Ban Sushi, The Time Has Come

Ban Sushi, The Time Has Come

This article by Chris Freind is being republished with his kind permission.

Sorry to disappoint, but the 2012 presidential election may prove to be anti-climatic, since it appears the federal government has solved all its problems, from illegal aliens to drug smuggling, from energy independence to protecting the environment. They must have even found a way to eliminate the $14 trillion debt.
Why? Well, based on all the resources the feds are putting into the eradication of a mammoth problem, one that strikes fear in the heart of all citizens, it would seem that all its other troubles have been solved. It’s an issue of such importance that pollsters surely find it at the top of every survey:
The production, sale and voluntary consumption of raw milk.
The threat is so great that armed federal officials find it necessary to routinely raid farms that produce that product. And rightly so, since the incidence of bovine malfeasance has obviously surpassed that of drug dealers, rapists, child predators, and murderers.
The latest saga involved armed federal agents who, after months of “investigation,” raided an Amish farm in Pennsylvania, whose owner was allegedly selling raw milk across state lines. After assessing civil penalties, the government is now trying to shut down the farmer’s operation in federal court.
It’s another example of a government out of control, with gun-toting storm troopers swooping down on a farmer’s property. And there’s little doubt it came about because the extremely powerful dairy lobby once again flexed its political muscle, demanding that this increasingly popular practice be squashed. Given that there are over 10 million raw milk drinkers in the U.S., why else would so much attention be given to such an innocuous business?
At issue is whether raw milk is dangerous for human consumption because of the potential presence of E. coli, salmonella and other bacteria, as opposed to the pasteurized milk that kills such germs and is common on store shelves. Raw milk advocates, both producers and consumers, claim that milk in its raw, natural form, free of chemical treatment, helps the human body maintain an overall level of healthiness. They state that during the pasteurization process, key proteins are destroyed that help promote digestion and improve the immune system.
Even though federal officials counter that the bacteria in raw milk can be deadly, people across the country go out of their way to obtain such milk, sometimes paying in excess of three times the price of regular milk. Not only have they lived to tell their story, but most claim they and their children are significantly healthier. In the past decade, only two deaths have been officially linked to raw milk, and even they were suspect, as the contaminated substance in question was Mexican cheese.
Given that raw milk is legal to sell in 29 states, and in the other 21 there are many legal loopholes to do so (such as labeling the milk for animal consumption, and selling “cow-shares” so that owners are entitled to a percentage of the cow’s yield as opposed to buying milk outright), such heavy handed conduct on the part of federal officials is troublesome.
Here’s the rub. If government is going to interfere in people’s lives and threaten their livelihoods, then they should be consistent. It certainly wouldn’t make their decision right, but at least they would avoid the appearance of favoritism. If the major issue in the consumption of raw food is the possibility of it containing “harmful” bacteria, then many more businesses should be concerned about being shut down by government agents.
Fair is fair.
So why aren’t the feds closing all restaurants that serve sushi, or at least banning it from the menu? Sushi, a delicacy loved by millions, is simply raw fish. And the best sushi is categorized as being from the “highest grade” fish.
Sounds like class warfare in the pelagic community.
The reality is that the “highest grade” fish is still served raw and can contain both bacteria and parasites. As an added bonus, the concentration of mercury in many of these fish is quite high because of their status as apex predators, meaning that, since they are at the top of the food chain, they often have the highest concentration of mercury.
Isn’t mercury bad for us, too?
And what about the significant risk of contracting hepatitis from eating raw seafood? It is a very real possibility, even when eating in a five-star restaurant.
While we’re at it, let’s ban steak tartare (made with raw beef) from all restaurants, as well as Caesar dressing concocted with raw eggs.
Come to think of it, the citrus and vegetable industries have problems too, given the occasional presence of E. coli on those products, due in part to manure laden irrigation water and fertilizer.
So let’s ban tomatoes, too. Oh wait, the FDA did exactly that several years ago after announcing a salmonella outbreak, throwing countless Americans out of work. Only one problem. There was absolutely no evidence that tomatoes were the offending food, and, after completely decimating an entire industry, the FDA (Federal Destruction Administration) cavalierly announced that it didn’t actually know what caused the outbreak.
If only the FDA was red-faced and apologetic after its misstep, willing to make amends, some of the animosity towards government would have been mitigated. But it was as arrogant as ever.
The specter of bureaucrats who are 52 cards short of a deck yet hold the power to destroy Americans’ lives — with no repercussion when they are wrong — is simply un-American. And the fact that Congress and presidential administrations allow such intrusion to go unchecked simply makes the sin mortal.
Government clearly has more important priorities than trying to put raw milk producers out of business, especially when it operates in such a frightening manner. If people want to drink raw milk for its perceived health benefits, they should be able to do so without fear, and without being forced to act like rumrunners during Prohibition. And if government is so concerned about the safety of these individuals, it could make them sign a waiver of liability.
Of course, then we would be sifting through pages of litigious material every time we entered a restaurant, which would just thrill the bureaucrats.
Or maybe our taxpayer-funded government could actually try to hold up its part of the bargain by enforcing the laws that are designed to keep us safe and secure, but are routinely ignored. Spending no more than it takes in and sealing the border are just two that come to mind.
A wise man once wrote that government should be “…of the people, by the people, for the people”.
Well-funded lobbies controlling an ever-intrusive government is not what Mr. Lincoln had in mind.


