Forgot your password?
typodupeerror
Government NASA The Internet United States News

Open Gov Tracker Reveals Best US Open Government Ideas 147

Posted by Soulskill
from the this-time-with-feeling dept.
jonverve writes "In May of 2009, the White House launched an Ideascale site to gather ideas from citizens to identify ways to 'strengthen our democracy and promote efficiency and effectiveness by making government more transparent, participatory, and collaborative.' The digital letdown was when many of the top ideas generated by the process were to legalize marijuana, solve tax issues and to reinvestigate Obama's birth origins. Fast forward to February 6 and the same process has been repeated with individual federal agencies as the subject. This time the idea generation has been much more productive, with ideas such as establishing clear benchmarks on humanitarian progress in Sudan to the State Department, funding for open source text books and materials to the Department of Education, making it easier to access previously FOIAed documents to the Department of Justice, and creating a Wiki for NASA to share its data and to engage the public. Hackers from NASA's Nebula cloud computing platform have created a site that aggregates 23 of these idea sites to give a quick peek into the best rated contributions in each category. Programmed in Python and using the MongoDB and Tornado web server, the Open Gov Tracker was highlighted by the open government blog Govfresh this past week as well. Jessy Cowan-Sharp, one of the creators, explained their motivation: 'We thought that a single access point would give a sense of the participation on all the different sites, a window into the discussions happening, build some excitement, and inspire people to participate.' The process closes on March 19th, so go and visit the site to contribute your ideas and vote!"
This discussion has been archived. No new comments can be posted.

Open Gov Tracker Reveals Best US Open Government Ideas

Comments Filter:
  • by Paktu (1103861) on Sunday February 28, 2010 @01:36PM (#31307118)
    The digital letdown was when many of the top ideas generated by the process were to legalize marijuana

    Or maybe that's because it's a worthwhile and viable policy objective.

    • The digital letdown was when many of the top ideas generated by the process were to legalize marijuana

      Or maybe that's because it's a worthwhile and viable policy objective

      Get off my grass!

    • by clang_jangle (975789) on Sunday February 28, 2010 @01:53PM (#31307258) Journal
      Exactly, the position is "we're open to hearing anything -- except of course repealing prohibition, or actually representing the people in general". That's the whole problem with democracy in the US today, it doesn't truly exist on any meaningful scale. This whole "open government" thing is just feel-good theater to help the people maintain their denial about the fact that they live in a corporate oligarchy which is rapidly becoming feudalism. The difference between political parties comes down to which "special interests" own them, while the people have no representation. We are so screwed...
      • the people have no representation.

        So put it to a vote. You think the majority of people in the US favor the legalization of marijuana? Gallup polls suggest otherwise [gallup.com], and politicians know it.

        • by wealthychef (584778) on Sunday February 28, 2010 @02:16PM (#31307462)
          So if 36% of Americans favor legalization, why aren't there 30% of congress or the senate voting for it? We need to reform the electoral process to provide more choices. Maybe proportional representation plus instant runoff voting [instantrunoff.com]
          • Quantization. 30% of any given district or state may favor legalization of marijuana, and this is true in 100% of districts. Thus it's a loser for any politician to get behind. You vote for a representative, not for an agenda.

          • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

            by kevinNCSU (1531307)

            Probably because it takes more then 30% of the people to elect a representative and of those 30% very few probably consider it the deciding issue in who they vote for whereas a large percentage of the group that does not favor it would immediately decide not to vote for a candidate regardless of other issues if they favored legalizing it.

            When there's enough people that want it badly enough and will actually go to the polls I'm sure politicians will have absolutely no problem pandering to that voting block.

            • by wealthychef (584778) on Sunday February 28, 2010 @03:34PM (#31308076)
              I know why it turns out that way, that's the way our system works. But I'm saying it's a flaw in our system that something that 30% of us would like to see enacted is blocked from having any discussion or action taken on it at all by the winner-take all two party system we have in place.
              • Exactly what type of fair, democratic system do you propose where 36% of the people supporting an issue is enough to get it passed? I don't see how any sort of system, no matter how many parties there are, could possibly be more democratic by allowing 36% of the nation to pass a measure that 64% don't want. It seems to me the system is not the problem, and if you all feel so passionately about the issue you should be debating it, educating people on your viewpoint and rallying more support for it.

