The question just begs to be asked.
"Aren't you ashamed of yourself?"
Well, yeah, I suppose so. I mean, who among us hasn't done something _ in my case, probably lots of things _ that if it got out wouldn't result in an accusatory correspondent from "60 Minutes" tapping on the front door?
I don't so much mind people in public life misbehaving. What gets me is that after they're caught and disgraced, they don't have the decency to slink off, never to be heard from again.
"My words fly up, my thoughts remain below: Words without thoughts never to heaven go."
So said Shakespeare's King Claudius in "Hamlet," knowing that his prayers are phony and he's not the least bit remorseful about bumping off his brother.
Pretty smart fellow, that Shakespeare. Apparently it was as true in the 16th and 17th centuries as now that prominent people aren't so much sorry about what they did as they are sorry about getting caught doing it.
Another pretty smart fellow who could write a little bit, F. Scott Fitzgerald, said "There are no second acts in American lives."
But Mr. Fitzgerald had it all wrong.
How do we know?
Well, for one thing, Eliot Spitzer has his own TV show on CNN.
As New York governor, Spitzer promised that ethics and integrity would be the hallmarks of his administration. Then, having prosecuted several prostitution rings while state attorney general, he spent about $80,000 on sex with prostitutes and tried to cover up the bank machinations that paid for his trysts.
But there he is on our television screens, a Lazarus brought back to public life by a media culture that doesn't seem to know the difference between fame and notoriety.
Being famous is generally good. Being notorious is bad ... or is it?
Spitzer's revival was quick. So, for that matter was David Vitter's. Vitter, a Louisiana senator who called for Bill Clinton's resignation after the Monica Lewinsky scandal, admitted being a regular client at a house of prostitution in 2007. He got re-elected in 2010.
Recent history has proven that no matter what you do to shame yourself, if you wait around just a little bit, today's society will cut you all the slack you need.
Clinton is a good example. So was Richard Nixon, who years after being forced to resign the presidency for the Watergate cover-up, became a respected authority on foreign policy.
James Traficant was a congressman from Ohio who served seven years in prison for taking bribes, racketeering, filing false tax returns and making his assistants do work on his home and houseboat. After serving his time, Traficant got a radio talk show in Cleveland, then had the gall to run _ and lose _ in a race for his old House seat.
Gov. Rod Blagojevich was so corrupt that he was removed from office in an overwhelming vote by the Illinois legislature and prohibited from ever again holding public office in the state.
The last time we saw "Blago," he was appearing on Donald Trump's "Celebrity Apprentice" show.
G. Gordon Liddy was sentenced to 20 years in prison for the Watergate break-in, and was pardoned four years later by Jimmy Carter. Liddy, who twice advised listeners on the best way to kill Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms personnel, has a radio show syndicated in 160 markets and has been a guest panelist for Fox News Channel.
Former Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich is making a lot of noise about running for president. Newt's first wife said he bugged her about a divorce while she was recovering in a hospital bed from cancer surgery. He denied that but did not dispute that he was having an affair with a woman he later married.
He was cheating on that wife in the mid-1990s with Callista Bisek, a staffer 23 years younger than he was, when he was leading the GOP probe into charging Clinton with perjury about his affairs. Newt married Bisek, and said recently that his love for America was what drove him to his cheating ways.
The list of shameless disgraced politicians goes on and on and on, from John Edwards to William Jefferson to Oliver North to John Ensign to Larry Craig, ad infinitum, ad nauseam.
Infidelities, corruption and avarice we can perhaps understand, and maybe even forgive. But it sure would be nice if all those guys would at least pretend to be ashamed of themselves.
"O shame," said Shakespeare's Hamlet, "where is thy blush?"
Sam Pollak is the editor of The Daily Star. He can be reached at email@example.com or at 607-432-1000, ext. 208.
The question just begs to be asked.
- Big Chuck D'Imperio
There was just no telling about snow days
Winters get harder as we get older. Things change. It snows more. It snows less. It gets colder. It's a lot milder. It all changes as our knees start to creak and the thought of shoveling a foot of snow seems positively daunting.Continued ...
