Join 3,564 readers in helping fund MetaFilter (Hide)


Nerd-In-Chief
December 6, 2008 9:41 AM   Subscribe

He collects Spider-Man comics. He video chats on his MacBook. He name-drops Jor-El of Krypton. He gave the Vulcan salute to Spock and jokes about "lithium crystals" (surely a misquote). He's got his own high-definition vlog on YouTube. Now, the Geek-in-Chief and his Team of Nerds are using their powers for good. Change.gov has been under a Creative Commons license for a while now, but yesterday, they took transparency a step further by announcing that "all policy documents from official meetings with outside organizations will be publicly available for review and discussion." What's next: revision control?
posted by designbot (48 comments total) 14 users marked this as a favorite

 
I for one, hail our new Transparent Geek Overlords!
posted by The Whelk at 9:48 AM on December 6, 2008 [3 favorites]


Yeah, but who isn't doing these things these days? Oh, you wrote Spider-Man comics. Carry on.
posted by cjorgensen at 9:52 AM on December 6, 2008


I got this one at "Jor-El". Just saying.
posted by rokusan at 9:53 AM on December 6, 2008


This is going to be one hellava hands on government.
posted by doctorschlock at 9:53 AM on December 6, 2008


Without changing at all, xkcd will become a political cartoon.
posted by George_Spiggott at 9:57 AM on December 6, 2008 [11 favorites]


Yeah, he's like Jesus but cool.

Look, I voted for him. I volunteered full-time for him for a month. I gave him money.

But I really don't care to hear how cool he is. I want to hear about him signing a health care bill and executive orders reversing Bush's, and I want to see the DOJ putting some Wall Streeters in prison. I want to see the dismal economy used as an opportunity to fix our crumbling infrastructure and build up alternative energy -- including nuclear.

Since he's not yet in office, I want to hear he's planning on appointing real Democrats, and not centrists or DLCers. Letting Lieberman off the hook and appointing Hillary to State suggests compromise with the business-as-usual crowd, not audacious change.

Until we see some results, this hero-worship circle jerk is just tired.
posted by orthogonality at 10:04 AM on December 6, 2008 [19 favorites]


C'mon, some of us need the circle jerk to keep the stoke (stroke?) going 'til January.
posted by iamkimiam at 10:07 AM on December 6, 2008 [2 favorites]


Doesn't half of government documents come with revision control attached anyways? I'm talking about careless use of MS Word's "track changes" feature, which now and again pops up in media.
posted by Harald74 at 10:13 AM on December 6, 2008


Yes, Gore and Nader: deeply uncool. Thank goodness you guys went for the other guy.
posted by Durn Bronzefist at 10:17 AM on December 6, 2008 [1 favorite]


Yeah, but are the rumors true about him using a Zune true?
posted by birdherder at 10:18 AM on December 6, 2008 [1 favorite]


I'm talking about careless use of MS Word's "track changes" feature


"It looks like you're trying to reform a healthcare bill. Would you like help?"
posted by The Whelk at 10:22 AM on December 6, 2008 [4 favorites]


Apparently, the Zune in question may have been one of the freebies Microsoft donated to the DNC convention.

[citation needed]
posted by rokusan at 10:28 AM on December 6, 2008


I want to see the dismal economy used as an opportunity to fix our crumbling infrastructure

You might find this of interest.

Letting Lieberman off the hook and appointing Hillary to State suggests compromise with the business-as-usual crowd, not audacious change. Until we see some results, this hero-worship circle jerk is just tired.

I think the cynicism is unwarranted at this point. I think that the kind of openness that they seem to be striving for so far here and here represents serious progress from this and this.
posted by designbot at 10:31 AM on December 6, 2008 [3 favorites]


Really, Orthogonality? I mean, for the most part, I agree with you, I want to see shit done, but you don't think the Seat at the Table policy is at all impressive? Because I did. If it's true that these policy meetings with outside organizations have always been behind closed doors before, this is really something pretty significant. I know there's a lot of hero-worship padding there, but the point of this post is something that's pretty far outside business-as-usual.

Trust me, I'm as angry about Lieberman being let off the hook as anyone, but I don't think the transparency and direct contact that change.gov is ushering in is just a smoke screen. I think he's serious about it, and he's also serious about getting things done. You or I may think she's too centrist, but Hillary has a lot of respect in the international community, and she's a good choice for State. Not as good as Richardson might have been, maybe, but that's a hard choice to armchair.
posted by Caduceus at 10:35 AM on December 6, 2008


I met Nimoy once. At a video store. He was with is grandkids and seemed like a cranky old Jewish grandad. If I ever become president and see Nimoy in the crowd, I am going to reference it. I am going to point him out and shout "IF YOU CAN'T BEHAVE WE WILL GO HOME WITHOUT RENTING ANY VIDEOS AT ALL!"
posted by Astro Zombie at 10:38 AM on December 6, 2008 [10 favorites]


