Cash For Clunkers

According to the U. S. House of Representatives has just approved adding $2 billion more to the “Cash For Clunkers” program.  According to the article:

“The bill was approved on a vote of 316-109. House members acted within hours of learning from Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood that the program was running out of money.”

The House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer said the additional funding would come from previously approved stimulus money.  Did we give these people a blank check?

I printed this article for one reason–do you want these people running your healthcare?  Has a government program ever come in under budget and saved money?


The Firing Of Inspector General Walpin

Today’s Washington Examiner posted a story about the ongoing investigation of the firing of Inspector General Gerald Walpin.  According to the article:

“According to a senior Republican aide, Sessions’ interest was piqued by a statement made in a late March television interview by Rep. Doris Matsui, the Democratic congresswoman who represents Sacramento. Asked whether Johnson’s problems could prevent the city from receiving stimulus funds, Matsui said that, at Johnson’s request, she had “been in conversation with officials at the White House and OMB [Office of Management and Budget] and others to ensure that we don’t lose any money at all.”

Within days of Matsui’s statement, a settlement was reached. Johnson was unsuspended, and in a particularly unusual move, acting U.S. Attorney Brown issued a press release hailing the arrival of stimulus funds. “The lifting of the suspension against all parties, including Mayor Johnson, removes any cloud whether the City of Sacramento will be prevented form receiving much-needed federal stimulus funds,” Brown wrote.”

Senator Sessions has asked the committee chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee for an investegation into this matter.  The fact that the firing relates to a person who donated a lot of money to the Obama Presidential Campaign and the fact that the incident was so quickly cleared up so that stimulus money could be released are worthy of investigation.

What Is Our Honduras Policy?

According to Reuters yesterday, Senator Richard Lugar has written a letter to Secreatry of State Hillary Clinton asking her to explain this adminitration’s policy toward the ongoing political crisis in Honduras.  The article reminds us:

“The United States has refused to recognize. the Honduran government led by Roberto Micheletti, which took over the Central American nation after President Manuel Zelaya was ousted by the Honduran military on June 28.”

We need to remember that the reason Manuel Zelaya was ousted was that he tried to go around the country’s constitution and seek another term as president of the country.  The courts and the legislature asked the military to remove him from office.  I wonder why we, as a democracy, are refusing to recognize the government of the country that is attempting to uphold its constitution.

According to the article:

“Washington has cut $16.5 million in aid to Honduras and this week revoked diplomatic visas for four members of Micheletti’s administration to pressure it to reverse the coup.

“Micheletti on Wednesday night released a statement calling for new efforts to resolve the country’s political crisis.

“But Zelaya’s representative in Washington, Eduardo Enrique Reina, told Reuters he thought Micheletti was simply trying to gain time with the statement, noting that Micheletti’s aides in Honduras are still vowing not to let Zelaya return.

“”We will ask the U.S. government to step up the pressure on Micheletti,” Zelaya’s ambassador told Reuters.”

Currently we are on the wrong side of this conflict.  Hopefully, as the state department tries to explain its position, the policy will change.

Just A Heads Up On Something The House Of Representatives Is Working On

According to, the House of Representatives is currently working on H. R. 3247.  This bill has passed out of its subcommittee and is headed for the full committee.  The purpose of the bill is to establish a social and behavioral sciences research program at the Department of Energy, and for other purposes.  Why does the Department of Energy need a social and behavioral sciences research program?

Barney Frank Threatens Banks

Yesterday’s ran a column by Anne Flaherty on Barney Frank’s threat to revive legislation that would let backruptcy judges rewrite mortgages (to prevent foreclosures) if banks did not voluntarily prevent more foreclosures.  If the banks were not under pressure from Congress and the Federal Government to issue sub-prime mortgages, the number of foreclosures would be considerably less–shouldn’t Congress take some responsibility for the number of foreclosures?

Rewriting mortgages in backruptcy court goes against basic contract law.  Theoretically, when you sign your mortgage contract (be it fifteen, twenty, or thirty years), you and the bank assume that agreement will be valid for that entire time frame.  Under contract law, it should be.  Barney Frank is one of the people responsible for the mortgage crisis–there is no way we should even consider giving him input on finding a solution!

