×

Welcome to the Slashdot Beta site -- learn more here. Use the link in the footer or click here to return to the Classic version of Slashdot.

Thank you!

Before you choose to head back to the Classic look of the site, we'd appreciate it if you share your thoughts on the Beta; your feedback is what drives our ongoing development.

Beta is different and we value you taking the time to try it out. Please take a look at the changes we've made in Beta and  learn more about it. Thanks for reading, and for making the site better!

The First E-President

Soulskill posted more than 5 years ago | from the probably-not-ted-stevens dept.

Government 169

Szentigrade writes "Popular Science is running a letter by Daniel Engber of the online Slate Magazine in which he offers the US Presidential nominees advice on using the full potential of the Internet upon their election into office. Some examples discussed in the letter include: a project already being developed that speeds up the patent approval process, a UK site that aims to improve government-citizen interactions, and perhaps most importantly, a call for government information to be 'presented in a standardized and widely used data format, like XML, so that anyone — in or out of government — could use and reconfigure it however they pleased.' Will 2009 be the first year of the E-President?"

cancel ×
This is a preview of your comment

No Comment Title Entered

Anonymous Coward 1 minute ago

No Comment Entered

169 comments

can they use? (1, Redundant)

a302b (585285) | more than 5 years ago | (#25550177)

It appears this is a good idea. But do the political parties know how to use technology in an efficient manner?

Re:can they use? (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25550225)

I think it is time that we ask both major Presidential candidates to submit code samples. Bonus points will be awarded if they submit the code in Perl, Assembly, or FORTRAN.

Re:can they use? (3, Funny)

MichaelSmith (789609) | more than 5 years ago | (#25550349)

I think it is time that we ask both major Presidential candidates to submit code samples. Bonus points will be awarded if they submit the code in Perl, Assembly, or FORTRAN.

Lets be fair to both candidates. Switch settings for a bombe [wikipedia.org] should be acceptable.

Re:can they use? (2, Interesting)

truthsearch (249536) | more than 5 years ago | (#25550425)

I think it is time that we ask both major Presidential candidates to submit code samples. Bonus points will be awarded if they submit the code in Perl, Assembly, or FORTRAN.

I think blub [docforge.com] would be most appropriate.

Re:can they use? (2, Interesting)

QuantumRiff (120817) | more than 5 years ago | (#25550371)

Many government agencies have to release public information whenever asked, including the school I used to work for. However, you have to figure out who to ask, and make an appointment, then fill out forms, then sometimes pay a small copying fee, then they give you copies of their budgets. Why the hell aren't all government agencies (especially the small, local ones!) putting this info on the web? I brought this up to the dean of finance and she damn near had a stroke! I would love, as a taxpayer, to be able to delve into a file of stuff, and see for myself exactly where the money goes, rather than look at the shiny charts that break it down into a couple of very generic areas. I know there are privacy implications, but you could list how much you pay for salaries in different areas/departments. Perhaps clump all office supply purchases into one line item. It really can't be that hard, but nobody wants to, and no taxpayers are demanding it.

Re:can they use? (2, Interesting)

truthsearch (249536) | more than 5 years ago | (#25550465)

I imagine the issue is simply money. It would cost a lot of programming time to put something good together, especially spread across all of the local departments.

The only way to convince them to do it (without major public demand) would be to show it would somehow save them money in the long run. Maybe automating output in standard formats would allow other common systems to aggregate reports and generate graphs, saving manual labor, for example.

Re:can they use? (1)

tomhudson (43916) | more than 5 years ago | (#25550895)

I imagine the issue is simply money. It would cost a lot of programming time to put something good together, especially spread across all of the local departments.

The only way to convince them to do it (without major public demand) would be to show it would somehow save them money in the long run. Maybe automating output in standard formats would allow other common systems to aggregate reports and generate graphs, saving manual labor, for example.

The information is already there in electronic form. I seriously doubt any government still uses a typewriter. Can you even buy one any more?

Re:can they use? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25550943)

For a Slashdot reader, your lack of understanding of how computers work is incredible.

Re:can they use? (1)

Curunir_wolf (588405) | more than 5 years ago | (#25550989)

Right. It's just a matter of priorities. As a case in point, they can do it [dc.gov] if the bureaucrats decide it's something important. But they are going to always act out of self interest, so these projects are pretty rare.

Re:can they use? (3, Insightful)

Miseph (979059) | more than 5 years ago | (#25551295)

Right answer, wrong explanation. if they made it obvious and easily accesible to figure out where all of the money went, it would make it that much harder for any of it to stick to their hands. You really think people are willing to spend hundreds of millions of dollars just to get a 6-figure salary, a comped mansion and an impressive title for a couple of years? You think that such people could actually manage to win?

Re:can they use? (3, Insightful)

lysergic.acid (845423) | more than 5 years ago | (#25550431)

perhaps one of the greatest benefits of IT is the possibility of establishing a direct democracy on a national scale through online referendums.

gone are the days when logistical obstacles prevented the public from directly participating in the legislative process. there's really no excuse to not involve the public in public policy decisions and create a participatory democracy at the federal level.

a government of the people, by the people, for the people, is not just a catchy phrase from the Gettysburg Address. if we want to continue to call ourselves a democracy, then we need to actually employ a democratic system of government that carries out the will of the people.

Re:can they use? (3, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25550489)

"there's really no excuse to not involve the public in public policy decisions and create a participatory democracy at the federal level."

