Rants & Ramblings

random commentary about culture, media, politics, technology and whatnot.

politics & bureaucracy

jun
01
2012

Campaign Finance 2012: Where Your Money Can Go | NPR

I worked on this NPR Politics infographic with S.V. Dáte and Greg Henderson. It’s mostly a straightforward chart, but I had some fun trying to visualize the streams of money from the different donor types to the various classes of …

mar
13
2012

Twitter analysis gets elections half right | USA Today

Scott Martin quotes Rebecca MacDonald of search analytics firm Attensity: “The fact that people are talking about candidates on Twitter doesn’t necessarily correlate to those people going out and voting.” (Via Derek Willis)

'West Wing' Babies | Vanity Fair

Juli Weiner writes, “Just as ‘All the President’s Men’ made newspapers seem cool—imagine!—and propelled legions of baby-boomers into journalism, so Aaron Sorkin’s ‘The West Wing’ has inspired a new generation with its vision of a Washington brimming with lofty ideals. Six years after the series finale, the Sorkinization of politics is still under way.”

feb
09
2012

NPR GOP Delegate Tracker

Looking at GOP delegate trackers from different news organizations, you might notice that they often have different numbers. There are a lot of factors to consider, including whether to factor in projections / estimates, how to interpret state / party …

feb
01
2012

Year-End Campaign Finance Reports

Yesterday, in addition to being the date of the Florida GOP primary, also was a major Federal Election Commission deadline for candidates and political action committees to submit their year-end financial disclosures. Candidates had last filed at the end of …

jan
30
2012

Wrangling Election Data With Google Tools

WNYC developer John Keefe has some great tutorials on how to use various Google Tools to process / display elections data. Instead of building a database, he uses Google Fusion Tables. When the Data’s Free: For the Iowa Caucuses (and …

jan
25
2012

The Markup: Notes On The State Of The Union | NPR

President Obama has laid out his vision for the nation. We marked up his speech with fact checking, analysis and reaction — all in the margin.” I worked with Erica Ryan to set up this page within our CMS, tweaking the CSS to narrow the main content column and kick the annotations into the new left margin.

dec
10
2011

Primary Calendar Shake-Up | WSJ.com

With conventional wisdom pressuring candidates to score victories on early-voting states, Iowa, New Hampshire, Florida and South Carolina have moved their caucuses and primaries earlier in recent election cycles. See how recent presidential primary calendars compare.”

dec
09
2011

What Countries Are Doing To Tackle Climate Change | NPR

Many top emitters have set their own goals, but it’s not always clear how they can meet them.” Worked with Andrew Prince on this chart, which accompanies our coverage of the U.N. climate summit in South Africa. Nothing particularly challenging technically about how this one’s set up — just HTML / CSS — but I was happy with how it came out.

nov
28
2011

How the U.S. Postal Service Fell Apart | Time

Josh Sanburn on the past and present of the U.S. Postal Service. “Even today, the USPS’s methods to deliver our mail are just as remarkable. Want to send a letter to the Havasupai Indian Reservation at the bottom of the Grand Canyon? The postal service will take it there by mule. Need to mail a package to the Alaskan wilderness? The USPS can get it there by parachute or snowmobile. (It used sled dogs until 1963.) Have to mail something along Alabama’s Magnolia River? The USPS has boats that travel from dock to dock. It has even sent mail via pneumatic tubes, missiles and hovercraft. And somehow, it’s still just 44 cents to get a letter anywhere (well, 45 cents starting Jan. 22).” (Via Christina)

nov
17
2011

Supercommittee Scenarios: How The Debt End Game May Play Out | NPR

The congressional supercommittee — charged with developing a plan for cutting the nation’s deficits by $1.2 trillion over 10 years — is days away from its Thanksgiving deadline. While no one can predict exactly what will happen between now and the committee’s deadline, here are some possible outcomes.” I worked on this interactive flowchart with Marilyn Geewax, Avie Schneider and Debra Rosenberg. The graphic is completely code-based, with each element styled / placed via CSS and longer descriptions appearing onmouseover via jQuery.

nov
03
2011

Generation Gap: How Age Shapes Political Outlook | NPR

Findings from a new Pew Research Center report. “A new survey from the Pew Research Center finds wide gaps in how different generations view politics. Older voters are more conservative, more angry at the government and less hopeful about the future of the country. Younger voters lean left, wish the government played a greater role in their lives and believe the nation’s best days are yet to come.”

oct
17
2011

…we cannot assume that the campaign visible to the mass audience is the same campaign that’s being pitched to individuals and groups around the nation…

NYT's Derek Willis, on covering increasingly sophisticated political campaigns (source)

Interactive: 2012 Campaign Cash, Week By Week | NPR

The latest batch of campaign finance reports adds a little clarity to the presidential race. For starters, President Obama’s campaign reported a hefty $61 million on hand as of Sept. 30. But in the Republican primary race, things are in flux.” Interactive graph of third quarter fundraising numbers, produced using the Flot graphing library for jQuery.

aug
24
2011

The Story of Dick Cheney's Heart | WSJ.com

The former vice president opens up about his coronary artery disease, and explains how the march of American medicine saved his life.”

aug
22
2011

Rick Perry's Scientific Campaign Method | The Caucus | NYTimes.com

A conversation with the author Sasha Issenberg about how the Texas governor’s campaigns have been shaped by rigorous social science testing.” Really interesting.

jul
14
2011

A User's Guide To The Budget Battles | NPR

Marilyn Geewax reports, “Budget battles involving Republicans, Democrats and President Obama have become so frequent that they may sound like one big shouting match. But there actually are three separate budget debates going on simultaneously.”

jun
29
2011

How Wal-Mart Swiped JPMorgan in $16 Billion Debit-Card Lobbying Battle | Bloomberg

Interesting behind-the-scenes account of the competing lobbying / PR strategies around debit card fees by Phil Mattingly and Robert Schmidt.

jun
23
2011

Time for Another Election

2008 seems like yesterday … but 2012 is just around the corner. The Daily Show’s John Oliver panics about the coming onslaught of campaign coverage. (If you can’t see the video above, it’s available on The Daily Show website.)

may
11
2011

The Tragedy of Political Advocacy | Huffington Post

Jake Brewer writes, “Unfortunately, the very technology that has allowed virtually any citizen to share a message with their representative has also produced paralyzing noise, making Congress far less able to hear what citizens have to say.”

apr
05
2011

Choose Your Own Budget Adventure! | The Atlantic

Chris Good and Alex Hoyt offer a fun a “Choose Your Own Adventure” story in which you, as Rep. John Boehner, navigate the current government budget negotiation process. Nice, original approach. (Via Slate)

mar
23
2011

Barack Obama's top secret tent | BBC News

Rajini Vaidyanathan writes, “A rare photo, released by the White House, shows Barack Obama fielding calls from a tent in Brazil, to keep up with events in Libya. The tent is a mobile secure area known as a Sensitive Compartmented Information Facility, designed to allow officials to have top secret discussions on the move.”