Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Happy Thanksgiving

In memory of all those who were stolen from us in Mumbai and in tribute to all who survive

Owen Ambur talks about his work for the federal government, XML, and standards

This is the second of an occasional series of interviews with local tech leaders.

Owen Ambur recently retired from the Fish and Wildlife Service. He talks about the Federal XML Work Group, and his current work with AIIM's StratML Committee.

How did you come to work at the Fish & Wildlife Service?

After a 14-year stint on Capitol Hill with Congressman/Senator Abdnor, our election defeat became an opportunity for me to serve for 7 1/2 years as the Congressional liaison for an agency in whose mission I strongly believe.  As chief of the Office of Legislative Services, I implemented an electronic document management system and the Director of the agency asked me to take a special assignment in the Office of Information Resources Management (IRM) to expand the system agency-wide.  After spending the first two-thirds of my career in Congressional affairs, that's how I ended up in a more technical line of work -- not because of a fascination with technology but because I needed it to do my job efficiently and effectively

How did you get interested in XML?

My involvement in XML stems from my long-standing interest in document/records management and forms automation.

How was the xmlCoP formed?

Early in 2000 I sent a message to George Brundage of GSA highlighting two opportunities for the government to leverage the potential of XML.  He posted my message on a listserv he was maintaining relating to information technology architecture.  Martin Smith, who was then with the U.S. International Trade Commission (ITC), and more recently has worked at the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), suggested that I bring those ideas to the attention of the CIO Council (CIOC).  I did so and Lee Holcomb, who was then CIO at National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) and co-chaired what is now the CIOC's Architecture and Infrastructure Committee (AIC), commissioned Martin and me to form an ad hoc group and come back to his committee with a recommendation.  That group recommended that a more formal working group be chartered under the auspices of the CIOC, and our first charter was approved in the fall of 2000.

The original message thread that led to formation of the XML Working Group (XML WG) is available at In September 2004, the XML WG was re-chartered as the XML Community of Practice (xmlCoP) and the history of the group is available at  Coincidentally, our current charter expires on November 30:

How did you come to co-chair the Federal XML Work Group?

In the ad hoc group that met prior to chartering of the XML WG, I was pushing for GSA and NIST to co-chair the group, in light of their missions, and Marion Royal of GSA was subsequently assigned to serve as co-chair. However, Martin and others pressed for me to accept the other slot and it was an offer I could not refuse to do something in which I truly believe.

What do you think the Federal XML Work Group achieved?

As I told Lee and others in the CIOC, XML was going to happen regardless of whether the CIOC did anything about it or not.  It has taken longer than I had hoped and we still have a long way to go to fully capitalize on the potential in an effective and well-coordinated manner on a government-wide basis.  However, I do believe the fact that the xmlWG/CoP was formally recognized by the CIOC, met virtually every month for six years straight, and still maintains the site has fostered awareness, education, and sharing of experiences and expertise. Hopefully, that has brought greater credibility to what is to most people a pretty esoteric subject and, in turn, has encouraged agencies to act more rapidly than might have otherwise been the case.

For example, it is somewhat ironic that the first time the xmlCoP was briefed on the Global Justice XML Data Model (GJXDM) was when Pat McCreary and Bob Greeves of the Department of Justice (DOJ) filled in at the last minute when our scheduled speaker was unable to appear due to the events of 9/11.  The agenda and minutes from that meeting are available, respectively, at and  Subsequently, the GJXDM morphed into the National Information Exchange Model (NIEM), which may be the single, best success story for XML in government.

However, I cannot leave this topic without addressing what I consider to be
our greatest failure, which was the failure of Congress to approve the President's budget request for $2.1 million for the XML registry -- despite a projected return on investment (ROI) in the range of 500 - 1400 percent.
The history of that failure is documented at As a result, it remains far more difficult than it should be for agencies to discover and reuse XML data elements, rather than reinventing them, needlessly and perhaps inconsistently.

What is the importance of the Federal Enterprise Architecture  
Technical Reference Model
? What is its influence on the technology  
industry as a whole?

While most of the focus of the FEA has been placed on the Business Reference Model (BRM), on the theory that it is the "business" that is most important, I contend that it is impossible to truly understand our "business" without understanding the data (records) required to conduct it.  Thus, I believe there is a reason the Data Reference Model (DRM) was the last of the FEA "models" to be drafted ... because it is the only one that truly matters.

However, from my perspective, the Technical Reference Model (TRM) is the second most important -- because unless and until the relevant technical specifications are fully supported in the IT products, components, and services used to conduct We the People's business, all the talk about "interoperability" is just that ... talk.  It would be nice to think that IT vendors would "do the right thing" by coalescing around and implementing those standards.  However, the reality is that they have every incentive to continue selling us proprietary stovepipe systems as long as we are stupid enough to keep wasting the taxpayers' money on them.

Can you tell us about Has it been a success? Do civil servants use it?

The history of the site/process is documented at  It was commissioned by the former co-chairs of the CIOC's AIC, John Gilligan, CIO of the Air Force, and Norm Lorentz, CTO at OMB.  It was declared a "success story" in the CIOC's strategic plan for FY2007-2009.  See pages 13 & 14 (PDF pages 15 & 16) at

The site has been up and running for several years.  More than 100 components and specifications have been registered and are discoverable at as well as via IntelligenX's search service at
About 15 of them have progressed to Stage 2 of the process -- Five have reached Stage 3 -- -- and three have "graduated":  Two of those -- PDF/A and X3D -- have been incorporated into the FEA TRM.

Considering the relatively small amount of money originally allocated by EPA (when Mark Day, EPA's Deputy CIO co-chaired the CIOC/AIC's ET Subcommittee) for development of the site and the fact that no additional funding has been provided since then, it might be fair to suggest the site/process has been a success.  However, in truth, the jury is still very much out on the questions of whether:

a) Federal agencies really do want to collaborate more efficiently and effectively together to evaluate, demonstrate, prove and implement emerging technologies, and if so,

b) they want to use the site/process or some other as-yet-undetermined means to do so.

You once quoted one of your fellow civil servants as saying "We can't deal with vendors coming at us with intergalactic solutions." What should vendors know about approaching the federal government with an "intergalactic solution?"

Norm Lorentz, CTO at OMB, is the one who made that statement, when he and John Gilligan, asked the ET Subcommittee to develop the site and process.  Now that he has gone over to the "dark side" again, Norm might be better qualified to answer your question than I.  However, for my part, I must confess that it still seems to me that too many folks are too easily impressed with large, slick, fancy, so-called "solutions" that are too complex for anyone, including their proprietors to fully understand, much less effectively support.

Although Frank Raines' name has been sullied in the intervening years, his name was affixed to some very good guidance given to Federal agencies more than a decade ago when he was the Director at OMB.  My favorite among the eight points that became known as "Raines' Rules" was number seven, which directed agencies to implement IT in "phased, successive chunks as narrow in scope and brief in duration as practicable, each of which solves a specific part of an overall mission problem and delivers a measurable net benefit independent of future chunks."

Unfortunately, it still seems to me that it is possible to fool too many of
the people too often and, thus, government agencies continue to waste far
too much of the taxpayers' money on "intergalactic solutions."  However, I
remain hopeful that such foolishness may not continue indefinitely, if for
no other reason than it is becoming clearer and clearer that "change is
coming" ... because we can no longer afford "business as usual."

Small vendors tell me all the time how they cooperated with the federal government to develop an idea, often without compensation, only to see it handed off to one of the very large well known contractors. How can they avoid that unpleasant experience?

I don't think I'm qualified to answer this question, although I will say that I do believe the Federal procurement process is badly broken. I believe the process would be vastly improved by greater openness and transparency, in contrast to the current, highly centralized and secretive process.  Perhaps the best I can suggest is that:

a) it doesn't cost anything to use the site to identify emerging technology components, specifications, and services that may be of interest to .gov agencies, and

b) if someone uses the process to identify something for which another vendor is subsequently paid to do work for Uncle Sam, at least the record would be clear as to who proposed it first and the government may feel some additional obligation to justify paying someone else to carry it out.

