Thursday, December 6, 2007

Governor, You Don't Have To Be So Dramatic

Fix Eliot

With six weeks to go before he unveils his Executive Budget proposal, Liz Benjamin of The Daily Politics reported Governor Spitzer decided to transfer his Budget Director Paul Francis to the State Operations Director post, which will be vacated by Olivia Golden. It's an odd and curious decision.

The run-up to the introduction of the budget is one of the most important time periods for the Governor and his staff. Moreover, the Budget Director can have a far greater impact upon the future of New York. It's where the money is located, and it can be leveraged to make policy changes. Whereas the State Operations Director largely implements decisions that have already been made and ensures that state government can function efficiently (at least that's the way it's supposed to work).

The challenges are enormous for the Governor who proclaimed Day One, Everything Changes. The state must close a $4.3 billion budget deficit, the tax burden is suffocating job creation and revenue growth has slowed. Just last week Francis himself told Michael Gormley of the Associated Press:

"There are warning signs out there that things could get worse. There will be significant cuts in spending really across almost every sector of the budget."

So, naturally, with a recession and spending cuts looming, in addition to the other seemingly intractable fiscal problems New York faces, this is the perfect time for Governor Spitzer to remove Francis from his position of immense power and responsibility.

Francis is right about things getting worse fiscally. The same could be said of his boss and his erratic leadership.

Fox, MSNBC and CNN: Mass Murder Enablers

What Drove Young Killer To Commit Mall Slaughter? That's the question Fox News poses as the top story on its web site this morning. MSNBC's home page prominently features Video: Portrait of a Killer. It's also CNN's top story reporting: Mall Shooter's Suicide Note: Now I'll Be Famous.

He's famous now.

Fox, MSNBC and CNN have been providing mass murderers with a platform for their bloody rampages for too long. These killers know cable news producers will cut into their programming once they act on their homicidal fantasies. And they also understand the follow-up coverage will give them the attention they could never receive in their sick and twisted little worlds. As long as this saturation coverage continues, a mass murderer is in the making. There's one sitting in front of his television now, and thinking: I'm going to be next.

Imagine Governor Hillary Clinton (D-Arkansas)

By a vote of 4-1 the Arkansas Parole Board denies parole to a man who raped a 17-year-old girl.

Governor Hillary Clinton subsequently meets with the Board in Executive Session and pressures its members to parole the rapist, which is an apparent violation of the state's open meetings law.

Dr. Charles Chastain, a member of the Board tells the media:

“Governor Clinton commented that the rapist had received, from her perspective, a raw deal, that he was someone from the wrong side of the tracks ... and that he had received what she thought was too long a sentence for that type of crime.”

Five months after the initial vote, the Board reverses itself and votes 4-1 to parole the rapist. Governor Hillary Clinton releases a statement in full support: “I concur with the board’s action and hope the lives of all those involved can move forward."

In addition, Governor Hillary Clinton writes the rapist directly. She asserts: "My desire is that you be released from prison. I feel now that parole is the best way for your reintegration into society." The rapist is paroled.

The following year the rapist sexually assaults and murders a 39-year-old Missouri woman in her apartment. Police discover the paroled rapist's DNA under the victim's fingernails. After a six day trial the paroled rapist and accused murderer is sentenced to life in prison, which he attacks as "ludicrous, nonsensical, stupid and ignorant."

While running for the Democratic nomination for president, Governor Hillary Clinton denies she pressured the Board. "At their invitation, I went to their meeting. Someone brought up his case. Frankly it was simply part of a broader discussion. I did not ask them to do anything." Governor Hillary Clinton also tells CNN, "None of us could've predicted what he could've done when he got out."

But in a phone interview with ABC News Governor Hillary Clinton's former criminal justice counsel, Butch Reeves, said she told the Board members there was "something nefarious" about the criminal justice system in the rapist's case. And echoing Dr. Chastain's language Mr. Reeves said Governor Hillary Clinton claimed the rapist got a "raw deal."

The mother of the murdered woman tells ABC News that she would do "whatever it takes" to prevent Governor Hillary Clinton from becoming president of the United States. She adds, "I can't imagine anybody wanting somebody like that running the country."

These are the facts with one obvious exception. The Governor is Mike Huckabee, not Hillary Clinton. How does it feel to read it Huckabee supporters?