How to Educate the Public about the ACA: Recommendations from CaliforniaSpeaks


By Tom Campbell, Jesse Sostrin, and Barbara Masters, AmericaSpeaks Associates

Cross-posted from the Health Affairs GrantWatch Blog

According to the April 2011 Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation Health Tracking Poll, public opinion on the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (ACA) continues to be split. Four in ten feel favorably about the law, and an equal share say the opposite. (The rest had no opinion on the health reform law.) And surprisingly, this recent poll found a slight uptick in the share of people who have no opinion on it.

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For the Greater Good: Medical Care in Disasters and Pandemics


By Janet Fiero, AmericaSpeaks

In the last several years, the news has brought us distressing images of disasters that have crippled entire communities overnight. While we have seen communities come together and aid pour in, sometimes it is not enough to meet the immediate basic needs of the survivors. This shortage of necessary resources is not limited to natural disasters, like Hurricane Katrina or the tornado in Joplin last week, but extends to medical crises like the swine flu pandemic that unfold not over days, but over months.

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Enhancing Citizen Involvement for Emergency Management


By Andrea Scallon, AmericaSpeaks

We are delighted that AmericaSpeaks will facilitate a breakout session during the National Urban Areas Security Initiative (UASI) and Homeland Security Conference being held in San Francisco June 20-23, 2011. The theme of the conference is “Enhancing Capabilities through Regional Collaboration.”

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A 10-Point Plan for Civic Renewal


p>By Joe Goldman, Campaign for Stronger Democracy

Cross-posted from the Campaign for Stronger Democracy.

Peter Levine just posted a great article on his blog in which he proposes a 10-Point Plan for Civic Renewal. Only one item on the initial 10-point plan that Peter developed five years ago was accomplished (an increase in AmeriCorps funding), so let’s hope this one is more successful!

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The American Square is Here!


p>AmericaSpeaks has just launched The American Square, an experiment designed to bridge the online political gap and provide a safe space for civil, multi-partisan conversations about public policy and politics.

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My Estonia: Brainstorming to Create a Vision for Economic Growth


By Hille Hinsberg, Organizer of County Vision Days, My Estonia

Estonians love to talk about a brighter future – maybe because the present still seems full of unused potential, or because of the many challenges facing a society with a lot of catching up to do, in order to be on par with other EU countries.

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Invest in Democracy, Don't Cut it


p>By Carolyn Lukensmeyer, AmericaSpeaksCross-posted from The Huffington Post

While our nation invests billions of dollars to promote democracy abroad, Congress is considering significant cuts that threaten democracy here at home..

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Remembering David Broder


p>By Carolyn Lukensmeyer, AmericaSpeaks

Yesterday, we lost a national treasure–David Broder passed away.

David Broder stands out as a Washington reporter and columnist that never lost his grounding outside the beltway.  He knew that the experience of ordinary people had to figure in both politics and policy and wrote about it eloquently.  He understood how to really listen to people, no matter their station in life.  He knew how to distill that listening into wisdom about our nation, its people and its politics. His perspective will be sorely missed.

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Making Local Democracy Work


By Steve Brigham, AmericaSpeaks

The National League of Cities published a very interesting report, “Making Local Democracy Work: Municipal Officials’ Views about Public Engagement,” last year.

The report is based on an extensive survey conducted with elected officials (mayors, council members, etc.) from a wide range of cities and municipalities around the U.S.

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Six Goals for Public Deliberation


By Steve Brigham, AmericaSpeaks

In Martin Carcasson’s “Beginning with the End in Mind: A Call for Goal-Driven Deliberative Practice,” he articulates three orders of goals for democratic deliberation that I have found useful as a way of describing what grounds our work at AmericaSpeaks.

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