Weekend News Cafe

Toles the blogger

You call know Tom Toles the editorial cartoonist. Tom, a member of the Investigative Post board of directors, also blogs for the Washington Post. Which is to say, he’s a busy guy.

Tom’s blog post on Friday takes on what he sees as the right wing’s end game.

The time bomb is about to go off. Over the years the conservative movement has generated a whirlwind of wacky, but it has had its ruthless sober side as well. That ruthless sober side has had a plan. Actually the plan has more or less been complete for some time, and now is about to blossom like a giant skunk cabbage. Behold.

That means: the Supreme Court. The plan: get the right justices in place and it doesn’t even matter what Congress legislates or the president signs. Any law parts that the court “finds” to be objectionable can be voided in their tracks. And then whole laws. And then whole programs. It doesn’t even take a lot of powerful reasoning. Minority dissents don’t count! It doesn’t take very many people, either. Five will do it!

Progress on pork – sort of

The new state budget doesn’t include money for any new legislative pet projects. But it does authorize $38 million to pay for pork approved in previous years that has gone unfunded. In Albany, it’s called progress.

A deadly, poorly regulated ‘sport’

Earlier in the week, The New York Times published a devastating three-page investigation into the thoroughbred horse racing business. The “sport” is plagued by doping and lax enforcement of rules. The result: a lot of horses are breaking down in races, which leads to their destruction and injuries to the jockeys riding them. On average, 24 race horses a week die across the United States. That’s right, 24 a week.

An investigation by The New York Times has found that industry practices continue to put animal and rider at risk. A computer analysis of data from more than 150,000 races, along with injury reports, drug test results and interviews, shows an industry still mired in a culture of drugs and lax regulation and a fatal breakdown rate that remains far worse than in most of the world.

Of note: The Finger Lakes track has a better-than-average safety record.

In case you missed it

Jim Heaney’s column this week in Artvoice looks at the voting patterns in the Congressional districts where incumbents Brian Higgins and Kathy Hochul will run this fall. The upshot: His district goes for Democrats in a big way; Hochul’s does not.

Higgins would have to pull a Chris Lee to lose his job.

Hochul would have to pull, well, a Hochul to keep hers.

Hochul’s race, most likely against former Erie County Executive Chris Collins, will be watched nationally.

Bet you didn’t know …

Black Panther turned Congressman Bobby Rush gained a lot of attention this week for donning a hoodie this week on the House floor to denounce the shooting death of Trayvon Martin and the stereotyping of black men. That much, you’re probably aware of. But did you know that Rush in 1980 successfully fended off a challenge by a senator by the name of Barack Obama. Beat him by a 2-1 margin, in fact.

Here’s a clip of debate between the incumbent and the upstart. At 19 minutes, you might not want to sit through the whole thing, but it’s worth at least a peek.