Ban Sushi, The Time Has Come

Why Did Corbett Punt On Privatizing Booze In Pa.?

Why Did Corbett Punt On Privatizing Booze In Pa.? — This article by Chris Freind is being republished with his kind permission.

Last November, Pennsylvanians elected Tom Corbett to solve the state’s problems. But instead of leadership, they’ve received task forces and blue ribbon panels. In just three months, commissions have been formed to deal with Marcellus Shale natural gas (with a whopping 31 members), explore the core functions of government and figure out how to privatize liquor.

Sorry, but isn’t that why people elect politicians? Isn’t it their job to solve these problems?

Commissions and task forces are simply code for passing the buck and kicking the can down the road. We might as well just hang a sign that reads, “Welcome to Pennsylvania, Blue Ribbon State.” And if GOP leaders don’t start following through on campaign promises, the only “Red” they’ll see is voter anger when the state turns Democratic Blue.


Since privatizing liquor is one of the only issues which enjoys a large consensus, and since it would provide billions to balance the ballooning budget deficit, it’s baffling why Corbett would punt away such political capital when he needs it most. Delaying the privatization initiative by instituting yet another study commission was a move that left many observers scratching their heads — and state store union employees punch-drunk with elation.

Even more perplexing is that Corbett has a solid ally in House Majority Leader Mike Turzai, who had been spearheading privatization legislation for years. Turzai had a right to expect that, with strong GOP majorities in both houses, the Governor would come charging out of the gate on an issue that was a cornerstone of his campaign. Instead, Corbett felt compelled to reach into the “Business As Usual” drawer and pull out another meaningless commission, which looks increasingly like a bad political calculation.


Sometimes you have to walk out your door to realize that the grass really is greener somewhere else. For Pennsylvanians, that “green” is all the money saved by consumers in other states because they aren’t gouged when purchasing alcohol.

For the uninitiated, following is a primer for how the Pennsylvania alcohol monopoly works:

Pennsylvania is the largest purchaser of booze in the world. The state government, through the Liquor Control Board (LC, controls the purchase, distribution and sale of all wine and liquor. You might think that with such immense purchasing clout, its citizens would have outstanding selection and competitive pricing. But as any Pennsylvanian knows, that’s clearly not the case.

Interestingly, the LCB is charged with two distinct, and inherently contradictory, roles. While it’s responsible for raising revenue through the sale of wine and liquor, it’s also charged with controlling the sale of booze throughout the state. By definition, if the LCB is succeeding at one, it must be failing at the other.

Every bottle of liquor bought in the state comes with an added bonus: an 18 percent “temporary” tax, in addition to the 6 percent sales tax. So a $10 bottle jumps to $11.80 before the sales tax is calculated, totaling a whopping $12.50. In all fairness, the 18 percent tax was well intentioned—it was passed by the legislature to rebuild Johnstown after a devastating flood that destroyed the town.

In 1936. So much for “temporary” taxes.

Anyone who’s traveled outside Pennsylvania knows how refreshing it is to enter a grocery store and, remembering that you need a bottle of wine for dinner, walk two aisles over to the plethora of vino at your fingertips. Since others accomplish this with little difficulty, it’s incomprehensible that the nation’s sixth largest state can’t—or, more accurately, won’t—do the same.

