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Senator Releases First Senate Mobile App

samzenpus posted more than 2 years ago | from the i-the-people dept.

Iphone 107

GovTechGuy writes "Sen. Saxby Chambliss (R-Ga.) released an official application for the iPhone, iPad and iPod Touch, making him the first Senator to offer an official mobile application. The Chambliss app allows the public to call Chambliss' offices directly from the app and find in real-time information on the Senator's positions on current political topics."

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107 comments

Real time? (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#36452928)

Are his opinions changing so fast you need real-time information on them?

Re:Real time? (2)

chemicaldave (1776600) | more than 2 years ago | (#36452946)

Positions on current topics

not

Current positions on topics.

Re:Real time? (1)

Kral_Blbec (1201285) | more than 2 years ago | (#36453442)

Most "current" topics have been around for several years. There arent really many new issues, just rehashes of old ones.

Re:Real time? (1)

vlm (69642) | more than 2 years ago | (#36453992)

I think I've finally figured it out. "current topics" are what I'd consider irrelevant noise, such as "what is the honorable senator's opinion of Sarah Palin's daughter's performance on american idol last night" and "Tell us how you feel about the recent tornadoes, senator"

Re:Real time? (1)

ubermiester (883599) | more than 2 years ago | (#36453576)

Positions on current topics

not

Current positions on topics.

you sure? this could be a tool for senators to flip-flop in real-time!

Re:Real time? (1)

Mindcontrolled (1388007) | more than 2 years ago | (#36453716)

You know, adapting your position to changing realities is generally viewed as rational. Leave it to american propaganda to make "flip-flopping" an insult. Can't hear it anymore, to be honest.

Re:Real time? (1)

10101001 10101001 (732688) | more than 2 years ago | (#36453956)

If flip-flopping in American politics were generally a byproduct of "adapting your position to changing realities" and not "voting for government spending towards my constituents to increase my reelection chances, pledges about supporting less government spending or statements of a core belief in the futility of government involvement in anything economic be damned" or "voting for more unsupervised government intrusion, despite my claims that such government supervision is evil", I'd agree. Oddly enough, of course, the American propaganda I most associate with "flip-flopping" was the former. The latter doesn't get called out as much because it's SOP, and few in Washington act like they really want to change things.

Re:Real time? (1)

Mikkeles (698461) | more than 2 years ago | (#36453974)

Well, if the reason for changing (as appears to be a common case) is a new payoff ^W campaign contribution or the results of a new poll, then I think it should be an insult.

In the latter case, it may be acceptable for him to change the way he votes to match his constituents' wishes if he cannot convince them of his position; this should not, however, cause him to change his position.

Re:Real time? (1)

Lunix Nutcase (1092239) | more than 2 years ago | (#36455206)

You know, adapting your position to changing realities is generally viewed as rational.

And if that's what these senators and representatives actually did it would be a good thing. Unfortunately they change their minds on things purely based on who gave them the biggest campaign contribution.

Re:Real time? (1)

Mindcontrolled (1388007) | more than 2 years ago | (#36455966)

Well, in the end, a representative only acts as proxy for those he represents, doesn't he? Should be the voters, not the contributors, I completely agree on that. Then again, can it really work out if politicians only work on the basis of polls? Around here, in Germany, one pundit came up with the quite insightful epithet of "demoskopiebesoffen" - "drunk on demoscopy", drunk on polls. It's probably not healthy for the system in the long run, but i fail to see better alternatives.

Re:Real time? (1)

dgatwood (11270) | more than 2 years ago | (#36453414)

If he is like most politicians, then yes, sadly.

That said, if you want to see an app that reflects political reality more precisely, you'll have to wait for v2.0. It will have two (or more) versions of the positioning statement, depending on what it thinks you want to hear.

Just to be clear, I'm not saying that this particular politician is two-faced, but statistically, the politicians who aren't two-faced are in such a minority that they rarely appear as a non-zero quantity in any random sampling. Just saying.

Re:Real time? (1)

vlm (69642) | more than 2 years ago | (#36454034)

That said, if you want to see an app that reflects political reality more precisely, you'll have to wait for v2.0. It will have two (or more) versions of the positioning statement, depending on what it thinks you want to hear.

Do you think google and facebook have enough information on "us" that they could automate this process? I shouldn't be saying this out loud, I should be selling this idea to election committees for crazy sums of money... I do believe we are nearing the era of automated individualized campaign ads. Next election cycle I expect to get spam about which candidate prefers vim or emacs... We're already only a step away from hearing "Vote for Gnome or KDE, don't throw your vote away on 3rd party candidates like XFCE."

