Tuesday, August 27, 2013

November 23-29, 2013 World Forum for Democracy

World Forum for Democracy - Home - Council of Europe:
  • The Council of Europe is in a unique position to bring together elected politicians and civil society leaders to discuss the impact of technological change on established democratic structures and institutions.
    • The Forum will look into the opportunities and risks of a number of participatory initiatives and test their solidity and longevity in an open debate with elected politicians.
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    Sunday, August 25, 2013

    Let’s Start Practicing Civil Discourse

    Let’s Start Practicing Civil Discourse by George Wolfe | InterMix:
    • Mediation is a process that can be used to resolve disputes between parties in conflict. The approach stipulates certain ground rules that can also be applied to our daily conversations with friends, colleagues, rivals and strangers. If these simple rules are observed and practiced when we engage in interfaith dialog, personal conversation and group discussion, rhetoric that can lead to misunderstanding and conflict is minimized. Our problem-solving efforts will then be far more constructive, increasing our chances of finding common ground. What follows is a list of mediation ground rules that I have modified to fit the forums of personal and public discourse.
    See discourse ground rules.

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    Saturday, August 24, 2013

    Tuesday, September 17, 2013 Two-year anniversary of Occupy Wall Street

    About Us « Occupy Wall Street S17:

    • Although the primary focus of S17 is on the events that marked the beginning of Occupy Wall Street in New York, we are also celebrating the expansion of the movement beyond that day. We welcome all thoughts about how OWS has been effective in raising awareness of the social challenges brought on by the economic failures of Wall Street in all parts of American and the world at large.
      • We would appreciate having your opinions about the value and direction needed to bring about change by Occupy Wall Street and all activist groups. Please send your comments to Staff@s17ows.org and we will include them on the front page of the site.

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      Friday, August 23, 2013

      Keypads may be useful in deliberative forums and meetings

      PUBLICAGENDA.ORG - Click to Engage:
      • We are particularly focused on the use of keypads to support deliberative forums and meetings tied to collaborative problem solving. Such meetings are often designed and run by impartial facilitators, who bring a broad range of stakeholders together across perspectives to increase mutual understanding, work through difficult issues and move toward productive collaborative action.
      Download the PDF of the Report.

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      Monday, August 19, 2013

      September 8, 2013 virtual gathering: Can you hear me now? The troublesome democratic divide online

      Can you hear me now? The troublesome democratic divide online – Sept. 18 virtual gathering | E-Democracy.org – Project Blog:

      • Today, the New York Times shared a story on the millions of Americans who remain unplugged and we invited our Digital Inclusion Network members to offer their two cents. Our view is that democratic divide is much wider than the digital divide, so therefore we must proactively use civic technology to help build stronger and more inclusive communities and democracies and not wait for everyone to be online.
        • ... to raise new and more representative voices online, you need to reach out to people of color and to people in the political center to make up the most ground. As a non-partisan, non-profit online civic engagement project, we have a special responsibility to make up for .com and .org advocacy efforts whose bottom line is either to reach the most advertiser sought out people or to reach those most willing to speak out for their cause.

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        All Angles is an experiment in online consensus building

        All Angles:

        • We have all come across complicated issues that have so many opinions and facts that it’s hard to determine the right action to take.
          • All Angles is a tool where everyone can come together, organize all we know and summarize the information into a consensus.
          See the video for an explanation.

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          Saturday, August 17, 2013

          ALEC doesn't want other people involved in the political process

          Inside the 'ALEC Universe' | Eye on ALEC, Q&A, What Matters Today | BillMoyers.com:

          • That sentiment was underscored so many times to me, that they don’t want people involved in the political process, or in the policy process. And that seems to be the intent in a lot of ways: You have a think tank in every state and all they do is come up with these very, very regressive policies, you have corporations who are going to benefit so they fund it all, and then you have the legislators as your foot soldiers to carry out the tasks.

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          DemocracyMap - Discover your representatives from all levels of government

          DemocracyMap - Discover and understand the civic entities for a specific location | EngagingCities:

          • The current DemocracyMap prototype provides primary contact information for every city, county, and state in the U.S. as well as contact information for all state and national legislators, all governors, all county officials, and over 100,000 municipal officials.
            • At its core, DemocracyMap is helping people connect with their government and better understand the civic entities that represent a community.

