Today’s agenda

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Like yesterday, I’m going to spend a good deal of the day figuring out how one element of this blog will work, about which more below. But I’m also going to investigate a particular earmark, one of the 6,373 that researchers at Taxpayers for Common Sense painstakingly identified in the Transportation Equity Act of 2005.

This one is from Illinois; the text reads, “East Peoria, Illinois Technology Blvd. upgrades,” and the appropriated amount is an insignificant (in Washington terms) $800,000.

We’ll see what we can find out about the appropriation first using just the web, and then making some phone calls as well.

I’m also going to be working on some of the components of what I think is going to be a very interesting experiment in online, real time, collaborative and distributive investigative and enterprise reporting. Obviously, given some 535 elected representatives and thousands of earmarks, I’m not going to have time to look at them all. So part of what I will be doing here is building a space and providing you, the readers, with some handy tools for investigating your own member of Congress. And, as I think the Peoria example above will show, it will probably be easier for a constituent in a district to get at a lot of this information than I can sitting hundreds of miles away in Washington, D.C.

In addition to this task, I also want to spend a little time looking at what happens after an earmark ends up in a bill–what actually happens after that–as well as doing some thinking about the Massachusetts health care bill that aims to require individuals to be insured for their bodies in the same way they would be for their cars.

So I’ve got a busy day ahead of me…

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