Links for April 26th

  • Letters of Note: On bureaucratese and gobbledygook
    This is a delightful memo sent by Civil Aeronautics Board chairman Alfred E. Kahn to the organization's top staff in 1977, begging them to please stop writing in "bureaucratese," and to instead use "straightforward, quasi-conversational, humane prose." He provides some specific examples that still apply nicely today.
  • Wikipedia: List of Guantanamo Bay detainees accused of possessing Casio watches
    Just what it says on the tin. (I think I have a Casio in a drawer somewhere. Don't tell the feds.)
  • Ezra Grant: Jon Kyl Deletes His Lie From Congressional Record
    Here's an insufficiently known fact: the congressional record reflects what legislators wish they'd said, not what they actually said. So if somebody says something stupid—like Sen. Kyl claiming that "abortion [is] well over 90% of what Planned Parenthood does" (it's actually 3%)—then they can just have that remark edited out. Once audio transcription improves a bit more, I'm looking forward to somebody (Carl Malamud, I suspect) creating the unofficial—yet more official—congressional record.
  • New York Times: A Satisfied Customer, but 50 Times Over?
    Lucas Fayne is a very, very satisfied customer. On over fifty businesses’ websites, he praises the quality of their work. In fifty different cities. For fifty different home improvement projects. For fifty different homes. What's the story here?

Published by Waldo Jaquith

Waldo Jaquith (JAKE-with) is an open government technologist who lives near Char­lottes­­ville, VA, USA. more »

5 replies on “Links for April 26th”

  1. I wonder how difficult it would be to create a grassroots volunteer organization to create an actual record of what congress says on the floor? We have ample video coverage, but transcription takes a lot of time. For years now I’ve been appalled at how congress edits themselves.

  2. So what did you do about your solar panels/system?
    I just installed 4.7kw and need some advice on net metering and REC sales.
    I’m in the Neon Guild.

  3. So what did you do about your solar panels/system?

    We’ve got a passive solar house, Larry, but we don’t have any active solar components (yet.) So while I know all sorts of things about net metering and REC sales in theory, for any practical purpose, I’m totally useless. :) Sorry!

  4. “then they can just have that remark edited it.”

    Ironic, no?

    Ha! Yes, that is ironic. :) Though it does end up illuminating the point all that much better. That is, the venue in which I made that remark (this blog) has comments about that remark attached as a permanent part of the record. And, as a matter of habit, when I make a non-trivial change to a blog entry, I post a comment to highlight that change. So I let my fingers get ahead of my brain here, you saw it, you pointed it out, and I corrected it. I would mind this editing of the congressional record a lot less if it had the same kind of paper trail!

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