A brief summary of my thoughts since Inauguration Day:
-Closing Gitmo is great. Even spending a night in one of those cells was pretty bad - much less being waterboarded, starved, and otherwise tortured.
-Putting back the Geneva Conventions and the Army interrogation manual is also really a good sign for human rights around the world, as well as to restore America's standing among nations.
A comment by Quincy Jones, the musician/composer/general arts supporter (and FOB - that's Friend of Barack, now), made during a post-election interview with has spawned an online petition drive to create a cabinet-level Secretary of Arts position. While it's unclear exactly what such a person would do, the very existence of the position would certainly raise the profile of arts and their contribution to national life, economic activity, and culture.
The Take Back Barack effort is on TV throughout January around the nation, thanks to Liberty News TV. (It's a non-profit progressive outfit based here in Portland, and they accept donations!)
Here's the clip - click here for a map to see where you can watch the whole show on your TV!
First up, what about this whole Leon Panetta as CIA director thing? On the good side, he's a civilian with long experience navigating the halls of power in DC. On the bad side, the CIA is badly screwed up and Panetta has no real prior knowledge of running an intel operation (sure, he handled some intel stuff as Clinton's chief of staff, but that's pretty different).
You know you're on to something when somebody puts out a rush-edition book on the topic. And sure enough, in yesterday's mail, arrived Yes, We Can! 365 Ways to Make America A Better Place, by Paula Munier. It lists an action a day for an entire year that readers can take to improve America. Among the ideas are several we're looking to Obama for leadership on, and others will push him in progressive directions.
I'll be taking a few days off for the holidays, but I'll try to check in and respond to comments and post stuff every couple days.
Here are a few tidbits I've found especially interesting recently:
Brent Budowsky has the closest thing to a Take Back Barack essay I've read yet.
The Libertarian Party has decried Obama's foreign policy, or at least his indicators of policy, saying we'll be in Iraq and Afghanistan for "his entire presidency
President-elect Obama's commitment to restore honesty to the core of federal science policy (and science-related policies) is definitely encouraging. The biggest potential pitfall is that the Bush administration also claimed to base its decisions on science - even when it censored science to serve political ends.
I've been catching up on the blogosphere and reading Andrew Sullivan's commentaries on Obama's choice of conservative evangelical pastor Rick Warren to give the invocation on Inauguration Day. Sullivan and others appear to have struggled mightily and come to terms with the selection, saying it appeared abominable at first but is perhaps a new and giant symbol of Obama's "post-partisan" politics.
Sorry - it's been rather a day here, so while I'm waiting for the call to be on the radio (we're taping it so I don't have to get up at 1:30 am to attempt to be coherent), I'll offer a summary of some of my thinking so far. (I'll also marvel at how quickly this TBB meme is expanding.)
I've had several really interesting exchanges with people - and have been very entertained by various comments suggesting I'm either a moonbat or a wingnut or both.
Many of the comments about Take Back Barack so far have been from conservatives shouting with glee, calling Obama a "snake-oil salesman" and a "con man," and apparently suggesting I'm a sucker for believing his promises. But it appears the progressive community might be paying some attention. Early tomorrow morning (East Coast time) - so early it's late at night Pacific time - I'll be on the Phil Hendrie Show talking about the Take Back Barack effort.
So Rick Warren's been chosen to give the invocation at Obama's inauguration. Anybody else super-excited to see a rabidly pro-life, anti-choice, anti-gay evangelical cleric blessing Obama and the nation? Fine, so he cares about poverty and children in Africa. You don't have to turn over too many steeples to uncover exciting, progressive clergymen and -women who feel the same way about those issues, and who recognize that legislating things like pregnancy and partnership are never good.
This story and this effort all started, for me, back when
Hillary Clinton's name was being bandied about as a prospect to become the next
secretary of state, even before she was officially selected. I had been
thrilled - and not a little relieved - when Obama
won, and I had eagerly awaited the unveiling of the team of cabinet officers
and other key executive-branch staffers who would move quickly to Change this
country, which has been going in the wrong direction for far too long.