Don’t do stupid stuff.

In theory there is no difference between theory and practice. In practice there is.

Yogi Berra

The President’s foreign policy standard would be better applied to the Big Government bureaucracy. A good friend and true blue progressive reads my posts. He frequently chides me to back up my statements. Recently he challenged me to show which laws and regulations I would recommend be deleted. So, to answer the challenge and have a little laugh, here are the dumbest laws in the USA (excuse the focus on California, but I live there). We’ll move on to regulations at a later date.

In Chico, CA, it is illegal to bowl on the sidewalk.

Permanent markers cannot be sold anywhere within the city limits of Fresno, CA.

When driving in Arcadia, CA, be careful because peacocks have the right of way when crossing a street OR YOUR DRIVEWAY!

If you have a mustache be very cautious in Eureka, CA. You are not allowed to KISS A WOMAN!

It is illegal to drive more than 2000 sheep down Hollywood Blvd at any one time.

Do you like to play Frisbee on the beach? Don’t do it in Los Angeles unless you have the lifeguards permission!

I’m not a fan of lizards ever since I saw the first Godzilla movie. But keep in mind that it is illegal to annoy a lizard in a Fresno City Park.

I don’t own any cows! Ergo, I am not allowed to wear cowboy boots in Blythe, CA, where the law specifically states you must own at least TWO COWS before you are allowed to wear cowboy boots!

The city of Baldwin Park in California took it upon itself to go through the process of putting into effect a law that outlaws the riding of a bicycle in a swimming pool.

You can be locked up for a whopping 25-to-life in the desert climes of Arizona if you are caught cutting down a Saguaro cactus (I agree that these beautiful and often ancient cactuses should be protected). But the penalty is draconian by any measure! Oh, and if you’re doing a little target practice in the desert, then beware! Shooting a bullet into a cactus is similarly punishable under the law.

Georgia has some real peaches! Georgia’s illustrious state legislators saw fit to prohibit carrying an ice-cream cone in your back pocket on Sunday; you also cannot keep your donkey in a bathtub; and you cannot give away goldfish as an inducement to get someone to take part in a game of bingo. But it is the state’s anti-sadomasochistic laws that take the spoils, being defined in such a broad way that anyone who handcuffs another person who is dressed in a clown suit is liable to be imprisoned for “sadomasochistic abuse.”

In Pennsylvania it is against the law for any person to be found sleeping on top of a refrigerator outdoors.

A recently passed anticrime law in Texas requires criminals to give their victims 24 hours notice, either orally or in writing, and to explain the nature of the crime to be committed.

In Nevada it is illegal to drive a camel on the highway.

Colorado chimes in with the following law. It is illegal to ride a horse while under the influence (that would be you, not the horse).

Children in Virginia are not allowed to go trick-or-treating on Halloween (that is government paternalism in the extreme).

A special law in Florida prohibits unmarried women from parachuting on Sunday or risk arrest, fine, and/or jailing.

Back to California where animals are banned from mating publicly within 1,500 feet of a tavern, school, or place of worship (that includes birds, and minks)! I’m not sure if they arrest the mink or you.

Margarine may not be substituted for butter in restaurants unless it is requested by the customer in Wisconsin.

You can be arrested for vagrancy in Illinois if you do not have at least a one dollar bill on your person. I’m not sure if your American Express Black Card (Centurion) can be offered in lieu of the dollar.

If a child burps during church in Nebraska, his parent may be arrested. So, don’t let junior drink that Coke before church!

OK, ha ha ha, say you. What’s your point, Dr. Filly. My point is simple. If those in power in our government can pass such ridiculous laws, it means they have too much power and a deaf, mute, and ignorant electorate (and they fully take advantage of both). Wake up America! Big Government = Bad Government!

Roy Filly

 

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Another look at the War on Poverty.

