Friday, December 19, 2008

Obama, Bush, Blago, Warren and Levi

An action packed day and I've been away so let's get caught up.
Obama announces Ron Kirk for Federal Trade Representative and venture capitalist Karen Mills, administrator of the Small Business Administration. Obama announces his picks for labor, Hilda Solis, and transportation, Ron LaHood:
CNN: At a news conference in Chicago, Illinois, Obama nominated Rep. Hilda Solis for secretary of labor. She is a four-term Democratic congresswoman from Los Angeles, California.

He also nominated Republican Rep. Ray LaHood of Illinois as transportation secretary, venture capitalist Karen Mills to head the Small Business Administration and former Dallas Mayor Ron Kirk to serve as U.S. trade representative.
Will Bush pardon the shoe thrower? The shoe thrower, who has been beaten hopes so.
Blagojevich won't back down and his attorney is thuggish. I caught a few minutes of his press conference.
George Bush taps into the bank bailout money to rescue the automakers:
Politico: President Bush steps into the Roosevelt Room at 9:01 a.m. and announces a $17.4 billion bailout for GM and Chrysler, with the loans conditioned on the automakers showing a plan for 'viability' by March 31. A senior administration official told reporters during a telephone background briefing just before the president spoke that the firms need to show they can be 'profitable soon.' Ford got new financing before credit froze, and has said it does not need immediate government assistance to stay alive.
I kind of feel sorry for Bush because he seems to be a guy of limited talents forced into big shoes. He did the best he could, which wasn't good enough.
WSJ: The administrations of George W. Bush have virtually assured such a displacement by catastrophically throwing the country off balance, both politically and financially, while breaking the nation's sword in an inconclusive seven-year struggle against a ragtag enemy in two small bankrupt states. Their one great accomplishment -- no subsequent attacks on American soil thus far -- has been offset by the stunningly incompetent prosecution of the war. It could be no other way, with war aims that inexplicably danced up and down the scale, from "ending tyranny in the world," to reforging in a matter of months (with 130,000 troops) the political culture of the Arabs, to establishing a democracy in Iraq, to only reducing violence, to merely holding on in our cantonments until we withdraw.
Also, from Politico:
'Obama has yet to name his picks for senior intelligence positions; those announcements aren't expected until Obama returns from his holiday break. Several Democratic officials with knowledge of the deliberations said Friday that Dennis Blair, a retired admiral and the former head of U.S. Pacific Command, is likely - if not certain - to become director of national intelligence.'
Obama team is seriously scouring NASA's budget:
LA Times: Reporting from Washington -- Most nights it's possible to look skyward with a pair of cheap binoculars and see a $100,000 mistake circling the Earth. The glowing object -- an orbiting NASA tool bag -- was lost last month by an astronaut during a routine spacewalk.

The canvas-and-acrylic caddy contained two grease guns, a scraper, a trash bag and some wipes, hardly cutting-edge technology. So why did it cost $100,000?

NASA officials said they had no answer to that question -- beyond the fact that, as spokesman Allard Beutel put it, "space flight is expensive." That expense is drawing serious scrutiny from the incoming administration of President-elect Barack Obama.

Of 74 questions submitted to the agency by Obama's NASA transition team, more than half asked about basic spending issues, including cost overruns.
Two Obama administrations for the price of one?
WSJ: The Obama transition is putting a new twist on that idea. The president-elect is giving the country two administrations for the price of one.

The first, composed of Mr. Obama's initial wave of high-profile appointees, is full of familiar Washington veterans. This is the team that pleased moderates and even some Republicans, reassured financial markets -- and made the party's liberals complain about "retreads" and wonder what all that change rhetoric was about.

The second wave of appointments, most coming in the past week or so, is composed of lesser-known names, new faces and, all told, the kind of folks who look like the fabled "agents of change" promised in the campaign.
Obama's team lacks the ideological fervor:
But the most striking characteristic of the emerging cast of characters is this mix of old and new faces. What the two camps have in common is a general lack of obvious ideological fervor.
The gay community is really upset about Rick Warren giving his inaugural blessings. I think this guy is being elevated to more than his worth. I understand the outrage, though. An Obama advisor assures Marc Ambinder at the Atlantic that he's with gay people:
The deeper dynamic, though, is this: liberal groups are used to being treated like stepchildren in Washington. They are used to being under seige at all times, and it's going to take some adjustment to realize that gay rights are probably not in danger because of things like the Warren pick. (An Obama adviser, discussing this matter with me, urged patience, saying that Obama is committed to the substance of his campaign promises to expand gay rights.)
A little private reassurance would go a long way, and it seems that the Obama team ihas not accounted for the fact that everyone, on all sides, is going through a period of psychological adjustment from the Bush years.
This includes liberal interest groups accustomed to being slapped around by Bush and taken for granted by Bill Clinton.
Rick Warren praises Obama's "courage." Seems to me Warren could've offered a bit more humility to the gay community. Warren will be on Dateline tonight declaring that he's not homophobic. I think Warren is too big for his britches. That's the one of the problems with the choice of Warren. It validates his views. But he's not worth the fuss.
I commend President-elect Obama for his courage to willingly take enormous heat from his base by inviting someone like me, with whom he doesn't agree on every issue, to offer the Invocation at his historic Inaugural ceremony.

Hopefully individuals passionately expressing opinions from the left and the right will recognize that both of us have shown a commitment to model civility in America.

The Bible admonishes us to pray for our leaders. I am honored by this opportunity to pray God's blessing on the office of the President and its current and future inhabitant, asking the Lord to provide wisdom to America's leaders during this critical time in our nation's history.
Mike Madden of Salon asks: How the hell did Warren get inauguration tickets?
All the people at Salon are angry about Warren:
Even on vacation, I can't quite get over the choice of pastor Rick Warren to give Barack Obama's inaugural invocation. I'm all for Obama (and Republicans, for that matter) reaching out to the other side. I am not theoretically opposed to Obama choosing an antiabortion gay-rights critic; I'm opposed to Warren himself. He's a poster boy for kinder, gentler 21st century bigotry, and Obama shouldn't validate him with this lofty symbolic role.
Sarah Palin's daughter's Bristol's soon to be mother-in-law (Levi Johnston's mom) is busted on drug charges. The Palin clan never stops making news.