Several readers have written in about whether it is possible for President-elect Barack Obama to become president before Jan. 20. While the chances of this happening are virtually nil, there are constitutional paths to such a development.
One would be for Condoleezza Rice to resign as secretary of state and for President Bush to nominate Mr. Obama to take her place and the Senate would have to confirm Obama. Then President Bush and Vice President Cheney would have to resign and Speaker Nancy Pelosi and President pro tempore of the Senate Robert Byrd would have to decline the presidency, resulting in Secretary of State Obama becoming President Obama.
An even simpler path would be for Vice President Cheney to resign, followed by President Bush nominating Obama as vice president. Obama would have to be confirmed by the House and the Senate. Then Bush would resign the presidency and Obama would become president.
With either of these scenarios, President Obama would have to be sworn in for a full term on Jan. 20, and he would be eligible to run for a second full term.
As I said, the likelihood of this is nil, but constitutionally it is possible.
University of Maine
Set a better example
Almost every day on TV one will view the suffering of little children who are victims of war, pestilence, famine and natural disasters. Then again there are agencies, which rescue children from picking in city dumps.
If a civilization cannot control birth rates compared to the overpopulation of its children that the socioeconomic conditions cannot support, it can be on the verge of collapse. Bringing unwanted children into society is cruel. Setting a bad example to little ones is the only condition that permits capital punishment in Christian Scripture.
This last concept needs to be understood in respect to our federal government issuing Treasury bonds, which our children, grandchildren and yet-to-be-born children will have to bear. We, as a great society, are committing a most serious violation of morality. Is this not setting a bad example to our little ones? Can we be on the verge of collapse?
It would appear that Congress desires to support banking system’s status quo, the carbon dioxide-producing monster cars, 50-inch TV sets, and our cathedral-malls to chug along at the expense of setting a bad example to our most precious babies. Rather than financing the banks, Congress could design and build clean, renewable energy systems and employ millions of folks in the process. Oil as a commodity for survival could go the way of the dinosaurs from which it came. Creating a brand-new America would be setting good example to everyone, including our little ones.
Man’s declining stock
There’s an intimidating picture on the front page of the Dec. 3 Bangor Daily News It shows an individual brandishing the Bible like some club with which to throttle those Christians (like me) who look into Scripture and see Christ’s words of love and tolerance.
An odd ecumenicism seems to prevail in the BDN. Some Jewish neighbors dance joyously with the Torah — the first five books of the Bible, but ignore its message of love and compassion when it comes to the plight of the Palestinians. The Israel Defense Force kills Palestinian youth on a weekly basis — read all about it in The New York Times, and, in the BDN, read an American-Israeli student’s frequent complaints about those notoriously inaccurate rockets fired from Gaza that rattle windows and keep Israelis awake.
A reader can only wonder which maxim applies. “Man is wolf unto man” perhaps? How about, “It all depends on whose ox is gored” or “Men were created a little lower than the angels and have been getting lower ever since”? After eight years of Bush militarism, the latter would seem to be the best choice.
The right to unionize
It’s good that the Bangor Daily News highlights the 60th anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (“Eleanor’s Declaration,” Dec. 8) and that the BDN states that “few in the West would argue these basic claims that come with being human.” One aspect of the human rights declaration not mentioned is “Everyone has the right to form and to join trade unions for the protection of his interests” (Article 23, Section 4).
In 2000, Human Rights Watch published a report, “Unfair Advantage,” that highlighted the many shortcomings in U.S. labor law and its enforcement that prevent workers from freely exercising this fundamental human right.
In 2005, 23 DHL workers in Brewer were fired for organizing a union. Only through enormous community pressure did the workers ultimately win.
Right now in TV ads, editorials and glossy brochures, employers and their front groups are bombarding Maine, shamelessly claiming that they are standing up for worker rights by attacking the Employee Free Choice Act. What’s troubling is not that they are doing it, but that in some quarters they’re getting away with it.
On Dec. 10 at 6 p.m. Food AND Medicine and the Eastern Maine Labor Council will celebrate the 60th anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights in Brewer (for more information, foodandmedicine.org). At this meeting we will feature four workers who have tried — some successfully, some not — to form a union.
Because that is what EFCA’s all about, workers who don’t have a union and want one.
director, Food AND Medicine, Brewer