Encouraging Developments

I might as well just tip the shot glass to Steve Benen right here – he finds the bestest stuff. Both of these links came from him. Thanks for some good news floating happily in a sea of stupidity, Steve!

First up, science gets some champions in the Obama administration:

The Senate on Thursday confirmed an expert on global climate change as President Obama’s top adviser on science and technology policy.

John Holdren became the president’s science adviser as director of the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy. He has advocated sharp government action on climate change policy and is a former president of the American Association for the Advancement of Science, the nation’s largest science organization.


The Senate also confirmed former Oregon State University marine biologist Jane Lubchenco to head the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, which oversees ocean and atmospheric research and the National Weather Service.

Lubchenco, who specialized in overfishing and climate change at Oregon State University, is the first woman to head NOAA. A member of the Pew Oceans Commission, Lubchenco has recommended steps to overcome crippling damage to the world’s oceans from overfishing and pollution and had expressed optimism for change after George W. Bush’s presidency.

Don’t know about you, but I’m feeling pretty optimistic just now meself. These two folks were spectacular choices, and I’m glad to see they’re now able to get to work.

And Attorney General Eric Holder’s taking a step very much in the right direction:

The Obama administration advised federal agencies yesterday to release their records and information to the public unless foreseeable harm would result.

Attorney General Eric Holder issued new guidelines fleshing out President Obama’s Jan. 21 order to reveal more government records to the public under the Freedom of Information Act, whenever another law doesn’t prohibit release.

The new standard essentially returned to one Attorney General Janet Reno issued during the Clinton administration. It replaced a more restrictive policy imposed by the Bush administration under which the Justice Department defended any sound legal argument for withholding records.

“We are making a critical change that will restore the public’s ability to access information in a timely manner,” Holder said in a written statement.

And Holder did it in a timely manner himself – Obama said he had until May to get this done. Here’s hoping this is a sign of even better things to come. I wouldn’t mind a bit if the woodshed fell into disuse.

Not that it’s likely to with so many Cons clamoring to get in, alas. But you know what I mean.

Encouraging Developments

One thought on “Encouraging Developments

  1. 1

    From the article on AG Holder’s new document release guidance:In a handful of those pending [human rights-related] lawsuits, while the guidelines were still being drafted, the Obama Justice Department opposed or informally rejected delays suggested by the document requesters for the very purpose of giving Obama officials time to reevaluate the government position.I’m wondering why they didn’t accept those delays. If the policy was certain to change substantially, this seems like a prudent move to me. Instead, they’ve let hearings go ahead, where they contested release of documents just as the Bush DoJ did. To say I’m skeptical that this will change anything important in those areas would be an understatement.

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