Friday, February 20, 2009

Hey! Let's allow Big Brother to keep track of our highway mileage!

Rick Moran
As it stands now, road maintenance is funded largely through the gas tax. It is a pretty fair way to allocate the tax burden since the more you drive and use those roads, the more taxes you pay.

But our new Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood doesn't think we're getting enough cash as a result of the gax tax - or at least not enough for the Obama administration. So, instead of the gas tax, there are proposals to fund road building and maintenance by charging drivers for every mile they drive.

How would the government know how much to bill you for your driving? They want to stick a GPS device in your car and monitor where you go and how much you drive. Of course, they would also be able to determine who you visit, what stores you shop at, and all sorts of other juicy information that Big Brother would love to get his paws on:

"We should look at the vehicular miles program where people are actually clocked on the number of miles that they traveled," the former Illinois Republican lawmaker said.

Most transportation experts see a vehicle miles traveled tax as a long-term solution, but Congress is being urged to move in that direction now by funding pilot projects.

The idea also is gaining ground in several states. Governors in Idaho and Rhode Island are talking about such programs, and a North Carolina panel suggested in December the state start charging motorists a quarter-cent for every mile as a substitute for the gas tax.

A tentative plan in Massachusetts to use GPS chips in vehicles to charge motorists by the mile has drawn complaints from drivers who say it's an Orwellian intrusion by government into the lives of citizens. Other motorists say it eliminates an incentive to drive more fuel-efficient cars since gas guzzlers will be taxed at the same rate as fuel sippers.

Besides a VMT tax, more tolls for highways and bridges and more government partnerships with business to finance transportation projects are other funding options, LaHood, one of two Republicans in President Barack Obama's Cabinet, said in the interview Thursday.

"What I see this administration doing is this — thinking outside the box on how we fund our infrastructure in America," he said.

I've got a great idea, Ray. Instead of "thinking outside the box" on this, let's just put this back in the box, close the lid, seal it, and never bring it out again.

This is a bad idea on so many levels one wonders at the brazenness of the Obama Administration and whether the press would make a stink about such a massive intrusion into the privacy of American citizens.

Chances are, they would meekly accept it as the price to pay for "energy independence" or "to stop global warming" or any other excuse the Administration could use to keep track of us.

We can always stop driving, I guess.

Reverend Wright lives on in the Obama administation

Meghan Clyne of the Weekly Standard reports that President Obama has appointed Reverend Dr. Otis Moss Jr. to serve on the President's Advisory Council established as part of the White House Office of Faith-Based and Neighborhood Partnerships (did you get all that?). Moss is the father of Reverend Otis Moss III, who succeeded the infamous Jeremiah Wright as the spiritual leader of the Trinity United Church of Christ in Chicago, which Obama attended for something like 20 years.

Moss Jr. himself has close ties to Wright. According to Clyne, they shared a mentor in Samuel DeWitt Proctor, who helped give rise to black liberation theology. Ironically, it was the Samuel DeWitt Proctor Conference that sponsored Wright's appearance at the National Press Club last April -- the one that finally caused Obama to break with his racist, anti-American pastor.

Moss is full of praise for Wright. Last February, after Wright's anti-American ravings had come to light, Moss said he had been blessed by Wright's "genius, his creativity, his scholarship, his discipleship, his sensitivity as a prophet, and. . .his rhythmic poetry." Moss' own rhetoric is less deranged than Wright's but, as Cline shows, it is inflammatory enough. And Moss is the co-author, with Wright, of a book that refers to U.S. education and health care policy as "weapons of mass destruction."

Moss should fit in well on Obama's new Advisory Council. Other members include black liberation theologist Vashi McKenzie, who has preached at Trinity, and Jim Wallis a former (?) Marxist and a defender of Wright.

Even before breaking with Wright, Obama argued (in his Philadelphia speech) that his pastor and those like him didn't get that America had changed from when they were young. Yet Obama has now selected a misguided (according to him) "race man" to advise on spiritual matters.

Apparently, Obama finds it useful to keep the grievances of Wright and Moss alive even though he knows, and his election confirms, that they are seriously outdated.

