White House – Open For Questions!

This is quite possibly the coolest thing ever. Keyword: transparency. I would explain in detail, but this video (in less than 1.5 minutes!) does a bang-up job doing that on its own. (Because, shouldn’t it?)

Much like our own BM executive Town Hall meetings, the President is asking Americans to submit questions and vote on others (like a Digg model), and he will address these questions LIVE via Whitehouse.gov on Thursday at 11:30 AM EDT. Soooo coooool.

As of this posting, there were 17,700 people who have submitted 20,708 questions and cast 669,084 votes.

Pretty impressive stuff. I just love that he’s listening.

Bank of Obama – Bailouts for all!



A clever, novelty gift. You can either send a virtual check via email (for free) or they will send an actual (and, of course, fake) check to the recipient with this message:

Hey– I thought you could use a bailout from the Bank of Obama. Everyone else is getting one, so why not you too? Hope this helps you out. If you need any more funds, you know where to find them. Cheers.

You can see the one above I sent to my sister, who is swimming in student loans post-med school. I think she’ll appreciate Obama’s generosity ;)

This is getting some viral noise, but I think it would make a cool Facebook gift…if no one is doing that already.


The ARRA (says I) – or Recovery.gov

No news that President Obama today signed the much-debated economic stimulus package agreement, or what’s officially now known as the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (I’ll call it ARRA henceforth). Whether this makes you, your clients, your family, etc. happy or angry, what we can probably all agree on is that the decision by the Prez to make all future spending under the legislation OPEN and TRANSPARENT is tres cool. 

Under the banner of Recovery.gov (in a similar vein of this Administration’s providing common sense WWW locations for other government entities such as THE WHITE HOUSE), all money distributed by the various Federal agencies under ARRA will be displayed “visually in maps, charts, and graphics” on this site. How cool is that?!?! I love charts and graphics!

For a less-than-two-minute blurb from Obama himself on the aims of this new site, watch this video:

Let’s hear it for accountability and transparency to your (any) constituencies!

And now, the lazy-woman’s blog post


Jessica Kositz
jkositz Fascinating! RT @adamostrow RT @mashable: How Should President Obama Use Twitter? (please RT!) –http://tinyurl.com/atyjxt 



OK, I’ll elaborate… :)

Seriously – read that article in my tweet above! It’s amazing. Reminds of of the article that Stephen Berger shared a while back “from the desk of the Russian President,” his video blog. (Yay, Obama does this too!) It was really quite fascinating to me to read the Mashable post about all of the politicians that are using Twitter – and using it well. Canada, UK, Romania – even the UN Secretary General, Ban Ki-Moon (@SecGen)

Also, when Cliz mentioned @TheWhiteHouse on our call today, I went through a happy Twitter trail, clicking each of the few accounts it was following – The Senate, House, etc – then digging up quite a few of our Senators, Reps, Speaker of the House, etc. – real people – via those pages as each of them in turn were following another small set of their colleagues. I am now following Pelosi, Feinstein, Biden, Ted Kennedy, Sen Clinton and others. Pretty cool!

So chime in on Mashable if you have thoughts about how Obama should use Twitter (Harold knows we have ALL shared our opinions on this fact many times over) and if you’re on Twitter, RT the heck outta that thing! (just copy and paste my tweet above, add “RT” in front and post!) ;-)

Cheers, TGIF!


Our first Prez to use… email?

Are you serious? According to this AP story, President Obama is the “the first sitting president to use e-mail.” Is anyone else here scratching their head? I mean, the article goes on to say that Bush “was an active e-mailer before becoming president” (?? Then he stopped??) and then points out that “Previous presidents chose not to use e-mail because it can be subpoenaed by Congress and courts and may be subject to public records laws.” Um – HELLO? Shouldn’t they be? This is positioned as though it would be a bad thing for the President’s emails to be saved a la Sarbanes-Oxley.

I mean, I can understand that SOME things might be very high-security and therefore best left to conversations behind closed doors or whatever politicians do, but I guess I’m just shocked to learn that our presidents never used email to conduct their “business.” That’s like saying the White House didn’t use electricity or something, and the former Presidential families basked in the glow of oil lamps every night. Right?!

Besides, it makes me feel better to know that the Pres is being held accountable – you know, the whole transparency thing. So the AP goes on to say that Obama’s e-mails will be subject to the Presidential Records Act, which requires the National Archives to preserve presidential records. OK, excellent.

And the most important, related news of the day (seriously, EVERYONE has been talking about it. Even on Twitter): Obama fought and won to keep his Blackberry! The White House will allow him to check his Presidential email account (which let me remind you no other Prez ever had) on his personal Blackberry. Hooray!

The best was the AP photo of Obama dropping his Blackberry:  

President-elect Barack Obama drops his BlackBerry as he steps out of his limousine before boarding a plane at Washingtons Reagan National Airport, Friday, Jan. 16, 2009, prior to heading to Bedford, Ohio, where he will meet with workers at Cardinal Fasteners. (AP Photo/Charles Dharapak)

President-elect Barack Obama drops his BlackBerry as he steps out of his limousine (AP Photo/Charles Dharapak)

So, welcome to the revolution in communications that is email, White House! And be sure to watch for future sightings of President Obama on his Blackberry!

In all seriousness, I think it is really cool that Obama has a Blackberry and will be connected to the World Wide Web via email. I just think a) it’s amazing he’s the first one to do so and b) it’s ridiculous how the media has reacted to the Blackberry “story” as a “win” for Obama. My pessimistic side thinks this is the “Obama sells” phenomenon. What do you think?

iPhone-philes, take note!

Or iPhone-o-holics, as the case may be.

Either way – in continuing with the theme of the week, I just got a head’s up from my friend about some great iPhone/iPod Touch wares: free Obama wallpaper!

Go to this Web site, download the zip file, sync to iTunes and enjoy! 



Image: dcpox.com

(This photo not included) :-)

SF renames Bush St – aptly

So this rippled through the Interwebs today but I had actually stumbled upon it rather organically (or, ignorantly, as the case happened to be) and got a huge kick out of it – perhaps greater than if I had seen it online first then sought it out after – the beauty of a perfectly-executed stunt!

I was on my way to an appointment after watching the new Pres be sworn in this morning. Of course I was very excited, but also running a little late. As I biked quickly up the hill toward my appointment on Bush Street, I squinted toward the street sign to see if I’d met my destination (I don’t know this part of town well so was trying to get my bearings). I wasn’t wearing my glasses, either, but I swore – and as I got closer – did it really say? It looks like… OBAMA St!!

I stopped my bike at the corner and pointed toward a sign, exclaiming to a random man. English wasn’t his first language, so it took a second for us to get on the same page, then we smiled at each other, laughed and went our separate ways. It was beautiful. I snapped a photo on my phone and posted to Twitter.


Obama Street (at Hyde St), SF

Obama Street (at Hyde St), SF

After my appointment, I saw some students snapping photos but no one knew at the time who had executed this stunt. It was fun, though, watching people react to it – drivers honking, yelling, pedestrians smiling, snapping pics, etc. So super cool.

A friend of mine IMd me once I got back to my desk to inform that it was the work of Laughing Squid – how appropriate!

Well done, guys! This thoroughly made my morning. :)


UPDATE: Apparently I assumed this was done by Laughing Squid, however just learned that a group called Survival Research Laboratories (they have a Wikipedia page) was behind the stunt. Thanks, Derek, for the tip! http://sfcitizen.com/blog/2009/01/20/survival-research-labs-changes-bush-street-to-obama-street/