These are my links for February 28th from 09:52 to 09:56:
- Speaker Boehner: House likely to defend Defense of Marraige Act since Justice Dept. won’t – The House is likely to take steps to defend the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA), House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) said in an interview posted Monday.
Boehner, the leader of the Republican-held House, said he and and his members are considering a number of options to defend DOMA after President Obama ordered the Justice Department to stop defending the 1990s law in court.
As they should.
- Dem Rep. david Wu says he was hospitalized in 2008 for reaction to mental-health drug – U.S. Rep. David Wu says he was hospitalized after his 2008 campaign for symptoms that later were diagnosed as a reaction to a common mental health drug.
The Oregon Democrat said he felt dizzy and confused on Election Day that year, a period of time when his staff and family have said they were unable to find him.
"It came up that afternoon, and it knocked me off my can," Wu said, referring to the symptoms.
Wu discussed his mental health Sunday in an interview with The Associated Press at his Portland office, offering more details of his psychiatric treatment since reports first surfaced last month of bizarre behavior.
Read it all.
Of course, he will NOT resign.
These are my links for February 25th from 10:40 to 10:50:
- The Untold Story of Scott Walker’s Longstanding History with Labor – Governor Scott Walker may be a new marvel to cable news, but he is certainly no stranger to Wisconsin politics. Scott K. Walker, son of a Baptist preacher, began his political career in the early 1990s when he ran for an Assembly seat in the State Legislature. Even as a young legislator in his twenties, Walker took a hard-line, penny-wise approach to labor unions. During a debate in 1993, Walker advocated reforming union laws that oversaw local government labor disputes. Little did he know that his career in Milwaukee politics would be tested and weighed by his exchange with those very laws.
After nine years in the State Legislature, Scott Walker campaigned for Milwaukee County Executive – a seat that no Republican in Wisconsin has ever occupied. But Milwaukee County was recently rocked by a massive pension scandal – one that had given away six-figure backdrops to hundreds of public employees. The area was ripe for a new breed of leadership, and Walker’s message of frugality and fiscal reform seemed to reverberate with the voters. In 2002, Milwaukee County elected Scott Walker, the first ever Republican County Executive.
As Executive, Walker’s skirmishes with unions began shortly after he promised he would balance county budgets without raising property taxes. Without counting on these revenue-raising mechanisms, Walker had to lean on the county workforce for program cuts.
In 2003, Detractors accused Walker of ginning up a false fiscal crisis in order to justify slashing budget items. Drumming up false budgetary crises became a perennial charge against Walker, so he didn’t waste opportunities to remind them that unfunded pension liabilities threatened the solvency of their county government.
In 2006, the American Federation of State, County, and Municipal Employees (AFSCME) – Walker’s nemesis in all budgetary matters – criticized Walker for what they called a “Sky is Falling Tour.” A few months later (ironically), the Greater Milwaukee Committee – a private sector civic organization – released a damaging report recommending a state takeover of Milwaukee County's budget due to their daunting health care and pension costs.
Read it all
- Oregon Dem Rep. David Wu should step down | For lack of candor, not because of treatment – Now that an explanation for U.S. Rep. David Wu’s sometimes peculiar behavior has emerged, Oregon Democrats are saying that talk of a resignation is premature. The 1st District congressman says he has sought professional care, and supporters claim that seeking treatment should not disqualify a person for public office. They’re right, but that’s not the issue. The real problem is a lack of candor, and for that he should resign.
On Oct. 30, Wu’s staff members demanded that he check into a psychiatric hospital for treatment, according to The (Portland) Oregonian. Wu, who has represented Oregon’s 1st District since 1999, refused. Wu’s staff kept him away from public events in the final days of the campaign, and on Nov. 2 he was easily re-elected to a seventh term. Many of Wu’s top staff members have quit since the election, including his chief of staff, pollster and campaign treasurer.
Wu’s district extends from the northern Oregon Coast to the west side of Portland, and he has not been a frequent visitor to this part of the state. But people in Lane County who recall Wu’s off-key introduction of Barack Obama on the University of Oregon campus in 2008 have some understanding of reports of disjointed public appearances in his district and in Washington, D.C. His behavior in private has reportedly been even more erratic, leading staff members to stage their unsuccessful intervention.
Rep. Wu needs to resign and concentrate on his health.
- Oregon Rep. David Wu’s situation raises questions about why staff didn’t act sooner – The big question now is whether Wu can survive politically. I suspect that continuing coverage of his eccentricities will leave him no choice but resign or pledge not to run again in 2012.
I'm more interested in the answers to a different set of questions that might provide a greater lesson for us all: Who knew what when? And why didn't they act sooner to help a man whose behavior clearly called out for it?
Eccentricity should not preclude anyone from serving in public office. (If it did, the halls of power would be as empty as Manhattan in "I Am Legend.") Neither should addiction or depression disqualify talented public servants, as long as the conditions are acknowledged and treated. It's a wonder we don't hear more tales of members of Congress cracking from the combined strain of long hours, frequent travel, constant pressure to raise money and, even before the rise of the tea party, increasingly personal attacks from partisan foes.
More people, particularly more in powerful jobs, should feel comfortable openly discussing how they cope with stress; we should all understand that seeing a psychiatrist or taking anti-depressants is a sign of strength and self-awareness, not weakness. (Imagine this campaign victory speech: "I'd like to thank my wife, my children, my volunteers and the guy who invented Zoloft.")
Members of the House and Senate work inside a bubble of supportive staff. Aides handle their daily schedules, their travel arrangements, even their laundry. Wu's increasing agitation could not have escaped his staff's notice. And this was obviously not one bad month, despite Wu's suggestion to that effect on "Good Morning America." Political professionals don't decide to stage an intervention with their boss on the spur of the moment.
Yet his aides stayed with him, in some cases for years. The Democratic establishment tolerated and worked around him, through seven campaigns and an increasing number of whispers and raised eyebrows. From a political perspective, that's understandable. Wu holds a strong Democratic seat and knows how to raise money, particularly from out-of-state donors. You don't mess with that kind of success. Unless you care about the person at the heart of it.
In propping Wu up for so long, in staying quiet about what might lie behind his strange behavior, staff and the party power structure did a disservice to both the congressman and his constituents. Wu should explain his behavior. The people who shielded him for all these years as the pressure mounted should explain theirs, too.
Speaker at the time, Dem Rep Nancy Pelosi propped up this moron because she needed his vote.
She and the House Dem leadership should be ashamed of themselves