May 24, 2013 •

Highlighted Site of the Week – George W. Bush Presidential Library and Museum

America’s New Landmark

George W. Bush Presidential Library logoIt’s that time again! This week we bring you a site about a new presidential library.

The George W. Bush Presidential Library is a great learning experience for the whole family.  The library is located in Dallas, Texas and opened on May 1st of 2013.

One of the exhibits is a piece of metal from the World Trade Center’s after 9-11. In most museums you are discouraged from touching exhibits, but in for this exhibit you are encouraged to touch this piece of the towers.

Other exhibits are shelves of files from the Bush presidency for those who wish to research such matters. There is an exhibit featuring the gifts given to President Bush while in office. There are quite a few interesting ones in there like saddles from Kazakhstan and a dress for the First Lady for a White House Dinner with the Queen of England.

George W. Bush Presidential CenterIt’s a new landmark with a part of history in it. If you’re in Dallas, Texas on a trip or vacation, set some time aside to go to the library. Those of you with presidential library passports, this would be a great place to go to fill in one of your pages.

Thanks for reading and we’ll see you next time!

Photo of the George W. Bush Library and Museum by J. P. Fagerback on Wikipedia.

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April 12, 2013 •

Highlighted Site of the Week – JFK at the Newseum

An amazing experience opening today!

It’s Friday, everyone, and time for another Highlighted Site of the Week. This week we will be visiting JFK, an exhibit opening today at the Newseum in Washington, D.C.

In recognition of the 50th anniversary of the assassination of President John F. Kennedy on November 22, 1963, the Newseum this year is featuring two exhibits and a film about his life and presidency.

You’ll find three different presentations – both at the Newseum and on their website. They are Creating Camelot: The Kennedy Photography of Jacques Lowe, Three Shots Were Fired, and A Thousand Days.

The JFK exhibit is an amazing and educational experience. Enjoy the Creating Camelot video:

You can take a virtual tour of the Newseum and find out about its other exhibits here.

Thanks for reading and we’ll see you next time.

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March 8, 2013 •

Highlighted Site of the Week – the New Rosa Parks Statue

Unveiled on February 27, 2013

Rosa Parks statueThis week we bring you the new Rosa Parks statue that was unveiled at the National Statuary Hall. She is the first African American woman to be honored with a life size statue in the Capitol.

It was on December 1, 1955 that Rosa Parks exercised her right to sit where she wished on a bus in Montgomery, Alabama.  In honor of that day and the celebration of the 100th anniversary of her birth, there was a ceremony for the unveiling of the Rosa Parks statue in the Capitol on February 27, 2013. Many of Ms. Parks’ relatives were at the unveiling ceremony. This wonderful picture of the statue comes from the Architect of the Capitol website.

According to a recent New York Times article, President Obama offered praise for Ms. Parks: “[The president] chronicled how Mrs. Parks, despite having held no elected office, lacking wealth and living far from the seat of power, touched off a movement that made it possible for him to become president.”

Other speakers said she united the country by choosing to be arrested, instead of giving up her seat.

Rosa Parks was given the highest civilian honors from the White House and Congress.  When she died in 2005, she was the first woman “to lie in state” in the Capitol Rotunda.

She will always be remembered for what she did for America.

Enjoy this video from PBS NewsHour:

Thanks for reading and we will see you next time.

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January 25, 2013 •

Highlighted Site of the Week – Political Buttons at the Button Museum

Welcome back to Highlight Site of the Week. This week we bring you a site dealing with Political Buttons.

TIME’s Photos has an online showcase called “Political Buttons from the Button Museum: A Chicago museum portrays the history of American politics through the prism of a simple accessory.

One of the buttons displayed is from before the Civil War. It displays a visage of Abraham Lincoln in the year he was reelected. TIME shows eleven other buttons besides the Lincoln button, but you can see many more at the Button Museum.

Elizabeth Bartz, President and CEO of State and Federal Communications, has a great assortment of political buttons.  Many are framed here at the office of State and Federal Communications.  It’s a quite impressive display.  Below you can see a few of the buttons she has collected over the years.

campaign buttons

Thank you for reading and we will see you next time.

