Monday, October 26, 2009

Update: Why isn't the White House web site and blog able to keep up with reality?

Yesterday morning I complained that the White House Web site still did not have any mention of a supposed "national emergency" statement that Pres. Obama had supposedly issued Friday night. Here's an update...

The White House did finally put up a blog post at 1:48 p.m. on Sunday afternoon. This still supports my claim that the White House is quite a laggard with using all of the whiz-bang Internet technologies, but at least something is there now.

But there is still no sign of the signed statement itself on the White House Web site, not in the "Statements and Releases" section and not in the "Presidential Actions" sections.

The HHS Web site also still seems silent on the matter.

The White House blog post ("President Obama Signs Emergency Declaration for H1N1 Flu") does in fact link to a news release on entitled "October 24, 2009 - President Obama Signs Emergency Declaration for H1N1 Flu". But still no hint of the an actual "Stafford Act Declaration or National Emergencies act Declaration" as required by "Section 1135 of the Social Security Act."

Hmmm... that news release on is dated October, 24, 2009, which was Saturday. But I checked Sunday morning. How did I miss that? Whether it was actually there on Sunday morning I cannot say with any certainty, but I will note that the site has separate "Blog" and "News Room" sections on the main Web page and the latter is "below the fold" so that you have to manually page down to see it. It is quite possible, and I would say likely, that the "news" story was actually there and that with all of the noise on that main Web page I failed to page down far enough to see it. Still, if this really was such a big deal "national emergency declaration", why was it buried so far down on the Web page.

If anything, this tends to confirm my conjecture that the so-called "emergency declaration" was much more a formality, required by law to waive certain annoying health regulations, rather than the actual "emergency" claimed by the media at the time.

In any case, the lack of a posting of the actual "declaration" that was "signed" by the president is still somewhat disturbing. And the tardiness in a posting on the general topic by the White House is still rather disconcerting.

In my view, anything important for the president to "sign" should be posted and noted (subject to the usual national security and secrecy concerns.)

I won't go so far as to suggest that the president use Twitter every time he signs a document ("Signed the blah blah blah <link>"), but... maybe I should and maybe he should?

-- Jack Krupansky

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Why isn't the White House web site and blog able to keep up with reality?

Gee, I thought the Internet and Web were supposed to be mainstream technologies, especially with government, and that the Obama administration was supposed to "get it" about all of the new Internet and Web technologies. If so, then why isn't the latest "statement" about the so-called "H1N1 swine flu national emergency" on the White House Web site?

Maybe somebody "forgot" that the Internet and Web are open "24x7".

Maybe one of my readers knows somebody at the White House and can alert them to that... obvious... fact.

According to a Reuters article, "Obama signed the statement on Friday night." That was Friday. It is now Sunday. Why the big delay? And the statement is still not on the Web site.

The White House Web site does have a dedicated section for "Statements and Releases". Why an emergency statement would not be posted there is rather baffling.

Oh, and by the way, the CDC Web site does not have the statement either.

An article on the San Francisco Chronicle Web site says that "The declaration" was "announced Saturday" and "allows U.S. Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius to waive certain regulations or speed up the regulatory process if health providers are inundated with swine flu patients."

Well, I just checked, and the HHS Web Site has no notice of this "declaration" either.

I even checked the "government flu Web site", No sign of any "declaration" or hint of an "emergency."

Helloooo... wake up somebody.

Or... maybe this so-called "emergency" is not really an... emergency.

Remember the good old days when an emergency was was an... emergency?

And if this is not really an emergency, why is the media reporting it as an... emergency?

What is wrong with this picture?

As I write this, the headline "Obama declares swine flu emergency" is the top headline on Google News.

Obviously there is a major disconnect somewhere along the line here.

-- Jack Krupansky