This should be (1)

Capt James McCarthy (860294) | more than 2 years ago | (#36452932)

A mandatory app for every elected official.

Re:This should be (3, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#36452958)

Really? The ability to call someone by downloading an app instead of dialing the phone should be mandatory?

This thing is more fluff then substance, there's already apps that look at positions on issues and voting histories for all of Congress.

Re:This should be (1)

mcgrew (92797) | more than 2 years ago | (#36453468)

Rather than "more fluff than substance" I'd say is a misuse of technology by the technologically clueless. There is no reason to need an app to have your phone be able to see a web page, you simply have to write the web page using plain HTML. And an app to call from your PHONE is just retarded.

Re:This should be (1)

scumdamn (82357) | more than 2 years ago | (#36453052)

Right, because I'm sure people will waste space on their phone for an app for each of their elected representatives. He wasted the fee to create the app and the fee to get it into the App Store.

Re:This should be (1)

prgrmr (568806) | more than 2 years ago | (#36453088)

It's all about marketing. Given the rates for TV, radio, and print advertising, this was undoubtedly a good investment.

Re:This should be (1)

WrongSizeGlass (838941) | more than 2 years ago | (#36453450)

Just wait for the "Re-elect Saxby Chambliss" ads that show up in his app ... along with links to donate to his re-election campaign.

Re:This should be (2)

smelch (1988698) | more than 2 years ago | (#36453112)

Right, because 3 apps is just way too many. Its not like we have gigs of memory. All of our iPhones are so maxed that we just can't spare less space than angry birds for keeping up to date with our representation in washington.

Re:This should be (1)

vlm (69642) | more than 2 years ago | (#36454062)

I love the combination of your signature and your post's last line. Took a second to realize that sig was not the last line of your post.

Re:This should be (1)

sohmc (595388) | more than 2 years ago | (#36453166)

I agree

While yes there are other apps, when an elected official makes it easier for his constituents to look at his record, it's a win.

So far, I'm only familiar with one rep (Wolfe - VA) who offers his votes directly on his web site without going through thomas.loc.gov.

Re:This should be (1)

RazzleFrog (537054) | more than 2 years ago | (#36453238)

How about if you make it mandatory make it work with the majority of smartphones? Talk about behind the times.

Re:This should be (2)

Firehed (942385) | more than 2 years ago | (#36453358)

http://www.senate.gov/general/contact_information/senators_cfm.cfm [senate.gov]

http://www.senate.gov/legislative/LIS/roll_call_lists/roll_call_vote_cfm.cfm?congress=112&session=1&vote=00089 [senate.gov]

I'm sure it's not terribly mobile-friendly nor is it organized particularly well, but the information is out there. They should publish this data over some sort of API so we can make it presentable (whether as an app, a mobile site, or a stack of printouts), but unfortunately I can't fault them for not providing the data at all.

The piece about getting info on the Senator's stance on various issues is interesting. They should digitize that and then replace all of these guys with a small shell script.

Re:This should be (1)

Lunix Nutcase (1092239) | more than 2 years ago | (#36453436)

So iOS and Blackberry?

Re:This should be (1)

RazzleFrog (537054) | more than 2 years ago | (#36453508)

You're further behind the times than the Senator. Droid took the lead.

Google - 33%
RIM - 28.9%
iOS - 25.2%

Keep in mind that is smartphones - doesn't include tablets. But if we are talking about making calls to your senator that is the more important number.

Re:This should be (1)

Lunix Nutcase (1092239) | more than 2 years ago | (#36453542)

You're further behind the times than the Senator. Droid took the lead.

You said "majority" not "the lead". Majority means more than half. 33% is not more than half but BlackBerry + iOS = 54.1% which is a majority. Either way, it was a sarcastic reply.

Re:This should be (1)

RazzleFrog (537054) | more than 2 years ago | (#36453602)

But it doesn't work with Blackberry right now. It works with only iOS which is the minority of smartphones. If it worked with both then yes it would be the majority.

I understand it was sarcastic but it was also incorrect and illogical.

Re:This should be (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#36454674)

Actually, majority can be less than 50%. It simply has to be the largest segment of all segments represented. I know with the idiocy of the two party system that most people forget this but it is a fact.

Re:This should be (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#36453664)

You're further behind the times than the Senator. Droid took the lead.

