Monday, September 29, 2008

Sep. 29: Where They Stand: Education

By Sylvia Gurinsky

Continuing with the stands of Sens. John McCain and Barack Obama, this time on education issues. Again, resources include Project Vote Smart and the candidates' Web sites.

John McCain

*No Child Left Behind: Supports the measure, and voted for it in 2001, but calls it "the beginning of education reform."

*Early Childhood: Proposes as much as $200,000 each year to specified Head Start Centers of Excellence in each state. Supports no federal prohibitions against preschool programs offering health screening to children.

*Teachers: From McCain's Web site: "John McCain will devote five percent of Title II funding to states to recruit teachers who graduate in the top 25 percent of their class or who participate in an alternative teacher recruitment program such as Teach for America, the New York City Teaching Fellowship Program, the New Teacher Project, or excellent university initiatives." He proposes 60 percent of Title II funding for teacher bonuses and 35 percent for professional teacher development.

*Afterschool programs: In October, 2005, McCain voted No on an amendment to increase funding for afterschool programs through community learning centers.

*Other education issues: McCain supports putting school funding in the control of school principals, expanding school choice and providing federal money to tutoring providers. He also advocates $500 million in federal money for online schooling, and a $250 million competitive grant program for states that support online education. In March, 2006, McCain voted No on a non-binding resolution to increase funding for Title 1 grants and close corporate tax loopholes. Last May, McCain did not vote on a measure to provide funding for education for members of the armed forces. In May, 2004, McCain voted Yes on a bill to reauthorize the Individuals With Disabilities Education Act. In May, 1998, McCain voted Yes on a measure to authorize three block grants for vocational and technological education, adult education and literacy and job training for disadvantaged young people.

*Higher Education: McCain supports improving the federal information database for parents. He proposes simplifying the financial aid application process, and eliminating earmarks to protect university research budgets. In July, McCain did not vote on the extension of the Higher Education Act bill. In July, 2007, he voted No on a bill to change the standards and funding of financial aid. In October, 2005, he voted No on an Amendment to increase the maximum federal Pell grant.

For more information:

Barack Obama

*No Child Left Behind: Says the law has been poorly implemented. He wants to improve accountability and tracking systems for students.

*Early childhood: Obama supports a "Zero To Five Plan" that would improve education for infants and include challenge grants and promotion of universal, voluntary pre-K programs such as the one now in Florida. Obama also plans to quadruple funding for Early Head Start and increase Head Start funding.

*Charter schools: Obama supports expanded charter school funding and interventions and closings of charter schools that are struggling.

*Dropouts: Obama proposes funding for middle schools for programs to address the issue.

*Teachers: Obama plans to create Teacher Service Scholarships, require all schools of education to be accredited and create a voluntary national assessment of performance.

*Higher education: Obama proposes the American Opportunity Tax Credit to help students pay for college, and wants to simplify the process for applying for financial aid. In July, 2007, Obama did not vote on a measure to make changes to financial aid regulations and funding. Last July, he did not vote on a measure to amend and extend the Higher Education Act of 1965. In October, 2005, he voted Yes on an amendment to increase the maximum federal Pell grant.

Afterschool programs: In October, 2005, Obama voted Yes on an amendment to increase appropriations for afterschool programs through 21st century community learning centers.

Other education issues: In March, 2006, Obama voted Yes on a non-binding resolution to increase funding for Title 1 grants that would improve education for the disadvantaged. The bill was also meant to close corporate tax loopholes. In March, 2005, he voted Yes on an amendment to restore and increase assorted education funding while again closing corporate tax loopholes. Last May, Obama voted Yes on a measure to provide funding for education for eligible members of the armed forces. In July, 2006, Obama voted Yes on an amendment to authorize grants for education on preventing teen pregnancies.

For more information:

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Sep. 24: Sniglets On McCain's "Non" Campaign Strategy, CEO Salaries, McCain and Stem Cells and Warren Buffett

By Sylvia Gurinsky

*When is campaign strategy not campaign strategy? Or when is a "non" campaign strategy really campaign strategy? When it's Sen. John McCain saying he's suspending his campaign to return to Washington to deal with the issue of the Wall Street bailout:

McCain does well with these "Hail Mary" decisions. But Sen. Barack Obama is right: Friday's debate should go on - with one change. Flip the topics so this one deals with the economy and the third one with foreign policy. Obama, who got the debate order he wanted, should make that concession.
Of course, if Obama does plan to show up and McCain doesn't.......

