June 30, 2003

Las Vegas SUN: Canada Plans Injection Site for Addicts

These Canadians are nuts. Sanctioning a 'shooting gallery' for drug addicts is nothing more than abetting antisocial and derelict

"It makes us the first health authority in Canada to have this exception that hopefully will allow us to establish scientifically whether supervised injection sites can improve health outcomes and reduce harm to drug users," Zanocco said"

What have we become? Supporting illegal drug use using this rationale suggests that this behavior is OK. It isn't. Wake up, Vancouver!! You'e gone off the deep end.

June 29, 2003

Better Vermont Regulation

Regulation is part of a continuum that begins with ideas shaped into ideologies which lead to goals that are formulated into policy through the politics of elections, promoted by the winners and codified through the sausage-making legislative process. This process leads to rules and precedents that are codified and implemented case-by-case via regulation. However, regulation is not the final step in this process, judicial action from appeals of regulatory decisions may reset the legislative or regulatory policies and decisions.

Today's regulatory and judicial environments have become the battleground of ideologies creating gridlock and a morass of uncertainty. Regulation should be the table at which thoughtful policy, clearly articulated in statute, is brought to bear on specific projects and proposals which will produce best outcomes for the proponents and Vermonters.

Today's and yesterday's regulatory process is adversarial by design a costly venue where conflicting facts and expert opinions are openly presented, thoughtfully examined and distilled into decisions by intelligent, rational, hopefully unbiased, people seeking the best result for all parties under the policy contained in law.

Unfortunately, we cannot afford the present adversarial system. It is too costly in time and resources. It frequently produces outcomes which may be far more costly than expected with adverse economic and social consequences.

Regulation is hampered by policies that are sometimes ill defined in statute. For example, economic regulation aims for "just and reasonable" prices for services. Compared to what? Environmental regulation stumbles over the criteria of Act 250 and other statutes meant to balance the needs and desires for economic and social infrastructures with the hope of preserving Vermont's natural resources. This infrastructure, whether housing, roads, business or industrial development must somehow accommodate the pressures of population growth, the need for jobs, and for business to provide products and services at a profit.

Unfortunately, regulation in Vermont has become a battleground of ideologies resulting in a costly and unpredictable process that serves as much to increase our costs as to enhance or protect the public good.

Maybe there's a better way. Elections and the political process should be the workbench of ideologies, not the regulatory process. Legislation should articulate clear policy without ambiguous and lofty language left to the regulators and the courts to interpret.

Perhaps we have an opportunity to test a new regulatory model. With the advent of technology whose sponsors say will enable wind energy as a sustainable source of electricity, the ideological debate has begun about the cost, reliability and environmental effects of this energy source.

Why not use this opportunity to create a Vermont policy for wind farms? Let the facts and opinions about wind energy surface in forums outside the legislative and regulatory process. Advocates and opponents should be encouraged to craft a policy that will either allow, under specific criteria, or prohibit wind farms in Vermont. If allowed or even encouraged, ensconce the policy direction in statute. Decide how the regulation of specific proposed projects will be handled in a single process that will incorporate local and state regulation in one body, perhaps constituted from the many agencies claiming a piece of the action. Let's not force a project through the morass of multiple regulatory proceedings.

Here's an opportunity to test our ability to deal efficiently with a controversial issue and formulate policy upstream of regulation. If we are to have Vermont wind farms, let's decide that far in advance of the regulatory forum which will evaluate and decide the merits of specific projects.

We may have much to gain and little to lose in reforming an archaic regulatory process.

June 27, 2003

Energy Fix: Pump the Oil, Raise the Tax (washingtonpost.com)

Energy Fix: Pump the Oil, Raise the Tax (washingtonpost.com)

Krauthammer has expounded a good idea. Let's go for it!!

"It is the most ridiculous debate on the American political scene. We obviously need to do both. Every barrel added to domestic production and every barrel subtracted from consumption has the equivalent effect of reducing our dependence on unstable and unfriendly foreign producers.

Since the invasion of Kuwait 13 years ago, the U.S. military has been on active patrol in the world's oil patch. With American soldiers at risk securing our oil economy, liberals have to be willing to discomfit a few caribou and allow us to start pumping new oil from Alaska. If we'd listened to their arguments the last time around, we would today be without the million barrels a day we get from the North Slope."

