How Do Federal Regulations Affect You?

On Wednesday, The Daily Signal posted an article entitled, “The Federal Regulations That Affect Your Thanksgiving Foods.” Federal regulations seem like a remote concept (unless you are trying to run a small business and adhere to them), so I thought this article needed to be shared.

The article reports:

Let us also give thanks that the Obama administration will soon cease, albeit leaving behind more than 21,000 regulations that President Barack Obama’s regulators issued, and which increased regulatory costs by more than $100 billion annually.

The burden of this vast administrative state is crushing America’s entrepreneurial spirit, productivity, and economic growth.

Independent estimates find that total regulatory costs are exceeding $2 trillion annually—more than is collected in income taxes each year.

So what are some of the regulations that impact Thanksgiving?

Turkey. Title 9, Part 381.76, of the Code of Federal Regulations directs turkey inspectors on the proper method of examining a frozen bird, to wit: “If a carcass is frozen, it shall be thoroughly thawed before being opened for examination by the inspector. Each carcass, or all parts comprising such carcass, shall be examined by the inspector, except for parts that are not needed for inspection.”

Cranberries. Title 7, Part 929, establishes a “marketing committee” overseen by the U.S. Department of Agriculture to set quotas on the volume of cranberries shipped to handlers from growers in Massachusetts, Rhode Island, Connecticut, New Jersey, Wisconsin, Michigan, Minnesota, Oregon, Washington, and Long Island, New York. The grower “allotments” help to ensure that the price of cranberries remains artificially high.

Bread/Rolls. Title 21, Part 136, requires anything labeled as “bread” in a bakery to weigh one-half pound or more after cooling. To be legally called a “roll,” each unit must weigh less than one-half pound after cooling.

Potatoes. Title 7, Part 51.1546, dictates the proportion of allowable defects among specific grades of spuds. Potatoes graded as “U.S. No. 1” may not exceed the following tolerances at the point of shipping: 5 percent for external defects, 5 percent for internal defects, and not more than a total of 1 percent for potatoes that are frozen or affected by soft rot or wet breakdown. An entirely different set of tolerances apply to U.S. No. 1 potatoes while en route or upon reaching the destination, while similar standards are also set for “commercial” grade potatoes, “U.S. No. 2” potatoes, and “off-size” potatoes.

The list goes on to include green beans, cornmeal (used in stuffing) and pecans. How did we ever exist when we simply bought produce from local farmers that they grew in the ground and sold? Incidentally, I am on my way to the Farmers’ Market this morning!

We can be thankful that this insanity will be coming to an end.

Why It Is Important To Know Your Rights

On Friday, the New York Post reported the story of Nancy Genovese, 58, who was arrested in Suffolk County New York in July 2009 and charged with criminal trespass. Ms. Genovese was taking pictures of a decorative helicopter in front of the Gabreski Airport Air National Guard base in Westhampton Beach for a “Support Our Troops” website.

When her car was searched, Southhampton police found a legally owned rifle she was taking home from a nearby shooting range.

The article reports what happened next:

She contends a deputy sheriff arrived on the scene later and said to her, “I bet you are one of those Tea Party people.” When Genovese said she’s gone to Tea Party rallies, he allegedly said, “You’re a real right-winger, aren’t you?” and “You are a ‘Teabagger’” and then added that she’d be arrested for terrorism to make an example of other “right wingers.”

“Ms. Genovese was subjected to a level of abuse because [authorities] did not share the same political views as she did and saw this as an excuse to deny her even the most basic civil rights,” her lawyer Frederick Brewington said.​​

Genovese said in a statement said she was “relieved” by the jury’s verdict. She added, “if this can happen to me, and officers can abuse their power like this, I can only imagine how other people who are not as fortunate as me have been treated.”

Ms. Genovese has been awarded ​$1.12 million​ by a federal jury over her false prosecution by Suffolk County authorities. It obviously pays to know your constitutional rights!

Hooray For The Average American

On Friday Long Island Newsday posted an article about this year’s participants in the 26th annual Runner’s Edge Tobay Triathlon which will be held on August 24 at Oyster Bay, Long Island.

Triathlon coach Jose L. Lopez of Mineola, who won the first Tobay Tri in 1988, notes that the demographic of the Triathlon has changed.

The article reports:

Cases in point in this year’s race: Julian Acevedo, 26, a former diver and mountain climber; Dave Patton, 46, a martial artist and Kathy Griswold, 40, a yoga teacher.

All three are doing Tobay for the first time; each found the sport through a different route.

…Griswold was a high school shot putter and softball player back in Massachusetts. This past winter, when her gym held a mini indoor tri — participants swam in the pool, pedaled a stationary bike and ran on a treadmill — she jumped in and enjoyed it.

“I decided maybe I should do a real one.” said Griswold, a Plainview resident who teaches yoga at two local studios.

