Thought Overflow…Golda’s BlogIf memes are like genes, then having a conversation in which you share ideas and come up with new ones is like…?

So I was talking over ideas with my friend John, and he asked me to make a list of all the ones I’ve been thinking of, or trying to start, recently. And it was a long list! Here it is, and should anyone reading this be crazy enough to want to join forces feel free to give me a ring


– helping HEPAC in Nogales see Just set up the shop at need to promote it. Recruit volunteers (maybe on to help manage their websites. sponsor kid at tech school there to mentor others in coder dojo. invite people in Tucson to visit/go on a water drop for No More Deaths (same organizer)

– helping Amani daycare volunteering with my kids there with refugee kids. follow up with dept of health and human services who are giving them a hard time. organize other volunteers to build a community garden there. remember to bring more folders for the kids.

– work on implementing the concept of helping communities in the course of campaigns and not only after winning elections. May commission with my neice Hannah some T-shirts promoting local candidates who need exposure, will give or give for donation these shirts to people who can then volunteer/donate blood while wearing them. Also maybe make that garden, above. Maybe use local Tucson volunteer site to recruit more (not sure if has to be non-political there). Maybe offer to campaign coordinators to train their volunteers.

– walk my neighborhood for the Ground Game. invite people to LD9 meeting and/or house party. fix up room so we can have house party

– offer to speak to one or more groups about ground game and political community organizing.

– asked Gunnar if he wants to partner on an app, ‘greenatu’ (terrible name), basically it lets me very quickly say into my phone or press one button, “talk to shanna” or “talk to friends” and it sets me ‘green’ for talking to a specific person or group of people. If they use the app also, and also are ‘green’ in my direction, it either automatically connects us or lets me know a list of the people who are ‘green at me’. This is good for very busy people who have short windows of time to connect, instead of always scheduling phone calls, just turn green at a specific group when you have time to talk, and talk opportunistically to whoever is available. I think it would be good for optimizing time but it would have to be marketed in order to be successful, because its the kind of app that is more valuable the more people use it. This would be for-profit but probably a B corp if I have any say so and it would help political organizers too. If Gunnar is interested may try to get investors.

– after greenatu add stackfor, easy way to save things to show specific person in person. then myapi, ways I want to interact with others, match up. then mindthreads, the organizer thing.

– with, ‘Hot Seat’ idea (have a candidate simultaneously questioned by one stakeholder from each side of the spectrum. Ping pong, should be funny and insightful, I hope). Email the current candidates and see if they want to do it (already have studio & camera resources) Have already run by the creative staff, they like.

– with, ‘Reverse Roles’ idea where a thoughtful person from each side plays each other and discusses some practical issue, they have to act as each other (hopefully not too satirically!) Shanna who does improv very enthusiastic about this one.

– organize more volunteer citizen journalists to get started, kickoff is Sept 18 at this webinar at 9AM PST I have one volunteer committed to this and want to get 3-4 more.

– eventually finish porting to graphql/react interface and maybe have some citizen journalists write there, show connections and relationships between things

– work with LocalFirst to get together a group to do local inventory search so people can more easily find local products, buy local online, local gift cards.

– learn and do more physical making, planting

– ** online not started yet ** – Raise the Voices – maybe raise funds thru crowdpac, basically amplify voice of anyone imprisoned or killed for political reasons

– with Al, work on blog site with articles from his life/thoughts; he’s done one thanking former pres bush sr


– Local Event Calendars: improve the event scraping and use our interface to make a good local Tucson calendar once George opens up the Freemium version (i wrote the original scraper, george’s team has improved and integrated it into

– Making Laws on Github: look at laws at and see if anyone local is interested in pushing one or more of these forward in Arizona, if they want to modify put it on Github and try to get people into the process of public modification of bill text. Also try more controversial policy docs/laws like compromises on abortion, maybe a community works citizenship path.

– did – got volunteers at, George just trained the first two today on a Zoom session, they have started work on Slack since I talked to you!

with crowdpac

(I already have a whole list of these, but on my other computer, will paste later. this actually should be my main area of focus.)


– finish writing very detailed take on Freakonomics answering flawed arguments and presenting a different view. for my neice Sarah who asked me to read that book, but will also share publicly.

– write regularly for different audiences. I write for a progressive audience here but want to find a place to engage a moderate/conservative audience. Maybe medium. Maybe my own blog and link things.

– some of the articles: write about applying DBT principles and psychology to politics/diplomacy; about open source principles to laws and society. also best practices articles. Prison reform! Interview experts/stakeholders on any of the above projects.

– continue the FB order of the teaspoon page with one small thing a day

that’s all, I think. Feel free to share all/parts with friends if you want.

So I signed a petition today at dailyKos, asking congress to prevent Trump from having the authority to start a nuclear war. And I thought, well, petitions aren’t very effective and I don’t know if this will do any good. But at least, if there is a nuclear war and we are all gonna die, at least I know I signed a petition….