                But what

                • LOL, I would invite you to reread my post and respond to what it says instead of what you think it says.
                  • You said you're upset because the current two party winner takes all system is able to block action from being taken on an issue that 36% of the people support. So I put it to you again what type of democratic system would enable action to be taken that only 36% of people support?

                    I'm confused as to what I'm misinterpreting or are you just not ready to discuss you view beyond vague complaints about the two party system keeping you down?

                    • Well, you're getting closer. I said what I said, not what you say I said. It's tough to discuss if you cannot read my words for simply what they are. I think this is a good exercise for you. My words were clear. I honestly don't know what to say to make them clearer for you, sorry. It's not that I want 36% of the country to rule 64%, though. That would pretty a pretty odd opinion, wouldn't it?
                    • Your words are not clear. Here's a pro tip for how you tell: Your audience is asking you to explain them and the reasoning behind them.

                      You state something is a flaw but you don't explain how it should work ideally. If you know something is flawed you should be able to describe the non-flawed state you envision. You identify what you believe to cause the flaw but you either refuse or are unable to expound on how it is causing it.

                      If you want me to simply read your words for what they are on the page then I

                • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

                  by SavTM (1594855)

                  Exactly what type of fair, democratic system do you propose where 36% of the people supporting an issue is enough to get it passed? I don't see how any sort of system, no matter how many parties there are, could possibly be more democratic by allowing 36% of the nation to pass a measure that 64% don't want. It seems to me the system is not the problem, and if you all feel so passionately about the issue you should be debating it, educating people on your viewpoint and rallying more support for it.

                  But what do I know, maybe trying to convince people to rewrite our entire system of democracy and governance that countless people have died fighting for would be waaaaay easier then convincing them that legalizing some mary jay would be beneficial for the nation.

                  If you are saying 'the system is not the problem' while rationalizing no-knock raids, un-Constitutional property seizures, an almost endemic policy of hypocrisy, corruption and profiteering within police forces, a federal money train of military-grade equipment, privatized prison systems and propaganda, the subjugation of due process to the size of a defendant's bank account - well if you can rationalize all those things then it's clear to me that the plan to 'rewrite our entire system of democracy and gove

                  • Wow, so that had nothing to do whatsoever with how a two party system is somehow at fault for keeping action from being taken on an issue 36% of the people support, or what type of system would fairly enable that. At no point during that rambling incoherent response did you state anything that resembles a coherent thought on that issue, and I'm not sure what issue you think you're addressing is even real. At one one point you're worried about former confederates and their slaves being treated differently (

                • Passed?
                  No.
                  Considered?
                  Discussed?
                  Yes.

                  A system where 49% of the population can have their views utterly utterly ignored as long as 51% of the population disagree is broken.

                  It seems to me the system is not the problem, and if you all feel so passionately about the issue you should be debating it, educating people on your viewpoint and rallying more support for it.

                  Well when it comes to drugs if he has a university job or indeed pretty much any government job he's risking getting fired.

        • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday February 28, 2010 @02:16PM (#31307464)

          52% support legalization [salem-news.com]. A poll that was taken in 2009, not 2005 as your link shows.

        • Well, on one hand what is it any business of other people to vote on what I chose to smoke or not smoke in my house? On the other hand, pretty pathetic failure of imagination to have this as the top idea to improve our government.
          • Do you think we should avoid the low-hanging fruit? I understand that changing any kind of established policy like this is by no means "easy", but honestly what are the disadvantages of legalizing marijuana? It would be a significant net positive change (just in terms of enforcement expenses if nothing else), that we more or less know how to execute. You can't say the same for a lot of other big problems we have.
        • by krou (1027572)
          And polls mean what, exactly, when the vast majority of news sources that educate the public on the subject are inherently conservative corporations that have a vested interest in ensuring that marijuana remains illegal? The Drug War is a useful tool of social control, and also happens to be good for big business, along with prisons and prison labour. I would wager that poll statistic would change rather quickly if the basic facts on marijuana [drugwarfacts.org] and crime/incarceration [drugwarfacts.org] became better known.
        • by SonCorn (301537) on Sunday February 28, 2010 @04:52PM (#31308696)
          Ingenious of you to link to a 4+ year old poll that seems to back up your assertion more. The latest poll from 2009 shows 44% in favor, 54% against. While still not a majority it shows a quickly changing trend. Here is the latest poll: http://www.gallup.com/poll/123728/U.S.-Support-Legalizing-Marijuana-Reaches-New-High.aspx [gallup.com] You might as well have linked to a poll from 1970 when 84% were against.
        • by geekmux (1040042)

          the people have no representation.

