By Alan S. Chartock | April 13, 2019

Answering the Headlines:

New York Times: “New York Prosecutors Sometimes Behave Badly. Now They May Be Held to Account.

Yes, there are some prosecutors who may be over the line here and there but there are many politicians who are scared out of their wits by District Attorneys. Any leg up that these pols may get over said prosecutors that will allow them to sleep maybe just a little bit easier is something that they are obviously all for. Right? Andrew Cuomo, for example, just had quite a scare when two or three of his closest aides were caught and convicted of selling political favors. Of course, those were federal indictments. The governor already has tremendous control over local DA’s. Is that control ever enough? When you pass a law giving a governor even more control, it has to have the effect of warning the DA’s to stay away. To their credit, the DA’s are fighting back. They are led by Albany County District Attorney David Soares, one of the most articulate and decent men I have ever known. Come on, we all know what this is all about.

Story: Senator Gillibrand’s father once worked for accused sex cult NXIVM. Says the story, her father got out and distanced himself years ago. Gillibrand, who has used the Me Too movement to fuel her anemic presidential campaign, has been threatened by the very sword that she has lived by but what her father did certainly isn’t a sin that can be transferred to the daughter. She has also been challenged on alleged Me Too insensitivity and maybe worse by her own staff. Despite her assiduous attempts to get attention, she has been doing badly in the polls. What could be on her mind? Despite my attempts to get Andrew Cuomo and Chuck Schumer to comment on Gillibrand’s Don Quixote crusade, they just won’t bite. Why should they? They ain’t stupid. After all, it was Schumer who got her the senatorial job in the first place. So few politicians are supporting her that when some political nonentity does, it becomes news.

Public radio’s first rate reporter, Karen Dewitt, says that the legislature is finally getting off its behind and trying to do something about the robo-calls which we all hate so much. Among other things, they want to give the state’s Attorney General new powers to put a stop to the practice that threatens to drive us all over the emotional top. It’s extraordinary that it has taken so long for this to happen. One can only wonder what the answer to this scourge is. I can’t believe that these rotten actors are funneling money into the system to support them in driving us all nuts. We pass all kinds of bills but Republicans and Democrats alike are on the receiving ends of these calls. Their legislative spouses have to be lobbying their mates to “Do something!” Most legislation that passes goes unnoticed by the larger voting population. Doing something about this would surely gain some attention and appreciation from the electorate, right? Chuck Schumer talks the talk but can he walk the walk?

Newspaper editors and their friends are furious that under new legislation they may not be permitted to print mug shots of alleged perps who are thought to have committed crimes. Once again, we have to consider that maybe the top politicians can project themselves into that situation. We certainly saw enough pictures of Shelly Silver and Dean Skelos during their long indictment and conviction process. Of course, there is a point to all of this. There are racial implications and just plain matters of fairness. Once those pictures are up there they never go away no matter how innocent one turns out to be. Editors, however, say that once the government gets to call what the press can and can’t do, we are heading down the slippery slope.