Posts Tagged ‘yourish’

Introducing In Obama’s Words (Kelso via Wash Post)

Thursday, December 17th, 2009

[Editor’s note: The third in The Washington Post’s Obama accountability series, we now explore his key speeches with transcripts and videos tied in with their POTUS Tracker events. See trends in sum or by issue with our tag clouds and over time with charts. Credit goes to Wilson Andrews, Jackie Kazil, Nathaniel Kelso, Sarah Lovenheim, Ryan O’Neil, Paul Volpe, and Karen Yourish.]

Interact with the original at The Washington Post . . . Screenshot below.

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Political prerogative in the embassies (Kelso via Wash Post)

Monday, October 26th, 2009

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[Editor’s note: I created this bivariate Dorling cartogram for Al’s column on Friday. The bubbles are grouped by geographic region show number of total ambassadors and the subset (in red) who have been political appointees the last 49 years. The subset is aligned bottom middle instead of sharing the same center point as the total bubble. If you haven’t seen our Head Count interactive database tracking all Obama’s federal appointments, check it out!]

Republished from The Washington Post. Reported by Al Kamen.

Just after the election in November, we wrote that an Obama administration was likely to eschew “the traditional sale of most ambassadorships, so aptly carried on during the Bush administration.” The chatter was that the new team would pick political types, but with some foreign policy cred — as the Clinton administration tended to do — and maybe reduce the percentage of politicals in favor of more career Foreign Service officers.

Yeah, well, we must have been eschewing something. The fat-cat contributors naturally got the plum postings, as usual.

But judging from data compiled by the American Foreign Service Association, the career employees union, it appears that Obama is on track to reduce, at least marginally, the percentage of jobs going to contributors and cronies. While there are still a lot of vacancies, AFSA officials project that Obama is likely to end the year appointing fewer political folks than either Bush or Clinton to the 181 ambassadorial postings — but still too many, as far as the career diplomats are concerned.

About 30.1 percent of Bush’s ambassadors during his eight years were political folks, AFSA found. Clinton’s average, 33 percent politicals, was higher, but Clinton’s folks were a mix of non-career people who actually knew a lot about the countries or regions to which they were named and pure cash types — our favorite was hotelier Larry Lawrence for Switzerland, the guy whose body was exhumed from Arlingon National Ceremony when it turned out he lied about being in the Merchant Marine.

If Obama’s first-year total ends up slightly lower than Bush’s, then Obama’s eventual four-year — or eight-year — percentages will probably be clearly lower than his immediate predecessors’, we’re told, because the first round of appointments tends to skew more to paying off politicals than do the later rounds.

Of course, the politically connected still get the finer spots in the Caribbean and Western Europe. As the accompanying chart shows, the career diplomats head to somewhat less delightful (even nasty) postings in Central Asia (100 percent career since 1960), the Middle East, Africa and South America.

Since 1960, no Foreign Service officer has ever run the embassy in Dublin and only one, Ray Seitz, has gone to the Court of St. James’s in London. On the other hand, no political appointee has ever gone to Chad and only one has gone to Bulgaria.

See AFSA’s full data at http://www.afsa.org/ambassadors.cfm.

SOURCE: American Foreign Service Association, data 1960 through today. | Nathaniel Vaughn Kelso and Karen Yourish/The Washington Post – October 23, 2009

Continue reading at The Washington Post . . .

POTUS Tracker: Analyzing Obama’s Schedule (Kelso via Wash Post)

Monday, August 24th, 2009

[Editor’s note: I’m proud to present POTUS Tracker: Analyzing Obama’s schedule, a new tool from The Washington Post that keeps tabs on President Obama, whom he’s meeting with (over 3,000 people so far), and what they’re discussing (with 17 issue categories and 13 event type codes). It is the second in our Obama Accountability series. The first, Head Count: Tracking Obama’s Appointments, has enjoyed a million visits since launch in April 2009. Data for this project available in RSS and JSON data dump.

I did the Flash interactive (using the Flare visualization package for the opening treemap isue view) and coordinated the project with Karen Yourish. Madonna Lebling and Ryan O’Neil are the genius behind the schedule information and online data presentation. POTUS Tracker was featured on CNN’s State of the Nation (YouTube video) on Sunday, 23 August. With the project out of the way, I can turn my attention back to Natural Earth Vector.]

