Archive for January 20th, 2009
A big welcome to President Barack Obama.
Some of my thoughts later, but… the official stuff first…
I thought the speech was remarkable — Obama seems to have a sense about time and place… and finds the right words that match both. But there were some words that should really speak to anybody who works in or near government:
There are some who question the scale of our ambitions – who suggest that our system cannot tolerate too many big plans. Their memories are short. For they have forgotten what this country has already done; what free men and women can achieve when imagination is joined to common purpose, and necessity to courage. What the cynics fail to understand is that the ground has shifted beneath them – that the stale political arguments that have consumed us for so long no longer apply. The question we ask today is not whether our government is too big or too small, but whether it works – whether it helps families find jobs at a decent wage, care they can afford, a retirement that is dignified. Where the answer is yes, we intend to move forward. Where the answer is no, programs will end. And those of us who manage the public’s dollars will be held to account – to spend wisely, reform bad habits, and do our business in the light of day – because only then can we restore the vital trust between a people and their government.
But there was another transition at 12 noon today — from the Bush WhiteHouse.gov site to the new Obama WhiteHouse.gov Web site. [Federal News Radio 1500 AM's Max Cacas story is here... the NYT story here.] Included on the new Web site is… a blog. What actually thrills me is that people don’t seem all that surprised by this without understanding how powerful that is — or can be. Perhaps it also shows how natural information sharing can be. (One person posted on Twitter: “#1 point in tomorrow’s talk to a group of federal CIOs: the White house is blogging. Think they have security issues? What’s your excuse?” Amen! In fact, there is even some criticism that some of the Web 2.0 aspects that were part of the transition’s change.gov Web site are not on the new White House Web site, causing one tech to Twitter: “It seems that many of the Web 2.0 elements of change.gov did not make it to whitehouse.gov. Technologist enthusiasm yesterday fizzles today.”)
Why blog? The White House’s new director of new media — love that they have a director of new media — posted the WhiteHouse.gov blog’s first post. He has several reasons, but… one of them: Transparency.
Transparency — President Obama has committed to making his administration the most open and transparent in history, and WhiteHouse.gov will play a major role in delivering on that promise. The President’s executive orders and proclamations will be published for everyone to review, and that’s just the beginning of our efforts to provide a window for all Americans into the business of the government. You can also learn about some of the senior leadership in the new administration and about the President’s policy priorities.
Read the full post after the break.