*Government regulation of CEO pay? It's an understandable knee-jerk reaction to the outrageous disparity between executive compensation and employee salaries. But it should not happen, though Lee Iacocca, who brought Chrysler out of the doghouse 29 years ago, is cited as an example:

However, Iacocca made that choice. And he is one of those rare executives who has the common touch.

The real problem is that the ballooning executive perks are happening while they are freezing worker pay, laying off employees and cutting benefits. Why and how? That's the part that needs to be scrutinized and dealt with by government. It's not kosher for Joe Boss to pile up the dough while he's firing John and Jane Worker because of shrinking revenues.

*A new ad by the Obama campaign claims McCain opposes stem cell research. Does he? To quote Samantha Stephens of "Bewitched," "Weeeeeeelllllll......."

McCain doesn't oppose the legislation; he voted for it last year, when most Republicans didn't. However, it is true his running mate, Gov. Sarah Palin, does oppose embryonic stem cell research.

It's one message Obama should have checked more closely before approving.

*For those questioning Warren Buffett of Berkshire Hathaway for his move to bail out Goldman Sachs: It's not new for him. Just read "Personal History," the autobiography of Katharine Graham, late chair of the Washington Post Company (and my former boss of bosses). In the early 1970s, when Graham was still establishing her footing as the company's boss and was being squeezed by President Richard Nixon and Company, Buffett came to the rescue by investing in the company; he's still on the board today.

Contrary to's headline, it's not out of character at all.

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Sep. 23: Where They Stand: Health Care (and correction from last week)

By Sylvia Gurinsky

The look at Sens. Barack Obama and John McCain continues this week with health issues. Note: Medicare will be examined in a separate blog posting. Again, sources are Project Vote Smart and the campaign Web sites.

Sen. Barack Obama

*Health Insurance: Obama proposes coverage similar to what members of Congress get (which a woman once asked of Sen. Bob Dole during one of his 1996 debates with President Bill Clinton). There will also be subsidies for those who do not qualify for Medicaid to buy into the new program. Obama also proposes a National Health Insurance Exchange for those who want to buy private insurance, and as a watchdog group. Coverage of all children will be mandatory. Obama supports portability.

In August, 2007, he voted Yes on the reauthorization of the State Children's Health Insurance Program.

*Medicines: Obama supports the reimportation of medicines.

In 2005, he voted Yes on an amendment providing authority for the negotiation of fair prices for Medicare prescription drugs.

*Stem Cell Research: Obama voted Yes on the Stem Cell Research Act of 2007. He voted No on a bill to use only the stem cells of naturally dead embryos.

*Other Issues: Obama did not vote in July on a bill authorizing $48 million to the Global Fund for countries fighting AIDS, malaria and tuberculosis. In February, he did not vote on a bill expanding health care programs for Native Americans. In 2005, he voted Yes on an amendment that would adjust future funding for veteran health care according to inflation and population changes.

For information on Obama's plan:

Sen. John McCain

*Health Insurance: McCain proposes tax credits for families and individuals to offset the cost of insurance. He supports a Guaranteed Access Plan put together by the states for those who have been denied coverage. Last November, McCain did not vote on the Children's Health Insurance Program Reauthorization Act of 2007. In August, 2007, he voted against the State Children's Health Insurance Program Reauthorization. He supports insurance portability and voted Yes on a 1996 bill relating to the issue.

*Medicines: McCain supports the reimportation of medicines. In 2002, he voted Yes on a bill to provide greater access to affordable drugs.

*Stem Cell Research: McCain voted Yes last year on both bills allowing stem cell research and bills allowing it with only naturally dead embryos.

*Other Issues: McCain supports tort reform in medical liability cases. McCain did not vote in February on the Native American health care bill. He did not vote earlier this year on funding to combat AIDS, malaria and tuberculosis in various countries. In 2005, he voted against an amendment to provide funding for the AIDS Drug Assistance Program in the Health Resources and Services Administration. In 2001, he sponsored the Patients' Bill of Rights. In 1999, he voted Yes on an amendment to expand health care services for breast cancer patients.

For more information about McCain's plan:

CORRECTION noted, but I didn't, that the business organizations did not donate to the candidates; it was their political action committees, employees and employees' families. So the Lehman Brothers company itself did not donate.

Monday, September 22, 2008

Sep. 22: Corporate Welfare, Miami-Style

By Sylvia Gurinsky

MiMo is the Miami Modern style of architecture, generally built in South Florida during the 1950s and 60s. The most famous examples are hotels like the Fontainebleau and Eden Roc in Miami Beach, and the Bacardi building in Miami. Other MiMo structures have included a variety of motels in Sunny Isles and along Biscayne Boulevard in Miami. Once criticized, MiMo has recently been celebrated in books, on the Web and in the press.