          So put it to a vote. You think the majority of people in the US favor the legalization of marijuana? Gallup polls suggest otherwise [gallup.com], and politicians know it.

          Ah, perhaps we shouldn't be talking about polls too much, since the last few trillion fucking dollars have had little to do with any sort of popular vote.

          And remember that legalization of marijuana would be peanuts to the revenue and power shift that flat tax would bring. Yeah, bring THAT to a vote, and you'll quickly see that We (as in The People) really don't matter anymore. Hell they would rather legalize pot than let go of the IRS.

          • by shaitand (626655)

            A flat tax doesn't represent 'we the people'. Neither does the fair tax. For instance, it is common for CEO's to take a one dollar salary and the wealthier you are the lower the portion of your wealth you spend. In both cases the wealthy shirk their fair share of these taxes.

            If you want a tax system that represents we the people then use a tiered system. Eliminate income tax on wages and tax only capital gains.

            If you work for a living you don't pay taxes on what you earn from your productive work (only on a

    • by kestasjk (933987) * on Sunday February 28, 2010 @01:57PM (#31307316) Homepage
      Getting stoned off your balls is always a worthwhile and viable policy objective.
      • by Ihmhi (1206036)

        The last president who was known to toke the good ol' Mary Jane left us with a budget surplus and other countries still generally liking America.

        • The last president who was known to toke the good ol' Mary Jane left us with a budget surplus and other countries still generally liking America.

          I assume you don't mean Obama or Bush Jr here. So likely you're talking about Clinton.

          Note that in spite of Clinton's "budget surplus", the National Debt increased every year of his Presidency.

          I've never been to clear on why we needed to borrow more money to pay the bills if we ran a surplus on revenues....

          • by Ihmhi (1206036)

            Please refer to this post [slashdot.org] for an idea of how our national debt works.

            It's not something they can just call in. We're essentially borrowing money and making the interest payments over time.

            Yeah, it's not smart, but it's what's going on.

      • by khayman80 (824400)

        Getting stoned off your balls is always a worthwhile and viable policy objective.

        I love how this is modded Score:3, Informative.

        ... and I hate how my lack of mod points is keeping it from being Score:4, Insightful.

    • Legalizing marijuana is not at all viable from the point of view of an elected official.

      Politicians don't win elections by doing what's best for society... they win by doing what the majority of the people who vote want. Like it or not, the majority of the people who actually go out and vote do not approve of and will not support candidates who publicly embrace the view idea drugs aren't evil (which is why so very few ever get elected). Until that changes, there is absolutely no chance of legalization or

      • And of course, given a choice, they choose winning elections over doing what's best for society, which is a strong indication that they are corrupt and the perks of office are too lucrative.
        • I've always wondered why we have term limits for the president and no one else in the government. Granted, I can see the point of having Judicial appointments for life since you effectively have to make a career out of being a Judge. On the other hand, the founding fathers didn't believe in a career politician and it was several decades before they first appeared (John Quincey Adams being the first one I believe). Enacting term limits for all elected officials in the Federal government removes the incentive
          • I've always wondered why we have term limits for the president and no one else in the government.

            George Washington refused to run for a third term as President, thus setting a precedent followed for nearly 150 years that a President would only serve two terms.

            Then along came FDR. FDR decided that he was so important to the country that he couldn't step down after two terms, so he basically become President for Life (he died in his fourth term).

            Afterwards, the Congress decided to fix things so that noone

      • Re: (Score:1, Troll)

        And your attitude ensures that the general public will not. Some of us, including myself, are willing to discuss the legalization of marijuana from the standpoint that it may reduce our tax burden. Time spent chasing down every degenerate who smokes or sells pot is time and money wasted. From a cost-benefit analysis, I personally see legalizing marijuana as a potential winner.

