Wednesday, January 21, 2009

A new day

Finally, we're free of the incompetence that's governed for the last 8 years. If nothing else it was refreshing and inspirational to hear someone call the citizens of this country to service -- to speak with honesty about the hard road ahead.

Just consider Obama's words about our obligations to "pitch-in" locally ... and how we'll all need to rededicate ourselves to the common good -- contrasted with Bush's call to (literally) "go shopping, take the family to Disney World" after the 9/11 attacks.

It may be a small gesture, but attempting to reform the appearance (and reality) of conflicts of interest in Washington is welcome news after the Tom Delay years (where K street lobbyists were encouraged to draft laws themselves)

Obama's first day: Pay freeze, lobbying rules - White House-
Obama's new lobbying rules will not only ban aides from trying to influence the administration when they leave his staff. Those already hired will be banned from working on matters they have previously lobbied on, or to approach agencies that they once targeted.

The rules also ban lobbyists from giving gifts of any size to any member of his administration. It wasn't immediately clear whether the ban would include the traditional "previous relationships" clause, allowing gifts from friends or associates with which an employee comes in with strong ties.

The new rules also require that anyone who leaves his administration is not allowed to try to influence former friends and colleagues for at least two years. Obama is requiring all staff to attend to an ethics briefing like one he said he attended last week.

It's not likely to get better for the average Joe anytime soon -- but at least we have motivated, intelligent leadership... And that's about all you can ask for in a situation like this...

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