Posts Tagged ‘Congress’

Congress Needs To Upgrade Their Visual Aids

I was reading an interesting article about Congressional visual aids over at Politico and it got me thinking.

The piece talked about the history of using old school charts and graphs and how they have been instrumental in illustrating points since they started showing up after cameras were allowed in Congress.

The article also gives some love to Ross Perot, who is credited as the father of chart usage, which I definitely agree with.

What I was left wondering which the article didn’t touch on much is why doesn’t members of congress use Power Point instead of those antiquated boards on easels. I believe if members can use twitter, then they should be able to be able to use a show their points, facts, and figures with a medium that’s not used for third grade science projects.

After talking with a couple of my Capitol Hill friends (you know you are a DC person if you have a couple of friends that work on Capitol Hill) and I got answers ranging from laptops are banned from the chamber to it looks bad on C-SPAN- both valid arguments.

But still we have the technology to get over the broadcast issues, and if computers are banned from the chamber then I feel bad for the person taking the official congressional record.

What do you think? Anyone else have an answer to why Congress is still a little behind on the times?

Congress Falling Short On Inauguration Security Costs

"Police at the United for Peace rally and march on Washington, DC" by Flickr user jcolman

Back in 2005, Congress allocated $17.5 million to cover the District’s security costs for the second Inauguration of George W. Bush. 300,000 people attended those festivities. Fast forward to 2009, January 20th to be exact, and D.C. could potentially face beyond 4 million guests for Inauguration. The only catch is that this time Congress has only allotted $15 million for security.

On an average day, residents and tourists in DC have to worry about the risks of living in a large city with high crime rates; only last night an 18 year old was stabbed in the chest with an ice pick at a Green Line Metro Station of all places and a 14 year old was stabbed as a possible result of MS-13 gang activity.

In the chaos that 4 million people will create by packing on to the National Mall, moving throughout the city, and taking the Metro will cause, security will have to be a priority for a litany of reasons. Simple personal safety, the safety of government officials, and national security only scratch the surface of the policing fiasco that sheer volume of people will usher into Washington.

There are many things that need to be cut back financially, but Inaugural security is not one of them, and Congress should know that.

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