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Pew Research Center on Obama and Bush

As I was compiling a list of reports from the Pew Research Center for an undergraduate class, I came across two that I would like to share with you. The first one, America’s Pre-Inauguration Mood: Strong Confidence in Obama, shows that Americans have great confidence in Obama’s capacity to deal with the economy, Iraq, and terrorism issues. They also believe that Democrats and Republicans will work together to resolve the country’s problems. According to the Pew Survey Report, 70% of those who were surveyed think that Obama has clearly explained his policies and plans for the future, and 66% endorse his choices for his cabinet.

While Obama’s ratings have gone up, Bush’s have gone down. The Pew Research Center article reveals that 24% of Americans approve his performance as he exits the national stage. Only 11% think that history will look at Bush positively. The Conference Board Consumer Confidence Index sunk to 38% in 2008 from 128.6% in 2000. The article claimed that it is the “lowest level since the index was first tabulated in 1967.”

Obama’s Inauguration Via Web 2.0

For detailed information on the 2009 Presidential Inauguration, take a look at this website. An Inaugural Events Calendar is also available. You can track the inauguration ceremony using Twitter and Facebook or watch the Inauguration’s Channel on YouTube. The Presidential Inaugural Committee even has photostream for the event on Flickr.

More Bailout Funds

Both Democratic and Republican Senate leaders have indicated that they will approve the release of the remaining $350 million of the Treasury’s bailout fund. As there are concerns that banks were hoarding the aid money instead of giving it to consumers and businesses, regulators have requested that banks give information on the amount that has been loaned earlier. Yesterday, President Bush asked Congress to release the remaining money as Obama has been pushing for it. On Thursday, the Senate will vote on it. More details about this matter are available in the New York Times article.

Obama Plans to Digitize Health Records

A special report from CNN.com states that Obama plans to digitize health records within the next five years. This is one of the endeavors to restore the economy as government estimates that this program will create around 212,000 jobs. However, there are some concerns about it because:

1) Commonwealth Fund, RAND, and Harvard have conducted independent studies which reveal that this program would cost between $75-100 billion dollars over the implementation period. The major cost will be incurred in traning the work force.

2) At present, only “about 8% of the nation’s 5,000 hospitals and 17% of its 800,000 physicians currently use the kind of common computerized record-keeping systems that Obama envisions for the whole nation.”

3) The privacy of patients must be protected as the nationalized system may be affected by system failures and hackers.

Obama asserts that this program will create new jobs, cut medical costs, and save $200-300 billion per year for the health industry.

Vivek Kundra – Tech Policy Advisor to Obama Administration

Vivek Kundra, the Chief Technology Officer of Washington, D.C., has adopted an uncommon approach for conducting the daily operations of the District’s 86 agencies. YouTube is used to post information regarding the bidding process for city contracts. He and other DC government employees use Google Apps as a collaboration tool and for sharing information. Kundra believes that it encourages government transparency and improves government services. The Washington Post article mentioned that he may be a potential candidate for the new position of Federal Chief Technology Officer, which Obama intends to establish.