Ellis Henican Newsday columnist Ellis Henican

Henican is a columnist for Newsday. He also is a political analyst at the Fox News Channel and

If it's this hard to raise the debt ceiling, how can Washington even think of solving real problems?

That's the next question we'll get to face, once this debt-limit fiasco is finally behind us -- and not a minute too soon. What used to be considered little more than a clerical tweak has paralyzed the nation's politics and rattled the world's most powerful economy. Now the same brittle people in charge of this are supposed to work together cheerily and solve health care, immigration, Iraq, Afghanistan and unemployment?

Some of those issues are actually tough.

With excruciating effort, Republican House Speaker John Boehner managed to placate his tea party freshmen long enough to pass a debt plan that had absolutely no chance of Senate approval. At the same time, Democratic Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid is conducting parallel maneuvers with similarly pointless prospects.

This is what passes for governing today.

And that might not be so bad if the U.S. economic health weren't hanging in the balance and if these same elected officials didn't have such a daunting load of issues waiting for them.

Which one should they tackle first?

advertisement | advertise on newsday





1. Let's meet way over on my side.


2. Share and share unalike.

3. I'll cut, I'll choose.

4. I'm right, you're wrong - shut up.

5. Uneven Steven.


advertisement | advertise on newsday


ASKED AND UNANSWERED: How many LI exterminators are kicking themselves now? You see that Jimmy Tallman and Michael Morales (Suburban Exterminating in Smithtown) just got their own Animal Planet reality show, "Rat Busters NYC"? . . . Should East Farmingdale residents get to veto Republic Airport's expansion dreams? Does "busier airport" inevitably mean "grumpier neighbors"? . . . How old are the Web writers at WPIX/11? "Police on Long Island are searching for an elderly bank robber . . . believed to be in his 50s or 60s." OK, maybe that's old for a bank robber . . . Are those turtle-nailing, swan-piercing, seagull-mauling animal abusers out east ready for a fair fight? Simeon Melman could help arrange that. The 17-year-old volunteer at West Islip's Good Samaritan Hospital had firsthand experience with a bear mauling in the Alaska wilderness . . . Are the osteopaths being dissed again? With all the recent congrats for Hofstra North Shore-LIJ opening "the second med school on Long Island" (after Stony Brook), docs at the New York College of Osteopathic Medicine in Old Westbury are waving frantically now: "Did you forget about us?" . . . Will Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo's best-plan-wins approach be an economic-development plus -- or minus -- for LI? . . . What really drew that big crowd to the "Vote Yes" rally outside Nassau Coliseum? Baseball dreams? Islanders love? Union membership? Blue Oyster Cult nostalgia?




advertisement | advertise on newsday

Jittery Islanders fans are even more jittery than usual this weekend. Owner Charles Wang says there is no "Plan B" if Nassau voters on Monday reject County Executive Ed Mangano's Coliseum-financing plan. But a small flash of hope just skated in from New Jersey. Make that a 6-foot-2, 214-pound wall of hope. Brian Rolston probably isn't a one-man franchise-saver. But he'll be a steady veteran presence for a young Isles team, and he arrives at a heavily discounted $2.5-million price, keeping the team comfortably under the $48.3-million pay cap. Credit the 38-year-old Rolston, a four-time 30-goal scorer, with 14 goals and 34 points in 65 games last season. Go, Isles! Stay, Isles!

Email ellis@henican.com
Follow on Twitter @henican