Google - 33%
RIM - 28.9%
iOS - 25.2%

Keep in mind that is smartphones - doesn't include tablets. But if we are talking about making calls to your senator that is the more important number.

Is that "current marketshare" or "installed base"? I bet BlackBerry has more users than Android and iOS, possibly even combined. There are a /lot/ of BlackBerries out there, and many people I know are using company issued 8800-series devices from ~4+ years ago...

Re:This should be (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#36454986)

If you aren't including all the iOS devices (or RIM playbook for that matter), why bother even posting the percentages. You know damn lies and statistics.

I have a hunch (i.e. unsubstantiated in anyway) that the iPad is a more interesting target platform. I have a feeling iPad users are spending more time reading "newspapers" and other information than people on the iPhone. Kicking back with the paper...why not check out what the ol'e senator is doing.

Re:This should be (1)

RazzleFrog (537054) | more than 2 years ago | (#36455152)

As a percentage of tablets iOS on iPad is large but as a population it is still tiny compared to Smartphones.

Re:This should be (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#36453284)

Using any application to view his voting record should mandatory for every voter.

Wow, CAPTCHA = involved, that's spooky.

Re:This should be (1)

slick7 (1703596) | more than 2 years ago | (#36454296)

A mandatory app for every elected official.

How about an app that lets these career criminal politicians know when their two terms are up.
Or an app that keeps a running total of all graft accepted from corporate gangsters and banksters.
And/or an app that counts all the lies these bastards tell without blinking their eyes.
Or how about an app that counts the days remaining until all American soldiers come home so they can kick some political ass and get these crooks out of office. Radical? I think not!

Smart phones are so smart. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#36452936)

So with a "smart" phone, I need a custom app to call the Senator's office's telephone number? That's "smart".

Re:Smart phones are so smart. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#36453056)

No worse than the tons of web pages that have Google or Bing searches built into them. Plus the app does more, you just kinda glossed over that, right? I have to give this guy points for effort if nothing else. It's more than my congresscritter has ever done for me.

LOL (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#36452956)

Oh, how I'd enjoy downloading that app and then asking that jackhole how he feels having demonized a triple-amputee war veteran out of office with his scurrilious anti-american lies.

I am sure Chambliss will discontinue use of the app almost immediately once he figures out that his constituents have actual criticisms of his asshole positions.

Wow! (3, Funny)

excelsior_gr (969383) | more than 2 years ago | (#36452962)

Just what was missing! An app for a cellphone that enables you to... call someone?! Wait, what?

Re:Wow! (1)

Ihmhi (1206036) | more than 2 years ago | (#36454870)

That's nothing. A New Jersey senator's recent app automatically raises your property taxes every time you call his office.

Old news (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#36453012)

The Congress app [android.com] for Android is very useful for this.
It puts both the Senate and house on speed dial.

Why just have one Senator when you can have em all?

Re:Old news (1)

eedwardsjr (1327857) | more than 2 years ago | (#36454244)

You beat me to it. I was going to brag on this app. I've been using it around a year and it is pretty slick. Hopefully it is on iPhone as well.

flip flops? (0)

vlm (69642) | more than 2 years ago | (#36453040)

find in real-time information on the Senator's positions on current political topics

I don't know anything about the guy, but when you need networked computer automation to track how a politician flip flops on issues, something's wrong.

Re:flip flops? (1)

Dog-Cow (21281) | more than 2 years ago | (#36453438)

Since your reading comprehension is non-existent, I would guess it doesn't really matter.

A little late there, and less useful (1)

cHiphead (17854) | more than 2 years ago | (#36453044)

Useless and late by a day or two. The congress app on android just came out and it is insanely more in depth, and does not have its content controlled directly by the politician that you are trying to contact.

You are mistaking congress apps for personal ones (1)

SuperKendall (25149) | more than 2 years ago | (#36453282)

Useless and late by a day or two. The congress app on android just came out and it is insanely more in depth

The difference is that the app is by a congressman, not ABOUT the congress. The whole story is that it's from a congressman, not a general app...

There are lots of apps about the congress - like this one:

Useless and late by a day or two. The congress app on android just came out and it is insanely more in depth [realtimecongress.org]

But there are scores of other ones too, on iPhone and probably android.

and does not have its content controlled directly by the politician that you are trying to contact.