What are some of the things you would like to see the federal government do with the Web and RSS to make government more transparent and citizen centric?

First of all, as suggested in the EEIRS report, agencies should post all of their public records on their Web sites, so that they can be indexed by the search engines.

Second, they should specify XML schemas for all of the records, and they should post all of those schemas on their Web sites so that XML registry services can be built from the bottom up.

Third, consistent with the E-FOIA amendments, agencies should begin to create and maintain their records in XML format so that they can easily be made available in whatever formats they may be requested.

Fourth, agencies should participate in the finalization and use of the XML schema (XSD) for the FEA DRM:  In the FEA PMO's assessment of enterprise architecture programs, agency scores on the DRM performance element should be based upon the degrees to which they have documented their data collections on their Web sites in conformance with the XSD for the DRM.

Fifth, as directed by subsection 202(b)(4) of the eGov Act, agencies should:

a) use AIIM's emerging StratML standard to explicitly identify the stakeholders for each of their strategic objectives,

b) embed in each and every one of their records a metatag(s) identifying the strategic objective(s) it supports and, thus,

c) enable the discovery of all of their records based upon the stakeholders
to which they apply.

What is StratML?

Strategy Markup Language (StratML) is an XML vocabulary and schema containing the elements that are common not only to the plans that U.S. federal agencies are required to compile and maintain under the Government Performance and Results Act (GPRA) but also to the strategic plans of all organizations.

The prospective purposes of the emerging StratML standard are outlined at  Under the auspices of AIIM, we aim to establish it as an international voluntary consensus standard for potential use by all organizations worldwide, thus enabling population of the *Strategic* Semantic Web.

In the service to the notions of citizen-centricity and the government as a single "enterprise," as well as conformance with OMB Circular A-119, it would not be unreasonable to think that OMB might require U.S. federal agencies to post their GPRA plans on their Web sites in StratML format.

How did AIIM come to be involved?

I originally approached AIIM in December 2003 because:

a) I had been a member of AIIM since 1995, and

b) AIIM was then touting itself as the "strategic content management" association and I wanted to help them make that concept real, rather than merely a marketing slogan.

The full history of StratML is documented at

Why should private businesses who don't have significant federal work care about StratML?

Anyone who cares about the concept of "strategic alignment" has a stake in the success and widespread usage of StratML.  There is nothing unique or "inherently governmental" about strategic planning.  Any organization that wants to be effective must have a clear understanding about what it aims to do and how it will "align" its resources to achieve its objectives.

In times like these, it is more important than ever not only to use our own resources wisely but also to partner more efficiently and effectively with others with whom we share common objectives.  That is the essence of StratML, whose purposes are more fully outlined at

Where do you see the XML industry going in the near future? Are we close to the semantic web?

There is little doubt that innovation will continue apace in the XML community.  Just as the simplicity of HTML, HTTP, and IP enabled the explosion of the Web, the relative ease with which XML enables the sharing of data means that we haven't seen anything yet by comparison to what we will soon experience.  Although the financial realities that have recently become too compelling to ignore any longer will place increasing pressure on IT budgets, those same realities increase the need to apply IT more
efficiently and effectively.  Indeed, more and better usage of technology --
particularly information technology -- is the *only* way that we can hope to avoid reliving the mistakes of the past, much less continuing progress into the future.

Regarding the semantic web, I'm not sure that the business case has been sufficiently well-established, much less that most people have any idea yet as to how they might contribute to and benefit from it.  However, I do hope that the emerging StratML standard will foster the development of a worldwide Web of organizations and individuals who choose to lead mission/goal-directed lives and seek to pursue those goals in collaboration with others who share their objectives.

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Betty Harvey talks about the DC XML users group, the evolution of XML and where the industry is going

This is the first of an occasional series of interviews with local tech leaders.

Betty Harvey, founder and owner of Electronic Commerce Connection, Inc. , head of the DC XML Users Group talks about the industry.

How did you get interested in XML?

I was working as a civilian for the Navy at David Taylor Model Basin, aka David Taylor Research and Development Center, currently Naval Surface Warfare Center in the Scientific and Engineering Users Support Section. My office was part of the Mathematics Department. Another office was working on the "Paperless Navy" project. In 1992, I transferred to this project and was exposed to SGML (Standard Generalized Markup Language).

SGML was part of larger DoD standard, CALS (Computer Aided Logistic Support).CALS was a very aggressive DoD standard. The cost for organizations to support SGML was astronomical. It was almost impossible for DoD vendors to support SGML for under a million dollars because of various technical and cultural reasons. There was lack of toolsets. The tools were inadequate and very expensive. I really didn't see where SGML was going to be successful in DoD - at that time government was the only environment I had a frame of reference for.

In 1992 I stumbled on the Cern project and something called HTML (really an application of SGML) and the Mosaic browser! It was 'love' at first sight. Here is a 'free browser' that supported an SGML vocabulary, albeit simple. It didn't take 20 million dollars to create.

David Taylor used the DBOF (Defense Business Operating Funding) which meant that we had to solicit funding from projects. Our office stood up one of the first WWW sites in the Navy ( This site was used to disseminate information about CALS standards within the Navy. (Luckily for me, the Technology Transfer Advocate at David Taylor got wind of what we doing and he sponsored me to attend the first WWW Conference in North America in Chicago in 1994.

That conference was the best conference I have attended before or after. The energy and innovation was intoxicating. At this conference they had a session called "SGML on the Web". Yuri Rubinsky was the chair of this conference and he had a vision of XML - although it hadn't been solidified at this point. Yuri was one of the founders of a company called SoftQuad, a small Canadian consulting and SGML software company. Softquad had bought a software library from a group of graduate students in Stockholm. They developed Panorama, a validating SGML browser. SoftQuad offered the Panorama as a free plugin to WWW browsers. It was a very successful browser and is still be used today in places like Bell South and the Pentagon.

When and why did you decide to launch your own company?

On a Friday afternoon before President's Day 1995 the Navy arbitrarily shut all websites off in the Navy. I was very frustrated because I thought we were providing a beneficial service to both the Navy and Navy suppliers (and ultimately the taxpayers).

On Monday I went to the bank and got a $20,000 loan. By April I had a server co-located on a T3 line. A year later I had my own T1 line, which I still maintain.

In June, Yuri offered me the opportunity to be a consultant for Softquad. In August I left government employment and started as an independent exclusive consultant for SoftQuad. In February 1996, tragically Yuri Rubinsky passed away and didn't get to see the success of XML.

Please tell readers a little about what Electronic Commerce Connection, Inc. does.

We are a consultancy that focuses on helping organizations to understand how to obtain, use, repackage and/or add value to their information. In most cases this is XML, but not always. Believe it or not we still have clients who interface with DoD and still are contractually required to provide their data in SGML.

We have worked with major publishers and government agencies in helping them to develop the business processes and infrastructure for data.

I have also worked with several standards organizations in developing XML standards for vertical industries, such as insurance, banking, etc.

I am also a member of several global consultancy organizations such as The XML Guild ( and Document Engineering Services (

How did the DC XML Users Group get started?

It happened in 1995 in a Usenet Group called comp.text.sgml. John Czarnecki, asked if there was a SGML users group in Washington, DC ( I piped in to say that I didn't know of one but I would 'help someone' if they wanted to start one. I became that person. We struggled for meeting places for several months. After leaving the Navy one of my first projects for SoftQuad was for the American Geophysical Union to develop a DTD for their journals. Jon Sears at AGU offered to host the meetings at AGU. We have been there for the last 13 years.

Many people have asked why this users group has been so successful over the years. I believe it is having a centrally located facility that is key (not to mention the cookies). It is a very nice spot to have meetings.

How, if any, has it changed over the years?

The technology has definitely changed over the years. It would be hard to describe the technology changes. XML touches every one of our lives every day. In 1995 I don't think we could have known how pervasive XML would become. I know it is cliche to say but it is 'way cool'!

How would you characterized the audiences?

