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The Weekender - October 27

October 27, 2011

Tags: The Weekender

Jon Huntsman: The Republicans’ canary in a coal mine

The fate of Jon Huntsman’s candidacy for president will go a long way toward determining whether sanity prevails in the Republican Party and whether it has any chance of wresting the presidency from the grasp of Democrat Barack Obama. Huntsman, whose last two jobs were ambassador to China and governor of Utah, does not need to win his party’s nomination for Republicans to pass those two tests. But if Huntsman’s 1 percent support level doesn’t radically improve and if he quickly is drummed out of the primary field because he espouses moderate to traditionally conservative positions, held by the vast majority of U.S. general election voters, then the Republicans will lose the election and be relegated, at most, to the role of “Drs. No” in the House of Representatives. (more…)

The Weekender - October 13

October 13, 2011

Tags: The Weekender

A fall festival and the Arab Spring

Today is the first day of Sukkot, the Festival of Tabernacles, at the little synagogue in Chatham Center and at Jewish and certain so-called “Hebrew Roots” Christian houses of worship throughout the world. Sukkot, a harvest holiday, also commemorates the 40 years when Israelites wandered the desert after emancipation from slavery in Egypt. The Sukkah, a hastily made grass or straw hut, symbolizes the temporary structures that sheltered the Israelites during those four nomadic decades. It’s a sweet holiday, worthy of everyone’s respect, if not active participation, being a celebration of agriculture, freedom and an autumn thanksgiving as well. (more…)

New York Times - October 7

October 7, 2011

Tags: New York Times

"Charging for Debit Cards Is Robbery"

When Bank of America told its customers recently that it would start charging them $5 a month to use debit cards, it argued that it was forced to make that change because of regulations that altered the economics of the cards. Other banks agreed. The chief executive of JPMorgan Chase, Jamie Dimon, put the effects of the regulations this way: “If you’re a restaurant and you can’t charge for the soda, you’re going to charge more for the burger.” Both banks were responding to the Federal Reserve’s actions to limit the interchange fees banks charge stores each time a debit card is used for a purchase. (more…)

Regular contributor to the Sunday "Perspectives" (Editorial) section of Hearst's Albany Times Union with op-eds on government, law and public policy. Read and comment at timesunion.com and on this website. "The Weekender" social commentary column appears on ccSCOOP.com, Columbia County's Home on the Web, and past columns are archived on this website under the Op-Ed button.
A book about the ground-breaking case that shook the business and legal worlds to their very cores, New York-based law firm Constantine & Partners sought to end a devastating credit monopoly that personally touched millions of consumers. Its efforts culminated in the largest federal antitrust settlement in U.S. history.
Journal of the Plague Year
The March 10, 2008 disclosure that Governor Eliot Spitzer patronized prostitutes shocked admirers around the world who had celebrated him as the "Sheriff of Wall Street" and a likely future president.  Ironically, the author's disillusionment with Spitzer had begun to disappear 15 hours earlier, when Spitzer confessed to him what others would soon learn in a media storm of unprecedented intensity.  Journal of the Plague Year is Constantine's intimate account of the 17 calamitous months preceding the March 2008 revelation and the futile 61 hour battle waged by the author and the governor's wife to persuade Spitzer not to resign, but to instead fulfill promises made to the voters who had elected him in a record landslide.

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