However, the City of Miami hasn't joined the party:

To quote the captain in "Cool Hand Luke": "What we got here is ... failure to communicate."

The primary failure belongs to the City of Miami. City employees should have guided MiMo advocates on the application process during the process, instead of pointing fingers elsewhere and saying the applicants didn't get it right.

The city also continues to not get the message that fellow municipalities like Coral Gables and Miami Beach have gotten for years: History sells.

MiMo is part of Miami's magic. For the city to be buddies with condominium developers in these tough times, when people are less likely to buy those new condos, puts some tarnish on the Magic City. Miami's government needs to remember its obligation to all of its citizens - not just the rich ones.

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Sep. 17: Where They Stand: Economy

By Sylvia Gurinsky

This week is the first of my pre-election summaries on where candidates stand on certain relevant issues. I will get the bulk of my information from Project Vote Smart (, a nonpartisan, nonprofit organization that tracks the records of elected officials and candidates. I will also get information from the candidates' Web sites, and donation information from, by the Center For Responsive Politics, also nonpartisan and nonprofit. This week, the focus will be on economic issues.

Sen. John McCain

Note: McCain was on the board of Project Vote Smart, but lost his board seat earlier this year after he did not complete the organization's Political Courage Test.

-Foreclosures: McCain did not vote on a housing foreclosure assistance bill in June.
Here's what his Web site says:

"No taxpayer money should bail out real estate speculators or financial market participants who failed to perform due diligence in assessing credit risks. Any assistance for borrowers should be focused solely on homeowners and any government assistance to the banking system should be based solely on preventing systemic risk.
Any policy of financial assistance should be accompanied by reforms that promote greater transparency and accountability to ensure we never face this problem again."

-Taxes: McCain did not vote on a June amendment concerning tax incentives for alternative energy program, nor did he vote on the farm bill. In 2005, he voted No to reinstate the capital gains tax. He also voted no in 2005 to repeal the tax subsidy for certain companies engaged in outsourcing to other countries. He did not vote earlier this year on farm subsidies. On his site, he supports cutting the corporate tax rate from 35 to 25 percent, and a first-year deduction on equipment and technology investments. He proposes reducing the estate tax rate to 15 percent and permitting a $10 million exemption.

-Consumer safety: McCain did not vote on a Consumer Product Safety Commission Bill in March, April or July of this year.

Bankruptcies: In 2005, McCain voted Yes to approve a means test for individuals wishing to file for bankruptcy.

Trade: In 2005, McCain voted yes on the Dominican Republic Central America Free Trade Agreement.

-General economy: McCain voted Yes on the economic stimulus bill in February. He did not vote on 2004 legislation to change the tax code to make certain businesses more competitive. In 2005, he voted Yes on a bill to raise the federal minimum wage to $5.70 six months after enactment and $6.25 eighteen months after enactment . Earlier this year, he did not vote on the Equal Pay Bill.
On his Web site, McCain pledges to balance the budget by the end of his first term. He proposes a one-year freeze on non-military related discretionary spending.
Also from his site:
"John McCain will overhaul unemployment insurance and make it a program for retraining, relocating and assisting workers who have lost a job. The unemployment insurance system created in the 1950s needs to be modernized to meet the goals of helping displaced workers make ends meet between jobs and moving people quickly on to the next opportunity. John McCain will reform the half-dozen training programs to approaches that can be used to meet the bills, pay for training, and get back to work. "-

-Contributors: lists the top contributors to McCain, including Lehman Brothers, which has filed for bankruptcy:

-McCain's stands on economic issues can be found at:

The site details his support of the 1993 Family Medical Leave Act and a gas tax holiday.

Sen. Barack Obama

Note: Obama did not provide any responses to Project Vote Smart's Political Courage Test.

Business taxes and subsidies: Obama voted Yes on an amendment requiring that those receiving farm subsidies must be actively involved in farming.

-Foreclosures: Obama did not vote on the June foreclosure bill. His Web site proposes a Universal Mortgage Credit to 10 million homeowners, more accountability in the subprime mortgage industry, accurate loan disclosure and closing bankruptcy loopholes for mortgage companies.

