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Starting a Political Career with Open Source?

Cliff posted more than 9 years ago | from the if-you-must-fall-to-the-dark-side dept.

Software 66

byronmiller desires to get to the root of the following issue: "I have chosen to run for office to represent the people of the 16th district of Pennsylvania. I am looking for software and solutions to help manage a grass roots and budget friendly campaign. What applications are available for everything from district management/contact management solutions to online fund raising and campaign management solutions? We are already rolling out staff PC's running Suse 9.2, OpenOffice.org and of course Firefox. Are there any collaboration suites and mail systems that we can use for calendaring, notes, email and conferencing? Anyone build a campaign using open source technology or is Politics still only putting money where your mouth is? Technology is a major initiative of my campaign and i'm very interested in what political software and civic solutions are available - especially experience and reviews of such."

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You could try Hula... (4, Informative)

mellon (7048) | more than 9 years ago | (#11794660)

It's early days, so you'd need to be a little smart about it, but it might be worth a shot. http://www.hula-project.org/Hula_Server

Re:You could try Hula... (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11798798)

Next thing you start telling him Linux is ready for the desktop.

Seriously, there's no way around Exchange and Outlook if you want to avoid making a complete fool out of yourself.

Thanks.. (2, Insightful)

byronmiller (861060) | more than 9 years ago | (#11799257)

Hula looks good, just don't know if i can rely on it just yet. A bit too new - Looking for systems "Tried and true"

Re:Thanks.. (1)

lachlan76 (770870) | more than 9 years ago | (#11801369)

Although I wouldn't call it "tried and true", I would say that it is "ok", even if local security needs some work (passwords are not encrypted).

There were a lot of problems in the earlier revisions (pre-40), but at the current time (78) it works quite well, expecially since it hasn't had its first release yet (it is still in Subversion).

I've been doing the ebuilds for it, and I haven't found too many problems with it recently. You should probably know that it IS based on the Netmail codebase, so it isn't completely new.

GIS! (1)

i_tortoise (690150) | more than 9 years ago | (#11804017)

You might find some GIS (Geographical Information System) tools, such as GRASS http://grass.itc.it/ [grass.itc.it] [grass.itc.it] useful for plotting out/ organising things such as:

*likely voting patterns

*areas of responsibility for canvassing

*local issues (flooding, crime?)

*Junk mail shots... (if you want to go there!)

*And maybe a spot of gerrymandering!!

http://www.google.co.uk/search?hl=en&client=firefo x-a&rls=org.mozilla:en-US:official&q=define:+gerry mandering&spell=1 [google.co.uk]

Technology is... (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11794686)

best on your side with electronic voting. Just make sure your vote-count is an unsigned long long field, and your opponent is a signed char.

That's my district! (2, Funny)

slashkitty (21637) | more than 9 years ago | (#11794736)

You know, you can't trust everyone here because they are not all on your site. You might want to try dailykos or something like that if you're looking for advice.

That said, I suggest you go 100% Microsoft. Outlook does wonders. Switch your phones to Skype. Distribute your press releases on Kazaa... Hope that helps.

Re:That's my district! (1)

slashkitty (21637) | more than 9 years ago | (#11794788)

s/site/side/;

Scribus (3, Insightful)

Tufriast (824996) | more than 9 years ago | (#11794941)

I can suggest using Scribus for making great quality pamphlets. I can suggest using GIMP to touch up those images of yourself with dazzling beauty. Here is one GREAT meeting software using Gnome [gnomemeeting.org] . I am dang sure there is other software out there, in addition to Skype.

In Addition to GnomeMeeting... (2, Informative)

Tufriast (824996) | more than 9 years ago | (#11794966)

There is also Asterisk! http://www.asteriskpbx.com/ Good stuff all around if you have a Linux Man around.

Re:In Addition to GnomeMeeting... (1)

byronmiller (861060) | more than 9 years ago | (#11799350)

Already running asterisk for our PBX

Re:That's my district! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11797301)

s/ide/ite; :-)

Re:That's my district! (1)

supersuckers (841107) | more than 9 years ago | (#11795584)

My district as well. Unfortunately, in our district [house.gov] , I think you'll be better off campaigning about crows [thewgalchannel.com] than about technology.

Re:That's my district! (1)

byronmiller (861060) | more than 9 years ago | (#11799366)

True, our campaign isn't just technology. You're more than welcome to contact us for more information or to give us feedback & any ideas you may have. It is interesting when Crows and our Mall are the topics of the day isn't it?

GIS (1)

i_tortoise (690150) | more than 9 years ago | (#11803910)

You might find some GIS tools, such as GRASS (http://grass.itc.it/) [grass.itc.it] useful for plotting out/ organising things such as:

* likely voting patterns * areas of responsibility for canvassing * local issues (flooding, crime?) * Junk mail shots... (if you want to go there!) And maybe a spot of gerrymandering!!!

