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Current Topic: Politics and Law

Organizer's Guide to Election Administration - Don't Panic
Topic: Politics and Law 11:27 am EDT, Sep  9, 2010

Select your state from the map or the drop-down to learn everything you need to know about Voter Registration, Absentee/Early Voting, what to do with your voters at the polling place, including Voter ID and challenges, Election Officials, and more.

Friends at NOI do all the work so you don't have too!


Organizer's Guide to Election Administration - Don't Panic

why i'm never using opensecrets again
Topic: Politics and Law 12:58 pm EDT, Aug 18, 2010

i offer to the readers of memestreams a question: which one of these search results is more meaningful to you? analysis of robert parsons analysis of robert parsons

there are a couple of things i should point out.

    * when searching opensecrets you *must* do it LASTNAME, FIRSTNAME (also note that caps are important)

    * returns results faster

i don't mean to beat up on OS or CRP, but seriously stop trying to sell me data and focus on making your data more useable. oh wait! the sunlightlabs already did it for ya!

sometimes i love my job


why i'm never using opensecrets again

J-Lab | Sunlight Live’s Real-Time Participation Wins $10,000 Knight-Batten Innovation Award | About
Topic: Politics and Law 12:01 pm EDT, Jul 19, 2010

Washington, D.C. - Sunlight Live, the Sunlight Foundation‘s innovative blending of data, streaming video, liveblogging and social networking - first used at February’s bipartisan health-care summit - is this year’s $10,000 Grand Prize winner in the Knight-Batten Awards for Innovations in Journalism.

Sunlight Live attracted nearly 43,000 viewers, 9,800 livebloggers, and more than 1,300 tweets. The judges not only honored the project for its individual merits, but also because it highlights “the ethos that suffuses the Sunlight Foundation’s entire body of work,” said NPR’s Matt Thompson, one of this year’s judges.

“They showed how to add journalistic punch to a carefully orchestrated government event, adding context and insight to the proceedings. And they don’t stop at merely shedding light on the behind-the-scenes proceedings of government - they go a step beyond to make it fun and engaging, creating a social experience around the event.”

Six other projects that coalesced collaborations to foster unique levels of digital engagement were honored with $1,000 Special Distinction Awards. “We’re beyond the ‘wow’ phase of realizing that citizens can impact journalism and we’re now into the ‘how’ phase,” said Jan Schaffer, director of J-Lab, which administers the awards. “Welcome to the next chapter for online journalism.”

thank you knight foundation! now what can we do about test driving this talking Trans Am i hear so much about?


J-Lab | Sunlight Live’s Real-Time Participation Wins $10,000 Knight-Batten Innovation Award | About

Critic: Customers Should Reject Comcast Throttling Deal - - Business Technology Leadership
Topic: Politics and Law 3:21 pm EDT, Jul 13, 2010

IDG News Service — Comcast (CMCSA) customers should reject a proposed settlement in a lawsuit filed against the broadband provider for throttling some Internet traffic, a critic of the company said Thursday.
The proposed settlement, announced last December, especially after the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit ruled this month that the U.S. Federal Communications Commission didn't have the authority to enforce its net neutrality principles on Comcast, said Robb Topolski, a veteran networking engineer who discovered Comcast's network management practices back in 2007
Topolski, in a blog post, called on Comcast customers to send a letter opting out of the settlement to the settlement administrator by May 13. Under the terms of the settlement, a Comcast customer who had used peer-to-peer software between April 2006 and December 2008 or used Lotus Notes to send e-mail between March and October 2007 would be entitled to a maximum of US$16.

$16 is not enough damage against a monopolistic company that overcharges customers AND underdelivers service all the while changing the terms of service.

i hate you comcast.. srykthxbye!


Critic: Customers Should Reject Comcast Throttling Deal - - Business Technology Leadership

Online NewsHour | PBS
Topic: Politics and Law 11:00 am EDT, Mar 30, 2010


[me on tv]

check out time code 6:15


Online NewsHour | PBS

Can The Internet Save FOIA? — Making Government Transparent and Accountable - Sunlight Foundation Blog
Topic: Politics and Law 12:39 pm EST, Dec 18, 2009

So for starters, what is the Freedom of Information Act? Essentially it’s a law giving individuals and organizations a way to access government information. People can make requests for a wide range of government records and data, which we in the transparency movement refer to as “awesome.” If Apollo was the Greek god of sunlight, you can think of FOIA requests as Apollo’s arrows trying to pierce through the darkness. Ok, I admit that’s probably a little over the top, but in government transparency FOIA has that feel. Unfortunately, the rules for FOIA resemble the DMV more than they do archery.

david was the sunlight intern. his wit and insight will be missed. have a good time in rochester dave!


