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PostPosted: Thu Jan 22, 2009 6:54 am 
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Living in hope
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This is a thread for discussing the decisions and actions of the new Obama administration. As I write this it appears that Obama will issue an executive order tomorrow calling for the closure of Guantánamo within one year. He has already suspended the military tribunals that were operating there. He's met with his military advisors and told them to develop a plan for withdrawal from Iraq.

Which campaign promises is he keeping? Which will he be unable to keep? And how long will his honeymoon last?

More specifically, what do you think of the steps being announced every day? Is this what you voted for? Is it what you voted against? Or are you surprised?

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― J.R.R. Tolkien, The Return of the King


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PostPosted: Thu Jan 22, 2009 7:13 am 
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bioalchemist
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So far I have no complaints but the guy's only been in office 38 hours and 12 minutes. :P Well, I'd like Gitmo shut down faster but I understand why it can't be. But just the fact he's signing these orders sends the right signals. And I appreciate that it's in the news. We hired him to Get Busy and Do Stuff. I am very pleased that he is, in fact, Getting Busy and Doing Stuff. He's going to face some fighting over the things he can't just sign off on as executive orders, but the fact that he's jumping in and doing the things he can do by himself and quickly is heartening.

ETA: I am already sensing a pleasant shift in public attitudes towards science and scientists. It feels friendlier now. Obama was setting that tone through his campaign and transition but just in the past day it's really started to settle in. How that'll translate in terms of funding, who knows? If he's going to go Manhattan project on alternative energy that'll put a squeeze on life science (where I am) but we'll see what happens. I am young. I am flexible. If I keep my head up and eyes open I can get a piece of this pie. And even if I can't, just the fact the environment is friendlier means a lot.

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PostPosted: Thu Jan 22, 2009 7:31 am 
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Living in hope
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You can't squeeze life science and keep producing medical miracles. I think you guys won't be squeezed. Medical miracles make votes. And they keep voters alive (raises hand).

That's just it. These people are smart.

Or, rather, they seem willing and able to put reason ahead of ideology, as the no-doubt-perfectly-smart appointees of the previous administration were not.

It seems so . . . weird to think that policy might be formed by . . . by what makes sense. :shock:

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“There, peeping among the cloud-wrack above a dark tor high up in the mountains, Sam saw a white star twinkle for a while. The beauty of it smote his heart, as he looked up out of the forsaken land, and hope returned to him. For like a shaft, clear and cold, the thought pierced him that in the end the Shadow was only a small and passing thing: there was light and high beauty for ever beyond its reach.”
― J.R.R. Tolkien, The Return of the King


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PostPosted: Thu Jan 22, 2009 2:26 pm 
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He also froze the salaries of White House staffers making more than $100,000. And he suspended implementation of last minute regulations of the Bush regulation, pending review. Good moves, both.

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PostPosted: Thu Jan 22, 2009 3:14 pm 
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I also like his new rules regarding lobbyists.

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PostPosted: Thu Jan 22, 2009 3:20 pm 
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Oh yeah, forgot to mention that one. Yes indeedy.

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PostPosted: Thu Jan 22, 2009 3:55 pm 
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Changing the emphasis on the Freedom of Information Act in favor of openness and away from government secrecy is a great move.

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PostPosted: Thu Jan 22, 2009 4:07 pm 
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Living in hope
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Apparently the pool reports from the White House press pool are going to be posted on the public White House site.

The site (here) is beautiful, redesigned in the "Obama" style. It also contains a lot of information and will have more. There's even a blog—we'll see where that goes; so often they end up being dumping grounds for press releases and nothing more, but if it's an actual blog with a discussion community, that would be a new thing.

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“There, peeping among the cloud-wrack above a dark tor high up in the mountains, Sam saw a white star twinkle for a while. The beauty of it smote his heart, as he looked up out of the forsaken land, and hope returned to him. For like a shaft, clear and cold, the thought pierced him that in the end the Shadow was only a small and passing thing: there was light and high beauty for ever beyond its reach.”
― J.R.R. Tolkien, The Return of the King


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PostPosted: Thu Jan 22, 2009 4:32 pm 
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Anybody else bugged by the pictures of him in the Oval Office as decorated by W.? It looks like he's sitting in somebody else's office.

I googled and apparently there are no immediate plans to redecorate.

I say, big mistake. I want a new look to signify the new era!


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PostPosted: Thu Jan 22, 2009 4:47 pm 
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bioalchemist
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He's got better things to do.