Re:That's my district! (1)

Doc Ruby (173196) | more than 9 years ago | (#11808659)

You're advising someone running to represent you to go 100% Microsoft? Are you going to contribute the money for licenses and support? Or are you one of those who are not on his side?

Keep your eye on the ball (4, Insightful)

astrashe (7452) | more than 9 years ago | (#11794888)

Running open source in your office is a noble gesture, but doesn't really help anyone else.

Getting a vote in Congress probably won't help anyone either, since the leadership of the majority party can do whatever they want. But at least there's a chance that you could do some good down the road if you win.

Do what you can to win. Don't focus on things that aren't directly related to winning. Winning is hard, and if you don't focus on it, you will probably lose.

Winning might include open source -- if you want to set up community web sites to bring people into your campaign, for example, open source might be the way to go. Take what you can from Joe Trippi's Dean campaign.

But don't get hung up making people type letters in open office, because it won't help you win.

Re:Keep your eye on the ball (3, Insightful)

Ithika (703697) | more than 9 years ago | (#11795253)

-1, Missed the Point

That's exactly what *everyone else* is doing and see what's happened? Focusing on winning with no interest in *why* you're winning or at what cost, leaves the whole exercise pointless. The poster may as well not stand at all if they're just going to do what everyone else does.

Re:Keep your eye on the ball (1)

Mean_Nishka (543399) | more than 9 years ago | (#11815609)

That's exactly what *everyone else* is doing and see what's happened? Focusing on winning with no interest in *why* you're winning or at what cost, leaves the whole exercise pointless. The poster may as well not stand at all if they're just going to do what everyone else does.

Absolutely. If you can't answer why you're running (and be able to answer briefly) you shouldn't be running at all. That said, our open source candidate friend here is already making a common mistake most candidates make. Right now he should be on the phone a minimum of four hours a day (if not a full 8 hours) making calls for contributions. He needs at least a million dollars to win that race. Time spent worrying about what software his computers are running is time wasted - even if it saves him $10,000 in the end. Candidates should never run their own races :).

Re:Keep your eye on the ball (4, Insightful)

x2A (858210) | more than 9 years ago | (#11795558)

Running open source in your office is a noble gesture, but doesn't really help anyone else
Are you saying there's no actual benefit to using OSS? Is a company that moves over to OSS (esp free OSS) just performing a 'noble gesture', or could, for example, CUTTING COSTS, increase how competitive you can be?

If you spend less money on software for your staff to use, does that not leave you more money for more/better staff? If you spend less money on software for designing posters, does that not leave you more money to print more posters?

Does how efficiently your representative spends your money not effect who you choose to represent you?

I say go for it.

-2A

Re:Keep your eye on the ball (3, Informative)

Dachannien (617929) | more than 9 years ago | (#11795840)

I get the feeling that while the OP might like the concept of OSS (free as in speech and all that), he's just as interested in the actual benefits of OSS to end users as opposed to developers (meaning, free as in beer). While the OSS movement may (and hopefully will) benefit from the attention, I think the ideology here is to run a budget-friendly campaign, as the OP put it.

That said, here's what this guy's up against [opensecrets.org] .

Re:Keep your eye on the ball (3, Insightful)

Jjeff1 (636051) | more than 9 years ago | (#11797329)

Getting a vote in Congress probably won't help anyone either

Wrong! Anyone interested in real sweeping changes in the government needs to realize that it won't happen overnight. Our next president will be a Republican or a Democrat, so will the next.

What we need is to get in at the ground floor. 1 or 2 3rd party members in congress won't do a lot, but when that number grows to 10% of the floor, then they have some power.

Re:Keep your eye on the ball (1)

DerekLyons (302214) | more than 9 years ago | (#11799102)

What we need is to get in at the ground floor. 1 or 2 3rd party members in congress won't do a lot, but when that number grows to 10% of the floor, then they have some power.
Yes. A dangerously large amount of power - because 10% could be enough, (along with one of the Big Two), to constitute a majority. It's worse in the 10-20% range where one of the majors *must* court the minor in order to hold a majority.

When that happens, the '3rd party' holds power all out of proportion to it's size. The tail starts to wag the dog.

Don't mistake me, we need to break the power of the Big 2... But the process is not without dangers of it's own.

Re:Keep your eye on the ball (2, Insightful)

rimmon (608966) | more than 9 years ago | (#11803590)

But you do realize that most democracies have no problem with more than two parties?
And wait, a smaller party working together with a bigger one so that they have a majority, where have I heard that before? Oh yeah, it's called a coaltion and it's absolutely normal in most democracies.

