It is a legitimate concern. That column, and all of the rest of them that I write, are meant to speak more to policy than to politics. My feelings about Sotomayor were not really my focus, but instead how spotty the law is written - in this case in Title VII of the Civil Rights Act - where a city can behave this way if it fears a lawsuit. I didn't "hit her hard enough" as one person said, because I was focusing more on policy. But I welcome the comments.
Focusing on policy this week brings us to the selection of Richard Ravitch as Lieutenant Governor of New York State. The state GOP wants to sue the government, claiming that there is no real set procedure and that Governor Paterson may have acted too hastily in appointing Ravitch. How do we not have a protocol on how this position is filled? There should be a clear and concise procedure to filling this position. The fact that this is for debate is a giant vulnerability in our state government and a complete time waster for our legislature.
The governor may have been wrong to simply appoint a lieutenant governor, but the law ought to be that he can appoint someone. After all, he can appoint United States senators when seats are unexpectedly vacated. This appointment should have happened a while ago - and the governor should not have waited until he needed an extra vote in the State Senate. In this case, the law dictates the procedure. It has to stand that way for now. But going forward, a sitting governor should be allowed to appoint a lieutenant governor.
The Capitol Rotunda is a No-Fly Zone
Last week, 26 AIDS activists were arrested when they banded their wrists together in the capitol rotunda in Washington, D.C. Their main issue was the federal government's lack of movement on low-income housing for people living with HIV/AIDS, who are becoming more known by the acronym PLWHA. Even with the hope that this community has with the new administration in Washington, there has been room for them to complain.
I received an email from one of the groups that staged the protest shortly after it happened. I checked all news media outlets and found nothing. I waited a few hours, and checked again, CNN, ABC, the newspaper sites, etc. No report on 26 people staging a protest in the Capitol Rotunda. The rotunda is where presidents Kennedy and Reagan lay in state after their passing. It's a special place for Americans, and it has security.
There was, however, no shortage of Michael Jackson coverage. If you were anxious to read that Sarah Palin had resigned a few weeks before, you would have found plenty to satisfy your eyes. But protesters arrested in the Capitol Rotunda? Nope, nada. Even the Washington papers were slow to have anything to say, and this happened in their city.
In the same week, environmentalists scaled Mount Rushmore, more specifically Lincoln's giant stone head, to hold a banner demanding more attention to global warming. Again, this story got little traction, even as the giant banner that they unveiled had the president's face on it with their message of global warming to go with it. I did find on CNN.com, however, a story about why it's okay to marry for money - as if I needed to learn that.
A few weeks ago, the president in an interview swatted a fly. It was all over YouTube and in the news for days. I don't like writing about other media in this column, but how is fly-swatting and gold-digging more important than AIDS housing and environmental demonstrations?
I remember seeing a drop off in reporting of AIDS issues shortly after 1993. Was it a coincidence that there was a new president then as well? Maybe there is a honeymoon period for certain governments to get rolling. But it might be interesting to see if this continues. The issues that these people express concern for are not to be taken lightly, but patterns in reporting sometimes become clear.