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$18M Contract For Transparency Website Released — But Blacked Out

timothy posted more than 5 years ago | from the but-don't-worry-government-health-care-will-be-cheap dept.

Government 384

zokuga writes "The US government recently approved an $18 million contract for Smartronix to build a website where taxpayers could easily track billions in federal stimulus money, as part of President Obama's promise to make government more transparent through the Internet. However, the contract, which was released only through repeated Freedom of Information Act requests, is itself heavily blacked out. ProPublica reports: 'After weeks of prodding by ProPublica and other organizations, the Government Services Agency released copies of the contract and related documents that are so heavily blacked out they are virtually worthless. In all, 25 pages of a 59-page technical proposal — the main document in the package — were redacted completely. Of the remaining pages, 14 had half or more of their content blacked out.' Sections that were heavily or entirely redacted dealt with subjects such as site navigation, user experience, and everything in the pricing table. The entire contract, in all its blacked-out glory, is here."

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Surprised? (3, Insightful)

The_AV8R (1257270) | more than 5 years ago | (#29056633)

Ahh, the hypocrisy of our democracy.

Re:Surprised? (4, Informative)

mcgrew (92797) | more than 5 years ago | (#29056797)

Ahh, the hypocrisy of our democracy.

Actually it's a republic rather tha a democracy, but the action is hypocritical anyway.

If voters had to vote on all bills passed by the legislators and signed by the President before they became law, then it would indeed be a democracy. As it is, considering the power of money and the weakness of a single person's vote, it's closer to a plutocracy than a democracy.

Re:Surprised? (5, Funny)

gnick (1211984) | more than 5 years ago | (#29056915)

********, * ***** you're ********. The ********** between a ********* and a ******** is **** **** ********** than that.
[Some content redacted due to FOIA exemptions]

Re:Surprised? (2, Funny)

Shakrai (717556) | more than 5 years ago | (#29057057)

You should know that I take it personally when people talk about my mother like that ;)

Re:Surprised? (1)

c00rdb (945666) | more than 5 years ago | (#29056997)

Actually its both. The only alternative to a republic is a monarchy. The United States is a democratic republic.

Re:Surprised? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#29057151)

The only alternative to a republic is a monarchy.

Umm.... What?

Re:Surprised? (4, Informative)

Hellhog (1617707) | more than 5 years ago | (#29057331)

Ahh, the hypocrisy of our democracy.

Actually it's a republic rather tha a democracy

MYTH. Representative democracy != Republic.

Re:Surprised? No. (0)

b4dc0d3r (1268512) | more than 5 years ago | (#29056927)

Unless it's part of stimulus dollars, which the transparency website is intended to show, there's no problem. And if it actually IS part of stimulus dollars, then I wouldn't expect to see it until the site goes live.

If we see all of the details, all we're going to do is bitch about it and probably end up delaying the website with investigations into no-bid contracts or who designed this crappy thing or other junk. So just let it ride until the damned thing's ready.

Re:Surprised? No. (1)

Kral_Blbec (1201285) | more than 5 years ago | (#29057269)

Because the webdevelopers are the same ones investigating no-bid contracts amiright?

Re:Surprised? (1)

CarpetShark (865376) | more than 5 years ago | (#29057067)

Ahh, the hypocrisy of our democracy.

Ahh, the irony that people call it a democracy.

tagged: !change (4, Interesting)

Shakrai (717556) | more than 5 years ago | (#29056635)

To add insult to injury, I wonder if it was a no bid contract?

Re:tagged: !change (4, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#29056695)

$18 million dollars is change...

It's pocket change in the face of billion dollar bailouts.

Re:tagged: !change (2, Informative)

Shakrai (717556) | more than 5 years ago | (#29056789)

It's pocket change in the face of billion dollar bailouts.

I wish I could mod you "+1, even more cynical than I am".

Re:tagged: !change (5, Insightful)

ivan256 (17499) | more than 5 years ago | (#29057063)

I'm not sure how this is "insightful". Because we're spending a ridiculously huge amount of money, we can waste a ridiculously huge (but relatively small) amount of money?

Startup companies that develop web applications run for 4+ years on $18mil with 30+ developers and a sales and management team. And they turn out products orders of magnitude more complex than this tracking website. I wish I knew about the bid. I could have undercut these guys by about $14 mil, pulled a team together in about a week, gotten the job done quick and retired in style.

Re:tagged: !change (2, Informative)

FiloEleven (602040) | more than 5 years ago | (#29057199)

I think the comment is "insightful" because it reveals the way things are, not because it is a prescription for the way things ought to be.

