Michael P. Ackley has worked more than three decades as a journalist, the majority of that time at the Sacramento Union. His experience includes reporting, editing and writing commentary. He retired from teaching journalism for California State University at Hayward.More ↓Less ↑
Editor’s note: Michael Ackley’s columns may include satire and parody based on current events, and thus mix fact with fiction. He assumes informed readers will be able to tell the difference.
We open with a couple new entries to the Blind Partisan’s Dictionary:
Unmitigated disaster: modified noun – the failure of a hoped-for disaster to befall one’s opponent.
Gaffe: noun – 1. a statement in a foreign land that supports criticisms made by natives of that country; 2. a statement of demonstrable truth that nevertheless offends an ethnic group, particularly one regarded as a protected minority.
These entries are necessary because of the adoption of “unmitigated disaster” into the Democratic Party liturgy and the use of “gaffe” by the mainstream news media. Both were applied last week to Mitt Romney’s excursion to Britain, Israel and Poland.
First came Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schulz, the Democratic National Committee chairwoman, who called the Romney trip an “unmitigated disaster;” then came the media, demanding that Romney own up to his “gaffes.”
For example, CNN asked, “Gov. Romney, are you concerned about some of the mishaps of your trip?” The Washington Post shouted, “What about your gaffes?” and the New York Times wanted to know, “Gov. Romney, do you feel that your gaffes have overshadowed your foreign trip?”
These were references to Romney’s bland characterization of news reports that security at the London Olympic Games as “disconcerting,” and his assertion that Israeli culture led that country to be more economically successful than the Palestinian territories.
In Britain only the brainless were exercised, but at home Schultz’ words were dutifully recited by all Democratic Party minions. The difference between the Democratic Party liturgy and that of the media is that … well there really is no difference between the Democratic Party and the media.
It should be noted that among Palestinians, the outrage came only from those whose culture includes acts of war against school children and the consignment of religious nonconformists to death in the present and perdition in the hereafter.
Disaster? Gaffes? Really?
Cost of doing business: The Competitive Enterprise Institute is out with its annual “Ten Thousand Commandments” report, which includes, among other things, the cost of federal regulations.
This year the think tank estimates that cost at $1.75 trillion. And, as corporations don’t pay such costs, but pass them along to customers, consumers are paying what amounts to $1.75 trillion in invisible taxes.
According to CEI, the Code of Federal Regulations now totals 169,000 pages, with 10 more added daily – including weekends and holidays. Further, while Congress passed only 81 new laws in 2011, the unelected and unaccountable bureaucracy cranked out more than 3,800 new regulations.
You really ought to browse the fertile fields of the code some day. You’ll find such gems as the following, under Title 21, Chapter I, Part 1240 – Control of Communicable diseases, regarding turtles, tortoises, terrapins “and all other animals of the order Testudinata, class Reptilia:”
“(b)Sales; general prohibition. Except as otherwise provided in this section, viable turtle eggs and live turtles with a carapace length of less than 4 inches shall not be sold, held for sale, or offered for any other type of commercial or public distribution.
“(c)Destruction of turtles or turtle eggs; criminal penalties. (1) Any viable turtle eggs or live turtles with a carapace length of less than 4 inches which are held for sale or offered for any other type of commercial or public distribution shall be subject to destruction in a humane manner by or under the supervision of an officer or employee of the Food and Drug Administration . . ..”
There is no telling how many FDA bureaucrats are out there, overseeing the humane destruction of turtles, terrapins and tortoises.
This has something to do with the control of salmonella, but it is not explained how a turtle of a lesser carapace might be more of a threat than a larger creature. Regardless, you’d better be careful. If you sell one of the above with a carapace shorter than four inches, you will be subject to criminal penalties including a fine of up to $1,000 and up to a year in prison.
Given 169,000 pages of regulations, you’re probably breaking the law just by reading this.