WashingtonWatch Needs Help Crowdsourcing Earmarks

from the collect-and-win dept

Earmarks — the pork barrel spending our elected officials dump into various bills to fund friendly projects for constituents — got plenty of attention during last year’s Presidential campaign, but since the campaign is over, it seems that many have forgotten about them. The House and Senate did recently update rules, requiring members to reveal earmark requests, but they’ve done so in different ways and different formats, and there’s no central repository. WashingtonWatch is trying to change that. The site, which has long been a useful source of information on various bills is trying to crowdsource a centralized earmark dataset, asking folks to enter in the earmark data on their own politicians. They’re offering up some prizes (a Kindle, iPod shuffle or a fruitcake — yes, a fruitcake) to those who enter in the most (accurate) data. If you think the Kindle is evil, fear not, as you can just get the cash value and spend it all on fruitcakes yourself.

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Companies: washingtonwatch

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Comments on “WashingtonWatch Needs Help Crowdsourcing Earmarks”

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Anonymous Coward says:

Fruitcakes are an interesting topic. I often make my fruitcakes with lots of rum. Actually, if I remember it correctly, it’s an Angel food Cake with about 750ml of Rum-looking liquid dumped on it. So it’s not a fruitcake at that point… but perhaps a rumcake..? A very strong rum cake that almost gets everyone in trouble, until the video mysteriously disappears from the assistant-dean’s desk somehow.

We ended up getting an “A” in that class. I really don’t know how. It was a horrible video. But I guess we were all winners or something…

Anonymous Coward says:

So, um, does this mean I win a prize for disrupting Mike’s Crystal Ball?

It’s possible I do this a lot, and for some reason it angers a number of people.

I identify with Lewis Black. He mentioned in a recent conversation with Bob Shiefer that he doesn’t get enough fan mail, perhaps neither does Anonymous Coward.

Then, that asshole, Nick Masnickolowski or whoever who runs the nightly news spot on NBC since Tom Brokaw left, came on The Daily Show and had to make fun of Lewis and what he drinks. Perhaps an extension of Nick’s conversation with big bad ass Bob Shiefer…

Ooooh. Bad decision.

Nick or whoever you are that has the NBC Nightly news.. This is your warning: you’re going down.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:

No, Mike,

I watched his entire discussion with Bob Schieffer at the Aspen Conference. Have you seen it? I doubt it. As such, you lack a frame of reference.

It makes a lot of sense, but I believe some of Bob’s most memorable items were shared with Nick Masnickolowski, or whoever is the host performer for the NBC Nightly News. Nick even arm wrestled Jon. It seemed Nick used it to devaluate his Aspen Conference conversation, because Lewis made a ton of sense with Bobby S.

Jim Harper (profile) says:

1,600+ Earmarks in the Database

Thanks for the write-up, Mike.

I’m excited about the response this project has gotten – we’re already up over 1,600 earmarks, and the complete earmark requests of many Members of Congress are in the database.

An unanticipated side-benefit is the fruitcake related discourse here on TechDirt….

Once again, the earmarks map is here, contest info here, and entry form here.

Anonymous Coward says:

Mike, This was something you were working on with Jim Harper?
Why didn’t you say so?

You’ve become real mean recently. What gives? Thinking we’re all mad against you and such.

Jim, Sorry about the narrative. Mike won’t delete it. If I would have known, I wouldn’t have posted it.

I’m truly sorry. Post your group’s address here and I’ll send you a gift card and a limited edition coffee mug.


Anonymous Coward says:

Funny, Drudge went all wild all over grants given to pork producers to upgrade equipment and to provide meats under government projects, but as soon as he realized he had taken the stuff out of context, it all disappeared off his site like salsa through a goose.

Without context and without understanding, tabbing through pages of earmarks turns up all sorts of things that appear strange on the surface, but might have an underlying good for the communities involved. Crowdsourcing it will just lead to massive misunderstandings and information presented without context or followup.

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