Washington Daybook: Xbox Election

Photograph by Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images

The Xbox Microsoft booth during the E3 gaming conference.

Two institutions that have seen steep declines in popularity — Congress and Facebook — are being teamed up to make legislation fun again.

Rocket Surgeon Entertainment executives head to Capitol Hill today to show off the start-up’s political Facebook game, “For The People,” in which players create their own congressional avatars, set daring agendas, move legislation boldy through committee, parry with armies of lobbyists and constituents, forcefully debate opponents, command re-election campaigns and even seize the office of the presidency.

The game might be a tough sell. A Wall Street Journal/NBC News poll out this week showed that just 12 percent of voters approve of the job Congress is doing, and 82 percent disapprove. The last time Congress had an approval rating that low was in October 2008, a month before President Barack Obama captured the White House and Democrats added to their then-majorities in both the Senate and the House.

Some good news for Facebook. The company whose shares have dropped 49 percent since first being sold for $38 apiece on May 17, won approval from the U.S. Federal Trade Commission for its planned acquisition of Instagram Inc., a photo-sharing service popular on mobile devices.

Speaking of games, Microsoft Corp. today announced “Election 2012 on Xbox LIVE,” which will allow owners of the company’s Xbox 360 game system to watch and interact with live election coverage of the presidential debates, learn the facts about the candidates and issues from Face the Facts USA, register to vote through Rock the Vote and participate in live daily polling from YouGov.

Meanwhile, Republican Governor Rick Scott of Florida holds a briefing on contingency planning for a possible hurricane during next week’s Republican National Convention in Tampa. Tropical Storm Isaac today moved into the Caribbean Sea and may become a hurricane tomorrow as it travels west on a path watched by commodity markets and delegates.

Back in Washington, FEMA and the U.S. Central Earthquake Consortium hold a briefing at the Washington Monument to recognize the earthquake that shook the region one year ago today, and highlight the planned  “SouthEast ShakeOut” earthquake drill scheduled for Oct. 18.


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