Archive for August, 2009

Obama ‘advisers’ fan flu hysteria

The impressively named President’s Council of Advisors on Science and Technology counts an august array of academics, engineers and scientists among its members. Even the council is impressed with its own stature — describing itself as “an advisory group of the nation’s leading scientists and engineers.” PCAST is charged with advising to the president on matters of “science, technology, and innovation.” Not included among its enumerated advisory duties are medicine, virology or immunology.

Notwithstanding such limitation on its jurisdiction, PCAST earlier this month issued a “Report to the President on U.S. Preparations for 2009-H1N1 Influenza.” This well-publicized swine flu report is highly and unnecessarily alarmist.
These self-styled, appointed “leaders” are tasked with offering “advice” to the president, but they appear more interested in blowing their own horn and making public statements, than they are in offering the president sound but quiet …

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17,500 Canadians Can’t Be Wrong

Since Barack Obama was inaugurated President just over seven months ago, some 17,500 Canadian have come to the U.S. to receive health care.  Just since the President’s health care legislation was introduced in the House of Representatives in March, about 12,500 Canadians have come here for health care.  During that same period, how many Americans have travelled north to obtain health care in Canada because they couldn’t get it here in the States?  

The average wait time for a Canadian to obtain treatment from a specialist after seeing a primary care physician?  About 4-1/2 months.  In the U.S.?  Virtually none.

Want to see a primary care doctor in the U.S.?  Pick up the phone and call one.  In Canada, get in line behind the five percent of the population waiting to get a primary care physician (about 17 million Canadians).

And still there are those in Washington extolling the benefit of a government-controlled, single-payor heath care system .  .  .  like they …

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Police Run Roughshod Over Lawful Handgun Owner

No good deed goes unpunished — that’s a lesson George Boggs of Fayetteville, North Carolina, learned earlier this month when he voluntarily turned his handgun over to the local police for safe-keeping while he went into the hospital following an automobile wreck.  When Mr. Boggs (who maintains a valid concealed-carry permit for the handgun)  later attempted to retrieve his firearm, the police said, sorry, we’ve sent it out for ballistics testing and can’t give it back to you yet.

Apparently the police in North Carolina believe themselves empowered to retain a law-abiding citizen’s firearm, and test it to see if it matches any firearms or ammunition on which the police have records that were used in crimes, regardless of whether they have any suspicion whatsoever that the firearm is illegal or has ever been used in the commission of a crime.  And, the police do this even if the person has voluntarily and temporarily left a firearm with the police for safe keeping.  In …

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Once-proud civil rights group sinks low

Whether one agrees or disagrees with the actions of the National Organization for Women (NOW), at least when it was formed in 1966 its mission was lofty: securing “political, professional, and educational equality for women.”

Forty-three years later, NOW has diminished to a caricature of its former self — issuing ridiculous news releases criticizing television for extolling “skinny” women rather than those who are “plus-size.”

Another organization founded in the same era that spawned NOW has fallen victim to a similar fate — the Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC).

Formed in 1971, the SPLC initially focused its energies and resources on a very real problem facing our country at that time — virulent racism. Co-founder Morris Dees and his associates at SPLC quickly developed a well-deserved reputation as tireless and fearless fighters, taking on such targets as the KKK, the Aryan Nations, and other violence-prone racist groups. During my tenure as the U.S. Attorney in …

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“Assault Weapons” Excite The Media Once Again

The fact that a very small number of perople attending public gatherings recently have been caught on camera carrying firearms, has driven many in the mainstream media to focus on “assault weapons” being brandished at political events.  One man was caught on camera in Phoeniz, Arizona by at least one national cable outlet with an AR-15 rifle slung over his shoulder on a strap.  The media immediately — and incorrectly — highlighted this as an “assault rifle” being carried outside a building at which President Barack Obama was speaking.

