Editorials in today's Buffalo News Opinion section want action from a lawmaker who officially does not work for us, and some refusal to act from some lawmakers who only act as though they don't work for us.
More about the shake-up in the upper reaches of the American government:
- It’s time for Obama to replace Gates, too - Douglas Turner/The Buffalo News WASHINGTON — The day Gen. Stanley McChrystal was finally pulled off his soapbox by President Obama, Fox commentator Bill O’Reilly called McChrystal “a hero and a patriot.” Liar and mutineer are closer to the truth. ... Obama’s handling of that motor-mouth raises doubts about the president’s judgment, nerve and executive ability. It also raises questions about the conduct of Defense Secretary Robert Gates — before and after McChrystal’s removal — and about the growing arrogance of our uniformed establishment.
-Obama walks the fine line - David Broder/The Washington Post/The Buffalo News The firing of Gen. Stanley McChrystal and the resignation of budget director Peter Orszag represent the most significant fraying in the top levels of the government since President Obama took office.
A black and blue theme to today's Buffalo News editorials. The state needs to require a new way of looking as street and highway design. The city of Buffalo needs to get a handle on the number of police officers and firefighters who are on injury pay.
- Make roads safer - Buffalo News Editorial A high number of pedestrians and bicyclists are being struck by automobiles while navigating dangerous crossings both in Erie County and throughout New York State, and the AARP is trying to push through practical legislation at the state level that will lay the groundwork for common-sense infrastructure on projects going forward. All that is now needed is some common sense from the Assembly. "Complete Streets" legislation (S. 5711-B), sponsored by Senate Transportation Chairman Martin Malave Dilan, D-Brooklyn, recently passed the Senate with overwhelming bipartisan support, 57-4. The bill would provide an innovative and comprehensive approach to the way the state designs its roads. The approach would accommodate vehicles, pedestrians, bicyclists, people with disabilities and public transportation users -- in other words, the entire public. Here's where the issue takes a wrong turn. A companion bill in the Assembly was amended by its sponsor, David Gantt of Rochester, who heads the Assembly Transportation Committee, to eliminate the majority of the roads covered in New York State. This is an unacceptable outcome to AARP and many other groups that support the "Complete Streets" legislation. Under the amendment, the bill pertains only to roads overseen by the Department of Transportation, thus eliminating the majority of roads in the state of New York.
- The Runaway General - Michael Hastings/Rolling Stone "How'd I get screwed into going to this dinner?" demands Gen. Stanley McChrystal. It's a Thursday night in mid-April, and the commander of all U.S. and NATO forces in Afghanistan is sitting in a four-star suite at the Hôtel Westminster in Paris. He's in France to sell his new war strategy to our NATO allies – to keep up the fiction, in essence, that we actually have allies. Since McChrystal took over a year ago, the Afghan war has become the exclusive property of the United States. Opposition to the war has already toppled the Dutch government, forced the resignation of Germany's president and sparked both Canada and the Netherlands to announce the withdrawal of their 4,500 troops. McChrystal is in Paris to keep the French, who have lost more than 40 soldiers in Afghanistan, from going all wobbly on him. "The dinner comes with the position, sir," says his chief of staff, Col. Charlie Flynn. McChrystal turns sharply in his chair. "Hey, Charlie," he asks, "does this come with the position?" McChrystal gives him the middle finger.
And here is just a sampling of the pixels that have been spilled on the story about the story:
The lead editorial in today's Buffalo News Opinion section says the president made a good decision.
- Obama's wise decisions - Buffalo News Editorial President Obama has replaced the commander who was losing the war in Afghanistan with the only general who may have a chance to win it. If, that is, the president will let him. ... Changing generals was a good decision. Now the president has to make some other changes. To start out, he has to make three things clear: - Petraeus is in charge. Obama trusts him; he has given him authority to run the war to the best possible conclusion without over-supervising it from the White House. - Obama has to renounce "We'll be out in 12 months, Taliban, so keep killing our troops until then and we guarantee we will leave." - Finally, there has been constant conflict between U.S. Ambassador Karl Eikenberry and [Afghan President Hamid] Karzai. While Karzai is less than ideal, he is the only Afghanistan leader we have to deal with. Eikenberry has to go.
