In 2004, a Harvard undergraduate got an idea (yes, that is ambiguous) for a new kind of social network. Here’s the important point: He built it. He had a bunch of extremely clever clues for opening up a social space that every kid (anyone younger than I am) would love. He architected that social space around the social life of the kids he knew. And he worked ferociously hard to make sure the system was stable and functioning at all times. The undergraduate then spread it to other schools, then other communities, and now to anyone.
There has been a growing fury about the Supreme Court’s decision in the Citizens United case, but much of that fury hangs upon an odd reading of the Court’s opinion.
IN EARLY 2002, the filmmaker Grace Guggenheim--the daughter of the late Charles Guggenheim, one of America's greatest documentarians, and the sister of the filmmaker Davis Guggenheim, who made An Inconvenient Truth-decided to do something that might strike most of us as common sense. Her father had directed or produced more than a hundred documentaries. Some of these were quite famous (Nine from Little Rock). Some were well-known even if not known to be by him (Monument to a Dream, the film that plays at the St. Louis arch).
I had hoped my essay, "Against Transparency," might have inspired something of a marriage between the transparency movement and campaign finance reform. To that end, I had offered something old and something new, something borrowed, and, as is my style, something blue. But like high school all over again, I have obviously fumbled on the first date Let's work this backwards. Something blue: Yes of course my piece is "worr[ied]" (Weinberger) and "gloomy" (Miller/Klein), even "dour" (Abrams), as the commentators say. Of course it is.
I. In 2006, the Sunlight Foundation launched a campaign to get members of Congress to post their daily calendars on the Internet. "The Punch-Clock Campaign" collected pledges from ninety-two candidates for Congress, and one of them was elected. I remember when the project was described to me by one of its developers. She assumed that I would be struck by its brilliance. I was not. It seemed to me that there were too many legitimate reasons why someone might not want his or her "daily official work schedule" available to anyone with an Internet connection. Still, I didn’t challenge her.