Reading at the Crossroads

Reading at the Crossroads is an archive for columns and letters which appeared in the Terre Haute Tribune Star. I also blog here when my patience is exhausted by what I feel is irritating, irrational and/or ironic in life. --gary daily

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Location: Terre Haute, Indiana, United States

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Thursday, January 22, 2009

Now Playing Center Field--Us

A good story about Leo Durocher is making the circuit these days. It’s told that when Durocher was the player manager for the Brooklyn Dodgers he put a rookie in center field. In two innings this rookie had misplayed three balls. Durocher, not known for his even temperament, reamed out the rookie, benched him, and went into centerfield to play the position himself. He proceeded to make two errors. When he came back into the dugout he threw his glove at the rookie in disgust, yelling at him, “You’ve screwed up centerfield so bad no one can play it.”

Comparisons between Bush and Obama will be endless. And voters have benched the Republicans who “screwed up centerfield.” But Obama, the Congress and the people can’t and won’t sit by and lament the state of the field, domestic and foreign, left after eight years of Bush. These fields have to be rebuilt, and rebuilt in radical ways.

Here’s part of Obama’s start on this difficult but absolutely necessary rebuilding job.

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Go here for full story

January 22, 2009
On Day One, Obama Sets a New Tone
By SHERYL GAY STOLBERG

WASHINGTON — President Obama moved swiftly on Wednesday to impose new rules on government transparency and ethics, using his first full day in office to freeze the salaries of his senior aides, mandate new limits on lobbyists and demand that the government disclose more information.

Mr. Obama called the moves, which overturned two policies of his predecessor, “a clean break from business as usual.” Coupled with Tuesday’s Inaugural Address, which repudiated the Bush administration’s decisions on everything from science policy to fighting terrorism, the actions were another sign of the new president’s effort to emphasize an across-the-board shift in priorities, values and tone.

“For a long time now there’s been too much secrecy in this city,” Mr. Obama said at a swearing-in ceremony for senior officials at the Eisenhower Executive Office Building, adjacent to the White House. He added, “Transparency and rule of law will be the touchstones of this presidency.”
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Go here for full story

January 22, 2009
News Analysis
Scientists Welcome Obama’s Words
By GARDINER HARRIS and WILLIAM J. BROAD

WASHINGTON — When he vowed in his Inaugural Address to “restore science to its rightful place,” President Obama signaled an end to eight years of stark tension between science and government.

But many of the Bush administration’s restrictions on science, like those governing stem cell research, will take time to be removed. And whether the Obama administration entirely reverses its predecessor’s strict controls over the government’s main scientific agencies remains to be seen.

Still, many scientists were exuberant. Staff members throughout the government’s scientific agencies held inaugural parties on Tuesday, and many reported being teary-eyed with joy.

“If you look at the science world, you see a lot of happy faces,” said Frank Press, a former president of the National Academy of Sciences and former science adviser to President Jimmy Carter. “It’s not just getting money. It’s his recognition of what science can do to bring this country back in an innovative way.”

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