Asleep at the Wheel at 1600

If the White House wants its nominees confirmed, it might be useful for it to know what in the world is going on.

In case you’re interested how disengaged the White House is on appointments, here’s an example.

The White House webpage for nominations and appointments lists Paul Anastas as the nominee for Assistant EPA Administrator for R & D, but without a confirmation date.

The Senate webpage says that Anastas was confirmed on Dec. 24, 2009.

Anybody at home?

Author: Jonathan Zasloff

Jonathan Zasloff teaches Torts, Land Use, Environmental Law, Comparative Urban Planning Law, Legal History, and Public Policy Clinic - Land Use, the Environment and Local Government. He grew up and still lives in the San Fernando Valley, about which he remains immensely proud (to the mystification of his friends and colleagues). After graduating from Yale Law School, and while clerking for a federal appeals court judge in Boston, he decided to return to Los Angeles shortly after the January 1994 Northridge earthquake, reasoning that he would gladly risk tremors in order to avoid the average New England wind chill temperature of negative 55 degrees. Professor Zasloff has a keen interest in world politics; he holds a PhD in the history of American foreign policy from Harvard and an M.Phil. in International Relations from Cambridge University. Much of his recent work concerns the influence of lawyers and legalism in US external relations, and has published articles on these subjects in the New York University Law Review and the Yale Law Journal. More generally, his recent interests focus on the response of public institutions to social problems, and the role of ideology in framing policy responses. Professor Zasloff has long been active in state and local politics and policy. He recently co-authored an article discussing the relationship of Proposition 13 (California's landmark tax limitation initiative) and school finance reform, and served for several years as a senior policy advisor to the Speaker of California Assembly. His practice background reflects these interests: for two years, he represented welfare recipients attempting to obtain child care benefits and microbusinesses in low income areas. He then practiced for two more years at one of Los Angeles' leading public interest environmental and land use firms, challenging poorly planned development and working to expand the network of the city's urban park system. He currently serves as a member of the boards of the Santa Monica Mountains Conservancy (a state agency charged with purchasing and protecting open space), the Los Angeles Center for Law and Justice (the leading legal service firm for low-income clients in east Los Angeles), and Friends of Israel's Environment. Professor Zasloff's other major activity consists in explaining the Triangle Offense to his very patient wife, Kathy.

12 thoughts on “Asleep at the Wheel at 1600”

  1. Yes he is because stuff like this is blocking and tackling. It's still not right even though it was publicly called out yesterday. It's sloppy. The White House is obviously overwhelmed and making lots of mistakes.

  2. That web page has Bernanke as not confirmed and broken links. Good idea poorly executed and not properly used for political effect even if it would have been competently maintained (which it wasn't). Definitely a good metaphor for the Democrat's failure.

  3. Obama is trying to take on hell with a fire hose and you can only find an un-updated web sit to complain about? If this is our biggest issue, we are doing a whole lot better than I thought. If this was sarcasm, it was too subtle for me.

  4. gelfling, it's being used a a symbol of how the administration has been handling appointments, which is badly. As somebody said, blocking and tackling.

  5. Dissecting the page,… is the inner widget that has the sortable html page.

    From there, you can see where the dataset comes from –

    * Added By: whitehouse

    * Added On: May 26, 2009

    * Last Update: Dec 16, 2009

    So yeah, their data is about two months out of date.

    Sad bug in page? Sorting by date is by lexical sort, rather than numeric, so 11/01/2009 comes before 1/20/2009


  6. Whereas the Senate site looks like it's constructed via a simple template (for the side bars & header) plus some logic for the nesting structure

    see html comments



    Followed by what appears to be a directly injected text file.

    From a website design & maintenance point of view, it's easier to do the Senate thing – it's probably just a text file sitting on a harddrive, updated more or less automatically.

    The Whitehouse version is some nifty Web 2.0 ™ widgety-tool thing that they had to manually stitch together, and don't have the staff / time / attention to update.

    The Senate version in more mature, in the sense of a technology that's had the kinks worked out, and is smooth. But it's the apex of what that particular mode will get to. WH is trying (and failing) to have live data that is interactive & all. But it's probably labor intensive to compile that and keep it up to date.

    If only the Senate had an RSS feed that WH could subscribe to, and parse out values to stuff into their records, live.

  7. At it's most egregious, this means some fourth or fifth level staffer isn't overseeing his intern as competently as he might. Wring your hands over this if it makes you feel smug and superior, but it's meaningless. Mr. Obama has the most difficult job in the world, made orders of magnitude more difficult by viciously obstructive conservatives and a shallow and deeply incompetent press. In spite of that, his successes are substantial, with many more to come. This kind of cheap snark is not just pointless; it's destructive. Put your energy into enumerating Mr. Obama's virtues and successes. We desperately need all the positive things he will do in the next seven years.

  8. Obama is a failure.

    1. He negotiated against himself on the jobs bill. The stimulus was too tax cut heavy and not stimulus enough.

    2. He should be talking about restoring progressive taxation especially given the size of the deficit. Instead he preempts any talk of that.

    3. Still in Afghanistan and Iraq without any clearly articulated change in policy that the public can understand. (I'm not saying that there is no change; I just don't anyone could tell you what the change in policy is.)

    4. Healthcare is a total fail at this point even if naive idiots like Kleinman keep thinking that just believing will save it.

    5. Botched the recess appointment showdown. Still no quorum at NLRB.

    6. Climate bill is DOA, ditto for all other progressive legislation.

    7. Looking at large losses in the midterms.

    8. Allowed Lieberman and other Democrats to knife the administration and the Democratic base. (I would say stab in the back, but they haven't been sneaky about it and there has been no accountability.)

    9. Every time te noise machine gets turned up; Obama backs down.

    FAIL. FAIL. FAIL. So don't tell us to not worry about the little things; they are failing at everything. In outstanding organizations, you know the big things are going to get done because the little things get done. In other words, Kleinman's idiotic stance on healthcare reform that there is some special magic plan would not be so stupid if you saw competence at every level including 4th or 5th tier staffers supervising interns. Instead, we know there is no magic plan; there is just fail and we know this because they can't even handle updating a frikking website with their appointments.

  9. Remember that iconic picture of Obama with the caption, "Everybody chill the f*** out, I got this!". Here's the difference between having your website updated and not: In one case, that attitude is funny and inspiring (cause you know it's true); in the other case, it's sad and pathetic (cause you know it's a pose).

  10. face the facts Jonathan, you're living in a center-right country so nobody is gonna give a flip about your liberal agenda when it comes down to it. Deal with it.

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