March 9, 2012 •
Keeping a tally of the delegates needed to win the Republican nomination in the 2012 presidential campaign.
With all of the attention placed on the Republican primaries and caucuses – especially with Super Tuesday happening this week – our Highlighted Site of the Week is a trio of delegate tracker sites.
Politico has a great Delegate Tracker page that can help you make sense of where each of the candidates stands in gaining the biggest portion of the 2,286 delegates needed to win the nomination at the GOP National Convention.
I personally like the GOP Delegate Tracker on The Wall Street Journal’s Election 2012 site. It has a bar graph with the candidates, an interactive map of the states, and even an interactive timeline.
There is, of course, always The New York Times. They have their Republican Delegate Count page and their State-by-State Primary Results page. As part of the NYTimes Election 2012 online resources, you can easily navigate to reviews of the debates and summaries of campaign finance information for each candidate.
Video courtesy of The Associated Press.
Have a great weekend everyone!
March 2, 2012 •
The Office of the Clerk’s “Historical Highlights” site
For this week’s Highlighted Site, we turn to the Historical Highlights page of the United States House of Representatives’ Office of the Clerk. What I saw there rattled my ideas about electronic voting. When would you guess the first proposal was offered for electronic voting in Congress? I was way off. Take a look!
On this date in 1848, a Baltimore inventor named Francis Smith petitioned the U.S. House to adopt his “voting register,” a legislative telegraph to count the members’ votes. Smith sent a proposal and a prototype for the House to consider. Two other inventors did the same that year.
According to the site, “Despite repeated calls for modernizing the voting process, the House would not implement electronic voting until 1973.”
Other fascinating facts for this week:
Enjoy and have a terrific weekend!
Photos courtesy of the Library of Congress.
February 24, 2012 •
Every Four Years: Presidential Campaigns and the Press
Our Highlighted Site of the Week is The Newseum, a news and journalism interactive museum in Washington, D.C. On Level 6, the Newseum opened a new exhibit last Friday called Every Four Years: Presidential Campaigns and the Press.
On display are Tina Fey’s SNL Sarah Palin red suit and glasses, a microphone used by Franklin D. Roosevelt to deliver his famous “fireside chats,” handwritten notes taken by John F. Kennedy during a 1960 presidential debate with Richard Nixon, and much more.
According to their site: “The Newseum’s new election-year exhibit, ‘Every Four Years: Presidential Campaigns and the Press,’ explores how media coverage of presidential campaigns has evolved from William McKinley’s 1896 front porch campaign to Barack Obama’s 2008 Internet campaign, as candidates and reporters tangle over issues, images and control of the story.”
Take a look at this great article about the exhibit – “Campaign laughs and history on view at D.C.’s Newseum” by Brett Zongker (Associated Press) in the Washington Times.
You can follow the Newseum’s social media, too!
Have a great weekend everyone!
Thank you to News You Can Use Editor Jim Sedor for finding this great exhibit.
February 17, 2012 •
The flag that inspired the national anthem.
This week’s Highlighted Site is the Smithsonian’s National Museum of American History and its Star Spangled Banner Exhibit. Take a look at the gallery where our treasured flag has been housed since 2008.
It’s history is fascinating! According to the site: “On September 14, 1814, U.S. soldiers at Baltimore’s Fort McHenry raised a huge American flag to celebrate a crucial victory over British forces during the War of 1812. The sight of those ‘broad stripes and bright stars’ inspired Francis Scott Key to write a song that eventually became the United States national anthem. Key’s words gave new significance to a national symbol and started a tradition through which generations of Americans have invested the flag with their own meanings and memories.”
The National Museum of American History’s site is wonderfully interactive. You can collect stars to complete the flag by taking a quiz about the history of the War of 1812.
There is an interactive flag page where you can view details documenting the damage the flag has sustained and the various attempts to restore it over the years.
Sing along with the lyrics to the National Anthem on the O Say Can You Sing? page and watch a video of the winner of the National Anthem Singing Contest from 2009.
On the Share Your Story page, you have the opportunity to tell everyone what the flag means to you.
I hope you enjoy this amazing exhibit and I wish each of you a great weekend!
February 10, 2012 •
Today’s Highlighted Site of the Week takes us to a library and museum in Canton, Ohio!
The National First Ladies’ Library website is a treasure of information about the fascinating lives of the wives of our nation’s presidents. The website is the online presence for a museum that resides in two buildings in Canton, Ohio: the former City National Bank Building and the Ida Saxton McKinley Historic Home.
According to the site: “As the first and only facility of its kind, the National First Ladies’ Library serves as a unique national resource for patrons from school children to serious scholars. As a national archive devoted to educating people about the contributions of First Ladies and other notable women in history, the Library’s holdings fill an informational void that has long frustrated academicians and armchair history buffs alike.”
