Thursday, December 13, 2007

so long ircworld....hello knowbodies!

Ircworld is being retired...and reborn as There are a couple of differences; while posting to ircworld was limited to the IRC community, anyone may post to knowbodies. Ircworld was never an official USG site, but some people at the State Department may have worried that it was perceived as such. By opening it up to the general audience, and removing all mention of ircs, embassies etc., there should no longer be any cause for concern of that kind.

Ircworld featured a list of rss feeds on the right hand side of the page - loading them slowed things down terribly, so those feeds have now been redirected to pageflake pages ("pagecasts") in (so far) three categories - libraries and technology, public diplomacy, and government information.

If you are receiving this via email - and would like to continue receiving knowbodies posts via email - please visit and enter your email address in the designated window.

(the painting is Carl Spitzweg's "The Bookworm")

Monday, December 10, 2007

The Blogging Revolution: Government in the Age of Web 2.0

This report from the IBM Center for the Business of Government "examines the phenomenon of blogging in teh context of the larger revolutionary forces at play in the development of the second-generation internet, where interactivity among users is key." Although this is a report on blogging by men in suits for men in suits (regrettably, the word "blogoneers" is used to describe pioneering bloggers), it is serious, thorough and substantiated, and addresses matters that might be neglected elsewhere in the "blogosphere", e.g. "The ROI of blogging". A good report to hand to the ambassador, whether you're trying to persuade or dissuade her/him from blogging.

Monday, November 26, 2007

One less hassle for librarian travelers - New York's Library Hotel

An annoyance that has prevented librarians from visiting New York City is the absence of a good, clean hotel laid out according to the Dewey Decimal system. That, I'm happy to report, is no longer a problem; the "Library Hotel in New York City is the first hotel ever to offer its guest over 6,000 volumes organized throughout the hotel by the Dewey Decimal System.* Each of the 10 guestrooms floors honors one of the 10 categories of the DDC and each of the 60 rooms is uniquely adorned with a collection of books and art exploring a distinctive topic within the category or floor it belongs to."

Thursday, November 15, 2007

Fixing cultural public diplomacy: the public respond

Slate has now published Fred Kaplan's promised follow-up article to the piece he wrote last week calling for readers' ideas for future cultural diplomacy. There are some fascinating responses. Very well worth reading, and passing on. This passage should have resonance for most of us.

"Eric Henry, a doctoral student at Cornell who has spent much time in Shenyang, China, recalls that the U.S. Consulate used to open its libraries, film screenings, and Fourth of July celebrations. Now, he says, the consulate is a "razor-wired compound"; an American friend of his was recently arrested for taking pictures of the front gate. "Expats and Chinese who used to visit the consulate quite regularly now only grouse about the things that used to go on there," he writes."

Here is the URL for the full article:

Wednesday, November 14, 2007


"The mission of One Laptop Per Child (OLPC) is to empower the children of developing countries to learn by providing one connected laptop to every school-age child. In order to accomplish our goal, we need people who believe in what we’re doing and want to help make education for the world’s children a priority, not a privilege. Between November 12 and November 26, OLPC is offering a Give One Get One program in the United States and Canada. During this time, you can donate the revolutionary XO laptop to a child in a developing nation, and also receive one for the child in your life in recognition of your contribution." (from

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Your chance to fix cultural public diplomacy

The invaluable online magazine Slate has run another article by Fred Kaplan, bemoaning the current state of US public diplomacy, and calling for the restoration of USIA. In addition though, the article, focusing on the role of culture in public diplomacy, poses the following questions:

"What could we send out to the world that might have the same impact on, say, Arabs and Muslims today that rock, jazz, and B-movies had on Russians and Europeans during the Cold War...... If you were president, or chairman of this revived USIA, how would you promote our values and culture? "

He asks his readers to send him their ideas, and promises to publish a summary of the replies. Now is your chance!