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PostPosted: Thu Jan 22, 2009 4:48 pm 
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I was googling for Calvin Coolidge last night (don't ask :D ) and came across the White House site that was temporarily down while it was being re designed. That was quick I thought.

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PostPosted: Thu Jan 22, 2009 4:49 pm 
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But it might strike the wrong note to spend the money right now.

I agree, though. At least, I don't know, paint? Bring in some new throw pillows? Maybe the cast of "Design on a Dime" or "Trading Spaces" could offer some help with a budget makeover. :P

And, frankly, that rug's got to go.

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“There, peeping among the cloud-wrack above a dark tor high up in the mountains, Sam saw a white star twinkle for a while. The beauty of it smote his heart, as he looked up out of the forsaken land, and hope returned to him. For like a shaft, clear and cold, the thought pierced him that in the end the Shadow was only a small and passing thing: there was light and high beauty for ever beyond its reach.”
― J.R.R. Tolkien, The Return of the King


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PostPosted: Thu Jan 22, 2009 4:54 pm 
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I think investing in a new rug might improve the performance of everyone who sets foot in the Oval Office. :D

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PostPosted: Thu Jan 22, 2009 5:00 pm 
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I like the rug. But the granny couches need to go. Need some vivid, dark colors to liven up the room.

I read that the rug cost $68,000, but it's traditional for it to go to the outgoing president's presidential library.


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PostPosted: Thu Jan 22, 2009 5:02 pm 
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Several on-air news stories indicate that the tech savvy Obama crowd was really unhappy with the actual digs they will have to work in. Apparently a combination of old fashioned technology and security restrictions make it very difficult for 2009 technology to be used by the workforce inside the Exectuive Offices. Somebody compared it to going from a X-Box to an Atari.

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There are two novels that can change a bookish fourteen-year old's life: The Lord of the Rings and Atlas Shrugged. One is a childish fantasy that often engenders a lifelong obsession with its unbelievable heroes, leading to an emotionally stunted, socially crippled adulthood, unable to deal with the real world. The other, of course, involves orcs.... John Rogers


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PostPosted: Thu Jan 22, 2009 5:03 pm 
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He was sitting at that desk yesterday without a computer and it looked weird. I thought, "how can he get anything done?"

On further thought, actually, possibly get more done without it, judging by the "mini breaks" I take to post here :P


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PostPosted: Thu Jan 22, 2009 5:12 pm 
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of Vinyamar
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If they just get a rug with the Eagles head facing the other way I'll be happy ;)

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PostPosted: Thu Jan 22, 2009 5:30 pm 
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As I understand it, the President has a private study adjoining the Oval Office where he does most of his real work. I'd guess Obama's computer is there. The Oval Office is for meetings, ceremonial signings, and photo ops.

The desk is awfully bare at this point, though maybe that's deliberate symbolism. I hope before long he'll be able to put up photos and mementos and such.

The walls could use some art.

Meanwhile, some news of the day:

Quote:
Obama signs executive order to close Guantanamo Bay

WASHINGTON (CNN) -- President Barack Obama issued four executive orders Thursday to demonstrate a clean break from the Bush administration on the war on terror, including one requiring that the U.S. military detention facility at Guantanamo Bay be closed within a year.

A second executive order formally bans torture by requiring that the Army field manual be used as the guide for terror interrogations. The order essentially ends the Bush administration's CIA program of enhanced interrogation methods.

A third executive order establishes an interagency task force to lead a systematic review of detention policies and procedures and a review of all individual cases.

A fourth executive order delays the trial of Ali al-Marri, a legal U.S. resident who has been contesting his detention for more than five years as an enemy combatant in a military brig without the government bringing any charges against him.


Link

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“There, peeping among the cloud-wrack above a dark tor high up in the mountains, Sam saw a white star twinkle for a while. The beauty of it smote his heart, as he looked up out of the forsaken land, and hope returned to him. For like a shaft, clear and cold, the thought pierced him that in the end the Shadow was only a small and passing thing: there was light and high beauty for ever beyond its reach.”
― J.R.R. Tolkien, The Return of the King


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PostPosted: Thu Jan 22, 2009 5:56 pm 
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Quote:
As I understand it, the President has a private study adjoining the Oval Office where he does most of his real work. I'd guess Obama's computer is there. The Oval Office is for meetings, ceremonial signings, and photo ops.



Oh, I didn't know that!

I heard the introduction of his economic proposal is going to be delayed by a few weeks. I wonder why?


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PostPosted: Thu Jan 22, 2009 6:12 pm 
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I like the link to Office of Public Liaison.

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