Monday Morning News Roundup

Trayvon Martin

For those who love basketball, this is the sweet spot, the best time of year. There was tons of basketball this weekend. There were a few upsets. The Cinderella team seem to have had their time in the sun. Lehigh and Norfolk State have been eliminated. One of the favorites to win the tournament, North Carolina Tar Heels, continues to roll, but their star point guard appears to have fractured his wrist.

The 911 calls surrounding the shooting of Trayvon Martin are now posted on-line. Beware. They are shocking.

I have no idea what’s going on in Syria. Fighting seems to have broken out in Damascus.

Paul Krugman has a nice summary of the massive compromise (wimpy) called the Affordability Care Act. Oral arguments begin in front of the Supreme Court next week.

Mitt Romney has won Puerto Rico. I’m completely baffled by Rick Santorum. How do you go to Puerto Rico and tell Puerto Ricans that you will fight for them to become a state only if they learn English? What the heck? How is that a winning strategy?

McCain, always looking for an an opportunity to be a “maverick,” has decided to stand up for women. I doubt this will have any effect on the GOP’s relentless attacks.

The fight over voter ID laws is just beginning to heat up.

David Shuster went on CNN and spoke the truth. Somehow that was controversial. He stated that the Republican Party works for Fox News. (Or is it that Fox News works for the Republican Party? Either way, it is a symbiotic relationship.)

On Meet the Press, John McCain stated that the Republican primary was the ugliest that he has ever seen.

Overall, state governance (all states) is abysmal. This should surprise no one. Oversight for many, many programs is nil. Examples:

In Georgia, more than 650 government employees accepted gifts from vendors doing business with the state in 2007 and 2008, clearly violating state ethics law. The last time the state issued a penalty on a vendor was 1999.

North Carolina legislator sponsored and voted on a bill to loosen regulations on billboard construction, even though he co-owned five billboards in the state. When the ethics commission reviewed the case, it found no conflict; after all, the panel reasoned, the legislation would benefit all billboard owners in the state – not just the lawmaker who pushed for the bill.

Tennessee established its ethics commission six years ago, but has yet to issue a single ethics penalty. It’s almost impossible to know whether the oversight is effectively working, because complaints are not made available to the public.

West Virginia governor borrowed a car from his local dealership to take it for a “test drive.” He kept the car for four years, during which the dealership won millions in state contracts.

When representatives of a biotech company took Montana legislators out to dinner, they neither registered as lobbyists nor reported the fact that they picked up the bill. They didn’t have to – the law only requires registration upon spending $2,400 during a legislative session.  In Maine, one state senator did not disclose $98 million in state contracts that went to an organization for which he served as executive director. The lack of disclosure was not an oversight; due to a loophole in state law, he was under no obligation to do so.

One Response

  1. Seems has cued into the Trayvon tragedy. They are circulating an online petition. I signed. This is very sad story. 

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Errington C. Thompson, MD

Dr. Thompson is a surgeon, scholar, full-time sports fan and part-time political activist. He is active in a number of community projects and initiatives. Through medicine, he strives to improve the physical health of all he treats.


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