You can be certain you will hear the Obama administration trumpet that the poverty rate has ticked down a half point this year. Well, thank God for that. The poor have suffered greatly under his administration. But when viewed from the perspective of the 50-year old progressive/statist/altruist War on Poverty the phrase “too little, too late” does not even come close to describing this altruist disaster.

140916102024-chart-census-poverty-620xa

[Source: The War on Poverty has been a colossal flop, by Robert Rector. Importantly, Rector is one of the nation's leading authorities on poverty.]

Since its beginning, U.S. taxpayers have spent $22 trillion on Johnson’s War on Poverty (in constant 2012 dollars). That equals more than $69,000 for every man, woman and child in the United States and more than $180,000 per American taxpayer.

But now let us look at a statistic that blew my socks off. Are you ready for this?

Adjusting for inflation, that’s three times more than was spent on all military wars since the American Revolution.

Three times more than was spent on all military wars since the American Revolution… Three times more than was spent on all military wars since the American Revolution… Three times more than was spent on all military wars since the American Revolution. Has that sunk in yet? Aren’t these progressive/statist/altruists the self-same individuals that screamed the war in Iraq was too costly. Ah, yes, they say, but the War on Poverty helps poor people. Americans “helped poor people” BEFORE the War on Poverty. The War on Poverty was meant to eradicate poverty in a mere 10 years. It failed miserably. We have more poor Americans today than when the “War” started and we have spent five-times as many years as Johnson said would be needed. In time and dollars is there a more pointed definition of abject failure than that?

My friends, how is it possible even for progressive/statist/altruists to persist in such a complete failure? Nonetheless, their response is invariably the same as their response to every failure of progressive/statist/altruist programs. “We didn’t spend enough money. Another $22 trillion and we’ll be there.”

The statistics on the impoverished Americans are stagering:

One third of the U.S. population received aid from at least one welfare program at an average cost of $9,000 per recipient in 2013.

The federal government currently runs more than 80 means-tested welfare programs. These programs provide cash, food, housing and medical care to low-income Americans. Federal and state spending on these programs last year was $943 billion. (These figures do not include Social Security, Medicare, or Unemployment Insurance.)

It is time to say “enough is enough” both for the War on Poverty and government by “altruism.” If Americans ever needed an example of a Big Government sinkhole for taxpayer cash, they need look no further than the “War on Poverty.”

Roy Filly

 

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Remember how the Obama administration touted lower health care spending?

The Obama administration has been “dealing” with the ObamaCare debacle for many months and will continue to do so for many years. It is the “gift that keeps on giving” – unless your paying for it as an American taxpayer. One of the “bright spots” was the fact that medical care spending had been declining – one of the many “promises” pre-rollout of ObamaCare. Of course the evidence was overwhelming that ObamaCare was not the cause of the slowdown in healthcare expenditures, but when did that ever stop a politician from claiming “victory!”

The slowdown in healthcare spending started well before ObamaCare was enacted and continued during the timeframe that predated the implementation of ObamaCare. Therefore, it is more than improbable that ObamaCare was its cause. But now ObamaCare has “rolled out” – if you can call that particular “blivet” a rollout (look it up in the Urban Dictionary for a laugh). Therefore, it would be fair to say that changes in healthcare spending can now be attributed to ObamaCare.

Quelle surprise! It appears that the party is over. Health care spending rose at the fastest pace in 10 years last quarter! Did you hear President Obama touting that in the last 40 fund-raising speeches that he gave in the past 2 months?

[Source: Health care spending hits 10-year high, by Paul Davidson, USA Today]

“Expenses for health care rose at a 5.6% annual rate in the fourth quarter, the Bureau of Economic Analysis said last week. The jump triggered a sharp upward revision in the government’s estimate of consumer spending overall and accounted for nearly a quarter of the economy’s 2.6% annualized growth in the last three months of 2013.”

Wow! Well, it appears ObamaCare is actually stimulating the economy. “Driving the increase was an $8 billion rise in hospital costs — more than the previous four quarters combined, according to the Census Bureau and Royal Bank of Scotland.” Is it remotely possible that the predictions of free and/or subsidized ObamaCare insurance and the subsequent increase in patients would cause a rapid growth in healthcare spending were correct?

