Be Thankful

Even as bad as it gets, you can always find someone who has it worse than you.  All you have to do in some cases is just look around.  Be thankful for what you have and remember the good things in life this week.

A 72 year old man was sentenced to 18 months in prison by an Oklahoma City Judge not long ago.  And it just stuck in my craw, like a two day old pizza, it left a horrible taste in my mouth.  What has gone wrong, terribly wrong, in our society?

The man in question had robbed a bank of $560 in cash with a toy pistol.  The man told the judge that he had just run out viable options, he had reached the end of his string, and he had to do something.  He had been taking care of his 90 year old mother, and the bills kept piling up and he didn’t have any money.

He was trying desperately to keep her out of a nursing home and had been taking care of her for over four years, while he himself, lived in a veteran’s home.  He had applied to 29 jobs only to be rejected and he finally landed employment delivering pizza, only to be fired, when he failed to locate the address on one delivery.  He told the judge, that was the last straw, and that is when he robbed the bank and got apprehended.

You know, it is a sad thing.

We can spend hundreds of billions of dollars in Iraq to keep a bunch of vermin in the Middle East alive and basically unhappy.  We can spend $3.2 billion to send a probe to Saturn to take fuzzy pictures and send them back.  But an old man and an old lady in Oklahoma, we let them starve too death.

There has to be something wrong here somewhere, y’know what I mean?  If we are to see true change in this country, this would be a good place to start.

Stand up … Be an American … Be as they say in the Army … All you can be.

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Obama’s Dilemma

If anyone out there is thinking it is almost over and Bush and the Boys are “going to fade off into the sunset” and a new day will prevail.  If you find yourself sitting back and taking it easy because Mr. Obama is now in the cat bird seat … softly hummin and singing  “Happy Trails to you, happy Trails to you, until we meet again.”

Take a deep breath, and think again.

In May, White House Chief of Staff Josh Bolten issued a memo announcing that, as far as last-minute regulations were concerned, the Bush Administration would take the high road.  Agency heads were instructed to “resist the historical tendency of administrations to increase regulatory activity in their final months.”  Bolten set a June 1 deadline for proposing new regulations, and ordered that none be issued after November 1, except in “extraordinary circumstances.”

Unfortunately, Bolten’s deadline seems to have come and gone without anyone paying much attention and a fair share of changes are now taking place before Mr. Obama takes office.  Some will be of course, very difficult at best, for the incoming President to remove.

It seems Mr. Bush in his almost maniacal frenzy to be remembered in history (his so-called legacy) is wholesaling out new governmental rules daily.  Regulatory changes that are in some cases very detrimental for the American taxpayer and consumer, but as with all things in the Bush administration, very lucrative for the business sector.

The Bush administration in the past week has adopted several controversial regulatory changes long sought by business groups, drawing criticism from congressional Democrats. The changes include new rules that open the way for commercial development of oil shale on federal land, allow truckers to drive for longer periods, and add certain restrictions on employee time off under the Family and Medical Leave Act.  Just to name a few, and there will be more I am sure.

Literally millions of taxpayers asked the federal government to leave the pristine areas of the west as “off limits” to oil exploration only to be ignored.  Some 4,300 oil leases currently held in the Gulf of Mexico are not being moved on by the oil companies and others nationwide lie dormant and unused.  These new rules will open almost 2 million acres of land in Western states to oil shale development. Environmentalists say oil shale development, which involves extracting liquid oil from solid rock by heating it, increases greenhouse gas emissions and requires intensive water use.

Why the big push to open up even more public lands to these petroleum whores?

Another rule eliminating the mandatory, independent advice of government scientists in decisions about whether dams, highways and other projects are likely to harm [endangered] species looked likely to meet the deadline, leaving the only chance for a quick reversal to Congress.  So instead of “re-writing science” as has been the case of the Bush administration in the past, now it will be permissible to just circumvent science altogether.  More >>>

Not good if you are wolf eking out a living outside the confines of Yellowstone, or a Soft Shell turtle in Florida trying to raise a family I am afraid.

And if you don’t believe the push is on to get it all in place consider this.  Last month, the head of the endangered species program corralled 15 experts in Washington to sort through 200,000 comments in 32 hours.  Which as any one person can clearly see is an incredibly daunting task for even the most competent.

What we have gotten is nothing short of pure lip-service on important issues from Bush and his cronies.  As we are being placated with useless rhetoric and Texas country euphemisms they are relaxing pollution-control standards for power plants or allowing loaded weapons into national parks, the Bush administration is scrambling to approve or change as many federal rules as it can before it hands off power to President-elect Barack Obama.

Which has sadly become somewhat of a “tradition” in Washington DC every past administration has taken advantage of this loathsome practice.

This surge of ‘midnight regulations’ presents a tough question for the next administration?  What can it do to void rules it thinks should be undone? It appears the only choice Mr. Obama will have is his use of ‘executive authority without waiting for congressional action’ to reverse many of Bush’s policies.

But that authority has its limits.

While executive orders and rules that are not yet in effect can swiftly be reversed or altered by Mr. Obama’s appointees or his own executive orders, rules that go into effect before he takes office will be extremely difficult to undo. Rescinding a rule would require the new administration to re-start the rule-making process, which can take years and prompt legal challenges.

Which effectively will leave the country much like a dressed up hog for the market, all tied up and bound for the butcher.  This is a alteration of governmental policy we did not need by any stretch of the imagination.

Bush’s newly installed midnight regulations also could be challenged by public interest groups, who are already considering legal actions to get some of them overturned. It appears the much heralded “change” has arrived as promised, only a tad bit early, in the hands of what I have always considered “the bad guys.”

There are more than a dozen new rules in today’s Federal Register, including at least two proposed rules (which agencies were supposed to stop creating by July 1). A few examples: A final rule from the EPA sets limits on a pesticide called ipconazole used by agricultural companies; . . A final Commerce Department rule allows fishermen to use ‘trawl gear’ to catch halibut in Alaska; environmental groups say is detrimental to the environment.

Watch for the proposed rules on the length of time truck drivers can work. According to Public Citizen President Joan Claybrook, a long-time auto safety advocate, the rule “is practically identical to two rules that the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia struck down last year” (and in 2004) after Public Citizen challenged the regulations.

Under the rule, drivers may continue to log a physically and mentally demanding 77 hours behind the wheel in a seven-day period, take a mere 34 hours off, then hit the road to do it all over.”  Truckers are now working for what is tantamount to slave wages anyway, this will just allow the problem to be exacerbated even more, it will solve nothing.

We tell them no, they ignore us, and come right back for more.  Public opinion, constitution issues, it is as if they simply do not exist under the rule of these thugs.  This is not good government this is “ideology.”

The next time you are considering voting for a “good ole boy, a “C” average beer drinking buddy, to run your country, stop and think about the legacy he left for you and your children to endure.

As Dr. Phil would say ….. What were we thinking?

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Related: The Best Law You Never Heard Of.