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JANUARY 17, 2009   

Good news, at last

It's been a long time—nearly eight years, to be exact—since I felt even a bit of optimism about reading the morning paper. Even now there's a lot of depressing financial news, discouraging articles about local government mismanagement, and international crises to worry about. But still, here and there are glimmers of hope coming from Washington, or more precisely the road to Washington. The Obama administration is already talking about doing things that I can support.

Plain Dealer article about Obama visit to Cleveland factory

Obama's visit to a Cleveland-area small business is good news not just because its a local success story that stands out among layoffs and plant closings. It's good news because it represents government action—finally!—to support renewable energy and environmental sanity.

Other recent positives: Obama's plans to immediately close the Guantanamo Bay prison camp and to stop the use of torture (or whatever term the Bush administration invented to whitewash the practice).

So I'm pleased with a lot of what seems to be happening. More than that, I'm almost stunned by the total change in attitude that's demonstrated by the emphasis Obama is placing on service to the country. The Bush years can be characterized by the belief that government is bad, the world is scary, you're on your own, and guns are your best defense.

To get a very different view, watch Michelle Obama's invitation to take part in a National Day of Service on Martin Luther King Jr. day.

"National unity?" "Shared commitment?"

Wow. Talk about traditional family values.

I've signed up for an event in Cleveland. Please join me by volunteering to do something wherever you are. There are links to activities in your community at the USAService website.

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