Wednesday, February 20, 2008

It's There... If You Look For It

I'm getting a little tired of hearing that Barack Obama is just an empty media meme. So, here's a quick cull from the Internet, of some of Obama's accomplishments in the Senate.

First of all, thanks is owed to a diarist at Daily Kos.

Graph of Obama's legislation in the Illinois Senate.

A second Kos diary with links to bills from Illinois. My favorite? The bill he sponsored to make it mandatory that all interrogations of suspects be videotaped.

A third diary from Kos that compares Clinton's and Obama's records in depth and presents a list of both of their accomplishments in the Senate.

A 2006 article from Obsidian Wings.

More from Hilzoy, 2008

From an Internet comment:

Just a few things a doer (Barack Obama) has done:
• Passed a bill making Illinois the first state that required that interrogations and confessions be videotaped
• Passed Illinois' first earned-income tax credit to help the working poor
• Passed first Illinois ethics and campaign finance law in 25 years
• Co-authored, with Tom Coburn, the new lobbying reform law that requires lawmakers to disclose the names of lobbyists who "bundle" contributions for them
• Passed the Lugar-Obama Non-Proliferation Legislation, expands U.S. cooperation to destroy conventional weapons and the State Department's ability to detect and interdict weapons and materials of mass destruction
• Opposed the war in Iraq from the start and only Barack Obama established legislation that would, by force of law, begin a phased redeployment by May 1, 2007, and have all combat forces out of Iraq by March 31, 2008 (not passed)
• Co-sponsored legislation in the Senate to close a tax loophole that permitted hedge fund investors to pay levies on billions of dollars in profit at a lower rate than most income earners.
• Authored legislation with Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) to provide $20 million in emergency aid to African Union (AU) peacekeeping forces in Sudan that passed the Senate as part of a larger Department of Defense (DOD) spending bill to be signed into law by the President
• The AU is the only international force in Darfur working to prevent a further deterioration of a situation where 400,000 people have died and 2.5 million have been driven from their homes.
• Obama met with AU commanders in Eastern Chad where thousands of Sudanese refugees have fled from the violence that has engulfed their country," Obama said. "It quickly became clear to me that bolstering the AU mission is critical to short-term efforts to protect innocent civilians and allow humanitarian operations in the region. While we have so much more to do to stop the slaughter of innocents, this funding, combined with recent pledges of assistance from European governments, is an important step in the right direction."
 In late August, 2007 Senator Obama visited the Mile Refugee Camp, one of 12 encampments on Chad's eastern border. The camp is home to 15,000 refugees who crossed the Sudanese border seeking safety from Janjaweed militias who have been terrorizing ethnic African tribes in Darfur. During his visit to Eastern Chad, Senator Obama met with refugees from the Darfur region, AU military commanders, local Chadian officials, U.S. military officers, and U.N. personnel.
• Sponsored legislation that allows gas stations to receive tax credits for installing E85 ethanol refueling pumps.
• Introduced legislation along with Tom Harkin, establishing a National Low-Carbon Fuel Standard that would reduce annual greenhouse gas emissions in the short and long-term. The bill requires a reduction of about 180 million metric tons in emissions in 2020 - the equivalent of taking over 30 million cars off the road. The Obama-Harkin fuel standard embraces the growth of the renewable fuels market, including corn-based ethanol, cellulosic ethanol, and biodiesel as a key component of fighting climate change, while incentivizing lower carbon emissions in their production. (May, 2007)
• Sponsored legislation, bill dedicated to pandemic flu preparedness
• Introduced Genomics and Personalized Medicine Act of 2006, a bill to improve access to and appropriate utilization of valid, reliable and accurate genetic tests by all populations
• Introduced legislation to better secure one of the most vulnerable gaps in our homeland security-chemical plants
• Passed amendment to the Interior Appropriations bill that would help speed the creation of regulations to protect our nation's children from dangerous lead paint poisoning
• His "health care for hybrids" bill
• An Energy Security Bill
• Various bills on relief for Hurricane Katrina, including aid for kids and a ban on no-bid contracts by FEMA
• A public database of all federal spending and contracts
• Legislation to raise CAFE standards
• Veterans' health care
• Making certain kinds of voter intimidation illegal
• Proposal to revamp ethics oversight, replacing the present ethics Committee with a bipartisan commission of retired judges and members of Congress, and allowing any citizen to report ethics violations. This would have fixed one of the huge problems with the present system, namely: that the members have to police themselves.
• Supports the Employee Free Choice Act, an act to restore workers' free choice to join unions
• Marched alongside striking hotel workers in Chicago last year

Posted by: Katy7540 | January 9, 2008 08:37 PM

Lawrence Lessig, he of Creative Commons and the Electronic Freedom Frontier, thinks his technology plans are the bees knees.

First the importantly balanced: You'll read he's a supporter of Net Neutrality. No surprise there. But read carefully what Net Neutrality for Obama is. There's no blanket ban on offering better service; the ban is on contracts that offer different terms to different providers for that better service. And there's no promise to police what's under the technical hood (beyond the commitment already articulated by Chairman Powell): This is a sensible and valuable Net Neutrality policy that shows a team keen to get it right -- which includes making it enforceable in an efficient way, even if not as radical as some possible friends would like.

Second, on the important: As you'll read, Obama has committed himself to a technology policy for government that could radically change how government works. The small part of that is simple efficiency -- the appointment with broad power of a CTO for the government, making the insanely backwards technology systems of government actually work.

Need more? What about 260 more reasons?

Just a few things to gnaw on. You don't have to agree with them all, as I'm sure a lot of folks won't. But it's time to put this "empty suit" nonsense to bed.

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