Thursday, December 11, 2008

The adults are back in charge

One of the really nice things about the Obama appointments so far is that, even if I may not completely agree with all of their positions, at least they're extremely qualified. None of the cronyism of the Bush years. What? Brownie needs a job? How 'bout FEMA? It's not like we'll ever need them!

The best example I can think of are the appointments for the energy posts, specifically Steven Chu as Secretary of Enery. Chu is a Nobel Prize winning physicist who is currently head of the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory. Wow, a brilliant scientist in charge of a lab that spends billions to research (among other things) alternative energy technologies? While it's no guarantee that a good scientist will be a good administrator it sounds good to me and I'm excited to see what direction they take the department (here's a somewhat wonky description of a few ideas from Science or possibly even throwing some money to research on synthetic biology?).

Meanwhile, the controversial Bush appointees at NASA reportedly aren't dealing so well with the transition.
CAPE CANAVERAL – NASA administrator Mike Griffin is not cooperating with President-elect Barack Obama’s transition team, is obstructing its efforts to get information and has told its leader that she is “not qualified” to judge his rocket program, the Orlando Sentinel has learned.

In a heated 40-minute conversation last week with Lori Garver, a former NASA associate administrator who heads the space transition team, a red-faced Griffin demanded to speak directly to Obama, according to witnesses.
Griffin was brought in by Bush to accomplish the awe-inspiring task of sending humans to the moon...again. Yay. Then it's on to Mars which I admit would be pretty cool but with limited resources it makes more sense to me to focus on unmanned craft that can learn so much more about the universe. Either way NASA is at a crossroads and I'm not sure pissing off the new guy in charge is the best way to get your point across.

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