        However, if you argue principle and ideals, recreational drug use is bad. I don't even think it's an arguable point, although I know

        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          by drsmithy (35869)

          However, if you argue principle and ideals, recreational drug use is bad.

          By what measure ? Driving a car, owning a gun, a poor diet and not enough exercise (to pick some fairly common habits in the US) are far, far more likely to ruin your life than "recreational drug use".

        • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

          by feuerfalke (1034288)

          Continued anti-drug propaganda? Have you never looked up any kind of statistic relating to programs like DARE or anti-drug PSAs? They have absolutely no effect on whether or not kids use drugs. Period. Teenagers such as myself don't take these programs and PSAs seriously because we know we're being lied to. Even the dumbest pot-smoking teenager knows it.

          Your assertion that pot smoking can "totally ruin your life when you are about 15" is false; "amotivational syndrome" is a load of shit [druglibrary.org]. Most people who smo

          • Very well put! I wish I had some mod points for you.

            The part that I love about talking drug reform on the internet is the hugely disproportionate debating and writing abilities between the two camps. I have been following this issue for something like a decade, and I have yet to see any well-written or well-reasoned arguments from the prohibitionist side. It's really telling that they always have to resort to ad-hominem attacks or appeals to authority, and their grammar is much more likely to be atroci

        • by shaitand (626655)

          "Alcoholism is the only example required, here is a non-addictive substance which in reasonable quantities has no significant negative long term effects."

          I assume you are referring to marijuana. Alcohol is highly addictive. It isn't as easy to become addicted in the first place but once addicted the link is likened to Heroin. You can die from alcohol withdrawal once addicted.

          "Time spent chasing down every degenerate who smokes or sells pot is time and money wasted."

          People who smoke pot are not degenerates.

      • I think that drugs are evil, and I am for legalizing them.

        The evil they do to their users is only a part of the evil they do to society: gangs fight for recruits and territory, users commit crime to fund their habit, terrorists get rich making and shipping the stuff...
        And even users may benefit from legalization, if done right, since it creates plenty of opportunities of engaging them, instead of alienating and criminalizing them.

        The main issue with legalizing, is making sure nobody tries to turn us all int

      • by shaitand (626655)

        'Politicians don't win elections by doing what's best for society... they win by doing what the majority of the people who vote want. Like it or not, the majority of the people who actually go out and vote do not approve of and will not support candidates who publicly embrace the view idea drugs aren't evil (which is why so very few ever get elected). '

        I love this very naive view of our political system. The only relation the views of the voters have to political actions is what tone the senseless non-commi

    • Maybe so, but does it 'strengthen our democracy and promote efficiency and effectiveness by making government more transparent, participatory, and collaborative.'?
      • by McGiraf (196030)

        "Maybe so, but does it 'strengthen our democracy and promote efficiency and effectiveness by making government more transparent, participatory, and collaborative.'?"

        Depends who smokes the stuff, if it's the members of the government then yes, it does, definitely.

         

    • by Etyme (1747182)
      Indeed it is, and Obama has already responded to it. Remember his announcement not to enforce the drug laws for marijuana users? That's probably not enough to satisfy reform advocates, but realistically there's no way that a full repeal would pass Congress.
  • Get off my lawn!

    But this being the government, they just won't get it.

  • by J'raxis (248192) on Sunday February 28, 2010 @01:39PM (#31307142) Homepage

    The digital letdown was when many of the top ideas generated by the process were to legalize marijuana, solve tax issues and to reinvestigate Obama's birth origins.

    So, in other words, they didn't get the answers they wanted to hear. What a "letdown."

    Fast forward to February 6 and the same process has been repeated with individual federal agencies as the subject. This time the idea generation has been much more productive, with ideas such as ...

    And "productive" means now they are.

    • by KiahZero (610862) on Sunday February 28, 2010 @01:55PM (#31307292)

      No, "productive" in this context means "substantive," "based in reality," "possible in the current political climate," and, most importantly, "not subject to the Internet-poll effect." The highest rated "idea" right now is basically telling people to shut the fuck up about their bullshit Birtherism. That may be many things, but it's not "productive."

