Wednesday, May 09, 2007

Digital Politics Forum: Goldy Added; The Open House Project

[Carla and I are helping to co-sponsor a great event in Portland next Tuesday: The Digital Politics Forum on technology and politics, put on by The Bus Project and the Portland Mercury and featuring national author, blogger and progressive spokesperson David Sirota. Here's another installment of our hype-building lead-in to next Tuesday's event...]

We are proud to announce the addition of a 4th confirmed member for our esteemed panel, who is currently warning people not to eat the fish (or the pork, or the chicken), but is still willing to schlep down to the Rose City and talk tech politics: mildly famous blogger, radio personality and fly in the ointment David Goldstein, better known as "Goldy" of and KIRO-FM in Seattle.

As regular readers know, it was Goldy who brought Carla and I together in 2005, working on the contest of the WA Goobernor's race, and I know of no single blogger on the West Coast who has done more to put progressive politics into the fore, urging people to sit back and mope no longer. (Jesus General is probably the best-known West Coast blogger, followed by Firedoglake, but JG is mostly pardoy and Jane has help at FDL.)

So we treat Goldy kind of like an older brother, one that perhaps we can get drunk after the gig and then film while eating a hamburger sans shirt--but one that we look up to and respect for his innovative uses (and misuses) of the political system, and his perspective on how the internet can tilt the playing field back towards the favor of the people. We're nearly incontinent with excitement that he'll be joining the fray!

[Update, 5/9 10AM--Adding to his grand mystique, Goldy's blog is now BANNED IN CHINA. Could he get any cooler?]

And what will he and the rest of the panel (The Merc's Amy Ruiz,'s Anna Galland, and king-hell blogger/media flack Kari Chisholm of Blue Oregon) be talking about? Beats me, but in the news this week is an example of how technology can give ordinary people the tools and the wherewithal to change the system for the better: The Open House Project. What the heck is that? Take a look:

For those who like details instead of visuals, here's the executive summary of their report, which essentially breaks down into these recommendations:
  • Legislation Database--publish legislative data in structured formats
  • Preserving Congressional Information--protect congressional information through archiving and distribution
  • Congressional Committees--recognize committees as a public resource by making committee information available online
  • Congressional Research Service--share non-partisan research beyond Congress
  • Member Web-Use Restrictions--permit members to take full advantage of internet resources
  • Citizen Journalism Access--grant House access to non-traditional journalists
  • The Office of the Clerk of the House--serve as a source for digital disclosure information
  • The Congressional Record--maintain the veracity of a historical document
  • Congressional Video--create open video access to House proceedings
  • Coordinating Web Standards--commit to technology reform as an administrative priority
The campaign is fully bipartisan, including participants like Matt Stoller of MyDD and Markos of DailyKos along with folks like Robert B. Bluey of The Heritage Foundation and Chris Kinnan of Freedomworks, and represents a desire for transparency and utility that permeates so much of what makes the Internet a vital tool of democracy.

You can watch the rollout press conference here, and see the approving letter from Speaker Pelosi. And if the notion of governmental openness hits you in a particularly groovy place, you really should check out the website for the Sunlight Foundation, which sponsored the Open House Project and is dedicated to applying a thick layer of disinfectant on the body politic.

I'm gonna go ahead and stick their button () on our sidebar right now.