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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!"
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Open Gov Tracker Reveals Best US Open Government Ideas

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  • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday February 28, 2010 @01:16PM (#31307464)

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

  • by SonCorn (301537) on Sunday February 28, 2010 @03:52PM (#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 feuerfalke (1034288) on Sunday February 28, 2010 @04:58PM (#31309186)

    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 smoke pot in their adolescence try it just a few times; even regular smokers only smoke for perhaps a few years before they lose interest and get on with their lives. Even lifelong smokers are capable of leading successful lives; Carl Sagan was a well-known cannabis user and advocate of its use, and has even said that cannabis has helped inspire his ideas, writings and experiences. As for the link between cannabis and psychosis, it's just that: a link. Not a causal relationship. There's no evidence at all to suggest that cannabis use causes psychotic disorders barring any other confounding factors - such as a genetic predisposition towards psychotic disorders. In most people, psychotic disorders, especially schizophrenia, don't show up until around the age of 19-22. It is very possible that cannabis can trigger psychotic symptoms in people who already have a predisposition, or that people with underlying psychotic disorders are drawn to drug use, or both. Either way, the statistics suggest that you'd have to stop 2,800 heavy male cannabis smokers, or 5,000 heavy female cannabis smokers, to prevent one case of schizophrenia.

    In short... cannabis, used knowledgeably and responsibly, isn't dangerous. Anti-drug propaganda is a gigantic waste of tax dollars, and saying that "drugs will continue to be villified" and use viewed as a "contemptible habit" is nothing more than a continuation of that sort of misinformation, and an unfair, baseless discrimination against drug users. Drug use is not inherently irresponsible. Your example with alcoholism is exactly the crux of the issue here. You're blaming the drug (alcohol) for the problem it creates in society, even though you just said that alcohol, when used in reasonable quantities (i.e. when used responsibly) has no significant negative long-term effects. If that's the case, then how can alcohol be causing problems in society? The answer is that it doesn't. Irresponsible people cause problems in society, and drinking alcohol is merely one of many ways in which they act out irresponsibly. Irresponsible people also drive cars and kill people (even without any substances to help); shall we villify the use of cars because they cause such a problem in our society?

    The vastly more important thing is to educate people on how to behave responsibly. Yes, it is possible to use cannabis responsibly, just as it is possible to use alcohol responsibly, and the important thing is to show people that it's possible to enjoy these substances - and all the other conveniences of life, like cars - as long as they are careful and responsible about it. That is the kind of drug education we need, not continued villification, which doesn't do anyone any good (after all, we saw how well abstinence-only sex education worked.) I hope this post has opened your eyes to a new perspective on the issue and that you will find at least some validity in what I am saying.

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