-Taxes: Obama did not vote on the farm bill or the alternative energy tax incentives bills earlier this year. In 2005, he voted yes on the Earned Income Tax Credit Amendment and the reinstatement of the capital gains tax. On the Web site, Obama supports a $500 per person, $1,000 per working family tax credit. He proposes eliminating income taxes altogether for all seniors making less than $50,000 a year.

-Consumer safety: Obama did not vote on this year's consumer safety bills.

-Bankruptcy: In 2005, Obama voted no on the means test for personal bankruptcies.

-Trade: In 2005, Obama voted No on the Dominican Republic Central America Free Trade Agreement. On his Web site, he supports fair trade policies, amending the North American Free Trade Agreement, improving retraining, ending tax breaks for companies that outsource and the Patriot Employer Act to provide tax credits to businesses that keep workers in the U.S.

-General Economy: In April, Obama voted yes on the Equal Pay Bill. He did not vote on this year's economic stimulus package. In 2006, he voted yes on an amendment to raise the federal minimum wage to $7.25 over a two-year period.

-Contributors: Here are Obama's top 10, and there are those ill-fated Lehman Brothers again:

-Obama's stands on economic issues can be found at:

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Sep. 16: DVD Insert Should Have Had Another Insert

By Sylvia Gurinsky

Sometimes, the Sunday paper will have an interesting insert one can use. A small box of cereal. A package of dental floss.

This, Sunday, though, the local papers had an insert that was way out of the ordinary - the DVD of "Obsession: Radical Islam's War Against the West." More than 70 publications, including all three major South Florida dailies, included it.

"Obsession" is not exactly objective reporting; it's been featured on Fox News and includes (and has been sustained by) right-wingers. Articles about the movie indicate that it was distributed to newspapers published in election swing states, but it also went to papers like the New York Times.

Some papers have published articles about the DVD. In South Florida, the Miami Herald has an article in today's paper. I haven't found one yet in either the South Florida Sun-Sentinel or the Palm Beach Post, although it's possible to link to the film's Web site from both sites.

Articles aren't enough. The DVD is, at the very least, political advertising, and possibly a method to incite further hatred.

If they had to send it along, which is debatable, the newspapers all should have had something on their Sunday front pages about the DVD. They also should have attached an additional insert to the DVD, indicating that it is political advertising.

Newspapers' revenues have been shrinking, and this debacle is an indication that their standards have done likewise. The advertising money they received for this was ill-gotten gains. What will Sunday readers find next? A box of tissues from the Ku Klux Klan or toothpaste from neo-Nazis?


Clarification for yesterday's blog: Subpeonas concerning gas gouging are being given by Florida Agriculture Commissioner Charles Bronson. I did not mention him in yesterday's blog.

Monday, September 15, 2008

Sep. 15: Emergency Price Control Needed On Gasoline

By Sylvia Gurinsky

For the last 48 hours or so, we've seen the ridiculousness of gas stations gouging prices on consumers in various states, including Florida.

Both Gov. Charlie Crist and Attorney General Bill McCollum have called on Floridians to report abuses. Many have, and McCollum, commendably, is issuing subpeonas.

Crist, McCollum and company can and should do more - like a three-month control on gasoline prices.

Free market advocates will carp, but this is not a free market issue. There is an emergency going on in Texas because of Hurricane Ike. Oil companies should not be allowed to take advantage of the emergency by squeezing anyone.

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Sep. 10: Enough Of the Silly Season

By Sylvia Gurinsky

It is officially the silly season in the presidential election. I don't want to go into details, and I won't; a look at Yahoo or Google news stories will give them to you.

I do want to say: Enough!

-Enough from Sen. John McCain, a good public servant who is allowing himself to be co-opted by bad guys like Karl Rove.

-Enough from the press, which is more interested in covering political gamesmanship than in telling Americans how Sens. McCain and Barack Obama plan to get them back to work and cover their health costs. Reporters, remember why you got into this business. If you're scared of corporate types leaning on you and that's why you're doing the stories the way you are, maybe you should quit. The job isn't worth it.

-Enough from pundits. That's all I need to say there.
(Yes, I know the First Amendment applies to them, too. That doesn't necessarily mean they know what they're talking about.)

-Enough from pollsters. Do we really need a daily temperature reading? The election is in November. If the election took place one would be ready. There are almost two months (and possibly a few hurricanes) to go.

-Enough from waffling voters. Sit down, go online to a site like Project Vote Smart and start examining the records of these people. Then, on Nov. 4, make your decision.

This country is in the worst economic condition since the Great Depression, and the worst foreign condition since the 1950s. America can't afford silliness in the way it chooses its president.