The AARP And The Obama Healthcare Proposals

The Washington Examiner today posted an editorial by Mark Tapscott about the AARP’s support for President Obama’s healthcare reform.  Logically, there is no reason for the AARP to support these healthcare reforms–they would have a very negative impact on healthcare for the elderly.  Under a national healthcare program, healthcare has to be rationed because of availability and to keep costs down. 

When the government controls how much doctors make and begins to tell them what to specialize in and where to practice, the educational system begins to produce less doctors.  It won’t take too many years before that produces shortages in the healthcare available.  When giving medical care to a person is based on a formula calculating how long they are expected to live and whether it is worth it to spend the money, we are headed down a road where we are playing God.  We have forgotten that people are not valuable because of what they are able to do–they are valuable because of who they are.  As a friend of mine likes to say, “We are human beings, not human doings!”

So why is the AARP supporting Obama Healthcare?  Because the AARP consistently supports policies that result in bigger government and more government control.  That is the position their leadership has historically chosen.  They opposed the partial privatization of Social Security which would have strenghtened the program and provided the possibility of younger Americans actually collecting something from Social Security after paying into it all their lives.

According to the article:

“And Obama and AARP promise seniors high-quality care, but the Obamacare reality will be long lines and waiting lists for critical treatment and appointments with specialists here, just like in Canada, Great Britain and every other nation with government-run health care.

“Finally, Obamacare will give seniors counseling to help them “consider their options” when their health deteriorates beyond a certain point. That’s another way of saying Obamacare bureaucrats pull the plug, regardless of the family’s wishes, so get ready.

“In short, Obamacare means health care rationing for old folks, the sick and the terminally ill. There will be hell to pay for AARP with its members when this ugly reality becomes crystal clear, as it most certainly will.”

There are reasons to avoid joining the AARP (in spite of the discounts on travel, etc.).  There are also reasons to cancel your membership!

Repeating Past Mistakes In The War On Terror

We have recently been reminded that the War On Terror continues and has gotten closer to home with the arrest of American citizens who chose to join terrorist groups.  But have we forgotten the lessons learned in the years before we realized there was a war?

Yesterday’s Wall Street Journal posted an editorial by Debra Burlingame, a former attorney and a director of the National September 11 Memorial Foundation.  Debra is the sister of Charles F. “Chic” Burlingame III, the pilot of American Airlines Flight 77, which was crashed into the Pentagon on Sept. 11, 2001.

Ms. Burlingame relates the saga of Richard Reid, currently an inmate in a prison in Colorado:

“On June 17, at the Administrative Maximum (ADX) penitentiary in Florence, Colo., one of those albatrosses, inmate number 24079-038, began his day with a whole new range of possibilities. Eight days earlier, the U.S. Attorney‘s office in Denver filed notice in federal court that the Special Administrative Measures (SAMs) which applied to that prisoner–Richard C. Reid, a.k.a. the “Shoe Bomber”–were being allowed to expire. SAMs are security directives, renewable yearly, issued by the attorney general when “there is a substantial risk that a prisoner’s communications, correspondence or contacts with persons could result in death or serious bodily injury” to others.”

Please follow the link to the article.  It relates how Ahmed Ajaj who had been put in prison in 1992 for passport fraud assisted in planning the first World Trade Center bombing in 1993.  He made phone calls to Ramzi Yousef, speaking in code so that he would not alert monitors as to what was being discussed. 

Ms. Burlingame ends her article with this thought:

“Meanwhile, in order to appease political constituencies both here and abroad, the Obama administration is moving full steam ahead, operating on the false premise that giving more civil liberties to religious fanatics bent on destroying Western civilization will make a difference in the Muslim world. In a letter sent to his father as he began his hunger strike, Reid provided a preview of how he will exercise his newly enlarged free speech rights, calling Mr. Obama a “hypocrite” who is “no better than George Bush.” His lawsuit remains active while the Department of Justice works out a settlement that satisfies the man who declared, “I am at war with America.”” 

