Tim Geithner and Todd Stern are in, Caroline Kennedy's out, Leon Panetta is delayed, Susan Rice is paying attention, and Holocaust deniers are cheering disrepair at Auschwitz. It's quite the Tuesday.
Despite the fact that tax and nanny issues reportedly stymied Caroline Kennedy's move to the Senate — which Governor David Paterson is now denying — tax-and-nanny-issues Tim Geithner was confirmed by the Senate after a minor delay and sworn in yesterday. He then gave a speech that I didn't hear because I was at a bar toasting the fact that a man with documented tax and nanny issues can be elevated to the role of Secretary of the Treasury but a woman with rumors of the same should hang her head in shame and withdraw from public life.
Earlier in the day, Barack Obama spent some time shaming the Bush Administration and its "environmental" policies, directing the EPA to try to figure out away to rescind the Bush era order that California isn't allowed to regulate carbon dioxide emissions from cars and get on regulating emissions on a federal level. Hillary Clinton followed that up by announcing that Todd Stern is going to be the State Department's envoy on climate change — meaning that one of the Clinton-era negotiators of the Kyoto Protocol on greenhouse gas emissions is going to be in charge of outreach and negotiations on climate change matters. That's probably a good sign — and a better one than the fact that, for the second time in a week, Obama has decided to wave his own rules on lobbyists joining his Administration and announced that a former Goldman Sachs lobbyist is headed to the Treasury Department. I think we've sort of had enough Goldman guys at Treasury for a while.
In other foreign policy-esque news, Obama's pick for CIA director, Leon Panetta, is in a holding pattern having reportedly forgotten to turn in a bunch of his financial disclosure paperwork for his confirmation hearing (early reports indicate the dog at it) but now that Geithner's been confirmed despite his, it'll all probably be ok. Our new UN Ambassador, Susan Rice, called Darfur an "ongoing genocide" and isn't planning on letting it out of her sights when the cameras are off, which is probably a welcome change after the forgetfulness of the last Administration if she follows through.
And in straight-up fucked up news, the Vatican recently un-excommunicated 4 priests who split with the Vatican over the Church's sixties-era statements that anti-Semitism is bad. One of those priests celebrated by getting on television while in Germany and denying the Holocaust. The Nazi Pope thinks that's very poorly done of him, and plans to do fuck-all about it. In the meantime, the gas chambers that the Nazis tried to destroy at Auschwitz to cover up their crimes are falling into severe disrepair — as is much of the Birkenau complex — because of lack of funding, which will allow the next generation of Holocaust deniers to point and say: "Look! Nothing to see here." You know, sort of like the government of the Sudan is hoping to do in Darfur. It seems that evil people, at least, learn the right history lesson.