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Liberate OpenGovData Now

February 1, 2012 - by David Moore

It's 2012 - we don't have hover skateboards, and we don't have #opengov. We could have the latter, at least, in the here and now, benefiting every American, if the systemically corrupt U.S. Congress was capable of reforming itself (which it is currently, unfortunately, not). (Right, '80's movie art, w/ connotations of liberation by force and yet a certain datedness... it's past time.) 

I'm writing this on the train from NYC to D.C., en route to the Conference on Legislative Data & Transparency to be held Thursday, Feb. 2nd, 9am - 5pm ET - agenda here, webcast live here, micro-publishing updates here.

This shouldn't be a negotiation - rather, I'm here to call for liberation of public legislative data via bulk access and moving towards an open API for THOMAS. Then proceeding aggressively to API enhancements for Congressional offices to continually engage with constituent communications - for a living, breathing deliberative democracy - aided by open technology.

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As 2011 ends, the first session of the 112th U.S. Congress stumbles to a bad-faith curtain. The third branch of federal government in our representative democracy, Congress is down to a new record-low 11% approval rating, as per Gallup News this week. "This earns Congress a 17% yearly average for 2011, the lowest annual congressional approval rating in Gallup history," they report. USA #1 - we've hit a new bottom! These are the despised, fallible elected officials who write legislation shaping our laws, public policy priorities, & federal budget.

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Please take a moment to read this urgent essay by Josh Silver, President of Free Press, called The End of the Internet as We Know It. Key excerpt: We have a congress that is nearly completely captured by industry.

If you enjoy using the web to keep in touch with friends and use it to conduct business, you should join us in supporting net neutrality. To fight for internet freedom and keep the Internet the amazing powerful open-access technology we know today, head over to Save The Internet -- sign the petition, spread the word, and get involved. As part of your activism, you can research campaign contributions to any senator or representative here on OC on every member's profile page, under the tab for "The Money Trail". Click through for more info...

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