Archive for July, 2009

“Cash-for-Clunkers” Already Running Out of Cash?

The latest federal government effort to control consumer behavior, which was signed into law by President Barack Obama in June but which didn’t go into effect until last Monday, July 27th, reportedly is already foundering.  According to the so-called “Cash-for-Clunkers” program (official name, “Cash Allowance Rebate System”), anyone who trades in an older model car, SUV or pickup truck for a new vehicle that gets better mileage, receives a taxpayer-funded rebate of $3500 $4500. 

The Brainiacs who conceived this program planned for it to boost US auto sales and help lift Ford, GM and Chrysler out of their doldrums.  Strange things are happening on the way to the pot of gold at the end of this government rainbow.  One conern is that while many of the vehicles being turned in are American-made vehicles, many of those being purchased with the rebates will be foreign, higher-mileage units.  Dealers are having difficulty deciphering the 136-page “instruction” …

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Presidential Bloviation Is Contagious

President Barack Obama is succumbing to the same malady that infected his predecessor, George W. Bush — falling in love with the sound of his own voice. 

Bush would begin his news conferences with a rambling discussion of something or other, and then as the media representatives asked questions, he would get really revved up, and his answers would get longer and longer and more and more rambling.  Even Mr. Bush’s very last news conference before he left office on January 20th, was excruciating to watch and listen to; as the soon-to-be ex-President rambled on and on about the accomplishments of his soon-to-be ex-presidency, and obviously enjoying what he apparently perceived as eloquent and insightful bloviating.  Of course, the former President’s answers to media questions were, like his more formal speeches, anything but eloquent.

President Obama, who is by any objective measure, a gifted speaker and clearly more knowledgeable about sentence structure and word …

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Judge throws down water gauntlet

On June 17, a federal judge from Minnesota – Paul Magnuson – ordered the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to stop permitting the Atlanta area to draw water from Lake Lanier needed to meet the needs of the area’s six million residents. Let’s take a moment to let that sink in.

A non-elected official from a state far, far away, has issued what may very well turn out to be a fatal blow to our area’s survival. While some folks may shrug and dismiss the impact of the judge’s order – believing perhaps that something so draconian would never be implemented anyway – the judge’s order is real, and raises troubling questions.

First of all, Georgians should ask how we reached the point at which a non-elected judge is deciding what should be a political question determined by the citizens and their elected representatives. That question should best be put to the former governors of Georgia, Florida and Alabama who, for nearly 10 years were unable or unwilling to agree on a water-sharing …

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American Medical Association Commits Malpractice

Georgia’s many doctors, through their professional organization, the Medical Association of Georgia, have gone on record opposing the horrendous health care “reform” legislation now before the House of Representatives, which is being pushed heavily by President Obama.  The MAG is opposing this legislation because it would, if implemented, destroy medicine as we know it in America.  Georgia’s doctors understand that, with all its flaws, our health care is of the highest quality and is the most technologically advanced of any country in the world; which is why far more people come to the United States for medical care than leave America to seek such help in other countries.

Unfortunately, MAG’s national counterpart, the American Medical Association, doesn’t understand this.  The AMA has actually endorsed what has become known as “Obamacare.”  Sixteen years ago, the AMA lobbied against the earlier version of government-dictated health care; known then as “Hillarycare.”  …

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Public Education Brainiacs Thrive in Georgia

The Brainiacs who set public education policy in Georgia have hatched a brilliant plan that might move the state from its current position of number 43 on the list of 50 states and the District of Columbia measuring academic achievement.  Unfortunately the plan, which was authorized by our General Assembly earlier this year, is likely to move our state in the wrong direction.  The “plan,” if you want to call it that, allows public schools to shorten the school year so that students will attend school even fewer days than the mere 180-day current requirement.

In a nutshell, the state legislators and school administrators in our state, in contemplating how to move Georgia from its long-standing and dismal academic ranking, decided that requiring kids to spend fewer days in school will improve their academic performance.  Such brilliance is breathtaking; probably those who hatched this plan were themselves the product of Georgia public schools.  In fairness to these …

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Health care Never Never Land

In “Sicko,” iconoclastic filmmaker Michael Moore extols the virtue of health care in such liberal “paradises” as the United Kingdom and Cuba. Leaving his audience to wonder where he would choose to go for treatment if he were facing a life-threatening illness — the People’s Hospital in Havana or the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minn. — Moore exhibits the same Alice-in-Wonderland delusion that has settled over the Obama administration.

