Thursday, January 22, 2009

Encouraging News about Obama

It looks like things are already underway to effect change in Washington now that President Obama is in place. According to Talking Points Memo, Obama has put all of fmr. Pres. Bush's 11th hour rules on hold, including the "conscience clause" for healthcare workers -- the disgusting rule that allowed healthcare workers to act on their conscience when it came to decisions, including about birth control and LGBT Americans. Ew. Just ew.

From the article:

Within hours of taking the Oath of Office, President Barack Obama ordered all federal agencies to suspend all of Bush's eleventh-hour rules changes, pending a full review. This means that Bush's notorious "conscience clause" rules are on hold until Obama's Secretary of Health and Human Services can review them. That would be Tom Daschle. It's highly unlikely that Daschle would sign off on these rules, which would give government healthcare workers unprecedented latitude to refuse reproductive health services on religious grounds.

This isn't just an abstract issue. A nurse in New Mexico is currently being sued for removing a patient's IUD without her permission and refusing to put it back in because the nurse opposed IUDs on religious grounds, Jodi Jacobsen reports in RH Reality.

Obama is also planning to repeal the Global Gag Rule, which disqualifies international organizations from receiving any federal funding if they provide abortions or even inform women that abortion is an option. The flipping of the Global Gag Rule is becoming something of presidential tradition, Steve Benen notes in the Washington Monthly: Bill Clinton reversed it shortly after he took office and George W. Bush wasted no time in bringing it back when his turn came.

However, the new president is not expected to overturn the ban on federal funding for embryonic stem cell research by executive order. Instead, Obama wants Congress to pass a law lifting the ban. Obama has said that he'd rather let Congress express its overwhelming bipartisan consensus in favor of stem cell research by passing a law, as opposed to overturning the ban by fiat.

Another controversial target for federal funds is needle exchange for intravenous drug users. Obama has said that he supports federal funding for needle exchange, but he sent a mixed message when he chose a Drug Czar who is opposed to the idea. In AlterNet, Alan Clear urges the president to include needle exchange as part of his drug control policy.
Thanks be to Jesus. See, I told you guys to chill out, and it would be okay. But, of course, no one listens to me on these sort of things. We gay people spent so much time skewering Obama on niggling details that don't matter, and practically deciding he wasn't worth the paper we voted for him on (well, 73% of us), we forgot: Obama is good for America.

But, that, of course, is just my take on it.

Oh, and don't forget about the landmark ethics order he has put into place for the Executive Branch. Just details, of course. Oh, and the possibility of closing Guantanamo Bay in the next few days. But, heavens to betsy, lets focus on things that matter, right?

And this coming from a die hard Hillary supporter. Remember, I should want him to fail...

Oh, and 950th post.

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