Thursday, November 02, 2006

Update: Funny ~ A Treat & Some Trix for Voters With Brains

First, a treat: Mark Fiore, cartoonist & animator, lampoons simplistic negative ads on both sides & then some in this series of animated attack ads.

Click on the title bar. Leading off: George "I never said 'stay the course" Bush. (He was for it before he was against it.)

Then some trix for those of us with working brains: research the ads (if you're inclined to believe there's a grain of truth in them), and then avail yourself of some more handy-dandy research tools, as described below. Cut through the propaganda & histronics.

1. Nonpartisan FactCheck. Sort truth from fantasy after being bombarded by negative ads all night & day 'til next Tuesday:

2. The Center for Responsive Politics' "Open Secrets"web site. Follow the money. Choose your state, & see where the candidates' campaign contributions come from:

3. Citizens for Responsibility & Ethics in Washington: search by Congressional candidates' names to see news reports of questionable ethical behavior at the lower right of this page:

Here's their list of the 20 most corrupt members of Congress & a few "honorable mentions:"
The 20 Most Corrupt Members of Congress
Sen. Conrad Burns (R-MT)
Sen. Bill Frist (R-TN)
Sen. Rick Santorum (R-PA)
Rep. Roy Blunt (R-MO)
Rep. Ken Calvert (R-CA)
Rep. John Doolittle (R-CA)
Rep. Tom Feeney (R-FL)
Rep. Katherine Harris (R-FL)
Rep. William Jefferson (D-LA)
Rep. Jerry Lewis (R-CA)
Rep. Gary Miller (R-CA)
Rep. Alan Mollohan (D-WV)
Rep. Marilyn Musgrave (R-CO)
Rep. Richard Pombo (R-CA)
Rep. Rick Renzi (R-AZ)
Rep. Pete Sessions (R-TX)
Rep. John Sweeney (R-NY)
Rep. Charles Taylor (R-NC)
Rep. Maxine Waters (D-CA)
Rep. Curt Weldon (R-PA)
Dishonorable Mentions
Rep. Chris Cannon (R-UT)
Rep. Dennis Hastert (R-IL)
Rep. J.D. Hayworth (R-AZ)
Rep. John Murtha (D-PA)
Rep. Don Sherwood (R-PA)

4. Here's a website that enables you to choose the issues & how you'd vote on them, & compare that with the way an incumbent has voted. It's a fairly new site, requires a fair amount of time to study up & fill out how you'd vote, & the result only tells you that your rep voted for or against your positions x % of the time--it doesn't get granular in terms of the specific issues on which you diverge, or why s/he voted that way.

The descriptions of the bills aren't detailed, either--although you can go to a separate government site to read the bills in their entirety--but still, it's hard to know what legitimate beefs your rep may have had with it & why s/he voted for or against. Increasingly cynical "poison pill" ploys (the GOP bill to raise the minimum wage only if the richest of the rich got a free pass on estate taxes comes to mind) skew the results, in my opinion. For instance, if my rep voted against such a bill under the circumstances, I'd have to agree with his vote.

Still--it's a great idea. Just needs a little refinement.


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