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Perhaps some promise

President-elect Obama's commitment to restore honesty to the core of federal science policy (and science-related policies) is definitely encouraging. The biggest potential pitfall is that the Bush administration also claimed to base its decisions on science - even when it censored science to serve political ends. (This involved paying lip service to science while actually subjugating it to ideology.)

I don't believe Obama will engage in this kind of deception, but it's worth keeping an eye out.

Also, Glenn Greenwald had a good piece on Salon on Friday, in which he asked when Dems haven't tolerated, included, and accommodated. And, he notes, we're suspicious of Obama's quavering and middle-seeking "because we know where it ends." And we're sick of that.

Robert Parry over at ConsortiumNews also explains that what we're seeing is more of the same, and not the Change We Need.

Beyond the question of whether you want this man to be the first person you see in the morning (except for Michelle, we hope), there are serious concerns about having the Director of National Intelligence be a member of the military (albeit retired). While Dennis Blair is a Mainer, he is also a retired four-star general. The problem here is conceptual, but could become actual. The military - and government intelligence agencies - exist to serve the civilian leadership of the country. Obviously, the military has a martial mindset. If that takes too much precedence in intelligence gathering and analysis, then our civilian leaders could be led in a direction that civilian analysts might suggest against. (UPDATE: According to the Nation, Blair made the US (more) complicit in the 1999 violence in Timor. And the NYT reports that he tried to waterski behind a destroyer he commanded in Japan.)

Also, it's very encouraging to see Obama focusing on the middle class so much. As always, the key questions: Is the middle class growing? Are middle-class people prospering? are vague and noncommittal. As the effort takes shape, let's look for serious metrics to be involved, like the number of uninsured (and underinsured), high-school and college graduation rates, and so on.

BTW, Dissident Voice last Friday began a series called, I'm guessing, "Obama's Unprogressive." Here are the first three installments: "Obama's Unprogressive People," "Obama's Unprogressive Foreign Policies," and "Obama's Unprogressive Domestic Policies." Interesting reading, for sure!

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