WhiteHouse.gov Gets Diggy with It
March 24, 2009 5:26 PM   Subscribe

OpenForQuestions at WhiteHouse.gov is asking you to vote for the questions you want Obama to address Thursday night. Like digg, but more governmentally.
posted by GatorDavid (71 comments total) 6 users marked this as a favorite

 
I don't want to register for an account. I'm more than a little worried that some hacker will exploit this database.
posted by LSK at 5:36 PM on March 24, 2009


Let's see if marijuana legalization makes the top of the list, as it did repeatedly on change.gov -- and is subsequently ignored -- as it was repeatedly on change.gov.
posted by delmoi at 5:37 PM on March 24, 2009 [3 favorites]


No, they're getting Googley with it. Read Valleywag for the pernicious influence Google is having on the new administration.
posted by GuyZero at 5:42 PM on March 24, 2009


How is babby formed?
posted by klangklangston at 5:43 PM on March 24, 2009 [11 favorites]


Dude, don't waste the prez's time. We all know they need to do way instain mother.
posted by solipsophistocracy at 5:50 PM on March 24, 2009 [4 favorites]


Do you think that scientific consensus is enough to tell us what we can and cannot do?
posted by box at 5:51 PM on March 24, 2009 [2 favorites]


I will tell you what you can and cannot do.
posted by Science! at 5:55 PM on March 24, 2009 [7 favorites]


The search function is illuminating. Out of 2,515 questions:

terrorism: 2 questions
jobs: 371 questions

muslim/islam/islamic: 0 questions
socialist: 17 questions

marijuana: 52 questions
china: 16 questions

aig: 75 questions
torture: 0 questions
posted by Rhaomi at 5:57 PM on March 24, 2009 [5 favorites]


I don't want to register for an account. I'm more than a little worried that some hacker will exploit this database.

Wow. Really? This would never even occur to me.
posted by Marisa Stole the Precious Thing at 5:59 PM on March 24, 2009 [1 favorite]


And, in case the partial-text search is interpreting "aig" to be a part of common words like "straight" or "campaign"...

bonuses: 51 questions
posted by Rhaomi at 6:00 PM on March 24, 2009


Some of the questions in the Financial Stability category were good. I registered and asked one myself.
posted by ornate insect at 6:01 PM on March 24, 2009


beef: 0 questions
chicken: 0 questions
pork: 9 questions
posted by box at 6:02 PM on March 24, 2009 [6 favorites]


Someone should start asking tough copyright / filesharing questions.
posted by ageispolis at 6:04 PM on March 24, 2009 [1 favorite]


"Can you enforce the NCAA Basketball association to have playoffs, that would be more fun to watch and more fair. Who do you think will win the National Championship this year?"
posted by box at 6:05 PM on March 24, 2009


"Can we stop banks from re-ordering transactions? (e.g. $60 balance, breakfast $12, lunch $12, dinner $50) Instead of honoring the first two and bouncing the $50 (or better provide an electronic denial) bank pays $50 and bounces the other two"
posted by box at 6:05 PM on March 24, 2009 [1 favorite]


Additionally:
-Paper: 16
-Plastic: 1

-Cash: 20
-Credit: 116

-Dogs: 1
-Burgers: 1

-Rock: 1
-Country: 189
posted by The White Hat at 6:05 PM on March 24, 2009 [3 favorites]


Let's see if marijuana legalization makes the top of the list, as it did repeatedly on change.gov -- and is subsequently ignored -- as it was repeatedly on change.gov.

I'm very satisfied with the progress on this issue in the 2 months he's been in office.
posted by Ironmouth at 6:05 PM on March 24, 2009 [9 favorites]


"There is an opportunity to create jobs that is being wasted: The Space Shuttle is still a viable unmanned system. Build more copies. Replace aluminum with titanium for the structure and skin. Eliminate man rating. Think Predator and Global Hawk."
posted by box at 6:06 PM on March 24, 2009


"Why has this website failed to allow us to fully express our first ammedment rights by limiting the number of character a person is allowed to use at one time including spaces?"

