One person’s take on last week in the news:
Have Republicans finally found a real scandal? No, not Benghazi. Rather, it is reports that Internal Revenue Service employees targeted Tea Party organizations with heightened scrutiny, and that high level IRS employees were aware of it. I have yet to see anything that would connect this to the White House, but I do not watch Sean Hannity or Glenn Beck. The GOP never really found pay dirt with Solyndra or their encouragement of the birther movement. Benghazi? How can you have a scandal when you cannot really describe what it is? Independent reports have already faulted the government’s role in the crisis, but changing the tone of emails does not make this comparable to Watergate. Also, it is interesting how Republicans have to go back to the 70’s for a big scandal, conveniently ignoring Reagan’s Iran-Contra and the scandalous incompetence, lying and torturing of W’s Presidency.
At least one of this trifecta of losers is leaving the scene: What can you say about a week in which Mark Sanford and Carl Paladino were elected to public office, and the Air Force officer appointed as the Sexual Assault Prevention and Response Officer in February was fired for sexual battery in May? Sanford, in addition to using public funds to conduct an extramarital affair, did his part for those of us who tell a spouse we are hiking the Appalachian Trail when – you know – we really are, complete with backpacks, dehydrated food and hiking boots. It is a phrase, however, that truly resonates as an iconic American moment. For those not familiar with Paladino, he was the Republican nominee in 2010 against Andrew Cuomo, and whose list of “indiscretions” included threatening to use a baseball bat against opponents in Albany. Oh … he was elected to the School Committee in Buffalo, so anti-violence initiatives may take a back seat, as well as command of the English language. Here is a sentence from his web site: “At our interview you expected me to apologize to you for having resent off-color e-mails that were all about time and place, who and what.”
When will the Federal government’s shortcomings in this disaster get more attention? The Boston Marathon bombing once again highlighted inadequate communication among governmental agencies in sharing information about possible terrorist attacks. What has been lost among the predictable sound bites, however, is that these deficiencies have been regularly identified since 2005, and known to legislators from both parties. But what about the explosion in West, Texas that killed 14 people and, literally, devastated a significant portion of that town. I suspect that the failure in this case will be an absence of government regulation which, we know, this Republican Party favors in every conceivable situation.
Are we there yet? Levels of Carbon Dioxide in the atmosphere have reached levels not seen since before man and woman walked the earth. While hitting that number is in large part symbolic according to this account since we have already accomplished a fair amount of damage, there isn’t exactly a lot of good news about the legacy we are leaving for future generations.