by ABC6 Chief Political Reporter Mark Curtis
PROVIDENCE, R.I. - Happy Easter and Passover season to all. Congress is in the middle of a two-week recess and other political activity tends to slow down in this season, but there is still plenty to talk about. Here we go!
"Eggs-actly!" – The White House will host the annual Easter Egg Roll on Monday. The event dates back to 1814, when First Lady Dolley Madison held the first. I have always been surprised that the ACLU or an atheist organization has not sued claiming this violated the separation of church and state (which I doubt). Of course Easter Eggs and the Easter Bunny are secular symbols, but the connotation of Easter is a recognition of one of the most important days in Christian history. I am not inviting a fight, but in this age of lawsuits over the mere suggestion of religion, I am surprised no one has complained.
"A Cross to Bear" – My Easter discussion was prompted by a court ruling this week. A Federal Judge in New York ruled that a steel beam "cross" that was found in the rubble on 9/11 can indeed be placed in the public museum that now commemorates the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks on the United States. The cross was a created by the destruction of the building, but many at the scene of the disaster and recovery took comfort in its symbolism and a priest even blessed it. Yes people took religious solace in it, but it was just two pieces of intersected steel girders (photo above). It was not a crucifix. But the group American Atheists sued anyway. Judge Deborah Batts ruled the cross was a historic artifact and could be displayed in the public museum. For those who want to paint this as a conservative versus liberal issue, you might be surprised that Batts is a lesbian, African-American liberal who was appointed by President Clinton. Common sense can come in many stripes. Anyway, appeals are sure to come.
"Here Comes da' Judd" – Or maybe it should read "there goes" Ashley Judd. You know it's a slow week in politics when the biggest story is about a singer-actress who decided not to run for a Senate seat in Kentucky. Judd was thinking about running as a Democrat to face off against Republican Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell. Political races involving celebrities are always amusing, and usually expensive. The Kentucky media would have loved this for the notoriety and the huge advertising revenue.
"Sequester Pester" – Monday will be April 1, and the gloom and doom from the government budget sequester still has not yet materialized. The Pentagon announced that furloughs of civilian employees would be cut from 22 to 14 days, and the notices are supposed to go out this coming Friday, two weeks after the original date. The uncertainty has been difficult for many defense department families, but again there has been no economic blip from the $85 billion dollars in cuts across the board. It may still come, but thirty days into this crisis, the closure of dozens of air traffic control towers at small airports has been the only visible sign. In the meantime, Wall Street has been surging.
"Politicians – Like Cats – Have Nine Lives (Round II)" – Last week I wrote of the political comeback attempt by former Florida Governor Charlie Crist, the Republican-turned independent-turned Democrat. We have another member of the club. Former Republican South Carolina Governor and ex-Congressman Mark Sanford is hoping to go back to Washington. Sanford famously disappeared a few years ago while supposedly hiking on the Appalachian Trail. In truth he was in South America with his mistress while Mrs. Sanford was back at home. This Tuesday Sanford is in a runoff election for a Congressional seat. His Republican opponent is making Sanford's infidelity an issue, and Democrats are hoping Sanford wins the primary as they believe a Democrat could beat him in the general election. That Democrat, Elizabeth Colbert, is the sister of political comedian Stephen Colbert. You can't make this stuff up!
"North Goes South" – The biggest threat on planet Earth these days is not Iran or Al- Qaeda. Not to underestimate those two dangers, but right now North Korea is the big concern. North Korea now says it's in a "state of war" with South Korean (which means it might as well be at war with the United States). While it has nuclear capabilities, North Korea's efforts to launch rockets have been laughable, so far. But crazed leader Kim Jong Un is just wacky enough to find another way to deliver his weapons. He and his father starved thousands of their own people, so they'll stop at nothing. The free world needs to keep a closer eye on this.
As always, I welcome your input. Just click the comments button at www.MarkCurtisMedia.com. Happy Easter!!!
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