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

Sep. 9: Pieces on Pundits, Palen, Polls and Bruno Barreiro

By Sylvia Gurinsky

*MSNBC made a good move taking Chris Matthews and Keith Olbermann off election-related anchoring. Given that the two men are regular commentators, with interview/commentary shows, they should never have been anchoring in the first place.


*Speaking of anchors: The Los Angeles Times has a good piece on the kinds of questions ABC News anchor Charles Gibson could ask VP candidate Sarah Palin:,0,2053631.story

He's likely going to get criticized by someone on one side of the political spectrum no matter what he does, so he might as well take the almost four decades of experience he has and give it his best.


*The Pew Research Center has an interesting study going on throughout the 2008 elections about polling, specifically a group that often gets left out of polls - those who use only cellphones:

Gallup has been trying to incorporate cellphone-only users into its presidential polls. My question is: What's a representative sample, when cellphones are comparitively easier to purchase than land lines? In a family of four, there may be two landline phones, but four cellphones. People can upgrade phones every couple of years, which often means new phone numbers. Heck, even homeless people have cellphones. Are pollsters basing data on last year's information?

And what's the way to ask questions - through standard phone calls, or text messaging? Remember that Sen. Barack Obama first announced the pick of Sen. Joe Biden as his running mate with a text message.

In 2004, Howard Dean, then a candidate for president, used the Internet to his advantage. This year, Obama's been using text messaging and sites like MySpace and Facebook. Polling everywhere needs to catch up.


Finally, a hark back to the old "Darts & Laurels" editorials at WPLG-Channel 10:

Here's a dart to Miami-Dade Commission Chairman Bruno Barreiro, who tried a power grab, sponsoring an ordinance trying to eliminate the term limits of his post and expand its powers. A laurel goes to his commission colleagues, who didn't dignify his efforts with even a motion to second it, as Miami Today and The Miami Herald reported.

The same rules apply for everyone, Mr. Chairman.


Next week (assuming there are no more tropical interruptions), this blog will begin a once-weekly look at how the presidential candidates and their running mates stand on major national and international issues. In October, the focus will turn to the issues on Florida's November ballot.

Monday, September 8, 2008

Sep. 9: Boulevard Of Potentially Broken Power Lines

By Sylvia Gurinsky

Travel through Hollywood/Pines Boulevard one day and look up.

The power lines that run across that road in the cities of Hollywood and Pembroke Pines are frequently covered by vegetation. It's not just the backyards of homeowners, either; go to the western entrance to Broward Community College's south campus, where trees are covering those power lines.

Even with Hurricane Ike not scoring a direct hit on Southeast Florida, there will be winds. And those winds will put those power lines at risk. After all the hurricanes this region has had in recent years, why are these trees in this shape?

More to come on this issue.....

Thursday, September 4, 2008

Sep. 4: Three Cheers For Florida Supreme Court and Change Needed On Bright Futures

By Sylvia Gurinsky

*Here's a tip of the cap to the Florida Supreme Court for unanimously deciding to toss Amendments 5, 7 and 9 off the November ballot. All three were politically motivated, poorly written, misleading and bad for Florida's public schools.


*A story about Florida's Bright Futures scholarships from the Treasure Coast:

This speaks to the bigger problems in the use of lottery funds as a prop-up for the education budget, and a need for an examination of the way education money is spent. Bright Futures is not an "enhancement" (the original name for what lottery funds were meant for); it's a scholarship.
To protect it and the best and brightest who can't afford to go to college, some changes will need to be made - and yes, that will mean those who can afford to must pay their own way. It will probably take a visible crisis - as usual - for change to occur.

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

Sep. 3: Political This N' That

By Sylvia Gurinsky

*The more one sees, the more evident it is that either Sen. John McCain and/or the Republican Party blundered badly with the selection of Sarah Palin as McCain's running mate. The governor of Alaska, who has no problem with the Second Amendment, seems to have a big problem with the First Amendment:

Take the worst nightmares of Spiro Agnew and Dick Cheney combined, and this is what you get.

With the likes of Elizabeth Dole, Kay Bailey Hutchison and others to choose from, why Sarah Palin? Why?

*I never got a chance to write about last week's primary, but a couple of observations:

-Concern about the new optical scan system for November's election. There were a couple of circumstances where ballot issues (including the Children's Trust measure in Miami-Dade County) were very difficult to find on those ballots. Also, filling out the ballot is a long and complicated process.

How about finding a cost-effective way to combine the best of touch-screens with a paper trail?

