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Recovery.gov To Get $18 Million Redesign 434

Posted by timothy
from the rube-goldberg-economic-logic dept.
barbarai notes a report by ABC News's Rick Klein: "For those concerned about stimulus spending, the General Services Administration sends word tonight that $18 million in additional funds are being spent to redesign the Recovery.gov Web site. "Recovery.gov 2.0 will use innovative and interactive technologies to help taxpayers see where their dollars are being spent," James A. Williams, commissioner of GSA's Federal Acquisition Service, says in a press release announcing the contract awarded to Maryland-based Smartronix Inc. according to the ABC news blog."
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Recovery.gov To Get $18 Million Redesign

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  • cash4cronies (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Thursday July 09, 2009 @12:17PM (#28638799)

    $18 mil for a website and in a total coincidence the contract goes to a company run by people who have given tens of thousands of dollars to house majority leader Steny Hoyer (D)

    • by MindStalker (22827) <mindstalker AT gmail DOT com> on Thursday July 09, 2009 @12:21PM (#28638863) Journal

      Your shocked they are giving the contract an existing large military tech contractor? Or are you shocked that an existing large military contractor is giving campaign contributions to the house majority leader?

      Personally I'm with the latter, why should they need to continually bribe if their foot is already in the door.

      • Re:cash4cronies (Score:5, Insightful)

        by Hijacked Public (999535) on Thursday July 09, 2009 @01:02PM (#28639501)

        Because the sort of person who requires a bribe in exchange for awarding a contract probably doesn't care who has a foot in the door, they care only about the bribe.

        Duke Cunningham [talkingpointsmemo.com] made lists and, although there were some advantages of scale in his bribe menu, there were no 'foot in the door' clauses.

      • Re:cash4cronies (Score:5, Insightful)

        by sumdumass (711423) on Thursday July 09, 2009 @02:05PM (#28640561) Journal

        Actually, he probably with me and is shocked because no one is bitching about the administration, no bid contracts, millions of dollars being spent and payoffs to those responsible for the contract.

        I guess maybe if haliburton or cheney was a name in the story, everyone would be pissed.

        • Re:cash4cronies (Score:5, Interesting)

          by Golias (176380) on Thursday July 09, 2009 @03:34PM (#28641819)

          Actually, he probably with me and is shocked because no one is bitching about the administration, no bid contracts, millions of dollars being spent and payoffs to those responsible for the contract.

          I guess maybe if haliburton or cheney was a name in the story, everyone would be pissed.

          Yep. I maintain that it is THE LEFT, after working so hard to elect Obama, who should be most pissed off at him right now. On economics, foreign policy, and even civil liberties, he's doing nearly everything which we were all supposed to be so enraged at Bush over, and in many cases, taking things farther.

          As a libertarian, I kind of expected him to keep ballooning the federal spending and ruin what's left of the tattered economy which Bush left him. Right on schedule there, and I don't feel let down about it because I never had my hopes up.

          What I find disappointing is that the unlawful detentions without trial, the wire-taps, the cronyism, the pointless foreign warmongering & gunboat diplomacy, the war on drugs, the denial of gay rights, the staged Q&A sessions, etc. etc. etc. ... all chug along with as much momentum as ever.

          But hey, we (the taxpayers) now own a shitty car company, so I guess there's that.

      • Re:cash4cronies (Score:5, Insightful)

        by Deosyne (92713) on Thursday July 09, 2009 @02:57PM (#28641329)

        You don't buy politicians, you subscribe to them.

    • by cayenne8 (626475)
      I wonder if I could subcontract to them for about 1/3 of that? Leave 2/3 to them for 'overhead'??
      • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

        by Anonymous Coward

        Yeah totally. Last time I did a site redesign it was for a friend and I made only about $5000 for 3 weeks of work. It was an online sales system I slapped together with some JSP and a couple of Servlets, so it wasn't just basic HTML. If I had realized I could charge her $18,000,000 for it, I would have cut her a friendly break and only charger $10,000,000 for it. Man was I cheated.

    • Re:cash4cronies (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Red Flayer (890720) on Thursday July 09, 2009 @12:24PM (#28638917) Journal

      $18 mil for a website and in a total coincidence the contract goes to a company run by people who have given tens of thousands of dollars to house majority leader Steny Hoyer (D)

      And the same company gave tens of thousands of dollars to the House majority leader when the House was controlled by Republicans.

