Politicians are flocking to Twitter. Whether they're Democrats or Republicans, they're finding new ways to talk to their constituents. I've found 20 politicians who are using the micro-blog to communicate their policies. Some are more active -- and more interesting -- than others. Here's the rundown:Democrats
Barack Obama If it weren't for this President, most politicians probably wouldn't be on Twitter. He made the service appealing to politicians by showing them that it's a great way to establish a grassroots campaign. Currently, he has staffers tweeting for him, mostly discussing his policies in office. It's an informative Twitter stream. See also the White House on Twitter.
Barbara Boxer Barbara Boxer, a U.S. senator from California, is quite active on Twitter. But she has her staff update her Twitter stream, only diving in personally form time to time. Her tweets mostly discuss where she will be appearing, so it's not too informative.
Chris Dodd Sen. Chris Dodd's Twitter account is a little sneaky: the tweets sound like Dodd is updating his stream, but if you dig a little deeper, it turns out that his Twitter account is for his "office." So, it's not really Dodd updating his stream even though his staff makes it sound that way. Regardless, they're interesting tweets. You'll gain insight into the Senate proceedings, see where he stands on issues, and find some interesting political links. Dodd's Twitter account is worth following.
Dick Durbin Illinois Sen. Dick Durbin is on Twitter. He has 99 followers. There's just one issue: he's never updated his Twitter stream. I find it appalling that such an important figure in U.S. politics can create a Twitter profile and not update it. Don't follow Durbin. … Read more
For the final installment of this week's tribute to the Mini Cooper, I've found a cool little vid featuring the famous car chase scene from The Italian Job.
Most people's familiarity with the Mini Cooper comes from Peter Collinson's classic film The Italian Job...no, not the crappy remake starring Marky Mark, I'm talking about the 1969 original starring Michael Caine and a great car chase scene featuring more Minis in one place than I've ever seen in real life. Dig the Quincy Jones soundtrack...a true blast from the past baby!
After reading a transcript of the interview, I have to question whether the 140 character format makes any sense as an interview technique, especially when dealing with life and death questions such as "What worries you more: Pakistan or Iran?" to which Senator McCain responded, "Both. The challenges are different but both significant.&… Read more
A clarification has been added to this story. See below for details.
John McCain has come a long way, technologically, since his days on the 2008 campaign trail.
Less than a year ago, the Republican presidential hopeful admitted that he needed help logging onto the Internet. Now the 72-year-old, four-term senator is practically leading Washington's foray into the Web 2.0 realm as the subject of what ABC News claims is the first "Twitterview"-- an interview conducted entirely on Twitter.
It might be better said that this is the first such high-profile Twitterview. Interviews via Twitter, … Read more
AUSTIN, Texas--If there was one name that stood out on the agenda of speakers at the South by Southwest Interactive (SXSWi) festival here this week, it was famed FiveThirtyEight.com blogger Nate Silver.
Known as a statistical wunderkind, his models predicted the final outcome of the 2008 presidential election to within .4 percent of the final popular vote. But more important to many Democrats who had their hopes for electoral victory dashed by George W. Bush in 2000 and 2004, FiveThirtyEight.com--which got its name from the total number of electoral votes available--was able to provide daily affirmation that Barack Obama was really winning, even when many were tempted to believe he would be overcome by Sen. John McCain.
Silver was SXSWi's keynote speaker on Sunday, and he and interviewer Stephen Baker of Business Week went onstage in front of an audience of about 2,000 fans, most of whom were there to hear Silver talk about the secret sauce behind his hugely popular blog.
What many might not know is that Silver first came to prominence not in the political realm, but in baseball, where he authored Baseball Prospectus, a well-regarded baseball statistics site. Many might see the connection between baseball and politics as far-fetched, but to people like Silver, it's a very direct path.
Still, before starting FiveThirtyEight.com, he wasn't entirely a political neophyte. Silver had already begun to make a name for himself in the liberal political blogosphere with a series of data-rich posts on DailyKos. When he began to recognize some significant holes in the national polling establishment, he decided to step in to fill the void.