Re:Keep your eye on the ball (1)

DerekLyons (302214) | more than 9 years ago | (#11810178)

But you do realize that most democracies have no problem with more than two parties?
That depends on your definition of 'no problem'. Most people don't consider walkouts, constant compromise bills, gridlocks, and other ills to be 'no problem'. Don't mismark me, the goverment continues to function, but there more to 'no problem' than simply continuing to function.
And wait, a smaller party working together with a bigger one so that they have a majority, where have I heard that before? Oh yeah, it's called a coaltion and it's absolutely normal in most democracies.
Simply because it's "normal" doesn't mean it's not without problems and dangers. Go study some political science. (Or even history: The UK had numerous problems with such coalitions in the late 19th century. The Nazi party came to power partially because their minority was needed to form a coalition. The Italian goverment has been all but gridlocked for decades because of the constantly shifting coalitions.)

Re:Keep your eye on the ball (1)

rimmon (608966) | more than 9 years ago | (#11810811)

That's funny, I studied political science :)
And from that point of view, I think it's pretty safe to say that a system with two parties has far more problems and disadvantages the a system with more parties. Of course too much parties is another problem.
I'd say that everything between 3 and 5, maybe 6 parties is rather "safe". By the way: 2 parties is much better then 10. I give you that any day.
I think the germans are handling it pretty well: two major parties and up to 3 (depends on which level) smaller parties. Works really well, gives stables majorities in most cases.

U.S. not set up for coalition govermnents (1)

SgtChaireBourne (457691) | more than 9 years ago | (#11801770)

1 or 2 3rd party members in congress won't do a lot, but when that number grows to 10% of the floor, then they have some power.
Yes, but that power will be to split the vote between other similar parties and let a dissimilar party dominate. The U.S. still runs on simple majority, until that changes there will be no "third" party in federal government. Local yes, but not federal.

Re:U.S. not set up for coalition govermnents (1)

geoffspear (692508) | more than 9 years ago | (#11806223)

Voting based on a simple majority works perfectly with third parties in coalition with a larger party. If neither of the two big parties has a majority, the third party that can tip the balance becomes important.

You seem to be confused with our actual elections, which don't require a simple majority. When the outcome is based on a plurality, a strong third party does throw power to the big party with which its voters are most likely to disagree. We saw that in the 1992-2000 elections.

Unfortunately, third parties with no chance of actually winning the presidency continue to focus on the top of the ticket, which hurts a candidate with similar politics, instead of focusing on gaining seats in Congress where they could have an actual effect.

Of course, if they have no chance of winning a Congressional election, either, they risk just hurting the similar major party and helping the more dissimilar party win another seat in Congress.

The system doesn't minimize the power of third parties who actually get some power; it just makes it nearly impossible to do so in the first place, and punishes any who come close by helping a party that's likely to be hated by those sympathetic to the cause. Which is why Perot and Nader both lost a lot of support the second time they ran.

Re:Keep your eye on the ball (1)

donutz (195717) | more than 9 years ago | (#11799159)

Well said. Unfortunately the case, but true.

Politicians have to do what it takes to win. Ideals take a second to that.

That's all for now. Don't have mod points, but I gotta give ya some props for speaking the truth.

Re:Keep your eye on the ball (2, Insightful)

byronmiller (861060) | more than 9 years ago | (#11799485)

There is no wrong way to go about politics. The software/backend and systems you build your campaign on don't necessarily reflect your political ideals across the board either. I happen to be quite the tech head myself, but that isn't the overriding factor of the campaign. We're looking for something we can roll out to save time re-developing the wheel as well as to implement something we can pass down to other potential candidates so the opportunity for others to have great tools will be afforded. If you have systems that can help you streamline, communicate, be aware, react as well as be pro-active and cost effective you can't be beat. If you loose the vote well atleast you have some technology to hand down and hope others will make use off.

Hey (4, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11794902)

Some open source web tools you should look at:

http://www.advokit.net/ for voterfile, campaign management and voter relationship managemnet.

http://www.civicspacelabs.com/ is based on drupal, and provides a great way to make an interactive community driven site for your campaign.

ShadyDial, a predicitve dialer add on for asterisk.

You should also check out http://www.personaldemocracy.com/ for general commentary and discussion on techonology and software in politics.

~Nathan

you're screwed is more like it (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11794929)

You're taking on Joe Pitts [house.gov] , a five-termer Republican in an area of PA that is very Republican. Even if you're a Republican yourself, you're taking on quite a challenge with the opponent being a long-time incumbent.

Your best bet is not to worry about what operating system is runnign your campaign website or other computers, but rather what your political platform and campaign slogan will be.

Re:you're screwed is more like it (0)

Tufriast (824996) | more than 9 years ago | (#11794980)

Yeah, I'd try and filter out the egoists, and pessimists here. At least you are trying to make a difference instead of whining about how someone has a five term run. You never know unless you try, that's what I say.