“The increase is a marked change from slow-growing rates of health care prices and spending in recent years… and long-term upward pressures on health care costs, such as the growth of expensive high-tech treatments, are re-emerging…

“The Affordable Care Act’s mandate for Americans to have health coverage this year or pay a penalty will fuel further spending increases this year, says George Miller, a fellow at the Altarum Institute’s Center for Sustainable Health Spending. The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services expects health spending to rise 6.1% this year, up from about 4% in 2013, as an estimated 11 million Americans gain health insurance.

“What consumers pay for health care also may edge higher. Annual medical inflation has drifted down since the recession and was at a 50-year low of 0.9% in January, according to Capital Economics. But the decline was partly due to the expiration of a large number of drug patents in 2011 and 2012, causing expensive branded drugs to be replaced by cheaper generics.” Hmm. That doesn’t sound like ObamaCare was the “cause” of the decline in healthcare spending.

“With fewer patents expiring the next two years, ‘most of this fall in drug inflation will be reversed,’ says Paul Dales of Capital Economics.”

Big Government has stuck its Big Nose into healthcare which accounts for nearly 18% of US GDP. What could possibly go wrong?!?!

Roy Filly

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The regulatory state mangles manufacturers.

The great fear that hung over the business community in the 1970s was death by regulation, and the great goal of the conservative movement, as it rose to triumph in the 1980s, was to remove that threat – to keep OSHA, the EPA, and the FTC from choking off entrepreneurship with their infernal meddling in the marketplace.

Thomas Frank

The above quote by Thomas Frank is truer today than ever before.The number of pages, of federal regulations increased six-fold from 19,335 in 1949 to 134,261 in 2005. As of 2011, the number of pages had risen to 169,301. Americans cannot grasp the significance of this regulatory onslaught. The graph below is mind boggling! It is estimated that regulations lowered the US GDP by approximately 2% per year. The progressive/statist/altruist will chide, “Big deal, 2%! We needed those regulations to protect us!” Well, below is what US GDP would be without that “big deal” 2% annual decrease since 1949 (and this graph is from 2011). It is worse today!

gdp

Regulatory costs are typically said to take a whopping $2 trillion from our economy. Again, such numbers are difficult (or impossible) to comprehend. Let’s look at it this way. There are 193 nations on planet Earth. Only nine of them have a GDP greater than $2 trillion. Alternatively, you may consider that of the 193 nations on Earth, the total economies of the bottom 100 added together barely equal $2 trillion. So no matter how you cut it, $2 trillion is a lot of money.

The following data come from a report by the National Association of Manufacturers. Yes, I realize that if the numbers tilt in a direction they will be overestimated by an organization directly affected by the regulatory state. Nonetheless, their members want accurate data for planning their futures. After all, American manufacturers employ more than 12 million workers. The massive regulatory costs dampen investment in their businesses and negatively impact employees (even the unions should be interested in that aspect). If you like you may read and analyze the report yourself.

http://www.nam.org/~/media/A7A8456F33484E498F40CB46D6167F31.ashx

While the average American company pays $9,991 per employee, per year, to comply with these federal rules, the average manufacturer pays even more: $19,564 per employee each year. The costs are even higher for small manufacturers (those with less than 50 employees), who spend $34,671 per employee, per year, complying with federal regulations.

The progressive/statist/altruist will cry that these regulations are needed to protect worker safety and our environment. After all, says the “altruist,” American businessmen are evil incarnate and want to steal from they laborers, put them at risk, and befoul the environment all in an effort to increase their profits by minuscule margins. Anyway, their profits are too high.

