An Ordinary Person

Public Equals Online

March 17, 2010
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I got an email from the Sunlight Foundation notifying me about an important new legislation that concerns government transparency and which has far-reaching effects if implemented, the Public Online Information Act. This legislation has such a wide scope and significant implications for bloggers, citizen journalists, activists, and engaged citizens who care about quality, timely information from the government that I am blogging about it to spread the word.

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Book Review of Europe’s Promise: Why the European Way is the Best Hope in an Insecure Age

January 31, 2010
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Steven Hill, political author and Director of the Political Reform Program at the think tank New America Foundation has written a fascinating book that deserves to be read widely in the United States. Europe’s Promise is a comparison of American and European economies, societal institutions, approaches to foreign and domestic public policy, democratic practices, and economic and political structures where the author dispels misconceptions about the European economy, society and culture commonly held by Americans.

Overtaxed Europeans, inefficient and bureaucratic welfare states, a scloretic economy, high unemployment and inefficient political practices are myths that are quickly erased as Hill describes the development of the modern-day European Union countries from the post World War II period up to 2008. Hill paints a portrait of the European Union as ultra-modern, high technology savvy, and collectively, an economic powerhouse that seems to have implemented a system which distributes the rewards of a productive, capitalist economy more broadly and equitably throughout society. The result, according to Hill, are societies which are more stable, physically healthy, highly educated, has highest levels of quality of life for the vast majority of their populations, and whose people are buffered and insulated from the worst effects of the global economic downturn of the past three years.

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So You Want to Change the System (Part 2)

September 4, 2009
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This is a list of actions to take and organizations to join if one is interested in transforming American politics from two-party dominance. This list is pretty much one individual’s perspective—mine. I am sure others will have points to disagree with and will have items to add or subtract. I made this list primarily as a mental exercise to help myself think through some of the issues one faces as a citizen interested in participatory democracy and who finds the current political choices in mainstream American politics lacking.

This list is not meant to be exhaustive or comprehensive. It is designed as a starting point for discussion on answering the question “What can an individual DO about it?”

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Government 2.0

June 21, 2009
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Introduction and Overview

I recently got clued in to an effort underway in the Federal government thatweb_government_2 took on significant momentum with the election of President Barack Obama called Government 2.0.

According to Wikipedia, “Government 2.0 is an attempt to provide more effective processes for government service delivery to individuals and businesses. Integration of tools such as wikis, development of government-specific social networking sites and the use of blogs, RSS feeds and Google Maps are all helping governments provide information to people in a manner that is more immediately useful to the people concerned.”

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More on the American Dream

February 20, 2008
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american-flag.jpgGetting back a bit to the topic of the American Dream I just ran across this information that should be very relevant to the discussion stemming from my reaction to Scratch Beginnings. It is the web site to the Economic Mobility Project.

The Economic Mobility Project is a unique nonpartisan collaboration of The Pew Charitable Trusts and respected thinkers from four leading policy institutes – The American Enterprise Institute, The Brookings Institution, The Heritage Foundation and The Urban Institute. While as individuals they may not necessarily agree on the solutions or policy prescriptions for action, each believes that economic mobility plays a central role in defining the American experience and that more attention must be paid to understanding the status and health of the American Dream.

Here are some links to particularly interesting resources in the Web site:

Researchers across a variety of disciplines including economics, sociology and psychology have been studying economic mobility for some time. Led by a team of researchers from The Urban Institute, the project has summarized the best-available existing research on various factors that might influence individual and family economic mobility, both within and across generations.


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