Toll Wars

We occasionally drive north to visit grandchildren (and their parents). It’s a great drive through Delaware (and sometimes even into central New Jersey), but when you get near New York City, it’s a mess. At one point it took us three hours to go from the Brooklyn side of the Verrazano Narrows Bridge to the middle of Long Island. Traffic in and around New York City is always a mess. So what is the solution?

One America News Network posted an article today about one ridiculous idea.

The article reports:

A mayor in New Jersey is suggesting a commuter tax on New York City residents in retaliation for the Big Apple imposing fees on drivers coming from his state.

This week, Jersey City mayor Steve Fulop suggested implementing a commuter tax on New York City residents leaving the city. This appears to be a rebuttal to New York approving plans to use automated license plate readers to impose fees on drivers entering Manhattan from New Jersey during rush-hour traffic.

The article concludes:

“We don’t see any incentives there for drivers,” explained Robert Sinclair, spokesman for the American Auto Association. “They’re still punishing their vehicles on bad roads and yet being asked to pay for the bulk of the funding to fix the subways and the commuter railroads.”

Fulop said both states should have a “regional conversation” to work out a long-term transportation agreement.

In the meantime, lawmakers are still working out how much money to tax commuters in New York City, with the policy expected to take affect by 2021.

You can’t force people to take public transportation, but you can make public transportation so attractive, convenient, and affordable that people will want to take it. That might be a better solution.

Losing Our Civilization One Law At A Time

Last week The New York Times posted an article about some changes being made in law enforcement in New York City.

The article reports:

A package of eight bills to be introduced in the City Council on Monday would reduce the impact of the style of policing known as broken windows that has for two decades guided the Police Department to see minor disorder as a precursor to major crime, often alienating residents in the process.

Under the legislation, New Yorkers given tickets by the police for offenses such as violating city park rules, a misdemeanor now, would in many cases be steered to a civil process rather than criminal court.

The article explains that the new laws would make such crimes as littering, public urination, public consumption of alcohol, excessive noise and breaking certain park rules civil matters rather than criminal matters.

I understand that these bills may help with the problem of overcrowding in the courts, but they will not help with the quality of life in New York City.

One of my daughters attended college in New York City during the 1990’s. When Rudy Giuliani became mayor, he instituted something called the ‘broken windows theory.’ The idea behind this theory was that if you dealt with the ‘little things’ like broken windows, litter, vandalism, etc., then the atmosphere would change, people would take more pride in their surroundings, and all crime would go down. In New York City during the 1990’s, crime did go down, and the quality of life did improve for the residents.

I think this new package of laws is a step backwards–not forward.

This Is Totally Unjust

Yahoo News is reporting today that Darren Wilson will be leaving the Ferguson police force with no severance package. I have no idea why the media has worked so hard to make this man a villain when he was simply defending himself. I would like to remind everyone that Michael Brown attacked Darren Wilson inside his police car.

The article reports:

Wilson, 28, won’t receive any further pay or benefits, and he and the city have severed their ties, Mayor James Knowles told reporters a day after Wilson tendered his resignation, which was effective immediately.

Wilson, who is white, had been on administrative leave since he killed Michael Brown, an unarmed black 18-year-old, during an Aug. 9 confrontation. A grand jury decided Monday not to indict him, sparking days of sometimes violent protests in Ferguson and other cities.

Wilson wrote in his resignation letter that his “continued employment may put the residents and police officers of the City of Ferguson at risk, which is a circumstance I cannot allow.”

His lawyer, Neil Bruntrager, told The Associated Press that Wilson decided to step aside after police Chief Tom Jackson told him about the alleged threats on Saturday.

Michael Brown was a thug who robbed a store and attacked a policeman. In his death, he  has managed to ruin the life of the man who stood for the law and order he despised. Unfortunately, the mainstream media has come down on the wrong side of this. To Americans who are screaming racism and condemning Darren Wilson, if your loved one was the police officer in danger, what would you have wanted him to do? Because the press and some of the race-baiters claiming to support civil rights have gotten involved in this situation, Darren Wilson’s life has been (at least temporarily) ruined as well as a young thug killed. Would these people have rather that the thug killed the policeman?

Coming Together After A Horrific Event

Today’s Sun Journal (New Bern, North Carolina) posted an article about the way Mayor Outlaw handled the recent deadly shooting of a policeman by a local young man. The young man also wounded another policeman. The shooting was horrible, and there is no way to defend the actions of the young man, who was killed during the incident. However, many policemen and residents of New Bern have criticized the way the Mayor handled the aftermath of the event. I think the criticism is unwarranted. First of all, there is no way the Mayor could have handled this that would have pleased everyone. Second of all, the Mayor is not in office to please everyone–he is there to keep order in the town, uphold the law, and do what he believes is right.

