WARWICK SEWER ISSUE: I was taken to task by two online readers last week about my article on Warwick School Committee member Eugene Nadeau who attributed Narragansett Bay’s bacterial pollution to rainwater runoff that contains fecal matter from animals rather than being caused by humans who live near the water and use leaching cesspools. Supporting Nadeau’s contention, these readers argued strongly that rainwater runoff is indeed the primary culprit causing the high bacteria count and that it contains far more animal fecal matter than human. One reader said the DEM refuses to analyze the Bay’s bacteria to determine whether or not it is primarily animal-generated. Since it would cost only a few hundred dollars to conduct the test, the reader contends that DEM knows the problem is caused by animals and doesn’t want to prove it since such results would lessen the importance of extending the Warwick sewer system to the remaining 35 percent of households without access.
It seems to defy logic that animals, which are far fewer in number than humans and that produce far less excrement, are responsible for the bacteria. However, since it would cost so little for the DEM to settle the matter through a simple test of the Bay’s bacteria, the test should be conducted. Warwick taxpayers help fund the DEM and they deserve to know which is the primary cause of bacteria in the water - rainwater runoff or cesspool leaching. If it is indeed rainwater runoff, then the importance of extending the sewer system lessens dramatically and maybe it shouldn’t be such a high priority. DEM, do your job!
OUR CONGRESSIONAL DELEGATION DOESN’T READ BILLS: It is clear from the flood insurance mess that Rhode Island’s congressional delegation – Senators Reed and Whitehouse, and Representatives Langevin and Cicilline – don’t read the extremely important legislation that comes before them. Oblivious to the tremendous increase in flood insurance rates it would cause their constituents, all four voted in favor of the 2012 Biggert-Waters Flood Insurance Reform Act that mandated the increased rates. There is absolutely no way these four politicians would have consciously voted for a bill that would raise the ire of so many home state voters. It’s simple: they didn’t read the bill.
They are now rapidly backtracking trying to reverse the immediate impact of the rate increases by supporting legislation that would require a delay and an “affordability study”. Where were they when this was being discussed on the senate and house floors? Where were their staffers when a cursory review of the pending legislation would have made it clear that rates would have to increase dramatically for Rhode Islanders? It is understandable that senators and congressmen from interior states would support the rate-increase legislation since their constituents have always helped subsidize the artificially low rates, but for an ocean state congressional delegation to support the bill without question is deplorable! Shame on all four of our senators and congressmen!
TAKING OBAMACARE FROM BAD TO WORSE IN RHODE ISLAND: The inappropriately-named Affordable Care Act (Obamacare) is unaffordable to millions of middle-class Americans who aren’t poor enough to have their health insurance costs subsidized by the federal government with our tax dollars. And, through its iron-fisted ability to force Americans to do what the government wants, Obamacare fines Americans who refuse to purchase health insurance. For healthy, young Americans whose income puts them barely above poverty level, it’s either pay Peter or pay Paul - but pay for other people’s health care whether you like it or not. A national healthcare tax, while unpalatable, would be far better than the despicable act of forcing people to buy something they neither want nor need.
But what’s even more despicable is being talked about right here in Rhode Island. Providence City Councilor Samuel D. Zurier, a Democrat, has proposed that our General Assembly pass legislation that would levy an additional fine – a state fine – on Rhode Islanders who refuse to purchase health insurance. Zurier thinks the federal fine isn’t punitive enough. He wants the state to add its jackboots to the federal crushing of healthy, young Rhode Islanders who have made financial decisions to pay the federal fine rather than purchase unaffordable health insurance. He wants to sink these young Rhode Islanders deeper into debt, perhaps to the point where they will vote with their feet and leave our state - accelerating the decline of our floundering economy.
Zurich’s ill-conceived, illogical proposal would add insult to injury! Any legislator who listens to him will be committing political suicide.
OBAMA’S INSINCERE “SORRY” ISN’T GOOD ENOUGH: To the 3.5 million Americans whose affordable health insurance policies have been cancelled because of Obamacare, President Obama’s half-hearted “I’m sorry that they are finding themselves in this situation based on assurances they got from me,” just doesn’t cut the mustard. In his usual arrogant fashion, Obama didn’t apologize for lying to America. And he provided no plan to help those with cancelled policies or the rest of the 15 million Americans who are potentially in the same situation.
Obama needs to stop dissembling, stop slyly finding ways to circumvent veracity, and finally be truthful about Obamacare.
But most important, our president needs to apologize for lying! Period!
FRANCE IDENTIFIES THE REAL DANGER FROM IRAN: The permanent members of the U.N. Security Council – the U.S., U.K., France, Russia and China – along with Germany, were thought to be close to a deal with Iran over its nuclear program and possible lifting of punishing sanctions.
Unfortunately, the negotiations almost exclusively centered on delaying Iran’s enrichment of uranium above 5 percent purity, freezing and protecting Iran’s current stock of 20 percent enriched (near-weapons-grade) uranium, and about restricting Iran from adding to its current number of uranium enriching centrifuges.
So, if agreement could be reached on those issues it would be a good deal for us, right? Wrong! First, it only delays Iran’s nuclear program while removing almost all sanctions. But, the more important thing is what’s missing from the proposed agreement - Iran’s plan for plutonium! And France seems to be the only country that recognizes it.
Iran is building a heavy-water reactor at Arak, Iran that will produce plutonium. It will be completed in about a year. Both uranium 235 and plutonium are isotopes of uranium; however, a simple fissile weapon requires far less plutonium than one relying solely on enriched uranium. Once Iran begins using the reactor, it will be too late for any nation to destroy it since bombing it would release plutonium - an element far more radioactive and far more dangerous to the world than enriched uranium.
Of all the countries in the negotiations, only France has balked at signing an agreement that doesn’t include restrictions on the plutonium-producing reactor. Kudos to the French for recognizing what Secretary of State John Kerry and President Obama are purposefully overlooking in their quest for a quick agreement that might boost Obama’s approval ratings in the wake of recent presidential debacles over Obamacare, the IRS, and the NSA. Much to the chagrin of Kerry and Obama, French negotiators called the almost-agreement a “sucker’s deal” and refused to go along with it.
Congress has been substantially more aggressive than the White House about pushing sanctions against Iran. Our congressional leaders need to remain strong and, following the French lead, ensure that Iran loses all nuclear weapons capabilities - to include its future plutonium producing capability - before any sanctions are lifted.
QUOTE OF THE WEEK: State Representative Deborah Ruggiero, co-chair of the panel studying how Rhode Island can change its laws to allow submission of mental health and drug addiction records to the National Instant Criminal Background Check System, speaking of the importance of submitting such information to prevent purchase of firearms by those whose mental state might lead to violence, said, “We have to look at the person and not the gun. We have to make sure there are no more horrible tragedies.”
Although this is somewhat of a turn-around for Ruggiero who has previously supported gun takeaways from law-abiding citizens, her comment is appropriate. As gun owners have always proclaimed, “Guns don’t kill people; people kill people.”