Does Our $499 iPad Come at Too High a Cost?

Three workers have died and 15 others are injured after an explosion at the iPad/iPhone factory in Chengdu, China.

This has been on my mind all week, and I’m not sure what to say about it, except that it’s true. Maintaining our lifestyle in the US often means that in other countries, people are dying and human rights are being violated.

So is this what it takes to bring a $499 iPad to our doorsteps? What are the limits of human costs that consumers are willing to accept in the manufacturing of their electronics products? Would you be willing to pay, say, an extra $100 for an iPad if you could be assured that those workers who manufactured it were toiling in safe conditions, paid fair wages and not driven to suicide?

OFA and Democrats.org in 2010 – What Could Have Been

After President Obama was elected in 2008, I had the highest hopes for OFA and Democrats.org. They talked a big game about using these organizing tools to help enact the Democratic agenda. And they were right – If Democrats could harness the technology that helped the President’s revolutionary campaign and modify it to work at the state and local levels, we’d have a set of tools to help us win future elections and build a sustainable political movement dedicated to helping the middle class.

Imagine the innovative tools from Obama 2008 being brought to campaigns of every level. Revolutionizing phone-banking, outreach, engagement, etc. Of course, they didn’t do that, and instead the technology and organizing tools stayed dormant while we got trounced in the 2010 midterms. Here are a few things that could have made a difference: Continue reading “OFA and Democrats.org in 2010 – What Could Have Been”

Stuck in Neutral – Why Hasn’t Online Organizing Thrived?

At breakfast with a smart colleague and veteran campaigner recently, I asked him what sounds like a relatively simple question – why hasn’t online organizing thrived?

We seem to be stuck in 2007, when online organizing meant gathering as many email addresses as possible and “blasting” supporters as often as they’ll tolerate, always with the purpose of raising money, and rarely more than that. I’d hoped that we’d be past that by now, and that the presidential campaigns would lead the way.

But no one has, and the world of digital advocacy has quickly become merely a collection of intermediaries focused on moving money from individuals to good causes, while taking their cut. Continue reading “Stuck in Neutral – Why Hasn’t Online Organizing Thrived?”