About Publius2

About Publius2 Page Content
  Site purpose
Phase I
Phase II
Why a web site?
Why Publius2?
Publius was the psuedonym for the essays of Alexander Hamilton,  James Madison,  and John Jay written following the Constitutional Convention of 1787.  These essays were published in New York,  and distributed throughout the new states,  to explain and promote the proposed U.S. Constitution.  The essays have remained one of the most important collection of writings concerning the foundation of our government.

Publius2 is named in honor of these men;  their intellectual efforts,  and their persistent desire to substantially improve the structure of the existing government via the adoption of the new Constitution,  and therein a new government format.

What does Publius2 do?
The intent of this web site is to analyze an important segment of the U.S. Government for possible improvements in its functioning.  That important segment is the U.S. Senate.  Toward the goal of determining and suggesting changes/improvements,  this site will include segments/pages that provide: A great deal has already been written concerning making our government work better.  Also,  relevant changes have been tried at the state level as experimentation toward improving state government.  The Senate has made its own changes over the years,  much of it successful improvement.  The overall government and our body of law has simultaneously evolved to reflect a much larger country (more states), a highly successful economy, and extensive integration with other countries in the world.  Yet, the Senate seems to operate at a much lower level of honest discussion and collaboration than is attainable.
What is it based on?
This web site had its conceptual origin in M.S. thesis in computer science completed at California State University,  Chico in 1997.  That thesis title was  'An Electronic Tool for Understanding Government:  Using Smalltalk".  The thesis project included an object-oriented analysis and design for a simulation of the U.S. Senate.  The committee members for the project were:
     Chair: Dr. Anne Keuneke,  professor of computer science  (Phd in artificial intelligence from Ohio State University)
     Member: Dr. Paul Luker,  professor of computer science  (Phd in computer science; specialty in discrete simulations)
     Member: Dr. Robert Ross,  Head,  Department of Political Science,  CSU,  Chico
         (Midway in the project,  Dr. Luker accepted the Computing Sciences Chair at DeMontfort University in England.  At that point, 
          Dr Keuneke accepted the position of Committee Chair for the thesis project,  and Dr Luker became a committee member in absentia)

During the course of developing this thesis,  it became apparent that computer science was an intellectual discipline peculiarly capable of analyzing and modeling such a complex and dynamic system as the U.S. Senate.  Additionally,  web-based applications can now be vehicles for displaying text and graphics to encourage both analysis of individual segments,  and integration of those results for intuitive judgements;  a powerful combination.

How can it succeed?
Recently,  the emergence of  'social technologies'  has made the computer the central vehicle for our information and communication needs.  Within our computer-based social networks lie the capability for accumulating public pressure on elected representatives to change things if they resist,  or are internally unable to make changes.  Internationally,  we have already seen the power of the internet and personal electronic devices to force such change.  Forcing a comparable change  (via public pressure)  in the U.S. Senate seems conceivable.
For more information about this web site and its mission,  and/or to provide feedback on site errors,  mistakes,  bugs,  suggestions,  etc.,  please send email to:

Site purpose          (to top)
The goal of this web site is to help improve the workings of our federal government.  Various levels of dysfunction,  inefficiency,  legislative obstruction,  and brinkmanship have been widely identified over the past 30 or so years  (circa 2013).  This web site will attempt to help citizens broadly understand our existing governmental system,  and examine and discuss possible solutions for improvement. This task is seen as a long-term effort  (several years).
Phase I          (to top)
The inital phase for this effort is to examine,  explain,  and illustrate how the existing government works.  The U.S. Senate has been selected for this study,  as an important component of the government,  and showing signs of the problems noted above.

The existing web site (circa 2013) represents the semi-completion (version 1) of Phase I. This includes:

It is very important that users provide feedback concerning various kinds of errors,  incorrect assertions, etc.  Particularly in the simulation of the Senate,  there are many individual components to each step.  It is almost certain there are errors.  In this Phase,  please send email to the webmaster with your findings,  suggestions,  etc.
Phase II     [6/22/15]  (updated perspective -- see the tab Phase II)          (to top)
The second phase of this web site is to address the problems and possible solutions.  A great deal of examination and thought has already been done toward this end,  and put into writing.  A considerable number of reforms have been adopted by the Senate through the years;  some have improved it.  We will look at those reforms.  Other thoughtful reforms have been proposed,  but not adopted.  We will consider those also.  We will consider what some of our state governments do to address similar problems.  We may consider what other countries do.  Among us,  there is a great deal of knowledge.  This web site hopes to bring a significant part of that to bear on the issue.

Present thought is to add at least a single forum for discussion and debate in Phase II of this effort.  Anonymous users may be allowed to contribute.  There may be a separate section for the contributions of scholars and other domain experts.  Voting may be done on different ideas and proposals to help evaluate and prioritize.

It is also expected that an attempt will be made to develop a sub-model of the Senate which will permit 'what-if' analysis and simulation.  Barbara Sinclair's  (professor of Political Science at UCLA)  analyses and writings suggest a format for connecting changes in Senate Rules and Procedures to expected modifications in Senate behavior,  consistent with formal game theory.  The representation of such a simulation is expected to be done via a graphical model;  permitting user manipulation of assumptions and rule changes,  and illustrating expected changes in Senate behavior over time.

Should a consensus of desirable and achievable change in Senate Rules and Procedures  (or other structural changes)  be developed,  social media in some combined form might be used to apply pressure to senators to bring about this change.

Ideas for both phases of Publius2 are welcome.  Please address them to the webmaster.

Why a web site?          (to top)