Now that we are beyond the health care fight, the Obama Administration is really kicking some ass on many issues. I think he did a lot of things during the health care fight, but the obsessive media and blogosphere have trouble walking and chewing gum at the same time. I had a busy week too, with taxes and the semester winding down at my day gig, so I’m going to go back and review just some of the things that went down this week.
BASIC HUMAN RIGHTS
Lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender folks can now be with their loved ones when that are sick or dying in the hospital. In a memo released April 15 by the White House, the president said,
“There are few moments in our lives that call for greater compassion and companionship than when a loved one is admitted to the hospital. In these hours of need and moments of pain and anxiety, all of us would hope to have a hand to hold, a shoulder on which to lean — a loved one to be there for us, as we would be there for them.”
How freakin awesome is that? The rights of many people in this country have been trampled on for far too long. I commend the Obama administration for taking this bold step, making real change in our country that affects real people.
We have laws? And finally the people that took a lot of our tax dollars in one of George Bush’s bloody wars are going to be introduced to our legal system, welcome. From the New York Times…
Federal prosecutors charged the former president of Blackwater Worldwide and four other former senior company officials on Friday with weapons violations and making false statements in the first criminal inquiry to reach into the top management ranks of the private security company.
Ah yes, a little bit of justice for the assholes who helped to ruin Americas reputation around the world. That isn’t the only justice that happened this week either. The Securities and Exchange Commission slapped Goldman Sachs with a lawsuit for taking advantage of the collapsing housing market. Also from the New York Times…
Goldman Sachs, the Wall Street powerhouse, was accused of securities fraud in a civil lawsuit filed Friday by the Securities and Exchange Commission, which claims the bank created and sold a mortgage investment that was secretly intended to fail.
The move was the first time that regulators had taken action against a Wall Street deal that helped investors capitalize on the collapse of the housing market.
I love it, Wall Street asshats learning that actions have consequences. I hope there is much more of this to come, it will bolster the Democrats push for financial reform and make the brain dead Republican Party look even more foolish in fighting financial reform. But there is even more justice this week, man this is fun to watch. It looks like Bush’s dirty spies might see some repercussions from their illegal and unethical behaviors, remember those video tapes that were destroyed that showed torture techniques used by Bush and Cheney’s henchmen? Booman has a great post about that…
Something is going to go down soon with regard to the destroyed torture tapes. People don’t get granted immunity for no reason. It doesn’t look too likely that Porter Goss is going to go down for it, but it’s not out of the question. However, this may be a reprise of the Plame case where the prosecutor finds it too difficult to prosecute the underlying crime and instead opts to nail people for perjury. And I have no way of telling who lied to the prosecutor or the FBI and whether they might get caught for those lies.It would be nice, however, to see someone very high up get a taste of prison life for their involvement in torture. That would be the least we should expect.
This week also saw some shifts in priorities in our Federal Government and I think they are a much needed change. The first of these is Transportation Secretary Ray Lahood’s shift of priorities in transportation policy. From Yahoo news…
LaHood says the government is going to give bicycling — and walking, too — the same importance as automobiles in transportation planning and the selection of projects for federal money. The former Republican congressman quietly announced the “sea change” in transportation policy last month.
“This is the end of favoring motorized transportation at the expense of non-motorized,” he wrote in his government blog.
This is a major win for America in my opinion. Public transportation and healthier ways to get around will only benefit everyone and the environment too. The reaction from the right is predictable, it is just one more example of why the Republican Party has lost its way, to put it mildly. Another shift in policy this week was the President’s announcement of the new NASA policy that takes a dramatic turn and shows the president is really changing the way things are and have been done. He took a lot of heat for scrapping the moon project, we’ve been there, done that. And is looking towards the future and shifting investment in old technologies towards developing new, much better ways to travel through space. From the President’s remarks at the Kennedy Space Center…
At the same time, after decades of neglect, we will increase investment — right away — in other groundbreaking technologies that will allow astronauts to reach space sooner and more often, to travel farther and faster for less cost, and to live and work in space for longer periods of time more safely. That means tackling major scientific and technological challenges. How do we shield astronauts from radiation on longer missions? How do we harness resources on distant worlds? How do we supply spacecraft with energy needed for these far-reaching journeys? These are questions that we can answer and will answer. And these are the questions whose answers no doubt will reap untold benefits right here on Earth.
How can anyone say this president isn’t awesome? Can you imagine Bush announcing such a clear, focused plan for the future of our exploration of space?
To be continued….