-A golden reason Florida needs to reinstate the runoff: The outcome of the election in State Senate District 31 (Full disclosure: My district.).

Eleanor Sobel, who once said that the organizers of the Ben Gamla charter school in Hollywood brought scrutiny on themselves with their Orthodox Jewish dress and who ran for the Senate less than a year after winning a seat on the Broward School Board, flooded mailboxes with postcards (Roughly 20 of the 60-plus cards from candidates in my family's house came from her.) and telephones with message after message after message - including one the day Tropical Storm Fay hit. Oy vey.

Ten years ago, she and second-place finisher Ken Gottleib would have gone to a runoff. Not now, thanks to the Florida Legislature, which abolished a measure that got the likes of Rubin Askew and Bob Graham into the Florida governor's mansion.

As you serve, Sen. Sobel, remember that 65 percent of your district didn't want you. You've got some work to do to win them over. Perhaps you and your Tallahassee colleagues can start by restoring the runoff.

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

Sep. 2: Change Needed For GOP Perception of Birth Control, Media's Perception of Eagleton

By Sylvia Gurinsky

Chicago journalist Carol Marin, as usual, sums up the political events of the last 24 hours quite well:,CST-NWS-marin02.article

Indeed, the views of the two candidates on the Republican Party ticket, and of their party, are extremely relevant. This circumstance shows perfectly why it's time for the GOP to get its head out of the sand on the issue of birth control, on the issue of parents speaking to their children, and on how sex is portrayed to teens in the media.

A word about the latter two, since Marin covered the first:

I don't agree that abstinence isn't 100 percent realistic. But some context is needed in discussing it as an alternative, beyond just saying "Don't do it." Teens are smart; if they have good reasons in front of them - the emotional commitment to someone, the consequences of unprotected sex, the responsibilities of teenage parents, etc. - they'll be more likely to delay sex.

Having better influences in the mass media might help, too. Remember the days when the character of Jenny Gardner (played by Kim Delaney) on ABC's "All My Children" decided not to sleep with her boyfriend, Greg Nelson? The characters waited until their wedding night. Remember when "The Facts of Life" actress Lisa Welchel decided not to have her character, Blair Warner, involved in losing her virginity? Many teen viewers applauded, including me.

Who takes such gutsy stands today? Not many of the teen or young adult characters frequently seen on today's prime time programming. By the way, some of the trashiest prime time programming is produced by FOX, owned by longtime Republican supporter Rupert Murdoch. Whose family values is he promoting?

And when young actors or actresses do play squeaky clean characters, they tend to have some "ooops" moment (listening, Miley Cyrus?) that indicates that maybe the characters are too much of a burden for them.

If Sarah Palin's candidacy survives long enough for her to make it to the vice presidential debate, you can bet she's going to be asked about this issue. She might want to take some time to think about her answer. It's got to be more than the standard "It's just life" we've been hearing from her fellow Republicans for the last 36 hours.


The question of whether Sen. John McCain or the Republican leadership did their jobs in vetting Palin is a valid one. Yesterday, Chuck Todd, the political director for NBC News, had a good theory; he suggested she was vetted legally (i.e., any Geraldine Ferraro's husband-type financial issues), but not politically.

However, can we finally get beyond the idea that Sen. Thomas Eagleton did something wrong in 1972?

Eagleton, a Democratic senator from Missouri for almost 20 years, was picked by Sen. George McGovern to be his running mate during that year's presidential campaign. After that, it was revealed that Eagleton had suffered from depression and received electroshock treatments, thought to be the best treatment for depression at the time, during the 1960s. McGovern forced him off the ticket. It's been getting a lot of mention with reporters speculating about whether Palin will quit or be dumped.

When Eagleton died last year, McGovern said publicly he had made a mistake in removing Eagleton from the ticket, that he had listened too closely to public outcry. Indeed.

By 1990, knowledge of depression had progressed to the point where Lawton Chiles said during his campaign for governor of Florida that he had been treated with Prozac for the depression he suffered after he left the Senate in 1989. Chiles was elected governor.

(That moment led to one of my all-time favorite political cartoons by the Miami Herald's great Jim Morin: An elephant, representing the Republicans, walking into a drugstore and asking the clerk, "Got any Prozac?")

In the coverage of the last two days, though, it seems we've gone backward again, with the descriptions of how McGovern was right in throwing Eagleton off the ticket. So once more: Thomas Eagleton battled depression, just like millions of other Americans. He served his state and his country long and honorably. He was a capable vice presidential candidate. Enough of throwing darts at him.