Are you insane?

Let's not kill Socrates again. (3, Informative)

Capsaicin (412918) | more than 5 years ago | (#25550627)

a government of the people, by the people, for the people, is not just a catchy phrase from the Gettysburg Address. if we want to continue to call ourselves a democracy, then we need to actually employ a democratic system of government that carries out the will of the people.

"Direct democracy," no matter how well intentioned, is a recipe for dystopia. Every democracy worth living in has mechanisms set up to protect individuals from "the will of the people."

We don't "need" to make radical changes, at all. Sorry to get all conservative on you, but given such a high level of complexity, a established system, incorporating countless bug-fixes, is preferable to a complete re-write. A similar principle applies to software developement.

Re:Let's not kill Socrates again. (1)

Cassius Corodes (1084513) | more than 5 years ago | (#25550667)

While it may be common sense that such a system will not work - it has worked in a number of places, although at smaller scales (usually direct participation in local legislation, or directing local council spending). Wikipedia was slated by many to fail, and it did not. I personally would like to see such a thing trailed - so that even if it doesn't work overall we might find positive aspects to implement.

The courts will still be there to overrule unconstitutional legislation and protect minorities from the tyranny of the majority (as they do now) so there will not be that kind of danger.

Re:Let's not kill Socrates again. (2, Insightful)

Capsaicin (412918) | more than 5 years ago | (#25550907)

While it may be common sense that such a system will not work - it has worked in a number of places.

You did notice the subject of the post you are responding to? ;)

Wikipedia was slated by many to fail, and it did not.

Wikipedia allows people who know something about something to write what they know, to have it corrected by other someones and ultimately to be subject intervention from on high. Direct democracy would involve getting people who know nothing about anything to decide everything. OK, that's hyperbole, but do read on. :)

I'm with Popper here. The strength of democracy does not lie in our ability to elect a government, but to dismiss one. We (you, I and every voter) are singularly unqualified to asses the strength of prospective governments. Firstly we can't believe what the candidates or the press or the smear campaigns etc etc tell us. Secondly we are not qualified in Economics && Law && Domestic Administration && Foreign Affairs && the countless other things governments must deal with. However, when incumbents get it wrong, there is no-one, but no-one, who is better informed than the people who are subject to that government's misrule.

We are, I submit, even less qualified to make a call on day-to-day administrative or legislative processes.

The courts will still be there to overrule unconstitutional legislation and protect minorities from the tyranny of the majority (as they do now) so there will not be that kind of danger.

The courts would be the very first thing to go. And what is this constitution that you speak of? Not the one you've thrown out the door to bring this about?

Re:Let's not kill Socrates again. (1)

Cassius Corodes (1084513) | more than 5 years ago | (#25551621)

You did notice the subject of the post you are responding to? ;)

Indeed, however direct democracy would not be the perfect government, it *could* be better than what we have now - that is all I am suggesting.

Wikipedia allows people who know something about something to write what they know, to have it corrected by other someones and ultimately to be subject intervention from on high. Direct democracy would involve getting people who know nothing about anything to decide everything.

Why do you assume that (last sentence)? Why not try adopting things from the way wikipedia is run? Direct democracy doesn't preclude things like votes being valued differently based on subject matter expertise for instance.

We (you, I and every voter) are singularly unqualified to asses the strength of prospective governments. Firstly we can't believe what the candidates or the press or the smear campaigns etc etc tell us.

We may be individually - but the result may be surprising when aggregated. We are just as vulnerable now to press and smear campaigns as we would be under direct democracy.

The courts would be the very first thing to go. And what is this constitution that you speak of? Not the one you've thrown out the door to bring this about?

Why would the courts be the first to go? Why would the constitution disappear? (make it require a higher majority + majority in all states to change, etc - problem has been encountered and solved before).

Re:Let's not kill Socrates again. (2, Insightful)

tomhudson (43916) | more than 5 years ago | (#25550917)

Every democracy worth living in has mechanisms set up to protect individuals from "the will of the people."

In Bush's case, the mechanism is the Secret Service, and "the will of the people" is to tar and feather him. nd that's just for starters.

Your statement is inaccurate and should be rephrased as "Every democracy currentlyworth living in" ... we now have the means to devise a future democraciy that would have been unimaginable in times past.

Re:Let's not kill Socrates again. (1)

Capsaicin (412918) | more than 5 years ago | (#25550999)

In Bush's case, the mechanism is the Secret Service, and "the will of the people" is to tar and feather him. nd that's just for starters.

When simply voting the incumbent party out of office (or convincing oneself that the party, with its new candidate, has seriously reformed itself) would be a much more civilised response. The "tar and feather" bit is exactly what I'm afraid of, thanks.

Your statement is inaccurate and should be rephrased as "Every democracy currentlyworth living in" ... we now have the means to devise a future democraciy that would have been unimaginable in times past.

Your statement is also capable of being rephrased. We now have the means to implementa future democraciy that would have been only imaginable in times past. I've imagined it for a number of decades now, and let me tell you it's not a pretty picture that gets conjured up in my mind. I'm not against change. But rather than ditching a system that has proved itself for several centuries in favor of the phantasm someone's imagination as implemented by Diebold, I'd prefer to reform representative democracy.

Correction (1)

Capsaicin (412918) | more than 5 years ago | (#25551233)

When simply voting the incumbent party out of office (or convincing oneself that the party, with its new candidate, has seriously reformed itself) would be a much more civilised response.