Okay, this thing is starting to grow on me.
posted by box at 6:07 PM on March 24, 2009


God, this reminds me of Speak Your Branes. You can almost hear an announcer intoning, "We've given several average Americans the ability to ask the president one question each. Let's see what they come up with…"

"I'm 25 and my question is are you as compassionate and moral as you appear on TV and do you feel that you are strong enough to resist the moral temptations associated with being President that no man has resisted in my lifetime?"
808, Eau Claire, WI

"No, little drum machine, I'm an immoral killing cyborg that you fools have elected to be your killbot-in-chief."

"When will we see a change in our childs education that is updated and creating a focus on a new world (tecnology ,science , going green,etc..)?"
Cori Elena P, Brooklyn,New York

"Education begins at home, and clearly your children are doomed."
posted by klangklangston at 6:07 PM on March 24, 2009 [4 favorites]


"Dear Obama, my nane is daniel and Iam six years old from brooklyn . I want to know how you will stop people littering in the ocean because i think the ocean is important. i love you obama"
Cori Elena P, Brooklyn,New York

Don't give up on the little shit just yet.
posted by box at 6:10 PM on March 24, 2009 [1 favorite]


"Like, WTF, man? Seriously."
posted by Joe in Australia at 6:10 PM on March 24, 2009


"It should be unheard of for an employee at a DoD contractor to own anything but a domestically produced vehicle from a domestically owned automaker. This is another opportunity for the President to be appalled and to show disgust."
CW, Baltimore, MD
posted by box at 6:11 PM on March 24, 2009


Let's see if marijuana legalization makes the top of the list, as it did repeatedly on change.gov -- and is subsequently ignored -- as it was repeatedly on change.gov.

Quit bogarting the President.
posted by DU at 6:14 PM on March 24, 2009 [1 favorite]


So as to not needlessly take over this thread, I just started this and am doing my stupid riffing over there.
posted by klangklangston at 6:18 PM on March 24, 2009


A B C

Always
Be
Campaigning

(And I really like Obama, but seriously, get on with the governing and hold off on the campaign stunts for a while.)
posted by The World Famous at 6:19 PM on March 24, 2009


Thanks for skipping the "N-word=chimps" citation.
posted by etaoin at 6:23 PM on March 24, 2009


Is this an example of presidential leadership?

just askin'
posted by Confess, Fletch at 6:24 PM on March 24, 2009


"Yes, sir. I'm an employee of the U.S. Postal Service in Kansas. Last year they installed an automated letter sorting system called the Marvex-3000, here in our branch. But the system doesn't work too good. Letters keep getting clogged in the first-level sorting grid. Is there anything that can be done about this?"
posted by Marisa Stole the Precious Thing at 6:25 PM on March 24, 2009 [5 favorites]


"I am a physicain, medical biller and coder and using EMR for almost 4 years. I have done MBA in health care management. I know this broken health care system in detail and also have solutions. can i get some time with the advisor to present my views"
posted by box at 6:31 PM on March 24, 2009


There are some great questions near the end that I suspect most people will never see:

"A Big Crime. USPTO has been believed to engage in the counterfeit patent that is Lynn Spitzer's. Please look at the Patent File History. She said honestly. I am waiting for 10 years. USPTO broke my dream. FBI & CIA & Whitehouse are keeping silence."

I don't think Obama has addressed this issue before.
posted by twoleftfeet at 6:32 PM on March 24, 2009


"I want 2 no how poor ppl r going 2 survive,my hubby hes not worked 40 days since Dec12th. Ive tryed for disability got turned down twice. Last he worked was 2 days and 2 hrs he got 125 unemp was 95 I cant pay my bills on that?Ppl need help any ideas?"
posted by box at 6:39 PM on March 24, 2009


Heh. I almost posted that one, Box, but I just didn't know how to make the Prince joke work.
posted by klangklangston at 6:52 PM on March 24, 2009


I hope nobody asks why the porridge-bird lays his eggs in the air, or Obama might break.
posted by Faint of Butt at 6:54 PM on March 24, 2009 [4 favorites]


...hold off on the campaign stunts for a while.

I can't even conceive of the state of a person's mind that would regard taking questions from the actual public, in place of the usual agenda-filtered media, as a "campaign stunt".
posted by DU at 7:08 PM on March 24, 2009 [7 favorites]


"I want 2 no how poor ppl r going 2 survive,my hubby hes not worked 40 days since Dec12th. Ive tryed for disability got turned down twice. Last he worked was 2 days and 2 hrs he got 125 unemp was 95 I cant pay my bills on that?Ppl need help any ideas?"