Dear President Obama:

I have a straightforward question, which I hope you will answer in a straightforward way: Is it your intention to censor talk radio through a variety of contrivances, such as "local content," "diversity of ownership," and "public interest" rules -- all of which are designed to appeal to populist sentiments but, as you know, are the death knell of talk radio and the AM band?

You have singled me out directly, admonishing members of Congress not to listen to my show. Bill Clinton has since chimed in, complaining about the lack of balance on radio. And a number of members of your party, in and out of Congress, are forming a chorus of advocates for government control over radio content. This is both chilling and ominous.

As a former president of the Harvard Law Review and a professor at the University of Chicago Law School, you are more familiar than most with the purpose of the Bill of Rights: to protect the citizen from the possible excesses of the federal government. The First Amendment says, in part, that "Congress shall make no law abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press." The government is explicitly prohibited from playing a role in refereeing among those who speak or seek to speak. We are, after all, dealing with political speech -- which, as the Framers understood, cannot be left to the government to police.

When I began my national talk show in 1988, no one, including radio industry professionals, thought my syndication would work. There were only about 125 radio stations programming talk. And there were numerous news articles and opinion pieces predicting the fast death of the AM band, which was hemorrhaging audience and revenue to the FM band. Some blamed the lower-fidelity AM signals. But the big issue was broadcast content. It is no accident that the AM band was dying under the so-called Fairness Doctrine, which choked robust debate about important issues because of its onerous attempts at rationing the content of speech.

After the Federal Communications Commission abandoned the Fairness Doctrine in the mid-1980s, Congress passed legislation to reinstitute it. When President Reagan vetoed it, he declared that "This doctrine . . . requires Federal officials to supervise the editorial practices of broadcasters in an effort to ensure that they provide coverage of controversial issues and a reasonable opportunity for the airing of contrasting viewpoints of those issues. This type of content-based regulation by the Federal Government is . . . antagonistic to the freedom of expression guaranteed by the First Amendment. . . . History has shown that the dangers of an overly timid or biased press cannot be averted through bureaucratic regulation, but only through the freedom and competition that the First Amendment sought to guarantee."

Today the number of radio stations programming talk is well over 2,000. In fact, there are thousands of stations that air tens of thousands of programs covering virtually every conceivable topic and in various languages. The explosion of talk radio has created legions of jobs and billions in economic value. Not bad for an industry that only 20 years ago was moribund. Content, content, content, Mr. President, is the reason for the huge turnaround of the past 20 years, not "funding" or "big money," as Mr. Clinton stated. And not only has the AM band been revitalized, but there is competition from other venues, such as Internet and satellite broadcasting. It is not an exaggeration to say that today, more than ever, anyone with a microphone and a computer can broadcast their views. And thousands do.

Mr. President, we both know that this new effort at regulating speech is not about diversity but conformity. It should be rejected. You've said you're against reinstating the Fairness Doctrine, but you've not made it clear where you stand on possible regulatory efforts to impose so-called local content, diversity-of-ownership, and public-interest rules that your FCC could issue.

I do not favor content-based regulation of National Public Radio, newspapers, or broadcast or cable TV networks. I would encourage you not to allow your office to be misused to advance a political vendetta against certain broadcasters whose opinions are not shared by many in your party and ideologically liberal groups such as Acorn, the Center for American Progress, and There is no groundswell of support behind this movement. Indeed, there is a groundswell against it.

The fact that the federal government issues broadcast licenses, the original purpose of which was to regulate radio signals, ought not become an excuse to destroy one of the most accessible and popular marketplaces of expression. The AM broadcast spectrum cannot honestly be considered a "scarce" resource. So as the temporary custodian of your office, you should agree that the Constitution is more important than scoring transient political victories, even when couched in the language of public interest.

We in talk radio await your answer. What will it be? Government-imposed censorship disguised as "fairness" and "balance"? Or will the arena of ideas remain a free market?

By Rush Limbaugh

Online survey

Who is the most important person?

1. Obama
2. Jesus
3. Martin luther king

This is very sad.

Dow since Obama took office

Dow opened on Jan 20 at 8230, closed today Feb 20 at 7365.
The market shows it's approval every day. It is showing
that business is not happy with the way things are going.