A few news items from recent days:
Banana Republic Redux
The New York State Senate childishness continues. On Monday, Governor David A. Paterson called the chamber into special session, saying that he would compel the legislative house to coming every day, including weekends and the 4th of July, until the people’s business is done. The infantile members of the squabbling Senate have responded with more shenanigans, taking turns at entering the chamber, speaking over one another whilst trying to hold their own separate sessions, and holding separate votes on bills pressing on the floor (of course, the validity of the votes is questionable!).
This foolish behavior on the part of elected officials began 17 days ago when Senate Republicans staged a coup of sorts, swinging two votes from the Democratic side to regain a majority they had had for 43 years and lost in last November’s elections. Infighting began immediately and nothing has been accomplished for these past 17 days. On Wednesday, the frustrated Paterson sought out desperate measures to facilitate a halt to this ridiculousness, including withholding of pay from the senators, seeking a court order to force attendance, and using police to forcibly bring the Senators to the Capitol.
This story is so infuriating to witness. The Republicans in the chamber started this debacle with their poorly timed seizing of power and the Dems have matched their childlike antics with a stonewalling of business. I say rid the halls of the State senate of all of these self-indulgent politicians and let’s start fresh!
Iran and North Korea
I hate to admit it, but George W. Bush seems to have gotten two thirds of his “Axis of Evil” proclamation right. The regimes on Iran and North Korea have lived up to their reputations set forth by the former President.
Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, Iran’s unelected Supreme Leader, announced yesterday that he ‘will not bow to the pressure’ of those in protest of the contested Presidential election, nominally ending any hope that the outcome will change. Protests have dwindled as the regime has continually quashed angry citizens with the use of riot police. Indeed, it seems that the current state of the Iranian government will continue on for at least four more years in this tragic story.
Meanwhile, the US Navy has been tailing a North Korean ship along the coast of China. The ship, the “Kang Nam”, is suspected of carrying weapons bound for Myanmar. In the latest twist, the North Korean government is accusing the United States of trying to “provoke a second Korean War”, and that it will use force, in the form of a long range missile, if its ship is intercepted. It seems like Obama’s got his work cut out for him.
“Big Mac” tax hits opposition
The tax on fast food in Nassau County proposed by lawmakers last week doesn’t appear to be getting any traction. Lawmakers were polled on how they would vote on the proposal and the results were a resounding “No’. “Such a tax is regressive and would hit poorer people, who, unfortunately, tend to eat more fast food,” said Richard Nicolello of New Hyde Park. Wayne Wink, of Roslyn added that “kids buy this stuff, too.” Other lawmakers cited negative comments from constituents. I expected this sort of outcry from the general public, and I still say it’s a good idea. Mr. Nicolello’s reasoning could also apply to the massive spikes in cigarette taxes seemingly every few months. Fast food contributes to obesity, which is a health risk, and I say what’s good for the smoker is good for the Big Mac junkie!
Talk about unfair!
A Minnesota jury last week awarded the Recording Industry Association of America a $1.92 million award in a case where a divorced mother illegally downloaded 24 songs. The organization says it wanted to send a message to people who download music for free instead of paying for it. Yes, downloading music for free is illegal, but when does the madness of what we pay for and how much we pay for it end?
I understand the need to be paid for something you create, but there needs to be some sort of medium with music. As in most other industries, greed is seriously at work here. Radio stations for long time have been given an exemption to royalty fees, but not for much longer if the RIAA has anything to say about it. They’ve been pushing Congress to require broadcast radio stations to start forking over the dough for playing copyrighted material. To me, this is appalling! After all, without radio, how would people get to know songs they may wish to purchase? Recording artists get massive free advertisement for their product on radio….this madness has to end!
John and Kate are getting divorced. Who cares?
Ranger gets his ultimate due
Brian Leetch, the all star defenseman from the NY Rangers was elected to the NHL Hall of Fame in his first year of eligibility. As a lifelong Ranger’s fan, this comes as welcome news as this career Ranger (minus two years) shone as he helped the team earn its first Stanley Cup in 54 years back in 1994. Congratulations Brian! (Shout outs go to Steve Yzerman, Brett Hull, and luc Robataille for also making it into the Hall.)
Jones Beach adds more shows
The Jones Beach Theater in Wantagh, NY has announced that it has added two more shows to its summer concert series. The band’s Chicago and Earth, Wind and Fire will be playing separately and side by side at the theater August 30. Marc Anthony is also billed to perform on August 22. See livenation.com for tickets.
Cassese, Sid. “Poll: Food tax won’t cut the mustard.” LI Newsday 25 June 2009: A20. Print.
Hinckley, David. “How 24 songs could cost $1.92 mil.” NY Daily News 23 June 2009: 6-. Print.
Kim, Hyung-Jin. “N. Korea threatens war if ship is stopped.” LI Newsday 25 June 2009: A7. Print.
Madore, James T. “Another day brings another disaster.” LI Newsday 24 June 2009: A8-9. Print.
Madore, James T. “No more games, guv tells Senate.” LI Newsday 25 June 2009: A2-3. Print
Mostaghim, Ramin. “Iran vote stands.” LI Newsday 25 June 2009: A7. Print.
Zipay, Steve. “Leetch gets call to hall.” LI Newsday 24 June 2009: A48. Print.