That was some week, huh?
Finally, some details on the logistics of attending inauguration, including, as I've been telling everyone I speak to about it, that you don't need tickets to attend (just to attend in the most choice seats). Joe Lieberman voted to de-fund troops in the battlefield, accused (now, but not then) President-Elect Barack Obama of the same, was rewarded for it. Everyone, please take off your Obama/Biden buttons and other paraphernalia. Walking around wearing the President's name, outside of a campaign, suggests a fundamental confusion about the proper relationship between the American electorate and the American President. How was Bob Dylan's reaction to Obama's victory not picked up as a news story? The reaction was very restrained, but, as that first link also mentions, Dylan is purposefully enigmatic and almost never reacts publicly to anything these days, so the very fact of reaction is important. I was in a really wonderful mood on Nov. 5, nevertheless I had two very different Dylan songs in mind that night, both for the out-going administration. Perhaps Dylan is closer to tranquility than I. George Packer really does a number on Bill Kristol. Fully deserved, but cruel. Then again, I still have some animus towards Packer (see the sixth comment, it's a true story). This post recommending a course of action for dealing with pirates off Somalia sounds like something Jack Aubrey would approve of, which recommends it to me. However, I do worry that it includes no perspective as to how the U.S. Navy and others are currently dealing with this issue, treating it as a blank slate for Pres. Obama to be acting on. Also, for a site about international law, it's strange for the post to mostly be about military tactics and strategy, with international law (for example) as a side issue to be discussed later.
If one wanted to be snarky, they could dismiss this David Leonhardt column as just pointing out that infrastructure spending needs to be done wisely. But in fact, it contains some good, specific advice and the comparative aspect, noting that other countries do manage to handle infrastructure spending with more wisdom is important, though it leaves unanswered the difficult question of how we get from where we are to where they are. This site from Minnesota Public Radio is mostly interesting for seeing the various ways in which voters messed up their ballots in the Coleman v. Franken contest and the absurd claims the campaigns are willing to make in order to interpret a ballot to their liking (e.g., the voter was underlining the name, not crossing it out). Also, Lizard People! These two Yglesias posts on how so far the noises coming out of the Obama transition team all point towards really positive steps for the liberal agenda are good and worth reading. I remain somewhat worried about executive power, domestic surveillance, and war on terror detention/legal policy issues, but I'm hopeful for positive developments there too.
The New York Times wisely notes that the electoral college is an absurd anachronism which needs eliminating, and even mentions the National Popular Vote movement. Here's my usual reminder to find out the status of the bill in your state legislature and then contact them about moving on it. Contact info for New York state assembly members and senators available at that link. I'm thrilled that we're going to stop keeping at least five innocent Algerians imprisoned after seven years. Are we going to return them to Bosnia, where they were captured? To Algeria? Release them in the United States? Pay compensation? For all I know, there's already a framework for dealing with these questions, but I'm not aware of any. Waxman over Dingell. It's kind of a big deal. “It's no one's fault, per se. It's written into our constitutional structure.” Josh Marshall, in reference to the lag time between electoral victory and inauguration. Sandy Levinson, who both generally hates people treating constitutional deficiencies as just facts of life, rather than problems to be solved, and specifically hates the provisions causing that lag (e.g.), will not be pleased.
Yglesias correctly notes most of the foreign policy differences which came up between Senator Clinton and Senator and now President-Elect Obama during the primary season, and wonders what her appointment as Secretary of State, when it happens, will mean for the direction of U.S. policy in these areas.
I haven't been following the Guantanamo detainee litigation as closely as I used to, so I can't provide an analysis of the legal arguments in play in this case right now. But I'm pretty sure that in response to two of the three judges on the panel indicating in oral argument that they're amenable to the government's arguments against the release of the Uighur detainees (not the Algerian detainees mentioned above), Pres.-Elect Obama should announce his intention to release those particular detainees (who, to the best of my knowledge, there is no reason to believe pose a risk to the United States) as soon as he is inaugurated. Such an order is both required by justice, and, more practically, would quite possibly (depending on timing of the order) make the appeal moot and thereby remove the possibility of a bad precedent on the powers of federal judges to order release.