Obama re-releases transparency tool (with links!)

Barack Obama, who is running a transition that has a 79 to 82 percent approval rating, has opened the second round of his Open for Questions tool.

Before we go into examples with links, I'd like to thank MumbaiBurns for his initial exploratory diary on the subject.  I understand that he had some trouble understanding the internet, so I'm trying to help out.

Here's the mission statement from the Open for Questions site.  They obviously learned a few things their first time through after the election.  Fast work, I'd say.

During this brief transition period, we've rolled out important new tools to let users interact with our team in a transparent and meaningful way.

Our first run of Open for Questions was one such feature, with nearly 1,000,000 votes cast on questions from the Change.gov community.

In this round, you can still view all of the questions that have been submitted--or you can break down the questions by category for easier navigation. For instance, you can read the top-ranking question regarding Energy and the Environment and browse through other questions on the same topic by clicking on that issue.

We think this change is valuable. It serves the other key purpose of features like Open for Questions: making your input easy to pass on to the members of our Transition team that are crafting solutions to these vital issues right now.

Just as a few examples to give you the idea of what questions rise to the top in this system (which seems to use a similar rating system to what we use here at MyDD):

The Economy

"I'm concerned about the banks who received tax payers money and have had no accountability. Will this be corrected after President elect Obaham is in office?"
Dorothy, Tuscon, AZ

National Security

"Will President Obama eliminate domestic warrantless wiretapping of US citizens by modifying the "Terrorist Surveillance Program" (TSP)?  Is the Fourth Amendment going to be restored, or weakened further by the Obama Administration?" Dave D, Santa Clara, CA

Other Important Issues

"You've stated during your campaign that you don't support marriage rights for GLBT citizens. How will you ensure that gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender Americans have rights equal to those of married couples?" Al, Austin, TX

Looks like the people, on the whole, have a pretty good idea of what's really important, and it seems like Obama has a great handle on how to listen.

Great work, Team Obama (and a little credit to MumbaiBurns as well for drawing attention to the need for a good diary on this subject)!

Tags: Barack Obama, change.gov, transition, transparency (all tags)



What are you going to ask about?

I'm considering asking a question about how Obama plans to use his massive e-mail list once he's in office.  Getting e-mail from the president regularly might be pretty cool.

by Dracomicron 2008-12-30 06:55AM | 0 recs
Re: What are you going to ask about?

If the FBI is looking for the next weather underground ( fanatics R us) , they would be advised to review most of the posters here. The verbal bombing will change to some actual physical act by the disciples.

by MumbaiBurns 2008-12-30 07:44AM | 0 recs

My reverse psychology worked?  Or did you really not read past the first comment?

by Dracomicron 2008-12-30 07:52AM | 0 recs
Re: Wow.

No he just saw his name and thought "they like me, they really really like me".

by venician 2008-12-30 08:23AM | 0 recs
You have to wonder how much Dumbai hates himself..

...that mere supporters look like "fanatics".

It's a democratic website.
The majority of democrats support(ed) Obama.
I know logic is a challenge for sockpuppets, but you must think you would find, uh, democrats here???

by iohs2008 2008-12-30 08:09AM | 0 recs
Essence of fanatic like you

You kid are not the democrat I'm . You are the American idol voter while I voted ( like many) on substantive issues and gut feeling while not giving up the right to hold his feet to the fire when and only if warranted.

You jumped up in joy when he voted for FISA too I suspect.

by MumbaiBurns 2008-12-30 08:13AM | 0 recs
Re: Essence of fanatic like you

A Temporary Truce? (2.00 / 1)


Got a feeling, it won't be us that breaks it.

On Nov 4th, we elected "the smart guy" and the world celebrated!
by WashStateBlue on Tue Dec 30, 2008 at 12:09:02 PM EST
[ Parent | Reply to This ]

Well, I was right about the truce being short-lived...

Mumbai is not in his happy place today I see...

by WashStateBlue 2008-12-30 08:18AM | 0 recs
Dumbai, I served with Democrats
I know Democrats.
Democrats are friends of mine.
Dumbai, you're no Democrat.
by iohs2008 2008-12-30 08:23AM | 0 recs
Re: Dumbai, I served with Democrats

You would not know a democrat if it did not come dressed with an Obama tatoo on its ass.

by MumbaiBurns 2008-12-30 08:26AM | 0 recs
My Obama tatoo is on my shoulder

It's him in a superman outfit, punching out a super villian "Larry the Sinclair" with his Kyrptonite Birth Certifcate in his hand, which, as we know, proved totally ineffective against Super-Obama...

It's taking from episode 167 "Super-Obama vs. the PUMA gang".....

I can recommend my skin artist if you want to get something similar, MB?

by WashStateBlue 2008-12-30 08:34AM | 0 recs
There's that self-hatred again

You can't stand to like a politician, and you can't stand it when others do.

Liking <> Cult, except to Losercrats.

by iohs2008 2008-12-30 09:56AM | 0 recs
Re: Essence of fanatic like you

From now on, I'll only refer to MumbaiBurns as "the Democrat I'm."

