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New appointment to Board of Directors

Posted by dimensionm on 2009.03.11 at 23:29
Current Mood: excitedexcited
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We are very pleased to announce the appointment of Alita Holly as Vice-Chair of USA 2020's Board of Directors. Ms. Holly is a graduate of Columbia University in New York City. She brings a wealth of experience in web development, multimedia, digital media technologies, and marketing. She has served in a number of leadership and strategic planning roles in her career. Some of you may be interested to know that she was a producer for DVD releases of several well-known movies including "Men In Black", "Thirteen Days", "Frequency", "Garden State", and the 1980's classic "Ghostbusters".

We are very excited to have Ms. Holly as a part of this organization and feel that she will be a wonderful asset in helping us move to the next level.

More Information:
Alita Holly's Personal Website: http://www.alitaholly.com/About_Me.html
Twitter: http://twitter.com/noetical
LinkedIn: http://www.linkedin.com/in/alitaholly

Mike McGee
Chair, Board of Directors

...Quite a few Republican ideas, it turns out.

Cut for LengthCollapse )

(Adapted from an article I wrote for "The Mall", the official blog of the USA 2020 political simulation game. Cross-posted in usa2020 and theleftunited.)

Official USA 2020 blog is now online

Posted by dimensionm on 2009.02.12 at 01:11
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We're pleased to announce that USA 2020's new official blog, The Mall, is now online. Don't forget to bookmark us or subscribe to the RSS feed.

Recent Site Outages -- Resolved.

Posted by dimensionm on 2009.02.11 at 17:23
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Some technical problems with the registration of the usa2020.us domain name have caused some site outages, data loss, and other frustrations for our members and visitors lately.

I am happy to report that these issues have been resolved and that the site is now working properly. We are all eager to move forward.

For those interested, I have posted a detailed explanation of the causes of the recent problems.

Sharp words on Senate floor over financial crisis

Posted by idealistagain on 2008.10.24 at 13:58
Current Mood: goodgood
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Frustrations began to boil over on the floor of the Senate over the recently passed $700 billion bailout of failing Wall Street financial firms. Democratic Senator Michael Kegan of North Carolina blasted Wall Street executives for "utterly stupid business decisions" and angrily denounced the recent $400,000 getaway to an upscale California resort by executives of American International Group, which has access to up to $85 billion of government financing.

Democrats Thomas O'Neil of Illinois and John Holmes of California seemed to share Senator Kegan's sentiments. Senator Holmes (D, CA) accused lawmakers of rushing too quickly to intervene in the crisis and expressing concerns that the legislation Congress passed did not include enough oversight to ensure that government funds were properly used.

Kansas Senator Michael Taylor, a Libertarian who joined Senator Kegan in voting against the bailout package, took issue with members of both major parties for advocating excessive government regulation of the markets. Senator Kegan fired back that Senator Taylor was taking "a break from reality" and Senator O'Neil (D, IL) accused Senator Taylor and Libertarians of offering a program that was "a dead end".

Many observers and analysts have commented that the opening of the next Senate session should be interesting and openly wondered whether senators would be able to work together on practical legislation after such heated exchanges.


Join the debate! Become a member of USA 2020, the nation's fastest-growing political simulation game. Membership in USA 2020 is 100% free. Get started today.


Seating list as of Oct 21, 2008

Posted by idealistagain on 2008.10.22 at 12:08
Current Mood: busy
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Senators:

John Holmes (D, CA)
Ian Kennedy (D, IL)
Thomas O'Neil (D, IL)
Michael Kegan (D, NC)

Cody Dunn (R, CA)
Patrick Reynolds (R, MA)
John Haus (R, VA)

Michael Taylor (L, KS)

Democrats-4 Republicans-3 Libertarians-1

Representatives:

Richard Wilcox (I, KY-1st)

Governors:

Skyler Thompson (D, IL)
Tyler Russell (D, NY)

Empowering the American people

Posted by idealistagain on 2008.10.20 at 17:58
Current Mood: thoughtfulthoughtful
Tags: , ,
The 2008 presidential election has been unlike any campaign I can recall seeing. People are actually paying attention to this one. Millions of people are registering to vote for the first time. But I've heard it asked: Is it such a good thing that so many people are taking a sudden interest in voting? What about the people who don't seem to know much about how our government works? And does voting make a difference at all?

The mathematicians can show you all sorts of mathematical wizardry to "prove" that one vote doesn't mean a thing. The not-so-mathematically inclined often point to example after example of races in which one vote or ten turned out to be the difference. Of course, there's room for endless debate. I don't think anyone would argue that it would make no difference if all of the supporters of Candidate A turned out to vote while all the supporters of Candidate B stayed home. Better to be safe than sorry, I always say.