Re:you're screwed is more like it (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11795213)

There's nothing to be pessimistic about. Barring some scandal, it's a simple political fact that he has about 1% chance of winning. He knows it, everyone knows it. So he might as well pickup some technological lessons which will increase his value within his party's infratructure.

Re:you're screwed is more like it (2, Insightful)

lilmouse (310335) | more than 9 years ago | (#11816673)

That's why he's focusing on the technology. So 6 years from now, when Joe retires, he's ready w/ all the technology.

--LWM

clark tech corp / dean space (5, Informative)

enrico_suave (179651) | more than 9 years ago | (#11795004)

Clark Tech corps [clark04.com]

wired article [wired.com]

I for one welcome the possibility of an open source advocating/understanding overlord =P

(Granted the dean and clark campaigns weren't a political success, but dean's online campaign was considered initially a social networking success... until he ARRRRRRGGGGGD himself out of the race...)

Good luck!

e.

Howard Dean (4, Informative)

fsck! (98098) | more than 9 years ago | (#11795021)

The Dean campaign ran on open source software. Looks like the project lives on under the name "CivicSpace."

http://www.civicspacelabs.org/ [civicspacelabs.org]

Collaboration software (2, Interesting)

magefile (776388) | more than 9 years ago | (#11795072)

Use Mailman to build a campaign-wide mailing list, either internally, or as a way of keeping supporters in the loop.

Use an internal wiki for discussions (the problems of public Wikis in political situations should be fairly obvious ...).

In what way ... (5, Insightful)

zangdesign (462534) | more than 9 years ago | (#11795167)

Technology is a major initiative of my campaign ...

In what way is "technology a major initiative of your campaign"? We've heard candidates state the same things before, at all levels of government, but what does it really mean? While it's obvious that technology cannot be the sole focus of your candidacy, does it mean you are going to be pushing some form of Open Source adoption or what? Are you going to pushing digital rights legislation? There are a myriad of technological concerns that are being pushed into the political realm, where the people most likely to legislate are the ones least likely to be informed. Is this focus on technology merely a way to get low-cost assistance at pushing the same old non-tech issues?

So, again, how is technology a major initiative of your campaign?

Why not read me website.. (3, Informative)

byronmiller (861060) | more than 9 years ago | (#11799308)

http://www.byronmiller.org/technology Finer points will be published as we work towards 2006. Believe it or not I am a "tech head".. By day I work for a large bank maintaining an Oracle 11i upgrade and by night I enjoy my mythtv and watching it with my family. I have a mythtv box, i've built out my own networks and i have even implemented a small asterisk box to do voip for our growing campaign. I'm just looking around to see if there is anything out there i have missed so i can get some of my techs involved or implement anything that looks helpfull. Thanks!

Re:Why not read me website.. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11804892)

Okay, I read your site... FWIW, I'm a Republican, of the libertarian faction [rlc.org] .

I'm asking each and every one of you to join me in the effort to ensure our most fundamental American freedoms, a sound education for our children, health care for every American, the safety of Social Security, and a sound economic future for us all.

I'll address this in a different order than you presented them in...

a sound education for our children

That's a nice idea... will you start by removing the domination of the NEA in curriculum design? Will you promote teaching children "how to think", and not "what to think"? Will you make it easier for me to send my child to a private school where they will receive a far better education than the local school district offers, without me having to pay for both schools? (Yes, that means waivers.)

health care for every American . . . and a sound economic future for us all.

When John Kerry said something along the lines of how can the richest nation on Earth not provide health care for all its citizens, it raised the question of causality: Would we be the richest nation on Earth if we did dump all kinds of money into a national health care system?

I generally use VA health care (disabled vet), BTW, and I wouldn't wish that system on anyone. I've had an infected wisdom tooth for a few weeks now, and I think I will shell out the money for surgury myself because I can have it done before the VA has my initial examination scheduled.

most fundamental American freedoms

I consider it a fundamental freedom to be able to choose how I pay for my health care, who the money goes to, and if I need health insurance at all. This is not compatible with every proposal I've seen for universal health care. I'd like to be able to opt out of the system, thanks.

I consider it a fundamental freedom to own and legally make use of a firearm. I see a (D) after a name and I am instantly wary about their respect for my liberty on that issue.

I believe that *all* civil rights are important. I also believe that unless you can demonstrate that society itself is being damaged by a group's actions, then they should be allowed to live their lives as they see fit.

Finer points will be published as we work towards 2006. Believe it or not I am a "tech head".. By day I work for a large bank maintaining an Oracle 11i upgrade and by night I enjoy my mythtv and watching it with my family. I have a mythtv box, i've built out my own networks and i have even implemented a small asterisk box to do voip for our growing campaign. I'm just looking around to see if there is anything out there i have missed so i can get some of my techs involved or implement anything that looks helpfull. Thanks!

