Category Archives: Transparency

White House unveils open government directive

The Obama administration on Tuesday officially unveiled its Open Government directive (pdf), a document that charges each federal agency with making high value data publicly available and with quickly coming up with formal open government plans.

The announcement follows up on President Obama’s first executive act–the issuing on January 21 of his Memorandum on Transparency and Open Government. That document set forth, among other things, that, “We will work together to ensure the public trust and establish a system of transparency, public participation, and collaboration. Openness will strengthen our democracy and promote efficiency and effectiveness in Government.”

The administration’s Chief Information Officer Aneesh Chopra and Chief Technology Officer Vivek Kundra on Tuesday appeared together in a live Webcast to spell out the new directive and to answer questions from the public:

Vodpod videos no longer available.

Among the major points of the directive it:

• Requires federal agencies to make a minimum of three “high-value” data sets available within 45 days. An example, they said, was data that was released on Data.gov earlier this year by the Federal Aviation Administration about the on-time performance of commercial airline flights, and which was subsequently used by a member of the public to create Flyontime.us.

• Directs that within 60 days, the White House will launch a dashboard on Whitehouse.gov that will be used to hold each agency accountable for the contents of the directive.

• Commits each federal agency to launching its own open government Web site.

• Says that within 90 days, agencies will receive guidance from the federal Office of Management and Budget about creating challenges and contests for how best to use publicly available data.

• And mandates that within 120 days, each agency will create an open government plan geared towards ensuring that the philosophies of openness, transparency, and collaboration are permanently “hardwired.”

In announcing the directive, which was posted Tuesday morning by OMB Director Peter Orszag, Chopra said there were three key themes that everyone involved in putting it together had sought to achieve. First, that the directive reflected Obama’s priorities and put the open government initiative into the hands of the executive branch. Second, that those involved have been and will be working together as a team with stakeholders at the federal level, in state and local governments, and with the public. And third, that the directive is focused on results. In other words, he said, Obama has “called on us” to deliver.

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Filed under Cabinet, Government, Obama Administration, Peter R. Orszag (OMB Director), Podcast, Transparency

I have news for Texas Senator John Cornyn and U.S. Rep. Pete Sessions

blogpost by libbyshaw

This morning, when I unfolded the front page of the Houston Chronicle the headline

GOP begins to show signs of resurgence

hit me in the face.

Really? A Republican resurgence?

I guess the fact that much of his N.J. constituency viewed Corzine as arrogant, corrupt and the dude who saddled his constituents with high property taxes while at the same time has strong ties to the thieves of all thieves, Goldman Sachs, had nothing to do with his loss.

And let’s ignore the fact that Wall. St. and the financial sector is among the largest employer in the NYC and northern NJ area. Many mid to lower level employees in the financial sector received pink slips when Wall St. crashed. I guess these folks are not in the least bit angry at those who are or were part of the Wall St. establishment.

Earth to GOP obstructionists: incumbents even remotely tied to the Wall St. melt down and the thieving banks are going to get the boot unless Congress does something to regulate and demand transparency from the financial industry.

The once popular New York’s former Democrat and now Republican billionaire mayor Bloomberg had to spend millions upon millions of his own money, outspending his opponents 10 to 1 to barely squeak by a win.

And a lackluster candidate in purple Virginia who ran a lackluster campaign in which he fled from a progressive agenda in a state that traditionally votes for a Governor who is not in the same Party as the President, is a sign of a GOP insurgence?

Voters don’t vote if candidates fail to excite them. And no matter the party, voters will vote against corrupted and/or lying incumbents. Nor will they vote for a candidate who calls him or herself a progressive or conservative but whose words and deeds show they are anything but. Some Republicans may be able to fool the teabagging crowd and old white Independents with double talk and spin, but this crowd is a mere tiny minority. Just wait until Independents in Va. realize the newly elected governor, who pretended to be a centrist, is really a hard core conservative. Welcome to teabagger land, Indies. Maybe next time you won’t be fooled by self-serving liars.

John Cornyn, of course, is gloating all over the place about two the Democratic gubernatorial losses.

These Republican victories clearly demonstrate a strong wave for our candidates in the 2010 midterm elections,” said Sen. John Cornyn, chairman of the National Republican Senatorial Committee.