In general, federal regulations fall into four major categories. Of the more than $2 trillion in regulatory costs in 2012, more than $1.4 trillion were economic regulations, while $330 billion were environmental and $159 billion involved tax compliance. The rest dealt with occupational safety or homeland security ($111 billion)

Therefore, at most, only 22% can be attributed to the raison d’être of the “workers’ rights – environmental” lobby. Be assured, I want workers to be safe and I want a clean environment in which my family can live and flourish as American citizens. But how much of the remaining 78% is required to reign in “evil” manufacturers?

Eighty-eight percent of manufacturers labeled these regulations a challenge for business. Notably, when the National Association of Manufacturers surveyed its members to see what they would do with the funds that are currently being used to comply with regulations, 63 percent responded that they would put the additional dollars toward investment. Another 22 percent said they would use the funds for employee initiatives.

So, my friends who are progressive/altruists if you want to help workers; if you want to see more workers, while simultaneously keeping our environment clean, then by all means vote to get the government off of the backs of American manufacturers.

Big Government = Bad Government. It’s axiomatic!

Roy Filly

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You can learn a lot from maps.

I am always telling you that you can learn much from graphs. But the same is also true of maps. Below are some enlightening maps. And thanks to HP for sending this to me.

Roy Filly

[Source: 27 maps that explain America, by Rob Wile]

The most educated states:

the-most-educated-states-in-america-denver-stands-out-in-the-west

The migration patterns in modern America:\

states-with-the-most-immigrants-and-emigrants-everyones-fleeing-the-tri-state-area

Twenty super zip codes with the most highly educated and most affluent (winners in red; runners-up in yellow):the-20-superzipcodes-with-the-most-education-and-highest-income-in-red-runners-up-in-yellow

Half of all Americans live in these counties (this has got to blow your mind):

half-of-america-lives-in-these-counties-this-ones-always-amazing-to-see

Flip side – green area is uninhabited:

the-flip-side-half-of-america-in-green-is-uninhabited

Ethnic America

Caucasians per capita by county:

caucasians-per-capita-by-county-sort-of-the-mirror-image-of-the-previous-map

Blacks per capita by county:

blacks-per-capita-by-county-almost-none-in-the-plains

Latinos per capita by county:

latinos-per-capita-by-county-concentrated-along-the-border-and-major-cities

The most overrepresented job in each state:

the-most-overrepresented-job-in-every-state-about-what-youd-expect-illinois-has-an-inordinate-number-of-groundskeepers

And last but not least: the USA at night from a satellite:

1280px-city_lights_of_the_united_states_2012

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Something worth reading.

The following is long. However, if you want to have a clue about what America has been fighting since September 11, 2001 and will continue to fight for a very long time I think you should read this. The story begins 1400 years ago. The writer is very good and quite funny – although it hard to laugh as he chronicles the deaths of hundreds of thousands of Iraqis.

Here is one small paragraph about Iraq.

When you add this all together—an unstable and divided new government with an amateur, questionably-loyal army and an angry minority population who feels sympathy for anyone who will resist the government; the interests of a giant neighbor, Saudi Arabia, aligned with a government overthrow; a civil war next door; and a group of western powers who have been determined to stay out—you have the perfect storm for the fiercest of terrorist groups to emerge from the fringe and conquer.

It is worth reading to get a picture of ISIS. ISIS has officially become the deadliest terrorist group in history – and they did it in a mere 10 years. Whatever happens in the “war” with ISIS, America has joined a generational battle and we will be fighting it for decades. These guys are so bad that they creeped out al-Qaeda – so much so that al-Qaeda disavowed them. Yes, I know. That should scare the “Bejesus” out of everyone in the 50 states.

Anyway, enjoy! It is entitled “From Muhammad to ISIS: Iraq’s full story,” by Tim Urban. The post tends to confirm my initial worst fear after 9/11. Someone will run for President. His/her campaign slogan will be, “I plan to unilaterally reduce our nuclear arsenal – by, let’s say, 30 or 40 nuclear warheads!”

http://waitbutwhy.com/2014/09/muhammad-isis-iraqs-full-story.html

And thanks to ALF for sending this to me.

