November 12, 2009 - 10:47 AM
Over here in the Will Opine For Food corner, the cliche is that editorial writers know how to do two things: Point with pride and view with alarm. We usually say it in that order, I think, because the starting with the alliterative part makes better poetry. But there's usually a lot more alarm than pride.
- Lawmakers dodge a solution
They came, they saw, they ran for cover.
State lawmakers did absolutely nothing — not a blessed thing — about a pending catastrophe in state finances when they gathered in Albany on Tuesday. Never in the field of American politics have so few done so little for so many. They should all resign.
On-the-scene account from The News' Tom Precious.
And more opinions from:
- Westchester's Journal-News: Albany lawmakers duck fiscal realities
- Syracuse's Post-Standard: Gov. Paterson is politicking hard, but he's also right
- New York's Daily News: Nothing from nothings: State Senate Dems again fail to do their duty to New Yorkers
- Albany's Times Union: An extraordinary waste of time
Which is only partially balanced by:
- Economic help extended
Congress has taken some wise steps to protect what is, by all accounts, the beginning of a fragile, and largely jobless, economic recovery. The Senate recently voted overwhelmingly to extend unemployment benefits by 20 weeks, expand the first-time homeowner tax credit and provide tax relief for struggling businesses.
Maybe the motto should be: View with alarm, accept with relief.
-- George Pyle/The Buffalo News
November 12, 2009 - 10:46 AM
Today we've got some tweaking to do on editorials in the ready queue. We'll be updating our Afghanistan policy and Olmsted parks editorials based on some developments there, and adding an editorial on the city's non-Olmsted parks to the mix. We'll also be looking at what the Senate needs to do on health care, and working away at a Thanksgiving editorial.
November 11, 2009 - 11:33 AM
Veterans Day is one of those holidays that can sneak up on newspaper editors. All of the sudden, right after we've swept up the dust from Election Day, it is time to write the feature stories and the editorials that honor the veterans of America's wars, those who live hereabouts and all their brethren around the world.
Most of the time, we come through, thus:
- Veterans Day brings moments of reflection - Page One/The Buffalo News
- Uncertainty on Veterans Day - Lead Editorial/The Buffalo News
This year, of course, it would be hard for any newspaper to ignore Veterans Day, even if it wanted to:
- Obama joins in honoring victims at Fort Hood - Associated Press/The Buffalo News
FORT HOOD, Texas -- Somberly reciting 13 names and 13 stories, President Obama saluted the Americans killed on this Army post as heroes who died for their country … and promised a nation demanding answers that "the killer will be met with justice." [Official text of Obama's speech. YouTube video.]
- The tragedy in Texas Editorial/The Buffalo News
There can be no enemy worse than the enemy within.
Last week’s killing spree by an Army psychologist at Fort Hood, Texas, increasingly looks like the work of an enemy within the “Army family” that should have provided safety and security at the huge military installation. And it should spur the military to look harder at its own, to watch even more carefully for signs of danger.
-The Atlantic's Marc Ambinder loved Obama's speech.
I guarantee: they'll be teaching this one in rhetoric classes. It was that good. My gloss won't do it justice. Yes, I'm having a Chris Matthews-chill-running-up-my-leg moment, but sometimes, the man, the moment and the words come together and meet the challenge.
- The National Review's Andy McCarthy did not.
[I]t is simply astounding that an American president ... could claim that "no faith justifies" sneak-attack murders, and that no religion teaches that "God looks upon them with favor." In fact, a widely held interpretation of Islam holds exactly these principles.
- Standing tall in harm's way - David Ignatius/The Washington Post
Certainly, the Army and the other services are stressed by the demands of combat. But what's striking to me this Veterans Day is how healthy the military is, given all the weight it has been carrying for the country these past eight years.
- On Veterans Day, feeling the cost of war - David S. Abraham/The Los Angeles Times
I thought I knew the cost of combat. I recommended plans to spend billions of dollars in Afghanistan from my desk at the White House Office of Management and Budget. But it was not until last month, as I stood on the tarmac at Tweed-New Haven Regional Airport in Connecticut watching my friend's flag-draped coffin come home, that I truly understood the price of war.
- Homeless on Veterans Day - The New York Times [Ann Telnaes animation.]
-- George Pyle/The Buffalo News
November 11, 2009 - 10:37 AM
Hi, everyone, and happy Veterans Day to all of you who served. And thanks.
At today's editorial board meeting, we decided to take a look at what state legislators did in their brief visit to Albany (we're already looking at what they didn't do, although we decided to expand a bit on that, too). We'll also look at re-treeing progress here, and at the upcoming Neediest Fund holiday campaign.
Mike Vogel/ U.S. Army, 1971-73
November 10, 2009 - 11:12 AM
Read today's Buffalo News Opinion page, and you'll see why it is hard to grow up in today's world.