      This is not a partisan issue, I hope you weren't trying to make it into one. Because that would dodge the core issue.

      This is just another example of a fundamental flaw in how campaign finance works in the US, and the current party in power shares the culpability with the prior party in power.

      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        by roc97007 (608802)

        > This is just another example of a fundamental flaw in how campaign finance works in the US, and the current party in power shares the culpability with the prior party in power.

        A fair, reasoned, objective response. This is slashdot! Not allowed!

      • Re:cash4cronies (Score:5, Interesting)

        by ShakaUVM (157947) on Thursday July 09, 2009 @12:41PM (#28639195) Homepage Journal

        >>This is just another example of a fundamental flaw in how campaign finance works in the US, and the current party in power shares the culpability with the prior party in power.

        Out of curiosity, since corporations can't vote, why should they be allowed to donate money to campaigns at all?

        • Re:cash4cronies (Score:5, Informative)

          by cml4524 (1520403) on Thursday July 09, 2009 @12:58PM (#28639453)

          Two things:

          1) Corporate personhood: the notion that a corporation is a person entitled to the same rights as a natural person, or some subset of those rights (e.g. due process, free speech, etc.)

          2) Money as free speech: the notion that campaign donations are a form of constitutionally protected speech

          Therefore, a person - or company legally recognized as a person - cannot be restricted from donating money to a campaign because that would be an infringement on their constitutionally-recognized right to free political speech.

          The legitimacy of this position, and either of its two components individually, has been and continues to be a matter of substantial debate.

          • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

            by Red Flayer (890720)

            1) Corporate personhood: the notion that a corporation is a person entitled to the same rights as a natural person, or some subset of those rights (e.g. due process, free speech, etc.)

            That's largely a myth. Corporations do have legal rights, but by no means is there "personhood" attached to coporations legal status. Especially in regards to campaign finance -- Corporations are very limited with regards to donations to political campaigns. Instead, individuals at corporations make the contributions. Whi

          • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

            by gizmo_mathboy (43426)

            While corporations have personhood, I think it was the pesky 14th Amendment that brought this about, that does not mean they should have the right to vote. Yes, they have free speech rights but not necessarily participation in the electoral process.

            I would go further and say that no organization should be able to contribute to a campaign, only individuals. So the DNC, nor the RNC nor any other body of people can give money. Sure it sucks for your favorite interest group but the power of groups is rotting ou

        • Re:cash4cronies (Score:4, Interesting)

          by MozeeToby (1163751) on Thursday July 09, 2009 @01:01PM (#28639487)

          Most large corporations rely on Political Action Committees to raise money which is then donated to one of two groups.

          1) Politicians who support that business sector, geographical area, or tax breaks. I really don't have a huge problem with that, essentially this is individuals donating money to people who will work to improve conditions for the business they work for. Though I would prefer to see a system where you can only donate if you can vote in the election, with the current situation of national and multinational interests that may not be possible. For example, the company I work for has offices all over the US but the main office is in Iowa, if taxes go up in Iowa that would effect all the employees no matter where they work.

          2) Politicians who are willing to grant 'favors' in exchange for contributions. This is where the real problems begin. Pork barrel spending, pet projects, and downright bribes. The only way I can foresee this going away is to make all campaign contributions anonymous which at best would be an accounting nightmare. Either that or outlaw PACs and other groups that pool contributions into a single fund, but there would be nothing to prevent an unofficial system from springing up to replace them.

      • Re:cash4cronies (Score:4, Interesting)

        by BCW2 (168187) on Thursday July 09, 2009 @12:58PM (#28639459) Journal
        Proves what I have said for years: Party doesn't matter, they are all crooks and only worthy of our contempt!

        You can not come up with a website complicated enough to justify an $18 million price tag!

        Every member of Congress who voted for Spendulous without reading it should be recalled or impeached!
        • Re:cash4cronies (Score:4, Interesting)

          by jmorris42 (1458) * <jmorris.beau@org> on Thursday July 09, 2009 @03:21PM (#28641663)

          So which is it?

          > Party doesn't matter,

          and

          > Every member of Congress who voted for Spendulous without reading it should be recalled or impeached!

          You do know how the votes went on Porkulus, right? Or could you be bothered to actually, ya know, know what the hell you are talking about?

