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Obama Appointment Scuttlebutt

Two interesting takes from that vast plane of commentary we call the "Internet":

* Eli Kintisch, over at Science magazine's impressive-looking new blog, suggests that the selection of Steven Chu to head the Department of Energy portends a major shift in the agency's priorities. Right now, the department devotes the vast bulk of its $23 billion budget toward maintaining the nuclear arsenal and waste cleanup. The Obama team, though, is trying to figure out how to "reorient" the department toward a focus on basic science and energy research. (While we're at it, why not link to Timothy Noah's classic essay on why we should abolish the Energy Department altogether—handing its nuclear-weapons portfolio over to the Pentagon and folding the energy-research side into the EPA.)

* The indefatigable David Roberts notes that, yes, Obama's environmental team has resurrected a lot of bureaucrats from the Clinton era. But that doesn't mean we'll just get warmed-over Clinton-ism: "My take is, when Obama promised change, he wasn't talking about plucking amateurs from outside government. He was talking about a change from incompetence and stagnation to competence and progress. The progress is in the agenda; the competence is in the staffing."

--Bradford Plumer