I hate SMS as well, but realize that many people like it. Sure it has all the problems, but many (usually older, sometimes younger) like the idea of "give me this one number, and I can contact you from it" without needing an email, or some other type of ID. They WANT to contact you via your phone number. Sure they want it secure, via the internet, etc, but they still want your phone number first for that.
So any "universal" solution must support SMS, but I also think that it shouldn't require it, which therefore makes it a non-universal solution, as some people will not want to contact anybody they can't use "a phone number" for, for whatever reason, and others will exclusively use non-phones for it, separating the two groups. But it's still a better solution to have both. Skype I guess is a bit like this, but I don't know how their SMS support is.
Honestly, the "old" Google Hangouts that would mix your SMS and "computer" accounts together when contacting people was the closest thing to universal IMO. Shame more people didn't use it. Skype may be the next alternative due to user base, and "support" of phone numbers (as I said, not sure how this works).
In a properly functioning government, independent bodies are created to gather data for use by the public and politicians. Those bodies are overseen by bi-partisan groups with representatives from multiple parties, and their mandate is independence, transparency and impartiality.
I'd say you're missing one main part there: "bi-partisan groups" is itself one of your problems. In more functional democracies, they're called "all-party committees" because we're not two-party systems.
I agree with most of what you posted, but remember to focus on one of your other major problems, that being your two-party system.
As for those knocking the submitter, at least they were self-aware enough to realize that this may always have been a problem that they were for some reason (ie: their own political bias) ignoring before.
Of course, that doesn't change the fact that forcing everyone to switch to UTC would be the most hare-brained idea in history of timekeeping.
Oh it's bad, but I think the 28-hour day is worse: The 28 Hour Day. But we're arguing over which pile of shit is worse, which just means we both agree they're horrible. Let's leave it at that.
Throughout the case, the government argued that “[d]ocuments on a nongovernmental email server are outside the possession or control of federal agencies, and thus beyond the scope of FOIA.”
Judge David Sentelle, the chief judge of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit, disagreed with that reasoning and ordered the lower court to reconsider the case. “If a department head can deprive the citizens of their right to know what his department is up to by the simple expedient of maintaining his departmental emails on an account in another domain, that purpose is hardly served,” Sentelle wrote. “It would make as much sense to say that the department head could deprive requestors of hard-copy documents by leaving them in a file at his daughter’s house and then claiming that they are under her control,” he said.
This absurd rulling, which says that government officials have to follow the law, will surely be overturned. We can’t have these saints oppressed by things as evil as the law.
The gent who wakes up and finds himself a success hasn't been asleep.