The Bishop as politician

As one news day rolls into the next the Buffalo News and many, many television and radio newscasts have become swamped with stories concerning the investigations of clergy accused of pedophilia and sexual abuse in Western New York. Increasingly the focus has expanded to the handling of such issues by the Roman Catholic Diocese of Buffalo. The face of the Diocese, Bishop Richard Malone, has been at the eye of the storm.

Pretty much all stories manage to work in a comment about how the scandals go back decades, with the Diocese under the management of several bishops over that time. That being said, Bishop Malone is the man in charge now. Continue reading

The Biden base

We have gone through the second round of debates among 20 Democrats running for president. The most recent sessions might be described as the elimination round of a game show.

It is hard to get an assessment of any candidate when they are talking, in a two-plus hour period, for just nine or ten minutes – with nine other people are also trying to make an impression on the voting public. It is not a great way to sort things out, but there aren’t a lot of appropriate alternatives. Continue reading

Regardless of what the Barr Report claims, there are plenty of reasons to hold Trump accountable

“A man hears what he wants to hear, and disregards the rest…” Simon and Garfunkel

So it’s finally out. The Mueller Report, that is. Followed just 48 hours later by the long awaited Barr Report.

Working overtime during the past weekend, Attorney General William Barr and his gang of Republican-appointed attorneys digested twenty-two months of work by the Office of Special Counsel and wrapped it all up in a concise four-page political summary. Continue reading

When the Republican Party claimed to be fiscal conservatives and constitutionalists; Roger (Stone) and me

You don’t need to think too far back to remember a time when the Republican Party touted the idea that they were the party of fiscal responsibility. They also said they were constitutionalists or originalists.

This is not to say that the Republicans were always pure about such subjects. They took great joy in quickly turning the Clinton budget surpluses into deficits with the Bush tax cuts of 2001. Continue reading

Will Sanders crowd out the other progressive senators? And a couple footnotes on the Erie County Executive race

Welcome to Sunshine Week. Politics and Other Stuff does its part by writing about public institutions that need some sunlight. Sometimes it’s necessary to comfort the afflicted and to afflict the comfortable.

I haven’t watched American Idol or Survivor in a long time, but it seems like we are living in the political version of those TV reality shows at the moment. The Democratic presidential sweepstakes has people coming in; dropping out; trying to decide what to do – it seems like nearly every day.

I’m sure it is just a coincidence, but why did all the “progressive” senator Democratic presidential candidates all seem to enter the 2020 race in a bunch? And now there may be the march of the moderates – some governors, plus former Vice President Joe Biden. Is Beto O’Rourke in this bunch too? Continue reading

Civility and trust don’t come easy

Back in the days when a real Republican was President of the United States, people like Ronald Reagan and George H. W. Bush ruled the land with strength, grace and eloquence. Democrats fought Republicans over policy, but could still occasionally work together. Compromise was not a dirty word.

That seems so long ago, but as the nation honors the memory of H.W. this week there have been lots of commentaries about how it used to be. Reagan talked about a “city upon a hill.” Bush spoke of “a thousand points of lights.” They were trying to inspire the country by speaking of charity and volunteerism. Continue reading

The mid-term election day edition of facts, observations and heard-on-the-streets

Today is Election Day – the mid-term of all mid-terms. This one feels a lot different. Sort of like Super Bowl Sunday, especially when your team was playing that day. Come on, you can remember how that felt.

I’m not offering any specific predictions here. After all that has been said, written and done, you can draw your own conclusions about what is about to happen. Try to be objective, because like it or not we are all about to come face-to-face with political reality. Continue reading