Saturday, July 31, 2010

Thank you, Rep. Weiner and Judge Bolton...

Before we plunge into the main theme of this blog, we must call attention to Congressman Anthony Weiner’s two-minute outraged  diatribe against the cowardly House Republicans who voted against extending health care funding to the 9/11 recovery and rescue workers who have experienced health conditions since responding to that horrific emergency.  It was refreshing to hear one of our Representatives vent outrage and contempt about his cowardly colleagues who were unwilling to be forthright about their negative votes.  Instead, he claimed that they were hiding behind each other and saying they were going to vote “no” because of “procedural issues,” not because they wanted to deny needed health care for those who had bravely gone in to the stinking, smoldering caldron to save lives and put out the fire.  I have rarely seen such footage of such rage.  
Weiner represents NY’s Ninth Congressional District in Queens that runs from Forest Hills and slices down to the ocean.  This is a district that would contain many, many of the first responders--the firemen and women, the police, and the hundreds of heroic volunteers.  No wonder this splendid man was outraged.  The soul of the man was in pain.  You can see it in his face.  [Here
Thank you, Congressman Anthony Weiner.
Another person we would like to thank is Judge Susan Bolton.  Judge Bolton is the federal judge who blocked the most serious and controversial sections of the Arizona law that targeted illegal immigrants.  The law was scheduled to go into effect last Thursday and Bolton’s ruling came just in time.  Of course, the appeal process will take the complex law up the ladder to other courts in the federal hierarchy but for the moment there is some breathing room.
Who is this Judge Susan Bolton who was at the center of the news last week and had the courage to say no?  Bolton was born in Philadelphia in 1951.  She attended the University of Iowa and its law school.  After law school, she went to Arizona to clerk for Arizona State Appeals Judge Laurence Wren for two years.  She then went into private practice and worked privately from 1977 to 1989, when she was appointed to the Arizona Superior Court for Maricopa County by the then-governor, Rose Mofford, the first female governor of Arizona--a Democrat.   Bolton served on that court from 1989-2000 when Senator Kyl--a Republican-- recommended that she be chosen for a federal judgeship.  In the waning months of his administration, Clinton nominated her to the district judgeship in Arizona.  (I wonder how Kyl feels about his recommendation now.)
When one reads even the little that has been written about Susan Bolton, certain words reappear: impeccable, thoughtful, serious, no-nonsense.  A friend of hers from the Arizona Superior Court, Judge Bethany Hicks, described her as “a private person who is thoughtful, independent, deliberate and intellectual.”  
Judge Bolton lived up to all these words in her rulings last week.  The judge stuck to present law and rendered unto the feds what is federal precedent and perogative and unto Arizona its legal rights.  For example, Bolton let stand Arizona’s ban on picking up day laborers from the curbside under its Arizona traffic regulations, but she restrained police officers from being mandated to check for federal immigration papers of persons they had stopped for other offenses.
We’ll be watching as this onerous and controversial law makes its way through the federal appeals process.  As Arizona Governor Brewer said about the Bolton decision, “It’s just a bump along the road.”  Nevertheless, isn’t it nice to know that we still have public servants, like Weiner and Bolton?
Thank you both...

Friday, July 30, 2010

"There's Good News Tonight"...

When I was a kid--many, many, many years ago--there was a radio commentator named Gabriel Heater on WOR, the Mutual Broadcasting System, who began his programs with “Good evening, everyone, there’s good news tonight.” [Here] I used to practice the phrase with my chums and it ultimately became the hopeful back-ground noise of those lonely, scary WWII years. Out of nowhere that phrase popped into my mind when I read that Shirley Sherrod has decided to sue Andrew Breitbart. [Here]
We don’t know many details yet, such as who her attorney will be and the exact nature of the law suit, but it was heart-warming to read that Sherrod was going to fight back. As Rachel Maddow has counselled, bullies need to be pushed back and confronted. (I’m sure that she learned that lesson very early in life.)
Sam Stein in Huffpost wrote about the chances of Sherrod winning a suit against Breitbart: [Here]
Several prominent First Amendment lawyers said on Thursday that Sherrod -- who was abruptly fired from her job after misleading video of her was posted on Breitbart's website, biggovernment.com, has decent grounds on which to sue. "There are a lot of unknowns," said Victor Kovner, a highly respected 1st Amendment lawyer for the firm Davis Wright Tremaine.  "But let me say, from what I know, it is not a frivolous suit."

Yes, indeed, there is good news tonight.

Another reason to jump for joy is the latest polling stats from Nevada where Harry Reid has come from way back a few weeks ago to, currently, a 2-point lead over Republican candidate Sharon Angle. Remember Angle? She is the full-throated wingnut who won Nevada’s Republican primary. She went into the primary election leading Reid by 11 points and is now trailing Reid by 2 points. (That must be why Reid’s smile looks wide and from the heart.)
This is really, really good news. Angle is the lady who called a press conference after she had met with Republican strategists who were helping her to get her act together. She met the press, read a speech and then, literally, ran away without answering any questions. Of course, the press and cameras followed her sprint to her car, but all we saw were bobbing camera shots and shouted questions at a hastily retreating Sharon Angle back.
It scares me to even read about Angle’s Looney Tunes ideas. This is the lady who would like to phase out Social Security and Medicare (privatize ‘em) and believes the victims of rape shouldn’t have abortions (“lemons can be made into lemonade”), BP’s Gulf oil spill was “an accident,” the oil industry should be “deregulated,” and abortions cause breast cancer. [Here]
I’m sure that you’ve read enough. Angle has also warned about a possible insurrection if Congress continues to be led by an Obama agenda. (Maybe if she wins, there will be one.)
Of course, there is also some bad news, such as Phyllis Schlafly seems to be back and gathering headlines. Her latest insane line is that unmarried women, after throwing out their husbands, go on welfare and then vote for Obama. The direct quotation is: [Here]
Unmarried women, 70% of unmarried women, voted for Obama, and this is because when you kick your husband out, you've got to have big brother government to be your provider... 
I have an idea: Schlafly should go up to Vegas and campaign with Angle. Schlafly could run Angle on a separate Wingnut Party line.
Oh, dear. But let’s remember that there is some good news tonight and today. And while we’re at it let’s also give a quiet nod in memory of Gabriel Heatter who taught us to focus on some positive things when the gathering storm clouds were terrifyingly ominous.