Union of Concerned Scientists helps you tell Mr. Obama to reduce the spread of nuclear weapons. It's a short letter, but it's also a noble goal. The current administration (sic) has always seemed determined to build more nukes, but even the Republican Congresses often thwarted this aim, and Mr. Obama has, if nothing else, supported efforts to recover loose nuclear materials from Russia. Anyway, it's his job to do the people's will, and I doubt anyone but greedy politicians get taken in anymore by arguments supporting the urgent need for more nukes.
Mr. Obama reappointed Mr. Bush's Defense Secretary, the artist formerly known as not-Donald Rumsfeld, last week, meaning that the Servicemembers' Legal Defense Network now has someone to ask to support the repeal of don't-ask-don't-tell. Mr. Gates is, theoretically, powerless to change the law as a member of the Executive branch, but he is not powerless to persuade lawmakers and sway public opinion. And perhaps his new boss, Barack Obama, can give him some cover. In any case, it's asinine to fight two wars and threaten more wars while kicking out some of your best servicemembers just because they're gay. "Asinine" is one of the words I use when I don't want to curse.
In other news, Robin's Bookstore on 13th Street in Philadelphia will close on January 31. Though it's of course completely unfair that indy bookstores fail while auto CEOs fly on private jets to Washington in order to beg for taxpayer money, I'm not in complete despair over this development. Mr. Robin, whose grandfather opened the bookstore in 1936, now plans to open a café of sorts on the second floor of the current site, promising events "with intellectual content" (quotation marks in the original). The events were what I always liked best about Robin's anyway, and really, books aren't a community -- they're just a way into a community.