I wouldn't vote for anyone who writes with habitual errors in capitalization, punctuation, and spelling. One misplaced comma in a law can have dire consequences. Everyone makes mistakes, but if you want to put out a good image, you need to learn how to write better, even on Slashdot.

I'm not a party-line voter, generally I vote for Republicans and Libertarians (Libertarians especially in local races) and, in fact, I voted for a few Democrats in the last election when they were clearly the lesser evil. (Generally being those who are more aligned with the cause of Liberty than the Republican candidates.)

Re:Why not read me website.. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11807983)

Would we be the richest nation on Earth if we did dump all kinds of money into a national health care system?

Actually, it raises the question of reality. [cia.gov] If you're really the richest nation on earth, how come you're in debt more than most other "first world" countries? Or how come You don't generate as much money as many other countries? [greenspun.com]

I guess the answer to the question is: You're only the richest if you consider military spending as the sole indicator of wealth.

Re:Why not read me website.. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11808624)

I was just paraphrasing Kerry. I understand that our net value based on per-capita debt is less than that of other nations, and I won't dispute your charge. I disagree with the run up of debt, but I will tell you why it's less of a problem than the debt doom-and-gloomers say it is:

Controlled inflation. Since inflation is (supposed to be) controlled at about 2-3% annually, this effectivly erases the value of the principal of the debt over time. Essentially, as long as the interest is paid, the principal pays itself.

I agree that making payments on the principal is financially sound for the United States, but there are times when it is necessary to enter into further debt. There is also a matter of who the debt is owed to, as well. The bulk of it is owed back to citizens of the United States in the form of bonds. This is far better than owing it to other nations.

We could go into a discussion on foreign aid at this point. Frankly, I've always found it stupid to be giving foreign aid while the government is borrowing money. Individuals generally don't give to charity before they make sure their own ass is covered, the government should follow that principle to.

I guess the answer to the question is: You're only the richest if you consider military spending as the sole indicator of wealth.

Power is a form of wealth, yes.

Re:Why not read me website.. (1, Troll)

demachina (71715) | more than 9 years ago | (#11809995)

" Will you make it easier for me to send my child to a private school where they will receive a far better education than the local school district offers, without me having to pay for both schools? (Yes, that means waivers.)"

This is such an odd concept. You see I pay for the public school system through property taxes and Federal income taxes and I DON'T HAVE ANY KIDS. Why exactly should you be exempted from paying taxes for public schools, or get vouchers, so you can defray the cost of sending your kid to a plush private school while I still have to help pay for public schools, probably even more so if you people opt out, and I DON'T HAVE ANY KIDS. Either you go to a system where only people with kids in public schools pay for public schools at which point they stop being public schools or everyone shares the burden. Not sure why I get to help pay for both public schools and your kids plush private education and I DON'T HAVE ANY KIDS.

"Would we be the richest nation on Earth if we did dump all kinds of money into a national health care system?"

I'd say its a stretch so say the U.S. is the world's "richest nation". The U.S. is the world's biggest debtor nation to the tune of 7-8 trillion. The U.S. is rich in terms of GDP but the EU which is pretty much a "nation" now is pretty close to the same size. China will almost certainly pass the U.S. in GDP in another 20 years barring calamity. If the U.S. continues to drown in debt the U.S. economy could easily collapse before then. The U.S. requires foreign countries, mostly central banks, to buy $2 billion worth of our debt a day and all indications are Japan, Korea and others may stop due to the fact the Bush administration is letting the dollar collapse and the U.S is no so fiscally unsound it is turning in to a bad investment which is pretty much a first. If central banks stop buying dollars and our debt this country is going to be in a world of hurt.

China, Canada, and most EU nations have universal health care in one form or another and it doesn't hurt their competitiveness at all, in fact it probably helps. Their systems aren't perfect but the U.S. system is far from perfect. Canada is the fastest growing country in the G-9 at the moment.

Actually we would probably have a dramaticly healthier economy if we did have universal health care and regulated drug prices. Our private and public health care system combined has reach the point it is bleeding our economy white, mostly due to out of control inflation, inflation far beyond the rest of the economy.

The cost to employers for insurance in the U.S. has become prohibitively expensive and is a huge factor in making them uncompetitive globally. Employers in countries with socialized health care don't have to bare this cost(except through taxes). At this point many companies are cutting health care for employees or dropping it all together, meaning the U.S. increasingly has great health care only if you are rich enough to afford it.

The drug companies in particular are engaged in such massive profiteering that they are the single most profitable business in the U.S. Unchecked drug costs are going to wreck the U.S. economy almost single handedly. Of course lawyers, insurance companies, HMO's and giant health care companies are all taking hung chunks out of the U.S. economy too.

"I consider it a fundamental freedom to own and legally make use of a firearm."

