Judging by the old posts dredged up by my new WordPress plugin, Room 34 presents On This Day*, it was three years ago today that President Obama was inaugurated.
It’s been a strange three years. The president has probably failed to live up to the (unreasonable) expectations a lot of his supporters put in him, and he’s been too willing to contort himself in vain efforts at compromise, but I think he’s still accomplished a lot, and he’s certainly better than his predecessor (although that’s damning with faint praise).
I’m supporting the president’s re-election, if less enthusiastically than in 2008. And if for no other reason than what last night’s (yet another) Republican debate proved**… they’re a sorry lot indeed.
* Yes, that’s kind of a douchey name for the plugin. I wanted to just call it “On This Day,” but there’s already another plugin (which does basically the same thing, but appears to have been abandoned by its developer) in the repository with that name. This was the best I could come up with, because I think “On This Day” is the best possible name for a plugin that does what it does.
** I’m basing my opinion of last night’s debate, like all of the others, on what I’ve gleaned from Twitter. I would never subject myself directly to watching one of these debates, because a) I already know there is no possible way I’d ever vote for any of these candidates, except possibly under extreme duress, and b) I value my sanity.
…but it’s a good thing.
From kottke.org: The country’s new robots.txt file.
Well, it’s probably easy to read too much into this. But the short story of it is that President Obama’s new whitehouse.gov website is blocking a lot less content from search engine “spiders” than that of Ex-President Bush (oh, that has a sweet ring to it).
Now there are plenty of reasons for putting things into your
robots.txt file, and most of them have nothing to do with trying to withhold information from the public.
It’s rather odd, though, the set of directories Bush’s site was blocking from the spiders. I find
help especially amusing. The others aren’t quite so funny. What exactly about
omb (Office of Management and Budget) did they need to hide? And… uh… well…
911 kind of goes without saying.
Why block these pages from being indexed by search engines? Good question. And here, I think, is the answer: to make it harder for the average citizen to keep track of changes that have been made to those pages by accessing Google’s cached versions (or, perhaps even more damning, the indefinitely-archived snapshots on the Wayback Machine).
But, it’s a new day. President Obama has promised a much more open and transparent White House, and if the visible underbelly of its website is any indication, he intends to keep his promise.
Also of interest: Here’s a comparison of the old and new whitehouse.gov sites.
In just 3 short hours, as I write this, Barack Obama will be sworn in as 44th President of the United States of America, ushering in a new era in more ways than I can describe. I’ll be watching the proceedings on MSNBC.
No president in recent memory has entered office with such a high approval rating (83%), but no president ever has entered office with as many hopes and expectations riding on his shoulders. He’s uniquely qualified to be the man in this time, in this place, however, and if anyone can do it, he can.
It’s going to be an interesting four years…