The audiences change depending on the speakers. We have a few diehard members that come month after month but for the most part people come when there are topics of interest. Occasionally there will be topics of interest across both vertical and horizontal markets, i.e., content management, that will attract a lot of different disciplines.

There are approximately 500 people on the Washington, DC mailing list.

How are speakers selected?

They are many ways speakers are selected in many ways. Some speakers will contact me and ask to speak. Alot of our members will use the Users Group as a sounding block for conference talks they are slated to give.

Some members will ask for a presentation on a given topic and we will try to find an appropriate speaker.

What makes a good presentation? Are there presenters who particularly stand out?

I think the best talks are presentations where the presenter interacts with the audience. Our members tend to be a lively and really bright group and tend to like to ask a lot of pertinent questions. I have to admit that there have been a few (very few) presentations that the subject was a little bland.

Some of the presentations that stand out are presentations on emerging technologies. Our group is inquisitive and some very good information has been presented and exchanged at these meetings.

Tutorial sessions have also be very well received. Mulberry Technologies, Inc. have been very gracious in providing several tutorials through the years on emerging technologies, i.e., XSLT and Schematron.

Where do you see the XML industry going? What do you see as the
important trends?

I think the most fascinating trend in the industry is the amount of Open Source software available. The software industry seems to be rapidly changing their model. There are some interesting software products, especially in the XML space, that are Open Source. The model seems to be consulting around the Open Source software.

I am not sure if there really an XML industry any longer because of the nature of XML. XML is used in one way or another in almost every software and hardware product.

As far as XML standards I think some interesting standards that are on the cusp to explode are XForms and Schematron. Products are just now becoming mature in this space. The Orbeon XForms server is pretty slick. Schematron is being used for XML validation where business rules need to be validate in the data.

What are your working on now?

I am currently working with the National Archive Records Administration (NARA) on the technology evolution for the ERA project. The ERA project is a project designed to ingest electronic records of the government. The first phase of the project recently went live. XML is key for metadata and business object development. I am helping
them look at different XML technologies and standards, i.e., XForms for Business Objects and XML content management and repositories.

I also continue to support long term clients.

What is the recipe for your famous chocolate chip cookies?

This one is easy - it is the Toll House Chocolate Chip Cookie recipe from the back of the chocolate chip bag, slightly modified, double the pecans and double the vanilla.

Monday, November 24, 2008

Civil servants and the press

Peter Corbett is absolutely right, one of the reasons civil servants are reluctant to take risks is that they get attacked anytime they try something new, even when it is a success. Reporters owe their readers a careful analysis of all the relevant facts.

The Industry Advisory Council has a blog

I just found out that the Industry Advisory Council has a blog.

Welcome to blogosphere.

For those who don't know:
The mission of the Industry Advisory Council (IAC) is to bring industry and government executives together to exchange information, support professional development, improve communications and understanding, solve issues and build partnership and trust, thereby enhancing government's ability to serve the nation's citizenry.

Department of Understatement

Bush's exit to put new e-records system to the test

Surely by now we are all aware that we are dealing with something a lot more, shall we say complicated, then records management? This is not simply an IT task.

I don't envy the technical workers at National Archives. They will have to cope with competing requests from some very nasty disputes in the near future. I have complete confidence in their ability to play it completely by-the-book and totally professional.

Edit -
From the Sunlight Foundation: Shredding Party?

Monday, November 17, 2008

Obama's love letter to the civil service

Obama Wrote Federal Staffers About His Goals
In wooing federal employee votes on the eve of the election, Barack Obama wrote a series of letters to workers that offer detailed descriptions of how he intends to add muscle to specific government programs, give new power to bureaucrats and roll back some Bush administration policies.

The letters, sent to employees at seven agencies, describe Obama's intention to scale back on contracts to private firms doing government work, to remove censorship from scientific research, and to champion tougher industry regulation to protect workers and the environment.

It is tremendously significant that Obama sent out these letters via the American Federation of Government Employees, the union for the civil service. Ever since Jimmy Carter, American Presidents have used the civil service as a political punching bag. This has not been good for morale. Obama appears to be going in a better direction.

My strong advice for federal contractors is to make change your friend, not your enemy.

Reality based commentary from Defense News

Don't Believe Spending Cut Rumors
The uniformed services are trying to lock in the next administration by creating a political cost for holding the line on defense spending. Conservative groups are hoping to ramp up defense spending as a tool to limit options for a Democratic Congress and president to pass new, and potentially costly, social programs, including health care reform. ...

... There are so many things wrong with this emerging process that it is hard to address the issue concisely. Promoting overspending on defense in order to forestall popular social spending is undemocratic - it creates a false tension between national security and other public policy goals.

The informal alliance between the services and conservative think tanks threatens to further politicize the military. The abuse of national security arguments to win political arguments is both morally suspect and threatens the security of the nation by delinking strategic assessment from public policy.

Ultimately, the most dangerous aspect of this development is the threat posed to civil-military relations.

Never were conservative think tanks less influential with the public. Let the American people think the Generals are deliberately gaming the system for the purpose of stopping health care reform and the negative consequences would be catastrophic. The armed forces are there to protect the nation, they are not for any other purpose.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

New to me local tech blogs

Think locally, the loladex blog
Clearspring, the widget network
LivingSocial Blog
the mixx blog
The Qloud Blog
The Officially Official Blog of Searchles
Local Onliner; Peter Krasilovsky’s Take on What’s Important and Why
Sceenwerk; Greg Sterling’s Thoughts on Online and Offline Media
The Kelsey Group
evans ink
Local SEO Guide
The Praized Blog; Sebastien Provencher’s take on Local 2.0: where local meets social
Google Lat Long; News and Notes by the Google Earth and Maps Teams

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Great moments in media relations

Military gets own social network after YouTube is blocked
TroopTube is designed to help military families connect and keep in touch when separated, according to a note on the new site. Users can quickly upload videos that can be shared privately with a subset of users, or with all users on the site, the note said.

TroopTube is run by Military OneSource, which provides online information and assistance to current and former military personnel and their families.

MilitaryOne directed a Computerworld reporter to the DOD press office for a comment regarding TroopTube. That office directed a Computerworld back to MilitaryOne.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Is the question of "Is PR dead" dead yet?

Once again someone is hyping the Is PR Dead? meme.

No. Are we done here?

Seriously, what business has time to sift through everything that is written about it and figure out which needs a response, and what that response should be? Who has time to do that along with taking care of your customers?

As often as I have recommended that businesses encourage their employees to participate in social media, there are certain tasks that only PR is suited to preform. That is why we get hired.


In honor of Veteran's Day
Abraham Lincoln at Gettysburg
Four score and seven years ago our fathers brought forth, upon this continent, a new nation, conceived in liberty, and dedicated to the proposition that "all men are created equal"

Now we are engaged in a great civil war, testing whether that nation, or any nation so conceived, and so dedicated, can long endure. We are met on a great battle field of that war. We have come to dedicate a portion of it, as a final resting place for those who died here, that the nation might live. This we may, in all propriety do. But, in a larger sense, we can not dedicate -- we can not consecrate -- we can not hallow, this ground -- The brave men, living and dead, who struggled here, have hallowed it, far above our poor power to add or detract. The world will little note, nor long remember what we say here; while it can never forget what they did here.

It is rather for us, the living, we here be dedicated to the great task remaining before us -- that, from these honored dead we take increased devotion to that cause for which they here, gave the last full measure of devotion -- that we here highly resolve these dead shall not have died in vain; that the nation, shall have a new birth of freedom, and that government of the people by the people for the people, shall not perish from the earth.

New to me Drupal blog

The Universal Pantograph Representation is the essence of networking

Media relations insight of the day

Stephanie Stadler
Excellent recommendation from InformationWeek's @dberlind: "All press releases should include a shrunken, tweetable URL."

Friday, November 07, 2008

SEC completes taxonomies for XBRL

Investment News

The SEC is encouraging users and creators of investment company information to review the taxonomies (see the link below).

Any comments received by Nov. 24 might be included in the final taxonomies that are to be used in mutual fund filings, starting in 2009.

