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Membership Has Its Partisans
April-June 2002 (vol. 24 no. 2)
pp. 104, 103

When faced with a difficult decision of any kind, the first step organizations often take is forming a commission to study the issue. What do commissions do? They propose future policy, explain embarrassing failures and shape perceptions--and often policies--of governments, organizations, and businesses. Heralded as impartial investigators, commissions are proclaimed as embodying the collective wisdom of the time.

1. The commission's Web site ishttp:/
2. D.C. Johnston, "Advisory Panel on Internet Taxes Unlikely to Reach Consensus," New York Times,20 Mar. 2000, pp. C1-2.
3. R. Dreyfuss, "Grover Norquist, 'Field Marshal' of the Bush Plan," The Nation,14 May 2001 ; available as of 24 April 2002 athttp://www.thenation.comdoc.mhtml?i=20010514&s=dreyfuss .
4. D.C. Johnston, "Agreement on Internet Taxes Eludes Deeply Divided Commission," New York Times,21 Mar. 2000, pp. C1, 4; also, L.B. Ward and J. Files, "Net Tax Opponents Prevail,"Dallas Morning News,22 Mar. 2000, pp. D1,2; and D.C. Johnston, "Governors Criticize Internet Tax Panel,"New York Times,12 Apr. 2000, p. C6.
5. This section is a paraphrase of the original taken from D. Sobel's delightful Longitude: The True Story of a Lone Genius Who Solved the Greatest Scientific Problem of His Time, Viking Penguin, New York, 1996.

Jonathan Coopersmith, "Membership Has Its Partisans," IEEE Annals of the History of Computing, vol. 24, no. 2, pp. 104, 103, April-June 2002, doi:10.1109/MAHC.2002.1010081
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