I keep hearing right wingers rant about that but I really don't know why. It is incredibly easy to buy all the guns you want in this country, more so than almost any other country. If the (D)'s are trying to outlaw them they are doing a crappy job of it and its not an issue worthy of deciding who runs this country. About all the D's have done was some registration which isn't entirely bad, and they did pass an ineffective ban against some assault weapons which has since lapsed. It was easy to circumvent and I really, honestly don't entirely understand why people really need to own assault weapons unless they are planning on killing somebody, expecting rioting and anarchy in the streets, or are planning on fighting a private war.

"I believe that *all* civil rights are important."

I believe that too and when I see an (R) after a name I am instantly wary about their respect for my liberty on that issue. McCarthyism, Watergate, Iran Contra, and the Bush administration, oooi, they trample civil liberties in so many ways I can't list them all here. I cant say the people with the (D) are much better, but man the (R)'s are bad beyond believe on this score.

Re:Why not read me website.. (1)

tf23 (27474) | more than 9 years ago | (#11833267)

I pay for the public school system through property taxes and Federal income taxes and I DON'T HAVE ANY KIDS. Why exactly should you be exempted from paying taxes for public schools, or get vouchers, so you can defray the cost of sending your kid to a plush private school while I still have to help pay for public schools, probably even more so if you people opt out, and I DON'T HAVE ANY KIDS.

Interesting that you bring this up. Our school district last year claimed soon-near-bankruptcy, and put a funding measure on the books. When it wasn't doing too well in the local gossip, they announced that they would cut have to cut all extra curicular activities, or do a pay-as-you-go deal.

That caused a bit of an uproar, but not much.

Then they announced if it didn't go through, they would be forced to cut all the bussing.

That got everyone riled up, and then the vote swung for them.

People didn't realize that in Ohio, under current law, there are certain age groups of children that the school district MUST bus.

During all that, we were contemplating funding et all. And I asked a similar question. Right now I have one kid in the district. I pay for 2.5 kids worth of extra curicular funding in my taxes.

The guy down the street from me has 5 kids. One or two have just entered the district. The others are too young.

In Ohio, schools are paid by property taxes. So - I'm paying more then my share for his kids to goto school. By him choosing to have multiple children, the rest of the city's taxpayers are funding his kids. He chose to have >1 kid. But he doesn't have to pay to educate each child, accordingly.

I don't know if Ohio's funding situation is unusual, or not. Though the Ohio Supreme Court declared it unconstitutional about 5 years ago, and declared that it should be changed. It's not been... yet.

Please speak english (3, Interesting)

LWATCDR (28044) | more than 9 years ago | (#11806310)

I checked out your positions.
" * Continued investment in and support of broadband infrastructure & access."
Will you support the right of communities to provide free wifi and create local broadband networks? Yes or no.

" * Stronger recognition of consumer rights in the digital world."
Will you protect fair use? Yes or no.
" * Legitimate copyright protection & enforcement."
Will you restore due process? I.E. Media companies must get court orders to track user IP addresses? Yes or No.
" * Modernization of patent laws to protect innovation and technology."
What heck do you mean by that?
" * Technology assurance programs, including product liability to ensure consumer protection." Again what the heck do you mean by that?
" * Technology & protocol standardization - open system specifications, common infrastructure, and unified industry adoption."
So the government is going to make system specifications the LAW? Good grief I can not think of many ideas worse that than one.

What about funding research in to new Nuclear reactor technology like the Pebble Bed?
What about a solar roof program? Requiring each new home to have a small solar voltaic panel tied to the grid? Even 100 watts to start with? Just enough to to increase the production of solar cells. In the future the required size could be increased as the cost comes down.
What about increased funding for NASA?
What about a bio-diesel program? Maybe giving bio-diesel a bigger tax break.
I found your site short on specifics. Since you have jumped into the frying pan let's crank up some heat.

Re:Please speak english (4, Informative)

byronmiller (861060) | more than 9 years ago | (#11816086)

?? Will you support the right of communities to provide free wifi and create local broadband networks? ??

Yes.

?? Will you protect fair use? Yes or no.??

Fiar use has no meaning. Fair use is like the clean are act, it sounds good but has no bite because the meaning doesn't PROTECT your freedoms afforded to you via copyright laws. We have to stop the UNFAIR business demands taking away our rights or come up with bills that define them to be easily understood and inclusive of all media types (digital/analog/printed...).

??" * Modernization of patent laws to protect innovation and technology." What heck do you mean by that??

Exactly what I mean. Modernization of Patent laws to protect innovation and technology - not prohibit such. Patents are used for the wrong reason and prohibit small businesses from innovating in many ways. We Need to be a bit more proactive in setting precedence for what could be patented and for what reasons instead of applying with the hopes (or lobbying for support of) getting approval on some unknown review process. (or the skill of your lawyer)

??" * Technology assurance programs, including product liability to ensure consumer protection." Again what the heck do you mean by that???