Verizon and Union Talks Begin With a Clash on Health Care

Here's the typical union position...Gimme, gimme, gimme. The CWA has a history of opposing change and operational flexibility, while defending mediocrity and slackers. It's too bad that these negotiations must go this way. It really makes no sense for the industry, the country and the workers, at least not the good ones.

Perhaps change will come, but none too soon. Verizon is right not to let Verizon Wireless be a focal point in these discussions. They should do everything legally possible to keep the CWA out of Verizon Wireless.

"Mr. Bahr insisted that the union would resist efforts to pay more for health coverage.
'We find it unacceptable,' Mr. Bahr said, 'for any company to want to shift health care costs to our members while they refuse to take a strong position on how we solve a national crisis' of soaring health care costs and a large number of uninsured."

Gays Celebrate, and Plan Campaign for Broader Rights

The United States is on a slippery slope to disintegration of family and community as we have known it and on which the Constitution is based. The outflow and spin that gays and others will put on this decision will be used to bully through other parts of their agenda. Marriage is between one man and one woman.

The Title of the NY Times article suggest the agenda. The quote below will be the stance that the other side will take.
Gays Celebrate, and Plan Campaign for Broader Rights: "But the authorities in some states with sodomy laws warned against interpreting today's ruling too broadly. The Virginia attorney general, Jerry W. Kilgore, said the court had not created 'any new rights for any particular group of people or the general population.'
Mr. Kilgore, in a statement, also said the ruling did not prevent states 'from recognizing that marriage is fundamentally between a man and a woman.'"

June 23, 2003

Governor Dean Announces

Gov. Dean launched his campaign today against Mr. Bush and his 'right wing' team. He'll tap liberal sentiment but what policies will he advocate beyond the slogan "You have the power?"

June 22, 2003

Mr. Dean Pandering for Democratic Support

This excerpt form a NY Times article June 22. 2003:
"We were misled," Howard Dean, a former Vermont governor and a Democratic presidential hopeful, said today on the NBC News program "Meet the Press." The United States was led to war, he said, "based on facts that turned out not to be accurate. I think that's pretty serious."
Mr. Dean continues to beat on the President for the war in Iraq. I have yet to hear the alternative he would have exercised to dump Mr. Hussein. Perhaps he would have et him die of natural causes in office??

The same article suggests Mr Hussein may have been killed in a missile strike last week. Time will tell. I wonder if Mr. Dean thinks we should kill Mr. Hussein and his sons?

Speak up, Mr. Dean. What's your solution??

June 20, 2003

Up in Smoke

What should we think about these left wing Iranian crazies in Europe setting themselves on fire? Does government or society have a responsibility to prevent this exercise of free speech? Immolation certainly attracts attention and these burnings are dutifully covered by the media, but do they help the protesters' cause?

My view is let them do what they will as long as they cause no damage to others or to property not their own. We certainly don't want this to become a new form of arson as the Palestinian 'homocide bombers' have become a form of murder.

June 19, 2003

This From Eric Raymond

A "10 reasons why I'm not a conservative or a liberal." His exaggeration sharpens the thinking for the basic question: Who am I and what do I believe about the politics of the world I live in? Worth a read and a half-hearted chuckle.

June 18, 2003

Hamas Motivation Leaves Few Options

Hamas will not negotiate. They must be eliminated. How can there be peace when terrorists desire nothing except that Israel cease to exist? This fundamental belief by Palestinian extremists shows that a negotiated political solution is impossible. Hamas has broad public support among the Palestinians. Diplomats don't have a chance at success as long as Hamas has popular support in the street and funding from Arab sources.

But Mr. Bush must go through the motions to show he tried for peace in the Middle East in order to win his second term.

Why will people not pay attention to the Biblical realities of "The Promised Land?" God does not renege on His promises.

No US Troops to Israel/Palestine

The Bush administration would make a serious mistake to send troops to Palestine or Israel. They would be nothing more than targets for Palestinian terrorists. This is a bad idea. I hope Mr. Card's remarks are only a trial balloon. I would never support such a move.

There is no possible peace in this area of the world. The conflict is spiritual and it does not have a political solution.

June 17, 2003

Racial Profiling - In Some Circumstances It's OK

Arab-American and civil rights groups charged that the loopholes in the policy would allow agents to continue to engage in racial profiling under the claim of national security.

