Beyond Labels

A 360° Discussion of Foreign, National and Local Policy Issues

Local Government Participation

People seem to be less and less involved with the decision making processes of local government. Under 10% of town residents come to the annual town meeting. Even fewer people come to select board meetings until something makes them angry. I hear a victim perception from people I generally run into about town decision making. Is this a problem or the way things are? Are we moving towards a business model only of town management? Are there things we should be doing to increase participation?

Monday: Social Media and Political Speech

Social media platforms such as Facebook and Twitter have taken the position that they are not publishers and should not be held responsible for user content and, maybe, ads.

But they have emerged as a highly influential source of news, views, and “facts.”

Should these platforms be more strictly regulated and, if so, how?
More broadly, what about other news sources such as cable news? With their melange of journalism and opinion, it can be very difficult for all but the experts to distinguish one from the other. Particularly when journalists participants join panels to say “what they think.”

I won’t be there today, but it should be a great discussion.

“The Edge of Democracy”

A movie available on Netflix that I watched last night and think would be of interest to several in our Beyond Labels discussion group. It chronicles governments in Brazil from the end of the military dictatorship through to recent times. The film’s creator is a young Brazilian woman who was able to conduct interviews with two past Presidents as well as include amazing film footage starting with the construction of Brasilia.

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