Seriously, there's two pages of pdf links about meetings up on the Seat at the Table page already. Anyone who really wants to obsessively know about what the Obama Administration plans on doing might not get anything else done in between now and the inauguration.
posted by Caduceus at 10:39 AM on December 6, 2008 [1 favorite]


Yeah for real, transparency? Participation? Wha? I had to lie down with a cold wet cloth on my forehead after I read Podesta's e-mail. If this doesn't impress you, chances are you also think puppies are "poo machines" and rainbows are cloud vomit or something.
posted by Marisa Stole the Precious Thing at 10:39 AM on December 6, 2008 [5 favorites]


ASTRO ZOMBIE 2012: HE ONLY EATS SPACE BRAINS
posted by Caduceus at 10:41 AM on December 6, 2008


Obama answers a Google interview question.
posted by zixyer at 10:42 AM on December 6, 2008 [2 favorites]


Nixon, China, and all that. To me, "change" means getting out of Iraq, reforming health care, putting the Constitution back in place, fixing the economy, and hiring grownups to run the government. If working with centrists gives him the political cover he needs to get shit done, he can have as many of them in his cabinet as he wants as far as I'm concerned.

Now, I'm not saying we don't keep the pressure on. But I think it's a little early to assume he's going to sell us out, particularly given how often everyone on the internet panicked about what turned out in retrospect to be perfectly sound strategy during the campaign. This is still operative. And if anything, transparency efforts like this make it that much easier for us to hold their feet to the fire once he gets into office.
posted by EarBucket at 10:54 AM on December 6, 2008 [4 favorites]


I think they actually were called "lithium crystals" in the earliest TOS episodes (eg) and only became "dilithium" later.
posted by sevenyearlurk at 11:05 AM on December 6, 2008 [1 favorite]


chances are you also think puppies are "poo machines" and rainbows are cloud vomit or something.

Fuck, MSTPT. Now rainbows are ruined forever for me.

Or maybe they're... improved.
posted by rokusan at 11:09 AM on December 6, 2008


With any luck, his first act as President will be to instigate a furious prosecution of everyone involved in the torture of "enemy combatants," the leaking of Valerie Plame's identity, and the attorney firing scandal.

After THAT, with any luck, he'll issue an executive order forbidding Mark Millar or Joe Quesada from ever holding a pencil or typing on a keyboard again, and then another order requiring Marvel to resurrect Steve Rogers and the marriage of Peter Parker & Mary Jane.

'cause this is BULLSHIT.

(Watch Bush pardon Tony Stark on his way out of office. That little shit.)
posted by scaryblackdeath at 11:40 AM on December 6, 2008



Orthogonality:
To be honest, the DLCers around Obama are nothing to be really worried about. It's impossible not to notice that the center has shifted towards the left in the last year or so. End the Iraq War, expansion of health care coverage, reinvestment in public infrastructure, and so on...these are all ideas that seemed progressive three years ago and are now very mainstream. Even all those Rubinites have basically split the difference between Rubin (keep deficits down at all costs) and Reich (expand the middle class). And letting Lieberman live was basically just a shrewd political move that essentially cut Lieberman's nuts off and made Obama look about 30 feet tall. Obama owns him now.

Also, please do remember that Obama isn't president yet, as painful a fact as that might be (everytime I see Bush on TV, I'm like "really? That guy's still president?"). But the stuff he's already doing is incrediblly heartening for this leftist Obama supporter. For instance, this opening up of meetings with interest groups? I literally almost fell off my seat when I heard about that. This is enormous. Having worked in politics in DC, I know this is not how DC operates and I can't quite imagine how it will work. I still can't quite believe it.
posted by lunasol at 11:44 AM on December 6, 2008 [1 favorite]


What's next: revision control?

Change you can not only believe in, but log and run diffs against!

real Democrats, and not centrists or DLCers

I'm glad I'm not hearing this from Obama, because once I hear that ideological purity is creeping in as some kind of standard, I'll know that the same kinds of problems that dogged the Bush administration in effective execution aren't far behind.
posted by weston at 12:13 PM on December 6, 2008 [5 favorites]


For instance, this opening up of meetings with interest groups? I literally almost fell off my seat when I heard about that. This is enormous. Having worked in politics in DC, I know this is not how DC operates and I can't quite imagine how it will work. I still can't quite believe it.

No kidding. It would be better if we could actually hear or read transcripts of what was said. Imagine if all congressional lobbying were handled the same way, I think it would really change things. The reason is people in congress learn a lot about industry and policy by talking to lobbyists and those lobbyists are all lying to them. The result is congresspersons have a deeply distorted view of the world around them. If people could review what was actually being said, I think the lies and distortions could be detected.