I'm sorry, I miswrote. "Convincing oneself" could have negative connotations that are best avoided in this political season. What I should have written is "satisfied oneself." I don't want to say "Bush sux, vote for Obama," in fact I want desperately, not to say it. What I do want to say is that we have in place mechanisms with which to express our political frustrations without resorting to joining a lynch mob.

Re:Let's not kill Socrates again. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25551913)

software development and governing are 2 very separate things. Republicans are very clever at winning elections. Less government in business and more business in government they say. That doesn't help anyone except the wealthy. You cant rely on business to take care health care, education or any of these types of services - for the people. Business is there to make money. Not to do the right thing by you. Business ethics are 'technically' optional. I am not advocating tearing down our society and running amok, just that there should be some kind of responsibility to society from these companies that take so much yet give so little. offering some low paying jobs while making obscene amount of money and paying little tax (no matter what they pay, they will claim its too much) does not meet that responsibility. If everyone in society has some more money, they all spend more. The very nature of being conservative is flawed. The world is a changing place. being conservative means you dont want to change. How can mccain even claim to stand for change when hes a conservative? oh thats right, they say anything to win elections and make out that if you dont agree with them you must hate america...fear fear fear...all you republicans can just kiss my ass, coz in a weeks time, you are going to see a rise of the liberals that you aint seen in your lifetime. You republican scumbags are through....for awhile.....

Re:can they use? (1)

Minozake (1227554) | more than 5 years ago | (#25550687)

I think we'd have to consider the logistical problems. Remote
electronic voting would alleviate many resource problems. But if we
can't allegedly make e-machines cast votes correctly, do we expect the
servers keeping the votes to keep them correctly? Also, what of
security problems? Should there be a paper trail of every vote to
physically prove something went one way or another? Also, what of bill
revision? It's "yes" or "no", not "kinda yes, but..." and vice versa.

However, I really agree wholeheartedly with you. The most the common
citizen can do is write to their congressman for federal matters.
Campaigning is too expensive and politics isn't for everyone. A direct
democracy would really increase citizen involvement.

Re:can they use? (1)

longacre (1090157) | more than 5 years ago | (#25551153)

there's really no excuse to not involve the public in public policy decisions and create a participatory democracy at the federal level.

I think there's a pretty strong argument that efforts like Rock the Vote which encourage the most uninformed ignorant sectors of the population to participate in a democracy they know little about are partially responsible for the dearth of brains in elected office for the past 20 years. Now imagine if we also had "Rock the Tax Code" and "Rock the Defense Appropriations Bill". No thanks.

Re:can they use? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25551287)

the US is not a democracy. It's a republic. Knowing the difference should be one of the minimum requirements for participating in such feedback. You fail.

Obama does. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25550503)

> It appears this is a good idea. But do the political parties know how to use technology in an efficient manner?

At least in terms of campaign organizing, Obama sure does. They've found crazy ways to crowdsource all kinds of election activities, from having people call & persuade other voters with their cell phones, to using social networking to get their friends to vote. (Mind you, I hate the buzzword "crowdsource" but I don't know what else to call it.) If they're half as good at implementing that when in office as they were building it from nothing, we can expect considerable improvements.

That said, government IT projects aren't very much like political campaigns. They usually get twisted by political concerns and sourced to incompetent government vendors who charge exorbitant fees. So I wouldn't get too optimistic.

Though they can't really do much worse than some of the terrible systems in place now, like the manual sorting & archiving of email in the White House, or the crappy COBOL payroll systems in California where you have to put in code changes to change peoples' pay!

Re:can they use? (4, Insightful)

Lemmy Caution (8378) | more than 5 years ago | (#25550595)

In many ways, it's You Tube that's killed the Republican coalition between fiscal conservatives (libertarians), social conservatives, and the "National Greatness" conservatives (the neo-cons, more or less.)

Obama's campaign helped the Republicans self-destruct by aggressively running a 50-state campaign, not a 50% +1 campaign. This meant that the RNC had to run ads to shore up its base in formerly secure red states. The problem is, the message that rallies the base - using "liberal" as a smear word, attacking patriotism, etc - alienates the middle. An ad attacking the Democrats in North Carolina will be seen by voters in New Hampshire and Minnesota, and they will find it repellent. Meanwhile, Obama does not have to appeal to the far left to mobilize his base, and his base is already extremely well mobilized. He is more or less in a situation where he never has to apologize or be sheepish about any ad with "I'm Barack Obama, and I approve this message" on it, while a lot of the John McCain ads are frankly embarrassing.

The result is Republican meltdown. Fiscal conservatives already suspect that it may be easier, as in the Clinton era, to get fiscally conservative policy out of a Dem administration than out of the Republicans. It's definitely easier to push fiscal conservatism in the Democratic party than it is to push social liberalism in the Republican one. Now, the tensions between the generally secular neo-cons and the religious social conservatives (many of whom, like Huckabee, are actually comfortable with a government that provides a lot of services) is being reflected in the cracks between McCain's camp and Palin's camp.

I think what YouTube has done is put an asterisk next to Tip O'Neill's old axiom that "all politics are local." That asterisk is "but all communications are global."

Re:can they use? (1)

Irish_Samurai (224931) | more than 5 years ago | (#25551023)

Fuck man.

You get it.

This is probably the most succinct evaluation of new society campaigning I have ever read.

