Alan Khazei, social entrepreneur and wife of Saguaro Seminar participant Vanessa Kirsch, is running a spirited campaign for the US Senate seat formerly held by Ted Kennedy.
Alan has been a longshot in the campaign, without the initial name recognition of Michael Capuano or Martha Coakley, and without the extraordinarily deep pockets of former Bain capitalist, Steve Pagliucca. Nevertheless, in a campaign where most of the electorate has yet to make up their mind, and where few Mass. voters will go to the polls to vote in the democratic primary on December 8, Alan is spearheading a spirited campaign and making converts right and left. A Rasmussen poll of last week, among likely voters, showed him at 14%, dramatically up from the low single digits when his campaign began.
Last weekend he picked up the all-important endorsement of the Boston Globe and former presidential aspirant and NATO Commander Wesley Clark. The Globe noted that Alan is the candidate that best embodies “forward-looking thinking”, and offers the best leadership, with “brimming potential.”
I was a senior policy advisor for Senator Kennedy on national service issues in the early 1990’s and know how much Ted respected Alan Khazei and his creation of City Year (with co-founder Michael Brown). And Senator Kennedy asked Alan to lead up a campaign to save AmeriCorps, when President Bush threatened to zero out funding. Alan coalesced a remarkable grassroots coalition and out-organized Karl Rove to initially save AmeriCorps and then work to dramatically expand it under the Kennedy Serve America Act that received birpartisan support. Alan’s group (Be The Change) worked to ensure that both Obama and McCain endorsed national service during the campaign, in the only joint appearance of the two outside the debates.
Alan is running on a campaign platform of “big citizenship”: that the only way to get special interests out of politics is to not accept PAC money and to help ensure that citizens help drive the change we want to see. [Alan is the only one of the four candidates to have a truly citizen funded campaign with no PAC money.]
He deserves our vote and I urge that you contact his campaign to find out how you can support him.
Posted in alan khazei, be the change, big citizenship, boston globe, campaign, city year, civic engagement, Edward M. Kennedy, kennedy Serve America Act, senate, ted kennedy, wesley clark
[also cross-posted on AmericanGrace blog]
American Grace co-author David Campbell has an Op-Ed in today’s USA Today (with John C. Green and J. Quin Monson) entitled “Tolerance? We have a ways to go”.
The Op-Ed sizes up the chances of Republican presidential aspirant Mitt Romney in 2012 by examining public opinion regarding religious tolerance and America’s de facto “stained glass ceiling”. Interestingly, those most knowledgeable about Mormonism (Latter-Day Saints) were least likely to be intolerant, regardless of whether they were LDS themselves.
Read Op-Ed here.
AMERICAN GRACE: How Religion Is Reshaping Our Civic and Political Lives By David E. Campbell and Robert D. Putnam, will be published in 2010.
Posted in american grace, david campbell, J. Quin Monson, John C. Green, mitt romney, politics, president, religion, tolerance, USA Today
Tagged american grace, david campbell, J. Quin Monson, John C. Green, mitt romney, politics, president, religion, tolerance, USA Today
The Wall Street Journal reports that the number of volunteer editors on Wikipedia is dropping.
Entities such as Wikipedia or Linux have always been a bit of a mystery to economists as to why people with great knowledge donate their time to write articles or software. Some are motivated by pure altruism, others by professional credentialing that accompanies being a leader on software like Linux. [See Jochai Benkler on Wikipedia, Linux and the gift economy in "Coase's Penguin, or Linux and the Nature of the Firm." or crowdsourcing]
In any event, the number of volunteer editors on Wikipedia fell last year by 49,000 (a jump of 10-fold over the prior year’s loss of 4,900 editors). There is active disagreement whether this has resulted from their being less new ground on Wikipedia as more and more things have been covered or whether editors are put off by increased bureaucracy Wikipedia imposed in an effort to increase the accuracy of Wikipedia articles and decrease the mischief. Moreover, Wikipedia has become less friendly to new contributions: “In 2008, Wikipedia’s editors deleted one in four contributions from infrequent contributors, up sharply from one in 10 in 2005, according to data compiled by social-computing researcher Ed Chi of Xerox’s Palo Alto Research Center.”
Despite this, Wikipedia’s popularity continues to grow: “Indeed, Wikipedia remains enormously popular among users, with the number of Web visitors growing 20% in the 12 months ending in September, according to comScore Media Metrix.”
One interesting snippet from the article is that 87% of the volunteer writers on Wikipedia are men.
The article does point out that Wikipedia founder Jimmie Wales is more interested in web traffic to Wikipedia and accuracy of the articles than in the volume of volunteerism on the site.
See: Julia Angwin and Geoffrey A. Fowler, “Volunteers Log Off As Wikipedia Ages“, Wall Street Journal, 11/23/09.
Posted in CrowdSourcing, geoffrey fowler, gift economy, jochai benkler, julia angwin, volunteering, wall street journal, wikipedia
Tagged CrowdSourcing, geoffrey fowler, gift economy, jochai benkler, julia angwin, volunteering, wall street journal, wikipedia