By Brad Friedman on 9/4/2009, 4:49pm PT  

What it is, ain't exactly clear...

  • Late last month, Attorney General Eric Holder announced plans for a narrow investigation into torture carried out by the previous Administration. It's not enough, by a long shot, but it's a start. And it wasn't blocked by the White House, despite CIA Director Leon Panetta's best, and most shameful efforts to head it off.
  • Yesterday, the State Dept. announced they were cutting off aid to Honduras and revoking visas for some involved in the recent ouster of President Zelaya. That, despite the bought-and-paid for lobbying to the contrary by Sec. of State Hillary Clinton's close friend Lanny Davis --- as expertly detailed by Ernie Canning here earlier this week --- and strong-arming from the wingnuts who are happy to ignore all pretensions of caring about "democracy" whenever a perceived "leftist" can be removed from power by any means possible.
  • Today, the White House publicly spoke out against Israel's announced plans to build new settlements, despite predictable heat sure to come from U.S. Republicanists and Israeli hardliners.
  • [Added] Also today, the White House agreed to make visitor logs available to the public, leading Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington (CREW) to drop their lawsuit against the Obama Administration. [Had meant to include this one in the list originally, but had forgotten it until reminded in comments by the salty-tongued 'The ZapKitty'.]

So what gives? Did the Obama Administration huddle over the August recess, realize their well-meaning, but ultimately futile effort at "bi-partisanship" was a non-starter, and decide to start doing the right thing, no matter how much the bullies out there are sure to throw shit fits about it all?

Granted, these are all fairly baby steps. But it's a curious flurry, and I'm wondering if something hopeful could be afoot. It'd be welcome news if so. If not, as we spend so much time around here critical of so much that he's done wrong, it's only fair to offer occasional kudos --- even baby step kudos --- when he manages to do something right.

So am I reading to much into these small, albeit seemingly positive late developments? Or is it possible someone at the White House has begun to see some light?