          Porkulus got zero Republican votes in the House and three RINOs in the Senate. Senator Arlen Specter received so much heat from his vote he finally came out of the closet and became the moderate Democrat he has always voted as. Senators Collins and Snowe are both from Maine, and aren't really Republicans in any modern meaning of the word. So yes, Party did matter.

          I'm with ya as far as wishing a pox on both their houses, but it is for very different reasons. Democrats are essentially an enemy of liberty these days, period. Republicans are wishy washy, unprincipled and frightened of their shadows. However, except for the old country club Republicans and east coast RINOs, most Republicans would like to do the right thing, at least when first elected.... but they need some balls... and to avoid the temptations of Washington. That is an easier problem to fix than making Democrats not be evil.

      • Re:cash4cronies (Score:5, Insightful)

        by jmorris42 (1458) * <jmorris.beau@org> on Thursday July 09, 2009 @01:07PM (#28639613)

        > This is not a partisan issue, I hope you weren't trying to make it into one.

        Agreed. It is a general problem.

        > This is just another example of a fundamental flaw in how campaign finance works in the US,

        Here is where we part company. It has exactly zero with campaign finance. You are upset about a symptom of the problem. The problem is the size and scope of government. A Congresscritter makes a lot more than an average slob but compare the 535 members of the legislative branch with the 500 leaders of the 'corporate branch' (CEOs of the Fortune 500) of our society and ponder. But at those levels it is about POWER as much as MONEY. Which group has more power? Now you begin to understand why a seat that pays so little is worth spending several million every two years to keep. And why the corporations will invest so much into politicians.

        When the corporations very survival depends on the whims of political class it would be stupid not to invest as much time and energy into controlling that factor as they spend on any other aspect of success with so much potential to affect the bottom line. Take the example everyone here loves to hate, MSFT. Until the government took such an intense interest in their operations their Washington DC office was vestigial, now it is a major presence. Just like every other major corporation, they either want to deflect the government's gaze or get their snout into the public treasury.

        And it will be ever thus until we put the government back into it's proper place. Make the government small enough that a House seat isn't worth millions and the money will go away. Nothing else will work, no law will stop clever people who have so much at stake. At least no law that leaves the 1st Amendment intact and do we really want to go there?

        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          by Red Flayer (890720)

          Here is where we part company. It has exactly zero with campaign finance. You are upset about a symptom of the problem. The problem is the size and scope of government.

          I agree we part ways there.

          While there is a lot of cruft in government, I believe there is a need for the government to operate in areas where the public sector will not.

          You see the root problem as the scope of the government. I see the root problem as the quality of the government's output.

          I do not believe we should throw out the bab

      • Re:cash4cronies (Score:5, Insightful)

        by rho (6063) on Thursday July 09, 2009 @01:58PM (#28640441) Homepage Journal

        This is just another example of a fundamental flaw in how campaign finance works in the US, and the current party in power shares the culpability with the prior party in power.

        I've a question: how come it's always obviously graft when Republicans do it, but it's a sign that the system is flawed when Democrats do it?

        Why can't it be simple vote-buying no matter who does it? And why hasn't tar-and-feathering made a comeback yet?

        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          by tjonnyc999 (1423763)
          Because...
          When a Republican changes his mind, he's a liar.
          When a Democrat changes his mind, he's "seen the light" - or "gained a new awareness of the issues".

          When a Republican raises taxes, he's a heartless bastard.
          When a Democrat raises taxes, he's "taking necessary steps in a troubled time to keep the budget balanced".


          ...etc, etc.

          Mass-media linguistic gymnastics, ain't it grand?
    • by furby076 (1461805)
      Yea this is crap..18 million for a web app? Give me a break. This is a total rip off of tax payer money...btw I need to sell the gov't my used wal-mart hammer for $350. Oh it's the gov't, I'll give them a deal...$250...see $100 off the "retail" price. Who in their right mind believes building a web app for $18 mil is a good price?
    • A 10s of thousands offer would be outbribed I think.

      According to this [talkingpointsmemo.com] an $18 million contract would require a bribe of a boat + 100k. Presumably 240k cash would work as well. Those are 2005 dollars though.

  • by religious freak (1005821) on Thursday July 09, 2009 @12:18PM (#28638809)
    Well, I've heard several web folks bitch about where their bailout was... and here it is!
    • by Rei (128717)

      Just so I know how to direct my rage properly: am I supposed to be mad that the government is going to launch a site to add sunshine to the recovery bill grant process, or that they couldn't make it appear online for free?