Re:can they use? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25551359)

the problem with McCain is that most Republicans are further to the right than he is, but he won the primaries by letting the two main conservative candidates split the majority of the party, while he skated in winning just enough of the liberal & 'Rockefeller Republicans' to win the nomination. So most of the party really doesn't like him, and in order to win those people over, he's trying to be something that he's not, and isn't doing a good job at it. To be honest, he could just have a narrator read this [hotair.com], splice in the relevant clips from that article, and have a killer ad or set of ads.

IMHO, it's sad to see that the media will do more background checking on some schmuck in Ohio than what they've done looking into the candidate answering the schmuck's question.

Re:can they use? (1)

Lemmy Caution (8378) | more than 5 years ago | (#25551767)

I'm afraid that the HotAir.com link is exactly what the middle finds repellent about the right. The attempt to smear by association, the claim that Obama is playing the "race card" (when he clearly isn't: anything but, frankly) - and if you read HotAir.com, particularly its comments, you read the kind of over-the-top, conspiracy-theory type thinking that is turning the Republican party into a rump party.

What McCain needed to do was to work on his positives - at one time, he was a persuasive moderate with cross-the-aisle appeal, which he squandered with negative campaign ads and the Palin pick - while picking up the two strengths he really did have for people who aren't already solidly in the right-wing camp: his experience and his relatively strong hand in foreign policy. Instead, his campaign has generally followed the talking points you linked to, and we see the results: a perception of McCain as mean-spirited, angry, and dishonest. And the Palin pick obliterated his positives completely.

What the conservatives have to understand is something the left has already figured out: that they aren't the majority, and the stories they tell themselves to build consensus aren't the stories that the history-making middle wants to hear. The fact that the conservative movement is more defined by resentment of the left rather than by positive and appealing ideas, in no small part due to its very contradictory constituencies, makes that task all the more difficult.

Re:can they use? (1)

ShakaUVM (157947) | more than 5 years ago | (#25551833)

"while a lot of the John McCain ads are frankly embarrassing"

They *ought* to be embarassing to Obama, but the media gives him a free pass on it, pooh-poohing his association with people who say a lot about his character, instead saying shame on McCain for daring to smear the messiah. McCain was the guy calling for reform for Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae, but he has been labeled "part of the Bush administration" by the O-camp, and the media lets it pass. Obama has gotten by far and away the most money per year from Fannie Mae, and the second highest overall in the past 25 years, and the media lets it slide.

Obama has run successfully a Seinfeld campaign - say nothing of substance, try to keep it positive and upbeat. He knows that when he actually talks substance, he comes across as a raving lunatic, so he just talks about positive change and the audacity of hope, etc., while the press lets it slide. On the contrary, when Couric asked Palin what McCain had done about the housing crisis, and Palin said (correctly) McCain had called for reform back in 2004, Couric said, "Yes, well, besides that," pressing for ever-more details while the question was actually answered correctly, because she knows that Palin gets flustered easily and can't talk off the cuff very well. If the media pressed Obama just as hard for details, Obama's rating would be in single digits.

Not if McCain wins! (4, Funny)

russlar (1122455) | more than 5 years ago | (#25550183)

He's just starting to learn to use "the Google". And YouTube? He thinks the internet is just a big truck you dump everything on!

Re:Not if McCain wins! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25550337)

And YouTube?

Of course you tube! It's a series of tubes! "Cindy, hold the phone, I'm a-goin' tubin'!"

Re:Not if McCain wins! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25550479)

He's just starting to learn to use "the Google". And YouTube? He thinks the internet is just a big truck you dump everything on!

What is funny about making fun of someone's war wounds? You people are sick.

Re:Not if McCain wins! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25550545)

Yeah, don't people realise he was repeatedly beaten with the internet!

Not if McCain wins! (3, Insightful)

Simonetta (207550) | more than 5 years ago | (#25551119)

The last thing that the neo-cons want is for more government-citizen interaction and less secrecy in their more 'sensitive' actions. The less that the citizens know, the better! All this government-citizen interaction just gets in the way of what they believe a government is supposed to do: give away hundreds of billions of dollars to sleazy corrupt hedge-fund managers and mercenary corporations, and to then just disappear when it's completely broke (along with everyone's pensions and 401-K plans).

    Would anyone want to be entrusted to have to try and explain anything technical to Sarah Palin? The first DAZ-MO president (dumb-as-shit mommy)! God, I've got hundreds of them trying to drive their space shuttles (huge SUVs) around town, occasionally flipping them over and crashing into poles because they haven't quite mastered the art of feeding the kids, dialing the phone, changing the DVD, and driving a huge truck-sized vehicle in dense highway traffic.

    And a Palin presidency? Just tell her that "this is what America wants and needs", make a huge payoff to the people who are really deciding the policies, and walk off with the billion-dollar no-bid contracts. Two months of a Palin presidency and even the staunchest liberals will be begging the military to take over the country. Just don't shoot us, please. Shoot them, instead. You know who we mean.

    Jeez.

