The Press-Dispatch

February 13, 2013

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Opinion C-2 Wednesday, February 13, 2013 The Press-Dispatch Observations by Thomas Sowell Prophets and losses Now that the federal government is playing an ever larger role in the economy, a look at Washington���s track record seems to be long overdue. The recent release of the Federal Reserve Board���s transcripts of its deliberations back in 2007 shows that their economic prophecies were way off. How much faith should we put in their prophecies today���or the policies based on those prophecies? Even after the housing market began its collapse in 2006, Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke said in 2007, ���The impact on the broader economy and financial markets of the problems in the subprime market seems likely to be contained.��� It turned out that financial disasters in the housing market were not ���contained,��� but spread out to affect the whole Ameri- Sign project is example of trouble in U.S. government By Andy Heuring Pike County recently started the process of replacing all of their road signs through a federally mandated project. Each and every intersection in Pike County will get new road signs. They will be slightly larger and easier to see than the signs already in place. Seems like a decent idea on the surface. However those new signs are coming at a cost of $481,000. That is $481,000 in Pike County. Pike County is the eighth smallest county in Indiana, which is the 16th largest state in the United States. So if it costs $481,000 to do this in Pike County. Just think how much is it costing to do it nation wide. When you figure there are 92 counties in Indiana and 50 states in the United States it starts to be a little mind The no-spin zone���by Bill O���Reilly Born on the Bayou KRAEMER, La.��� Roland Torres wants you to know a few things. He lives in a rural area where life is pretty straightforward. His family has been active on the bayou for five generations, witnessing a daily battle of survival of the fittest. The birds, animals and reptiles who inhabit the vast swamps of southcentral Louisiana live only as long as their wits and luck hold out. They are on their own 24/7. So is Torres. A former game warden, Torres is of Spanish descent and still speaks the language of his Cajun ancestors: French. He makes a decent living giving tours of the bayou and asks for nothing from the powers that be. What he has, he earns. He does not understand why some Americans accept government assistance. In this very poor part of America, someone who works boggling. If you just figure there is an average 75 counties per state and it costs $500,000 a county, which is probably a low estimate, the cost of the project to taxpayers would be almost $1.9 billion. This isn���t to provide signs at dangerous unmarked intersections. It is to replace signs already in place with slightly larger and vastly more expensive new signs. This project is a blatant example of what is wrong with Washington, DC and why our country is broke and in debt to the tune of $16 trillion. Instead of coming up with something that is needed, they have mandated nearly $2 billion of waste, replacing already existing What is in it for me? signs with new signs that A common reply one is display exactly the same likely to hear when asked to do a favor is ���what���s in information. hard can still earn a decent living. Torres also has guns. And they came in handy immediately after Hurricane Katrina, when a horde of folks fled New Orleans about 70 miles away. Torres tells me how ���the good, the bad and the ugly��� flooded his zone, looking for safety from the storm that just glanced his bayou. When some city thugs began to show menace, Torres calmly produced his arsenal. The danger quickly passed. For almost 70 years, Torres has lived on the bayou. He has never ventured out of Louisiana, yet he loves America. He cherishes the values his family handed down to him. He and his wife have been married for 51 years. They met in high school at age 16. Roland calls his wife an ���angel.��� They have three sons, two of whom work the bayou with Torres. They are entirely self-reliant. If he had to, Torres says, he could survive in the wilderness with a penknife, a spool of thread, some matches and a cache of dried rice. The rice is for luring the birds that he would trap with the thread and cook with the matches. He says he could live for years off the land, even explaining how to eat sawgrass. ���That can keep you alive if you know what you���re doing,��� he assures me. Torres watches some of the news programs on cable TV. Almost every modest dwelling in the swampland has cable. He likes the conservative shows. He doesn���t quite understand the big social changes taking place. He protects his family with guns. Why should that bother anyone, he asks. I have no answer. To Torres, President Obama is an enigma. He doesn���t understand ���income redistribution.��� Torres charges a fair price to show you his world, and you can take it or leave it. If you leave it, he���ll find other work. There���s always something a man can do to feed his family. Millions of Americans believe exactly what Roland Torres believes. But they are seldom heard. Not many live shots coming out of the bayou. Points to ponder���by Ford Bond The child demands what it wants now and wants all it can get and will continue that demand for as long as it wants. Parents soon realize for their own mental health and for the well being of the child that this conduct cannot be allowed to become part of the child���s personality. The ancient Proverb reminded the parents to ���train up the child.