It is infinitely more efficient when a private company, responsive to the needs of the free market (instead of bureaucrats), stocks its shelves with items that consumers want, at a fair market price. It is the core principle on which America was founded.

But Pennsylvania remains stuck in the Dark Ages, and what makes the sin mortal is that it chooses to remain there. It hasn’t dawned on the politicos in Harrisburg that they are losing untold revenue because of their Draconian system, with millions of residents crossing state lines to fill their liquor cabinets. (No offense to Governor Christie, but anytime New Jersey offers a better alternative, you know you have major problems).

And despite the Interstate Commerce Clause of the U.S. Constitution, if you’re caught bringing alcohol into Pennsylvania, it’s a criminal offense. In fact, such “criminals” used to have their cars confiscated for doing so.

To be fair, today’s LCB has made substantial progress in its operations and “customer service.” Not too long ago, all of its locations were “counter” stores, meaning that customers had to know exactly what they wanted before placing their order, since browsing was not permitted. The clerk would then disappear into the bowels of the store, only to return five or 10 minutes later, more often than not stating that they were “out of stock” and asking for a second choice. Now imagine this scene playing out at Christmas time, with 25 people in line.

But that’s not all.

Nothing in the store was chilled. No ancillary items, such as tonic water, were sold. No employees were permitted to offer advice. And no LCB stores accepted credit cards.

And all this because former Governor Gifford Pinchot, who as a young man became violently sick while imbibing in Germany, became bound and determined to make alcohol as difficult as possible to obtain.

But the LCB’s improvements amount to being valedictorian of summer school. The whole system has to be scrapped.

The ultimate irony is that the Keystone State, birthplace of American democracy and cradle of liberty, continues down the path of state control and government regulation, to the detriment of its twelve million citizens.

And what are liquor privatization’s chances? Dead for the spring session, possible in the fall and virtually nonexistent for 2012. With the makeup of the legislature sure to change next year, the time to take a “shot” is undoubtedly now.

The people have awakened from their stupor, demanding change. Instead, all they get is a (Pabst) “Blue Ribbon” commission.

Time for another drink.

NFL Players Slaves?

This is being republished with the permission of Chris Freind.

Talk about a political football. At a time when most municipalities are running in the red, another line item must now be factored into budgets: new history textbooks.

That’s right. It turns out that the real reason for fighting the Civil War was the North’s desire to steal the incredible wealth of the slaves. Apparently, despite subjugation by their owners, the majority of slaves were millionaires, and those who weren’t still received a guaranteed minimum of $310,000 per year.

Shocking as this recent historical find seems, it was certified by Minnesota running back Adrian Petersen, and as we all know, anything a National Football League player says must be true. Petersen’s plethora of antebellum knowledge was revealed as he enlightened the nation by comparing the NFL labor dispute to “modern-day slavery.”

At issue is how to divvy up $9 billion in revenue between owners and players. Talks have broken off and management has locked out the players.

Summing up how the players were being treated during the negotiations, Peterson said, “It’s modern-day slavery, you know?”
He added, “People kind of laugh at that, but there are people working at regular jobs who get treated the same way, too.”
That brilliant Petersen Principle, though, remains a bit unclear. Were those “regular” people — those not involved in the NFL negotiations — average Americans who will work the first four months of this year just to pay their local, state and federal tax burden?

As in, a “slave” to the government? A government, by the way, that “regular” Americans send more money to than they spend on food, clothing and shelter combined.

Or was Petersen’s defense of regular people referring to the poor and disadvantaged NFL saps who only make seven figures a year, compared to Petersen’s $10.5 million, and whose six-year contract is worth almost $41 million? And for those making the league minimum of $310,000, well, they should probably pick cotton in the off-season just to make ends meet.
It must be tough being an NFL slave.


The Petersen case underscores just how hypocritical some “leaders” have become regarding race relations. As a result, we aren’t the color-blind country we should be, but instead see the gulf between black and white only widen.

Take the pathetic defense of Petersen’s remarks from his agent Ben Dogra (who obviously has a financial interest in seeing this flap go away). Rather than condemn the statement for what it was, he defends it with meaningless rhetoric. “I think anybody that knows Adrian knows that (he) is a very strong-willed and passionate individual,” Dogra said. “The game means an awful lot to him.”