Re:Not if McCain wins! (1)

flyingsquid (813711) | more than 5 years ago | (#25551373)

At this point the odds of a McCain presidency range from slim to nonexistent, depending on who you ask. According to CNN's electoral map, Obama has 192 electoral votes all but guaranteed, and can count on 85 more from states that are likely to go his way, giving him 277- and he needs 270 to win. So even if McCain wins every single red state, every single state that is leaning Republican, and all the races that are too close to call, he's going to lose. The Intrade prediction market predicts that Obama will pick up 364 electoral votes. Slate.com has an electoral map predicting that Obama has 272 electoral votes in the bag, 39 likely to go his way, and 85 in play. RealClearPolitics.com predicts 306 Obama, 157 McCain, 75 tossup. Again, he needs 270 to win. The only people who pretend there is anything like a sense of suspense here are (surprise, surprise) Fox News.

I almost feel bad for McCain. Having to run on the Bush legacy and having to embrace the same Republican establishment that attacked him in 2000 must suck. But his decision to nominate Palin made me finally decide I could never vote for him. McCain runs on the premise of "Country First" but picking someone as inexperienced, brain-dead, and radical as Palin is an example of putting electoral politics first, and country second. It's classic Bush Administration politics all over again: appoint an incompetent right wing hack who agrees with your politics, instead of someone who could actually do a decent job. At this point, I figure whatever he gets, he deserves.

E FIST POST (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25550197)

E-first post!

    whatever...

Is XML a data format for documents? (1)

Joce640k (829181) | more than 5 years ago | (#25550201)

Maybe you mean OOXML, that's definitely for documents.

Re:Is XML a data format for documents? (4, Informative)

lysergic.acid (845423) | more than 5 years ago | (#25550285)

XML can be used for documents. just because it has broader uses doesn't mean it can't be used as a document format.

besides, OOXML, ODF, and XHTML are all based on XML--meaning they all validate as XML documents.

Re:Is XML a data format for documents? (1)

X0563511 (793323) | more than 5 years ago | (#25550551)

Now now, there's nothing wrong with using a gzipped xml for a document.

Now, there's lots of things wrong with using a vanilla xml fule...

Re:Is XML a data format for documents? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25551857)

Who's talking about documents?

Or (-1, Offtopic)

brian0918 (638904) | more than 5 years ago | (#25550237)

Or, you could do what Obama does [newsmax.com] and let the same person give multiple donations to you with the same credit card under whatever pseudonym you like, thereby bypassing any sort of campaign donation limit.

I'm sure McCain will follow suit as soon as he figures out "how to turn the damn thing on."

Re:Or (-1, Offtopic)

caffeinemessiah (918089) | more than 5 years ago | (#25550377)

Or, you could do what Obama does and let the same person give multiple donations to you with the same credit card under whatever pseudonym you like, thereby bypassing any sort of campaign donation limit.

Yes, because it's totally inconceivable that two people would use the same credit card or have the same credit card number. Merrill Lynch (MBNA really) and a lot of other credit card companies give additional cardholders (family, friends, etc. of the primary cardholder) the same credit card number, and often these people share the same billing address. Therefore, more than one person can legally be associated with the same credit card number.

Re:Or (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25550463)

Is it also inconceivable that a Barack Obama supporter donates more than is legally allowed?

Re:Or (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25550535)

no. simply multiply the maximum allowed for one person by the number of persons associated with that card.

The obama campaign has already refunded millions because people exceeded their limits.

Their fundraising is on the up and up.

Re:Or (1)

brian0918 (638904) | more than 5 years ago | (#25550737)

RTFA. Example credit card names include the fictional character John Galt from Ayn Rand's Atlas Shrugged. His billing address? 1957 Ayn Rand Lane, Galts Gulch, CO 99999.

"Will 2009 be the first year of the E-President?" (5, Funny)

realmolo (574068) | more than 5 years ago | (#25550239)

If the "E" stands for "ebony", then yeah, probably.

Re:"Will 2009 be the first year of the E-President (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25550265)

or evil

Re:"Will 2009 be the first year of the E-President (0, Troll)

halivar (535827) | more than 5 years ago | (#25550481)

or... ebola?
enema?
emulsified?

or.. or... OR...

excremental!

Re:"Will 2009 be the first year of the E-President (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25550597)

As opposed to the First President on E? How about the First E-President that just happens to be on E??

Not the first. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25550249)

Bill Clinton has been trolling the message boards using whitehouse69 for years.

it's already happened (4, Insightful)

circletimessquare (444983) | more than 5 years ago | (#25550261)

in previous elections, grassroots fundraising was small time. dean certainly created buzz in 2004, and $, on the internet, but by far, obama has shown that internet fundraising is a tsunami. it dwarfs the old-boy network and other sources of funding

i think a lot of us lament the influence of money in american democracy. but i think this is the first election you would ever have republicans siding with that sentiment

Re:it's already happened (1)

Jah-Wren Ryel (80510) | more than 5 years ago | (#25550477)

I've seen claims that Obama's average donation size is $80 and that he has refused corporate donations. I've heard McCain refused corporate/lobbyist money too, but nothing about donation sizes and sources.

But what I would really like to see, from a place like factcheck.org, is a comprehensive breakdown of funding for both candidates by size, demographic, time frame and 'outside influences' like corps that lean on their employees to donate to a candidate or just a PAC - including the RNC and DNC and any other 3rd party advocacy groups.

Re:it's already happened (1)

Orne (144925) | more than 5 years ago | (#25551111)

But what I would really like to see ... is a comprehensive breakdown of funding ...

The problem is, the Obama donations have been shown to not even implement the simplest of credit card validation. Their software readily accepts made-up names and addresses, gift cards, and doesn't even filter for credit cards sourced by American accounts (which is a violation of campaign finance laws to have contributions from foreign countries).