��� Such is the world you and I live in, and those who call themselves Christians are not immune to the tugs of life and possessions. As the season of Lent begins, it is the season for Christians to take stock and examine where they are in life and in their relationship with God. it for me��� or ���what do I get out of it?��� Often when the noun ���I��� is used, the person is demanding something that he/she either has not earned or does not deserve. How many sermons have ter all, isn���t a bill. It���s a set of been preached about the four general principles that Prodigal Son: the ingrate almost can���t help but lead to offspring who demanded the same kind of deal that from his father his inheriwas crafted in ���86. tance before his father was Take the fourth one: ���Es- dead. But does that not entablish an improved process capsulate much of the modfor admitting future work- ern world? ers to serve our nation���s The constant demands work force needs, while si- of what life can give can be multaneously protecting all seen in the typical toddler workers.��� That���s the kind of who is driven by impulse. line that may work well in a speech, but the devil���s in the details. What actual solutions would result from that? We don���t need any more ���comprehensive��� approaches that result in bills so long no lawmaker actually reads them. Fixing our immigration system requires a more Democratic Senator Robert Menenthoughtful, step-by-step pro- dez of New Jersey is having a bad cess, one that tackles each month. He recently wrote a check to problem in turn. a large donor for nearly $60,000 reimAmong the steps Con- bursing him for the generous gift of gress should take: trips on a private jet. The paperwork ������ Enhance border secu- had ���fallen through the cracks,��� an rity efforts. By using tech- aide explained. Under investigation nologies such as unmanned by the FBI regarding allegaaerial vehicles and sophisti- tions that he engaged undercated cameras and sensors, age prostitutes during visits the U.S. Border Patrol can to the Dominican Republic better monitor the border (the destination of those jet and halt illegal crossings. trips), the senator was also ������ Take the needs of the recently embarrassed when economy into account. We it emerged that an 18-yearneed a targeted temporary old intern on his staff who worker program that would was helping with immigrarespond to market and work- tion issues was 1) an illegal place demands, and supply alien and 2) a registered a rotating, temporary work- sex offender. Two AP stoforce. ries suggest that the young ������ Reinvigorate interi- man���s arrest was delayed or enforcement measures. by federal officials until after Nov. 6, This means measures and when Menendez was safely reelected programs such as Social to a second 6-year term. Security No-Match, ranNone of this came up when Menendom workplace inspections, dez, the presumptive new chairman of checks of I-9 forms and E- the Senate Foreign Relations CommitVerify. These help to dis- tee, was interviewed on ABC���s ���This courage the use of illegal la- Week.��� Martha Raddatz confined her bor. They also send the mes- questions to immigration and such. sage that we take the en- The press often claims that scandal forcement of immigration stories are interesting chiefly if they laws seriously. involve ���hypocrisy������as when a sena������ Establish fair, compas- tor who voted for the Defense of Marsionate and practical solu- riage Act was caught attempting sometions for unlawfully pres- thing in an airport men���s room. ent populations. ���The cirThe definition of hypocrisy is slipcumstances of populations pery. Though misbehavior in men���s that remain unlawfully pres- rooms is never a good thing, it is theent in the U.S. are varied,��� oretically possible to be homosexual Heritage Foundation im- (closeted or otherwise) and genuinely migration expert Jessica support the Defense of Marriage Act. Zuckerman writes. ���ConMaybe the Craig story was too salagress should examine these cious for the press to resist���Craig was a Republican after all. But here���s the Continued on page 3 Getting immigration right By Edwin J. Feulner, Ph.D. A bipartisan effort is under way to overhaul the nation���s immigration system, improve border security and provide a path to citizenship for those here illegally. Stop me if you���ve heard this one before. Those of us who have been in Washington for a while certainly have. The plan announced recently by a group of senators dubbed the ���Gang of Eight��� may be touted as a new and novel approach. But it sounds eerily familiar to the one enacted in 1986. At that time, greater border security and better enforcement of our laws governing immigration was promised in exchange for granting citizenship to illegal immigrants. The 1986 law called for ramped-up enforcement of immigration laws and pledged better control of the flow of those here illegally. In return, the nearly 3 million illegal immigrants present in the country at the time received amnesty. It didn���t quite work out that way, however. While the citizenship part came through all right, the security and enforcement part failed to