Tuesday, August 21, 2007

Opening Up Congress

If you haven't checked out the OpenCongress site lately, you really should. At this site, you can access information about all the thousands of bills that have been introduced in Congress. Unlike the simple search engine at Thomas, however (where you can do the same thing), the Open Congress site mashes up information from blogs, FEC reports and news stories to give you a more complete picture about what's going on.

The front page of the site highlights five things OpenCongress can do for you -- and it's pretty impressive. Well, OK, looking up your representatives maybe isn't so revolutionary. But being able to see what bills are "hot" (impeaching Dick Cheney and Children's Health Insurance are at the top of the list -- go figure) as well as subscribe to an RSS feed on your issue area could be of great value to any advocate seeking to stay on top of Congressional activity.

The site is a little heavy on the "let's keep an eye on those terrible people in Congress" message -- I'm not usually a fan of any approach that assumes many members of Congress are keeping terrible secrets (really, it's just a few :)), but the tools they've pulled together for monitoring not just the happenings in Congress but, more important, what other people think of the happenings in Congress is very valuable.

Go ahead, check it out!

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