Gee, thanks for clearing that up, Ben. In other words, because he makes eight figures a year and is “passionate,” it’s okay to equate his situation to slavery, which, by the way, is still rampant in parts of the world.

But it gets better: “People should not just take his statements per se word by word. It’s a difficult time. He would love to play. I’m sure that everybody would love to see football continue in the NFL… nobody should really look at those words and take them out of context.”

Nice try, Ben. But how exactly are they “out of context?” He compared his situation to slavery. That’s a fact. It wasn’t a slip of the tongue, and there’s no gray area here. His “passion” and “love of the game,” while admirable, have absolutely nothing to do with his racist remarks. He shouldn’t get a free pass for outrageously disrespecting the misery that slaves in America endured. A life, by the way, that they couldn’t walk away from, unlike Petersen, who at 25, could quit his work today and live comfortably for five lifetimes.

But he has been given a free pass. And that is the real — and wholly unreported — story.

Adrian Petersen will come and go. He’ll probably make some half-hearted apology written by PR specialists and appear at events to make him seem more racially-sensitive (although he has yet to do so). And he’ll dazzle on the gridiron for seasons to come (especially if he learns to stop fumbling). But in the big picture, Petersen is irrelevant.

No, the biggest frauds of all need to be exposed. Through the whole flap, nary a peep was heard from the Jesse Jacksons and Al Sharptons of the world. And where was that bastion of cowardice, the NAACP?

Conspicuously silent, but what else is new?

And this is precisely why they have no credibility left. Condemning racism of all kinds and promoting equality should be their goals, but instead, it’s the polar opposite. To them, separate and unequal trumps unity, and the condemnation of racism is done on an extremely selective basis. Translation: jump on the bandwagon in cases involving a “racist” white person, but go on vacation when the person is black.

The list of being on the wrong side is long: the Duke lacrosse team falsely accused (who were innocent), the Tawana Brawley case which Sharpton enflamed with racial rhetoric (where rape allegations by white men of a black girl were proven false), the ridiculous firing of Don Imus, and the Jena Six case in Louisiana, when Jackson reportedly ripped then-presidential candidate Barack Obama for “acting like he’s white.”

But when a situation like that of Adrian Petersen comes along, providing a perfect opportunity to explain why slavery comparisons are so hurtful and destructive, their silence is deafening. And their credibility, whatever is left of it, crumbles.

The conversation at kitchen tables and watercoolers around the nation is that Jackson and Sharpton are worthless, and the NAACP promotes racism far more than it fights it. But fear of being labelled racist and bigoted keeps most people — and most media commentators — from taking on these hypocrites, and speaking the truth.

Racism still exists in America, albeit to an infinitely smaller degree than it once was. Perhaps the greatest example of that progress was illustrated when a black President — itself a remarkable feat — gave the eulogy of Senator Robert Byrd, a former member of the KKK.
Unfortunately, that progress has come in spite of, not because of, people like Sharpton and Jackson. But there is a silver lining. Their blowhard political grandstanding and blatant hypocrisy have become such trademarks that they not only lack credibility, but more important, relevance. No one cares what they have to say anymore because their platforms have been built on a house of cards.

The biggest tragedy of all is that, had these men — d
ynamic orators of great charisma — truly fought the good fight, America’s racial divide would be measurably smaller.

What a shame. Leaders who preach color-blindness but really only see black-and-white…are a terrible thing to waste.


NFL Players Slaves?

U.S. Involvement In Libya Is All About Oil

Chris Freind has kindly given permission to republish this article.

Recently on “Good Morning America,” Congresswoman and presidential contender Michelle Bachmann was asked, “What is America’s number one vital interest in the Middle East?”
She answered, “…our safety and security of people in the United States is always number one.”

Not only was Bachmann’s response a non-descript talking-point, but it didn’t even answer the question. Unfortunately, Bachmann missed a softball that she could have, and should have, knocked out of the park, one that would have separated herself from her colleagues.

Here’s the correct answer:
America’s vital interest in the Middle East can be summed up in three words: oil, oil and oil. That’s it. If that region wasn’t sitting on such huge reserves, America wouldn’t give it a second thought, with the exception of its security guarantee to Israel.