  • In early October, citizens [myfoxkc.com] began reporting fraudulent donations made to the Obama campaign on their credit cards. Flash in the pan, lasted about 2 days on the talk radio circuit, but...
  • PowerLine broke the story [powerlineblog.com] by discovering that Obama's donation site bills no questions asked, including readers from England and made-up names/addresses...
  • National Journal finds gift cards work [nationaljournal.com] which can be purchased anywhere in the world, and wonders why the FEC isn't enforcing this campaign law violation...

Essentially, they are using the $200 reporting limit to masquerade illegal donation practices, and none of it will hit the mainstream media until November 5th.

i should have known (2, Insightful)

circletimessquare (444983) | more than 5 years ago | (#25551127)

my comment would bring out the partisan hacks

Re:it's already happened (1)

Drakin020 (980931) | more than 5 years ago | (#25550693)

Sorry to sound redundant, but let's not forget Ron Paul's record gains that one day. (I forget when it was)

Re:it's already happened (1)

Firehed (942385) | more than 5 years ago | (#25551469)

Yeah, but that record I'm pretty sure has been broken several times by Obama since.

I still wonder what the political ads would look like today had Paul somehow managed to get the Republican nomination (not that I honestly believe that the people whose votes actually count would have voted for him, regardless of the primary results). And I really wonder what the people who still approve of Bush would do, once they get out of the hospital for aneurism treatment of course.

Re:it's already happened (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25551231)

it's also being used to obtain record amounts of illegal campaign contributions. You think the proverbial hacker with a shed-load of stolen credit cards wouldn't be able to make lots of little donations to benefit to the candidate that would be the most lenient to the causes they support?

X marks the spot (4, Funny)

Zouden (232738) | more than 5 years ago | (#25550283)

The government has a problem giving information to the people, so it decides to use XML... now it has two problems.

Re:X marks the spot (2, Funny)

Suhas (232056) | more than 5 years ago | (#25551059)

Don't remember where I read it but....
XML is like violence, if it doesn't work, use more.

Re:X marks the spot (1)

Firehed (942385) | more than 5 years ago | (#25551491)

It's crazy-verbose, but I think that kind of unnecessary clarification would be good coming from the government.

Well, until you actually see the results:
<congress>
<lawspassed>
<law>bigoil++</law>
<law>screw you</law>
</lawspassed>
<worthless>true</worthless>
</congress>

I guess it would be a start anyways. No more spending $150k on wardrobes when you can just give a freelancer $150 for a new XSL, at the very least.

NO! they'll block the tubes! (0, Flamebait)

plasmacutter (901737) | more than 5 years ago | (#25550313)

All presidents love to throw their weight around, pushing their 'visions'.

They'll cram their visions down the tubes, and block enormous amounts of material, enormous amounts of material!

We don't have to worry about it this time around though.

Obama is for "change", He'll likely change the tubes to bigger tubes so he can send his visions into the tubes.

McCain is simply doing the same old policy that's already there, so his own visions as president would be very unlikely to clog the tubes.

For nader, he's against tubes spoiling our american green space, he'll puncture the tubes, drowning our urban areas in streaming videos. This is not all bad though, the spam will fall out of the tubes before it reaches our inboxes.

It won't work (5, Interesting)

robably (1044462) | more than 5 years ago | (#25550315)

From personal experience of the UK gov petitions site - many times over - it has no effect whatsoever. It's a sham, a deflection for discontentment, a way of saying they are listening to your concerns without actually doing anything about them. All that happens - no matter how many thousands of signatures a petition gets - is that it ends and then a boilerplate response says how they understand your concerns but you're wrong. It has as much effect as all the millions of protesters in London had on us going to war in Iraq. It makes you realize how little say you have and it's very depressing. As has been said before about voting - taking part only legitimises a corrupt system.

The real "full potential of the internet" is that it allows the government to ignore people on a more massive scale than ever before.

Re:It won't work (3, Interesting)

mkiwi (585287) | more than 5 years ago | (#25550401)

As has been said before about voting - taking part only legitimises a corrupt system.

Not trying to be too harsh here, but you would rather do absolutely nothing and ignore the problem rather than try to fix it in any way you could?

Re:It won't work (3, Insightful)

Nursie (632944) | more than 5 years ago | (#25550755)

Refusing to legitimise the broken system by taking part *is* doing something. With enough weight behind it, non-participation can cause a lot of change.

Re:It won't work (2, Interesting)

plasmacutter (901737) | more than 5 years ago | (#25551921)

Refusing to legitimise the broken system by taking part *is* doing something. With enough weight behind it, non-participation can cause a lot of change.

Yes, in the direction opposite of reform, unless you are willing to take up arms.

I'm reminded of the first primes in SG1. They participate in an inherently evil system, but as they train their successors they teach them how to introduce moderation to the goa'uld's despotic tendencies.

They could choose not to participate, but the snake head would just find someone else to do it, and that soldier probably won't have those values.

By choosing to participate and do what little they can, they save thousands of lives.

In the case of democracy or representative republics, it's the same way. Choosing not to participate will not stop the injustice. Participating, however, will help mitigate it.

Re:It won't work (1)

LingNoi (1066278) | more than 5 years ago | (#25550841)

Yes, I'd rather not waste my time and effort on boot licking these management assholes to get things changed only to end up where I started, which is no where.

