Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Day One of Change

Obama was active with the pen today, making a big deal out of his senior executive pay freeze:
From AP: President Barack Obama's first public act in office Wednesday was to institute new limits on lobbyists in his White House and to freeze the salaries of high-paid aides, in a nod to the country's economic turmoil.
Guess autocratic governance is in the eye of the beholder. But here's the rub--if these senior members of his administration fall under normal government pay rules then this might be a big puff of air.

The pay year for normal government employees began in mid January and normally no raises would occur for a year anyway--for both new hires and those re-entering the service--so more details are needed on this one before it passes for substance.

Speaking of frozen, he also iced the GTMO proceedings, prolonging KSM's date with the virgins. Word is he was going to send the inaugural poet down there to serenade the prisoners but was stopped by Human Rights Watch for attempting cruel and unusual punishment. That's the word at least.

As to openness in government:
Just because a government agency has the legal power to keep information private does not mean that it should, Obama said.
Get ready for a barrage of UFO FOIAs on the Air Force, CIA, FBI, NSA, NASA and even NOAA for years to come. And surely some will use it to go after Bush/Cheney, but others might use it to go after events that occurred in the 90s. Could be interesting.

But his lobbying rule looks like a good thing. Now, what about the White House smoking rule? Maybe Michelle will install a lamp.

Oh, one more item regards Treasury nominee Timothy Geithner. Mistakes happen, but there's no way a man who can't correctly use Turbo Tax be placed in charge of the IRS. Besides, doesn't everyone have a keen idea of the money they make? Forgetting to include income is the oldest dodge in the book and yet he's going to be handed the levers of the IRS? Hmm, on second thought...


World Net Daily is snarking it up over Obama and Biden's reluctance to take a pay cut, even though the law says they can't order it via EO. The story mentions that Obama has cut his top staff salary and frozen them at 100K per annum, but the memorandum linked above does not specify that, it only talks about a freeze. That would imply existing starting pay (whatever it was) and states no sunset date, meaning we'll need to wait for the EO to arrive before determining if this has any concrete meaning.

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