I doubt this will change anything.  We'll still be fed a steady stream of homophobic slurs, random attacks, infantile insults, and be subject to unsubstantiated accusations of fanatical loyalty.  

But the good people of Mumbai need not be associated with the rampant incivility of "the Democrat I'm."  They deserve better.

Now observe, as arbitrary insults are cut and pasted into the reply...

by Strummerson 2008-12-30 08:41AM | 0 recs
It's curious

I'm getting the impression that Mumbles is running his responses through a language filter of some sort.

"The Democrat I am" vs. "The Democrat I'm"...

Could he be translating everything from a different language, or perhaps typing in MSWord with the grammar auto-correct filter on?

by Dracomicron 2008-12-30 08:44AM | 0 recs
Re: It's curious

I'm also wondering whether "the Democrat I'm" (yeah, I was serious about using that) has been warned.  He mellowed out for a few days, though the homophobic slurs are raging again now.

by Strummerson 2008-12-30 08:55AM | 0 recs
Teh Mumbles - that's better.

A distant cousin of Teh Engles.

The only time he sounds half-way coherent is when he cuts 'n pastes entire pieces out of some right winger's site, attributions and all.

by Sumo Vita 2008-12-30 11:03AM | 0 recs
Not cousins...

they are the "teh brothers".  As in "This is my brother teh and my other brother teh."

by tonedevil 2008-12-30 11:29AM | 0 recs
Re: Not cousins...

Evil Twins, separated at birth!

by WashStateBlue 2008-12-30 11:30AM | 0 recs

I understand that he had some trouble understanding the internet

Yeah, going dial-up connection through AOL to reach MyDD probably slows him down a bit...At least, we can hope.

by WashStateBlue 2008-12-30 07:03AM | 0 recs
C'mon now.

This diary is about the Open for Questions tool.

Whatever his intentions, Mumbai did us a favor by bringing it up, so let's be nice (in this diary).

Plenty of time for sarcasm in Mumbai's diaries.

by Dracomicron 2008-12-30 07:06AM | 0 recs
A Temporary Truce?


Got a feeling, it won't be us that breaks it.

by WashStateBlue 2008-12-30 07:09AM | 0 recs
I actually don't think he'll say anything

Mumbai knows that trolls are attention magnets.  He'd rather my diary dies in obscurity.

by Dracomicron 2008-12-30 07:18AM | 0 recs
Re: Obama re-releases transparency tool (with link

Just couldn't resist, could you :)

by jsfox 2008-12-30 07:14AM | 0 recs
I could say otherwise...

...but then the lady would doth protest too much.

If you, you know, replace the "the lady" with Dracomicron.

by Dracomicron 2008-12-30 07:20AM | 0 recs
That is just

fracking fascinating. It's like a constant focus group on what's important to the Internet electorate.

Maybe we're nearing the day when we move away from press conferences and "eliminate the middleman" of the MSM.

by Neef 2008-12-30 07:22AM | 0 recs

The mainstream media has already complained about the fact that Obama gives too many and too (media) uncontrollable press conferences.

The media stood by while Bush dismantled our country.  I think it's time we show them that they aren't invulnerable.

by Dracomicron 2008-12-30 07:33AM | 0 recs
Re: Obama re-releases transparency tool

The chief complaint (maybe the only complaint) about this website seems to be the fact that the user-rating system effectively prevents people from trolling.  This not being my first day on the Internet, I fully understand the need for such a system.  But I guess some people feel Obama isn't really running a transparent operation unless he's willing to let questions about his birth certificate drown out all the people with legitimate concerns.

by Steve M 2008-12-30 07:23AM | 0 recs

But I guess some people feel Obama isn't really running a transparent operation unless he's willing to let questions about his birth certificate drown out all the people with legitimate concerns.


by WashStateBlue 2008-12-30 07:27AM | 0 recs
Re: Exactly

This is another good reason to go around the media filter because the media, while it generally stays away from the tin-foil stuff, still has a way of obsessing over trivia and ignoring real issues.  People are concerned about their jobs, their health insurance, their kid in Iraq, and the media serves them a steady diet of "questions linger about Rahm Emanuel's discussions with Blagojevich."

If you look at any political campaign, the media treats the townhall events like they're the most boring things ever.  Oh no, 3 hours of earnest questions and wonkish answers, what could be worse than that!  Yet people keep showing up to these things in droves, because guess what, they're interested in hearing real answers even if the media insists they want trivia.

by Steve M 2008-12-30 07:38AM | 0 recs
To your point

I was really surprised at how many people want marijuana legalization on the table. It's a far bigger issue than I realized, and I doubt it would have been raised at a standard presser.

Well...maybe by the guy from High Times.

by Neef 2008-12-30 07:44AM | 0 recs
Don't be surprised

There's legitimate scholarship out there discussing how legalizing pot would have major benefits to both the economy and crime rates.  We all know the War on Drugs is a joke, and illegal pot is a major factor in that.

by Dracomicron 2008-12-30 07:57AM | 0 recs
Re: To your point

that's your generation today. " summer of love baby.. it will be all cool if the O lets us light up dude"

by MumbaiBurns 2008-12-30 07:59AM | 0 recs
How To Determine It Isn't 1967:

Step 1: Are you on the internet?

