Friday, December 15, 2006

Bedside Manners

The big drama this week has to do with ailing South Dakota Sentator Tim Johnson, who may be 85th in the power rankings but is critical at this moment to preserving the Democrats' majority. (He also doesn't score that high on CNET's Technology Voter Guide.)

I looked up Senator Johnson's official web page, which is a remarkably simple affair that looks dated now, perhaps like one of the old Microsoft FrontPage templates. When
I hit "View Source," I also discovered that a lot of the JavaScript had been lifted, which may be kind of ironic, given his intellectual property positions and his support of the Digital Millenium Copyright Act.

// (C) 2000
// Free for all users, but leave in this header
// NS4-6,IE4-6
// Fade effect only in IE; degrades gracefully

During my visit to his site I also found out that Johnson has a son in the military who has served in Iraq, like the newly elected Senator from Virginia. I also learned that he and his wife are cancer survivors (prostate and breast respectively).

In general, I give the site a "B" grade. It's not very interactive or visually well-designed, and it was hard to find the promised "video welcome," but it does give the visitor a clear sense of Johnson's positions and his advocacy for senior citizens, veterans, and Native Americans. I wish him a speedy recovery. Right now the site has a lot of audio files to update constituents on his condition.

This preference for a lowest common denominator business look may be regional. South Dakota Governor Mike Rounds, who may have the power to replace Johnson, just has an off-the-shelf FrontPage site, according to his "View Source."



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