Re:tagged: !change (1)

Hurricane78 (562437) | more than 5 years ago | (#29057115)

If one thing is bad, and the other thing is worse, this does not make the first thing better at all. No, it even fortifies the feeling that that which is common to both of them in bad.

Re:tagged: !change (4, Interesting)

D'Sphitz (699604) | more than 5 years ago | (#29057147)

It may be, but seriously, what kind of website costs $18 million? I've been designing and programming websites for 10 years full time, hundreds and hundreds of them, put them all together and they're not worth $1million much less $18 million. I'll be interested to see the final product, because I can't fathom what an $18m website looks like.

Re:tagged: !change (1)

bjourne (1034822) | more than 5 years ago | (#29057369)

An online banking site. Possibly also betting sites. Mostly because they deal with money and any security breach is fatal. That's the only examples I can think of excluding megasites like google, facebook and amazon.

Re:tagged: !change (5, Insightful)

CorporateSuit (1319461) | more than 5 years ago | (#29057475)

An online banking site. Possibly also betting sites. Mostly because they deal with money and any security breach is fatal. That's the only examples I can think of excluding megasites like google, facebook and amazon.

Those sites could be built for a few hundred thousand + server costs. $18M to make a site that lists sales receipts is a huge middle-finger to taxpayers.

Re:tagged: !change (1)

Splab (574204) | more than 5 years ago | (#29057155)

Spare some change mister?

Afro-American Racism Against Whites and Asians (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#29057239)

During the election, about 95% of African-Americans voted for Barack Hussein Obama due solely to the color of his skin. See the exit-polling data [cnn.com] by CNN.

Note the voting pattern of Hispanics, Asian-Americans, etc. These non-Black minorities serve as a measurement of African-American racism against Whites (and other non-Black folks). Neither Barack Hussein Obama nor John McCain is Hispanic or Asian. So, Hispanics and Asian-Americans used only non-racial criteria in selecting a candidate and, hence, serve as the reference by which we detect a racist voting pattern. Only about 65% of Hispanics and Asian-Americans supported Obama. In other words, a maximum of 65% support by any ethnic or racial group for either McCain or Obama is not racist and, hence, is acceptable. (A maximum of 65% for McCain is okay. So, European-American support at 55% for McCain is well below this threshold and, hence, is not racist.)

If African-Americans were not racist, then at most 65% of them would have supported Obama. At that level of support, McCain would have won the presidential race.

At this point, African-American supremacists (and apologists) claim that African-Americans voted for Obama because he (1) is a member of the Democratic party and (2) supports its ideals. That claim is an outright lie. Look at the exit-polling data [cnn.com] for the Democratic primaries. Consider the case of North Carolina. Again, about 95% of African-Americans voted for him and against Hillary Clinton. Both Clinton and Obama are Democrats, and their official political positions on the campaign trail were nearly identical. Yet, 95% of African-Americans voted for Obama and against Hillary Clinton. Why? African-Americans supported Obama due solely to the color of his skin.

Here is the bottom line. Barack Hussein Obama does not represent mainstream America. He won the election due to the racist voting pattern exhibited by African-Americans.

African-Americans have established that expressing "racial pride" by voting on the basis of skin color is 100% acceptable. Neither the "Wall Street Journal" nor the "New York Times" complained about this racist behavior. Therefore, in future elections, please feel free to express your racial pride by voting on the basis of skin color. Feel free to vote for the non-Black candidates and against the Black candidates if you are not African-American. You need not defend your actions in any way. Voting on the basis of skin color is quite acceptable by today's moral standard.

Re:tagged: !change (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#29057379)

Yup, and it went to a Big Dem supporter's family

This is not an issue (5, Funny)

Itninja (937614) | more than 5 years ago | (#29056659)

Listen, I worked on the project. This is no big deal. Basically, it's [12 LINES REDACTED]. So I don't know what all the fuss is about.

Re:This is not an issue (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#29056777)

12 lines? Are you kidding? Check out the public document yourself. I would guesstimate the total blacked-out lines to be closer to 1,200.

This is a publicly funded web-project unrelated to military defense. It should be 100% wholly visible to citizens. Period.

Re:This is not an issue (1, Insightful)

notarockstar1979 (1521239) | more than 5 years ago | (#29056917)

WOOOOOOOSSSHHHHHHH!!!

Re:This is not an issue (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#29057165)

[WIND-LIKE SOUND REDACTED]

Re:This is not an issue (1)

mooingyak (720677) | more than 5 years ago | (#29057267)

Best. Woosh. Ever.

Re:This is not an issue (1)

hoppo (254995) | more than 5 years ago | (#29057189)

Um, I think you didn't quite get the joke...

