Obama’s Cabinet Choices, Genomic Research, and the Latest on the Book

It’s interesting to see the choices that Barack Obama is making for his senior cabinet and other key posts. On Monday he announced that Senator Hillary Clinton would be his nominee for Secretary of State, Robert Gates for Secretary of Defense Secretary, former NATO commander General James L. Jones to be national security adviser, and Arizona governor Janet Napolitano to be Secretary of Homeland Security. This is in addition to his previous choice of Timothy F. Geithner for Treasury Secretary and Tom Daschle as Secretary of Health and Human Services. This looks like a middle-right cabinet to me overall, not the left-leaning cabinet that many feared, and it seems to indicate that Obama is a pragmatist.

One of the readers of the blog wrote an article in a local newspaper about the positive remarks I had made about my growing association with the Venter Institute. He was not complementary to Craig Venter and his research and had some strong feelings about my being a former part of the military-industrial complex. It’s to be expected, opinions will differ on both myself and Craig and what we choose to do with our business and personal lives. However, I hadn’t quite realized the emotional reaction some people have to anyone doing genomic medical research and coming up with possible avenues of gene therapy. If there are others who have a similar reaction, why not use the blog to scold me or educate me. I welcome your opinions, especially if you can show that I’m technically wrong on something.

Mary Ann Beyster met in Washington on Tuesday with our literary agent to discuss plans for selling rights to publish the book. We are generating a couple of chapters for the book to give the agent an idea of what the book would be like. The chapter on security is the first one we will be writing. We will also be working on a chapter about Network Solutions and the commercialization of the Internet. Mike Daniels, Peter Economy, and I will have a conference call this week to discuss the contents of the first sample chapter.

Last week was a half week of work for me as it was for the rest of you because of Thanksgiving. During that period I had my regular finance meetings, talked with my friends at the Venter Institute, and had some medical tests done. For Thanksgiving we entertained about 25 guests at the La Jolla Beach and Tennis Club with the traditional turkey and ham dinner. On Friday we took Solutions to Oceanside with several guests, including John Kuhn, Carl Scragg, and Eric Schlageter. Carl and Eric are retired from SAIC and John still works there on Navy projects. What I have in common with these three guys is that they played a part at SAIC more than twenty years ago in the design of the America’s Cup boat.

— Bob