The URL for the article is:

Monday, November 12, 2007

CQ Politics

CQ Politics is a free service from the Congressional Quarterly group, with lots of information about the campaigns, Washington, and the issues.

Wednesday, November 07, 2007

Wikipedia postings

If you've been putting off getting a life, and would like to tary a bit longer, Wikipedia vision is one place to hang out - strangely captivating. Here's how NPR describes it...

Morning Edition, November 1, 2007 · Wikipedia Vision is a new online map which spins across the globe, tracking the changes people make to the encyclopedia. You can see what was edited, when and where. So this morning we know that someone in Hong Kong changed the definition of a Rolls Royce Phantom. Someone in Australia corrected the entry for a bearded dragon lizard. And someone in California updated the definition of a Poltergeist curse. As a wired blogger points out, this isn't exactly crucial information, but watching the map is mesmerizing. It gives you what he calls a "god-view of the Internet."

Bullshit generator

Sometimes writing position descriptions or narratives about your accomplishments - or mine, at any rate - can be a real strain on the imagination. If your business is internet related, the official internet "bullshit generator" is a huge help. It puts some great verbs, adjectives and nouns at your disposal, and strings them together for you in punchy lines - punchlines, if you will. If you type in something uninspired, like "respond to audience needs", out comes something impressive, like "harness viral schemas." Best of all, you can use your same, tired phrases over and over again, and each time the BS generator comes up with something fresh and new. Ingenious!!!

Friday, November 02, 2007

Overseas Voter Registration

A new site offering fast and easy voter registration was recently announced by the Overseas Vote Foundation, a nonprofit, nonpartisan organization, in cooperation with the Make Voting Work initiative of the Pew Charitable Trusts.

According to an article in Government Computer Week, the site, still in beta, "automatically loads required questions for the appropriate state and county, prompts users through the answering process with drop-down lists, and generates a completed PDF application that can be printed, signed and mailed."

This should be of great interest to posts in countries with a significant American citizen presence.

The URL of the site is at:

Related articles can be found at: (Government Computer Week)
and (Haaretz)

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Embassy of the Future

CSIS published the report of the Embassy of the Future Commission earlier this month. The Commission co-chaired by former Ambassadors Felix Rohatyn, Marc Grossman and George Argyros, has assessed the state of the U.S. diplomatic presence abroad and submitted recommendations for how to make the diplomatic pursuit of U.S. interests abroad even more effective than it is today. The report includes comments on IRCs, American Corners, American Centers, and other public diplomacy tools.

Monday, October 29, 2007

Zimmerman's Research Guide

Here's something from Virtual Library Cat. I confess I was no aware of Zimmerman's Research Guide - An Online Encyclopedia for Legal Researchers. Looks very impressive...

"Have you ever wondered what website a reference librarian went to first to answer your question? Often, it's Zimmerman's. Zimmerman's Research Guide has short entries that describe the top resources on many subjects. It includes many links and lists the appropriate Lexis and Westlaw databases. It's easy to see why many librarians use this self-described "online encyclopedia for legal researchers."

Write Your Representative

No excuses for not writing your Representative when it's this easy. A good link for an embassy's amcit pages...

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Why democracy? is a very interesting site, and an example of public diplomacy that transcends nations. I discoverd the project when one of the 10 films (see below) was shown by the Norwegian Broadcasting Company yesterday. The particular film, Taxi to the Dark Side, was profoundly disturbing. To see when the films are being screened in your country, see the screening times page.

Here is an article about the project that appeared in the S.African weekly Mail&Guardian earlier this month, and below is an excerpt from the site's "About" information.

Why Democracy?

Democracy is arguably the greatest political buzzword of our time and is invoked by everyone - but what does it mean? Can it be defined, measured, safeguarded? Can it be sold, bought, and transplanted? Can it grow? Can it die? What does it mean to people who can't even talk about it? What does it mean to people who don't believe in it? What does it mean to you?

