January 20th, 2009 Brian Herzog
In honor of Inauguration Day 2009, I thought I'd risk talking a little politics.
One thing that I'm really looking forward to from the Obama Administration is a restoration of openness and transparency in our government's Executive Branch. Bush/Cheney was, from the very start, shockingly - insultingly - as secretive and closed-door as they could be, at all times. The even used a private email server to deliberately avoid public oversight. More than almost anything else from the Bush/Cheney years, I've followed the continuous coverage of the arrogant culture of concealment and avoidance.
I know this is all very lofty for a blog about library stuff, but the good old trickle down theory comes into play here. When the top levels of government disdain public oversight and inquiry, it can spread to other aspects of the government, right down to library issue like copyright and public records.
So, in the hopes of making this post marginally useful, here are a few Inauguration-related resources:
January 26th, 2008 Brian Herzog
A patron came up to the desk and said:
I keep hearing on the news about other states' primaries and caucuses. I know it's for the President, but what's the big deal? We don't vote until November, right? What's the difference between a caucus and a primary? What happens if you don't win them? Does Massachusetts have one? And I keep hearing good and bad things about all the candidates - who is winning?
I love easy questions like this.
I knew the Massachusetts primary is coming up, so the first thing I wanted to do is search the state's website for information on that. While doing that, I tried to give a brief description of the whole primary/caucus system: candidates win delegates in each state, who then cast votes in the party conventions to decide who actually runs for President...
By this time I had found a few Massachusetts resources:
- MA Elections Division, which listed the primary's date (Feb. 5th), as well as lots of information on both state- and national-level elections
- The Voting Process website, which explained how to register, how to apply for an absentee ballot, what do to and where to go on election day, and more
At this point, the patron confessed that she was far more interested in who was winning than in how the process itself worked. A website I found a few weeks ago is perfect to answer this: CNN Election Center 2008.
I like this website for the same reason I don't like USAToday - it breaks everything down into easy to understand chunks, and does so with lots of colors and graphs. It lists who has won each primary/caucus so far, and how many delegates each candidate has earned.
It also explains the major issues and where each candidate stands, has an easy-to-use calendar for upcoming primaries and caucuses, shows which candidates have dropped out, how much money each candidate has raised and spent, and more.
All in all, it seems like a fairly complete election coverage source. And it satisfied the patron (actually, it outright delighted her to see Ron Paul has won more delegates than Rudy Giuliani even though Giuliani has spent $30.6 million to Paul's $2.8 million). She wrote down the url and promised to read more about the issues before Feb. 5th.
I was curious, though - even though I think CNN is a reliable source, I also wanted to see what other election coverage and resources were available. I spent some time searching, and here's what I came up with, broken down by type:
Election News Coverage:
Political Parties and National Conventions:
I didn't bother linking directly to each candidates' website, because many of the sites above do that. In fact, since they're all reporting on the same thing, most of the information on these sites is duplicated. I guess the point is to pick at least one resource you trust and stay informed.
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Tags: 2008, campaign, candidates, election, elections, libraries, Library, politics, president, presidential, public, question, reference, Reference Question