Thursday, January 29, 2009

Obama's First Week

Let's go down memory lane and capture the highlights from Obama's first week:

Jan. 21st, 2009 (Day 1):

(Courtesy of the Guardian)

*120 day suspension of military commissions in Guantanamo Bay. This means that all pending cases are now suspended, which is amazing because the way in which military commissions were trying these cases were unethical and nontransparent. 120 days will give the new executive office sufficient time to review the cases up for trial (Yay!).
*Administration aides cannot leave their position as aides and then lobby for an issue to an executive agency for the full duration of Obama's presidency. Prior to this, an aide was able to leave his/her position and start lobbying an executive agency after a year (Yay!).

*Lobbyists who take up position within executive agencies cannot participate in an issue that they lobbied for until 2 years have passed (Yay!).

*3 rules of transparency (Yay!):
-- 1. Only the current president is allowed to block the release of documents, rather than what Bush had done before which was allow the current and past presidents to block documents.
-- 2. Reinvigorated Freedom of Information Act. Previously, documents that were requested for release were delayed from being released- this was actually encouraged by former Att. General John Ashcroft.
--3. Memo to Executive Branch officials: Be more open and transparent.

*Pay freezes for top white house officials who make $100,000 or more (Yay!) .

Jan 22nd, 2009 (Day 2):

(Thanks to

*Ordered the closure of Guantanamo Bay within a year (Yay!).

* The U.S. will no longer torture and now, under this administration, water-boarding will be defined as torture (Yay!).

* Elected George Mitchell as special envoy in the Middle East. George Mitchell was the Senate Majority Leader for 16 years, helped negotiate the Northern Ireland peace process and in 2000, led American investigation to understand the Israel-Palestine conflict (conclusion: Israel needs to stop settlements in Palestinian territory and Palestine needs to establish a rule of law).

* Elected Richard Holbrooke as special envoy for Afghanistan and Pakistan. Holbrooke was a former U.S. Ambassador in the U.N., brokered the Dayton Peace Accords (peace agreement between warring factions in Bosnia) and was the Peace Corps' director in Morocco. He also was a senior advisor at Lehman Brothers on Wall St. from 1981-1993.

Jan 23rd, 2009 (Day 3):

(Thank you

* Lifts the abortion "gag rule", which barred family clinics in international countries from receiving U.S. aide if they performed abortions or even referred, educated or counseled patients about abortions (Yay!).

Damages from the air strikes in Pakistan
(Courtesy of AFP: Mahmud Hams)

* Obama continues Bush's poor judgment in regards to Pakistan- the air strikes in Pakistan. Since Obama's continuation, which happened on the 23rd and has persisted, 23 have been killed 3 of which have been children. These air strikes began last summer. Pakistani government states that it was not notified that these air strikes were going to continue under the new administration. Pakistani citizens, once hopeful about the new president, are now outraged (Boo!).
My 2 cents: Obama's continuing the air strikes and the administration says its to target only Al Qaeda. And yes, they have killed 8 Al Qaeda militants of the 20 suspected but doesn't the new administration think that if it acts with such hostility against a region (Pakistan), its citizens are going to be outraged and that emotion might compel some to join anti-American groups like Al Qaeda.

* Nominated William Lynn as Deputy Secretary of Defense. Lynn lobbied the government on behalf of Raytheon, a major defense contractor for the U.S. who supplies Bunker Buster bombs and missiles. This nomination has been criticized for it has been expressed that Raytheon and thus, Lynn greatly benefited from the Iraq war due to it being a chief supplier of military weapons (Boo!).

Jan 24th, 2009 (Day 4):

* Nothing really spectacular. Speeches about foreign diplomacy, the actions needed to stimulate our receding economy and increasing financial regulations were given.

Jan 25th, 2009 (Day 5):

*Ehhh... maybe he needed a break from all the work? I would've been pooped by day 1 hour 2. If anyone knows what Obama did, if anything, that was of great importance, let me know!

Jan 26th, 2009 (Day 6):

* The U.S. will have direct diplomacy with Iran, which has not occurred since 1977 (Yay!).

Al Aribiya Interview
(Courtesy of Munashik on

* Obama's first formal interview as President was given to an Arab news station, Al Aribiya. No president has ever given an interview to an Arab news station as his first formal interview. Highlights from the interview (Overall Yay!):
--"American's are not your enemies"
-- Stating that some of his family members are Muslims and he has lived in Muslim countries.
-- In regards to the Gaza Attacks and U.S.' role, he stated that the U.S. has a tendency to command/dictate what needs to be done prior to completely understanding the facts from all sides.
-- Consistently separated terrorist groups like Al Queda and Islam.
-- Obviously, strongly reaffirmed the U.S. and Israel's partnership (Boo!).
My 2 cents: Such a great strategic move in showing the Muslim world and the international community that there has been a shift in how America will interact with communities abroad. This interview translates into respect in the eyes of many Muslims around the world, a characteristic that was lacking under the former administration. However, these words, even though well spoken and courageous, will not trump actions taken by this administration. Muslim countries and its people will await the outcomes of the attacks on Gaza, the war in Iraq and the air strikes in Pakistan.

Jan 27th, 2009 (Day 7):

(Thanks Solar Kismet)

* Signed an executive order to increases fuel-efficiency standards of all cars and trucks by 2011 (Yay!).

* Signed an executive order that would authorize California and other state governments to set their own fuel-efficiency standards. This a great move because it works so that these states can only toughen (not weaken) fuel-efficiency standards (Yay!).

I think from now on, I'm going to do them daily rather than sum it up in a week- this was way too time consuming. Check the time pumpkins, I did it for you...on a Friday! (Round of applause)

Night :)

1 comment:

banana bread said...

oh wow. my love for obama is only second to my love for lemon!!! i've rarely seen a president work so hard to show his dedication to so many issues. we shall hope for even more great strides to come!