Mario Cuomo, who died yesterday, was a liberal lion or a dithering do-gooder, depending on which New York publication you ask.
The Great Debate
In Russia, August is commonly believed to be the month of bad surprises, when planes fall out of the sky and economic crises begin. But from the point of the view of the Kremlin, the last days of December are preferable for shock announcements. On Christmas Day 1991, Mikhail Gorbachev resigned as the first and last president of the Soviet Union; eight years later, on New Year’s Eve, Boris Yeltsin handed over the Russian presidency to an unknown former secret police chief named Vladimir Putin.
Last week at the funeral of police officer Rafael Ramos — who was assassinated with his partner, Wenjian Liu, as they sat in their patrol car — cops literally turned their backs on New York Mayor Bill de Blasio in a show of disrespect. Many in the police department blame what they see as his anti-police policies for the two cops’ deaths.
During the Cold War era, Western communists often looked to Moscow for ideological inspiration, economic help and political support. The Soviet Union, for its part, was more than happy to oblige. Twenty-five years after the fall of the Berlin Wall, communism is long gone, but some European party leaders are once more reviving ties with Russia, for very different reasons.
Unions of football players and police officers are still strong organizations — even as the rest of the labor movement unravels. But scandal in the National Football League and murder on the streets of New York City has many people asking if these high-profile unions are too strident in defending their members.
Earlier this month, the British Broadcasting Corporation, which sees itself as still the best broadcaster in the world, gave a well-bred expression of fear. Peter Horrocks, who has just stepped down as head of the BBC World Service, said “we are being financially outgunned by Russia and the Chinese (broadcasters) … the role we need to play is an even handed one. We shouldn’t be pro one side or the other, we need to provide something people can trust.”
Get out your pitchforks, Democrats! A showdown over populism is coming.
The core of the problem is the decline of Democratic support among white working-class voters. White voters without a college degree made up 36 percent of the midterm electorate this year. They voted nearly 2-to-1 Republican.
Washington has systematically pushed to ostracize Cuba from the rest of Latin America years after the policy has become anachronistic. By focusing so completely on the “bad” Cuba of authoritarian government and human-rights abuses, the United States has been missing a big opportunity to work with the “good” Cuba on core development problems in Latin America and Africa, such as improving education and healthcare.
Police misconduct has ignited a political firestorm in New York and many other cities across the nation, not seen in quite some time. Relations between the public and the police are fraught with tension, mistrust and violence. Many are outraged. Politicians and the media are posturing and promising reform. The police are angry, feeling besieged.