Saturday, October 10, 2009

Baltimore Sun article

I got quoted extensively in a Bal
timore Sun article on September 14th. The reporter had contacted me and helped to solve a problem I had with getting a refund from EZ-Pass, so I had a feeling that he would use my story for an article. I forgot to look for it though.

The reporter was Michael Dresser and I had disagreed with his support for the imposition of a $1.50 monthly fee for EZ-Pass accounts. I felt it was unfair to impose an account fee when, for years, the State of Maryland had practically been pushing the EZ-Pass system onto its residents. Supposedly, it would save everyone time and money. I felt it was an unfair bait-and-switch. But I still appreciated the effort and articles the reporter has put into the issue, so I wrote him a copy of my complaint. I never expected a follow-up call from him! The amazing thing was how quickly the agency acted to get me my refund once the transportation reporter from the Sun was on their case. Within two days, they had phoned me and asked to send a refund directly to my credit card and it was done. It was a small amount of money, but the principle of a government agency following through on its word mattered a lot to me. I wondered, how likely is it someone gets their complaint to just the right person to solve a bureaucratic hassle? I got lucky on this small issue, but I would hate to have to rely on a newspaper reporter to get my health care problems sorted out if we ever go to government health care.

Friday, October 2, 2009

Krauthammer on Obama's UN Speech

Last week, President Obama announced to the world at the G-20 Summit in Pittsburgh that Iran had another formerly secret uranium enrichment plant in use. He spoke tough words, but after it became clear that this news was known for some time, I wondered why did he not bring this up in front of the United Nations earlier in the week. After all, Iran's president was actually in attendance. Here's what Charles Krauthammer wrote today:
Confusing ends and means, the Obama administration strives mightily for shows of allied unity, good feeling and pious concern about Iran's nuclear program -- whereas the real objective is stopping that program. This feel-good posturing is worse than useless, because all the time spent achieving gestures is precious time granted Iran to finish its race to acquire the bomb. . . On Sept. 24, Obama ostentatiously presided over the Security Council. With 14 heads of state (or government) at the table, with an American president at the chair for the first time ever, with every news camera in the world trained on the meeting, it would garner unprecedented worldwide attention. Unknown to the world, Obama had in his pocket explosive revelations about an illegal uranium enrichment facility that the Iranians had been hiding near Qom. The French and the British were urging him to use this most dramatic of settings to stun the world with the revelation and to call for immediate action. Obama refused.
Krauthammer's opinion is that Obama did not want attention diverted from his speech which dreamed of a nuclear-free world. Check out the whole Krauthammer piece. It really demonstrates the naivete our president exhibits in foreign policy.