Tuesday, December 9, 2008


Pennies Don't Fall From Heaven:
The hue an cry we hear of late from government officials and banks over the severe shortage of pennies may be vexing to those who have to cope with the effect of the problem, but, personally, I find the situation laughable.

Look Up 'Volunteer' in Webster's
My dictionary defines "volunteer" as one who "offers himself for a service of his own free will," but in 1997 Congress, despite this, considered "requiring" public housing residents to "volunteer" community service. You can't 'require' volunteers to do anything!"

A Flat Tax? Yes, But on Net Worth
Poor folk don't give the rich and powerful their due. We just kind o' keep making excuses for 'em, always thinking they must o' meant well, but they just can't get the square pegs in the round holes. We need a flat tax on net worth, not on income.

Game Raises Questions
In August of 1986 a U.S. postal worker in Edmund, Okla., killed 15 colleagues. In the decade following incidents of "crazed mass violence" by postal workers took place at an alarming rate -- They even made a game about it!

Dollar Coin: Three Strikes You're Out
Whenever I see a report about the (re)current idea of replacing greenbacks with new $1 coins I suffer a mild case of deju vu. Don't you?

Preserve Our Constitution
Why is it that so many of us feel that the rights and responsibilities we inherited from our forefathers may be, despite our reverence for the U.S. Constitution, in serious jeopardy?

Light Reading at the DMV

Believe it or not a visit to your local Department of Motor Vehicles can be quite educational. It was for me. I recommend it to everyone. The next time you visit the DMV to have your license or registration renewed, take a good look around.

Is It a Cut, an Increase -- or What?

Democrats and Republicans take a different view of what a budget cut really is. When is a cut a cut? When is an increase an increase? And when the GOP and the Democrats go head-to-head over whether it's a cut or an increase -- who's right?

Those Rights Include Right to Disagree

There always seem to be more issues dividing us than uniting us. If it's not one thing it's another. It's the story of humanity. Gay rights is one of those divisive issues that played a prominent role in President Clinton's first term.

City Housing Rules Must Be Thought Out
"The road to hell," somebody once said, "is paved with good intentions." The Norwalk Housing Authority's Draconian proposal to require tenants to turn over their children's report cards is a lame-brained scheme.

Let's Not Convene
Conventional wisdom has it that the American people if asked to vote on the Bill of Rights in a referendum would vote it down. It is my fear that this is true ... primarily because its legal implications may not be fully understood by the average citizen.

Counsel for the Council

When the city fathers put together Norwalk's city charter in 1913, they did a pretty darn good job! I didn't think so initially when I began covering Norwalk politics for The Hour newspaper in late 1968, but I've long since changed my mind.

Slash Taxes for Me, You ... Us?

Sometimes it's not easy to separate politics from the politician, good rhetoric from good policy, the wheat from the chaff. Republicans want big tax cuts. Democrats want big tax cuts. Most Americans want big tax cuts. Great! So what's the problem?

Can Anyone Answer My Cry for Help?

When Christie Whitman pledged to cut taxes by as much as 30 percent, I was instantly struck by such blatant demagoguery; it should have been crystal clear that she was simply playing off Gov. Jim Florio's huge, unpopular 1990 tax increase.

To America: Don't Trip on NAFTA Vote

Over the years trade agreements have seldom caused the kind of uproar seen over the North American Free Trade Agreement. Few administrations have had anything like the battle that President Clinton faced in 1993. It was uphill all the way to get NAFTA approved.

Boy Scouts Have It Right: Be Prepared

Why do government agencies -- city, state and federal -- invariably, and inevitably, wait until it's too late before taking action? It seems to me that government at every level should create a panel whose job it is to uncover potential problems.

Questions, But No Answers

Ever see a newspaper or television report and wonder, as Paul Harvey often does, about the "rest of the story?" Yours truly is always wondering about such things, especially when they portray problems that need attention but aren't getting any.

Let's Press for a Public Commission

You may not have noticed, but just about everyone has been putting his hands into your pockets lately, and they're coming out a lot richer -- the phone company, the utilities and the government among them. Isn't it time we do something about it?

Congress: Keep a Lid on the IRS
Even in America it's a little scary to say anything critical of the dreaded IRS, a federal agency commonly known as the Internal Revenue Service. But I've done it before, and here I do it again. As of now, somehow, I'm still a free man.

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