The Tapes Of The 911 Call And Arrest Of Professor Gates Have Been Released

There is one thing I would like to mention before I proceed with this story.  Evidently, it is police policy when called to a house on a possible break-in to ask the homeowner or whoever they find in the house to come outside with them.  Historically they have found that if there is a hostage situation they are not aware of, that is the most efficient way to begin to deal with it.

There are two stories in the Boston Herald today about the political fallout of the Professor Gates arrest.  The first Boston Herald article deals with the fact that the arrest tapes and 911 call tapes have been released.  The second Boston Herald article deals with the fact that the 911 call tape shows that race was never an issue–the caller had no idea what race the men she saw breaking into the house were–she was simply concerned because there had been a number of break-ins in the neighborhood recently. 

I have listened to the arrest tape.  You can google it on the internet.  It really is not conclusive other than to show that Officer Crowley was very calm, but very concerned about the lack of cooperation on the part of Professor Gates.  Professor Gates was not acting as the resident of the house might be expected to act under the circumstance, and I suspect that Officer Crowley was suspicious that something was amiss.  The tapes show Officer Crowley following police procedures very calmly and making sure he had back-up.

It is my opinion that Professor Gates needs to admit he was being an idiot and apologize to Officer Crowley.  Anything other than his apology does nothing but encourage racism in this counrty–not help end it!

Israel And America

Israel has historically been one of our strongest allies in the Middle East.  They are a functioning democracy and despite what you may have heard, have a very good record on human rights and freedom for their citizens–both Jewish and Arab.  Arabs who live in Israel have more freedom and more access to economic success than in most other Arabic countries.  Israel has a middle class–it is not simply a very rich ruling class and a very poor ruled class.  That said, I am very concerned about America’s support of Israel.

Yesterday Power Line posted an article about America’s ‘new’ relationship with Israel.  According to the article:

“The prevailing view now seems to be that if there is going to be any “progress” on the settlement issue, it will come only after Arab states commit to “gestures” of normalization of their relations with Israel. The U.S. has made no progress on settlements, this theory holds, because Mitchell has been unable to induce Arab states to make such gestures (e.g., Israeli overfly rights, the exchange of economic interest sections, and various cultural and educational exchanges).”

How can we expect Arab nations that refuse to acknowledge Israel’s existence as a state to interact in a positive way with Israel?

I feel that President Obama’s Middle East policy is going to make the world less safe.  It is obvious that the President to trying to make friends with Iran with the idea of asking the Iranians to help us in Afghanistan.  That is an amazing concept when you consider that our military leaders in Iraq are telling the President (and anyone else who will listen) that Iran is trying very hard to undermine our success in Iraq.  Why in the world would they be willing to help us in Afghanistan?  Because the President is unwilling to take action against Iran’s nuclear program, he is creating a situation where Israel will be forced to take action.  Rather than put together a group of nations threatened by Iran going nuclear (Europe, Middle East state that are not Shiite, and Israel), America is not taking action.  If Iran goes nuclear, Israel may not survive.  They are not interested (obviously) in a wait-and-see attitude.  By not strongly encouraging group action, President Obama is backing Israel into a corner where they will be force to act unilaterally.  They will be condemned for thier actions (even as many countries in the world breathe a sigh of relief).  It is shame that this president does not understand the importance of protecting and supporting Israel. 

“Never Again” is not simply a slogan–it is a reaction to one of the worst genocides in human history.  All of us need to remember that.

Healthcare Update (Which May Need To Be Updated)

According to The Hill at noon today, an agreement has been reached in the House of Representatives that will postpone a vote on healthcare legislation until after the August recess.  According to the article:

“In exchange for putting off a floor vote until after Labor Day, the Energy and Commerce Committee may be allowed to continue its markup of the healthcare bill this week even if an agreement has not been reached between committee Chairman Henry Waxman (D-Calif.) and seven Energy and Commerce Blue Dogs over the content of the bill.”

Frankly, I’m not sure exactly what this means, but it does have a few obvious effects.  By putting the vote off until September there is the possibility that some of Congress may actually read it (what a concept!).  The other advantage to those of us opposed to the healthcare bills currently proposed is that Congess may hear from the people they supposedly represent during their recess.  When they realize the strong public opposition to this bill, they may be less inclined to vote for it.