Re:It won't work (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25550577)

Politicians can afford to ignore petitions because they're signed by a vocal minority on just one issue. If you start voting out politicians because of just one issue, then they'll start listening. But that would only be possible in a system with several parties.

Re:It won't work (1)

Nursie (632944) | more than 5 years ago | (#25550795)

Agreed. It's the same crap you get from your MP when you write to them. A form letter that misses the points you raise and tells you that they know best so shut the hell up.

The website just allows them to do it to everyone at once. It's a total scam.

Re:It won't work (2, Insightful)

Philotic (957984) | more than 5 years ago | (#25551073)

As has been said before about voting - taking part only legitimises a corrupt system.

And not taking part allows the system to do whatever it wants with impunity. Do you suggest we relinquish what power we do have and suffer the consequences? Human systems will forever be imperfect. Refusal to participate guarantees that power will be in the hands of the most corrupt. I refuse to stand idly by while history unfolds itself without contributing my own efforts, however small they may be.

Re:It won't work (2, Insightful)

Nursie (632944) | more than 5 years ago | (#25551167)

No, not taking part weakens the system to the point that change must happen because the government no longer have the mandate of the people.

It weakens the government and makes some sort of societal reset more likely and widely supported.

Not taking part is a legitimate political action, whereas voting not only gives your mandate to one or other set of sheisters, but continues to prop up and legitimise a broken system.

And then what? (1)

BitHive (578094) | more than 5 years ago | (#25551827)

We must all come together and reset society by not organizing or legitimizing candidates who reflect our values in any way with our votes. The more obsequious the populace, the more threatened the ruling class. Am I doing this right?

Re:It won't work (1)

plasmacutter (901737) | more than 5 years ago | (#25551937)

actually this is not true.

Systems like fascism and feudalism arise because a significant portion of the population actually support them.

hitler didn't seize power alone.

Album title: Oval Office Party - Chiefs and Squaws (1)

rift321 (1358397) | more than 5 years ago | (#25550333)

Obama gets impeached because he mistakenly shared that album with "All" - himself and his chiefs of staff hitting the "Presidential Six-footer" with Biden in the background giving the shocker sign, his arms around two busty assistants. It would be arguably funnier if that happened to McCain... We would all be walking around the next day, dazed, saying "Yeah, like, I guess he was kinda cool..."

Re:Album title: Oval Office Party - Chiefs and Squ (1)

Orion Blastar (457579) | more than 5 years ago | (#25550513)

Nah if they appealed Bill Clinton's impeachment they'll appeal Barack Obama's impeachment as well for the same reasons.

Look at all of the stuff George W. Bush is accused of doing, and they still can't impeach him. That is because they don't have enough evidence to start an impeachment trial, but what they do have is accusations, rumors, gossip, and opinions, but no "hard evidence" beyond a reasonable doubt. There wouldn't be enough "hard evidence" for Obama either even if he did make the album public because he could claim it was a practical joke or parody and didn't really mean it. Just like Bill Clinton claimed that oral sex was not sexual relations by his definition.

If Richard M. Nixon didn't resign, he'd win his impeachment appeal like Bill Clinton did. Those tapes were taken illegally without a search warrant and would have been thrown out in an impeachment trial plus the prosecutor would have been found to be biased like Ken Starr was.

It is really really hard to impeach a President.

Re:Album title: Oval Office Party - Chiefs and Squ (1)

techno-vampire (666512) | more than 5 years ago | (#25550735)

Nah if they appealed Bill Clinton's impeachment they'll appeal Barack Obama's impeachment as well for the same reasons.

What makes you think an impeachment can be appealed? Who would hear it? The Supreme Court? They're the judges in the impeachment, they can't also hear an appeal, and there's nobody else left. If the President is successfully impeached, he's out, no ifs, ands or buts. Judging from what you've written, you think that Clinton's impeachment hearings before Congress were an appeal. They weren't, they were the impeachment itself. You clearly don't understand the process. [wikipedia.org] Either your school skimped on teaching civics or you weren't listening.

Bill Clinton claimed that oral sex was not sexual relations by his definition.

No, you're wrong again. He was able to claim that oral sex wasn't sexual relations because they didn't fit the definition that the plaintiff's attorneys were using. They tried to box him in and outsmarted themselves. As far as Nixon is concerned, even his own party would have voted to impeach.

Re:Album title: Oval Office Party - Chiefs and Squ (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25550833)

As a Republican, I am happy to agree with that last statement.

Speeding up patent applications? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25550353)

How about a project that speeds up the patent rejection process?

300 million critics (1)

postbigbang (761081) | more than 5 years ago | (#25550423)

could use maybe a pdf, but I'm thinking xml makes tracking data changes too difficult. So:

1) put the US budget proposals, including all the fat and pork online for one week before it gets a vote or passage
2) put all expenditures (except the dark stuff) online in lists that can be viewed; maybe streamed.
3) mandate all legislation gets to be downloaded for one week before it can be voted on, for public scrutiny
4) mandate all trade agreements, and all bi-lateral information is published for a week prior to signing
5) require a planned versus actual listing of all major budget expenditures, including all military expenditures

Wanna read something scary? Pick any one of the above.

Hey what now? E-President getting advice (1)

Orion Blastar (457579) | more than 5 years ago | (#25550461)

from the Internet?

