Archive for the tag 'democratic party'

The flag of the great state of Texas. Source:

BETWEEN THE LINES: I truly intended to steer clear of politics for this column. However, when I read about the secession effort set in motion this week in states that, by and large, voted for Mitt Romney, and then quickly spread in a few days, it induced me to stick my two cents into the fray as our nation becomes more sharply divided.

Have you heard about this post-Obama re-election foolishness? It’s even more outrageous than the lame excuses offered by embittered losers Mitt Romney, who said Obama gave gifts to liberal constituencies, and Paul Ryan, who said the urban vote hurt them. It’s even crazier than when Karl Rove went ballistic on election night and stubbornly refused to accept the Ohio voting results on the Fox News Channel.

The secession movement started in Texas — the reddest state — and, as of November 15, approximately 100,000 Lone Star residents had reportedly signed petitions requesting the peaceful withdrawal of their state from the union. Small numbers of citizens from every other state, including New York, quickly joined the movement and signed similar petitions asking to secede. Residents of a few states without a petition cheerfully signed one from another state.

They may do everything big in Texas, but this secession movement is hardly one of ’em. One hundred thousand is a drop in the bucket compared to the 26 million people in the nation’s second most populous state.

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Source: DonkeyHotey / Flickr

BETWEEN THE LINES: The presidential campaign stretched out for 18 months, yet it seemed longer — a lot longer.

I’ve had my fill of annoying attack ads. At least we won’t have to see those fact-skewing, derogatory commercials — until local campaigns emerge less than a year from now.

I’m also fed up with constant robocalls. Why is it that political calls are exempt from “Do Not Call” lists? And don’t give me that free speech explanation. That’s just a flimsy excuse when self-serving representatives fashion expedient legislation to exempt themselves, yet block solicitations from private businesses.

One thing this election demonstrated was that the nation’s melting pot population is more diverse than ever — and must be given attention. While the Democratic Party got an overwhelming majority of the minority vote, it’s going to have to work hard to maintain that base and not just count on it as their base for years to come. On the other hand, though the Republican Party is far from being washed up, as long as the GOP adheres to its horse-and-buggy manifesto, it’s likely to remain losers for years to come.

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BETWEEN THE LINES: For habitual readers of this column, it should come as no revelation as to who my preference is in Tuesday’s presidential election.

Over the last three or four months, there’s nothing former Governor Mitt Romney or Rep. Paul Ryan did to convince me to change my mind. (I’d still rather be blue than red.) As a matter of fact, most of what they or their obstructionist Republican colleagues uttered only solidified my incentive for President Barack Obama to serve another four years.

Barack Obama is the only choice, if we hope to move forward and not revert to stale Republican policies that generated the chaos — overseas and nationwide — that we’re in today.

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Source: AP Photo

BETWEEN THE LINES: When Mitt Romney became the Republican’s designated presidential nominee following his victories in the spring primaries, the party’s conservative wing seemed as lukewarm about the former governor as they were four years ago for maverick Senator John McCain. In a calculated move to counterbalance his moderate credentials, and emulating what McCain did four years ago, Romney chose Congressman Paul Ryan, a Tea Party favorite, as his vice presidential running mate.

But even that didn’t seem to matter much because, after weeks of campaigning, until the first presidential debate, Romney trailed or was tied in nearly every poll. As a matter of fact, in the days leading up to the Denver debate, a lack of enthusiasm clouded the GOP.

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Entrance to the Bruce Springsteen exhibit at the National Constitution Center.

BETWEEN THE LINES: Numerous artists and performers have been honored with the Presidential Medal of Freedom, the nation’s highest civilian award. None of them, however, or any performer for that matter, has ever had the distinction of having an extensive exhibit at the National Constitution Center (NCC).

After almost three years at the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in Cleveland, Ohio, when it was heralded as a “must see” for his fans, “From Asbury Park to the Promised Land: The Life and Music of Bruce Springsteen” debuted last winter at the Constitution Center on Independence Mall in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, where it ended a nearly seven month run earlier this month.