The current 1100 page healthcare bill is a nightmare for most Americans.  You cannot give more care to more people and spend less money.  The government has never successfully streamlined anything–look at what they have done with AmTrak and the Post Office.  The President has clearly stated that a large percentage of medical expense occurs in the last year of a persons life and the new plan intends to reduce those expenses.  Think about this for a minute.  What effect is this cut in spending going to have on the care of senior citizens and people with severe illnesses.  Saving money at the expense of care is never a good idea.  Please study the bill carefully (see, and let your voice be heard.

This Showed Up In My Email–It’s Long, But Great!!!

  THOSE BORN 1920-1979


TO ALL THE KIDS WHO SURVIVED the 1930’s, 40’s, 50’s, 60’s and 70’s!!

First, we survived being born to mothers who smoked and/or drank while they were pregnant.

They took aspirin, ate blue cheese dressing, tuna from a can, and didn’t get tested for diabetes .

Then after that trauma, we were put to sleep on our tummies in baby cribs covered with bright colored lead-based paints.

We     had no child     proof lids on medicine bottles, doors or cabinets and when     we rode our bikes, we had no helmets, not to mention, the risks we took     hitchhiking.

As infants &     children, we would ride in cars with no car seats, booster seats , seat belts or air bags.

Riding in the back of a pick up on a warm day was always a special treat.

We drank water from the garden hose and NOT from a bottle.

We shared one soft drink with four friends, from one bottle and NOONE actually died from this.

We ate cupcakes, white bread and real butter and drank Kool-aid made with sugar, but we weren’t overweight because,

We would leave home in the morning and play all day, as long as we were back when the streetlights came on.

No one was able to reach us all day. And we were OK.

We     would spend hours building our go-carts out of scraps and then ridedown the hill, only to find out we forgot the brakes After running into     the bushes a few times, we learned to solve the problem.

We     did not have Playstations, Nintendo ‘s, X-boxes, no video games at all,no 150 channels on cable, no video movies or DVD’s, no surround-sound     or CD’s, no cell phones, no personal computers, no Internet=2 0or chatrooms…….
WE HAD FRIENDS and we went outside and found them!

We fell out of trees, got cut, broke bones and teeth and there were no lawsuits from these accidents.

We ate worms and mud pies made from dirt, and the worms did not live in us forever.

We     were given BB guns for our 10th birthday s, made up games with sticks     and tennis balls and although we were told it would happen, we did not     poke out very many eyes.

We rode bikes or walked to a friend’s house and knocked on the door or rang the bell, or just  walked in and talked to them!

Little     League had tryouts and not everyone made the team. Those who didn’t had     to learn to deal with disappointment. Imagine that!!

The idea of a parent bailing us out if we broke the law was unheard of. They actually sided with the law!

These generations have produced some of the best risk-takers, problem solvers and inventors ever!

The past 50 years have been an explosion of innovation and new ideas.
We had freedom, failure, success and responsibility, and we learned HOW TO DEAL WITH IT ALL!

If  YOU are one of them CONGRATULATIONS!

You     might want to share this with others who have had the luck to grow up     as kids, before the lawyers and the government regulated so much of our     lives for our own good .
While you are at it, forward it to your kids so they will know how brave (and lucky) their parents were.

Kind of makes you want to run through the house with scissors, doesn’t it?!


Learning From Past History

Sunday’s Washington Examiner posted an editorial about how Japan handled its last recession and what the results of those decisions were.  In 1991 Japan’s stock marking and real estate markets collapsed.   The decisions made by the Japanese government at that time made the recovery from that collapse much more complicated and resulted in a ten-year recovery period instead of a quick recovery.  Unfortunately, we are making almost identical mistakes in the way we are dealing with our current financial crisis. 

