Monday, June 2, 2008

The Difference

Last week I was shocked to read about the new Jewish state Attorney General who was accused of having an affair with an office worker and who was forced to resign in the face of scandal. No, I'm not talking about Buddy Caldwell, Louisiana's own Jewish Attorney General. He is doing quite well and I am glad to say working hard to clean up an office besmirched by the ill-advised tactics of his predecessor. No, I am referring to Marc Dann, Ohio's recently elected and now publicly disgraced chief state prosecutor and enforcer of laws. Talk about a fall from grace. Dann was selected in the 2006 midterm elections as a young man of promise during the same period that propelled Lee Fisher, another Jew, into the second highest office of the state, Lt. Governor. In a well-orchestrated campaign Dann had little to say to the Jewish media on his way up and he has even less to say now that he has been ensnared in a political boondoggle and a scandalous littany of charges dealing with sexual harrassment in his office by others and sexual infidelity on his part. Like previous transgressions that have brought down others like New York Governor Eliot Sptitzer, Dann was caught up in the power of his office and the power of his prowess as a man. Unfortunately, when the man caught with his pants down is Jewish, it's not just that his religion becomes obvious. It also reflects badly on his core values and ethics, which should, after all, be held to the highest of levels due to thousands of years of rabbinical thinking and moral conduct. After a State Legislature Special Session passed the most extensive package of laws dealing with ethics a few months ago, Louisiana has taken the lead in setting the bar for politicians and public servants. This is all part of new Governor Bobby Jindal's plan to restore confidence in government. That is a paradigm shift for a state that was commonly referred to as a "banana republic" by some and repeatedly thought of as the laughing stock of the country by comedians who noted how many of our elected officials were serving terms in federal prisons. I take no schadenfreude at Dann's personal demise or Ohio's scandal, which leaves a major hole in Governor Ted Strickland's cabinet. However, I do note that while scandals have plagued New Jersey, New York and now Ohio, Louisiana seems to be moving from beneath the shadow of constant suspicion and finger pointing. Have we truly made the turn? Only time will tell, but I have hope we have. That hope and a new commitment on the part of Louisiana elected officials towards change makes a big difference in the way politics was conducted in the past here.
Sad news from Hollywood over the loss of several of the more famous backlot sets at Universal Studios. When I was there last week, I thought of taking in a day at Universal Studios and seeing the King Kong "ride" and the "Back to the Future" courthouse set, both apparently lost in the conflagration yesterday. A lot of history went up in smoke, but according to spokesmen from the studios, much of it will be rebuilt.
Our prayers should be extended to Massachusetts Senator Ted Kennedy as he prepares for surgery at Duke University this morning. With an inoperable brain tumor, he has the fight of his life ahead of him. His wife, the former Victoria Reggie, hails from Crowley, Louisiana, and is the sister of a good friend and the daughter of a former customer. I wish the Senator the very best and his family the strength to get through this troubling period.

1 comment:

Arlene said...

You would never find a female politician in a situation with her pants down. A true fact!