There's very interesting series of articles on "direct" democracy here from journalist Joe Matthews, author of The People's Machine: Arnold Schwarzenegger And the Rise of Blockbuster Democracy. Joe is generally critical of direct democracy, but he seemed impressed by how it works in Switzerland, where they've had national ballot initiatives since 1891, and where the problems seem to have been ironed out. You can see my comments on most of his stories.
The U.S. desperately needs the people to "check and balance" a Congress which so dramatically misrepresents us, from NAFTA to the bailout, with perpetual war and debt, domestic spying, torture and so much more between. I've devoted over 7000 hours over the last 20 years so that we will have a vote on this stuff, hopefully soon. I've been promoting former Sen. Mike Gravel's National Initiative project since 2000, which you can now vote to ratify at Vote.org, much as citizens, not the 13 legislatures, ratified the Constitution at the conventions.