The article explains some of the actions of the Mayor in the aftermath of the shooting:

For his part, Outlaw said he went to Stallings’ funeral Thursday because he had known the family a long time.

“When somebody dies, there is a loss to the family, it doesn’t matter to me if it was cancer, a heart attack or someone getting run over by a train, dying a violent death,” he said. “I don’t focus on the death. I focus on the family. …My thought was I have a dear friend and if that friend needs me I’m there for them. That in no way distracts my admiration and mourning for officer Alexander Thalmann. I don’t control why people die. I just know that I’m going to be there for the family.”

The Mayor did the compassionate thing, I don’t think the criticism is appropriate–he was not honoring the shooter– he was being a friend to a family going through a very difficult time. The family did not shoot the policeman–their son did. Why would anyone want to deny them their friend at their son’s funeral?

The Mayor is the Mayor of all of the City of New Bern–he has responsibilities to all of the residents along with the obligations to friends that all of us have. I understand the anger of the law enforcement community, but I don’t agree with it. This is a time to extend grace and pray for healing in the community.

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The End Of A New York City Tradition

Horse-drawn carriage rides through Central Park have been associated with New York City for about 100 years. Now those carriage rides are in danger. On Thursday, CNS News reported that newly-elected New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio plans to replace the horse-drawn carriages with electric cars. The cars would be built with the look of antique cars and would have a driver so that current carriage drivers would still have jobs. However, the article does not mention the horse owners and stable owners who would lose their jobs.

The Mayor claims that horse carriages are “not humane” and are cruel to the animals. The carriage owners are requesting that the Mayor take a tour of the stables where the horses are kept before he makes a decision.

This is being reported as a ‘cruelty to animals‘ issue. Since when is asking a horse to pull a carriage animal cruelty. If the concern is that the horses sometimes have to deal with vehicle traffic, it might make more sense to ban cars within Central Park and leave the entire park to the horses.

Stay tuned. I am sure there is much more to come.

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Sometimes You Just Wonder

Today Power Line posted a picture of a sign at a California Hooters:

I have nothing to add.

However, the article at Power Line ends with the following update:

UPDATE: Just when you think the Filner story can’t get any crazier, news out this afternoon is that a great-grandmother is claiming Filner harassed her.  And she’s going to be represented at the press conference by–wait for it nowGloria Allred.  (What took her so long?  Probably the D after Filner’s name.)

Wow.

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Do Parents Have The Right To Know That The School Is Giving Their Children Drugs ?

The New York Post posted an article on Saturday (updated today) about a program in the New York City schools that provides high school girls with birth control pills–including Plan B (the morning-after pill).

The article reports:

Last September, the city revealed it had started giving out Plan B and other birth control in the nurses’ offices of 13 high schools. At the time, officials said 567 girls had gotten Plan B.

But the birth-control blitz was much bigger than the city had acknowledged. About 40 separate “school-based health centers” doled out 12,721 doses of Plan B in 2011-12, up from 10,720 in 2010-11 and 5,039 in 2009-10, according to the newly released data.

 About 22,400 students sought reproductive care from January 2009 through last school year, records show. Under state law, minors don’t need parental OKs to get contraceptives.

The article further reports:

The city says about 6,300 NYC girls under age 17 had unplanned pregnancies last year, and more than half had abortions. Of those who give birth, the city says, about 70 percent drop out of school, making their futures bleak.

Just for the record, the age of consent for sex in New York is seventeen. That means that the schools are giving out birth control to children who are not legally supposed to be having sex. So let me get this straight. There won’t be salt on my table at a restaurant in New York City because Mayor Bloomberg says it is bad for me. No restaurant can use transfat to fry food in New York City, and ‘big gulp’ sodas are illegal in New York City because Mayor Bloomberg says they are bad for me, but my daughter can obtain birth control or the morning after pill without my consent our without consulting me about any medical conditions that she may have.

The world has truly turned upside down.

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Some Common Sense In The Gun Debate

This is a video of Mayor Cory Booker of Newark, New Jersey. The video was posted at Breitbart.com.

This is what the Mayor said:

To me, the data should drive our decision making. So I know, I’m not afraid of people having guns who are law abiding citizens. In the analysis of gun murders and shootings in my city, I could only find one in the entire time I’ve been mayor – and unfortunately there have been hundreds and hundreds – where a person who was involved in a shooting where they had their gun legally, where they legally acquired their gun. The guns that are causing carnage in our cities, my city and our country, every single year are acquired illegally.

Newark, New Jersey, is the second largest city in the New York metropolitan area.

