Thursday, March 31, 2011

March 31, 2011

Should plastic grocery bags be banned or taxed?

Bag the Plastic Ban - Nat Brown - National Review Online
"Unfortunately, study after study has shown that most of the supposed “benefits” of these bans and taxes [on plastic grocery bags] have a negligible effect on the environment at best, and can actually have unintended consequences that cause greater environmental harm...
...Contrary to the beliefs of many ban proponents, plastic grocery bags are 100 percent recyclable, and according to the EPA, 13 percent of bags and wraps were recycled last year. “Theoretically we can go up to 90 to 100 percent recycled content,” noted Rozenski, “but 60 percent of the bags are reused as bin liners by consumers, so we have an industry goal to get to 25 or 30 percent.” Unfortunately, banning the bags has usually led grocery stores to shut down their plastic-recycling programs, contributing further to the problem that was meant to be solved."...
...In addition to the damaging environmental effects of these bans and taxes, there are often significant negative economic outcomes. Unlike Ireland, which had imported most of its bags from China, the U.S. has vibrant plastic manufacturing, recycling, and secondary industries, all of which would be hurt greatly were bans and taxes to increase...
...Finally, there’s the issue of the reusable bags that are supposedly a green alternative to plastic. Most of those used in the U.S. were manufactured in China, and numerous studies have documented unsafe levels of lead in the bags, far in excess of the allowable limits, a problem that prompted a statement by Sen. Chuck Schumer on the issue. Additionally, studies have found high levels of e. coli bacteria present in many reusable bags unless they are washed after every use, sparking additional concerns over public health."
An activist confronts Bill Ayers on the issue of charter schools:
Activist: I'm just trying to understand what your solutions are because in the same breath you are saying you're anti-government, but then you're also anti-privatization, so I don't know what your solutions are, specifically for the African American community.
Ayers: What we need to do is invest more in public schools. 
[boos from the crowd] 
Activist: But the per-pupil expenditures are higher in the inner cities but we're still not getting the results!


Ohio Rep. Jim Jordan on the SOAR ACT (D.C. Scholarship):
"How bad does it have to get before we allow kids the opportunity to escape and get to a better education? ...Let's have a child-centered system. One where the dollars are strapped to the back of the kid and wherever the mom or the dad of that young boy or girl thinks they're going to get a better education - let the dollars follow the kid. That is a model that is consistent with American principals - one that empowers families, empowers individuals, allows them to have the freedom of choice to do what's best... 

...I learned a long time ago that even though some families make poor choices, in the vast majority of cases, families - parents - make better decisions than bureaucrats and politicians  can ever make."


This website has a plethora of charts and graphs created with data from the most recent census.  The following chart shows the decline of the black population in major U.S. cities:

We can't ignore the fact that these cities are in states that also have some of the highest abortion rates per 1000 women:

Illinois: 17/1000
Georgia: 15/1000  (37% minority)
Ohio:  14/1000    (35.5% minority)
Pennsylvania: 15/1000   (38.9% minority)
Texas: 16/1000   (23.2% minority)
(CA and LA not reported)


Also on the abortion front, The Dispatch is reporting that the Heartbeat Bill, which would ban abortion in Ohio after the baby has a detectable heartbeat, is stalled in the Ohio legislature, thanks, in part, to Ohio Right to Life:

"Despite anti-abortion majorities in the House and Senate, a bill to give Ohio the most-restrictive abortion law in the nation has stalled after drawing fire from those on both sides of the debate.
Ohio Right to Life, the state’s largest anti-abortion advocacy group, fears House Bill 125 — to outlaw abortion after a fetal heartbeat can be detected, generally six or seven weeks into a woman’s pregnancy — could backfire.
The organization says the proposed law would be struck down by the federal courts as being too restrictive, opening the door for courts to revisit other abortion restrictions, such as a requirement that women wait 24 hours after their initial clinic visit before having the procedure.
While the principle behind House Bill 125 is good, this is the wrong time ...we need more votes on the (U.S. Supreme) court,” Marshal M. Pitchford, chairman of Ohio Right to Life’s board of trustees, wrote in a letter to local chapters."
House Speaker William Batchelder claimed to be clueless and implied that the bill would meet its end in  committee:
 “You always have to be careful with these bills,” said Batchelder, a lawyer and abortion opponent. “I understand what everybody is saying, but I’m not sure,” Batchelder said, adding, “This one is going to merit some research.”
He said the bill — which has 50 sponsors and enough votes to pass the 99-member House — is likely to be held in a House committee while GOP leaders sort out the debate."
Freshman Rep Todd McKenney (also a lawyer) thinks the unborn are worth the effort:
"Rep. Todd McKenney, R-New Franklin and a co-sponsor of the bill, said he understands House Bill 125 is likely to be struck down but said “you have to challenge existing law.’’
“I’m not waffling on my support.”
However, he said he will offer an amendment to delay implementation of the law until December 2012. He hopes the move will ensure the anticipated legal challenge will be considered separate from any lawsuit filed against a late-term abortion ban that the House is poised to adopt."


It's Elton John week on American Idol.  I have to confess that I love his music, though I'm not a fan of Elton John himself.  Paul, one of the contestants, sang the classic, Rocket Man.  In honor of that performance, I'd like to share one of my favorite renditions of the song - by none other than.....William Shatner!  You might want to sit down for this, because you may fall on the floor laughing!  

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