Visit the SEC website to read the rule proposal on mutual fund risk-return summaries. To review and comment on the taxonomies, visit XBRL US. Visit the story “Advisers may benefit from XBRL shift” for more on how the standards will ultimately help advisers.

If you have an opinion about taxonomies for XBRL, the time to express it would be before November 24.

Customer relations in the age of social media

Wayan asks if RCN is blocking Revver:

Revver works fine on my neighbour’s Verizon-provided Internet and other ISPs around DC. Its only RCN accounts that seem to be unable to access Revver.

His attempts to contact RCN for an explanation were unsuccessful.

There is no more important aspect of public relations than good customer service. When we think of pubic relations we think of getting good press and maybe corporate sponsored charity. We don’t think of answering the phone and solving a customer’s problem, but that is what defines a company’s reputation.

Customer service is not a career fast track
. Maybe that is part of the problem. Maybe if company’s promoted from within, and promoted from those who deal directly with customers, they would have better customer service.

Thursday, November 06, 2008

Twitter and publicizing events

It is remarkable to see a stream of tweets describing a particular event emerging in your Twitter feed, especially if more than one of the people you subscribe to are commenting on the same event. You really have the feeling of something exciting happening, even if it is just the monthly meeting of a local group.

Clearly it is in a company's interest to attract social media participants to their events. The only way I know to do this is to encourage your employees to participate in social media. That way when you have an event, employees can just post about it in Twitter, FriendFeed, FaceBook, or wherever.

Audience has to be built naturally, in the spirit of community. It is not as if you can just buy space the way you can with advertising. Social Media has to be carefully and respectfully cultivated.

One less anonymouse in the people's government
What do you mean my services are no longer required?

Days After Leak About Obama’s Aunt, Immigration Chief Julie Myers Announces Resignation

Fellow flacks, if you don't want your clients smeared in the press, then please do your part in ending the evil practice of anonymous sources.

Wednesday, November 05, 2008

Blogging the transition

John Kamensky

At least two media outlets have committed to using web-based approaches to tracking what’s going on. They are each worth bookmarking:

Government Executive/National Journal: They have launched a new blog: “Lost in Transition,” which includes thoughtful interviews with government executives, think tanks, and academics.

1105 Government Information Group: They are experimenting with a wiki-based approach to covering the transition: Gov Transition 2009. If you register, you can also add resources directly. The wiki includes articles, opportunities for dialogues on topics of your choosing, an inventory of events, think tanks, and reports with recommendations to the new Administration.

Automating Content Classification - The Crux of the Matter

NCC AIIM November Meeting
Get Some Class!! Automating Content Classification - The Crux of the Matter
Speakers: Frank McGovern, IBM Josh Payne, IBM
Thursday, November 13, 2008
Dinner Event
Westin Arlington Gateway

Our presenters will provide an insightful, vendor independent discussion on the topic of Classification, covering the following topics:

* Automatic Classification – what is it, how is it applied to content and records.
* State of the Auto Classification marketplace today.
* Business impacts – financial and operational – of automated classification methods.
* Records Management – how does it align and derive from content classification and management.
* Classification Best Practices across the complete content life cycle.
* Presentation and Discussion of Actual Use Cases and Experiences.

The season of sharp elbows
Aspiring political appointee demonstrates the technique

A new administration is coming to town. All those who seek to hold high office in a Democratic administration are maneuvering for position. Look for lots of stories with anonymous sources reporting that so-and-os is being mentioned as the next minister of silly walks, or whatever office they seek. We may easily guess who was doing the mentioning.

For the worker bees this ritual has great importance, yet we are mere spectators. It is going to be very entertaining, but not always edifying.

A remarkable victory

The challenges Obama faced in his campaign included TV hairdos who accidentally-on-purpose confused his name with that of a notorious terrorist who organized the biggest attack on the US mainland since the War of 1812.

Obama and his wife were alleged to have made a terrorist fist jab. Viewers were constantly asked to believe that Obama was somehow different. He didn’t just beat all of that, he won by a landslide.

This Presidential race teaches us many lessons. It teaches us that message matters. It teaches us that facts matter. It teaches us to maintain our focus when we are publicly slimed and always keep an eye to the main chance.

Tuesday, November 04, 2008

A republic if you can keep it

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We the People of the United States, in Order to form a more perfect Union, establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common defence, promote the general Welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America.

Article. I.

Section. 1.

All legislative Powers herein granted shall be vested in a Congress of the United States, which shall consist of a Senate and House of Representatives.

Section. 2.

The House of Representatives shall be composed of Members chosen every second Year by the People of the several States, and the Electors in each State shall have the Qualifications requisite for Electors of the most numerous Branch of the State Legislature.

No Person shall be a Representative who shall not have attained to the Age of twenty five Years, and been seven Years a Citizen of the United States, and who shall not, when elected, be an Inhabitant of that State in which he shall be chosen.

Representatives and direct Taxes shall be apportioned among the several States which may be included within this Union, according to their respective Numbers, which shall be determined by adding to the whole Number of free Persons, including those bound to Service for a Term of Years, and excluding Indians not taxed, three fifths of all other Persons. The actual Enumeration shall be made within three Years after the first Meeting of the Congress of the United States, and within every subsequent Term of ten Years, in such Manner as they shall by Law direct. The Number of Representatives shall not exceed one for every thirty Thousand, but each State shall have at Least one Representative; and until such enumeration shall be made, the State of New Hampshire shall be entitled to chuse three, Massachusetts eight, Rhode-Island and Providence Plantations one, Connecticut five, New-York six, New Jersey four, Pennsylvania eight, Delaware one, Maryland six, Virginia ten, North Carolina five, South Carolina five, and Georgia three.

When vacancies happen in the Representation from any State, the Executive Authority thereof shall issue Writs of Election to fill such Vacancies.

The House of Representatives shall chuse their Speaker and other Officers; and shall have the sole Power of Impeachment.

Section. 3.

The Senate of the United States shall be composed of two Senators from each State, chosen by the Legislature thereof for six Years; and each Senator shall have one Vote.

Immediately after they shall be assembled in Consequence of the first Election, they shall be divided as equally as may be into three Classes. The Seats of the Senators of the first Class shall be vacated at the Expiration of the second Year, of the second Class at the Expiration of the fourth Year, and of the third Class at the Expiration of the sixth Year, so that one third may be chosen every second Year; and if Vacancies happen by Resignation, or otherwise, during the Recess of the Legislature of any State, the Executive thereof may make temporary Appointments until the next Meeting of the Legislature, which shall then fill such Vacancies.

No Person shall be a Senator who shall not have attained to the Age of thirty Years, and been nine Years a Citizen of the United States, and who shall not, when elected, be an Inhabitant of that State for which he shall be chosen.

The Vice President of the United States shall be President of the Senate, but shall have no Vote, unless they be equally divided.

The Senate shall chuse their other Officers, and also a President pro tempore, in the Absence of the Vice President, or when he shall exercise the Office of President of the United States.

The Senate shall have the sole Power to try all Impeachments. When sitting for that Purpose, they shall be on Oath or Affirmation. When the President of the United States is tried, the Chief Justice shall preside: And no Person shall be convicted without the Concurrence of two thirds of the Members present.

Judgment in Cases of Impeachment shall not extend further than to removal from Office, and disqualification to hold and enjoy any Office of honor, Trust or Profit under the United States: but the Party convicted shall nevertheless be liable and subject to Indictment, Trial, Judgment and Punishment, according to Law.

Section. 4.

The Times, Places and Manner of holding Elections for Senators and Representatives, shall be prescribed in each State by the Legislature thereof; but the Congress may at any time by Law make or alter such Regulations, except as to the Places of chusing Senators.

The Congress shall assemble at least once in every Year, and such Meeting shall be on the first Monday in December, unless they shall by Law appoint a different Day.

Section. 5.

Each House shall be the Judge of the Elections, Returns and Qualifications of its own Members, and a Majority of each shall constitute a Quorum to do Business; but a smaller Number may adjourn from day to day, and may be authorized to compel the Attendance of absent Members, in such Manner, and under such Penalties as each House may provide.