Do we really want Anonymous Internet Trolls giving the next US President advice? That will lead to things like making "Chocolate Rain" as the new National Anthem and making it so that Plan9 is the official and only operating system to be used for the government and instead of being called The Commander In Chief the President will be called The National Idiot in Command.

Good grief! They might even try to change the US Flag to a Goatse or Tubgirl motif. :)

Anyway, yes we do need a standard for file exchange on the Internet like XML but it needs to be encrypted so that hackers and crackers don't steal the data and use it for identity theft. So maybe use GPG to encrypt the files with at least a 4096 byte key.

A lot of federal computer systems are still modem and command line based, they need to be upgraded to Web 2.0 standards and use broadband speeds. Some of the Medicare/Medicade systems use Modem dial-ups to process bill payments and medical records, which is why it costs so much and is so slow and has so much red tape and doesn't cover a lot of expenses. By modernizing it, it will help reduce costs and make it more affordable.

Get rid of that darned Donut Hole, poor people are going without their medication for the last four to three months of the year because they fell into a donut hole and lost coverage until they spend $3500 of their own money, and have to pay $200 to $300 to $500 per prescription per month, those of us on ten or more prescriptions are really really hurting esp when we are on disability and are too sick to work.

Re:Hey what now? E-President getting advice (1)

techno-vampire (666512) | more than 5 years ago | (#25550753)

Good grief! They might even try to change the US Flag to a Goatse or Tubgirl motif. :)

No, they'd never go that far. They might, however, change our symbol from the American Eagle to a pony. OMG! PONIES!!1! LOTS AND LOTS OF PINK PONIES111!!!!!11!!!!!lll

Re:Hey what now? E-President getting advice (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25551547)

Do we really want Anonymous Internet Trolls giving the next US President advice? That will lead to things like making "Chocolate Rain" as the new National Anthem and making it so that Plan9 is the official and only operating system to be used for the government and instead of being called The Commander In Chief the President will be called The National Idiot in Command.

Good grief! They might even try to change the US Flag to a Goatse or Tubgirl motif. :)

On the upside, the Cult of Scientology finally gets its comeuppance.

And I'm still not seeing any downside.

ANONYMOUS FOR PRESDIENT: BECAUSE NONE OF US IS AS AWESOME AS ALL OF US.

Electronic referendums are -VITAL- next step (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25550581)

The people need to be able to veto any policy they dont want, with enough of a majority. The polititians need to realise that they -serve- the people, not the other way around. Common sense needs to be able to prevent things which we basically all know are wrong or unwanted choices. Give the people the choice! - it's their country, - not just yours. The people have to live with whatever wrong choice the polititians make for the next 100 years or whatever, while the polititian walks away...

It's about time! (1)

ITEric (1392795) | more than 5 years ago | (#25550695)

This is supposed to be a representative government, but how long have we been left wondering who, exactly, they were representing? Following these suggestions would bring about the transparency we need to help eliminate the (perceived) corruption and cronyism in our government. I suggest it be taken a step farther to help reduce the number of unwise laws that are passed. Let's have the sponsors of bills post them to a website where they can be reviewed by the public-at-large. Then every lawmaker who wants to amend the bill would post the amendment as a comment so that the public can see who is loading the bills down with what pork. I doubt it would take very long for the public to see exactly which politicians are screwing us and how. - That's transparency!

Dynamic congressional voting (1)

cgenman (325138) | more than 5 years ago | (#25550745)

I'd love to see a congressional voting site where you can vote on X numbers of issues that come before the congress, before they come before the congress. Congressmen could then use or ignore that information when making decisions.

Of course, that congressional divergence would be online for all to see. You could even see the %divergence between various senators and your personal votepoints on the issues. Does Feinstein really agree with your POV? Does Liberman? Now you can know.

Online Government Open Accountability Ledger (1)

mybecq (131456) | more than 5 years ago | (#25550891)

This is what I have proposed in OnlineGOAL [google.com] - the Online Government Open Accountability Ledger.

Opening up the (massive) pocketbook ledger of any level of government is going to significantly improve accountability for where the taxpayer's money flows (both in and out).

Contact your local representative and find out when they're going to support this proposal (for whatever country or level of government they are in).

I can see it now (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25551327)

Prez52 writes: lets invade Iraq! lol

Cheney11 writes: lolololo, teh weaponz of mass detruktion r in mah ass!

Prez52 writes: lmao!11!

Concerned_Citizen writes: But is there probable cause? Will the UN approve this unilateral action?

Prez52 writes: newb!!1!

Cheney11 writes: This iz SPARTA!! lolz

JSON Please (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25551525)

+1 for JSON please :)

Bush... (1)

md65536 (670240) | more than 5 years ago | (#25551579)

Bush: I was already an E-President. At least that, maybe a D-President. I made full use of more than one Internets, like the time I checked my e-mail on the one in my office, or that time Dick was showing me the google.

Load More Comments
Slashdot Account

Need an Account?

Forgot your password?

Don't worry, we never post anything without your permission.

Submission Text Formatting Tips

We support a small subset of HTML, namely these tags:

  • b
  • i
  • p
  • br
  • a
  • ol
  • ul
  • li
  • dl
  • dt
  • dd
  • em
  • strong
  • tt
  • blockquote
  • div
  • quote
  • ecode

"ecode" can be used for code snippets, for example:

<ecode>    while(1) { do_something(); } </ecode>
Sign up for Slashdot Newsletters
Create a Slashdot Account

Loading...