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Quick Takes

By Dan Froomkin
12:18 PM ET, 02/11/2009

Katharine Q. Seelye writes in the New York Times: "Defense Secretary Robert Gates suggested today that he was open to allowing the media to photograph the flag-draped coffins of fallen soldiers as their bodies and remains are returned to the United States...He said he was ordering a review of the military policy that bars photographers from taking pictures of the return of the coffins, most of which go through Dover Air Force Base in Delaware, and set a 'short deadline' for a decision."

Zachary Coile writes in the San Francisco Chronicle: "President Obama is shelving a plan announced in the final days of the Bush presidency to open much of the U.S. coast to oil and gas drilling, including 130 million acres off California's shores from Mendocino to San Diego. Interior Secretary Ken Salazar put the plan on hold Tuesday while his agency conducts a 180-day review. But Salazar's critical comments about the proposal made clear that the new administration will rewrite it if not completely scrap it."

The New York Times editorial board writes: "The Obama administration failed — miserably — the first test of its commitment to ditching the extravagant legal claims used by the Bush administration to try to impose blanket secrecy on anti-terrorism policies and avoid accountability for serial abuses of the law....Voters have good reason to feel betrayed if they took Mr. Obama seriously on the campaign trail when he criticized the Bush administration’s tactic of stretching the state-secrets privilege to get lawsuits tossed out of court."

Diane McWhorter writes in a USA Today opinion piece that for Obama, the imperative to investigate Bush-Cheney torture policies "transcends even legal duty. For Obama to temporize on this issue will nullify the near-sacred significance attached to his victory: the virtue restored to the U.S. by the election of a black president."

The Los Angeles Times yesterday published some comments that former Bush senior adviser Karl Rove made at a speech last week, in which he argued that government leaks can cause serious harm. He added: "I love how the last eight years, this White House, the Bush White House, was criticized for being tight-lipped. We didn't leak." Thinkprogress highlights some of the reaction from the blogosphere.

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