Each House may determine the Rules of its Proceedings, punish its Members for disorderly Behaviour, and, with the Concurrence of two thirds, expel a Member.

Each House shall keep a Journal of its Proceedings, and from time to time publish the same, excepting such Parts as may in their Judgment require Secrecy; and the Yeas and Nays of the Members of either House on any question shall, at the Desire of one fifth of those Present, be entered on the Journal.

Neither House, during the Session of Congress, shall, without the Consent of the other, adjourn for more than three days, nor to any other Place than that in which the two Houses shall be sitting.

Section. 6.

The Senators and Representatives shall receive a Compensation for their Services, to be ascertained by Law, and paid out of the Treasury of the United States. They shall in all Cases, except Treason, Felony and Breach of the Peace, be privileged from Arrest during their Attendance at the Session of their respective Houses, and in going to and returning from the same; and for any Speech or Debate in either House, they shall not be questioned in any other Place.

No Senator or Representative shall, during the Time for which he was elected, be appointed to any civil Office under the Authority of the United States, which shall have been created, or the Emoluments whereof shall have been encreased during such time; and no Person holding any Office under the United States, shall be a Member of either House during his Continuance in Office.

Section. 7.

All Bills for raising Revenue shall originate in the House of Representatives; but the Senate may propose or concur with Amendments as on other Bills.

Every Bill which shall have passed the House of Representatives and the Senate, shall, before it become a Law, be presented to the President of the United States: If he approve he shall sign it, but if not he shall return it, with his Objections to that House in which it shall have originated, who shall enter the Objections at large on their Journal, and proceed to reconsider it. If after such Reconsideration two thirds of that House shall agree to pass the Bill, it shall be sent, together with the Objections, to the other House, by which it shall likewise be reconsidered, and if approved by two thirds of that House, it shall become a Law. But in all such Cases the Votes of both Houses shall be determined by yeas and Nays, and the Names of the Persons voting for and against the Bill shall be entered on the Journal of each House respectively. If any Bill shall not be returned by the President within ten Days (Sundays excepted) after it shall have been presented to him, the Same shall be a Law, in like Manner as if he had signed it, unless the Congress by their Adjournment prevent its Return, in which Case it shall not be a Law.

Every Order, Resolution, or Vote to which the Concurrence of the Senate and House of Representatives may be necessary (except on a question of Adjournment) shall be presented to the President of the United States; and before the Same shall take Effect, shall be approved by him, or being disapproved by him, shall be repassed by two thirds of the Senate and House of Representatives, according to the Rules and Limitations prescribed in the Case of a Bill.

Section. 8.

The Congress shall have Power To lay and collect Taxes, Duties, Imposts and Excises, to pay the Debts and provide for the common Defence and general Welfare of the United States; but all Duties, Imposts and Excises shall be uniform throughout the United States;

To borrow Money on the credit of the United States;

To regulate Commerce with foreign Nations, and among the several States, and with the Indian Tribes;

To establish an uniform Rule of Naturalization, and uniform Laws on the subject of Bankruptcies throughout the United States;

To coin Money, regulate the Value thereof, and of foreign Coin, and fix the Standard of Weights and Measures;

To provide for the Punishment of counterfeiting the Securities and current Coin of the United States;

To establish Post Offices and post Roads;

To promote the Progress of Science and useful Arts, by securing for limited Times to Authors and Inventors the exclusive Right to their respective Writings and Discoveries;

To constitute Tribunals inferior to the supreme Court;

To define and punish Piracies and Felonies committed on the high Seas, and Offences against the Law of Nations;

To declare War, grant Letters of Marque and Reprisal, and make Rules concerning Captures on Land and Water;

To raise and support Armies, but no Appropriation of Money to that Use shall be for a longer Term than two Years;

To provide and maintain a Navy;

To make Rules for the Government and Regulation of the land and naval Forces;

To provide for calling forth the Militia to execute the Laws of the Union, suppress Insurrections and repel Invasions;

To provide for organizing, arming, and disciplining, the Militia, and for governing such Part of them as may be employed in the Service of the United States, reserving to the States respectively, the Appointment of the Officers, and the Authority of training the Militia according to the discipline prescribed by Congress;

To exercise exclusive Legislation in all Cases whatsoever, over such District (not exceeding ten Miles square) as may, by Cession of particular States, and the Acceptance of Congress, become the Seat of the Government of the United States, and to exercise like Authority over all Places purchased by the Consent of the Legislature of the State in which the Same shall be, for the Erection of Forts, Magazines, Arsenals, dock-Yards, and other needful Buildings;--And

To make all Laws which shall be necessary and proper for carrying into Execution the foregoing Powers, and all other Powers vested by this Constitution in the Government of the United States, or in any Department or Officer thereof.

Section. 9.

The Migration or Importation of such Persons as any of the States now existing shall think proper to admit, shall not be prohibited by the Congress prior to the Year one thousand eight hundred and eight, but a Tax or duty may be imposed on such Importation, not exceeding ten dollars for each Person.

The Privilege of the Writ of Habeas Corpus shall not be suspended, unless when in Cases of Rebellion or Invasion the public Safety may require it.

No Bill of Attainder or ex post facto Law shall be passed.

No Capitation, or other direct, Tax shall be laid, unless in Proportion to the Census or enumeration herein before directed to be taken.

No Tax or Duty shall be laid on Articles exported from any State.

No Preference shall be given by any Regulation of Commerce or Revenue to the Ports of one State over those of another; nor shall Vessels bound to, or from, one State, be obliged to enter, clear, or pay Duties in another.

No Money shall be drawn from the Treasury, but in Consequence of Appropriations made by Law; and a regular Statement and Account of the Receipts and Expenditures of all public Money shall be published from time to time.

No Title of Nobility shall be granted by the United States: And no Person holding any Office of Profit or Trust under them, shall, without the Consent of the Congress, accept of any present, Emolument, Office, or Title, of any kind whatever, from any King, Prince, or foreign State.

Section. 10.

No State shall enter into any Treaty, Alliance, or Confederation; grant Letters of Marque and Reprisal; coin Money; emit Bills of Credit; make any Thing but gold and silver Coin a Tender in Payment of Debts; pass any Bill of Attainder, ex post facto Law, or Law impairing the Obligation of Contracts, or grant any Title of Nobility.

No State shall, without the Consent of the Congress, lay any Imposts or Duties on Imports or Exports, except what may be absolutely necessary for executing it's inspection Laws: and the net Produce of all Duties and Imposts, laid by any State on Imports or Exports, shall be for the Use of the Treasury of the United States; and all such Laws shall be subject to the Revision and Controul of the Congress.

No State shall, without the Consent of Congress, lay any Duty of Tonnage, keep Troops, or Ships of War in time of Peace, enter into any Agreement or Compact with another State, or with a foreign Power, or engage in War, unless actually invaded, or in such imminent Danger as will not admit of delay.

Article. II.

Section. 1.

The executive Power shall be vested in a President of the United States of America. He shall hold his Office during the Term of four Years, and, together with the Vice President, chosen for the same Term, be elected, as follows:

Each State shall appoint, in such Manner as the Legislature thereof may direct, a Number of Electors, equal to the whole Number of Senators and Representatives to which the State may be entitled in the Congress: but no Senator or Representative, or Person holding an Office of Trust or Profit under the United States, shall be appointed an Elector.

The Electors shall meet in their respective States, and vote by Ballot for two Persons, of whom one at least shall not be an Inhabitant of the same State with themselves. And they shall make a List of all the Persons voted for, and of the Number of Votes for each; which List they shall sign and certify, and transmit sealed to the Seat of the Government of the United States, directed to the President of the Senate. The President of the Senate shall, in the Presence of the Senate and House of Representatives, open all the Certificates, and the Votes shall then be counted. The Person having the greatest Number of Votes shall be the President, if such Number be a Majority of the whole Number of Electors appointed; and if there be more than one who have such Majority, and have an equal Number of Votes, then the House of Representatives shall immediately chuse by Ballot one of them for President; and if no Person have a Majority, then from the five highest on the List the said House shall in like Manner chuse the President. But in chusing the President, the Votes shall be taken by States, the Representation from each State having one Vote; A quorum for this purpose shall consist of a Member or Members from two thirds of the States, and a Majority of all the States shall be necessary to a Choice. In every Case, after the Choice of the President, the Person having the greatest Number of Votes of the Electors shall be the Vice President. But if there should remain two or more who have equal Votes, the Senate shall chuse from them by Ballot the Vice President.