Wikipedia gives us a picture of crime in the city:

In 1996, Time magazine ranked Newark “The Most Dangerous City in the Nation.” By 2007, however, the city recorded a total of 99 homicides for the year, representing a significant drop from the record of 161 murders set in 1981. The number of murders in 2008 dropped to 65, a decline of 30% from the previous year and the lowest in the city since 2002 when there were also 65 murders.

In 2011, Newark recorded 90 homicides, after experiencing 86 homicides in 2010. Overall, there was a 6% increase in crime numbers over the previous year, including a rise in carjackings for the third straight year. Along with the increase in crime, the Newark Police Department increased its recovery of illegally owned guns in 2011 to 696, up from 278 in 2010.

After being forced to lay off 162 officers due to economic reasons in 2010, the NPD was able to rehire eight of those officers in 2012, with plans for another 17 rehires later in the year.

Mayor Booker was elected in 2006. He is an inspiring mayor to watch–recently he rescued a young woman from a burning building and came to the aid of a dog that had been left out in the extreme cold. We need more mayors (and people involved in politics) like Mayor Booker–he tells the truth and does what’s right!

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Mr. Mayor, You Will Be Missed

Today’s New York Times is reporting that Edward Koch, the former mayor of New York City died this morning. Ed Koch was 88 years old.

The article highlights his career:

Most important, he is credited with leading the city government back from near bankruptcy in the 1970s to prosperity in the 1980s. He also began one of the city’s most ambitious housing programs, which continued after he left office and eventually built or rehabilitated more than 200,000 housing units, revitalizing once-forlorn neighborhoods.

Politically, Mr. Koch’s move to the right of center was seen as a betrayal by some old liberal friends, but it gained him the middle class and three terms in City Hall. He was also the harbinger of a transformation in the way mayors are elected in New York, with candidates relying less on the old coalition of labor unions, minority leaders and Democratic clubhouses and more on heavy campaign spending and television to make direct appeals to a more independent-minded electorate.

Mayor Koch had a flamboyancy that made it seem as if he were designed for the job of Mayor of New York City. He spoke his mind whether he agreed with his political party or not. He fit the classic definition of a liberal, but yet trimmed the budget of New York City during his term.

Mayor Koch was always a man who was a joy to watch, whether you agreed with him or not. He will be sorely missed. He was a man who voiced his opinion whether it was politically correct or not.Enhanced by Zemanta

There Are More Than Two Sides To This Story

A website called Politicker.com posted a story about New York Mayor Bloomberg’s new initiative to limit supplies of prescription painkillers in the city’s emergency rooms. The idea of the initiative is to fight what the Mayor calls ‘a growing addiction problem in the region.’ On one level this makes sense–drug addiction is a growing problem, but beyond that, why are the Mayor and the City Council practicing medicine?

Having recently undergone some minor surgery, I understand that doctors and hospitals like to ‘manage’ the pain of their patients. That is very nice, but I really think we have become a nation of wimps. The day or two after surgery is generally tough, but to give a patient a two week supply of pain killers is questionable at best.

The article reports:

Mr. Bloomberg also argued the number of pain pills currently being prescribed had even contributed to an uptick in violent crimes outside of pharmacies from robbers looking to steal the drugs.

“You see there’s a lot more hold-ups of pharmacies, people getting held up as they walk out of pharmacies,” he explained. “What are they all about? They’re not trying to steal your shaving cream or toothpaste at the point of a gun. They want these drugs.”

This reminds me of the gun control argument–a government official is going to control the behavior of law-abiding citizens in order to change the behavior of those who choose not to follow the law. Makes a lot of sense, doesn’t it?Enhanced by Zemanta

One Place We Need To Consider Cutting The Budget

I realize that I am about to sound like Scrooge at Christmas, but I really feel this situation is getting out of hand.

From The Weekly Standard:

The article is not clear on how much of that money goes to the recipient and how much supports the bureaucracy; but either way, I think we need to do some re-evaluating of the success of our poverty programs.

There is no incentive for someone in government to help someone on welfare get off of welfare–if there is no one on welfare, the government worker has no program to administer. There is no incentive for the person on welfare to get off of welfare because not working takes less effort than working. Also, in many cases, welfare pays more than working. Thus our welfare programs have become the government equivalent of a perpetual motion machine.

The article at The Weekly Standard states:

For fiscal year 2011, CRS identified roughly 80 overlapping federal means-tested welfare programs that together represented the single largest budget item in 2011—more than the nation spends on Social Security, Medicare, or national defense.