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            Thursday, August 15, 2013

            Civil disobedience as law enforcement

            Civil disobedience as law enforcement - Waging Nonviolence:

            • Based on the Justinian Code’s protection of res communes, governments have long served as trustees for rights held in common.
              • Legal rationales have played a critical role in many nonviolent movements. They strengthen participants by lending a sense of clarity that they are not promoting personal opinions by criminal means but rather performing a public duty. And they strengthen a movement’s appeal to the broader society by presenting action not as wanton lawbreaking but as an effort to rectify governments and institutions that are themselves in violation of the law.
                • Future climate protesters can proudly proclaim that they are actually climate protectors, upholding the law, not violating it. Nobody should expect American judges to start acquitting protesters on public trust grounds any time soon. But juries that try climate protesters should keep in mind that they have the right and the responsibility to acquit those they believe have violated no just law.

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                Wednesday, August 14, 2013

                Saturday, August 24, 2013 March on Washington

                It's time for another March on Washington - Common Cause:

                • In 1963, hundreds of thousands marched on the National Mall, demanding equal treatment for all Americans. Two years later, the Civil Rights Act and the Voting Rights Act were signed into law. When the people spoke, Washington listened.
                  • Fifty years later, special interests have captured our democracy and used it to pass extremist laws like “Stand Your Ground”, while the Supreme Court's gutting of the Voting Rights Act has opened the door to unprecedented partisan assaults on voting rights.
                    • Join us as we commemorate the 50th anniversary of the March on Washington. With your help, we'll make sure they listen this time too.
                      • What: March on Washington
                      • When: Saturday, August 24, 8 a.m. - 2 p.m.
                      • Where: National Mall Washington DC
                      RSVP at Common Cause.

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                      The FOIA Machine hopes to be ready for public use soon

                      FOIA Machine by The Center for Investigative Reporting — Kickstarter:

                      • Some of America’s top investigative reporters are building a sophisticated and open online platform to give people a legal way to get these secrets from the government. It’s called FOIA Machine, it's almost ready to launch and we need your help. 
                        • The Freedom of Information Act (FOIA), called “FOY-ah” by journalists, is at the heart of public demands for government accountability. This federal law says anyone can make a freedom of information request. Many states have similar legislation, often called sunshine laws. 

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                        Some White House Petitions Are Still Unanswered More Than a Year After Earning a Response

                        Some White House Petitions Are Still Unanswered More Than a Year After Earning a Response [UPDATED] | TechPresident:

                        • Since the launch of the White House's "We the People" e-petition site, 232 petitions have met their signature thresholds, which are supposed to trigger an official response from the administration. So far, 202 of those have been responded to, in an average of 61 days. Of the 30 unanswered petitions, the average wait time is a whopping 240 days, or eight months.
                          • These delightful facts have been surfaced by Eli Dourado, a research fellow at the Mercatus Center of George Mason University. He built his new transparency site, WHPetitions.info, "because the list of successful petitions that are awaiting a reply seems like a glaring omission from the We The People site."

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                          Tuesday, August 13, 2013

                          Technology, when it works, amplifies the impact of individuals

                          Technology, when it works, amplifies the impact of individuals: Why I'm Coding for America | EngagingCities:

                          • I code for America because I believe in the power of technology to make the world a better place. Technology, when it works, amplifies the impact of individuals – making it easier for friends and families to connect, informing and inspiring people, and empowering communities to solve real problems together.
                            • ... to build technology that really works, you must collaborate with your users and stakeholders on their own terms, while respecting their motivations and needs. You must engage with them as true partners, transparently communicate your own motivations, and always be open to criticism.

                            'via Blog this'

                            Google launches Android app to funnel $1 at a time toward good causes

                            Google launches charity app to funnel $1 at a time toward good causes | VentureBeat:

                            • Google has officially launched One Today, an Android app that puts the spotlight on great charities and lets you give $1 at a time.
                              • The whole premise helps to eliminate a few roadblocks that stand between your money and deserving nonprofits.

