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The Internet

Journal: City Council Minutes and Agendas on the Internet

Journal by joe_plastic

On Tuesday, March 20,2007 during a Spokane Valley, WA city council Study Session, the topic of "Paperless Agendas/Notebook Computers" arose. This has also been written about in a local news-paper. I also had a few comments on that topic . I am also seeing if others had any comments to add.

Having this kind of information on the Internet grants public access to all of the same documentation Councilmembers receive prior to a regular meeting. Everyone with Internet access can view the Council's agenda, and with few exceptions, also view all of the documentation associated with each item.
Also during the first few years of the City's inception, Council voiced the idea of eventually having paperless agendas. Paperless agendas will save staff time in agenda preparation, ... , and most importantly, provide more citizens with convenient and timely access to the agenda information, giving the citizenry more information hands-on, and thereby making them more informed and aware of their government in action.

I will finalize this report on April 12th. I will try to incorporate any helpful comments I receive before that time into that paper.

User Journal

Journal: Schloss v. Stephen Joyce -- Long-lived Copyright Vs. History

Journal by joe_plastic
The Stanford Center for Internet and Society's Fair Use Project has filed a law suit against Stephen Joyce, who claims the right to control access to the papers and letters of James Joyce. . The New Yorker and Glyn Moody have written about the incident. a complaint for declaratory judgment and injunctive relief has been filed in the northern district of California.
It's mostly about book (Lucia Joyce: To Dance in the Wake) and related website ability to quote from Joyce's works to provide backdrop of critical and analytical commentary. A version of the book with about 30 pages of material cut out of it was published in 2003.
Some of may have to do with the history of one of James Joyce children whom was in psychiatric care.
The Joyce family has also removed writtings from the National Library of Ireland and has in otherways obscured or destroyed historical records. This sounds like a poster-child case for one reason why overly long copyrights are bad for society.
United States

Journal: Amnesty International accuses US over 'torture' 1

Journal by joe_plastic

BBC : Amnesty accuses US over 'torture' reports that Amnesty International has just releashed their annual report. This report is very critical of the United States torturing and mistreating detainees.

During 2004, the human rights of ordinary men, women and children were disregarded or grossly abused in every corner of the globe. Economic interests, political hypocrisy and socially orchestrated discrimination continued to fan the flames of conflict around the world. The "war on terror" appeared more effective in eroding international human rights principles than in countering international "terrorism". The millions of women who suffered gender-based violence in the home, in the community or in war zones were largely ignored. The economic, social and cultural rights of marginalized communities were almost entirely neglected.

Politics

Journal: Election Methods

Journal by joe_plastic

I just read a good journal entry about "Why Third Party Candidates Can't Get Elected" by tsg ... However one thing I disagree with is using Instant Runoff instead of one of the Condorcet voting methods.

Even though Arrow's Impossibility Theorem proves the impossibility of designing rules for social decision making that obey a number of 'reasonable' criteria that doesn't mean we can't evaluate voting methods according to various criteria.

When we do that we find that instant runoff has serious problems such that it is arguably no better than the USA's current plurality system at expanding the two-party system and giving other parties a chance to actually win elections.

Condorcet voting using the Cloneproof Schwartz Sequential Dropping (CSSD) method to resolve cyclic ambiguity is about the best all around method people have been able to come up with. Some weaknesses of the Condorcet method are that it doesn't always follow the Participation Criterion and it is still susceptible to some Strategic Nomination concerns. However in most situations it shouldn't cause a problem, and would be an incredible improvement over what we currently have.

Of course a good debate about Approval voting... maybe use one for the primary and another for the real election? They might be able to complement each other well.

Real Programmers don't write in PL/I. PL/I is for programmers who can't decide whether to write in COBOL or FORTRAN.

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