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Mon Jul 7, 2014, 03:04 PM

This Kid Made An App That Exposes Sellout Politicians

By Hannah Ewens Jul 7 2014


With US politics swimming in so much corporate money that it's pretty much an oligarchy, it can be hard to keep track of which particular set of lobbyists is trying to milk more cash out of health care, fossil fuels, and other very important issues from one week to the next.

But thanks to 16-year-old Nick Rubin, keeping track of just how much politicians have sold out has become a lot easier. He created Greenhouse, a new browser plug-in that operates under the motto "Some are red. Some are blue. All are green." The plugin aims "to shine light on a social and industrial disease of today: the undue influence of money in our Congress." It sounds like a bit of a lofty aim for an app, but it's actually pretty simple and effective—it provides a breakdown of a politician’s campaign contributions when that politician's name comes up in an article. It is currently available for Chrome, Firefox, and Safari and is completely free. As you can imagine, reading about how your member of Congress voted in a recent health bill becomes all the more enlightening if you know how much money the health industry showered him in at the last election.

I spoke to Nick Rubin about the plugin, politics, and what he calls the "money stories" behind what you read in the news.


How does Greenhouse work?
It works by highlighting the name of any member of Congress on any website, and when you hover over these names a little box appears that shows detailed contribution information with amounts and where those amounts have come from. It’s basically a list of the top-ten industries from which they receive their money. My goal was to create something that promotes transparency. It would be great if people used it on sites where they’re reading about politics every day. For example, if you’re reading a piece on Congress votes for energy policy, you might see that a sponsor has received hundreds of thousands of dollars from the oil and gas industry. I like to say that Greenhouse allows people to see the money story behind the news story.


What do you hope from Greenhouse?
I just want it to educate people because that’s really the first step toward a solution. That’s exactly why I designed Greenhouse with simplicity in mind, so that everyone—even kids—are able to understand it. In terms of whether Greenhouse will solve this issue—well, education is the first step. I really do believe that increased transparency will help fix the problem. Easy access to data empowers voters to make better decisions. Once people are informed, they will reject elected officials who are motived by money instead of principles. But for now, I’ll leave the solution to others.


Smart kid and a neat tool. The full interview is at this link: http://www.vice.com/read/greenhouse-app-hannah-ewens-nick-rubin-201

I found his website where you can download the plugins. http://allaregreen.us

31 replies, 12893 views

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Arrow 31 replies Author Time Post
Reply This Kid Made An App That Exposes Sellout Politicians (Original post)
Inkfreak Jul 2014 OP
ZombieHorde Jul 2014 #1
scarletwoman Jul 2014 #2
think Jul 2014 #3
chrisstopher Jul 2014 #4
AAO Jul 2014 #12
NeoNerd Jul 2014 #5
Tierra_y_Libertad Jul 2014 #6
Orrex Jul 2014 #7
Tierra_y_Libertad Jul 2014 #9
TRoN33 Jul 2014 #8
conservaphobe Jul 2014 #10
AAO Jul 2014 #16
dickthegrouch Jul 2014 #11
annabanana Jul 2014 #13
DirkGently Jul 2014 #14
AllyCat Jul 2014 #15
Inkfreak Jul 2014 #17
Inkfreak Jul 2014 #19
L0oniX Jul 2014 #18
dixiegrrrrl Jul 2014 #21
Union Scribe Jul 2014 #24
dixiegrrrrl Jul 2014 #25
Dark n Stormy Knight Jul 2014 #20
dixiegrrrrl Jul 2014 #27
Dark n Stormy Knight Jul 2014 #31
panader0 Jul 2014 #22
awoke_in_2003 Jul 2014 #23
Dr. Strange Jul 2014 #26
tclambert Jul 2014 #28
tclambert Jul 2014 #29
Scarsdale Jul 2014 #30

Response to Inkfreak (Original post)

Mon Jul 7, 2014, 03:07 PM

1. Bravo! nt

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Response to Inkfreak (Original post)

Mon Jul 7, 2014, 03:10 PM

2. What an excellent idea!

Bravo, Nick!

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Response to Inkfreak (Original post)

Mon Jul 7, 2014, 03:24 PM

3. Sounds like an awesome app! Will check it out.

 

TY

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Response to Inkfreak (Original post)

Mon Jul 7, 2014, 03:27 PM

4. Way to go kid!

Gotta be a Dem.
A republican would try to hide that info.

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Response to chrisstopher (Reply #4)

Mon Jul 7, 2014, 04:03 PM

12. Of course! Good thinking, Nick!

 

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Response to Inkfreak (Original post)

Mon Jul 7, 2014, 03:31 PM

5. Nifty

 

Great app.

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Response to Inkfreak (Original post)

Mon Jul 7, 2014, 03:35 PM

6. The app sounds like an NSA magnet.

 

Obviously, the kid is a potential terrorist who threatens the safety of politicians earning a living the American way.

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Response to Tierra_y_Libertad (Reply #6)

Mon Jul 7, 2014, 03:36 PM

7. My first thought as well

Has he been disappeared yet?