The second leader, er, editorial today says that the governor needs someone to stop him from making a very bad decision.
- Save the tax credit - Buffalo News Editorial Just when the state historic rehabilitation tax credits seemed a done deal and set to play a major role in the revitalization of Buffalo and upstate New York, the entire plan could be kneecapped to the point of inertia as a result of the New York State Legislature's consideration of tax law amendments that would "temporarily" defer certain tax credits for a period of up to six years. This is wholly unacceptable. This tax credit program must be carved out of an attempt to balance this year's budget on the backs of future returns and development. It's shortsighted, and Assembly and Senate leadership should correct Gov. David A. Paterson's egregious error in targeting the rehabilitation tax credit. Background: - Tax fix expected to boost projects - The Buffalo News, June 18 The rehabilitation of the Hotel Lafayette is expected to move forward now that lawmakers have approved changes in the state’s historic preservation tax credit program. The changes, sponsored by Gov. David A. Paterson and pushed by Assemblyman Sam Hoyt, a Buffalo Democrat, are designed to correct what developers considered deficiencies in the tax credit law. “We’re planning to start the Lafayette 60 days from the point the governor signs the bill,” developer Rocco Termini [right] said Thursday. Termini’s plans for the structure at 391 Washington St., at Clinton Street, include a high-end hotel, apartments and banquet center. - Tax credit passed by lawmakers may be cut - The Buffalo News, June 23 What New York State giveth, New York State can taketh away, sometimes just a week later. Gov. David A. Paterson is reportedly considering a budget reform that would delay for six years the same historic preservation tax credit improvements state lawmakers approved last week. “I can’t believe the governor would try to do this,” said Rocco Termini, developer of the downtown Hotel Lafayette and several other tax credit projects. “This would put them on hold again.”
Buffalo News editorials today urge caution. Specificially, try to do justice, rather than just close cases. And don't use any more X-ray radiation than necessary. Viz:
- Convicted but innocent - Buffalo News Editorial For every innocent person who is in prison — and recent events in Buffalo have proven that it happens — there is at least one guilty person on the streets. So as Erie County District Attorney Frank A. Sedita III properly apologizes to Douglas Pacyon [right] for the more than six years he served in prison for a crime he did not commit, it may be even harder for the D.A. and the whole criminal justice system to explain themselves to the women who, it has been conclusively proven, Pacyon did not rape back in 1984. ... The Pacyon case is one more reason why we consistently call for a higher standard to be observed, for interviews and confessions to be videotaped, for DNA samples to be collected from all convicted criminals, for the law to compel judges to require that testimony from jailhouse sources be supported by some other, independent, evidence. For the standard of success for police departments and prosecutors to be the same that it supposedly is for society as a whole: To punish the truly guilty. Not just the person who can be made to look guilty. Related: - The Innocence Project
-Easy health reform - Buffalo News Editorial One of the reasons why real health care reform has seemed such a tough nut to crack is that it involves two seemingly contradictory goals.We want better care. And we want it to cost less. But, in at least one area of medicine, there is reason to believe that cost-cutting, intelligently done, will actually improve the long-term health prospects of many Americans. As outlined in an Associated Press investigation that ran on the cover of Sunday’s Viewpoints section, doctors in the United States order, and their patients receive, many more X-rays and CT scans than do their counterparts in other industrialized nations. ... Setting up systems such as HEALTHeLINK costs money, of course. But, once in place, they can go a long way toward reducing both unnecessary doses of radiation and cutting the costs of practicing good medicine. Related: - The Uncritical Use of High-Tech Medical Imaging - New England Journal of Medicine
- It’s the economy ... - Buffalo News Editorial With apologies to Monty Python, let’s play spot the loonie. And, having spotted it, let’s also be nice to it. A recent story in The Buffalo News shows that a number of Western New York merchants don’t like accepting Canadian dollars, known as the loonie for the engraving of a loon on the coin’s back. Some refuse to take it, some charge more than the going exchange rate. It sends a terrible signal to Canadian shoppers whose willingness to spend here is an important component of our retail economy.