Linda Cartwright

Persuaded by the adage "Even if you're not interested in politics, politics is interested in YOU," I came to Washington after college to work for a congressman and learn the way politics worked from the inside.

I was a congressional staffer for 14 years, the last seven as director of the Environmental and Energy Study Conference, a part of Congress that provided legislative reporting and analysis. Year after year, 90 of 100 Senators and nearly 300 House members subscribed.

When the Center for Responsive Politics surveyed lawmakers and their staffs on the effectiveness of Congress, its report read, "When asked about the quality of caucus information, one group, the Environmental and Energy Study Conference, received so much praise a separate category had to be created."

When EESC lost its funding in 1995, those of us on the EESC staff privatized the publications as Congressional Green Sheets, with me as the company's president.

After 10 years, Green Sheets was purchased by Congressional Quarterly, and my colleagues and I joined the CQ staff. At CQ, I initially was associate editor, compiling and writing morning news summaries. Later, I was editor of CQ Green Sheets.

At the end of 2007, I was charged with developing First Light, a first-thing-in-the-morning speed summary of the top news, ideas and trends of interest to Congress and those who want to influence it.

Because of changes at CQ, First Light has been switched off.

Now my blog, Citizen Cartwright, is making available to the general public what until now only has been available to subscribers paying big bucks. I hope you'll join me in what I consider the great fun of staying on top of the ways politics is interested in all of us.

Understanding the complex Nelson Mandela

In many ways, the South Africa leader's life makes sense as a natural progression, but in other ways his behavior is such a surprise.  And that's the part that's so inspiring....more

Crying For Our Children Over Climate Change

As my husband and I read aloud to each other at dinner last Friday the news that a big symbolic global warming milestone had been passed, his eyes filled with tears and I cried outright. It was 25 years ago that he and I, working together at an environment-energy information office in the Congress, first learned about how we humans — doing such basic things as heating our homes and driving our cars — might change our little planet in ways unknown....more
Climate news--especially of this magnitude--is invariably depressing, but it can't freeze us in ...more

Thank you, Steve Jobs

The Apple CEO's resignation makes me sad for several reasons....more

Why does it matter if we teach our children to be 'good citizens?'

Did you see former Supreme Court Justice Sandra Day O’Connor talking about this last night on the PBS NewsHour?She said the No Child Left Behind law provided no federal money for history or government classes, so “many schools have opted not to teach them anymore.” ...more

I agree both ways. I feel that we definitely should be more educated on how government really ...more

'Little hope for progress' at next month's U.N. climate negotiations

As someone who has worked on environmental issues for most of my career, I can't help but think about the warning of most experts for years now that we have about ten years to make the changes necessary to avoid irreversible changes in the globe's climate. Here is a U.N. Human Development report from 2007 calling climate change "the defining human development challenge of the 21st century" and saying "the world has less than a decade to change course."...more

The 'decline' of the Senate

Have you seen the story in the Aug. 9 New Yorker asking "just how broken is the Senate?"...more

Liberals and conservatives live in different moral universes

At least, that's the view of psychologist Jonathan Haidt, who says he wants to "help both sides understand the other, so that policies can be made based on something more than misguided fear of what the other side is up to.”...more

How protected from terrorism are we?

The security/intelligence system is "so large, so unwieldy and so secretive that no one knows how much money it costs, how many people it employs, how many programs exist within it or exactly how many agencies do the same work," The Washington Post says after a two-year investigation of the national security buildup following 9/11. What does that mean for us citizens?...more

The threat of deadly infections

We've been hearing more and more about people who go into the hospital for even minor elective surgery and end up losing their lives to infections they get there.Now a new study says an estimated 48,000 people die each year of blood poisoning or pneumonia they come down with in the hospital, at a cost of more than $8 billion....more