In October 2007, ten one-hour films focused on contemporary democracy will be broadcast in the world's largest ever factual media event. More than 40 broadcasters on all continents are participating, with an estimated audience of 300 million viewers. Each of the broadcasters - an A-Z which includes everyone from Al Arabiya to ZDF - will be producing a locally-based seasons of film, radio, debate and discussion to tie in with the global broadcast of the Why Democracy? films. Read more

Friday, October 19, 2007

Internet Political Performance Index

The Spartan Internet Political Performance (SIPP) Index is the first quantitative metric to measure the Internet-wide performance of each Presidential candidate for the 2008 election. The Index is comprised of over 650 quantitative factors measuring the level of support and how well each candidate is connecting with individuals across the Internet. The score for each candidate represents their overall Internet market share.

European Digital Library

Here's a fact sheet from the European Commission on the European Digital Library project

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Online reference service

Here's another screen cast. This one explains, in just under 2.5 minutes, how our website uses the Rakim freeware to provide online assistance. It was done on the fly (no rehearsal) with the wonderful Screencast-o-matic service that I mentioned in a previous post

Saturday, October 13, 2007

Oxford Analytica

Oxford Analytica, according to the company profile at , "is an international, independent consulting firm drawing on a network of over 1,000 senior faculty members at Oxford and other major universities and research institutions around the world. Founded in 1975 by Dr. David R. Young, Oxford Analytica has built an international reputation for seasoned judgement on and analysis of the implications of national and international developments facing corporations, banks, governments and international institutions." Although a subscription service, some of its content is available online through its partnership with the International Herald Tribune at

Sunday, October 07, 2007

Wise Guide

From the "about this site" page
This Wise Guide portal was designed to introduce you to the many fascinating, educational and useful resources available from the nation's library and one of the most popular Web sites of the federal government.

The "Wise Guide" will be refreshed monthly, much like a magazine, offering links to the best of the Library's online materials. Each of these "articles" is based on items contained in a collection, database, reading room or other area of the Library's online offerings. You will see that we are "more than a library," and our holdings range from prints, photographs, films, audio recordings, maps, manuscripts, music and digital materials to (of course) books. We are also a place that sponsors concerts, lectures, dance performances, film screenings, and poetry readings. We hope the Guide's monthly "articles" will encourage you to explore the millions of items we make available at


ontheissuesorg: every political leader on every issue. State and federal office holders, supreme court justices, and presidential candidates.

Saturday, October 06, 2007


Thhe TouchGraph Google Browser provides a graphic representation of the semantic relationships between websites that Google reflects in its "related sites" databases. You enter a keyword or url, and the application returns a graphic map of the relationship between the sites. The graphic on the right is from a search on public diplomacy. There is also an Amazon TouchGraph - useful for finding related books, music or other products.

Thursday, October 04, 2007


Screencastomatic is is an entirely web-based screencasting application - you don't need to buy or download anything, just visit the website, record your screencast, save it, and upload it to your blog, email it, or do whatever else you might do with an audio/video file. Here is a one minute demo I made. Screencast-o-matic is fun and easy to use, and potentially very useful!

Wednesday, October 03, 2007

Sphere - connecting blogs and news

Although much of what is written in the blogosphere (sometimes termed "conversational media")is drivel, one might occasionally be interested in knowing what bloggers are saying about a particular news event. And sometimes, local bloggers can supplement with important information and perspectives that might be missed by mainstream media. Sphere is a search engine that finds mainstream news AND related blog postings on a given topic. From left to right is a list of topics, news stories within selected topics, featured story, and related blog posts.

The Fact Checker

"Comment is free, but facts are sacred." -- C.P. Scott, editorManchester Guardian, 1921

The Washington Post offers The Fact Checker, launched in September 2007. According to the Post, "the purpose of this website, and an accompanying column in the Post, is to "truth squad" the national political debate inthe period leading up to the 2008 presidential election. Our goal is toshed as much light as possible on controversial claims andcounter-claims involving important national issues, such as the war inIraq, immigration, health care, social issues, the economy, and therecords of the various presidential candidates. When we come across astatement or claim that is at variance with the facts, as best we canestablish them, we will point that out...We see fact checking as acollaborative, rather than a competitive, effort."