Take fair use and give it a law with Bite. Take consumer rights and make them known. What do you mean with or interpret as "fair use"? How do you know what to do with software you buy? Songs you purchase? Dvd's you own? Can you copy? Can you resell? Can you transfer license? What happens when your using something that advertises "secure online banking" but your information is exposed through a vendor mishap or lax security - why should YOU be punished for using a service sold to you as secure? How are you protected in such instances where your computer/network is unkowningly used to attack or break into others? What rights do you have as to what is running on your PC? Can you sue Spyware companies because they're breaking into your PC or is it assumed the risk we take is warranted and we shouldn't do anything to assure net access, net security, licensing protections and corporate awareness of consumer rights? I'm about consumer advocacy and awareness.

Technology & protocol standardization - open system specifications, common infrastructure, and unified industry adoption."

So the government is going to make system specifications the LAW? Good grief I can not think of many ideas worse that than one.

I beg to differ. Every industry has a standard protocol of acceptance, qualifications and industry standards. Medicine, Healthcare, Global Trade, you name it they all have rules, standards and laws to define them.

I'm not asking the government to enforce specific technologies but to create an environment that strives to create industry acceptance of such as a standard.

IT is being highly commodotized, in order to trade on the open market and to remain useable and accessible by all laws have to be created to set precendence on the industry, standards and adoption of such.

Re:Please speak english (1)

LWATCDR (28044) | more than 9 years ago | (#11820013)

"I beg to differ. Every industry has a standard protocol of acceptance, qualifications and industry standards. Medicine, Healthcare, Global Trade, you name it they all have rules, standards and laws to define them."
Fair use is easy. If I buy a cd or dvd I own the rights to listen to that movie or music. If I want to convert it to a different format.
Here is one where I really have to disagree. The government has no more place deciding what file formats or communications protocols a program uses then it does to decide what airfoil an airliner uses.

Re:Why not read me website.. (1)

Bluetrust25 (647829) | more than 9 years ago | (#11806565)

There's some attrocious spelling errors here. You should get someone trustworthy to look over your communications with the public.

Re:Why not read me website.. (1)

demachina (71715) | more than 9 years ago | (#11809819)

That's atrocious not "attrocious". Mr. Pot meet Mr. Kettle, you are both black :)

eGroupware (1)

waa (159514) | more than 9 years ago | (#11795273)

eGroupware is an excellent product that has become very mature in the past couple of years. It is all web-based and works great in Firefox.

It has email, shared calendaring, shared todo's. User is in control of what users can see/add/edit their appointments etc.

A default install comes with FAR more applications than you will need, but you can prune it down to do just what you want.

Check out eGroupWare [egroupware.org]

I would love to know what you and your staff think about this product.

disclamer: I am not affiliated with eGroupWare in any way except that I am also in the process of evaluating it.

Collaboration/email systems (1)

ke4qqq (678293) | more than 9 years ago | (#11795737)

Take a look at OpenGroupware.org
It's quite stable, permits document and project management, as well as individual/group scheduling, and contact management.

Re:Collaboration/email systems (1)

byronmiller (861060) | more than 9 years ago | (#11799453)

Will definately check that out. I've researched that a while back but have since forgotten about it.

Re:Collaboration/email systems (1)

scupper (687418) | more than 9 years ago | (#11852692)

Have you looked at SUSE's OpenExchange [novell.com] ?

They have an online demo [novell.com] .

CivicSpace/DemocracyInAction (4, Insightful)

cleetus (123553) | more than 9 years ago | (#11795928)

As a political consultant/PAC founder [startchangepac.org] who bootstrapped the entire enterprise from hand-rolled code and open source projects, The best I've seen so far is the CivicSpace [civicspacelabs.com] initiative started by the techies from the Dean campaign. It's still at 0.8.0.3, and so there will still be bugs, but they fix patches quickly and the team is quite responsive. In addition, if you combine a CivicSpace installation with some intelligently placed hooks into the great stuff at Democracy In Action [democracyinaction.com] , you will be able to communicate and co-ordinate with your grass roots (and collect money from them), all at an extremely low cost.

Tim

Re:CivicSpace/DemocracyInAction (1)

Saeed al-Sahaf (665390) | more than 9 years ago | (#11796122)

Yes, I'm dense. But why is the parent "flamebait"?

OpenACS... (1)

aquarian (134728) | more than 9 years ago | (#11798068)

OpenACS is my favorite content management and collaboration suite. At openacs.org, there are links to campaign sites, etc., built with OpenACS software.

Greetings (1)

/dev/trash (182850) | more than 9 years ago | (#11799271)

Greetings from District 9. We're never gonna be rid of the Shusters

Start with sourceforge .. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11801073)

Start with accepting donations on sourceforge, it should well give you a peek at your future politcal career ..

