Friday, March 26, 2010


My recent column extolling the vices of the Department of Motor Vehicles prompted several readers to send me their own DMV horror stories. One Escondido writer noted that, unlike my Temecula trip, no separate and shorter line existed for her appointment—making the entire system a farce.

Another wily reader mentioned how he trekked up from Oceanside to the San Clemente DMV where he was able to get in and out in only one hour—not counting the travel time.

Other readers focused on the health care analogy I was making in the article and provided anecdotes about medicine across the pond where, in England, “they do have to wait months for surgery, unless it’s life-threatening.”

Even in critical situations things might not go so well according to one writer whose friend with chest pains had to drive himself to the hospital when no ambulance responded to his telephone call. In another case a chap suffering from what turned out to be a bowel obstruction reportedly waited for hours after requesting an “emergency” home visit—a delay that could have been fatal.

Then there were those folks who saw no useful analogy between the DMV and a program for national health care because, as one critic noted, the former is a “state” agency. Presumably this gentleman would have had no problem with the argument had he been reading a column where I mentioned a very long line at an Oceanside post office that at one point was being served by exactly no one.

Now that Congress has passed, by hook or by crook, this much-touted more-for-less health care legislation, we will see if the law lives up to its billing—and down to its projected cost.

It was hardly an auspicious sign that approval of this bureaucracy-on-steroids construct was made possible by yet another ruse—the idea that an Executive Order about abortion (without legislative force) would prevent federal funding of that deadly procedure.

The glee in the Twittered bill-signing message of Planned Parenthood President Cecile Richards suggests that, like so many statements and representations coming from this White House, the pledge that abortions will not be funded with taxpayer dollars was just another piecrust promise by folks who seem to have a good deal in common with the author of that “made to be broken” statement.

I predict, with bitter confidence, that this no-abortion promise will be broken (or “circumvented”) the same way Obama broke promises about public funding of his presidential campaign and about C-SPAN coverage of the tawdry legislative process that resulted in this landmark “Louisiana Purchase” health care legislation.

Friday, March 12, 2010


Here’s a way to guarantee a “no” vote on the Obama-care legislation pending in Congress. Require representatives who plan to vote “aye” to first visit a California DMV office. Such a pilgrimage to the Mecca of governmental incompetence would doom any initiative that threatens to put health care in the same bureaucratic hands.

While living in Oceanside, I once considered transacting business at the Vista DMV. I quickly ditched the idea when I saw a swarm of vehicles and document-seekers inundating the office.

Unfortunately, with the impending expiration of my license, a DMV visit became imperative. The telephone gauntlet I encountered wasn’t an encouraging omen. After rejecting an appointment six weeks later at a nearby office, I was able to wheedle a slightly more palatable result out of my automated interlocutor—a Temecula tryst four weeks in the future and ten days before the license expiration date.

My 9:30 am appointment was like a decent into hell. Dozens of drivers searched for non-existent parking spots beyond the jammed parking lot. After about 10 minutes I was able to squeeze my 13-foot compact into a 14-foot parallel space that wouldn’t accommodate most vehicles.

A line stretched well around the corner of the modestly sized edifice. Armed with an “appointment,” I bypassed these patrons (most of whom would still be waiting hours later) and entered a building packed with adults sitting and standing in the few feet that extended on three sides of the partitioned work space.

After waiting in another line to get a ticket, I wandered about the restrictive area where perhaps a hundred chairs in two rows were all occupied. Despite my appointment ticket, I was ordered outside by a diminutive crowd-control enforcer who periodically announced that the place would be “shut down” as a fire hazard absent prompt compliance.

Fortunately for me, another ticket-holder offered his seat and traipsed outside. An elderly gentleman sitting in the next chair showed me his non-appointment ticket with a number that guaranteed he would be sitting in this wretched confined space for at least another two hours.

With an “appointment” and parking luck I was able to emerge from this bureaucratic nightmare in about an hour—leaving behind hundreds of folks who were waiting for tickets that would entitle them to wait yet more hours to conduct their vehicular business.

Those who think this scenario doesn’t apply to health care should ponder the case of Danny Williams, the Newfoundland premier who skipped to the U.S. for minimally invasive heart value surgery rather than jump, without an “appointment,” to the head of the long waiting line in Canada.

Tuesday, March 02, 2010


Yet another trial of the century is almost over. This one was held in San Francisco and dealt with the constitutionality of California’s Proposition 8. Presiding was U.S. District Judge Vaughn Walker—a jurist whose homosexuality doubtless had no bearing on his brazen attempt to transform the proceedings into a publicly telecast show trial.

This particular farce was dedicated to the proposition that Californians were somehow violating the United States Constitution when they decided by a 500,000 vote margin to reassert the male-female marital mores that have been in effect throughout civilized history and currently obtain in the vast majority of American states. Nearly 40% of that half-million vote margin, by the way, came from two counties: San Diego (75,000) and Riverside (119,000).

The Proposition 8 vote, of course, was necessitated by another judicial fiat—the California Supreme Court’s 4-3 reversal of Proposition 22. In that case our black-robed betters sifted through their tendentious legal tealeaves to conclude that a measure passed overwhelmingly by the electorate in 2000 violated the state Constitution.

Whatever decision Judge Walker renders about the constitutionality of Prop 8, the case is probably destined for the U.S. Supreme Court. There the decision about overturning thousands of years of legal and moral precedent will absurdly rest on the shoulders of one lone justice--Anthony Kennedy.

That way of putting the issue correctly suggests that what is at stake here is more than a few same-sex weddings. Consider that one witness in the Frisco fiasco was forced to disclose and defend his political and religious views so the court could ponder their propriety. Earlier in the proceedings plaintiffs were allowed to submit evidence of the “improper” influence of religious communities in support of Prop. 8.

A major component of most arguments against Prop 8 has been that limiting marriage to male-female unions is akin to racial discrimination. As a result, discrimination against traditional religious beliefs and institutions is considered more than OK.

Indeed, such discrimination is already taking place. In Washington D.C. the Catholic Archdiocese recently announced that it is ending an 80-year foster-care program. Four years earlier in Massachusetts Catholic Charities ended its adoption work. The reason? Both groups were required to ignore their religious beliefs and to place children with same-sex couples. So much for the free exercise of religion.

Anyone who can’t see that variations in skin pigmentation aren’t analogous to the profound differences between males and females has no business making decisions about the “constitutionality” of distinctions that most sentient beings recognize instinctively.

Kids need two parents—one male and one female. In some venues that truism is already considered hate speech.