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- When did pranks turn into vandalism?
- Happy and sad memories of Jan. 7, 1966
- Lesser known greats that passed away in 2013
- There was just no telling about snow days
- Cary Brunswick
It's time for warmer relations with Cuba
It has been 55 years since Fidel Castro and his bands of nationalist fighters and supporters took over the government of Cuba. The United States immediately took issue with that regime change, and ever since has had serious problems with the tiny nation just south of the Florida Keys.Continued ...
- Unconventional events changed my outlook
- Keystone XL pipeline is still a terrible idea
- We shouldn't trade privacy for security
- I'm pleasantly surprised by Pope Francis
- It's time for warmer relations with Cuba
- Chuck Pinkey
- Guest Column
State's budget gimmick is hindering schools
Recently, the Margaretville and Roxbury boards of education joined their colleagues across the region and throughout the state in adopting a resolution calling on the state legislature to end the so-called "gap elimination adjustment."Continued ...
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- Nimbys, shills and celebs: A morality play for our times
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- Lisa Miller
A view from above
Fire towers in the Catskill Mountains have always been destination points, built to capture some of the region’s best views. These sentinel stations served an important role for the earliest possible sightings of forest fires in the remote mountain ranges. But the fire towers and those who manned them fulfilled a multitude of other roles as well.Continued ...
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- Independent stores make up for loss of Borders
- A view from above
- Mark Simonson
Natural gas drilling efforts of the 1880s found little locally
There was no such process as hydraulic fracturing. New York didn't have a Department of Environmental Conservation. Lawn signs for or against it weren't seen anywhere. Yet natural gas drilling efforts were going on in our region more 125 years ago. It was an industry still in its infancy. Numerous reports were published in local newspapers during the late 1880s and beyond.Continued ...
- Beauty, grooming took center stage in Oneonta in March 1964
- Local news, opinion often mixed in 1889 newspapers
- Gasoline, demons and baseball were 'trending' locally in 1974
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- Rick Brockway
It's cold, but there's still plenty to do
This has been a tough winter. In fact, it has been one of the coldest winters on record. Now don't get me wrong, I love winter and I always have. I've always believed that people who don't like winter don't have anything to do when the snow flies and temperatures drop below freezing. But I've never had that problem.
- Animals' behavior a sign of wild winter
- Opossum is unique in many ways
- It can be too cold sometimes
- It's tough to say what you really did see
- It's cold, but there's still plenty to do
- Sam Pollak
Religion should be a comfort, not a weapon
Discuss politics or religion in any establishment that specializes in dispensing alcohol, and -- proprietors warn -- the discussion is highly likely to result in you waking up on the tavern floor and spitting out teeth, probably your own.Continued ...
- The world must think we're nuts
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- Celebrate 2013 with the annual 'Sammy Awards'
- The feds still aren't coming for your guns
- Religion should be a comfort, not a weapon
- William Masters
Schreibman tops Chris Gibson on women's issues
As the time to vote draws near, we need to remember how money can run politics more than we can. Raising funds is a prominent (if not the dominant) task of getting elected. Raising issues is also crucial, but those efforts are subject to distortion and fear-mongering.
Republicans feelentitled to allthey can garner
An entitlement is a legal benefit available from the government to individuals who are within a defined category of recipients, such as needing insurance for unemployment or health services.
Romney focuses on self; Obama emphasizes unity
Mitt Romney criticizes President Obama for saying a person's success is rooted in his community, and is not all his alone. Romney belittles this with his belief in individual initiative. He is better at the put-down than the push-up.
Romney shows little regard for common man
The Republicans in Congress have voted over and over, 33 times, redundantly and uselessly, to rescind what they call Obamacare.
Scouts' gay ban creates problem where none exists
The Boy Scouts of America's "emphatic reaffirmation" of its vow to exclude any and all homosexuals from its hallowed ranks is ill-considered and pathetic, especially in view of its having reviewed the matter for two years.
- Schreibman tops Chris Gibson on women's issues