      • by ColdWetDog (752185) on Thursday July 09, 2009 @12:28PM (#28638975) Homepage

        Just so I know how to direct my rage properly: am I supposed to be mad that the government is going to launch a site to add sunshine to the recovery bill grant process, or that they couldn't make it appear online for free?

        I don't know about you, but I'm going to be a little pissed off at a web site that cost eighteen million dollars and doesn't have blackjack and hookers (which I'm presuming is the case).

        If you're gonna spend money, fine. But spend it on useful things.

        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          I don't know about you, but I'm going to be a little pissed off at a web site that cost eighteen million dollars and doesn't have blackjack and hookers (which I'm presuming is the case).

          It doesn't have blackjack and hookers, but it will have their receipts.

        • by Compholio (770966)
          To paraphrase Bender:

          Fine, I'll go build my own website! With blackjack and hookers! In fact, forget the website and the blackjack! Ah, screw the whole thing.

        • by oldhack (1037484)
          Maybe this is why we can't have nice things?
      • by digitalgiblet (530309) on Thursday July 09, 2009 @01:13PM (#28639703) Homepage Journal

        Started to make a joke and decided not to. This isn't funny.

        My guess is that on slashdot a really large percentage of the readers are capable of producing a website. A smaller percentage could make a good website and a really small percentage could make a website that will be every bit as good as the upcoming $18 million website from the govt 2.0.

        Being good slashdotters, many of them would know of the concept of FOSS.

        So the existence of FOSS means that it is possible to achieve this website for the cost of 1) servers, 2) bandwidth, 3) electricity, 4) infrastructure (building, etc), and 5) people to make/run/maintain the site.

        Let's say we just take about $1 million and buy a really nice building somewhere. That may not get you much in DC, but all we need is a connection to the internet, right? I seem to heard something in the news recently about real estate and how some people are having trouble selling theirs. Maybe for $1 million dollars we could pick up a really nice building in the mid-west somewhere?

        That leaves us $17 million to work with.

        If we take the Google approach of buying cheap PC grade hardware and making a big distributed system, we could build a pretty nice farm for another $1 million. Right? Now we are down to $16 million.

        If we run more than $100,000 a year for combined bandwidth and electricity, I'd be kind of surprised, so we're good for ten years on $1 million. That leaves $15 million.

        That leaves people. So we have $15 million dollars to hire people to make and run a website. Let's spread that over ten years as well. That gives us $1.5 million per year. We'll pay every single one of them $100,000 a year. That means we can have 15 people. Realistically we only need the bulk of those people during the initial redesign, but why quibble? It's only money, right?

        So laying it out that way, wouldn't you agree that we should be seeing one heck of a great website? Innovative and interactive indeed!

        OMG! Just RTFA! The $18 million tag is not for 10 years, but only 5 years. Wow.

        As for your sense of rage, that's up to you. You could feel rage that the government is spending more money for this than is necessary. You could equally feel a sense of irony that they are spending a large sum of money on a site meant to show you how well they are managing your money and not spending it frivolously.

        How you react to the story is really up to you.

    • Yea, I feel so stimulated! How long will it take to finish? When will we be able to find out where all the trillions have gone? What are the chances the new Recover.gov will be available during Obama's first term?
  • by virtigex (323685) on Thursday July 09, 2009 @12:19PM (#28638815)
    Will we be able to see where the money is going to redesign this web site? Will this amount of money be sufficient to ensure that it doesn't get hacked for, say, 24 hours, or do we have to pay extra for that?
  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday July 09, 2009 @12:20PM (#28638829)

    $500 million: compiling a report on how much we are spending to report on what we spend...

  • WTF? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Guspaz (556486) on Thursday July 09, 2009 @12:23PM (#28638899)

    $18 million to redesign a website? WTF are they doing with it?

    From TFA, they're going to spend $9.5 million over the next 6 months or so. Assuming $75k salaries for the web developers/DBAs/etc (generous), they'd be hiring 250 people to design a website.

    And Americans wonder why they have such a big deficit.

    • Re:WTF? (Score:5, Informative)

      by aengblom (123492) on Thursday July 09, 2009 @12:39PM (#28639161) Homepage

      $18 million to redesign a website? WTF are they doing with it?