Less clear is the question of whether our elections--with the electoral college, winner-take-all state-by-state races, and Diebold voting machines--actually reflect the will of the people. Solutions have been proposed that run the gamut from proportional distribution of electoral votes to some sort of preferential ranking system where an individual's second choice would matter. That too is another endless debate.

What we have to understand is that true participatory government demands more from the people than just showing up to cast a ballot on election day. Government is more responsive when people are actually paying attention to what Congress and the President are doing and write letters and otherwise make themselves heard. While corporations, unions, and other faceless entities often run multi-million dollar lobbying efforts, the voices of small business owners, farmers, teachers, scientists, doctors, truck drivers, and yes, Joe the Plumber, are all too seldom heard.

The 21st century brings with it a lot of challenges and we haven't even seen the hardest of them yet. In this new world of advanced computers, the Internet, and biotechnology, information is not only the foundation of power, it is power. That means it's more vital than ever that people understand not just the issues but how the mechanisms of government work to shape those issues. In many cases, we may even need novel 21st century political mechanisms to keep up with the ever-increasing rate that our society is evolving.

This, more than anything else, is what USA 2020 is about: the idea that we must arm ordinary people not just with the vote, but with knowledge and information of how their government works (or doesn't work) and the options to make it better. Facing the challenges of the future demands government that is more democratic, not less, and far greater transparency. And the power lies not within the Washington Beltway, but within our own hopes and dreams.

Status Update--USA 2020 Website

Posted by idealistagain on 2008.10.20 at 17:27
Current Mood: optimisticoptimistic
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All issues with the USA 2020 website have been resolved as of this time. We have worked hard to correct the problems that were frustrating our users and after several days of testing, we're confident in stating that everything is running smoothly.

I want to personally thank all of our current and potential members for your patience. I think I speak for everyone when I say that I'm excited about moving forward with our game--full speed ahead.

Mike McGee
Chair, Board of Directors
USA 2020

Update on issues with the USA 2020 Website

Posted by idealistagain on 2008.10.11 at 21:11
Current Mood: goodgood
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Over the past few days, there have been intermittent issues with the hosting company for USA 2020 which has caused various aspects of the site to not work correctly, including the log-in page on the main site. This afternoon, the issues have taken a turn for the worse and most areas of the site are currently inaccessible, including the forums. I am not even able to access my administrator area.

The problems are definitely rooted in the server configuration which is maintained by the hosting company. For security reasons, there are various server settings that even site administrators do not have access to, so I have to work with the hosting company to fully resolve the issues the site is facing.

I have placed an emergency support ticket with the hosting company's technical support people and insisted that these issues need to be resolved ASAP. The most recent update I've heard is that the support case has been escalated and given to more senior technical people. I am hopeful that this will help in resolving the issues and getting the site back online and fully functional as fast as humanly possible.

I am just as frustrated with these issues as our members. I wish to thank everyone for their understanding and patience as we work through these initial problems. While we all hope for things to always go well, there are things that will go wrong in any new organization and working through the problems is a part of our growth.

Until the site issues are resolved, members are welcome to post here or to email me at usa2020.us [at] gmail [dot] com with any questions or comments. Also look for USA 2020's sites on MySpace, Facebook, Yahoo! Groups, and Twitter.

MySpace:
http://www.myspace.com/usa2020

Facebook:
http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=509464100#/pages/USA-2020/83810035647?ref\
=mf

Yahoo! Groups
http://groups.yahoo.com/group/usa2020

Twitter:
http://twitter.com/usa2020


Mike McGee
Chair, Board of Directors
USA 2020

Early Democratic Majority

Posted by idealistagain on 2008.10.09 at 18:47
Current Mood: working
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With five confirmed Senators and one Governor at this point, it might be premature to talk about majorities and minorities. It's 3-2 in favor of Democrats at this point, so it should be interesting to see how the battle for initial control of the Senate shapes up.

Current officeholders are as follows:

Senator Cody Dunn (R-CA)
Senator Patrick Reynolds (R-MA)
Senator Michael Kegan (D-NC)
Senator John Holmes (D-CA)
Senator Ian Kennedy (D-IL)

Governor Skyler Thompson (I-IL)


Site Status Updates

--Due to a problem with web hosting, USA 2020's main website, while available, has several broken links and is not able to accept new registrations or log-ins from current members. You can still register (for free!) and/or log in from the forums. We're working with the hosting company to get the problems with the main site solved as soon as possible. The good news is that the problems will not affect game play, since the forums are running smoothly.