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Response to Orrex (Reply #7)

Mon Jul 7, 2014, 03:37 PM

9. Not yet. They're still collecting evidence of pole dancing and cardboard boxes.

 

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Response to Inkfreak (Original post)

Mon Jul 7, 2014, 03:37 PM

8. Whoa this kid is impressive!!

 

K&R-priceless!

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Response to Inkfreak (Original post)

Mon Jul 7, 2014, 03:40 PM

10. Awesome kid!

 

At that age, I was using my technical expertise for pranks and being a little shit.

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Response to conservaphobe (Reply #10)

Mon Jul 7, 2014, 04:15 PM

16. When I was his age there were no PC's!

 

Shit, am I an old fart!

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Response to Inkfreak (Original post)

Mon Jul 7, 2014, 03:43 PM

11. How about adding all Presidential appointments ?

It would be much more useful if we knew where Holder and others were getting the bulk of their "salaries" from.

Great tool. Go Nick.

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Response to Inkfreak (Original post)

Mon Jul 7, 2014, 04:04 PM

13. Smart kid!. . . . . .n/t

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Response to Inkfreak (Original post)

Mon Jul 7, 2014, 04:09 PM

14. Interesting. Could be very useful. n/t

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Response to Inkfreak (Original post)

Mon Jul 7, 2014, 04:11 PM

15. Looking for it now in the App Store...

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Response to AllyCat (Reply #15)

Mon Jul 7, 2014, 04:17 PM

17. Me too, however..

I'm looking on my iPhone and not finding it.

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Response to AllyCat (Reply #15)

Mon Jul 7, 2014, 04:21 PM

19. Found his website.

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Response to Inkfreak (Original post)

Mon Jul 7, 2014, 04:17 PM

18. I tried it and Hillary keeps coming up.

 

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Response to L0oniX (Reply #18)

Mon Jul 7, 2014, 07:31 PM

21. Be aware of the comment on the Mozilla web site

Reviews
Just to let you know, Rated 2 out of 5 stars
by ChameleonToo on June 29, 2014 · permalink · translate
When in doubt, as with this one, I started to install in Chrome instead, since that's already really buggy as far as what it allows and doesn't and this is what Chrome posted prior to installation:
"It can:"
followed by this:
"Access your data on all websites."
https://addons.mozilla.org/en-US/firefox/addon/greenhouse/

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Response to dixiegrrrrl (Reply #21)

Tue Jul 8, 2014, 02:54 AM

24. I saw that, too.

I was going to add it to Chrome but thought better of it. I imagine it has to access what's on your browser to pop up the info, but it sounds bad.

I like the young man's idea though, and even more that young people are critical of money's influence in politics.

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Response to Union Scribe (Reply #24)

Tue Jul 8, 2014, 11:25 AM

25. And you have to turn off Ad and tracker tools to use it, it says.

No way in hell, I says.

He built a tool that interfaces with Open Secrets site, it appears.
Clever idea, and I am sure it will be copied for various things, perhaps not in a good way.

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Response to Inkfreak (Original post)

Mon Jul 7, 2014, 06:32 PM

20. Cool. I wish he'd make a version that provides info on the political donations of individuals and

companies.

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Response to Dark n Stormy Knight (Reply #20)

Tue Jul 8, 2014, 12:37 PM

27. You know that info can be found at Open Secrets, right?

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Response to dixiegrrrrl (Reply #27)

Wed Jul 9, 2014, 09:24 PM

31. Yes. But an app similar to the one described in the OP would be nice.

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Response to Inkfreak (Original post)

Mon Jul 7, 2014, 07:54 PM

22. How cool. That is one intelligent young man.

Sure beats my idea--back during one of the campaign/debate periods I wished for a red light bulb on top of every TV
that would light up when a candidate told a lie.....

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Response to Inkfreak (Original post)

Tue Jul 8, 2014, 02:14 AM

23. sellout politician is redundant

 

It is like saying wet water

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Response to awoke_in_2003 (Reply #23)

Tue Jul 8, 2014, 11:46 AM

26. No kidding.

Here's an "app" that lists all sellout politicians in Congress:
Senators
Representatives

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Response to Inkfreak (Original post)

Tue Jul 8, 2014, 01:56 PM

28. But according to the Supreme Court, money doesn't corrupt politics.

That was The Five's reasoning behind the Citizens United and McCutcheon decisions. And all five of them went to law school, so they must be really smart.

Yeah, it's their intelligence that led to these decisions, not their own corruption, not their own desire to sell us out to the corporations.

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Response to Inkfreak (Original post)

Tue Jul 8, 2014, 01:58 PM

29. PS. I'm going to make the opposite app. One that measures a politicians' integrity.

So far I've drawn a little dial with the needle set to the zero mark. Huh, I think I might be done.

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Response to Inkfreak (Original post)

Tue Jul 8, 2014, 02:31 PM

30. Fantastic

This should be sent to EVERY Sunday gop proaganda talk show, where the gop has an open mike to spread false information. It should have a runner at the bottom of the screen, stating which companies are contributing to whomever is yakking. Like little Johnny Mac, how much does he receive from the weapons industries that he needs to start more wars? How much did Turtle McConnell get from the Koch brothers to block EVERYTHING the President has tried to do?

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