American Samizdat

Monday, November 10, 2008. *
True, it's not raining ice cream (blueberry chiffon cheesecake would be my preference...) yet and it looks like he wants to give Joe "I am AIPAC. No, really." Lieberman a pass, but he's already signaling some good things.

WASHINGTON, Nov. 10 (Xinhua) -- U.S. President-elect Barack Obama is formulating a plan to put Guantanamo detainees on trials on U.S. soil, which will lead to the closure of Guantanamo prison, a campaign promise he made.

Harvard law professor Laurence Tribe, a legal adviser to Obama, was quoted by the Washington Post as saying Monday that among Obama aides, discussions about closing Guantanamo had been "theoretical" before the election, but it will now quickly become atop priority.

Obama has described the infamous prison at U.S. naval base in Guantanmo Bay, Cuba, as a "sad chapter in American history" and insisted that the U.S. legal system could be enough to deal with the detainees.

Now his aides are putting together proposals to release some detainees while sending others to trials on U.S. soil.

And there's this:

“There's a lot that the president can do using his executive authority without waiting for congressional action, and I think we'll see the president do that,” Podesta said. “I think that he feels like he has a real mandate for change. We need to get off the course that the Bush administration has set.”

Among Bush administration actions likely to be quickly rescinded:

  • The prohibition on federal funding for international family-planning agencies that provide abortions -- or counseling and information about abortion -- even in countries where the procedure is legal. This policy, known as the Mexico City initiative, was initially put in place by Ronald Reagan and reaffirmed by the current president's father. Bill Clinton removed it in 1993; President Bush restored it two days after taking office in 2001.
  • The Environmental Protection Agency's decision last December against granting California's request to impose more stringent greenhouse-gas emission standards than federal law requires. At least 16 other states were prepared to adopt California's rules if the EPA had approved the state's request to waive federal standards in exchange for its own tougher ones. The EPA ruling was seen as a victory for the automobile industry.
  • The ban on federal funding for research on new lines of embryonic stem cells. In August 2001, Bush limited government funding to the embryonic stem cell lines then in existence and prohibited any funding for development of new embryonic stem cell lines. Proponents of such research -- including many Democrats and moderate Republicans -- have pointed to the potential for cures for such devastating illnesses as Alzheimer's disease and Parkinson's disease, but many social and religious conservatives liken the use of such stem cells to abortion because it requires the destruction of an embryo.

Not a bad start. I can't say I'm ashamed of my vote yet.


posted by Philip Shropshire at 1:46 PM
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