The Congress may determine the Time of chusing the Electors, and the Day on which they shall give their Votes; which Day shall be the same throughout the United States.

No Person except a natural born Citizen, or a Citizen of the United States, at the time of the Adoption of this Constitution, shall be eligible to the Office of President; neither shall any Person be eligible to that Office who shall not have attained to the Age of thirty five Years, and been fourteen Years a Resident within the United States.

In Case of the Removal of the President from Office, or of his Death, Resignation, or Inability to discharge the Powers and Duties of the said Office, the Same shall devolve on the Vice President, and the Congress may by Law provide for the Case of Removal, Death, Resignation or Inability, both of the President and Vice President, declaring what Officer shall then act as President, and such Officer shall act accordingly, until the Disability be removed, or a President shall be elected.

The President shall, at stated Times, receive for his Services, a Compensation, which shall neither be increased nor diminished during the Period for which he shall have been elected, and he shall not receive within that Period any other Emolument from the United States, or any of them.

Before he enter on the Execution of his Office, he shall take the following Oath or Affirmation:--"I do solemnly swear (or affirm) that I will faithfully execute the Office of President of the United States, and will to the best of my Ability, preserve, protect and defend the Constitution of the United States."

Section. 2.

The President shall be Commander in Chief of the Army and Navy of the United States, and of the Militia of the several States, when called into the actual Service of the United States; he may require the Opinion, in writing, of the principal Officer in each of the executive Departments, upon any Subject relating to the Duties of their respective Offices, and he shall have Power to grant Reprieves and Pardons for Offences against the United States, except in Cases of Impeachment.

He shall have Power, by and with the Advice and Consent of the Senate, to make Treaties, provided two thirds of the Senators present concur; and he shall nominate, and by and with the Advice and Consent of the Senate, shall appoint Ambassadors, other public Ministers and Consuls, Judges of the supreme Court, and all other Officers of the United States, whose Appointments are not herein otherwise provided for, and which shall be established by Law: but the Congress may by Law vest the Appointment of such inferior Officers, as they think proper, in the President alone, in the Courts of Law, or in the Heads of Departments.

The President shall have Power to fill up all Vacancies that may happen during the Recess of the Senate, by granting Commissions which shall expire at the End of their next Session.

Section. 3.

He shall from time to time give to the Congress Information of the State of the Union, and recommend to their Consideration such Measures as he shall judge necessary and expedient; he may, on extraordinary Occasions, convene both Houses, or either of them, and in Case of Disagreement between them, with Respect to the Time of Adjournment, he may adjourn them to such Time as he shall think proper; he shall receive Ambassadors and other public Ministers; he shall take Care that the Laws be faithfully executed, and shall Commission all the Officers of the United States.

Section. 4.

The President, Vice President and all civil Officers of the United States, shall be removed from Office on Impeachment for, and Conviction of, Treason, Bribery, or other high Crimes and Misdemeanors.

Article III.

Section. 1.

The judicial Power of the United States shall be vested in one supreme Court, and in such inferior Courts as the Congress may from time to time ordain and establish. The Judges, both of the supreme and inferior Courts, shall hold their Offices during good Behaviour, and shall, at stated Times, receive for their Services a Compensation, which shall not be diminished during their Continuance in Office.

Section. 2.

The judicial Power shall extend to all Cases, in Law and Equity, arising under this Constitution, the Laws of the United States, and Treaties made, or which shall be made, under their Authority;--to all Cases affecting Ambassadors, other public Ministers and Consuls;--to all Cases of admiralty and maritime Jurisdiction;--to Controversies to which the United States shall be a Party;--to Controversies between two or more States;-- between a State and Citizens of another State;--between Citizens of different States;--between Citizens of the same State claiming Lands under Grants of different States, and between a State, or the Citizens thereof, and foreign States, Citizens or Subjects.

In all Cases affecting Ambassadors, other public Ministers and Consuls, and those in which a State shall be Party, the supreme Court shall have original Jurisdiction. In all the other Cases before mentioned, the supreme Court shall have appellate Jurisdiction, both as to Law and Fact, with such Exceptions, and under such Regulations as the Congress shall make.

The Trial of all Crimes, except in Cases of Impeachment, shall be by Jury; and such Trial shall be held in the State where the said Crimes shall have been committed; but when not committed within any State, the Trial shall be at such Place or Places as the Congress may by Law have directed.

Section. 3.

Treason against the United States, shall consist only in levying War against them, or in adhering to their Enemies, giving them Aid and Comfort. No Person shall be convicted of Treason unless on the Testimony of two Witnesses to the same overt Act, or on Confession in open Court.

The Congress shall have Power to declare the Punishment of Treason, but no Attainder of Treason shall work Corruption of Blood, or Forfeiture except during the Life of the Person attainted.

Article. IV.

Section. 1.

Full Faith and Credit shall be given in each State to the public Acts, Records, and judicial Proceedings of every other State. And the Congress may by general Laws prescribe the Manner in which such Acts, Records and Proceedings shall be proved, and the Effect thereof.

Section. 2.

The Citizens of each State shall be entitled to all Privileges and Immunities of Citizens in the several States.

A Person charged in any State with Treason, Felony, or other Crime, who shall flee from Justice, and be found in another State, shall on Demand of the executive Authority of the State from which he fled, be delivered up, to be removed to the State having Jurisdiction of the Crime.

No Person held to Service or Labour in one State, under the Laws thereof, escaping into another, shall, in Consequence of any Law or Regulation therein, be discharged from such Service or Labour, but shall be delivered up on Claim of the Party to whom such Service or Labour may be due.

Section. 3.

New States may be admitted by the Congress into this Union; but no new State shall be formed or erected within the Jurisdiction of any other State; nor any State be formed by the Junction of two or more States, or Parts of States, without the Consent of the Legislatures of the States concerned as well as of the Congress.

The Congress shall have Power to dispose of and make all needful Rules and Regulations respecting the Territory or other Property belonging to the United States; and nothing in this Constitution shall be so construed as to Prejudice any Claims of the United States, or of any particular State.

Section. 4.

The United States shall guarantee to every State in this Union a Republican Form of Government, and shall protect each of them against Invasion; and on Application of the Legislature, or of the Executive (when the Legislature cannot be convened), against domestic Violence.

Article. V.

The Congress, whenever two thirds of both Houses shall deem it necessary, shall propose Amendments to this Constitution, or, on the Application of the Legislatures of two thirds of the several States, shall call a Convention for proposing Amendments, which, in either Case, shall be valid to all Intents and Purposes, as Part of this Constitution, when ratified by the Legislatures of three fourths of the several States, or by Conventions in three fourths thereof, as the one or the other Mode of Ratification may be proposed by the Congress; Provided that no Amendment which may be made prior to the Year One thousand eight hundred and eight shall in any Manner affect the first and fourth Clauses in the Ninth Section of the first Article; and that no State, without its Consent, shall be deprived of its equal Suffrage in the Senate.

Article. VI.

All Debts contracted and Engagements entered into, before the Adoption of this Constitution, shall be as valid against the United States under this Constitution, as under the Confederation.

This Constitution, and the Laws of the United States which shall be made in Pursuance thereof; and all Treaties made, or which shall be made, under the Authority of the United States, shall be the supreme Law of the Land; and the Judges in every State shall be bound thereby, any Thing in the Constitution or Laws of any State to the Contrary notwithstanding.

The Senators and Representatives before mentioned, and the Members of the several State Legislatures, and all executive and judicial Officers, both of the United States and of the several States, shall be bound by Oath or Affirmation, to support this Constitution; but no religious Test shall ever be required as a Qualification to any Office or public Trust under the United States.

