Monday, October 27, 2008

Ted Stevens Convicted

I'm fascinated that, looking through previous posts of mine to link to, I hadn't gone off on a rant on Ted Stevens. I don't think I need to do it again - but I will let the New York Times do my talking for me. And I'll dig up an old Jon Stewart bit for the fond memories.

Tuesday, October 07, 2008

Change Congress. Since The Internet = Politics

In the early days of the web, the joke seemed to be that all the Internet was good for was porn. As it grew as a communication tool though, it started to become a major force in political campaigns. In 2004, Howard Dean seemed to truly understand the nature of how the Internet could be used to rally people around various candidates or issues.

Now it seems like all the Internet is good for is politics. Which is great - in many ways, it's the most democratic communication tool ever devised. Barack Obama has his own social network (I've got a page). My favorite blogs like Signals vs Noise and TechCrunch weigh in about the websites for various candidates. My friend Dan has his own political blog - though we don't agree on most things. My current favorite is Twitter's Election Center - if that isn't democratic communication, I don't know what is.

And Lawrence Lessig's got Change Congress.

Change Congress is a movement to end corruption in America's congress, centered around 4 principles:

  1. No money from lobbyists or PACs
  2. Vote to end earmarks
  3. Support reform to increase Congressional transparency
  4. Support publicly-financed campaigns
These are all good things that everyone should be able to get behind. Now, they're (we're) trying to get as many congressional candidates to explain where they stand on these four issues. And true to the Internet, we're hoping everyone can help out by pestering people running in their districts to do so.

Want to help? Here's what you do:
  1. Visit
  2. Find people running in your district. It's a long list, so I'd recommend clicking Ctrl-F to find your district number. If you still need help the homepage has a nice map.
  3. Click "Pester" to send an email or phone call. Don't worry, there are suggestions for what to say.
It's pretty easy. I got to help pull all the data for this together (it's surprisingly hard to find contact info for candidates who aren't incumbents!), so hopefully you'll take advantage of how easy it is to get involved in the democratic process.