Mayor Cory Booker’s Political Lesson For Congress Members: And Why The Food Stamp Challenge is Important

In Media Coverage, Political Strategy, Uncategorized on December 4, 2012 at 8:42 pm
Mayor Cory BookerCredit: AP

Newark Mayor Cory Booker
Credit: AP

Rising political star and Newark Mayor Cory Booker is stealing some of the spotlight away from deadlocked “fiscal cliff” negotiations in Congress this week. After engaging in a debate last month with an anonymous conserva-troll on Twitter about free school lunches for poor students , Mayor Booker is about to let his actions speak louder than his words.

The Food Stamp Challenge

Mayor  Booker announced this week the beginning of a Food Stamp Challenge. The challenge involves his agreement to live on the monetary equivalent of the SNAP/Food Stamp assistance available to his fellow New Jerseyans who meet the program’s poverty-level standards.

In his first foray to the grocery store since starting the Food Stamp Challenge, Mayor Booker spent $29.78 for his food allowance for the week. Initial reports state that he bought cheap but healthy food items, including “lots of beans.”

Rep. Candice Miller: Meet the New Campaign Finance Boss, Same As the Old Boss?

In Campaign Spending, Legislation, Political Strategy, Uncategorized on December 1, 2012 at 7:10 pm
Rep. Candice Miller (R-Mich)Credit: Carlos Osorio/AP

Rep. Candice Miller (R-Mich)
Credit: Carlos Osorio/AP

Speaker John Boehner failed to name any women to the first nineteen House Committee Chairmanships announced this week. Then, after facing intense criticism for his party’s homogenous leadership roster of white males, Speaker Boehner made the “unusual” selection of Rep. Candice Miller to take the reins of the House Administration Committee.

The choice of Rep. Miller for this role was odd in part because Rep. Miller had been jockeying for the Chairmanship of the Homeland Security Committee, a committee of which she has been a member since 2008. (Instead, Rep. Michael McCaul of Texas was named to head up that post.) But the really unusual part is that Rep. Miller was not even a member of the House Administration Committee — the Committee she will now chair.

Amid the uproar over the unholy alliance between money and politics since Citizens United, the operational minutia for how campaign finance reform actually happens has been lost. Aside from reformers failing to take note of the near-impossibility of passing a Constitutional Amendment in this Congress or the next, somewhere we also lost the needle and the thread for understanding the role of the Committee on House Administration as the legislative lynchpin for reforming our elections.

Census Information for 112th Congress Goes Dark: Income Data Inexplicably Missing

In Uncategorized on December 1, 2012 at 5:29 pm
Screenshot Screenshot
American FactFinder Tool
Captured 12/1/2012

Maybe the Census Bureau is just performing maintenance or an update to its site. But at some point this week, all  information for the 112th Congress disappeared from the American FactFinder tool at The screenshot above shows that information is still available for previous congresses but not for the current 112th Congress.

MEAN Democracy uses the American FactFinder tool’s census data to hold individual congress members responsible for median income trends in their home districts, but that task has been impossible this week because all information for the 112th Congress has gone dark.

No response yet after contacting the webmaster. We will monitor the site to see when the information goes back online.