A judge, the president, some bishops and a priest

When I was a freshman at Canisius College many moons ago (it was 1966), I was a political science major. I was drawn to the subject by President Kennedy. The world of politics seemed fascinating.

In the fall of that year, as the College has done for many years, a major figure in government came to speak at the school, Supreme Court Justice William Brennan. Justice Brennan was a Democrat, but he had been named to the Court by Republican President Dwight Eisenhower in 1956. He was appointed in October of that year, a month before the presidential election. It was a recess appointment (the Senate was not in session) and he was confirmed in 1957. My, how things have changed. Continue reading

Unions in 21st century politics

I began my active involvement in politics when I was in college in the late 1960’s. A lot has changed since then. Here are a few things that come to mind:

  • From what I hear from some party leaders, it is harder than it used to be to recruit members for their committees
  • In Buffalo and other places we paid attention to the local news cycle, which meant that in major campaigns in days gone by we had to have separate press releases each day for the News and the Courier
  • And last, but not least, we checked nearly everything that was going on for reaction or comment from leaders of organized labor

Things are different now. Continue reading

On dreamers and food stamps, congressional confusion and the rule-of-law

Paul Ryan must be anxious to get back to Janesville, Wisconsin and to join all those well-paying corporate boards that await most former speakers of the House of Representatives. The job he has now certainly isn’t any fun.

Ryan became speaker mainly because no other Republican House member wanted the job after they saw what happened to John Boehner. (Is former Speaker Denny Hastert out of jail yet?) Boehner’s grand finale was to put a deal together that settled some budget and debt problems for a couple years. The Hastert rule about requiring a majority of the majority to sign off on legislation more or less went out the window as Boehner worked his magic. Continue reading

Connecting the Donald’s Dots

The following limerick was penned by my blog editor and longtime friend, Paul Fisk. The opinions are those of the author and not necessarily those of the publisher of the blog (but the publisher agrees with 99.8 percent of them). Ken Kruly

Connecting the Donald’s dots

By Paul Fisk

Once mocked by Prez forty-four

Trump now does things we abhor

If Obama once did it

Of the world he must rid it

He’s trying to settle a score Continue reading

Republican Senators singing like canaries in Trump’s coal mine

Canary in a coal mine – Wiktionary

An allusion to caged canaries that miners would carry down into the mine tunnels with them. If dangerous gases such as carbon monoxide collected in the mine, the gases would kill the canary before killing the miners, thus providing a warning to exit the tunnels immediately.

Donald Trump supports coal mines. Donald Trump, as president, promises to restore thousands and thousands of jobs to an industry whose better days are long gone. But Trump does not understand the value of a canary in a coal mine. Continue reading

Nuclear options

The country, it seems, is drinking in national and international politics through a fire hose these days. So it’s probably practical, from a commentary point of view, to combine issues wherever possible.

The United States Senate today will vote to confirm Neil Gorsuch as a Justice of the United States Supreme Court. Given the partisan divide in the country, Gorsuch will only get a few more than the bare minimum number of votes needed for confirmation. Continue reading