After his keynote interview, Silver sat down with CNET News and talked about the election, how his site got started, and more about the philosophical similarities between baseball and politics.
Q: Many Democrats were emotionally tied to what you were doing, in the sense that your data kept them calm during the election. Did your own numbers keep you calm? Nate Silver: Yeah, I think so. I'm just one of those people that likes to try and dissect a problem and once you started to dissect, some days you feel better about it. If I ever get cancer, the first thing I'll probably do is go on the Web and collect a bunch of data about different survival rates. I just feel better about things when I do them that way. It's a nerdy kind of thing to do.
Q: We were able to get up every day and look at the data and see what was going on. And this is not something you could do because it was your own data. How your own data affect how you felt about what was going on? Silver: I wouldn't be frustrated by it if McCain or Obama picked up points on a particular day. Sometimes you get frustrated if you know that something you did reveals something about your model. When something doesn't feel right, and you go and make changes. And we made a lot of changes over the course of the campaign where, even as recently as two weeks before the election, we were tweaking little parameters, and what started out as a pretty simple system--taking weighted averages of polls--became much more complex over time. But, yeah, we were never saying we had the perfect answer. We were always trying to improve things as we went along.
Q: The blog had an overt liberal position, but you always said the statistics were objective. What kind of feedback, if any, did you get from conservatives? Silver: We had a pretty good balance. We had probably about a 2-1 ratio in terms of liberal versus conservative readers, based on the comment threads. Now that we're not in an election, I think it's swung more toward the liberal side, both in terms of my writing and what people are reading about.
We try and be fair. That's the main thing, we try and be forthright. There's so much commentary from conservatives, also from liberals, that is just entirely disingenuous about certain things. It's a lot of cheerleading and cherry-picking of data. We're trying to present a case that by and large is a liberal's case, because it's my case. It's how I see the world. But we're trying to use data to do it where a lot of people just make bad arguments. … Read more
We live in times when celebrities become mayors, governors, even presidents. They use their good looks and power to speak out about all the important things in the world. Like cancer. And fur.
Which is, perhaps, why Sense About Science, an organization that exists to give a little scientific perspective in the midst of our madness, has published the Celebrities and Science Review 2008.
This delightfully downloadable pdf shows celebrities for what they really are: somewhat deficient. Scientifically speaking.
The report barely conceals its glee at what it sees as some of the magnificent nonsense that has emerged from celebrity … Read more
I have just arrived in that Europe place, where, just as in America, few are indifferent.
Happy, sad, angry, amazed, disbelieving, numb. These would be a few of the words that might describe reactions to Senator Barack Obama's decisive victory against John McCain.
However, it's easy to let today's strong feelings mask yesterday's. In previous elections, there was much concerned discussion (on the losing side, naturally) about machines that could be programmed to steal the vote.
Voters would walk up, touch screens and, thanks to a little venal hocus-pocus, their choices might allegedly be made to … Read more
Last summer, Sen. Barack Obama's presidential-campaign computers came under cyberattack from an "unknown entity." His machines weren't alone; John McCain's computers were also attacked, according to a report appearing Wednesday on the site of Newsweek magazine.
The Obama attack was initially thought to be a piece of malware downloaded from a phishing site. Newsweek reports that "the next day, both the FBI and the Secret Service came to the campaign with an ominous warning: 'You have a problem way bigger than what you understand,' an agent told them. 'You have been compromised, and a … Read more
With Tuesday afternoon upon us and what could be record numbers of voters lining up to cast their ballots, it won't be long now before the Election 2008 campaigns are history, and the United States has a new president-elect.
Our colleagues at CBS News will be providing full-bore coverage, updated every 60 seconds, throughout the evening as the Electoral College results start adding up. In addition, Katie Couric and the CBS News Political Team will deliver live, exclusive Web coverage, including a Web-only show after the network reporting ends.
As during the presidential debates, you're encouraged to submit … Read more