(Screenshot below) Interact with POTUS Tracker at The Washington Post . . .

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CREDIT: Nathaniel Vaughn Kelso, Madonna Lebling, Karen Yourish, Ryan O’Neil, Wilson Andrews, Jacqueline Kazil, Todd Lindeman, Lucy Shackelford, Paul Volpe

Leveraging Iconic Photos to Augument Names in Graphics

Monday, May 4th, 2009

[Editor's note: Augmenting textual names with iconic faces can liven up a graphic. Same goes for flags with country names. This graphic from The Washington Post's Karen Yourish and Laura Stanton does exactly that.]

Republished from The Washington Post, April 2009.

The Confirmation Race

A look at presidential transitions from Reagan to Obama. President Obama needs to fill about 500 government-agency positions that require Senate confirmation.

Related: Heat Count–Tracking Obama’s Appointees.

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INTERACTIVE: Inside Obama’s West Wing (Kelso via Wash Post)

Friday, January 30th, 2009

[Editor's note: Please enjoy this interactive featuring a floor plan of the West Wing showing who sits where. Kudos to Laura Stanton and Karen Yourish for leading this project. I advised on the coding.]

Republished from The Washington Post.
Original published 29 January 2009.

They say that proximity to power is power. And it comes to follow that the most coveted offices in Washington are those in the West Wing of the White House. Some, like press secretary Robert Gibbs’s office, are spacious. Others are cubbyholes. But they are all in the same building as the president’s Oval Office. Explore the interactive graphic below for an insider’s guide to who’s sitting where in President Obama’s West Wing:

Screenshots below. View interactive version.

GRAPHIC: By Laura Stanton, Nathaniel V. Kelso, Philip Rucker, Al Kamen and Karen Yourish – The Washington Post

INTERACTIVE: Obama’s Cabinet Picks (Kelso via Wash Post)

Monday, December 22nd, 2008

[Editor's note: I created this interactive with Karen Yourish and Laura Stanton for the Dec. 21 edition of the Washington Post. President-elect Barack Obama completed his Cabinet picks just 7 weeks after his election on November 4th, 2008. Explore who he's picked for twenty government agency compare to previous administrations. The little human shapes on the timeline are interactive, as well as the Obama cabinet photo collage, and the week tabs.]

Republished from Washington Post.

NOTE: Barack Obama won the Nov. 4, 2008, election’s popular vote. He will be inaugurated as the 44th president on Jan. 20. As both of these days fall on a Tuesday, “weeks” are calculated as Wednesday through Tuesday.

NOTE: Some agency positions have two nominees per president if the first nominee rescinded his name and another was nominated in his place.

SOURCE: Staff Reports | GRAPHIC: Karen Yourish, Laura Stanton and Nathaniel Vaughn Kelso, The Washington Post.

First posted: 20 December 2008. Last updated: 21 December 2008.

And Now, a Word on the Convention Sponsors (Kelso)

Wednesday, August 27th, 2008

[Editor’s note: Below is the interactive I just published in the Washington Post examining the sponsors of this week’s Democratic and next week’s Republican conventions. Does money influence politics? Use this tool to explore further. Features thematic map with proportional circles showing number of contributions and dollar value of contributions by state and a data table listing of those companies and if they tend to give more to Democrats or Republicans. Reads data in from XML file and programatically draws the proportional circles. Republished from the Washington Post.]

Corporations, unions and wealthy donors are allowed to pour unlimited cash into the host committees that finance presidential conventions in exchange for goodies such as private receptions with legislators and VIP access to special events. Most of the corporate sponsors revealed so far for Denver and St. Paul (the host committees do not have to disclose donors or how much they raise until 60 days after the convention) are veterans of Washington’s money-for-influence game.

Use the interactive below to see how they have contributed more than $180 million to federal campaigns since 2005.

SOURCES: Campaign Finance Institute, Center for Responsive Politics

CREDIT: Interactive by Nathaniel Vaughn Kelso and Karen Yourish – The Washington Post. – August 27, 2008