The mistakes listed in the article are:

  • A stimulus package that added to the national debt but did not stimulate the economy.
  • Bad loans–our subprime mortgage brokers had great intentions–allow lower income people to own homes–but if those people can’t afford their mortgages, the loans lose their value.
  • Bailouts of companies that would continually need government money to stay afloat, costing taxpayers money and thus taking money out of healthy companies.
  • Increased government control of the economy, which limits the ability of the economy to respond quickly and adapt to market forces.
  • Raising taxes (if Cap and Trade is passed, it will be impose an annual energy tax of approximately $ 2000 per person).
  • Monetary policy–in slashing interest rates drastically after 911, the Federal Reserve prevented a recession at that point, but they caused a devaluation of the dollar that contributed to a drastic rise in gasoline prices and caused other problems.
  • Lack of transparency–there are still serious questions about how TARP and stimulus money was spent.

To quote George Santayana, “Those who cannot learn from history are doomed to repeat it.”  We need to learn from Japan’s mistakes.

Global Warming And Cap And Trade

The American Thinker has a post up today about Cap and Trade legislation and global warming.  The article points out:

“What (other than extremely credulous) could you call a member of Congress who believes that by lowering the standard of living of 5% of the world’s population (that includes you, me, and everyone else living in America) that the Congress — by passing a law — can reduce the temperature of the earth or lower sea levels?  Simple common sense, not conflicted science is required to know better.

“Only superstitious, credulous, and pompous politicians would even consider voting for such a bill … sight unseen!  You would have to first be irrational and have unfounded fears of something that doesn’t exist; you would then have to be prone to believe in the highly improbable — and then vain enough to believe you can change the climate system of the earth, even while most of the rest of the world is fully enjoying the benefits of carbon use.”
It is rather prideful of us as people to believe we can alter the earth’s climate.  The article does point out a more constructive way to deal with global pollution and thus truly be ‘green’.  The article concludes:
“Conversely, a true worldwide effort to regulate and reduce particulate, sulfur and other pollutants on a cost benefit basis in developing countries would provide a real and significant improvement to the world’s environment, without empty sacrifices of American lives and liberties.  The choice between the two possibilities should not be difficult, even for the U.S. Congress. It incorporates, after all, their oath of office to protect Americans from enemies foreign and domestic, and to defend the constitution.”
This definitely makes more sense than anything currently being discussed by Congress.

Where Do We Start With Healthcare Reform?

Today’s Washington Post has an opinion piece by Martin Feldstein on President Obama’s healthcare plan.  Martin Feldstein is a professor of economics at Harvard University and president emeritus of the nonprofit National Bureau of Economic Research.  He was chairman of the Council of Economic Advisers from 1982 to 1984.

First of all, I would like to comment that if you look at the current plans in Congress, they are not healthcare plans, they are health insurance plans.  The government really doesn’t belong in the insurance business.

Professor Feldstein points out that 85 percent of Americans have health insurance and that the current plans would be bad news for them.  They will be faced with higher costs and less healthcare.  According to the article:

“President Obama’s primary goal is to extend formal health insurance to those low-income individuals who are currently uninsured despite the nearly $300-billion-a-year Medicaid program. Doing so the Obama way would cost more than $1 trillion over the next 10 years. There surely must be better and less costly ways to improve the health and health care of that low-income group.”

One of the goals of the healthcare proposals is to cut spending–Congress plans to do this by cutting the amount of healthcare that Americans receive.  Nowhere in the current proposals is the idea of tort reform mentioned.  Meanwhile, in some parts of the country, doctors pay as much as $200,000 a year in malpractice insurance.  This plays a significant role in the consumer cost of healthcare.

The article also reminds us:

“To support their claim that costs can be radically reduced without adverse effects, the health planners point to the fact that about half of all hospital costs are for patients in the last year of life. I don’t find that persuasive. Do doctors really know which of their very ill patients will benefit from expensive care and which will die regardless of the care they receive? In a world of uncertainty, many of us will want to hope that care will help.”

Until tort reform is addressed and Congress agrees to become part of the healthcare plan they enact, I don’t want the government changing my healthcare! 

Renewable Energy?

Investor’s Business Daily posted an article today about alternative energy and what we need to do to make progress in the area of ‘green energy’.   Wind power in Spain has not been to solution that it was hoped to be.  Spain installed windmills to provide 10 percent of its energy, but because wind tends to be intermittent and unreliable, the windmills provide only about 1 percent to 3 percent of the country’s energy.  Instead of boosting the economy, the move to wind energy has cost jobs and created rising unemployment.  Britain has seen similar results in its attempt to ‘go green.’ 