Saturday, September 29, 2007

Virtual Reference

The Australian National Library has published a thorough report on the virtual reference services the library has been providing for the last 4 years. During that period the IRC at the U.S. embassy in Oslo has also been providing a virtual reference service, albeit on a small scale and with the primitive - but efficient and free - Rakim software. Maybe time to revisit the idea of a 24/5 virtual reference service from ircs around the world, using a more sophisticated software?

Wonkosphere for the 2008 elections

The Wonkosphere cliams to be "the best place to keep a finger on the pulse of the 2008 Presidential election. We use patented technology to scour the blogosphere and analyze what is being said, who is saying it, and whether they're ranting or raving. Updated every 4 hours." Nice red white and blue logo!

Keyword Density Checker

Enter a url and Keyword Density Checker will determine the site's keyword density and generate a tag cloud and list of words by frequency. Here are some other web tools at

IP to City
This tools helps you determine the Country, City, Latitude and Longitude of an IP Address.

Domain Age Tool
This tools displays the approximate age of a website on the Internet and allows you to view how the website looked when it first started. It also helps you find out the age of your competitor's domains, older domains may get a slight edge in Search Engine Rankings.

Screen Resolution Simulator
Simulates your web page in different screen resolutions.

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Interesting Research Site

I was alerted to this site by its creator, librarian Woody Evans of Texas. It is a useful example of a Google Custom Search engine - this particular engine searches 67 websites each morning to bring light to "the shadow-places of governments, governmental contractors, and non-government actors affecting policy. De-classified, open, or public sources scoured carefully every morning!" A search for "public diplomacy", for example, filters out much of the fluff that would turn up in a general Google search, and returns a pretty substantive list of pd hits.


The State Department has launched its first blog,'s what Sean McCormack has to say about it in his welcome message..:
"Welcome to the State Department's first-ever blog, Dipnote. As a communicator for the Department, I have the opportunity to do my fair share of talking on a daily basis. With the launch of Dipnote, we are hoping to start a dialogue with the public. More than ever, world events affect our daily lives--what we see and hear, what we do, and how we work. I hope Dipnote will provide you with a window into the work of the people responsible for our foreign policy, and will give you a chance to be active participants in a community focused on some of the great issues of our world today.

With Dipnote we are going to take you behind the scenes at the State Department and bring you closer to the personalities of the Department. We are going to try and break through some of the jargon and talk about how we operate around the world.

We invite you to participate in this community, and I am looking forward to stepping away from my podium every now and then into the blogosphere. Let the conversation begin."

see also New York Times article

Tuesday, September 25, 2007


Discussing the appearance of a webpage via email is one example of when a picture is worth a thousand words (or at least a hundred words) With Fleck you can annotate a web page with notes and bullets, save the changes, and email the page to a contact. Web editors will know how frustrating it is to receive unclear or inadequate instructions about desired edits from other sections of the organization - receiving instructions via Fleck might eliminate some of the confusion.

Monday, September 24, 2007

Sketchcasting (topic: dog discipline)

This is kind of neat, especially if you're one of those people who is good at using a whiteboard for communicating ideas. I'm not, as you can see from the demo below, which is a completely impromptu performance - but somewhat (unintentionally) amusing, I think. Its not hard to imagine this tool being put to better (ie.serious) use, however, and it sure is a lot of fun! Remember to turn on your sound!


