Social Stars

Code for America partners with California on SNAP; Camp Social Stars grooms kids for social media; and more.


  • This is civic tech: Code for America announces a partnership with the State of California to make GetCalFresh, a mobile app it developed, available to residents across the state. CfA has been awarded a contract with the state’s department of social services to be a SNAP Outreach partner, joining food banks and other community organizations with similar contracts. It takes eight minutes to submit an application using the tool.

  • New from Public School and Code for America: GovTalent.org, a simple online playbook for improving how government hiring works.

  • LiveStories, a Seattle company that works with public entities to structure and visualize civic data, has raised a Series A round of $10 million, Ingrid Lunden reports for TechCrunch.

  • Dipayan Ghosh, a New America public interest technology fellow, writes in Mashable about his vision for building tech for the public sector.

  • Civic Tech Suffolk” is taking place August 8 at Suffolk Community College on Long Island, hosted by the county legislature’s presiding officer DuWayne Gregory.

  • Apply: Earlybird applications for Civic Hall Labs’ newest program, CivicXcel, end tomorrow on July 21st. CivicXcel is a six-month, part-time ideas accelerator designed to turn your civic idea into a well-researched, user-tested prototype that has the potential to take flight. If you think you have a civic tech idea that can create a more just, equitable, or democratic society, apply now! For more information, visit the website.

  • Trump watch: Want to help the Center for Public Integrity and the Huffington Post sift through the personal financial disclosure reports submitted by hundreds of Trump administration appointees? Go to this spreadsheet.

  • Here’s President Trump’s disclosure form, as submitted to the US Office of Government Ethics.

  • Trump’s one-time campaign manager Paul Manafort was deeply in debt to businesses tied to Russia at the time that he began working for the campaign, Mike McIntire reports for the New York Times.

  • David Corn of Mother Jones reports that at least one Trump campaign staffer, Dan Scavino, its social media director, publicly expressed interest in a far-right theory that the Kremlin had Hillary Clinton’s emails weeks before Donald Trump Jr., Manafort and Jared Kushner had their now infamous meeting with Russian go-betweens. Scavino is now the White House director of social media.

  • Related: Check out @TrumpAlert, a bot that reports on Trump family follows and unfollows on Twitter.

  • Resistance watch: A top Interior Department climate change scientist who was reassigned June 15 “to an unrelated job in the accounting office that collects royalty checks from fossil fuel companies” blows the whistle in The Washington Post. Joel Clement writes that in the months preceding his reassignment, he repeatedly spoke out about the pressing dangers that climate change poses to the Alaska Native communities he works with. He says,”It is clear to me that the administration was so uncomfortable with this work, and my disclosures, that I was reassigned with the intent to coerce me into leaving the federal government.” He has filed a formal complaint with the Special Counsel’s office.

  • Speaking of responding to climate change, author Warren Ellis says he “rather likes” Greg Bloom’s opening remarks for his Personal Democracy Forum 2017 panel on apocalyptic civics as the antidote to apocalypticism.

  • WNYC radio looks at how the dark web, and the libertarian tech-bro philosophy behind it, is facilitating the opioid crisis.

  • More dystopia: Rob Reynolds of Al Jazeera English reports on Camp Social Stars, a “social media stardom camp” in Claremont, California where families pay $2600 so their kid can learn skills like self-promotion. One third of American kids ages 9-15 believe that becoming famous is important to their lives. (To be fair, it appears this camp is part of a program for budding actors, so we can’t really blame the internet for this.)

  • The AP’s Raphael Satter, Svetlana Kozlenko and Dmytro Vlasov report on how medical facilities and clinics in Ukraine were disrupted during last month’s “Nyetya” cyber-attack there.

  • Your moment of zen: People are leaving sympathy notes for Steve, the security robot that drowned itself while on patrol at the Washington Harbour office complex, on his charging pad.

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