Thursday, October 30, 2003

An interesting ngo public diplomacy initiative:

"Americans for Informed Democracy (AID) is a non-partisan organization that seeks to raise awareness in the U.S. about world opinions of American foreign policy and to counteract anti-American sentiment overseas, with the goal of inspiring greater multilateralism in world affairs."

This was an announcement made by CRS on 9/23/03:

Legislation of Interest to CRS: Availability of CRS Products for Congressional Web Sites
The Committee on House Administration, following consultation with CRS, has announced implementation of a new system for making CRS written products available to House Members and committees for placement on their web sites. This new service, which became effective September 17th, replaces a pilot project with a limited number of House Members that has been in place for some time. The new service will facilitate the selective placement online of current documents that Members deem of value for electronic dissemination to their constituents. Members and committees will be able to search our Web site to identify appropriate products of their choosing and will then be able to link to the up-to-date version of those products through a server maintained by the House. As the Committee noted in its announcement, "[u]nder this approach, as each product is chosen individually, the principles of selective dissemination, timeliness, and accuracy are preserved, and concerns that flow from the specter of wholesale publication are avoided." CRS has also discussed options with the Senate.

Wednesday, October 29, 2003

from the FAS Project on Government Secrecy
Volume 2003, Issue No. 93
October 28, 2003


Publicly accessible links from congressional web sites to an
internal database of Congressional Research Service (CRS)
reports suddenly went dead last week without explanation.
But they may yet be restored.

For about three years, the Congressional Research Service has
provided online public access to hundreds of selected reports
through a portal like this one:

No longer.

The publicly accessible CRS portals were part of a "pilot
program," explained a congressional staffer in Rep. Green's
office. "The pilot program has just expired." Goodbye, CRS

But fortunately, there's more to it than that.

Members can still opt to provide public access through their
websites to the internal database of selected CRS reports,
explained another staffer from the House Committee on House
Administration. Or they can provide online access to
individual reports of special interest, as they see fit. In
either case, they must make new arrangements through the
Administration Committee.

FAS has written to Rep. Mark Green (R-WI) and Rep. Christopher
Shays (R-CT) asking them to restore at least the same level of
access to CRS reports that their web sites have provided for
the past three years.

A selection of recent CRS reports on aspects of national
security policy, including some that were never presented in
the public database, is available on the FAS web site here:

Tuesday, October 28, 2003

And now President George W. Bush's Blog. Or should it be plog. (Poltical log)

Monday, October 27, 2003

Spinsanity a media monitoring website, is the joint effort of three editors who are motivated by "a concern that our public political dialogue, largely expressed through the channels of the mass media, is becoming systematically dominated by sophisticated tactics of manipulation rather than norms of public reason." Although the editors disclose liberal/progressive leanings, the site appears to be deliberately non-partisan - Michael Moore and Ann Coulter get equal treatment.

Saturday, October 25, 2003

Facts for Features. Halloween 2003 by the U.S. Census Bureau

Friday, October 24, 2003

I have noticed the signature is not the login name, but the "First Name".
I have tried to change it now to RomeIRC.
(and guess what: it changed "retroactively")

This is the first post from IRC Rome (sent from the ONP).
You all have a good weekend! GG

Congratulations Petter, on getting this blog up and running. Kyle Malone

Blogger could become a very useful tool. One of things we may want to do is publish post products to a particular web site. If I understand this correctly, all members of ircworld would be able to contribute. Does anyone know how easy it is to publish to a website. I guess the website should not be an embassy website but any website that is using an independent ISP.

Thursday, October 23, 2003

Spanish translation of "Suspension of Transit Without Visa and International Programs: Frequently Asked Questions" issued by the U.S Department of Homeland Security.

The October issue of the Foreign Service Journal considers the ways U.S. support for capital punishment affects, and is affected by, international opinion, in "World Opinion Weighs In: The Death Penalty & U.S. Diplomacy."

Most of the articles aren't available on AFSA web site, but they might be worth hunting down .