“I will finish, and I will have a blast doing it,” she said.

Hooray for amateur athletes who are willing to rise to the challenge of something new.

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Hmmm

Below is the trailer from a documentary about Flight 800 that will be released next month. I am posting the video along with a few personal stories regarding Flight 800. I am not drawing a conclusion –I am just telling a few anecdotal stories that I am personally familiar with.

 

The following stories have been told to me directly by people I trust. All three stories deal with odd events surrounding the loss of Flight 800.

1,  The night the plane went down was a beautiful night. A south shore Long Island resident was outside filming with his video camera when he noticed a streak of light climbing upward in the sky. He turned his camera on that streak and recorded a large flash of light. He later called the FBI, telling them he had the videotape and offering his services as a witness. The FBI paid him a visit, took his videotape, and never called him as a witness. The video tape was never returned.

2. The night the airplane went down, fire stations on the south shore of Long Island were turned away when they arrived to help with the search and rescue effort.

3. Someone I know was working on a project in the old Grumman aircraft building. The building was the place where the wreckage of Flight 800 was reassembled to determine the cause of the explosion of the plane. The security was such that this person was accompanied by security during routine trips to the restroom. On one of these trips, a college classmate was encountered. Evidently the classmate was there also working on a project. After the encounter, the person I know was questioned extensively on the details of the friendship and what was discussed.

None of these stories actually prove anything. All may be easily explained–in the first story the FBI may have believed that they already had all the witnesses they needed to determine the cause of the crash and simply forgot to return the video, in the second story, the people who were first on the scene may have realized that there would be no survivors and felt there was no need for additional search and rescue workers, and in the third story, the government was simply making sure no one was tampering with the evidence in any way that would have hindered the investigation into the loss of the plane.

Again, I have ventured into an area that I know little about. I am simply sharing three stories told to me by people I know. These stories cause me to wonder what really happened the night Flight 800 went down. I have no answers, just more questions.

 

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Some Historical Perspective On This Unlawful Combatant Thing

The information below is taken from the FBI website detailing famous cases and criminals:

Shortly after midnight on the morning of June 13, 1942, four men landed on a beach near Amagansett, Long Island, New York from a German submarine, clad in German uniforms and bringing ashore enough explosives, primers, and incendiaries to support an expected two-year career in the sabotage of American defense-related production. On June 17, 1942, a similar group landed on Ponte Vedra Beach, near Jacksonville, Florida, equipped for a similar career in industrial disruption.

The purpose of the invasions was to strike a major blow for Germany by bringing the violence of war to our home ground through destruction of America’s ability to manufacture vital equipment and supplies and transport them to the battlegrounds of Europe; to strike fear into the American civilian population; and to diminish the resolve of the United States to overcome our enemies.

By June 27, 1942, all eight saboteurs had been arrested without having accomplished one act of destruction. Tried before a military commission, they were found guilty. One was sentenced to life imprisonment, another to 30vyears, and six received the death penalty, which was carried out within a few days.

Two of these men were American citizens–Ernest Peter Burger had become a naturalized American in 1933 and Herbert Hans Haupt had entered the United States as a child, gaining citizenship when his father was naturalized in 1930.

The FBI website reports:

All eight were found guilty and sentenced to death. Attorney General Biddle and J. Edgar Hoover appealed to President Roosevelt to commute the sentences of Dasch and Burger. Dasch then received a 30-year sentence, and Burger received a life sentence, both to be served in a federal penitentiary. The remaining six were executed at the District of Columbia Jail on August 8, 1942.

Why is the person who bombed the Boston Marathon being treated differently than these men?

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Some Of Many Reasons The Damage From Hurricane Sandy Has Not Been Repaired

On Monday the Wall Street Journal posted an article telling the story of one homeowner‘s struggle to rebuild her damaged home in Connecticut.

The article relates the homeowner’s story:

Our first exposure to the town zoning authorities came a couple of weeks after Sandy. We’d met with insurance adjusters, contractors and “remediation experts.” We’d had about a foot of Long Island Sound sloshing around the ground floor of our house in Connecticut, and everyone had the same advice: Rip up the floors and subfloors, and tear out anything—wiring, plumbing, insulation, drywall, kitchen cabinets, bookcases—touched by salt water. All of it had to go, and pronto, too, lest mold set in.

Yet it wasn’t until the workmen we hired had ripped apart most of the first floor that the phrase “building permit” first wafted past us. Turns out we needed one. “What, to repair our own house we need a building permit?”

Of course.

Before you could get a building permit, however, you had to be approved by the Zoning Authority. And Zoning—citing FEMA regulations—would force you to bring the house “up to code,” which in many cases meant elevating the house by several feet. Now, elevating your house is very expensive and time consuming—not because of the actual raising, which takes just a day or two, but because of the required permits.

