Last week, a federal judge in Florida ruled that the health care reform bill passed last year was unconstitutional.
Unlike other rulings on the bill that have come from a handful of other judges, what makes this one noteworthy is that 26 states were in on the case, asking for the courts to block implementation, and that the whole package was deemed unconstitutional. That last part especially, as even another judge ruled against the constitutionality of the individual mandate, without striking down the whole bill.
The crowd for Manhattan Borough President Scott Stringer’s State of the Borough Address Tuesday night was so large that it filled the auditorium at the CUNY Graduate Center in Midtown and three overflow rooms across the hall. It’s not common to command such a turnout when you hold an office most New Yorkers don’t know much about. But this audience didn’t just come to hear about Manhattan; attendees were looking forward to hearing Stringer’s vision for the city in what many assumed would resemble an opening pitch for the 2013 mayor’s race.
Give up the romantic notions you have about Egypt becoming a democracy. Seriously, grow up my friends and smell the baklava. The unrest in Egypt isn’t for a democratic government. The unrest in Egypt is spurred by the monied military class which is seeing its wealth shrink globally while all the other operations within the country still move at full tilt. The Suez Canal operations continue unabated this year, but Egypt’s profits on their exports have declined. The Egyptian monied military class (heretofore mentioned as MC’s to give them some Hip-Hop street credibility) wants a facelift. Forget your romantic notions about students and plebians organizing this unrest. That is pure fantasy.
Having a constitution and respecting that constitution are clearly not synonymous. Without legitimacy, a constitution is nothing more than words on a page. The importance of a constitutional system has less to do with the actual words in the document than the commitment that the people have to respect it. A large number of Egyptians clearly do not think their Constitution has secured what it promises.
If “The Social Network” walks away with Oscars this year, ushering in a series of Hollywood blockbusters about online powerhouses, we can expect the fictionalized feature about The Huffington Post to be one of the most entertaining. It already had the charismatic and eccentric protagonist, the roster of celebrity cameos and the upstart start-up mentality. It’s had its share of controversy including recent lawsuits alleging that members of the founding team have been written out of the script. It’s had skeptics questioning how it balances its roles as hub of original journalism, platform for progressive punditry, and nexus of entertainment “news” – and whether the “firing” of an unpaid contributor, who used journalist credentials for an act of labor protest, signaled a shift in its brand.
I love football. And for good reason. My father had no money for college and would not have gone but for track and football scholarships.
But this is the first year he and I didn’t watch the Super Bowl together. My father now suffers from Parkinson’s disease. I believe — and his doctors do too — that repeated concussions triggered the disease.
Which is more frightening: Sitting one-on-one with a pundit who perches at the pinnacle of a media machine that has been undermining you over the airwaves for two years, or speaking to an audience of the wealthy and powerful who have sought to undercut your efforts with their wealth and power? We can ask President Obama tomorrow morning after his two-day tour through the bases of conservative political power: An interview with Fox’s Bill O’Reilly and an address to the U.S. Chamber of Commerce.
Coordination among Tea Parties also means trouble and embarrassment for candidates who try the same old political trick of “tell’em what they wanna hear” on the campaign trail. What will be different in 2012 is that instead of flocking to a candidate and attempting to attach our principles to a candidate, we will ask the candidate to say “your principles fit with mine and this is why."
President Obama and House Republicans are working hard to find ways to cut America's discretionary spending. They both want to take the high ground over the looming debate over raising the federal debt ceiling.
Yet prospects for the states, counties and local governments where America lives have never been grimmer. The continuing foreclosure crisis and jobless recovery bites down harder and harder, driving more and more people to local officials for help who have less and less to work with.
We’re a year out now, and candidates are starting to trickle in. A presidential debate with the Iowa GOP and Fox News will open the season on August 11, followed two days later by the GOP Straw Poll in Ames, Iowa. Although largely a beauty contest with no meaning for the 2012 presidential selection, the straw poll is an important fundraiser for the party and a “county fair” (the caucuses are the State Fair), where the media and voters get to look at, pinch, stroke, and evaluate the “beef” that wants to lead the party in November.
I’m a non-smoker. I believe that cigarettes have a destructive impact and that the tobacco industry perpetrated a willful, harmful fraud against the American public. I’m a liberal. I subscribe to the public health concerns around smoking and am concerned about the overall societal costs for caring for those damaged by the habit. I fully believe these concerns demand us to take action.
Yet, I’m unsure about the latest smoking ban put forth by the City Council.
There is great alarm in America about a great many things in Egypt, including the treatment of journalists during recent anti-government protests. The ugly truth, however, predates the Egyptian crisis of the last ten days and spills far beyond the streets of Cairo. Eighty-seven journalists were murdered worldwide in 2010. And that's not taking into account the journalists who have been assaulted, kidnapped, harassed or otherwise suffered violence in the line of duty.
The right-wing is not ashamed of making enemies. Having targets motivates their base, earns them attention and fuels their cause. Usually, like schoolyard bullies, conservative activists pick on the weaker kid in the playground to prove how tough they are. They pick on the targets who are different (like the anti-Muslim rhetoric around the downtown Islamic Cultural Center), who can’t always stand up for themselves (the anti-immigrant bashing in the past election cycle) or who are weak already (the successful assault on ACORN).
You’ve heard the phrase, “lead, follow or get out of the way.” In these cases, we can do a little of each: leading in declaring unwavering support for democratic principles, following the events with support for proper process and the safety of local populations, and making sure we play no role in obstructing the astonishing show of popular expression or the subsequent march toward new, fair elections — whether in Egypt and or wherever people rise up next.
The Jordanian king’s recent dismissal of the Prime Minister triggered dramatic statements by the press, asking “is Jordan next?” While the political change in Jordan seems to fit into the narrative of Tunisia and Egypt inspiring protests all over the Middle East, in reality, the change is a regular part of Jordanian politics.
In the week since the State of the Union, it seems we analyst-types have dissected every word; but perhaps as many people have taken the President to task for words not spoken: poverty, race, gun control.
For me, there were two more words noticeably absent: Guantanamo Bay.
I don’t think it at all inappropriate to rescind any further military aid until a list of basic democratic reforms are in place, including freedom of the press. I don’t believe it grandstanding for the President of the United States of America to come out unequivocally for their right to democratic self-determination. Whether it has any chance of passing or not, it would not be an empty gesture to bring a motion to the United Nations to call for open elections, monitored by international observers.
In Tunisia, Wikileaks’ disclosures of State Department cables describing the self-dealing of former Tunisian President Zine al-Abidine Ben Ali's regime greased the skids for his exit. Sunlight may be a great antiseptic, but it is also a lubricant to move stuck history right along.
In a few days, the passion of the Tunisian Jasmine Revolution had swept across the Maghreb as far east as Egypt, touching down in Yemen and even the Sudan. The whole world watched as long-suffering people were inspired to put their life on the line to make their own history.
Nowhere has there been a greater need for Wikileaks than at the Federal Reserve. The Fed was created by an act of Congress in 1913 to regulate banking, but it has long been a captive of that industry.