This post from the "blog of the Augmented Social Cognition Research Group at Palo Alto Research Center (PARC)" concerns Wiki Dashboard, a research tool tries to provide greater transparency about the identity and behavior of contributors to Wikpedia articles. The standard complaint about Wikpedia is that, precisely because anyone can edit anything, it is an unreliable source of information. (or, as a character in the Office quipped, “Wikipedia is the best thing ever. Anyone in the world, can write anything they want about any subject. So you know you are getting the best possible information.” ) The Augmented Social Cognition group turns this idea on its head, and argues that the Wikipedia approach - ie. augmented social cognition - is indeed the same kind of peer review process that provides integrity in scholarly publishing. What's lacking and needed in Wikipedia is greater social transparency. The wikidashboard post also links to a couple of neat tools for Wikipedia analysis..WikiScanner, which helps identify which organizations anonymous Wiki articles and edits are coming from (snoops can while away hours here), and WikiRage, which "lists the pages in Wikipedia which are receiving the most edits per unique editor over various periods of time."

Sunday, September 23, 2007

50 sites for booklovers

Mashable's 50 sites for booklovers!

Saturday, September 22, 2007


If you need to post something on the web immediately, at no cost, and independently of your own website - Jottit is one solution. Just go to Jottit, type in your text, click "create page", and Jottit creates the page at a unique url. Its Markdown formatting system is somewhat primitive - the syntax is only a small subset of html - but it does allow hyperlinks and basic formatting.

Thursday, September 20, 2007

more resources for students and teachers

Resource Shelf's resource of the week is this nice assortment of resources for teachers and students.

Thursday, September 13, 2007

Online access from public libraries

Public libraries are sole source of online employment and education information for millions of Americans

ALA: "Ever-growing patron demand for computer and Internet services in U.S. public libraries has stretched existing Internet bandwidth, computer availability, and building infrastructure to capacity, according to a new study “Libraries Connect Communities: Public Library Funding & Technology Access Study 2006-2007,” conducted by the American Library Association (ALA) and the Information Use Management and Policy Institute at Florida State University (FSU). The study, funded by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and ALA, found that more than 73 percent of libraries report they are the only source of free public access to computers and the Internet in their communities. Surveyed libraries said that the top three Internet services most critical to their community are online educational resources and databases for K-12 students (67.7 percent); services for job seekers (44 percent); and computer and Internet skills training (29.8 percent)."

Customize Google

Customize Google is a useful Firefox addon that lets you add wanted and remove unwanted features to your Google searches.


CRS capital punishment report

RL34163 The Death Penalty: Capital Punishment Legislation in the 110th Congress
September 07, 2007. While most capital offenses are state crimes, Congress did revive in 1994 the death penalty as a federal sentencing option. More than a few federal statutes now proscribe offenses punishable by death. This CRS report surveys legislation in the 110th Congress that would modify federal law in the area.

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Geography teaching aid

Statetris (tetris with a twist) is a game that teaches you (or pupils) where the 50 states are located - and for a test of your "U.S.centrism", try locating the regions of France, the counties of the U.K, and the nations of Africa and Europe. (another fine tip from Neat New Stuff)

Free Full Text provides direct links to over 7000 scholarly periodicals which allow some or all of their online content to be viewed by ANYONE with Internet access for free (though some may require free registration).

09/11 resources

Here, courtesy of Resource Shelf, are some 09/11 resources.

Sunday, September 09, 2007 will surely come in handy as the as the campaign trails become increasingly littered with facts during the coming year. Note also the companion site,, which is intended to help educators teach their students to be smarter news consumers.

LOC teachers page

The Library of Congress page for teacherswill soon sport a new look - here's a preview.

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

The promise of noopolitikk

The promise of noöpolitik
by David Ronfeldt and John Arquilla
This is another interesting article from First Monday, about the noosphere - a realm of communal mind conceived of 80 years ago by Teilhard de Chardin, but only now enabled by cyperspace - and its impact on grand strategy and diplomacy in the form of noöpolitik. The authors' thoughts on noöpolitik will be collected in a forthcoming handbook on public diplomacy.

