uckf:

One Million Bones Brings Genocide To Washington, D.C.

Visitors to Washington, D.C. this weekend saw a National Mall transformed into a mass grave.

It took more than 1,000 volunteers, clad all in white, more than four hours to lay out what artist Naomi Natale described as a “visible petition” of more than 1 million hand-made “bones.” It was a petition less about remembering any specific genocides of the past, than awareness of genocide in general, and ongoing atrocities in Burma, the Democratic Republic of Congo, Somalia, Sudan, South Sudan and Syria.

The “One Million Bones” themselves were constructed by hand out of clay and papier-mâché over the last three years by more than 100,000 people in 30 countries. Each bone created by a student was matched by a dollar donation by the Bezos Family Foundation to CARE’s work fighting poverty in Somalia and the Democratic Republic of the Congo. But the primary purpose was about symbolism more than fundraising.

“I uncovered bones to show the responsibility of leaders,” says former International Criminal Court prosecutor Luis Moreno Ocampo in a video endorsing the project. “I did it in Argentina, I did it as a prosecutor at the International Criminal Court. It’s crucially important, but it’s not enough.” He sees the One Million Bones Project as “a different way to connect people with this process: Showing that this international justice idea was born from normal people.”

As for its impact on the legislators working nearby, before the bones were removed on Monday, activists trained by the Enough Project lobbied congress to advance specific legislation on Sudan and Congo. More than 200 activists met with staff of more than 90 representatives, carrying with them bones that they hope will continue to be displayed in the representatives’ offices.

As an art project, though, the purpose is less pointed. Natale said she hoped it would make passersby stop and think. “It really is about asking the questions: What’s happening? And then: What can we do?”

Yahoo! Unveils Interactive “The Voice Of…” Debate Dashboard

Finally, a day before the first presidential debate, Yahoo! has pulled back the curtain on the Commission on Presidential Debates’ “The Voice Of…” online dashboard. It offers three options: “explore the issues,” “voice your view,” and “watch the debates.”
Of these, obviously the second one has the potential to be the most interesting. After you sign in, you are offered the opportunity to take a short series of multiple choice questions and share where you on topics like health care, energy, regulation, education, foreign affairs, terrorism jobs, taxes and federal spending. Then the app plugs your data into a bunch of bubbles, so you can see how you compare to other participants in the aggregate. A dynamic counter also show, in total, how many people have “shared their voice.”

Yahoo! Unveils Interactive “The Voice Of…” Debate Dashboard

Finally, a day before the first presidential debate, Yahoo! has pulled back the curtain on the Commission on Presidential Debates’ “The Voice Of…” online dashboard. It offers three options: “explore the issues,” “voice your view,” and “watch the debates.”

Of these, obviously the second one has the potential to be the most interesting. After you sign in, you are offered the opportunity to take a short series of multiple choice questions and share where you on topics like health care, energy, regulation, education, foreign affairs, terrorism jobs, taxes and federal spending. Then the app plugs your data into a bunch of bubbles, so you can see how you compare to other participants in the aggregate. A dynamic counter also show, in total, how many people have “shared their voice.”

Posted 1 year ago
4 notes
The Evolving State of Funding in Competitive Senate and House Races

How are House and Senate candidates’ war-chests faring this election cycle? The animations below show who has been pulling further ahead, and who has been closing fund-raising gaps as the races mature.

The Evolving State of Funding in Competitive Senate and House Races

How are House and Senate candidates’ war-chests faring this election cycle? The animations below show who has been pulling further ahead, and who has been closing fund-raising gaps as the races mature.

Posted 1 year ago
6 notes
Dark Money Organizations Change Strategies to Keep Donors Secret

As Election Day approaches, two major dark money organizations have been maintaining their aggressive pace of anonymously funded election spending.
Crossroads GPS has now spent at least $108.8 million on political ads this cycle, including over $12 million dollars worth of ads so far in September. The Koch brothers-founded Americans for Prosperity has increased the pace of its spending, hitting a total of at least $65 million, with $32 million coming in the last six weeks. All of Americans for Prosperity’s expenditures have been directed at President Obama, whereas Crossroads GPS has aimed over two thirds of its spending at the President and most of what remains at Democratic Senate candidates.

Dark Money Organizations Change Strategies to Keep Donors Secret

As Election Day approaches, two major dark money organizations have been maintaining their aggressive pace of anonymously funded election spending.

Crossroads GPS has now spent at least $108.8 million on political ads this cycle, including over $12 million dollars worth of ads so far in September. The Koch brothers-founded Americans for Prosperity has increased the pace of its spending, hitting a total of at least $65 million, with $32 million coming in the last six weeks. All of Americans for Prosperity’s expenditures have been directed at President Obama, whereas Crossroads GPS has aimed over two thirds of its spending at the President and most of what remains at Democratic Senate candidates.