I knew Bush phoned that last month of office in. I KNEW it.
posted by David Fleming at 7:09 PM on March 24, 2009


"Wassup?"
posted by kirkaracha at 7:11 PM on March 24, 2009


I hope nobody asks why the porridge-bird lays his eggs in the air, or Obama might break.

What, the old leprechaun scam? Aw, that one's easy.
posted by rifflesby at 7:31 PM on March 24, 2009 [1 favorite]


"I want 2 no how poor ppl r going 2 survive,my hubby hes not worked 40 days since Dec12th. Ive tryed for disability got turned down twice. Last he worked was 2 days and 2 hrs he got 125 unemp was 95 I cant pay my bills on that?Ppl need help any ideas?"

Prince-like spelling aside, I feel guilty mocking this, because I want to no how poor ppl r going 2 survive, too.

(Mostly, I suspect they won't.)
posted by dirigibleman at 7:43 PM on March 24, 2009 [1 favorite]


Poor people are a great source for biodiesel.
posted by delmoi at 7:57 PM on March 24, 2009 [3 favorites]


But rich people are a more renewable source, what with all that liposuction.
posted by Marisa Stole the Precious Thing at 7:59 PM on March 24, 2009 [1 favorite]


I can't even conceive of the state of a person's mind that would regard taking questions from the actual public, in place of the usual agenda-filtered media, as a "campaign stunt".

I'm afraid these days, for a sitting president to honor any of his explicit campaign promises is such a novel occurrence it seems like it must be a campaign stunt. So far, every time Obama's done it (and he's already done it more often than Bush II did in his entire tenure), the focus has already shifted back to all the campaign promises it's rumored Obama plans not to fulfill about five minutes after the original story hits my feed reader.
posted by saulgoodman at 8:33 PM on March 24, 2009 [1 favorite]


I'm afraid these days, for a sitting president to honor any of his explicit campaign promises is such a novel occurrence it seems like it must be a campaign stunt.

...which is a perfect place to remind everyone of the Obameter. (previously)
posted by hippybear at 8:45 PM on March 24, 2009


@Rhaomi: The subjects of the meeting, cleverly stated on the left hand side of the website, are about domestic policy. I'm not sure how you fit a disscussion about torture or terrorism in there.
posted by The Devil Tesla at 8:46 PM on March 24, 2009


"Mr. President, I voted for, donated to, and volunteered for you, because I was confident you had a plan. Why are you confident that Tim Geithner has a plan?"
posted by orthogonality at 8:48 PM on March 24, 2009 [1 favorite]


i would like to know how he feels putting his kids to bed knowing it only took 4 days in office before he throttled up the great american death machine and fired a missile into pakistan resulting in the deaths of several children.
posted by kitchenrat at 8:50 PM on March 24, 2009


(Reference)

I might phrase it differently but it's a fair enough question to ask.
posted by Marisa Stole the Precious Thing at 9:19 PM on March 24, 2009


"Mr. President, I voted for, donated to, and volunteered for you, because I was confident you had a plan. Why are you confident that Tim Geithner has a plan?"

He obviously has a plan, it's just that the plan sucks.
posted by delmoi at 9:21 PM on March 24, 2009


yeah, kitchenrat. that's how it works. the president puts on leather chaps and goggles, climbs behind the wheel of a big menacing war machine, throttles up the engine and personally fires missiles into crowds of children lured out into the streets by US troops throwing candy from the back of a parade float.

i'm sorry. you're right. it's not funny. but then, neither is sponsoring terrorist attacks in neighboring countries that indiscriminately target civilians, and on that count, pakistan isn't exactly snow white either.

but hey, here's you're chance to ask obama about it.
posted by saulgoodman at 9:22 PM on March 24, 2009


Why are you confident that Tim Geithner has a plan?

Well, he's a Cylon, and as we've seen, the Cylons had a pla-- oh hell.
posted by dirigibleman at 9:25 PM on March 24, 2009 [1 favorite]


...which is a perfect place to remind everyone of the Obameter. (previously)

Well, let's see... President Obama took office on Jan 20, so basically, he's been in office since February and it's not quite the end of March now, so that's 2 months. In that time, by the Obameter's tally, he's kept 20 of his approximately 500 promises so far. He's already irreversibly broken 3, by their estimate, over the same time frame.