materialize. Today, there are more than 11 million illegal immigrants in the United States. It���s a familiar tactic. On budget deals, for example, politicians will be assured they���ll make deep, dramatic cuts in spending if only they���ll agree to tax hikes. They take the bait, the deal passes���and only the tax hikes come through. It���s time for conservatives to stop playing Charlie Brown to the left���s Lucy, who���despite her rosy promises���keeps pulling the football away. Does that mean do nothing on immigration? Far from it. Immigration reform is long overdue. We need to get smart about it. Now is the perfect time to do it, when there���s no actual legislation on the table. The Gang of Eight plan, af- can economy and economies overseas. Then Chairman Bernanke said: ���It is an interesting question why what looks like $100 billion or so of credit losses in the subprime market has been reflected in multiple trillions of dollars of losses in paper wealth.��� What is an even more interesting question is why we should put such faith and such power in the hands of a man and an institution that have been so wrong before. This is not just a question of a bad guess by Ben Bernanke. The previous chairman of the Federal Reserve System, Alan Greenspan, likewise misjudged the consequencContinued on page 3 Lent is a period of reflection, meditation, self-examination, and affliction of the soul. The affliction that is found in the Bible is confined to fasting and abstaining from sensual/emotional activities with one���s spouse. Ash Wednesday, which begins the preparation for Easter, is little noticed among most Protestant churches. This is unfortunate because it is a rich season of expectation and coming to grips with how difficult it is to control one���s carnal nature. The Lenten discipline practiced by many churches asks its members to abstain from an item of food that is a regular part of their life. The expressed purpose is obvious: to afflict one���s soul and recognize the struggle for mastery. Do you think Jesus did not wrestle with his flesh? How often does the Christian fall back upon the Continued on page 3 A woman���s perspective���by Mona Charen Corrupting we will go confusing part: Why is it not hypocrisy for a liberal Democrat to use underage prostitutes? Are Democrats in favor of this kind of exploitation of girls? The non-lewd aspects of the Menendez unspooling scandal are actually more important because they illuminate the absolutely inescapable corruption that accompanies the expansion of government. To its credit, The New York Times has reported that the New Jersey senator was the guest of Dr. Solomon Melgen on those visits to the Dominican Republic. Melgen, a generous donor to Menendez���s campaigns and to the Democratic Party���he contributed more than $700,000 to a PAC aimed at helping Democrats win the Senate���recently purchased a company that provides port security. His company had apparently offered its services to a reluctant Dominican Republic. The Dominican customs inspector described the contract, estimated to be worth $500 million over 20 years, as ���exorbitant.��� The American Chamber of Commerce on the island opposed the deal. Melgen, an ophthalmologist, is nobody���s idea of a security specialist. The Chamber���s executive vice president told the Times that Melgen ���has, to my knowledge, no previous experience in port security.��� Enter Senator Menendez. He reportedly asked officials at the State Department to lobby Dominican officials to approve the deal. Menendez���s chief of staff explained that the senator did nothing unethical. He has always ���fought for U.S. companies that are not being treated fairly or have is- sues pending in other countries.��� Except it also emerges that another key beneficiary of the port deal would be Senator Menendez���s aide and close associate of 20 years, Pedro Pablo Permuy. Permuy was tapped to run the security company���s operations. It���s certainly possible that Senator Menendez always speaks up for abused American companies that aren���t getting fair treatment in other countries. But then, there are other explanations for his behavior. Consider that in 2009, according to the Washington Post, Menendez intervened in a federal audit of Dr. Melgen. Melgen was being investigated by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services for fraud. Menendez protested to investigators that the billing rules were ambiguous. Last week, the FBI descended upon Dr. Melgen���s offices in Miami and carted off dozens of boxes of documents. The FBI may be investigating Medicare fraud, the ports deal, the underage prostitutes or matters we have not yet heard about. What the story illustrates is the way government power is bent to private purposes. President Obama entered office boasting that lobbyists would be prohibited from serving in his administration ���thus keeping corruption at bay. In fact, the White House has freely granted waivers for the people it wanted, and at least 374 Obama administration officials have cycled through the revolving door. But as the Menendez story shows, the presence of lobbyists in key posts is beside the point when elected officials misuse their power for friends and cronies. Barring lobbyists is window dressing. Corruption is the handmaiden of government. Remember that on Tuesday evening when the president sings its praises.

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