      From TFA, they're going to spend $9.5 million over the next 6 months or so. Assuming $75k salaries for the web developers/DBAs/etc (generous), they'd be hiring 250 people to design a website.

      And Americans wonder why they have such a big deficit.

      I'm guessing this isn't just build the web site, it's to build and run it through January 2014 (See the GSA press release). Remember, they have to buy equipment and bandwidth too, although I'm betting the biggest issue is collecting, entering and sorting the massive amounts of data related to all the projects. Still sounds like a lot of money.

      • Re:WTF? (Score:5, Insightful)

        by locallyunscene (1000523) on Thursday July 09, 2009 @01:08PM (#28639625)
        So the headline, and summary are misleading? It's not "18 Million for Website", but "18 Million for Design, Build, and Maintain a Publicly Accessible National Repository of All Gov't Spending for the next 5 Years"? Man, that's just not catchy enough to make a good headline.

        Headline's good for a laugh, but it's a bit of a troll.
    • $75k is a little low.

      Let's go for $750k. Multiply by 10. Divide number of people by 10, 25. You could hire 25 developers at $750k each for 6 months.

      Ridiculous...

      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        by TooMuchToDo (882796)
        The cost of an employee is not just their pay, but the employer's portion of taxes, health insurance, 401(k)s, etc. A 75K/yr worker can easily cost an employer $125K/yr.

        Disclaimer: Small business owner, I am.

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward

      Cut your number of people in 1/2. The total cost of employing someone (benefits, facilities, management, HR, ...) is about 2X his or her salary.

      OTH mabey we should look at this as stimulus spending for programmers.

  • WTF? We're doomed (Score:4, Insightful)

    by mcgrew (92797) on Thursday July 09, 2009 @12:23PM (#28638903) Homepage Journal

    And I was so hopeful this administration wasn't going to be full of idiots like the last one was. Jesus, I could probably code their whole damned site in a day, I'm sure I could do it in a week (and it would be standards-compliant and work on your phone, too). Can I get millions?

    I'm starting to understand the teabaggers.

    • by east coast (590680) on Thursday July 09, 2009 @12:33PM (#28639069)
      What? Were you really fooled into thinking that one administration was going to be heads and tails above another? If you were let me be the first to say I'm sorry.

      Why is it that in a nation where we swing between two parties in power every decade or so that people really think that one has that much on the ball and the other is full of gimps and morons? The fact is that they're roughly the same entity and every couple voting cycles people get sick of hearing what one has to say and goes to the other to hear the same thing they were hearing from them the last time they got voted out of office. The difference is that most voters have an easier time remembering Terry Bradshaw's pass completion percentage from the 1975 season than the hollow promises made to them by politicians in the same time frame.

      We will not see a truely progressive politician make it to the presidency until we get a viable third party. And even then it's a long shot.
      • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

        by Em Emalb (452530)

        57.7%. He was actually a highly over-rated QB. In today's game, he'd be kicked off the team or relegated to a 3rd string backup role before he ever had a chance to start that HOF career.

        Look at his first three years worth of stats:

        1970: 218 attempts 83 completions completion percentage of 38.1 TDs: 6 INTs: 24
        1971: 373 attempts 203 completions completion percentage of 54.4 TDs: 13 INTs: 22
        1972: 308 attempts 147 completions completion percentage of 47.7 TDs: 12 INTs: 12

        He'd be out of the league by the time

      • by cyn1c77 (928549)

        What? Were you really fooled into thinking that one administration was going to be heads and tails above another? If you were let me be the first to say I'm sorry. We will not see a truely progressive politician make it to the presidency until we get a viable third party. And even then it's a long shot.

        I don't think we will see a truly progressive politician until we (the people) elect one. But instead we continue to be shepherded by mass media and corporations.

        I used to get upset about it, but I have now decided that we actually have the government we deserve. The majority of voters devote minimal time to researching our candidates and mostly select them by party affiliation, by their standing on hot button issues like abortion and gay marriage, and by who our friends are voting for. No one votes fo

      • by MindlessAutomata (1282944) on Thursday July 09, 2009 @03:56PM (#28642111)

        Not all of us want a "progressive politician"--I don't want a politician making my own life decisions and choices for me, whether it's a corrupt one or one that honestly believes that nonsense.