There are 12 months in a year, and 4 years in a term, so that means he's got 46 potential months of promise-keeping left. Assuming he maintains his current rate of delivering on his promises, and assuming he breaks fewer promises in the future (as he gains increasing political support from--ha!--both the right and the left, becoming less vulnerable to political opposition tactics in the process), he should be able to deliver on at least 460 additional promises, keeping a total of somewhere around 480 of the 500 promises he made during the campaign (including promises already kept).

Has anybody gone back to analyze previous presidents' records on campaign promises for a baseline?
posted by saulgoodman at 9:57 PM on March 24, 2009 [4 favorites]


before he throttled up the great american death machine and fired a missile into pakistan resulting in the deaths of several children.

For the great American death machine, 'several children' is idling.
posted by pompomtom at 10:25 PM on March 24, 2009 [2 favorites]


I think Obama is the bee's knees and all, but I'm thinking of asking the man if he could put the "from Wall Street to Main Street" line to bed for a while.
posted by Kraftmatic Adjustable Cheese at 10:33 PM on March 24, 2009


"Mr. President, I voted for, donated to, and volunteered for you, because I was confident you had a plan. Why are you confident that Tim Geithner has a plan?"

He released the plan yesterday. Everyone hates it. I like it. The Right is basically adrift. The Left's critique is that it rewards shareholders and they don't want to see the people pay for Wall Street's mistakes. But the people are already paying, the cat's out of the bag. The goal must be to get Wall Street's financial firms lending again. The only way to do that is to (1) wind up those Credit Default Swaps (CDS); and (2) avoid circumstances where failures of bad institutions disrupt the financial arrangements of profitable companies. No amount of controlling exec. pay or getting AIG's bonuses back is going to do that. The only thing that will work is (a) to create vehicles (gov't funded entities) for winding down the CDS's; (b) keeping institutions which serve as guarantors for large financial transactions, such as AIG, fully afloat so as not to trigger lenders to call in their debts under loan clauses requiring the guarantor to be solvent; and (c) when a financial institution can be saved with government help save it and when it can't be saved realistically, to let it go bankrupt.

Obama's plan does that. The rest is all sound and fury, signifying nothing.
posted by Ironmouth at 10:40 PM on March 24, 2009


How about "From Wahlberg to Zoidberg"?
posted by davejay at 10:53 PM on March 24, 2009 [3 favorites]


I can't even conceive of the state of a person's mind that would regard taking questions from the actual public, in place of the usual agenda-filtered media, as a "campaign stunt".

Surely you don't think the President himself will be going through these messages. They're going to be filtered and re-filtered, and then some staffer will write replies for a few of them. There's a chance that one or two of the questions might even end up in a speech ("One lady wanted to know how is babby formed.") But it's inconceivable that the President has the time or inclination to read through the questions, much less to reply to them. It's all done at the staffer level. The selection process will be so intense that any questions referred to the President might as well have been written by the staffers. So how is it not a stunt? What, other than PR, do you expect this will accomplish?
posted by Joe in Australia at 11:00 PM on March 24, 2009


We get to see what questions were asked, and thus he (and his staff) can be accountable for the questions that were ignored or not addressed properly. This is unlike the Bushian situation where reporters would just mysteriously choose to ask softball questions rather than lose access.
posted by breath at 11:19 PM on March 24, 2009 [2 favorites]


"There are 12 months in a year, and 4 years in a term, so that means he's got 46 potential months of promise-keeping left."

Except that, historically, presients don't get majot initiatives passed after their first year in office. It's now or never.
posted by orthogonality at 11:26 PM on March 24, 2009


It's also a good voluntary gauge of public opinion. People generally won't take the time to register to tell the president "Everything looks fine to me." A large number of people expressing concerns with an issue or set of issues can help influence policy in that direction.
posted by Marisa Stole the Precious Thing at 11:30 PM on March 24, 2009


Except that, historically, presidents don't get major initiatives passed after their first year in office. It's now or never.