And predictably, good ol’ Taliban Pete Sessions is also salivating over the Democratic gubernatorial losses. Check out Matt Glazer’s piece over at The Burnt Orange Report.

What John Cornyn and Taliban Pete Sessions fail to admit is the fact that the U.S. House now has two more Democrats. Their Republican colleagues in New York and California had their butts kicked.

John Cornyn and Taliban Pete Sessions are also ignoring the fact that despite all of the money pumped in from outside and all of Sarah Palin’s and Dick Armey’s teabagging efforts, a Democrat in upstate New York took a seat that has been held for over 138 years, since the Civil War, by a Republican.

A progressive Democrat in a traditionally swing and Republican district in California won. And the state of Washington had one progressive victory after another last night.

I wouldn’t gloat too much, Senators. Your job in Washington just got a lot harder. Meanwhile, back here at home, in case you boys forgot that Houston is the largest city in Texas, three progressive Democrats and one Republican ran for mayor. The Republican dude and the old white guy with boatloads of bucks lost. The run-off race is between a gay woman and an African American male. In case you didn’t notice, Texas is growing far more tolerant and diverse. Demographics matter.

After yesterday’s election, all incumbents in all districts should be quaking in their boots. We voters are tired of do nothing and corrupted politicians. The majority of us showed up in 2008 and we demanded transformational change. And yet all we get from Congress are no, never obstructionist Republicans and feet dragging Blue Dogs who seemed to have forgotten what Party they belong to.

Give us what we want or pay dearly in 2010 and 2012. These forthcoming elections will be no cake walks for incumbents.

Earth to the Houston Chronicle: if you do not want to offend progressives like me and unleash a lot of wrath and canceled subscriptions, edit out your reporter’s biased gloating headline.

Finally, earth to all Republicans and GOP enablers in the press and mainstream media, the Republican Party is embroiled in a civil war and it is going to get very bloody.

A conservative’s interpretation of upstate New York’s outcome.

The story of NY-23 is “the Right starts dismantling the Republican establishment.” This is about how the Republican Party is defined and who defines it.

Right now, the movement wants the Republican Party to be defined by opposition to big government. Gradually, as new leaders arise, we will demand that the Republican Party be defined by its own solutions, as well, but rebuilding is an incremental process. We can hammer out the policy agenda and the boundaries of the coalition later.

For now, our job is to disrupt the establishment GOP. If we beat Democrats while we’re at it, great. But the first priority is to fix the Drunk Party – the Living Dead establishment Republicans. They’re history. They just don’t know it yet.

NY-23 was the first shot in that war. It was a direct hit. Next year, we start storming the castle.

I guess the Republican purity purging is due to the fact that Sarah Palin is still ticked off that John McCain’s campaign manager, Steve Schmidt, refused to let Ms. Narcissist give a concession speech after Republicans had their butts kicked royally in 2008.

Indeed, Steve Schmidt distrusted Palin to the point that he was convinced she would figure out how to deliver a speech despite the fact the Vice Presidential candidates rarely if ever give concession speeches.

Schmidt apparently turned off the lights while poor Sarah stood on the stage, unable to spew her self-serving nonsense.

When Presidential candidate John McCain chose Sarah Palin as his running mate in 2008 he unleashed the devils of all devil genies from a bottle buried deep in a Republican made hell.

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Filed under Change, Conservative, Democrats, Economy, Energy, Gay (LGBT) Rights, Governors, Greed, Lobbyist, Politics, Racism, Republicans, Texas, Transparency, Washington, DC

Democrats’ Quiet Changes Pile Up

posted by GeoT

WASHINGTON — While President Barack Obama still faces stiff headwinds on a range of major legislation on his agenda, he has been signing into law a slew of smaller initiatives that had gathered dust on the Democratic wish list for years.
Many of the bills had been blocked by Republicans who considered the measures unnecessary expansions of government or too costly. But facing Democratic majorities in Congress, conservatives are picking their battles and in many cases letting the legislation roll through.

Last week, Mr. Obama signed defense-policy legislation that included an unrelated measure widening federal hate-crimes laws to cover sexual orientation and gender identification — 12 years after it was first introduced. The same legislation also tightened the rules of admissible evidence for military commissions, an issue that consumed Congress in debate in 2007 but received almost no attention this go-round.