We want young people to understand that, sometimes, they have to concentrate on what they are doing.
- Flag high-risk drivers
The simple fact is that not all teenagers are equally mature. Not all can be trusted with the privilege of handling a ton of glass and metal on public roadways. And when one of those teenagers flags himself as unsuited for a license through multiple and frequent violations of traffic laws ... the state needs to be able to act.
We also want them to have minds that are prepared to absorb the whole world:
- Seeking lessons in China
There’s a good reason Buffalo School Superintendent James A. Williams should travel to China to foster educational links, even though Buffalo is the third-poorest city in America. It’s that Buffalo shouldn’t stay the third-poorest city forever. ...
There is no lack of work to be done on city schools’ existing problems, but the global competition will materialize whether or not local school systems are ready. Exploring that future is a good idea, and the superintendent’s time will be well spent in the effort.
Got that, kids? Remember. Do your homework. No texting while driving. No drinking. No smoking. And no sex until after you've finished law school.
As you were.
- Lawmakers, AAA highlight bills in Pennsylvania that aim to make teen drivers safer on the roads - Lehigh Valley Express-Times
- Illinois teen driving program receives honor - AP/Chicago Tribune
- FCC to hold workshop on distracted driving - The Hill
- Pa. may become next state to ban texting while driving - Penn State Daily Collegian
- Distinguished Professor to Speak on Bilingualism in Children and its Implications for Development - New Jersey Alternative Press
-- George Pyle/The Buffalo News
November 10, 2009 - 11:12 AM
At today's edboard meeting, we decided to look at Paterson's fiscal crisis warning -- nice to hear that reinforced again, maybe someday they'll actually do something. Also, we'll ponder Karzai's anti-corruption pledge and the city's use of GPS units in snow plows.
November 9, 2009 - 10:33 AM
Hi, all. Here's the daily on-our-agenda summary:
At today's discussion we decided to look at the House vote on health care reform (surprise!), the weekend issue of pressure to turn an Attica teen into a drug informant, government e. coli protections (or the lack thereof) and the Fort Hood shootings.
November 9, 2009 - 12:05 AM
Today's editorial pages expand from two to four just so we can focus on the state's reluctance actually to deal with its budget crisis and deficits that could hit $10 billion over the next two years.
The governor issues strong warnings, but State Senate Democrats may not even attend today's special joint session to hear them. And there's no telling what tomorrow's Legislature meetings, reconvened at the governor's call, will yield.
Legislature leaders have said in the past that it might be best to wait until all this economic unpleasantness blows over, so we can see where we are. We know where we are -- up the creek without a functional Legislature.
The governor doesn't want to lay off state workers -- although he admits he may have to -- because he says this is no time to increase unemployment. But we don't see the state as primarily an employment agency, much less as an affordable employment agency, and taxpayer-funded jobs aren't the same as jobs generated by private enterprise. Surely just rolling back the state payroll to the level of three or four years ago, which could mean substantial savings, would be possible.
Dems control the Legislature. Relatively powerless Republicans are discovering the joy of being ale to say strong things without fearing they might actually translate into action.
We're calling for a major change we think is mandated by the economy. Cut spending, and roll back taxes and fees to encourage private-sector economic growth and job creation that, in turn, would set the state back on the path to sustainable revenue restoration. Do we think these folks actually will roll back taxes? Not likely, in either this political or economic climate -- but the strategy should be set.
Otherwise, the downward spiral continues.
November 6, 2009 - 10:32 AM
Hi, all. Today's board meeting opened with discussion of the tragedy at Fort Hood, but we're not going to weigh in because the pages are booked through Monday and there will be more time by then for discussion of the motive to emerge. In the meantime, our thoughts are with the families of the victims. Beyond those families, I think the impact will ripple through the military -- soldiers overseas need the anchor of believing home is safe and secure, and that's now shattered. Combat theaters are stressful enough, without that. I have limited exposure to that, more as a journalist than during my Army stint in a different era, but my dad fought for more than two years in the Pacific in WWII and was so concerned about home that once, when his back had been cut a bit by enemy fire, he simply washed off the blood in a jungle stream and refused to let his rifle company put him in for a Purple Heart, just so his wife wouldn't get a wounded-in-action message.
Anyway, this resonates. It should with all of us.
That siad, we're a bit short-staffed so we decided to work on only two topics -- Obama's signing of a bill sending money to Great Lakes remediation, and the budget move to restore $360,000 in Olmsted Parks Conservncy funding for park care.
November 5, 2009 - 10:35 AM
Oh, yeah, work. Well, at today's edboard meeting we decided to look at the federal move to extend unemployment benefits and homebuyer credits, at problems getting flu vaccine to doctors and clinics, and at city school superintent James Williams' trip to China.
And what a season to christen a new stadium!