Sunlight on the Health Care Summit

We're trying something a little different today, and we hope you'll join us.

As Republican and Democratic leaders have started debating health care in a televised forum today, the Sunlight Foundation is providing an alternative to the mainstream media's coverage with something we're calling Sunlight Live

The idea is to put together a real-time one-stop shop for information on the debate and on the attendees. It's a bit of an experiment, so we're actually going to need lots of help and feedback.

Policy and transparency experts have been live blogging throughout the Summit, with input and conversation from all over the country. Additionally, Twitter conversations and relevant facts on congressional members in attendance at the Summit are all displayed together in one page right next to the video stream of the Summit provided by the new media team at the White House. Some of the things that are being displayed as the politicians debate are campaign contributions that the person speaking has received, their connections to lobbyists and industry, personal finances, and key votes that the leaders have made on health care in the past.

The idea behind this is that we want to provide a greater understanding of why the elected officials have staked out their positions on health care, and let the data do the talking rather than just the pundits.

We're going to keep going til whenever this thing ends (perhaps as late as 6:00 p.m.), so come join the conversation and suggest ideas of things to visualize or look at like these TweetGraphs

It'd mean a lot to us if you participate in the conversation, help us research, or simply tune in and spread the word about what we're doing during the day.

This is a great opportunity to demonstrate why transparency in government and open government data is so important.

Ultimately we want to be able to provide this model to people all over the country who can cover politics at every level.