Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Transparency and Being Followed: A Digression

This post is just a tad off-topic, but not all that much, I trust. Two things:
  1. Transparency and the Obama administration
  2. The Air Force is following me!

Transparency and Other Changes in Washington

I'm no great fan of President Barack Obama, but he has some ideas I think are worthwhile.

He'd promised to post bills that are ready for his signature online, five days before he signed off on them. I think this is a great idea.

Actually, I think that these laws should be in digital, searchable, form, while legislators discuss them. The senators and representatives might not know how to work a browser's search function, but they could have their staff look for meaningful terms - more accurately and efficiently than reading through pages of a printed document.

Obama's signed three bills before the five-day window was up, but maybe he was in a hurry, or forgot. Accidents happen. The bills were:
  • A "fair-pay" law, whatever that is
  • An expansion of health insurance for children
  • The $787 billion economic stimulus package
As the Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington director, Melanie Sloan, said: It's too early to give Obama a clear grade on transparency. " 'Have they done it right on every occasion? Clearly, no,' she said. 'They seem to be making an effort.' " (FOXNews)

The Air Force is Following Me!

A number of my online acquaintances have a sort of hypertrophied (caution?), regarding lackeys of the military-industrial complex. I first ran into that attitude toward government entities like the FBI and the American armed forces back in the sixties and seventies.

So, when an email announced that "US Air Force (USAF) is now following you on Twitter!" - I had a brief flashback to those days of yore, when incense and chants of "hell no, we won't go" filled the air.

It's only fair, I suppose, that the USAF follow me: I followed them first; again, on Twitter.

In the news:

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Note! Although I believe that these websites and blogs are useful resources for understanding the War on Terror, I do not necessarily agree with their opinions. 1 1 Given a recent misunderstanding of the phrase "useful resources," a clarification: I do not limit my reading to resources which support my views, or even to those which appear to be accurate. Reading opinions contrary to what I believed has been very useful at times: sometimes verifying my previous assumptions, sometimes encouraging me to change them.

Even resources which, in my opinion, are simply inaccurate are sometimes useful: these can give valuable insights into why some people or groups believe what they do.

In short, It is my opinion that some of the resources in this blogroll are neither accurate, nor unbiased. I do, however, believe that they are useful in understanding the War on Terror, the many versions of Islam, terrorism, and related topics.