The article further explains that there is also a zoning limit on how high your house can be–so if you meet the requirement to raise it, you have to make sure you don’t raise it too much.. The homeowner goes on to detail the maze of government gobbledygook encountered in trying to repair and re-occupy his home.

The article concludes:

We’ve spent a few thousand dollars on a lawyer to appeal to Zoning, many thousands in rent, and hundreds getting a fresh appraisal of our house. The latest from our lawyer: Because of our new appraisal, we may be able to “apply for a zoning permit.” “Apply,” mind you.

I used to think that our house was, you know, our house. The bureaucrats have taught me otherwise. But then I also used to think that Franz Kafka wrote a species of dark fantasy. I know now that he was turning out nonfiction.

Our problem is not the lack of money to repair the damage from Hurricane Sandy–it is the government bureaucracy that is hindering the homeowners from getting back into their own homes.

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Messing Up The Environment In Your Home To Save The Environment Outside Your Home

The American Congress has done it again. In an effort to save the environment, they have put American households at risk. Hot Air posted an article yesterday stating that a study done at Long Island‘s Stony Brook has shown that compact fluorescent lights (CFLs) emit high levels of ultra violet radiation. The report states that the bulbs emit rays so strong that they can actually burn skin and skin cells.

The article at Hot Air reports:

“The results were that you could actually initiate cell death,” said Marcia Simon, a Professor of Dermatology.

Exposure to the bulbs could lead to premature aging and skin cancer, according to doctors.

“It can also cause skin cancer in the deadliest form, and that’s melanoma,” said Dr. Rebecca Tung.

The article points out that in every bulb the researchers tested they found that the protective coating around the light creating ‘phosphor’ was cracked, allowing dangerous ultraviolet rays to escape. This sounds like a quality control problem in the manufacturing process as much as anything else.

The radiation problem is in addition to the danger caused by actually breaking a bulb in your home.

The article reminds us:

Actually, they’re not all that eco-friendly, as even the government acknowledges.  The EPA wants to argue that the release of mercury from CFLs in disposal is less than that released from the burning of the amount of coal one saves by using them.  That may well be true overall, but not if one breaks in your house.  At that point, you need to conduct an hours-long cleanup — and even if you want to dispose of an unbroken CFL, it takes special disposal in most jurisdictions due to the eco-unfriendly nature of CFLs.

I am beginning to appreciate the genius of Thomas Edison.

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Breakfast With Santa

This past weekend my husband and I were visiting one of our daughters on Long Island. We had the pleasure of attending a Breakfast with Santa sponsored by the Long Island Chapter of US Veterans MC (USVMCLI), a fraternity of motorcycle riders who have all served honorably in one of the branches of the United States military. The USVMCLI was serving breakfast and collecting care packages and food for veterans in the Long Island area. They were also collecting toys and clothes for children of hospitalized veterans.

As the wife of a Vietnam-era veteran, the event was almost overwhelming. The USVMCLI included veterans from Vietnam, the more recent wars, and I suspect that one of the veterans I saw may have served in Korea. It is incredibly encouraging to me that the Vietnam veterans, who were treated so badly when they returned home, have worked hard to make sure that today’s veterans are cared for and helped with some of their basic needs.

The food was great and Santa arrived, but the inspiring part of the breakfast was the sea of motorcycle jackets dedicated to helping their fellow veterans.

Thank you, USVMCLI, for the work that you do.

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Stupid Things That Slow Down The Recovery From Hurricane Sandy

WAFF.com, an Alabama news site, is reporting that utility crews from Decatur, Alabama, were told that they would not be allowed to help in the New Jersey clean-up unless they affiliated with a union.

The article reports:

The general manager of Decatur Utilities, Ray Hardin told Fox Business they were presented documents from the International Brotherhood of Electric Workers at a staging area in Virginia. The documents stated they had to affiliate with a union to work, which the crews could not agree to.

Hardin said the crews were told this was a requirement to work.

As they waited for confirmation on the documents, crews received word that Seaside Heights had received the assistance they needed from other sources.

The crew returned home on Thursday night.

The article further reports:

Huntsville Utilities said they were not turned away and are in Long Island, New York working.

Joe Wheeler EMC said they did not respond to New Jersey, but did go up to Maryland and headed home once they were done.

We really do need to reevaluate some of our priorities.

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When Town Politics Cost The Taxpayers Money

My daughter and son-in-law are in Massachusetts this weekend for a junior hockey tournament. It is a real junior tournament–my grandson in seven years old. They live in New York and are avid New York Islanders fans. My daughter has not forgotten her New England roots–she supports the Patriots and the Red Sox, but she has defected to the Islanders in hockey.

Needless to say, they were not happy with the recent announcement that the Islanders will be moving from Long Island to Brooklyn. Yes, I know Brooklyn is on Long Island, but it is a very different world. My son-in-law directed me to an article in the bleacherreport which explains the history of the Islanders and the reason they are moving. Unfortunately, it comes down to county politics and bad reporting by local news sources.