But, frankly while this is a nice gesture, I'm not sure I really buy that we're going to get all the stuff. There are still going to be 'unofficial' meetings we don't hear about. Maybe they won't get any documents but there's still going to be a lot going on behind the scenes.

Still, it's a step in the right direction, and bringing more transparency to DC is a good thing and this is a good first step.
posted by delmoi at 12:19 PM on December 6, 2008 [1 favorite]


LOL Orthogonality gets snide-points by dissing an absence of Obama's "results" more than a month before inauguration. That's a good one!
posted by digaman at 12:24 PM on December 6, 2008


But I really don't care to hear how cool he is.

Uh, this post isn't about about how cool he is. It's about how much of a nerd he is.
posted by dydecker at 12:36 PM on December 6, 2008 [1 favorite]


> Nixon, China, and all that.

What are the operatic consequences, I ask myself.....
posted by fcummins at 1:01 PM on December 6, 2008


He collects Spider-Man comics.

Obama: Bad for DC, Bad for America.
posted by blue_beetle at 1:19 PM on December 6, 2008


He looks like a larger taller version of a Ross Perot. Big ears, small shoulders, short hair big head big hands. He's just dumped the charts and graphs for the modern digital versions.

Something inside is all New Deal, building roads and bridges, giving federal and school buildings the same infrastructure treatment, stepping us out of 15th place for internet bandwidth tech, and getting U.S. back to where we should be. Nerd away. Most pics of him now are with a half a foot or more of paper and files; and essentially he has already started parts of his his CnC gig. I hope when all this is done we have seen a second coming of the CCC and WPA. Jobs, jobs, and more jobs. Bring it on Obama.

Obama is too smart to be another Jimmy Carter. Nobody that is this wired in (and educated/educator) is going to crash the nation by slashing the military, nucular and coal, destructing the far right, and ramping up taxes on those that employ. At a trillion dollars, WTF who cares about the deficit. Make jobs, print money to pay for the materials and personel; and harvest the financial crops of all that money being spent right here in the states.

Nerd is the new cool again.
posted by buzzman at 1:23 PM on December 6, 2008 [2 favorites]


dydecker writes "Uh, this post isn't about about how cool he is. It's about how much of a nerd he is."

Sorry, to me, they're synonyms. And to most of metafilter, too.
posted by orthogonality at 1:40 PM on December 6, 2008


He collects Spider-Man comics.

>>Obama: Bad for DC, Bad for America.


He also collects Conan comics. I mean, collecting Spider-Man is kinda nerdy; collecting Conan is fucking awesome. At last, a president who knows what is best in life.
posted by kittens for breakfast at 2:48 PM on December 6, 2008 [1 favorite]


Really good news: Shinseki to be named VA secretary
posted by EarBucket at 3:09 PM on December 6, 2008


Sorry, to me, they're synonyms. And to most of metafilter, too.

Yeah, I have noticed this. Actually a few years ago the site was much less this way, would you believe.
posted by dydecker at 3:37 PM on December 6, 2008


Obama is too smart to be another Jimmy Carter. Nobody that is this wired in (and educated/educator) is going to crash the nation by slashing the military, nucular and coal, destructing the far right, and ramping up taxes on those that employ.

How exactly would "destructing the far right" crash the nation? Seems like the far right has done a pretty good job of that. And by the way, the idea that we shouldn't raise taxes on "those that employ" is ridiculous. Obama was going to raise income taxes (on those making more then $250k a year), not taxes on companies that employ.

I realize that many republicans believe that giving more money to the wealthy creates jobs, but they are wrong. Just like they were wrong about Iraq, wrong about regulating wallstreet, and just wrong about a lot of things.
posted by delmoi at 4:01 PM on December 6, 2008 [1 favorite]


MetaFilter: If this doesn't impress you, chances are you also think puppies are "poo machines" and rainbows are cloud vomit or something.

Letting Lieberman off the hook and appointing Hillary to State suggests compromise with the business-as-usual crowd...

Hillary had to agree to a laundry list of items to be *allowed* to work at State, including keeping Bill on a short leash. We don't know what Lieberman had to agree to, but we do know Lieberman and Obama met prior to his retaining his chair. That suggests Obama is keeping his political capital dry for something that really affects the American people, rather than payback. (I would desperately have loved to see Lieberman demoted to Senate Page too, but let's face it--it isn't the top priority.)
posted by DU at 5:01 PM on December 6, 2008