If you wish to find fun trivia, you will love the Fascinating Facts page. Here are a few of the firsts that you’ll find: Martha Washington was the first to be given the title “lady” by the press. John Quincy Adams’ wife, Louisa, was the only first lady born in a foreign country (England). John Tyler’s first wife was a stroke victim and the first president’s wife to die in the White House. William Howard Taft’s wife was the first first lady to own and drive a car, and Warren G. Harding’s wife was first first lady to vote and fly in an airplane!
If it is pictures you want, try the Huffington Post’s “First Ladies in College” photo slideshow. How about this for a teaser: “Do you know where ‘Lou’ Hoover went to college? Curious to see Lucretia Garfield in her younger years? What are the names of Grace Coolidge’s two pet raccoons? Did Julia Grant have permanently crossed eyes? Look no further than HuffPost College’s ‘First Ladies In College’ slideshow!”
Have a great weekend everyone!
Photo of the First Ladies National Historic Site courtesy of Kralizec! on Wikipedia.
February 3, 2012 •
As the site says, “See how the 2012 presidential candidates stack up against each other on YouTube.”
Today’s Highlighted Site of the Week is YouTube’s Politics Channel.
There are the polls and there are the projections, but with the YouTube politics Channel, you can find out which campaign videos are creating the most buzz on the internet.
Are you curious which presidential candidates are receiving the most video views and channel subscriptions on YouTube? According to the site, the current tally of video views is as follows: Mitt Romney is king-of-the-hill with 500,330 views, followed by Newt Gingrich at 402, 467, and President Obama is in third place with 389,634 views.
You can view the statistics for today, for the past week, the past month, or for all time. Have fun with this great tool.
Have a wonderful weekend!
January 27, 2012 •
“Campaign finance information is now available via easy to use maps of the USA for both Presidential and House and Senate elections through the most recent reporting period.”
Our Highlighted Site of the Week is the Federal Election Commission’s 2012 Campaign Finance Maps page. You can play with interactive maps of the states for information about the 2012 Presidential Candidates, or the House and Senate elections.
With just a mouse-over you can view the amount of contributions by state, and with just a bit more work you can search the amount received by each candidate, and the amount given by a donor’s name.
For the presidential races, you can drill down in each state for data down to the zip code level. For the candidates in the congressional elections, you can view the campaign finance information by the congressional district of each state.
January 6, 2012 •
The exhibit that shows the Washington, D.C. that could have been.
What if the nation’s capitol had been built with a giant bronze chicken on top of it? What if the Washington Monument had been built with a giant statue of the first president standing atop? How about a Lincoln Memorial built as a giant pyramid?
This week’s Highlighted Site of the Week is the National Building Museum’s Unbuilt Washington, the official site for the exhibit that shows you “what might have been” in our nation’s capital.
According to the site: “Unbuilt Washington reveals the Washington that could have been by presenting architectural and urban design projects that were proposed but, for widely varied reasons, never executed. … The physical character of Washington, D.C., that we take for granted today is the unique result of countless decisions, debates, successes, failures, reconsiderations, missed opportunities, and lucky breaks. To tourists and residents alike, the city’s greatest landmarks may seem so appropriate, so correct—it is hard to imagine that they could have turned out completely differently. But nothing in the built environment of Washington [or in any other city, for that matter] is predestined.”
You will find an interactive Google map for the sites of the would-be sites and memorials described in Unbuilt Washington.
You may enjoy this video about the exhibit courtesy of ABC 7 News.
Here is a video with the curator describing models in the exhibit:
Have a terrific weekend!
November 10, 2011 •
We offer our sincerest thanks to all our veterans for the service and sacrifice they offered in defense of our nation.
In honor of Veterans Day tomorrow, our Highlighted Site of the Week is the United States Department of Veterans Affairs. On the site, you can find information about the National Ceremony, as well as regional observances.
They also offer a link to the Library of Congress “Veterans History Project,” which collects and preserves personal recollections of our nation’s veterans.
As we take time to honor our military veterans, I thought you might enjoy a history of Veterans Day from the U.S. House of Representatives Office of the Clerk website, and President Barack Obama’s Veterans Day 2011 Proclamation.
In this picture courtesy of Wikipedia, “Joseph Ambrose, a then-86-year-old World War I veteran, attends the dedication day parade for the Vietnam Veterans Memorial in 1982, holding the flag that covered the casket of his son, who was killed in that war.”
October 7, 2011 •
On this day in 1918, the U.S. House public galleries were closed because of the outbreak of the Spanish flu pandemic.
Each week the U.S. House Office of the Clerk gives “Historical Highlights” and today it remembers how 93 years ago the country was facing a flu pandemic. The House and Senate decided to close the public galleries.
