Monday, July 20, 2009

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Obama Administration's Deputy CTO Beth Noveck Returns To Second Life Today

Lawlita and Beth

At 9am SLT today (Noon Eastern), my friend Beth Noveck will return to Second Life, to speak about her new book, Wiki Government: How Technology Can Make Government Better, Democracy Stronger, and Citizens More Powerful. This is not just a book promotion appearance, however, because as it happens, Beth is currently putting what she wrote into practice as President Obama's deputy chief technology officer for open government. (Here's a good New York Times article on her duties.)

It's also not a one-stop visit by a public figure otherwise inexperienced with Second Life: as I've written before, Beth has been involved with Second Life since its earliest years; her avatar, Lawlita Fassbinder, was created in 2004, making her one of the first academics to use SL as an educational platform. She's also the very first to count the White House as her office address. More details at the Global Kids blog; event takes place on MacArthur Island, sponsored by the foundation of the same name. Direct SLurl teleport at this link.

Lawlita screenshot courtesy Beth Noveck; Beth's photo by Hiroko Masuike, for the Times.

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Maggie Darwin

Gee... sponsored by one of George Soros's pet "charities". What a surprise.

Ann Otoole

"Lawl"lita? hahahahahahah what a name!

Nalates Urriah

I'm not sure how a CTO Czar that answers only to the president and is not subject to Congressional oversight can make democracy stronger...

Cabinet members must be vetted and approved by Congress and are subject to Congress and must answer questions. Plus their pay is controlled by Congress. None of these restrictions and oversights apply to a czar. Just as Pres. Bush's assistants did not have to answer Congressional subpoenas neither do Pres. Obama's czars.

A czar removes power from the people and congress. This czar thing is something much more like what Hugo Chavez did in Venezuela.

Arcadia Codesmith

Because we all remember how George H.W. Bush tried to take over the U.S. and institute communism with his appointment of a "drug czar" back in the 1980's.

Ann Otoole

That event was awesome!

Stephen Buckley

Although I share Nalates's concern about the proliferation of White "czars", nobody said that Beth Noveck was one of those "czars".

She is only a "Deputy Chief Technology Officer" and did not need to be confirmed by Congress. Her boss, the Chief Technology Officer (CTO), WAS confirmed by Congress.

Stephen Buckley

Sorry for the mis-type.

Where I said "White 'czars'", I meant to say "White House 'czars'".

Stephen Buckley

Beth Noveck is not a White House "czar".

She is only a "Deputy Chief Technology Officer", which does not require confirmation by Congress.

Her boss, the Chief Technology Officer, did require confirmation by Congress. But not all of the thousands of political appointees go through that process.

Arcadia Codesmith

Nor have they ever. If all executive appointments required Congressional approval, Congress wouldn't have time to do anything besides HR.

Nalates Urriah

Research shows: Aneesh Chopra is Beth Noveck’s boss. Aneesh Chopra is the nation's first Chief Technology Officer an assistant to the President. Not a cabinet secretary. However the 2009 H.R. 1910 ensures that the Presidentially-appointed Chief Technology Officer will be part of future administrations. Thursday, May 21, 2009 the Senate confirmed Mr. Chopra. May 13 the nomination was considered in a 3 hour time slot, apparently along with lunch. (SR-253 - May 13, 2009). Stephen is correct.

HR 1910 does require that the office report to the President and annually report to the House and Senate. So, the CTO is not a ‘czar’… technically. But, only the president oversees the office outside of an annual report. Freddie and Fannie did a great job with Congressional oversight. This setup with CTO does not inspire me.

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