Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Serious Energy

Washington DC, the Land Of Ten Thousand Leaks, has offered up Obama's choice for Energy Secretary, and for once there's no doubt it's a home run. The candidate? Nobel prize winner and Lawrence Berkeley Labs director Dr. Steven Chu.
The Lawrence Berkeley Web site says Chu was an early advocate for finding scientific solutions to climate change and has guided the laboratory on a new mission to become the world leader in alternative and renewable energy research, particularly the development of carbon-neutral sources of energy.

That experience will be useful as the next energy secretary, as Obama wants to spend billions of dollars to promote alternative energy sources and create millions of green energy jobs.

A spokesman for the Lawrence Berkeley laboratory offered no comment on the prospect of Chu becoming the next energy secretary. Chu is traveling abroad in Asia and Europe and will be back at work on Monday, he said.

Chu is a scientist and advocate of alternative energy, not a politician. With his pretty much impeccable scientific credentials, we'd have a cabinet official who actually knew what the hell his department was regulating. The NY Times has a pretty good bio on Dr. Chu as well, they inform us that his former jobs bring a lot to the table:
Chairman of the physics department at Stanford, and head of the electronics research laboratory at Bell Labs. Since 2004, he has been director of the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, which has 4,000 employees and a budget of about $650 million. The lab is owned by the Energy Department and operated under contract by the University of California; Dr. Chu was chosen for the job by the university but approved by the Energy Department. He shifted the lab’s work more heavily into research into advanced biofuels, artificial photosynthesis and other solar energy research. He has been a vocal proponent of vigorous steps to control greenhouse gas emissions.
Yeah. This is the type of person we need to help spearhead the US effort for committed, serious climate change across the globe, not another Bush/Cheney oil company/nookular plant yes man like Sam Bodman and Spencer Abraham. Good for Obama. Very good.

Obama And Blago

BooMan rolls out some excellent points on why Blagogate is making Obama look like the Last Great Boy Scout in Chicago politics.
I'm hesitant to defend anybody in the Blagojevich Scandal until more of the facts are known, but BarbinMD has posted exactly what I wanted to say on the matter. It appears that the event that precipitated Blago's downfall was a phone call Barack Obama made to president of the Illinois Senate Emil Jones Jr. in September requesting that Jones Jr. throw his support behind a new ethics bill. The ethics bill quickly passed and is set to go into effect in January. Blagojevich reacted to this by ramping up his corrupt efforts to raise cash before the new law precluded him from doing so. When Fitzgerald got wind of Blago's efforts, he was able to secure a wiretap warrant. The rest is history.

In spite of this, there are a host of articles out there that attempt to tarnish Obama's reputation and good name by tying him to the governor's corruption. But the facts we have right now are exculpatory.

1. It was Obama's successful push for an Ethics Bill that precipitated the governor's downfall.
2. The prosecutor explicitly stated that there is no hint of wrongdoing by the president-elect.
3. Barack Obama denies haven't any direct discussions with the governor.
4. The governor said, on tape, that the Obama Team was "not willing to give me anything except appreciation. Fuck them." He also called Obama a 'motherf*cker'.

Based on the set of facts we have right now, Obama looks admirably unscathed. In fact, it looks like his advocacy of higher ethics standards is what led to Blago's exposure as a rank crook.

In other words, Obama forced Blago's scummy hand and he got sloppy. Fitz in turn got his wiretaps. Blago in turn got busted.

Seems open and shut.

If only it were really that simple.

Year End Sales

On punditry, that is. Foreign Policy magazine takes a look at the ten biggest bonehead predictions of 2008, the losers include Bill Kristol, Jim "Mad Money" Kramer, Don Luskin and of course, Chuckles Krauthammer.


Zandar's Thought Of The Day

This morning Time Magazine asks bluntly "Can Obama Escape The Taint Of Blagojevich?"

If you're asking that question, not only do you already know the answer to it, but you're perpetuating that answer as well.


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