According to the article:

“On this side of the pond, legislators are promoting “green” energy and jobs, via new mandates, standards, tax breaks and subsidies. However, the U.S. would need 180,000 1.5-megawatt wind turbines by 2020, just to generate the 600 billion kilowatt-hours of electricity needed to comply with the Waxman-Markey global warming bill, retired energy and nuclear engineering professor James Rust calculates.

“Erecting these forests of concrete and steel would require millions of acres of scenic, habitat and agricultural lands, and 126 million tons of concrete, steel, fiberglass and “rare earth” minerals for the turbines (700 tons per turbine); prodigious quantities of concrete, steel, copper and land for new transmission lines; and still more land, fuel and raw materials for backup gas-fired generators.”

I’m sure that most of us would like to see cleaner air and a more pristine planet, but I think we need to proceed with caution as we explore the idea of alternative energy.

New York Has Economic Problems As Well As Legislative Problems

Yesterday’s Wall Street Journal posted an article about the struggle for power in the New York State legislature and about the fact that New York State is experiencing extreme financial difficulties. 

According to the article:

“New York has been committing slow-motion economic suicide for decades. Population growth has been anemic, state and local taxes are 50% higher than the national average, and spending and debt are out of control, as are public-employee pension and health benefits. Yet the political class offers little more than soothing bromides to an angry public.”

Part of the problem is the idea that you can continually tax the wealthiest Americans and use that money to finance an increasing number of government programs.  Eventually people begin to vote with their feet and the amount of tax revenue begins to fall.

The article has six suggestions as to how New York can turn its economy around:

1.  Cut spending.  Freeze wages of public employees.

2.  Cap property taxes.

3.  Fund transportation in the state consistently.  Infrastructure repairs and upkeep need to be funded on a regular basis.

4.  Cut costs by consolidating in areas where it is possible.

5.  Revise the tax system to make it more user-friendly and less complicated.

6.  Make the legislature a part-time job with legislators forced to work in the private sector and live under the laws they pass.

These steps may begin to ease the exodus of wealthy business owners from New York that is caused by ever-increasing taxes. 

Lt. Brian Bradshaw

I’m a little late on this story, but since it is worth reading, I am posting it anyway.  On June 25th of this year, Lt. Brian Bradshaw was killed in Afghanistan.  That was the same day Michael Jackson died.  We know which one we heard about.

Brian Bradshaw’s family recieved a letter from the airplane crew that flew him part of his journey home.  The Washington Post printed that letter.  It is a beautiful tribute to a brave man.  Please follow the link and read the letter.  Here is an excerpt from that letter:

“For one brief moment, the war stopped to honor Lt. Brian Bradshaw. This is the case for all of the fallen in Afghanistan. It is our way of recognizing the sacrifice and loss of our brothers and sisters in arms. Though there may not have been any media coverage, Brian’s death did not go unnoticed. You are not alone with your grief. We mourn Brian’s loss and celebrate his life with you. Brian is a true hero, and he will not be forgotten by those who served with him.”

For whatever reason, the news media is not willing to recognize the heroes in the war on terrorism.  I’m not even sure they are still calling it the war on terrorism.  At any rate, we are involved in a war, and the heroes of that war need to be recognized.



Positive Unintended Consequences Of The Iraq War

On July 15 of this year, ran a story stating that Libya was on the verge of making a nuclear weapon when they gave up their nuclear program.  Remember, Libya had been attacked under the Reagan administration for its terrorist activities.  I am sure that when they saw what happened to Iraq because of suspected nuclear activity, they did not want to be next on the list.

Anyway, Little Green Footballs has a video and transcript of Gaddafi’s statement saying that Libya was ready to assembly a nuclear weapon when they gave up their program.  One of the highlights:

“The world had changed, alliances had changed, the world map had changed – against whom would we use the nuclear bomb? We searched and couldn’t find an enemy worthy of us using the nuclear bomb on. In addition, we thought: How will we protect this nuclear bomb? How will we dismantle it and hide each part separately? How will we assemble it when necessary? If there is a target – how will we protect the transportation of the bomb to the target? We found that the expenses and problems would endanger Libya more than [the bomb] would protect its security. Therefore, we decided to voluntarily shut down our nuclear program.”