I did get a bunch of people at the peace fair today to agree to make phone calls against that SB1142 bill. Now back to aligning voter files to enable our communities product. Would it have made any difference if I just went hiking? But then there was Anna Maria with the families of those killed by the border patrol. I think I’m glad I went. Fighting back is a funny thing.

Just finished reading Eliyahu Goldratt’s The Goal: A Process of Ongoing Improvement. I liked it fairly well, found it actually pretty inspiring about 2/3 of the way through, but he lost me at the end when he seemed to imply that his Theory of Constraints could solve every problem known to business, education or human endeavor. Its the be-all-end-all syndrome that is so prevalent with consultants and trainers, because the success of consultancy is dependent on being The One with the answers.

The thing is, its ok to have a fairly good and somewhat original idea, that is sometimes helpful. That’s better than average and its a good thing. Nothing in this book is earth-shaking, but it does show some effective sounding approaches for optimizing messy, dependent chains of operations. It has enough concrete details that it convinces me that the author knows at least something about manufacturing. And the idea of searching for bottlenecks, constraints and maximum leverage is a good one to keep in mind. Its an easy read and worth an afternoon, just skip over the puffery stuff at the end.

I am not the snapchat type. I prefer books, code, and UIs that let me drive, think about what I’m doing, and build things over time. But with two of my kids off to college and Snapchat their preferred method of communication, I’m snapchatting.

What strikes me about the app, is the emotional bang for the buck it provides. Low overhead – down in the tenth-of-a-second range – as well as nothing to organize later, nothing to store, and no definite expectation of response makes the ‘cost’ of using the app in terms of time, effort and responsibility almost zero. The gratification of getting a snap unexpectedly (usually they seem not to be part of an ongoing conversation) or of seeing that one of your friends or family has viewed or saved your snap is fairly high, especially when its a photo of a distant family member.

Spontaneity is another plus. Silliness is encouraged both by the app itself (filters, face swaps, etc) and by the sense of impermanence. One might hesitate to post a dog-whiskered, clown-nosed version of oneself to a online photo album, but the sense that this is like a voice conversation that will disappear, encourages fun and a sense of intimacy. Its a bit like being with the person, but only for a brief moment.

So I can appreciate these features, and I like snapchat for what it is. It leaves me wanting, though, because I want to build a deeper and more complex structure than this sort of moment allows. I want conversation, work, memories, feedback, and the sense of creating something together.

Perhaps if Snapchat can capture the feeling of a fun, shallow conversation, another app can better enable the fun of working creatively together. I would love to be able to save things to long term threads that I am working on with distant friends and family, to work on projects and pick up on them at any moment exactly where I left them off, and have my context snap back into place, and find the feedback that others may have left on ideas or bits of work I left waiting for them. And I’d love to be surprised with a response to a thread I left dangling a month ago, that moves a loved but dustbin’d project forward a step.

I can wish, can’t i?

I love this quote – this is one of my core values and love hearing Hilary say it. She may be personally ambitious – so shoot her – but I believe that she works hard and cares about stuff, including women and kids. She meets with a lot of people in scary situations personally, and I bet that really does affect her.

A friend introduced me yesterday to the Alexander technique, which after reading about on various websites, I still know very little about. Here is why I consider that a failing in principle.

I am not merely a demanding, impatient, spoiled American, though I am those things too. But the technique, or the description of it I was able to gather in my very brief reading, seems to me to contain powerful principles that reach beyond use of one’s body.

The Alexander technique, in my limited understanding, involves not only release of tension but minimalist motion and effort, a conscious avoiding of unnecessary muscle action.

This principle of minimalist, focused effort is both general and powerful: Omit Needless Words. Treat every problem as if its solution were extremely simple (Extreme programming). Write.

So here is a challenge to you folks who do understand the Alexander technique, who are teachers and who have dedicated years to its understanding: Can you write a page or two of imperatives that distill your deep wisdom to the fewest possible words?

In the meantime, I’ll keep reading: a good life is having a framework in which you can spend the bits of time doing good things, things in line with your long term deep goals. That’s it. And that’s the software I really want to write, the thing that ties together the long-term threads and deeper goals with the daily feed and workflow. But in the meantime use the tools there are, which maybe could already be used that way…

kinda obvious but most things that make sense are obvious, no?

I’ve written several bits for the Tucson Citizen, but they’re no longer around even as archives. I’ll get the originals and post them here. Meantime, I’m writing on DailyKos as ‘wordmonkey’ :

Maybe one, maybe a handful of them, but I don’t think I’ve ever followed all of them. Even posting this here seems to break the key idea that readers are the most important part of writing, because if it were posted somewhere else maybe it would have more chance of finding readers. But I’m stubborn and like to post on my own blog.
25 Commandments for Journalists

0 area51

Golda to RandomWrites, TechStuff  

I’ve been using StackOverflow for years as a programmer, and never before scrolled to the bottom to see the whole community of sites. Not only is there stackoverflow for plumbers and scifi/fantasy buffs, but lets you join or start a community of experts for a new stackoverflow site.

Its interesting that its not just platform software anyone can use, but that the community/reputation/expert factor is an intrinsic part of the thing. Its not just the software, apparently.