If Yes: Then you are not in the Summer of Love, because TCP/IP would not be invented by NASA for about two decades.

If No: You are not reading this.

There is only one step.

by Dracomicron 2008-12-30 08:06AM | 0 recs

Perhaps the greatest year for Rock Music ever:

Check out the events section:

Check out the albums released, the singles!!!

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/1967_in_mus ic

Yes, I am really really old....

by WashStateBlue 2008-12-30 08:13AM | 0 recs
Reading the questions

they certainly do not seem to spring from pure stoner hedonism. The questions seem to outline a three-pronged request:

First, repealing the overall "War on Drugs", and some of the pernicious effect it's had on our inner cities and legal institutions. Second, recognizing the actual medical benefits of the weed. Third, a potential source of economic stimulus.

While I'm sure some "duuuuuude" questions exist, they are probably down-voted.

And SoL is George Carlin's generation, the one before mine.

by Neef 2008-12-30 08:17AM | 0 recs
Re: Reading the questions

The war against drugs is costly, ineffective and class based.

Not a lot of really rich white kids get their lives ruined, but we have basically acted with genocidoal effects on poor and underclass and minoirity populations.

Again, another policy kept in place for emotion rather then rational thought.

Kind of like Missile Defenses, someone somewhere is making a buck off it, getting relected because of it, and it has become a totem no one wants to touch.

by WashStateBlue 2008-12-30 08:22AM | 0 recs
Thanks, WSB

Now I'm curious about the answer to the Mary Jane questions. I think I'll up-vote a few...

by Neef 2008-12-30 08:26AM | 0 recs
Re: Thanks, WSB

All these comments and nobody has mentioned the pathetic responses the team gave from round one?

One of the pot legalization questions did make it to the top ten that got answered. The answer was this - verbatim and unedited:

"President-elect Obama is not in favor of the legalization of marijuana."

The other responses were of similar length and went into a similar degree of depth into the nuances of the answer.

Unless they've given some indication that the answers for round two will be more substantive and worthwhile than the answers for round one were, I wouldn't waste my time.

by sab39 2008-12-30 08:35AM | 0 recs
Re: Thanks, WSB

Excellent point.  If this initiative is merely PR and window dressing, it will backfire.  If they are not going to be serious about using IT to increase democratic participation, they should not try and fool anyone.  It will end up costing them more political points that their cynicism will earn.

But let's watch and wait.  It might take more than 2 or 3 rounds to find out whether this is cynical politics or a true effort to transform our political culture.

by Strummerson 2008-12-30 08:45AM | 0 recs
We'll have to see

I didn't look at any Round 1 answers because I had election hangover; while I appreciated that change.gov existed, I had no interest in looking at it until I'd recovered my sanity from the election season.

Pot legalization is quite a political grenade, and I wouldn't expect them to fall on it right away.

by Dracomicron 2008-12-30 08:47AM | 0 recs
Well. what did we expect it to say?

Right now, Obama HAS to stay focused on the biggest tasks, and LOOK at how the media wants to distract.

Hell, when I watch the cable shows, I see mostly Obama in a swim suit, puff pieces about his family, Blago stories (though that one has surely caught fire today, and ANYTHING except substantive issues...)

If SUDDENLY Obama were to announce canceling the war on drugs, or legalizing Pot, you would not hear the end of it.

I think it's a good issue, a big issue, but I can't blame them for not jumping on a bulletin board and creating a firestorm for the press to wallow in.

AS with another issue I think they will attack overtime, Military overspending, they have to tread lightly, NOT give too many issues for the pundits and the Republicans to glut up the works with.

I know that is not a satisfying answer, but to be honest, if I was on his team, even with my beliefs that the WOD is a stunning costly fairly, I would not be brouching that issue at the moment.

by WashStateBlue 2008-12-30 09:46AM | 0 recs
Re: Well. what did we expect it to say?

There is a good case to be made for decriminalization, or even legalization.  I would think one could even get some law enforcement leaders on board as its a drain on their resources.  But even if Obama did want to get involved, and he may sincerely differ, it would be politically imprudent for him to engage this out of the proverbial gate.

Gays in the military was an even more important social issue on many counts.  When Clinton foregrounded it from the start, he committed a rookie mistake that compromised many other initiatives.  The last thing I want is for Obama to repeat that blunder.

by Strummerson 2008-12-30 09:53AM | 0 recs
Town halls

I could almost feel the media rolling their eyes when Hillary Clinton started taking questions in a town hall.  They needed Donna Brazille & James Carville's opinion on the same stump speech we'd been hearing for weeks or months, after all.

by Dracomicron 2008-12-30 07:55AM | 0 recs
Thanks...it was worth the effort......n/t

by louisprandtl 2008-12-30 07:34AM | 0 recs
Re: Obama re-releases transparency tool (with link

Thanks Dracomicron. Very interesting diary. REC

by canadian 2008-12-30 03:27PM | 0 recs


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