Thursday, October 10, 2013

You are the voice of conservation, are you silent, or are you singing, "POPVOX"?

Be heard by your government!

Busy, like me? Be heard by government through POPVOX.

We have added a POPVOX widget in the right column of this blog, use it.

POPVOX is really easy to set up and use, just create a login, screen name, and offer your views on diverse pending legislation. Everyone will see your selected screen name, only POPVOX and congressional staff, and hopefully, members of Congress will see your full identification.

POPVOX is a new (2009), innovative, non-partisan startup offering YOU a simple tool to participate in democracy--and you do not have to have a geek in your pocket to make it work! It's easy. I've used it. I have not detected so much as a hint of the smell of partisanship, so far. I can see my results right away. POPVOX gives me access to legislation and the legislative process. POPVOX makes it easy for me to communicate meaningfully with my representatives. You can do it, too.

Why POPVOX? Most people do not take the time to write to their representatives. Most people are not comfortable writing to their representatives. Few take the time to email their representatives and those who do so send emails into a morass of overwhelming communications sent to public office holders, much of it dubious. If you are a skilled and regular letter writer, please continue to send your letters to Congress.

How is communication through POPVOX different? CrunchBase summarizes POPVOX succinctly,
"POPVOX does the work of aggregating, verifying, sorting, and counting opinions and delivering input to lawmakers in a transparent, structured format. It’s the only website of its kind—and it’s nonpartisan. Serving individuals, Congress, and advocacy professionals, POPVOX is akin to a “Legislative LinkedIn” – bringing transparency, efficiency, and accountability to policymaking. POPVOX is a “civic startup” – a for-profit corporation with a dual mission to scale and return value to investors while empowering individuals and making government more accountable. CrunchBase Profile
Too good to be true? Well, it's not anonymous, it cannot be insofar as Congress is concerned. Undoubtedly, POPVOX, an intermediary, collects information about individual preferences. Under your screen name, your positions and comments are posted, so POPVOX must store them under your real identity. That's a double-edge sword. My "signed" verified communications are taken seriously by my representatives in so far as their offices certainly log my opinions among others for or against specific legislation. They can hear my "stories," too, when I choose to comment on legislation. Perhaps their staffers select some of my comments or pull quotes from my comments and from others when preparing summaries for legislators? If so, that's a good thing. The downside; my positions can be used to predict my likely voting patterns. This data is collected by the intermediary, POPVOX, and my preferences and opinions can be gleaned from my repeated input on legislation under consideration.

Are my preferences collected, collated, and stored? Are they sold individually or collectively for target advertising? Don't know, we'll see. Is that a bad thing? Don't know, we'll see. Do I care? Yes. Based on my read of the Privacy Policy, this will not happen, but I found their Privacy Policy lengthy and a bit confusing. I find all detailed Privacy Policy statements are lengthy and confusing. If YOU know how to read a Privacy Policy, please comment and explain what you see in their Policy Statement. This is a for profit business, so advertising is present, but it's not intrusive, yet. The upside, my voice is heard in a reliable way.

Visit POPVOX and decide if expedient communication with Congress is for you.

Tuesday, October 1, 2013

Birthday irony for NASA, our national archetype for effective teamwork and problem-solving

The National Aeronautics and Space Administration, NASA, opened its doors October 1, 1958 following passage of founding legislation July 29, 1958. A successful Soviet launch had put a satellite, Sputnik, into low earth orbit. Our government leadership came together in bipartisan cooperation to say, NO, we will not be outdone. NASA's liftoff began a mission that carried all of us to the moon and beyond, where none had gone before. NASA changed the way we see the universe, the earth, our nation, and ourselves. NASA brought us essential paradigm shifts embodied in iconic images, Earthrise and Spaceship Earth. NASA produced great technological leaps. NASA continues to carry us all to new places and new insights, but not today and not for the immediate future, NASA is in limbo!

Earthrise, December 24, 1968, Apollo 8, 075:48:54 mission time. Image presented in correct mission orientation as seen by astronauts Jim Lovell, Bill Anders, and Frank Borman orbiting the moon.
Sadly, 93% of NASA employees are furloughed today due to the United States Federal Government shutdown, a result of the failure of congress to work together, a consequence of poor leadership and poor teamwork allowing a small fraction of one party in one House to run away with the national agenda, a malicious effort to gain division and to distract the news cycle at the very moment all Americans, for the first time, have access to affordable health care, an achievement far more important than reaching the Moon.

Happy 55th Birthday NASA. 

Ironically, NASA taught us teamwork. NASA is our symbolic and our actual instrument for teamwork success in our greatest technological efforts.

Teamwork trainers tell us, and NASA showed us, that effective teamwork comes together in stages, simplified: Forming, Storming, Norming, and Performing. All of these stages have value and contribute to a team effort to close in on goals. Today, Congress is held hostage by children unwilling to move beyond the Storming phase because they get attention. Parents recognize the terrible two's!

Childish barbarians have taken over Congress, let's put NASA in charge!