…The diffuse and overlapping nature of federal welfare spending has led to some confusion regarding the scope and nature of benefits. For instance, Newark Mayor Cory Booker has recently received a great deal of attention for adopting the “food stamp diet” in which he spends only $4 a day on food (the median individual benefit) to apparently illustrate the insufficiency of food stamp spending ($80 billion a year) or the impossibility of reductions. The situation Booker presents, however, is not accurate: a low-income individual on food stamps may qualify for $25,000 in various forms of welfare support from the federal government on top of his or her existing income and resources—including access to 15 different food assistance programs. Further, even if one unrealistically assumes that no other welfare benefits are available, the size of the food stamp benefit increases as one’s income decreases, as the benefit is designed as a supplement to existing resources; it is explicitly not intended to be the sole source of funds for purchasing food.

It’s time for a Mulligan on welfare programs. We fought the war on poverty and we lost.

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A New Dimension In Meddling

Mayor Bloomberg is at it again. The New York Post reported yesterday that the Mayor is asking New York City hospitals to lock up the baby formula so that more mothers will breast-feed their babies.

The article reports:

Starting Sept. 3, the city will keep tabs on the number of bottles that participating hospitals stock and use — the most restrictive pro-breast-milk program in the nation.

I support breast-feeding. I think it is a good idea. All my children were breast-fed and all my grandchildren were breast-fed. There is a history of milk allergies in my family and that seemed like a logical preventative measure. It seems to have worked. However, forcing women to do something they may not want to do because the Mayor thinks it’s healthy is a horrible idea. What if Mayor Bloomberg wakes up one morning and decides we should all eat seaweed for a week? Where will he draw the line?

I have no problem encouraging new mothers to breast-feed their babies. In 1970, when my first daughter was born, I was the only breast-feeding mother in the hospital. By 1974, when my third daughter was born, there were more babies breast-fed than formula-fed. I think the way to get mothers to breast-feed their children is to give them as much information as possible about the benefits. The new mothers are the ones who need to make the choice–not the government.

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Get Your Hands Off My Coca-Cola

Yesterday the New York Times reported that New York Mayor Bloomberg is planning to ban the sale of large sodas and other sugary drinks at restaurants, movie theaters and street carts. This is part of the Mayor’s effort to combat obesity.

The article reports:

The proposed ban would affect virtually the entire menu of popular sugary drinks found in delis, fast-food franchises and even sports arenas, from energy drinks to pre-sweetened iced teas. The sale of any cup or bottle of sweetened drink larger than 16 fluid ounces — about the size of a medium coffee, and smaller than a common soda bottle — would be prohibited under the first-in-the-nation plan, which could take effect as soon as next March.

Diet drinks are not included in this ban.

The article includes an interesting statement by the Mayor:

He also said he foresaw no adverse effect on local businesses, and he suggested that restaurants could simply charge more for smaller drinks if their sales were to drop.

What??!!!

At this point in the article I would like to point out that Mayor Bloomberg is pro-choice. If asked, he would explain that the government does not have the right to interfere with woman’s healthcare. This is the same man who is intent on passing laws allowing the government to tell us what we can drink. I think the inconsistency in those two views is amazing.

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Letting People Go Hungry Rather Than Taking The Chance That They Might Eat Something Unhealthy

The New York Post reported today that New York City Mayor Bloomberg is blocking food donations to all government-run facilities that serve the city’s homeless.

The article reports:

In conjunction with a mayoral task force and the Health Department, the Department of Homeless Services recently started enforcing new nutritional rules for food served at city shelters. Since DHS can’t assess the nutritional content of donated food, shelters have to turn away good Samaritans.

The new policy ends the custom of houses of worship in New York who routinely donate food to the homeless shelters.

The article reports:

 For over a decade, Glenn Richter and his wife, Lenore, have led a team of food-delivery volunteers from Ohab Zedek, the Upper West Side Orthodox congregation.

They’ve brought freshly cooked, nutrient-rich surplus foods from synagogue events to homeless facilities in the neighborhood. (Disclosure: I know the food is so tasty because I’ve eaten it — I’m an OZ member.) The practice of donating such surplus food to homeless shelters is common among houses of worship in the city.

DHS Commissioner Seth Diamond says the ban on food donations is consistent with Mayor Bloomberg’s emphasis on improving nutrition for all New Yorkers. A new interagency document controls what can be served at facilities — dictating serving sizes as well as salt, fat and calorie contents, plus fiber minimums and condiment recommendations.

I appreciate the Mayor’s wanting to make sure everyone gets healthy food to eat, but it seems as if the choice here is whether people in the shelters get healthy food or very little food. The government interference in this matter prevents the churches from providing the charity that is part of their mission. The government needs to step aside and let the churches help.

 

 

 

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