No, instead they are controlled by whoever writes the app, with an unknown agenda and not electable.

so its a phone book entry? (1)

maliqua (1316471) | more than 2 years ago | (#36453058)

branded as an app wow how little content it takes to be news worthy

Re:so its a phone book entry? (2)

Lunix Nutcase (1092239) | more than 2 years ago | (#36453090)

When has samzenpus ever posted anything that was truly newsworthy? About only thing he posts is idle shit, idle shit posted outside of idle to get around the fact that almost everyone has blocked idle, and shill reviews for Packt Publishing books.

Re:so its a phone book entry? (0)

smelch (1988698) | more than 2 years ago | (#36453228)

Uh, no. See, what's kind of cool about people is they can communicate. And this is one way for Chambliss to communicate with you (and also provides contact info for you to communicate with him, through abstraction).

The Chambliss app allows the public to call Chambliss's offices directly from the app and find in real-time information on the Senator's positions on current political topics. Users can also access news articles, e-newsletters, videos and photos from their phones and participate in constituent surveys.

How is any of that bad, how is any of that not nice to do? Yeah, its all from him, but it isn't a "propoganda stream" like others have asserted. It is simply a way for him to express his opinion on things so you know what he thinks about stuff. WTF, this is exactly what has been missing. And yes, it isn't always going to be truthful because its coming from him, but subjective information is as important as objective information. When you want to know what somebody thinks, you don't go ask a 3rd party. If you want to know what they did, usually a third party would be more reliable information.

Why do I get the feeling if Chambliss was a D, people would love his embrace of technology?

Re:so its a phone book entry? (5, Insightful)

Lunix Nutcase (1092239) | more than 2 years ago | (#36453278)

WTF, this is exactly what has been missing.

How has it been missing? Chambliss, like almost every other Senator and Representative, already has a webpage [senate.gov] with all that information already. This app is just some lame repackaging of his webpage and a call feature.

Why do I get the feeling if Chambliss was a D, people would love his embrace of technology?

Because you're an idiot?

Re:so its a phone book entry? (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#36453692)

Please die, you fossil.

OK, let me explain why its good (2)

Shivetya (243324) | more than 2 years ago | (#36457722)

Because far too many "smart" phone users cannot be bothered with politics except on message boards. Far too many would never venture near a Congressman's website but I bet quite a few would download an app just for the sheer chance they could ridicule it or his positions. They would in fact be getting the information he wanted that they normally would never access.

So make information cool, if that means repackaging it, then by all means. Just because you and I know where to look for information does not mean others do. As I said above, many who could probably would not unless it was stupidly easy - like an app.

I know people with apps for the Constitution, Bill of Rights, Bible, Koran, and other easy to find documents, why is that?

Re:so its a phone book entry? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#36455870)

Why do I get the feeling if Chambliss was a D, people would love his embrace of technology?

If he was a Democrat, Slashdotters, likely including you, would be sobbing about how much public tax money he has wasted creating this app. And you would be modding each other up to +5, Insightful, in a frenzy of libertarian self-adulation.

So it's like a web site (3, Funny)

istartedi (132515) | more than 2 years ago | (#36453074)

Sounds like a web site. They stuck "app" on it. Booooring. Wake me up when you have an iCloudApp. Now, that would be truly revolutionary. Bonus points if it has synergy.

Re:So it's like a web site (1)

Darinbob (1142669) | more than 2 years ago | (#36453564)

But aren't the vast majority of phone apps merely web sites with the word "app" stuck on them? So this is just following established faux-tech practices.

Re:So it's like a web site (1)

Virtucon (127420) | more than 2 years ago | (#36453874)

Exactly! Another example of why most of the App Store "apps" are truly LAME..

Shit, why didn't he now put in one of those Quick Response bar codes on his website so you can take a picture and download it immediately? Then the senator would be truly high tech.

Attack ad (4, Insightful)

KPU (118762) | more than 2 years ago | (#36453094)

Does it come with free Cleland attack ads?

Re:Attack ad (1)

bugs2squash (1132591) | more than 2 years ago | (#36453740)

The in-app upgrade to replace Chambliss with Cleland is patent encumbered.

Re:Attack ad (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#36456720)

So, you're saying that that feature is crippled?

(Posting AC for obvious reasons. Am not Tracy Morgan.)

Re:Attack ad (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#36456742)

No -- those cost an arm and a leg. And a leg.

+1 RETARDED (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#36453104)

Dedicated propaganda stream.

I'm about to go all Saxby Chambliss on this crap, already.