As a Republican and Tea Party leader, Bachmann should have instinctively talked of America’s unholy reliance on foreign oil, much of it from hostile nations in the Middle East, and aggressively pushed for energy-independence.

She could have talked about how the largest natural gas deposits in the world remain virtually untapped (the Marcellus and Utica Shale); the vast oil reserves in Alaska that are closed to drilling; the Bakken Formation in North Dakota that holds more than four billion barrels; the petroleum reserves under the Rockies that could well be the largest on the planet; the fact that we’re not drilling offshore , and that production has not yet resumed in the Gulf.

She could have then explained that, if we focused on these domestic sources, we wouldn’t be paying $4/gallon and watching inflation rise, nor would we be fretting about the Middle Eastern uprisings, and who we should be supporting.

But she didn’t. And that’s too bad, because otherwise, Bachmann’s voice on the national stage is an important one.

The fact is that if a leader doesn’t understand, or can’t articulate, solutions to the single-biggest problem facing America—being bent over a barrel because of our energy dependence—then their effectiveness is extremely limited.

And because neither Party, nor current and past Administrations, have done anything to achieve energy independence, America is now involved in yet another Middle Eastern conflict with no clear objectives. The only things being accomplished are creating more uncertainty in world markets and placing American military personnel in danger. And for what?

Several points to consider:

  • There is no question why the U.S. is involved. It’s not about stopping a brutal dictator, nor is it about civilian deaths. And it’s not about democracy and freedom for the Libyans. It’s simply because Libya produces a lot of oil. If it was really about any of the aforementioned reasons, we’d be forcefully engaged in most countries around the globe, since democracies are the exception. Just look at the Rwandan conflict: 20 percent of the population was slaughtered, but it had no oil. Result: no intervention. A little truth for why we are in Libya would go a long way.
  • So much for Obama’s campaign pledges of “no more wars of choice,” and “no blood for oil.”
  • Gaddafi, while certainly no angel, has not been the thorn in America’s side he once was. He admitted complicity in the Pan Am 103 bombing and paid reparations, dismantled his nuclear weapons program and, understanding the new world order after the 9/11 attacks, stopped harboring terrorists. As a result, Libya was taken off the U.S. government’s State Sponsor of Terrorism list by the Bush Administration, with then- Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice stating Libya was being rewarded for its “renunciation of terrorism and the excellent cooperation Libya has provided to the United States” in the war on terror. And the flow of Libyan oil has been unimpeded. So much for the brutal dictator theory.
  • Who exactly are the rebels we are supporting by bombing the country and establishing the No Fly Zone? Are they all James Madison-types looking to establish a democratic Republic? Or are they the Muslim Brotherhood—or worse? Given many Middle Easterners’ track record of viewing the United States as the Great Satan, the odds probably aren’t favorable that we’ll be singing Kumbaya with them a few months from now. UPDATE: Reports now state that eastern Libya (home of the rebels) sent more fighters to engage the U.S. in Iraq than anywhere else.
  • A No-Fly Zone does not make a democracy. Okay, we are preventing Gaddafi from using his aircraft. But what happens when he starts whipping the rebels anyway? Do we bomb his troops and tanks? Do we send in Special Forces? What happens when a pilot is shot down? More important, what happens when a similar situation arises in Saudi Arabia, and civilians get mowed down — as they will, since the King isn’t going quietly. Do we establish a No Fly Zone over The Kingdom? Do we bomb them, too? Not a chance in the world. Despite all the questions, there are no answers, and the coalition, if you can call it that, has already begun splitting apart.

We lose no matter how you slice it. The majority of Libyan oil is sold to Italy and France, yet America has been roped in to do their heavy lifting. Why? And as more Libyans die from allied airstrikes, America will get blamed on the Arab Street. Gaddafi’s claim of another “Crusade ” against a Muslim nation will hit home to millions of Muslims across the world, vastly undermining any goodwill that may have been generated over the last several years and bolstering terrorist recruitment. And the support of the worthless Arab League, whose officials are already back-tracking, means nothing. It’s not their planes doing the bombing, but ours. We get all the negatives and none of the positives while the Arab League gets the best of both worlds.