Article. VII.

The Ratification of the Conventions of nine States, shall be sufficient for the Establishment of this Constitution between the States so ratifying the Same.

The Word, "the," being interlined between the seventh and eighth Lines of the first Page, the Word "Thirty" being partly written on an Erazure in the fifteenth Line of the first Page, The Words "is tried" being interlined between the thirty second and thirty third Lines of the first Page and the Word "the" being interlined between the forty third and forty fourth Lines of the second Page.

Attest William Jackson Secretary

Done in Convention by the Unanimous Consent of the States present the Seventeenth Day of September in the Year of our Lord one thousand seven hundred and Eighty seven and of the Independence of the United States of America the Twelfth In witness whereof We have hereunto subscribed our Names,

G°. Washington
Presidt and deputy from Virginia

Geo: Read
Gunning Bedford jun
John Dickinson
Richard Bassett
Jaco: Broom

James McHenry
Dan of St Thos. Jenifer
Danl. Carroll

John Blair
James Madison Jr.

North Carolina
Wm. Blount
Richd. Dobbs Spaight
Hu Williamson

South Carolina
J. Rutledge
Charles Cotesworth Pinckney
Charles Pinckney
Pierce Butler

William Few
Abr Baldwin

New Hampshire
John Langdon
Nicholas Gilman

Nathaniel Gorham
Rufus King

Wm. Saml. Johnson
Roger Sherman

New York
Alexander Hamilton

New Jersey
Wil: Livingston
David Brearley
Wm. Paterson
Jona: Dayton

B Franklin
Thomas Mifflin
Robt. Morris
Geo. Clymer
Thos. FitzSimons
Jared Ingersoll
James Wilson
Gouv Morris

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The Bill of Rights
Amendment I

Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.

Amendment II

A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed.

Amendment III

No Soldier shall, in time of peace be quartered in any house, without the consent of the Owner, nor in time of war, but in a manner to be prescribed by law.

Amendment IV

The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no Warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by Oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized.

Amendment V

No person shall be held to answer for a capital, or otherwise infamous crime, unless on a presentment or indictment of a Grand Jury, except in cases arising in the land or naval forces, or in the Militia, when in actual service in time of War or public danger; nor shall any person be subject for the same offence to be twice put in jeopardy of life or limb; nor shall be compelled in any criminal case to be a witness against himself, nor be deprived of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor shall private property be taken for public use, without just compensation.

Amendment VI

In all criminal prosecutions, the accused shall enjoy the right to a speedy and public trial, by an impartial jury of the State and district wherein the crime shall have been committed, which district shall have been previously ascertained by law, and to be informed of the nature and cause of the accusation; to be confronted with the witnesses against him; to have compulsory process for obtaining witnesses in his favor, and to have the Assistance of Counsel for his defence.

Amendment VII

In Suits at common law, where the value in controversy shall exceed twenty dollars, the right of trial by jury shall be preserved, and no fact tried by a jury, shall be otherwise re-examined in any Court of the United States, than according to the rules of the common law.

Amendment VIII

Excessive bail shall not be required, nor excessive fines imposed, nor cruel and unusual punishments inflicted.

Amendment IX

The enumeration in the Constitution, of certain rights, shall not be construed to deny or disparage others retained by the people.

Amendment X

The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people.

The Constitution: Amendments 11-27

Passed by Congress March 4, 1794. Ratified February 7, 1795.

Note: Article III, section 2, of the Constitution was modified by amendment 11.

The Judicial power of the United States shall not be construed to extend to any suit in law or equity, commenced or prosecuted against one of the United States by Citizens of another State, or by Citizens or Subjects of any Foreign State.


Passed by Congress December 9, 1803. Ratified June 15, 1804.

Note: A portion of Article II, section 1 of the Constitution was superseded by the 12th amendment.

The Electors shall meet in their respective states and vote by ballot for President and Vice-President, one of whom, at least, shall not be an inhabitant of the same state with themselves; they shall name in their ballots the person voted for as President, and in distinct ballots the person voted for as Vice-President, and they shall make distinct lists of all persons voted for as President, and of all persons voted for as Vice-President, and of the number of votes for each, which lists they shall sign and certify, and transmit sealed to the seat of the government of the United States, directed to the President of the Senate; -- the President of the Senate shall, in the presence of the Senate and House of Representatives, open all the certificates and the votes shall then be counted; -- The person having the greatest number of votes for President, shall be the President, if such number be a majority of the whole number of Electors appointed; and if no person have such majority, then from the persons having the highest numbers not exceeding three on the list of those voted for as President, the House of Representatives shall choose immediately, by ballot, the President. But in choosing the President, the votes shall be taken by states, the representation from each state having one vote; a quorum for this purpose shall consist of a member or members from two-thirds of the states, and a majority of all the states shall be necessary to a choice. [And if the House of Representatives shall not choose a President whenever the right of choice shall devolve upon them, before the fourth day of March next following, then the Vice-President shall act as President, as in case of the death or other constitutional disability of the President. --]* The person having the greatest number of votes as Vice-President, shall be the Vice-President, if such number be a majority of the whole number of Electors appointed, and if no person have a majority, then from the two highest numbers on the list, the Senate shall choose the Vice-President; a quorum for the purpose shall consist of two-thirds of the whole number of Senators, and a majority of the whole number shall be necessary to a choice. But no person constitutionally ineligible to the office of President shall be eligible to that of Vice-President of the United States.

*Superseded by section 3 of the 20th amendment.


Passed by Congress January 31, 1865. Ratified December 6, 1865.

Note: A portion of Article IV, section 2, of the Constitution was superseded by the 13th amendment.

Section 1.
Neither slavery nor involuntary servitude, except as a punishment for crime whereof the party shall have been duly convicted, shall exist within the United States, or any place subject to their jurisdiction.

Section 2.
Congress shall have power to enforce this article by appropriate legislation.


Passed by Congress June 13, 1866. Ratified July 9, 1868.

Note: Article I, section 2, of the Constitution was modified by section 2 of the 14th amendment.

Section 1.
All persons born or naturalized in the United States, and subject to the jurisdiction thereof, are citizens of the United States and of the State wherein they reside. No State shall make or enforce any law which shall abridge the privileges or immunities of citizens of the United States; nor shall any State deprive any person of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws.

Section 2.
Representatives shall be apportioned among the several States according to their respective numbers, counting the whole number of persons in each State, excluding Indians not taxed. But when the right to vote at any election for the choice of electors for President and Vice-President of the United States, Representatives in Congress, the Executive and Judicial officers of a State, or the members of the Legislature thereof, is denied to any of the male inhabitants of such State, being twenty-one years of age,* and citizens of the United States, or in any way abridged, except for participation in rebellion, or other crime, the basis of representation therein shall be reduced in the proportion which the number of such male citizens shall bear to the whole number of male citizens twenty-one years of age in such State.

Section 3.
No person shall be a Senator or Representative in Congress, or elector of President and Vice-President, or hold any office, civil or military, under the United States, or under any State, who, having previously taken an oath, as a member of Congress, or as an officer of the United States, or as a member of any State legislature, or as an executive or judicial officer of any State, to support the Constitution of the United States, shall have engaged in insurrection or rebellion against the same, or given aid or comfort to the enemies thereof. But Congress may by a vote of two-thirds of each House, remove such disability.

Section 4.
The validity of the public debt of the United States, authorized by law, including debts incurred for payment of pensions and bounties for services in suppressing insurrection or rebellion, shall not be questioned. But neither the United States nor any State shall assume or pay any debt or obligation incurred in aid of insurrection or rebellion against the United States, or any claim for the loss or emancipation of any slave; but all such debts, obligations and claims shall be held illegal and void.

Section 5.
The Congress shall have the power to enforce, by appropriate legislation, the provisions of this article.

*Changed by section 1 of the 26th amendment.


Passed by Congress February 26, 1869. Ratified February 3, 1870.

Section 1.
The right of citizens of the United States to vote shall not be denied or abridged by the United States or by any State on account of race, color, or previous condition of servitude--

Section 2.
The Congress shall have the power to enforce this article by appropriate legislation.


