Democracy Overload

The health care discussion has boiled over at many a town-hall this August. Yesterday, so did House of Representatives' web servers: a flood of attempts to contact members of Congress crashed the "Write Your Representative" form function at; today, the server is still jammed, and users get an error if they try to send messages to their Reps. "It is clearly health care reform," Capitol administrative spokesman Jeff Ventura told the AP. "There's no doubt about it." Ironically, the Capitol administrative office was in the midst of an upgrade to the representative-contacting form: plans for an upgrade had been in the works, but they decided to save the project until August, unaware that a health care debate would be raging.

On the bright side, the spike in traffic means a spike in democracy: Ventura says the Capitol hasn't experienced a problem like this since January, when the stimulus bill was first posted to a committee website and people frantically tried both to download the .pdf and contact their representatives about it. There's been nothing like the present spike in at least the last two years, Ventura said.