + the Wurlitzer Looks Like
"And then, quietly, the bill that James and I and the majority of the House, Senate, and American people all agree would be a good thing, slowly and without any dignity dies. The beltway pundits, feeling no shame for their part in amplifying the bullshit from the noise machine, would then begin 100,000 horse race pieces discussing how this is bad for Obama and good for Republicans, and what role this will play in the 2010 elections.
politics  media  food  poverty  journalism  foodstamps  us  obstructionism  congress  republicans  conservatism  senate  acorn  2010 
february 2010 by robertogreco
Obsidian Wings: Yeah, About that ACORN Law
"The problem is, in enacting a law that makes it possible to hold a group like ACORN responsible for the actions of its employees, the GOP might have opened up Pandora's box. Consider, for example, some other groups that receive government funds (far in excess of $53 million over 15 years) whose employees have committed far more grievous crimes (ie, rape and murder for employees of KBR, Blackwater and other private contractors). Ryan Grim on some of the implications:"
law  military  congress  acorn  politics  2009 
september 2009 by robertogreco

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