Maintenance Day

Site will be a bit spotty today, have to do some maintenance. For those users that registered last week, expecting the address verification that I promised, as you probably noticed, it didn’t work. I think it is fixed now. At least, it worked for me! Things are a bit hectic around my household these days, we are expecting our second daughter any day now, so my time has been diverted to higher priorities! Bear with me, any other bugs or quirks will be worked out. For those already registered, if you log in, you will see blanks for your address. If you fill these in, I’ll send a verification post card (I’m going to probably send these in weekly batches, since it will be a bit cheaper for me) so that you can rate the activities of your representatives and senators by rating the blog post for that activity. As an example, this post has been rated a 4 by me.I’ll then email summaries to the senators and representatives. A “Plogress Report Card”, if you will. If we get enough people using this, perhaps the representatives will be interested in participating, both financially and interactively. Then I can quit considering rss ads to pay the bills!

Lots of feedback

I’ve received a lot of feedback requesting more info about the site and how it works and clarification on some things. So here goes: The site is still a work in progress, and there is only one person working on it. It started when I was searching THOMAS at the Library of Congress and thought there was a lot of cool information there, but the layout of the information was not conducive to quick perusal on a daily basis. Well, the weblog format was perfect for what I wanted, which was a one stop shop for information on my elected representatives. RSS syndication would make the information even easier to access. I did some searching around for blog software that I could scale for thousands of individul blogs, and decided on WordPress. I have been very happy with this free software. The next challenge was retrieving and organizing the data from THOMAS into a format from which I could generate blog posts. Several perl scripts later, these are the results. Had I anticipated such a large audience so quickly, I would have done more testing and development before rolling this out. It’s refreshing to see that I’m not the only one who likes to keep up with my elected representative.

I will continue to develop this site as time allows, and I appreciate all of the feedback I have received thus far. In repsonse to some specific comments:
-The best way to reach me is through the comment section. I will put up an email address soon, I’m just not ready to deal with all the spam yet. (There are ways to obfuscate the address to those nasty email harvesters, it’s just low on the priority list)
-I will be adding the roll call votes this week. I will load all votes from 2005 and update nightly.
-I’ve seen several requests for more information about candidates (their website, bio, etc.). I like the idea, and it’s on the list.
-The poll questions are written by me. I am in no way qualified to write poll questions. If the grammar is correct, and there are no spelling errors, it looks like a good question to me. Others disagree, and they are right. (see comments
-With regard to the “most popular congress persons”: These are based on page views. I can’t tell if the visitors agreed or disagreed with said congress person (unless they left comments!).

One last remark for this post. I encourage you to leave comments. I can’t tell you that your rep will see them (I’d put my money on “no, they won’t”), but it would be good to see discussion. I do moderate comments, so if you don’t actually have anything constructive to say, save the keystrokes.

Thanks again for visiting