"American Diplomacy and the Death Penalty"
By Harold Hongju Koh and Thomas R. Pickering

"The Death Penalty, America, and the World"
By Paul Rosenzweig

"International Influence on the Death Penalty in the United States"
By Richard C. Dieter

"The Myth of the Cowboy"
By Greg Kane

"A Decent Respect to the Opinions of Mankind"
By Paul P. Blackburn

Excerpts from ResearchBuzz#254

Press release junkies, if you're looking for a new place to
read the wires you can find it at the LA Times. If you go to and then look under
Business Tools/Press Releases on the left, you'll find PR
Newswire releases divided into much more specific categories
than I ever found on the PR Newswire site (am I just not
looking in the right place?)

** Database of Nuclear Explosions

Geoscience Australia has an available database of Nuclear
Explosions at
. This site was last updated in May and contains information
on nuclear explosions all over the world.

You have two search choices. You need to choose an area
(China, France, Great Britain, India, Pakistan, South
Africa, the Soviet Union, or the US) and a span of years
(from 1945 to 2001.) I searched US from 1950 to 1965.

The database listed 424 explosions. Details given for each
explosion include date, origin time, site, name (name?),
yield (in kT -- kilotons?), and decimal latitude/longitude.

Actually this site has several other information sources as
well, including a table of recent earthquakes ( ), a place name search
(Australia only) and a distance calculator.

Reproduced with permission of ResearchBuzz ( ).

There have been some problems with the site the past few days, so if you've received an invitation to join this blog but have been able to login, please try again later....

Wednesday, October 22, 2003

Since "Sharing of Outreach Products" will be a major topic at the upcoming EUR IRC Director's Conference in Vienna, I'd like to share one of Frankfurt's outreach products as a start. It's our InfoAlert at
Please send me an Email to get the password.

Here's another portal to information about public diplomacy...rather extensive, but not updated since March 2003

A couple of interesting items from the October 17 Scout Report

American Notes: Travel in America, 1750 - 1920

While Alexis de Tocqueville's, Democracy in America may remain one of the most important and compelling commentaries on the American condition, the American Memory project at the Library of Congress has compiled this wonderful collection of 253 published narratives by Americans and foreign visitors from the period of 1750 to 1920 for the convenience of the Web-browsing public. The criteria used to determine which narratives would be included in the collection were that the work had to be primarily in the first person, that it was free of copyright restrictions, and that it was part of the Library of Congress's General Collections. Along with familiar works by Charles Dickens, Washington Irving, and James Fenimore Cooper, the collection includes works by lesser known persons, such as Josiah Gregg's, The Journal of a Santa Fe trader, 1831-1839 and Captain Basil Hall's, Travels in North America, in the years 1827 and 1828. [KMG]

Vietnam: Journeys of Mind, Body & Spirit [RealOnePlayer]

Oriented around the theme of journeys, this online exhibit explores the various journeys that both the nation and people of Vietnam has undergone over the past few millennia, in particular the transition from French colonial control through the conflict with the United States, and the movement to a free-market economy over the past decade.
Curated by Laurel Kendall (and hosted by the American Museum of Natural History), the exhibit begins with Journeys Through Time and Space, where visitors can read some introductory remarks about the country, such as the various ethnic groups in the country, its geography, and history. The other sections (which are interspersed with photographs and illustrations) deal with death rites, the importance of various deities, and the transformation of the economy in the country. The site also features several fine video clips, including a 4-minute video of the rite that marks the passage of a young Vietnamese boy into manhood. [KMG]

Wednesday, October 15, 2003
excerpt from the Scout Report, October 10:"The Web site effectively serves as a portal and utility for persons interested in journalism, and contains a catalog of tools, techniques and ideas, empirical research, job links, and numerous other helpful materials for the general public, practicing journalists, and journalism students."

Sunday, October 12, 2003, a Library of Congress site, "was designed especially with young people in mind, but there are great stories for people of all ages, and we hope children and their families will want to explore this site together" - should be useful for teachers.

Govspot ( appears to be a useful all-purpose portal to U.S. government (federal, state and local) information. Includes a section on recent government reports, and a monthly newlsetter alerting subscribers to newsworthy government information on the net.

Saturday, October 11, 2003