A Springsteen fan a decade before he achieved superstardom, I intended to see the exhibit that featured scores of artifacts and memorabilia from the New Jersey rocker’s four decade career, but I never made the trip to Cleveland. My regret was assuaged when it was announced, about a year ago, that at the Constitution Center would host the exhibit. I finally saw it last month, accompanied by one of my oldest friends — in longevity and years — in my inaugural visit to the center.

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Members of the New York State Legislature doing what they do best. Get it? Source: Wikipedia

BETWEEN THE LINES: A show of hands, how many of you think our state legislators deserve a pay raise?

Not too many hands.

Now, if they were to get a raise, how many think that a 26 percent hike, the amount that has been reported, is too much, even though they haven’t had an increase since 1999?

That’s more like it. Almost all of you agree that’s too much. It’s like they’d be making up for lost time with an average of two percent a year for the last 13 years, which is when they got their last pay boost.

The current salary would jump from $79,500 to $100,000. But, in return, those noble lawmakers would sacrifice the $165 per diem they now receive when they’re in session. When you tally the numbers, legislators would give up just over $11,000 for a 67-day session — the standard annual legislative session — for a sizeable $20,500 raise.

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Our columnist, Neil Friedman, engages in some “armchair politics.” What armchair would be more appropriate than Archie Bunker’s? Source: ttarasiuk / Flickr

BETWEEN THE LINES: After watching portions of the Republican and Democratic conventions, here are some observations:

Now I can sleep soundly, knowing the incumbents, their opponents and their respective spouses are ensconced in lovey-dovey relationships. Not a vital issue, but we certainly don’t need another candidate like John Edwards.

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Sure, it’s a little last minute, but the Southern Brooklyn Democrats, a new reform Democratic club aiming to reinvigorate progressive politics in Southern Brooklyn, has just told us that they’ve scored congressional candidate Hakeem Jeffries as a speaker at tonight’s meeting.

The group meets at 8:00 p.m. at 1706 Sheepshead Bay Road between Voorhies Avenue and Shore Parkway. The meeting is on the second floor, above Arbuz.

Jeffries is facing off in a primary challenge against Councilman Charles Barron, a controversial figure who yesterday was the target of condemnation from local elected officials for what they said was anti-Semitic and anti-Israeli remarks. The winner of the June 26 primary will be the Democratic candidate in the general election for the 8th Congressional District, which includes Sheepshead Bay, Marine Park, Brighton Beach, Manhattan Beach, Mill Basin and Bergen Beach.

Jeffries is expected to arrive at the meeting at 9:00 p.m.

Prior to his arrival, the group will discuss upcoming events, petitioning opportunities, local issues and a rally to be held this Saturday at 11:00 a.m. at the Ulmer Park Bus Depot, urging the MTA to restore B64 bus service.

The Southern Brooklyn Democrats, a new reform Democratic club aiming to reinvigorate progressive politics in Southern Brooklyn, will meet at 7:00 p.m., May 21 at 1706 Sheepshead Bay Road between Voorhies Avenue and Shore Parkway. The meeting is on the second floor, above Arbuz.

Among the items on their agenda will be constitution ratification, interim executive board elections for the duration of 2012, and a discussion of ongoing initiatives, including transportation, with particular focus on local transit issues.

To learn more, check out their Facebook announcement.

Join the Brooklyn Young Democrats at Wheeler’s Restaurant, January 18 from 7:30-10:30 p.m., as they welcome in 2012 with special guests, appetizers, and drink specials.

Admission is $10 for Student Membership, $20 for Regular Membership and $25 for Non-member.

Wheeler’s is located at 1707 Sheepshead Bay Road between Voorhies Avenue and Shore Parkway, near the B and Q trains.

To learn more about the Brooklyn Young Democrats, visit their website, check out their blog, or email They are also on Facebook, Twitter and Flickr.

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