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Building Government 2.0

I very rarely wade into the world of politics, and I have two reasons why.

First of all, it’s an ultra corrupt world of backstabbing, lies and grandstanding. None of that is appealing to me. Secondly, it seems that real change, despite broken promises and campaign slogans, is few and far between. Politicians (of all parties) don’t appear to actually want change, it’s the constituents that do. Politicians are merely jockeying for influence and money.

As a thought experiment however, I attempted to approach government like I would software. Analyze what isn’t working without emotion and conclude “If I were doing a version 2.0 feature list of the US Government, what would that look like?” – these are my release notes:

1. Congress Limited to 8 Years

The first “feature” of Gov 2.0 is to end Career politics. A “user” may serve 8 years total in either the House of Representatives or Senate.

2. Lobbying Removed

All corporate lobbying of the US Government will be ended. Companies should not be allowed to use their influence (aka money) to steer the government. Instead of lobbying, publicly televised quarterly panels will be held to allow government reps and corporate reps to discuss important topics. A panel of citizens would decide what is worth bringing forward for a vote. When the country votes for President, any proposals brought forth from this committee would be voted on as well.

3. Religious Restrictions Removed

Freedom of religion should be protected – unless it endangers the lives of innocents. Every accommodation must be made to protect freedom of religion, for all major religions. But in the case of an exemption for a life saving vaccination for example, the preservation of life must be given precedence.

4. Pay for Life Removed

When a regular person quits their job, they are not paid for the rest of their life. Government should function the same. As the purpose of government is to “serve” the people, when you are done serving you will be expected to go back to your career. Government is NOT A CAREER. The money saved from this can be funneled back into more important programs.

5. Pay Reductions

Congress shall make no more than the average median wage of the constituents they serve. A congressman or woman should not make $175,000 a year while the people they serve only make $50,000. The President shall make twice the median wage...

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Coffee Crisis
This past two weeks have been traumatic to my morning routine, but it gave me a chance to test out Starbucks online ordering. So the short version is the Starbucks I stop by every morning – MY Starbucks – is temporarily closed for remodeling. The first day I thought nothing of it. I continued on to work, grabbed a bottled water from the fridge and went about my day. Fast forward two hours and I had a massive headache and couldn’t concentrate. I learned the hard way I am dependent on having a jolt of coffee to get me going. Tuesday morning, I decided to try a local gas station coffee. I have a co-worker who drinks it every day and seems to like it. Foolishly, I thought, this could get me by until Starbucks reopened. I drank maybe 1/3 of the gas station coffee. The flavor was just so blah. I know many people who say Starbucks is overpriced and that I’m crazy to pay what I do for coffee – and that is a valid opinion. I didn’t enjoy the gas station coffee though, so even at half the price it wasn’t worth what I paid. Again I was defeated. I decided Wednesday I had to do something bold – I was going to venture across town to the other Starbucks. I’ve been there a few times but it’s not in an area of town I traffic frequently. As I sat at a stoplight, getting ready to diverge from my regular route to work I remembered Starbucks now had online ordering. To conserve time (and let’s be honest here, I like to try cool new things) I grabbed my phone, tapped in my order and drove off. The phone experience was fine; you can modify your drinks just as you would in store. It even saved my custom drink (Bold blend with Extra Cream for the curious) for one tap reordering. The in-store experience was decent, but my Barista seemed confused about where my drink was until another Barista showed her a special area for online orders. In the interest of fairness, they haven’t been doing this too long so I can let it slide. All the successive days since I have driven across town to the other Starbucks. In all honesty it only adds around ten minutes to my morning commute, but I’m back to getting my coffee the way I like. Some of the employees from the still being remodeled Starbucks have been showing up at the other location as well. My understanding is that the construction crews should be done with the remodeling in the next few days and I can return to my regularly scheduled Starbucks stops. Having tried online ordering I would do it again; the process i...

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