Keynotes and Lectures

For 245 days Carl Eeman stood in the eye of an election hurricane. Politics, law, media old and new all swirled around him, raining down sheets of information, blowing windy howls of partisan spin. Day by day he chose, distilled, explained and wrote posts to explain the Minnesota Senate recount. He was read religiously in Washington DC law offices and at sidewalk cafes in Zurich. Peace Corps volunteers used his writings to explain the rule of law and advance democracy from Cote d’Ivoire to Kazakhstan.

Whether your students and faculty are in law, political science or journalism school media, the Minnesota Senate Recount has lessons that are as real-time as the Internet, yet as timeless as the democratic ideal itself: Let the people rule themselves. Carl Eeman serves it all up in Open Source Democracy with insight, wit and urgency that leaves audiences wiser, thoughtful, inspired and chuckling.

Budding attorneys and their mentors, and members of the bar and the bench, will learn by avoidance Carl’s idea that “half of life is knowing what NOT to do.” The recount showed legal eagles how not to handle evidence and how not to choose witnesses. But the Recount did show how to make a judge laugh out loud at your case from the bench, and how to earn a public sanction in the biggest state court case in 45 years.

You may have reporters-to-be, editors, news hounds, the heirs of Ida Tarbell and Woodward and Bernstein. Open Source Democracy will fire them up to help reinvent both old and new media. Journalists attending will catch the difference between news reporters and news “stenographers, learn anew the value (and struggle for) transparency. Media young and old attending Open Source Democracy will learn from the media’s mistakes and celebrate their triumphs.

Over in the political science department are the idealists, the realistic, even cynical believers in things of the common good, and analysts of power, influence and public psychology. In Open Source Democracy, Carl Eeman describes the power of public patience in a real-time age. Let them be inspired that a transparent, detailed system stood up to a 245 day challenge and proved its worth.

When you ask Carl Eeman to bring Open Source Democracy to your school, customize your choices. Choose from the following which emphasis would be best value for your students.

For Students of Law

  • How not to manage a trial
  • How to mishandle PR
  • How to tamper with a witness on the stand during a trial
  • How to undercut your case in 10 minutes before a Supreme Court

For Students of Journalism

  • Pursue transparency to achieve clarity and increased trust in your reporting
  • Blend strengths of old and new media to inform the public
  • Why good writing still counts
  • Op-ed and real journalism are like oil and water

For Students of Political Science

  • Using truth to block spin
  • Achieve personal and public integrity…even in politics
  • How high-tech tools fulfill the ancient hopes of democracy
  • How one campaign struck a winning balance between passion and reason, while another let ambition overwhelm reality


To book Carl to address your school, class, or organzation, please send an email to or call 952-479-0015.

From yust southeast of Lake Woebegon…

November 2008: With the US Senate race in Minnesota too close to call, incumbent Norm Coleman says, "If you ask me what I would do, I would step back." Challenger Al Franken tells the press he supports a recount. A quiet blogger named WineRev writes a diary at DailyKos.

Six months later: Coleman has not yet stepped back. Franken has not been seated. WineRev is still writing.

Eight months later: Finally, Senator Al Franken is sworn in, and WineRev has finally stopped writing.

Recounting Minnesota is a thoroughly entertaining, often irreverent, and always informative view of the 2008 Minnesota Senate recount, complete with reader comments and a timeline of this unexpected saga.