Passed by Congress July 2, 1909. Ratified February 3, 1913.

Note: Article I, section 9, of the Constitution was modified by amendment 16.

The Congress shall have power to lay and collect taxes on incomes, from whatever source derived, without apportionment among the several States, and without regard to any census or enumeration.


Passed by Congress May 13, 1912. Ratified April 8, 1913.

Note: Article I, section 3, of the Constitution was modified by the 17th amendment.

The Senate of the United States shall be composed of two Senators from each State, elected by the people thereof, for six years; and each Senator shall have one vote. The electors in each State shall have the qualifications requisite for electors of the most numerous branch of the State legislatures.

When vacancies happen in the representation of any State in the Senate, the executive authority of such State shall issue writs of election to fill such vacancies: Provided, That the legislature of any State may empower the executive thereof to make temporary appointments until the people fill the vacancies by election as the legislature may direct.

This amendment shall not be so construed as to affect the election or term of any Senator chosen before it becomes valid as part of the Constitution.


Passed by Congress December 18, 1917. Ratified January 16, 1919. Repealed by amendment 21.

Section 1.
After one year from the ratification of this article the manufacture, sale, or transportation of intoxicating liquors within, the importation thereof into, or the exportation thereof from the United States and all territory subject to the jurisdiction thereof for beverage purposes is hereby prohibited.

Section 2.
The Congress and the several States shall have concurrent power to enforce this article by appropriate legislation.

Section 3.
This article shall be inoperative unless it shall have been ratified as an amendment to the Constitution by the legislatures of the several States, as provided in the Constitution, within seven years from the date of the submission hereof to the States by the Congress.


Passed by Congress June 4, 1919. Ratified August 18, 1920.

The right of citizens of the United States to vote shall not be denied or abridged by the United States or by any State on account of sex.

Congress shall have power to enforce this article by appropriate legislation.


Passed by Congress March 2, 1932. Ratified January 23, 1933.

Note: Article I, section 4, of the Constitution was modified by section 2 of this amendment. In addition, a portion of the 12th amendment was superseded by section 3.

Section 1.
The terms of the President and the Vice President shall end at noon on the 20th day of January, and the terms of Senators and Representatives at noon on the 3d day of January, of the years in which such terms would have ended if this article had not been ratified; and the terms of their successors shall then begin.

Section 2.
The Congress shall assemble at least once in every year, and such meeting shall begin at noon on the 3d day of January, unless they shall by law appoint a different day.

Section 3.
If, at the time fixed for the beginning of the term of the President, the President elect shall have died, the Vice President elect shall become President. If a President shall not have been chosen before the time fixed for the beginning of his term, or if the President elect shall have failed to qualify, then the Vice President elect shall act as President until a President shall have qualified; and the Congress may by law provide for the case wherein neither a President elect nor a Vice President shall have qualified, declaring who shall then act as President, or the manner in which one who is to act shall be selected, and such person shall act accordingly until a President or Vice President shall have qualified.

Section 4.
The Congress may by law provide for the case of the death of any of the persons from whom the House of Representatives may choose a President whenever the right of choice shall have devolved upon them, and for the case of the death of any of the persons from whom the Senate may choose a Vice President whenever the right of choice shall have devolved upon them.

Section 5.
Sections 1 and 2 shall take effect on the 15th day of October following the ratification of this article.

Section 6.
This article shall be inoperative unless it shall have been ratified as an amendment to the Constitution by the legislatures of three-fourths of the several States within seven years from the date of its submission.


Passed by Congress February 20, 1933. Ratified December 5, 1933.

Section 1.
The eighteenth article of amendment to the Constitution of the United States is hereby repealed.

Section 2.
The transportation or importation into any State, Territory, or Possession of the United States for delivery or use therein of intoxicating liquors, in violation of the laws thereof, is hereby prohibited.

Section 3.
This article shall be inoperative unless it shall have been ratified as an amendment to the Constitution by conventions in the several States, as provided in the Constitution, within seven years from the date of the submission hereof to the States by the Congress.


Passed by Congress March 21, 1947. Ratified February 27, 1951.

Section 1.
No person shall be elected to the office of the President more than twice, and no person who has held the office of President, or acted as President, for more than two years of a term to which some other person was elected President shall be elected to the office of President more than once. But this Article shall not apply to any person holding the office of President when this Article was proposed by Congress, and shall not prevent any person who may be holding the office of President, or acting as President, during the term within which this Article becomes operative from holding the office of President or acting as President during the remainder of such term.

Section 2.
This article shall be inoperative unless it shall have been ratified as an amendment to the Constitution by the legislatures of three-fourths of the several States within seven years from the date of its submission to the States by the Congress.


Passed by Congress June 16, 1960. Ratified March 29, 1961.

Section 1.
The District constituting the seat of Government of the United States shall appoint in such manner as Congress may direct:

A number of electors of President and Vice President equal to the whole number of Senators and Representatives in Congress to which the District would be entitled if it were a State, but in no event more than the least populous State; they shall be in addition to those appointed by the States, but they shall be considered, for the purposes of the election of President and Vice President, to be electors appointed by a State; and they shall meet in the District and perform such duties as provided by the twelfth article of amendment.

Section 2.
The Congress shall have power to enforce this article by appropriate legislation.


Passed by Congress August 27, 1962. Ratified January 23, 1964.

Section 1.
The right of citizens of the United States to vote in any primary or other election for President or Vice President, for electors for President or Vice President, or for Senator or Representative in Congress, shall not be denied or abridged by the United States or any State by reason of failure to pay poll tax or other tax.

Section 2.
The Congress shall have power to enforce this article by appropriate legislation.


Passed by Congress July 6, 1965. Ratified February 10, 1967.

Note: Article II, section 1, of the Constitution was affected by the 25th amendment.

Section 1.
In case of the removal of the President from office or of his death or resignation, the Vice President shall become President.

Section 2.
Whenever there is a vacancy in the office of the Vice President, the President shall nominate a Vice President who shall take office upon confirmation by a majority vote of both Houses of Congress.

Section 3.
Whenever the President transmits to the President pro tempore of the Senate and the Speaker of the House of Representatives his written declaration that he is unable to discharge the powers and duties of his office, and until he transmits to them a written declaration to the contrary, such powers and duties shall be discharged by the Vice President as Acting President.

Section 4.
Whenever the Vice President and a majority of either the principal officers of the executive departments or of such other body as Congress may by law provide, transmit to the President pro tempore of the Senate and the Speaker of the House of Representatives their written declaration that the President is unable to discharge the powers and duties of his office, the Vice President shall immediately assume the powers and duties of the office as Acting President.

Thereafter, when the President transmits to the President pro tempore of the Senate and the Speaker of the House of Representatives his written declaration that no inability exists, he shall resume the powers and duties of his office unless the Vice President and a majority of either the principal officers of the executive department or of such other body as Congress may by law provide, transmit within four days to the President pro tempore of the Senate and the Speaker of the House of Representatives their written declaration that the President is unable to discharge the powers and duties of his office. Thereupon Congress shall decide the issue, assembling within forty-eight hours for that purpose if not in session. If the Congress, within twenty-one days after receipt of the latter written declaration, or, if Congress is not in session, within twenty-one days after Congress is required to assemble, determines by two-thirds vote of both Houses that the President is unable to discharge the powers and duties of his office, the Vice President shall continue to discharge the same as Acting President; otherwise, the President shall resume the powers and duties of his office.


Passed by Congress March 23, 1971. Ratified July 1, 1971.

Note: Amendment 14, section 2, of the Constitution was modified by section 1 of the 26th amendment.

Section 1.
The right of citizens of the United States, who are eighteen years of age or older, to vote shall not be denied or abridged by the United States or by any State on account of age.

Section 2.
The Congress shall have power to enforce this article by appropriate legislation.


Originally proposed Sept. 25, 1789. Ratified May 7, 1992.

No law, varying the compensation for the services of the Senators and Representatives, shall take effect, until an election of representatives shall have intervened.