While the national media may delight in highlighting such incidents, including mis-labeling semi-automatic rifles like the AR-15 as “assault weapons,” there in fact is nothing illegal about a person openly carrying a firearm at many such public events in many states, including Arizona and Georgia.  If the firearms were fully automatic (as “assault rifles” by definition are), or were being carried by a person already “disabled” under federal …

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Booted From The Big Apple

Since 2007, New York City’s billionaire Mayor Michael Bloomberg has been shipping members of the city’s homeless population to other cities across the country and around the world, compliments of New York City taxpayers.  The mayor has been offering a free ticket to anywhere in the world to any homeless person or family who agrees to “get out of town.”  The city will even obtain a passport and visa if the destination happens to be to a foreign locale.

Whle many of the more than 550 families that have taken “Mayor Mike” up on his generous offer to give them a free ticket on a plane, train or bus have opted for places like Georgia, Florida and Puerto Rico, others have elected much more exotic destinations, including:  Casablanca, Morocco; Lima, Peru; the Virgin Islands; the Ukraine; and Haiti.

Given the fact that New York City spends about $36,000 per year to provide shelter for a single homeless family, it is understandable that Bloomberg is looking for ways to reduce the …

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When opinion replaces TV news

Were he alive, Abraham Lincoln would not likely be a regular viewer of the major cable news stations. The former president is reported to have remarked that, “it is the man who does not want to express an opinion whose opinion I want.” Given that a great many of the programming slots offered up each day by cable news stations are forums for nothing more than the incessant and repetitive offering of opinions, it is unlikely Lincoln would be tuning very much to the opinions so eagerly offered up by those networks.

Students of and experts on journalism and broadcasting certainly will argue over the causes for the explosive growth of opinion programming on cable news stations. Opinion shows, which rely less on in-depth reporting in favor of scanning the day’s stories already reported for those most likely to generate “buzz,” are – perhaps aside from the salaries of their stars – cheaper to produce than hard-news shows. Whether financial concerns are the primary cause of this …

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Government Surveillance Targets License Plates

Government’s relentless search for ever newer and more efficient ways in which to employ technology to gather data on citizens and with which to generate revenues, has found a new, favored toy:  license-plate scanners. 

Cities across the country, especially in the land of sunshine and surveillance — Los Angeles, California — are buying $20,000 license-plate scanners with abandon.  The devices are installed on police cruisers (and probably other municipal vehicles, reportedly in some cities including street cleaning trucks).  These high-tech snooping devices rapidly gather, analyze, and store digitized information on up to 1,500 license plates each and every minute they are in use. 

City police and elected officials claim — as they always do — that these high-tech devices are employed only for the safety of the public and will be used sparingly and carefully so as to avoid invading citizens’ privacy.  However, the lure of money to be generated by license-plate …

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Sophomoric Debate on Health Care is Distressing

The national debate over the administration’s health care plan has spawned some strange occurrences.  Last week, for example, Rep. David Scott (D-GA) completely lost his cool when a medical doctor tried to ask him some legitimate questions at a town hall meeting.   At town hall meetings in other districts, it is the protestors, not the members of Congress who have behaved badly. 

Tempers are running high, but that should not be particularly surprising — after all, the administration is proposing to dramatically alter the manner in which health care has been delivered and paid for in America for many decades.  Putting the government firmly in the health care driver’s seat scares alot of Americans; and many of them feel they are not getting the answers and facts they deserve.

They’re certainly not going to get those answers and facts from two of the Democratic Party’s top leaders — House Speaker Nancy Pelosi of California and Majority Leader Steny Hoyer from Maryland.  …

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National ID card still a bad idea

Bad ideas have a habit of hanging around our nation’s Capitol, where legislators and bureaucrats hope that they will ripen with the passage of time. Thus it has been with the REAL ID Act, passed by the Congress in 2005 with virtually no debate. From the start, the legislation posed major problems for the states, forced to implement its costly mandates; and for privacy experts, concerned with its many privacy invasive provisions. The Bush administration strongly favored the REAL ID program, but it never could get its act together sufficient to drive home the law’s implementation.

Even when the prior administration issued final implementing regulations in early 2008, the net effect was to throw gasoline on the anti-REAL ID forces already smoldering in dozens of state legislatures and governors’ mansions.

The total cost of the program, including for the states to completely revamp their drivers’ license systems, was estimated to run upwards of $23 billion. This fact alone …

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