President Barack Obama signs the Family Smoking Prevention and Tobacco Control Act in the Rose Garden of the Whitehouse

Other new measures signed into law since the administration took office, all of which kicked up controversy in past congresses, make it easier for women to sue for equal pay, set aside land in the West from development, give the government the power to regulate tobacco and raise tobacco taxes to expand health insurance for children. Congress and the White House, in the new defense-policy bill, also killed weapons programs that have survived earlier attempts at termination, among them, the F-22 fighter jet, the VH-71 presidential helicopter and the Army’s Future Combat System.

Rob Nabors, the White House’s deputy budget director, called the series of new laws “a very, very quiet but important victory.”

To conservatives, they are Democratic payback to liberal interests. “The left knows what it wants,” says former Republican House Speaker Newt Gingrich. “It’s been trying to get it for some time, and this is its moment.”

Cont’d Here:

Please see 44-D blogpost: “What exactly HAS President Obama accomplished in the first 10 months?”

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Filed under Change, Children, Climate Change, Democrats, Economy, Education, Elections, Gay (LGBT) Rights, Hate Crimes, Jobs, Military, Money, Non-Violence, Republicans, Transparency, Uncategorized

Boehner Makes a Bogey

House Minority Leader John Boehners PAC spent $550,000 on travel and entertainment expenses around the country, more than any other lawmaker, according to a ABC News/ProPublica analysis of disclosure data. In the past three years, Boehner has travelled to Palm Springs, CA; Boca Raton, FL; and Scottsdale, AZ to raise money for his PAC

House Minority Leader John Boehner's PAC spent $550,000 on travel and entertainment expenses around the country, more than any other lawmaker, according to a ABC News/ProPublica analysis of disclosure data. In the past three years, Boehner has travelled to Palm Springs, CA; Boca Raton, FL; and Scottsdale, AZ to raise money for his PAC

For people who love golf, the chance to play at the five-star Greenbrier resort in West Virginia is a dream come true. Especially if someone else pays for it. That was the case this summer for two powerful members of Congress, House Republican Minority leader John Boehner of Ohio and Republican Sen. Saxby Chambliss of Georgia.

Accompanied by top corporate lobbyists , the two golf-loving Republicans spent a luxurious weekend at the Greenbrier, the kinds of cozy gatherings new ethics reform laws were supposed to curb.

“You’re seeing the quintessential Washington insider pay-to-play game,” said Meredith McGehee, Policy Director at the nonpartisan Campaign Legal Center.

  read the whole story here:

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Op-Ed— Mr. Policy Hits a Wall

posted by Ogenec

Op-Ed by David Broder, The Washington Post


A new publication came across my desk this week containing an essay that offers as good an insight into President Obama’s approach to government as anything I have read — and is particularly useful in understanding the struggle over health-care reform. (read it here:) Obama and the Policy Approach by William Schambra.

Schambra, like many others, was struck by the “sheer ambition” of Obama’s legislative agenda and by his penchant for centralizing authority under a strong White House staff replete with many issue “czars.”

Schambra sees this as evidence that “Obama is emphatically a ‘policy approach’ president. For him, governing means not just addressing discrete challenges as they arise, but formulating comprehensive policies aimed at giving large social systems — and indeed society itself — more rational and coherent forms and functions. In this view, the long-term, systemic problems of health care, education, and the environment cannot be solved in small pieces. They must be taken on in whole.”

In one policy area after another,” Schambra writes, “from transportation to science, urban policy to auto policy, Obama’s formulation is virtually identical: Selfishness or ideological rigidity has led us to look at the problem in isolated pieces . . . we must put aside parochialism to take the long systemic view; and when we finally formulate a uniform national policy supported by empirical and objective data rather than shallow, insular opinion, we will arrive at solutions that are not only more effective but less costly as well. This is the mantra of the policy presidency.”
Schambra’s essay anticipated exactly what is happening on health care. Obama, budget director Peter Orszag and health czar Nancy-Ann DeParle grasp the intricacies of the health-care system as well as any three humans, and they could write a law to make it far more efficient.

But now it is in the hands of legislators and lobbyists who care much less about the rationality of the system than they do about the way the bill will affect their particular part of it. Everyone has a parochial agenda. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, for example, wants to be sure a new cancer treatment center in Nevada has favored status.

