Archive for the ‘transparency’ Category

Who Elected You God? Oh Right, John Roberts.

July 7, 2013

Who Elected You God? Oh Right, John Roberts.

The 11 judges of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court meet in secret to approve or deny (mostly approve) government surveillance requests. All judges of this secret court were appointed by Chief Justice Warren G. Roberts.


Kagan Wants Supreme Court on TV Even if the Camera Adds 10 Lbs.

May 10, 2010

Supreme Court nominee Elena Kagan thinks the high court is ready for prime time — or C-SPAN, anyway. Solicitor General Kagan endorsed televising SCOTUS in an on-camera interview last July (on CSPAN, of course). Judge Judy, unavailable for comment, probably won’t sweat the competition.


Hat tip: Betsy Rothstein, FishbowlDC.

Comments are welcome if they are on-topic, substantive, concise, and not boring or obscene. Comments may be edited for clarity and length.

Add to: Facebook | Digg | | Stumbleupon | Reddit | Blinklist | Twitter | Technorati | Yahoo Buzz | Newsvine

Library of Congress to Inspector General — Shhh!

June 22, 2009

Library of Congress to Inspector General -- Shhh!

Senator Charles Grassley (R-Iowa) has accused the Library of Congress of trying to silence its own Inspector General and quash internal investigation of waste, fraud, abuse, and other crime, reports  As another source puts it, “Grassley Throws Book at Library of Congress.”

The Senator sent a stern letter to Librarian of Congress Billington, including emails from LOC Chief Operating Officer Jo Ann C. Jenkins to Inspector General Karl Schornagel criticizing his investigations:  “Why does the IG feel it necessary to get publicity on this? This does nothing but highlight the issue in the press.” Ms. Jenkins, who suggested softening  the “negative” language of the IG’s  report to Congress, seems to have mistaken IG Karl Schornagel, a CPA and highly-experienced auditor, for her PR flack.


Vision Thing

February 17, 2009

Vision Thing

The DC Commission on the Arts and Humanities (DCCAH) invited Washingtonians to a public meeting last Wednesday to provide input for a master plan for outdoor sculpture and murals, a Public Art Program “vision.”

We are neither ophthalmologists nor optometrists, but the event clearly indicates the DC government’s urgent need for Public Art vision correction due to:

Shortsightedness: The “public meeting” ran from from 5 PM to 7 PM, before many working people could get there. Other government agencies start public meetings at  6:30 PM or 7 PM (just look at the DC Government calendar). Want to go through the motions and avoid the hassle of having lots of citizens at your “public” meeting? Hold it earlier.

Distance Vision: The plan for site-specific art in DC’s streets and neighborhoods is actually being drafted by consultants from St. Louis and Philadelphia.

Fuzziness: The meeting’s maps, posters, slides, charts, and chats all featured the phrase “Creative Economy,” but none of the consultants or DC Government employees present would define the term.

Transparency: Selected “open house” guests attended “closed house” meetings before and after the open meeting.

Double Vision, Lack of Focus, Disorientation: The Environment and Tourism are not within the purview of DCCAH, but were prominent topics of the meeting, duplicating efforts of other DC agencies and DC-funded nonprofits. DCCAH is the only public Arts agency serving the District of Columbia; no other agency picks up the slack if it abandons that mission for others.

Intermittent Blindness: A written agenda, descriptions of (or references to) Art in Public Places guidelines or Best Practices and other documents were not visible.

Take the Vision Test.  See for yourself. Here is the “questionnaire,” the only document distributed to the few people at this pro forma “public” event:


Cheney on Wheels

January 20, 2009

Cheney on Wheels

Outgoing Vice President Dick Cheney coasted through the inauguration of Barack Obama and Joe Biden Tuesday. He was in a wheelchair.

Mr. Cheney pulled a back muscle after spending the weekend hunched over a document shredder in his office.

The former Vice President claims he hurt his back moving boxes out of  his old office, but Stanley I. Kutler of the University of Wisconsin Law School says: “[W]hen the Archives goes to open Cheney’s papers, they are going to find empty boxes.”  A federal judge allowed Mr. Cheney to determine which of his official papers should be preserved. Details here.