The United States’ involvement in Libya, a nation that in no manner attacked America or caused it harm, sets an extremely dangerous precedent. Ironically, this effort, executed with no foresight and one that has absolutely no endgame, further endangers our national security. Playing into the mentality of millions of Muslims that the U.S. seeks to dominate their countries will only enflame anti-American feelings.

George Washington could not have been more right when he advised against foreign entanglements and intervening in the internal affairs of sovereign nations. That wisdom is proof that modern advances will never be a substitute for old-fashioned common sense.

America Needs More Nuclear Power

America Needs More Nuclear Power — This article by Chris Freind is being published with his permission.

There is a story about a wealthy man who sought the world’s safest place in which to build his home, a place free from all dangers, natural and man-made. After expending a considerable sum researching such a location, he determined that a particular island in the South Atlantic fit the criteria.

The man spared no expense in constructing the most solid, fortified and beautiful home—one that was virtually impregnable.
But after planning for all contingencies, something happened for which he had not accounted.

The man found himself directly in the line of fire—of the Falkland Islands War.

The point? Life is full of risks, and despite some people’s naïve belief that risks are avoidable, they are not. Instead, our focus should be on mitigating those risks in common sense ways while still living in the real world.
But we don’t.

Already, we have heard the calls to reevaluate our nuclear power program (codespeak for phasing it out of existence) because of the situation in Japan. And God forbid that we should actually forge ahead with new nuclear plants, several of which have been recently approved. That would be dangerous and foolhardy, we are now told.

So let’s get that mentality straight. We should shelve nuclear expansion—a virtually zero emission power source that significantly reduces reliance on foreign oil from hostile nations—because of problems half a world away? Problems that directly resulted from Japan being front and center on the notorious Ring of Fire—home to 90 percent of the world’s earthquakes and 75 percent of its volcanos. And problems that, for the most part, America doesn’t have, since almost none of the country sits on that Ring.

That’s not just naïve. That’s self-inflicted stupidity.

The United States has 104 nuclear plants in operation, accounting for 20 percent of our electricity consumption. It should be double that number, but for decades, leadership has been sorely lacking in both political parties, and the American people are extremely shortsighted on all things energy.

So now that we’re facing $4/gallon fuel—with experts predicting $5 by next year, which significantly inflates the prices of almost everything due to increased transportation costs—what are our options? We have none.

Our drills in the Gulf sit idle, Alaska is pumping but a fraction of its resources, there is no drilling off our continental coasts, and natural gas companies are shutting down operations because the demand is so low.

And now, the stigma of Japanese nuclear problems, combined with political cowardice, will all but halt the expansion of our nuclear program.
We can’t have it both ways. If paying less at the pump, bolstering national security and reducing greenhouse emissions are important, then nuclear power is the only real alternative.

So instead of punting away such a proven and safe energy source, America’s leaders need to show political courage by telling the people the truth, not what they may want to hear.

And here is the truth:

1) Unequivocally, China will not allow its nuclear program to be sidetracked or slowed by the problems in Japan. They have 27 new plants under construction, including the most advanced reactors in the world. While we bury our heads in the sand and bog down any new construction with litigation, our biggest economic and military competitor will continue to challenge our status as the world’s only superpower. And because of their determination and mettle, they will surpass us in a decade.

2) Nuclear power plants are safe. As is the case with anything, risks exist, but with proper oversight and increased fail-safe measures, many of which were implemented after the September 11 attacks, those risks are well within acceptable limits. And for those who may think this author is a NIMBY—Not In My Back Yard—there are four nuclear plants that literally surround my region.

Outside of the Three Mile Island (TMI) incident in 1979, there has never been a major accident in the United States. And not to minimize the seriousness of TMI, but not only was no one hurt or killed, numerous independent evaluations, including a 13-year study of 32,000 people, concluded that there were no adverse effects to the surrounding population.

3) Numerous ships in the U.S. Navy are nuclear-powered (including all aircraft carriers and submarines), allowing them to travel nonstop at high speed without needing to refuel for 25 years. Not only do these vessels represent a huge cost savings and are environmentally friendly, since they forego two decades’ worth of oil, but they are an incalculable asset to America’s national security. And in more than 5,400 “reactor years” of operation with 500 reactors, and well over 130 million miles steamed, there has never been a nuclear accident.

