An update on government transparency

Tags: , , , , , — Jeff @ 11:02

I commented earlier about governmental transparency and cited the proposed stimulus bill as an instance where transparency had not yet been achieved. Since the final iteration of the stimulus (more accurately, a conference report resolving differences between the House and Senate bills previously approved) is coming to final votes in both houses today assuming all goes according to plan, I think a brief update on the situation is in order.

As far as I understand it, the final version of the stimulus was first sent to lobbyists on Washington, D.C.’s K Street late Wednesday or early yesterday. Sometime strictly after that, congressmen received final copies. Finally, last night at 23:32 EST, Speaker Pelosi (more precisely, a staff member) announced the final conference report and joint bill text; the two are split across multiple government sites, so they may have been available earlier given extra diligence in searching for them, but it’s impossible to say. One news source says the House vote may come around 13:00 or 14:00 EST today (so about as I make this post), or about 13-14 hours after the initial public posting; the Senate vote may come sometime later in the evening, or perhaps around 22 hours later at most. It’s not quite the 48 hours unanimously agreed to by the House around, roughly, H1096 in the congressional records of the House from February 10 (readthestimulus.org has better details, but they don’t also have good permalinks, so search for “48” in the page), but 13-14 hours (or some unspecified amount of time more, if the text was released earlier in private) should be close enough for everyone, right?

The Speaker really could have done a better job of making the process a bit more transparent, but I suppose she thinks in an emergency the agreed-upon rules can’t be accorded muchany importance if they get in the way of “necessary” legislation. To be clear, this isn’t President Obama’s bailiwick, so he can’t be faulted for this lack of transparency; it would have been nice, however, if he had publicly noted it and requested the process be modified. It’s understandable that President Obama isn’t bringing this short-circuited process to greater light given that it’s a bill drafted by his own party, but it’s not exactly commendable, either.


Seven facts about me that are not true

Tags: , , , — Jeff @ 10:48

I think this sort of thing is a bit dumb. It’s a poor substitute for writing posts that actually talk about oneself and one’s interests in a way that goes beyond the surface-gloss, pique-the-reader’s-interest level and actually say something meaningful about one’s interests or philosophy for life. The only one of these I’ve seen that I thought was close to reasonable was the console-history one that made the rounds sometime in the last year, because it was non-random information that said something about the person’s activities while not actually being all that shallow. It’s hard to think how one could talk about console history (which does say a lot about the commands the person runs regularly) in any more comprehensive and less glossy way, unless maybe you looked at the most common series of commands that had been run.

So here are the rules to this:

  1. Link to your original tagger(s) and list these rules in your post.
  2. Share seven facts about yourself in the post.
  3. Tag seven people at the end of your post by leaving their names and the links to their blogs.
  4. Let them know they’ve been tagged.

…and because I think this is partly a way to avoid saying something detailed and meaningful, I’m not going to share seven facts: I’m going to share seven facts that are not true. How’s that for non-useful information‽

  1. I am an amateur body builder.
  2. I am a poor speller.
  3. I am the E4X sub-module owner. (Brendan said “close to”, not “are”, and besides: I hereby state, and mean all that I say, that I never have been and never will be the E4X sub-module owner; that if nominated by Brendan, I should peremptorily decline; and even if unanimously elected by every SpiderMonkey super-hacker I should decline to serve. Because I’m too smart to fall for that, and because I know what’s good for me. 😛 )
  4. I don’t think there’s anything of interest in this recent YouTube video by Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi, so you shouldn’t waste any time to watch it:

  5. I thought I was wrong once, but I was mistaken.
  6. I do not intend to do any more long-distance backpacking trips, or (logical or!) I do not intend to do any similarly long-distance cycling trips.
  7. I didn’t spend a couple weeks in summer 2007 hacking Facebook in my spare time, or (logical or again, head spinning yet?) I didn’t give a class about Facebook’s JavaScript sandbox and how I could break it last January.
  8. Bonus! My last name is de Morgan.

Now, let’s see about some victims from the set of people I haven’t yet noticed doing this:

  • bz! one needs no reasons to select bz
  • Jenny Liebig, a friend from pre/elementary/middle school and the last millennium (whoa) and intermittently since then due to divergent paths in life
  • Jesse Ruderman, because he happens to be the closest person at hand to use at the moment
  • Brendan, because he throws “salad days” and “epiphenomenal” around with impunity in normal conversation
  • dmose, because he commented on a past post here
  • Luis Villa, who knows more caselaw than I do (because he doesn’t just pretend to be a lawyer on TV)
  • jminta, who doesn’t have a blog and will probably ignore this because lawyers are too often stuffy types (his present and/or future employers, that is)


<jminta> Waldo: dump(“Things:\n”) for (var i = 1; i <= 7; i++) dump(“I can count to ” + i + “.\n”);