  • by frovingslosh (582462) on Thursday July 09, 2009 @12:24PM (#28638913)
    Well, they can certainly say "come and see where you tax money is being wasted", one needs look no farther than the website.
    • by mcgrew (92797)

      I'm reminded of a sig I saw at slashdot: "Oh look, my tax dollars at work coming to arrest me". At least this money isn't going to people who want to jail all the dopers, now THAT'S even worst waste of tax dollars, and evil to boot.

      I wonder how much they waste on their "partnership dor a drug-free Amerikkka web site?

    • I can't wait until the website is complete and consists of a single JPEG with the CEO grabbing his nut sack to a caption of, "Come and see where you tax money is being wasted! I gots it right here bitches!"
    • by copponex (13876) on Thursday July 09, 2009 @03:20PM (#28641643) Homepage

      I get tired of these stories. You could claim it's a waste of money to spend 18 million for setting up a transparency website and then running it for a few years. But put these stories into perspective by visiting DefenseLink every day to view how much of your tax dollars are being "invested."

      http://www.defenselink.mil/contracts/contract.aspx?contractid=4067 [defenselink.mil]

      Yesterday alone we awarded over 120 million dollars. The day before that we awarded over 500 million dollars in contracts - I got too disgusted to continue adding the numbers.

      So, would I rather not waste 18 million dollars? Sure. But I'd rather spend it on something constructive than destructive. A website about government spending is way more valuable to me than another novel way to hunt and kill humans.

  • "will use innovative and interactive technologies to help taxpayers see where their dollars are being spent"

    My advise? Set up a page with an animated GIF showing an odometer counting up with blurry numbers, and just take the $18 million.

  • This is idiotic (Score:3, Interesting)

    by alexborges (313924) on Thursday July 09, 2009 @12:25PM (#28638931)

    Whomever is purchasing this is a plain idiot: there is NO WAY a site costs that much.

    I mean, guys, the horrid system for paying taxes in Mexico is only two million more expensive than what they are attempting here and hey, the mexican system sort-of works (it has to: gov only takes taxes through the site nowdays).

    That one is also hugely overpriced, but also my country has very poor transparency in government spending: we expect this kind of things to happen here in thirdworldland: are you guys heading this way?

    If so, as a fellow citizen of the world, I bid you: TURN AROUND NOW.

    Demand, regardless of partisanship, to know exactly how and in what is all that and all other money being spent.

    Demos did it very well with halliburton (and now THATS money: 20 mil is chump change for those guys), reps should drive this one to the last consequences accordingly: without a vigilant opposition, democratic governments cannot be called that anymore.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday July 09, 2009 @12:26PM (#28638937)

    There's already a website that clearly illustrates where the tax dollars towards stimulus are going, in innovative and exciting ways!

    I think it's called goatse.cx, or something like that.

    • by db32 (862117)
      You sir have given me a brilliant political activism idea. Take the goatse picture, blow it up, put it on a poster, and put the tag line "Pull Your Head Out Of Your Ass!". It would be the perfect sign, and it would work for almost any protest!
  • Irony (Score:4, Insightful)

    by kevinNCSU (1531307) on Thursday July 09, 2009 @12:26PM (#28638941)
    You have to wonder if these people have either a wonderful sense of irony or no understanding of the word at all. To pay 18 million to create a website that will show where our money is going is so ludicrous I thought I had clicked the bookmark to go to The Onion instead.
  • I don't like that word "interactive." All web sites are interactive - this ain't TV. Usually "interactive" means "uses fancy animations via Flash and/or Silverlight." Which means "is slow and not very accessible."

    If they went with someone like Happy Cog [happycog.com] they would have a standards-based design that would be fast and accessible and look shiny too. I guess we'll see what they come up with.

    (Of course, I haven't discussed the server side, which no doubt will be the heavy lifting.)

  • Drupal (Score:2, Interesting)

    by Eddy Luten (1166889)
    I wonder if they're going to replace Drupal or if they are cashing out $18 million for an interface/theme overhaul.
  • by waldoj (8229) <waldoNO@SPAMjaquith.org> on Thursday July 09, 2009 @12:29PM (#28639001) Homepage Journal

    Those of us who are website developers will recognize the misuse of "design" committed by ABC News here. To a layperson, "design" means "make" when it comes to websites. They're not spending $18M to redesign the website (presumably), but presumably on a total overhaul of the thing.

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by sycodon (149926)

      At $100,000 per employee, you could hire 10 developers, buy all the best equipment and development tools and spend 10 years on the project and still have money left over.

