Obama, omnipresent

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The giddiness over the election of Barack Obama was still fresh in the building-industry-related events this week in Boston. Thursday morning, a session exploring New England's clean-energy future started off with a recitation of the president-elect's statement the day before on cap-and-trade and other energy priorities, which prompted the first of two bursts of applause. The three panelists constantly referred to the changed landscape in Washington, and the last lines of the event, uttered by New England Clean Energy Council executive director Nick d'Arbeloff, were, "We have a lot of talented people convening down in Washington right now, led by a guy who 'gets it' in spades." Van Jones, during his speech Wednesday afternoon, could barely get off the riff, beginning with, "can you feel the hope for change" and ending his extended opening with "Some times, something really bad [the past eight years] has to happen before something really good can happen." At the Building Green party Tuesday night at the Artists for Humanity Epicenter on A Street, the speeches could not have been briefer, and only one toast was offered. Surely it would have gone to Alex Wilson, major domo and party host, who was honored as a Green Building Leader by the USGBC this year. But no, it was to Obama. Thursday morning, a questioner in a session on green blogging even wondered if the Bush years had prompted the explosion in blogging as a form of escapism, and what might happen now? The panel demurred on that one. At least twice, I heard speakers refer repeatedly to President Obama, before eventually catching themselves and adding something like, "well, I guess he's really only the president-elect. But it sounds so good!"

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