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Looking forward to the 2019 SONA

There is no shortage of anticipation in the lead-up to a scheduled 4th State of the Nation Address (SONA). The one this coming July 22 should be no exception. After all, the 4th SONA of any presidency occurs just a few months after the scheduled Midterm National and Local Elections. Any president, more so if his/her endorsed coalitions won with a comfortable margin, would take this opportunity not only to take pride in this, it will also try to build bipartisan confidence in order to pursue its agenda for the remaining three years -- unencumbered by the inflamed partisan attitudes fostered by the recently concluded fight.

What’s at stake for us in the 2019 midterm elections?

In most democratic societies, midterm elections are seen not only as a referendum on the performance of a sitting government/political party. It may also determine to what extent can the current administration move forward unencumbered with its agenda -- or whether it will need to begin building bipartisan confidence in order to govern with its symbolic authority intact.

Runaway trains

I had the opportunity to revisit Japan last Nov. 16-19 for the 2018 Philippine Studies Conference in Japan (PSCJ) in Hiroshima University. While I could have taken a direct flight to Hiroshima (give or take a layover to another country), circumstances compelled me to land in Kansai International Airport (KIX). From there, I took multiple train line transfers (including the Shinkansen) from KIX to my hotel in Hiroshima.

Where’s the ‘local’ in federal?

“All politics is local,” so the saying goes. This may give the impression that only the distribution of local goods and services matter to the regular voter. However, the person this is attributed to, the late American Speaker of the House Thomas Philip “Tip” O’Neill, was animated by a larger world view -- appealing to local concerns in order to advance a national economic policy agenda.