      By narrowing the topic of discussion, it filtered out more of the trolls and thereby increased the signal-to-noise ratio.

    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by kestasjk (933987) *

      The digital letdown was when many of the top ideas generated by the process were to legalize marijuana, solve tax issues and to reinvestigate Obama's birth origins.

      So, in other words, they didn't get the answers they wanted to hear. What a "letdown."

      I don't know what "solve tax issues" means, but legalizing marijuana and investigating Obama's birth certificate are hardly innovative ideas promoting more effective governance, even if you think they're worthwhile it's stuff everyone has heard of, and the intent wasn't to give tired ideas a new platform

      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by mhajicek (1582795)

        but legalizing marijuana ... hardly innovative ideas promoting more effective governance

        Unless of course, ending prohibition would drastically cut the amount of tax money needed to pay for police, courts, and prisons, while potentially generating significant tax revenue through the taxation of legal drug sales. In other words, perhaps not innovative but otherwise exactly what they're asking for.

    • by hpycmprok (219527)

      The digital letdown was when many of the top ideas generated by the process were to legalize marijuana, solve tax issues and to reinvestigate Obama's birth origins.

      So, in other words, they didn't get the answers they wanted to hear. What a "letdown."

      Fast forward to February 6 and the same process has been repeated with individual federal agencies as the subject. This time the idea generation has been much more productive, with ideas such as ...

      And "productive" means now they are.

      Perhaps it means the "birther" issue early on was conclusively and logically resolved beyond the doubt of all but the most ardent, hardened, rabid, nut-job conspiracy theorists. And that the marijuana issue is already a well known issue, and is incrementally making good progress towards legalization at the moment. Both issues old stuff, with only a tiny fraction of the most tenatious loud mouths beating the drum about them.

      There is always the internet phenom of the crazies shouting the loudest and longest

  • by Nadaka (224565) on Sunday February 28, 2010 @01:42PM (#31307162)

    The Obama birth record bs I can understand... but why are "legalize marijuana, solve tax issues" big letdowns?

    legalize marijuana: It could not only reduce the cost of law enforcement by tens or even hundreds of billions but provide valuable new jobs and revenue streams for taxation.

    • by mjwalshe (1680392)
      because thease sort of systems attract the nutters out of all proportion to the actual support for a particular issues.
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      legalize marijuana...

      Gee, you're all heart... puttin' all those law enforcement personnel and bureaucrats out of work. You all completely fail to see the necessity of laws creating contraband, where now they are being used against information on a wide scale. It is merely another form of protectionism, creating scarcity to drive up its value for the local pirates. If you want to see the stuff legalized, you're going to have to vote for people that will do it. Seems fairly logical.. no?

  • How about we follow the constitution?
  • Words means something.

    They may not mean what you want them to mean, and they may not mean what they meant for about seven months in 1993, but they still mean something.

  • by Xelios (822510) on Sunday February 28, 2010 @01:57PM (#31307314)
    It may have been a letdown in terms of the goals of the project, but I think it was pretty successful in showing how much the government actually cares about these interactions. They're not after collaboration with the public in solving problems, they're after an image of openness, nothing more. Sure, if they run into an idea that's easy to implement and jives with their own agendas they'll run with it, but by and large it's just a marketing campaign.
  • by r_jensen11 (598210) on Sunday February 28, 2010 @01:58PM (#31307318)

    1) Reduces prison population -> reduces Government budget/deficit
    2) Introduces new tax revenue -> increases government revenues & reduces deficit
    3) Reduces crime rate - small-time marijuana dealers no longer have any customers as it's more convenient for smokers to buy from regulated sources, so small-time marijuana dealers move onto other things (some will move to harder drugs, but many who would move are already dealing those)
    4) Whoever moves to legalize it first gains many votes from the millions of adults who regularly smoke it

    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      Oh, dear. This is why statistics so often lie. The question of _legalizing_ marijuana is often conflated with that of _decriminalizing_ it. Decriminalizing it would provide the first, third, and fourth benefits at least somewhat, and consistently gathers far more than 50% support in polls.

