Today Dr. James Hansen, the well known American climate scientist, will accept the prestigious Edinburgh Medal for his work on climate change science. The Edinburgh Medal is awarded each year to a person of science whose professional achievements are judged to have made a significant contribution to the understanding and well-being of humanity. Dr. Hansen will reportedly use the occasion to talk about climate change as a moral issue of unprecedented scale.
IN DARKNESS, directed by Agnieszka Holland, tells the story of a coldhearted sewer worker and small-time criminal in Nazi-occupied Poland who hides a group of Jews who are in grave danger of being exterminated. He does so for profit only, but as time passes he forms a bond with his charges and becomes deeply involved in their lives, and their plights.
Where to begin with the current crop of republicans? We have newt Gingrich threatening to lock up any judge who dares to disagree with his edicts when he’s crowned king, I mean, elected president. We have Mitt Romney’s utter tone-deafness to the woes of the middle class. And we have Rick Santorum, a man evidently sprung full grown from some bronze-age cave, fully convinced that women are chattel, and gays should be burnt at the stake.
In testimony given to the Congress, Defense Secretary Leon Panetta asserted that Congress’s war powers authority is irrelevant. As he described it, U.S. intervention in Libya, Syria or elsewhere would be justified by permission from “relevant” international tribunals, such as the U.N. Security Council and NATO. The approval of the congressional representatives being unnecessary.
Let’s understand what that argument about the health insurance mandate was about. Everybody agreed that a single payer system would have been constitutionally OK. It would have been based on the taxing power. However toxic taxes are to the public, legally they are not particularly toxic. Everyone admits the taxing power is broad.
In the noise surrounding the Supreme Court arguments over ObamaCare last week you probably missed the latest, small bit of progress in the Obama Administration’s effort to reduce the carbon pollution that causes climate change. Last week, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency issued the first draft regulations to regulate carbon pollution from new power plants.
Looking back across many eventful years, this commentator can attest that life is an apt vehicle for learning but not without exemplary teachers. In this respect, no one could have been luckier than I. The eventful year was 1986 and my nonpareil mentor was an indomitable New York State Assembly-person. Louise Slaughter was elected several years earlier, as a democrat in a habitually conservative suburb of Rochester. She’d espoused an interest in the arts and legislative leaders decided the Arts Committee was just the spot to keep her involved in diversionary limbo, away from the attract
The debate over how to provide health insurance to 50 million Americans – nearly 3 million of them New Yorkers – was center stage last week. The US Supreme Court quizzed lawyers supportive of and opposed to the federal health care reform law. In Albany, the debate over Governor Cuomo’s plan to create a health exchange – the entity that would provide health insurance to the states’ uninsured – was a key obstacle to conclusion of the state budget.
This week the US Supreme Court will take up the question of the constitutionality of federal health care reform, the Affordable Care Act. The Court has scheduled three days for debate, each day focusing on a different challenge to the law.
Governor Cuomo and the legislative leaders had a busy week -- redistricting changes, creating a new pension tier, broader DNA collection for criminal activities, and a first step toward legalized gambling. Despite all of that activity one big issue remains: they have to wrap up the state budget.