Helper

What lobbyists do

The stereotypes Everyone thinks they know what a lobbyist is. It is perhaps the most stereotyped profession in the world: How voters see lobbyists           How legislators see lobbyists               How lobbyists see themselves             The reality First, a definition: Lobbying is the act of attempting...

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The dark side of Christmas

Christmas is a beautiful season, in both its religious and secular manifestations. We focus on Mary, Joseph, and the Baby in the manger, on the angels singing Gloria, the shepherds and wise men; but these are only part of the Christmas story. If we confine our telling of the Christmas story to what we learned as children, we risk losing much of its power. What does the Christmas story have to do...

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Freedom of Information laws

Freedom of Information (“sunshine”) laws establish the right of the people and the media to access data held by national, state, or local governments. More than 70 countries have freedom of information laws on their books. In the United States, the federal government and all 50 state (and District of Columbia) governments have such laws. Some states expand the idea to mandate open government...

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Curing election-day jitters

The following message is directed to candidates and those active volunteers who have bled, toiled, sweated, and cried for months to win the election, only now to find that it is upon them… A week from Tuesday is Election Day. You knocked on the doors, sent out the mailings and e-newsletters, put up the yard signs, and begged for money. So what is left on Election Day but to wait for the...

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Why we can’t throw the bums out

Every two years, we hold an election for Congress, an institution not held in high esteem by the voters. In some surveys, people would trust a used car salesman before they would trust a member of Congress. This June, the Washington Post reported that its approval ratings have “reached historic lows at least 12 times since 2010.” Movements build up to vote against all incumbents, but more than...

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