THE CAPITOL CONNECTION: Thoughts on the death penalty

THERE WILL ALWAYS BE those among us who believe in the death penalty. I do understand that, although I can’t personally support such a move. Capital punishment is used in some American jurisdictions, both federal and state, and is continually being advanced here in New York.

Let’s just stop for a minute and suppose that you had a son or a daughter, a mother or a father, who was cruelly cut down for absolutely no good reason. Once the perpetrator was caught, positively identified, tried and found guilty, would you want that person shut down forever? I know that I would. However, let’s take a step back.

The world is filled with people who murder with impunity and total disregard for life. They might as well be swatting flies. The threat of capital punishment acts as a deterrent. It sends a message to other potential killers that should they take a life, their own life will be taken in return. One of my all-time heroes, Mario Cuomo, may have lost a potential fourth term as governor because of his unconditional refusal to support the death penalty in New York. His son, Andrew, shares this sentiment. Read more…

THE CAPITOL CONNECTION: No masks meant more death

THERE ARE CONSIDERABLY MORE than 200,000 people in the United States who have died because of the coronavirus and its complications. The United States is a world leader in deaths due to that virus. One of the prime reasons for that is that the president of the United States, Donald Trump, behaved unconscionably in arguing, both by example and by word, against people wearing face masks, which we now know could have saved tens of thousands of lives. When you compare the number of lives lost in this country with the numbers of people who died in Europe or places like South Korea, where mask wearing approached universality, we are a pathetic last place.

There are those, and I am one of them, who believe that in downplaying the threat of Covid-19, Donald Trump is responsible for these deaths. I will never understand his motives in arguing against taking this most simple of precautions. All I know is that because Trump says that he listened to his “instincts” and not to the science, a lot of people have contracted the disease and many of them are dead. Is there anyone who wants to argue that basic premise with me? He is not a kid who tried to rob a bodega and spent years in prison because of that. Again, he recklessly endangered the people he was (sort of) elected to serve. All he had to do was say, “Everyone should wear a mask,” and our numbers would be a lot better. People told him that again and again, but he just ignored them. He even ridiculed Joe Biden for wearing a mask. Read more…

THE CAPITOL CONNECTION: Andrew watches for an opening

THERE IS A LOT OF LUCK—good and bad—involved in politics. Not only that, timing is everything. We know that Andrew Cuomo is ambitious. We know that he loved his father and that on some psychological level, he competes with Mario. We know that Mario almost made it to the tippy top of the political heap. We know that things broke Andrew’s way when Trump who is, after all, a demon, looked like he would succeed in corrupting American politics as no one ever imagined it could be corrupted. When the New York Times and CNN finally got around to doing what they had to do in calling out Trump, Andrew looked like a big winner.

CNN could not figure out what to do about Trump. He was getting so much mandatory air time and they were under the gun from so many people, they clearly figured that Andrew was the antidote. Andrew, brother of CNN’s Chris, was given air time almost every morning. He was just one of many U.S. governors, but CNN appointed him to be the unofficial spokesperson for the non-Trump rest of us. Everywhere I went, people told me how much they loved Andrew. I would often hear that they used to dislike him but now they think he is terrific. This was almost universal. When I say everywhere, I mean everywhere.

But then, something changed. First, the cable people made it clear that they would not play every Trump “briefing.” They actually started to tell the truth. As Trump rallies disappeared, so, gradually, did Andrew. The man who was ubiquitous started receding into the shadows. That’s where the timing of it reared its ugly head. Andrew was the beneficiary of Trump the bully being given so much time. Appropriately, he got credit for conquering the Covid threat in his state which was once at the top of the list for Covid infections and deaths. Read more…