Monday, January 12, 2009

Confirmation Week for the New Administration

These next three days are important for the incoming administration. We have upcoming hearings for confirmation. Here is a schedule so far.

-- Tuesday, Jan. 13, 10:00 am ET: Education: Arne Duncan (HELP Committee)
-- Tuesday, Jan. 13: Energy Secretary: Steven Chu (Energy and Natural Resources Committee)
-- Tuesday, Jan. 13, 10 am ET: HUD: Shaun Donovan (Banking Committee)
-- Tuesday, Jan. 13, 9:30 am ET: State: Sen. Hillary Clinton (Foreign Relations Committee)
-- Wednesday, Jan. 14: Veteran Affairs: Gen. Eric Shinseki (Veterans' Affairs Committee)
-- Thursday, Jan. 15: Interior: Sen. Ken Salazar (Energy and Natural Resources Committee)
-- Thursday, Jan. 15: Attorney General: Eric Holder (Judiciary Committee)
-- Thursday, Jan. 15: Homeland Security: Janet Napolitano (Homeland Security and Government Affairs Committee) (tentative)
-- Thursday, Jan. 15, 9:30 am: UN Ambassador: Susan Rice (Foreign Relations)

I am not sure which CSPAN channels they will be on...I am sure they will be on some of them. The ones Thursday will be the one for fireworks I am sure.

Eric Holder is the one the Repubs have promised to make an example out of.

This from the same group who gave us Ashcroft, Gonzales, John Yoo, and several others. These being the ones who told the Bush Administration it was ok to torture, ok to listen in on unsuspecting citizens, including our military calling home to their families thinking it was private.

From all accounts he will be approved, but will be given a thorough grilling due to the Marc Rich pardon. He has admitted this was a mistake on his part. Yet that isn't enough, they want to humiliate him instead.

So, watch it and see how he does. Our hopes are on him, he will in all likelyhood be the one to prosecute Bush & Co. if it comes to that. It's about time to bring up the petition again. That will be my next post. But watch these if you can. Support them, write about them, do what you can to help make this work out for the best.

Remember, the only way we can make this work is if we all work together. Something we seem to have forgotten the last few years...and something our new president reminds us all of... his words from 2004 just as pertinent today:

A belief that we are connected as one people. If there's a child on the south side of Chicago who can't read, that matters to me, even if it's not my child. If there's a senior citizen somewhere who can't pay for her prescription and has to choose between medicine and the rent, that makes my life poorer, even if it's not my grandmother. If there's an Arab American family being rounded up without benefit of an attorney or due process, that threatens my civil liberties. It's that fundamental belief - I am my brother's keeper, I am my sister's keeper - that makes this country work. It's what allows us to pursue our individual dreams, yet still come together as a single American family. "E pluribus unum." Out of many, one.Yet even as we speak, there are those who are preparing to divide us, the spin masters and negative ad peddlers who embrace the politics of anything goes. Well, I say to them tonight, there's not a liberal America and a conservative America - there's the United States of America. There's not a black America and white America and Latino America and Asian America; there's the United States of America. The pundits like to slice-and-dice our country into Red States and Blue States; Red States for Republicans, Blue States for Democrats. But I've got news for them, too. We worship an awesome God in the Blue States, and we don't like federal agents poking around our libraries in the Red States. We coach Little League in the Blue States and have gay friends in the Red States. There are patriots who opposed the war in Iraq and patriots who supported it. We are one people, all of us pledging allegiance to the stars and stripes, all of us defending the United States of America.In the end, that's what this election is about. Do we participate in a politics of cynicism or a politics of hope?

I'm not talking about blind optimism here - the almost willful ignorance that thinks unemployment will go away if we just don't talk about it, or the health care crisis will solve itself if we just ignore it. No, I'm talking about something more substantial. It's the hope of slaves sitting around a fire singing freedom songs; the hope of immigrants setting out for distant shores; the hope of a young naval lieutenant bravely patrolling the Mekong Delta; the hope of a millworker's son who dares to defy the odds; the hope of a skinny kid with a funny name who believes that America has a place for him, too. The audacity of hope!In the end, that is God's greatest gift to us, the bedrock of this nation; the belief in things not seen; the belief that there are better days ahead. I believe we can give our middle class relief and provide working families with a road to opportunity. I believe we can provide jobs to the jobless, homes to the homeless, and reclaim young people in cities across America from violence and despair. I believe that as we stand on the crossroads of history, we can make the right choices, and meet the challenges that face us.

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