Roy Filly

 

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Don’t put your ObamaCare subsidy in the bank just yet.

Bureaucrats always get you with the fine print. ObamaCare is loaded to the gunnels with “fine print.” In a law as massive as the Affordable Care Act, it doesn’t even need to be “fine” print. They could put it in “bold” print and it likely would be overlooked. In the infamous words of Nancy Pelosi, “We need to pass the law to find out what’s in the law.”

Well, as it turns out, all those Americans who thought they got a “freebie” from Uncle Sam by qualifying for government subsidized health insurance had best start reading the “fine print.” Uncle’s comin’ to git ya’. The Obamacare “gotchas” keep piling on.

[Source: Beware the Medicaid and Medi-Cal clawbacks and liens, by Mike Shedlock]

If one receives ObamaCare subsidized benefits from Medicaid or Medi-Cal and one is between the ages of 55-64 you are in for a nasty surprise.

Medi-Cal Clawbacks and Liens

The California Healthcare Foundation explains the rules in Estate Recovery Under Medi-Cal

Medi-Cal estate recovery refers to state action to reclaim certain Medi-Cal costs from the estates of beneficiaries after their death… Some individuals newly eligible for Medi-Cal as expanded under the Affordable Care Act (ACA) may… have their house and assets… seized after their death.

… States also have the option to take a more expansive approach and seek recovery of costs for other covered services… provided to beneficiaries age 55 and older. California has chosen this option and seeks recovery of Medi-Cal costs for all covered services provided to beneficiaries age 55 and over… California has elected to use property liens to protect its claim in cases where the beneficiary was permanently institutionalized and not expected to return home. Medi-Cal places a lien against the beneficiary’s property while the beneficiary is still alive so it can seek recovery when the individual passes away…

The Seattle Times discusses the fine print in Expanded Medicaid’s fine print holds surprise: ‘payback’ from estate after death.

With an estimated 223,000 adults seeking health insurance headed toward Washington’s expanded Medicaid program over the next three years, the state’s estate-recovery rules, which allow collection of nearly all medical expenses… (are receiving new attention)…

The federal Affordable Care Act (ACA) changed (existing state laws). Now many more low-income residents will qualify for Medicaid… But if they qualify for Medicaid, they’re not eligible for tax credits to subsidize a private health plan under the ACA, which requires all adults to have health insurance by March 31…

One reason this snafu has become so troublesome is that ACA rules appear to give those who qualify for Medicaid little choice but to accept the coverage.

People cannot receive a tax credit to subsidize their purchase of a private health plan if their income qualifies them for Medicaid… (i.e., Americans of modest means, not “poor” or “destitute” are required to accept Medicaid. They then become subject to these “post-death” liens and clawbacks.)

Obama Care “Final Payment”

Paul Craig Roberts chimes in with Obamacare: The Final Payment–Raiding the Assets of Low-Income and Poor Americans

Kevin Knauss highlights Expanded Medi-Cal costs $611 per member per month

California Math

Californians may not realize that among the “things” that they may be charged for after death in Medi-Cal is an administrative fee. The administrative fee is a whopping $611 per month.

Under California recovery rules, $611 per month for 10 years (age 55-64), amounts to $73,320 (minimum) that would come from the estate. Those signing up thinking Medicaid is free, better learn the rules.

Californians who get foods stamps are also trapped in a Medi-Cal program with claw-back rules, when they likely would simply prefer the Medi-Cal old plan, at the old rate.

The Democrat Party is all about “low and middle class” Americans. The Democrat Party hates generational transfer of wealth. That is why at every opportunity they pump up the “death tax.” They also hate “class structure” yet they constantly talk about the “middle class.” Well watch out “lower middle class” Americans, the Democrat Party is coming after the meager inheritance you managed to put together for your surviving family members. So, they will “transfer” money from “lower middle class” to still lower “class” Americans. These guys are the definition of avarice, greediness, acquisitiveness, cupidity, covetousness, rapacity, pleonexia – take your pick. And they hide behind “altruism” as they pick the pockets of Americans on the lower rungs of the ladder of affluence.