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January 18, 2013 •

Highlighted Site of the Week – The 40th Anniversary of Schoolhouse Rock!

Debuted on Jan. 13, 1973

As someone who grew up in, let’s say, an earlier television era, Schoolhouse Rock has always held a place of honor in my memory. I learned many things about grammar and American government in these three-minute video gems.  This month marks the 40th anniversary of their debut on ABC TV.

Here are a pair of nice tributes to the anniversary: “’I’m just a bill:’ Schoolhouse Rock, 40 years later, still teaches generations” by Kevin Bohn in CNN Politics and “On Schoolhouse Rock’s 40th Anniversary, A Canadian Reflects” by Dana Grinshpan in Government Executive.

To me, the quintessential “America Rock” was I’m Just a Bill. Take a look!

 

There are so many others. Don’t miss the official Schoolhouse Rock! YouTube Channel where you can relive your favorite memories with Presidential Minute, Conjunction Junction, Figure Eight,  I’m Gonna Send Your Vote to College, and many more.

Have a wonderful weekend!

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January 4, 2013 •

Highlighted Site of the Week – First Live Televised House Proceedings Edition

the First Televised House Proceedings

Seal of the U.S. House of RepresentativesIt’s Friday again and Highlighted Site of the Week has a special edition for you. This week, we honor the anniversary of the first televised broadcast of the U.S. House proceedings, which took place on January 3, 1947.

The first feature is the Historical Highlights page from the U.S. House of Representatives’ History, Art & Archives site. We also have the U.S. Congress and Television page from The Museum of Broadcasting Communications.

On the Archives website, you will find information about what happened during the proceedings. According to the site:

“The first live television broadcast from the House Chamber occurred during the opening session of the 80th Congress (1947–1949). The two-hour broadcast appeared on a local television station and was transmitted to Philadelphia and New York. The broadcast captured the ritual of opening day ceremonies and concluded after Speaker Joseph Martin’s opening address.”

On the Museum site it will give you more in depth details about the congress and their televised proceedings.

If you would like to see videos from the history of the Office of the Clerk, take a look at their YouTube Channel.

Thanks for reading and we will see you next time!

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October 19, 2012 •

Highlighted Site of the Week – Mobile App Edition

This week’s Highlighted Site of the Week consists of two sites that talk about apps for keeping track of this year’s political campaigns on your mobile device.

political phone appMashable has a list of six apps, but I am featuring the three most interesting. One of them is NBC Politics, which is an app for the iPad and iPhone.  It provides up-to-date NBC election coverage and allows users to predict which candidate will win in each of the states.

Talking Points Memo’s PollTracker is an app for the iPhone. This app gives you the latest news on where the polls stand in both the congressional and presidential elections.

Washington Post Politics is an iPad-only app.  It has a map, which is different from the one on NBC Politics. Washington Post Politics shows the polling data of each state and the campaign ads running in the swing states.

The second site I am covering is Venture Beat and I’ll highlight two of the apps they list. Ad Hawk is an app for Android and iOS. It can listen to any political ad and give you the information behind the ads sponsors.  It’s pretty much Shazam for campaign ads.

YouTube Election Hub is not a mobile app but is a channel on YouTube that features content from the conventions, the debates, and election news.  It also gets its information from ABC News, The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, and more.

Check out these sites for more political apps.

Have a great weekend and I’ll see you next time.

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July 20, 2012 •

Highlighted Site of the Week – This Day in History

Discover important events in American history

Ever wonder if today’s date holds any significance in American history, or perhaps if your birthday was a time of great importance in the past? Through a site called This Day in History featured by History.com, viewers can select a date and learn about different events that have shaped American society.

72 years ago on this week in 1940, President Franklin Delano Roosevelt was selected for an unprecedented third term in office on July 18. As the 32nd president, Roosevelt went on to serve a record of four terms in office, becoming the only U.S. president who served more than two terms.

