Monday, January 05, 2009

Odds and Ends

It's back to work in Washington this week. So, ya know, no big deal. Here's news...

President-elect Obama seems to have made a good pick in naming former White House chief of staff Leon Panetta to be the new CIA Director. Panetta wrote in an op-ed last year that "Torture is illegal, immoral, dangerous and counterproductive. And yet, the president is using fear to trump the law." Sounds right to me.

He also made some key Justice Department appointments-- including former Clinton administration, ACLU, and Yale alum Dawn Johnsen to head the Office of Legal Counsel-- which are garnering praise from all the right people.

And VA Gov. Tim Kaine is taking over the DNC Chair position from Howard Dean.

(Meanwhile the RNC Chair race seems to be revolving around whether it's funny to refer to black people as "negroes"-- Fox News says yes!-- in another sign that party has no intention of learning any lessons of any kind.)

More good news: "Tom Vilsack, President-elect Barack Obama's choice for agriculture secretary, said he would put 'nutrition at the center of all food assistance programs,' a signal that he will get involved next year when Congress moves to reauthorize nutrition programs that support school breakfasts and lunches as well as summer food for children."

Less good news, as Obama seems to want to revert back to Cold War-era insanity and misplaced spending... He may "tear down long-standing barriers between the U.S.’s civilian and military space programs to speed up a mission to the moon amid the prospect of a new space race with China." Yikes.

In other news, Sen. Webb (D-VA) is tackling the overdue issue of prison reform.

Some recommended reading from Paul Krugman. First, in a blog post, he explains why Katrina began the unraveling of the Bush presidency. Then, his regular column, he looks at President Bush, the legacy of the modern GOP, and what it means for the future.

Finally, clean coal strikes again!

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