.

Roy Filly

 

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A new wrinkle on “grade inflation.”

Recently I wrote a post concerning a vicious downward spiral of federal intervention in education, rising tuitions and subsequent consequences.  One of the glaring aspects of the spiral is “grade inflation.” Today, however, I ran into a new wrinkle on the issue. This one I didn’t anticipate.

We have entered into the unwelcome world of “degree inflation.” An organization named Burning Glass analyzed a report from  a labor market analytics company that mines millions of online job postings. The report shows that employers are increasingly requiring a bachelor degree for entry level jobs (i.e., jobs that previously only required a high school degree – ergo, “degree inflation”).

[Source: The college degree has become the new high school degree, by Catherine Rampell]

Here we are talking about the trend of employers to require a college degree as the minimum credential to get even the most basic jobs. The survey of companies and job postings looked at a wide range of jobs including management, administration, sales and other fields. It compared the current employees to newly sought employees. For example, if one looks at insurance clerks, just 25 percent of people employed as insurance clerks have a BA, but twice that percentage of insurance-clerk job ads require one. Among executive secretaries and executive assistants, 19 percent of job-holders have degrees, but 65 percent of job postings mandate them.

As an educator I am greatly in favor of a highly educated population and work force. What I do not favor is the unanticipated downstream effects of Big Government constantly sticking its nose into business it should leave to the private sector.

The most benevolent explanation is that technology has changed the nature and responsibilities of many jobs. Duties are becoming more complicated, requiring more technical knowledge and stronger critical thinking skills.

Being in charge of logistics a generation ago required strong organization and management skills, whereas today it might also require familiarity with sophisticated optimization and simulation software. And on the bright side, the pay in many of these upcredentialing careers is rising as workers are expected to be higher-skilled and more productive.

Which brings us to another, potentially more troubling explanation for degree inflation: signaling.

Regardless of what you actually learn in college, graduating from a four-year institution may broadcast that you have discipline, drive and stick-to-it-iveness. In plenty of jobs — such as I.T. help-desk positions — there is little to no difference in skill requirements between job ads requiring a degree and those that do not, Burning Glass found. But employers still prefer college graduates.

With college attendance more routine today than it was in the past, degrees are becoming a common, if blunt, tool for screening job applicants. In 2013, 33.6 percent of 25- to 29-year-olds had a BA, vs. 24.7 percent in 1995 (I’m surprised the numbers are this low – RF). Bachelor’s degrees are probably seen less as a gold star for those who have them than as a red flag for those who don’t. If you couldn’t be bothered to get a degree in this day and age, you must be lazy, unreliable or dumb.

…  (As well,) employers are taking longer than ever before to fill vacant positions, according to the Dice Hiring Indicators Report. Inflated, unrealistic job requirements may be one explanation… Burning Glass found that construction supervisor positions that require a bachelor’s degree take 61 days to fill on average, while those that don’t take just 28 days.

… College grads are landing in positions that probably don’t use the skills they’ve piled up thousands of dollars in debt to acquire, and many high school grads and college dropouts are being shut out from the first rung of the career ladder altogether. The resulting damage to all these workers’ career trajectories could last for many years to come.

Roy Filly

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A practical example of the stupidity of many “regulations.”

The power is intoxicating. You are in a position to tell someone that they must do the stupidest thing and they must comply under penalty of fines, jail time, or both. Who are you? You are a federal regulator.

In this exposé by Dan Mitchell, he thanks Mark Steyn for bringing this ridiculous gem to light. The bureaucratic overlords of the following regulation demonstrate both their foolishness and vitriolic nature. Bureaucrats that write and then enforce such regulations are an ethereal, “evil,” omnipotent power floating just beyond the senses.