Posted 1 year ago
6 notes
Super PAC’s fundraising losing momentum, latest reports show 

Closing in on the upcoming party conventions, super PACs appear to have lost some of their steam in attracting the big bucks. The big guns of political ad spending took in $30 million during July, reports filed this week with the Federal Election Commission show. That’s $25 million less than the previous month. In all, super PACs have raised $343 million since Jan.1, 2011, the beginning of this campaign cycle.
The top donors include names now familiar as repeat super PAC underwriters, along with a few newbies. Among the eight donors who write seven-figure checks last month are three corporate donors and one left leaning nonprofit.

Super PAC’s fundraising losing momentum, latest reports show

Closing in on the upcoming party conventions, super PACs appear to have lost some of their steam in attracting the big bucks. The big guns of political ad spending took in $30 million during July, reports filed this week with the Federal Election Commission show. That’s $25 million less than the previous month. In all, super PACs have raised $343 million since Jan.1, 2011, the beginning of this campaign cycle.

The top donors include names now familiar as repeat super PAC underwriters, along with a few newbies. Among the eight donors who write seven-figure checks last month are three corporate donors and one left leaning nonprofit.

Posted 1 year ago
12 notes
Two Dark Money Groups Outspending All Super PACs Combined

Two conservative nonprofits, Crossroads GPS and Americans for Prosperity, have poured almost $60 million into TV ads to influence the presidential race so far, outgunning all super PACs put together, new spending estimates show.

Two Dark Money Groups Outspending All Super PACs Combined

Two conservative nonprofits, Crossroads GPS and Americans for Prosperity, have poured almost $60 million into TV ads to influence the presidential race so far, outgunning all super PACs put together, new spending estimates show.

Posted 1 year ago
116 notes

Twitter Launches Political Index: The Twitter Pulse Of The Election

Right now, if you want to know how the country feels about Barack Obama or Mitt Romney, you have to rely on pundits’ intuitions or traditional opinion polls, conducted as they always have been — by phone, over the course of hours or days. There’s no direct way to check the pulse of millions of actual people, simultaneously and directly, second by second.

Twitter is launching a tool today that it says will fill that gap, and sort through the 400 million tweets a day from 140 million active users. Twitter and real-time search engine Topsy are launching the “Twitter Political Index,” a daily assessment of how Twitter feels about Obama and Romney, in an election cycle that’s being played out moment-to-moment on the social service.

Political Moneyball - An interactive portrait of money in politics

To visualize the relationships among political contributions, The Wall Street Journal used social network software to map more than a million records of donor data tracked by the Federal Election Commission.

Political Moneyball - An interactive portrait of money in politics

To visualize the relationships among political contributions, The Wall Street Journal used social network software to map more than a million records of donor data tracked by the Federal Election Commission.

Posted 1 year ago
29 notes

How Political Rhetoric Follows Gas Prices in Two Charts

As the price at the pump surged this winter and spring, Republicans seized the issue to attack President Obama.

Mitt Romney called on President Obama to fire his “gas hike trio,” three top Cabinet officials he accused of helping hike fuel prices. Then-presidential candidate Newt Gingrich pledged to bring back the days of $2.50 a-gallon gas. And Speaker John Boehner told his GOP troops behind closed doors that, “This debate is a debate we want to have.”

No longer.

Gas Prices on CapitolWords.org

longreads:

Chronicling a four-decade fight over campaign finance, and how American politics is fueled by secret spending.

For decades, the campaign finance wars have pitted two ideological foes against each other: one side clamoring to dam the flow while the other seeks to open the floodgates. The self-styled good-government types believe that unregulated political money inherently corrupts. A healthy democracy, they say, needs robust regulation—clear disclosure, tough limits on campaign spending and donations, and publicly financed presidential and congressional elections. The dean of this movement is 73-year-old Fred Wertheimer, the former president of the advocacy outfit Common Cause, who now runs the reform group Democracy 21.
On the other side are conservatives and libertarians who consider laws regulating political money an assault on free markets and free speech. They want to deregulate campaign finance—knock down spending and giving limits and roll back disclosure laws. Their leaders include Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.), conservative lawyer James Bopp Jr., and former FEC commissioner Brad Smith, who now chairs the Center for Competitive Politics, which fights campaign finance regulation.

“Follow the Dark Money.” — Andy Kroll, Mother Jones
More from Mother Jones

longreads:

Chronicling a four-decade fight over campaign finance, and how American politics is fueled by secret spending.

