Wednesday, February 01, 2006

State of the News

Yesterday was a big news day: Alan Greenspan's last day as Chairman of the Federal Reserve, Judge Samuel Alito confirmed as Associate Supreme Court Justice, and the President delivered his sixth State of the Union address. What you may not have heard was that anti-War activist Cindy Sheehan was invited to attend by Rep. Lynn Woolsey, D-Cal. and had a ticket for Gallery 5, Seat 7, Row A. She was removed from the chambers because she was wearing a T-shirt that read “2,245 Dead, How Many More?" She was charged with a misdemeanor for violating House chamber rules, but the charges of "unlawful conduct" were later dropped by the police.

In addition, as is tradition, the Democrats responded to the President's State of the Union, this time with newly elected Virginia governor Tim Kaine. The obvious message being conveyed by Kaine was "there is a better way," and supposedly, the Democrats are the ones to provide it. Unfortunately, Kaine never gave specific alternatives, only criticism, for the Bush Administration's policies, giving credibility to President Bush's jab at the Dems in his address that "hindsight is not wisdom, and second-guessing is not a strategy." The clear lack of leadership and a positive message will continue to cripple the Democratic Party, no matter how much the President's Administration mismanages its foreign policy or domestic agenda. (P.S. Pay no attention to Bush's proclamation of the American addiction to oil; nothing will be done to begin addressing it under this Administration.)

Samuel Alito replaces Justice Sandra O'Connor, the first woman appointed, and often the decisive vote on a split bench of the U.S. Supreme Court. Alito's nomination was opposed primarily because it was feared the balance of the court would be shifted towards a strong conservative direction, away from a moderate court under Chief Justice Rehnquist and Justice O'Connor. John Robert's nomination was not as highly contested because he was a conservative replacing another conservative in Rehnquist. Nonetheless, the President of the United States is granted the duty in the Constitution to appoint justices to the Supreme Court, with approval of the Senate. In fact, President Clinton appointed two liberal members to the court, Justice Ginsberg and Justice Breyer, with near unanimous support by the Republican controlled Senate.

Alan Greenspan, who served 18 years as Chairman of the Federal Reserve, was appointed by Ronald Reagan, and reaffirmed by Presidents H.W. Bush, Clinton, and W. Bush. Ben Bernanke was appointed by President Bush to replace Greenspan, perhaps the most famous Fed. Reserve Chairman and considered to be on of the best ever to have served at the position because of his laisseze-faire philosophy to the free market, and his record of short recessions, and the longest economic prosperity interval in the 1990s thanks to his timing of interest rate manipulation. Bernanke is expected to follow a similar approach to the economy. Stay tuned for a return to the gold standard after a collapse of the Reserve system due to massive debt! (Read Ayn Rand's "Atlas Shrugged", Greenspan's favorite novel.)

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