Day: December 17, 2012

The Succession To John Kerry’s Senate Seat Becomes More Interesting!

With Massachusetts Senator John Kerry about to be announced as Barack Obama’s new Secretary of State for his second term in office, attention is being paid more than ever to who will replace him.

Governor Deval Patrick will make a temporary appointment, but by late June or early July, there will be an election to finish out the term to the end of 2014.

Senator Scott Brown, soon to leave the Senate after losing to Elizabeth Warren, will certainly be the Republican nominee, but this time, unlike January 2010, when he won the Senate seat after the death of Ted Kennedy, it will be much more difficult for him to win in the very heavy “Blue” state of Massachusetts.

The rumors are flying that the widow of Ted Kennedy, Vickie Kennedy, who turned down the chance to run nearly three years ago, might now be interested. And also, Joseph Kennedy III, son of former Congressman Joseph Kennedy II, and now newly elected to Barney Frank’s House seat in Boston, could be a contender, even though only 32, but then Ted Kennedy was only 30 when he took the Senate seat in 1962. Any Kennedy running would be tough to beat.

But there are others also considered possible candidates, including Barney Frank himself, although retiring from the House of Representatives; Congressman Ed Markey, who has served in the House for 36 years; Congressman Michael Capuano; former Congressman Marty Meehan; and even Governor Deval Patrick himself!

One thing is certain: The replacement battle for John Kerry’s Senate seat will be fascinating and combative for sure, including a possible Democratic primary for the seat!

Two Heroines Of Gun Control: Senator Diane Feinstein And Congresswoman Carolyn McCarthy!

This nation is fortunate to have two heroines in Congress, ready to fight for realistic gun control in the aftermath of the Sandy Hook Elementary School Massacre in Connecticut.

Senator Diane Feinstein of California and New York Congresswoman Carolyn McCarthy have both known what gun violence has done, and how it has affected their lives.

Senator Feinstein became Mayor of San Francisco in 1978, after the assassination of gay Councilman Harvey Milk and Mayor George Moscone, and she fought for the Brady Bill’s passage in 1993-1994, named after the press secretary to President Ronald Reagan, wounded during the attempt against the President’s life in 1981 by John Hinckley. She achieved the impossible two decades ago, and the Brady Bill remained law until 2004, when President George W. Bush refused to support an extension of this gun control law. Feinstein is now willing to lead the fight for an equivalent ban nine years after the last one expired, with the horrible record of violence ever since, much of it with assault rifles and vast magazines of ammunition, something that no hunter, and no civilian, needs!

Congresswoman McCarthy lost her husband in 1993, due to violence on the Long Island Railroad, and nearly lost her son, who needed many months of rehabilitation. She lobbied for the Brady Bill, ultimately signed by President Bill Clinton, and ultimately ran against the Long Island Republican Congressman Dan Frisa when he refused to support the Brady Bill, and was elected in 1996. She has made it clear that she intends to fight for another Brady Bill, alongside Feinstein and other courageous men and women in the House and Senate, including New York Senator Chuck Schumer, who worked on the Brady Bill in the House back in 1993-1994.

These two women are indeed true heroines, and let’s hope they can accomplish their goal of a safer America, as we cannot continue to live in a nation where 11,000 to 12,000 men, women, and children are killed annually by gun violence!

Hawaii Senator Daniel Inouye Dies After 50 Years Service, Age 88

The second longest serving United States Senator in all of American history, Hawaii Democratic Senator Daniel Inouye, died this afternoon at age 88, after 50 years of service.

Only West Virginia Democratic Senator Robert Byrd served longer, a total of 52 years, with South Carolina Republican Senator Strom Thurmond serving about 48 years, but less than Inouye, and Massachusetts Democratic Senator Ted Kennedy serving 47 plus years before his death.

Inouye is easily the most famous Japanese American politician in American history, and was injured fighting in Italy in World War II, at a time when Japanese Americans were being interned in prison camps because of the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor, Hawaii. He lost an arm to the war, but was always proud of his service in units that won more medals, honors and awards than any others in the Second World War. Inouye won the Medal of Honor for his service.

He is the most important person in promotion of the University of Hawaii, and of the cause of veterans, both disabled and otherwise.

As the senior member of the Senate in the past few years, Inouye served as President Pro Tempore of the Senate, which put him third in line to be President, behind the Speaker of the House of Representatives.

A man of courage and strong principles, Inouye will be remembered as a Senator who made a real difference!

He served as Hawaii’s first Congressman beginning in 1959, and came to the Senate in 1962 at the same time Ted Kennedy came to the upper chamber.

Inouye served on the Watergate and Iran Contra committees, and was long time chairman of the Senate Appropriations Committee. He did a great deal to bring federal aid to Hawaii, and to promote the advancement of native Hawaiians, Japanese Americans, Filipino Americans, and native Americans, and was a major promoter of transportation projects and of education. There was never a better advocate of the Hawaiian Islands than him.

May he rest in peace, having done a great job serving his constituents!

Senator Tim Scott Of South Carolina: Just What The Senate Does NOT Need!

South Carolina Governor Nikki Haley has just announced the appointment of Congressman Tim Scott, who is African American, to replace retiring Senator Jim DeMint, who resigned to become the head of the conservative think tank, the Heritage Foundation.

DeMint was the leader of the Tea Party Caucus in the US Senate, and his replacement by Scott, who is in the vein of defeated one term Florida Congressman Allen West, is in many ways, even worse than DeMint.

Scott is no Edward Brooke, African American Senator from Massachusetts from 1967-1979, who served credibly as a moderate Republican, the first popularly elected African American Senator, and received a Congressional Medal of Honor and a US Mint Medal struck in his honor a few years ago, a medal the author is proud to own. Brooke, now past 90, is a true credit to the US Senate and his race!

Scott is a right wing Tea Party activist, who has advocated the impeachment of President Obama; called for the cutting of food stamps to children; helped to push through cuts in services to HIV/AIDS patients in South Carolina; has backed large subsidies to Big Oil; and has promoted the idea of the Ten Commandments being on the walls of every government building in South Carolina.

This man is a right wing extremist, who will have no success in convincing African Americans to become Republicans, as he comes across as a firebrand, who will undermine any chance of compromise by House or Senate Republicans on any issue over the next two years.

He is the equivalent of Associate Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas, another African American who has turned against civil rights, and gone over to the white conservative establishment of the Republican Party, but can do a lot of damage, as Thomas has done repeatedly, including conflicts of interest on many cases brought before the Court.

Scott will not be a quiet freshman, and in many ways, will be a nightmare who will plague the Senate, and probably have a long career in a state which has gone so right wing and loony that its poverty stricken black and white population will suffer, but always with the thought that they are following the teachings of Jesus Christ, which they most certainly are NOT doing!