Stuff I Wrote Elsewhere – Congressional Primaries Recap

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With my incredible interns helping with research, I wrote a massive recap of congressional primaries on Tuesday – seven states and the District of Columbia held nominating elections that day (you can read the preview here).

The wrap up was so long we decided to split it into three sections:

  1. New England (Delaware, New Hampshire, Rhode Island and Vemont)
  2. Mid-Atlantic (Washington D.C. and New York)
  3. Midwestern (Minnesota and Wisconsin)

The three pieces probably don’t have everything you would ever want to know about the candidates in each state, but there’s still a wealth of information there if you’re interested. Of course, you most of this information was pulled from the profiles built by Congresspedia’s citizen-journalists, all part of our Wiki the Vote project.

Congressional Twitter Feeds

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A few weeks ago, I wrote a blog entry over on Huffington Post about the need for new congressional rules that would let members of Congress use the same social tools that their constituents are using: Facebook, Youtube, blogs, etc. It was all part of the Sunlight Foundation‘s campaign, Let our Congress Tweet. While we used Twitter (the online social networking/microblogging site that limits your posts to 140 characters) as an example, we’re concerned that members of Congress should be able to use all the services technology offers.

Over at Congresspedia, we’re starting to track the members of Congress who are using Twitter. We’ve compiled a list of 29 members thus far, and we’re always on the look out for others. One neat trick we’re offering: for those members who are using Twitter, you can read their latest posts right on the Congressedia profile.

Rep. Tom Udall was one of the first to adopt the service, and his campaign has been quick to embrace blogging and other aspects of the Web as well. You can see his Congresspedia profile here, complete with his most recent “tweets” from Twitter.

If you know of any other members of Congress using Twitter (or congressional candidates for that matter) please let us know!

Stuff I Wrote Elsewhere

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There are primaries happening today:

It must be August: Congress is no longer in session and the congressional primary season is again heating up. According to our calendar, there are primary elections every week from now until mid-September. Candidates in three states – Kansas, Michigan and Missouri – are on the ballot tomorrow.

As part of our Wiki the Vote project, our citizen-editors have been tallying all the races and building profiles of many of the candidates. We’ll have more on the winners Wednesday, but for now here are some of the more interesting races to watch:

You can find the rest here. If you know something about an interesting congressional race, I’d urge you to head over to Congresspedia and add the information there. You can always ask us for help, and I promise we’ll value your contribution.

It’s entirely possible I gave preferential treatment to Missouri and covered those races first, though I won’t confirm or deny why.

As always, the “Stuff I Wrote Elsewhere” idea is courtesy of John Fleck.

Stuff I wrote elsewhere

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Borrowing a page from John Fleck’s book, here’s a snippet from last week’s Congresspedia review:

Negotiations between the House and Senate regarding the 2007 Farm Bill reauthorization broke down on Thursday evening. That forced lawmakers in both houses to approve a one-week extension of the 2002 version, which had already been extended one month.

The debate remains the same: how to offset $10 billion in increases, and whether to enact a $2.5 billion tax package. House members have balked at tax breaks, while questions remain over the support for farm subsidies.

And here’s one from this week’s Congresspedia preview:

Following calls by President Bush to voluntarily reduce carbon emissions, the Senate Finance Committee this week will hear testimony on the taxation implications of cap-and-trade programs, which place limits on carbon emissions but also gives credits to organizations that produce carbon lower levels. Those credits can then be purchased or traded in a market-system.

The Senate Environment Committee last year approved legislation—America’s Climate Security Act of 2007—to establish a cap-and-trade program, and the full chamber is expected to begin debate on the measure in early June. President Bush has opposed such a program of mandatory emissions caps, and prefers a technology-based approach. He’ll face pressure to sign any climate legislation approved in Congress this year, which many see as more favorable to business than anything that will come during the next administration.

Enjoy your Pennsylvania media frenzy today dear readers.

Invasions of Privacy

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Laura Rosen hits on something that’s been bugging me about the passport story too:

Seriously, what am I missing? Isn’t there some bizarre sort of cognitive dissonance going on in seeing the reactions to the two cases? How much more intrusive is it to have federal law enforcement and intelligence scouring ordinary people’s phone records, emails, bank records than a State Department contractor sneak peaking into presidential candidates’ passport files, with the sort of information available in any credit check, and which is prompting a rush of Congressional investigations? Why do ordinary people have no recourse, no remedy, no way to demand accountability for the violation of their privacy, no recourse even to demand that they be notified the government has surveilled their communications and bank records, when the presidential candidates, who have volunteered after all for an extraordinary degree of public scrutiny to become the leader of the free world, get recourse, apologies, Congressional investigations and law suits?

It looks like the House is at least standing up for the letter of the law, if not specifically for civil rights, in its opposition to the Senate version of the RESTORE Act.  Preserving the ability of ordinary citizens to file suit against telecommunications companies that likely broke the law is a big step forward for the House.

Now, if we could only preserve the ability for ordinary citizens to sue drug companies when medications go wrong, we might be getting somewhere.