"This policy acknowledges racial profiling as a national concern, but it does nothing to stop it," Laura Murphy, the head of the Washington office of the American Civil Liberties Union, said in an interview. "It's largely a rhetorical statement. The administration is trying to soften its image, but it's smoke and mirrors."

Profiling IS appropriate in many circumstances. Can it be abused? Sure, but there is a place in effective law enforcement for profiling and responsible officers should have it as a tool in their law enforcement kit.

June 15, 2003

No US Troops, Mr. Friedman

Because if the two sides cannot emerge from this dead end, then you can forget about a two-state solution, which is what both Hamas's followers and the extremist Jewish settlers want. They each want a one-state solution, in which their side will control all of Israel, the West Bank and Gaza. The one-state solution would mean the end of the Zionist enterprise, because Israel can rule such an entity, in which there would soon be more Arabs than Jews, only by apartheid or ethnic cleansing. It would also mean the end of Palestinian nationalism, because the Israelis will crush the Palestinians rather than be evicted. That is the outcome we are heading toward, though, unless the only reality principle left, the United States of America, really intervenes — with its influence, its wisdom and, if necessary, its troops.

Thomas Friedman has it mostly right, but we must not send US troops to Israel while helping to solve this intractable problem. I very much doubt that we will see the Palestinians and the Israelis at peace in my lifetime, if ever. In the end this conflict is a spiritual problem not amenable to a political solution.

June 10, 2003

Iraq Is Free from This

Mona Charen writes that the holocaust in Iraq is over. How can we not be thankful for the end of that butcherous regime. But we do need to account for the WMDs. The worst case scenario is they are already in the hands of terrorist. The best case is they are buried or dumped in the Tigris.

Meanwhile we have the political rantings against the Administration for not finding the WMDs or Saddam. We need to find both...and Osama, too.

June 1, 2003

George Bush is Real

While visirting Russia and Poland recently, the following is a quote from a NYTimes story about remarks Mr. Bush made in Poland.

"Reporters who accompanied the couple said the president seemed restless and unsettled as he stood next to two reconstructed ovens used to cremate Jews killed in the gas chambers, and afterward, he related the experience to the attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon and his campaign against terrorism.

"The death camps still bear witness," he said. "They remind us that evil is real and must be called by name and must be opposed."

History, he said, "asks more than memory, because hatred and aggression and murderous ambition are still alive in the world."

President Bush is correct to call evil by its name. Anyone who has visited the Nazi death camps or The Holocaust Museum in Washington, D.C cannot help but know that evil exists and must be opposed or it will thrive.

Let's see if the UN can right the Congo wrongs and stop the horrific savagery on display there as tribal rivalries overcome the rule of law and hundreds of thousands are slaughtered.

Friedman's Theory of Everything

Response to Friedman's 6/1/03 NYT editorial: "A Theory of Everything" (sent 6/1/03)


Your theory is fundamentally correct. People whose economies, political systems, technologies and culture do not mesh with ours feel ostracized and, perhaps, wish they were Americans...or at least much closer to what we are (warts and all) then the state in which they find themselves.

But your theory does not account for all the reasons for malaise and feelings against us. Consider the possibilities beyond 'hatred:' jealousy or envy; fear of being left behind because they perceive their governments as weak and irrelevant, yet they depend upon them for their livelihood, or medical care or patronage or pensions or...whatever.

Consider that the protestors who garner so much publicity for ranting against globalization and America may not represent the views of the common people in their countries. Consider also that the publicity is what they really want. There may be a smidgen of the truth in their rantings, but mostly they are over the edge and need their egos stroked, which the press dutifully accommodates.

Consider also that, as far as I know, people do not clamor to enter other countries as they clamor to live in ours...

You travel extensively and seem to do your best to find out what's on the minds of people in those places. That's good, though I suspect that you talk mostly with other journalists, the intelligensia or the ruling elites. Consider that they may not represent the general feelings of people. They may be speaking for the power structure in those countries and America is a threat to them if they do not embrace the reality of the world we live in that is shaped by America.

Your Theory of Everything may reflect only the part of the elephant that you are touching.

I will keep reading your columns as you refine your theory. Keep at it. Your insights are valuable to me, if not always correct. I appreciate your work. Unfortunately I missed your speech in person at St. Michael's College in Vermont a few months ago, but it was well formed and well presented.