My take on the news

Rigging district lines to benefit Cicilline


REDISTRICTING TRAVESTY: For the redistricting commission to allow Congressman Cicilline to insert influence on the proposed redrawn Congressional district boundaries is an absolute travesty! The proposed lines shift all of Democrat-leaning south Providence to Cicilline’s district while shifting more independent Smithfield, North Smithfield and Burrillville to Congressman Langevin’s district. This is a clear attempt by the Democrat dominated commission to help Cicilline in his upcoming congressional race against two very strong Republican challengers. It is heavy-handed, immoral, and likely illegal, and it must be stopped! Other problems include legislators who opposed the election of House Speaker Fox to his current position losing up to 80% of their current constituents in this redistricting. In a state whose political history is replete with corruption and suspicion of wrongdoing, it would have been nice for RI to have followed the lead of some other states and appointed an independent commission to handle redistricting – thus, keeping lawmakers with political scores to settle out of the process. No matter how redistricting ends up, there will be suspicion of corruption simply because politicians were involved.

STAGGERING FIGURES: Few Americans realize the extent of it, but our country is awash in debt to public service union employees to the tune of $1.1 trillion dollars – $690 billion for retirement and $418 billion for retiree health care. There are, of course, movements afoot throughout the country to increase the retirement age for public servants and to lower their retirement pay somewhat. The larger question Americans should all be asking, however, is whether we need so many public servants. Do we need so many police SWAT teams? Do we need so many firefighters (what happened to the very effective volunteer fire departments)? Do we need so many functionaries in other government offices who spend much of their time creating activities to justify their positions? Smaller government is usually better government – and it’s far cheaper!

EUROPEAN UNITY: First, it was open borders; then came a common currency. Now, after three years of financial turmoil, European Union members have agreed for their budgets to be overseen by a central EU office in Brussels. Only Great Britain is holding out. Just as the U.S. moved somewhat slowly to unite a group of disparate states through the incremental centralization of power in a federal government, it appears Europe is stumbling along on the same path. China is now our greatest economic competitor and certainly a future military competitor; could a United States of Europe be far behind?

OBAMA TEMPORIZING: Trying to please everyone usually pleases no one. President Obama hasn’t learned this lesson. Trying to shift his left-wing policies toward the middle in order to enhance his reelection odds among independents, he has recently made policy decisions that alternate between pleasing and irking supporters and independents alike. He scrapped a clean air regulation - to the delight of businesses, and overruled the FDA’s decision to allow over-the-counter birth control for teenage girls – to the delight of conservatives. He punted on the Canada to Texas oil pipeline decision by pushing it off until after the 2012 election – pleasing environmentalists and infuriating unions and businesses because of the immediate loss of 20,000 new jobs. He seems to be all over the map with his policy decisions based purely on what his advisors deem best for his reelection chances. Most Americans know that immediately after the election Obama will return to his left-wing, liberal roots and we will have to live with it for another four years. Smoke and mirrors are fine for magicians; they truly hide what the magician is really doing. Unfortunately, Obama is no magician. We know what he’s up to!

NLRB TYRANNY AVERTED: Thanks to South Carolina Senator Lindsey Graham and other Republican senators, the U.S. Senate has put on hold President Obama’s appointments to the national Labor Relations Board by refusing to confirm his latest nominee. The NLRB was prepared to charge Boeing, the leading U.S. aircraft manufacturer, with labor violations after the company decided to move some of its production from Seattle to the right-to-work state of South Carolina. Although Boeing has since caved to the NLRB threats and reached an agreement with its union to keep certain production in Seattle, the Senate hold on appointments will prevent the NLRB from making additional anti-business and anti-jobs decisions since, without Obama appointments, the board will be without a legal quorum. Thank goodness someone is looking out for our country’s economy.

GOODYBYE COLONEL POTTER: Although he wasn’t a real Army colonel, the actor who portrayed Colonel Sherman Potter for 10 years on the enormously popular TV show, M*A*S*H, Harry Morgan, died last week. His portrayal of an intelligent, warm, witty, and very caring but decisive leader provided a great model for young Army officers of what a “real” colonel should be. From a very grateful retired colonel who aspired to your attributes: Goodbye Colonel Potter – you done good!


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How about lowering your retirement pay.

Thursday, December 15, 2011