--USA 2020 now has a Facebook page. This will be a lot more convenient than our old presence on Facebook because pages are publicly viewable. If you're a Facebook member, don't forget to become a fan!

--USA 2020 is also now on Twitter: http://twitter.com/usa2020.

--Naturally, we are also still on MySpace and Yahoo! Groups.

--Plenty of administrator and moderator positions still available if you want to join our team. Send an email to getinvolved@usa2020.us or usa2020.us@gmail.com !


USA 2020 Status Update -- August 6, 2008

Posted by idealistagain on 2008.08.06 at 23:19
Current Mood: goodgood
Tags:
USA 2020's timetable has been adjusted somewhat. The major change is that the first presidential elections are scheduled for March of 2009 instead of for November. All documentation has been updated to reflect this change. There are many reasons this adjustment was made.

First of all, at this point in time, it seems that the later date is more realistic. There is still much that needs to be done and people involved in the administration of USA 2020 have real-life commitments as well. We do not want to put ourselves in the position of having to rush to meet impossible deadlines. We will also have more time for building an organization and growing our membership while still allowing enough time for a proper presidential campaign.

We've also taken into consideration the real-life elections in November. We realize a lot of people will be focused on that and many people may even be involved in various campaign activities. We absolutely want to encourage everyone to vote in November without forcing people to pay attention to the elections here too. Scheduling USA 2020's elections well after November will allow us to conduct our elections at a time when most people won't have other political distractions.

That said, we're still moving forward full speed ahead. There is much to be done between now and March and with USA 2020's charter allowing for the appointment of someone to fill the president's role on a provisional basis, game play should not suffer from this delay.

Thanks,
The USA 2020 Administration Team

Happy Fourth

Posted by idealistagain on 2008.07.04 at 19:30
Current Mood: goodgood
Tags: ,
Its fitting, perhaps, to launch a political simulation game on the Fourth of July. Especially in a year that, so far, has not been quite like any other. Americans have been tuned in to the political process in a way that we haven't seen in recent memory. Both major parties have nominated candidates for President who promise a departure, to one extent or another, from the "usual way of doing thins". Change is on everyone's mind. And there's not many Americans who haven't been captivated by the long, close race for the Democratic nomination between Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama.

But there's more than just the presidential campaign on people's minds. Americans are finding it harder to make ends meet. Unemployment is rising and employers are cutting jobs, hours, and paychecks at a time when many Americans can ill afford to lose income. Gas and food prices continue to skyrocket and the ranks of the uninsured continue to swell. Meanwhile, pundits and commentators saturate 24-hour cable news with constant coverage about issues that the majority of Americans care little about. Many people sense that "the system" is irrevocably broken.

Its little wonder that so many Americans feel disconnected from the political process. But at the same time, its difficult to write our problems off to the actions of "stupid politicians". After all, as the famed comedian George Carlin once put it, politicians come from American families and American schools and American society. The very foundation of our country is the principle that the government belongs to the people, that, as Thomas Jefferson once put it, "it is to protect our rights that we resort to government at all".

But many Americans also feel that our rights are under attack. We find it increasingly difficult to balance vital concerns in an era of advancing technology and new international threats. There are those who say that we must, in essence, sacrifice the Constitution in order to save it. There are others who say our freedoms are absolute, even when those very freedoms might put us in danger of harm. Come to think of it, what is the definition of "harm"? Who decides? What is the right balance between security and liberty?

Most Americans would agree that the government is owned by the people. But with that decided, what's next? What does that mean in practical terms? It is difficult to participate in the political process when so many Americans know so little about it. So many Americans do not even know the name of their Senator or Congressman, much less their local officials or other basic information about how the government works. I've met many people who don't know that a bill passed by the Senate has to go to the House and vice versa, that appropriations bills have to originate in the House, that the Senate alone votes on Cabinet appointments.

Without the basic knowledge of our government, our history, and how it all fits together, it is difficult to even cast informed votes in elections, much less be an effective advocate for change. At its foundation, that is what USA 2020 is about: a government that is truly of, by, and for the people. And educating Americans of all generations--particularly the often alienated younger voters--on the principles of freedom.

In 1776, in that hot summer in Philadelphia, a group of people began what has become known as a noble experiment in democracy. And so today in the 21st century, we begin our own experiment, a thought experiment if you will, that's open to all Americans and focuses on the unique issues of the modern world.

That's not to say that we're going to forget having fun and meeting interesting people along the way. Happy Fourth, everyone.