Senator's Positions on Political Topics (1)

kannibal_klown (531544) | more than 2 years ago | (#36453150)

I wonder if it will have an archive feature, if so for the various senators out there I imagine it would be like this:

1-June-2011 - For X
2-June-2011 - Received donation from group Y
3-June-2011 - Against X
4-June-2011 - Received larger donation from group Z
4-June-2011 - For X

Again, in general. I know nothing about the senator in question.

Re:Senator's Positions on Political Topics (1)

stinerman (812158) | more than 2 years ago | (#36456944)

You missed the much more obvious one:

1-June-2008 - For X
4-June-2008 - Gives speech on floor of Senate extolling the virtues of X over some heavy-handed big government program Y
1-June-2011 - President Obama comes out for X
2-June-2011 - Against X
4-June-2011 - Gives speech blasting X as a plan to steal money from unborn Christian U.S. Marines and give it to Union-backed Atheist Socialist Muslim Homosexuals

There's a bit of a lag... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#36453168)

...as it waits for Goldman Sachs and BP to tell the Senator where he stands on those topics.

The Corporate Version (3, Insightful)

Dyinobal (1427207) | more than 2 years ago | (#36453178)

I hear the corporate version comes with a button to make campaign donations and change his position on issues.

What can we learn from this? (1, Insightful)

BitZtream (692029) | more than 2 years ago | (#36453192)

Nothing we probably didn't already know sadly.

It basically shows that the senator and his office are completely technologically inept, and too lazy/stupid to find someone who is qualified to help them out.

They spent money ... to make an app ... that can be done in HTML ... and work on every device that has a web browser rather than JUST iOS.

So what you should take from this is that this senator and his office are ignorant, lazy, wasteful, and fad followers who care more about popular opinion than doing their job.

As I said, probably nothing you didn't already know.

And as a certified iOS fanboy ... let me add ... DO YOU HAVE ANY FUCKING CLUE HOW GOD DAMN ANNOYING IT IS TO HAVE TO DOWNLOAD A FUCKING APP BECAUSE YOU STUPID JACKASSES WANTED TO FOLLOW THE CURRENT FAD RATHER THAN JUST MAKING IT A FUCKING WEBSITE. GIVE ME A DAMN WEBSITE, NOT FREAKING APP. ... god I hate that, especially when they require you to use the app rather than providing a web based alternative of any sorts.

Re:What can we learn from this? (1)

Un pobre guey (593801) | more than 2 years ago | (#36453332)

Simmer down, Dude. I hear what you're saying. Come HTML5, more or less here already, there is no compelling, practical reason to write an "app," unless what you really want to do is hack into the phone. These days, apps are little more than an already passing fad.

This, of course, is only true if the APIs accessible from the web page can get the data you need, such as GPS data, voice, camera functionality, etc. Could be a big if.

Re:What can we learn from this? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#36455210)

Well, they had more planned - but then somebody pointed out that the "Lynch a Coon", "Burn a Mooslem" and "Drag a Fag" minigames might not go over well with anyone besides the Senator's constituents...

Real time information? (4, Insightful)

Kral_Blbec (1201285) | more than 2 years ago | (#36453222)

Does his position change so frequently it has to be updated in realtime?

Oh yes, terribly important (1)

Un pobre guey (593801) | more than 2 years ago | (#36453288)

Oh yes, yes, of course! Terribly important to know a politician's "position" on "current political topics" or better yet, on the ever so important "issues." Not what lobbyists are paying them to do, nobody gives a crap about that. We care deeply and passionately, and discuss interminably, politicians' "positions" on "issues." Must be why our body politic, society, and economy are so advanced, prosperous, and are examples to the world.

Wonderfull (1)

houghi (78078) | more than 2 years ago | (#36453294)

The Chambliss app allows the public to call Chambliss' offices directly from the app

They must have thought that it would be great to be able to have a handheld device usable to make telephonic conversations towards a fixed telephonic device. Then they though: we must make an app for that.

Also to find real-time information must have been a great idea.

I am old fashioned. I would have used a standard phone line and a standard web server, thus not excluding many.

This most likely is not about giving information, but about some senator trying to look 'hip' with the youngsters.

I wonder (1)

Tebriel (192168) | more than 2 years ago | (#36453306)

Does it automatically give me his twitter feed too?

Re:I wonder (1)

Lunix Nutcase (1092239) | more than 2 years ago | (#36453324)

Are you hoping to get tweeted pics of him in his boxers with a visible boner?

