Day: June 17, 2009

The NY State Senate Disgrace

The New York State Senate, which had been controlled by the Republicans for a very long time, swung over to the Democrats in 2008 by a two vote margin, but now two so called Democrats, both with questionable backgrounds and public records, have switched loyalties to the Republicans without actually changing parties, and more recently, one of the two swung back to the Democrats, making for a tie, and creating chaos as to who is in charge.

The governor, David Paterson, saddled with a very low public opinion rating, has not intervened, but meanwhile there has been total paralysis in the state capital of Albany, making New York’s government a mockery and an embarrassment.  With former governor Eliot Spitzer forced out by a sex scandal; and the new Governor David Paterson becoming a total disaster, and now the joke going on in the state legislature, New York is becoming a candidate to compete with Florida and the 2000 Presidential election,  and California with the recall election of 2003 that led to the governorship of Arnold Schwarzenegger,  as the state with the most preposterous political situation.

Conservatives always extol the virtues of state and local government, but history and recent and current events make one wonder if they are on some kind of medication!  LOL    Not just these three big state governments, but also many other state governments over the years,  have become a joke as far as efficiency and competence and ability to get things done.  I say NATIONAL government, despite its regular shortcomings, historically has been more effective and accomplished than most state governments most of the time.

John Edwards’s Effect On The 2008 Campaign

Former Senator and Presidential candidate John Edwards, who lost all credibility when he had an affair behind his sick wife’s back during the 2008 campaign, has commented on what he feels his effect on the election was–specifically to push both Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama to the left, and also to draw attention to the problem of poverty,  which had not been fully addressed  since Lyndon Johnson and the Great Society years of the 1960s.

While I certainly am very disillusioned with Edwards, I must admit that I believe he DID have a major impact on the campaign in the way he described in an interview with CNN. 

The question is whether Edwards can possibly rehabilitate himself in any way so as to participate in the public square at any time in the future.   He himself says he has no idea what, if any, future politically or publicly he has.  That is a scenario which will play itself out over time.  We shall just have to wait and see what transpires.

Is The Obama Honeymoon Ending?

Recent polls by the NY Times and the Wall Street Journal give indications that the nation is starting to have doubts about some of the Obama agenda, and that therefore the Obama Honeymoon is starting to come to an end.

There are concerns about the federal budget deficit, his involvement with the auto industry, his plans for health care reform, and his plans to close the prison for suspected terrorists at Guantanomo Bay in Cuba.  At the same time, a majority support his general direction in foreign policy and dealing with terrorism.

Additionally, the hot button issues of abortion and affirmative action are coming to the forefront, due to Obama’s nomination of Federal Appeals Court Judge Sonia Sotomayor to the Supreme Court.  But the good news is that most Americans seem to be willing to give the President more time because he has only been in office five months. 

The reality is that any honeymoon ultimately ends as reality sets in, but Obama still has time to promote his agenda, and it is obvious he is going full steam ahead on many issues, wanting to take advantage of the popularity he still possesses at this point.

Obama’s Proposal For Sweeping Financial Reform For Consumers

President Obama has proposed a sweeping reform bill, giving the government greater controls over the financial industry, including credit cards and mortgages, with this all designed to reverse the deregulation that came with the Reagan Presidency, and has led to the abuses that caused the greatest economic crisis since the Great Depression.

Obama said today that the point was to regulate the excesses of financial capitalism while promoting its benefits, but he will have many critics that he is going too far.

It seems to me that what Obama promotes IS essential in the economic climate that now prevails.  We cannot continue in the same direction that we have been pursuing since 1980.  It is indeed time for sweeping change!

The Supreme Court And The Voting Rights Act Review

The Supreme Court is now considering a case to nullify the Voting Rights Act of 1965, which was renewed for the third time in 2006, with its purpose being to promote federal oversight of voting rights in states, particularly in the South, that have historically denied African Americans their 15th Amendment right to vote.

The case contends that there is no longer a need to police the states as there is no obvious discrimination at the present time.  There are hints that the majority of the Court might later this month reverse the congressional action, and that is being clearly opposed by senators including Judiciary Committee Chairman Patrick Leahy of Vermont, who has declared that this would be considered conservative judicial activism.

The hope is that the Court will NOT take such action, but the feeling is that this might just happen, which would be a step backward on human rights in America.

A Step Forward On The Road To Equality For Gays

President Obama has come under attack by the gay community for his slow pace in changing the gay rights situation that he pledged in his campaign.

The gay community wants acceptance of gay marriage, something Obama has never endorsed.  They also want equality for gay relationships regarding retirement and health benefits, but that will require federal legislation to nullify the Defense of Marriage Act signed by President Clinton in 1996.  There is no guarantee that this will happen.  Additionally, gays want the end of "Don’t ask, Don’t tell" in the military to stop the loss of many gay military people who have valuable skills and talents that would be useful to our security, but instead are being drummed out of the military.  This has a greater chance of occuring, but many gays are impatient to see progress.

Today, the President DID change the situation about gay partners of federal government workers, with them now getting some extension of benefits, although not covering retirement and full medical benefits.  It is only a first step, but the President made it clear of his intention to move forward, and my feeling is that people need to give him time to accomplish his pledges.  I am confident we are going to see changes, but remember, it is only five months since the Obama Presidency began, and as the old saying goes, "Rome was not built in a day!"  Let’s have patience and give Obama slack, as there are so many issues to deal with in the most difficult Presidency since Franklin D. Roosevelt in 1933.

John Dean At The Nixon Presidential Library

John Dean, the White House lawyer who blew open the Watergate scandal in 1973, and has gone on to write books on the abuses of the Bush Presidency, as well as a presidential biography of Warren G. Harding, is speaking tonight at the Nixon Presidential Library in California, despite widespread protests that he is not fit to speak at the Nixon Library because of his turncoat behavior toward President Nixon.

The Library’s director, however, has argued that Dean’s perspective is part of the story of Watergate, and that we cannot have a sanitized view of Watergate, and therefore, a new, more objective exhibit about Watergate is being readied for later this summer at the library.  A large crowd is expected to attend tonight’s event, and it is certain that it will be a big news story.

I agree with Timothy Naftali, the director of the library, that we cannot afford to promote a whitewash of the Nixon record, and that blemishes and all, the American people and scholars are entitled to hear all sides of the controversy of Watergate, 37 years after the events that brought down Richard Nixon.  The old saying is that "The truth shall set you free"!  Therefore, this appearance by John Dean is a contribution to a greater understanding of our history.