Table 1: Contrast between realpolitik and noöpolitik.
States as the unit of analysisNodes, non–state actors
Primacy of hard power (resources, etc.)Primacy of soft power
Power politics as zero–sum gameWin–win, lose–lose possible
System is anarchic, highly conflictualHarmony of interests, cooperation
Alliance conditional (oriented to threat)Ally webs vital to security
Primacy of national self–interestPrimacy of shared interests
Politics as unending quest for advantageExplicitly seeking a telos
Ethos is amoral, if not immoralEthics crucially important
Behavior driven by threat and powerCommon goals drive actors
Very guarded about information flowsPropensity for info–sharing
Balance of power as the “steady–state”Balance of responsibilities
Power embedded in nation–statesPower in “global fabric”


I hate to interrupt, but this is important...
"Infomania is the mental state of continuous stress and distraction caused by the combination of queued messaging overload and incessant interruptions."
Interested? Read the whole article, "Infomania, why we can't afford to ignore it any longer," in the August issue of First Monday.

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

IFLA Toolkit for Developing Reference Services

This toolkit might be of interest to IRCs, and their library contacts, in some parts of the world; "To assist librarians and decision makers in developing countries and elsewhere, the Reference and Information Services Section, through an IFLA project, successfully developed a Toolkit for Developing Reference Services. Designed to enrich reference knowledge and to advance reference services, the Toolkit prepares reference librarians and decision makers to understand reference functions and the information needs of library users."

Friday, August 10, 2007

Views of Press Values and Performance: 1985-2007

A new Pew report examines perceptions of the press:
"The American public continues to fault news organizations for a number of perceived failures, with solid majorities criticizing them for political bias, inaccuracy and failing to acknowledge mistakes. But some of the harshest indictments of the press now come from the growing segment that relies on the internet as its main source for national and international news. The internet news audience – roughly a quarter of all Americans – tends to be younger and better educated than the public as a whole. People who rely on the internet as their main news source express relatively unfavorable opinions of mainstream news sources and are among the most critical of press performance."

Friday, August 03, 2007

Cyberjournalist list

The Cyberjournalist List is a very extensive list of blogs published by journalists. Includes blogs..

Tuesday, July 31, 2007


The Whereabill (discussed in the Garvin column mentioned in previous post) is a rare bird that shows WHERE a bill becomes a law, and where it may have wandered along its way. Could be an amusing teaching aid for IRC folks and diplomats who are still in the business of explaining the U.S. legislative process to students and educators.

Insanely useful government websites

A recent posting by the Sunlight Foundation on "insanely useful [government] websites" has inspired Peggy Garvin to write about those sites and some others in her July 27 "Government Domain" column at LLRX.

Monday, July 30, 2007

Government Innovators Network

(an interesting post from Neat New Stuff)
"The news media never talk about government when it's working well, but in
fact, state, local, and regional government agencies are coming up with
thousands of ideas for better service to their communities. You can find
documents, news stories, multimedia, awards, and upcoming events about
them here. Search or browse through broad categories or through
Innovation Awards. (A search for LIBRARIES retrieved nearly 300 items.)"

Sunday, July 29, 2007

Madison Avenue principles for hearts and minds

This sounds vaguely familiar; a new Rand report suggests that Madison Avenue advertising principles might be effective in winning hearts and minds around the world. "Enlisting Madison Avenue: 'The Marketing Approach to Earning Popular Support in Theaters of Operation' extracts lessons from business practices and adapts them to U.S. military efforts in a unique approach to shaping the attitudes and behavior of local populations in a theater of operations. Foremost among these lessons are the concepts of branding, customer satisfaction, and segmentation of the target audience, all of which serve to maximize the impact and improve the outcome of U.S. shaping efforts. Enlisting Madison Avenue also offers insights based on previous operational endeavors to provide a much-expanded blueprint for shaping target audiences."

