OGD Contrarianism - Focusing on the Basics

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Jim Harper

May 21, 2009, 3:05:38 PM5/21/09
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Exciting as the latest developments are with the Open Government Dialogue, can I briefly caution against taking our eyes off an important ball?

Today I went looking for President Obama's speech on national security issues which he presented at the National Archives. It was a good and important speech.

Do you know what you get when you click on the "Speeches" link under "Briefing Room" at Whitehouse.gov? Four speeches, the most recent of which was in late February. The New York Times has the text of his speech today, but Whitehouse.gov doesn't.  This is basic stuff that should be on the White House Web site. Yes, there are excerpts on the blog . . .

As important as the Open Government Dialogue is, and Gov 2.0 (or whatever you want to call it), let's not forget about Gov 1.0. Whitehouse.gov should be an organized repository of current information that the public can use. Don't let the bleeding edge stuff become a sandbox where the transparency movement gets marginalized. Everything else is important, but we don't even have an organized, truly informative Whitehouse.gov.

The transparency community sat by while President Obama walked away from his pledge to post bills online for five days before signing them. It's a simple promise - dumb even - but it was a form of transparency that real Americans might use regularly and benefit from.

President Obama is signing more bills this week without giving them the sunlight he promised. Do you know what's in them? Are you satisfied that Congress' work has gotten a full public vetting? Or have you been distracted by shiny baubles?

Jim Harper

Gabriela Schneider

May 26, 2009, 10:58:49 AM5/26/09
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On a related note, the Washington Times published a piece today on Obama failure to fulfill his 5-day pledge

Gabriela Schneider
Communications Director
Sunlight Foundation
1818 N Street, NW Suite 410
WDC 20036
p: 202/742-1520 x 236
c: 202/746-0439

Jim Harper

May 27, 2009, 12:04:47 PM5/27/09
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Consistent with my earlier comment on this thread, here's my "good news/bad news" write-up of last week in transparency, including links to several news stories and John Wonderlich's thoughtful post.


It includes the latest on "Sunlight Before Signing." President Obama has now gone 1 for 23 - five of the nine bills he recently signed were held for five days at the White House before the President signed them into law, but they weren't posted on Whitehouse.gov. Nowhere to go but up!

Jim Harper
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