• Obama is trying to stop Bush’s last minute gutting of environmental rules.

Jan. 21 (Bloomberg) — Bush administration proposals to ease emission requirements for factories and require some foods to carry country-of-origin labels are among pending regulations that President Barack Obama blocked on his first day in office.

In October 2001, the Bush administration took an administrative action that would prove sadly symptomatic of its rule. John Ashcroft, then the attorney general, issued a memorandum warning against casual release of information to the public under the Freedom of Information Act. Such releases, Ashcroft said, should be made “only after full and deliberate consideration of the institutional, commercial and personal privacy interests that could be implicated.” In case anyone missed the point, Ashcroft added that any bureaucrat who said no to such a request could “be assured that the Department of Justice will defend your decisions unless they lack a sound legal basis.” It goes without saying that Ashcroft did not promise any such defense of government employees who released information under the terms of the act.

  • The “global gag rule” on abortions is no more.

President Obama yesterday lifted a ban on U.S. funding for international health groups that perform abortions, promote legalizing the procedure or provide counseling about terminating pregnancies.

Officials say they will make wide-ranging changes, including stricter federal rules for hedge funds, credit rating agencies and mortgage brokers, and greater oversight of the complex financial instruments that contributed to the economic crisis.

About The Author

Trevor Francis is a Blast Magazine staff writer. He manages the Politics, Sports, Anything Blog

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