MorsiMeter tracks Egyptian president's first 100 days

In June, when Mohamad Morsi was elected president of Egypt, replacing the military transition government, he claimed that he would fulfill 64 promises within the first 100 days. That very same day, the website MorsiMeter was up and running to keep track of his progress. It's been about a week since the 100 day mark has passed and the weighing in has begun.

MorsiMeter is the creation of social entrepreneurs Amr Sobhy, Abbas Ibrahim and Safwat Mohamed, modeled after PolitiFact's Obameter. By crowdsourcing through their mobile app and website, MorsiMeter compiles information from a variety of sources (official, opposition and social media) in addition to direct communication with the presidential office to document initiatives implemented or in progress. MorsiMeter is as 2012 recipient of the U.N World Summit Youth Award which the team also won in 2011 for the anti-corruption initiative Zabatak. They consider MorsiMeter to be a "data tool" and strive to "empower the average citizen through sharing of information about crimes and corruption" while staying as neutral as possible.

Their report is now out and according to MorsiMeter, the baseline stats say that the president has achieved 10 out of 64 goals and that another 24 are in progress. This leaves 30 more promises "not spotted", to use to their terminology.

To provide a more nuanced look at what has actually been done, objectives are broken down into five categories: Traffic, Security, Fuel, Bread and Environmental Cleanliness. Many plans in progress are geared toward using financial incentives tied to citizen satisfaction to promote performance in civil servants and police, coordinating between the government and civil society, or using social institutions such as Friday sermons to promote civic behavior such as not throwing trash on the street.

The president's achievements include cracking down on fuel smugglers, providing waste disposal services for reasonable fees, using radio reports to decrease traffic congestion, and increasing the nutritional value of bread while subsidizing bakeries for potential crises.

Several of the "not spotted" promises, such as building new government centers out of urban areas, are additionally large undertakings that couldn't be accomplished in a 100 days. And to be honest, even if there are campaigns to make people follow road rules and traffic lights, it's not going to take effect immediately.

Is it fair to judge Morsi based on 100 days alone? Maybe, maybe not. Online voters at MorsiMeter have an overall satisfaction level of 39 percent. But given the recent clashes and all the hype surrounding this rather arbitrary deadline, Egyptians need to figure out what their real expectations are.



How many idiot jihadis can the FBI fool?

Here we go again:

Federal authorities on Wednesday charged a 21-year-old Bangladeshi man with conspiring to blow up the Federal Reserve Bank in Lower Manhattan, after he tried to detonate a van filled with what he believed to be explosives.

The entire plot was in fact an elaborate F.B.I. sting.

As I wrote in February after the FBI arrested a man who accepted what the thought was an explosive vest on Capitol Hill:

the story is similar to that of Rezwan Ferdaus, who was arrested last September in the midst of a plot to attack the Capitol with a remote-controlled aircraft. ...The case is also similar to that Farooque Ahmed, who thought he was going to blow up the DC Metro system in 2010, Mohamed Osman Mohamud, who thought he was going to blow up a Christmas tree-lighting ceremony in Portland Oregon in 2010, David Williams, who thought he was going to blow up a Bronx synagogue in 2009, and the "Fort Dix Five," who thought they were going to attack a New Jersey military base in 2006.

The FBI report on the Federal Reserve plot is here.  Quazi Mohammad Rezwanul Ahsan Nafis had been in touch with the FBI's undercover informant since July. Nafis apparently came to the U.S. with the intention of waging jihad, and -- according to the report -- came up with the idea of bombing the Federal Reserve himself, after first considering the Stock Exchange.  But it's pretty clear that he was nudged along in his plan by the agent posing as an al Qaeda member and facilitator, who gave him the impression that his actions were approved by al Qaeda leadership.

For instance, in September, Nafis said he wanted to return to Bangladesh prior to the attack, but was told by the agent that while he was "free to return home at any time, NAFIS could not travel internationally if NAFIS truly intended to carry out his attack with al Qaeda's assistance." The source even accepted an article from Nafis, giving him the impression that it would be published in Inspire magazine.

This is going to raise more questions about the degree to which law enforcement agents are actually the ones concocting these plots by Muslim immigrants who did not, actually, have any connection to al Qaeda --  though Nafis seems to have been a more active participant than some of his predecessors. 

It's also pretty amazing that this keeps working.