Michael Benjamin's blog

Politicizing the Trayvon Martin Tragedy

The longer the Trayvon Martin case remains open and the subject of daily rumors, the more politicized the circumstances surrounding George Zimmerman's actions become.


Albany: Where Enablers Are Called Pragmatists

During my career as a substance abuse specialist, I understood that relapse lurked around every corner for recovering addicts. Much of the same may be said of Albany legislators.



Federal Court Rejects Incumbency Protection

One immediate takeaway from the federal Court’s congressional redistricting plan and ruling is that incumbency protection (i.e., seniority and residence) should not be a factor when crafting a judicial plan (or any truly independent redistricting plan). The ruling, however, will have no influence on the bipartisan redistricting commission proposed in the recently passed legislation amending the state constitution.



Drawing Districts To Deepen Divides? - NYPost.com

It looks increasingly like a court-appointed special master will have to draw the new map for New York’s congressional districts. Will that plan reflect reality as well as federal law? That test is apparently too tough for the state lawmakers whose duty it is to set the new lines – but who seem more focused on carving out racial and ethnic silos.



A Nation of Bastards

During last month’s GOP presidential debate, Rick Santorum mentioned a report indicating that for women under 30, two-thirds of births occur outside of marriage. Mr. Santorum took the opportunity to state that those children born out-of-wedlock are more likely to be raised in poverty. But he failed to offer any policy prescriptions, other than his distain for birth control.



Mixed Martial Arts Rally Set for Tuesday, March 6

The sport of mixed martial arts (MMA) is growing rapidly in the U.S. Its increasing popularity through promotion companies such as the UFC and Strikeforce has reached fans everywhere. Three states however, including New York, deem professional mixed martial arts illegal.



Redistricting Factors for Judge Roanne L. Mann To Consider

On Friday, I respectfully submit a letter to Federal Magistrate Judge Roanne L. Mann urging the Court’s consideration of several factors to consider in drawing congressional redistricting maps. 

The text follows below:



Redistricting in New York

The Legislature is expected at last to vote on redistricting next week — although not on a plan for new congressional seats. Its foot-dragging is undoing all of the goodwill gained from its cooperation with Gov. Cuomo last year.

 



Historical Lessons from Tucson

History records that President Garfield was shot by a deranged political office seeker. President McKinley was shot by an anarchist in 1901. Puerto Rican nationalists tried to assasinate President Truman in 1950. JFK was killed by a confused Lee Harvey Oswald. Lynnette “Squeaky’ Fromme tried to kill Ford in a crazy attempt to free Charles Manson.


How Will Obama Approach The Republican-led 112th Congress

This morning, I was on LIVE Foxnews.com's online news program discussing the 112th Congress and the ascendency of House Speaker John Boehner. The show was hosted by Harris Faulkner. Chris Metzler, Associate Dean, Georgetown University and I discussed how President Obama will handle Speaker Boehner and the 112th Congress. The discussion ranged from the influence of the Tea Party to repeal of the healthcare law. Mr. Metzler dismissed President Obama's effort to be bipartisan. I challenged Mr.

Governor Paterson Vetoes Hydrofracking Moratorium

Late Saturday afternoon, Governor Paterson vetoed the hydrofracking moratorium (A.11443B/S.8129B)  bill and issued an Executive Order prohibiting"horizontal hydraulic fracturing" in the Marcellus Shale through July 1, 2011. The Executive Order may be lifted before July 2011 by incoming Governor Cuomo.



NY's Exploding Pension Cost - A Legislator's Perspective

On Tuesday, December 7, Assemblyman Michael Benjamin was asked to deliver a response to the Empire Center’s latest report, New York’s Exploding Pension Costs.

Text of Assemblyman Benjamin’s Response:



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