More Miscellaneous Nonsense

Don't believe that Congress is doing anything about campaign finance reform? They've given 3,361 speeches on the topic since 1987. I guess that they're just too busy talking about it to do anything about it.

Here's an interesting statistic; the chance that an American believes freedom of the press should be "protected at all costs" - 1 in 3. The chance that an American cannot name a single right protected by the First Amendment - 1 in 3. See a trend here?

A great example of the difference between you and politicians is that Wells Fargo ATM's all have a surcharge of $1.50 for non-members everywhere in California but at its ATM in the State Capital building.

Total amount included in the much praised "balanced budget" directed towards the repair of the nation's crumbling school buildings? Absolutely rhymes with Nero. Amount budgeted for eight B-2 bombers nobody but Congressmen want? $17 billion (a low estimate but from the CBO, itself).

"Think globally! Act Loco!" Zerbina, Zippy the Pinhead's girlfriend.

Willie Brown, past legislative leader and current mayor of San Francisco, was selected by the San Francisco chapter of the American Cancer Society as its Humanitarian of the Year for pushing a citywide lawsuit against the tobacco industry. The organization had no answer as to the appropriateness of the award going to America's most tobacco owned politician, receiving over $750,000 in contributions from 1981 to 1995. One of Willie's best quotes on the subject would have to be, "I'm not worried about smoking, it's not my issue. I'm concerned about substance abuse".

The Canadian arm of the World Wildlife Fund nominated Royal Dutch/Shell for the 1997 British Columbia Minister's Environmental Award. Again, it was not explained why a company which has grossly polluted the air and water in Nigeria and was instrumental in the hanging of nine members of the indigenous Ogoni tribe who had protested the company's environmental practices, should be considered for any award whatsoever.

The Federal Aviation Administration has issued a handout entitled, "Ensuring Your Personal Safety - Violence in the Workplace". One of the early signs of possible violent behavior of employees that it identifies is ,"Moral righteousness and believing that the organization is not following its rules and procedures". This could as well be used as a definition for a whistle blower or any other honest employee who refuses to allow his employer to break laws and union contracts without speaking up. No wonder the FAA is such a laughingstock federal department.

Another justification for the return of the power of organized labor is this sad statistic: In constant dollars, the income of the richest 5% of Americans has risen 54% in the last 20 years. In the same period, the bottom 20% of Americans have seen only a 1.5% increase in their income. Farm workers have lost 7% of their income.

A recent RAND research team found that providing drug offenders with treatment is 10 more efficient in reducing crime than any of the draconian punishments advanced as cure-alls by the last three administrations or nine Congresses and 15 more effective than long mandatory sentences. Possibility that treatment will become more available to offenders - what do you think?

One of the most awe-inspiring quotes for 1997 is from our old conservative pal George F. Will. In attacking the UPS strikers (LA Times, 8/24/97, Commentary, Column Right), Will actually stated that, "Some Teamsters were willing to strike UPS because they knew they could get part-time jobs." He later claims that 80% of Americans who work part-time do so because they don't want full-time jobs or benefits. This rich conservative's Ivory Tower must again be short of oxygen. I know of no one who would participate in strike hoping to lose their full-time position and gain a part-time one. Nor does anyone with half a brain believe that anywhere near 80% of part-time workers enjoy that position? I suppose when the average American worker demands fair treatment, conservatives such as Will will always have a hissy fit.

Finally, the law of supply and demand doesn't extend to the medical profession. A recent Dartmouth study found that area with the highest concentration of doctors had the highest average medical costs while areas with little medical services or care givers had the lowest average costs. The government's solution to this conundrum? Why, the 1250 teaching hospitals which receive Medicare payments will be fully reimbursed for discontinuing 25% of resident positions. In other words, rather than maintain the current level of payments to medical professionals, which would limit the number of people entering the profession, they simply continue to pay the full amount to cut the number of new doctors. Any possibility of including lawyers in that group?

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