Roosevelt was elected by the Democratic Party convention for his third term, and despite some disapproval about his running, Roosevelt believed it was his calling to lead his country through difficult times that led the country into World War II. Roosevelt died in office at the age of 63 during his fourth term as president.

This Day in History features a calendar in the top left corner that can navigate to historical information based on the selected date. Viewers can navigate through the site to find related articles or select the featured articles pertaining to the week of a chosen date. The site also includes a What Happened on Your Birthday button and a selection of games and apps under Editor’s Picks.

Explore this site to learn more interesting trivia. Have a nice weekend!

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July 13, 2012 •

Highlighted Site of the Week – The Washington Post’s Campaign Finance Explorer

Visit a site that tracks campaign funds

U.S. chartThrough a finance explorer site featured by the Washington Post, the 2012 presidential campaign statistics display the development of the 10 candidates. This site includes tracking of campaign funds, contribution sizes of Super PACs and campaigns, and maps that indicate the amount of money each state provides the candidates.

Charts on this site compare raised money to spent money for each candidate during the campaign. The site allows the viewer to choose and compare the funds of two candidates at a time. Below the charts are graphs that indicate the amount of money raised and spent over a given time for the candidates.

Two color-coded interactive maps display contributions to campaigns and super PACs greater than $200. Simply by placing the cursor over a state, the amount of money contributed appears over the state on both maps, allowing for a clear comparison of two presidential candidates at a time. The site also includes a link to the names of the biggest donors to super PACs.

As the presidential candidates continue to progress, this site helps viewers keep track of the financial changes in the campaign. Have fun exploring this site and have a great weekend!

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July 6, 2012 •

Highlighted Site of the Week – Two Sites for Celebrating the 4th of July

Explore websites that offer historical highlights and patriotic game apps

U.S. CapitolIn honor of Independence Day, this week I have found two interesting sites featuring a historical project that took place on the 4th of July in 1959 and a website introducing patriotic phone apps that offer games, puzzles and quizzes. Our Highlighted Sites of the Week are clerk.house.gov and gov.tech.com.

According to the Historical Highlights section of the Office of the Clerk website, President Dwight D. Eisenhower arranged the cornerstone for the East Front extension of the U.S. Capitol on the 4th of July. Thousands of people gathered at the construction site for a ceremony honoring the 1959 project.

Eisenhower spoke to his audience about commemorating the Declaration of Independence that provided the groundwork for American society. “As we now lay this new cornerstone in the United States Capitol, we are grateful for the courageous beginnings of a new nation, represented by the first stone.”

In the spirit of Independence Day, Govtech featured an article called “4 Patriotic Apps to Celebrate Fourth of July” introducing phone apps ranging from United States Quizzle questions to Fireworks Arcade games. The United States Quizzle app for iPhone, iPad and iPod touch features multiple-choice questions about presidential history and facts about states. Every correct answer awards 100 points, so users are encouraged to play!

Through a series of five beginner-level games, the free Fireworks Arcade app for iPhone and iPad offers various festive fireworks displays. One of the games, called Spark Samurai, allows the player to slice fireworks for points while avoiding bombs. Whether you have a knack for playing phone apps or learning about American history, these websites will inform and entertain you!

Enjoy these sites and have a nice weekend!

Photo of the U.S. Capitol by Kmccoy in Wikipedia.

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June 29, 2012 •

Highlighted Site of the Week – Comedy Central’s Indecision

Made By Comedy Central? It must be funny!

comedyComedy Central’s Indecision is a website where political humor rules.  On this site, they take serious topics and turn them into hilarious jokes. For example, you could read about how “Democrats are avoiding the National Convention like the Plague” and “U.S. wakes up in an Alternate Reality where Obamacare is not killed”.

They have a blog with similar stories as well, covering the presidential campaign and many other topics.  The most recent post (as of this writing) was the Top 5 Best reactions to the Supreme Court ruling on Obamacare.

Indecision also has a Video tab where you’ll find videos where hosts Jared and Jordan talk about politics and a Photo tab leading to a page with funny photos of political figures.

