Thursday, April 16, 2009

The Daily Strike-4/16/09-Oh, Down in Mexicooooo

Good Thursday evening and welcome to the Daily Strike. No teabag protests to talk about today =(, so we're back to actual news. Let's run down the day in politics.

MEXICO: The President left this morning for a Latin American trip that will last until Sunday. He starts in Mexico City, where he held a joint press conference earlier with President Felipe Calderon. He commended the Mexican government on its fight against drug trafficking, and said that the U.S. must deal with the flow of cash and guns into Mexico from the U.S. He said that the U.S. has benefitted greatly from Mexico's culture and food (I'd agree with him on that, although weren't Burritos invented in America? Does anyone know?). I'm sure Sean Hannity, Lou Dobbs and Glenn Beck will not be happy about that praise of our Southern borders.

The President also pledged, for the first time, to join a treaty restricting arms trafficking in the Americas. Tonight Obama met with U.S. embassy officials and attended a "working dinner." He leaves tomorrow for the Summit of the Americas in Trinidad and Tobago.

BEFORE HE LEFT...The President made an important announcment today regarding one of the Strike's favorite things: high speed rail. The President outlined a new plan to fund high speed rail projects, building on the $8 billion allocated in the stimulus package. He has added $5 billion to his Transportation Department budget request for this purpose. His vision? A large network of high speed rail routes to make it easier and cheaper to do business, to cut carbon emissions, and to make it a lot easier for me to get from San Francisco to LA in 2 hours without having to take my shoes off at some airport security line. How cool is this?

This plan won't be an easy sell to Republican lawmakers, who have long seen Amtrak as an example of an ineffective government-managed enterprise. But I hope Obama pushes hard for it, because it would not only create millions of new manufacturing jobs, it would also just be...really awesome. Ok, enough of my pro-high speed rail propaganda.

CIA INTERROGATORS: The Obama administration also made a decision today that will anger the "legal left." He has decided not to prosecute CIA agents who participated in enhanced interrogation tactics (torture) approved by the Bush administration. I'm not sure how I feel about this. It's not like the agents were a few bad apples. They were obeying (possibly illegal) commands from the administration. I certainly hold them partially morally responsible for not ever questioning whether to use the techniques or not, but I would probably start prosecuting Bush administration officials first.

The President will also announce the release of terror interrogation memos written between 2002 and 2005. Due to good investigative reporting, it's likely that we'll already know most of what comes out of these memos. Still, it could shed light on exactly how much damage the Bush administration did to our constitution and our reputation in the global community.

That's it for a short entry tonight. See you tomorrow. PLEASE leave your comments on this or any other entries this week. We will feature the best comment tomorrow night. Also, we're starting a new feature on our blog to showcase insightful comments made by The Big Picture that don't merit a full entry. It's called the "Big Picture Corner." Here's the first entry:

Yesterday was such a disastrous day for the political viability of the
Republican Party and conservatism. I'm sure that David Brooks, David Frum,
Charlie Crist, and John Huntsman Jr. were in tears after that across-the-board
display. Not just the tea parties, but also Perry's absurd talk and Richard
Burr's outrageous bragging. And Limbaugh's crazy talk against Obama taking out
the pirates. The party and the movement stand only for automatic, knee-jerk, and
wildly over-the-top opposition to an extraordinarily popular President in a time
of economic crisis. That's their huge problem, and the images and soundbites
from yesterday just confirm that so much. When the vast majority of people are
concerned about their job and health care, what an unbelievably tone-deaf

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