On Meet the Press yesterday, the L.A. Times's Ron Brownstein predicted two possible fallouts from Condoleezza Rice's 9/11 testimony and the release of the "Bin Laden Determined to Strike" memo. One major issue was the interpretation of Rice's under-oath claim that the memo was "historical" in light of the memo's mentions of current and future activities by al Qaeda and anti-terrorism investigators. The other was a focus on why the president and his team didn't do more to respond to the information in the briefing, for instance following up for more about the reported 70+ active FBI investigations into al Qaeda. But it seems to me that the biggest fallout, politically, for Bush, Rice et. al. is the continued erosion of the White House's overall credibility in the "War on Terror." The wartime footing of the administration and its stated and unstated claims to the moral high ground--over Democrats, critics,…

Was talking with Joe Goldman about the uphill nature of bringing dialogue to communities and cultures that are starting to see the need for constituent input and grassroots interaction, but that may not quite be there yet. Often, some "stakeholders" like the idea and some don't. Everyone will hear you out, but few will pull the trigger and create real engagement opportunities for citizens, employees, members. We still see the same thing in the online world. Some groups and businesses are rushing to keep their Internet plans up to date, or to finally overhaul after years of doubt and low priority. But plenty more remain baffled, tentative or misled. And even among groups that start planning with open minds, there often turns out to be more division and ambivalence among various decision-makers than initially thought. This tension between prospects and progress is inevitable. Joe said "We're creating a market," then…

We're obsessesed with the truth, but we've come to accept we'll never know it. Richard Clarke says the Bush team was warned about an al Qaeda threat, ignored it, and pushed for a 9/11-Iraq connection later, even when there didn't seem to be one to be found. Condoleezza Rice says "there was no silver bullet" available to knock out al Qaeda and prevent 9/11, even if they had known it was coming, which she insists they didn't, even though she admits they knew "something very, very big was going to happen." If you ask me, she flirted with double-speak when she claimed an August 6, 2001 memo apparently titled "Bin Laden Determined to Strike Inside the United States" was "not a warning." Of course we'd know more if the White House released the text of the memo. Where's the truth? We don't know. Worst of all, we seem content to…

I didn't know when I got laid off in 2001 and landed at a non-profit that a community manager's learning curve would lead so logically to online advocacy. I thought that I was just lucky to find a gig where I could use my relatively arcane knowledge. But, as it turns out, if you're trying to build online community, you're already a grassroots organizer (and a marketing consultant and a copy editor). This week I got the chance to come to the NTEN Non-Profit Technology Conference in Philadelphia, and rub ideas with about 600 people who spend their time helping change the world through technology, or through tech and strategic support to change-making organizations. Danielle Hickie asked me, where do I think this work will be in a year, and I rattled off three things. I know that a year from now there will be wider-spread popular understanding that people…

The Super Bowl was sealed up tight as a drum. Chain-link fences ringed the stadium. A detail of 5,000 police was on hand. The area was declared a no-fly zone. Meanwhile, on the airwaves, CBS had decided to refuse an ad purchase by MoveOn.org, for a spot criticizing the Bush deficit. In our locked-down, buttoned-up age, everything had been done to keep things under control and let the padded gladiatorial tradition unfold seamlessly. No one expected the attack from within, when a pretty white boy who sounds black and pretty black girl who looks white gave CBS and one zillion viewers what they hadn't counted on, a glimpse of unscripted, uncensorable, naked humanity, in the person of Janet Jackson's right breast. This is America, 2004. Millions are spent to shield us from an unseen enemy who may or may not be circling waiting to strike. Millions more go into media…

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