Tuesday, July 24, 2007

web2.0 forum

For more on the issues raised by Andrew Keen in Cult of the Amateur, visit the Britannica blog's lively forum on web2.0 One of the bloggers, can you believe it, is that unrelenting ridiculer of blogs Michael Gorman - has he found his medium at last?! Gorman's opinionated rants would surely not get a hearing in the refereed and scholarly world he calls home, but he enriches the blogosphere with his contributions - always amusing and well-written, and occasionally insightful.

Thursday, July 19, 2007

GAO Public Diplomacy report

The Government Accountability Office (GAO) released a report yesterday to Senator Richard Lugar on the evolving strategic communications and public diplomacy initiatives at the U.S. Departments of State and Defense, and the Broadcasting Board of Governors. As one might expect of an accountability(formerly accounting) office, emphasis is on measurable results - no touchy-feely stuff. A buzzword is "campaign-style", and one of the recommendations for the State Department is to "Formally endorse and adopt a research-based campaign-style approach to thematic communications." The State Department responds to the report by suggesting that its own “ABCDE” communication process model - a planning tool that can be used to think through the message and the best way to deliver it to a target audience - is essentially the kind of campaign-style approach the GAO is asking for. The ABCDE model is explained/exemplified (not very clearly) in the new PD Strategy document that was posted here last month.

Cult of the Amateur

Andrew Keen's new book "The Cult of the Amateur" takes a dim view of the erosion of authority that is the hallmark of web2.0 - everyone a publisher, anyone an expert. His views are not unlike those former ALA president Michael Gorman set forth in an article on blogs a few years ago, which did little to endear him to web2.0-happy librarians. The Wall Street Journal recently carried a debate between Keen and David Weinberger (author of "Everything is Miscellaneous") which nicely illuminates the pros and cons of the matter. See also Michiko Kakutani's review in the New York Times

Friday, July 13, 2007

State government information

Peggy Garvin provides a useful overview of state government information resources at the website. And while you're at it, check out Sabrina Pacifici's Competitive Intelligence - A Selective Resource Guide

Opportunity 08

Brookings and ABC News have partnered to create Opportunity08, a website that focuses on issues that will shape the 2008 presidential election. Here's how Opportunity 08 describes itself: "Voters say they want to hear more from candidates about the issues and less about partisan politics. As we enter a presidential race with wide-open primaries in both political parties and enormous debate about the direction for the country, there is a unique opportunity to discuss solutions to America’s most pressing policy challenges. Opportunity 08 aims to help presidential candidates and the public focus on critical issues facing the nation, providing ideas, policy forums, and information on a broad range of domestic and foreign policy questions."


You read about Legistorm's salary database here last November, and here's information about the travel database (if you've been wondering what those CODELS do - and buy - when they come to town, here's your chance to find out);
"Our travel database contains roughly 27,000 trips and provides a unique window into how private organizations are trying to gain influence in Washington. No other source of congressional trip data is as comprehensive or accurate or provides the users the same ability to view the original documents.

What's more, you can perform full searching, view each original disclosure form and check out maps of the trips. If that's not enough to keep you interested, we have identified which trips took place at a time and location coinciding with major events - like the Superbowl or Mardi Gras - which may have provided additional travel incentive.

Friday, July 06, 2007

Voter Watch

from Neat New Stuff...
VoterWatch - the Congressional Record You Always Wanted
Because the Congressional Record is not a faithful representation of what
occurs on the floor of Congress, this "nonpartisan nonprofit
organization" has created this searchable database of videos of Congress
at work. Browse by date or topic, or search by keyword of member of
Congress or both.

Thursday, July 05, 2007

PBS series America at a Crossroads

In the site's own words...
"America at a Crossroads is a major public television event that premiered on PBS in April 2007. This ongoing series explores the challenges confronting the post-9/11 world — including the war on terrorism; the conflicts in Iraq and Afghanistan; the experience of American troops serving abroad; the struggle for balance within the Muslim world; and global perspectives on America’s role overseas."

A program dealing with anti-Americanism in Europe will air in August and examine perceptions of the U.S. role in the world in France, UK and Poland.