Historically, black people don't get to be President either. Historically can go fuck itself.
posted by fullerine at 2:26 AM on March 25, 2009 [5 favorites]


Additionally:
-Paper: 16
-Rock: 1

-Scissors: 0

Paper wins.
posted by PeterMcDermott at 3:01 AM on March 25, 2009


I'm all for marijuana legalization. However, unless the Mexican drug wars spill over onto us and cannot be fought back, then I don't think we'll see legalization this term. I don't blame Obama for that either; it's not like his agenda is empty of anything important. And legalization will be politically sticky for all the obvious (soft on drugs!) reasons. But if Obama gets a second term, then I think he might actually make a push for legalization. Of course, I am the Eternal Optimist(tm), so I could easily be wrong. But man, that'd be a nice cherry on top of am already-great presidency if he gets even half his current agenda passed (and I think he will do better than that).
posted by jamstigator at 6:07 AM on March 25, 2009


"I hope nobody asks why the porridge-bird lays his eggs in the air, or Obama might break."

For that, I would change my handle to "uh, Clem"
posted by Drasher at 6:31 AM on March 25, 2009


@PeterMcDermott -- I was waiting for that one.
<montgomery burns>excellent</montgomery burns>
posted by GatorDavid at 7:01 AM on March 25, 2009


Let's see if marijuana legalization makes the top of the list, as it did repeatedly on change.gov -- and is subsequently ignored -- as it was repeatedly on change.gov.

Welp, it wasn't ignored! Gunned down in laughter, but not ignored. "I don't know what this says about the online audience," Obama said. WE'RE HIGH MISTER PRESIDENT! WE'RE ALLLL HIIIIGH".
posted by cashman at 9:12 AM on March 26, 2009 [1 favorite]


Also, I'd guess that the relative anonymity of online interaction makes people likely to speak about marijuana reform in a way that they wouldn't necessarily be comfortable doing in a face-to-face situation.
posted by box at 12:25 PM on March 26, 2009


We get to see what questions were asked, and thus he (and his staff) can be accountable for the questions that were ignored or not addressed properly.

Now that we have seen what was asked and what was ignored (almost everything was ignored), let's see a show of hands:

Everybody who is going to hold Obama accountable for this by not voting for him in 2012, even though they did vote for him in 2008, say "Aye."

If we are not willing to vote Republican in the next presidential election to "hold Obama accountable" then what, exactly, are we to do to hold him "accountable" for this particular action? I'm not willing to let something dumb like this affect my vote. How about you?
posted by The World Famous at 12:30 PM on March 26, 2009


Everybody who is going to hold Obama accountable for this by not voting for him in 2012, even though they did vote for him in 2008, say "Aye."

If we are not willing to vote Republican in the next presidential election to "hold Obama accountable" then what, exactly, are we to do to hold him "accountable" for this particular action? I'm not willing to let something dumb like this affect my vote. How about you?


You are aware of this thing called "primaries" right? No, I don't think ignoring questions posed by the internet is enough of a reason not to vote for someone in a primary (and it's doubtful there will be one, but look at Kennedy/Carter in '80), but lets not pretend like it's a choice between the current incumbent and a republican. Especially in the case of senators and congresspeople.
posted by delmoi at 1:12 PM on March 26, 2009


You are aware of this thing called "primaries" right?

Right, sorry. I guess I could hold Obama accountable by voting for Hillary in the primaries.
posted by The World Famous at 1:23 PM on March 26, 2009


I was pretty disappointed with his (and the audience's response to the marijuana question(s)) I'm not a rabid legalization proponent, but seriously, how can you just scoff in the face of the thousands of people who spent time bombing your poll (half-sarcasm). Furthermore, Obama straight up misrepresented the results by saying it was "a somewhat popular question" (not an exact quote, sorry). As I understand it, some incarnation of the legalization question was number 1 in several categories.
If you're going to do an online poll, you have to be aware of the risks inherent in doing so (such as digg users bombing your poll). So why conduct the poll online knowing that you're going to have to ignore the inevitable landslide of marijuana questions? Why not just call random middle-class suburban households and ask them what they want to talk about?

And really, watch the audience's response again....maybe I'm being paranoid but it really looks like they were instructed to respond that way ahead of time...they're just so unanimously treating it as a silly, cute, furry little question that we should just pet a couple times and move on to doing people things. And no, I am not high.
posted by captain cosine at 5:26 PM on March 26, 2009


maybe I'm being paranoid but...

Yes. Yes, you are.
posted by saulgoodman at 8:38 PM on March 26, 2009


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