COULD THIS OBAMA CABINET NEWS signify a return of respect for science to the Executive Branch? I speak of the President-elect's selection of Nobel Prize–winning physicist Steven Chu as prospective Secretary of Department of Energy. Not a political goon like Spencer Abraham or Bill Richardson, or a power-industry hack like Hazel O'Leary, but a SCIENTIST! The man has worked with LASERS and ATOMS, people. ATOMMMMMSSS!!!
Seriously, it's refreshing to see a representative of the sciences ascend to such a post. It was a tooth-eroding grind to listen to the contortions of logic that the Bush Administration put forth to avoid admitting that global warming could pose a threat, or that destroying the landscape for a few years' worth of resources would be a good tradeoff. Hard decisions on energy need to be made in the next four years, and Dr. Chu's authority as a Nobel Prize winner ought to count for something when he cajoles a reluctant Congress to fund alternative energy projects . . . especially with crude oil back down to far more reasonable levels. He'll have to keep Congress focused on the long game, not just the temporary comfort of a cheaper gallon of gasoline. With that task and all others, I wish him all the luck in the world.