Review: The Average American–The Extraordinary Search for the Nation’s Most Ordinary Citizen

5 Star, America (Founders, Current Situation), Biography & Memoirs, Civil Society, Consciousness & Social IQ, Culture, Research, Democracy, Intelligence (Public), Peace, Poverty, & Middle Class, Politics, Voices Lost (Indigenous, Gender, Poor, Marginalized)
Amazon Page

5.0 out of 5 stars One Extra Star for Cool Idea That is Also Uplifting

October 3, 2006

Kevin O'Keefe

If you are an Amazon buyer you are probably not average, and Amazon reviewers even less so. I was compelled to buy this book simply on the premise that it would be interesting to learn what “average” was. I was NOT expecting an uplifting book that inspired reflection about what it means to be a good man, a good citizen, a good husband and father, and that is what this book is.

Yes, it would have benefitted from maps as well as a statistical table and a calendar of the search, and I would normally have given it four stars for lacking those “visualization & closure” elements, but I simply cannot get over the fact that this book made me feel good about America and good about the standard run of the mill American.

The idiocy and mendacity of our leaders aside, this is a great Nation, and I have tears in my eyes as I conclude the book, where the man chosen by the author as the average American, informed on the 4th of July, properly concludes that it is a great honor. Honor indeed. This is a superb book.

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2001 Gessaman (US) Understanding the Federal Budget–If It Is Not in the Budget, It is Not Policy

Budgets & Funding, Historic Contributions
Understanding the Budget of the United States Government
Understanding the Budget of the United States Government

Don Gessaman was the Deputy Associate  Director for National Security at the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) for over a decade, and in that capacity managed the oversight, as the most senior civil servant in OMB for defense, diplomacy, aid, and intelligence.  Today Kathleen Peroff manages this money, over one trillion dollars a year, unqiue for being the most disposable and directable part of the US Government's budget.  during this period Arnie Donahue was Chief of the C4I Branch, and served for several years, until 1997, after Don retired.  Both of them contributed to the budget numbers contained in ON INTELLIGENCE: Spies and Secrecy in an Open World.

In 2000 we almost got a Presidential Budget Initiative for the Open Source Agency, but Sean O'Keefe, the Deputy Director of OMB who approved the initiative at a first year start of $125 million, moved to be the leader of the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) and we lost our chance to leverage Sean O'Keefe's unique appreciation for the importance of this initative.

He is the principal author of the books shown here, most recently issued in 2006 and generally used by incoming Presidents and new Directors of OMB to orient their political client base and appointees.  The book can be ordered from the EOP Foundation, 819 7th Street, N.W., Washington, D.C. 200001, telephone (2020) 833.8940.

Below is a summary of Don's presentation to OSS '21.

Don Gessaman
Don Gessaman

Memorandum: Open Source Intelligence and Government Operations (as Read by Seniors at Office of Management and Budget, OMB)


With help from Don Gessaman, Sean O'Keefe at Office of Management and Budget (OMB) was briefied on the need for a national Open Source Program, and agreed in principle to a $125 million first year start.  Then he moved to the National and Aeronautics Administration, and the opportunity for a Presidential Initiative was lost.

OMB One Page = $125M IOC
OMB One Page = $125M IOC

2001 Decision for the Vice-President Elect on Creating an Open Source Information Program (OSIP) in Support of National Security Decision-Making, with Emphasis on Third World/Non-State Threats

History of Opposition, Memoranda

The below memorandum was delivered to the Vice-President-elect via the Transitioin Team.  Although Condi Rice, prodded by Kevin Scheid, did read a related memorandum on reforming national intelligence, and asked for a tailored one-pager on homeland security, the White House never really got it and Sean O'Keefe left the Office Management and Budget (OMB) before they could be briefed into a Presidential Initiative that was ready to go at $125M a year Initial Operating Capability, climbing to $2B a year at Full Operational Capability (FOC).

Memo to VP Elect
Memo to VP Elect