S/SW blog philosophy -

I credit favorite writers and public opinion makers.

A lifelong Democrat, my comments on Congress, the judiciary and the presidency are regular features.

My observations and commentary are on people and events in politics that affect the USA or the rest of the world, and stand for the interests of peace, security and justice.

Thursday, January 07, 2010

For Progressives, the news isn't all that bad.

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With all the gloom and doom from the 24 hour news talking-heads, it would be very easy to get discouraged.  Every day.  But that does not mean that discouragement is warranted.  It means that it may be unwarranted.  Today's post presents a number of examples regarding things to which Progressives are currently paying attention.

Re Senator Dodd's retirement -- Joe Conason, at the behest of Salon's Joan Walsh, has resumed posting at his Joe Conason's Journal. He brings us the good news that Connecticut AG Richard Blumenthal is the Democrat very likely to be elected to take retiring Senator Chris Dodd's place.

Re Yemen --  I follow NBC's brave foreign correspondent Richard Engel at Twitter because of little gems such as these, which help restore my perspective:

#yemen.. i think sanaa may be the most beautiful city in the world.. the more i am here.. the more i am reminded..  richardengelnbc.

#yemen.. yes.. there is an al-qaeda threat.. but think some media coverage blowing it out of proportion..  richardengelnbc.

Re the attempted bombing of Flight 253 on Christmas day -- Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab has been indicted on six counts that could land him in prison for life.  In his announcement, US Attorney General Eric Holder said,
"The charges that Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab faces could imprison him for life," said Attorney General Eric Holder.  "This investigation is fast-paced, global and ongoing, and it has already yielded valuable intelligence that we will follow wherever it leads.  Anyone we find responsible for this alleged attack will be brought to justice using every tool -- military or judicial -- available to our government."
Re returning to the rule of law -- The above Justice Department announcement concluded with these old and oddly comforting words: "The public is reminded that an indictment contains mere allegations and a defendant is presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty in a court of law."

Re transparency --  According to the New York Times today, "On our radar: Terror inquiry. White House scheduled to release formal report on Christmas Day bombing attempt."  Also, one of my favorite WH reporters is Mark Knoller of CBS.  Early Thursday morning he posted these interesting items on Twitter:

Today at the WH: At 1pm, Pres Obama announces new steps to prevent a recurrence of the Flight 253 incident - including more air marshals.
At 1pm, Pres Obama announces new steps to prevent a recurrence of the Flight 253 incident - including more air marshals.
Obama statement precedes WH release of declassified version of preliminary investigation on flight 253 incident given to Obama last week.
Both Homeland Security Secy Janet Napolitano and counter-terrorism advisor John Brennan brief reports on stepped up security at 130p.

Re nominations that have been blocked in the Senate --  Glenn Greenwald linked to a Sam Stein HuffPo story that President Obama is likely to resubmit Dawn Johnsen's nomination to be Assistant Attorney General for the Office of Legal Counsel.  Greenwald calls her "one of the best Obama appointees" and asks, " How can there not be 60 votes for her?" Stein wrote,
The most high profile of these names is Johnsen who was first nominated a year ago to take over the same position that Bush administration lawyers occupied when they effectively constructed legal arguments to authorize the use of torture. Her criticism of those past OLC officials has troubled moderate Republicans and several conservative Democrats and, as a result, left her short of the 60 votes needed for confirmation.

The president, along with Democratic leadership in Congress, has been criticized by progressive activists for an apparent unwillingness to press for Johnsen's confirmation. As of several weeks ago, it was largely assumed that her nomination was dead.

A re-nomination, of course, would change that perception and already the administration seems to be striking a much more aggressive tone when it comes to condemning the delaying tactics deployed by Senate Republicans -- when it comes to nominees and actual legislation.

So dear reader, be not afraid.  Things are not as bad as they have been reported.  Take Heart.  It is a new year, a new decade.  And our new President's approach starkly contrasts with that of his predecessor.  And Democrats who recently announced retirement had decent reasons behind their decisions; they should be taken at their word.  A lot can happen between now and the 2010 election.

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Carol Gee said...

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