    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      1) Reduces prison population -> reduces Government budget/deficit - Too bad that prison is an industry, decriminalizing pot would hurt that industry at an average of $25,000 a year per person.
      • by Danse (1026)

        1) Reduces prison population -> reduces Government budget/deficit - Too bad that prison is an industry, decriminalizing pot would hurt that industry at an average of $25,000 a year per person.

        Maybe they could get useful jobs that actually contribute something productive to society rather than the ridiculous make-work job they have now enforcing the detention of people put in prison for no good reason.

    • by Coryoth (254751)

      The idea itself may not be bad, but as a suggestion to open.gov it is bad simply because it is completely politically infeasible to implement at this time. You may as well be wishing for ponies.

      • by careysub (976506)

        The idea itself may not be bad, but as a suggestion to open.gov it is bad simply because it is completely politically infeasible to implement at this time. You may as well be wishing for ponies.

        The third highest ranked suggestion was not legalization of marijuana - it was merely removing it from Schedule I since the legal criteria for scheduling do not support it (never trust a Slashdot summary).

        Expecting that existing law actually be followed may be a really radical notion in Washington, but I submit it is not "politically infeasible". Still, if it does not please the halls of power and money (and it doesn't) then we might better hope for ponies.

    • You forget one thing: Small time marijuana dealers will become those regulated sources. Since they finally can make their business an official business.
      Or they can stay unofficial, and thereby be cheaper because of avoiding taxation.

      But in any way, it will create more legal jobs. Also usage will go way up.

      • You forget one thing: Small time marijuana dealers will become those regulated sources. Since they finally can make their business an official business. Or they can stay unofficial, and thereby be cheaper because of avoiding taxation.

        But in any way, it will create more legal jobs. Also usage will go way up.

        I don't think this is the best way to implement legalization. In Washington State liquor can only be sold from state-run stores, which decreases our alcohol consumption here and better avoids sales to minors -- this would be a far better way to tax and regulate cannabis.

        As for usage going up, I'm not so sure. Maybe for a short period of time, but the Netherlands has the most liberal cannabis laws in Europe while enjoying the smallest percentage of users. Though, in my opinion, the world would be a bett

  • Screw sharing my ideas with the incumbent. All this says to me is that they're running short on ideas and are begging for help. I say let's start a technocratic party since current policy makers have such difficulty with technical issues. We have a group of policy makers deciding the fate of the internet who probably ask their children how to configure their fucking network to get online at home.I also say legalize pot, America was founded on it anyway.. As far as other drugs are concerned, I say investigat
  • I took a look at the aggregated US Government idea site, but didn't see the
    USPTO (United States Patent and Trademark Office).

    The USPTO needs a lot of help as far as I'm concerned; too bad they aren't
    accepting ideas. They do have a "feedback channel" http://www.uspto.gov/blog/feedback [uspto.gov]
    but it seems pretty limited.

  • People like to look at the Big Picture because it's a lot easier than seeing the details. Details take work, but anybody can see the Big Picture. Or at least, believe that they do.

    Fixing "the government" is something people think they can do. But the executive branch is made up of agencies, and most people haven't the faintest idea what those agencies do.

    How do you fix the State Department? Well, what's wrong with the State Department? Plenty, if you ask State Department employees, who know what actual

    • by jfengel (409917)

      (stupid submit button)

      not just the 50,000,000 foot view you get from watching the news.

    • by npsimons (32752) *

      Big, sweeping solutions like "legalize marijuana" seem like panaceas, but in fact the government is a vast, complex entity, like the company you work for scaled up by a factor of 1,000. Ending the war on drugs is certainly a good idea, but if you really want to fix government, it helps to know something about government, and not just

      I don't think that anyone is arguing that legalizing marijuana would be a panacea. Much like those who say organized religion should be abolished don't think it will solve all

      • Great analogy! I'm having trouble understanding it though... Do you think you could compare it to a car instead?
  • by aminorex (141494) on Sunday February 28, 2010 @02:34PM (#31307614) Homepage Journal

    ...a big disappointment to those who wish to control society for their personal ambitions, rather than respect the popular will. If you don't think legalizing marijuana is a critical issue, I guess the overwhelming force of public opinion isn't going to change your mind.

