I don’t know if will fly, but SeattleWiki

>Seattle Wiki is a collaborative website for people living in Seattle to share
their knowledge of the city. Here you can read and write about places to go, th
ings to do, organizations, happenings and events, resources, politics, and anyt
hing else related to the greater Seattle area.

(Wikis are websites that allow ALL their readers to freely write and edit conte
nt. They can be fascinating and powerful tools for capturing emerging knowledg
e from a community. For an amazing example of communal knowledge production, c
heck out [wikipedia](, which is now the largest encycl
opedia in the world.)

Connecting the dots

Jeff Reifman connects a few dots quite nicely.

Sean Pender points out that the U.S. Election Assistance Commission tomorrow is
holding a public meeting at 1:00pm at 1225 New York Ave, N.W., Suite 1100 in W
ashington, D.C. Go to the meeting and tell the Bush administration to preserve
American democracy and back off its plan to hijack the election for its own pol
itical gain. If you’re not in Washington, e-mail them at this address: HAVAinf

( for more information)

Sound Transit to study monorail

The folks at [King County Monorail]( have ac
hieved a minor victory. Sound Transit is going to study monorail as part of it
s future transit mix. Here’s what the Seattle PI had to s

>Sound Transit staff members doing a study of future transit projects for the r
egion known as Phase 2 had earlier indicated they wanted to stick to building o
n what the agency already offers: regional express bus service, commuter rail a
nd light rail.

>But one-third of public comments on Phase 2 asked Sound Transit to consider mo
norail in Phase 2.

>Yesterday, Sound Transit board members advised Sound Transit Planning Director
Paul Matsuoka to study monorail for a number of different locations, such as a
cross Interstate 90 and above the Burke-Gilman Trail along state Route 522.

Shame on you, Adam Smith

Adam Smith was was one only four Democrats who voted to uphold the “Patriot” Act this week. The measure in question w
ould have prevented the government from looking at your library records and boo
k-buying habits without a warrant.

With the final vote tied at 210-210, just one more vote from Adam Smith would h
ave made the difference.

Shame on you, Adam Smith. Your constituents deserve better. The government ha
s no right to investigate my intellectual habits without a warrant.

If you live in the [9th District](
_popup.jpg) here in Washington and want to let Rep. Smith know how you feel, yo
u can [email him here](

Excuse me!?!?

AP reports :

>Voting Official Seeks Terrorism Guidelines

>By ERICA WERNER, Associated Press Writer

>WASHINGTON – The government needs to establish guidelines for canceling or rescheduling elections if terrorists strike the United States again, says the chairman of a new federal voting commission.

>Such guidelines do not currently exist, said DeForest B. Soaries, head of the voting panel.

WTF!?!? _Cancel the elections!?!?_ Did he really just say that?

Real time interactive maps as organizing tools

Social Design Notes has a nice rundown on MoveOn’s use of live interactive maps as a feedback mechanism during live events.

>In Stamen Design’s latest project for MoveOn, the map of feedback has itself become the means of participation.


>On June 28, over 55,000 people in 4,600 house parties participated in an online conversation with Michael Moore about his film Fahrenheit 9/11. Moore spoke over a live, RealAudio feed while users asked questions via the map interface. User feedback was displayed on the map in real time.

The design firm has a nice [series of screenshots]( that illustrate the flow of the event. Worth checking out.

Again, MoveOn shows its ability to create innovative one-off organizing tools. I just wish they’d share the code so that others can iterate and re-use. I think that’s part of the obligation of the “big dogs” who have the money to spend on innovation. Too bad they don’t seem to see it that way.

Lead in Seattle schools’ drinking fountains

Here’s an amazing flash-campaign organizing opportunity for a group like [Washington Toxics Coalition]( It combines a well-known hazard, kids, ignored warnings and immediate threats to health. You don’t get handed mobilizing events like this that often. Kudos to the PI for above-the-fold coverage.

Lead-tainted water in Seattle schools stuns parents

>When Kimberly and Corey Brown’s son was a toddler, people would often comment on what a good-natured, perfectly behaved little boy he was.

