It’s been a Saturday of significant news in American politics.
— the announcement President-Elect Obama made this morning about the massive stimulus plan he intends to sign into law shortly after his inauguration on January 20, starting with funding $156 billion in state and local infrastructure projects. Medical records, energy savings, as well as internet connections and computers for education will also figure into the as-yet undefined program. — Eric Shinseki will be announced as the head of Veteran’s Affairs, some five and a half years after risking his career as the Chief of Staff of the Army by telling the truth to Congress about the hundreds of thousands of troops that would be needed to maintain an occupation of Iraq. Despite being forced out of active service by the neoconservatives running the Defense Department and the White House, he’s back. — Newsweek reports that 55% of the American people now support civil unions for gay people, a quantum leap towards acceptance of basic civil rights for all people in the wake of the failure of California voters to back marriage rights this fall. Another poll number shows almost 40% support marriage rights nationally, including people in forty some odd states where marriage rights have never been introduced electorally or argued in vigorous public debate.
If it weren’t for the 535,000 people thrown out of work last month, this would feel like a really good day.