Day: December 20, 2008

The Obama Cabinet is Completed

The Obama cabinet is now complete, and it is obviously a centrist, well balanced group.  It includes people of experience and talent and accomplishment, and also reflects diversity.

There are three women in the cabinet, along with three Hispanics, two Asian Americans, one African American, and two Republicans.  Additionally, there are excellent selections for the National Security Adviser, Environmental Protection Agency Administrator, United Nations Ambassador, White House Press Secretary, White House Counsel, Office of Management and Budget Director, Director of the National Economic Council, Chief of Staff and various Science appointments.

Obama has also selected four of his presidential rivals–Joe Biden, Hillary Clinton, Bill Richardson, and Tom Vilsack–for his cabinet and he has shown willingness to include people who will challenge him and offer him varying alternatives on economic, social and foreign policy.  This is all to the good, and bodes well for the success of the Obama Presidency!

Governor Rod Blagojevich and the Illinois Senate seat

It is obvious that embattled Governor Rod Blagojevich of Illinois will not resign and is very willing to bottleneck Illinois state government while federal prosecutor Patrick Fitzgerald pursues the case against him and while the Illinois legislature moves forward on  a possible impeachment.

His public statement on Friday revealed nothing other than the fact he will continue to fight to his "last breath".  This means that the Illinois Senate seat left vacant by the resignation of President Elect Barack Obama will not be filled any time soon.  Basically, the Senate seat is being held hostage and the state of Illinois will therefore, likely, have a vacant Senate seat when the new Congress opens on January 6.

This is an intolerable situation that, unfortunately, has no short term solution, and  is to be regarded with great regret.  Hopefully, it will not drag on for months and deny Illinoisans their proper representation.  The Illinois legislature needs to be prompt in its action against this renegade governor!

The Crazy Minnesota Senate Race

The Minnesota Senate race between Senator Norm Coleman (R) and former talk show host and comedian Al Franken (D) has still not been decided six and a half weeks after the elections.

Out of nearly three million votes, Coleman held a lead of about 200 votes for a long time, but now Franken has surged ahead to about an equal lead, and there are observers who think the race will not be decided by January 6, when the new Congress convenes.  There may be lawsuits, and meanwhile, a possible temporary appointment of an interim senator by Governor Tim Pawlenty. 

This mess was created because of the decision of interim Senator Dean Barkley (I), appointed as a replacement for Senator Paul Wellstone who died in a plane crash in 2002, and only served about six weeks in office, to seek the seat as an independent candidate.  He won about 15 percent of the vote and the result is this unbelieveably close contest between the two major contenders.  It could rival the closest election ever, a four vote lead in  New Hampshire in 1974.  It could be that the Senate will refuse to seat either candidate and force a new election, a runoff of these two candidates, with no one else allowed on the ballot.

When one looks at the crazy way many people filled out their paper ballots, it creates controversy as to intent of those voters and makes one really wonder why it is that the simple act of voting is so difficult for ordinary citizens to fathom.  It does not, certainly, promote the belief that many voters have the judgment to follow simple directions and do their duty as citizens in a proper way!

Geraldine Ferraro and Caroline Kennedy

Former Congresswoman Geraldine Ferraro of New York, the Vice Presidential nominee who ran with Walter Mondale in the 1984 Presidential election, has made controversy again.

Ferraro was a strong critic of Barack Obama during the Presidential campaign, being a strong supporter of Hillary Clinton, which was her right.  But she utilized nasty tactics that bordered on racism, in the minds of many observers.  She was no help to Hillary Clinton, actually in many ways undermining her candidacy and proving to be a sore loser when her candidate did not win the nomination.

Now Ferraro has made clear her opposition to Caroline Kennedy’s possible appointment to replace Hillary Clinton in the Senate, an appointment to be decided by Governor David Paterson.  Ferraro claims that Caroline Kennedy has no experience to serve in the Senate, as if Hillary Clinton or Ted Kennedy had any equivalent experience before they became senators. 

It is obvious this is simply Ferraro’s way of getting revenge, because Caroline Kennedy had the gall to endorse Barack Obama early in the presidential campaign.  This is unbecoming of Ferraro, who again displays what I have long believed.  That is, Ferraro was insufficiently experienced to be Walter Mondale’s running mate in 1984 and hurt him much like Sarah Palin hurt the campaign of John McCain.  She stands out as the only poor choice for a running mate that any Democratic nominee for President has ever picked.  Who is she to talk about qualifications if she looks in the mirror, heh?  🙁

Obama and Science, Technology. Energy, and the Environment

One of the most encouraging aspects of the upcoming Obama Administration is its move toward recognizing the importance of appointing influential scientists who promote the return of science and technology to the forefront of our government after eight years of allowing religious zealots to rule the day and work against the science and technology communities.  Additionally, Obama understands the importance of utilizing alternative sources of energy and the promotion of environmental causes as espoused by Nobel Prize winner and former Vice President Al Gore.

The age of know nothingism, in which Christianity was allowed to trump science, thankfully, is ending, and it can only mean progress for the future of our country and planet.  It is very refreshing that we have an intelligent president about to take office, who has the proper understanding of the long range effect of science, technology, energy and the environment.  May he succeed in transforming our role and making us a leader again in these areas so crucial to the future of the nation and the world!