A majority of members of Congress, too, seem to believe that if only enough bureaucracy and taxpayer dollars are thrown at the health care “crisis,” then everyone in the country will have their every medical need met, when they want it, and at much reduced cost. Such a mind set turns Peter Pan’s Never Never Land into a reality show.

For starters, advocates of the House legislation might want to talk to governors of those states, like Massachusetts, that have already implemented “universal” coverage plans. Increasing program …

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Nanny State Strikes Hometown, USA

The City of Marietta, Georgia, a northwest suburb of Atlanta just up the street from my hometown of Smyrna, Georgia, has earned two gold, Nanny-state stars.  The Marietta City Council has just voted to ban smoking in the town square, Glover Park.  Henceforth, any poor sap who might still be harboring under the illusion that he lives in a free country, and makes the mistake of lighting a cigarette, cigar or even a “weed,” in the great outdoors that might also happen to be within the confines of the town square, can be arrested and fined $500.  One freedom-loving council member, patting herself on the back for this all-American action to outlaw yet another vestige of individual freedom, pronounced herself “pleased” and expressed hope that the ban would soon be extended to all parks in the city.  In a spectacular display of scientific knowledge, another city council member “applauded” his vote to ban smoking in the outdoor park because, in his view, the park …

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Of Guns, Private Property and Judge Sotomayor

Once again, in the still-unfolding confirmation hearing on Supreme Court nominee Sonia Sotomayor, we are being treated to a lesson in why the Republicans rarely achieve their goals in Washington.  This is largely the result of their inability or unwillingness to play hardball; the failure to ask tough questions; and allowing nominees for high office to bloviate their way around answering direct questions.

First of all, let’s establish one ground rule:  there is no legal or constitutional prohibition against requiring a nominee for the federal bench, including the United States Supreme Court, to answer probing questions about their judicial philosophy and of their views on fundamental rights.  Should not  this be the price they pay for confirmation?  The modern notion that a nominee must be permitted to refuse to answer tough questions about whether they believe it is the job of a judge to protect fundamental liberties enshrined in the Bill of Rights, for example, …

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Brave New World of Infant DNA Data-Basing

One of the most exciting moments in life is to witness the birth of a new child. All hell could be breaking loose outside the delivery room, yet all your attention in those moments is focused on the miracle of a new baby being born. Yet in those exhilarating moments, a small event takes place in hospitals across the country that escapes the attention of most every parent, yet is becoming a matter of increasing concern for parents.

Laws in all 50 states require hospitals to collect a sample of every newborn baby’s blood (from a small pin prick to the baby’s foot). The primary purpose is to test for PKU (phenylketonuria, an inherited disease that can result in brain and nerve damage) and other diseases (California, for example, tests for some 76 different conditions).

Were the test itself the end of the matter, few questions would be raised. However, parents and others in a number of states are beginning to question what happens to those millions of infant dried-blood samples …

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A Government-Run BCS — Lord Help Us!

Some Republicans in the Congress want the federal government to manage the college football BCS (Bowl Championship Series) system.  Lord help us if they get their way!  Can you imagine turning the college football national championship process over to the people who have brought us a $12 trillion national debt, the Fannie Mae/Freddie Mac debacle, TSA, billion-dollar bailouts, and so much more? 

Yet, here we are in the middle of an economic crisis at home and several brewing crises abroad, and Republican Sen. Orrin Hatch of Utah and Rep. Joe Barton of Texas are pushing for the federal government to declare the BCS in violation of federal anti-trust laws and be forced to replace the current system with a federally-mandated playoff series. Sen. Hatch took the lead at an official Senate Judiciary Subcommittee hearing on Tuesday to “investigate” the BCS.

Don’t get me wrong, I am not a fan of the current BCS system either.  I don’t buy into this notion that you can plug a …

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