    • I think you got that the wrong way around. According to every poll, overwhelming force of public opinion in the US has always been opposed to legalizing marijuana. However, that most definitely isn't going to change my mind, as overwhelming force of public opinion is very often wrong.
  • Does anyone have any idea which agency would be responsible for implementing a change in ballot methods (range voting/runoff/whatever)? The little I have read about these has convinced me that any improvement to our current voting system would be incredibly helpful. Which site would this idea best be submitted to?
    • by graft (556969)
      As far as I understand, there are no federal rules regulating voting in federal elections. Each state has a certain number of electoral delegates which they can dispose of however they like; electors are in fact not even required (by federal laws) to select the candidate chosen by popular vote in their state. They merely do so by convention, or in some cases according to state laws. In practice this means any state could implement a system of proportional representation of their electors (i.e., if ~40% of t
      • In practice this means any state could implement a system of proportional representation of their electors

        Note that several States do this already.

        Note that those States basically have no influence on the outcome of Presidential election, since in practice, there is effectively one one electoral vote to be gained in each of those States (in general, most States are split pretty evenly Rep/Dem, so the winner in a proportional award State tends to get half rounded up votes, the loser gets half rounded down v

  • by careysub (976506) on Sunday February 28, 2010 @05:52PM (#31309158)

    No, one of the top ideas was NOT to "legalize marijuana"! The third most popular item was to remove marijuana from Schedule 1, where its placement violates federal law, the DEA's own internal regulations, and peer-reviewed science!

    Click on the "marijuana link" in the summary and read the item for yourself.

    This is a simple matter of paying attention to science and obeying the law as written.

    The rules for Schedule I are:
    A) The drug or other substance has a high potential for abuse.
    (B) The drug or other substance has no currently accepted medical use in treatment in the United States.
    C) There is a lack of accepted safety for use of the drug or other substance under medical supervision.

    The best available scientific and medical evidence and opinion clearly shows that criteria B and C do not apply. The only way one can claim A applies is via a circular argument: all cannabis use DEFINED as abuse, therefore it has a high potential for abuse.

    The logic of scheduling Cannabis at no higher than IV, and most accurately at Schedule V, is further shown by the DEA itself - by scheduling pure 100% THC at Schedule III!

    Clearly a preparation that is only about 10% as potent should have a lower ranking. One should note that Schedule V consists ENTIRELY of drugs with higher rankings (from I down to III) in reduced potency preparations. This the reason that this low scheduling category exists.

    If the rules of classification are objectively and scientifically applied the it would rank no higher than Schedule V, the lowest and least restrictive.

    • by geekmux (1040042)

      No, one of the top ideas was NOT to "legalize marijuana"! The third most popular item was to remove marijuana from Schedule 1, where its placement violates federal law, the DEA's own internal regulations, and peer-reviewed science!

      Click on the "marijuana link" in the summary and read the item for yourself.

      This is a simple matter of paying attention to science and obeying the law as written.

      The rules for Schedule I are: A) The drug or other substance has a high potential for abuse. (B) The drug or other substance has no currently accepted medical use in treatment in the United States. C) There is a lack of accepted safety for use of the drug or other substance under medical supervision.

      The best available scientific and medical evidence and opinion clearly shows that criteria B and C do not apply. The only way one can claim A applies is via a circular argument: all cannabis use DEFINED as abuse, therefore it has a high potential for abuse.

      The logic of scheduling Cannabis at no higher than IV, and most accurately at Schedule V, is further shown by the DEA itself - by scheduling pure 100% THC at Schedule III!

      Clearly a preparation that is only about 10% as potent should have a lower ranking. One should note that Schedule V consists ENTIRELY of drugs with higher rankings (from I down to III) in reduced potency preparations. This the reason that this low scheduling category exists.

      If the rules of classification are objectively and scientifically applied the it would rank no higher than Schedule V, the lowest and least restrictive.

      While I thank you for your very informative post on this, all of this really doesn't matter when you try and apply your A-B-C Schedule rules to something like alcohol, which is legal, and which has proven to be FAR more harmful than marijuana ever could be. It's all about money and power, nothing more.