>That changed a couple of months after Forrest Allison-Brown started kindergarten classes at north Seattle’s Alternative Elementary No. 2 three years ago. He began talking back and flying into rages. Teachers said he had difficulty paying attention in class. He complained of headaches and started having sleeping problems.

>The fountain in Room 5 at AE2, which Forrest drank from regularly, showed lead levels of 1,600 parts per billion — 80 times over the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency limit of 20 parts per billion.

[More]( [background](

Simplifying Softwood Spin

Will Horter’s article Simplifying Softwood Spin from the Dogwood Inititiave website/blog, is a great primer on the US-Canada softwood lumber dispute.

>The Canadian Position:
Canadian governments argue they do not subsidize logging companies. They contend that low log prices are a function of a different system imposing differing responsibilities. They claim the issue in the dispute is US protectionism and the inability of the US industry to compete with Canadian efficiency. They claim the softwood dispute is all about market share, and they accuse the inefficient US industry calling for protectionist tariffs any time Canadian imports exceed 33% of the US market.

>The U.S. Position:
The US claims that Canada subsidizes logging on public lands. These subsidies are found in ridiculously low stumpage rates and a complex hodgepodge of financial assistance programs. US manufacturers argue that 60% of their costs come from the cost of wood, while in BC tenure holders spend only 20% of their operational costs on stumpage, and often pay as little as 25 cents for logs the size of telephone polls.

>The Reality:
Both countries are partially right, but neither tells the full story.

Digestible writing, cogent analysis, a clear point of view. The very essence of good grassroots journalism.

Now *that’s* viral!

Saul Alinksy wrote that effective organizers go outside the experience of their opposition whenever possible, while remaining inside the experience of their supporters. The Right’s back-on-their-heels responses to “Farenheit 9/11” are really showing just how far outside their experience network culture organizing really is.

The latest brilliant tactic from opponents of Michael Moore and “Farenheit 9/11” is to encourage folks to download pirated copies of the movie. I’m guessing they think this will somehow cut into Moore’s cash flow.

But what I really love here is how their supposed attack on Moore just fuels the viral marketing of the movie. Anybody who would download a camcorder version of the movie isn’t going to pay nine bucks to see it at the cineplex anyway — and is likely to be exactly the kind of disaffected voter we really want to reach with Farenheit 9/11 anyway.

Plus, [CNN]( and other media outlet’s coverage of the “piracy” angle only gives the movie legs through yet another news cycle, which it definitely needs as Spiderman 2 breaks all kinds of box office records this weekend.

And just think: it’s only July 1. The fun is just beginning.

If Michael Moore is really smart, he’ll mail out a few hundred thousand DVDs of “Farenheit 9/11” to swing or unregistered voters about a week before election day. Might cost a couple million dollars but I’m sure the direct (persuasion) and indirect (media coverage) effects would be well worthwhile. And what better use for some of the film’s profits?


He’s too modest (or busy?) to mention it, but Kellan is mentioned prominently in a Seattle PI article on WiFi Seattle coffee houses

>Kellan Elliott-McCrea, a programmer for and a caffeine fiend extraordinaire, has started a Web site dedicated to documenting Seattle’s free Wi-Fi coffeehouses. This participatory site — at — welcomes visitors to post information about the free Wi-Fi cafes they find.

>When he started the site back in October, Elliott-McCrea expected he’d end up with 10 to 15 java joints listed. The site now boasts reviews of more than 45 establishments.

As always, a good lesson in the power of putting your wild ideas out there — you never know which ones are going to catch on.

Canada Votes

Dave Pollard has a nice summary of yesterday’s election results from Canada. Good news for progressives:

> The rightist Conservatives lost nearly a quarter of their support, and only gained seats because they combined into a single party to exploit Canada’s antiquated first-past-the-post voting system. The three progressive parties, the NDP, Bloc and Greens saw their share of the vote rise by 50%. Canadians clearly said once again that Bush-style right-wing governments are not for us. I’m very proud of my fellow Canadians today.

>I’m delighted to report that the Green Party got more than double the 2% of the vote nationally they needed to get the new government campaign funding of $1.75 per vote per year until the next election, and also behaved so credibly the Canadian media conglomerate won’t dare exclude them again from the national leaders’ debate next time.

