February 28, 2012

All these budget cuts

Dallas is typical of many big cities he sees around the country. Cities have cut back on inspectors and are not able to keep up with the workload, and restaurant customers can end up paying the price.

This is a story about food establishments, but considering the degree of cutbacks at the local, state and federal level being necessitated by the current budget cutting trend, the public can expect to see a rise in the number of incidents that the inspection process was designed to prevent. 

Consider that on one level or another, the food we consume, the medical providers and establishments that provide care for us when we are sick and injured, the daycare facilities to which we entrust our children, the public swimming pools and theme parks that provide summer entertainment, the railroad crossings we must pass on our way to work, and even the construction of our homes and the buildings where we work are going without inspection because of lack of staffing.

There was a reason for the regulation that now finds itself on the budget chopping block. Every regulation has blood on it. Yet now the outcry (mostly promoted by the regulated community) against regulation has created a very dangerous situation.

The fat cats don't want to be regulated. It costs money for them to be under the regulatory thumb. Taking a few chances might be risky, but it apparently is a gamble many businesses are willing to take if it means improving the bottom line.

Consider the Deepwater Horizon and the Macando blowout. These are said to be  an aberration. BP and Transocean had been running free and loose with the rules for years and this one little incident is all that ever happened. Was not all the production worth the gamble?

After all, only 11 people died and only 17 were injured. Only about 5 million barrels of crude flowed uncontrolled into the Gulf, affecting only about 320 miles of coastline, killing tens of thousands of fish, birds and other wildlife and adversely affecting the livelihoods of tens of thousands of coastal residents.

But safety is too expensive. Regulations are too stringent. Hard to make those bonuses when all the dough goes to staying within the lines. The answer is to choke it off by cutting the regulators budget. 

Capitalism in its lowest form. You bet.


February 27, 2012

An unmarried woman is unqualified to speak on birth control

Cantwell has been singed by the issue. An opponent, state Sen. Michael Baumgartner, denounced her for signing a Senate letter arguing that the so-called "morning after" birth control pill should be available over the counter at pharmacies. Baumgartner said that Cantwell was not qualified to talk on the issue because she isn't married.

If it walks like the 15th century, and it quacks like the 15th century... and this is Monday... it must be more Republican bullshit.


February 26, 2012

Sunday Funnies