Re:This is not an issue (1)

donaggie03 (769758) | more than 5 years ago | (#29057213)

Yes, he was kidding, but not in the way you seem to be reading it. He's not trying to make a quip that there's only 12 or so lines in the document blacked out, so we are all overreacting. He was making a joke that in his own comment, we can read one line, while 12 are redacted. So we can read 1 out of 13 lines in his comment, i.e. 12/13, or 92%, of his comment is blacked out.

Re:This is not an issue (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#29057035)

Yeah I opened it. It's long and boring and I don't claim to have read much of it, but it didn't look like all that much was blacked out. It looked like a pretty standard contract for a web development project to me. Iâ(TM)ve worked on a few development projects of this nature on the state level. Itâ(TM)s not surprising that few details got blacked out with all the politics that go into negotiation a contract between the state and a private company. My guess is a lot of the blackouts are at the request of the company. Some probably have to do with legitimate concerns over divulging too much info about their infrastructure or procedures. A lot of companies are skittish about revealing their internal policies. It doesn't look that sinister to me. I just hope they get this site up soon.

Re:This is not an issue (1)

elrous0 (869638) | more than 5 years ago | (#29057383)

I'll tell you what all the fuss is about, it's about the secret
#AT%$#NO CARRIER

Well this is certainly change (5, Insightful)

OeLeWaPpErKe (412765) | more than 5 years ago | (#29056671)

Change we can believe in ! Belief being necessary because, you know, you don't get to check.

Say what were those economic numbers again ?

Re:Well this is certainly change (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#29057245)

I'm seeing this phrase on more and more bumper stickers. I don't know who to attribute it to.

"I'll keep my guns, my freedom and my money. You keep the change."

Democracy (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#29056683)

I love this f*cking country, and this country loves f*cking me.

It's blacked out for a reason.. (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#29056709)

because obama is a nigger..

Re:It's blacked out for a reason.. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#29056883)

it's only half blacked out.

Re:It's blacked out for a reason.. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#29057371)

just goes to show how accurate the original statement was.

Expected (0, Troll)

nhytefall (1415959) | more than 5 years ago | (#29056729)

Standard practice, unfortunately. Despite what folks may think.. the website itself will provide the necessary transparency. However, the redactions in the contract are to protect trade secrets, national security concerns (explaining integration with other confidential government systems), etc. What we need, is the website, and for the website to provide the information clearly, and efficiently. Who does it,a nd the details of the contract, are largely irrelevant.

Re:Expected (1)

oldspewey (1303305) | more than 5 years ago | (#29056783)

I can design a website that displays nothing but a series of black boxes, and I will do it for $18,000 not $18,000,000.

Re:Expected (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#29057169)

I can design a website that displays nothing but a series of black boxes, and I will do it for $18,000 not $18,000,000.

Hey, Senator. He's right. $18M's too much. I'll do it for $54,000. $18,000 for me, $18,000 for your campaign, and I'll still have $18,000 to hire that Slashdotter to do the work.

Why is cost a secret (5, Insightful)

SuperKendall (25149) | more than 5 years ago | (#29056833)

However, the redactions in the contract are to protect trade secrets, national security concerns...etc

So what part does cost of the contract fall under for you.

If they are hiding costs here, how can you assume the website is really revealing all money being spent, when the foundation itself remains obscured.

Not one cent of government expenditure should be obscured. I can understand something like military spending sometimes being put in a black box (and that only in truly exceptional cases), but you should at least be able to see the cost of the box...

Re:Why is cost a secret (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#29056965)

They didn't hide the costs for the project. They hid the cost per job type. They probably don't want their employees knowing what the others are getting paid.

Re:Why is cost a secret (1)

CorporateSuit (1319461) | more than 5 years ago | (#29057129)

They didn't hide the costs for the project. They hid the cost per job type. They probably don't want their employees knowing what the others are getting paid.

You seem to have a good point there just let me... oh wait wait wait wait wait... since when has a programmer been paid in equivalence to how much the company charges for something to be done? Never?

Not employees though, companies. (3, Insightful)

SuperKendall (25149) | more than 5 years ago | (#29057387)

They didn't hide the costs for the project. They hid the cost per job type. They probably don't want their employees knowing what the others are getting paid.

But this [propublica.org] looks more like they are hiding *companies* involved, not individuals.

In fact I would very much like to know just who is getting paid for this, and how much - so that if I wished I could trace back connections to various senators that insisted certain web development providers were chosen...

If you don't want someone to know how much you are getting paid, even as an individual - don't work on government contracts. It's that simple.

So... (1)

Alaren (682568) | more than 5 years ago | (#29056853)

...I take it you don't subscribe to the maxim, "The devil is in the details?"

