Wednesday, February 22, 2006

Our Ports

The looming crisis over our ports paints an interesting picture of the machinations of government. The president says that he didn't know of the deal until it hit the papers. The obscure government agency that made the decision was led by a former head of CSX. CSX, a port operator, was sold to the Arabs after the former head left for government employ. Now it seems to me that something smells, and not in Denmark. Regardless of all the missives from the Arab sheiks about how they will protect our interests, I find this hard to believe. The reasoning is quite simple; The Arab sheiks will not be doing the work of running this business. They will hire employees to do the grunt work and it is among these people that a "bad guy" plant could operate. Operating from the inside, he could find out what the inspection procedures are in American ports and come up with a plan to slip whatever into the country. Since only 5% of shipping containers are ever inspected, his position to observe the processes would open the terrorist door quite nicely. Ergo, don't let the Arabs run any of our ports.

Wednesday, February 08, 2006

The State of New Jersey, politics that is...

The great state of New Jersey has a reputation for harboring the finest collection of political wheeler-dealers. The citizenry with their infinite intelligence voted in a multimillionaire who self financed his way into office. The problem is that he used the same self-financing route used by the preceding administrations.That is, buying political favors from each of the relevant democratic bosses. Now that he is in office, having inherited massive deficits, he is populating the patronage structure with more political hacks. The chances of correcting the political abuse in this state are fast becoming zero to none. This is because, while he may be the original straight arrow, he has surrounded himself with the usual politically "connected" people. Even a strong swimmer has a hard time when the current opposes him and the New Jersey legislature definitely will oppose any attempts by him to live up to his electioneering promises. The New Jersey legislature has a long history of padding their incomes, selling influence and making certain the general public is on the losing end of any deal. We have cronies, double dipping politicians who hold multiple offices at the same time and we have an electorate who believe in the tooth fairy. The legislature has abrogated it's constitutional responsibilities to the "high courts" whenever the potato became too hot. School funding comes to mind; here a division of government without taxation powers has mandated what fair and equal schooling should be. Of course now we find out that these new schools are costing twice what any other school would cost. The reason? The contracting process is run through flunkies beholden to the politicians who didn't want the hot potato in the first place. Everywhere a stone is kicked over in New Jersey, a beholden or worse politician can be found. The previous governor, who left office in disgrace, wormed his way through the thicket of political corruption by assigning "connect" cronies to patronage jobs thus establishing the political bosses as the back-room governors of the state. This same group is still in place and planning how to circumvent any of the new governor's plans.
As long as the unwashed citizens of New Jersey continue to believe that some small portion of the state government largesse will come their way by returning the same substructure to power, they will be among the losers.