Friday, May 27, 2011 Let$ You $ee Who I$ Influencing Our Government

As a freelance columnist, one of the first big lessons I got was learning, if you want to figure out what the real story is, figure out where the money is. Figure out where it's coming from, where it's going, how much is getting made (especially by whom) and you've got your story.

But it's not easy to figure out. But here's a start. Influence lets you type in a company, politician, or prominent individual and see how they're influencing the political system. And when we say influencing the political system we all know that means you can see where they're spending their dollars in the political system. Who they're supporting, which is another way to say bribing. See what they support and how much they're spending. See who their lobbyists are and how much they're paying them.

It's sad that our political system has reached the point where dollars are votes. One man (person)/one vote my eye. But what's also great about the world and the digital space is how you can use it to combat the system.

Let's face it: The system is busted. And funny, it's been busted for a long time. I just got finished reading Clifford Odet's Awake and Sing, written during the first Great Depression and produced in 1935, and you could almost change the date and everything would be the same. The same issues are facing families, the same responses and choices are being made, and the same cry about socialism is being heard. Funny, the more things change, the more they stay the same.

But also, the play ends in the optimism of youth. Optimism isn't always with the young. As much as I've complained of late on this blog about age discrimination, most times I get the response that I don't look or act my age. That's the secret: Don't ever lose your optimism. Don't ever lose your idealism. And just act like a juvenile delinquent. That's how you stay young.

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