The problem is that you don't know what has been redacted. Oh sure, it's probably mostly trade-secrets stuff, plus a little security-through-obscurity. But it's impossible to know for certain, because those parts have been redacted. Even section headings don't necessarily tell you anything; in my legal writing course last semester, we looked at several contracts that had material terms embedded in the weirdest places. It's bad practice, but it's also common practice.

The sad truth is, "reasonable" places for redactions--whether we're talking about trade secrets or national security concerns--quickly become convenient places to hide things. "Openness in government" was the promise, not "openness in the government except where we can come up with shiny excuses." Shiny excuses are in ready supply.

Re:Expected (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#29056871)

You didn't read the linked document, did you?

Here, I'll help you out: http://documents.propublica.org/recovery-gov-contract-documents#p=65 [propublica.org]

The parts which are blacked out are clearly not 'national security concerns' as you have claimed. They are generally specifications of the program management structure. It almost certainly lays out the people and corporations that are involved, and what their various tasks and responsibilities are.

I don't think that the general public really has a need to know which exact people are working on each team. There are arguably privacy concerns there. But it I don't see why the teams and corporation partnerships themselves have been redacted. In any case, it has little to do with trade secrets, and nothing whatsoever to do with national security.

Re:Expected (1)

CorporateSuit (1319461) | more than 5 years ago | (#29057235)

I don't think that the general public really has a need to know which exact people are working on each team. There are arguably privacy concerns there.

Well, this argument seems to be watertight, I'll just have to agre-- oh wait wait wait wait wait... hm... except for one problem, I can't think of any human with a 4-page-long name whose privacy would be protected by blacking it out... There is no one with a 4-page-long-name, is there?

Re:Expected (1)

Kral_Blbec (1201285) | more than 5 years ago | (#29056877)

No, the details are extremely relevant.
Without them the website is nothing more than a way to say "Trust us, we would never lie to you". Do you really plan on trusting that the Kool-Aide from the Obama admin is clean?

Re:Expected (1)

Timothy Brownawell (627747) | more than 5 years ago | (#29056941)

However, the redactions in the contract are to protect trade secrets

But are they secret to protect a competitive advantage (knowledge of a better way to do things), or just to prevent embarrassment?

national security concerns (explaining integration with other confidential government systems)

"Connections made using this particular SSH key (or SSL client cert) can make these updates." Or perhaps "national security" is the new term for "official embarrassment".

Who does it,a nd the details of the contract, are largely irrelevant.

"It's like coppery and goldy, only made out of iron." More seriously, that's something like a hundred plus people for a year. WTF are they doing that takes that long?

Re:Expected (5, Insightful)

hoppo (254995) | more than 5 years ago | (#29057131)

BS. There are no national security concerns around a publicly-facing website, particularly one dealing with dissemination of budget information. If there are, then they need to seriously rethink their strategies. I can envision certain sensitive information that may be blacked-out, but for a project like this, it would be a rarity. Furthermore, there is absolutely no reason to hide the remuneration details from the public.

It's not unreasonable to ask why this project costs $18 million to implement, when it is mostly a standard CMS with a few extras added on.

Too bad it's scanned (1)

JayTech (935793) | more than 5 years ago | (#29056749)

To bad it's scanned and not digitally blacked out like those documents the government released before that could be easily be read...

Slashdotted (5, Funny)

ionymous (1216224) | more than 5 years ago | (#29056751)

Now that it's slashdotted, it's completely blacked out!

Transparent? How is this government such? (5, Insightful)

Shivetya (243324) | more than 5 years ago | (#29056759)

I would hate to see a secretive US Government then...

Ramming bills through Congress, no five day period, hell five days seems to apply how long a before a thousand page bill is dropped on us before its rammed through.

One party rule never works and just as before when they were in power they do all the same rotten things they claim the other side did when they had power.

Apparently they are so wrapped up in knowing whats best for us, because they are so obviously smarter and well... transparency is where they deem we need to have it.

Now we have a nearly sinister cooperation of the press and government all walking the same line. Calling them out on it is now unAmerican. We get town halls that first tell us everyone is entitled to their opinion followed by statements that those who dare have a differing one need to get out of the way.

Website, schebsite, its all just more bs for the point column where the score never matters as long as they win.

Re:Transparent? How is this government such? (2, Interesting)

Kral_Blbec (1201285) | more than 5 years ago | (#29056805)

Well said.
I am also interested in how people are supposed to verify information from the supposed transparency. If the government is the one setting it up, it is childs play to manipulate the system to show what they want. I suppose that is what the redacted sections touched on.

Re:Transparent? How is this government such? (1)

Utini420 (444935) | more than 5 years ago | (#29056837)

And this is different than any other administration how, exactly?
(Not that everyone else doing it makes it OK now, just that the US government has sucked exactly like this for at least several decades, and probably longer.)

