Date: Tue, 15 Aug 1995 01:02:36 -0400 (EDT) From: "Doctor Bob"
To: TOURBUS@colossus.net Subject: THOMAS - Legislative Info on the Net ---------------------- TOURBUS - 15 Aug 1995 ---------------------- /~~~|~~~~|~~~~|~~~~|~~~~|~~~~|~~~~|~~~~|~~~~|~~~~~/~~~|~\ |____|____|____|____|____|____|____|____|____|____/ | \ | /_____|---\ / --T-H-E---I-N-T-E-R-N-E-T---T-O-U-R-B-U-S--> ///////| | | |///////| | ~~~/~~~\~/~~~\~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~/~~~\~~~~ \___/ \___/ "Why Surf When U Can Ride The Bus?" \___/ Today's Stop: THOMAS - Legislative Info on the Net All aboard... we're headin' for the Hill! Capitol Hill, that is... Today we visit a World-Wide Web site popularly known as "THOMAS". Admittedly this stop may be of limited interest to some TOURBUS riders, but I checked the list and found that over 75% of the addresses indicate U.S. origins. The THOMAS server's own stats show quite a lot of interest in U.S. politics from far-flung places too... What's In The Name? ------------------- The THOMAS site bears the name of Thomas Jefferson, one of the first U.S. presidents. Although the Internet predates the 1780's by a few scant years, I'm sure TJ would be proud of this attempt to make curent legislative information available to the public, even if he never laid eyes on mouse, modem or monitor. Like it says on the THOMAS web page: "In the spirit of Thomas Jefferson, a service of the U.S. Congress through its Library." If you share in the growing public distrust of major media sources, you owe it to yourself to visit THOMAS and find up-to-date information on who's really saying what on Capitol Hill. No spin, no bias, no sound bytes here... Just the raw data from which you can draw your own conclusions. URL, Please... -------------- Like I said, this site is on the Web, so you'll need a "browser" such as Netscape, Mosaic, MacWeb or Lynx to get there. The THOMAS address is: http://thomas.loc.gov Actually, there's a pretty good chance you can access THOMAS even if you're access-impaired. Try sending e-mail To: email@example.com - with this line in the message BODY: send http://thomas.loc.gov OR... To: firstname.lastname@example.org - with this line in the message BODY: GO http://thomas.loc.gov If the flaky webmail servers are up when you try, you should get the web page returned to you by e-mail. Please try this only if you have no other way to access the Web, as the load is high on the webmail servers. If You'll Look Out The Right Side of the Bus... _______________________________________________ You should see the THOMAS home page appearing, complete with a rather grainy GIF of TJ himself. I hope I look half as good when I'm 215 years old. The site offers quite a few selection, including: * Full Text of Legislation (both House and Senate bills searchable by keyword or by bill number for 103rd and 104th Congress) * Full Text of the Congressional Record (the daily account of proceedings on the House and Senate Floors searchable by keyword) * Hot Legislation (major bills receiving floor action in the 104th Congress) * "How Our Laws Are Made", by Edward F. Willett, Jr., House Law Revision Counsel. (An explanation of the lawmaking process from the origin of a legislative proposal through its publication as a law.) * House of Representatives Gopher Directory information for House of Representatives members and committees; House of Representatives yearly calendar, latest daily committee hearing schedules, the current week's House floor schedule; visitor information. * Senate Gopher Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) about Senate Internet services for constituents (e-mail, gopher, ftp), Committee and Member documents. * House of Representatives Constituent E-Mail * U.S. Senate Constituent E-Mail E-mail directories for selected House and Senate members and committees. * C-SPAN (Cable-Satellite Public Affairs Network) C-SPAN Gopher provides program schedules, Congressional information, FEC Reports, Supreme Court information and historical government documents. C-SPAN Web Server offers program and events schedules, Campaign '96 info, and other political resources. There are also links to other useful U.S. government sites, such as the Library of Congress, which is reachable via the Web (http://www.loc.gov) and by gopher (marvel.loc.gov), and even state & local links. Kicking The Tires _________________ I figured I'd give some of these fancy search tools a try since I was here. I selected "104th Congress" under the heading "Full Text of Legislation" and was presented with a daunting array of fill-ins and lots of buttons to press. I like buttons. Buttons are good. If my mother was here, she'd be screaming "DON'T TOUCH THOSE, YOU'LL BREAK SOMETHING AND THEN YOU'LL HAVE TO PAY FOR IT!!!" Fortunately, nothing appeared to break, and the guys with the sunglasses and rifles never showed up at my house, so try your luck. You can search for keywords in bills, search for a specific bill number, and even limit your search to bills sponsored by certain members of congress. I decided to look for all the legislation that contained the words "Internet" and "pornography". And sure enough, there were more hits than I could count. (Actually, I forgot how to count about 2 days after getting my TI-58 calculator 15 years ago.) It's In There _____________ I also checked into the "Full Text of the Congressional Record", and found out they weren't kidding when they said "full". I mean, they've got every word uttered on the House and Senate floor crammed in there, and you can search it by keyword, speaker, date and phase of the moon! If you really want to know what your elected representatives have said on a particular topic, you can find it here. Is The Honorable Senator From New York Wired? _____________________________________________ I found that 48 Senators and 128 members of the House of Reps had e-mail addresses. Cool, now those form letter replies that have nothing to do with my flaming missives can bounce back to me even faster. But alas, my reps have not yet gone the way of the wire. Let's see, maybe I can use this Senate Gopher thing to find a FAX number... ====================================================================== SUBSCRIBE : Send SUBSCRIBE TOURBUS to LISTSERV@LISTSERV.AOL.COM unSUBSCRIBE: Send UNSUBSCRIBE TOURBUS to LISTSERV@LISTSERV.AOL.COM Web Site : http://csbh.mhv.net/~bobrankin/tourbus (stop in for back issues and the logo contest) Advertising: E-mail BobRankin@MHV.net w/ Subject: SEND TBRATES ====================================================================== TOURBUS - (c) Copyright 1995, Patrick Crispen and Bob Rankin All rights reserved. Redistribution is allowed only with permission.