Speaking of the recovery.gov overhaul, Erik Wilde has been digging into recovery.gov from the start and has some excellent recommendations for open, transparent architecture. It's essential reading, and entirely apart from the private vs. public foodfight that Darrell Issa is engaged in.
A few years ago, I would have said that ESRI was genetically incapable of implementing an open, transparent architecture. The original Geospatial One Stop made a mockery of the web (and remains so). But there have been some signs that things are changing: bookmarkable search results, OpenSearch descriptions discoverable via links in http://geoss.esri.com/geoportal/catalog/main/home.page, Atom feeds with GeoRSS elements. It's no longer a laughable proposition.