Does anyone believe this would have happened without the invasion of Iraq?

Moving On In Cambridge

I guess humility is not a quality found in professors at Harvard University.   According to, Professor Gates is ready to ‘move on’ from his arrest and use the experience as a ‘teaching moment’.  I think I want to hear the audio tapes of the incident before I am ready to move on or have a teachable moment.  There is no mention in the article of the Professor being willing to apologize for his own behavior.

What about teaching people to respect a police officer when he asks you for your identification?  What about understanding that the police officer was responding to a call from a neighbor that a robbery might be in progress?  What about understanding that this police officer keeps law and order in your society?  Professor Gates wants to teach us all a lesson on racial profiling, what about police profiling?  Why did he automatically assume that the policeman was racially biased?  Why not assume that the policeman was doing his job? 

I will admit that I have drawn my own conclusions about this incident based on the way the people involved handled the press afterward.  I will, however, save my strongest statements for when (and if) the audio tapes of the arrest come out.  Technically, according to the Freedom of Information Act, those tapes have to be released to the public, but it seems that there are some obstacles to their being released.  It will be interesting to see if the public’s right to know can overcome the ‘powers that be’ in Cambridge.

Congress And The Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act (CPSIA)

Congress passed the Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act (CPSIA) in August 2008. George Bush signed it.  On the surface, it was a good idea, but when you look at the law of unintended consequences, it has been a disaster.

The law was passed in response to the Chinese toys (manufactured for American toy companys) that came into this country in 2007 that had unacceptable amounts of lead and other dangerous chemicals or that had small parts that could pose a risk to children.  According to

“…the CPSIA bans lead and phthalates in children’s products, mandates third party testing and certification, and requires manufacturers of all goods for children under the age of 12, to permanently label each item with a date and batch number.

“…Small businesses however, will likely be driven out of business by the costs of mandatory testing, to the tune of as much as $4,000 or more per item. And the few larger manufacturers who still employ workers in the United States face increased costs to comply with the CPSIA, even though American-made toys had nothing to do with the toy safety problems of 2007.”

One of the problems of this law is that it also includes used items.  Anyone selling or giving used children’s clothing will be subject to this law.  According to the article:

“It will be illegal to sell or give these items away to charities, and the government will require their destruction or permanent disposal, resulting in millions of tons of unnecessary waste, and placing an enormous strain on our landfills.”

Obviously Congress overreacted and needs to change the law.  Further information on the law and some of its unintended consequences can be found at Learning Resources.  This is a Congressional mistake we need to fix.

Just Another Note On Healthcare

Charles Krauthammer wrote on article for yesterday’s Washington Post about the current healthcare legislation.  He sums up the problem beautifully:

“What happened to Obamacare? Rhetoric met reality. As both candidate and president, the master rhetorician could conjure a world in which he bestows upon you health-care nirvana: more coverage, less cost.

“But you can’t fake it in legislation. Once you commit your fantasies to words and numbers, the Congressional Budget Office comes along and declares that the emperor has no clothes.”

The idea of something for nothing is very attractive; the problem is that it doesn’t work.  Despite the President’s claim that the bill will be revenue neutral because medical care costs will be drastically reduced, you only have to look at the history of Medicare and other government healthcare programs to know that is highly unlikely.  If you can’t reach revenue neutrality be cutting costs, you have to reach it with tax increases.

Charles Krauthammer has worked in the medical profession as a doctor and understands what is involved in this legislation.  He comments:

“This is not about politics? Then why is it, to take but the most egregious example, that in this grand health-care debate we hear not a word about one of the worst sources of waste in American medicine: the insane cost and arbitrary rewards of our malpractice system?

“When a neurosurgeon pays $200,000 a year for malpractice insurance before he even turns on the light in his office or hires his first nurse, who do you think pays? Patients, in higher doctor fees to cover the insurance.

