In case this is the very first thing you’re reading after waking up from a long coma, Barack Obama is President of the United States (and yet I still can’t spell his first name; I’m going with Wikipedia’s rendering). This represents a change from the commonplace platitudes of the Bush administration &c. &c.

(As I type this, a neighbor is marching in the Inaugural Parade as part of the Lesbian and Gay Band Association. Hi Louisa!)

A highlight of the inaugural address, for me, was the “throwaway line”we will restore science to its rightful place.” (This was also a highlight for a lot of other people, it seems: I have nine browser tabs open with blog posts quoting it1.)

“Rightful place.” Most of those eight (and most other amateur political scryers) seem to be welcoming this as a victory. Sue Bailey makes the point that “[r]unning government on provable facts isn’t something we should have to fight for, despite the last eight years.” She took the line as the subtitle of her blog. The oft-quoted Phil Plait at Bad Astronomy hopes “that with this new Administration, much of what we have fought for these past few years will now only need our support, and not our defense.”

Others are a bit more nervous. Presumably eight years of Bush has conditioned them to seek out the hidden meaning in everything, and they’re not used to a president who doesn’t have to talk about his agenda in code.

It reains to be seen whether Obama will live up to that. But the fact that he said it tells us which side he’s

And with that, I’m handing over the reins . . . to myself. I’m expanding the scope of Some Facts/What This Means for You. Look for posts on domestic policy at the federal level, with a focus on bills and regulations. This is in addition to, not instead of, the impact of scientific research on people’s lives.

I figure it’s better to do that early on than if I have a huge audience.

1The blogs not linked in the text are Ruminations of a Junkie for Politics, Princeton Election Consortium, The Serenity of Reason, Pharyngula, Dot Earth at the New York Times, and Stand up for REAL Science. I am aware not all of these people need the publicity.