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Stephen Buckley
Cape Cod, Massachusetts
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As an environmental engineer, I thought this program sounded more politicial than fact-based. NPR did a piece (see link below) that throws cold water on the environmental basis of the program. It's easy to sell people on easy solution (even many nerds and geeks that are trained to be skeptical). Environmentally and economically, it would have been more effective and efficient to just pass out the $3 billion directly to auto industry employees. (I bet THEY would agree.) National Public Radio: "Clunker Program's Environmental Merits Questioned" vr, Stephen Buckley Environmental Engineer Purdue '77
Toggle Commented Aug 24, 2009 on Cash for Clunkers works at cnewmark
I use the term "Radical Moderate". The late Elliot Richardson wrote a book called "Reflections of a Radical Moderate" (1996). Richardson was the guy who resigned as Attorney-General rather than follow Nixon's order to fire the Watergate special prosecutor. (He was also the only person to hold four Cabinet positions, so he was no light-weight.) At first glance, "radical moderation" seems to be an oxymoron. But it is really something else. But the best explanation that I've seen is this: "Going to extremes to be reasonable about politics." That appeals to me because it says "Let's all concentrate on finding the most optimal solution .. regardless of where that leads us." I just googled the phrase "radical moderation" (with quotes) and got 3800 hits. Of course, I did not check them all, so if anyone sees the kernel of a gathering group, plese let me now. I also use "transpartisan" when I don't have time to explain "radical moderate". vr, Stephen Buckley
Toggle Commented Aug 15, 2009 on Shopping for a (political) label at cnewmark
Craig, I know that you are very interested in improving "customer service" by ALL types of organizations (even government ones). Therefore (and please correct me if I'm wrong), I assume that you know that there is a natural tendency in all of us (some more than others) to shift our responsibilities on to the people who are not being fully appreciative of the wonderful service that we are trying to provide to them. Sometimes we can be so convinced about "The Answer" (i.e., our answer)to someone else's needs, that we forget to listen to "the voice of the customer". For example: Let's say a Technical Support dept. is getting a lot of calls from people who don't understand their product's "User Guide". MAYBE it's not the customers' fault. MAYBE it's the "User Guide" that to be rewritten. Apparently, some (maybe most) federal employees are paying good money (i.e., ours) to attend all these "open-govt." conferences, and are NOT getting what they need to move forward. Does that mean that these conferences are "failures"? No. But the GovLoop discussion (to which Jeffrey pointed in his blog; see link above) does point to the perception among federal attendees that, while these conferences are "fun" with stimulating speakers, hallway networking, happy-hour, etc., they do NOT deliver on their hype that they provide practical information on how to move forward with Gov2.0 when they go back to the office. Exhorting federal employees to ignore their bosses and "Just Do It!" is definitely NOT the advice that they can use. Even to federal employees who really believe in Gov2.0, the idea of not having to first convince upper-management is crazy-talk (as it would be, also, in private companies). I'm certainly glad that SOME federal employees (like Jeffrey Levy) are lucky enough to have enlightened bosses that allow them to experiment with online tools. (It also helps if you are the agency's webmaster.) However, the vast majority of those federal employees, who DO want to use Web2.0 tools, have bosses (who also have bosses) who are justifiably afraid of experimenting (lest they "screw up" in the eyes of their overseers, i.e., citizens, White House, Congress). A lot of that fear will go away, hopefully, when the White House issues its "Open Government Directive" (later this year?). That is what the federal managers are waiting for. Why stick their necks out now, when the safest thing to do is just to wait for official permission? That point needs to be recognized by all the Gov2.0 "rock stars", lest they actually convince the some naive (i.e., younger) federal employees to "jump the gun" and "grab the reins" (as Jeffrey put it) and compromise their careers unnecessarily. So my advice is to lower the hype, stop trying to "drive" your customers to do stuff they shouldn't be doing (yet), and have more and better discussions (e.g., more GovLoop, less Twitter) about how to help draft, and prepare for issuance of, the Open Govt. Directive. P.S. I really admire Jeffrey Levy's energy and work in the area of Gov2.0. I know he's very perceptive because he told that "" (i.e., my idea posted on White House 'Brainstorming' site) would be a "killer app". ;) And so, given his perceptiveness, I hope he understands that my comments here are offered in the most constructive spirit that I can convey in print. (IMHO -- really.)
Craig, You say that "people accept a good-faith attempt to involve them." Unfortunately, the "advertising policy" that federal agencies follow to ask the public to comment on their proposals (e.g., highway projects, etc.) was written way back in 1979! I think they need a "Craigslist for Public Notices" so that more people will know when they've been invited to participate in govt. decision-making. I posted that thought (with details) on the White House blog, so let's see if the "new people" in charge there pick up on it. vr, Stephen Buckley