For decades, the campaign finance wars have pitted two ideological foes against each other: one side clamoring to dam the flow while the other seeks to open the floodgates. The self-styled good-government types believe that unregulated political money inherently corrupts. A healthy democracy, they say, needs robust regulation—clear disclosure, tough limits on campaign spending and donations, and publicly financed presidential and congressional elections. The dean of this movement is 73-year-old Fred Wertheimer, the former president of the advocacy outfit Common Cause, who now runs the reform group Democracy 21.

On the other side are conservatives and libertarians who consider laws regulating political money an assault on free markets and free speech. They want to deregulate campaign finance—knock down spending and giving limits and roll back disclosure laws. Their leaders include Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.), conservative lawyer James Bopp Jr., and former FEC commissioner Brad Smith, who now chairs the Center for Competitive Politics, which fights campaign finance regulation.

“Follow the Dark Money.” — Andy Kroll, Mother Jones

More from Mother Jones

Reblogged 2 years ago from motherjones
106 notes
Tableau to the rescue! How to improve Sunlight Foundation’s scatter plot showing that Congress speaks like Juveniles

This scatterplot does a few things well. First, it shows us the data. Every point is a current representative. Second, is uses color appropriately, red for Republicans, and blue for Democrats. Third, the fitted lines over grade level of speech add value. They show no correlation for the Democrats and they show a negative correlation for Republicans–that is, the grade level speech of Republicans declines as their voting record becomes more conservative. The scatterplot was made in R. A writeup on how it was made is here.
But the scatterplot also leaves some things to be desired. First off, none of the points are labeled. At the very least the outliers should have labels associated with them. We want to know, for example, who is that red dot speaking 5 grade levels above the average (it’s Dan Lungren)? And who are those dots on the far left and far right of each party? Labeling specific points in R probably isn’t easy. Also, it might be interesting to see if there’s a relationship between grade level speech, ideology, and tenure, so the points should be sized by the number of years in Congress.

The original Sunlight post - The changing complexity of congressional speech by Lee Drutman

Tableau to the rescue! How to improve Sunlight Foundation’s scatter plot showing that Congress speaks like Juveniles

This scatterplot does a few things well. First, it shows us the data. Every point is a current representative. Second, is uses color appropriately, red for Republicans, and blue for Democrats. Third, the fitted lines over grade level of speech add value. They show no correlation for the Democrats and they show a negative correlation for Republicans–that is, the grade level speech of Republicans declines as their voting record becomes more conservative. The scatterplot was made in R. A writeup on how it was made is here.

But the scatterplot also leaves some things to be desired. First off, none of the points are labeled. At the very least the outliers should have labels associated with them. We want to know, for example, who is that red dot speaking 5 grade levels above the average (it’s Dan Lungren)? And who are those dots on the far left and far right of each party? Labeling specific points in R probably isn’t easy. Also, it might be interesting to see if there’s a relationship between grade level speech, ideology, and tenure, so the points should be sized by the number of years in Congress.

The original Sunlight post - The changing complexity of congressional speech by Lee Drutman

Posted 2 years ago
4 notes
freshdc:

crime map

freshdc:

crime map

Reblogged 2 years ago from freshdc
22 notes
White House Visitors Database

The Obama administration releases a list of visitors who pass through the White House security gate every month. The database currently has more than 2.2 million entries for the period from January 2009 through Jan. 31, 2012.

White House Visitors Database

The Obama administration releases a list of visitors who pass through the White House security gate every month. The database currently has more than 2.2 million entries for the period from January 2009 through Jan. 31, 2012.

Posted 2 years ago
2 notes
Is Congress getting dumber, or just more plainspoken?

Congress now speaks at almost a full grade level lower than it did just seven years ago, with the most conservative members of Congress speaking on average at the lowest grade level, according to a new Sunlight Foundation analysis of the Congressional Record using Capitol Words.
Of course, what some might interpret as a dumbing down of Congress, others will see as more effective communications. And lawmakers of both parties still speak over the heads of the average American, who reads at between at 8th and 9th grade level.
Today’s Congress collectively speaks at a 10.6 grade level, down from 11.5 in 2005.

View image bigger.

Is Congress getting dumber, or just more plainspoken?

Congress now speaks at almost a full grade level lower than it did just seven years ago, with the most conservative members of Congress speaking on average at the lowest grade level, according to a new Sunlight Foundation analysis of the Congressional Record using Capitol Words.

Of course, what some might interpret as a dumbing down of Congress, others will see as more effective communications. And lawmakers of both parties still speak over the heads of the average American, who reads at between at 8th and 9th grade level.

Today’s Congress collectively speaks at a 10.6 grade level, down from 11.5 in 2005.

View image bigger.

Posted 2 years ago
290 notes