Image by Mike Licht. Download a copy here. Creative Commons license; credit Mike Licht,

Comments are welcome if they are on-topic, substantive, concise, and not obscene. Comments may be edited for clarity and length.


Bill “Blago” Richardson?

January 6, 2009

Bill 'Blago' Richardson?

Bill Richardson’s career in President Obama’s cabinet was mighty short. It never happened.

The New Mexico Governor withdrew from consideration as Commerce Secretary after media noise about a Federal grand jury probe into at least one state contract. Since Mr. Richardson was on tap to handle Commerce in a crashing economy, questions about financial ethics would not do. While Team Obama’s vetting of Richardson left something to be desired, it is true that the ethical bar was raised recently thanks to the inimitable Illinois Governor Rod Blagojevich.


The Wrecking Crew Digs In

November 23, 2008

The Wrecking Crew Digs In

As bears den at the approach of winter, Bush appointees are burrowing into the federal bureaucracy as the transition nears, assuming the protective coloration of real public servants. The outgoing president’s political appointees are converting over to the “career” side of executive agencies and going to ground.

Washington’s keen-eyed naturalists have observed this after previous elections, but there is a great difference today.  In prior administrations, many political appointees were actually capable of doing the work they were paid for, so absorption into the merit system civil service made sense.  The prime (and often sole) qualification of Bush bureaucrats was ideological purity; Job One was destruction of the agencies in which they were posted, so the actual work could be farmed out to the corporations of plutocrat pals.


The Enduring Faith of Phil Gramm

November 18, 2008

The Enduring Faith of Phil Gramm

“When I am on Wall Street and I realize that that’s the very nerve center of American capitalism and I realize what capitalism has done for the working people of America, to me that’s a holy place.”

“This is part of this myth of deregulation. By and large, credit-default swaps have distributed the risks. They didn’t create it. The only reason people have focused on them is that some politicians don’t know a credit-default swap from a turnip.”

“They are saying there was 15 years of massive deregulation and that’s what caused the problem. I just don’t see any evidence of it.”

— Texan Swiss banker and former Senator Phil Gramm, quoted  by Eric Lipton and Stephen Labaton (with Griff Palmer) in “The Reckoning: Deregulator Looks Back, Unswayed,” New York Times, November 16, 2008.


Happy Banned Books Week, Alaska!

September 26, 2008

Happy Banned Books Week, Alaska!


Celebrate the Freedom to Read during Banned Books Week at Title Wave Books (1360 W. Northern Lights Blvd., Anchorage, AK 99503). See the display and join the READ OUT LOUD events at 4pm on Thursday, October 2nd, 2008 when “students, teachers, and other local notables will read selections from banned or challenged books.” Contact Angela Libal at 907-278-9283 ext.111 or

On Friday, October 3, 2008, from 4 – 6pm, a panel at the University of Alaska at Anchorage Bookstore (2901 Spirit Way, Anchorage, AK 99508) will discuss Alexander Solzhenitsyn: The Man and Symbol Reconsidered as part of Banned Books Week. Contact Rachel Epstein at 786-4782.

Hmm. Anchorage is only 45 miles from Wasilla. Do you think . . . .?


No-Talk Express — Re-Doubled

September 25, 2008

No-Talk Express -- Re-Doubled

Keep your mouth shut and wave the flag. Period. That is the McCain-Palin campaign in a nutshell.

John: Don’t debate Obama. No questions from reporters. Deliver the canned speech. Read it off the teleprompter.  No questions from reporters. Pose with the Legion and AmVets. Don’t remind voters that your record of financial experience is limited to membership in the Keating Five and sleeping with a millionaire, you think the poverty limit is $3 million, that Phil Gramm, the Swiss banker who pushed the finance laws that caused this world finance meltdown,  was your campaign co-chair, you have all those unforclosed houses, and you’ve been in Washington for 26 years, voting with George W. Bush over 90 percent of the time. And remember: no questions from reporters.