Indecision has an app for iPad and iPhone that can keep you up to date with their hilarious news.  My favorite feature on the site is the Caption Challenge. You may add your own caption to a photo and the funniest one is chosen to represent that photo or picture.

This is just scratching the surface of the Indecision site.  Go check it out for yourself!

Have a good weekend and we’ll see you next time.

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June 22, 2012 •

Highlighted Site of the Week – Politwoops

A site that records the deleted Tweets of politicians

PolitwoopsIt’s time again for our Highlighted Site of the Week. This week’s site, aptly named Politwoops, displays for us the Tweets that politicians delete from their Twitter feed.

Politwoops has this motto:  “Sure, we all tweet things we don’t mean to share, but now politicians have no way to hide them. Discover tweets that your politician shared and promptly deleted.”

You may think you know some of these politicians, but with the 334 pages of deleted tweets, you may find out there is a whole other side to them. Sometimes politicians can be a little silly.

Here is a deleted tweet from U.S. Sen. John McCain: “Victory – we fried the catfish office! Senate passes my amd’t w/ @JohnKerry today – full stmt: http://t.co/ko59ISL6

I wonder if this website will make some politicians think twice before they send any messages out into the Twitterverse.

Politwoops is an interesting new site. I think I’m going to go home and read through it to find the funniest tweet I can.

Have a great weekend and we’ll see you next time!

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May 25, 2012 •

Highlighted Site of the Week – Mad Money

This week’s highlighted site focuses on campaign ad buys.

spending mapThe Washington Post is up with a site that tracks how money is being spent during the 2012 Presidential campaign. “Mad Money” incorporates Super PAC Data, FEC filings, and links to some of the most recent ads being released by the various campaigns to paint a comprehensive picture of political advertising.

There site has an interactive map chronicling where and on what topics campaigns are spending money. The graphic notes, “TV ad buys are typically the single largest expenditure of a presidential campaign. Using data provided by the Campaign Media Analysis Group, this graphic tracks weekly and total ad spending for the 2012 presidential race by candidate, PAC and interest group. The data is based on ads that have hit the airwaves, not total buys announced by campaigns or other groups.”

You can watch as the map tracks a weekly timeline, indicating where markets are seeing larger flows of ad traffic and increased ad spending. Mad Money also indicates which messages and topics campaigns are focusing on, including which organizations are spending money for negative campaign advertising.

While campaign finance and spending becomes more prevalent, it can be hard to track down information and see how money is being spent. Mad Money from the Washington Post helps to maintain a little transparency in the political advertising game.

Don’t forget to press play on the interactive map and see how much time and money political organizations are spending across the country. Have a good weekend.

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May 18, 2012 •

Highlighted Site of the Week – LegiStorm

User friendly site tracks money in Congress.

LegiStormThis week’s highlighted site focuses on providing transparency of internal congressional spending. LegiStorm researches and publishes public documents relating to, among other things, congressional salaries, financial disclosures and gifts received by members of Congress and their staff.

The website began focusing primarily on salary data but has grown to include information about lobbying data, earmarks, and trips taken by members and their staff. Additionally, LegiStorm posts studies and research on a number issues related to congressional spending and the revolving door between congress and the private sector.

From the website: “The information is provided in a strictly factual, non-partisan fashion. We have no political affiliations and no political purpose except to make the workings of Congress as transparent as possible. We expect this resource to be useful to journalists, researchers, lobbyists and current and would-be staffers – as well as regular citizens who simply want to know how their representatives spend public money.”

Utilizing a very user friendly interface, the website provides intuitive searches of past and current congressional members and staffers. Information includes biographical data, offices held, organization memberships and even family connections on the hill.

LegiStorm offers various levels of membership. Anyone is free to access much of the information provided, but those looking for a more detailed analysis can subscribe on either an express, monthly or annual basis. If you’d like to see how your money is being spent on the people in Congress who work for you, check out LegiStorm.

Enjoy the weekend.

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