Re:Transparent? How is this government such? (1)

BobMcD (601576) | more than 5 years ago | (#29057407)

Did those other administrations make any claims about accountability and openness?

Re:Transparent? How is this government such? (4, Insightful)

scourfish (573542) | more than 5 years ago | (#29056881)

>>Calling them out on it is now unAmerican.
>>We get town halls that first tell us everyone is entitled to their opinion followed
>>by statements that those who dare have a differing one need to get out of the way.

It's not so much that shouting the pledge of allegiance in an overly jingoistic way in a juvenile attempt to disrupt things is unAmerican; it's more a matter of being annoying and counter-productive. It wasn't entertaining when the Dems acted like babies for the last 8 years, and it isn't entertaining now to see Conservatives acting the exact same way. If you want to express a dissenting opinion, then do it in a civil manner, but please, take the dress off before you do.

Overgeneralize much? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#29056983)

Have you actually watched/listened to any Town Halls? Sure, there are people acting in the way in which you describe, but the vast majority wait their turn and relay their concern in a civilized manner.

Re:Transparent? How is this government such? (1, Insightful)

jdgeorge (18767) | more than 5 years ago | (#29056975)

I was going to moderate this, but I couldn't divine a coherent thread that justified any available moderation. Specifically, I wonder:

Is this a criticism of the Democratic or Republican Party politicians, as if they are responsible for the redaction of this document (which doesn't seem likely)?

Or is it meant to say that politicians are consistently in the pockets of corporations?

Or is it a criticism of the press, and the inability of people to say what they think without being labeled unAmerican, (as if this is somehow new, now that George W. Bush is no longer president)?

Or is it a complaint that the recent "town hall" meetings across the country have been effectively neutralized by people who have turned the process from a discussion into a name-calling event?

Re:Transparent? How is this government such? (4, Informative)

IMightB (533307) | more than 5 years ago | (#29057279)

So far the ones that are being called unMerkin are the ones that seem to be incapable of speaking in any manner other than yelling and screaming about "Death Panels". Rather than contributing to the discussion they are denying everyone else the chance to contribute to the discussion.

Re:Transparent? How is this government such? (4, Informative)

BobMcD (601576) | more than 5 years ago | (#29057459)

Like the one in NH where everyone present was hand-selected by the party?

He couldn't even FIND a skeptic in that auditorium.

It may have been civil, but wasn't anything that could pass as debate.

Power corrupts (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#29056769)

"Power corrupts" may be true

But, equally as true.

The corrupt seek power.

What's the old saying, the more things change the more they stay the same.

"Dad, how do you know that politicisation is lying? His lips are moving."

Really blacked out? (3, Insightful)

istartedi (132515) | more than 5 years ago | (#29056795)

Maybe, just maybe, it's one of those PDF dealies where it's not really blacked out because they're just rendering rectangles over text that's still in the document. Yeah, it's a longshot but check on it anyway.

Also, WTF could possibly be so sensitive about a contract for a WEB SITE??? You'd think they have some kind of sense for how much traffic the most popular government sites are getting, and be able to order some colo and stuff based on that. That's what I'd expect to find in there... servers, bandwidth, hourly support rates to handle wierd stuff like DDoS attacks. WTF could possibly be in there that needs to be blacked out for any reason???

Re:Really blacked out? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#29056979)

Likely the company involved just claimed almost everything was commercially sensitive, don't want to disclose there features to competitors, or there costings for this project to other customers who may be being over-charged in comparison...

Re:Really blacked out? (1)

iamhigh (1252742) | more than 5 years ago | (#29057013)

I don't know if that is part of the sig, but it's "intents and purposes" not "intensive purposes". Unless you really mean it is only dead when used IN AN INTENSIVE SENTENCE!!!

Re:Really blacked out? (1)

gnick (1211984) | more than 5 years ago | (#29057311)

That begs the question, "Whom can spot the sig playfully fishing for grammar Nazis?"

For all intensive porpoises, its not iamhigh.

Good Enough For Government (5, Insightful)

ATestR (1060586) | more than 5 years ago | (#29056801)

If this is the way that things work in the Government, maybe we should all try it on our 1040's next April.

Oh the irony... (1)

rocketman768 (838734) | more than 5 years ago | (#29056825)

Could it be more ironic to redact the contract for a website that is supposed to make things transparent?

Re:Oh the irony... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#29056943)

Isn't this like saying that UPS and Fed X do better that the US post office so we should put government in control of health care.

Yes, this is what Obama said during his health care "Town Hall" (You know the one where all the questions were pre screened)

I guess this is what happens when he leaves TOTUS in DC.

