On Both Ends

Political news is on both ends of the spectrum and today I want to briefly cover both a few good and bad developments.


The Good News

Wednesday night President Biden addressed the nation. Early in his speech he outlined some of the successes of his young administration. The next morning two particular news items proved Biden’s point.

The first bit of good news (and it is all relative at this point) was that for the third straight week of the pandemic era first time unemployment claims hit a low. Unemployment is too high and so are the new claims, but we are moving in the right direction under competent leadership.

Also Thursday morning it was announced that the economy had grown at a rate of 1.6% in the first quarter which is annualized to an astounding 6.4%. To put that in perspective we have to remember that Trump had all but destroyed the American economy. To put it in sports terms Biden took over after a coach that went winless in the conference last season so anything looks good by comparison.

We have a long way to go but the current administration’s efforts are already working. If enough of the population simply cooperates we will right the ship and in fact could have a very good next few years starting by the third quarter of this year.

The Bad News

This will be a rare time I will criticize the frontline police but they both deserve it and brought it on themselves. A Washington Post piece outlined the massive resistance of officers on most forces to getting vaccinated. In a word that is insanity!

Now the entire public is in a position of being defenseless against crime and tragedy because interacting with a police officer may well put your life in danger. Very few departments have taken the prudent move of making vaccinations mandatory for all officers with the exception of those with medical conditions that prohibit the vaccine. Whatever happened to the protect part of protect and serve?

I simply do not know enough about the police shooting in Elizabeth City, North Carolina to take a position on the event itself. The reason is that the body cam videos are not being released. To date the family of the deceased has privately seen 20 seconds of redacted video. 20 seconds! This, especially when coupled with the facts that 7 officers were put on administrative leave and three resigned in the immediate aftermath of the shooting, simply doesn’t pass the smell test!

What hasn’t gotten a lot of press is the fact that this has all been complicated by a 2016 law passed by the Republican controlled General Assembly and signed into law by then Republican Governor Pat McCrory that prevented the release of police body cam videos unless a judge authorized it. In this case after a short delay a judge has ruled that the video cannot be released for at least another 30 days. Bottom line: this looks like a cover up to me and apparently a lot of other people.

It looks like California Governor Gavin Newsom will face a recall in the not that distant future. I’m not going to weigh in on Newsom’s performance; today I want to concentrate on California’s recall procedure which failed miserably once and threatens to do so again.
California does a sort of two things at once recall. There are two items on the recall ballot. First is whether to recall the Governor. Simultaneously the voters are asked to make their choice for who will replace the Governor if the recall is successful. That is where the problem comes in.

In the first place the threshold for getting a recall petition on the ballot in California is ridiculously low. For the office of governor it is getting a number of signatures equal to 12% of the number of votes cast in the last election for that office.

Now let’s look at the political reality of a recall. No mainstream person of the sitting governor’s party is going to stand to oppose him. That means that a vote to recall is a vote to place a (in this case Republican) in that office. Furthermore the replacement only has to finish in first place among the challengers. Here is no minimum percentage of votes required.

Let’s look at history. In 2003 a recall effort against then Governor Grey Davis resulted in Arnold Schwarzenegger becoming the governor. It made an easy life for the joke writers of late night comedians but little else. This time around Donald Trump is sticking his incompetent nose into the race and is backing the totally inexperienced and unqualified Caitlyn Jenner.

That’s enough for today. Too much bad news but we still can’t seem to shake the curse of Donald Trump.

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