4) Much of the damage to Japan’s plants was due to the tsunami after the earthquake. A common-sense policy might be to build American plants several miles inland from the sea and not on fault lines, especially on the more earthquake-prone West Coast. While the rest of the country is not immune to earthquakes and tidal waves, the likelihood of those events occurring on even a fraction of the scale in Japan is remote. And America’s nuclear facilities are designed to withstand the power of the largest earthquakes.

America’s nuclear energy policy cannot and must not be formulated by what happens in other parts of the world where natural disasters (Japan) or human incompetence (Chernobyl) exist.

Common sense tells us that we can increase our nuclear-power knowledge from Japan’s unfortunate series of events. Those “lessons learned,” combined with the huge technology advances that have been realized from the days of TMI, would make America’s nuclear program the envy of the world.

Incredibly, it has taken a Democratic president to push this initiative, despite the vehement objections of his party’s biggest constituencies.
With Republicans in control of the House and poised to take over the Senate, there is absolutely no excuse for not pushing ahead on the next generation of American nuclear power plants, which would be the first constructed in three decades.

With no end to soaring fuel prices and the Asian Tiger’s appetite growing every day, Americans should embrace nuclear power for what it is: a gift of clean and limitless energy.

To ignore this reality would be too great a risk.

Chris Freind is an independent columnist, television commentator, and investigative reporter who operates his own news bureau, Readers of his column, “Freindly Fire,” hail from six continents, thirty countries and all fifty states. His work has been referenced in numerous publications including The Wall Street Journal, National Review Online, foreign newspapers, and in Dick Morris’ recent bestseller “Catastrophe.” Freind, whose column appears regularly in Philadelphia Magazine and nationally in Newsmax, also serves as a frequent guest commentator on talk radio and state/national television, most notably on FOX Philadelphia. He can be reached at


America Needs More Nuclear Power

San Francisco Legislators At It Again

Just when you think that people have become as stupid as possible something comes along to prove they haven’t. Since the banning of “Happy Meals” at MacDonald’s in San Francisco, a new, more controversial proposal is being considered that would ban circumcisions of all boys under age 17, and it’s causing lots of debate.

According to, “The latest statistics from the CDC (which, admittedly, is from 1999 — not too recent) reports that 65 percent
of all boys nationally are circumcised (but the percentage drops to
37 percent on the West Coast). Plus, it’s a religious or cultural
tradition for many people. And it’s a controversial topic in

The reason San Francisco is considering this ban? Lloyd Schofield, the
activist pushing the law, calls it “genital mutilation.” In his
proposal, punishment would be either up to a year of jail time or up
to a $1,000 fine. With all that is going on in the world and in San
Francisco and CA at this time, I am glad that this activist can find
the time to work on an event like this one that will keep the tips of
our male genitalia safe.

a climate where so many people seem to preach getting government out
of their personal lives it is strange and amazing that some not only
want government in their lives, but in their bedrooms, and even
governing what can be done to the end of their sex organs. This can
only happen in America.


Government Doesn’t Want to Hear From You

By Dr. John Gilmore


A friend received a petition being distributed by Penn Environment
through email to inform our State Governor about the desire for more
safety regulations to protect the environment and forests in central
PA. Instead of receiving “email sent” upon completing it, she
received a smiling picture of the governor and a code that was called
a puzzler that one had to answer before the email would be accepted.
There was basically a code like FQAH6 (an actual code) and a place
where one had to type in the meaning of the code in order for the
mail to go through. Whether one agrees with Penn Environment or not,
this is yet another example of inaccessible government doing the will
of corporate interest instead of the people and taxation without any
representation. Penn Environment is supporting the legislative
process of regulation in drilling due to the following reasons:


  • Gas
    drilling contributed to the contamination of the drinking water
    supply of 325,000 people near Pittsburgh in 2008.

  • Already,
    drilling has contaminated drinking water in seven Pennsylvania
    counties with dangerous methane gas.

  • In
    the past year, nearly a dozen different drilling companies have been
    caught breaking cornerstone environmental laws, such as the Clean
    Water Act, at their drilling sites.

