Buzz of the Week

Remembering a call

Transcript and image of the Declaration of Independence

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As most people enjoyed a midweek day off last week to celebrate the birthday of the United States, some of us used the time to reread Thomas Jefferson’s Declaration of Independence, the document that started this whole thing.

Sometimes when the problems the government faces seem insurmountable, it is reassuring to read a 231-year-old document and reflect on the complex and seemingly insurmountable challenges our country’s founders faced.

This wonderfully written document also is a reminder of why government work is so important.

So we offer this excerpt from the Declaration
of Independence.

IN CONGRESS, July 4, 1776.
The unanimous Declaration of the thirteen united States of America,

When in the Course of human events, it becomes necessary for one people to dissolve the political bands which have connected them with another, and to assume among the powers of the earth, the separate and equal station to which the Laws of Nature and of Nature’s God entitle them, a decent respect to the opinions of mankind requires that they should declare the causes which impel them to the separation.

We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness. —That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed, —That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness. Prudence, indeed, will dictate that Governments long established should not be changed for light and transient causes; and accordingly all experience hath shewn, that mankind are more disposed to suffer, while evils are sufferable, than to right themselves by abolishing the forms to which they are accustomed. But when a long train of abuses and usurpations, pursuing invariably the same Object evinces a design to reduce them under absolute Despotism, it is their right, it is their duty, to throw off such Government, and to provide new Guards for their future security. —Such has been the patient sufferance of these Colonies; and such is now the necessity which constrains them to alter their former Systems of Government. The history of the present King of Great Britain is a history of repeated injuries and usurpations, all having in direct object the establishment of an absolute Tyranny over these States.
 
THE BUZZ CONTENDERS
#2: Identity crisis
Worry about the possible loss or unauthorized exposure of personal information has turned nearly every information technology executive into a bundle of nerves. The Government Accountability Office says some of those worries might be excessive. In a report released last week, the government auditing office said few data breach incidents result in identity theft. However, GAO said, people whose personal data is at risk from such incidents expect to be notified, and writing notification policies based on risk considerations is never easy.

#3: Social-networking overload
The 2008 presidential candidates are sweating under the challenges of social networking on the Web. Apparently some candidates have become active in so many social networks — MySpace, YouTube, Facebook and others — that campaign managers are throwing up their hands and seeking help from social-network aggregators. Those are young companies, such as MyLifeBrand, whose sites lets members of different social networks and associated friends link to one another on one network. Ah, the power of aggregation.

#4: Got a complaint?
Would you file more complaints if it were easier? The Office of Special Counsel  plans to spend about $40,000 to offer people an easier way to file a complaint under the Hatch Act, which prohibits federal employees from engaging in political activities at work. Apparently, OSC wants an online filing application that’s as easy to use as, say, TurboTax. Well, maybe easier than that. 

#5: Code-red awareness
Signals coming from the White House Homeland Security Council suggest that cybersecurity preparedness has become a top priority of the council’s leader, Frances Townsend. Agencies probably can expect to receive presidential-level guidance later this year. Much of the buzz is about creating centers for sharing homeland security information — fusion centers — and adopting common operating procedures.

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