      Remember, this is the kind of process they would bring to health care.

      • by sycodon (149926)

        I forgot to add, they could start from scratch and build it from the ground up.

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by H0p313ss (811249)

        At $100,000 per employee, you could hire 10 developers, buy all the best equipment and development tools and spend 10 years on the project and still have money left over.

        Remember, this is the kind of process they would bring to health care.

        Someone in the government makes a bad IT contracting decision and that somehow reflects on how a health system will be run? Whatever you're smoking I want some.

        • I don't think that was the point. I think the point is that everything the government touches becomes this bloated waste of taxpayer money rather than whatever the original intent of the project was.
        • by swillden (191260)

          Someone in the government makes a bad IT contracting decision and that somehow reflects on how a health system will be run?

          If this were an isolated incident you'd have a point. But it's not.

          If we're going to go to a government-run health care system, at least we should do it at the state level. Some of the states will screw it up badly, of course, but others will do it well, and (with one or two notable exceptions) the states have proven to be much more fiscally responsible.

          Plus there's also the fact that the federal government has absolutely no constitutional authority to get involved in health care, not that we pay any

        • He's saying that the government spends a dollar to buy a dime. That site would cost $100,000 to put up and maybe $100,000 a year to maintain - less than 3% of the cost they're proposing. They keep at this pace and they are going to get 3 billion dollars worth for spending a trillion.
      • by mcgrew (92797) on Thursday July 09, 2009 @02:56PM (#28641317) Homepage Journal

        Remember, this is the kind of process they would bring to health care.

        Ok, this is oftopic but I'll respond anyway, just because I've lost friends because they had no health care. You may be right and they may fuck it up royally, but just because government does something doesn't always mean they do it badly. They only do it badly if the people they hire to do it are incompetent.

        My city's government (Springfield) owns our power company, CWLP (whose manager, Todd Renfrow, is a dead ringer for Mr. Burns; do a google image search). We have the cheapest and most reliable electricity in the state. The problem isn't bad government, the prpoblem is bad PEOPLE in government. It took five days to get water to the Superdome because Bush hired an incompetent crony to run FEMA. Had we a competent President who appointed people for skillsets rather than good old buddies, Katrina wouldn't have been the clusterfuck it was.

        But when you elect people to government who think that government is always the problem and never the solution, you're not going to have very good government.

        • by sycodon (149926) on Thursday July 09, 2009 @03:20PM (#28641653)

          Ahem,
          http://www.realclearpolitics.com/articles/2006/05/katrina_what_the_media_missed.html

          Summary:
          No water Shortage.
          No food Shortage.
          No murders, rapes, etc.

          It was all media bullshit that made for dramatic stories.

          It may make you feel better to blame Bush for imaginary problems, but to the extend there were problems, Nagel and Blanco were the primary fuck ups. The most you can blame FEMA and Bush for is not telling the dipsticks in LA government to get the hell out of the way and then do what needed to be done.

          Nagel should have evacuated the fucking city like he was asked to do.

        • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

          by radtea (464814)

          just because government does something doesn't always mean they do it badly.

          The track record of the US federal government in the past 20 years is appallingly bad, and pointing fingers at specific members of the Party is misleading and distracting from the central issue, which is that the US federal government is systemically broken.

          The Yucca Mountain debacle is iconic in this regard: members of both wings of the Party failed over multiple administrations and changes in congressional control to effectively

    • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

      by basementman (1475159)
      $18 million to overhaul the whole thing is still a ripoff. Unless they are burning money to power their webserver it's incredibly overpriced.
  • row_id , capital_account, account_name, date_paid, amount_paid, scum_sucking_leech_getting_my_tax_dollars, address

    That's about all taxpayers really need. The other 17.9 million is pretty expensive lipstick for that pig.
  • Give them $1 now and then 1% of any savings the taxpayers receive from identifying wasteful spending using this new innovative and interactive web site.

  • by WillAdams (45638) on Thursday July 09, 2009 @12:34PM (#28639087) Homepage

    For that kind of money they could put a copy of the ``Death and Taxes'' poster:

    http://www.wallstats.com/deathandtaxes/ [wallstats.com]

    in almost every schoolroom and courtroom and courthouse in the country.