Nice. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#29056831)

Puts me in mind of Yes, Minister [youtube.com] for some reason.

Hanlon's Razor Maybe? (1)

JoshuaZ (1134087) | more than 5 years ago | (#29056847)

"Never attribute to malice what can be explained by stupidity." Or in this case, incompetency. I have trouble believing that there was much thought process going on here. They just did what they always do. There is a heavy governmental culture of giving out as little information to the public as possible. That's just what they do. They likely aren't even thinking about it enough to appreciate the irony.

those racists (5, Funny)

z-j-y (1056250) | more than 5 years ago | (#29056857)

black out? you guys have new code word everyday. just can't accept an African president can you.

Re:those racists (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#29056901)

This.
I can't believe how many people continue these remarks when an equally viable sensational and well known term exists... "censorship".

Re:those racists (1)

TheRealMindChild (743925) | more than 5 years ago | (#29057033)

"black out" is more specific and relevant in this context than "censored". When I hear "They blacked out parts of the document", I know that there are black marks over words they don't want me to see. When I hear "They censored parts of the document", it isn't even close to as clear... did they remove whole pages? Did they replace the bits with "cleaned up and dumbed down" bits? Were the parts available, but only to a select few?

Re:those racists (1)

TheRealMindChild (743925) | more than 5 years ago | (#29056955)

Really bad joke. Acknowledging a persons skin color is not the same as racism.

Re:those racists (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#29057119)

Really bad joke. Acknowledging a persons skin color is not the same as racism.

Of course it is. If the person in question has skin that is sort of a "tan/brown" color, and you call them "black", that surely is an insult the the millions of people with actually dark skin.

Re:those racists (1)

clone53421 (1310749) | more than 5 years ago | (#29057055)

Actually they should've used white-out on the rest of the contract since he's half white.

Irony (2, Insightful)

losinggeneration (797436) | more than 5 years ago | (#29056875)

Anyone else find it iron on page 93 they talk about their benifits to their open design with over half the page blacked out (page 93 for those interested)

Calling all Spammers! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#29056911)

If you have any shred of guilt about your spamming activities, please rectify your conscience by spamming this story to every inbox within your, uh, readership.

Superfluid Man! No friction bitch (0, Troll)

e2d2 (115622) | more than 5 years ago | (#29056925)

As we've seen to date, when you criticize the Obama administration they'll simply label you an extremist or rabble-rouser and dismiss all allegations against them. You think Bill Clinton was slick? He was just Teflon. Obama is made out of superfuid.

The funny thing about events of late is that politicians think people are pissed simply because they oppose the certain bills, like the health care initiative. Newsflash Washington, you're pissing EVERYONE off with your nonstop bullshit. You're in the pockets of those that truly control things, so why should we give two shits about what you say? You don't make decisions obviously, they are obviously made by outside forces. You work for the people alright, it's just which people we wonder because It's obviously not us.

Dear Mr President. I'm not angry because Glenn Beck or anyone else told me to be. I'm pissed because:
A. Unemployment is way too high. Jobless recoveries don't pay the bills.
B. The economy is in the tank. Blame it on Bush, again. That seems to be what you guys are great at.
C. You bail out banks that simply took too much risk, breaking the model of capitalism that you tout as the best in the world.
D. You refuse to allow oversight of the Federal Reserve and it just keeps printing money out of thin air. A huge risk for us if we can't meet our economic goals.
E. You don't stick to your promises (see deal with drug manufacturers for an example)
F. Your party is filled with hypocrites and fools (for example Nancy Pelosi) and you pander to them repeatedly.
G. And finally you promote transparency and then blank out FOIA released contracts. WTF?

The gig is up Obama. Time to cut the shit. Your blank check is revoked. And yes I voted for you so save your "Republicans yada yada" nonsense.

Marie Antoinette (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#29057133)

I wonder if Marie Antoinette was as out of touch with the people's anger before she lost her head...

Re:Superfluid Man! No friction bitch (1)

e2d2 (115622) | more than 5 years ago | (#29057173)

Troll? Man that is completely unfair mods. That was my opinion sirs. If you can refute my points then please do so. Should I water down my response to be more PC or something? I don't get it.

