Archive for June, 2012

Beer, Doughnuts, and the War of 1812

Written on: June 14, 2012 | 12 Comments

The Great Doughnut War of '12 Poster

Last week the staffs of the National Archives and the Canadian Embassy here in Washington gathered to commemorate the War of 1812 in a special way—The Great Doughnut War of ’12, pitting Dunkin’ Donuts and Krispy Kreme against Tim Hortons. Three celebrity judges—two from the National Archives and one from the Canadian Embassy participated in a blind taste testing (below left).

Blind taste text and ballot box

 

 

 

 

 

 

And the attendees all had a chance to vote (ballot box, above right) as the doughnuts were served on separate unlabeled platters. Lest you think the two to one odds—doughnuts and judges—were unfair, let me point out that the event was held in MY HOUSE!

National Archives in black and white

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The tension built during the day when we learned that the delivery of Tim Hortons to the Embassy resulted in potential disaster.

crushed doughnuts

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Claiming SABOTAGE by the competition, the resourceful Embassy staff hoofed it to Baltimore for replacements.

We treated our Canadian friends to a display of facsimiles of records pertaining to the War of 1812 and beer!

And we ended the evening with a special screening of my favorite movie, “Strange Brew”—the source of everything I know and love about Canada!

P.S. Tim Hortons was the victor—both by popular vote and celebrity vote. A recount is underway!

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Solving the Problems of Our Time

Written on: June 8, 2012 | 2 Comments

On his first day on the job President Barack Obama told his Senior Staff,

“Our commitment to openness means more than simply informing the American people about how decisions are made. It means recognizing that Government does not have all the answers, and that public officials need to draw on what citizens know. And that’s why, as of today, I’m directing members of my administration to find new ways of tapping the knowledge and experience of ordinary Americans—scientists and civil leaders, educators and entrepreneurs—because the way to solve the problems of our time, as a nation, is by involving the American people in shaping the policies that affect their lives.”

Knowing we don’t have all the answers, we’re changing the way we think about our work at the National Archives and Records Administration. We’re shifting our perspectives to reflect the fact that we do not have all the answers. The principles of open government – transparency, participation, and collaboration – help us draw on what citizens know.

Today, we release our updated Open Government Plan for 2012-2014. Looking back over the past two years, I’m proud of our accomplishments in strengthening open government in our agency and in our society. We set an ambitious path, accomplishing almost 70 tasks. Over the next two years our work will include:

  • Creating a new culture based on
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