A wee bit offtopic (2, Interesting)

SupremeTaco (844794) | more than 9 years ago | (#11801685)

Dude is like 28 years old! [byronmiller.org] . Must give him props for even running. Most people that age don't even care enough to get involved.
Good luck, man! Hope it all works out for you.

Re:A wee bit offtopic (1)

Monkelectric (546685) | more than 9 years ago | (#11802584)

No its the other way around. Most people dont care if people that AGE get involved. All the old coots voting now do not vote for people that age.

I'd tell you all the secrets... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11804597)

But you're a Democrat.

If it looks like an ass...

CivicSpace (5, Informative)

3.2.3 (541843) | more than 9 years ago | (#11804774)

While the people who support CivicSpace mean well, I ran it for several months and found it all bark and no bite. PHP apps are so brittle, it is foolhardy to attempt to run large scale projects on them. And too many PHP libraries are not threadsafe. Although it seems more and more (I would assume inexperienced) democratically oriented political organizations are starting to use CivicSpace. This concerns me.

I think the main reason CivicSpace has caught on is that it takes little skill to set up. That part of it is extremely democratic, and first impressions are everything. Then folks start doing the things it can do out of the box, like blog, and blogging a campaign does not make (actually, it distracts from an actual campaign).

Note that although CivicSpace came out of the Dean *grassroots* campaign, it took nearly the whole campaign to make it even minimally usable (although there were a lot of "skins" for it early on to make it look nice), and even then not many sites of any consequence were running it. The actual Dean *professional* campaign ran on a grab bag of proprietary and open source software (Convio, Moveable Type, roll your own PHP) that never had a single sign on and seemed to change every few months as a new person would get an audience in front of the right campaign official and convince them that some new software would solve all the problems of the old software, which had been the new software only a few months before. Each successive generation seemed to go downhill a bit as folks who were supposed to be more qualified took over from folks who had supposedly reached the limits of their usefulness.

At one point there was a tour by some software folks from the professional Dean campaign office that claimed they would come to your town and talk about open source software and leveraging technology to people interested in it. I was too busy with CivicSpace (then DeanSpace) at the time to mess with being a host, but I went to the whistle stop functions for the tour in my town when some other people did host it. There wasn't much talk about actual software or content management or leveraging technology. Just a lot of jumping up and down about what a good time the campaign people were having on tour.

Be forewarned, when I used CivicSpace, it required PHP Safe Mode to be turned off and would not run in a PHP hardened environment. It is not secure enough for real campaigns.

If anyone reading this is a CivicSpace advocate, this is not meant to discourage you. If CivicSpace is serving your needs, by all means have at it. This is just my experience. Dealing with the hype and pressure to use CivicSpace in my activist network pretty much set us back the entire campaign.

Also, avoid Voter Activation Network at all costs. It's .Net, so you probably won't even consider it to begin with. Slow. Inflexible.

Anyway, I've found that rolling your own with a *robust and scalabe* open source CMS like Plone works best for me. There are value add companies [cignex.com] that have very quick (< 2 month) turn around to provide something custom built on top of open source platforms to your needs. This is going to take you a lot farther than something free out of the box, supported by college students on Instant Messenger when they happen to be around, with a smorgasboard of common PHP message board functions.

Finally, remember that althought CMSes sound democratic, there are complex social patterns to successfully deploying a CMS your community will actually use and contribute content to. People will fuss to get things on the web. Then when you actually give them the tools to do so, they will still try to pass all the content creation off on the webmaster, creating both a bottleneck and a political problems (why is a webmaster the most qualified person to shape political messages? why is the webmaster supposed to know finance law? why is the webmaster suddenly in charge of scheduling and managing your rally?). You will need to devise a workflow that distributes the creation of content onto the people responsible for those areas of content, and make sure those people have enough savvy to push buttons that say things like "create a calendar entry" or "send this calendar entry to the main calendar."

I'm not joking, only one in ten seemingly capable adults can actually bring themselves to do this, unless its a blog they can treat like a Burger King drive up where they can place orders magically carried out by a webmaster. They will go to a one hour participatory class that make posting items to a site as simple as using Word and sending an email, and then go back to sending requests to a webmaster within the next hour. A good campaign manager would make this kind of a personnel test. Anybody who can't post to your CMS without significant hand holding or motivational speeches is probably not somebody who should be on your paid staff, whatever their other qualifications or cheery attitudes seem to be.

Build a faraday cage (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11804952)

Have you checked out your opponent? You'll need a faraday cage [house.gov] .

Too Transparent (1)

aspx (808539) | more than 9 years ago | (#11824722)

Bravo on your guerilla marketing attempt.

Drupal (1)

Matt_Joyce (816842) | more than 9 years ago | (#11929575)

You may want to consider Drupal for web/intranet/extranet needs.

http://www.drupal.org/ [drupal.org]

lots of modules, active devs, php and free.

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