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Obama and McCain Team Up for Transparency

June 9, 2008 - by Donny Shaw

A couple years ago, Senators Barack Obama (D-IL) and John McCain (R-AZ) teamed up with a few other senators to create a free and public website where anybody can get information on all the money the federal government gives out in grants and contracts. The site now exists - - and it's an awesome resource for understanding trends in federal spending, seeing the federal contracts going to your district, etc. Now, just as the presidential general election gets underway, the competing candidates are teaming up again to make some major improvements to the site.

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Rep. Honda Rocking the Web

June 7, 2008 - by Donny Shaw

Representative Mike Honda (D-CA) is blazing trails in the ways Members of Congress use the internet. He recently introduced a new education bill, the STEM Act of 2008, and in the announcement on his official House website, he makes use of some interactive Web 2.0 technologies, including an OpenCongress widget to track the bill's status.

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I'm in Minneapolis this weekend for the 2008 National Conference for Media Reform. According to the website, the conference will "focus on broadening the media reform movement, envisioning the future of our media system, harnessing new technology for change, and achieving concrete policy victories through sustainable organizing." OpenCongress counts on all kinds of media, from the biggest newspapers to the most obscure blogs, to help people understand what's really going on in Congress with...

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Funding the War, Dropping the Unemployed

June 4, 2008 - by Donny Shaw

With President Bush threatening to veto the war funding bill, it's been clear that one of the three big groups with things at stake in it were going to have to be sacrificed - Iraq and Afghanistan veterans, who are hoping for an expansion of education benefits, the unemployed, who are looking for a 13-week unemployment insurance extension, or wealthy Americans, who are facing an income surtax to pay for those spending increases. According to an article in the Washington Post today, the unemployed are going to be the ones to lose out.

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Three Bills to Save the Net

June 3, 2008 - by Donny Shaw

The net neutrality debate blew up and then fizzled out in the last Congress, but it's back, in three forms, and one of them will probably get a vote before the current session ends. Currently, there are three bills, representing three separate ways of getting net neutrality protections enacted, waiting in Congress. Here's an overview of how each of them would work.

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The Cost of Curbing Carbon

June 2, 2008 - by Donny Shaw

As the Lieberman-Warner Climate Security Act hits the Senate floor today, many of the major newspapers used their pages to drill home the same point: that the debate won't be focused on how to best curb greenhouse gases, but primarily on the economics involved in doing so.

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