The quest for a new arena for the Islanders began in the 1990’s under owners Gluckstern and Milstien.

The article reports:

The Gluckstern-Milstien disaster can basically be seen as the Islanders ownership group trying to have the Nassau Coliseum condemned, so they could break the lease with Nassau County and try to strong-arm the construction of a new arena.

As we all know, you cannot strong-arm your way through Nassau County red tape and Town of Hempstead politics.

They moved the Islanders offices out of the building, claiming it was unsafe to inhabit, and said the Islanders would not play any games in the arena. They even went so far as to say that the scoreboard was in danger of falling from the ceiling.

Needless to say, that was not a good beginning to the story. Charles Wang become a part owner of the Islanders in 2000. He bought out his partner, Sanjay Kumar , in 2004. Mr. Wang’s first attempt to improve the area around the arena was the Lighthouse project–a privately funded project that would have provided jobs for construction workers and much needed lower-to-mid-cost housing. He would have created an area similar to Patriot Place in Foxboro, Massachusetts.

The article reports:

Ultimately, the project was given Nassau County approval. It was given New York State approval. Then it fell to the governing body known as the Town of Hempstead. Surely this would not be an issue, right? Surely they could see the benefits of such a project? Surely they would work with Mr. Wang to get this deal done?

Wrong. Instead of trying to work with Mr. Wang and his Lighthouse project, the Town of Hempstead had the audacity to come up with their own vision of what they thought should be built there, going so far as to present an artist’s rendering. 

Excuse me? Since when does a publicly-elected governing body tell a private developer what he can build? They presented a zoning plan that cut down the project to such a level that not only did Charles Wang not see the value in it, no one else has seen the value in it either.

The next suggestion–a taxpayer-funded arena–was voted down by voters last year. That was the final nail in the coffin. The vote was the result of news reporting that told frightened voters that their taxes would greatly increase if they voted for the new arena. The reports failed to mention the possibility that if there was no new arena, the Islanders might find a more friendly environment, and taxes would go up anyway.

I don’t particularly like to idea of the public funding sports arenas, but I a can see that Charles Wang had no reason to rebuild an arena he did not own. This could have been totally avoided had the lighthouse project been approved.

Something to think about–votes have consequences.

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This Seems Rather Ironic To Me

Last Tuesday the International Business Times posted an article reporting that the College Board has announced that all students taking the SAT and ACT tests will be required to provide their photo ID’s on their applications.

The new rule was triggered by a cheating scandal on Long Island which involved about twenty students who paid people $500 to $3,600 to take the SAT or ACT for them.

The article reports the plan for increasing security at the test sites:

For the photo IDs, students that wish to take the tests will be required to upload or mail in a photo of themselves upon registering for either test. In return, the student will receive an admission ticket into the testing site with a copy of their scanned photo, which won’t be printed directly on the admission ticket, but on the test site roster, so it can be checked against the photo ID that the student provides at the test center itself. The same photo will be attached to the students’ scores.

That is a really good idea. When are we going to get smart and apply the picture ID standard to voting in America? How many voter fraud cases will be needed to convince people that identification is needed for voters?

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There Seems To Be A Slight Difference Of Opinion On This

The Washington Times reported yesterday that the Senate voted Tuesday to give the U.S. military first crack at holding al Qaeda operatives, even if they are captured in the U.S. and are American citizens, and also reaffirmed the policy of indefinite detention.

A website called Democracy.now reports:

A provision in the National Defense Authorization Act would authorize the military to jail anyone it considers a terrorism suspect — anywhere in the world — without charge or trial. The measure would effectively extend the definition of what is considered the military’s “battlefield” to anywhere in the world, even within the United States.

This is the link to the actual text of the bill at Thomas.gov. What the bill does, contrary to the panic expressed in Democracy.now, is allow the military to deal with terrorists in military courts rather than civilian courts. Terrorists have no right to be tried in American criminal courts with all the benefits of American citizens, regardless of where they are captured–they are not criminals, they are terrorists.

If you think this is a new thing, please review the case of the Nazi saboteurs who came ashore on Long Island in 1942 (at fbi.gov). Like it or not, we are at war. We have been at war since 1979, when Iran and its radical Muslim leaders declared war on us. We ignore the fact that we are at war at our own peril.

Please note that the vote of this bill was bipartisan. The article at the Washington Times reports: 

Tuesday’s 61-37 vote to buck Mr. Obama and grant the military dibs exposed a deep rift within the Democratic Party. Sixteen Democrats and one independent who caucuses with them defied the veto threat and joined 44 Republicans.

This bill protects the safety of Americans. If you doubt that, please follow the link to Thomas.gov and read the bill or the summary.

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