In Kenya, the answer is no one at all
In Kenya, the answer is no one at all.
I’ve long thought that the recently announced Office of Urban Policy will be one of the most exciting places to work in Barack Obama’s administration. The as-of-yet unconfirmed reports that Bronx borough president Adolfo Carrion will head the newest part of the executive branch suggests that it could also be among the greenest. I caught up with Carrion in July, while producing a short film on green building. We met outside Melrose Commons, an affordable housing development in the Bronx that is uber-friendly to the environment, in terms of energy consumption, water use and indoor air quality.
Obama's energy and environment team—a Nobel scientist at the Department of Energy, a California bureaucrat at the Council on Environmental Quality (CEQ), and the first African American (from New Jersey!) to head the EPA—is, well, fairly gangster. In response to the good news, particularly the changes at CEQ, Grist's Dave Roberts emails: To head up the White House Council on Environmental Quality, George W. Bush chose the odious and oleaginous James L. Connaughton, a pasty balding white guy's pasty balding white guy. Obama just chose a lesbian born in South America.
Among the major reorganizing principles telegraphed in the early days after president-elect Barack Obama’s win, I’m most intrigued by his announcement of an office of urban policy, to be stationed in the White House proper.
I'm sifting through the impeccably organized 55-chapter "Change for America" volume released today by the Center for American Progress. A call for swift and sound environmental action, from infrastructure development to the creation of a White House level "National Energy Council" wafts through several of the sections on general domestic, economic and national security policy. CAP also includes microtargeted chapters on the Departments of Transportation, Energy, Environmental Protection, Agriculture and the Interior (yes, that one).
Yesterday’s transition briefing at the office of the president-elect in Washington offered a lot of teases for the environmental community. Co-chair John Podesta, speaking on behalf of the new brass, fielded specific questions on the auto industry bailout and California's EPA waiver—some proof that energy action is firmly implanted in the political debate. Here, we’ve discussed the mixed merits of the former and the necessity of the latter, but it’s worth reproducing the new administration’s funny little dance on both.
Brad smartly flags Al Gore's high-profile, nudge-filled essay in the New York Times yesterday, speaking of “the Climate for Change” suggested by this historic election, and, naturally, climate change. We know the story by now: America is in energy crisis, and has been in such trouble, he writes, since the age of Nixon (the end of which, I think, we can now see from here.) Dovetailing off the last-minute campaign spat link on “clean coal” and the future of America’s energy industries, Gore writes: “If the coal industry can make good on this promise, then I’m all for it.
My father, a welcome, perennial source of "wait and see"-ism during this campaign season, relays his experience voting first thing this morning, in sunny Hyde Park (yes, "that one"): I wanted to vote early. I came out of our driveway at 6:30 and the whole street, both sides of our street, were just lined with American flags—the whole way to Obama's house. I don't know who did it but I've never seen anything like it. They changed the voting area, so it was at Shoesmith [Middle School]. And it turned out we were all waiting because of Obama.
Fouad Ajami has a rather provocative take on "Obama and the Politics of Crowds" up at the Wall Street Journal today. He marks the unreality of 75,000 Americans gathering in Portland, or 80,000 in Denver, or 100,000 in Missouri to see and hear the Democrat speak. He repeats the well-worn idea that public attraction to Obama lies in his being a "blank slate"--an observation that the candidate has himself advanced. Further, he notes that Hitherto, crowds have not been a prominent feature of American politics.