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                              Monday, August 12, 2013

                              Paid Time Off For Volunteering Gains Traction as Way to Retain Employees

                              Paid Time Off For Volunteering Gains Traction as Way to Retain Employees | Case Foundation:

                              • In recent years, Max Lubarsky has volunteered all over the region. He's cleaned up the bird exhibit at the National Zoo. He's worked with Habitat for Humanity to build a house in Northeast Washington. He's laid mulch for the Trust for the National Mall.
                                • And Lubarsky, a junior analyst at District-based Carlyle Group, was able to do all of this during the workday without using any vacation time.

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                                Sunday, August 11, 2013

                                August 22, 2013 CommunityMatters conference call features "Secrets of Successful Communities"

                                NCDD Community News » CommunityMatters Call + $500 = Be There:

                                • The next CommunityMatters conference call on Thursday, August 22nd will feature Ed McMahon, Senior Fellow at the Urban Land Institute, and his “Secrets of Successful Communities.”
                                  • CommunityMatters is encouraging anyone – individuals, local organizations or community groups – to organize “listening parties” for people to come together, listen and discuss how Ed’s call relates to their city or town. As a bonus, the Orton Family Foundation is offering four (4) $500 awards to groups that hold parties and decide to take action as a result.
                                    • Learn more at www.communitymatters.org/communitymatters-listening-parties.
                                      • CommunityMatters helps cities and towns steward change by fostering “civic infrastructure” – the systems and structures that give people the power and the tools to solve their community’s problems and shape its future.

                                      'via Blog this'

                                      Friday, August 9, 2013

                                      Free tool monitors public procurement for corruption

                                      Homepage - Transparency International-USA:

                                      • TI-USA has recently completed the Civil Society Procurement Monitoring (CSPM) Tool, a web-based tool that is meant to support Civil Society Organizations and individuals who are engaged in monitoring public procurement.

                                      'via Blog this'

                                      Wednesday, August 7, 2013

                                      The Civic Commons is a civic engagement utility and consultancy

                                      Civic Commons and ideastream join forces with Knight Foundation support - Knight Foundation:

                                      • The Civic Commons is a civic engagement utility and consultancy serving community leaders, institutions and the growing desire of citizens to be engaged and empowered on key civic decisions. The Civic Commons is an online environment combining the best and most effective aspects of social networking and social media. Its mission is to build conversations and connections that have the power to become informed, productive and collective civic action.

                                      'via Blog this'

                                      Sunday, August 4, 2013

                                      July 30th is now National Whistleblower Appreciation Day

                                      Honoring America’s Truth-Tellers:

                                      • In salute to our nation’s truth-tellers who in good faith and accordance to federal law come forward with information to uphold the people’s business and hold government to account, I [U.S. Senator Grassley] authored a resolution that passed the Senate designating July 30, 2013, as “National Whistleblower Appreciation Day.” 
                                        • Whistleblowers are pivotal pieces of the oversight puzzle.  Their work ensures that our system of checks and balances operates effectively.

                                        'via Blog this'

                                        Saturday, August 3, 2013

                                        What is Placemaking?

                                        Project for Public Spaces | What is Placemaking?:
                                        • Placemaking is a multi-faceted approach to the planning, design and management of public spaces. Put simply, it involves looking at, listening to, and asking questions of the people who live, work and play in a particular space, to discover their needs and aspirations. This information is then used to create a common vision for that place. The vision can evolve quickly into an implementation strategy, beginning with small-scale, do-able improvements that can immediately bring benefits to public spaces and the people who use them.
                                        'via Blog this'

                                        Friday, August 2, 2013

                                        "Ethics and morals and activism"

                                        adjusting for laws,
                                        the historical morals
                                        rate is at new lows

                                        pleasure is a sin
                                        look at Calvin, look at him
                                        everything rocks him

                                        adjusting for laws,
                                        the historical ethics
                                        rate is at new lows

                                        there is a blatant
                                        conflict of interest when
                                        revolving doors spin

                                        government reform
                                        means having to say sorry
                                        for my corruption

                                        "Jesus, how do you know?"
                                        "It's instinct, it's the first thought."
                                        Activism does.

                                        activism is
                                        love in politics that's
                                        not anti-government