Pop.Vote %
Pop.Vote %

Liberal 172  41%

135  37%


Democratic Party


  19  15%



Seattle’s new library

David Sucher shares some some thoughts on Seattle’s new library. I haven’t seen it in person yet, so I’ll withhold my judgement. But this seems like an important observation:
>the Library is not at all intuitive i.e. as a new user one does not sense naturally and comfortably how the building is organized. You know how it is in a restaurant? You can always know (if the place is designed typically) where to find the wash rooms? That’s what I call intuitive design — there are enough queues and clues so that one knows how to use the space without ever having been there before. The Seattle Public Library is not, to my senses, like that at all.

Ron Sims runs on tax reform

The Seattle PI today covers Ron Sims’ decision to make tax reform the centerpiece of his bid to become Governor.

Last month, Sims’ campaign commissioned focus group surveys of 20 loyal Democrats from King County on the issue of tax reform. According to a summary of those interviews, the participants favored tax reform as a means to a system that would be more fair, business friendly and stable.

“Participants … spontaneously identified tax reform as a critical issue facing the state,” reads the report. “… They did express a concern if a candidate raised the specter of an income tax — that it might make the candidate ‘unelectable’ because of well-known controversy surround the issue, but they admired the ‘backbone’ and ‘guts’ that it would take to raise it.

“Upon discussion, there was general consensus that this was not an issue to be avoided.”

This is unexpectedly bold. And very, very welcome. Tax reform is definitely the most important issue facing our state, and it’s refreshing to see someone taking the political risk of addressing the big issues head-on.

I hope that this moves the debate, even if Ron fails to gain the nomination.

Tim O’Reilly on “The Open Source Paradigm Shift”

The Open Source Paradigm Shift is a solid essay on why open-source software is a significant long-term trend:

I find it useful to see open source as an expression of three deep, long-term trends:

* The commoditization of software
* Network-enabled collaboration
* Software customizability (software as a service)

Long term trends like these “three Cs”, rather than the Free Software Manifesto or The Open Source Definition, should be the lens through which we understand the changes that are being unleashed.

Worthwhile read for anyone seeking to understand the importance of open-source.

Blogs for small campaigns

Kayne McGladrey makes the offer I wish I had the time and energy to make myself. The response, however, was disappointing.

A few weeks ago, I sent out an email to multiple Democratic candidates and their campaign managers in Washington State. In the email, I posed the following question:

“Would the public read the web log of a local candidate? And would a local candidate periodically write on a community web log?”

I offered to handle all the technical bits, promoting a new community site, and I’d pay for all the hosting costs and bandwidth. In turn, all the candidates had to do was write on the site and hopefully reply to comments. Volunteers would also be allowed to post entries. The idea was to establish a local Democratic echo chamber to promote these candidates, and also to make them more accessible and interesting to the public.

As the replies came back, I came to realize that most campaigns are still in the 1990s when it comes to effectively using technology. Most political websites are woefully non-interactive – just some statlc pages on policy, a glossy photo and an email address. Some campaigns now have donation links, but these are the exception. This is not the compelling content that brings people into the process.

None of the campaigns I contacted took me up on my offer. The common thread in the replies was that they didn’t have enough time to write. The other reason that was cited was that while people might read about John Kerry, who’d read about a local candidate?

Small campaigns are often short on time and on volunteers. I can understand this line of reasoning. However, small campaigns depend heavily on targeted mass-mailings, which are a primary expense on a local campaign.Web logs are inexpensive by comparison, and can be easily updated, unlike a mail piece. The technologies are complimentary, not mutually exclusive.

The only ray of hope I can offer is the observation that several Seattle City Council members — most notably Richard Conlin and Nick Licata — write in-depth, personal, informative email newsletters… content that could just as easily be adapted to blog format (hint hint). So I think there is some precedent for small-scale elected officials (if not campaigns) to do this.

Someone please explain to me…

… how the Saudi government was able to find and kill Paul Johnson’s killer within mere HOURS of his execution — unless they already knew where these guys were? This whole think stinks. And what stinks more is that nobody seems to be asking this most obvious question of our so-called allies in Riyadh. Media, hello?