Orthogonality, I'm with you in spirit, but Obama's facing the Realpolitik constraint of too many ticking time bombs. He needs the people who've got power and connections now, he doesn't have time to build an effective political machine solely from outsiders and the marginalized. If he tried that he'd turn into Carter: Well meaning, well-liked, smart as hell, and ultimately ineffective and cast by history in the role of a failure even if it's not altogether deserved. Obama is in a position to get the people who currently control a lot of political machinery invested in his success rather than hoping for him to falter, and he's got assloads of political capital to whip them into doing it. If they're on his team, they're doing what he tells them. If he left them outside, they'd be fucking with him, trying to redistribute the wealth of that capital so some of it falls on themselves. They'd be watching him for the slightest slip and then trying to turn him into a failure. Maybe not today or in the first six months of his Presidency when he's still too strong to mess with, but they'd be working on it and they wouldn't miss a trick. It's the bit about camels and tents, really.
posted by George_Spiggott at 5:58 PM on December 6, 2008 [1 favorite]


Marisa Stole the Precious Thing: "If this doesn't impress you, chances are you also think puppies are "poo machines" and rainbows are cloud vomit or something."

Well, there's optimism versus realism there, ne? I just fostered a litter of 6 puppies. They were cute as hell, but OH MY FUCKING GOD!!! THE POO!!! They literally* painted the floor of their 20 foot square space daily. I think there's room for both "Hey these politicians seem to be doing things right", and "These politicians are poo machines".

*literally literally, not figuratively literally.
posted by team lowkey at 6:24 PM on December 6, 2008 [2 favorites]


this hero-worship circle jerk is just tired

That seems a little extreme. I can celebrate a positive change without being a hero-worshiping circle jerker.
posted by diogenes at 6:50 PM on December 6, 2008


A 1970 prophecy?
posted by arzakh at 8:58 PM on December 6, 2008


I need to dig up the Sarah Vowell essay (I think it's in Partly Cloudy Patriot, but could be wrong) that somehow correlates Buffy with the Gore presidential campaign, and examines the position and social cachet (or lack thereof) of nerdiness. She says what I'm thinking better than I ever could, as usual.

There is a lot of pop culture giddiness about Obama, running in hopeful, gleeful counterpoint to the nerve-wracking slog of work he, and whoever he appoints, will have to do to get the country working properly.

Universal health care would be nice.
posted by SaharaRose at 10:14 PM on December 6, 2008 [1 favorite]


Not so fast -- I hear he's a Zune user.
posted by mattholomew at 4:04 AM on December 7, 2008


Obama is too smart to be another Jimmy Carter.

But I want to see solar panels on the White House roof. And go metric system!
posted by Marisa Stole the Precious Thing at 5:32 AM on December 7, 2008


Obama is too smart to be another Jimmy Carter.

Jimmy Carter was seemingly too smart to be Jimmy Carter as well.
posted by mattholomew at 5:56 AM on December 7, 2008


Destructing the far right would punish success. We want change, not devastation. Very few high tier successful people have hands that are entirely clean. Consider all the code theft that has occured in the digital and mostly democrat world where we are now. Abusing the wealthy/far right/successful is poor taste despite the lack of blatant generosity that some have.

The election was a giant toss anyway. How can two people as accomplished as Obama and McCain manage to sound so idiotic in debates without all but practice? Neither really attacked the other severely on some simple objective weaknesses, and to see our candidates sound so flat out dumb on national TV... Ooops, I think the "TV" just explained 90% of it. Guess I forgot about the demographic there.

Jimmy Carter canceled the B-1, M-1, and Minuteman programs all at once. Swoosh. Instant loss of a great many well paying jobs. Being overly friendly with terrorists did not help much either. Gosh, somehow all his peace managed to make for unemployment and zonkers inflation rates. Prime rate at 15%+? Talk about love. To your banker.

Not putting some of the nations ills while Carter was in office equates with giving Bush a pass when he declares his in office amnesia/drug addiction/alzheimers that he had in another year or so. Wait and see. Some load of blathering BS will be put up to explain away his poor performance.
posted by buzzman at 11:24 AM on December 7, 2008


Destructing the far right would punish success.

Excuse me? Maybe I've been following a whole other definition of "far right". In America, I've taken this to mean the Tim McVeighs, the Army of God, Operation Rescue, and so on. "Success" is not a concept I would associate with these people.

Nor would I associate the wealthy with the FAR right. On that point, people have attained "success" by breaking the law? Yeah, sorry, you face charges. I really do not understand why the wealthy should be given a pass to break the law just because of "success". Not punishing those crimes is what punishes success - imagine how many others would be able to move forward, imagine how many more resources would be available to the rest of us, if the super-wealthy were prevented from raiding the cupboard.
posted by Marisa Stole the Precious Thing at 11:57 AM on December 7, 2008 [3 favorites]


Hee!
posted by EarBucket at 7:41 PM on December 8, 2008


« Older Eames Shell Chair - Something of how they get the ...  |  The ___ Cards in time for the ... Newer »


This thread has been archived and is closed to new comments