The Office of the Clerk gives us an idea of the scope the problem: “According to some modern estimates, more than 50 million persons perished worldwide in the 1918–1919 outbreak; most sources attribute 500,000 or more deaths in the U.S. alone to the Spanish flu. Washington, D.C., swelled by an influx of government workers during the First World War, was particularly hard hit.”
They reported that there were 400 deaths in D.C. during the second week of October, and 730 deaths the week after that. A number of House members were absent from the session and action had to be taken.
U. S. Rep. Henry Rainey (D-Ill.) said, “Mr. Speaker, it is matter of common knowledge that an epidemic of alarming proportions is prevailing throughout the country. … Out of an abundant precaution the Senate has ordered the galleries closed, which action, I understand, meets with the approval of the medical authorities, and so I ask unanimous consent that the Speaker be instructed to close the galleries of this House until further action shall be taken by the House.”
The motion was approved without objection, and the House and Senate galleries were closed and were not reopened until November 4.
September 30, 2011 •
People in New Orleans can send their ideas to the wisdom of the crowd.
Neighborland is a New Orleans project of Civic Center that was founded by Candy Chang, Tee Parham, and Dan Parham. It harnesses the power of crowdsourcing in order to improve and reinvent their neighborhoods.
The site says: “We love New Orleans. We want Neighborland to be a fun and effective way to make our city a better place.”
Here is how it works:
- Citizens of New Orleans can go to the Neighborland website and fill in the statement – “I want ____ in my neighborhood.” The idea is to offer something that would make your neighborhood a better place.
- Then they can start a discussion online and campaign for support and votes.
- Hopefully they get enough support to keep the discussion going and figure out how to make their dream a reality.
Ideas include requesting more bicycle parking in the French Quarter, more transit options to get to the airport, and the opportunity to recycle glass.
Luke Fretwell from Govfresh interviews Co-founder Dan Parham in the article “Here Comes the Neighborland” from July 26.
Cities everywhere, take note!
September 23, 2011 •
The City of Chicago website lets you see what Rahm Emanuel is doing for the city.
Mayor Rahm Emanuel’s office in Chicago is now offering a Google map on the City of Chicago website that allows citizens to follow the mayor’s travels.
The City Hall in Your Community page has markers on its map showing where the mayor has visited. They give us the date of the visit, a picture of the mayor at the event, a link to the original source of the picture, and a description of the event as well as the mayor’s role. It appears there are over one hundred of those markers on the City Hall in Your Community map.
I think this is a good idea for other cities to imitate. It looks like a powerful tool to demonstrate government responsiveness and accountability.
Govtech.com has a great article with much more information about the site. It is called “Where’s Rahm Emanuel? Online Map Tracks Chicago Mayor’s Travels” from September 20.
August 5, 2011 •
Discover Demographic Information About the U.S.
The U.S. Population has been increasing since the establishment of our nation. Regional populations across the United States have grown and have shrunk for a variety of different reasons ranging from the 1849 gold rush to urbanization that began in the U.S. in the 1900’s.
This week’s Highlighted Site Of The Week is Mapping the 2010 U.S. Census from The New York Times. This site contains 12 interactive maps which use demographic information collected by the 2010 Census.
These maps are divided up by county and show demographics of population, ethnic distribution, and vacant housing units. For their respective topic, each map shows the percent change in 2010 from statistics gathered from the 2000 census.
It’s very interesting and informative to browse through the United States and see the different population and ethnic distributions compared to what existed in 2000.
Everyone have a great weekend!
July 22, 2011 •
Create Your Own National Budget
As August 2nd approaches and the federal government gets closer and closer to the possibility of defaulting on its debt, I’m sure there are many people out there who believe they could contribute a few of their own ideas to Congress and President Obama to aid in creating an improved national budget.
This week’s Highlighted Site Of The Week allows you to create your own national budget, giving you complete control over taxes and government spending. BudgetHero gives all the power to the player to decide if spending will be increased or cut on controversial programs such as defense, Social Security, and health care as well as to increase or decrease taxes on a number of different sources.
Each issue is represented by a card that includes a brief description of the policy change, the pros and cons of making the change, the impact on the nation it would have, and the 10 year impact it would have on the budget. Whether you are serious about creating a balanced budget or just experimenting with different possibilities, this game is a fantastic way of breaking the partisan barriers and seeing the difficulties that exist in deciding how the nation’s money should be spent.
I went through the game and created my own custom budget thinking I made enough cuts while keeping what I consider the important programs only to see that the government would still go broke by 2032. I suppose it’s a good thing the fate of the nation doesn’t rest in my hands.
Everyone have a great weekend!
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