Now that the historic-inauguration hype has died down, President Barack Obama's getting down to business, handling such necessary chores as giving the Freedom of Information Act some sharper incisors, planning the shutdown of Gitmo and raising auto-emissions standards. Well done, sir.
But in case Obama has any notion to start slacking on the job, we've compiled a list of things, in no particular order, to keep him busy for the next eight years. As you'll see, we didn't bother concerning ourselves with such petty obstacles as politics and money. So, here's our list, Mr. President—time to get busy:1. Abolish the private healthcare-insurance system and install a government-run, single-payer system.
2. Inspire America's children so that they become interested in, and good at, math and science.
3. Elevate the status of art and music in education.
4. House the homeless—all of them—and devote a huge sum of money to the study of schizophrenia.
5. Ensure equal civil rights for gay Americans—specifically, abolish the Don't Ask, Don't Tell military policy and get legislation passed that prohibits federal and state bans on same-sex marriage.
6. Launch a massive initiative aimed at replacing fossil fuels with wind and solar power, and initiate a Manhattan Project-style program to combat global warming.
7. Only de-list endangered species when wildlife biologists, not political appointees, say it's OK.
8. Legalize it—marijuana, that is.
9. Legalize it—prostitution, that is.
10. Replace incarceration with public service for non-violent criminals.
11. Turn more acreage into national parkland.
12. Spend hundreds of billions of dollars on mass transit nationwide.
13. End tax breaks for religious organizations.
14. Really separate church and state, and start by banning public prayer in public meetings—private prayer is OK so long as it's kept quiet.
15. No more pledging allegiance to the flag—it sounds cult-like.
16. Raise the minimum age for social security.
17. Use military force only when directly attacked by another nation, to stop genocide or as part of a true, U.N.-approved international campaign to stop a marauding country, à la Germany in the first half of the last century.
18. Negotiate with nations that are perceived to be enemies.
19. End the practice of spying on American citizens.
20. No more torture—ever.
21. Insulate the Justice Department from politics.
22. Convince the U.S. Supreme Court to allow the abolishment of the use of private money to finance political campaigns.
23. End all trade agreements that allow partner nations to maintain environmental and labor standards that are lower than those in the U.S.
24. Open U.S. borders to foreign workers and grant them equal treatment under the law—and tear down the border fence.
25. End corporate farm subsidies, and establish incentives for family farms.
26. Establish a limit of three children per family—no, wait, four (CityBeat's editor was a fourth child).
27. Launch a massive literacy program.
28. Cure breast cancer—oh, hell, cure all cancer.
29. Ensure access to affordable higher education for all Americans.
30. Ban guns.
31. Abolish the death penalty.
32. Establish a reasonable maximum gap in salary between any private company's highest- and lowest-paid employees.
33. Ensure equal pay for equal work, regardless of gender.
34. Subsidize childcare.
35. Increase funding for emerging-artist grants and public radio—but limit broadcasts of A Prairie Home Companion.
36. Free ice-cream with chocolate sauce on Fridays.