Democracy and representative government are a lot messier than the progressives and their heirs, including Obama, want to admit. No wonder they are so often frustrated.
read the entire Op-ed @

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Filed under Democrats, Editorial, History, Opinions, Politics, Republicans, Transparency, Uncategorized

Just Released: THE OBAMA PLAN: STABILITY & SECURITY FOR ALL AMERICANS

“It will provide more security and stability to those who have health insurance. It will provide insurance to those who don’t. And it will lower the cost of health care for our families, our businesses, and our government.”
– President Barack Obama

PLEASE NOTE: ***Offers a public health insurance option to provide the uninsured and those who can’t find affordable coverage with a real choice. The President believes this option will promote competition, hold insurance companies accountable and assure affordable choices. It is completely voluntary. The President believes the public option must operate like any private insurance company – it must be self-sufficient and rely on the premiums it collects.***

The Plan @ Whitehouse.gov

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Sex, Lies, and a Hot ‘Mike’

CA State Rep. Michael Duvall

CA State Rep. Michael Duvall

Posted by Audiegrl

Who knew that Republican’s were so freaky? I thought we Democrats had all the fun. This summer we had the sex scandals with some of the members of the Prayboy Mansion (that’s what I call the C Street House). We were told of extra-marital affairs of Sen John Ensign and Gov. Mark Sanford, ending their 2012 Presidency ambitions.

But Michael Duvall, a conservative Republican state representative from Orange County, California, has risen to the top of the list of hypocritical-family values Republican office holders. Mike Duvall has put the real ‘hot’ and the real ‘Mike” in hot mic stories.

Duvall owes his notoriety to a conversation at a council meeting that was caught on a hot mic. You might say, so what… people get caught on ‘hot mics” all the time. I remember when MSNBC’s Chuck Todd, Republican strategist Mike Murphy, and Conservative Columnist Peggy Noonan were captured on a hot mic during last summers Republican National Convention. They were talking amongst themselves and saying how the really felt about the Palin pick, which was curiously the opposite of what they had just said to viewers on air. Sometimes ‘hot mic’ events are a good thing, because it tells you what the Media or our Elected Officials really candidly think. Don’t get me wrong, I am all for honesty and keeping it real, but Mike Duvall took it a bit too far. All I can say to Mike is TMI. Too Much Information

Keep in mind, Mike is not talking about having sex with just anybody. He is talking about having sex with two different women that are lobbyists for utility companies! Coincidentally, Duvall is vice chairman of the Utilities and Commerce Committee….

Some of ‘hot Mike’s’ excerpts:

“She wears little eye-patch underwear. So, the other day she came here with her underwear, Thursday. And
 so, we had made love Wednesday–a lot! And so she’ll, she’s all, ‘I am going 
up and down the stairs, and you’re dripping out of me!’ So messy!”

“So, I am getting into spanking her,” says the Orange County Republican. “I like spanking her. She goes, ‘I know you like spanking me.’ I said, ‘Yeah! Because you’re such a bad girl!'”

Like I said, TMI.

Local CBS affiliate KCAL9 had the scoop. Here’s a video of their segment, showing the reporter desperately trying to interview the Rep. Duvall.

Hi-jinx ensue…

Talking Points Memo has much more on the story.

***Update III–Recorded sex comments cost Calif. lawmaker his job

Mike Duvall stepped down Wednesday after a videotape surfaced….

Duvall said Thursday that his “decision to resign is in no way an admission that I had an affair or affairs.”

“My offense was engaging in inappropriate storytelling and I regret my language and choice of words. The resulting media coverage was proving to be an unneeded distraction to my colleagues and I resigned in the hope that my decision would allow them to return to the business of the state”

***Update II: Duvall, who is married with two adult children, received a 100 percent rating from a conservative advocacy group for his votes on legislation considered pro-family. He represents parts of Yorba Linda, Fullerton, Anaheim, Placentia and Orange in Orange County.

Assembly Speaker Karen Bass, a Democrat, removed Duvall from two committees, and the Assembly Ethics Committee was investigating.

***Update
On Wednesday, Assemblyman Mike Duvall of Yorba Linda released the following statement in response:

“I made a mistake and I sincerely apologize. I deeply regret the comments I made in what I believed to be a private conversation. This is a private matter and I ask that everyone respect the privacy of all involved.”

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