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:
- outline of the existing U.S. Federal Government, and the Senate's role in that govenment
- simulation of the Senate process for developing a legislative bill
- identification of the Senate's role per the Constitution, and per founders' thoughts
- description of the Senate's organization and rules for conducting business
- section for public discussion of Senate problems and potential solutions (Phase II)
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:
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).
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
with your findings, suggestions, etc.
- overview of the federal government
- relationship of the Senate to the entire government
- textual information of the Senate's struture
- discrete simulation (sequential steps) of the U.S. Senate
- glossary of government terms
- abbreviated list of the most relevant writings (mostly books)
- links to useful government web sites
[6/22/15] (updated perspective -- see the tab Phase II
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
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
Why a web site?
- distills/summarizes/accumulates information
- crowd-sourcing ideas, judgements, priorities, votes
- can accumulate support for a popular movement
- interactive (simulation of Senate process, ideas, criticism, and other feedback from users)
- can be dynamic; can be kept up-to-date via user input
- it's online (electronic search of content; better than an index in paper materials)
- 1000 : 1 more readers/users than even a good book (a guess)
- can use knowledge from book(s), other sources via users
- can offer a unique vehicle for a solution to an identified problem
- widely accessable, including use of social media and portable devices