Obama’s “Sunlight Before Signing”

What a nightmare we’ve been in!  It’s been such a joy today to realize that the Bush administration is finally over.

One of the best things I got to do today was peruse the new whitehouse.gov site!  Besides just generally looking awesome now that Whistle-ass’s face is off the damned thing, it’s really informative and interesting to read Obama’s agenda all in one official and officious place that has “.gov” at the end of it.

In particular, this section on Ethics is really encouraging:

Sunlight Before Signing: Too often bills are rushed through Congress and to the president before the public has the opportunity to review them. President Obama will not sign any non-emergency bill without giving the American public an opportunity to review and comment on the White House website for five days.

I mean, if Bush had honored that rule after 9/11, we might not have the Patriot Act!  And then we wouldn’t see things like this, a woman who went to jail for three months and lost custody of her kids because she spanked her kids and then sassed a flight attendant, in a New York Times story from today:

A flight attendant confronted Freeman, who responded by hurling a few profanities and throwing what remained of a can of tomato juice on the floor.

The incident aboard the Frontier flight ultimately led to Freeman’s arrest and conviction for a federal felony defined as an act of terrorism under the Patriot Act, the controversial federal law enacted after the 2001 attacks in New York and Washington.

“I had no idea I was breaking the law,” said Freeman, 40.

After three months in jail, Freeman agreed to plead guilty in exchange for being released on probation. A court-appointed attorney told her that a plea deal would be the fastest way to see her children, who had been taken back to Hawaii and put into foster care.

Her probation required her to stay in Oklahoma City, where she grew up, and prohibited her from flying. Meanwhile, legal proceedings in Hawaii have begun to allow the children’s foster parents to adopt them.

Freeman has been denied permission to attend custody hearings in Maui over the last six months, court records show.

“I have cried. I have cried for my children every day,” Freeman said. “I feel the system is failing me.”

Congress and Bush failed us when they passed the Patriot Act, and I’m glad Obama is addressing things like this from day one.  Clearly we’ve been going about it the wrong way for far too long.  God, I can’t wait to return to a time when laws kind of make sense, and transparency and rationality returns to legislation and executive power.  Obama better not break his fucking promises (except the one about not bringing Bush to justice–it’s okay by me if he wants to flip-flop on that).


Oklahoman by birth. Angeleno by fate. I've been in half a dozen bands and own 25 cubic feet of old records. Thank God for Ikea shelves.

3 thoughts on “Obama’s “Sunlight Before Signing”

  1. Hey, came across this on a google search. FYI Obama has begun signing bills into law without posting them at _all_ for comment, much less the promised five days. AND- the entire “Ethics” section has been removed from the White House website. It now says:

    “The ethics section is currently being revised to reflect President Obama’s Executive Order concerning Ethics Commitments by Executive Branch Personnel, issued on January 21, 2009. Please check back soon.”

    I guess we’ll have to wait and see what the _new_ ethics are going to be exactly, but suffice to say that Sunlight Before Signing is already out.

    Le sigh.

  2. It’s hard to tell if you’re right. Most of Obama’s moves since being elected have been Executive Orders, not bills that require signing.

    The Lily Ledbetter Fair Pay Act was indeed signed within only two days of being passed by both houses of Congress. But it’s on the White House website now, “for review,” and I don’t know if it was posted to his website in the days prior to it being passed by the Senate, thus filling his five day quota. Nothing in there says it has to be up five days between being passed by Congress and being signed by the President. Plus, we all knew how he was going to vote for this one.

    In any case, I don’t feel deceived. But yes, you must take anything a politician or his website says with a grain of rock salt.

  3. Hey Jagoffs,

    You’re both idiots. If you go to the White House blog, you can see that the Lily Ledbetter Fair Pay Act was posted there on the 25th, like within five days of his signing it if you count the 25th as day one:


    And yesterday they posted the SCHIP legislation to the blog, before it even passed and well within five days of any potential Obama signing.


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