Friday, January 23, 2009

DC insiders at Whorunsgov.com and Littlesis.com

Two new sites to help you keep up with those obsessed with their own importance and your complete lack of same. Most of them are quite sure they are both morally and intellectually superior to us puny average citizens.

Link

The Washington Post has just launched a new politics site with a focus on profiling powerful players in D.C. politics – WhoRunsGov.com. From the About page:

Our site will feature profiles of a select group of government officials, including members of the new presidential administration, legislators, senior Congressional aides and committee staff, and experts at think tanks and interest groups who influence how policy is made. Each profile focuses on an individual’s policy experience and involvement with specific areas of government decision-making, from health care to telecommunications to financial services to national security.

For now, the profiles on WhoRunsGov are all compiled and edited by in-house staff, but they plan on moving to a “moderated wiki” in the future, meaning that the public will be able to submit suggestions for profile revisions which will be subject to staff review. Check out a few of the profiles to get a sense of the kind of information that’s on the site – Kirsten Gillibrand, Timothy Geithner, Peter Orszag, Gen. James L. Jones, Richard C. Holbrooke...

Accompanying the launch of the site is a new blog – The Plum Line – written by former Talking Points Memo blogger Greg Sargent. The goal of the blog, so says Sargent, is to “chronicle the new D.C order – as perceived and experienced by the people building it, as well as by the people who are resisting or at least coming to terms with it.” It should be an excellent blog for getting an insider view into the messy world of policy creation in D.C. I recommend grabbing the RSS feed.

Overall, it looks like a good site with some unique information, though I agree with Marshall Kirkpatrick at ReadWriteWeb that there is some room for improvement in areas of data integration and interactivity. Check out Marshall’s review of WhoRunsGov and his list of five similar projects that he thinks are doing it better (thanks for the mention, Marshall!).

And don’t forget to check out the awesome new LittleSis.org – an involuntary facebook of powerful Americans.