The Pulse: Citizens League Issues Scan

"The Pulse", the Citizens League issue scan looks at topics of interest to members of the Citizens League (

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Saturday, December 21, 2002
Technology: Online Retailing Finds Its Legs. An article in the December 20, 2002 issue of Business Week Online describes the success of many firms, from online-only Amazon to bricks-and-mortar Wal-Mart, having success at working with the web. According to an annual holiday-spending survey conducted by Goldman Sachs and Nielsen/NetRatings, shoppers planned to spend an average 17.5% of their gift budget on the Web this year, compared to 15.1% in 2001. And 22% of respondents said their satisfaction with online shopping is higher now than a year ago. Online shopping currently accounts for only 2.5% of overall U.S. retail sales but within two decades, online sales could account for as much as 30% of retailing dollars. For public services there are lessons to be learned in appropriately integrating face to face "retail" and online public services. The full story may be found at: (256)

Friday, December 20, 2002
Energy and Environment: Citizens League Calls for Electric Energy Policy Reform. Tom Meersman wrote a piece for the Friday, December 20, 2002 Star Tribune entitled: "Minnesota needs new electric power policy, Citizen League says" on the Citizens League report issued that day. The report calls for more aggressive conservation and alternative energy measures for the state and for policy reform better linking energy and the environment. The story may be found at: The full report may be found online at: (255)

Thursday, December 19, 2002
Public Services: President Bush Signed E-Government Act of 2002. On December 17, 2002 President Bush signed the E-0Government Act of 2002 that outlines how agencies provide information and services over the Internet. The act defines e-government and offers guidelines for Web sites, electronic archives, directories, and managing emergencies. A total of 345 million dollars over four years was specifically allotted for e-government initiatives. The act provides rules on security, federal IT personnel training, procurement and the appointment of an e-government administrator in the Office of Management and Budget. The e-government administrator will be appointed by the President and will develop e-government-related polices; his role will be comparable to that of OMB's associate director for IT and e-government, Mark Forman. The act comes more than a year after President Bush designated 24 e-government initiatives for the federal government. The Whitehouse press release on the signing may be found at: (254)

Wednesday, December 18, 2002
Technology. The Wi-Fi Boom. Adam Baer wrote a piece entitled: "The Wi-Fi Boom" for the December 12, 2002 New York Times on an emerging trend of using a wireless modem to access the Internet at so-called hotspots of internet access in public buildings or locations. The service tends to be much less expensive than using a cellular telephone modem and may reach speeds higher than typical home-based broadband. The technology push is on for wireless internet access with a number of contending approaches. The wi-fi explosion in sites is offering direct competition to earlier wired and wirelss options. The full article is at: (253)

Tuesday, December 17, 2002
Technology: Cameras Catch Graffiti Painters. An article in the New York Times described a number of cities using motion detectors and cameras to nab graffiti vandals in high likelihood spots. This points to a set of decisions in the future about the use of technology for enforcement actions from red light running to vehicle based impairment tests. The full article may be found at: (252)

Monday, December 16, 2002
Healthcare: U.S. Universal Healthcare to Be Revisited? Mark Sappenfield wrote a piece entitled: "More states flirt with universal healthcare" for the December 16, 2002 issue of the Christian Science Monitor describing a renewed interest in the states in universal healthcare. Unlike the last run at universal healthcare coming from Washington, this time pressure for reform is coming from states themselves. “If it begins to emerge as a priority in seven or eight states, it will begin to change the political dynamic." At least three California lawmakers are expected to introduce bills next session on universal healthcare. Last week Bruce Bodaken, head of California Blue Shield proposed a universal-coverage system. What happens in a handful of these states - from California to Maine - could shape the nation's healthcare discussion. "This phenomenon is important to watch," says Diane Rowland, executive vice president of the Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation in Washington. The full article may be found at: (251)

Sunday, December 15, 2002
Energy and Transportation. Why Fuel Cells Are Worth Pursuing. Tom Redburn wrote an economics opinion piece for the December 15, 2002 New York Times business section on the hydrogen fuel cell economy and why pursuing it is worth the risk in terms of energy independence, if not environmental protection. He said: "No one knows for sure whether a hydrogen economy is a possible dream. ... But it is worth the risk." The full article may be found at: (250)