Salsa Scoop> tag: ”blog:congress“

Salsa Weekly Highlight: Salsa Actions for a new Congress


It's the "Salsa Weekly Highlight," your quick hit on what's what in Salsa to help get the most out of your online program. As always, you can find plenty more news, updates, and conversation throughout the week on

The start of an odd-numbered year means the start of a new legislative season: a great time to take a look at Salsa's Action tools. Federal and state legislative contact data is up-to-date with new representatives, so your supporters can send district-matched constituent advocacy messages with confidence!

Today, we'll show how to make "thank-and-spank" Actions where different lawmakers get different types of messages -- praising them for supporting your bill, or criticizing them for voting against it, for instance.

Image: Creating a Multi-Content Targeted Action

Read more (4 comments)

E-xemplar: Ways to Make Legislative Campaigns Suck Less

My fondness for liberals, smart people, and Wisconsin politicians (not to mention good food) aided in my decision to read the Environmental Working Group's recent email on their Organics Petition. Even though Development Associate David (no, I didn't realize that was his title until I searched their site) once spent a good amount of a phone call laughing at my Wisconsin accent when I was trying to explain tags, I enjoy working with the EWG. But even more notably, I enjoy well-crafted campaigns. This action nicely displays a few ways to make them suck less (albeit in the service of an uphill struggle):

Step 1: Pictures are worth a thousand words.

This video was short, energizing, and provided a terrific visual of the support already behind the bill. It's one thing to be told about an issue, but to see an example of what an organization is already doing is quite motivational.

Read more (3 comments)

The Cycle of Netroots Life

At least the healing, back-to-fundraising process can begin in the bosom of YearlyKos, whose namesake shared these observations on FISA capitulation day:
We are a full-fledged partner in the progressive coalition ... with our allies in the labor movement, our friends in the issue groups, and our party leadership. ... [E]arly hostility – based on substantive differences – is now giving way to new respect and trust.
We in the club, yo! What's systematic, institutional betrayal if not a call for more and better Democrats?

Read more (6 comments)

Fired Attorney Documents Crowdsourced

Thousands of pages of DoJ documents related to the fired attorneys thing posted on the House Judiciary Committee website have been scattered to the readership of Talking Points Memo for perusal and analysis. Posted at 12:51 a.m. -- the middle of the night -- the request has generated as of this writing (nine hours hence) 35,900 words* of responses/comments, en route to its imminent canonization to the constellation of "network power rewrites political rules" anecdotes. (Stand by, Sunlight Foundation.) (Update -- we beat their story.)

Read more (16 comments)

Mashup Congress for Fun and Profit. Mostly Profit.

The Sunlight Foundation is sponsoring a contest for data mashups that display information about Congress for "Sunlight Week" Mar. 11-17. Click here for the details. Not geeky? Try this out ... they've got their own contest which might score you an iPod into the bargain.

Read more (55 comments)

Know Your Place (1997 Edition)

Atrios uncovers a decade-old column by that scold of Washington conventionality dating to the adolescence of the Internet as a tool of mass communication. Cokie's thrust is summed up by a respondent's sarcastic letter to the editor, "The Internet is nothing but a cyber-sewer, full of smut, cults, and now an even greater danger: easy access to government officials." The horror!
They also get in touch with each other on public policy issues. According to Love, it's like an electronic town meeting. That analogy makes our blood run cold.

Read more

And He Was Once Considered Presidential Timber

Lame duck nuthin': Macaca checks out for the holidays. (Link)

Read more

Fee For Constituent Service

As the coalition of vendors (including DIA) providing email-your-rep services to advocacy organizations continues to churn away at the Congressional email deliverability logjam, the changing times may be in the process of evolving the question -- at least on the national level -- towards obsolescence. The Center for Citizen Media got a post-election pitch to buy an updated legislative directory, and sensibly wonders ... why does this cost money? "[M]aybe someone could create a wiki to keep track of comings and goings"? Congresspedia has it covered. And a tool like Google's Google Earth/electoral district mashup basically covers the part of the equation that determines a legislator from an address.

Read more (6 comments)

Hunkering in the Swamps with Lame Duck Hunt

With the last remnants of the 109th Congress reconvening this week for their parting shots, it's a good time to surf over to Public Citizen's Lame Duck Hunt, which sounds seductively like The Most Dangerous Game but turns out to be a project to let the sunshine in on the shenanigans of lawmakers past the grasp of voter accountability.

Read more

Congressional Email and the Myth of the Platonic Grove

With Capitol Hill a ghost town as members scramble to retain their peerages, the lull in legislative activity offers welcome pause to step back from the e-mail deliverability fracas of recent weeks.

A great many of the unmet expectations and bad feelings that have become bundled up in online write-your-rep actions ultimately trace to the unspoken assumptions various parties have about the communicative framework in which the action takes place.

That point was underscored in the live chat with Washington Post reporter Jeffrey Birnbaum the day his column ran Capitol Advantage's deliverability study. In response to a question about how to differentiate grassroots campaigns from astroturf, Birnbaum opined, "I'm afraid if an interest group incites a flood of e-mails, that's Astroturf lobbying by definition."

Read more (1 comment)