Life as an Extreme Sport

gift bans

No more free dinners. No more tickets to Yankees games. No more golf outings and boxes of cigars from lobbyist pals picking up the tabs. You might think that I’m still talking about Magnus and the bans on pharmaceutical gifts at Stanford and other medical institutions, but in fact this is the news in the Albany, New York political scene. Lawmakers are imposing their own gift ban at the urging of Gov. Spitzer. The state ethics committee will be combined with the lobbying commission to create a super-agency to oversee everything.

And on top of that, Spizter’s taking on campaign finance reform, in a separate package.

Whatever you think of him, I suppose you do have to give him credit: he’s moving quickly to do what he promised while he campaigned for votes here in New York.

Alice in Wonderland Policy-making

A bipartisan Senate resolution was unveiled yesterday opposition to President Bush’s new Iraq strategy. The New York Times reports “sponsors of the measure said Congressional passage would send a powerful message that the president could not ignore…

Which really just has me wondering: have they been paying any attention the last few years? Our president doesn’t give a damn what the public, Congress, Senate or, so far as I can tell, anyone ‘cept his little group of cronies. And if a crony starts speaking out against what he’s doing, said crony tends to find himself without a job. At what point has there ever been any indication that Bush listens to polls, or proposals? So far as I can tell, The Decider does what he wants – and if Congress thinks a bipartisan resolution is going to do anything other than encourage Bush towards his usual role of ignoring everyone and doing what he wants, then Congress is further through the Looking Glass than any of us realized.