      • by careysub (976506)

        Alcohol is specifically exempted from the scheduling system so the law prohibits the system from ever being applied. There is no question that it would rank as Schedule 1.

        And of course it is all about money and power. Challenges to money and power rarely succeed but challenges not made never do.

        It is sad when the idea of the government simply obeying the law is viewed as dangerously radical.

  • Please support proposals such as the proposal to the National Science Foundation (NSF) called "Public funding = Public viewing [ideascale.com]" (by voting for them, making positive comments, etc.). This proposal recommends that publicly funded projects must be published as open access and all data and code shared as open source software. If "We the people" pay for research and development, then "we the people" should get the results. If there aren't existing proposals for certain agencies, please add them.

    As I've commen

  • "21,000 Flexible Public Fabrication Facilities across the USA"
    http://opengov.ideascale.com/a/dtd/8412-4049 [ideascale.com]

    Also:
    "Revisit the Triple Revolution Memorandum sent to President Johnson"
    http://opengov.ideascale.com/a/dtd/8402-4049 [ideascale.com]

    Also:
    "Something I tried to post here but did not appear:
    "Policy Forum on Public Access to Federally Funded Research: Implementation""
    http://www.cnewmark.com/2009/12/making-govt-work-a-huge-step.html#comments [cnewmark.com]
    """
    Summary: This topic of how government funds academic research is fairly insepar

    • by NonSequor (230139)

      I don't think that a post-scarcity society is possible. There's always going to be a minimum amount of energy and resources needed to keep a person alive and while improvements in technology can reduce that cost of living, there must be a fundamental non-zero minimum. It's like compressing data. You can carve out some of the cost by identifying redundant aspects of a problem and using a single solution for repeated occurrences, but eventually you reach a point where there is no more redundant structure to e

      • Forty years ago, most people would have laughed at the notion that people would be able to make 2D typeset documents at home other than by laboriously retyping them until they were perfect. Now, laser printers are given away for free with some new computers. That was something I talked about on a panel here:
        http://www.blogtalkradio.com/fastforwardradio/2009/08/12/the-end-of-scarcity-and-the-age-of-abundance- [blogtalkradio.com]

        I agree that we will not see utopia (to begin with, beauty is in the eye of the beholder, so people w

        • by NonSequor (230139)

          I'm not really a free market fundamentalist. I know about externalities. I'm just a guy who argues with everyone. I don't really ever agree with anyone.

          You say that most jobs are "guarding". I would characterize those jobs as paying rent to the second law of thermodynamics. Within a given span of time all structures suffer decay which can be mitigated by application of an energy budget. The early history of mankind was characterized by simply allowing the decay to accrue, but now we mitigate it more and mor

          • You make a good theoretical point about thermodynamics, and it is insightful to link it to guarding. Thanks for that. I'll think on aspects of that more. And, I'll agree that there will be always aspects of our society devoted to guarding (and security) for that reason and others.

            With that said, one can ask what percentage of our society should go to guarding and defense, under what rationale that has been made up by thinking and feeling human beings, and what part should go into either growth or current en

            • by NonSequor (230139)

              Sorry for taking so long to reply.

              I believe there is only one definition of entropy. I remember reading an interesting quotation in a physicist's blog about the entropic theory of gravity that got some buzz a few months back: "If it smells like entropy, it probably is." Now I don't have a lot of education compared to a lot of folks, but I did pretty well in information theory, and that pretty much encapsulates my intuition on the subject.

              My thinking lately is that a structure is an open system with a lower

              • Thanks for the reply, and it's an interesting analogy with the human body and cancer. Still, the human body is about 90% bacterial cells by number, and about 10% bacteria by weight, so it that sense the human immune system is in that sense mostly a legal constitution about getting some bacteria to work well together. :-)

                Also, note that populations of living things tend to change over time, so some dissenting cells (mutations) may lead to a very different next generation (though that is rare).

                Also, note that

  • Of course, all of the winning ideas will be accepted, thrown out to gov't contractors, which in turn will create solutions that drives their profit and create cost overruns and missed deadlines.

    Big win for companies, not necessarily for the citizen.

Save energy: Drive a smaller shell.

Working...