    William

  • Counterexample (Score:5, Insightful)

    by oldhack (1037484) on Thursday July 09, 2009 @12:36PM (#28639109)
    They've better not "improve" it like they are doing it to slashdot.
  • well... (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Thursday July 09, 2009 @12:50PM (#28639345)

    My guess is that its not 18 million on just developing the site. To get that high of a numer they are probably redoing their entire infrastructure. You're talking licensing which in a corporate envioronment can hit 10 million easy.

    Then you're also talking paying developers to create custom applications, build databases, etc..

    If you've ever worked in a corporate environment dropping 10 million on an infrastructure is nothing. Not saying its right or ok, just saying most people probably have no idea the cost of things.

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by david.emery (127135)

      This is a valid point, and I'd be interested to hear from Slashdotters with experience on what they think it would take to start from Ground Zero to produce a "production quality" (including IA/North Korea DDOS attack-proof) infrastructure & content, including hosting facility costs for, let's say, 5 years.

  • First pass (Score:4, Insightful)

    by evil_aar0n (1001515) on Thursday July 09, 2009 @12:52PM (#28639369)

    Don't forget: this is only the first pass. I'm sure there will be overruns, missed deadlines, re-designs, etc. This $18 mil is just the start.

  • Well, for free... (Score:2, Interesting)

    by tjstork (137384)

    You can go here: http://www.treatyist.com/issue1/mystimulus.aspx [treatyist.com]

    It's a cheesy ASP.NET app that lets you build your own stimulus package. You can pick out all sorts of cool stuff like windmill farms, nuclear power plants, fiestaware for everybody, camaros and the country of iceland.

    It's not much more than a day's labor... but, if you want to imagine what could have been done with 800 billion dollars of stimulus money, it's kinda fun. It's my own stupid page but its relevant to the discussion and besides, i

  • for the implementation of innovative technologies and up to date standards on the web, what with their own homepage's [smartronix.com] use of a table-based design, inline javascript, and .NET with an utter lack of validation [w3.org].
  • Read the RFP (Score:5, Insightful)

    by gorbachev (512743) on Thursday July 09, 2009 @01:04PM (#28639549) Homepage

    https://www.fbo.gov/index?s=opportunity&mode=form&id=9745fb34e48a36a32b4fc589c3e371cb&tab=core&_cview=1&cck=1&au=&ck=

    The Federal Business Opportunities website listed this opportunity a few weeks ago (could've been up longer than that, who knows).

    It's not "just a website". It's a bit of a cluster**** in terms of number of data sources, what they expect to do with the data, etc.

    I've done my time (never again!) with sorting through data from various data sources and while the actual programming part is *usually* not that difficult (assuming the data is not too badly malformed), but there are so many problems with processes, dealing with crap data, exceptions, etc. that if I were bidding for this work, I'd inflate my estimates quite a bit, too.

  • I just went to the site. It is hard to navigate and I couldn't find anything I was looking for. I don't know if 18 million is enough to fix it...
  • Holy crap, is my company seriously undercharging for the work we do. What in the hell is it with companies that take government contracts that get away with charging such an absurd amount of money for work?

    This is what we get when idiots in government don't ever shop around like any sensible person at any company would. Although what reason do they have to care what these projects cost when it's not their own money? They'll just raise taxes on us. And then I'm supposed to feel good about the taxes I pay.

    Lik

  • I'm not saying $18M is cheap, but if you really want transparency about where tax dollars go it'll cost you. It costs even more if you want something that is simple and straightforward enough for "average" Americans to use and understand...
  • by Billly Gates (198444) on Thursday July 09, 2009 @04:10PM (#28642299) Journal

    They can't even run a simple website without spending tens of millions of dollars and this is the same government that bankrupted social security. How many people would someone need to hire for $18,000,000 to run a simple website?

    Now they want to put our great grandchildren further in debt by a second stimulus [boom2bust.com]?

    I admitted I voted for Obama because I assumed he would balance the budget like Clinton. In addition, I figured anyone could be more fiscally responsible than Bush and Hannity and Rush's fanatic complaints about him being a big spending liberal would be way off. I was proven wrong. Instead I have another idea if you want to help the economy. Cut government spending. After we have lower interest rates from less panicy government bond holders we will have a revenue increase and once books are balanced the need to hire again will return. If no one wants something a big check wont help the economy. The market needs to fix it and the government needs to help the market rather than prohibit it by making them pay for socialistic recovery schemes.

Lo! Men have become the tool of their tools. -- Henry David Thoreau

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