>> March 18, 2009
Major General J. Scott Gration a retired major general that visited the Darfur region of the Sudan with (then Senator) Obama in 2006, has now been appointed as the United States' special envoy to Sudan. Can everybody say yippee!?!? Remember how I discussed this in this post, about how I was excited George Clooney was pressuring President Obama into sending a special envoy to Darfur? Yep, well seems that the pressure worked - I'm glad I signed a few of those petitions. Not that I think it was just me and George.. but man, oh man, I'm excited. I know that it won't make everything better. And, everyone won't just wake up tomorrow and the world will be better. But I really think it is awesome, and a move in the right direction.
However.. it isn't all roses, and frankly Major General Gration has a lot of work ahead of him. Quoting from the Save Darfur Coalition:
The Sudanese government's recent decision to expel 13 international aid agencies has left about 1.1 million civilians without food aid, 1.5 million without health care and over a million without potable water—threatening starvation and disease on a massive scale.
General Gration has his work cut out for him. He will need to hit the ground running and spearhead an urgent and sustained diplomatic push to establish unimpeded humanitarian access in Darfur, as well as sustainable peace in all of Sudan. And we'll need your help again in the days and weeks to come.
But at least many people actually know where Darfur is. (at least they can say Africa.. right?) I remember wearing my Save Darfur t-shirt way back when people would stare at me and be like "Who's Darfur?"
In other Obamaness, the Obama administration also announced today that they are going to start phasing out stop losses. This also makes me very happy. Stop losses are the military practice of holding troops past end of enlistments. According to the Defense Secretary, the military will now be using more incentive-based programs if enlistments need to be extended.
My last cheer for President Obama is his funny-ness. Among a big Senator Dodd / AIG / Stupid bonuses scandal, where many are pushing for Secretary Timothy Geitner to step down, the President instead was full of humor and jokes at the California Town Hall Meeting tonight. Yay for President Obama. His administration isn't perfect... but I think he's doing AWESOME in the things that count.
PS! Obama is going to be on Jay Leno tomorrow night. In case any of you are interested.