  • Last
    September, drilling activities spilled 8,000 gallons of harmful
    pollution into Stevens Creek in northeastern Pennsylvania. 

now, state officials are considering policies to help protect the
public from the dangers of gas drilling. Unfortunately it seems that
the people are not allowed to have any input in the process—yet
again, and the government is not interested in hearing what the
people think. Whether one is far left, far right, or even out in the field the one thing that we all need is a government that serves the people and makes decisions based on their input.  This is what is known as democracy.  There is nothing like democracy that works.
Unfortunately, I haven’t seen much of it in our country in the 21st Century.

Finally Safe from Sagging Pants

By Dr. John Gilmore

Other than being a bit annoying and aesthetically challenging to many people from my generation, it seems that sagging pants, i.e., pants hanging off someone’s butt, have become a crime in some local jurisdictions.  During these times when people are looking to local government for more support and sensible decisions, and the federal government for less, it is a bit frightening to see the focus of some of our jurisdictions.

In recent years, cities from Dallas to Rivera Beach, Fla. have launched efforts to make sagging pants punishable by fines and jail time. Some of the most vociferous supporters of these efforts claim the fashion was born in prison culture and, by implication glorifies criminal behavior.  Others just argue, like Townsend, that it offends community taste.

“It’s a horrible fad,” said City Councilman Anthony Davis of Paterson, New Jersey.  The 40-something legislator, who spearheaded an anti-sagging campaign in his city, traces the trend to correctional institutions, where belts are often banned, and says many in the African American community worry that young black men are embodying a “prison mentality” when they let their pants sag.

What better way to deal with this “embodying a prison mentality” then by fining them and putting them in prison?  In the study of Symbolic Logic there is a type of logic called “not logic.”  I would definitely say that this is a prime example of not logic, or perhaps logic–not!  I wonder if this is what happened to tube tops.


I want a Tax and Spend Government for The People

By Dr. John Gilmore


When Bill Meyer was about to retire he
gave an excellent speech on the idea of the Commonwealth. He said he
was born in a very poor neighborhood, but didn’t even really knew it
because we all shared in the commonwealth when he was growing up.
There were parks, free summer recreational programs, free after
school programs, free music programs in the schools and art programs.
Sometimes they even had free summer camps sponsored by the counties
or cities. Anyone could be involved in a sports program for just the
cost of a two dollar insurance policy each year and the school
provided buses that would take the children to the away games on the


We don’t have many of these programs
because of the movement led by rich people to disassemble the
commonwealth and do away with taxes. As a result of this people end
up paying for all of these programs as if they are a privilege. Many
people spend hours of time driving miles to carry their children to
soccer games and other sports activities, thus spending the money
they thought they had saved in taxes on time and for gas. Now only
the ones who can afford it send their children to music programs and
to art classes. Just think of all of the great musicians from poor
families who started playing their instrument in school. This won’t
happen now in most school districts.


Now people who can afford it have to
pay for day care, pay to go to parks, pay to go to the beaches, and
the many other things that add to the quality of life for all
citizens, allowing us to share in the riches of the nation as a whole
group instead of as individuals working and struggling to buy what is
necessary to enjoy the fruit of American life.


As we cut taxes the savings are now
being funneled into overseas investments that put us out jobs and
foreign wars—especially to defense contractors. The states and
local governments are broke, so they need to raise state a local
taxes while cutting the services we so desperately need. In the long
run the average person ends up paying more for services than he paid
for taxes, while the rich person has an opportunity to invest in
China and send their children to the best schools, concerts, music
programs and so on so they can make us look like failures when we try
to compete against them. As a result of this the rich communities get
good resources while the average and poor ones decline until they
begin to look like the slums in most Latin American countries. We
end up with beautiful homes in one block and torn up ghettos right in
the next block, except for the most rich areas—all because we don’t
want to support each other by paying taxes.


The sad thing is that the amount of
taxes never go down, they only get transferred from the federal
government to state and local governments, utility fees, park fees,
higher car registration costs and licensing fees. We end up paying
the same amount of taxes for no service. That is why I like the idea
of a tax and spend government as long as the money is being spent on
the people who are being taxed instead of on foreign wars and foreign
investments. It is strange that anytime we hear the words tax and
spend government from the corporate media we are hearing it from a
person who’s income is highly invested in stocks in foreign countries
that are taking our jobs. They tell us we can’t depend on the
government to take care of us, but we can depend on private
corporations. That doesn’t even make sense, when you really think
about it. We can pressure the elected government to make changes in
its spending patterns; we cannot do anything to corporations.