Here’s some of what Mr. Steyn wrote about the Kafkaesque legal regime the federal government maintains for people who want to cross the border with… drugs? no…weapons? no… biological agents? no, nothing like that. We’re talking about bagpipes.

…17-year-old Campbell Webster and Eryk Bean, of Concord and Londonderry, New Hampshire – understood that if you go to a highland fling a couple of hours north in Quebec you’re now obligated to get your bagpipes approved by US Fish & Wildlife (What? Fish and Wildlife Agency and bagpipes? Is that a misprint?). So Messrs Webster and Bean got their CITES certificate (the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora) and presented it to the US Customs and Border Protection (CBP) agent at the Vermont/Canadian border crossing (Endangered species and bagpipes in the same sentence?). Whereupon he promptly confiscated their bagpipes on the grounds that, yes, their US Fish & Wildlife CITES paperwork was valid, but it’s only valid at 28 ports of entry and this wasn’t one of them. Nor IS ANY OTHER US/Canadian land crossing. (Never ever bring a bagpipe across the US/Canadian Border!)

We will eventually get to the part about why the federal government would waste taxpayer money to develop and enforce rules about the transportation of bagpipes. But why, if the proper paper work had been obtained, would it be necessary to only allow their transport across a mere 28 ports of entry, none of which is on the longest border between two nations in the entire world?

The reason that bagpipes get all this attention is because some older instruments have components that are made of ivory, and that’s verboten under environmental laws. So let’s say that you agree that harvesting ivory is a bad thing. Frankly, I wouldn’t disagree. But how is stopping two American citizens with bagpipes that have no decorative ivory and who have already obtained federal paperwork certifying that the bagpipes are “ivory free” – no elephant or walrus suffered an ill fate to produce them – a benefit to the protection of elephants and walruses? And why, in God’s name, would one need to send their bagpipe from a port on either the east or west coasts of the US when they can simply drive an hour to Canada to play their bagpipe in a competition?

When the CBP agent seized Messrs Webster and Bean’s bagpipes, he told them – with the characteristic insouciance of the thug bureaucracy – that they were “never going to see them again.” But thanks to the unwelcome publicity the Homeland Security mafiosi were forced to cough ‘em up.

That would have been bad enough, but the regulatory bureaucracy wasn’t yet finished with the stars of our story. As it turns out, the two youths are quite talented and will be competing in a contest in Scotland. As the saga continues, these are the preposterous steps they’ll have to go through when they return.

(Upon returning from Scotland) they’ll be flying back via Boston, which is one of those 28 valid ports of entry. They’ve called Fish & Wildlife to arrange for the mandatory “inspection” of the bagpipes upon landing at Logan Airport. Unfortunately, the official Fish & Wildlife bagpipes inspector is taking a day off that day… she won’t be available to inspect the pipes. So she’s told them they’ll have to drive back to New Hampshire and then drive back to Logan the following day for the Fish & Wildlife bagpipes inspection. So…the bagpipers will have to take a day off on Thursday – just to comply with the diktats of the Department of Paperwork. … Every time you take a bagpipe in and out of the United States it’s a $476* round-trip fee.

Of course, the bagpipe police have no reason to be reasonable. They are in control and you will march to the tune of their “bagpipes,” so to speak. Simply giving these youths a piece of paper saying their instruments have been deemed kosher is beyond their ken. No, no. You will jump through this hoop and pay for the privilege.

This is the equivalent of applying for and paying for a new passport each and every time you travel outside of US borders. But travelers can be dangerous. I am trying to imagine how one would “weaponize” a bagpipe?!?! 

This is the inevitable “progress” of Big Government.

Roy Filly

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“Does” we want eloquence or “does” we want accuracy from our president?

As the title informs, you must make a choice today. President Bush was not as eloquent as President Obama. He doesn’t have the stage presence of President Obama. He is not as tall, good-looking or have the vocal resonance of President Obama. The only thing he seems to have going for him is accuracy and a committment to protect Americans and Iraqis.

Roy Filly

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