“And with jackpot justice that awards one claimant zillions while others get nothing — and one-third of everything goes to the lawyers — where do you think that money comes from? The insurance companies, which then pass it on to you in higher premiums.”

You cannot seriously reduce medical costs in this country without tort reform.  President Obama knows this, but the amount of money lawyers contribute to Democrat politics make any changes in that area highly unlikely. 

Obama’s Healthcare Legislation Is In Trouble, But Don’t Get Overconfident

The current healthcare legislation is struggling, but that doesn’t mean it is going to go away.  There is an attitude in this country today that health insurance that covers routine doctor’s visits for everything is a right.  I agree that healthcare is a right (nowhere in the United States is that right in question), but health insurance that makes healthcare ‘free’ to everyone is not a right.  I don’t have a problem with helping people afford the care they need, I just don’t want to see healthcare become an out-of-control welfare system. 

There was a time in this country when people were denied medical care because of their race.  That was wrong, but that time is over.  I have a friend who grew up during that time in the rural south and as a senior citizen she is struggling with many physical issues because she was denied routine healthcare as a child.  I don’t want to see things like that happen.  Actually, under Obama’s healthcare plan I don’t think she would be allowed to access the quality care she is getting now–they would declare her too old and too expensive to treat.

I am not optimistic about how this debate will turn out.  I hope when the Congress goes on recess in early August, they listen to the people they are supposed to represent.  The reason the President wants a vote before August recess is that if Congress has already voted, the complaints they hear will not matter (until the ballot box next year).  I’m not sure how reliable the  blue-dog Democrats are–they helped elect Nancy Pelosi as speaker.  If this miserable piece of legislation gets through, it will be very hard to undo and it will be very bad for the country economically.  We need to watch how people vote and who proposes what to add to the legislation.  Then we need to remember these things next November.

Why Are We In Afghanistan And What Constitutes Victory?

According to Fox News President Obama has stated that ‘victory’ is not necessarily the goal in Afghanistan.  As the mother of a Marine who has spent some time there and will be spending some time there in the future, I am furious at that statement. 

The President told ABC News:

“We are confident that if we are assisting the Afghan people and improving their security situation, stabilizing their government, providing help on economic development … those things will continue to contract the ability of Al Qaeda to operate. And that is absolutely critical,”

If we do not win in Afghanistan (and by winning I mean help stabilize their government and do enought damage to Al Qaeda so that they cannot command operations from there), then we will have wasted the treasure of American lives for nothing.  Just for the record, the first step in winning in Afghanistan would be to eradicate the poppy crop and teach the people to grow something else.  A lot of Al Qaeda’s money comes from the drug trade.  This is a worldwide problem and ending the poppy business in Afghanistan would help people all over the world.

We are all tired of the war and wish it would end, but now is not the time to begin to make excuses that will lead to withdrawal before the country can survive.

New Jersey In The News

Despite its reputation, New Jersey is a beautiful state.  It deserves better leadership than it has.  Today’s New York Post has a summary of the arrests yesterday involving a major scandal in the state of New Jersey.  According to the article:

“Separate federal probes targeting rogue rabbis in Brooklyn and corrupt public officials in New Jersey led to the arrests yesterday of 44 people, including three mayors and five religious leaders.”

The scandal included stealing money from banks in a check-writing scam, money laundering, and skimming the top off of charitable contribution.   At one point, the sale of a kidney was involved.  The arrests yesterday were the result of three years of work by federal authorities.  Hopefully, the fallout from these arrests will be a move toward cleaner politics in the Garden State.

Thank You, Cambridge

According to today’s New York Post:

“A multiracial group of police officers stood with the white officer who arrested a black Harvard scholar and asked President Barack Obama and Gov. Deval Patrick apologize for comments union leaders called insulting.”

Thank you, Cambridge.  The actual police report of the incident is posted at The Smoking Gun.  The report shows that Professor Gates clearly lost his temper and was creating a disturbance.  It is nice to see the Cambridge Police Force standing behind Sargent James Crowley in this instance. 

Anyone who owns a home appreciates the police checking on their house if there is a report of a break-in; I really think Professor Gates overreacted and needs to apologize to the Sargent.