and the
Citizens Economic Research Foundation

Barbara's Column
May #1

Springtime reverie brings some nagging questions
by Barbara Anderson

The Salem News
Thursday, May 3, 2007

It may be the lusty month of May for Guinevere, but for the rest of us it's time for spring cleaning.

Preparing for summer, when I will lie in my hammock pondering the great mysteries of life, requires that I clear my mind of the little annoying questions that lurk there in dark corners, waiting for sunshine and fresh air.

  • Have any of those environmentalists who choose paper over plastic at the checkout counter ever lived downwind or downstream from a paper mill?  If they had, they might be tempted not only to wrap their purchases but also wipe their behinds with plastic.  Hey, a new and improved project for Sheryl Crowe!

  • On the issue of the environment, I keep asking my liberal friends, and getting no answer:  Didn't global warming -- by definition -- begin with the end of the last Ice Age, in roughly 16,000 BC, long before man invented the SUV?  So is our goal now to reverse that warming and begin the next Ice Age? As the world turns, cycles happen.

  • Would those who want Massachusetts to refuse federal funds for "abstinence-only" sex education have foregone government money for anti-smoking programs unless they also taught kids how to use tobacco responsibly?

  • Why do some of the same people who hate their country for intervening against the torture and murder of the inhabitants of Iraq insist we "do something" about the genocide in Darfur?  What if "divesting from Fidelity" doesn't stop the killing and the United Nations, as usual, does nothing?  Should we invade?  And then what?  Nation-build?  Deal with a Darfur Civil War?

  • How come when I inform my readers that 199 Republicans and 105 Democrats voted to protect ordinary citizens from lawsuits when they report suspicious activity at airports, someone writes a letter to the editor accusing me of Republican bias?  What are those 105 good Democrats, chopped liver?  Nope, pointing out that Congressman John Tierney prefers to let these citizens go through lawsuit hell is not necessarily pro-Republican; it's just anti-Tierney.

  • I generally enjoy both Joe Biden's and Newt Gingrich's agile, inquisitive minds.  I don't think that Biden should have apologized for calling Barack Obama "articulate."  It's not as if all U.S. senators, no matter what their color, are naturally articulate.  Take Ted Kennedy, for example.

    So it seems an attribute worth mentioning if it fits the senator from Illinois.

  • I also wish I could forget the sound of Gingrich apologizing in Spanish, with an appalling accent, for referring to a Miami "ghetto."  In the first place, Newt, this is America:  Speak English!  In the second place, the word, according to Wikipedia, means "an area where people from a specific racial or ethnic background and united in a given culture or religion live as a group in seclusion."

    According to that definition, my entire Catholic hometown in western Pennsylvania was a ghetto.  It's also a word I sometimes use to describe Marblehead Neck.

  • But here is my question:  What on earth did Biden mean when he blamed "the Gingrich revolution" for the massacre at Virginia Tech?

    When asked, Biden said that he was referring to the general "incivility" that began when Gingrich and his allies took over the House of Representatives.  So ... partisan politics, created by our founding fathers when they encouraged the creation of more than one political party, leads to murder by a crazy Korean?  And is Biden claiming that Democrats never indulge in political incivility?  I don't get it.

  • I'm really glad that the House budget passed last week without new taxes.  And I want to appreciate the opposition of Speaker Sal DiMasi to Governor's Patrick's proposal for "closing tax loopholes."  But I keep wondering:  How much of that opposition is due to the fact that the governor embarrassed the speaker's Economic Development chairman, Dan Bosley, D-North Adams, when he offered him a powerful position in his administration and then withdrew the offer after the election?

    I'm no Bosley fan, but he does know business issues.  The legislative message seems clear:  The governor should have had the House expert on his team.  Most things on Beacon Hill are either personal, or a premeditated method of fundraising.  If the governor were more of an insider, I would suspect the usual game:  Someone threatens the business community -- the parts with lots of money -- and then its defenders hold political "times" while business lobbyists line up at the door.

  • May Day, with its traditional protests, reminded me that more Americans were killed last year by illegal immigrants -- committing crimes, driving drunk -- than have died in Iraq.

  • A nagging question:  Would the people who refer to "the wasted lives" of military personnel killed in this war use that same phrase if we had lost World War II?  I think if we were all speaking German or Japanese now, we would still honor those who fought our enemies and tried to keep America free.  The fact that the Bush administration, unlike Roosevelt, Truman and Eisenhower, has done a terrible job of running the war, only makes the efforts of our present military heroes more commendable, it seems to me.

    Well, I've asked my questions.  Would feel better if I had some answers, though.

  • Barbara Anderson is executive director of Citizens for Limited Taxation. Her column appears weekly in the Salem News and Eagle Tribune, and often in the Newburyport Times, Gloucester Times, and Lowell Sun; bi-weekly in the Tinytown Gazette; and occasionally in the Providence (RI) Journal and other newspapers.