Re:Superfluid Man! No friction bitch (1)

pixelpusher220 (529617) | more than 5 years ago | (#29057185)

A. And doing *nothing would certainly help joblessness...
B. Bush *did* trash the economy, and the GOP in Congress before him, (Phil Gramm I'm looking at you!)
C. The banks were only able to take on too much risk because the lax/non-existant oversight.
D. And politicizing the monetary base would be a good thing how exactly?
E. As an Obama voter, I'm getting upset with him on the lack of follow through, though likely in different areas than yourself
F. You really want to compare GOP hypocrites to Dem hypocrites? I'd be happy to jettison Pelosi *and* Reid, for people who actually push into investigating Dubya and company
G. No argument on this point. The transparency is decidedly lacking, though in fairness, Bush did lace the non-political gov't jobs with fellow political hacks. Couldn't be that they are the ones hindering the transparency perhaps? not entirely, but hey who's looking for scapegoats...

As for being angry on your own right, congrats. Now remember how the liberals who were angry at Bush for an illegal war, wild secrecy, torture and generally ruining our global reputation (among other things) were called 'anti-american' and 'unpatriotic'?

how's it feel on the other foot?

Re:Superfluid Man! No friction bitch (1)

e2d2 (115622) | more than 5 years ago | (#29057419)

As for being angry on your own right, congrats. Now remember how the liberals who were angry at Bush for an illegal war, wild secrecy, torture and generally ruining our global reputation (among other things) were called 'anti-american' and 'unpatriotic'?

how's it feel on the other foot?

See this is the illogical world of American politics. You assume that since I critique the current administration that I somehow endorsed the previous administration's blatant disregard for the people's will. I do not and have never. I voted against Bush for the reasons you described. But does that matter? Why is legit criticism always dragged into the muck with partisan nonsense? I'm an independent, always have been. I am loyal to no party, I just want to be represented in DC correctly.

One question to you. Do they represent me and you? Or do ALL modern politicians represent 3rd parties such as lobbyists, corporations, and campaign donors?

Why would anyone in this country feel the current system of representation is acceptable? It was created at a time when representatives were sent to DC simplly because the people could not travel to DC to participate. But today we most certainly can participate. But do they allow referendums? Do they allow us to vote directly on bills? No, they don't. That's what truly gets me going. I am not represented in any fashion because to them, I am a nobody.

Re:Superfluid Man! No friction bitch (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#29057427)

As we've seen to date, when you criticize the Obama administration they'll simply label you an extremist or rabble-rouser and dismiss all allegations against them. You think Bill Clinton was slick? He was just Teflon. Obama is made out of superfuid.

The funny thing about events of late is that politicians think people are pissed simply because they oppose the certain bills, like the health care initiative. Newsflash Washington, you're pissing EVERYONE off with your nonstop bullshit. You're in the pockets of those that truly control things, so why should we give two shits about what you say? You don't make decisions obviously, they are obviously made by outside forces. You work for the people alright, it's just which people we wonder because It's obviously not us.

Dear Mr President. I'm not angry because Glenn Beck or anyone else told me to be. I'm pissed because:
A. Unemployment is way too high. Jobless recoveries don't pay the bills.
B. The economy is in the tank. Blame it on Bush, again. That seems to be what you guys are great at.
C. You bail out banks that simply took too much risk, breaking the model of capitalism that you tout as the best in the world.
D. You refuse to allow oversight of the Federal Reserve and it just keeps printing money out of thin air. A huge risk for us if we can't meet our economic goals.
E. You don't stick to your promises (see deal with drug manufacturers for an example)
F. Your party is filled with hypocrites and fools (for example Nancy Pelosi) and you pander to them repeatedly.
G. And finally you promote transparency and then blank out FOIA released contracts. WTF?

The gig is up Obama. Time to cut the shit. Your blank check is revoked. And yes I voted for you so save your "Republicans yada yada" nonsense.

WOW, modding you as Troll is just silencing the truth. I knew Slashdot was political but I didn't think they would sensor the truth.... Time to wonder how much stuff is pre-filtered prior to posting to protect the masses from the ugly truth?

Re:Superfluid Man! No friction bitch (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#29057441)

I appreciate that you at least listed your grievances. So allow me to address them:

A & B are the same thing (we've been in a "jobless" recovery for most of the 21 century now). Much of this has to do with the usual business cycle, and IMHO the Bush-era tax policies which helped concentrate wealth at the top. But whatever the cause, it didn't happen overnight and it wont be fixed overnight.

C, clearly moral hazard is important, but allowing the banks to collapse (as they most likely would have) would have thrown us into a global depression you cannot conceive of. the repercussions of a complete and extended freeze to the global credit supply are so dire they beggar the imagination.

D, the Federal Reserve is taking actions to sure-up banks, restore confidence in the global economy. This means that companies can pay their workers, their workers can buy things, and the economy can grow and provide new working opportunities (A & B).

E, also a legitimate grievance. Obama also promised to pass major health care reform. working with the drug manufacturers and compromising may be the only way to see that promise through. he's damned if he does and damned if he doesn't.