Can The Internet Save FOIA? — Making Government Transparent and Accountable - Sunlight Foundation Blog

Open Government Directive Timelines
Topic: Politics and Law 3:44 pm EST, Dec  8, 2009

This morning, the White House released the Open Government Directive, which John explains here. I’ve gone through the Directive (rather quickly), and reorganized it into a timeline checklist for the Administration.*

45 days — January 22, 2010

* “Each agency shall identify and publish online in an open format at least three high-value data sets and register those data sets via” (p.2)

* “Each agency, in consultation with OMB, shall designate a high-level senior official to be accountable for the quality and objectivity of, and internal controls over, the Federal spending information publicly disseminated through such public venues as or other similar websites. The official shall participate in the agency’s Senior Management Council, or similar governance structure, for the agency-wide internal control assessment pursuant to the Federal Managers’ Financial Integrity Act.” (p.4)

* “The Deputy Director for Management at OMB, the Federal Chief Information Officer, and the Federal Chief Technology Officer will establish a working group that focuses on transparency, accountability, participation, and collaboration within the Federal Government. This group, with senior level representation from program and management offices throughout the Government, will serve several critical functions, including:
o i. Providing a forum to share best practices on innovative ideas to promote transparency, including system and process solutions for information collection, aggregation, validation, and dissemination;
o ii. Coordinating efforts to implement existing mandates for Federal spending transparency, including the Federal Funding Accountability Transparency Act and the American Reinvestment and Recovery Act; and
o iii. Providing a forum to share best practices on innovative ideas to promote participation and collaboration, including how to experiment with new technologies, take advantage of the expertise and insight of people both inside and outside the Federal Government, and form high-impact collaborations with researchers, the private sector, and civil society.” (p.5)

big day from the trenches of open government!


Open Government Directive Timelines

Tim Ball: Public details
Topic: Politics and Law 3:07 pm EDT, Sep  2, 2009

I am Tim Ball 50 years Old married to Sharon and we have 5 Children & Five Grandchildren. I have been a councillor for 17 years
Liberal Democrat Councillor Bath & North East Somerset Council working with Local Bath MP Don Foster

this is a much more active timball blog than mine. good to know that the other timball's of the world are taking a stand to make the world a better place.


Tim Ball: Public details

Why Glenn Beck, and Fox News, can't escape the "racist" trap | Media Matters for America
Topic: Politics and Law 1:38 pm EDT, Sep  2, 2009

Have so many blue-chip advertisers ever fled a program as quickly as the who's who of corporate America that's sprinted away from Glenn Beck in recent weeks? I certainly cannot recall ever seeing a mass exodus of this scale.

The A-list collection of disgruntled Beck advertisers is staggering: Applebee's, AT&T, Bank of America, Best Buy, Campbell Soup, Clorox, ConAgra, CVS, Ditech, Farmers Insurance Group, GEICO, General Mills, Johnson & Johnson, Lowe's, Nutrisystem, Procter & Gamble, Progressive Insurance, RadioShack, Sprint, State Farm Insurance, The UPS Store, Travelers Insurance, Verizon Wireless, Vonage, and Wal-Mart, among others.

If any television program had lost just three or four of those types of high-caliber advertisers, it would be seen as an extraordinary move in a media environment in which grassroots attempts to pressure advertisers have traditionally yielded modest returns. But at Fox News, Glenn Beck is rewriting television history right before our eyes: four dozen lost advertisers and counting. All of Beck's big-time advertisers have fled. All of them.

how do you keep a show if you lose all your advertisers?

fox news underwrites and funds horrible racists. maybe they should start taking militia ads.

the best thing to do is to tell everyone to turn FNC off. go outside, play some multi-racial catch. share a horchata snow cone w/ a couple of kids on the block. enjoy the beauty that is america w/o fox "news".


ps) our president is not a racist

Why Glenn Beck, and Fox News, can't escape the "racist" trap | Media Matters for America

Apps for America 2: The Challenge
Topic: Politics and Law 12:36 pm EDT, May 21, 2009
apps for america contest

Announcing Apps for America 2: The Challenge

We've been planning this for awhile. Ever since we heard about we have been planning a contest, and if you're reading this blog post, that means has finally launched.

I'm pleased to wave the green flag on Apps for America 2: The Challenge. This is a development and visualization challenge to see who can come up with the best application and visualization for data from

These are exciting times for us-- the walls between Government and Developers are starting to shrink, and we here in Sunlight Labs are terribly excited to get to work on doing great things with the data that's coming out. Government has made a move in the right direction-- now it is time for us to show them what we can do.

We're happy launch Apps for America 2, this time with support from our friends. Google's put in some prize money as has Craig Newmark, the founder of Craig's list. O'Reilly and Techweb have provided another wonderful incentive: tickets and table space to Gov2.0 summit for the winners.

Finally, we think that in building this community of technical talent, that we need not only developers but also talented and creative artists and visualizers. So we've created a special bonus "visualization and design" prize that will hopefully bring new ideas and talent to the table.

Take a look at our Apps for America 2 page for all the rules and details. This is going to be the best Apps for America yet.

Please, spread the word far and wide! This is the technical community's first and best chance to show our federal government the kind of talent and creativity that we all have, and more importantly to show it what happens when it engages the technical community.

Let the Games Begin.

things i've already learned from the contest.

#1 don't rearchitect the fundamental way a cluster of webserver work while launching a new website

#2 loading a 50MB KML file into google earth will crash your mbp

#3 don't do the above two things @ once

thanks ritalin! you make the ADHD much better.


Apps for America 2: The Challenge

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