Tuesday, September 27, 2016

How Well is the Open Government Partnership Working?

A draft of the United States of America Midterm Self-Assessment Report - Third Open Government National Action Plan 2015-2017, September 2016, is now available. The self-assessment report "describes the development process for the third NAP and the progress made implementing the initiatives halfway through the two-year implementation period. " The initiatives are based on four open government principles: transparency, civic participation, public accountability, and technology and innovation for openness and accountability. All 45 open government commitments of the NAP are described in a quick-view chart along with each one's level of completion.  The commitments cover a wide range of areas from helping students make informed decisions about higher education to improving health with data-driven precision medicine to developing a common whistleblower training curriculum for the intelligence community.

Saturday, September 24, 2016

Grand Opening of the National Museum of African American History and Culture

The grand opening of the National Museum of African American History and Culture the weekend of September 23-25, 2016 fulfills the aspirations of Black Civil War veterans who suggested the museum in 1915 and countless others since then as discussed in the September 2016 edition of the Smithsonian Magazine. Seated prominently on the National Mall across from the Washington Monument, the museum displays over 35,000 objects collected from all over the world. The founding director, Lonnie Bunch, reveals the four pillars the museum was built on:
  1. to harness the power of memory to help America illuminate all the dark corners of its past.
  2. to demonstrate that this was more than a people’s journey—it was a nation’s story.
  3. to be a beacon that illuminated all the work of other museums in a manner that was collaborative, and not competitive.
  4. to reflect upon the global dimensions of the African-American experience.
(Read the full story at http://www.smithsonianmag.com/smithsonian-institution/definitive-story-national-museum-african-american-history-culture-came-be-180960125/#eXHRKcDrqqkTiryo.99
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If you can't visit the museum in person for the grand opening, you can still see artifacts and access videos and music online from the museum's home page. Also ABC News has posted a 360 degree-video so you can view galleries and important artifacts.

Friday, September 02, 2016

How Can the Results of a Presidential Election Be Contested?

On August 26, 2016 the Congressional Research Service (CRS) published a report entitled "How Can the Results of a Presidential Election be Contested?"  The brief report reveals that challenges to the vote for presidential electors are initially handled in the states since states are the initial and principal authority for the administration of elections within their jurisdictions. The document also reveals how objections can be made when Congress meets in joint session to count the electoral votes. For further information, it also recommends CRS Report RL32717 ("Counting Electoral Votes: An Overview of Procedures at the Joint Session, Including Objections by Members of Congress") and CRS Report RL32611 ("The Electoral College: How It Works in Contemporary Presidential Elections").