F, the world is full of hypocrites and fools. quite a lot of them actually. sorry, but you have to deal with them sometimes. (Nancy Pelosi represents the voters of her district well enough that they've re-elected her repeatedly for 20-odd years. whether or not she's a hypocrite/fool is in the eye of the beholder.)

G, really? not being able to read the full text of the government contract for a new website is making you angry? this doesn't seem to be of the scale of your other concerns.

Transparency? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#29056957)

I saw the headline in rss, and thought transparent like see your desktop through the web-page transparent, then thought 18M is a lot for a website, but it is transparent which is a huge selling point cause no one else has one like that.

obligatory (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#29056973)

Once you go black, you never go back...

deliverables? (2, Interesting)

Unknown Relic (544714) | more than 5 years ago | (#29057027)

Is it just me or is something about the deliverables on page 97 a little off? "Advanced search" due Aug 10, but the system architecture due after 6 months? Data migration due in 2007?

http://documents.propublica.org/recovery-gov-contract-documents#p=97 [propublica.org]

Re:deliverables? (3, Funny)

CorporateSuit (1319461) | more than 5 years ago | (#29057337)

You think THOSE typos were bad? This was supposed to be a contract for $18,000!

nothing to see here (5, Informative)

mugnyte (203225) | more than 5 years ago | (#29057065)

  The first few redacted pages are the names and histories of the people involved. This is privacy, and nothing new.

  The other pages are management chains used on the project and are part of KPMG's/Smartronix value-added business techniques, and it's their option to not reveal those practices.

  I'm not too concerned. Wait until the site opens up.

Re:nothing to see here (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#29057433)

You're right there is nothing to see because it's all censored.

There's definitely something to see when there's an $18,000,000 bill for a website.

Re:nothing to see here (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#29057461)

Mod parent up.

Not to mention the technical approach redactions likely mention systems, protocols, and mechanisms required to tap into existing gov't systems to aquire, aggragate, and render the data to be presented on the website.

I certainly don't want that kind of technical info released to the general public. Would you want to publish to the world what software you are running on your machines? The protocols they use? What version they are?

What do you expect to find in there? (-1, Troll)

sweatyboatman (457800) | more than 5 years ago | (#29057083)

Is it just me or is Slashdot really ramping up the troll articles lately?

Do people really care what the details are of the contract for building a website? (I can assure you it's full of semi-technically garble designed to assure both parties that on the one hand the work will get done and on the other hand they will get paid for it.) Or does this just provide the Obama-haters in the audience another thing to bloviate over?

That it's mostly redacted is probably overkill and I suppose regrettable. But it's not like there's any information in that document you or I might be interested in. (If only they hadn't redacted it we would now know the location of Sadam's WMDs!)

They're just building a website, people! Don't get your panties in a bunch.

Company name is blacked out. (1)

Yaos (804128) | more than 5 years ago | (#29057249)

Why did they black out the organization name, the same one that can be seen on every page?

We will come to you (1)

Memroid (898199) | more than 5 years ago | (#29057275)

Am I the only one that finds this a little creepy and salker-like? From page 70, "Recovery.gov will come to you, even if you do not come to us. We will come to you on Twitter and on Facebook, we will come to you on YouTube and via government websites, we will work with old-media and with new media to get our message out." Apparently the author also never learned about run-on sentences.

Ah... now I know why (2, Funny)

aitala (111068) | more than 5 years ago | (#29057361)

Now I know why its $18 million - they are using Sharepoint.... from Open Source software to the Evil Empire..

E

From the contract... (1)

Amadodd (620353) | more than 5 years ago | (#29057431)

...compelling data visualizations and tools for customizable visualizations and widgets...we have rich expertise in knowing how users can best view and comprehend data...codify the incoming data-stream into cohesive, relevant data points...and they are building it on Sharepoint. I guess the USA will get a lot of web 2.0 stats, etc. but will you be able to see who got that contract for fitting the golden faucets in the governor's loo, and how much they were paid?

come on conservatives (2, Insightful)

rpillala (583965) | more than 5 years ago | (#29057447)

The only way for this to get more attention is for the opposition party to take it up as a cause. That's the reality of our 2 party system. Not just this website but lack of transparency across the board. We've seen a number of examples in the last 7 months. So, instead of birth records or death panels, take something that's actually demonstrably outrageous. I'm about as far left as it gets, which makes me want someone to call out this bullshit even more. This is one check on the power of a political party but I doubt we'll see this story get any play on right wing radio or fox news.

Hold on, I'm being told that we want more Orly Taitz and town hall attendees with vague fears who want their America back.

I don't.. (1)

SlashDev (627697) | more than 5 years ago | (#29057453)

.. see what's being blacked out!
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