Re:I wonder (1)

vlm (69642) | more than 2 years ago | (#36454134)

Agreed, that's bad. But, look on the bright side, I haven't heard of any politicians tweeting a self made goatse... at least, not yet...

Apple Press Release (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#36453364)

CUPERTINO, California—June 15, 2011—Apple® today announced that they will be removing the mobile web application created by Representative Anthony D. Weiner (D - NY) from the app store. Apple stated, "We do not believe the 'The Weiner app' is appropriate considering the pornographic content.".

Rube Saxby Goldbliss. (1, Insightful)

blair1q (305137) | more than 2 years ago | (#36453396)

Seriously, I need a smartphone to go on the web to download an app so I can push one button to call a phone-bot to dial up issue text that I could get just by going to a website on the same phone?

Recall this fucktard. He's unfit to serve.

Update frequency (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#36453410)

"real-time information on the Senator's positions on current political topics"

Just curious - do his opinions on current political topics change so often they need a real-time update mechanism so the constituency can keep up with them?

Question for the old farts (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#36453502)

Listening to C-SPAN, there seems to be a confusion in terminology in the illustrious halls of Congress.

There is a site called Twitter, or twitter.com if you want to get particular, and it offers the capability to send messages known as tweets. And tweet can also be used as the verb.

But I almost exclusively hear representatives and senators saying, "oh yes, I twitter, I twittered such and such about this and that, and he twittered me back."

Is there anyone here who has confused the terms twitter and tweet? Especially anyone under, say, 40? I'm just curious at what age people start to lose their ability to pick up new expressions without making those characteristic "old person" mistakes.

Re:Question for the old farts (2)

Lunix Nutcase (1092239) | more than 2 years ago | (#36453658)

You have to forgive them. Only a few years ago did they realize that the Internet was a not a big truck but a series of tubes.

Max Cleland (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#36453652)

Does the app come up with ways to talk trash about people who have served in the military? If it does it should be named Saxbybot.

Re:Max Cleland (1)

Lunix Nutcase (1092239) | more than 2 years ago | (#36453738)

Yeah you gotta love when these chicken hawk, draft dodging Repuglicans trash people who didn't skip out of military service while trying to wrap themselves in the flag (see also Dick Cheney, Donald Rumsfield, etc).

How about an actual app? (1)

spitzak (4019) | more than 2 years ago | (#36453820)

I agree that an app to do what a web page does is pretty stupid.

However I wonder if it would be possible to make an app that actually did what is promised: "produce the Senator's position on a current political topic". Ideally the user could type in an arbitrary question and it would say what the Senator would think. This must be done without actually asking the Senator or any other human.

The first version could be an interesting experiment in AI. It has to produce "approve" or "disapprove" or "I did not understand" to all questions, and the positions have to be consistent and make sense. The easiest version would be to make an extreme right-wing or extreme left-wing version first, then try to adjust it to actually match the Senator (maybe it could be "trained" by the Senator by him answering specific questions generated by the program so it could fill in it's weighting tables).

I thought also a much harder problem would be to have the AI actually produce an explanation of why it approves or disapproves of an idea. But in fact to match current politicians it is trivial: anything you disapprove of is "job killing", anything you approve of "helps small businesses". These rules seem to work for every single argument by any political party nowadays.

Android "congress" app (1)

Atmchicago (555403) | more than 2 years ago | (#36453904)

I've had an app called "Congress" installed for a while. It allows you to do this for all members of congress, it lists all recent legislation, you can see where and what shape districts are... It's a good step in making our government more accessible. Communication with our representatives should be accessible.

Too bad it's just a recording (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#36453946)

"Your potentially terrorist linked interest in patriotic government operations has been noted, citizen. Jesus loves you."

Honesty! (1)

thePowerOfGrayskull (905905) | more than 2 years ago | (#36454740)

Wow, honesty from a politician - who would have thought it could happen.

and find in real-time information on the Senator's positions on current political topics

You see that? That right there is a candid admission that he changes positions with the blowing of the political winds (perhaps more so when they are north-north-west but stays stable when the wind is southerly?) and that an app is required to keep up with these shifting views. Well done!

Waffling already? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#36454762)

"...find in real-time information on the Senator's positions on current political topics"

Does this mean that they change?

where's Ted Stevens when you need him? (1)

vaporland (713337) | more than 2 years ago | (#36455032)

an app that maps the series of tubes that is the internet would be totally awesome...

At least it wasn't Weiner... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#36455680)

I totally don't want to see HIS app!!!!

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