FreeThought Fort Wayne

        Be Reasonable

Opinions are like…

Posted by Skeptigator on November 5, 2008

Well maybe I won’t finish that title but you get the idea.

Now that the 800-day election cycle has just been completed and Barack Obama appears to be the President-Elect he is sure going to get a lot of advice, some of it requested much of it not. Over the next few months he’ll be planning his transition to the White House, figuring out his first steps not only from a policy perspective but who he’s going to appoint into Cabinet positions and other “spoils of war”.

If you were asked to sit at the table when Obama makes out his policy initiatives, what would be, say, the top 5? Who should he pick, either specifically or general descriptions of qualifications, for key Cabinet positions?

These are pretty much open-ended questions, but try to keep the suggestions FreeThought-y…

Here are some of my thoughts to kick off the discussion

  • Actually pay attention to your US Office of Science and Technology (aka the President’s Science Advisor)…
  • Significant funding for alt-fuel/energy, a Manhattan-style project (might I suggest SciAm’s Grand Solar Plan)
  • Disband the Faith-Based Initiatives program
  • Close Guantanamo Bay
  • End the Cuban embargo (last time I checked the Cold War was over)
  • Revise our Trademark/Patent system
  • Maintain Net Neutrality (yes it’s totally nerd but you’ll be surprised how you could be affected).

Cabinet positions

  • Warren Buffet for Treasury Secretary
  • Hillary Clinton as Secretary of State (or maybe Department of Health)
  • Al Gore at the Department of Energy (or perhaps the EPA)
  • Sarah Palin, Ambassador to Antartica
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7 Responses to “Opinions are like…”

  1. Ned said

    Net Neutrality should be on top of the list. It’s of such importance to free speech that without it, the medium to discuses all the other ideas might be curtailed. I’m feeling a little defeated when it comes to this particular subject, almost every day there is a new negative development on net neutrality.

  2. yea I didn’t really put them in priorty, I’d probably put alt-energy at the top. Who cares about Net Neutrality when we’re all underwater or fighting over water. 😉

  3. Butter said

    All excellent choices. Also, increase NASA’s budget, put “understand and protect our home planet” back in its mission statement (it was yanked in 2006), see the Orion ship and Ares launch vehicle through to completion (or else we’re dead in the water and losing against China), and fund the damn Terrestrial Planet Finder and Europa probe missions. Seriously, the TPF is a giant machine that can find any nearby habitable planets. Since we’re wounding this one, it might be a good long-term investment.

    Restoring habeas corpus, repudiating executive signing statements, and ending illegal FISA wiretapping would be nice too.

    Oh, and universal, single-payer health care. Also, legalize most narcotics, end capital punishment, and repeal the Defense of Marriage Act and recognize same-sex marriage at the federal level.

    And I want a puppy.

  4. Ned said

    Speaking of global warming and NASA, we might need to find another planet to destroy.

    on a serious note, all the things you guys listed are important, a reminder of daunting task ahead.

    Global warming is a serious problem and I often wonder how all humanity could have a quality life without destroying the planet. I remember 15 years ago I read an article discussing alarming predictions made by scientists that didn’t come true (no I’m not heading where you think I am.) One of those predictions was that earth cannot support more than 3 billion people without a significant portion living in chronic poverty and hunger. The article said this prediction turned out to be wrong because it didn’t account for advances in agriculture and that earth can now support 9 billion.

    I don’t know why, this article stuck in my memory and the more I think about it the more I believe that even the original 3 billion prediction was way too high. Global warming is not just due to consumption habits, but also to unsustainable number of people. Even today, nearly 1 billion live in constant poverty and hunger.

    Reducing population is a touchy subject even in progressive circles.

  5. Ned said

    On population, I was once watching a presentation on peak-oil by in which he made a reference to yeast and likened it to human population growth, posing the question “Are humans smarter than yeast?”

    I think David Bice mentions the yeast part in his with the section about the yeast quoted below:

    “Yeast growing in grape juice provide a good example of overshoot and collapse behavior. The yeast go after the sugar in the juice and in the process of metabolizing that sugar, they produce alcohol and carbon dioxide. As they consume the sugar, they also reproduce and their reproductive rate is dependent on the availability of food. Within a few days, at room temperature, the yeast population soars and the juice is bubbling from the release of so much CO2. But, the alcohol is a pollutant as far as the yeast are concerned and as their population rises, so does the level of alcohol. If there is enough sugar in the juice, the yeast will eventually produce so much alcohol that they start to die off rapidly and as the sugar reservoir is depleted, their reproductive rates plummet, leading to a total collapse of the population. So, in turning the juice into wine, the gluttonous, know-no-restraint yeast do themselves in.”

    Sorry I hope I’m not cluttering the comment section or going way off topic.

  6. Ned said

    sorry about the mess above… I’m going to stop using tags.

  7. Net neutrality regulations would be a bad idea.

    As for faith based initiatives, during the campaign Obama promised to greatly expand FBI and create a White House council to better bring together government and faith based community groups.

    @Ned comparing yeast reproduction seems highly disanalogous to human reproduction…yeast continue to reproduce in the face of available resources…human beings appear to actually limit their reproduction once they cross a certain wealth threshhold…moreover, yeast are not able to improve upon the environment they are handed unlike human beings who not only consume resources but also produce and repurpose them.

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